Sunday, June 30, 2013

Finding Your Voice, Week 1 Part 2

Part of the first week assignment for the Find Your Voice workshop is to take 5 photographs a day. I've been doing this and today I went through the photographs and jotted down some potential stories from the photographs.  The first two are easy:
These are items which I will use as the basis for my contributions to Storytelling Sunday for July and August. If you haven't heard about Storytelling Sunday, you should check out this link where Sian of From High in the Sky explains what it's all about. It's a wonderful practice for anyone interested in story telling.
Next up: the story behind the stacks of shoe boxes in my son's room; the story of my car (a 25th Anniversary present); and a picture of "flat top"(the local sight for teen age mischief; I think it can be a jumping off point for some stories of my own teen age years).  And three more:
A shot of the board at the animal shelter where I volunteer. I'm thinking about telling a story from the perspective of a dog. Baklava from the Twilight Cafe (a neighborhood cafe near my place of work) which can inspire the story of when I started my job and first found the cafe (as well as other job-related stories). Finally, Aria the dog who chews. She ate my ipad and is now busy chewing up the washing machine. There's definitely in story in there.
Finally, I have a story to tell about this fire engine with a female crew. I'll tell that in a post related to the photography scavenger hunt I'm hosting this summer.
For those taking Find Your Voice, have you been taking five photos a day? If so, what have you been doing with them? And for everyone, which of my stories are you most interested in reading. The lesson for the second week of Find Your Voice is at this link. It's not too late to join in the fun!

Friday, June 28, 2013

2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt Linky #1

Item #13: A Fence, version 1
Item #13: A Fence, version 2
Welcome to the first link-up for the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!!! Here's your opportunity to share what you've been doing on this year's hunt and to check out what everyone else has been up to.  Please add a link to a specific post about the Scavenger Hunt below.  Your post can be anything - a post about your favorite find; a story about your adventures while hunting; an explanation as to why you haven't gotten started yet; etc.  Feel free to link to a post you've already done if that works best for you. Also, let us know if there's a way for us to see all your finds so far. Finally, please try to visit at least 3-5 other posters. I will host a similar linky at the end of each summer month (June, July, August) and at the end of the hunt on September 21.  This is also a great time to ask any questions you might have (just leave it as a comment, and I'll get back to you straight away). By way of encouragement, I have a small, summery prize to send out to one random person who will be chosen on Monday evening (California time). I'll put your name in the draw once for joining the linky and once for leaving me a comment, so you can have up to two chances to win!
Today, I'm posting two photographs of item #13: a fence. I'm sharing these because they illustrate one of my favorite things about the hunt - the enormous variety of ways each item can be interpreted.  Sometimes the difference comes from the photographer's  interpretation of the prompt, but often times there are differences attributable to culture and geography. Police cars, theaters, coffee shops/pubs, civic buildings all look very different depending upon which country you are in, and, yes, even fences have different meanings. (Someone pointed out that, so far, there seems to be the least variation in photographs of open air markets.)
So, as you browse around the links below, enjoy the variety of images from around the world taken based on the same list of 21 items. If you want to see all my posts from this year's hunt, you can click on this link.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

PPF/SOC #3: Marvelous Nature

This week's color palette for the Summer of Color was lime green and purple.  I really struggled with this color combination (as did my printer apparently, since the lime green  scanned as yellow, and the titan buff distressing is not nearly that pronounced in real life).  I thought and struggled and visited other people's sites.  Finally, this wonderful post by Cheri inspired me to create a postcard with a lime green background and purple animals. I added some distressing in titan buff to unify everything. The quote from Aristotle reads "In all things of nature, there is something of the marvelous." 
I'm even thinking of creating another collage with this color scheme to illustrate the Ogden Nash Gelett Burgess poem: "I never saw a purple cow. I never hope to see one. But I can tell you, anyhow, I'd rather see than be one."
So, thanks Cheri for inspiring me! And thanks to Paint Party Friday for keeping a brush in my hands. To see what everyone is painting this week, click here.
Finally, if you're participating in the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt (or are considering joining in), come by this weekend and join the linky.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wake Up! Scavenger Hunt Linky Coming Soon!

