Wow. I don’t even know where to begin. It’s been far too long since I last blogged. Granted, we’ve been in Tennessee for the past 8 days, and our schedule was pretty nonstop the entire trip. But still. I know you faithful blog readers still come back to check for updates, and I’m sorry I’ve been disappointing you lately! Trust me, there will be PLENTY to blog for the next couple of weeks.
Before we left, I had been complaining about not having enough rainy days here in Utah. This whole dry climate thing is kind of foreign to us. It rained quite a bit in early June, but after that, there were literally two days of rain in, oh, almost 3 months. WEIRD. So sure enough, we get to Tennessee and it rains EVERY SINGLE DAY. We’re talking cold, windy, dark, depressing rain. So it was great the first couple of days, but when I had five photo shoots to do mostly outdoors, I kind of panicked. It was definitely one of the more challenging situations I’ve been in, having to shoot outside when it is literally pouring. On the one hand, overcast days are generally optimal for shooting, as you don’t get a lot of squinty glares and harsh shadows and bright spots, but on the other hand, worrying about getting all of my gear wet was a little nerve-wracking, to say the least. But I’m glad to have had the experience, because I definitely want to be prepared at all times to shoot in any condition.
Last Saturday, we flew into the Nashville airport late in the afternoon and met Grandmother and Grandaddy and Uncle Mike and Aunt Paula for dinner. Jamie made the mistake of announcing that the cheesy bread at this restaurant was probably the best he had ever eaten, and Grandmother spent most of the rest of dinner trying to make sure he took home a to-go box full of them. She gets very concerned about food situations, which is really funny. We talk about and eat a LOT of food on the Harris side of the family. :) Then she sent us home with a chocolate chip pecan pie, which for Jamie may as well have been the keys to the pearly gates of heaven. He had that pie demolished in two days flat. One morning I came downstairs and he was holding the entire pie pan in his lap, eating straight out of it. He consumed probably 1/3 of the whole thing… for breakfast. When I asked him last night what his favorite meal of the week was (because there were a LOT of contenders), he thought for a second, and then responded, “Grandmother’s pie.” Oh boy.
So then early Sunday morning, we got up and drove to Asheville for Leila and Vidur’s wedding at the Claxton Farm. Thankfully, this was the one day that wasn’t gloom and doom outside, because the entire event was outdoors. And it was SO lovely! When I blog it, I’ll give you all the details, but it was most definitely a fun day. I can’t thank my mom and Jamie enough for coming with me and assisting with posing and shooting and lighting and everything else. I couldn’t have done it without you guys!
We stayed the night in Asheville, then got up the next morning to do a morning-after shoot with Leila and Vidur. Of course it was POURING again, so we had to do some improvising, but I think it turned out well. Then we drove back into Knoxville, just in time for me to make my way over to Heather’s house for an awesome shoot of all her baked goods she’s selling through her business, Sprinkle Bakes. She is unbelievably talented, but again, more on that later. Then I drove back to my parents’ house, and my mom cooked an amazing dinner of steak and salad and sweet potato casserole. To die for. Sometimes Jamie and I attempt to cook for ourselves, but usually, if we’re even at home at the same time, we’ll get into some argument at the grocery store about what to eat, and Jamie will moan and groan because he doesn’t want the kitchen to get messy and – God forbid- to have to do dishes afterwards, so most of the time it’s not even worth the hassle. Instead we rely on cereal (usually about 8-10 different varieties) and 99 cent Totino’s pizzas to meet our nutritional needs. So of course we were in HEAVEN all last week with all the amazing meals we got to eat. Nothing like good Southern cooking to satisfy the soul.
