Please read yesterday's blog entry...then this one will need no explantation. :)
Friday, February 27, 2009
One of my most favorite places to go (besides Disneyland) is the local nursery. No secret as to why: as a child I took many trips there with my mother. Imbedded in my memory is the filtered sunshine through shading nets, the stacks of clay pots and saucers, the smell of soil and fertilizer (yes I love the smell), the rows of seedlings, six-packs of flowers...
What I'm drawn to the most, and I what I remember as a child, is the peaceful calm that I feel when I'm there. Being outside in the sunshine, the distant tinkling of a wind chime, the sound of trickling water fountains...all the hues of green and the many flowers, the rows of young trees and the stepping stones on graveled pathways. I visit the nursery often just to BE there.
Because of my love for nurseries, I often take my daughter to the one down the street from us. She makes a dash to the stone statues of tiny animals--the bunnies, the turtles, the frogs. Then she makes her way over to each of the many water fountains and dips her fingers, in every one. She grabs a little wagon and pulls it around, loading it with her own flowers. (And flowers she'd like to buy for me and for Grammy, her teacher, etc.)
Today when I came home from a new nursery that I had visited I took her to my lap and told her about it. How I had met the nursery kitty, "Miss Kitty", a fat, grey, sweet and mellow kitty who liked to have her ears "scritched". How we needed to go there and visit her! And that there was a large bird cage of sweet doves, grey and white, that lived in the middle of the nursery. One of the grey doves was nesting on an egg and a couple of the others flew over to meet me and "chatted" with me as I attempted to take their pictures through the fencing. I told Michaela that we would go there soon. By the smile on her face I knew that she was imagining what it will be like to go there, pull her wagon around and meet "Miss Kitty", see the birds, visit each fountain.
I smile knowing that I am giving to her what my mom so unknowingly gave to me...cherished memories and a continuing place to go and find a simple quite peace and calm...and be.
Happy Birthday Mom. I love you...
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Frankly I don't have time to be taking pictures today. Instead of relying on an excuse I decided to take advantage of the few moments I had to just walk out my door and take pictures of some of the first things I saw.
Exhibit #1: my son's crusty flip-flops.
Exhibit #2: the unwound hose still lying on my driveway...left there, yes, by my son.
I won't take too much of your time to describe how yesterday afternoon he and his two buddies got completely (happily) crusted with mud in the field across the street, came home and "washed" themselves off with the hose. Which, you might already know, means getting (happily) thoroughly soaked...all within minutes of needing to head off to some Cub Scout event. If there was a scout badge for "Dirt Play" my son would have (happily) achieved it light years ago. Anybody out there with boys know that it is just plain impossible to keep them away from dirt. Oh, and hoses.
And it's just plain impossible to get them to clean up after themselves. As a mother I am daily (unhappily) finding the remnants...
Labels: random esoteric things
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
None of the trees in my neighborhood are budding yet, except for a freshly planted, dinky, eager, "rookie" down the street. Already he is showing off. Of course I had to capture him in his budding glory.
And then there's the abandoned, half-eaten, walnut on my sidewalk. My theory: some squirrel located his buried winter stash and found it to be unappealing, moving on to some first fruits of spring. The fact that I found it outside on my front sidewalk is amusing to me--there's not a walnut tree to be found within blocks of my home.
But the sight of discarded walnuts is not new to me. No matter where I've lived, I've always found that Spring unearthed them. Or, brought forth their sprouts from underneath the soil--left there by some stash-loving squirrel, forgotten, and then nurtured by the rains. Funny what stuff Spring reveals.
p.s. Speaking of forgotten walnut stashes...In my old neighborhood, the guy who bought the house across the street from us discovered a random young walnut tree in the backyard. A squirrel's doing no doubt. Left alone for a couple of years, nature had tended to it.
There's another young walnut sapling blooming where it was "planted" on a nearby freeway onramp. I smile every time I speed past it.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
She spent a while setting up her little store. Stuff to sell: cups of chocolate milk, blank paper and pens so you could pay 50 cents to color your own picture of a fairy. For every car that drove by she flashed her smile and waved her sign. The sign, by the way, was made, for her, by her brother. (I'll have to speak to him about his 4th grade skills at spelling "coloring".) Oh my sweet, unique, precious 6 year old...how could I not go out there and make a purchase?
Meanwhile, the most beautiful clouds silently floated over our house. I'm rather geeky about taking pictures of clouds. I have a growing file of them on my computer. Their silent majestic treks across the sky always leave me in awe of their beauty. And the fact that no two ever are alike. They are like fingerprints, snowflakes, child birth...each one unique, never a repeat. That's why I have to stop and capture their beauty every time, because they'll never show themselves that way again.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Today I got a chance to do what I love love love to do: take pictures of a smiley baby. (Makes me happy.) You know, if I could do a picture a day with just babies I'd be content. Line 'em up!
It was hard for me to choose just one to post, so I chose the one that made me smile. He's laughing at his mom who is behind me.
Oh to know joy like that...