Item #6: Someone taking a nap
June is almost over and with it, the first month of the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt.  This weekend, I'll host a linky where you can check in with your progress, share a story about the hunt or add any other hunt related post. Since I've been labeling my photos, it will be easy for everyone to click through and see what I've found.  It's not too late to join in the fun, there's still almost three full months left to find the items, and I'm beginning to suspect that the list this year is a tad easy. What do you think? Hope to see you this weekend!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Look Up/Look Down #25: In the Park

Walking through the park on my way to work today, I noticed the distinct change in the seasons. Looking up at the "June gloom" through the eucalyptus trees (gone are the blue skies of spring) and looking down at the golden grasses (no longer green). Have you noticed seasonal changes where you are? Thanks to Helena for starting the look up//look down meme, a weekly photography challenge which helps me notice and document my life from a different perspective.

Find Your Voice: Beginning Thoughts

Today was the first day of a new, free online eight week summer story telling workshop called "Find Your Voice," offered by rukristin.  It looks to be a really interesting and challenging class. Today's assignment was all about getting set up: thinking about how you will approach the class; articulating your goals for the class; and beginning to think about story telling. I'm taking the class because I have found story telling (accompanied by photography or art) to be one of the most rewarding parts of blogging. It's what I love about Sian's Storytelling Sunday, Alexa's Simply a Moment, and why I decided to start the "My Photographer's Eye" series. So, in this class, I hope to push myself to become a better writer and story teller. I plan to use a new journal (illustrated with drawing, stamping and water colors) and my blog to tell my stories. I also plan to use the class to finish an art journal called "In My Wildest Dreams," which I started for the Shimelle class "When I Grow Up." 
Kristin encouraged everyone to take five photos a day, and, of today's photos, I have selected these three as ones for which I have a story I want to tell sometime during the workshop. I'll be posting my photos on instagram at #findyourvoicemlo if you want to follow along.  There was also a worksheet today to record thoughts about story telling. One of the most interesting questions was about which story tellers you admire and and what you can adapt from their style to improve your own story telling.  In my blogosphere, I really admire Sian of From High in the Sky (here's a good example of her story telling, and here's another one) because her spare style requires readers to fill in the blanks and because of the feelings conveyed in her stories. I also love Stacey of Havoc and Mayhem because of her use of humor (see her post here with lots of  links to previous funny posts).  And then there's Ladykis, whose stories (like this one) are told with a humble simplicity, yet take me to a different time and place because of their richness of detail. 
Is anyone else participating in the workshop? If so, what are your initial plans? 
And, for everyone, let me know which bloggers you admire for their story telling talents. I'd love to go check them out.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

{Hello Monday}

Hello Monday . . . a meme started by Lisa Leonard.
Hello Summer . . . Paul and Clara picked blackberries, and we'll be making jam soon. I've gone to the beach to pick sea glass. Making good progress on my summertime list in other ways, too.  
Hello Feedly . . . I decided to use this reader as my substitute for Google Reader. Still figuring it out, but the transition could not have been easier.
Hello Costa Rica (for Henry) . . . He and about 40 other seniors have gone there for about ten days on an educational trip. They arrived safely this evening!
Hello reading a real book . . . I decided it might be easier for me to get back into reading if I had a actual book, not just a book on kindle. I'm reading The Son by Philipp Meyer, and it's really good so far. Of course, the hard part will be remembering to keep it put up and away from Aria, the book-eating dog.
Hello cleaning and purging Henry's room and the garage . . . making good progress on both fronts.
Hello Summertime Scavenger Hunt posts popping up all over blog land . . .  so fun to see what everyone is finding.  I'll put together a linky next weekend so people can check in with an update on their progress.
Hello to brightening a soldier's day . . . I'm participating in the Summertime Soldier Project, organized by Beverly at Be Glorious.  Check out the details here. 
Hello to preparing for the Passport to Art Class . . . being run by Bernice. She's posted a whole bunch of tutorials for preparing an altered book, and I'm going to work on mine this week for her class starting in July. It's free, and you can check it out here.
Hello to Finding Your Voice journaling workshop . . . it starts tomorrow and is run by the Rukristin blog. Check out the details at this FAQ page. 
What are you saying hello to this week?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gifts for the Grads

