Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Theory of Exposure...Theory of Speed

Okay so I visited my dad today for my first of what will be VERY MANY learning sessions.  

Layla and I got up this morning...I had my coffee, she had her milk..and we headed out to my parent's house for breakfast and (1)photography school for mommy (2)botany school for Layla.  Dad and I shut ourselves away in the basement with the camera while mom took Layla away to talk about flowers.  Dad walked me through the basic theory of exposure...aperture, shutter speed and ISO (which is a film term--still used in the digital age--to indicate how sensitive the film is to light).  It was so interesting to learn the "science" behind what makes a technically good photo.  One of the things I've always admired about my father's work is that he is so technically precise...his photos were spot on even before Photoshop became so widely used.  I still think he's an "old soul" when it comes to photography and I LOVE IT!  Sorry for digressing...back on topic...

We also talked about how to know when to use a flash based on my shutter speed...AND probably more important than anything on the technical laid the foundations for how to operate the camera on a manual setting.  YIKES!  Don't they have automatic for a reason?  HA!  Dad convinced me that what can make or break a photo is knowing how and when to tweak things manually.   Ultimately, I should be in control of what the camera is doing, not the other way around.

I read this today in one of dad's books and it described my dad's philosophy perfectly 
"In reality, what makes someone a good photographer is not a special lens, or a limited-production film, or a rare filter known to no one else (or a photoshop "action"); it is the use of good photographic technique and a thorough knowledge of exposure control."  I guess that's why dad does all he can to make sure that I KNOW good technique by not allowing my camera to make all my decisions.

Then, we talked a little about composition as we reviewed some of my pictures from the wedding this weekend.  There were some moments I felt really proud and some where I sort of felt silly.  I am so excited to be able to fire away with the camera some this week. download my images and look for the things we talked about.  So, I'll probably be shooting a lot of randomness this week, but that's how I'll learn. dad is such a good teacher.  I don't even feel slightly overwhelmed...quite the contrary.  I feel like today brought a lot of clarification to that strange little camera.  It opened my world up to more than just the automatic setting--albeit  only marginally for the time being.  This is just so exciting!  I really haven't been this excited about something outside my family and running since I learned how to make Eggs Benedict from scratch :-)

SO finally...we walked upstairs and found Layla in the kitchen with was telling her the scientific names of all the flowers they picked while Layla would give each one the sniff test.  On the way home, Layla was quietly looking out of her window when she all of the sudden SHOUTED....'ahhh ohhhhhh Nana"  followed by a big, huge sniff.  I realized that we forgot the flowers she picked with Nana.  We immediately called Nana to ask her to bring them over tomorrow when she comes to visit...which I thought would be satisfactory.  Wrong.  Layla went down for her nap telling her bunnies about how she left her flowers at Nana's...which I am assuming reminded her of Beau because I heard her telling him "no" over the monitor.  SO FUNNY to catch little glimpses of what goes through that little head of hers!  

Not much to say and I did speed work last night...we averaged 8:18 mile repeats and finished our last mile repeat in 7:36, despite the wind blowing HARD for about 3/4 of our run.  That's right guys--the wind somehow blew right in our faces for about 300 of our 400 meter laps!  How is that possible?  I spent the better part of the first two miles trying to figure it out, but never came to a conclusion.  I did have several moments of clarity with regard to the crazy wind--(1) the force with which my feet propel me forward on a rubber track is slightly mitigated by strong head wind and (2) snot dries on the side of my face relatively quickly when I'm running...cold...and running in a cold wind.  HOWEVER, (3) I do feel like dad and I are now capable of posting our 8:20 miles to qualify for Boston--despite the wind and snot.   We did great last night! 

Monday, September 22, 2008


As I wrote in my last post, this weekend I had the pleasure of working with my dad on a wedding...and like the title says...I think I'm addicted!  I had so much fun, I never looked at my watch and I definitely didn't want to leave.  

This is the thing...I have always loved watching people.  I used to visit airports (pre 9/11) to sit and watch people getting off the planes. I loved taking note their faces when they would see the familiar faces of their loved ones.  I like the rawness of peoples' emotions when they haven't a clue that someone is watching.  And there is something to be said about seeing people interact with those they love...its the one place people tend to relax and let everything out.  Shooting the wedding with dad this weekend reminded me of how much I am intrigued by people.  I know it sounds kind of strange to say, but it was a THRILL to see people through the lens.

