Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Given the amount of fun (and wine) I had last night, I should probably feel worse than I do. Our two closest friends came over to see in the New Year, who are leaving IN TWO WEEKS for Malawi. For a year! I've referred to her around these parts as Banana but she's finally gotten her own blog for the trip and has come out as Janna. Which is much nicer than Banana. Her partner also has a blog, supposedly, but I haven't seen it yet. I just barely managed not to get maudlin and weepy last night by just not thinking about the whole long year stretching ahead with no Janna. I'm really quite unsure how I will maintain my sanity, as she's pretty much my only real (life), close friend. Anybody feel like moving to G-town?!?

On Cake

Janna very kindly brought me a specially decorated carrot cake (my favourite!) with my name and flowers and everything. AND brown icing -- how special is that?!?

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I also need to mention that my mother baked me a cake too this year, a chocolate carrot cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting, all from scratch, which my sister witnessed herself. I believe this was the first cake she made me since I was six and asked for a store-bought cake. (What was I thinking?)

I can't remember if I blogged this last year but because my birthday falls on a stat holiday if someone forgets to get me a cake they can't fake it and run out and buy one at the last minute. This has happened twice in the last seven years, so I'm a bit sensitive. I don't need much in the way of gifts or anything, but I DO want a cake, and I make my expectations known in advance so there's no misunderstanding. This year is by far the best for cake.

This morning we've been pretty much snowed in again, which is kind of nice when you're just a bit hungover and still lethargic from the holiday gorging. I've spent a good portion of today working on my photos and trying to learn more about photoshop and thinking about how I want to do my online portfolio. My goal is to have it up and running by the end of March, early February if at all possible. I'm going to try to sell prints, and maybe cards or something, with at least half of all proceeds going to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. But we still have to work out the technological details. I'll keep you posted...

I know some of you wanted to see my birthday photos. So here you go...

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While shooting this place, I came upon a dead cat. It looked like it died horribly with its head stuck in the chicken wire fence, and its body was stretched out tautly, I suppose trying to break free. It was orange and white, like many of the friendliest cats I have known (and I've known a lot). I also think I've seen more orange and white cats dead than any other colour. At first I thought maybe it was still alive because it was so fluffy, but then I remembered my brother's cat preserved in his shed until the ground softens in the spring and back when I was in high school the friend's boyfriend who kept his cat in his deep freeze until spring. I couldn't just pretend I hadn't seen it though, and as wrong as it felt, I had to make a photo. I felt disgusted with myself, wondering what it meant that I would make a photo of a creature who had obviously died in agony. Obviously, though, I can't post it on the Web. THAT would be disgusting. There's something about pictures of dead things that I can never quite look at or believe they're actually dead. I do feel ok now that I made the image. It was really the only way to honour his or her passing.

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And the cement factory:

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I felt 17 again, speeding down the highway from the cement factory to the burnt out old house, which just happened to be right around the corner from the factory I worked at for two summers around my first year of university. That freedom of just driving, without anxiety, without a schedule, just driving... it was rejuvenating.

I was inspired by Sugar D's birthday gift for me, a book of photography by Rudy Burckhardt, who I hadn't heard of before but whose photos are great and I was so touched that Sugar D picked it out specifically because his photos reminded him of mine. So I also shot some still lifes at my parents'.

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I would never have thought about trying to sell my photos without your encouragement and support. This online community is so strange and beautiful in the way it can change lives.

(Aarggh! I keep forgetting that blogger cuts off a significant portion of my photos... it really does make a difference...)

15 comments:

Mad Hatter said...

OK, so, I, uh, just nominated you for a Canadian blog award in the category of best art/photo blog. I wrestled with doing so for about 3 days b/c I know that the photos aren't the primary focus of your blog but they're just so damn good and you talk about photography so darn well and those categories at the CBA are so hard and fast when blogs themselves are kinda fuzzy line-crossers. So anyway. There you have it. Consider yourself nominated and know that I will vote for you as often as I can.

Beck said...

Happy birthday! I won't be moving to Guelph, but you could move here. We're good people.
And I hope you have a good new year. And that you win the Canadian Blog Award, hey!

slouching mom said...

hey! i'm excited about mad's nomination! excellent!

and i love the last two photos. but what should be new? ;)

(and i never knew your name. i love your name. happy birthday.)

Bon said...

ah, seeing dear friends leave. it sucks.
but Malawi? wow.

i never knew your name either...i think i assumed it was Cin or Cindy or, um, Cynthia, because i am apparently a creature totally devoid of any imagination whatsoever. Kate, though? Kate rocks.

and both wild thanks for the nomination and great and hearty in your corner thoughts for the art/photo blog nomination Mad so wisely gave you. :)

Bon said...

oh...and the dead cat? i'll be thinking about that for days, not in a creepy way...just...you honoured that cat well. both with those stark, stunning photos., and your words.

my Clementine is orange and white.

Mad Hatter said...

I also meant to mention that you can fix the way Flickr crops your photos in the blog but you need to do some math. In the edit HTML version, simply decrease the width of the picture to 450 or less (at least that's the magic # with my template) and then calculate the appropriate ratio # for height.

nomotherearth said...

Lovely photos! And you should win that award.

DaniGirl said...

Oh, I'll for SURE be voting for your blog in the CBAs. Good call, Mad!

I wish I had half your talent and eye... these photos were especially lovely, even in blogger's capricious ratios.

Aliki2006 said...

Happy Birthday again!

And chocolate cream cheese frosting? Mmmmmm--I've never had that.

For one awful, crazy moment I thought you were going to post a picture of that poor cat...you're right, though--you did honor her in a good way by taking her picture and thinking about her.

ewe are here said...

Great photos, as usual. I'm really glad you were nominated for the art/photo blog award category, because your photos are always stunning.

Happy Birthday

niobe said...

Happy Birthday! I always thought it would be cool to have a birthday on a holiday, but I guess I hadn't thought of the downside.

I love that last still life -- cropped though it may be.

Mimi said...

Wow, what beautiful, crisp and contrasty photos. Stark, but clear. Gorgeous.

And happy birthday--if I'd a known, I'd a baked you a cake ;-)

(Seriously, any time you want to hang out. I'm not that far, right????)

Jennifer said...

Happy, Happy Birthday!

Also, Kate is one of my favorite names. :)

Omaha Mama said...

Happy belated b-day - beautiful cakes! Thanks for sharing the photos - what gorgeous work!

Denguy said...

So I was right about that house then? I've driven past it many times I'm sure.

Great shots (as usual) I shall check out the virtual gallery.