Photo Obsession

Hello, my name is Debi and I am addicted to photography. I admit it, I’m hooked, obsessed, totally over the top with this *hobby*.

I bought my first DSLR almost 2 years ago, a Nikon D3100. Now I’m up to four, yes, four cameras. Nikon D90, D5000 and D7000. Four cameras, 5 lenses, 3 editing software programs, one new MacBook Pro, a serious case on wheels to hold everything……and assorted accessories! ¬†Woohoo….. My husband has decided he’d like to join me in my hobby (yay?) so I’m going to teach him what (little) I know. Wish us both luck!

I feel like I have learned a great deal in two years. I graduated to shooting in the RAW format a year ago, and have found it increases editing options. I do love editing, it brings out the frustrated artist in me, since I’ve always wanted to paint, but had no talent for it. Editing is the next best thing. Just changing the white balance or a using a preset can change the whole tone of an image, from boring to dramatic; from ho-hum lackluster color, to elegant tones of black and white.

I shot my first (and only) wedding last November, for my oldest niece.  It was a learning experience, for sure! The bride was thrilled with the photos, which made me feel better; but I realized just how little I knew about what I was trying to do. She was on a small budget, though, and I offered to do it as my gift to her. There were some sweet moments:

This was in a very small room, with lots of background clutter on the walls, so I cropped in very close to capture the sweetness of the father of the bride, giving her a good luck kiss before the ceremony.

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The bride with step-mom before the ceremony……I was so happy with this shot in the mirror, which was necessary because the room was so small.

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The bride, groom and family…. Continue reading “Photo Obsession”

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Letters to my Mother

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we drove up to visit my parents like we usually do. We enjoyed a nice, quiet lunch at Cotton Patch…..okay, just kidding, that place is so noisy, you have to yell to carry on a conversation. Afterward, we visited more at the house, and my nephew, his wife and their adorable 3 year daughter came by to visit.

I had asked mom for some letters that she had kept from the time my kids were small, so yesterday, she handed me a large envelope full of letters and some photos. YAY…..more treasures! Oh, but wait….maybe not. The first letter I opened was from El Paso in 1986, after I had moved there with my boyfriend. It was quite sobering, even though I was sober to begin with. How my life has changed since then. For the better, of course.

The rest of the letters were far more entertaining, written in the early 1980s when we had moved to the country and were living in a ramshackle farm-house that we were renovating. Renovating is really an exaggeration. Trying to keep it from falling in on our heads, is more accurate. Most of the time that we lived in Forney, Texas, we didn’t have a home phone, so I wrote letters to keep my parents informed of our general progress on the house and the kid’s activities. Just an aside…..the postage stamps ranged from 20 to 22 cents on these letters.

The farmhouse….we paid $2,500 cash for the house and had it moved around the corner to our 2 acres.

The house did look better about a year later, and was still standing in spite of the wood-burning stove in the living room. Luckily the house did not burn down the winter that everything froze up for more than a week. We endured cold winters, and very hot summers in that house….and lots of dust, dirt and construction. Whew.

 

The best thing in the envelope was a hand written poem, that was once set to music, that I wrote for my mom for Mother’s Day 1979. I actually don’t remember writing this down and decorating it like this, but I did.

And she kept it.

All these years.

And people say *I* am a hoarder!!!

This is quite fragile as it’s written on construction paper, and I even made an envelope from the paper also. Who knew I was so thoughtful and resourceful?

 

So, the most funny thing was a handwritten list, I must have been as young as 13-14…..titled “My Real Life Problems”….

I particularly love #15 and #18……my little brother was quite a brat back then. You can see I had a very low self-esteem, and I outgrew that for the most part. It does sneak in every once in a while to try to bring me down. I’m not sure about #14 as I never had trouble with my complexion, I was blessed with good genes in that department! Still, pretty funny to read now and see how insecure I was then. (this proves that I have always been a really good speller!)

 

When I began writing this today, I had intended to scan some of the actual hand written letters and include them; however, after re-reading them, they seem intensely personal to me, so I changed my mind. Some things are better left un-shared, I think. But, these letters reinforce my belief that my life has gone through a great many changes in the last 30-40 years, and I have come out on the other side a better person. The once painfully shy first grader who wouldn’t speak a word for six weeks, somehow morphed into a musician who loved to entertain on stage, and then became a force to be reckoned with in the retail world.

So, thanks mom, for keeping these for me. I am sorry for the many times I’ve let you down, and I’m thankful that you always forgave me, and you never gave up on me.

 

 

Two Grandmothers

I was fortunate to have two very loving grandmothers growing up. My Granny Kimberling died fairly young but Granny Fletcher/Phillips lived into her 90s…..they lived only a block apart from each other from 1970 on, but they were as different as day and night. Both had many excellent qualities, some I cherished as a small child, others I cherish now that I am an adult.

