I took this photo while visiting Oregon last year. I remember it being an especially beautiful morning. The sky was blue, the air still crisp from the night before, it felt almost magical, and I decided to go for a hike. I found this lovely tree along the way to sit beneath and ground. It was pure bliss. Oregon has its moments, that I can tell you with certainty. And while it may rain a lot in Portland, this is what you get out of it; this lovely tree and many more like it to surround yourself with in a certain kind of magic. I'm not planning on giving up my beaches and beautiful blue sky sun day's here in San Diego, but I can certainly appreciate the tree and blue sky in the photograph above a little more now than I ever could when I lived in Oregon. And like I was telling my good friend Lene who was here visiting from Portland this past week (but of whom I missed visiting with in person, due to being under the weather while she was here), I miss it sometimes, too. I have an incredible urge to be beneath this tree right now. If only..., huh?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I was thinking about the whole idea of blogging today, since I'm still feeling under the weather, and admittedly, not really feeling like doing much of anything, other than laying around. And this really isn't entirely such a bad thing, after all it's given me the time in which to think, which is nice. I'm usually so busy running around that I've very little time to really just sit and think. And while I'd prefer to feel well and certainly appreciate feeling well, these past few days have inspired me to do some thinking. So, it's not all bad.
Anyway, I was thinking about how I happen to read a lot of blogs myself, I always have really, because I am passionate about reading and just as passionate about learning new things from all that I have read. I've learned a great deal from reading. And it inspires me. And I love being and feeling inspired. I think it's why I love writing so much. When you write about something, you share with others your passion for whatever it is you're writing about at the time, which in turn may inspire them as well - you at least hope that it will anyway. And passion can be a very powerful thing.
So, I thought I'd share with you a few blogs that I've personally found to be inspiring, because they've opened me up to new ideas, which in turn has struck a passionate chord inside me, time and again.
TED: Ideas Worth Spreading
(This one a friend sent my way a while back. I love it.)
The Positivity Blog
(I know, the name is a bit corny... but this guy is amazing.)
Clouds 365 Project
LOL... And this one is just really silly, a crack-up. But, I find humor often times inspires us as well. At least it does me.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Monday, March 21, 2011
He was due March 17th, on St. Patrick's Day. Of course, he didn't show up, but I did walk the entire neighborhood (three times over) in hopes to start the labor process. Didn't work. Turns out that is just a myth! I had no official word on what he was (male - female), though, I knew he was a boy, I just felt it deep inside. When the ultrasound technician asked if we wanted to know our baby's sex, I said "No". My first child. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew I was in for something I'd never experienced before in my life and, while it was frightening to think about (to say the least), it was also very exciting. I wanted a surprise in the end, after all the hard work to bring our baby into the world, I wanted to hear the words from the doctor saying, "It's a BOY!" And it was. And he came into the world on the first day of Spring that year, so I named him Sean Thomas (in honor of his St. Patrick's due date) lol. He was brilliant. A huge baby! 10 pounds 7 ounces, 22 1/2 inches long. And beautiful beyond words. He still is.
Sixteen years ago today, born just two hours and seven minutes into the sign of Aries (he was almost a Pisces, but I held out!!), our lovely Sean Thomas came to us. And I'm not going to pretend it doesn't blow my mind that he is nearly a man now, well, he looks like one anyway, because the truth is, it does blow my mind. Where did the time go? It boggles my mind, and if I allowed myself to really think about it, I'd probably end up in tears (bittersweet ones), and for no other reason other than the fact that sometimes I miss my baby being, well, a baby. I have to wonder how it is my baby is already ready to drive (legally) and is now occupied in the mornings with having to shave? When only just yesterday (it was just yesterday, wasn't it?) I was singing silly songs to him (he cringes whenever I sing now) and playing in his sandbox with him (we named that sandbox "Crabbie"). Wow. It amazes me. I am getting older. It's true, I am, because my children are getting older too, so it has become our reality here. And, you know what? I'm really feeling very OK with all that. Oddly enough. It is a pleasure to watch my children growing up into men. An honor really to be a part of their lives in that way. It is one of the reasons I am here, probably one of the bigger reasons, which makes every feeling I have about my beautiful son growing up, fall perfectly into its rightful, joyful place inside me.
