If You Come To San Francisco

There is no way I could go back and tell you about all of the things we’ve done while exploring our new home. Instead I’ll share a random assortment of photographs. Click play on some Scott McKenzie and let’s do this.

The beach at Christmas time.

Looking towards the bay from the top of the hills.

The Google.

Our new home.

Looking back at the city from Treasure Island.

The Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University.

The Palace of Fine Arts on a lovely evening.

Looking out into the Bay from tourist-central.

The famous Haight-Ashbury legs at the Piedmont Boutique.

Our new home – the view from the Leo J. Ryan Memorial Park.

And she needs no introduction. I love this photo – the bridge looks its best in the fog.

Nostalgia Week: Cute Kids, Three Generations

I can’t have a nostalgia week without sharing some photographs of myself as a child. Turns out I don’t have a lot of photos in my house though; they are all still with the people responsible for my childhood. The ones of my mother and I that I’m sharing with you today come from a random album put together by my maternal great-grandmother. They may not be the cream of the crop . . . but you wouldn’t have known that if I didn’t just tell you.

So, three generations – my mom, me, and the daughter. I’m not including the little man because I’m not comfortable putting his baby photos online.


Click on it to enlarge our adorableness.
The thing that sticks out the most to me? My kid is posing; at three months old she was already a ham. Also, apparently hair skips a generation.

The Wedding Polaroid

Ya’ll, I wrote this post about a certain photo. Unfortunately, when I went to get said photo out of the box it has resided in for twelve years, it wasn’t there. I actually don’t have a clue where it could be. Not one to waste effort though, I’m sharing this post anyway. Instead, I’ll share this photograph. Add in a layer of marriage/baby-induced terror and you’ll get the idea.


If I ever do find the missing photo, you will be the first to know.

This is the only photograph I own from my wedding day. I only own one photograph from my wedding day. It is a polaroid taken by the justice of the peace. My parents and in-laws may have taken other photos, but I don’t remember and – either way – this is the only one I own.

Eighteen and pregnant, on summer break from my first year of college, I really didn’t want to plan a wedding. I had to speed up the process of planning a life, so my brain was pretty busy. I also didn’t want to stand up in front of the church and flaunt my “mistake.”

I don’t know why I thought getting married in a conference room at the courthouse by a justice of the peace who was dressed like he was headed to the golf course was the best option. If I had it to do over again, we would have eloped. I had class that morning though. Yes, I went to a summer chemistry class at the local community college a couple of hours before I got married. It is all seems so absurd now.

I have trouble remembering my anniversary because the courthouse was closed on the day I wanted to get married. It still confuses me to this day. Plus, I’m stuck with a date in June. I’m so not a June bride.

I also don’t know why I decided to get married in that dress.* I absolutely regret that. I won’t be too hard on myself though – I was still figuring out my style and was experimenting with a sort of hippy-chic look. Plus, I as a fat girl dealing with a growing baby bump, I was probably just happy to be in something comfortable. I actually just donated that dress to Goodwill a couple of weeks ago; it had been hanging in the back of my closet since that day.

For years afterwards, I thought I would have that traditional wedding. We even saved money for it and planned the event for our fifth anniversary. By then though it just didn’t matter anymore. In fact, it seemed like a colossal waste of money. We had already been married for five years; why did we need to pretend like we were starting fresh? In the end, we took the money we had saved and spent a luxurious week in Chicago [my favorite city, worldwide]. It was an excellent decision.

So, what did I like about my conference room wedding? It was short and planning was nonexistent – I just had to make an appointment. It was cheap. I think we paid $50? I can’t remember exactly. It was low-key. When it comes to big events like this I prefer low-key and simple. We had enough behind-the-scenes drama and didn’t need the hassles of a full-scale wedding.

*I guess you will have to use your imagination.