SOOOO...I've attached three of the pictures that I took on Saturday.  I'm sure dad will have more on his blog at some point.  Lizzy and Alan (the bride and groom) were so sweet.  One thing I couldn't get over was how Alan could NOT keep his hands off of Lizzy.  He was constantly touching her hair...pulling at her veil...sneaking kisses.  Even when dad was lining up the guys for some pictures, Alan could hardly pay attention for staring at his beautiful bride.  One of the pictures below shows him watching her.  Dad was taking some pictures of Lizzy alone and I noticed Alan looking at her with the look of pure elation on his face...that was the look on his face through the entire ceremony and reception.  There was no posing in that picture.  That's the way it should be (not the lack of posing..but Alan's obvious adoration of his bride--the love of his life)!  It made me miss my husband--I just wanted to run home and kiss him...

HA--and yes...I had to fight to hold back tears during the father/daughter dance.  I ALWAYS bawl during those dances.  So embarrassing!  Her daddy was just so stinking sweet...and quiet.  So I'm standing there shooting away and I look across the floor and see my dad....HELLO...I was holding back the Hoover Dam out there!  I think the mother saw a tear, because we made eye contact and she gave me one of those knowing smiles that only moms can give.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

chatter box child is seriously talking now and its not Chinese!  It is so exciting!  She adds new words to her vocabulary every day --yesterday she enjoyed saying "water" "whoa" "wow" and "work, dadDY" all afternoon and then threw in her own name periodically.    It has to be one of the cutest things in the world to watch a child learn to talk.  So SWEET!

She's also required a new bed time ritual as of late.  Layla has ditched some of her favorite books in favor of mommy telling her stories.  Keep in mind..I am NOT a very good story teller.  I guess the funniest part of the night night stories is that Layla has to cue me in when I leave out details and it is HILARIOUS!  Two nights ago, I was telling a story about her friends, Elliot and Lucy (which are two of her new favorite words) at the park.  She sat up in my lap, looked me in the eyes and corrected me that "yay ya" (Layla) should be at the park as well.  Last night, I left Papa out of the story...SHAME SHAME mommy!  

But the biggest story of the week is this...
Last night as I was finishing up our night night story, I leaned over to Layla and whispered that I love her...something I do so much that it probably drives her bonkers.  She looked up at me and did her best impression of a whisper and said, "aye yuv yuuuu".  Yep...that's I love you in toddler speak.  I can't put words on my feelings at that very moment.  So we sat in her rocking chair and exchanged back and forth "I love  yous" for 5 minutes.  I felt weightless for the rest of the 5 minute conversation with Layla last night has to be in the top 5 biggest and most special times in my life so far.  

OKAY so on to running...this will be pretty short and sweet.
Dad and I have started speed work at the track on Wednesday evenings.  Yesterday we finished up our last interval with these splits...
4-7:34 MILE

For those of you doing the math...that last lap was FAST--for me at least, especially after already doing mile intervals.  Dad actually said that he things I can go faster and push harder.  The strange thing is that I believe him and am excited to feel that burning in my legs and my lungs.  Yesterday...on that last mile...I really knew I was alive.  I was focused on the rhythm of my breath and could feel my legs were doing some major work.  I am waiting on next Wednesday with so much excitement.  I love Wednesdays and Saturdays...I love the feeling of being pushed to the extreme.  I love giving myself a "gut check" and passing.

Okay and and I have been tossing the idea around for awhile now, but I've been a afraid to commit...I finally did and...DA DA DA DAAAAAAAAAAAA I am shooting my first wedding with dad on Saturday.  Whew...deep breath Lindsey.  DEEP BREATH.  I'm nervous and anxious...but am excited that dad invited me into another little part of his world with him.  It'll be fun.  Perhaps I should wear a in obscure terms...maybe throw in some random French phrases here and there and I'll look like a pro.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Discipline-not to be confused with denying myself chocolate cake in massive amounts

Dad and I had a great run today.  We started at 5am to avoid the heat (and to make certain he could make it to Bradyn's soccer game at 9:30) and it was BEAUTIFUL.  At one point, it was so quiet that dad said he felt like the rapture had taken place--good thing it didn't or we'd be in a very tight spot :-)

We've been hanging out at 16.5 miles for the past two weeks so that dad can map out the rest of our plan for conquering Charlotte and qualifying for Boston.  I know that we will eventually run 26.2 miles in preparation for Charlotte..but we'll do them much much much slower than on race day.  We also talked about doing a 16.2 mile run at some point that is at race pace--YIKES!  I guess that's the magic number for a run being long enough to prep our bodies and minds but short enough not to lower our performance in Charlotte.  All this planning....crazy!

