They spend the first part of their life constantly gazing up at the adult world above them. Dwelling in a land of giants is all they know until they outgrow us. Their bodies double in size by the time they are two. From then on they are on the long stretch of growth to double their body size again, which reaches the finish line at adulthood.
Until then, they are continually looking up to us in more ways than we care to admit. Physically, they are looking up to us as they toddle and reach for the hand we extend to them. Emotionally they are looking up to us as well. Yet we are often talking down to them, condescending in our words, because we have this need to remind them that we know better. Oh how easy is to look down from our proud height, take advantage of their small size and abuse their vantage point.
I think the greatest thing we can do for our children (or any child) is to work hard at being worthy of their gaze upward. Which means that we offer a hand of respect and a reassurance of their own worthiness in return. In other words, our "looking down" upon them should only be in the form of a tender smile, a loving pat on the head, a heart-felt praise.
Because it's true, sometimes we do know better. For a while. And we should act and behave as the more mature one should: with the wisdom, respect and love of someone who has earned her right to be looked up to.
One thing I know about children is that they give of their love freely, unconditionally. They are riding on our feet, clutching our legs, chatting at us, wishing to be a part of us, wishing to be just like us. Their love knows no judgement, until they learn the ways of looking down from us.
So in that respect, I think sometimes we have much to learn from them when we gaze down and see their open smiles, their affection, their devotion.
They do not even know how much they can teach us. We realize this when we learn to stoop down from our high vantage point, look at their example, look up to them.
My Picture Inspiration assignment this week was to capture a photo from above, from a birds-eye view. If you know me, you know I love me a good birds-eye view. This one was easy as Bean straddled my shoes and hugged my legs and offered up her sweet sweet smiles.
A couple of days ago I wrote about my photographic composing "eye" and admitted to being a bit geeky about it all. In case you did not catch it, I am a visual person. You should watch a movie with me. :) My eyes are always capturing the tiniest details, noticing the things in the background, picking up on facial expressions, distracted by the light and cinematography. I never remember the character's names in a movie. Never. Because it's an auditory thing and I simply do not find it meaningful enough to remember.
This part of my geeky composing eye comes into play after I have taken the picture, when I am sitting at the computer staring at a photo that I cannot seem to decide if I like or not.
I have this OCD'ish thing sometimes with a photo, like the one above, where the photo will totally work for me except for one small irritating piece over which my eye cannot seem to stop obsessing.
For example, in the photo above: that stupid, white, upside-down, hand-written, sticker on the umbrella, the sticker that is not even completely stuck to the handle. (Which totally drives me crazy too.)
I want to rip it off and throw it in to the street.
You may have not even noticed the sticker, but my eye goes straight to it every time I look at this photo. Then it goes directly to those creepy monkey claw back scratchers, and then that's it, that's all I can handle. (Why do they make those back scratchers look like monkey claws?! Those are monkey claws right? Why did I take this photo?)
I do not care if the sticker adds an interesting detail to the photo.
Rip. It. Off.
Raise your hand if you agree with me.
Or maybe you should just raise your hand with me in agreement that your week has been one long week and you just need your space and that is why you are overly irritated at the stupid, white, upside-down, hand-written, sticker on the umbrella handle.
Then you can also raise your hand in agreement that even though this photo should be tossed, that one wooden back scratcher with the red claw looks really nice right now, and that you would not mind being the test subject for one of those at this very moment.
If you are raising your hand with me then many blessings for rest over your weekend and mine. We need it!
Now, if you need a soothing photo after looking at this one, click here to see one of my photog friend's umbrella photos. She told me last week that she had some to post but didn't get them up in time.
Heather, your delay was actually perfect timing. Your photo was needed on this very Friday to rescue me from mine. :)
Most of us are casual photographers, aiming at the life in front of us from the vantage point of where we are standing. We shoot at eye level, capturing the events and milestones unfolding around us from this level because it is quick and easy and most comfortably how we witness them...literally...at eye level. Any trip to a touristy spot will reveal a million people standing around, holding their cameras up to their faces, aiming at life.
There is nothing wrong with this. This is how we gather memories. I do this to catch those quick moments at family gatherings, school events: lift, aim, shoot.
