The One-Arm Rule

Much like an uncouth household might have a “one foot on the floor at the dinner table” rule (to prevent chaos while food is being served), I recently instituted a “one arm” rule at the library.

That is, I only allow myself to check out as many books as I can hold with one arm.  A biological form of checks and balances that prevents me from getting more books than I can read before the due date.  Otherwise, my library addiction would require me to bring luggage.  Especially in the October, when I still feel a pressing scholastic urge to hole up and study.

Today I still managed to escape with 11 books, including the Steve Jobs biography, which virtually counts as two.  Pretty soon I’m going to be like those waiters who line up four entree plates per arm and not let so much as a sprig of parsley flutter away.

In other fall news:  While running errands earlier, I noticed a gorgeous fall leaf stuck to the back window of my car.  I think it looks like a nectarine peel.  It stuck with me for 28.4 miles, so I thought it deserved its own portrait.  Something to help me remember this gorgeous, 80-degree day with riots of leafy color everywhere I looked.

A backlog of still-unedited photos coming your way.  NYC in summertime, a courthouse wedding, and an adorable family.  See you soon.

Nick Dunstone - October 24, 2012 - 6:17 pm

Nice leaf portrait – wish I could ‘beam over’ there to see your autumn colours (whoops, I mean ‘fall’ – I guess that’s more descriptive than autumn, but then why don’t you call spring ‘rise’ or ‘grow’?)! Can’t wait to see the best pics from your backlog! 🙂 Nick

DAVID BAGNARD AND LOIS HEFFERNAN - October 28, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Hi Jenika:

Glad to see you fire up your site again after so very long. Can’t wait to see some of your big city shots.

Love,

David

Erika - October 31, 2012 - 4:16 am

Pretty!!

Erika - October 31, 2012 - 4:18 am

Make sure to switch arms though, or you’ll eventually end up with one huge bicep and one normal one!

Danny’s Fettucine Bar

I savor travel because I feel suspended.  I can watch whole cities glide past the car window, then swoop in on an unfamiliar restaurant that is surely someone else’s tried-and-true favorite.  I can skip down a street that someone else trudges up each week on their way to work.  I can see things that, to others, have long become masked by familiarity.  Of course, when it’s not your own town, you don’t always know where to look to find the best things.  But sometimes sheer accidents (or tips from the internet) help you stumble upon them.

On our way to NYC, we happened upon Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.  A small community with a downtown straight out of a postcard.  The kind of town that some high school kid surely can’t wait to get out of, and some college kid secretly breathes a sigh of relief when they return for winter break, the hills sloping under the snow, the familiar smell of mom’s cooking wafting out into the cold by the front door.

We were there around dinnertime and, aided by the wonders of Yelp.com, found Danny’s Fettucine Bar.  Determined to make this a vacation and not a working holiday, I left my camera zipped up in the car trunk.  (I’m sure you can guess how successful this idea ended up being.)  I was determined not to photograph everything on this trip.  Photography – real photography – is time consuming.  It requires thought and intention – two things I didn’t want to deal with on this little dinner stop.  It’s dinner, that’s it.  We’re eating, then moving on, period.

This stubbornness is the reason I do not have any photos to show you of the heavenly alfredo placed before us.  You will have to imagine for yourself the tendrils of steam that rose from the plate as I served myself from the family-style platter, envision for yourself the noodles swimming in sauce that struck that impossibly perfect balance between light and creamy.

Had you been a fellow diner with us that evening, you might have assumed that my husband and I were in an argument, because we barely spoke the entire meal – we just sat, heads bowed, lifting our spoons in silent amazement.  I twirled my fork and briefly entertained the idea of moving to Stroudsburg, solely based on ensuring future access to this miraculous pasta.

And of course there was the impossibly endearing wait staff, the irresistible Italian-American grin of the owner who personally walked through the tables ensuring everyone was having a good time.  In utter defeat, I left Danny to handle the check and slunk back to the car to retrieve my camera for a few quick shots.

