Thursday, July 31, 2008

Three Hours Until Shuttle Arrives

I got up at 6am which is really 10pm tonight. I had to pack the instructions for my new-ish digital watch because I can't remember how to change the time.

Vash is mewing and throwing paper around to get my attention. I'm onto him though; the automatic dry cat feeder just went off and he ate most of what came out. No wet food for you yet, buddy.

I'm packed except for the stuff I'm using to shower this morning, and still on the fence about bringing a neck pillow. So big and bulky, but it *is* 10 hours on a plane in coach. You probably have horror stories of 14 hours and an 8 hour follow-up and a 4 hour drive... but this is the longest trip I've ever made. Also my first international trip. That may be a little sad, but I forgive me.

My biggest decision this morning is which book to read on the plane for fun. I've got "Perfume," "Wild Ducks Flying Backward," and "Dhalgren" to choose from. There's also a book on photographing faces, which let's face it, sounds good but I would rather color. Disclaimer: I did not spring for a coloring book this trip. I'm a big girl now.

Well, I guess that's it.

This is Ten Sticks, signing off.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My brain is full

I'm sitting on the floor of the living room, typing on the coffee table. "Two and a Half Men" is on, which is good, because it's my current favorite sit-com. It is very theatre-like. Very Odd Couple. I take time for it.

I have one last list to complete, but I'm focusing on the most basic items now or I'll drive myself mad. The shuttle is confirmed. I've got money and new socks -- because clearly you need socks without holes in them when you're going to a place where you have to take your shoes off.

It's true; I'm a little bit crazy.

I keep putting off pulling the suitcase out of the closet to minimize stray cat hair, but I think it's time. That's what lint brushes are for. I should probably eat dinner... It's a cliche to say it but time is moving incredibly fast.

Better get packin'.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Under the wire

I am still recovering from this blasted cold, but I'm hoping the worst is over now. Today was all about staying upright, and later it was all about cleaning as much as possible. With all these festivals so close together, my place has become a pig-sty. Even after several hours of cleaning, I'm still embarrassed to leave it like this but it'll have to do.

I haven't put anything into my suitcase yet, but I have lists of things to pack, I have acquired (and washed) everything that needed to be gotten, and stacked all of the battery chargers by the camera bag. (Then I brushed Chiana for 10 minutes because she was looking very cute.) It's good I have one more night to get it all together, and then it's time, whether I'm ready or not.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Taking care of details

I have lists and I have done some of the things on my lists. But then I've done some other things as well, such as stopping in at the Fluevog sale and buying a pair of deeply discounted comfortable walking shoes. If you're playing the home game, this is the second pair of comfortable walking shoes I've bought in a week, but they are totally opposite colors so it's okay.

This is the least prepared I have ever felt for a trip, but since many new people arrive in Japan everyday and it works out, I will just go with the flow.

After work I met my trainer and lifted things, lunged and stuff, and then I bought some mini toiletries, took the water taxi home, carried the pile of cardboard out to the recycle dumpster, and drove to Courtney's house because she has graciously agreed to watch my cats and needed keys. After some pleasant conversation, I went to Target and bought the rest of the toiletries on my list along with roughly one billion rolls of toilet paper, because we were out. It is not a pleasant thing to return from vacation to a house devoid of toilet paper.

Over and over I practice saying Hajimemashite and ikura desuka, but my brain feels full. Apparently the hotel is very close to Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden, so if I become overwhelmed I can just go hang out there for awhile. I am hoping to visit Kamakura to see the Great Buddha statue and Tsukiji Market to see all the fish. Also to wander around Shinjuku for awhile. Those are my tentative plans.

If anyone out there has any other suggestions, please let me know! I wish I weren't so clueless.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

He's in Tokyo

Jer wrote:
I'm sitting in my hotel room 30 stories up, looking out on a sprawling Japanese metropolis. Wow, just wow. This place is pretty crazy. I think you're going to love it though...

Only have to get through 5 more days and then I can see it too.

I'll leave you with the very important phrase I learned yesterday, written out phonetically:
Toy-reh wah doh-koh dess ka? (Where is the toilet?)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Odds and Ends

I dropped Jer off at the airport this morning, so that's done. On the way home I stopped at Half Price Books and bought a couple of Japanese language books, as in "how to speak the language," not books in Japanese. Now I can ask how much something costs and where is the toilet. After I bought it, I noticed that someone from UC Santa Barbara wrote one of the books. Small world.

