Friday, January 30, 2009

Be Careful What You Take Pictures Of

Apparently these photos could've gotten me whacked.
You see, a couple weeks ago I was in a not-the-best-part-of-town at night seeing Australia at a small movie theater that charges $3 for a ticket (it was the only theater in the city that was still showing the film). Waiting for my bus at the run-down 'Logan' Blue line El stop I noticed a pay phone dangling by its cord. Interesting urban picture, I thought, so naturally I pulled out my camera and took a few shots. As I stood up and put my camera away a car pulled up, filled with men. Windows rolled down despite the freezing temperatures, each and every one of them was staring at me as I stepped away from the pay phone. I looked at them, they looked at me, I turned away and continued to wait for my bus. I tried to play it cool as I looked around my surroundings and pretended I wasn't scared (even though I was a little). The car slowly rolled forward, windows still down, all 6 guys packed into the Ford sedan staring at me as they slowly circled the El station. My bus pulled up and I boarded with a sigh of relief, while noticing the car stop to wait, still staring at me through the bus windows, until it finally drove away in the opposite direction as my bus.

Come to find out from Ginger, my resident gang expert, that a dangling pay phone is typically a sign of a drug drop location. Well isn't that lucky of me!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

For Sale on Etsy

After much encouragement (thanks to all my fans), I've chosen a dozen or so of my photographs to make available for sale on Etsy.

Check out my shop!

To add additional options for my customers, I am currently featuring a selection of works by Molly Winn of Sugar Hill Photography, which you'll see in the shop as well, or under the special section She Saw Sugar.

Now go buy something.

Or not.

We'll still love you if you don't.

Maybe just mention me somewhere, help get the word out. (Remember grad students are POOR.)


(If you think I'm missing ones that may be interesting for others to purchase, please let me know.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My stuff on display

For a while now I've wanted to display some of my photos in my place. I debated whether I wanted one extra-large photo, 1 large + 2 mediums, 4 mediums, 6 smalls, etc, etc. I finally decided on the 6 smalls and chose 6 photos that for various reasons stick in my head as favorites. So I bought some frames with cream mats from Bed Bath & Beyond.

And now I just need to arrange them.
This is the arrangement I'm at now, but if you have a different suggestion, offer it up! To make it simple, let's call the top left photo #1, top middle #2, top right #3, bottom left #4 and so on, and let's call the top left position A, top middle position B, etc. Got it? Good. Now tell me in what order you think they should go, or tell me you think it's fine just the way it is. If it makes any difference, this collection will likely be hung in the empty space above this table.
Muchas Gracias.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Loyola Walkabout

Get out I did yesterday afternoon. I hopped on the first bus I came to and headed north, a direction I hadn't gone much, with a vague intention that the bus went to the Loyola University campus. When the bus driver had no idea which stop took me to Loyola, a kind teenager suggested I take the train instead. So I got off and hopped on the train and true enough, there was a stop right at the edge of campus.

I strolled around having no idea what was even there to see. One student suggested I visit the Student Information Center, a building of windows that you could see through to the lake.
Unfortunately for me the blinds were down on the windows to block the afternoon sun and this building required a Loyola student ID to enter. But from what I could see, the view was indeed lovely.

Sitting nearby the shiny new modern Information Center was an older building inscribed with the Latin words for religion, philosophy, learning and more, with beautiful (locked) patina'ed copper doors from the 1920's. I suspect it was the former library, now replaced by the modern glass building 20 feet away.
Before I headed south on the train, I stopped into the school's bookstore/coffee shop and had a snack.

It was while eating my muffin and drinking my lemon Italian soda that I met 19-year old Pedro. 22Jan_0071
Pedro joined me on the couch with his Statistics textbook and blue highlighter and we soon fell into conversation. As the first person in his family to graduate highschool and go to college, he is determined to work hard and make his immigrant parents proud when he becomes a highschool teacher. Although he still lives at home with his family in a nearby suburb to save money, he spends as much time on campus as possible to try and get the "real" college experience. "Maybe next year," he said, thinking about what it might be like to live on campus. Pedro proudly told me about returning to his highschool this past December as one of a handful of "Returning Scholars," former students who had gone on to college or university, and who wanted to share their expeirences with current highschool students to encourage them to pursue higher education. He told me how most of the male students wanted to know if the partying was good. Pedro laughed, and wisely told me, "They'll grow up soon enough. They'll learn that to be something you need school and you need to work hard." We talked about Central America, and the lives his parents had before coming to the States in their home countries of Guatemala and El Savador, and about my recent move to Chicago. Soon I said I should head home and do my own studying, and leave him to his stats text. As I walked away Pedro called out, "Welcome to Chicago, Kelly!"