Lift, aim, shoot.
The problem is that we get stuck in that perspective rut because it is comfortable and easy. We do not know how to see life from any other vantage point because we have never taken the effort to see it any other way. (I'm tellin' ya, photography can be a great life teacher.)
My Picture Inspiration assignment this week was to capture a picture from "the ground up." Our teacher pushed us in this area for this very reason: to get out of our comfortable rut, to see life from a different perspective.
So yesterday I risked staining my white cardigan sweater, stretched out on the grass underneath the play structure and caught this little lady peering over the edge from my "ground up" perspective.
I have always liked shooting from the ground up, but I have to tell you, I had to be mindful about this one. I was tired, ready to be home, and wished I could just lift, aim, and shoot.
I am so glad I chose to be mindful, become one with the ground.
I would not have caught the leading lines of the ladder taking my eye up to her's.
I would not have been able to include the beautiful woodwork, compose the lines of the railing and the ceiling and the ladder into a way that settled my eye.
I would not have been able to place her above me with her hair falling around her face, her one blue eye becoming the target of my focus.
I would not have captured what has now become one of my favorite photos I have taken lately.
Yea for my PI assignment!
See what changing your perspective does for your soul when you realize all that you would have missed if you had not crawled out of your comfortable place of lift, aim, shoot?
Sometimes the best photos are caught when you stumble upon them.
Some are best caught when you anticipate them
This one was caught doing both.
I stumbled upon this precious scene--he inside the massive toy box contentedly playing alone. I crouched a few feet away and anticipated him looking up to discover me. I could see the photo in my mind and I smiled when it came to be, ripe with perfect timing.
I have found that my best photos are those that have found me. They are also the ones that I patiently wait for to reveal themselves.
Of course there are many artfully composed photos out there that I admire, but it is the one that is made from real life that I adore the most.
If you are like me, and you like these kinds of photographs, you will find that the best thing we can do to improve our "eye" is to venture out each day and do some stumbling and anticipating. I never cease to be amazed at the photos that find me, almost as if they were waiting just for me.
Photo geeks....I actually took this photo a year and a half ago. I honestly do not know what I was doing with the settings at the time. I believe this was taken on my old camera and so that slow shutter speed was the result of not wanting to bump up my ISO because of the grain I would get in the photo if I did. I am impressed that I got the photo as sharp as I did. Not sure if I knew the rule of thumb: to avoid hand-held camera shake, keep your shutter at a number that is equivalent to the focal length of your lens. So if you are shooting with a 24-70mm lens, then going below 1/70th of a second in your shutter speed is dipping into blurry waters. Oh well, thankful for the shot!
Ok, so I am going to reveal some of my inner geek by sharing with y'all about how I "see" a photo when I take it. These are not secrets, but more of a behind the scenes look at what goes on in my mind's eye in that split second when I am composing a photo.
Prepare for a long'ish post. I have a plethora of words to describe what happens in seconds of thought...
So, most of the time I am behind my lens I am thirsty for capturing photos that evoke movement and story. I love love love it when the viewer can continue to imagine and complete the movement and story of the moment as they stare at a photo. For me, these kinds of photos carry more emotional weight than those that are artfully posed because they carry a feeling of real life that contrived ones cannot. I gravitate towards these kinds of photos and so I search for movement and story in my own work.
I love to capture photos that have depth from front to back, rather than a simple left to right dimension. I like a beginning, middle, and end...almost like you can visually travel through it. Knowing how light works helps to achieve this because light adds dimension. I actually do not like a bland over cast day because photos seem flat and one dimensional to me. When a photo has all of that good stuff going on then then I smile.
I also search for photos that have a simplicity to them such as a single element, focal point, or color scheme. I am a simple person and visual clutter has always created anxiety in me. I seek peace in my photos. Sometimes if there is too much going on I put it all in black and white to unify it all. And then sometimes, I am okay with the clutter if it is part of the story. But most often, I am seeking order.