Tuesday morning, we got to sleep in… til 10:30! It was NUTS! What with school and work, and then of course our precious dog who regularly wakes up before 6 am pawing at our faces and scratching the door to get breakfast, we never get to sleep that late. It was glorious, especially after such an exhausting weekend. Then I went to Starbucks and got to hang out with all my old friends and make sure nothing had changed TOO much while I’d been gone. I was so glad to see everyone again. Later, we met my parents at Fuji for dinner. Oh Fuji, how we had missed you and all your tasty shrimp-saucy-ness. Mmmm. We loved seeing our favorite waitresses there too. They know us all, and what we order every time, and they were so happy to see us. They are, hands down, the best waitresses. Ever. Then we got to follow up that with $2 pint night at Barley’s with the Starbucks gang, and I seriously have not laughed so hard in a long time. We finally rolled back into the house around 1:30 (which is LATE for us these days!), and then the next morning…. slept until NOON. I repeat, NOON. Who am I?! After being lazy for awhile, we hung out at Starbucks some more, and I got to talk to my friend Sarah for a couple of hours about photography, which was neat-o. She just recently purchased a Diana camera too, so we compared notes on that, and -jealous!- she has a ring flash that attaches to hers that I got to play with a bit later on. Super fun. Our conversation also prompted me to go to Urban Outfitters’s website (because they sell all that cool old camera stuff) and I seriously almost PEED MYSELF when I saw THIS: a tiny digital video recorder that mimics the look of the old Super 8 mm footage. (Those of you who are blog followers will know that I am OBSESSED with this look, and have wanted to get into doing it myself, but all the cameras and film are sooo expensive that I’ve never been able to.) It holds little SD memory cards, which can record up to 2 hours of footage at a time. Are you kidding me?! AND it’s only $170. I told my parents that I finally knew what I wanted for Christmas this year!
Wednesday night, we went over to my Aunt Sandra and Uncle Chuck’s house for dinner. She cooked fried chicken and green beans and mashed potatoes, and we had strawberry shortcake for dessert. Once again, we stuffed ourselves ’til we were in pain. I’m pretty sure Jamie had two full plates of food. It was good to catch up with them, and to play with their dogs for a bit, since we were without our Gretchen. :(
Let’s see…. then we came home just in time for Glee. Duh. And I worked on some editing. Then crashed.
Thursday morning, I got up early and headed downtown to do a shoot for my friend Gwen from way back in the Starbucks Turkey Creek days. Which, despite the dreadful weather, turned out pretty dang good, if I do say so myself. Gotta learn to work it, no matter what! Then I dropped by Carrie and Shane’s house so I could see my little Harper, who thankfully has not grown TOO much in the past 5 months. Now she dances like a madwoman, and she can say her name, and Mommy and Daddy, and she kept telling me to sit. It was adorable. Carrie showed me her little Halloween costume, and she’s going to be a geisha/samurai. With her hair pulled into a bun on top of her head and everything! Can’t wait to see those pictures.
Next I headed to Tomato Head (which I had SO been missing/craving the whole time we’ve been away from Knoxville. Tuscan chicken sandwich is where it is AT) to meet Erin and Sarah for lunch. So tasty. And we geeked out the whole time over photography stuff, which was equally awesome. Originally, we were supposed to do a shoot with a local band called Seeing Skies, because we know Parke from Starbucks, but that sort of fell through, and we still really wanted to shoot together, so luckily, Sarah asked one of the girls in the youth group she mentors if she’d be willing to model for us. Oh. My. Goodness. It was amazing. You can tell Tori had been keeping up with her America’s Next Top Model, because she was fierce and WORKED IT OUT. Can’t wait to share those images with you.
And THEN we went with my parents to Aubrey’s another Knoxville favorite that Jamie had really been missing. Aaron, the little boy my family has been babysitting for almost four years now, came with us. That child truly says the darndest things. He calls my parents Poppy and Lainey, and when Lainey took a french fry off his plate to eat, he informed everyone at the table that this was NOT the kind of food God wanted us to share. (Apparently He only wants us to share when Aaron is on the receiving end. :) Or when it’s something he doesn’t like.) He wanted me to taste his Dr. Pepper, and when I did, he wiped off his straw with a napkin and told me I slobbered on it. He is pretty hysterical. And it was so sweet… In the car on the way to the restaurant, he was quiet for awhile, and then suddenly he looked over at me and said, “Morgan, I’ve really been missing you when you were gone.” I nearly started crying. I love that boy.