Sunset through a dirty train window

I met Phil as I was waiting for a bus home after getting off the train.
Several of us stood in front of a run-down grill and taqueria, waiting for Bus 36. Not the best part of town, I hesitated to bring out my camera and take pictures. After furtively snapping just one of a building that vaguely reminded me of New York's Flat Iron building, a voice behind me said, "You can take my picture. I'm going to be famous one day, so someone should take my picture." Instantly charmed I took Phil's picture as the bus pulled up to the curb. Heading south on Broadway I felt a tap on my shoulder. Phil, holding out a little slip of paper with his address on it asked if I would mail him a copy of the photo I took. "Sure," I said, "Do you also have email?" He paused a moment and thought..."Is that the address I have to access on a computer?" He added that information to his little slip of paper and handed it back to me. As I stood up to exit the bus at my stop, Phil called out, "Remember me, Kelly, I'm going to be famous!"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The weekend

My weekend starts late Wednesday night when class is over at 9pm. Although I suppose because I work most weekends, I don't actually have a true weekend. Oh, and that pesky homework stuff too, that's never ending and always hanging over my head. (This will always be the part of the life of the student that I dislike the most--knowing that there is always something you could be doing, whether researching for a future paper or reading ahead.)

Regardless, it feels like the weekend so I treat it as such and spend the day in a lazy way, sleeping late when I can, making a mess in my apartment and catching up on all the blogs I haven't checked for a few days. It's lovely. I'm going to go out for a while and take some pictures, maybe capture something lovely there too.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dad!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Pops! May you have many more rides ahead of you in the future!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

School has started so that means...

...Doing anything but school work.

Like a complete redesign of my Things She Saw website.

Yep, I'll do almost anything to get out of schoolwork.

PS. If you experience any problems, notice any typos or have constructive suggestions regarding the new site, please do let me know via comment or email. Still working out some of the bugs but it should--for the most part--be good to go. (Known issue: some issues connecting to The Blog, and the appearance of the blog. Not sure what's going on there...)

PPS. If a page with text seems to be cut off, look for a slider within that page (it may be a neutral color and not obviously visible) that will allow you to scroll down within that section to see the text below, not the main slider for your browser window.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Early one Thursday morning

I didn't get home from class until late so my usual catching-up of emails, surfing the web, stalking blogs, etc, takes me into the wee hours of the morning. Like 1:09am. Among other things, I am:

Anticipating warm weather (Yes, I take a perverse pleasure in this craziness. At least it's not Tok, Alaska!)
Still madly in love with this furry guy (currently my desktop image to guard my heart against the winter cold)
Thinking Kirk Cameron is adorable (I love his preppy sweater! Six kids!)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Happy Birthday, GING!

To one of the most adventurous, loving, loyal & humble people I know, Ging, I wish you a year that brings only good & amazing things, worthy of who you are.


Monday, January 12, 2009

I really didn't mean to sleep the day away.

I came home from working this most recent overnight shift and experienced what I've come to recognize is common following staying awake the whole night hopped up on caffeine. It's a strange combination of being physically and mentally tired, but also awake physically and mentally awake in a scattered way. (Side note: I doubt I consumed more caffeine than the average coffee drinker in a single day so I ask, how do you coffee consumers deal with that feeling? Are you just used to it?)

And so after getting home a little before 10am (after an interesting morning where one child tried to bite me on my leg--good thing jeans are thick!), I checked email, IM'd with a couple friends and after an hour or so, eventually reached the point where my feeling sleepy was greater than the feeling of being awake in a scattered way. I changed into summer pj's (all the better to not get too warm in under my down comforter), searched for my eye mask and never found it, and rolled a couple "Pretty in Pink" ear plugs into my ears (side question: does anyone else have one ear - for me it's my left - that's harder to get an ear plug into?), and hunkered down under my covers enjoying the total silence. I usually fall asleep fast but this must've been a record as I cannot even remember the seconds after closing my eyes.

And then I woke and it was dark outside, and I sleepily thought to myself, "With that level of darkness outside, it must still be early enough in the morning that I don't have to get out of bed yet. Hurray!" (Isn't that the best feeling, when you realize you can sleep another hour or two??) And then another couple seconds passed by when I realized that the darkness out the window in my front room (which are easily visible from my bedroom; remember, I live in 409 sqft) looked less like a middle-of-the-night dark and more like an evening dark. Groggy, knowing I could easily fall back asleep if I just ignored that awareness and the urge in my bladder, I shuffled from my bed to the bathroom where there's a clock, wondering what time it was. (Side note: I read somewhere many years ago that keeping a clock in your bedroom - at least a big glow-in-the-dark kind - disturbs your sleep, as subconsciously you're much more aware of the time and worrying whether it's time to wake up. Ever since then I don't keep clocks in my room except my alarm-activated cell phone which doesn't glow, and I sleep much more peacefully.)

It was after 6pm!
I really didn't mean to sleep the day away.

I had all these grand plans for the day to clean my place before heading off to the last first day of my last second semester of grad school tomorrow. The dishes need to be done, the trash taken out, my backpack organized, and most of all, laundry, as I have exhausted all but my oldest (and smallest and most uncomfortable) underwear supply. But you see, now I don't feel like it. I don't feel like loading up the laundry basket with 4 loads of laundry (when there are only 3 washers), walking down the stairs and out my building, down the courtyard path way in the snow to the laundry room where there (once again) are only 3 washers and not enough to do all 4 of my loads of laundry at the same time (and no, the other loads aren't small enough to fit it all into 3; I considered that). But alas, I must. This is when I really miss having a washer IN my apartment.