Later I rode the water taxi downtown for my hair appointment. Several streets were blocked off for tonight's Torchlight Parade, bench seating erected, and horses standing around all willy-nilly. Well, technically I only saw one horse and he was tethered to a carriage, but still... preparations.

I changed some more dollars into Yen, ate dinner at the Tap House bar, got my haircut, and then stopped by Nordstroms (Anniversary Sale) and Macy's to try on dresses. I thought maybe I should pack a nice dress that won't wrinkle in my suitcase but I didn't have any luck.

Last night Jer and I went to the grand opening of Southcenter Mall in Tukwila and that was an experience. It's huge and fancy now, with its own H&M and everything. We avoided the crowds by sticking to the "old section" and I bought some of those knee-length shorts that are so popular but feel like culottes. I don't really understand the appeal but I'll give it a shot. For fashion.

My throat hurts a bit so I am sitting her sucking on a lozenge and contemplating a really early bedtime. If all is going according to plan then Jer is about 6 out of 10 hours into his flight.

My new camera bag -- a Lowepro All Weather Mini Trekker -- arrived yesterday and it is awesome. My 80-200mm lens fits perfectly and I'm looking forward to when the monopod arrives to see how well that attaches. And that's all the news today.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Countdown to Tokyo

Jeremy leaves tomorrow and I haven't had a chance to really talk to him about it. I call around noon every day to check in, but tonight will be our last opportunity to tie up all loose ends before he gets on the plane. I think we're pretty much set though, after we buy him some hot weather clothes.

In the evenings I've been working on photo stuff, but there's always more to do. I'm trying to build a backlog of photo posts so I don't run out while I'm away. This involves mostly touching up old slide and negative film, which is time consuming. Monday's post, for example, will be a dusk scene from Rosarito Beach, Mexico, taken around 2002. The negative was trashed, but it's one of my favorites so what could I do? I'll tell you what... two nights broken into chunks of rubber stamping and Gaussian Blur in PhotoShop.

I'm reading a book called "Underground" by Haruki Murakami. It's about the 2005 gas attacks in the Tokyo subway. It's non-fiction and contains interviews of the survivors. It's very interesting and handled with respect -- probably an odd choice to read right before I'm going there but I thought it might give me some insights. With each book I read by Murakami, I am more impressed.

Every day I try to learn a few new words in Japanese. I do okay with the short ones, but the longer ones swim inside my head and come out funky. A couple of other things I've learned: don't eat in public and don't blow your nose in public.

Since language is such a big part of my life, both work and home, it's strange to think I'm going to a place where I will be illiterate. I can't wrap my head around what that'll be like, but I'll find out soon enough. The only thing I expect is that it will be a big adventure.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Is beer my silver lining?

My bus was 40 minutes late tonight; I didn't get home until 8pm. Of course I had all of my gym paraphernalia on my back, a sack of groceries, and three new books in hand. Cuz that's what you want to do when you get done working out, strap on a bunch of weight and stand still for an hour.

I hate hate hate hate hate hate day Mariners games.


But this beer I'm drinking is A-OK.

No rest for the wicked

Kon-nichi-wa! I am now in "get ready to visit Tokyo" while "preparing for next festival" and "getting all my work done" mode. Also, I find myself (stupidly) in "retrieve abandoned driver's license from the Shoe Pavilion" mode...

But hey, I bought inexpensive new Easy Spirits for all the walking I'll be doing. And (hold onto your hats) I'm wearing them right now!

I also ordered a monopod and a new and improved Lowepro (camera bag) to hold my big ass lens and camera. It's a Mini Trekker, if you're curious. And I exchanged some USD for Yen, which was very exciting. Please don't rob me.

My 4 GB memory card arrived along with my digital photo storage unit and extra battery so that's good. I should probably buy some shorts or something since the weather is hot and very humid and I am a delicate flower who will be lugging around a gazillion pounds in her camera bag. I think I will also make a bean bag out of lentils and a Ziploc baggy to balance my camera. I am so crafty!

I put in another order for prints and mats so I can mat stuff when I get home. And I licensed a couple of digital images last week so I can help offset some costs, which was excellently timed.

Next I need to do some solid research with the guidebook and plan my trip a bit better. So much to see! So much to shoot! Ohh I should get some batteries for my flash... I ate some eel sushi for lunch yesterday to get in the proper mindset. whoo hoo!