When I am composing, I instinctively deconstruct a scene into basic visual shapes. Actually this is not something I really put much thought into when I am behind the lens, it just is part of how I see the world, so therefore I am doing it when I am composing. As a result, I am drawn to filling my frame with large shapes and the shapes have to have balance within the frame. They do not need to be symmetrical, they just need to be balanced.
So, am I a geek or what?
Yes, I am. And when all of the above comes together, then I am full of geeky glee.
You might guess then that the technical part of photography has, and continues to be, a chore to me because it is not an instinctual process for me. (This is why I probably suck at math. People who say math is instinctual are from another planet.) I have learned to tackle and practice the technical aspects of photography because they are like driving a stick shift: you gotta know the dance between the clutch pedal, gas pedal, and gear stick if you want to make your car hum at optimal performance. When I finally learned to drive my roommate's stick shift back in college, I found that it became like second nature. It has been the same with learning the technical portion of photography: I am still learning but it is slowly becoming instinctual.
I share this not as a lesson in how to take better photographs. I share this as an insight into what excites me when I take photographs, when I create. Everyone is wired differently and it really is a waste of creative energy to try and be something that you are not.
The more you practice your art, the more your creative eye and process will reveal itself to you. And the more you embrace that process, the more improvement you will see in your own work. You will be happier too.
In case you are visual, like me, here is the geek breakdown of the photo above.
(movement, story, simplicity, depth, shapes, and balance)
Hope this encourages you to find your inner creative geek and embrace him or her. It's the only way you will truly discover that you are unique.
A unique geek. :) See, they rhyme. Must be something good.
They were waiting for me to set up my camera on my makeshift tripod that consisted of one bunched up, sandy sweatshirt. I was planning on joining them via the self timer function but the light was almost gone and so I was trying to fiddle with the exposure because of all that back light.
I snapped this one as a tester and it wound up being my favorite...
Canon 5D Mark II
24-70 2.8 lens
Shutter speed 640
What I love about it: the fact that my eye goes straight to Bean's and then travels down the line to the Kid. It is a sliver of a family moment caught on a California beach on a warm spring evening as the sun is dipping below the horizon.
What I wish I would have done better: adjust my position to get the narrow plane of focus to include Bean's face. As it is, she and the others, are just a smidge behind it.
I still love it. I am going to frame it.
My friend sent me a link to an article about a photograph that had just been auctioned off at Christie's for over three million dollars. It was the highest price every paid for a photograph in an auction.
Here's the link to an article about it. Come back and tell me what you think. It's nothing I would ever take, put in frame, or hang on my wall. :) But someone liked it enough to fork out millions for it.
Here is what I know for sure:
Some things require perfection, like brain surgery, rocket launches, and the building of an atomic bomb. Anything less than perfection would be disaster.
But, if you love a photograph that you have taken, it is perfect enough. Even if your photos are not published, bought, or auctioned off.
Zach Arias, a well known photographer, once said, that you may be one of the top ten photographers in the world and no one even knows it. In other words, the perfection standard by which someone becomes a "top ten" photographer is left up to the subjective eye of those who create those "top ten" lists. Throw in a good amount of exposure, marketing, and luck and that will up your chances at making it to the top as well...and then one day maybe being fought over in an auction.
I say, passionately create like you already are one of those undiscovered top ten, and you will be perfect enough.
It's Friday. Umbrella Friday, with a little randomness thrown in. Hence, the pic with an umbrella in it and then some randomness following....
This past week I have been playing full-time teacher in Bean's class because her real teacher is about to have a baby. It's been a fun week. Really. But since I have not worked full time like this in ten years, I'm now jello-brained. Kids are fun, but a bit random.
So let me recount some of the random things overheard in Room 12 this past week. (Names have been changed to protect the innocent.)
Mrs. Morris, someone put one of the Cinco de Mayo paper flowers in the boys' toilet--the part where you go pee.
Lucy, I think you've been at the Kleenex counter long enough digging in your nose. Stop stalling and get back to your math test.
Mark, please stop stealing the pencil erasers and putting them in your pocket, they don't belong to you.
Mrs. Morris, Matthew just farted on the carpet and it now stinks in the back row.
Lucas, please take your t-shirt off of your head at carpet time. I need to see your face.