Since Henry and his friends graduated, we've been going to a variety of graduation parties. Today I made some graduation cards (sentiment from Club Scrap; paw print from All Night Media; and some paw print washi tape because the high school mascot is the cougars). 
I bought a bunch of Looney Tunes flash drives because I thought they were fun, yet practical.  I also added a regular flash drive for each kid.
Then I bagged them up and added the card with a bit of black yarn.  Some of my more clever friends gave the kids checks for $20.13 (their graduation year) or $20 in Costa Rican money (since they'r going to Costa Rica on their senior trip tomorrow).  But, I was pretty happy with my choice of graduation gift!

Friday, June 21, 2013

June's Simple Moment: Taking Stock and Moving On

It's a beautiful morning, and I need to get off the computer and out of bed. I could go to the gym, but my calves are sore from running the stairs yesterday. I decide to go out back to work the garden instead. The air is cool and the neighborhood quiet.  I start breaking up the dried lavender branches and putting them in the compost. The air fills with the scent of lavender, and the sharp snapping of the branches echoes in the still of the morning. I turn on the water and feel the cool spray from the hose, smelling the wet dirt around the newly planted alstroemeria. As I turn to water the tomato plants, I note their distinct, pungent aroma. When I finish, I look around and consider our progress.
We're determined to fix up the yard this summer. We started by clearing the detritus and taking stock of what we had that was worth saving. Trimming, tossing, purging the rest.  And then it was time to move on . . . repairing fences, getting new plants, considering future plans.   But none of that will happen unless we also continue to care for the yard in the meantime. We must water the new plants, prune and nurture the mature ones. It's all work, but it's worth it. It's a joy to be able to consider and plan for the future.  In the garden and in life. I smile, roll up the hose and move inside.
Simply a Moment is a monthly meme hosted by Alexa of Trimming the Sails.  To read other moments in May or to add your own, simply click here.
p.s. Summer has just officially begun, the "traditional" start date for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, so it's definitely not too late to join in! For details check out this post. You have three months to find 21 items. The more the merrier!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PPF/SOC: Remembering Pink and Orange

For the Summer of Color challenge, I am using acrylic paint and texture to create postcards with summery quotes. The week 2 colors are hot pink and orange, and I found them easier to work with than the pair from last week . . . I simply used Golden brand transparent pyrrole orange and light magenta. I used gesso to attach textured papers and shapes to my postcard as a base, then added a wash of the pink. I used bubble wrap, a stencil and stamp to add the orange, as well as an orange edge.  Because hot pink and orange remind me of my childhood (as a kid born in the early 1960's, I had flowers in these colors in my room), I used the quote "The things we remember from childhood, we remember forever."
Linking up to Paint Party Friday and Summer of Color Challenge.
p.s. Today is the first day of summer, the "traditional" start date for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, so it's definitely not too late to join in! For details check out this post. You have three months to find 21 items. The more the merrier!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Glue it Tues/Thurs/day: One Day . . .

Just a quick art journal page for Glue it Tuesday, featuring pink and orange paint, items found on my desk and a sketch made during a meeting. The journaling reads . . . "One day I will move to Paris and in Paris, I will sketch (instead of doing laundry)."  About sums up my thoughts on the day!
You can see others playing around in the Glue it Tuesday Lounge at this link.
p.s. Tomorrow is the first day of summer, the "traditional" start date for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt, so it's definitely not too late to join in! For details check out this post. You have three months to find 21 items. The more the merrier!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #24: Graduation Time!

