Dad Knows Best

And here it is...still limping along.

And here it is…still limping along.

I should not be blogging right now. I should be writing my book.

I’m in the total-freak-out stage of this writing project. Now that I’m settled into my corporate job (I’m very happy there), I’ve developed a new discipline to devote 9-10 hours per week to this book. I can only hope this is enough.

I’m stressed to the max.

But I’ve been writing this blog post in my head for months and it’s time to get it out.

It’s about my camera.

When I graduated college in 2006, this Canon Power Shot A540 was my Dad’s gift to me. I’m going to send the link to this blog to my dad later today so he’ll soon learn that this was so not what I wanted. At the time, I had given my then-fiance very specific instructions to tell my dad that I wanted an iPod.

Instead, I got the camera.

“I figured that, with your new job at the New Times, you could use a camera for your work when you’re out reporting stories and such,” Dad told me.

Then I started my job and quickly accepted the assignment to take pictures of party people once a week for a column called Club Candids. I despised the gig but the money was way too good to pass up. This camera was with me all the way. It somehow survived bars, clubs, and dance nights each week for three years solid.

Today, the lens is missing its cover. The screen on the back is scratched to hell. The flash only works if you flick the bulb five times with your finger before you take the photo. The wrist strap is so caked with dried booze and grime, the woven threads are now all leathery and gross.

I promised myself I’d buy a new camera so I could take excellent photos for my book. I planned to use my sad, sad Canon only for the first few hikes. But I got busy and lazy and I didn’t want to do the research needed to buy a new camera.

Today, I’m more than halfway done with my list of hikes and this beat up little thing has captured some gorgeous photos…some are even good enough for the cover (according to my publisher’s Graphics Coordinator).

Dad knows best!

Four Years Ago Today

If our relationship was a human, it would look like this. Our relationship would be able to count to ten, begin to distinguish fantasy from reality, and accurately identify at least four colors.

Four years ago today, I walked into a bar all by myself and met my husband.

Yes, yes, I know I’ve told this story about a million times. If you haven’t read about the magical, whimsical, gives-me-goose-bumps way that I met my Lou, read it here.

We’ve been talking about our four years together quite a bit recently. I don’t think I need to blog about how happy we are (if you want proof, read this, this, this or this).

I realize that four years isn’t an eternity. But, it’s the longest time either of us have been consistently thrilled to be in the same relationship.

I keep saying, “Four years…we’ve been together as long as high school lasts!”

Here are some other things we can expect in a four-year time-span:

The Olympics

Human ability to count to ten

FIFA World Cup

Bamboo canes reach maturity

United States Presidential Term

Leap Year

Total solar eclipse

Quidditch World Cup

A hair strand’s maximum life expectancy

And, in another four years, (unless one of us tragically dies in a car accident or plane crash [please, please, universe, please don’t let this happen!!!!]) you can expect Lou and I to be happy, in love, and closer than ever.

Lou, I love ya, babe! Thanks for giving me the happiest four years of my entire life!

Turkish Evil Eye

Turkish Evil Eyes offer protection.

If you know me, you may recognize the trinkets pictured above.

The Turkish Evil Eye is a protective amulet that diverts evil intentions away from the carrier.

I first discovered them 17 years ago, during a trip to Turkey.

This was my very first experience with international travel. It took over 24 hours  for my mother and I to get to our final destination in Tarsus, where my aunt, a high school math teacher, had taken residence as a part of a year-long international teaching program.

I’d love to say that I took full advantage of this adventure by relishing in the exotic flavors of Turkish cooking, boldly exploring the Bazaars to purchase fine textiles, or gaining new knowledge about an Islamic country caught between tradition and Westernization.

All roads lead to Rome. Including this one. Me, in Turkey, standing on a Roman road and not properly appreciating its historic significance.

That’s totally not how I experienced the trip. I was annoyed by the funky-tasting food, too shy to interact with locals, and I didn’t really get what it meant to be a Muslim. I didn’t care, either. Because I was 14.

For whatever reason, however, I specifically remembered all the Turkish Evil Eyes. These things were everywhere. Walk into a market, it’s on the front door. Talk to a woman, she’s wearing tiny blue eyes on a necklace. Get into a taxi, you’ll see a giant glass eye on the front dash.

When I was 16 and back in the states, a dear friend of mine gave me a large Turkish Evil Eye. He was a protective dude by nature and he said the gift was meant to keep me safe when he wasn’t around. I carried it in my purse until I was 22, when it finally broke.

After I replaced my own amulet, I started handing these things out like candy. I gave one to my oldest brother before he left for his tour in Afghanistan. I insisted Lou hang one from the rear view mirror when he went on tour with his band. Each person in my family has one, I’ve given an eye to most of my friends, and one is hanging on our front door right now.

I guess this makes me out to be ultra-paranoid and superstitious. I prefer to consider myself “hyper-vigilant”.

But, really, I’m just sentimental. In the last ten years, both my aunt and my aforementioned friend tragically passed away.

A Turkish Evil Eye offers more than protection. It’s my connection.

Favorite Gift: A Cruel Cartoon

More than three years ago, I was treated to dinner by two of my favorite pals, Robrt Pela and Todd Grossman.

I dressed up that night.

Then Todd drew this.

I feel special when people make fun of me.

His husband, Robrt, was kind enough to give it to me.

(Todd is to the left and Robrt is on the right.)

Since then, I’ve pinned this little slip of paper to every cubicle wall and office bulletin board I’ve been forced to stare at during the past three years.

Because it’s one of my all-time favorite gifts. Ever.