So, sorry I don’t have any photos of the food.  You’ll just have to swoop in and experience it yourself.  But I’ll give you a few glimpses I caught as I headed out the door.

(They let me into the kitchen to grab the above shot.  It’s one of the perks to having a professional camera – sometimes it becomes a backstage VIP pass.)

Independence Day

Four years ago I spent a sweltering 4th of July in North Africa.  It was a summer when gratitude for freedom stopped being lip service on my part.  After a summer of Internet censorship, strict warnings not to discuss politics with locals (it would get them in trouble), and machine-gun-carrying reminders that my host country was not free, I came to understand more about what living in freedom allows me to do and to be.  I am thankful for it.  Even in times of glorious imperfection and spectacular disagreement, I am thankful.

I hope you had a safe and rich celebration with people you love.  I know I did (and we only set one small shrub on fire).

In this next sequence of four – anyone want to guess what the top left photo is of?  (Hint:  Not a sparkler).

Anne Wright - July 5, 2012 - 10:22 am

mmmmm, something pulsing it seems because it gets thicker every so often on your long exposure… A kid’s glow in the dark bracelet?
Btw, it is great to live in different countries and continents, it makes you appreciate everything every place has to offer – and question a whole lot of other “normal” things (good or bad)

Jenika - July 5, 2012 - 10:37 pm

Very close Anne! It was a lightning flash – one of those white things that pulses. I just moved the camera around during the long exposure. 🙂

Inspiration | Pure Pilates

Susan Hard is a consummate professional.  Precision, gracefulness, attention to detail, total focus, and concern are the words that come to mind when I watch her work.  The level of precise attention that she and her fellow Pilates instructors bestow upon their clients almost takes my breath away.  Pilates is intense work – but the instructors are there every step of the journey, simultaneously encouraging and raising the bar of expectations.  I have never seen such a careful balance between compassion and dedicated pursuit of a client’s goals.

Being a photographer fly on the Pure Pilates wall is always an exercise in inspiration.  I urge you to explore their services sometime!

Please enjoy a few images from the course of an evening:

Little Cold Noses and Big Happy Smiles.

As she snipped away at my split ends, I felt a tiny cold nose inspecting my sandaled feet.  He sniffed and nosed around, then crawled underneath the sink and flopped down, eyes half closed, not a care in the world.  I came back later to photograph him with his sister.  They tumbled down the stairs of the back deck, still figuring out how to run and coordinate all these floppy limbs.  Whimpering, romping, tussling, and nibbling on my shoes when I wasn’t looking, they explored their new world.

My fabulous hairstylist added two new members to her family – these adorable Swiss Mountain Dog puppies.  Photographing them was sheer joy and summery delight – I just got down on my hands and knees and followed them, the grin of a six-year-old spreading across my face.  Their grass-level view that won’t last for long – they’re going to be enormous in very short order!  So happy I had a chance to capture a little slice in time.  Soon, their new family will barely remember the time that these two were smaller than a basketball…

Moose, the big orange cat, supervised the proceedings:

Thanks again, Jennifer, for allowing me to enjoy the pet party and create some images of these cuties!  I hope they help you remember these little sweeties when they grow up to be HUGE little sweeties.  🙂

Melissa Knowles - June 13, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Ahhhh! I LOVE THESE!

We just got a Bernese too! He’s 12 weeks tomorrow – I love that you have TWO! Enjoy! 🙂

Melissa Knowles - June 13, 2012 - 9:31 pm

Oh, I should have read they weren’t yours – regardless – ADORABLE!

Anastasia - June 14, 2012 - 3:30 am

You made my day 🙂 this adorable cuteness is exactly what I needed right now! x

jenn dillman - June 18, 2012 - 9:37 am

My friend, you are as talented at writing as you are at photography. i had no idea. what a beautiful gift! please pop over anytime.

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