A couple weeks ago when my parents visited for graduation, they brought a box of photos for me to digitize. Among my family’s photos from the early 1990s was an envelope of film my grandfather had developed… on June 17, 1957.

The prints were no longer in the envelope, but that was okay. I got the photo scanner last month so that I can develop and scan my own film–specifically, 120 film run through a 1943 Brownie Hawkeye, a very similar camera to the one my grandfather seems to have used. Waiting for each filmstrip to develop was so exciting, and I can’t even begin to explain how it feels to have brought these pictures to life again.

Below are pictures my grandfather took at a picnic in the summer of 1957.

The beautiful woman below is my grandmother, Ruby.

And a couple extra photos. These prints were in the envelope, though they weren’t part of the roll shot on that day. The first photo is of one of my grandmother’s uncles, who raised her during the Great Depression. I think this photo is incredible; the man’s expression and body language makes him so endearing.

Last, my great-great-grandparents. There’s something really special in these old formal portraits.

Yesterday was the culmination of years of stress and hard work–I got my Master’s degree in Information Science!

I didn’t go to my undergraduate commencement ceremony, but I made promises at the time to attend the ceremony for my graduate degree. Friday morning I was regretting that decision (I hate ceremonies and only like to celebrate non-achievements and non-events, like half birthdays and full moon days). But I’m glad I went, if only for how happy it made my family and for the flowers I now have sitting on my mantle ;)

So these photos mare a bit different than what you’re used to seeing on my blog. But this post will also, hopefully, mark a change in my blog activity. Now that I’m not plagued by guilt every time I sit at the computer ignoring homework assignments, I’ll be giving my blog (and my camera) a bit more attention. I’m also really, really excited to get to start reading again for fun! What else do I do? I have been in school since I was 3 years old–that’s 22 years!

My parents drove up from Houston to see my graduate, and Joseph’s grandparents came from their home about 60 miles away. I’ll be forever bragging to Joseph about being smarter/more educated than him ;)

Joseph had a necklace of flowers for me after the ceremony!

My parents gave me roses–orange has always been mine and my dad’s favorite color. Leonardo didn’t hesitate to try to eat the flowers.

The last photo was taken with my cell phone. We had to put the flowers somewhere Leonardo can’t get to.

You might have noticed I got a pretty major haircut and new glasses! More on that later!

Today is the greatest day of the year. It’s my birthday and National Hot Dog Day!

This past weekend I got to spend some time with my nieces and nephew. They went camping nearby, so I visited them for a day, and we had hot dogs for lunch. I love spending time with them since I don’t get to very often, but every time I encounter children I remember how messy they are. I was shocked when I saw the hot dogs they fixed themselves! The following are examples of how not to fix your hot dogs. Unless you’re 8 years old, that is.

First, Alena’s had lots and lots of mustard and dill relish.

Daphne’s with a slice of cheese and a big blob of ketchup in the middle.

I should note that Lennon’s hot dog is actually okay–he is only two years old so didn’t fix it himself. But the choice of toppings does not live up to my standards for him, in all honesty.

Elvis (a basset hound mix–can you tell?) wasn’t very discriminating with his.

I’m not sure if hot dogs will be part of my birthday today, but I am at least counting on cake.

My friends Tricia and Melissa visited this weekend, and we were determined to do the most whimsical thing we could think of.

I had previously bought a Groupon for entrance to the Dallas Arboretum, specifically to see the summer’s Alice in Wonderland garden. (I can’t deny how whimsical I truly am, sorry.) I spared Joseph and instead took Tricia and Melissa along, and we had a nice picnic.

I had never been to the Dallas Arboretum before, and it was beautiful. I’m definitely going back when it’s not summer. I don’t really know what we were thinking spending the day outside when it was over 100 F, especially with a non-Texan in tow. Melissa is from New England, and this is only her second Texas summer. The arboretum has no signage, and we weren’t offered any sort of map. We walked big circles trying to find our way out, and I think we all felt certain we were going to be trapped and inside and die of heat exhaustion.

But we survived (barely)!

Tricia and I only had film cameras for the sake of the whimsy. These were all taken with my dad’s old SLR, a Nikon F-601.

I also brought along my Brownie Hawkeye, which I’m sure must have made me look pretty obnoxious. No photos from that yet; I’m going to develop it myself (it’s B&W 120 film) because I truly am that pretentious. I’d appreciate any advice from others who have worked with film! I’m looking at buying all my supplies online. Right now I’m mainly torn on what developer to choose.

Yesterday I visited the new George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the SMU campus with my lovely friend Asma. I am a big fan of presidential museums in general (regardless of political affiliation), so I was really excited to visit. The museum was really well done, and the architecture alone is pretty incredible.

Above: The First Dog, Barney, and his fan mail.

Below: Gifts from other leaders, including a taxidermic lion from the president of Tanzania.

I really love when buildings include wildflowers in their groundskeeping (like one of my favorites, the Elisabet Ney Museum). So beautiful and so appropriate for Texas!

Extra: This picture was taken in the full-size reproduced oval office (unlike LBJ’s in Austin–it is 7/8th scale!).

I had to include this, even if it’s slightly embarrassing. I don’t understand those who have mastered the cell phone selfie thing. I am so bad at them.