I will only see Jeremy on Friday night after work and then he is gone until I meet him in Tokyo. Oh the humanity.

I should mention, as a follow-up, that Bite of Seattle was very successful for us and we had a great time working the event. My one and only complaint were the seagulls, who took advantage of every opportunity to crap on me. Once down my back and once on my huge Greek nose. I am not exactly sure how I angered the entire avian fleet, but I was definitely on their shit list.

Hahahahaha. I am so funny.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Big Brother pulls ahead

In a meeting yesterday, someone used the term "groupthink" non-ironically.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pictures of my booth at Bite of Seattle

I couldn't have asked for a better location at Bite of Seattle. My booth is at the corner of Thomas and 2nd Ave N, right at the top of the stairs from the gate. Here's a shot from the front:

Here's a shot from the side (Hey, there's a Space Needle right there!):

And here's me and my friend Gina in the booth! She surprised me by driving five hours in the wee morning light to see my booth. How awesome is she?:

Bite of Seattle is a lot of fun. The final chance to see us is Sunday, July 20, from 11am to 8pm.

And some bad news... after the most successful weekend to date, I just found out I didn't get into Salmon Days. Maybe next year... So my last confirmed festival for the year is next month, Art at Marymoor Park.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Exactly where to find me at Bite of Seattle

I just got back from setting up my On Focus Photo booth at Bite of Seattle and I wanted to let you know where to find me, in case you have some spare time tomorrow, Saturday, or Sunday. All the details are below.

Look for the bright pink HERE text on the map and that's where I will be:

I'm on the roof of Fisher Pavilion, there are stairs right behind me, and the Children's Theatre even further behind me, and I'm also right next to the Gate at 2nd Ave N and Thomas. You can probably even see me from the gate. The top of my tent is rounded, unlike most everyone else's which comes to a point. I am that cool. Also I am delirious.


What: Bite of Seattle (FREE ADMISSION)
Why: It's the Northwest's Premier Food Festival
Fair hours:
11am-9pm, Friday, July 18
11am-9pm, Saturday, July 19
11am-8pm, Sunday, July 20
Where: Seattle Center, WA (under the Space Needle)
Getting there: See

Where can I find the On Focus Photo booth: On the roof of Fisher Pavilion (Look for the L and J boxes on this PDF map. I should be right there.)

I hope you can make it out! This will be my last big festival and the second to last confirmed festival for the whole year. It's now or maybe never!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Relentless is my new mantra. Days slip by. Work gets done. There is not enough sleep, but I am slowly building a stack of prints for sale this weekend. I am opening a business savings account and changing my name for my frequent flyer number (finally.) I am buying battery powered fans for my booth and books on Japan to read on the bus. I am framing work to donate to an auction.

I've bought my plane ticket, and I believe Jer has too. We are going to Tokyo.

I am learning to say good evening (kon-ban-wa), good afternoon (kon-nichi-wa), and good morning (casual version sounds like o-hi-o.) I have a tendency to move my lips while I read the phrasebook and mutter under my breath. Other passengers on the bus/water taxi probably think I am just another crazy person.

As I matted prints last night, I played an old Ranma 1/2 episode (the one where Akane gets her hair sliced off) and tried to see if any words stood out yet. Mostly just "hai" and "noni." Same as before, but I picked up on the police box reference and it's useful to hear the rhythm and emphasis on the words.

Should I admit that I am practising language immersion via anime?

Tonight is a quick visit with my trainer and then more matting, database entry, and note cards. Tomorrow I go to work early, leave mid-day to set up my booth, and return to work to stay late. On Friday I resume my place behind the French wall and magically transform into Christy, photographer and sole proprietor of On Focus Photo.

I really am very grateful that people are responding to my photographs, and honored that they would like to hang the prints in their homes or buy a note card to share with friends. It makes me want to do better, shoot stronger images, and keep improving my skills. I'm hoping that I come away from Tokyo with a new bag of tricks and a whole load of haunting images.

In other news, Blogger tells me this post is number 1001...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Come see me at Bite of Seattle!

I'll have a booth at the Bite of Seattle this weekend for On Focus Photo. Please stop by and say hi if you're in the area.