Henry graduated from High School last week.  In preparation for the ceremony, we decorated his mortarboard with the logo for the University of Oregon where he will go in the fall. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the new graduates threw their hats in the air. His cap caught the sunlight, and I was lucky enough to capture it in a photograph. I thought this made the perfect look up//look down pair for this week. Thanks to Helena for starting this meme.
I also can't pass up the opportunity to post this picture of Henry with some of his friends and their decorated mortarboards.
So proud of these boys.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gazing at Clouds

What do you see when you look at this photograph? Anything at all? One of my favorite books to read to my children when they were little was "My Life with the Wave" by Octavio Paz, adapted by Cowan and Buehner. It's the story of a child who takes a wave home to live with him and the surprising havoc it raises in their home. At the end of the story, the child returns the wave to the sea but begins to dream about taking home a cloud, reasoning that they are so soft and fluffy that they couldn't be much trouble at all . . .  The book ends with a picture of a cloud's face, which looks very much like this face which I found recently while gazing at clouds before a baseball game. 
When I added item #12 to the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt: A Cloud in the Shape of Something, I hadn't thought that much about what types of clouds you need to see objects. Obviously, the high overcast we have on the coast is not so good! But white fluffy clouds, like the ones above the baseball field are just right:
I enjoyed watching the clouds move and form various interesting shapes. I watched one group of clouds for about fifteen minutes as it slowly moved and began to morph into what I hoped would be the head of a unicorn. I took this picture during the transformation:
The clouds continued to move, and it happened. It looked just like a unicorn. I put my phone up to my eye take the picture,carefully framed it, went to press the button, and . . . the battery died!  So glad I captured the face when I had a chance. LOL! Have you had any interesting adventures gazing at clouds?
So happy to see so many people posting scavenger hunt finds already.  Here's an (incomplete) round-up of some recent posts:
Chipper has this very (unintentionally) funny sign.
Nicky has a variety of offerings, though I think my favorite is her tower.
BoysMum2 takes us to the Auckland Zoo.
Deb found a windmill!
The other Deb has a sweet napper, a beautiful mosaic and a funny sign.
Stacey posted something definitely out of place and her plan for going forward.
And Gail has the best plane photographs ever!
It's not too late to join the hunt. There's still over three months left. Click on photo in the sidebar to get all the details.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hello Monday

Hello Monday (a meme started by Lisa Leonard) . . .
Hello High School Graduate . . . Henry graduated last Thursday, and it was a wonderful day spent with family and friends, followed by three days of parties and celebration. 
Hello Summer School . . . two more weeks for Clara; five more weeks for me (teaching two nights a week). Sigh
Hello Costa Rica . . . Henry leaves in a few days for his senior class trip. What a life!
Hello Dog Walking at the Humane Society . . . Clara and I have been "promoted" from simply giving TLC to the dogs in their kennels to actually being able to walk them and play with them in the play yard.
Hello black berries and other summer produce . . . Paul and Clara went black berry picking on Saturday; we continue to get a CSA produce box each week filled with new and interesting food. I learned how to prepare fava beans last weekend. Not sure what this week's box has in store!
Hello to moving forward on our summertime plans . . . maybe a trip to the zoo because there's a baby tiger and a baby giraffe there now, and I hear they're growing really fast!
Hello to more 2013 Photography Scavenger Hunting . . .  I am so thrilled to see so many finds turning up on people blogs.  Plus the instagram feed at #summertimescavengerhunt is really filling up. I've got some finds to post soon, as well as a few links to post. 
What are you saying hello to this week? 

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Is this digital scrapbooking?

