Currently…

Currently (latte art)

Writing a fiction story I began working on at the Taos Summer Writers’ Workshop, which I hope to turn into a novel. We’ll see how that goes, though, because I tend to be distracted in my writing with too many ideas. I’ve also got about five other stories rolling around in my head, and have begun to dabble in starting a personal memoir. Not to mention blogging ;)

Such is the writer’s life!

Anticipating shooting an old friend’s wedding in just over two weeks! I am so excited for this awesome opportunity. I’ve always loved wedding photography, and a great wedding photographer was my top priority when planning my own wedding, so I am frankly honored that my friend Jeremy and his fiancé Michelle have entrusted me with this job. I have been spending the last few weeks preparing in all ways possible—researching, getting new gear, and finally taking the leap and starting up an official website!

Wearing shorts, while I still can! What’s funny is that I honestly had forgotten about my many pairs of cute lil short shorts in my bottom drawer until about a month ago. I guess I’d just gotten used to wearing all my work appropriate attire most of the week, so my shorts never really crossed my mind. It’s nice to get reacquainted :)

Craving a Seattle latte with beautiful foam art.

Also craving: being able to make such beautiful caffeinated art myself.

Missing being on vacation. Amiright?

Linking up with Dearest Love and Anne in Residence! What’s currently occurring in your life?

love always, Delia

Reasons to Go to Cabo on Your Honeymoon

A little over a year ago, I was unwinding by the side of a pool and the Pacific Ocean, simultaneously, during what was arguably the best week of my life (aside from my actual wedding week.) Lately, I’ve been pining pretty heavily to go back there.

Cabo Arc

I knew that a tropical honeymoon was going to be a top priority expense when we began planning our wedding. It went: photography, honeymoon, and then everything else. I know that may not be prioritization for everyone, but for us, it made the most sense, and I am so glad we were able to recognize that.

See, Ryan and I love to travel together. We love getting to explore new places and share new experiences. And, until our honeymoon, we’d actually never truly been on a trip where it was just the two of us. We’d made trips with family and friends, or traveled alone together to stay primarily with family and friends, but we’d never gone more than a day and a half in our own hotel room together, with no one’s itinerary for the day but our own. I couldn’t wait.

It took a while to settle on the actual location for our honeymoon. I wanted somewhere tropical because I wanted nothing more than to lounge on the beach to my heart’s content. I didn’t want to go somewhere where I’d want to go out and see a ton of things because I wanted our honeymoon to be a time of rejuvenation after the stress of the wedding, and a time of relaxed bonding during our first days of marriage. And, Ryan seemed pretty okay with wherever I wanted to go.

Cabo rocks

Eventually, we decided on Cabo, partially because it was one of the cheapest of all the places I was looking to travel to, and partially because it just seemed so charming. And I could not be happier with our choice. Thus, I bring you the list:

1) When you arrive at your hotel and mention that you are on your honeymoon, you just might be upgraded to the larger, fancier, more expensive sister resort, at no extra charge.

2) Your room may just have the perfect view of fancy hotel pools and the ocean. It also may rival the fanciest of hotel rooms you have stayed in.

ocean view from La Playa Grande room

3) You will fully embrace the lack of ability for anyone to contact you, sans phone service.

4) You’ll get to have the absolute best view for brunch, ever. Also, brunch is buffet-style, and contains all the greats. Chilaquiles and black beans and chocolate conchas and Mexican coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice (and I could keep going.) They will all grace your taste buds.

brunch at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas

brunch at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas

The best view for brunch.

5) Everywhere you go, the locals will all ask you if you are on your honeymoon. “Honeymooners!” they will say. “Do you know how I know you’re honeymooners? She looks very happy, and he looks tired.” This is apparently the standard greeting around the markets, but it makes it no less charming when you are actually basking in the fact you are on your honeymoon.

6) Your hotel may host nightly fiestas with prime entertainment and even better Mexican food.

7) You’ll be able to lounge by the pool and get your tan on like it’s your job. And when you get hungry or thirsty, someone will gladly bring you a margarita and some tacos. All included.