What: Bite of Seattle (FREE ADMISSION)
Why: It's the Northwest's Premier Food Festival
Fair hours:
11am-9pm, Friday, July 18
11am-9pm, Saturday, July 19
11am-8pm, Sunday, July 20
Where: Seattle Center, WA (under the Space Needle)
Getting there: See

Where can I find the On Focus Photo booth: On the roof of Fisher Pavilion (Look for the L and J boxes on this PDF map. I should be right there.)

I hope you can make it out!

West Seattle Summerfest: The Aftermath

West Seattle Summerfest was a great experience for us. About halfway through the second day I started to get nervous because people were buying so many prints. Would I have enough for Bite of Seattle next weekend? Oh noes!

That's not actually a bad problem to have.

In the end, we met a lot of friendly folks and I talked a lot of people's ears off about fireworks. It was tiring, but a lot of fun.

So I have not checked email or read any Web sites since last Wednesday. It's been a mad dash to do everything, and it continues with Bite of Seattle next weekend. I'll post more details about that later, but we'll be on the roof of Fisher Pavilion with the other art-type vendors. And that will be my last festival until Art at Marymoor Park in August.

I was up until midnight last night. After we tore down and arrived home from the fest, I settled the day's transactions and then created a "Current Inventory" report in MS Access and a "Sold List" so I could figure out what to reorder. Then I ordered it. With luck (and the extra charge for next day shipping) the new prints should arrive Tuesday. That will give me about 2 evenings to mat and make note cards to replace my stock...

Jeremy was awesome as always. I wasn't feeling very well for the first couple of days and his company and help were invaluable. On Saturday night, I taught him my method for making note cards, and we replenished the inventory from 10-11pm after a full day at the fest. Also, he bought me a little travel guide on Japan from one of the used bookstores so I could read it in between customers. Turned out there wasn't much downtime, but it was very thoughtful and I will read it during my commute.

I also got to meet one of my favorite print/illustration/ink artists, James Taylor. His Web site is here. I have several of his pieces around my office and a few more ready to hang. He was super nice and everyone should check out his work.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Another Chance to Catch Us at West Seattle Summer Fest

If you missed us, don't fret! You have another chance. We'll be back again at West Seattle Summer Fest from 10am-8pm today.

A cool thing: Patrick from West Seattle Blog stopped by and snapped a picture of Jer and I. I really should've moved away from the white wall and stood in front of one of my photos or my sign, but it all happened so fast. Paparazzi-style! He was super nice and was wearing a cool Spiderman shirt.

We arrived at our booth location at 6:30am yesterday (got up at 4:40am) and left around 8:30pm. Then we ate a quick dinner and I matted 8 more prints before collapsing at 11pm. Today we may or may not add a door opening to the side of our booth; there has been some dissent on this front. And we are looking forward to another day of festival fun.

Better go get ready! Daylight's a' wastin'!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Come see me tomorrow!

West Seattle Summer Fest starts tomorrow, where I will have a booth across from Garlic Jim's from 10am to 8pm and I will dazzle and frighten you with my master collection of groundbreaking new work.

Er, I'll put prints up. Mostly of Seattle, but some of Hawaii and southern California. There's also a dead jellyfish in there, but I assure you it is artistic. Also it's not really a jellyfish but it looks like one. More like a collection of blue jellyfish-like colonies.

The Fest is at California and Alaska Junction in West Seattle. Details are in the sidebar. I am going to take a quick nap and finish getting ready. We set up bright and early tomorrow before it starts.

My booth is On Focus Photo, if that's not clear. And I sell note cards, matted prints, and bookmarks. Lovely ones that you would like to give to friends and make your enemies jealous with. My husband Jer has mostly loaded the car for me, which is awesome, so now I will take a quick nap and finish the signs.

I heard the 520 is closed this weekend. So don't go that way.

See ya tomorrow maybe.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Until this year, I lived my life comfortable in the knowledge that I was not an allergy person. Sure there were occasional fluke times when Claritin was bought and consumed, eye drops were administered... but this is the first time in my life I've wanted to stay home from work because my eyes are itchy and red, I can't stop sneezing, my nose is running, and my sinuses are stuffed.

It's not consistent either. I have 1 or 2 good days, the weather changes, and I wake up like this. A week ago I slept with a damp washcloth on my eyes so I'd quit rubbing them.

Boo hoo, right?

