Day 1: Abstract

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I purchased a new pair of earrings a couple weeks ago. They consist of 2 gauge hooks with long, dangling feathers attached. I thought it might be fun to take artsy like pictures of them. I’m not sure this shot is considered truly abstract, but it works.

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365 Days of Photography Photo Challenge

This blog has obviously neglected. So many things have happened in the last few months and starting school has been the major one. That alone has kept me insanely busy as I’m sure you can imagine. I started with the desire to get a degree in nursing. However, after discovering just how competitive that has become and rediscovering my love for the sciences, I have changed my path to biochemistry. This will continue to keep me busy for the next few years.

I do hope to pick this blog back up and to start off, I’m doing a complete year of photos challenge. I stumbled upon this challenge and felt compelled to start doing it myself. I’m constantly looking for ways to improve my skills and expand my range of subjects. I hope to post everyday that I can. I’m sure there will be days I miss. In fact, I know there will be days I miss, but I will make those up by either picking back up where I left off or provide multiples in one post. I know this is an old list, but I obviously don’t care. Tomorrow will be day one.

The list:
1 Abstract
2 Action Shot
3 Airborne
4 Alive
5 Amazing
6 Animal
7 Aqua
8 Architecture
9 Arranged
10 Art
11 Asymmetrical
12 Athletic
13 Autumn
14 Barns
15 Barren
16 Bath time
17 Bed Time
18 Beneath
19 Best Friend
20 Beverages
21 Black
22 Black and White Image
23 Bliss
24 Bloom
25 Blue
26 Blurred
27 Body Parts
28 Bold
29 Bread
30 Breakfast
31 Broken
32 Burgundy
33 Busy
34 Calm
35 Candles
36 Candy
37 Car Parts
38 Casual
39 Celebration
40 Cement
41 Center of Interest
42 Chairs or Benches
43 Challenge / Challenging
44 Cheese
45 Childhood
46 Children
47 Chimneys
48 Chocolate
49 Chores
50 Circular
51 City or Town
52 Cleanliness
53 Coiled
54 Cold
55 Comfort Foods
56 Comfy & Cozy
57 Compact
58 Contempary
59 Cooking
60 Costume
61 Creative
62 Creepy
63 Critters
64 Crooked
65 Cupcakes
66 Curves
67 Dairy
68 Damaged
69 Dark
70 Daybreak
71 Debris
72 Depth of Field
73 Dessert
74 Disorder
75 Distant
76 Domestic
77 Door
78 Drink
79 Dusk
80 Earth-tones
81 Edible
82 Eight
83 Elegant
84 Emotions
85 Empty
86 Endearing
87 Entrance
88 Every Day Sights
89 Evolution
90 Exercise
91 Exhibit
92 Eyes
93 Faceless Portraits
94 Faces
95 Fairytale
96 Family
97 Fashion
98 Fast
99 Fast Food
100 Fasteners
101 Favorite Food
102 Fear
103 Fences
104 Fish
105 Fitness
106 Five
107 Flat
108 Flight
109 Floor
110 Fluffy
111 Fly
112 Footwear
113 Four
114 Fragile
115 Freeze Frame
116 Friendships
117 Frilly
118 From My Past
119 Front Doors
120 Frosted
121 Fruit
122 Furniture
123 Fuzzy
124 Games
125 Garbage
126 Garden
127 Gates
128 Generous
129 Glass
130 Glowing
131 Gold
132 Green
133 Groceries
134 Group or groupings
135 Hair
136 Handbag
137 Hands
138 Hanging
139 Health
140 Hearts
141 Heartwarming
142 Heavy
143 Hero
144 Hiding
145 High Contrast Shot
146 Holidays
147 Homemade
148 Hope
149 House/Home
150 Humor
151 I Love…
152 In Shadow
153 In the City
154 In the Details
155 In the Distance
156 In your House
157 Insects
158 Interaction
159 Interior
160 Isolation
161 Itsy-Bitsy Teeny Weeny
162 Joy
163 Kitchen Utensils
164 Landscape
165 Large
166 Laundry
167 Leading Lines
168 Letters in Architecture
169 Letters in Nature
170 Lightness
171 Liquid
172 Literature
173 Lots & Lots & Lots
174 Lunchtime
175 Macro Shot
176 Matched Pair
177 Metallic
178 Metals
179 Minimalism
180 Misty / Foggy
181 Mood
182 Morning Routine
183 Motion
184 Motion Blur
185 Motionless
186 Motorized
