Erin Vey. Again. (Only this time not dog-related).

Mmk, so I just wrote a whole post about my weekend (photos and all) and then realized those very photos are on my other computer. So look forward to that at a later date.

No worries though, because I still wanted to post about Erin Vey's Ferry at F/1.4 Project. As you know, I check her site daily. I'm always envious that she's in Seattle, and now I'm even more envious after seeing this ferry project. Also, because I've spent time on that exact ferry (or one very much like it) with Alex en route to Vashon Island, the ferry holds dear memories. I love seeing it through the eye of someone I admire - and so beautifully done.


by light of the fireflys

I am sorry to hear of your recent corporate battles, and am so relieved to know that in just a short while you will be done with all that razzmatazz. It will be great for you to spend a little time out here next weekend when you come pick me up, where struggles have less to do with maniac real estate mongers, and more to do with getting lost in the dark on your way from a BBQ at the caretakers' place to the farmhouse. Or, no running water in the bathroom for a week. Or, weeds so tall you have to chop them down with a machete in order to get to save a baby tree that has been trapped in the middle. You know, things like that are much nicer to worry about than childish greedy humans.

Back to the part about being lost in the dark. We had a delightful little get together last night , which highlighted Mojitos made using the massive amounts of Mint growing in the garden, and some great potato salad. We had a lantern for our 5 minute walk back to the farmhouse, but the night was so dark that we still veered 5 minutes in the wrong direction. It was sort of hilarious stumbling around in the weeds (a little bit buzzed) and joking about possibly having to set up camp if we couldn't find our way home. But, the best part of it all were the firefly's. It's really a shame we don't have those in Colorado. They were everywhere and it sort of seemed as if the entire galaxy of stars had dropped down to tree level. Or like there were tiny little poparattzi scattered about stealing shots of us in our predicament. It was magical.

Finally, after a near breakdown this weekend regarding my project and whether or not it should be placed in a waste basket, I have regained a bit of my creative drive mostly in thanks to a decision to work on something new. The big paper project has not been abandoned, but I think it will likely find it's worth in photos. In the mean time, I have spent the last couple of days working on these little sculptures.

One week left seems both long and short. That I will experience another Thursday before you get here makes it seem long. The fact that last Thursday seems like yesterday makes it seem short. Oh time and it's two-faced ways. Nonetheless, I am greatly looking forward to seeing you...and Roux....and Alex for that matter!

Good luck today Champ.


musician of the week: mark knopfler

I don't know whether we really want to add on to our burden of a weekly artist by actually having a regular installment of musicians, but either way I wanted to do a little post about Mr. Knopfler. We saw him at Red Rocks last night and it was phenomenal. I really believe he's a musical genius, and you can't beat the setting of Red Rocks.

He didn't play one of my all time favorite songs, 'Golden Heart,' so I You Tubed it this morning and found another performance. Take 4 minutes and 53 seconds to check it out - and turn the volume up.

artist of the week: britt freda

Alex and I generally go to Seattle about twice a year and run around frantically trying to see everybody we know in the area, which turns out to be an inordinate number of people. Last November we were eating breakfast at a little cafe in Seattle and I fell in love with their artwork. The collection they had up was all of chickens - I do have a soft spot for chickens - so I asked for the artist's card. I can't afford any of them of course, but I occasionally browse around on her site because I love her work so much. As much as I like some of her other collections, I still love the chickens the best.
Britt Freda's site here.


metallurgist/photographer extroardinaire

Apparently I'm not the only photographer in the house. When I found this photo among the sale photos Alex helped me take of Annick this weekend, I sat and stared at it for a long time. I have a black and white photo of Chasie that somehow really captures his character and it has been framed and placed in my immediate surroundings ever since I developed it. This photo will be the same way, the Annick photo that I will always keep nearby.


