Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A quick trip down south

We are just back from a quick road trip down south. I was just thinking, Frances has been here for six months, and she is pretty well-traveled. In her short life, in addition to China and Toky0, Frances has been in nine different states: Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia and North Carolina. That being said, the trip was stressful. When we arrived at my father's in Lynchburg, Frances was very congested and before long, she was running a fever. After a worrisome night, we brought her to the ER and found out she had another ear infection as well as a nasty bout of pneumonia. She was given shots and an antibiotic, and began feeling better quite quickly.
We went to a birthday party for my stepmother, Wilda.
And we visited with Suzanne's brother Andrew and his son ACE, who is in the Navy and stationed in Virginia Beach
And we went to the Children's Museum in Raleigh, NC and visited with one of the families from Suzanne's travel group, and Frances was able to be reunited with one of her China friends. Here are Frances and Liddie, having lunch in the sandwich shop near the museum.
Here they are, driving already...
Here we all are. Frances was about one second away from a meltdown in this picture.
And here are the girls, saying goodbye for now...
We also visited Suzanne's sister and her children in Cincinatti, but I don't have any pictures from Cincinatti yet, because I shot them on B&W film, which I need to get together and mail in for processing.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A few more pics...

I have some more pictures to post--some are from our pre-Frances days. I had a camera sitting at the cottage with film in it from last summer. These pictures were taken on slide film, and then processed like print film, which creates these funky, super saturated colors. This first picture is of Suzanne and Frances, at our cottage. Frances loves standing on the seawall and watching the fishes.
The picture below has been cropped a bit, but it was taken last summer. I am holding my niece Morgan, from Wisconsin. We were at my sister-in-law's cottage in Pentwater.

On Tuesday we're leaving on a week's vacation. We will be heading down to Virginia, to see my father and Wilda. We will also be stopping in Cincinatti to see Suzanne's other sister and her family.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Polaroids and Mother's Day

Remember Polaroids?
With digital cameras taking the wait out of photography, those Polaroid instant pictures seem decidedly retro. I am trying to remember where I bought six packs of Polaroid film--what possessed me to buy six packs of Polaroid film, but I can't. I vaguely remember that it seemed like a good idea at the time--I think they were on some sort of discount, at a store that was going out of business. Maybe I had a coupon or a gift certificate. Could it have been Whitmark's? Montgomery Ward? I used to work at a Montgomery Ward, back in the late nineties when I was student teaching. Maybe that was it. I don't know. I'm frugal, so it must have been a fantastic deal, one that appeared to be something I couldn't afford to pass up. Anyway, I bought six packs of Polaroid film, and set them aside for an important occasion. But because Polaroid film was so expensive, no occasion seemed momentous enough to warrant breaking out the Polaroid camera. So they sat, and sat, and sat. And the film expired in 2005. (I was thinking--2005, that was paperchase, that was when our niece Morgan was born, that was when we thought the adoption was going to take a year.... our original LID was Jan 4, 2006, and then they moved our dossier into the February stack when we got out of review. I remember being just despondent over that--a total mess--but now I think that, had we stayed with the Jan 4 LID, we would have some other child, and I can't imagine not having Frances, or having some other Frances, and so now, I guess I am glad things worked out the way they did.) Anyway, I forgot I had the film at all, until I found it last weekend. So I decided that, if I was going to use the stuff, I better get going. Shooting film that has been expired for four years is sort of fun, because there is a recklessness to it. The film is expired, whether the shot would turn out at all was a big unknown. Anyway, I shot one of the six packages over the past week, and I think they came out fairly well. The colors are a little off, but hey, the film is 4 years expired, so I can't complain. It was kind of fun .
Anyway, since it was Mother's Day, which is also Suzanne's mother's birthday, we went to Lansing and visited with her parents. Because MSU was bursting with springtime, and because we've all had enough of being cooped up with winter, we decided to enjoy being outdoors as much as possible, and went to some of the more picturesque places on campus and shot a bunch of pictures. Only some of them were polaroids--the rest were on film. I will get the film developed at some point and post the pictures here... it will be a while for some of them. You may wonder why I am shooting pictures on film--and here is my reason. I want to buy a digital SLR. Suzanne, however, has asked that, before I go and buy yet another camera, would I please use up the boxes and boxes of film we have cluttering up our basement freezer. It seems like a reasonable request--I have, over the years, bought a ton of Agfa film, which they don't make anymore. I love Agfa film for its color saturation--and so Im going to use it up. I also have a couple dozen rolls of good black and white film in that freezer, as well as medium format film, from when I was using a Yashica TLR, or, more recently, a Holga. So I am going to be shooting pictures on film this summer... trying to use up what I've got, before I move on to something new.
Anyway, regarding Mother's Day--my own mother died seven years ago, and since her death, and especially since the adoption process began, Mother's Day was a holiday we pretended didn't exist. So this year, it was fun to resurrect Mother's Day.
Anyway, on to the polaroids...
Above, you can see her ladyship, sound asleep, sucking on her blanket, as is her usual custom.
And here is her ladyship in the backyard, a few days ago.
Here is her ladyship, touring a bed of tulips near my office at MSU.
Here is her ladyship, with her mother, looking up at an airplane flying overhead.
And here I am, holding her ladyship.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beautiful Michigan 1

Yesterday at MSU I gave and graded my last final exam, and am now free for most of the summer (I go to Florida in mid-June for a week, to score AP Exams, but otherwise, I'm free...) Its an exhilarating feeling. I have decided that I want to devote some time to developing a sense of place. I am enthusiastic about Michigan... and want to spend the summer photographing Frances at some of our most beautiful places. Michigan is a unique state, in that we are made up of two peninsulas, and in that we are surrounded by 20% of the fresh water on the surface of the planet. We have more shoreline than the state of California, and in addition to our great lakes, we also have many, many inland lakes, rivers and streams. Michigan is one of the most beautiful states in the union (when its not buried in snow) and its also one of the best kept secrets. And so, this summer, it is my intention to do a photo series, with Frances as the star, entitled "Beautiful Michigan." Of course, I announce this and then we will find out that Frances's asthma is aggravated by something outdoors, and that we need to keep her inside if she's to survive... so if that happens, all bets are off.
Anyway, these pictures were shot quite close to home, at a park on the east side of town. The river in the background is the Thornapple River. I'm not posting them in any particular order.
The picture above was the last picture on the roll of film (yes, I shoot roll film--I have a freezer downstairs, full of expired Agfa film, and I am not buying a digital SLR until I've used up all the roll film I've bought)which is obvious because of the black lines showing where the processor cut the roll of film. Anyway, it shows something resembling Frances's naturally occuring smile.
Here's another one of her good, natural smile.
As opposed to her fake smile, shown in the above shot, which she puts on whenever I take her picture. At first, I thought this was super cute, but now I try to encourage her natural expressions.
Here she is, telling me something.
She wasn't thrilled to be standing on that rock, so she looks a bit anxious in this one. The Thornapple River is in the background... and the river was really high this time. We've had a ton of rain. There is a dock on the river available for fishing, but the water level was so high that most of the dock was submerged.
I think this one is especially cute, though.