Okay in case you all were starting to miss my "things I learned" section...its back.  I are welcome :D
Things I Learned While Running Today:
(1) Gu Roctane is the jam.  That stuff is AMAZING! It has an amino acid blend that actually slows the lactic acid build up in your muscles (the stuff that make your muscles burn and your limbs feel SUPER heavy).  Plus, it comes in blueberry flavor which is pretty good by "gel" standards.  I know I've already sang the praise
s of Gu...but you really can't beat the Roctane
(2)  Long hills actually feel pretty darn good on long runs.  Yeah, I said it.  I think it must have been all the hill repeats that make just one or two hills in a row seem like a cake walk (speaking of cake...I believe I might..chocolate...with chocolate icing).  
(3)  I've been working a lot on bringing discipline to several areas of my life--obviously not in the areas that effect cake consumption--one I continue to struggle with is knowing when and how to keep my comments to myself.  I'm doing a pretty good job of it today (baby steps, right?).  I've already kept my mouth shut TWICE...even though I felt like I had some wisdom to impart...HA!  Those of you who know me well should be very proud.
(4)  Make note of this...PLEASE make note of this.  At about 16 miles, dad informed me that we had been running the last mile at race pace and that we should feel, on race day, like we did at that very moment--as far as our breathing and talking pattern go.  
Let me back up...I asked him on Wednesday during speed work if we would be able to have   our normal conversations on race day.  He informed me that we'd probably be breathing to heavy and focusing too much on the run to really talk.  WHAT?  Everything suddenly became much clearer.  December 13th is not going to be a long easy run...who was I kidding. We are going to run our legs oh man am I excited!  Seriously...I can't wait. finished up his thing about our breathing rhythm with the following, "but I don't really know about you.  You are in as good of shape as me now...maybe even better." NOT true, but I'll take it.  Thanks for the encouragement dad...that was a very nice thing to say :-)

I'm closing with a picture of my sweet Layla...she has started really hamming it up for the camera.  Neil and I are trying so hard to teach her the "senior picture pose".  I think she's starting to get the hang of it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Restraint--Layla's showing it..should I?

Two days and no hitting!  I know we aren't out of the woods just yet...but it was so interesting to see Layla start to use some self-control.  That notion must be so foreign for her (must be nice).  I could see that strong desire to hit go straight across her little face...I would brace myself for a battle of wits with an 18 month old...and then WHEW...she put her little hands down and shook her head "no".   So she's learning a very important life lesson and I am so thankful that I am the one teaching her...restraint...and self control...those are hard ones!

She also is now convinced that only her Papa changes her diaper...despite the fact that I change almost all her diapers?  Strange.  Today, she made a yucky and then ran to find my phone, brought it to me, opened it and said "papa" while grabbing her diaper.  So dad...looks like you have a very lucrative career as a professional diaper changer.  You definitely made an impression on little Layla. funny.  Layla has also woken up nearly every morning for the past 3-4 days saying "Nana...Papa....Beau....NO!" (which is Layla speak for nana and papa have a new puppy, Beau.  He bites at my feet and nana tells him "NO BEAU!")  I wonder if she's dreaming about Beau or something?  It is certainly the first thing on her mind in the morning.

FINALLY...I purchased her little Halloween costume and it is so cute.  I was considering a piglet costume, but the hood looked really REALLY heavy and uncomfortable.  SO I opted for a flower costume.  She has little green and pink striped tights that go with it, but I haven't put the whole thing on her yet.  She really found the "hat" to be quite I'm thinking I made a good choice.  PLUS, I figured this would be my last Halloween to dress her completely ridiculous and cute, so I'm taking advantage of it :-)  She happens to be quite SMITTEN with her daddy right now so she insisted he be in the picture.  I feel so incredibly blessed to see the two of them together--two peas in a pod.