from bret and jemaine

I also love mud boots

Not only do my new mud boots provide some great photo op's , they also make me feel invincible. The grounds here aren't exactly well kept, so when I need to get around (checking on trees and what not) I throw on the boots and trudge through any bit of water or tall grass that stands in my way. In general, I am becoming less and less bothered by the insect population here. In fact, I spend a lot of time studying the ones that happen to be in my studio. I have learned that spiders are very territorial of their webs, and when another spider starts to intrude they will literally fight them off. I have learned that wasps can find the tiniest sliver to enter a space, but will spend hour upon hour trying to escape out of a closed window. And, ants tend to spend a lot of time walking in circles.Here's me at work on the floor. Being on the floor all day is a good way to study insects.
This is the road I take walks on in the evening when I realize I have been sitting on the floor far too long.
And this is the door to my bedroom, where I go to sleep and rejuvenate for another whirlwind day on the farm.


little guy

First of all, a disclaimer: I am aware that my posting here at Wonder Net has been very canine-intensive as of late.
Second of all, a promise: I will ease up on the dog posts.

But for now, look at how absolutely adorable Roux used to be when she was just a little guy.


dog + pony show

Alex has been out of town since Sunday morning, which has left me two nights to fend for myself. I never have liked sleeping alone - when we were kids I would crawl into my younger sister's bed any time I had a nightmare - and I like it even less now that I'm used to sleeping next to Alex on a nightly basis.

I battled through Monday night, ignoring the little sounds of would-be robbers trying to break in at every given opportunity. But last night I did not make it.

Around 5pm, right as I was feeding Roux there was a loud banging sound in the basement. Roux, who usually cannot be torn from her food dish, stopped eating and stood at the top of the stairs growling at the basement door. I was still trying to keep my cool and was planning to head right down there and check it out. But then the basement light was on. I KNOW I didn't leave it on. I haven't even been in the basement since Alex left. Long story short, I called the cops, they came, checked it out and didn't find anything out of the ordinary. Still I knew I wouldn't be able to sleep, so I packed Roux up and we headed over to the refuge of Sam and Justin's house. Sam and Jus didn't get home until late, so I spent the evening watching their Bordie Collie puppy, Grady, and Roux tear around the yard. And I just so happened to have my camera with me.

I love watching Roux and Grady because Grady is maybe the only dog Roux has ever encountered who dishes her a good dose of her own medicine. I particularly love Roux's pained expression in this photo, like she can't believe how obnoxious it is to have a puppy attached to her face. NOW YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS, ROUX.

This morning I met Laurie (hunter/jumper trainer extroardinaire) and her daughter, Tyler up at the barn. Tyler rode Annick and jumped her for the first time. Despite the misfortune of falling off at one point, she really rode Annick beautifully. After the last jump they did, Annick did a whole lead change entirely on her own and my heart swelled with motherly pride. She is such a sweet little horse, and smart to boot. I am feeling, in the greater scheme of things, that selling her will be better for her too. Provided it's to the right home. Watching her with Tyler today confirmed that for me, so now the challenge is finding the perfect person for Annick.


i love manual labor

I had a lovely weekend, primarily thanks to a surprise visit from David (of Mary and David) as he is making his way from Washington to Virginia. We took a lot of long walks, and saw a lot of birds. My favorite bird of this region so far is the Baltimore Oriole. It 's so fascinating once you start paying attention to birds because they are so unique and beautiful, but often go unnoticed.
I also started my "farm chores." My duties are to help with a water irrigation system in the garden and to a row of newly planted trees. Last night we had to drive the truck into the neighboring farmer's plot so we could access a mound of tires we needed to put around the base of the trees. It was a surprisingly fun task to be out there working under a full moon.

Here is me playing around at one of the old barns on the property. In this moment my stomach is dropping to my feet because that same fear you were experiencing on your climb had suddenly taken over me. I don't know if it's age, but I certainly can't handle heights like I used to.

Denver Dog Photography

The more I get hired to do dog photography professionally, the more I like it. I really would love for it to be something I can do on the side next year while I'm in school, but to do that I think I need to move outside of the circle of people I already know. Amping it up requires a name, website, new email, etc. The process has begun, and I have started a website. I think my plan will be to post photos of my shoots, as well as the intermittent photos of other dogs I take on my own. It'll be a place people can go to check out some of my previous work as well as my general outlook on canine photography.