Granny K. was a very hard worker, she was exceedingly thrifty, being a depression era survivor,

 

and as kids we used to laugh at Christmas at the recycled paper and bows that our gifts were wrapped in. Granny K. was “green” long before that word gained its current meaning. She could pinch a penny with the best of them. She was a devout Christian woman, never allowed playing cards in her house, never allowed games with dice (die?) so all the kids games had spinners. Granny K. wore dresses. House dresses, Sunday church dresses, work dresses, but never slacks or jeans. The horror! I do recall one time as a kid, when we lived in the country next door to my Kimberling grandparents, that we were all going across the road, into the woods to cut down a Christmas tree. It was very cold that day, and Granny put on a pair of my grandfather’s pants, under her dress. Only because it was so very cold ……and she still had the dress on. To my knowledge, that is the only time she ever wore pants.

At Christmas time, there were presents under her tree for every child, grandchild, and great grandchild….nearly always handmade. One year, all the girls got dolls that had dresses made of felt, tied together with yarn, that sat on the bed. Wish I had a picture of those. One year, everyone received clothes hangers that had been crocheted on, I still have a few of those. One year, we got crocheted house slippers, or dolls attached to a crocheted blanket. One year, I received a double wedding ring quilt, it is one of my most prized possessions. But, she never forgot a single child.

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Granny K. made so much food at the holidays, it looked like she was feeding a hundred people. She made: fudge, fudge with nuts, fudge with coconut, pecan pralines, divinity, chocolate covered peanuts and peanut brittle…she also had the ever popular gumdrop tree. Granny had a small Nativity set under the indoor tree and a 3 foot Santa that went outside under the tree. My brother now has possession of those items, and I know he treasures them.

Granny K. had toys for the grandchildren to play with when they visited. Dolls, trucks, books, etc. but what we all seemed to love the most, was the button box! It was actually a large round can, possibly a Maxwell House coffee can, but she would let us play with them, string them on thread, and we were fascinated. I have a few of the buttons that came from that can. Yes, I do.

Granny Kimberling’s funeral was held in the church, and the pastor at the time, read a poem he wrote about her, and we all giggled when he got to the part about the hangers “all wound with yarn” that she had given them for Christmas. We were sad that she was gone, but were at peace because she had suffered greatly in the years before, and we knew that she was pain free and living it up, but certainly *not* dancing, on the streets of gold.

My Granny Fletcher/Phillips was a different kind of granny. She loved all the grandkids, but we knew that as soon as we arrived at her house, that we would be expected to sit and be quiet, or go outside to play. Children made her nervous. This is the grandmother that I am the most like. Granny F had a storm cellar in the back yard, and that’s where we loved to play. In spite of the tiny snake we found in there one day, we’d play there for hours on end.

Granny F’s house was full of pretty antiques and dishes. She loved bowls, and scoured garage sales in her retirement years, buying up every pretty bowl she could find. I have 3 bowls that she gave me, and also a Fenton glass basket, that I love. My sister has a large collection of these bowls also, and keeps promising me a few more, I will gladly take them. I learned to appreciate antique furniture and fine dishes and glassware from Georgia Myrtle.

Granny F. was also a devout Christian woman, so she and my other grandmother are the first generation Nazarene’s in our family. They both set the standard to which some of us have failed to live up to, although we keep trying.

Granny F. was a proud woman, and once told me there was no excuse for being dirty, even if you were “poor”. She told me of the time they moved into a rent house when my mother was a child, and she took newspapers and papered the walls so the house would be clean. She said that anyone could afford a bar of soap and water. I wish more people in this day and age took that to heart!

Granny F. also loved to cook and bake. She made the best fried chicken ever, except for MY mother, who learned from her. She also made the most mouthwatering coconut pies, and homemade rolls. Holiday dinners at her house were quite elegant, we would put the protective pads on the dining table, place her best tablecloth over it, get the real silver out of the silver chest and we would enjoy a feast fit for kings. And, we kept our elbows off the table!

I loved it when we were all at her house for dinners, we never even minded that her house was only one bedroom and that we made it fairly burst at the seams. We enjoyed being there, and she loved cooking for us. It was a very sad day when she had to give up living alone in her little house, and we knew we’d never get to be together again with her like that.

When Granny Fletcher/Phillips died, her funeral, also at the church, was a joyous homegoing as we celebrated her entrance to heaven and we know she is watching over us, still.

Two very different grandmothers, but two very devout Christians, both hardworking, thrifty and proud……there’s a little of both in me now. I think of both of them daily. There are constant reminders in my home. Furniture, dishes, clothing items…..now, to some people, these are just “things”…but, to me, they are precious memories.

I love my memories. Thank you Beatrice Annabell and Georgia Myrtle.

Me and my granny Kimberling……

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I LOVED to roller skate….and constantly had scabs on my knees from falling so much…..

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my grandmother was probably about the age that I am now…..and look how matronly (old) she looks there……

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This was 1999….our 5 generation photo…..one of several that we took.

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