Mrs. Morris, why do we need to know how to spell if we have dictionaries in our cubbies?
Louis, why do you have a sopping wet paper towel on your face?
Mrs. Morris, I'm allergic to running. (--said during a quick PE lap around the field)
Mrs. Morris, can I write my poem on the time my bathroom flooded?
Zeek, if I ever see you walking yourself out after school again, rather than lining up with Mrs. Hawley's line (which has been your after school line since the first day of school), then I will personally hold your hand and escort you to your ride every day after school till the end of the year. Would you like your friends to see you holding Mrs. Morris' hand after school, taking you to the pick-up area?
Mrs. Morris, I didn't mean to slap him in the face, my hand just flew up and his face was right there!
Mrs. Morris, Shredderman is our favorite book series. The bully, Bubba Bixby, has a HUGE FOREHEAD!
Lisa, you are only in 3rd grade and you're already passing notes?! Give it to me...
Mrs. Morris, I'm trying to spell "anxious" but I'm getting worried that I can't find it in the dictionary to find out how to spell it.
And my favorite...
Mrs. Morris, you look beautiful today. (Totally not random. I hope.)
I have two more weeks of this folks. Randomness and umbrellaness.
Have a fabulous weekend. I'm off to rest my brain.
(And, as always, if you have an umbrella pic/post to share, let me know! I will post edit a link.)
So my blog linking partner, Michelle, made the decision this week to link up with a post that would feature hair. Hair.
The funny thing about this, and she doesn't know it, is that just days before she threw out that theme I had just taken a bunch of photos of Bean doing her own version of a Vidal Sassoon commercial. I was actually attempting to practice nailing a focus point when my aperture is wide open (which is hard at an fstop of 1.2) and so I asked her to give me a little motion. She gave me her Vidal hair flips and swishes.
The following photos are what I captured, wide open at 1.2, in full motion, in focus...and not.
I love all of them.
I realize that I may have dated myself by referencing a Vidal Sassoon commercial. I am a child of the 80's people. I was raised on Vidal Sasson commercials. A trip to YouTube will showcase several of the many commercials I grew up watching. Click here, for one of my favorites. Wait for the last few seconds of the clip and watch the sassy flip. We used to practice that in the mirror. I think my Bean has perfected it. What do you think?
I think yes. It also helps that she has enough hair to go around for three other people. She inherited my thick head of hair. The head of hair that I loathed throughout my entire adolescence. The head of hair that the stylist could not even get a comb through on my very first visit. The head of hair that I washed every day and tried to style and would wind up in a frizzy mess. I cried most mornings during my high school years. (High school years were not my best hair years--add to it was the fact that it was the 80's and hair was just not attractive on anyone.) Let's just say that Vidal needed to make a personal visit, one that would have relieved me from most of my adolescent trauma.
But, I am so prepared for Bean's youth and hair issues. I have lived through it all (even a perm!) and I can now say that our hair is best left unwashed for a span of two to three days. We do not need a volume or body boosting shampoo. We do best to wash it at night, or air dry it. And a good flat iron is our best friend, or a good frizz control oil to make soft waves.
Do they even still sell Vidal Sassoon?
I could go on and on about hair care for thick hair-headed people (not thick-headed people, but thick hair-headed people), but now it is time for you to go and visit Michelle and Stacey, my fun blog linkup partners, and see what hair biz they've styled up.
Behold, photo representations that pretty much sum up my day today:
Crazy. Bouncy. And oh so fun.
Up at 6am, back home at 9:30pm.
So why am I up blogging?!
Because getting in bed means that in a few short hours I will be back up and running again.
And for this introvert, that just makes me want to cry.
Hoping that I look as stellar as these friends do when I am bouncing around these next few weeks. Except that I might leave out that crotch shot my son is doing in the right frame. ??? What gives?!
He was doing it in almost every bounce shot. (I have spared you the 101 other shots I have of this day.) Remind me to have words with him.
And how did Bean keep her hat on her head? Reminds me of all of the Indiana Jones movies in which Indy never loose his hat...in every battle, skirmish, roll, jump, race. Remember that scene in the latest movie where he goes over the waterfall in the jeep and survives...with his hat on? Totally unrealistic.