It has been about a year since we visited Ireland and Barcelona last summer, and until recently the photographs from the trip were sitting in my computer for the most part unedited, unprinted, and otherwise unattended to. Normally, I would have already printed them out and created a trip album for them.
Of course, this was no normal trip. And the last year has been anything but normal. But still I wanted to do something with the photographs I took. Over our long Memorial Day weekend, I realized there was one day when I would have the house to myself (Henry was umpiring; Paul and Clara went to a blues festival), I invited a friend over to show me how to make a photo book. The night before she came over, I went through all my photographs for the Ireland portion of our trip, edited them and had them ready to put in a book.
After some deliberation, I decided to use Mixbook.  I used their "Travel Magazine" format as my starting point, although I modified it as I went along. Using it gave my book a coherent feel appropriate for a trip book. And, by and large, I liked the colors, fonts and graphics in the format. I also like their "Vintage Travel" format and will likely use it as the starting point for my Barcelona photographs. 
On the whole, I enjoyed the process of getting these photographs into a book form. The mixbook interface was easy to use, and I quickly got the hang of using their templates, graphics, text boxes, etc. I think the little bit of PSE I've done, working in Picmonkey and playing with the iphone app Snapseed all really helped my learning curve. The paper and color quality of mixbook was good, as was the delivery time. There was a problem with the book when it arrived; all the pages were glued together along the right hand side, so I couldn't open any of the pages! I called the company and spoke to a nice, live person, and explained the problem. She sent me an email with a link to send some photos of the problem and within a few hours they had sent me an email saying they would reprint the book and send out a new one straight away. The new/second book arrived just fine. Since they dealt with the problem so well, I'll give them another chance before deciding they have consistent quality control problems.  The book struck me as fairly expensive, though that may be because I made a 12x12 hard cover book with a lot of pages. My friend tells me that it's actually competitive in price to other photo book manufacturers (she has tried a lot of them). Also, if I compared the price of the book to the cost of printing photographs (especially in larger, varied sizes) and all the scrapbook supplies, I'm sure it's much less expensive than a traditional scrapbook.
The thing I liked best about making the photo book was the ability to easily use larger versions of my photographs. It also went together very quickly and will be much easier to store and show off than a traditional scrapbook. At the end of the day, the best thing is that the book is done! The major down-side (and this was probably a rookie mistake) was that I didn't do as much journaling because I thought there wasn't room. When I received my book, I saw that the font was really big. I could have made it much smaller and included a lot more of the story. I also was not able to include memorabilia, although I have most of that stored in the trip journal I made for the trip.
This post has been percolating in my brain for a while, but it wasn't until I read Amy's recent post on her 2012 Photobook that this really came together. I loved how she recorded her thoughts on the process, and I wanted to do the same. First, a question. Is this what people mean by digital scrapbooking? I know the answer doesn't really matter in the big picture, but I'm curious. I didn't make any templates on my own. I just went to the mixbook site and used what they had. I did add and subtract elements on the page like I would in regular scrapbooking, but it seemed much less involved than what I had previously thought of when people talked about digital scrapbooking. Second, I'm glad I took the plunge and made the photo book.  I know I will make more in the future. I already made one (using shutterfly) for the half-marathon instagram photos I took, and I will review that one when it arrives. I have plans to do another mixbook with the Barcelona photos I have (once I edit them and find a good block of time). Third, I really like the storability of this book. I do have serious concerns about storing all my regular scrapbooks. But, at the end of the day, I know I won't ever completely move to photobooks. And the main reason is because I miss the look and feel of real, printed photographs. More than the paper and supplies, I love photographs. I love holding them and looking at them. Even good, professional printing in a book is not the same to me in terms of texture and depth. On the upside, I take many fewer scrappable photos these days, as the kids have grown up. So I think I only have a few more years of traditional annual scrapbooks lefts to do. That should help with the storage problem at least.
So, those are my thoughts. I welcome your reactions!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Summertime Plans Redux