Poolside service in Cabo.

The hard life.

8) You’ll get to walk into town and go on adventures in a glass-bottom boat, or snorkeling, or swimming with dolphins.

Life jackets

snorkeling in Cabo
9) You might become involved in a dance competition on your snorkel expedition boat.

10) You’ll get to watch your new husband haggle prices in Spanish. (Or maybe that one might just be reserved for me.)

11) You’ll get to buy matching fedoras, and be super adorable like that.

Honeymoon in Cabo San Lucas

12) Finally, your elevator might be very informative and have a British accent.

There you have it. So, see you there tomorrow?

*I feel that I should add a couple of notes (because I clearly haven’t gone on long enough): keep in mind that if you want to swim in the ocean water, you have to do it on the bay side, not the Pacific side. “Lover’s Beach” is where many people enjoy to swim. Also, if you are running along the hot sand at Lover’s Beach, beware of sharp rocks of sandstone hiding below, or else you’ll end up like my husband, with a gash on the bottom of his foot that was bleeding so much I thought our honeymoon would turn into a Mexican hospital adventure. Finally, in case you’re curious, we stayed at La Playa Grande in Cabo San Lucas.

love always, Delia

One Year of Marriage: In Review

first year of marriage - photos

Well, Saturday Ryan and I celebrated our one year anniversary. I have been struggling a bit to keep up with big updates such as this, but what can you do sometimes?

We didn’t do anything crazy to celebrate. We slept in, I made French toast, we took Wally to the dog park, went to the mall and got my ring cleaned, had a nice, fancy dinner, and a movie in with our wedding cake, which my mom expertly wrapped and kept in the freezer the past 12 months.

I like things that way. Sometimes leaving the day somewhat up to chance makes it that much sweeter. Plus, doing that left me with some more time to think about this first year as husband and wife, and all the things we have done together. And isn’t that kind of the point?

Here’s a little summary of our first year that we came up with as we munched on cinnamon French toast:

summary of first year marriage

Oh, and then of course there’s the hundreds of photos and good times with friends. We are so blessed. A little taste above :)

love always, Delia

How Having Had a Long Distance Relationship Affects Our Marriage

signing marriage license

As you may or may not know, Ryan and I met when we were fourteen and fifteen years old, began officially dating when we were sixteen years old, and embarked on a three and a half year long distance relationship when I left for college at eighteen.

My memory of the night I told him I’d be going to college in California remains fresh. We were sitting side by side at a booth at Mimi’s Café. When I told him I’d sent in my acceptance letter, I began to cry, and he hugged me and assured me we would figure it all out. Our waiter seemed oblivious to the severity of our embraced conversation.

The memory of saying goodbye at the end of the summer remains even fresher. It does not seem five years ago that I left him alone in his driveway, about to venture alone into on the great unknown of college in Los Angeles. And yet, those years, and plenty more hellos and goodbyes, passed, and here we are, together under one roof and bound together in matrimony.

Ryan's airplane selfie

We have gone weeks at a time without being able to see each other. We have spent many Valentine’s Days, Halloweens, and birthdays apart. We have gone out with friends in our own separate cities, agonizingly aware of the missing company of one another. We have spent countless hours on Skype and phone calls. We have had extended conversations over text, and we have had miscommunications over text. We have argued over not getting to talk enough. We have each pondered whether it was all worth it.

And it was. The loneliness, frustration, and miscommunication faded away when we were able to be together again, even if only for a weekend. Our time apart was a challenge, but our time together was precious and easy. It kept us going through the darker times.

We’ve had countless people comment on how amazing it is that we were able to stay together for the three and a half years of our long distance relationship. While I can appreciate what they’re saying, knowing first-hand just how much it sucks not being in the same city as my significant other, I feel that most of these people don’t fully take into consideration how much growing and strengthening our relationship underwent because of the long distance.