Ok, enough. Now I'm just rambling because I am loopy.
Yesterday I ventured outside to tackle my Picture Inspiration assignment, which was to capture "mystery". I had little time, little energy, and little excitement but I set out anyway. So picture me wandering the park in my post work pj's, with my camera in hand, praying hard for something to catch my eye. After fifteen minutes of finding nothing I looked up into the new spring growth on the trees and found my mystery! (Cue mysterious music.) I spotted this mysterious issue, that you see in the above photo, plaguing a handful of trees. At first I did not notice it because the trees were swaying in a lushness of green, but hidden among the perfect leaves were a handful of these rotted, polka-dotted ones.
I am always curious about such things as I am the type of person who likes to get to the core of a problem. So as I inspected the oddly spotted leaves I knew that they were: one, expressing the symptoms of some mysterious illness that worked somewhere deep in their unseen internal life forces. Or two, the victim of an unseen mysterious pest. And because I am not an arborist, the reason for their spotted appearance was indeed, a real mystery to me.
Okay, so I am a bit geeky about nature and how it mimics life so I immediately thought about how we often do not recognize our own disease (emotional, mental, physical) until it manifests itself in the spotted leaves and fruit of our lives. Then I thought about how too often we try to deal with our external symptoms in a vain attempt to heal (or cover up) the real problem.
Sometimes we can be so dense. I can be so dense.
Honestly, I think some of us are walking this planet in stupid awe (or maybe denial) over the spotted leaves we find sprouting from our limbs. For some, it ain't no mystery to those who linger under our shade. They are not fooled by the lush sway of green surrounding the ugly leaves and can spot our problems before we can. And then there are those of us who spend all of our energy trying to control the symptoms in ourselves and others without ever getting to the root of the problem. A total waste of energy, by the way.
I have always been a firm believer in the root bares the fruit. The external display of our leaves is merely an outworking of what lies in the soil and roots of our lives. You can do your best to orchestrate a magical display of smoke and mirrors, deflection techniques, etc. But eventually whatever it is will continue to eat away at your health like a small unseen, mysterious pest...
...Until you are vulnerable enough to go see an arborist who can sort out the mystery and look you in the face and suggest a course of action that will get you healed from the inside out.
I know from experience, that there are some things in life that are meant to be left a mystery. The source of your well-being, or ill-being is not one of them.
And that my friends, is my pep talk for today. All this from a little walk across the street with my camera, a curious eye, and a pluck of a few leaves.
Now off to google "yellow spotted tree leaves". This is one mystery I'd like to solve.
This is Friday's umbrella post, posted today. Blaming Blogger and their "issues" they were having over Thursday and Friday. All is well now, so on with life and blogging we go...
I took these photos when I was in China Town a couple of months ago. This local woman was hidden behind the protection of her umbrella, braving the weather, intent on her destination and unaware that I was following her.
I have titled this set, "Coming and Going".
Sometimes I feel as if I am always in one state of coming or going, and yet I am rarely taking the time to be in neither. In fact, sometimes I am actually thinking about my return when I am on my way to some destination. I will stop myself in my thoughts and realize that I am "living" my life one moment ahead of the present. Which is silly because I am not really "living" my life in the moment ahead because it is not the moment I am in, and therefore not a real moment.
That was a lot of "moments".
Anyway, you know what I am saying?
What I am trying to say is that my mind is always ruminating in my comings and goings and not really skilled at practicing "the staying". The staying is the hardest.
Because the staying in the present is the real, unrehearsed life. It requires an acceptance of "what is" that the future has yet to force upon me. And sometimes that "what is" is not what I pictured when I was doing all of that ruminating in the coming and going.
So maybe you can relate when I say that I am learning that I waste much of my life when I ruminate on my comings and goings. My life should be about learning to make peace with the staying. Because the staying is the only real moment I have.
My blogging friend Andrea, posted her own umbrella post today too. Go check her post out (click here), and the rest of her blog. She is a budding photog herself so leave her some comment love!