A few days ago, I posted about my desire to come up with summer plans that included some fun, in addition to the projects which have dominated my summertime agenda. After pondering for a while and rereading the links in my post, I decided that while I want to accomplish a variety of things this summer, I also want to experience the joys of summer.  So I came up with my summertime list and divided it into five categories: fun; learn; sweat; repair; and maintain.  I've been itching to make a mini journaling book featured in Jennifer's Projects that Wow class, and I thought it would be a perfect way to memorialize my list.  I don't want to give away class secrets for free, but I will show you a peek into my booklet:
And here are my lists:
1. Go to the beach: pick sea class; study the tide pools; sit on the sand.
2. Sit beside the fire ring out back, enjoying a drink and good conversation with family and friends.
3. Enter a photograph in the County Fair and then attend to see if I won a ribbon.  I really wanted to do this but when I investigated further, I found that the fair is already half over and entries were due back in April! 
4. Pick blackberries.
5. Go to the zoo.
6. Visit the  Filoli Estate: take photographs and sketch.
7. Visit the Museum of Modern Art
8. Take Clara and her friends to Great America, The Boardwalk and other fun places
9. Go to a concert at Stern Grove
10. Create a fun zone in the garage
1. Attend obedience classes with the dogs.
2. Enroll Clara in lifeguard training and/or swim aide program.
3. Online art classes (I blogged about these here)
1. Empowered Fitness and running for me
2. Empowered Sport for Clara
3. Running for Clara
4. Kick Boxing for Clara
5. Swimming for Clara
6. Spinning Class for Clara
1. Clean out the garage
2. Fix up the back yard
3. Inventory and trouble-shoot the computers
4. Fix internet in the house and the television in Clara's room
1. Dentist for Henry and Clara
2. Doctor for me
3. Doctor for Clara
4. Eye doctor for me
5. Dentist for me
Feeling much better about my summertime plans!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Summer of Color 1: Summery Postcard in Citron Green and Turquoise

This summer, I'm playing along with Kristin's Summer of Color Challenge. Each week, for six weeks, a color combination is chosen by a poll of the participants and then people create artwork, in whatever format they choose, based around those colors.  I decided that I wanted to work with acrylic paint since it has been soooo long since I've played with them. I considered creating six canvases, as I have at least that many sitting in my stash but decided they would bee too difficult to store. Then I decided to work on pieces of plaster wrap because I knew I had a large 16x16 piece that I could cut into six 8x5 pieces. But, try as I might, I could not find that piece of plaster wrap. It's big; it's hard for it to hide. I looked in all the places I remember seeing it or storing it.  But, no luck; no plaster wrap. Sigh. I guess it's a sign of how much stuff I have that something that big can remain hidden. As I was cleaning and searching, I did find a package of watercolor paper postcards that I decided would be just fine for the project.  And, in the end, I'm glad I went in this direction because I found that my painting skills are really rusty. It would have been very frustrating to work on a bigger canvas. Also, plaster really changes colors, and it was hard enough to get the right colors on the watercolor paper.  For my postcards, I decided to try to focus on abstract painting, color and texture. In the end, I decided I would also find a summery quote to use on each one.  I think this will lead to a nice, coherent collection by the end of the challenge. 
The colors for Week 1 were citron green and turquoise. I looked through my Golden acrylic paints and decided to go primarily with manganese blue hue and green gold. I eventually supplemented with some other blues and greens, as well as metallic gold. I started with a rough coat of gesso on the card and then added a layer of blue in washes and glazes. Next, I used a stencil and other texture tools to add more gesso and some soft modeling paste. I painted those areas with layers of green paint. I went back in with a bit more turquoise to unify everything a bit; wrote in my quote; and then hit the high points in the texture and a bit of the background with metallic gold as my final top layer. I'm really glad I'm participating in this challenge because I don't want to lose my acrylic painting skills, and I definitely felt rusty. I think this will also push me to make some acrylic canvases this summer, as well as do some plaster wrap work (once I find the damn thing!). 
Thanks for the challenge Kristin!  Thanks also to the folks at Paint Party Friday, where I'm posting this, for the reminder to pick up your brushes and paint - they're the main reason I did any painting at all this last year. 
The quote reads "Don't grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach."

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

My Photographer's Eye: Southern California Duo

Vignette #18: I Want a Barn
Clara and I took a side trip to Idyllwild to visit my sister Tricia and her house "on the mountain." It turns out she and  her husband John had bought a new property "down in the valley." The more they described it, the more desperate we became to go down and take a look around. My photographer's eye was captivated by their barn and was thrilled to capture it as twilight fell. I would love to take it over and turn it into an art studio and photography gallery.