187 Mouth Watering
188 Movement
189 Multicolored
190 Multiples
191 Music
192 Musical
193 Natural Framing
194 Nature
195 Nautical
196 Negative Space
197 Neglected
198 Night shot
199 Nightlife
200 Nine
201 Noisy
202 Nuts
203 Obligations
204 Oddity
205 On a Farm
206 One
207 One-Two-Three
208 Orange
209 Orbs
210 Ordinary
211 Ornament/Ornamental
212 Overcast
213 Packaging
214 Pampered
215 Panning (motion) shot
216 Passion
217 Pasta
218 Pastel
219 Patriotic
220 Pipes
221 Plants
222 Plastics
223 Playful
224 Pleasure
225 Point/Pointed
226 Portrait
227 Powerful
228 Precious
229 Prickly
230 Primary Colors
231 Purple
232 Raindrops keep falling
233 Reaching Up
234 Recreation
235 Red
236 Reflect
237 Refreshing
238 Relationship
239 Relaxation
240 Religion
241 Remembrance
242 Renewal
243 Repeating Patterns
244 Restful
245 Retro
246 Roadside
247 Rough
248 Round
249 Rule of Thirds
250 Rural
251 Sandy
252 Scattered
253 School
254 Seafood
255 Seaside
256 Seeds
257 Self-Portrait
258 Seven
259 Shades of Grey
260 Shapes in Nature
261 Sharp
262 Shiny
263 Silhouette
264 Simple / Minimalism
265 Six
266 Sizzling Hot
267 Sky-High
268 Slam on the Brakes
269 Slick
270 Slow
271 Slowly
272 Small
273 Smells
274 Smooth
275 Snack or Treat
276 Softness
277 Something about you
278 Soothing
279 Spic and Span
280 Spiral
281 Sports
282 Spring
283 Square
284 Statue
285 Still Life
286 Store Fronts
287 Stripes
288 Strong
289 Stuffed Animals
290 Summer Fun
291 Sunshine
292 Surfaces
293 Sweet
294 Symbols
295 Symmetrical
296 Tables
297 Tasty
298 Team
299 Ten
300 Textured
301 The Arts
302 The Letter A
303 The Letter B
304 The Letter C
305 The Letter D
306 The Letter E
307 The Letter F
308 The Letter G
309 The Letter H
310 The Letter I
311 The Letter J
312 The Letter K
313 The Letter L
314 The Letter M
315 The Letter N
316 The Letter O
317 The Letter P
318 The Letter Q
319 The Letter R
320 The Letter S
321 The Letter T
322 The Letter U
323 The Letter V
324 The Letter W
325 The Letter X
326 The Letter Y
327 The Letter Z
328 The Office
329 The Weekend
330 Three
331 Thriving
332 Through a Window
333 Together
334 Tools
335 Tractors
336 Traditional
337 Translucent
338 Tri colors
339 Two
340 Ultimate Thrill
341 Under Water
342 Unfinished
343 Unforgettable
344 Union
345 Unique Camera Angle
346 Vacation
347 Valentine’s Day
348 Vegetable
349 Vehicle
350 Vivid
351 Warm
352 Warped
353 Water
354 Wealth
355 Weathered
356 Wet
357 What is That
358 Wheels
359 White
360 Wild
361 Window
362 Wine
363 Winter
364 Yard Work
365 Yellow

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Scared

I was hoping to keep this blog positive. I told myself I would never share the negative. Alas, I cave.

I’m so fucking scared right now. I’m scared that I will end up broke and homeless. I’m scared that my relationship is falling to pieces. I’m scared that I made the worst decision ever in moving away from everything that I had and knew.

It’s been over a year. The entire time I have been unemployed. The entire time I have been making due with unemployment insurance. That’s about to run out in a couple of weeks. What will I do then? How will I pay my bills and afford to eat? I’m not sure I can handle any more rejection letters.

I feel like I’m failing. Again.

This to shall pass

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Crater Lake

Back in February, George and I took a little trip.   Things were slow at work so he took a couple days off for an extended weekend.  We stayed for two nights at a cute little place called the Dawson House Lodge in Chemult, Oregon.  I decided to spoil us and booked The Rose Room1.  It was a late celebration of our one year anniversary2so we were given free champagne the first night. That night we indulged on chocolates3 and champagne while relaxing in the jacuzzi4.