I'm just totally amazed that I can go from something that's never bothered me ever, to my face melting off. How does that happen? I mean I've lived through way worse summers in southern California, but here, here the pollen count and dander is some special kind of hell.


In my last entry I mentioned Tokyo. Jer's work is sending him for awhile and I would like to visit for part of it. His dates are nearly nailed down, and I've gotten approval from work to take the time off, so now we are just waiting to sort out some details before I book a flight. It looks like it may actually happen and I am very excited.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Any Tokyo recommendations?

So there's a chance I may get to visit Tokyo. If it happens it will be very soon, and if it doesn't, there's still a good chance I will go eventually.

Anybody have any tips or suggestions for a first-time visitor?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Come see me at West Seattle Summer Fest!

Next weekend (one week from today) I'll have a booth at West Seattle Summer Fest for On Focus Photo. Please stop by if you're in the area. I'll be selling matted prints, note cards, and bookmarks based on pictures from the photoblog.


What: West Seattle Summer Fest
Why: A FREE 3-day street fair in West Seattle
Fair hours:
10am-8pm, Friday, July 11
10am-8pm, Saturday, July 12
11am-7pm, Sunday, July 13
Web site:
Where: West Seattle, WA (Heart of the fair lies in the intersection of California Ave SW & SW Alaska)
Getting there: Metro bus routes #54 and #55 (express routes from Downtown) stop right in the Junction. For more information on bus service see

Where can I find the On Focus Photo booth: I'll be set up across from Garlic Jim's, 4520 California Ave SW Seattle WA 98116. (

I hope you can make it out. I've got a new selection of note cards, larger prints, and lower prices on matted prints. Thanks!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Photo of the Fireworks

I shot these fireworks tonight, July 4, 2008, from West Seattle looking back towards the Space Needle. I used my brand new 80-200mm lens with my not so brand new Nikon D70. It was a good session.

This will also be posted as a photoblog picture next week, so if you read both places this is really like a super secret sneak peek. Boo yeah.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy Independence Day!

I declared yesterday "All About Me Day." It started with a fresh fruit danish from the bakery and another slow walk to work, practising being present. For the first time I noticed a dirty yellow "Fallout Shelter" sign on the side of a brick building. Not posted in irony.

Work work work.

At lunch I bought myself two Nutty Calf cookies and a small Diet Pepsi. They were out of milk; I improvised.

Work work work.

I needed art supplies so I left work a little early and rode the #11 bus up to Capitol Hill. It dropped me off across the street from the store, I bought my stuff, and then went next door to Six Arms for a basket of cajun tater tots and a couple of pints.

In retrospect I probably shouldn't have eaten all those tots. I felt like a kid who'd had too much at a birthday party.

I rode the #11 down to 3rd and Pike, got a twenty from the ATM, and then walked to the Seattle Art Museum. On first Thursday general admission is free and the special exhibit is only $10. So I bought a ticket and wandered around their Inspiring Impressionism show -- a lot of Renoir, Manet, Monet, Cassatt. My eye was repeatedly drawn to Jean Baptiste Greuze's "Boy Asleep Over His Book."

There was a Renoir in particular I liked, but I can't find the image online.

Then I explored the rest of the museum. Then I bought a smoothie. Then I came home. The end.

I'm rushing the end because Jer just woke up so it's time to eat or something. Yay.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

A Picture with the President

In a previous entry I mentioned a family member was injured in the Middle East. Here's a picture of him with President Bush being awarded a Purple Heart medal.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's too dark to see the keys

I have been trying to adjust my thinking, which is not unlike stopping a rolling boulder and forcing it to spin in the opposite direction. It takes time. It takes effort. It takes two scoops of gelato and a bowl of pho.

So let's focus on the positive. There's a 3-day weekend coming up. I just got paid. I made burritos for dinner due to the grocery store that recently opened beneath my gym. My cat is looking very cute lying on her back in front of the balcony. It's not as muggy as it was earlier. I get to sleep soon. I had a good session with my trainer.

I started the day with a bus ride and a large triple vanilla latte, and then I walked slowly to work -- I am apparently immune to caffeine's frenzied charms -- and I can safely say, that this is the prettiest town I've ever lived.

Let's ignore the fact that someone who will remain nameless (not Jer) attempted to remove the carpet glued to our balcony and left the job half-done right before a holiday weekend, or well, none of it is very interesting.

One day at a time, Bonnie Franklin.