Vignette #19: Childhood Memories
I grew up in a house twenty minutes away from Disneyland. During my childhood, we took countless trips to the Magic Kingdom. We took our cousins when they came to visit from Houston. We went on family trips. As teenagers, we created havoc trying to circumvent park rules. I remember E tickets and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, Monsanto and Mr. Lincoln.  When boarding the monorail to head to Downtown Disney with Clara last week, I turned.  And my photographer's eye saw a scene which brought back every single one of those childhood memories. The submarine ride had real mermaids. The Matterhorn had an abominable snowman. In childhood, all things were possible.
My Photographer's Eye is a semi-regular series designed to feature my instagram photography and a brief accompanying narrative. You can see the other vignettes in this series by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Look Up//Look Down #23: Summertime Musings

Helena started a photography meme challenging people to post a pair of photos each week which look up and look down. I took this pair last weekend - looking up trying to find a cloud in the shape of something for my summertime photography scavenger hunt (I think the cloud looks a little bit like a surfer or hula dancer or dancing mermaid or maybe a dragon, but I'm not confident enough to call it a winner) and looking down at Paul and Clara working in the backyard. 
These pictures put me in mind of plans for the summer because fixing up the backyard is definitely on my list.  I have noticed several people posting summertime lists: Ali Edwards runs a summertime manifesto.  Flora has a bucket list. Stacey has summer plans. Do you do something similar?
I have a lot of ideas for things to do, but most of them are practical and, frankly, not all that fun. I'm working; Clara'a going to summer school. We are volunteering once a week at the humane society, and I am going to help Clara find a place where she can get life guard training and/or experience teaching swim lessons. We're going to fix up the backyard and clean out the garage.
Henry's life will be full of fun and games. He graduates on Thursday, goes to Costa Rica for a senior trip and is planning to hang out with his friends having fun.
I'm thinking Clara, Paul and I need to add some fun things to the summertime list. Suggestions welcome.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Glue the Dragonfly

Two of the summer classes I'm taking started today: Jennifer's Projects that Wow and Kristin's Summer of Color. I'm still digesting all of Jennifer's wonderful inspiration, but I jumped into the color challenge to use Citron Green and Turquoise. I decided that for Summer of Color, I'm going to be creating postcards with acrylic paint, texture and summery quotes. I'll be posting my Week 1 Creation on Friday once it's done. 
As I worked on my postcard, I used the extra paint to create a background.  In the spirit of Glue it Tuesday,I added a few embellishments to complete this simple collage. The journaling reads "I wanted to include a dragonfly on the scavenger hunt, but  was worried that it would be too hard." It feels really good to be creating again.
Why not create something and link up, here, with Glue it Tuesday at Artsyville?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Summer Fun (Friend Making Monday)

This week, instead of Hello Monday or A Peek into My Life, I thought I'd share my answers to the "Summer Fun" meme written for Friend Making Monday that I read over at the BoysMum2 blog. Isn't this a great photo by the way? It was taken by one of those automatic cameras set up on theme park rides. Clara and I are in the third row of seats, but check out the little girl riding in the very front! Such a classic summer experience, don't you think?
1.  What is your favorite summer fruit?  Cherries, although I also love white peaches. Stone fruit is one of summer's fleeting gifts.
2.  Do you know how to swim?  Yes. I took swim lessons as a kid and grew up going to the beach all the time and the pool occasionally. I can't do any advanced strokes (butterfly or breast stroke), but I enjoy backstroke and free style. For a while before the kids were born, I did lap swimming and trained for a triathlon (Henry arrived just before race day). 
3.  Do you prefer sun or snow?  Definitely sun. I enjoy visiting the snow in the winter a couple of times, but I'm a California girl at heart.
4.  What temperature do you like most inside your home?  68 degrees is just about perfect for me.
5.  Is it humid where you live?  Not usually. Although I would say that one big effect of global climate change is that we now do occasionally have humid days. Since I live on the coast, we definitely have foggy days, but I don't think that's the same thing. I don't think I could live in the humidity - we spent one summer in Washington, D.C. and that was enough!
6. What is your favorite food to put on the grill?  Tri-tip! So good sliced up afterwards . . . pink and juicy inside, with just a little bit of char on the outside.
7. Do you prefer to wear a one-piece  or two-piece swim suit?  Two piece? Seriously? ROTFLMAOPIMP. 
8.  What is your favorite summer drink?  Rum and coke, with a big squeeze of meyer lemon.
9.  Do you prefer the pool or the ocean?  I love the ocean when it's warm.
10.  What are you looking forward to most over the summer?  I'm teaching summer school for seven weeks, so that will put a damper on my fun. I'm looking forward to getting the house in order a bit, sleeping in and getting some time for art.  No big trips planned, but that's okay. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Summertime Scavenger Hunt on Instagram and other News