It's up and running, but as of yet there's only one post. More to come soon.


Chirs Natrop/Paper God

I was trying to load some of my own photos, but they weren't participating. What better time to do an artist of the week entry?
I'm sort of being lazy because Chris has been one of my favorites for the last 3 years, and I might have shown you his work before, but since I am my head is consumed with paper cutting at the moment I thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to one of the people who first inspired me.

conquering the couloir

Last week our friends Eric & Lara suggested a climb up Gray's Peak (a local 14,000' mountain). They wanted to do a snow climb up a couloir to get to the summit, and wanted to get started at 2am Saturday morning so the snow would still be good. A jumped right on board. I was a little hesitant. I thought it would be a lot for Roux to do, and was completely unconvinced that I'd be happy doing the snow climb. I have a deep rooted fear of heights and have had near panic attacks climbing with A before, so have tried to avoid situtations where I feel like falling will result in iminent death. But the group talked me into it, assuring me it didn't look so bad when you got up there and I'd be fine.
If you don't know what a couloir is (I didn't know for a long time), you can find out here. And here is a picture of the one we did:

Getting up at 2am wasn't as awful as I'd anticipated, and the morning was actually really gorgeous. The alpenglow was worth the early start and the hike in to the base of the couloir was smooth sailing.

I continued to feel unsure about the steepness, but was reassured again that it wouldn't feel so steep when I was actually on it. The four of us + Roux started up it and within the first ten minutes there were two rock falls. The general consensus was that turning around would be smart, but Roux would have none of it. I can't say I blamed her, the way down looked pretty terrifying and going down is a heck of a lot harder than going up. Except that going up means a lot more time on the mountain. Still, A and I really had no choice but to keep going up.

I spent a solid 15-20 minutes in complete panic mode. I thought I was either going to puke or cry, or both at the same time. I felt like a squirrel clinging to a wall, terrified that with each step the snow under me would slip and I'd free fall all the way back down. We had cramp ons and ice axes, but I didn't feel confident in my knowledge of how to use either to be sure I'd be able to stop myself if I fell. On top of that Roux was a little freaked out, so I was worrying about her. Eventually I realized that panicking was going to make my chances of misstepping and falling a whole lot greater, so I buckled down and focused.
Here I am, focusing on trying to hold still long enough for A to snap a photo. Holding still was difficult considering every cell in my body wanted to keep moving forward - the faster you go, the faster you're done.

All in all the couloir was about 1,000 feet of elevation gain and reportedly around a 40 degree angle. I never looked down after my intial panic attack - until we were at the top and on solid footing. I never felt comfortable with the situation in the least bit and had so much adrenaline pumping through my system that I never once felt tired or wanted to stop and rest, either.
Here's the view down (photo by A, of course). Something about the quality of snow makes it difficult to tell how steep something is, so take however steep this looks and multiply that by 100. And then you'll know how steep it felt.

Weirdly, I did catch myself at one point almost enjoying myself. Apparently there is some tiny part of me that would like to do snow climbs more often - the extreme focus appeals to me, I guess. But the other 90% of me would be happy never to set foot on a hillside that steep again. Still, by the time we finished I felt I had accomplished something. I conquered my fear, climbed the mountain, lived to tell the tale. There's something undeniably empowering about that, and although I was furious with A at the beginning of the climb, by the end I wanted to smother him in hugs. Roux, too.

