Monday, May 28, 2012

The Purpose-Driven Blog

I feel like this blog needs some direction so that maybe I'll update it more often than every 6 months. Luke and I lead pretty normal lives, so there's not usually anything exceptional to write about. So I'm thinking I should use this as a tourism guide/bucket list/place to brag about my dogs & husband. So let's start with our adventure from Sunday: Luke's first trip to Cabela's.

Cabela's holds fond memories for me. It was somewhat of a tradition growing up, that when we would spend a week in the summer with my Aunt Peg and Uncle Gary, we would hit Cabela's in Nebraska on the way back home to Kansas. It was neat as a kid to see the big mountain of stuffed game, and the fishing lures aisles were like a wonderland of possibilities for treasures to add to our tackle boxes.

A couple years ago, they finally built a Cabela's in Utah, but it's clear down in Lehi. In reality, it's about a 20 minute drive from us. We've never had a reason to go, and they are a bit expensive, so I try to buy things online in the outdoor department. But this coming weekend we're headed to Yellowstone. We need a couple of things before our adventure, so what better way to spend a Sunday than browsing the many departments of the world's largest outdoor store?

We were both pretty hungover from the previous night's escapades at Piper Down (which deserves its own blog post) so first thing on the list was lunch to settle our stomachs. They have a fun little cafe that serves all kinds of game. Luke got the Bison Burger, I got an Elk Burger. I have to say, elk tastes kind of like mystery meat, and I think I prefer cow. But the fries were good. We sat and watched all the many screaming children being fed fries by their frazzled parents and stared at the top of the fake mountain.

We were only going in for some binoculars, a camp lantern, and possibly bear spray. But a trip to Cabela's is not an in-and-out adventure. We walked through the game hall, looked at the archery equipment. Had to quickly walk through the gun cases because there were so many people crowding the counter. If you didn't know that Utahns love their guns, just visit this store on a weekend. You even have to take a number to get served.

One thing that greatly disappointed me was the aquarium. It's neat to see all the native fish and such, but these guys were really not being well cared for. More fish than not looked like they had cancerous lesions and tumors, some so bad they couldn't close their mouths. Somehow I doubt that that many fish in the wild are ill, so I am not thrilled with the store and how they are caring for these animals.

All in all, we spent a couple hours browsing, bought a rechargeable lantern and a really nice pair of Nikon binocs, and headed back home for nap time. Because there's nothing more you want to do when you've had too much to drink the night before. I'm so excited to go back to the place I love most this weekend. And now Luke will be able to spot animals at a distance. I always feel bad because while I have my camera to look through, he's never had a nice pair of long range binoculars. Hopefully we see some great wildlife and aren't driven crazy by the crowds or freeze to death in our tents. It's been snowing for the last week there. :)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Is there something in the water?

Just about everyone I know is pregnant right now. No, seriously. Every day I open Facebook to find yet another fetal photo with the announcement. And while I'm so happy for my friends, I get bummed out. I wish it was us.

This is why I don't update my blog very much. I want to use it as a diary of sorts, and I really shouldn't put some of the stuff that's going on in my head out there. Which is really hard for me. I'm having a hard time trying to decide if the urge to have a lil' St. Clair is nature, being surrounded by prego friends, or actually the desire to have a baby and all that entails. Unfortunately, there are bigger problems than figuring that out. First, we have to figure out if we're actually ever going to have a baby. The problem is we don't agree. And I'm not quite sure what to do about it.

You don't exactly think that when you're walking down that aisle with the love of your life that one day he might change his mind about having a family. So now what? I never wanted to have to make this decision. It's supposed to be happily ever after. I feel like either way, I'm breaking a promise: to love my husband and stay with him forever, or deny myself what I truly want out of life. It's an impossible choice that I've actually been struggling with for the last three years. It actually caused our separation in 2010.

The worst part is, I can hear the truth in my heart, but I am choosing to ignore it. Is that such a bad thing? Life as a pair is pretty good. Why bring a third into it? I can't even keep my house clean, get dinner done every night, or get myself healthy. How in the world do I think I'm ready for keeping a kid alive? Or giving up my free time and sleep to this bundle?