So, my beautiful big man awoke with the biggest smile on his face this morning. He is amazing. Unfortunately it is Monday (Ugh...) and he had to go to school today, he actually has a test in civil engineering (of all days to have a test) that he studied hard for over the weekend, but when he gets home this afternoon we will celebrate his gorgeous "came into the world on this day" day in style! I cannot wait!
Happy Birthday, Sean Thomas. And, thank you for choosing me to help guide you this time around.
Sunday, March 20, 2011
... described it best when he wrote: "In your light I learn how to love. In your beauty, how to make poems. You dance inside my chest, where no one sees you, but sometimes I do, and that sight becomes this art."
That is brilliant.
That is brilliant.
That is Rumi. A brilliant 13th century Sufi mystic who was way ahead of his time in thought, in fact, very cosmopolitan if you will, and had a thing or two to teach on the subject of love.
So, where is Rumi when you need him most? Off teaching others I'll bet, about love, somewhere in our great Universe. Well, at least I'd like to think so. I can't believe for a moment someone so great and knowledgable on the subject of love would be off cloud sitting somewhere, no way, not Rumi. At any rate, I am grateful he took the time to stop by our world for awhile, because he left behind some amazing insights - brilliant poetry - and was just an incredible seer/soul.
It should be mandatory everyone read Rumi. Brilliant!!
Friday, March 18, 2011
I got an A!
Honestly... After that ridiculous presentation I gave, I would have been more than happy with a B, but was thinking I would earn something more along the lines of a C+, thanks to my (ahem...) critique that came after my presentation (yeash...), but I got an A! Wow. Very cool. Very.
Of course, I owe a lot of thanks to Larry and Jeremy for making my A even a remote possibility, because without them, well...
I need to celebrate!
It's Friday - the perfect day in which to celebrate! What luck, huh?! Yay!
(Not one of my images. Don't I wish?!)
I want to go on Top Gear. I want to get lessons from "The Stig" and race around the Top Gear race track, 90 miles an hour, pedal to the metal, heart beating wildly! I think I could make good time, at least it's a fantasy of mine anyway. <smile>
Seriously though, I love that show and have come to appreciate cars more now because of it. And, while I've always been a bit of a speed demon myself where it regards driving around town, etc., I have found lately that I am leaning more into the curves of the roadways these days (much to the dismay of my passengers), and instead of braking, stepping onto the accelerator a little harder! It's brilliant! Well, for me it is anyway. Can't really speak for others.
I need a good race track, "The Stig", and a solid helmet. Yeah, baby!
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Did you know that people who daydream less and concentrate more are likely to be happier than their idealistic friends? According to one study (I just read about last night), some two-thousand something volunteers used a free app called trackyourhappiness.org to track their feelings, thoughts, and actions throughout the day. Survey results were: People seemed to be happier when focused on the task at hand and least happiest when their head was off in the clouds somewhere. Hmm... That is interesting, I'm going to have to try this app and see for myself - because right now, I am daydreaming of being someplace far far away, feet in warm sand, book by my side, the distant sound of soft waves crashing onto the shore, sun gently warming my body to the perfect temperature... Ahhh... Peace. Quiet. Exquisite feeling.
Well, I don't know about all the "focused" people out there, but I'd have to say that I'm feeling rather happy at the moment!
Leland Foerster, a brilliant documentary photographer and instructor -- who happens to be very serious about teaching his students how to take photographs, probably didn't quite know what to make of me. We had to chose a topic/subject to document for nine weeks. And in the beginning I kept changing my subject (loop holes and such, couldn't really be helped, but...), and when I finally did chose something (for the third time), I had a hard time photographing my subject/s because the timing in which to do so, for the most part, always seemed wrong and/or off. It was a struggle from the get-go and, in the classroom, where we reported back to Leland once a week with our images, I'm sure seemed evident to him as well. Ugh... That said, I took Leland's critiques with a grain of salt. I admired him very much and, even though I wanted to drop his class every ten minutes or so, really did enjoy going into the classroom and learning everything I could from him.
