Two Months

Two months can certainly fly by in a flash if you are not careful. The New Year started out on positive note and certainly has mostly maintained that momentum. What would life be without some ups and downs sprinkled in though? Despite some recent drama with my dryer, my new apartment has served as an enjoyable home base to my busy schedule. I rang in the new year by hosting a housewarming party with a handful of friends. The aroma of freshly prepared food and sounds of boisterous laugher permeated the newly decorated space while wine flowed freely during several rounds of Cards Against Humanity. We counted down to the New Year as we watched the ball drop and even burst into a small chorus line while New York, New York played in the background. I can’t think of a better way to have celebrated my new home and the New Year.

Arcadia Sunset

My photography endeavors seem to be busier than ever.  Shortly after ringing in the New Year, I discovered my Arcadia Sunset photo received an honorable mention in the top ten of the Coast Weekend photo contest. Shortly after that piece of good news, I received an email congratulating me on being elected to the Portland Photographers Forum board of directors where I will be in charge of memberships while I simultaneously learn the Treasurer duties so I can take that role over in 2018.  I joined the Portland Photographic Society this month as well and am excited to attend my first gathering in March. I continue to host monthly networking Meetups at Blue Sky Gallery for local photographers and did my first hanging of a four image series on their No Strings Wall for two weeks. In addition to my front desk volunteer shifts at Blue Sky Gallery and Newspace Center for Photography, I took a six week Lightroom class where I picked up some extremely useful photo organization skills that will help streamline my photo sharing process going forward. Recently I was approached again by ShelterCare to see if I would donate again to their annual art benefit. Of course I happily agreed since all proceeds support their programs for homelessness prevention. Finally, this Friday night is the opening reception of Memberspace at Newspace Center for Photography in which I have one print included. If you’re in the Portland area, please stop out.

First trip to the coast together

With the new year came a new relationship. Several weeks of talking finally culminated in a first date one magically snowy Portland night over Italian fare downtown in early January. There was an immediate connection that has turned into many meaningful moments since. I was quick to introduce my new beau to two close friends over a home cooked meal of my family-secret-recipe lasagna and was excited to get the official seal of approval from both of them before they even got back home that night. Since then, we have enjoyed many wonderful conversations, discovered all sorts of things we have in common,  and ventured out to concerts, movies, parks, for drives, walks, dinners, art events, and even football (despite our Cowboy/Packers rivalry). The ease in which all of this happens is like a breath of fresh air. We have several big trips on the horizon in the coming months and I couldn’t be happier on how things are going and couldn’t feel any luckier than I do to have him in my life.

Despite my photographic and romantic successes, it has become overwhelmingly clear that there is still something not quite right in my life. My general stress level and issues with anxiety still seem to be an issue despite my weekly therapy sessions. Although the current state of affairs in our country could be a major contributing factor, after watching a documentary called Minimalism, I decided it was time to intentionally minimize the “noise” in my life. I don’t have a fully developed plan on what this will look like but I started by doing a social media and email cleanse. I took a hard look at my friends list on Facebook and based on when I could remember having the last meaningful interaction with each person, slowly reduced my friends from 616 to 150. As each new email comes into my inbox, I decide whether or not continuing to get that email would bring value to my life. If not, I unsubscribe. I imagine the next steps will entail evaluating how and where I currently spend my time. I’ve already cut back on some of my volunteer hours to allow more flexibility in my schedule as well as more time for photographing. I feel it will be important to continually reflect upon each interaction in my life to determine if it truly adds value and whether or not it aligns with what is important to me. I’m excited to incorporate this new element to my life and blog going forward and I hope you find a similar value in it. 

There are lots of fun adventures on the horizon including a weekend getaway to San Francisco for my 37th birthday in March, a four day Reno wedding road trip in April, as well as a weekend in Seattle to see an iconic U2 performance in May. As usual, there will be lots of photos and tales to tell so be sure to check back again soon to follow along. 

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