So, I wish you good evening, friends! (It's like good morning, but for us graveyard-shift-workers--an interesting breed of people if you've ever worked with them--it's time to start our day.)

PS. Interesting: I've heard from someone in Chicago and someone in Denmark, that my cards have arrived. The first I expected, the latter, uh, no. Did my fellow Americans on the left coast get theirs? The Danes are efficient and all, but dang!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Heading off to work my last overnight shift of the winter break. I'll occupy the next 11 hours with 2 books, 1 movie, my computer and a few photo-related tasks to accomplish. Oh, and 2 Red Bulls and 1 Diet Coke. (Gotta mix up the types of caffeine or I feel lightheaded.)

Oatmeal cookies count for breakfast...


I discovered my milk was bad so I had no other choice.

No, seriously.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Going through the photo files

It may come as no surprise that I frequently have my camera with me. It may also come as no surprise that I like to capture random things. (One of the comments I hear most often as I'm snapping away, "You're taking pictures of the food??" Yup. I sure am.)

Snowy Saturday mornings are perfect for going through all the photos I didn't even have time to look at after downloading them to my computer due to December busy-ness. For your amusement, here is a bit of the randomness.

Self-portraits in the reflection of a bus-shelter

A witty (& poignant) ad on the bus ("Soup. Food shouldn't feel like a luxury.")

Candied nuts at the Kris Kindle Market

This women apparently didn't realize it was snowing outside and left her winter coat, hat & mittens at home.

Beverages: Fighting a cold with a tall glass of OJ & a late-night craving for a Rootbeer Float

My birthday present from Mom & Dad: a pair of winter boots

A cookie's fortune fulfilled the next day ("A small lucky package is on it's way to you soon." Thanks, D!)

Fondue party

Art around town: American Gothic has left the farm

Breakfast special #6 from Arnold's (GREAT pancakes.)

The kids had their video games to play in the car; I had my camera.

Christmas Break is for movie-watching

I watched 5 movies in the last 4 weeks. That's about 5 more than I've seen since I moved to Chicago.

Friday, January 09, 2009




Lauren is fun to shop with. Lauren can be dangerous to shop with due to her good taste. But not this time! Bargains were found, baby, bargains.

Much needed lampshades for my poor lamps that have stood shade-less in my windows for months, marking me the the poor-white-trash of the building. ($9 at Urban Outfitters! While not ideal for my future dream home, they are just right for my current space.) AND a rug from Crate & Barrel for less than 1/3 the normal price! It's so wonderful to walk on barefoot.

It took me a few months...

But I finally figured out what to do for my holiday card this year and they are in the mail, headed for YOU!
A few (cost) compromises prevented my vision from being fully realized, but overall I'm pleased and think this may become a tradition.

(Most of my blog readers are already on my Christmas card list, but if for some reason you don't get one within a few days, drop me an email as it was surely unintentional. If we're new friends (or not-Christmas card exchanging friends) and you'd like to get on the list, comment or email me; I've got extras!)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Hello Lauren!

Saying goodbye to family in Atlanta meant heading back to Chicago and saying hello to my friend Lauren who left sunny So Cal to brave the cold mid-west to ring in the new year with me. Fortunately for her the weather was mild with temps in the low-30's most days and blue skies much of the time.

It was lovely to sleep late.

We did a little shopping and took photos of ourselves wearing our new purchases.
As is common when we're together, we just take lots of pictures of ourselves, regardless of any new purchases.
If you stay up late enough you just might need a little snack. And then you need a Red Bull in the morning.
We returned to Orange Cafe for a tasty breakfast of Pan-Seared Oatmeal, Flight of Pancakes with a Honey Theme & Fruishi. YUM!
Anyone who knows Lauren knows of her love of blue jeans. So when I discovered a boutique in Lincoln Park called The Blue Jeans Bar, a visit was in order. (And a purchase, of course.)
After shopping all day we enjoyed a casual dinner at my local watering hole, B.O.B.
Since I couldn't make it snow for Lauren's visit, we found a patch for her to play in that hadn't melted in the freakishly warm (in the 50's) week before New Years.
(Cold Red Bull in the snow! We're crazy like that.)
Once we'd spent what our budgets would allow, we headed out for an afternoon at the lovely (free!) Lincoln Park Zoo. (Where of course we took a few more pictures of ourselves.)
Ah, public transportation!
We invited Liz over for a last minute Fondue/Champagne party. Lovely combination!
The cheese was extra stretchy that night.
Lauren made her famous Scotch-a-roos (scotcheroos?), which went nicely with the champagne. (Although champagne goes well with just about anything, no?)
We played Therapy (Liz kicked the future therapist & the para-therapist's butts. Maybe I should rethink my career... :-)
Before Lauren headed home Monday afternoon, a visit (ok, a second visit) to Ann Sather was requested. (Their cinnamon rolls are darn addicting!)
And then it was time, sadly, for her to head home. Oh, how I wish I could've moved all my friends with me to Chicago! Thanks, La, for ringing in the new year and braving winter in Chicago to visit me! (The sacrifice has been noted. :-)