I only missed one class in nine weeks, due to illness, but even then I was instructed by Leland to send in my flash drive and prints (with a fellow classmate) regardless - so I did. (I told you, he is very serious about teaching.) So, in that time, in the nine weeks I worked with Leland and fellow classmates, I learned a great deal about shooting photographs. For one, I learned how to set up the composition of a photograph before taking the picture. This is very important because it can either make or break your photograph - and back in the days of film, well, it could also get rather pricey, too. Nowadays, what with digital cameras being primarily what most photographers use, it's not such a big deal, but time can be, and if we're talking about time, setting up the photograph first can be very helpful in not wasting any of it.
The only problem I had with the idea of all this was, well, isn't documentary photography supposed to be shot "in the moment"? If one is doing this, then how on earth can one "set up" the shot? Isn't that sort of, well, cheating? We did talk about this at our very first meeting and Leland instructed us to come up with our own answer for this - there is a serious fine line most documentary photographers skate on here. I now understand why that is. And, as for myself, I've still yet to come up with an answer on how I really feel about all this. I go back and forth with it, to be honest.
(This class was challenging. I both liked and disliked the fact.)
So, while I completely choked on my classroom presentation (yes, even though I studied long and hard, "Murphy's Law" blew that all to hell in the way of thumb drive issues in regards to the photographs I'd chosen for my particular subject - they were literally the size of my thumbnail, Mother of God, and because of it I lost all focus and concentration and, well, I choked, what can I say?). Oh, I can say that it didn't help matters that I was nervous to begin with. That's what I can say. Oh well... Such is life. I did learn some fabulous stuff in the process, and really, that's all that counts, right? Well, that and my grade. Yikes...
(It was a long nine weeks...)
Our last meeting took place in a larger class room on campus, where we all set up our "Photo Exhibitions" then invited guests to attend the show. We also had to pick a fellow student from our class to critique his/her work (Lord... more speaking in front of others??? Ugh...), where, again I blew it. Crap... (I don't think I'm cut out for public speaking.) I get nervous. I had no idea I was like this, which in and of itself has been a learning experience for me. I'm usually pretty easy going, will talk to just about anyone, anywhere, really I'm not fussy, but apparently when all eyes are on me, um... no. I choke. I am the worst public speaker!!
(So glad that part of it is over.)
I chose to make a book out of the photographs I had taken of my subject/s (Larry and Jeremy - 'The Handymen'), and have to admit it turned out OK. Of course, Leland found the "not so 'OK' parts" in it when he did his critique (the man missed nothing, believe me), that being of which I had forgotton to put a date inside the book. He's right, the date is kind of important. Duh... He also thought no borders on my photographs would have looked better than the white ones I had chosen - but I happened to disagree with him there, of course, I kept this to myself. All in all, it wasn't that bad a critique and it seemed I had bitten off all my nails for nothing. They look terrible now. Damn it...
The best part of the evening was when both my subjects (Larry and Jeremy) showed up for the exhibition and I was able to present them with the book I'd made. Too, it was incredible to see everyone's work displayed in mats and frames, and books, etc.. The vibe was awesome that evening. I loved being a part of it. And I feel very fortunate in having been able to work with all these incredibly creative people -- and if I had the chance to do it all over again, I would, even if it meant blowing my presentation again and having abnormally red cheeks all evening long as a result of it. It really was fantastic. We had photographs of everything from environmental degradation, to belly dancers, to food, and all were amazing in their own way.
It was a stretch for me. I felt in over my head some days. But I met some really neat people in the process and am looking forward to taking photographs with some of them (that we won't be held accountable for <smile>) in the near future.
