Winter In Utah.

Every so often, I miss the UT, and the strange way that winter there seems to breathe life into the landscape.


This is one of the things I live for all year. Sure, it may signify the end of summer (and the impending winter), but there’s no denying that it’s one hell of a last call.

Walking the Beat.

My niece showed up at my parent’s house this weekend, toting a pair of plastic handcuffs and this makeshift police badge that her father made for her. She was so happy showing the badge off, and repeatedly handcuffing my dad to his chair. I love the joy that children get from that sort of imaginary play. And it worked out for me, because apparently all I need to get her to look at the camera (and not stick her tongue out) is an accessory worth displaying.

Josh & ReBecca.

“What do you think the biggest surprise has been about having a child?” I asked. They looked at each other, and seemed to silently have the same thing in mind. “I think it’s the love, the instant love you feel,” ReBecca said. Josh agreed, “People tell you all the time that when you have a kid, you feel this instant love, that you can’t imagine feeling. I always thought I could imagine it, like, I understood what they were saying, but I really don’t think I did, until she was here.”
I was at their house, taking family photographs, and we were taking a break, so that their three month old daughter, JaeCia, could eat. In that moment, looking at Josh sitting next to ReBecca while she fed the baby, I felt overwhelmed by the joy I had for him, for them. I lifted my camera, and took a picture. That’s what I’m comfortable with-capturing moments in life, those little things that are fleeting, and that you miss once they’re over.
Josh is like a little brother to me. He’s been a lifetime close friend of my younger brothers, and has just always been around. His older brother Jimmy was very dear to my heart, and was also very brotherly, in that “Ill hurt anyone that hurts you” sort of way. Someone who would tease you, then get away with it because he’d smile at you, his blue eyes flashing. He was my very first friend in kindergarten, sitting silently next to me, putting together those five piece puzzles. When he passed away suddenly at Christmas time in 2002, it left a huge hole in our hearts. It killed me to watch Josh and the rest of his family struggle with this huge, huge loss. I worried about Josh frequently, wondered if he was okay. Sometimes it didn’t seem like it.
Then ReBecca came into his life, who is this warm, fun, happy girl, and it was like his world brightened. A home was purchased, an engagement took place, and now, beautiful JaeCia is here, a perfect combination of her two equally beautiful parents. Like her namesake uncle, she has icy blue eyes that draw you in. He would’ve loved her. I thought about that while I was with them, and it brought me close to tears. Life is funny like that-so lovely, yet sad at the same time. But I see real happiness in their home, and that makes me happy. And knowing that they will start a new chapter in their lives in a few short weeks, as husband and wife, makes me that much happier. It’s been a long road it seems, but I think it was worth their wait.

Congratulations, Josh and ReBecca-I wish you a world of happiness.

The Public Market.

We went to the Rochester Public Market yesterday morning, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do. If you’ve never been, you should definitely check it out. I love the sensory experience of it all: so many different people, languages, colors, smells, tastes and textures, all intersecting at once. Here are a few pictures from yesterday:

I love people watching at the market.

A sweet old man gave us samples of his golden plums...which were delicious.

Everything around is beautiful-from the produce, to the flowers, to the people exchanging kindnesses over the tables. It makes me happy to be in the midst of it. However, of everything there is to experience at the market, there is one thing that is my all-time favorite, can’t-miss stops: The Nut House. And here’s why:

The Nut Guy.

This is the man who owns The Nut House, and he is, by default, The Nut Guy. Walking down the end of the corridor, this is always the view you have of him, standing out there, smiling, handing out samples of his AMAZING cinnamon roasted almonds, and making cheesy jokes about nuts to passing couples, who always laugh. And I LOVE him. I always look forward to stopping by, chatting for a minute, and then spending too much money on those aforementioned almonds, and whatever other concoctions they’ve got available (yesterday, it was garlic roasted pistachios-SO good). I’ve learned that it’s a family business, and along with him, he’s got his wife and kids there, helping out. And they are all as pleasant and sweet as he is.
Here he is, asking Andy why he's not smiling. This is the same question he asks every time he sees him.

I think I love him, because I love the way he draws people to him, the way he laughs this huge laugh, and smiles widely, despite a missing front tooth. I love his goofy jokes, the way he takes the time to stop what he’s doing in a busy morning, and talk to strangers. And really listen. I wish more people were like that.
As always, we had a fantastic morning at the market, even if we did get a little over-ambitious with the produce purchasing. Here’s what my kitchen looked like yesterday afternoon, when I laid it all out to survey the damage:

So, if you can, go spend a Saturday morning at the market, and enjoy everything it has to offer. Support local businesses, score some great produce, and make sure to pick up some ricotta cookies from the Italian cookie lady. And some cinnamon almonds from The Nut Guy. Trust me, you’ll thank me for it later.

Ira Glass said it’ll be fine.

Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

So, Friday night, I’m sauntering up to bed, checking out facebook on my phone, and a photographer that I follow posted this video. Of course, anytime I see the words “Ira” and “Glass” together, I’m instantly interested. Everyone knows how much I adore Mr. Glass, and the work he does. I listened to it, and it was like he was speaking directly to me. This could not have come at a more critical time, because what he spoke of is precisely what I’m experiencing. I’m up to my eyeballs in creative ambition; namely, photography and writing, and storytelling via those mediums. It’s so much of what I think about everyday. But those disconnects he speaks of? I’m the physical embodiment of them. I feel like I’m on this perpetual ledge, forever wanting to step off, jump off even, into this world of creative work, but I’m practically paralyzed by the inability (in my mind) to develop something compelling. *I* might find it compelling, but will anyone else? The (brief) forays I’ve made thus far into these worlds feel..disappointing. I may take a ton of pictures in a given day, but only 6 make the cut, and of those, I’m only mildly happy with 2. Or I spend all this time writing, only to post, or re-read it later, and say to myself, “What the hell was I THINKING?” I want to create photographs that haunt like Darcy Padilla’s, write words that are quiet, yet powerful, as Joan Didion does so gracefully. I want to give people and places a voice through my work. But it feels like a space I’ll never get to.

But Ira Glass, in all his geeky, warm splendor, made it so simple for me: it’s going to take awhile, sister. Get comfortable. Push through it. Even if it’s not so pretty. So, that’s what I’m going to do. Keep on going, until I create something beautiful.