The next day we drove to Crater Lake. We bought snowshoes for the occasion so we strapped them on and headed out.

snowshoes

Nena At Crater Lake by Amanathia Images.

The experience was amazing. The best thing about visiting places in the off season is avoiding the massive crowds of people5. I posted my best photos on my zenfolio.

Crater Lake's Wizard Island

Crater Lake by Amanathia Images.

We do plan on going back during the summer6. It is truly a magical place.

  1. For the jacuzzi of course! []
  2. The actual date is December 30th. []
  3. From a cute Valentine’s heart box that George bought for me. []
  4. Seriously one of the best combinations ever! []
  5. Not to mention the great deals, e.g., the room and visiting the park for free. []
  6. May or may not happen this year. []
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Idaho

Last month I spent two weeks in Idaho helping out George’s family.  Grammie had hip replacement surgery so I went to help take care of Granddad.  My main duty was to fix meals and give him his medications.  I spent the rest of my days splitting wood, cleaning, crocheting and keeping the fire going.  I also took a few photos and learned more about my camera.  George’s mom made sure I had access to the wireless internet so I could continue my job hunt.

It was nice change of pace and I really enjoyed it.  It made me feel good to take care of someone and be able to help out.  It made me consider nursing as a possible career choice.  I can work on becoming a Certified Nurses Aid (CNA) and work in a nursing home or similar atmosphere.  Or I could go all the way and become a Registered Nurse (RN).  It is definitely something I am thinking about.

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For 2011

I do not make resolutions. Usually I’ll stick with them for the first month or so but then I get distracted and veer off the resolution path. I believe this to be because resolutions are often times an ultimate goal. The most common being:  ”I resolve to lose X amount of pounds this year.” That is a great ultimate goal to achieve. However, what are you going to do to lose those pounds? There are so many steps and changes needed to get there such as changing eating habits, exercise habits, and often making a lot of lifestyle changes. You may be super psyched and get going but then realize it’s all too much to handle and give up. This is where setting little, increment goals comes in handy. So what if you don’t lose those pounds this year? You can start making changes to help you reach your goal the next year or maybe the year after. We are so ingrained to believe that if we don’t achieve our full resolution we have failed. By setting little goals of things you want to work on, failure will be minimal. Little steps are much easier to take than big steps.

With that said, I have set little goals for myself. These are the things I want to work on this year.

    Get a job - I know, this is kind of a big goal, but I need to find work. I need to be able to support myself and help George with rent and other bills. I want to continue living here and not go back to Alaska.  I will keep trying.
    Continue transitioning to a healthier lifestyle – This has been something I have been working on for the last few years. This means continuing to change my eating habits to include more fruits, veggies, lean proteins, whole grains, etc. This also includes setting up regular workout routines. I want to continue to lose weight to reach my ultimate goal. I also want to help and encourage George to eat healthier and be more active. This will also help me extend my life and hopefully not have the same complications the rest of my family has had.
    Get out, meet people and do more things – I want to meet new people. I want to make more friends. I want to experience more of Portland life and visit new places. Of course, this will probably be easier when I meet my first goal and have money.
    Have more George and Me time – Yes, we live together and see each other every day, but often times he sits on his computer and I sit on mine; or do crafts. I would like to make regular “dates” where either we go out and do something, or we do something together at home. Again, this would be more feasible if I had a job.
    Do more crafts – Whether it be quilting, crocheting, or whatever.  I may even learn how to knit this year.  Perhaps I can make enough things to give as gifts or sell.
    Work on my photography – Ever since I got my new camera from George for Christmas, I have been excited to go out and use it.  I have so much to learn.  This ties in well with my goal of getting out and seeing new places.
    Vow to be more frugal - I need to be better with money. Seriously. I need to make budgets and stick to them.  I want to start saving money and keep it saved.  I also need steady income with which to put this to practice.
    Write more in this blog – I started this blog as a way to keep in contact and share my life with friends and family. Of course, that only works if I make regular posts. In order to do that, I have to have something to write about. Nobody wants to hear about how I spend my days sitting on my computer or yelling at the cats. This goes back to needing to work on the above goal to go out and do more stuff. Which also comes back to needing a job. See… it can still get daunting. :p

I’m sure I will find more things to work on as the year progresses.  I have a feeling it will be a good year.  I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and hope you are able to achieve some, if not all, of your goals.  :)

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The Holidays

This past holiday season was a bit of a busy one.  Hence the lack of posts about it.  I’ve also been sick, which explains why this wasn’t posted sooner. First off,  I decided it would be a good idea to send holiday cards to friends and family.  I wanted to wish them happy holidays and let them know I’m thinking of them.  George set up and took the picture of us.  He had to run back and forth for a number of shots.  We selected the best one and spent an entire night assembling 40 cards.