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Even if that something leads you to a dead end. You may have to turn around but you will discover a new route.
Purse that something with all your strength.
Even if you have to hang upside down and hold on tight. Your hands and feet are stickier than you know.
Even when you are small and seemingly insignificant,
your journey is not.
Friday, February 20, 2009
A few weeks ago a friend of a friend asked if I could take some pictures of her kids. We finally were able to catch a break with the weather and meet at a beautiful park in town. Little Grace was eager to show me her shoes. Which I was happy to admire...
Wednesday morning we woke up to a beautiful blue sky and a blinding carpet of snow. The next 48 hours looked something like this:
Play in the snow
Roll massive snow balls in the 8 feet of powder
Ride snow mobiles (get royally stuck)
Dig hot tub out of snow
Eat lunch around the fire pit
Watch High School Musical 2
Back out to the snow
Sled some more
Eat more snow
Ride in the Ranger (get royally stuck)
There were some good times and laughable moments. Like spending an hour digging the Ranger out of the powder. (What a great idea following the snow mobiles?) And watching our kids crash and burn down the sled runs. (My how bendable they are!) I also had a day to catch up with an old high school friend (those are her twin daughters). We found ourselves picking up right where we had left off. When all was said and done I took 617 pictures in 4 days. I haven't even really gone through all of them. I may have to post more.
Yes, it was good time had by all.
p.s. I'd like to say here to my hubby...you did a great job with digging out the hot tub so you could spend 20 minutes in it with your daughter. And the snow steps you made up to it? Way cool. The love of a father is priceless.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Last Sunday we left our rainy puddle of a home town and headed south east towards Shaver Lake. A half hour into our journey we stopped using our windshield wipers and realized we had sped out of the storm, the black clouds in our review mirrors. Heading up to Shaver Lake was a breeze and we arrived dry and safe around dinner time. A few hours later the storm caught up to us and we were visited by 48 hours of straight snow. Dense, down-feathered, whispy, heavy snow. Visibility almost zero. I think it dumped like 8 feet. I'm serious. It was some major snow.
Those 48 hours went something like this:
Play video games
Watch High School Musical 2
Watch High School Musical 2
For a few moments that it "lightened" up the kids headed outside. The husbands attempted some snow removal but it was useless. (That's a picture of Scott clearing the pathway to the hot tub. Ha!) After that 48 hours EVERYTHING was completely hidden by snow: our car, that hot tub.
So you can imagine my challenge to take pictures. I had to resort to shooting through the windows to capture the scene of my kids outside...there was no way I could take my camera out there. The only other option was to follow the kids around inside. For 48 hours little Brandon was my muse. I snapped him watching tv, making goofy faces, watching tv, making goofy faces. Oh and then eating root beer/snow floats. Hey when you are cooped up inside, you gotta get creative.
Tomorrow I'll post pictures from the second 48 hours. I think you'll be amazed, as I was, at how nature could be so fierce one moment and gloriously beautiful the next.
For now I am off to bed to catch up on lost sleep. Need a vacation from vacation...
Saturday, February 14, 2009
This morning we are taking off for Shaver Lake with some friends. We had to borrow a 4-wheel drive because it is supposed to dump some serious snow. Since I won't be able to upload pictures for a few days I am posting one of my favorites from the last time I was there. At the top of the cabin's driveway there is a grove of trees set on a hill. The day I took this picture the hill was enveloped with this Lord of the Rings style fog. Yet down in the driveway I was drenched in sun. It was a beautiful contrast. Couldn't help but grab my camera and step into the fog.
Looking forward to being in the mountains with my camera...
My kids have completely embraced Valentines Day as an official holiday. Michaela almost put it on the level of Christmas this morning as she was sitting down to heart-shaped pancakes. Not that we've done anything to build it up as such. Well, perhaps my husband may have had something to do with it...
Last Sunday he begun what he termed, "The Seven Days of Valentines". Each day gifting us with new ways to say "I love you." (I know women it completely took me off guard.) We've experienced:
- messages written on mirrors and windows (I still am driving around with a "I love my red hot smokin' wife" on my review mirror)
- full message murals on our garage floor (took me a while to discover that one because I didn't go out there all day)
- floating messages in bottles in our master bathtub (we had to listen to The Police's "Message in a Bottle" to figure out where to go for that one)
- flowers (ok that sounds pretty boring after hearing about the other ones)
- scavenger hunts
As I write, the day has yet to end. But the kids did take a break outside while it was briefly sunny. Umbrellas are the best. Though Zach really didn't want to be seen with the Dora the Explorer one. But it was my opportunity to take advantage of the beautiful light and make today's use of my camera easy. The parting clouds, revealed sun, and a light sprinkle of rain is my kind of peaceful moment. It was a nice break in the Morris family holiday.
p.s. I did take a picture of M's banana waffle box pinata. Not a very artistic picture but perhaps I'll post it just so it can be documented.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Michaela was invited to a birthday party this afternoon for one of her favorite school friends. From a mother's perspective it was hassle free. Just homespun, simple and sweet. No fancy theme, party tricks, costumes, clowns, magic shows, pony rides. Just a rainy day, little girl, at home celebration. Coloring and stickers. Painting nails. Homemade cake with whipped cream topping. And a king-sized mattress set out on the floor for jumping on and then later resting on as they watched a movie and ate popcorn. Isn't that the best Friday afternoon a little girl could have?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
As we were pulling into the driveway after school I suggested to my kids that they not waste the sunshine on indoor activities. The rain would be here soon. "Go out and play!" I urged them. They wasted no time. (Like not even stopping to go potty or grab a snack.)