I hope I at least get a C+! ;)
Sunday, March 13, 2011
The title caught my eye and my attention. Patti Digh, author of Life is a Verb, has written another little book on, well, on all kinds of stuff that has to do with Life. Not to sound like a snob (though admittedly, just maybe I am in some ways), as a rule I do not buy into what I like to refer to as being 'foo-foo' books. You know, the kind that cause a huge sensation and can and do often times end up placed underneath the seats of audience members on the Oprah Show? Not that there is anything wrong with Oprah and/or the author's who get invited to be on her show (does she still have a show?). It's really just my personal preference is all and I prefer to read, well, the less glitzy, less sensational, more plain in feel, unassuming, not so "girly" in feel non-fiction types. They really do and always have seemed more my speed. So, while not to put Patti down, because I think she's brilliant (I really do), I wasn't at all surprised to find that I liked her newest book What I Wish for You - there is always an exception to the rule, because while her books have the sort of feel (on the outside) that I'd normally not go for, there is something about her writing on the inside that, well, quite simply lures me in, every time. It's down-to-earth, witty, charming, and kind. And I like it. A lot. (By the way, to my knowledge, Patti has never been on The Oprah Show.) Just thought I'd mention that...
So, Patti asked her readers to send in essays to help guide her daughter who was busy preparing to graduate from high school and fly away. To begin with, I loved the sentiment behind the idea. What a wonderful gift to give a daughter who is nearly ready to spread her wings and fly. Brilliant. And the themes that were chosen for the book, from all the essays Patti received from her readers around the world, were simply beautiful.
~ Remember who you are: be you
~ Know what matters most: be passionate
~ Make peace with time: be present
~ Let go of uncertainty: be unsure (My favorite)
~ Learn something every day: be curious
~ Open up your hand: be free
So, while I only had about two seconds to skim through the book - because as usual, I was running late (for dinner out with friends this time) and really needed to get out of the bookstore and on the road, what I was able to read in the nano second of time in which I had stolen from the Universe, made me feel rather enlightened, in the most happy way. Later on this evening, when I'm home and everything is quiet, I'm going to sit and read a chapter or two. I would have to say the contents and wisdom inside the book could absolutely apply to anyone, everyone, male or female, young and old, what-have-you - and not just to daughters who are ready to take off from the nest. But again, what a beautiful gift to give a daughter, and what a wonderful sentiment. I loved it.
If you ever get the chance to read anything by Patti, take it. She's pretty neat - even if her books do look to be suspiciously a little on the 'foo-foo' side.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
It was one of those perfectly glorious pre-spring days today, where the wind blew softly, warmly, gently reminding me of things I'd long forgotten about over the past winter months; such as cherry blossoms, and tiny little daisies, and birds nests, and ladybugs, and the lifting of spirits in almost everyone everywhere. Springtime is a re-birthing into the new, out of the old, and the chance for new beginnings. A wiping of the slate. A fresh start. A tender blooming inside the heart and mind - we actually "grow". How amazing is that? I felt inspired by the breeze, so I grabbed my camera and set out on foot to catch the magic in the air before the day came to an end. Here's what I found along the way. What a gorgeous day.
Snail On A Wall
Sun Baked Mud
Sounds a bit odd, yes? Well, I'd have to agree with you there, but that's exactly what he did to me. He expressed my energy.
I have a pinched nerve in my neck, and while I'm a pain in the ... most of the time, it's really my neck that bothers me personally. I have been seeing a chiropractor for some months now and while its really helped me tremendously and the pain is much less intense now, its still there with me most days in the form of a tiny little nag in my neck, reminding me always that I shouldn't be slinging my bag over my shoulder in that way, or be letting myself get so cross with all the slow drivers out there on the roads (because it makes me tense up), or be outside doing cartwheels on the front lawn (kidding), but you get the point. It hurts!
So, a couple of weeks ago, while in the chiropractic neighborhood, I stopped in to see if I could get an adjustment only to find out my chiropractor wasn't in, but Clayton was. Clayton practices acupuncture, so I found out, and asked me if I knew what meridian lines were? I did happen to know (thanks to all those quantum physics books I read some years back, that are now collecting dust on the bookshelf). He then asked me where my pain was and I told him that it was in my neck, on the left hand side. "Have a seat," he told me, and when I did he took my right ankle into his hands and began performing a series of little concentrated pushes, using just his fingers tips, all around the area. Ouch! It was painful, really painful, I had to hold my breath a couple of times due to all the pain he was inflicting. But the odd thing was, once he'd finished torturing me, my neck felt a little better. Hmm... I made an appointment to come back and see him, and that was that.
Of course I missed the appointment I made, not just the first one but the second one as well. I know, terrible of me, I really do have a bad habit of over scheduling myself, but did finally make it in yesterday afternoon and am glad I did.