Later that night, we met up with Amanda, a girl Jamie used to work with at the Episcopal School of Knoxville. She is HILARIOUS. And she has the worst luck of all time. For example, she had just been hit by a car…. and the driver sped off. So she was in pretty bad pain. But she’s such a trooper, and I’m glad we got to see her. Then we went over to Bryce’s (Jamie’s friend and best man) new house to hang out with him for awhile. My favorite moment of the night was when Tim, another of Jamie’s friends and Bryce’s roommate, came home with a huge bottle of Sauvignon Blanc… to drink by himself. After discussing the ins and outs of wine, we were talking about the stemless wine glasses we have that we really like, and Tim was like, “Oh! I have some of those! Like these?” And he opened the dishwasher and pulled out a plastic University of Tennessee tumbler. Oh my stars. I almost died laughing.
Friday morning, after stopping by Starbucks to say goodbye to everyone, we headed back to Nashville. We stopped halfway, in Cookeville, to meet my brother for lunch, since we hadn’t gotten to see him much, with him being at school in Mufreesboro and all. We ate at Cheddar’s and my mom and I split one of the most amazing sandwiches I’ve ever eaten. It was turkey and ham and Swiss cheese, but it was wrapped in almost a doughnut-like fried bread, with powdered sugar and a side of raspberry preserves for dipping. I know it sounds really weird, but oh man, it was GOOD. Then we drove on to Franklin, where we were going to meet my cousins Caity and Will for a photo session in the downtown area. While we waited for them to get off work, we wandered around and looked in all the neat little boutiques and shops. And I continued to sweat bullets because, once again, it was…. you guessed…. RAINING. And cold. And windy. But you know what? We totally worked with it. And I ended up getting some of my favorite images of the entire week.
Then we went to my Aunt Paula and Uncle Mike’s house for dinner- chicken casserole, rice, creamed corn, salad, and chocolate fondue for dessert- YUM. It was great to get to catch up with them before we headed to bed for the night. Saturday morning, we met my other grandparents, Nan and Pop, for breakfast at the Cracker Barrel. Country ham, biscuits and apple butter, scrambled eggs, grits….. more YUM. Doesn’t get any better. Then we wandered around Opry Mills for awhile to kill some time before we had to be at the airport. Theeeen we went to the airport and headed home.
Yesterday, our first day back in SLC, was glorious. The weather the past couple of days has been amazing. 70 degrees, sunshine, and the fall leaves changed almost overnight. I just want to grab onto this time period, because autumn is always so fleeting. It doesn’t stick around very long at all. And of course we were so looking forward to getting Gretchen back. Unfortunately, it appears that she shed some pounds last week, so we’ve been giving her LOTS of food to put some meat back on her bones. I hope she doesn’t hate us TOO much for leaving her behind. :) It’s kinda funny. Before we went back to Knoxville, I didn’t know how I would feel being back. I remember quite vividly my first time back home for fall break from college…. I walked in the door and burst into tears. I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and love and homesickness, even though it didn’t seem like I REALLY missed it while I was at school. But this time, that didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong- we’ve missed our family and friends, and even some of our favorite restaurants and spots. But as a whole, I can feel that there has been a shift. For now, anyway, Salt Lake City IS our home. And it’s really beginning to feel like it. Yesterday, when we got home from church, we settled in, me on my computer editing and Jamie on his doing homework and Gretchen passed out on the couch, and we ate our Totinos pizzas, and we went to bed at 8:00 pm to read Stephen King books, and it just felt like home.
I’m sure this was FAR too much information for some of you, but I felt like I owed you something pretty big to make up for all the time lost.
And now for what we’ve all been waiting for: the sneak peeks! Enjoy you guys, and I promise I am working like a busy little bee to finish all these for you!