5/13 Post edit: So for the last two days Blogger has been not working and so any attempts to post and link, etc. were met with an "error" message. This original post below was lost and so I had to go back in and rewrite write the portion of it that had been saved. Such a PAIN. Anyway, here we go again...
(And Friday's post will be up tomorrow. We're flexible right?)
After fifteen years of marriage I can still say that one of my favorite places to be is alone in the car with my hubby. Sans kids. With music of our choice. Or a perhaps a little driving in that beautiful, glorious silence.
It is a rarity, one that we did not appreciate until we no longer had it. That first day we drove home with our son from the hospital with him fastened securely in the infant car seat, we entered a completely new world of the driving environment: one that is filled with kid noise, kid's music, passing of snacks, refereeing of squabbles, fielding questions, and fishing for lost sippy cups, dropped pacifiers, and blankies. Like I said, one cannot learn to appreciate what one has until it is reduced to a scarcity.
On Mother's Day I had a couple of hours of that glorious car space with just my boyfriend.
And it just so happened that my blogging link-up partners, Stacey and Michelle and I had just decided that our "linked" assignment this week would be "from the car."
There could not have been a more perfect time to pull out my camera.
I am anxious to see what "from the car" moments Stacey and Michelle captured this past week.
Head on over to their May 12th blog posts and view with me!
You know when you have a big "thing" ahead of you that's gonna take some serious energy and strength to get through and you feel exhausted and spent just thinking about that "thing" before it has even arrived?
Yeah, I feel like that.
I am taking over for Bean's teacher who is leaving on maternity leave this week. For the next three and a half weeks I will be a full-time teacher. I have not done that since the mid 90's folks. That was fifteen years ago when I was high school English teacher. But back then I was a newly married, pre-kid self that could come home to a quiet home and shut down for a few hours before getting up and doing it all over again the next morning.
Bean's class is a great class, their teacher a wonderful, organized, prepared teacher, so I am not worried about any of that stuff.
I am simply an introvert, looking at the vast, hot sandy stretch of beach that is stretched out in front of me, eyeing the horizon of summer.
Three and a half weeks friends. Three and a half weeks of a class room full of kids, end-of-the-school year activities, coming home to mom duties and after school appointments. Summer is a dot on the horizon and I will be focusing my gaze upon her until I meet her with an embrace of relief.
Blogging may be infrequent, just warning you.
Prayers greatly appreciated.
My Picture Inspiration prompt this week was to capture "distance". Last week we were walking this stretch of the California coast line and I meandered ahead of everyone to this open peninsula of sand that jutted out into the ocean. When I turned around my family and friends were but a dot on the horizon, barely noticeable in the distance. I was in an introvert's paradise, just me and the birds and a little family of seals out a hundred feet in the waves. Glorious.
Sometimes I think motherhood is just one long practice in the art of holding, and letting go.
At first, we are constantly holding them: on the couch, in the rocker, in our arms trying to make dinner, or standing sleepy eyed in the center of a darkened room in the middle of some crazy early morning hour. We swaddle them close, swaying to the rhythm of some silent song in our heads, waiting for the finale of one last droop and close of the eyelids that marks the sendoff to some far away land of sleep. Later, we are holding them close while reading a bed-time story, administering band-aids, hugs of encouragement, comfort. This is the practice of learning to hold them "just so".
Then they grow before our very eyes and we are frantically trying to stay one step ahead of them. When our worry gets the best of us we find ourselves, minute by minute, praying for their protection, health, safety. Praying that they will make good choices, make good friends, find the perfect love, just make it through each day alive. We can no longer cling to the false safety of choosing for them, being in control of their daily lives. This is the practice of letting go.
And no matter what chapter we are in, we are wondering if we are doing the "right" thing, wondering just how much money our children will have to spend on therapy later on in their adult life. :)
Motherhood is the most difficult job in the world with the least amount of pay back in dollars and cents. Through our best and worst moments, our reward is the change that it brings to our own hearts and lives. For better or worse, we are never the same after that moment we hold our first child.
This week over at iheartfaces they are celebrating motherhood. What an appropriate theme coming off the tail of Mother's Day.
I did not get a chance to do a mother's day post yesterday, to publicly honor my own mother. So let me just say....
