Hawaii Photographs

My father arrived home from Hawaii today without his luggage (thanks for that, United!) but with a camera full of hundreds of pictures. I asked him to pull a few together–some highlights from his trip with my mom–and these are the ones he selected.

In Which Ella Apparently Only Likes to Photograph Trees

I figure a good way of beginning to talk about my trip would be to share some pictures.

Ideally, I’d have loads of interesting ones: some of buildings at Yale, one of me making some sort of goofy face, and plenty of shots from all of the walks I took. Unfortunately, that’s not how things turned out. My parents took one camera to Hawaii and Pippa took the other to prom, so I was left with the one on my iPhone. As a result, my selection of photographs is both meager and mostly shots of flowering trees, as Cecelia and George probably don’t want me posting all of my shots of them.

But before we get to pictures of springtime in New England, enjoy a picture of the awesome lemon sorbet I ate at an Italian restaurant.

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How to Stun Second-Graders Into Silence

It’s not easy to stun a room of second-graders into silence, but I guarantee that this picture will do it:

We were discussing different cultures, and when we put this picture up on the Smart Board, 25 seven-year-olds gasped and gawked.

Maybe it’s the sea-green eyes or the piercing stare, but this Afghani girl has that same effect on people of all ages. She’s become iconic, an image many people conjure up when they think of National Geographic.

I will never forget my own reaction to discovering the original photograph while digging through old issues of the magazine when I was ten. She looks both terrifying and terrified. The horrors of war and an escape to a Pakistani refugee camp are conveyed in the way she almost glares at the camera. You feel as if she isn’t just captured on the page, she’s staring right at you, and she knows all of your secrets.

At the time, I screamed and slammed the cover face-down onto the floor, but a moment later, I flipped it back over to take another peek. As scary as the image can be, you feel compelled to stare back, to lock eyes with the image, and puzzle out the her almost baffling beauty.

If you haven’t seen the image before, I’d love to hear what you think of it in the comments. Did you startle the way I did or did you gasp and stare like my students?

If you’re interested, there is an article about going back to find the girl seventeen years later. It’s amazing, and the picture Steve McCurry took is just as striking.

I’ve had this new layout around for a few weeks now, and I’m curious to know whether you like it or not.

And it’s that time again. I’m writing this week’s Reader-Selected post tomorrow and need you to vote for the topic.

I also hang out at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, where I sometimes reblog pictures as beautiful as this one.

Ella and Suspicious Glass Bottles

It seems like every year I get a picture taken of me drinking something that looks like alcohol from a glass bottle. Tonight it was French limonade that looked quite a bit like vodka. And while the faces I’m pulling usually look like I’m recoiling from the burn, it’s actually because I’ve managed to get carbonated liquid up my nose.

So cheers to the festive season and may we all down massive amounts of delicious and fancy sparkling drinks in the coming year.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

Two Pictures for Thursday

Picture Number One:

Maxwell and Zelda were sitting like this when I walked into the sunroom this morning, so I naturally had to make a scrammbling dash up the stairs to find a camera to document it. I think that the cuteness is definietly worth the bruise I now have on my shin.

Picture Number Two:

I was walking down to the basement, when I glanced over at a spot on the wall that had some water damage, and I noticed something very strange. I’m hardly sure if this is intentional–there are a few other spots circled in blue–but the marks seem to indicate something rather, um, unseemly. Judge for yourself.

In Which Ella Eats Chocolate and Finally Takes a Picture of the Skyline

I thought that I’d share some pictures from my somewhat wild adventure with Pippa on the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Here’s a picture of my meal, replete with my very awkward hand placement. Note the big metal mixer that is entirely filled with melted chocolate.

And I also finally have a picture of the skyline. Just look at the light pollution! It’s both terribly depresssing, and oddly beautiful. When I was in Deleware for Thanksgiving, it felt so strange to be able to see the Milky Way when I looked up on a clear night–I’ve become so used to the purple-ish skies of cities.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive a weird spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

On Family Portraits

We took family portraits today, and I am very hopeful that this time I will not be the person to mess up the entire group shot. Here’s an example of what would happen five years ago when I was in middle school:

I kid you not, I look like this in about five out of the seven photographs my father took. I have my eyes half closed and a Cheshire Cat grin on my face in the other two.

But since as of late I seem to be particularly determined to add more bad pictures of my to the internet, here, have one that isn’t atrocious, just so that you know that I don’t look like a possessed demon in everyday life. (I bring that one out just for situations in which I’ll be photographed.)

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Sounds Like a Seventy-Year-Old Man with Emphysema

Today was another long charge across the battle field of hacking cough. I also sounded like an old man with a wispy and gravelly voice, which is, you know, a definite improvement to my normal even tone. What eighteen-year-old girl doesn’t want to sound like a seventy-year-old with emphysema?

But dearest Maxwell has stuck by me all day, entirely unperturbed by the loud and delightful performances of my respiratory system and the nasty germs. He’s too sweet. There’s nothing quite as awful as being sick and alone.

Keeping with the theme of posting entirely unrelated and somewhat embarrassing pictures since I don’t feel up for much of anything, have a photograph of me looking miserable somewhere in the rain forest in Puerto Rico. It was close to a hundred degrees, incredibly humid, and my mother had insisted that I wear a long-sleeved shirt and jeans. After this was taken, we went for a three mile hike, and I was even more uncomfortable.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.

In Which Ella Goes on an Aborted Hike

At around four o’clock today, I had this genius plan that I was going to go hiking in the reservation on the mountain behind my house and watch the sunset over the city. I got as far as the base of the trail, right next to Tal’s house, before realizing that walking around the woods on a dirt path next to the edge of a cliff alone in the dark would be a spectacularly bad idea. Besides, the sky was incredibly hazy and I could barely make out the buildings.

The sky just looked sickly and not at all as beautiful as it does on your average fall day. And when I looked down at all of the trees, I could only see how they were maimed–their prematurely departed leaves and missing branches. The sidewalks were lined with limbs, some had already been chopped up for collection, and others were still in their natural form, too newly dead to have their leaves brown and crinkly and their wood dry and brittle.

But then I found piece of a branch that looked like a pair of shorts and a bunch of brilliantly red leaves, and my aborted mountain hiking mission seemed like it had been worth something, after all.

In other news, I voted! I made my mom take a picture of me right outside of the polling location, the fire station, once I was done, but it turned out horribly. Every time I try to get her to take a picture of me it turns into me instructing her on how to operate the camera and then her taking really bad pictures of me. But because I find terrible pictures amusing and also very much appreciate exactly how AWFUL I look on four hours of sleep and no makeup or hair care. Also, I think that my unbuttoned second coat button is what really makes the picture.

For the month, you can find me updating my word count on NaNoWriMo here. (I need to do it more regularly so that it doesn’t become flat for a few days, only to receive an enormous spike, indicating that I somehow magically wrote about twelve thousand words in one day.)

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at http://emleng93.tumblr.com/, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing.