Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dangerous Dancing

I walked into the kitchen one afternoon and found J making cookies.

He's a catch.

The cookies were oh-so-delicious.

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A few days later I came home and was greeted with salmon cakes. He made salmon cakes.

I've never made salmon cakes.

Who makes salmon cakes? 
I love this rhododendron bloom in the driveway. I love the burst of color against the grey background. I love the singleness of the bloom, emphasizing it's individuality amidst hundreds of blooms. I love the star shape. I love bright pink.

Can you tell how much I love this photo?
We planted some poppies last summer. 

I like poppies.

They remind me of the Wizard of Oz.
Remember when Dorothy and her gang are going through the field of poppies on their way to the Emerald City?

When I was a lot younger, I would get so upset at that scene every time I watched it. I would think, Surely this time they'll go around the field. Don't they remember it's going to make them sleepy? And then the flying monkeys come? No! Don't go through the field!

They never listened to me. And the monkeys always came.
Had a little excitement today.

I was in the shower this morning, enjoying the warm, warm water as I shampooed my hair. While rinsing the shampoo out, I was looking around the inside of the shower. Everything was blurry since I did not have my glasses on.

Glancing down at the middle of the shower curtain, I saw something kind of dark. I looked away and then looked back and it was moving slowing down the curtain.

I leaned down to get a closer look and it moved again. This time with a little jump.

What? What kind of thread or hair jumps?

I got a little closer so I could see what it was.

A spider.

ACK!!!!

I swatted at the thing, sending it flying INTO the tub. Oh me, oh my, that was not the smartest thing I have ever done. As a matter of fact, that was probably the most un-smartest thing I have ever done.

Because now I was trapped in the shower with the spider and a head full of shampoo.

So I learned a new dance. It's called the "there's-a-spider-in-the-shower-with-me-and-I've-got-to-rinse-this-shampoo-out-as-fast-as-I-can" dance.

Don't try this at home, folks.

After the poppy flower petals fall off the stem. A beautiful purple daisy shape.

Just lovely.

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I never found the spider.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bubbling Over

Blowing bubbles.

I bought some bubbles this weekend. 

Just because.

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I took a bottle and sat outside on Saturday afternoon, blowing lots and lots of bubbles and watching them drift away. There is something very calming about blowing bubbles. 

Trying to blow the largest bubble you can without popping it. Trying to catch one after it starts meandering away, caught by the wind. Trying to blow a long, long stream of them, so many that you can't count them all.

I talked K into blowing some for the camera. I have discovered that K is a very. dramatic. person. I sit here and giggle at all the faces she makes. Since I am still editing, I will post more on another day and you can giggle too.

It's good to share giggles.

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So I was on my way in to work this morning and I picked up a co-worker, LG. You can visit her at her lovely blog.

As we were walking in to the library, she exclaimed, "Oh no. Your skirt is torn!"

What?

She runs up to me and shows me where the tear is along the bottom of the skirt. It is a flouncy, ruffled, tiered skirt. Tie-dyed blue and white. One of my favorites.

"Aaack! How did that happen? What do I do now?" I cried, as we walked in the door.

She thought she might have a needle and thread, but alas, she did not. 

Hmmm. Think, think, think.

I looked around and spotted a stapler. 

I looked at the tear, along the seam. 

I looked at the stapler.

I looked at the tear.

I grabbed the stapler. Yup, I stapled my skirt. Super high tech, I am. 

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Just keeping it real, folks.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Graduation for Happy J

Big doings around here. J graduated from college.

So happy.

So relieved. Not that there was any doubt about him graduating, but over the last couple years there was much talk about changing majors, changing career paths, changing this, changing that...changing, changing, changing.

In college land, changing equals dollars. Many, many more dollars.

That is not a good thing.
After going through two high school graduations, a college graduation was cake.

Notice my super high tech method of removing wrinkles.
I'm calling this photo, "The Flying Nun Graduates".

Haha. But only if you remember "The Flying Nun".
After letting the gown fly for a while, the wrinkles were still there. 

Blech. Now I have to iron the thing. Upstairs I go, dragging out the ironing board and heating the iron. Wrestling with slippery, soft, nylon-y material.

After seeing how J so very casually threw it into the back of the car, I am so glad I took such care while ironing to make sure every wrinkle was removed.

Every. Wrinkle.
Note to parents of future male graduates: 

Red ties are the key. They stand out amidst the sea of black gowns. Not many guys wear red ties making your son easy to find.
Waiting.

Waiting.