I really wish there was an easy answer. I wish he'd change his mind again. Not now, I'm not completely ready now, but soon. I wish I could be happy with the life I have and chose. And I am. I just don't want to be boxed into something so absolute as "you'll likely never be a mom." I could really use some advice, though I know like two people read this. Even my therapist isn't really of any help, saying I've got a difficult decision to make. DUH!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

A New Plan...which means free photography for you!

I was recently approached about shooting a friend's brother-in-law's wedding in April. After a day of "I'm not worthy!" and "but my equipment is not good AT ALL!" followed by "I have no idea what I'm doing really, it's just a hobby!" I decided I should go for it.

And now I'm a mixed bag of emotions somewhere on the borderlands of anxiety and eagerness.

I've never shot photography for anyone that wasn't a friend who was just letting me practice. It's a tough thing to get over your own self esteem issues to think, "yeah, maybe I could be good enough." It's a big thing, though. These are the photos that generations of their families will see for years and years to come. And it comes down to how well I can wield a camera.

So I'm putting this out there...I'd like more practice. I'm taking a risk, and would like to put myself out there as a photographer in the Salt Lake area within the next year. That means I need to shoot EVERYTHING! Portraits, senior pictures, weddings, engagements, bridals, kids, pets, landscapes, details, businesses. EVERYTHING!

I will offer free photos on CD for you to print, so long as you let me use the photos in my portfolio. Here's my website if you'd like to take a look: If you've been thinking it's time for an updated photo, give me a call or shoot me an email. My info is all on that website.

And here's to a new adventure, which will hopefully become a part time--or even full time--career!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Guide to Happiness

Here's that story I told you about last time. The answers I got were different than I thought they would be, and it's given me a chance to look at some things in life in a different way. Let me know what you think:

Friday, October 21, 2011

Finding Happiness

Next week, I'm airing a story on Fresh Living about happiness. It's part of a series called "Love Yourself" and looks at the many aspects of life that relate to being a whole, happy, healthy person. Even though it will be voiced by Debbie, it's entirety is researched, written, and interviewed by myself.

This series spawned from my own quest for self improvement and a desire to better be in touch with my heart, body, mind, and soul. So let's talk happiness: what is it? Is it the ultimate emotion to which we should aspire? If we are not happy 100% of the time, are we failures? What is standing in the way of my happiness?

Right now, the sign of a church on 400 East in downtown reads, "He Who Angers You Controls You." Every day I see this, I happen to be in my car, the location I find myself most angry. And for what reason? The people in the other cars cannot hear me yelling profanities at them for their poor driving habits. What good does this do to give in to the anger? To let it out? To give any attention to it?

I'm a firm believer that the human experience is most fulfilling with a wide range of emotions. To be placid, happy, and content all the time is not to live. A life without passion is not living. And yet, these swings of emotions, when not in check, portray me as unstable, a slave to every whim. Essentially, I lack self control.

So how do I choose happiness? Even writing this, I've sat looking at those words for a few minutes, stumped. I'm an ambitious person, but reaching achievement will not make me happy forever, because I will always be in search of the next goal. How does one stay content with the grass on this side of the fence?

That is essentially the ultimate goal of this series: to learn the contentment and self-esteem that is so lacking in our society. I hope you'll watch, and hopefully there will be some inspiration!

PS: Here's a thought I'm going to try this week from my friend, Laura. She writes a blog with her sister, Lisa, about becoming a mom who knows how to raise a Christian child. This is an excerpt:

"Goal: Make a conscious effort to smile all the time, even if sometimes you have to force it.

Some ideas to help:
Smile when you are by yourself - in the shower, cooking meals, driving in the car.
Smile at the people you see - store clerks, neighbors, drivers who cut you off, anyone.
Smile at your kids, especially when they are doing something that makes you want to scream.
Smile at your husband. Even Particularly he needs to see your smile.
Smiling is so simple, but can be so easy to forget to do. I am excited to make an effort to smile more and see how different I feel at the end of the week."

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Continual Learning Process

Ah, September. It’s now my favorite time of year. Hopefully we’re done with the 90s until next year, and we can enjoy a nice long fall before the snow comes.