Things You Should Know About Preserving Your Family Photos

I’m talking actual physical photos here folks, not that new-fangled digital stuff. [Seriously though, if you aren’t taking care of your digital photographs you are putting your memories in danger. Read up on some tips here. Maybe I’ll do a post on that later.]

1. It is all about storage. Storage, Storage, Storage.
In my opinion, the most important thing you can do to preserve your photographs for future generations is to store them in a place that is dry with a cool, stable temperature. No attic. No basement. No garage. Avoid direct sunlight. Bring those babies into your main house. Sure, there are lots more specific storage techniques (and I’ll talk about those in a minute), but you can make a huge difference just by doing this one simple thing. Don’t put this off – do it now!

Okay, let’s move on to something a little more advanced than that. I’m going to cheat here and take my information directly from the National Archives. (Pro tip #1: Trust a qualified source!)

“Look for paper enclosures that are made from a high quality, non-acidic, lignin-free paper (buffered or unbuffered are OK) made from cotton or highly purified wood pulps. . . . Look for plastic enclosures made from uncoated pure polyethylene, polypropylene or polyester (also called Mylar D or Mellinex 516). These are considered stable and non-damaging to photographs. Polyester is crystal clear and is more rigid than polyethylene and polypropylene. None of these recommended plastics have any odor to them, while polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic does have a strong odor (the new car smell). Avoid the use of PVC plastics–they generate acids which can fade the photograph in time. . . .

Photographs can also be stored in plastic pocket pages and standard size plastic sleeves, grouped in folders for organization, then stacked in a box. Photographs 8 x10 inches or smaller can be stored vertically on their long edges in standard size boxes which are available for many photographic formats, including modern and nineteenth-century photographs. Photos larger than 8 x 10 inches, or those with damaged edges (brittle, torn) should be stored flat in small stacks inside standard size boxes. Groups of similar sized photos which are all the same type, such as modern 4 x 6 inch color snapshots, or older 2-1/4 inch black-and white snapshots, can be stored vertically or horizontally together without extra housings–photos which are the same type are usually safe to store in contact with each other.

Boxes should be neither over stuffed or under filled. Over stuffing causes damage when photos are pulled out or filed away; under filling causes the photos to slump and curl.”

2. Watch those fingerprints.
I’m not saying you have to go out and buy white cotton gloves (although feel free if you want to be fancy!), but fingerprints will cause a lot of damage to your images. Always have clean hands when you will be handling your photos and always hold them by the edges. You won’t even see the oil residue you are leaving behind, but in a few years that tell-tale fingerprint will pop up. The only thing you can do at that point is to scan it and try to remove it digitally. Speaking of scanning. . .

3. Consider scanning.
Take the time to scan your photographs and create high-quality digital images. From there, you have the digital versions to view anytime you want, you could print off hard copies for family members to enjoy instead of the originals, or you could even create a fun photo book gift from one of the many websites out there. If you do scan, make sure you are taking the proper steps for long-term preservation of those files (see the link above to get started).

I feel like this should be common sense, but know from experience it is not – do not discard the originals after you scan them. Seriously people.

4. No rubber bands, paperclips, staples, or writing.
Rubber bands turn into this substance that is somehow hard and still sticky when they deteriorate. Paperclips and staples leave scrapes, indentions, or holes behind and can rust then they deteriorate. Writing? Yeah, that one might come as a surprise. When you write on the back of a photograph, it can very easily push through to the other sides. Even if you are delicate, ink contains acid that could cause problems in the future. If you want to label your photos, you can purchase a special acid-free pen or – at the very least – use a pencil.

5. Choose albums wisely.
If you like to store your photographs in easily accessible albums, pay careful attention to what you are buying. Photo and scrapbooks are pretty popular right now and it should be easy to find an album that uses “archival-quality” materials. Avoid those things with the sticky pages. No glue. No tape.


*My July “Things You Should Know” series is officially over. Due to its popularity, I think I will make it a monthly feature. Look for posts towards the end of each month.