Photo Project: Photo Combining

I had this idea at work and posted about it on Facebook to “obligate” myself to follow through and not back out because I might decide it was too ridiculous or too challenging or whatnot. And it actually turned out really well, so I’m glad!


Every single part of this picture was photographed separately – the jar, the plant, the arm, the drops (yes, that’s photographed), the knife. I got a bit stuck on how to imply the wrist was bleeding so hopefully that comes across. Originally I wanted to show that the plant was growing out of the green blood but again, I hoped it was implied well enough without getting too crazy.

I may have been reading too many “mystical forest magic” stories lately!

At the end of the day, this was about how well I could combine photos so I’m quite pleased, especially since this was my first attempt.


Donor Dash 10k

Sunday was my race!

Sadly, it did not take place on this street because that would have just been perfect:


But it did take place nearby, on a tree-lined road by the water.

But backing up – it was a full weekend! Friday night – Saturday night I was at a bar mitzvah. I met a lot of interesting people, so I enjoyed myself. I didn’t get to my hotel in Delaware until 12:30am, but I wanted to be prepared so I laid out my race stuff before I headed to bed:


I’d also brought food for the morning, so basically I put everything in the best place for a quick and smooth morning.

I got up early because there wasn’t designated race parking. The parking lot at the Art Museum had JUST filled up, so I kept circling – turns out I didn’t think about the way Philly people park – as in, in the middle of the street. So yes, I came back later to find a line of cars parked down the center of the parking lot! But it’s all good because I found parking very close by and the on-street parking rates in Philly are pretty good.

Before the race my main goal was to find the place where you could take photos saying who you’re running for. I also talked to various other runners – met some nice people. A lot of the families were transplant families, so the race was really meaningful that way – to have so many people running because transplant has impacted their loved one’s (or their!) lives. One guy was running in honor of his brother-in-law who had a heart transplant – and is doing so well now that he does triathlons!



I got so excited over this guy. He had bundled his sweatshirt on his back when he got warm, but because of how he folded it with the word “cure” showing, it totally looks like he’s “carrying the cure” on his back!


The race itself was decent. I wasn’t at my strongest and my nose was running faster than I was, but I still ran a good pace (and the people I was running for can’t breathe easily either, so I decided it was appropriate!). The first half took me 37:00 minutes (overall pace 11:55 min/mile) and the second half took me 37:34 (12:00 min/mile overall pace). Total time: 1:14:34 – which is actually in line with my best times in training, so I’m pleased. There weren’t any spectators while we were running or at the finish line, but the volunteers were great about cheering us on when we passed them.

There wasn’t really anything going on when the race ended, so after grabbing a banana and pretzels, I wandered back to my car to eat and text my family that I’d survived the race. My parents really made my day by calling me right away and cheering me through the phone. I have to admit, it’s really lonely to run a race without anyone there to either run with you or cheer you on. But my parents’ call totally made up for it!

Once I’d eaten my snack, I paid for another few hours of parking and started heading towards a sign I’d seen for an exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences. I ended up at the Rodin Museum first. I’d had no idea it existed, but it’s gorgeous – both the grounds and Rodin’s work, of course.



Completely random factoid: Rodin became completely obsessed with getting de Balzac’s head right and spent EIGHT YEARS on it. And then the world didn’t like it! The critics said it made him look undignified.


At that point I decided I had to eat and caffeinate. So I wandered some more and got a sandwich and a latte and randomly photographed these flowers in Whole Foods.


Because I had caffeine in hand, I went into the gift shop first when I got to the Academy of Natural Sciences. Most. Awesome. Gift. Shop.

I talked myself out of buying this shirt, but it was a close thing:


Instead I bought some cards for friends. Also bought some gifts at the Franklin Institute …. I am so spoiled from DC having free museum admission. What I did in each gift shop was ask the cashier what I had to see at the museum. Then I thought about whether that stuff sounded like something I felt I had to see.

At 1:30 (about 4 hours after the race), I was just exhausted, so I decided to drive home. I had more surprises in the form of several phone calls – from both my aunts and from my friend (the one whose son turned bar mitzvah) asking how the race went. So sweet of everyone to remember and call me!