Three things you’ll learn (or at least, I did) when my relationship became long distance:

  • The first thing you learn when in a long distance relationship is that communication is the most important element in a relationship. Miscommunication can lead to stupid fights, and stupid fights can feel like the end of the world when you’re not able to resolve them in person. Your words mean everything when you can’t physically be there for someone. You must use them wisely.
  • The next thing you learn is that quality time becomes your top priority. When you have an opportunity to spend time with your significant other at last, that is all that matters. You’re going to want to soak up every possible hour of every day you have to spend with them, because you know that this is not permanent.
  • Another thing that is a really, really big deal is trust. I’ve known many people try a long distance relationship and drive themselves crazy with mistrust. Those horrible thoughts will always fleet through your mind: “He’s not texting me back. What if he’s ignoring me?” or “She went out to a party with her friends last night. What if there was another guy?” You have to learn to push these thoughts from your mind and place all your faith in the person you love.

I could go on, but this post is getting long as it is.

Communication, quality time, and trust. Sounds like good preparation for marriage, no? We will carry these values for the rest of our lives together. Now, we have time and physical touch back on our side, but the lessons from the past years have not faded. I often find myself in deep awe that this life we live now is really real; we share the same bed, the same closet, the same food, the same weekend plans—how incredible is that? And how incredible that it feels so incredible? Sometimes I even feel myself still stuck in the long distance mentality that makes me greedy for time with Ryan. It is as if there will never be enough time together to make up for our lost time. That is something for me to work on, but at the same time, missing my husband by the end of my work day isn’t such a bad thing.

I always tell people to give a long distance relationship a chance. If it’s not going to work out, then it’s not going to work out. But why cut something off for a silly thing like distance, especially in this age of texting and Skype and unlimited minutes, when it could be something really great? I take pride in our accomplishment of staying together through the distance. What started out as a possible reason to break up at the end of high school ended up becoming one of the strongest bonds to unite us in our marriage, and while I would love the opportunity to re-live those years in the same city, I wouldn’t want to give up the stronger people we’ve become, together and individually.

Crossroads

holding the final pieces of the puzzle in our hands

It seems that time is winding closer and closer to the anniversary of one particularly important day in my life. And no, I don’t mean the anniversary of being hired as an official employee at the Press, though that is another mile marker I’ve recently passed.

My one year anniversary of being married to Ryan is just two short weeks away, and I find myself quite often musing about that life I was living in the time leading up to our wedding day. The monsoons have arrived in Albuquerque, and I am brought back to the memories of packing up my room and moving my things across town in the rain and into our apartment a week before the wedding. As the thunder booms and the giant rain droplets pound down for just a few minutes at a time, I’m reminded of when it did the exact same one year ago, as I stood in an empty apartment kitchen and unpacked the brand new dishes and appliances my mom bought for us. I think of my parents losing power for four days that weekend before the wedding, and each day praying for, at the very least, clear skies between 4 and 7 pm on August 2.

Now I have no such worries. The skies are free to rain any time and any day of the week, and I will welcome the drenching with open arms. I still have other worries for the future, as I always will, but I smile thinking of the monumental crossroads I stood at one year ago in comparison to the new, yet just as important, ones that I stand at today.

While at this time last year I was in the midst of starting a new job, finding an apartment, finalizing the last possible details of my wedding, and preparing for a life together with Ryan, these days I find myself in the midst of beginning yet another new chapter in my publishing career, anticipating Ryan’s official completion of his college career (as of this Thursday!), waiting to see where he’ll end up getting a job, making moves with my photography, and becoming newly inspired in my writing, thanks to the creative writing workshop I had the opportunity to attend this past weekend (but more on that in another post.)

It’s comforting to know that everything and still nothing has changed. Life was, is, and always will be busy, and it has turned out beautifully alright since last year’s crossroads; I’m soothed by the notion that the same will be true yet another year from now.

love always, Delia

Drawing with Sparklers for America’s Birthday

USA sparkler writing

Well, the three day weekend celebrating America’s Birthday is now behind us, and we are left again with a five day work week. Usually, the Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays, a great excuse for a gathering of friends around a pool and barbeque, to inevitably be rained on as the sun sets and the fireworks are prepared for takeoff all around town. But, almost none of this happened this year. The few friends we seem to have left in town were scattered among different events, and so there was no gathering at the Kearney pool, no swimming, and no barbeque.

