Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Life: A Study in Gratuitous Lens Flare

The last time I updated was from the living room of my Aunt's home in Olympia, WA. Since then I have started my new job and began settling into my home.  It has taken me a little while to begin to get comfortable here, with these different walls, and different sounds the walls make.  I haven't had much time to myself; the job requires me to be at the Co-op a lot, and now that I am a manager, my hours are longer with a lot more responsibility. Not exactly more stress, but  a different kind of stress. I find myself second guessing a lot of my actions right now, hoping they are the right ones.

A few things about the job I was not expecting:  First, I am experiencing a respect that I have yet to know before, sort of like being treated like an adult for the first time. My new co-op home is welcoming, and the people I am working with are really invested. Yet, I am finding I am always afraid  I will do the wrong thing and that someone is going to get mad at me--and not for big things either, but  little things, like typing too loudly or using the wrong highlighter.  No one has yelled at me, even for the mistakes I have made--and I didn't get yelled at all the time at my old job either--I just very much feel like a guest, and like a guest, I don't want to invade other people's space or ways of doing things.
Working On My Lens Flare Techniques

Also, for the first time in my adult working experience, I am responsible for interviewing and hiring. This has probably been the hardest thing for me thus far.  I have had a lot of experience training people,  integrating them into the existing group, learning their strengths and where they need improvement--but this has always been done as a trainer. The hiring has always been done by someone else--now I am doing it, and I find I am obsessing about it a lot.  I know it will get easier in time, and I am trying to follow my intuition while looking at the facts.

It has been really rewarding to bring new systems into the kitchen and begin to organize and streamline the way things are being done.  Already I feel like I am seeing improvements in productivity.  I am really excited for the future, and my role in the new store.  My life has changed pretty significantly in the last month, and for the better I know.

Yet, I really miss La Crosse.  I miss my friends so much, and the familiarity of a town I called my home for nearly a decade.  Rochester has a lot to offer, and I know when my schedule evens out I will discover some great things about this city--but the feeling I get when I have visited La Crosse the past several weeks for photography gigs, is that of coming home. Like the respect I am getting with my new job, it is a feeling I have never known before, until now.  To know a city's streets; to know what buildings will be around the corner on any given block; to see the perennials blooming in the yard of the Big White House on Cass Street and to smell the fragrance of bread coming from the Sarah Lee factory across from the Cameron Park--to know these things will be there and to acknowledge them as part of the regular landscape of the town-- it is what home must feel like, and I miss it so much.
Bunny in the Sun

In the last month I have photographed three weddings and one Roller Derby Bout--so I have a lot of photo editing to get through.  On the topic of photography, my friend Eliza and I are collaborating on a photography and writing project--using my images and her words.  We are very much in the planning, creative process of the collaboration, but what I can say is I need to create at least six more self portraits.    My new house has a finished basement and a very large backyard, so I am looking forward to creating some new work with the extra space.  In the next six months I hope to acquire some lighting equipment to help create a portable studio.

My greatest fear about taking on this new job for the Co-op was I would loose my access to photography and creativity. It is entirely my own responsibility to maintain my dedication to my craft--and it is one of the things I love so much about photography--there is always more to learn and to try.

As always, words and dreams are brewing in my mind--and I have some ideas for what could possibly be some short stories in the very near future.  I believe I found the perfect creative nexus in my home to help aid in the creation of both prose and photography.

Kahlo, always a star

So, this is what my life has been thus far. Days of long hours, unpacking boxes, hurried phone calls through shoddy cell service, with bright flashes of creativity and advancement.  I keep working, taking pictures, loving my friends--and trying to take a little time to come here and write--to get it all down before it burns out like a hot spot in a photograph.  The art is in finding the balance. 

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