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Holiday Card by Amanathia Images.

Personally, I prefer to not celebrate “Christmas”, but I know it means a lot to my family as well as George. I do get into the exchanging of gifts. I love to buy and wrap presents for people. We sent out quite a few gifts and I spent more than I had anticipated or should have. Oops!  At least I can say I helped stimulate the economy a bit.

George and I went to see his family in Idaho.  On the 23rd we flew up to Spokane, Washington where his mom picked us up and drove us to where she and the grandparents live near Priest River.  It was the perfect atmosphere for Christmas.  There was snow on the ground and freezing temperatures.  I felt like I was back in Juneau.  We got to have our White Christmas after all.  We did the Christmas thing on Christmas Eve.  We took a short walk with his mom in the morning.  I met Grammie, Granddad, Auntie L.J, Uncle Jim, and Boots (the cat) who adored me and wouldn’t stay off my lap.  We exchanged gifts and had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner.  I got a lot of loot.  Way more than I had expected considering I hadn’t met most of them yet.

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Both of these photos I took with my new Canon 60D George gave me.

Christmas Day we went to church.  It was my first time being in a church since I left the Christian School at the end of my freshman year.  It was boring. I sat next to George and Grammie.  She kept looking over at me and would say a few words about the people who were performing their number.  I did my best to look and act appropriately.  This included getting on my knees during prayer. I caught Granddad falling asleep a few times.  I smiled and figured I couldn’t do much worse.  Once the program was over we hightailed it out of there and went to a friend of the family’s house.  There they were busily preparing a huge spread of goodies.  George and I only had a few minutes before we had to head back to Spokane to fly home.  We dished up and scarfed down our food.  I managed to take some of Grammie’s delicious pumpkin bread to eat on the drive.  On the way, his mom told me I am now part of the family.

Spokane’s TSA is WAY slower than Portland’s TSA.  They also have a Backscatter and Portland does not.  It seemed a little strange to me.  I got asked to go through.  I tried to opt for the pat-down, but was told they wouldn’t do it, I had to go through.  I was a little pissed off but I wanted to get home so I submitted.  Merry Christmas!  I got a good dose of radiation.  Fuckers.  Hopefully next time I encounter a Backscatter I am able to avoid it.

All in all, it was a good trip.  I survived Idaho, meeting the family, church, and TSA.  As long as I don’t have to go to church all the time, I won’t mind going back to visit.  The area is gorgeous and the family is pleasant.

The next weekend George and I drove down to Junction City near Eugene to spend New Year’s Eve with my great-aunt and uncle.  It was a nice, sunny drive.  George and I argued about who was going to drive, so we split it up.  He drove the first half and I drove the rest of the way.  We had a nice prime rib dinner and drank wine and champagne while watching New York ring in the New Year.  Their friend, who lives in the other house on their property, came up and joined in.  She seemed to be having a good time, albeit a little too much to drink .  About 9:30 pm we decided it was time for bed.  It was quiet and peaceful.

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Uncle L.E., Aunt Lou, and Me by Amanathia Images.

New Year’s Day we woke up to my aunt making waffles.  We spent the day visiting and taking pictures of the birds on the feeders.  George also had to take pictures of the guide dog my aunt and uncle are raising.  We drove back home late that afternoon.

The next day I woke up sick.  I finally got the cold George had been dealing with since we got back from Idaho.  It knocked me down for a good couple of days, but I’m starting to feel better.

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The Year That Was 2010

2010 was a fantastic year for me. It was a year of change. This is a summary of what I accomplished. I will follow with a post of what I hope to happen this next year.

  • I developed a very wonderful, healthy, and happy relationship with George.
  • I moved from Juneau, Alaska to Portland, Oregon.
  • I started this blog.
  • I re-established a friendship with an old friend from middle school.
  • I was able to connect more with my great-aunt and uncle.
  • I visited many places including Seattle and Junction City. I added Idaho to my list of states where I have been.
  • I gained even more family with the addition of George’s relatives.
  • I lost more weight and continued to get closer to my goal of being healthy and active.
  • I worked more on my photography and started Vivid Mango Photography.