There also happened to be no rain, which you usually might consider to be a good thing, but I often love when it rains for the Fourth. For one, when you live in the New Mexico desert, the knowledge that the ground is wetter than usual sets your mind at ease when it comes to watching and playing with fireworks. For two, the monsoons in New Mexico often also mean incredible lightning storms, which can make for a really awesome display when coupled with the fireworks. Imagine something like this:

Fourth of July lightning storm 2013

Nonetheless, the end of my Fourth of July night was complete when I got to play with sparklers and my camera. Sparklers are always a necessity for the holiday, and this year I made my mind to finally try my hand at those trendy light drawing photos. Best idea of the day.

"Delia" sparkler writing

Look at that beautiful cursive.

It was actually quite easy to put together, and so worth the play time. The steps:

1. Set my trusty Canon DSLR on a tripod.
2. On manual mode, set the aperture to a solid 7.1, ISO 400, and shutter speed to BULB mode (you may need or want to adjust these settings for your own purposes.)
3. Send the husband to make shapes with sparklers. Hold the shutter button down as he starts a shape, then release it as he finishes the shape (this is what BULB mode allows you to do.)
4. Trade places with him so that I can play.
5. Set the camera to a self-timer (changing shutter speed to about 2 seconds), to take 10 shots in a row, so that we can play together.

drawing with sparklers

drawing stars with sparklers

We also experimented with leaving the porch lights on and off, to get ourselves more lit up in the shots versus leave ourselves pretty much out of the shots.

sparkler kisses

And obviously we had to keep a couple with us staying still for the camera. Don’t you love how Wally is staring right at the camera, below? Ryan and I couldn’t stop laughing when we saw these. Let me remind you, there is not a person behind the lens there. He’s just the world’s most photogenic dog, I’m telling you.

fourth of july sparklers

So easy, and I’m loving these new additions to my hard drive.

Did you do anything special for your holiday? Have you ever tried your hand at sparkler/light-drawing photos?

love always, Delia

Occupational Hazards of a Life Planner

picking peaches

I am a major planner. I planned my entire college course load at the beginning of freshman year in order to be able to finish early, and I did indeed graduate a semester ahead of the rest of my class. I planned internships in publishing for myself throughout college to give me the necessary experiences to more easily get a job after graduation, and I in fact attained a position at a university press within months of graduation. I have gone so far as to plan my life ten years ahead—all tentatively, of course. I know that life often gets in the way of our best laid plans, and God often has alternative plans for us. But it’s just something I can’t turn off in my head. I partially blame my mom—she’s made certain family vacations happen that sound like total fantasy when she concocts them, and she made my wedding happen with fairly little outside help. What can I say, I learned from the best.

But this need is hard to turn off, which makes it really stressful when life gets entirely unpredictable. And my life is about to enter the stage of entirely unpredictable.

Don’t get me wrong. I do like having a little spontaneity and variety. But I need stability, and the fact that I have a full time job with a consistent schedule, salary, and vacation time seems to bode pretty well for me. So, the notion that this lifestyle which has become so normal to me in the past year could very quickly completely change is kind of really throwing my planning brain for a loop.

I should explain. Ryan is a month away from finally completing his college career, and is attempting to foray into the real-life engineering world. We don’t know when his efforts will pay off and he’ll receive a job offer. We don’t know where the offer will come from. We could be looking at relocating to a different city, or we could be looking into buying a house here. But we don’t know.

That scares the crap out of me. How am I supposed to plan for the next steps in my career when I don’t know what city I may live in within the next few months? How am I supposed to decide whether we should renew our lease next month, or for how long? How am I supposed to know what kind of vacations I can plan for next year? How can I shop for patio furniture if I don’t even know whether the goal of earning a yard and patio within the next year will be feasible?

So many unknowns. It all turns my brain into overdrive when I begin thinking about it. That’s when I have to remind myself to find joy in the journey, and trust that soon enough, these unknowns will become known, and soon enough, I may find myself nostalgic for this time of great change and potential. If I can’t plan anything right now, why not enjoy this time as if it’s time off?

marcelpagnol

via

I love this quote because it is so true, and a good reminder of how to appreciate life for what it is, and find happiness with what you have. By the way, did anyone associate the photo of peaches above as metaphorical for looking up at something just out of reach? Just me? I tried.