Mom, I know you could have written this same post today. I know that you have held, swaddled, swayed, prayed me into the person I am today. I also know that you have prayed yourself through the worry of letting go of what you could not control. I want you to know that you have done an amazing job. Yes, I did spend some money on therapy :), as we all could, but it does not invalidate the amazing love that you have poured into me every single day of my life.
I am so very thankful for your example to me of what it means to be a mother who lovingly holds, and lets go.
I love you.
p.s. go check out all of the other motherhood posts at iheartfaces.
Last fall Bean was obsessed with a certain song. And frankly, I secretly loved could not stand to listen to it. We took a big break from it for several months and kind of forgot about it. Then, when I was going through these umbrella photos, I found myself humming along to them.
So to begin this Random Friday Umbrella Day, I would like to unapologetically bring this song back into the our minds and introduce you to Bean's debut umbrella montage--with her singing Miley's "Party in the USA"...
(You can thank me later when you find yourself humming this tune all day in your head.)
Here's my bit of Friday randomness:
My son had the "6th grade talk" this past week in school. It was all good, no surprises, nothing that we had not already shared with him. But it brought back those memories of coming home with the little educational pamphlets and being highly embarrassed at the anatomical drawings included in them. With this sort of stuff I try to be really natural and relaxed, talk like this is every day conversation material in our house because I want them to never be ashamed or feel isolated in their thoughts over their changing bodies.
So when he plopped into the car he pulled out the pamphlet and told me all about it without me having to ask him. I gave him a smile and asked him if it was embarrassing to discuss this stuff in class. He said that it was (the boys just nervously laughed through it all) and then with a total huff and roll of his eyes he told me he was frustrated because he thought it was highly unfair that the drawings of the naked, puberty-evolving girls were not as detailed as the drawings of the naked, puberty-evolving boys.
I swiped the papers out of his hands to inspect the drawings. I am not sure what more he wanted from the girl drawings?! They were pretty anatomically and scientifically detailed. And then I went silent and handed the pictures back to him and told him that they were detailed enough and wondered if I should shred them when we got home?
I am telling you friends, this puberty stuff is fun. I may present this calm front to my children about the whole thing, but inside I am freaking out.
Ok, so enough puberty talk. Let us move on with this post!
On Wednesday I mentioned that I was going to be doing another Random Friday Umbrella Day (RFUD) post and invited anyone to join me just for fun. Immediately after the post I had a couple of friends email their umbrella pictures!
My friend, Hilmari, and I have known each other for years and used to live on the same street in our old town. Several years ago she moved back to her home country of South Africa with her Mississippi-bred hubby. I miss her terribly. She does not have a blog (still trying to get her on Facebook) but wanted to participate in RFUD so it was a delight when she emailed me pictures of her kids...
I love those green plastic half-shell umbrellas! When I was a kid, I used to bring mine into the sprinklers and sit underneath the protection of it and listen to the pounding of the water spray.
I have never met Hilmari's smallest child. Makes me desire all the more to get on a plane, camera in hand, and travel to South Africa! Thanks for sharing Hilmari! Love and miss you!
So I would love to have you join me on this RFUD! If you would like to participate then leave me a comment with a link to your post (or flickr pic!) and I will post edit a list below as the day goes on. I will leave this post up all weekend.
I have decided to title this picture: "Everybody wants to be the funny guy."
Kid on the right: thefunniest. Didn't even notice him until I went to edit the picture and my eye traveled from left to right through the picture and landed on him. Ha!
So, not kidding about tomorrow's Random Friday Umbrella Post Day with random musings included.
I have already had two friends excited about joining me.
Just leave me a comment tomorrow and let me know you joined me and I will post your link.
(I will make it a point to post by 8am west coast time.)
Of course now it's 80 degree weather here in California so no one wants to pull out an umbrella, but whatever. Take a trip to Chevy's and get one of those fruity drinks with a little umbrella and take a picture. An umbrella is an umbrella.
And please, this is all for random fun. Don't take it too seriously.
One, I do not have a creative, fun kitchen. It's nice and all, super functional, it just lacks any creativity or good light and so I am always jealous of people who takes these beautifully, softly lit photos of their breakfast table, or breakfast bowls of oatmeal. Also, taking pictures of kitchen stuff is not usually my go-to for inspiration.