Clayton was very down to earth and friendly (which is a good thing, considering he was the one holding all the needles), and he made me feel very comfortable by cracking a few acupuncture jokes with me right off the bat, one of which included a hammer he pulled out from one of his drawers (I fell out laughing), but afterwards felt relaxed and ready to be pricked. (With his needles! Gosh... Some of you have your minds in the gutter...)
It didn't hurt. But it wasn't exactly comfortable either, I'm not going to lie. It felt like a bit of an aching going on in the places where he positioned the needles, to be honest, but again, it wasn't actually painful. He used a total of five needles for our first visit and left them in my ankle for around an hour. After a short time had passed, I did notice and feel some tingling going on around the area, but Clayton assured me this was normal and, in fact, said it was good because it meant that they were working to express my energy in a positive, healing way. I liked the sound of that. He showed me where all the meridian lines were at in my body and explained to me that, once there is a blockage in any part of them, there will eventually be pain and/or dis-ease to come afterwards (so some believe). It was interesting and I found myself opening to the idea of it more than I thought I might.
When all was said and done, I had zero pain in my neck, but noticed a twitch going on in my left hand thumb. Hmm... Maybe he expressed a little too much of my energy? It went away after awhile, and eventually the pain in my neck did come back (about 2 hours later), but I admit I am intrigued by the process and by all those meridian (energy) lines running throughout my body and, of course, by how those five tiny needles took away all my pain for a couple of hours. I'm definitely going back to have more of my energy expressed. I think there just might be something to this.
Monday, March 7, 2011
"Words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action." ~ Anonymous
"Troubles are often the tools by which the Universe fashions us for better things." ~ Henry Ward Beecher
The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools. ~ Confucius
I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it - I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know - but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay. ~ Virginia Satir
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Friday, March 4, 2011
According to Norse mythology, right after Odin and his brothers Ve and Vili created the universe and the nine worlds, they took a walk on the beach and found two pieces of driftwood washed ashore, one made from an ash tree, the other from an elm. Working together they shaped the pieces of driftwood into human form and then Odin breathed the spirit of life into them. Ve gave them the gift of speech and expression, while Vili gave them the gift of sharp wits and feeling hearts (kind of like fairy god mother's these two were). They named the male (made from the piece of ash), Ask, and the female (made from the elm), Embla. I have always loved stories like these, the kind from childhood that never fail to bring back a feeling of warmth with their memory. My Aunt Ruth was the one who told me this story once while we were on an overnight camping trip at the beach. We were collecting small pieces of driftwood, I forget for exactly what now, but later in my high school years I remember writing an English report on Odin and his brothers. Can't remember, but I think I got an A on that report. <smile> So, even all these years later, whenever I see a piece of driftwood on the beach, I think of Odin, Ve, and Vili and how they created the first man and woman out of it. Kind of cool.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A few months back I purchased a Lensbaby (The Composer) because, well, for one, I'd been "Jonesing" for it and, two, my friend Jayce made me buy it! Okay... well, maybe that's not exactly the way it happened, but I can tell you this much, I can't go into a camera store with Jayce anymore because it's too dangerous!! He is a bad influence on me there, terribly so. At any rate, I bought this really neat little Lensbaby Composer lens (on this particular trip) and since then have taken some pretty neat photographs while using it. Artsy, ethereal, abstract, perfectly blurred poetic images can be made using this lens and I love it. However, that said, I've not used it much lately due to the fact I am currently taking a documentary photography class and my time is limited in regards to taking "fun" photos at the moment. I'm looking forward to getting my hands back on it again, once I've completed the documentary class, but in the meantime thought I'd share with you a few images I'd taken in the past using this gorgeous little lens. Really just boggles my mind whenever I stop to think about all the gloriously beautiful things everywhere around us, just waiting to be seen. And it never ceases to amaze me how often I find myself imagining how these things would look through the eyes of my camera lens. Enjoy!
CRACKED SUN BAKED MUD
FLOWERS FROM MY KITCHEN
A NEIGHBORHOOD HILLSIDE
BABY'S BREATH IN THE GRASS