 How does the unknown frustrate you? Are you as terrible dealing with it as I am?

love always, Delia

Snapshots of a Weekend at the Grand Canyon

So, I went to one of the Seven Wonders of the World a few of weeks ago. I camped out there with eight of my best friends, all joined together from three different states to celebrate one friend’s birthday. I know, I know. That’s pretty amazing, so why didn’t I share about it sooner? I’m super overdue.

viewing the grand canyon

Sometimes I feel like if I try and write about something too soon after it happens, it’ll ruin the memory. If something is too fresh, I don’t remember it all clearly enough, and if I write down the too fresh to be clear memory, that’s all I’ll remember it as. Or at least that’s how it feels.

Grand Canyon group, Bright Angel Trail

But then there are times when I just need to write everything down as soon as I can, in case time snatches the memory away from me. I spent a large part of my honeymoon writing down everything I could remember from the wedding and the days leading up to it.

group at the Grand Canyon

I’m not sure anymore where I was going with that. But that did happen. It’s the little moments like these that I worry would fade into the land of the forgotten if I wasn’t able to write them down:

  • Driving right past a sleeping elk buck on our way to our campsite, and being baffled as to why no one else around seemed to be as fascinated.
  • Arriving at the campsite to find that Amy already managed to make sangria and iced tea.
  • Watching all four boys try to set up one tent made for a truck bed.
  • Our campsite neighbor who snored like a bear. All night. All weekend long.
  • Waking up to the morning light at 6am and thinking that wasn’t totally abnormal—though the amount of light at such an hour seemed unsettling.
  • Needing sweaters in the early hours of the day and upon nightfall, but shedding the layers to survive the desert heat during the day.
  • Asking a volunteer forest ranger about his trail recommendations and coming to the understanding that he thought we would be dead within an hour by the looks of us.
  • That Asian tourist we didn’t know who we caught taking a photo of us posing for a photo.
  • The squirrels on the trail that quite nearly attacked us for our food.
  • The gigantic crows that really did eat our food.
  • The gloriousness of an eight minute shower following the dustiest, sweatiest hike ever.

dusty shoes at the Grand Canyon

  • The vodka-infused watermelon I didn’t bother to try.
  • Eating s’mores while having secret conversations.
  • Calling ourselves “forever friends.”
  • Spreading the knowledge of Nerts.
  • Playing the most hardcore game of Scattergories.
  • Calling myself one of the Kearneys in a friends setting.
  • Almost missing the sunset, but making it there just in time.

at the Grand Canyon

Bright Angel Trailhead

Even though camping is exhausting, I love getting to get away from everything with my best friends. It’s the best kind of quality time there is. There are no phones to distract you. There is no place else you feel you need to be.

What are your camping stories? Or any other stories of traveling with friends? They may be my favorite kind of stories.

love always, Delia

Celebrating the Solstice

Until this year, I don’t know that I often thought twice about the summer solstice. The 21st of June would come, and I’d think, huh, today’s the longest day of the year, and I guess now it’s officially summer, and that would be it. I don’t know if I thought of it differently this year because it fell on a Saturday, or because my lifestyle now as a married, employed, apartment-dwelling person is so different from my student lifestyle.

picking peaches

picking peaches

There are many aspects of life that change when you make the switch from full time student to full time employee. Your schedule moves from one in constant flux to one that is just constant. No longer can you binge on Netflix through early hours of the morning because functioning for eight hours at work the next day is an utter necessity. The precious hours following the long work days are filled with making dinner and taking care of errands and chores, and perhaps an episode of a show or two. A summer break is lost to the daily grind, and the hours of sunlight and quality of weather seem to have an increased effect on your quality of mood.