After riding their bikes, roller blading, etc. Zach gravitated towards more of a hands-on play. Observe: box from recycling bin, dirt from yard, water. Mix till just combined. A regular Zach recipe. I think his 9 year old hand looks like it could be his toddler hand. Makes me smile.
Michaela followed her brother and neighborhood friends into the fields across the street. She was ready to come home when she saw "something" plop into the field grass beside her feet. "What was that mommy?!" There was no convincing her that it was her brother tossing rocks into the grass beside her.
Just another afternoon in our little life.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
When I was little my dad took my brother and me to some dinky amusement park some where in the late-70's San Jose. There was a feeding zoo there and for a small amount of money you could buy a cup o' goat grub and spend some time "feeding" the goats. Really it was a dump and run type feeding--they were not skilled at patience. As I stood there attempting to "feed" the goats I felt a pull at my arm and was horrified to look down and see one of them eating the wristband ticket the gate keeper had tied to me. (A rather stupid, in your way, ticket tied with string around your wrist to mark those people who had paid to get in.) As this little goat was eating my ticket, making his way up to my arm, you can imagine all the horrifying thoughts going through my little head. (That Shel Silverstein poem, "I'm being eaten by a Boa Constictor", comes to mind.) My memory fades to black after that. I have to imagine my dad saved me...right dad?
So I see this road sign a lot and have always been curious. But as from my story you might guess correctly that I really don't like the animals. Maybe the little baby ones, but after that they're just weird, really. (Come on, don't you think?) As I stepped out of my car of course they came to greet me. Taking their picture was easy.
See that one on the left...that little smile on his face? I think heard him say, "OH. MY. GOSH. It's the girl from that story my Uncle Billy used to tell us!"
I'm outta here...
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
Hello blogger world. Meet Michaela. My beautiful 6 year old. She donned her snow hat today as we were leaving the house and when I rounded the corner to see her ready to go, I let out a little chuckle. Of course I needed to snap a shot of her, this one being quite representative of her personality and all round hammy-ness. There is no snow in the Bay Area, except for the once every 20 year sprinkle we might experience. But the hat was on the hook, next to her jacket, and well, why not put it on?
I had one of those quick thoughts: she doesn't care, she wants to wear her cute snow hat. No self dialogue to talk her out of doing what she wanted to do. Wear her hat, be cute.
In my efforts to take a photo a day I've struggled to stay away from doing people shots (my absolute favorite) because I felt I needed to stretch myself. Maybe true. But honestly, it is people, kids, I enjoy capturing the most. Why am I denying myself the joy of the experience in this challenge? And play to my strengths right? I think I'll stop listening to that inner dialogue that has kept me from doing what I love most.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
I came upon my first kink in my wonderfully layed out plan for doing a picture a day. Though I kept my promise to myself to take a picture a day, I did not have a plan as to what I would do if I couldn't get to my computer to post them?? So I need to restructure my expectations as to what I will expect of myself should this problem arise again, you know?
Yesterday...out the door in the morning, off to the beach.
Home at 3pm only to have to run out the door again at 3:30pm.
Back home at 11:45pm.
Quick fifteen minutes to upload pictures, edit, and post to blog! Really Trace? Let's be realistic.
Hmm...maybe I should extend myself a little dose of grace? After all, I did use my camera. That was the mission right?
So yesterday, as I mentioned, we took off for Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz because I wanted to see the Monarch Butterfly grove there. The butterflies migrate there every year on their way to warmer weather. Apparently, as the website and the very Santa Cruzian ranger dude (no joke, he was a true blue Santa Cruz hippy dressed in a green ranger uniform) informed us that yes, the butterflies were still there. Great! I couldn't wait to see them in mass clinging to the eucalyptus branches and capture them with my telephoto lens!
There were three that didn't get the memo that the pack had moved on. Three. Okay, maybe four. Some serious unmet expectations on my part.
So we left the lonely four and followed the sound of the crashing waves down to the beach and were greeted by a beautiful sky, blinding sun, surf-sized waves, and a stretch of beach that immediately beckoned my kids to take off running. I think, perhaps, I could extend the Monarchs an ounce of grace. I'd see them next year.
p.s. I learned that the butterflies are really truly, I promise, in mass during October. They stay until January'ish. Once the weather drops below 55 degrees they can't fly. So you see, it's not really that long of wait until I see them again.