Things have been pretty even keel in the St. Clair house for the last few months. Luke and I are just working a lot, and using our down time to relax and enjoy life. We headed to Pueblo a couple weeks ago for my cousin Stacie’s wedding. She and Mario have been engaged for 7 years (I think,) so it was nice to see them finally be done with school and starting their lives together. It was nice to see my family again. You forget how much you miss them in your life when you don’t see them all the time. The best news to come out of that trip: Mom and Dad are moving back to Pueblo! I’m SOOOO excited to have them closer, where I could really go visit every time there’s a cheap deal on weekend airfare. John and Rachel are considering a move to Ft. Collins, and Deanna will be heading to Pueblo after she’s done with the Peace Corps in two years. It might be time to think about moving to the other side of the Rockies as well… But maybe not.

Weight Watchers went out the window after our ten weeks was up. We really need to get back into it. But I think all of this comes down to just doing what you know you should be doing. It’s the hardest part of life: being able to tell yourself that you need to do something you don’t want to do. That, and staying away from the things that have bad consequences. It’s the biggest test of our humanity, to deny ourselves what feels good to live longer. But at what point do you sacrifice too much time and energy in that denial to the point where you’re not enjoying those precious years of life? I know I want to be healthy. I know that’s going to take a total reprogramming of my brain to see food as just fuel. Not a reward. Not an escape. Not a filler of something else my soul is missing. But I also know that making that decision to act means that I will have to think about food constantly, and not in a good way. Likely for the rest of my life. Which means I need to find something else to occupy my time and thoughts.

It’s so easy to say, “I’ll start geocaching more,” or “I’m going to exercise every day,” or “I will stay on my feet doing something from the time I’m off work until I go to bed.” The problem is follow through. That’s the biggest thing I’m trying to change right now. I feel like it’s time to start owning my adulthood and being responsible for myself and my actions. Yes, it’s nice to sit and watch the entire season 4 of “Mad Men” in one day. But that should be once in a while, not every weekend. Gone are the days when my time is my time, where I go from sitting at a desk all day to sitting on the couch all night. What kind of example am I setting for myself and for Luke? Is this how I want to be spending the short amount of time I have here? Of course not!

Another one of my big questions is my professional future. Do I want to be a producer for the next 30 years? Will I get too burned out by the negative stories, the constant stress? One idea I’ve been exploring for a while is starting my own photography business. One of my greatest fears has been “am I good enough? Will people like my photos or be disappointed?” It’s something I’m going to start testing the waters. After Mom and Dad announced their move, I started just browsing house listings for fun. I’m shocked at how many photos of listings are absolutely horrible. Bad lighting. Bad angles. Blurry. In this kind of housing market, good presentation is EVERYTHING! I’ve got a plan to start marketing to real estate agents, and I hope to put that plan into action in the next month or so. I want to make sure I have a functional website, price list, all the things you need for a good client interface. If things go well, then I’ll have something more to do, and hopefully some extra income, so we can hit Europe next fall.

I think that’s enough public soul searching for now  I’m going to take a nice power stroll for a couple hours tonight around downtown Salt Lake. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I wish I’d brought my camera, but sometimes it’s nice to walk unencumbered. I need to get a camera backpack, that would help.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Snow Dog

If you ever want to see pure joy, watch a dog leap through the snow.

This is fast becoming a tradition with Charlotte and me. The nice part is in the winter, no one is at Fitts Park just down the street. Now legally, she needs to be on a leash. But she's on voice command and will come if anyone shows up. So we go every Saturday and Sunday. We both get a little exercise and joy to renew our spirits and last us through the week.

Ham comes too, when Luke comes. But he can't take off like Char. Last weekend when we took him, he just ran through that snow like he'd arrived in Heaven! And of course he's still attached to the leash, so who's running after him so he doesn't choke himself? Yep. Me. Silly little Puggle.

Only a few more months of this, though. Once spring is here, we'll have to find another play area. It's too bad, because the dog park is just all wood chips and Ham hates walking on them. Perhaps we'll have to start walking/jogging in Liberty Park again. Hopefully Luke and I will both be much lighter by then.

Oh yeah, we joined Weight Watchers. Our first weigh in was last week. I'm not telling you my loss. It was great though! I'll post a pic of us at my cousin's wedding in August. Until then, it's a secret :)