picking peaches on the solstice

portrait of laughter

Realizing this puts into perspective the things that truly bring you happiness. I did not realize how important warm weather, hours of sunshine, and time spent outside were to my happiness until they were less easy to come by than they were living the student life in Southern California. Now that I must wake up before seven every day, I remember how much easier it is when the sun is already up, and now that most of my days are spent inside an office, I realize how much energy I sustain when I feel that there is still time to be had out in the sunshine after I get off work.

happy smile

Danny portrait

I’ve come to recognize how important it is to consciously draw on these opportunities to increase my own happiness. Just because I now have a full time job to attend to during the summer months does not mean I must forgo all the things about summer I hold dear. I decided to seize this year’s solstice as an opportunity to celebrate summer for what it still means to me now, and to show myself that it is still that special time of year that somehow feels more relaxed and full of opportunity.

summer solstice lounging

beagle belly

power point

Matt’s signature “power point.”

I spent most of the day outside with friends and my camera. We went to a park, then to the patio and poolside at Ryan’s parents’ house, where I picked peaches and served up barbeque chicken and orzo with zucchini as the sun went down. Then, we built a fire and had apple pie a la mode. While I often get frustrated at not having a yard or patio of our own, I feel lucky that even though my in-laws have moved back to Seattle, we are still able to use their beautiful yard, patio, pool, and fire pit to settle my impatience. It was a blessed day, and I’m glad I have these photo reminders of what is really important to me and my happiness, and of the wonder that is still to be had in the summer months.

bbq chicken and orzo

begging beagle

You would think he was being starved.

There is just something I love about the summer photos I take in the backyard of Kearney Palace, as I’ve just decided I’ll call it. They radiate happiness to me.

What little things make you happy that maybe you didn’t think about before?

love always, Delia

Wait, it’s June already?!

Looking across the Grand Canyon

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve been around these parts. I could say that I feel bad that I haven’t even logged into my WordPress account in about two weeks, but frankly, that would be a lie. It’s pretty easy to swallow that twinge of guilt when I think about how happy I’ve been to just live the crazy life that’s been my reality the past several weeks, without concerning myself with writing it down. And hey, it’s my blog, and I can do what I want to. (Cue Lesley Gore.)

I realized this morning that it was the first time in about six weeks that Ryan and I were able to sleep in and enjoy a plan-less Saturday together. Slightly mind-boggling, and only further proof to myself that it’s okay to let certain things slip when the schedule gets a little hairy.

Grand Canyon at sunset.

It is already a month ago that I went to my high school reunion and my in-laws moved back to Seattle. It is already nearly two weeks since I got back from my jaunt to New York City. And it has only been a few days since we returned home from the Grand Canyon, but I’m finding it hard to believe we were even there. Time has been such a blur.

You know what makes time blur together even more? When the hours at work are spent scrambling to keep up with the influx of work to do and the pile-ups of paperwork that naturally occur when one is out of the office for five days within two weeks. But now I just sound like I’m making excuses for myself, so forget about all that.

The truth is, May has been a pretty intense month for me. “Has been”? What am I saying? I guess it’s already June 7th. I don’t know how that happened, but what I do know is that this morning, for the first time in weeks, I got to sleep in and eat breakfast at a wonderfully late hour of the morning, while finishing a movie with Ryan. (I couldn’t stay awake for it last night. Such is life for a 23 year old married woman who knows how to party on her Friday nights.) I also got to cleanse the apartment of all the mess that builds up when its two inhabitants have for several weeks been in and out of town and struggling with stomach flus and head colds, as we have.

Ah, home, sweet home. The clutter is in the closets, the carpet freshly vacuumed, and the hard drive christened with new folders containing evidence of my latest, well-photographed adventures. And I finally have a moment to sit here on my couch and process all that has recently been added to my memories. I almost typed that maybe I’ll take this opportunity to finally get back to writing, but look: I already have!

Grand Canyon at sunset.

Sometimes, you really do have to wait patiently for that spare moment before you can fathom all of the twists and turns you just went through. All you can do until then is enjoy the present for whatever is, and not worry about too much else.

I hope you enjoy some of these Grand Canyon photos as much as I enjoyed taking them. Don’t worry, I’ll post more on that soon.

love always, Delia