More waiting.

~~~~~~~~~~

It was hot in the lobby area. There were a billion people crammed in, like cattle in a chute, waiting for security to open the doors to the venue.

Poor K was getting nauseous from the heat. And became slightly claustrophobic. She got very pale and I thought we were going to see her drop. I quickly grabbed a mint from my purse and gave her something to fan herself with, trying to ease some of the nausea. Just when I thought we were going to have to leave, they opened the doors and we started to move into the cool, spacious venue.

Whew. That was a close one.
J had some difficulty finding us from the floor. He kept looking to the left of us, towards an area a few sections away from us. We were jumping up and down, waving our arms and shouting his name. He would look over every now and then but could not seem to find us.
Finally....finally....he found us.

Happy J. 

Always smiling. 

Even as a young boy, he always had a smile on his face. The Man and I were remembering when he was a wee little guy. Each morning, we would go into his room to get him and he would be smiling before he even woke up.

The best part about J?

Even when he gets mad, he cannot stay mad. He will be smiling at you within a few minutes because he just cannot hold a grudge.

That's a good thing. More people should be like this.
Grandma was oh-so-very proud of J. She kept looking at him, getting a bit weepy. You can see the emotion as she was looking up at him. 

If she was thinking the same thoughts I was, she was picturing him as a five year old, getting ready to go off to school for the first time.
Cell phones everywhere. Several iPads. 

All focused on the grads.

What did we do before all this technology?

~~~~~~~~~~

Please do not be hating on the photo quality. It was very dark in the arena and I had to shoot at a slow, slow speed with a high ISO to get these shots.

I am going to go with the adage, "A bad shot is better than no shot."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

One Square Foot, or so

While reading a book on photography, I came across an idea I have been wanting to try for quite a while.

Sitting in one spot and shooting at least twenty images from that one spot.
I started out focusing low to the ground - where I found that teeny, tiny yellow guy in the first photo. He was so small. The blade of grass is a great reference point for size.

While I was shooting him, K photo bombed me. A rather fantastic shot of her eye, if I do say so myself.
After a dozen or shots, I changed my focus upwards. K was still in the area so I used her as a focal point.

She was helping the Man plant an apple tree. Using a shovel. Unbelievable. The Man came in the house, told me to get my camera, and get a shot of that. That is how I ended up outside in the first place.

But I digress.

The rest of the shots in the post are also focused upwards. It was kind of fun, and challenging, finding subjects for these shots. I learned some things. 

Look for shapes to repeat. In the photo below, the shape of the trees is similar to the shape of K's head. Same placement in the photo, along the bottom edge. Same proportion, just a bit of the top of each object.

Find an object that travels across the photo to imply movement. The branch in the next photo looks like it is weaving its way across the canvas of the shot. 

And in the last photo, I found a way to frame the subject. The trees form a triangular frame around the plane. A natural frame.

An interesting exercise.




The weather was picture perfect all weekend. Just delightful spring days - blue skies, light breezes, mild temperatures. 

Not too hot, not too cold - just right, says Goldilocks.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bits and Pieces

Some bits and pieces of K's birthday from a little while ago. 

I did not take any of the usual photos you might see from a birthday party. No cheesy grins. No girl holding the birthday cake. No blowing out the candles.

I have lots of photos like that from lots of years of celebrating birthdays.

This year was about the bits and pieces.
Those are the parts that are missing from my memories.

The little pieces of everyday life. 

Glances down at a gift, or to the side at her father, or laughing at something funny he said.

Unwrapping a gift.

Trying on a new bracelet.

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I do not remember all those little moments in time. When I think back on their childhood, it is a bunch of vague memories that pop into mind. Picking them up from school, planning birthday parties, vacations, sleepovers, art projects.

But not the sweet little things that are THEM. 

The way her nails always look so pretty and the way she smiles her sweet little smile when she sees something she likes. Holding the charm on a new bracelet. The way she holds a favorite new shoe.

J surprised her with a new bracelet.

He went to the mall with her, knowing he had to shop for a birthday gift. I had primed him with some ideas - this bracelet being one of them.  Only she wanted the "Beam Me Up" charm bracelet.

She is such a Trekkie. Just like the Man.

J called me from the mall. The jeweler did not have that charm in stock. What do I do, Mom?

Well, I suppose you should just bring her with you to the jeweler's and let her pick one out. That way she will get one she likes, I advised him.

He liked that idea.

Just some of the many services I provide - gift consultation and problem fixer. 

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She picked a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit. 

Gosh, I love where her heart lives.


The Man and I got her a pair of shoes she had fallen in love with. Pretty rainbow sandals that are oh-so-very girly.

She tried them on in the store and swooned. Swooned, I tell you.

I sent her off to the full length mirror to see how they looked. She made it about a dozen steps before she stumbled. Arms twittering like a windmill, knees bending, she looked around to see if anyone was watching her. 

I was.

And I was trying not to laugh. But I lost that battle. 

After giving me the stink eye, she smirked and said, I'm gonna hurt myself in these things.

She's got confidence, that girl of mine. She was not giving up those shoes. I'll just have to practice walking in them, she said.

That's my girl.

She takes my breath away.