Two, I did not have much margin for time and creativity this week so these photos took me all of ten seconds to shoot while I was making dinner and my kids were watching iCarly on insta-Netflix. I just aimed up into my kitchen cabinets and caught what I saw. (Soooooo creative.) I wish I had been more mindful, or at least had picked a quiet, iCarly-free time to take my pictures.
However, after uploading them and looking at them, posting them here, I have to say that there a few things I do like about these photos.
One, they capture the dishes that have been with me since I first registered for them over fifteen years ago. These are standard Crate and Barrel Cafeware dishes and I still like them. I love that there is a small chip in the bottom plate (in the first pic) on the right. When I look at the photo I want to reach in and twist the plates around to hide it. It creates a little photo tension and I like it. Imperfection is sometimes good.
Two, that red bowl is one of four Fiesta ware bowls my mom gave to me a couple of summers ago after her trip to Homer Laughlin. She is a collector of Fiesta ware and I have taken a liking to it too. I love the vintage, yet modern lines and I love the colors (the pale aqua's are my favorite). As you can tell, when I was first married I thought that I wanted everything white white white. As I have grown older I have begun to favor color, especially when it is a simple addition to the neutral back drop. Get my drift?
Okay, so thus ends my PI rambling for the week.
On another note...
Friday is coming, and if you have been here before on the last few Fridays you know that I have been posting some umbrella pictures that have been hiding in my photo files for the last few months. I have jokingly titled my Fridays the "Random Umbrella Friday Posts" because it seems that everyone in the photo/blogging/flickr world has a special photo day of the week, and I have felt left out. (Totally kidding! Just poking a little fun at it all.)
So if you would like to join me THIS Friday in posting your own Random Umbrella Friday picture (with ramblings included), then please, by all means, join me! If you do, and you want to let me know, then come back here on Friday and leave a comment and I will post edit a link to your blog in my post so that others can see them over the weekend. If no one joins me that's okay. I won't cry. I just wanted to open it up to others who have mentioned that they feel left out too.
Over the course of blogging for two and a half years I have found myself pleasantly surprised at the amount of friends I have made via the blogging world. I had no idea that this would happen when I first started, and yet some of these friends have become quite dear to me even though we have never met. I know it seems kind of weird if you have never experienced this, to make friends over the internet without ever having met them, but it all happened so naturally and has been a sweet gift for me during this past year. They are always encouraging, always humoring me, and often offering prayers of support.
It feels nice to not be alone on this journey.
Two of those friends, Michelle and Stacey, have joined me today in a fun little blogging experience that many bloggers find themselves doing when they have made blogging friends. We have teamed up for a little photo assignment in which we post our chosen photos for the theme and then link to each other's blogs.
We chatted via email and threw out various ideas and then we made Stacey be the decision maker. (She thanked us for this role.)
Today's theme was: "natural"
As in, we had to take a picture of something that was not man-made. Super simple, the ideas were limitless.
So when we were at the beach over the weekend Bean and I came upon these little tracks leading into the tide. They made us smile, naturally. :)
Ok, so here is where I am encouraging you to head on over to Michelle's blog and take a look at her interpretation of "natural" on her May 3rd post.
Then head over to Stacey's blog and see her "natural" take on the same day.
I know that both of them will offer up a unique take on our theme.
When you do visit, share some comment love with them and let them know that you came from my blog.
I am super excited that you get to "meet" them. They are fabulous photogs and I am honored to call them friends. (Oh, and when you visit Michelle's blog, I want it to be known that I love her dog Lanie. She is one of the reasons I now find myself wanting a dog.)
I caught Bean making her own steps along side the lonely trail of bird tracks. A visual reminder to me that friends who just "happen to find you" in your journey and travel along side you are friendships that are made of nothing artificial. They are natural, God inspired, God-made, organic...and highly cherished.
While I love that you enjoy visiting my blog, I respectfully ask that you not, pull off, copy and use any of my pictures without permission. All pictures were created by and belong to me. Thanks for visiting!