Roux was a champ all day. That little dog hauled up the couloir, finished climbing Gray's Peak and then ran along side me while I glissaded back down the mountain. (Glissading = sliding down the mountain on your bum).
Just look at how cute this little trooper is:


Bad Money

There are two animals here on the farm (not including various wildlife). One is Money, a Pit Bull Boston Terrior cross. When you watch her you are immediately aware of how much she loves living in such a place. She is always sprinting around, or half submerged into some sort of hole. This morning I was working in the studio with just the screen door closed, and she came up to see what I was doing. I said something like "Hi Money, " which apparently sounded like, "come here Money!" At this point she burst in the door and proceeded to run in circles right on top of my work (I have been working on the floor.) I jumped up in surprise which must have freaked her out because she leaped back towards the door and right through the screen. At first I was a little bit angry because there was definitley some damage done, but then I realized how hilarious that little moment was. After some careful tape surgery everything is back to normal, minus a few paw prints....This is Biggie. And this is what Biggie does all day. Every day:

I'm an Erin Vey convert

Last fall I had an epiphany about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. It might sound melodramatic or cliche, but it really did happen in a single afternoon. And I have to credit a lot of it to the discovery of Heather Armstrong's blog, Dooce. Her writing completely sucked me in, so much so that I went back to the very beginning of her archives and read the entire thing. It was in reading about her life and her career as a designer that it hit me that that's what I wanted to do.

I still read Dooce every day, and besides loving her writing I also really love her photography. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis, but Dooce has remained my favorite by far.

Until yesterday when I discovered Erin Vey's blog. I reserve a special space in my internet heart for Dooce, but I am really blown away by Erin Vey's blog. It's a good mix of photography and actual writing. And the photography is DOG PHOTOGRAPHY. Not only that, but it's bloody good. It's worth not only reading the page that's up on this site, but reading the archives too. I'm an Erin Vey convert.


too much thinking

Fortunately, none of the 30 or so tornadoes in the region swept me away last night, and I have made it to another day here at the farm. As I write this I am keeping one eye on a tiny little mouse scurrying around just to the left of where I sit.

I've been thinking a lot about thinking. Mostly because I have been reading A New Earth, and also because I am in such a state of solitude right now. I've always considered the fact that I am most often lost in thought to be a valuable characteristic. But, a few things that Tolle talks about, and a few realizations of my own, have opened my eyes to the fact that being lost in my own head so often doesn't allow very much time for me to be completely present. And, when you are not completely present you miss out on a lot of valuable time.

So, I'm hoping to find that balance between between being alive and fully present as well as contemplative and thoughtful about what is going on. Maybe that will happen here, or maybe that is something that takes a life time to achieve.


Next time you find yourself with some spare time and a fast internet connection, spend some time at the Supermarket.

It's a cool concept with even cooler stuff.
Like this

and this

and this

and so on.


might as well...

take advantage of the fast internet and post some of my favorites from CR.


I have hit the wireless jackpot today! Things are working fast and efficient. I wish I could post a video of my location as I write this from a make shift office in one of the old barns here, that also serves as a storage unit for massive amounts of just about anything as well as a living space for up to 3 people. It is a funny world I have entered here in Nebraska, but I like it very much so far. Large amounts of rain last week have brought out the mosquitos in large quantity , but it also means that everything is very green and lush. You know how I love green and lush. Today, was my first semi-normal day, which consisted of waking up, eating breakfast, putting on my mud boots, and heading out to my studio a.k.a. Lone Pine East. A group of high school students came by for a tour so I talked to them for a bit, and then settled in to get some work started. For lunch, I tried to make a bagel, but our ancient toaster pretty much turned it into a piece of charcoal. I ate what I could, and headed over here to check the wireless. Afterward, I will probably do a little more work, and then make dinner with the other artists, sit around talking, do some reading and go to bed. Pretty exciting , huh?

Here's the first batch of Nebraska photos:

My quaint little bedroom. I especially like the orange blanket with the blue rod iron bed frame. Here is the view if you look immediately to your right coming out of the farmhouse. There is a plethora of old cars, farm equipment, junk, etc, but everything is placed just right so it doesn't seem junky, but rather decorative.
The outside of my studio space:
And, the inside of my studio space. I have chosen to work on the floor (much like I did in your and Alex's basement.) This method of mine comes in especially hand in this space where spiders have set up shop along most of the walls and corners.
So, that's a general outline of my life here. I'm excited for what is to come, and will be crossing my fingers for this lighting fast wireless to keep showing up every once in a while so I can share it with you!
Thanks doing the Costa Rica post, I will try to post some of my winning photos at some point too.