Tonight is my first stab at speed work.  I'm excited but kind of nervous.  I guess I just don't know what to expect.  It should be fun though...and it'll be nice to have my dad with me while doing lap after lap around the track.  Natasha, dad and I did a 10 mile run last night so it'll be interesting to see how my muscles have recovered from my long run on Saturday...a 5.5 mile run on Monday...10 on Tuesday AND then speed work tonight.  Am I doing too much?   Should I be working on showing some restraint?  Guess I'll know in about 5 hours :-)

AND I have to give kudos to Natasha for doing so well last night!  She was sick with a yucky cold but still did 10 miles without even the first complaint.  Good job Tasha!  I'm so proud of you and excited to have had an hour and a half of YOU time last night.  I am so blessed....SO SO SO blessed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good morning Hanna and I finished up a short little 16.5 mile run today.  We got started about 7am and were DRENCHED by 7:05am.  I think both of us were a little worried that the wind would pick up,  along with the rain, at somewhere around 12 miles.  SO even though we planned on doing a 12 mile run with 6 miles in the middle at near race pace...we opted to wait on that and just to stay close to downtown (just in case the rain tried to wash us away).  

FORTUNATELY...despite dad's and my musing about how, after commenting about the rain not being too bad,  God may want to surprise us by piling on the rain and wind--you know, to see if we were up for the challenge....the rain let up after about 7 miles.  Though our feet were still squishy and our clothes were drenched, we enjoyed a nice finish to our run.  No hot rain...just clouds and some traffic.  It was a perfect day to run and we were both so happy that we risked looking like complete nut jobs for a couple of miles to enjoy a great day on the road.

I added to play list to sum up our run...we started with crazy rain...then wind...then beautiful skies.  What a defiantly deserved its own play list.  Hopefully I can keep up with it and change it periodically :-)  We'll see.  

OH btw...Neil and I have attempted to start using a chair for Layla when she is disobedient.  I really thought she was the type of child who would do well with that sort of "punishment".  HA...sadly mistaken.  After being put in her chair just once for hitting, she proceeded, later in the day, to hit her Harvey bear and THEN place herself in the chair---sitting quietly with her eyes closed.  I had to make a very quick exit because was laughing hysterically.  Aye Aye Aye....back to the drawing board. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Not a lot to talk about today...but I wanted to share two links..

I think I'm going to add her to my list of people with whom I'd like to run.  Can you imagine the conversation!?

Layla and I went to my parents on Monday so that I could do a 7 mile run with Natasha (and mom could keep Layla).  On the way over to mom and dad's, I noticed Layla had her little foot slung over the side of her car seat with her pant leg hiked up.  For some reason, it struck me as funny...SO I looked back at her and stated the obvious:

Mommy:  Look at you.  Your pant leg is all hiked up.  Ha ha ha ha!
Layla:  I know.  (NOTE:  the tone in her voice was HILARIOUS--completely matter-of-fact--not even a little TINY smirk on her face).
Mommy:  What??
Layla:  I know.

Needless to stay, I spit coffee out all over the place and laughed uncontrollably while Layla continued to chant, "I know, I know, I know."  She said the same thing that afternoon when I told her that mommy needed to peel the apple before she ate it because she may choke..."I know, I know."  Its very odd that she uses that phrase correctly.  She seems like such a big kid when she says it.

Dad took some pictures of Layla on Monday and they turned out SO sweet (for those of you keeping number two).  

Tonight dad and I will face our last hill repeat session!  I am so excited.  I'm excited about seeing progress and I'm excited to move on to speed work at the track :-)  

Monday, September 1, 2008

King Midas I have to brag on my very smart and gifted husband for just a minute or two :-)

Most of you may already know that he is a very talented musician.  He's absolutely amazing...he writes...he plays...he sings.  He's my own personal Bob Dylan (except MUCH MUCH MUCH nicer on the ol' peepers).  

WELL, my Neil William is also amazing with his two little hands in another way.  He is able to imagine...and then work wood into the most extraordinary pieces of furniture--or art, as I like to think of it, because he puts so much of himself into every single piece.  We recently had to purchase a new computer--our 8 year old Mac finally went down the tube--which required us to find a place for said computer.  Neil decided to make a small desk in our living area--a desk that warped into a full on entertainment center/bookshelf/humidor...with leaded glass and lights that have three levels of brightness (NOTE: for those of you who have a clue about home improvement project, please forgive my kindergarten way of describing Neil's work).  WOW, I am so proud of our new living room...and BEYOND proud of Neil.

Neil has the Midas touch.--I've never seen him fail at anything.  He reminds me of that guy on Meet the Parents--Owen Wilson's know..the way he does EVERYTHING with ease and perfection.  That's my Neil William.  I am just in awe of how much talent lives in his little body.  Watch out world...he's going big time with 
something...sometime...someday.  I'm just giving ya'll the heads up :-)  

And yes...those are all MY books.  I've read them each--probably twice (esp the really thick ones)--wink wink