Next up is The Color Run 5k on May 19 with a group of coworkers. I’m planning to keep doing 3 – 4 mile runs between now and then to keep in shape for it. Fitting in a 3 or 4 -miler is much simpler than a 6-miler! Training for the Donor Dash 10k really did what I needed from it – gave me a goal to work towards, something to build my days around when I needed more balance, something to focus on and bring meaning to the losses I see in the rare disease community I work with. I’m looking forward to continuing to run (and cross-train), but I’m also looking forward to being slightly less intense about training.

Last night (Sunday), I crashed to sleep at 9:00 pm. It’s 9:45 pm now on Monday and I’m falling asleep at the keyboard. Bedtime!


Back around New Years I decided to renew my commitment to exploring more and censoring myself less. I’m not great at indulging my interests and I tend to be satisfied with “everyday adventures” – like trying a new recipe. That’s not a bad quality – it certainly helps keep my budget in line – but there are a lot of things I’ve wanted to do for years and never really took any first steps towards.

So I signed up for a glassblowing class for the end of January. It was a great experience – to give myself that permission to do something just because it interested me, to attempt something completely out of my element (I’m better with words and images than with raw materials), and to step up and try something that made me a bit nervous (think molten glass on a heavy metal stick).

I’ve been waiting to post about it until I picked up my piece! I could have picked it up the very next day – it just needed to cool – but work and rock climbing kept me from getting there til tonight. I was going to wait til the weekend, and daylight, to take photos – but I had caffeine at 5:30pm and went on a creative frenzy at bedtime, sending my roommate searching for white fabric, moving my lamp, rearranging my mirror, sweeping everything and anything off my desk to make room. It was awesome.

Here are photos from the glassblowing workshop:

This is called the crucible. Incidentally, this led me to look up the etymology of the word crucible. I’ve been mistakenly associating it with crucifix for years because of the play The Crucible. Turns out it’s from “crucibulum” originally meaning “night lamp.” Since 1645 it’s been used to describe a severe test or trial.

Inside the crucible are these clear glass chips:

Which look exactly like ice cubes. The furnace melts them into the molten glass that we use for glassblowing.

For color, we dip the hot glass in crushed colored glass:

Then we melt it in with more heat.

During the shaping process, we use different tools, as well as more heat to keep the glass malleable enough:

This tool helps make an indent (aka, the thinnest point of glass) where the glass first leaves the rod, so that when the piece is cool we can just tap the rod and the glass piece will separate.

The paddle helps make a flat bottom so your glass can stand up!

Heat throughout the process keeps your glass workable – so long as you keep turning it so it doesn’t droop too far off center!

Up until this point (above), you’ve been working on the glass with the top of the glass attached to your rod. Our teacher got a dab of molten glass to attach the bottom of the glass to a new rod so we could open up the mouth of our glasses.

After we separated our finished product from the rod, our teacher grabbed an open flame to seal the spot where the glass had been attached to the rod and to give it a finish. I’m not sure what’s on that rag that keeps it from catching fire – I need to go back and ask!

We each made two pieces. The first is called a “caterpillar” and is the first piece every glassblower makes. It’s a chance to get a feel for the tools and “get your feet wet” with glass. I grabbed a small mirror for these photos:

The second piece was a glass or vase (one student made a shot glass). My teacher dubbed mine a “wonky glass.” Megan asked me what makes a wonky glass and I said “because it’s wonky.”

Just to obsess over mirrors and lighting for a minute – here’s a shot without them set up well:

Here are shots with them:

That’s my glass! I can’t wait to use it – I love it!

Here’s my set-up – despite the chaos it wreaked on my room, it’s actually pretty simple:

The white fabric kept the mirror from reflecting my room – or me – in the photos, and added a nice texture, I think. I haven’t experimented with mirrors much, and with fabric even less – I tend to take photos with natural settings rather than create scenes. But I’m really pleased with how these turned out and it’s another creative thing I want to pursue more. Maybe I’ll figure out how to permanently set up my desk so it’s easy to set up photo shoots without relocating three piles of stuff.

Hmmm, now where to keep my glass?