The CR Post

Ah, the dreaded Costa Rica post. I was hoping Lauren would bite the bullet and be the one to do this, but she's at her artist residency in Nebraska with spotty internet, so I'm going to have to buck up.
It's not that I don't want to write about the trip, I've just been dreading finding a way to cram a week's worth of stuff into one post. So I've decided the best way to do that is in a list format.

Thoughts on CR, in brief:
1. We spent a very strange morning in the town of Barva (rhymes with larva) waiting for the 6th member of our party to arrive. I think the town is nice, but it's hard to say since we were in a jet lagged fog while we were there. They did have a rather nice church.

2. Apparently the rainy season in Costa Rica applies to the whole of the country except the Caribbean coast, which is where we were. It was gorgeous and sunny pretty much every day. Thank you, gods of weather.

3. The little house we rented was pretty...rustic. There may or may not have been bed bugs. And some Central American robbers definitely broke down one of the walls with a sledgehammer to steal a cell phone and an ipod. That aside, the location was unbelievable. We had our own private beach that looked like this:

Hard to beat.
Y la casa:

4. The food was incredible. It was the best six meals I've ever had in a row. The curry was out of this world, the Italian food was unbelievable, and of course the sea food was to die for. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Also, the presentation factor of their alcoholic beverages was pretty stellar.

5. We participated in a wide range of activities, from river rafting to snorkeling, but still found plenty of time to sit on the beach and do nothing.
6. Costa Ricans need to figure out a new solution for their garbage. I don't know if the garbage collectors are government run, or whether it costs money or what, but all their trash cans are full to the brim and trash is spilling over everywhere. And by garbage, I mean crarbeach.

7. I missed Roux dog a lot. So I took solace in other dogs, of which there were plenty.

And I didn't descriminate against cats, either.

8. I was really, really glad I cut my hair before I went. Short hair is just so gosh darn easy.

9. We left Costa Rica with a wide range of physical problems from mass amounts of bug bites (for a while there we thought we had fleas and Lauren was terrified nobody would like her in Nebraska because she'd be forever tagged as "that girl with fleas"), bruises from river rafting, huge patches of missing skin from horseback riding in athletic shorts, sand burns from surf lessons and gastro intestinal diseases. It was all well worth it. There is something so unbelievably liberating about travelling. It frees you from the confines of your narrow world and forces you to see things differently - even if it is a beach vacation. It destroys your comfort zone as you know it, shows you a miniscule amount of the culture in which you find yourself surrounded, and forces you to do a little math while you try to convert currencies. Travelling is in my blood and it's something I'll always love.

I did some thinking on the plane ride back (influenced in part by Eckhart Tolle's 'A New Earth') and I really think my daily life right now is unhealthy in a lot of ways. I think sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen for nine hours a day is just downright BAD for you. My neck felt better on our trip than it has in years, and I think it's because my body was in perpetual motion.

I think also the way we eat in our country is just unbelievably unhealthy. One of the local tour guides we met was telling us about how the pesticides used in the production of pineapples in Costa Rica (they're one of the biggest producers of pineapples in the US). He said the farmers living within the vicinity of the pineapple orchards can't even drink their water anymore because of the pesticides. How can it be a good thing for us to eat those pineapples? I know the organic craze seems like it's going overboard all the time and I don't want to be totally crazy about it - after all balance is everything - but there is something to be said for trying to negotiate your way to a healthier life. I'm going to give it a little more effort, anyway.

So that's the list, followed by a mini diatribe.

I'm a little depressed to be back at work, but I realized that other than that, I really do love my life. I missed my home while I was on vacation, so I think that's a good sign for how happy I am.

Now all I have to do is get through the last two months of work and I'll be really joyous.