Time to look forward to 2011 and the new experiences it will bring.

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Recipe: Low Fat Sugar Free Cheesecake

I was following a very strict diet for a few weeks.  I created this cheesecake because I wanted something sweet and chocolaty. I usually don’t care for or crave chocolate, but like most people, when I can’t have something I really want it. Fortunately, the Chocolate Dip by Walden Farms was allowed. I used Stevia to sweeten the filling and crust. The only sugars are natural sugars from the fruit. The first time I made it I used strawberries1 because it was one of the three fruits I could have. Because it is made with cottage cheese instead of cream cheese it is packed with protein and makes a great meal all by itself.

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This recipe makes 4 servings.

Crust

  • 4 slices Classic Melba Toast
  • 1 tsp powdered Stevia
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Filling

  • 3 cups fat free cottage cheese
  • Stevia to taste (I used liquid Vanilla Stevia )
  • few drops of lemon juice

Sauce

  • 2 cups diced mango, strawberries, or fruit of your choice.
  • 8 Tbsp Walden Farms Chocolate Dip
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • Stevia to taste

Topping

  • 2 cups diced fruit of choice

Preparation

  1. Crush up toast into tiny crumbs. Mix with powdered Stevia and vanilla. Press to the bottom of medium serving dish.  I recommend using a ceramic or heavy glass bowl because you will be freezing it.
  2. Place the cottage cheese, Stevia, and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Blend until nice and creamy. Pour filling on top of crust, making it even.
  3. Place the 2 cups of fruit, chocolate dip, lemon juice, and Stevia in blender or food processor. Blend until smooth.
  4. Place a few small drops of the sauce on the filling. Cut with knife to swirl sauce into the filling. Pour the remainder of the sauce over the top.
  5. Freeze for at least 2 hours.
  6. When ready to eat, top with the rest of the fruit and enjoy!

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For a  single serving cheesecake:

Crust

  • 1 slice Classic Melba Toast
  • 1/4 tsp powdered Stevia
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla Extract

Filling

  • 3/4 cup fat free Cottage Cheese
  • Stevia to taste (I use liquid vanilla flavored)
  • few drops of lemon juice

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup fruit of choice
  • 2 Tbsp Walden Farms Chocolate Dip
  • few drops of lemon juice
  • Stevia to taste

Topping

  • 1/2 cup diced fruit

Prepare the same way as above using a smaller dish. I used a 2 cup Pyrex bowl.

Nutrition Facts2: 1 Serving; Calories 260, Total Fat 1.4 g, Cholesterol 15.0 mg, Sodium 630.2 mg, Potassium 335.0 mg, Total Carbohydrate 40.4 g, Dietary Fiber 3.3 g, Sugars 29.6 g, Protein 24.0 g. I used the Recipe Calculator from SparkPeople. If following Weight Watchers: mangoes give it a PointsPlus value of 6 and strawberries give it a PointsPlus value of 4.

  1. I have to admit I like the strawberry version better. []
  2. Calculations are approximate. It will change depending on the fruit used. I used mangoes for this calculation. []
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Six Months

Wow…today marks six months in Oregon.  The eighth marked the anniversary of departure from Juneau.  It seems a little surreal.

In this time I have learned that I can live away from all that I knew.  I have learned that I can still support and love my uncle and friends from a distance.  I have established a wonderful relationship with a partner who treats me well.  I am rediscovering parts of my self that I lost and discovering new ones.

I do wish I could say I found a job.  Not yet.  Still working on that.  I have so many applications and resumes out.  I wish they didn’t ask how much I made at my last job.  I know I’m not going to get paid anywhere near that  down here and I’m okay with that.  I also wish most places would recognize work experience over degrees.  Just because I didn’t spend all that time in a classroom doesn’t mean I’m not qualified to do the job.  As my great aunt reminded me in her last email, “it only takes one “yes” one day to turn it all around.”  I am not giving up hope yet.

I am very happy.  I believe I did the right thing.  I’m not going to lie and say I don’t have days when I feel down.  Sometimes the issue of being unemployed and unable to go out and do the things I want gets me down.  I also miss my uncle and friends very much.  However, I know this is where I belong.  For now.

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