Clara and I went to a party last night to celebrate the end of out Team in Training season. It was held at a terrific house in the Santa Cruz hills with the most spectacular outdoor entertaining space. There was even a small pool house which housed the rest rooms. When I asked the host where the bathroom was, he pointed to the pool house and said, "It's over there. You'll know it when you get there." And, due to their clever sign, he was exactly right!
I'm posting this as my find for item #7 on the 2013 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt: a sign that is intentionally or unintentionally funny.
In other Scavenger Hunt news, Deb and Amy gave me the idea to add a hash tag to my instagram account for scavenger hunt photos which I post there.  I will be using the following:
If you want to use the same hash tag, so that we can track each other, please do! To see all the photos with the same hastag, simply click on the hashtag and all the photos will appear. You may want to use an additional hashtag for your own photos so you can track those separately. I am adding #rindashuntphotos to each of my finds so I can see what I personally have. Thanks to Ginger for letting me know that you can go back and add a hashtag in a comment to your photo and it will work the same way.  If you want to follow me on instagram, my username is rinda1961. If you are on instagram and want me to follow you, either post your user name in the comments or email me at rinda1961 (at) yahoo (dot) com.  This is definitely not a requirement; just something fun for those of us who love instagram. And I won't be taking all my scavenger hunt photos on instagram, but it will be fun to have some there, I think.
Also, I'm really happy to see posts starting to show up.  Check out the following:
Deb's double take on civic buildings (and a few other finds)
Miriam's very interesting airplane post
Becca's very funny sign, favorite coffee spot and other finds.
Finally, if you have any questions, feel free to email me or post a question in comments!
And don't forget to tag/label your blog posts so they'll be easy to find when we have the end of the month linky party.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

San Diego Rock'n'Roll Half-Marathon

My daughter Clara and I started training in February to run the San Diego Rock'n'Roll Half-Marathon. On June 2, we completed the event in 2:20 minutes (a respectable time, averaging 11 minutes per mile, though I would have preferred to finish under 2:15). This is us after completing the event. We each received two medals - one for finishing and one for being a charity runner. Can you see the pride on our faces?
We finished around around 9:30 a.m., but our day started much earlier - 3:00 a.m. to be precise.
We went down to the lobby to meet our team and catch the shuttle bus to the start line.
The entire festivities had actually started the day before when we checked in at the expo and got everything ready for our run.
And, of course, the reason we did the run was to raise money to fight leukemia and lymphoma and honor those who have battled the disease. I wrote the names of my honorees on my shirt, and we attended an inspiration dinner which recognized our contributions.
{This is my candle for the Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt}
Team in Training members from around the country participating in the San Diego Rock'n'Roll Marathon raised 4.2 million dollars to fund research into finding treatment for leukemia and lymphoma; the Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay Chapter raised about $360,000; our Santa Cruz team raised about $65,00 of that; and Clara and I raised almost $7,000!  We contributed and were part of something bigger.  
Clara and I began this journey because of Paul's illness.  We became Team "Running for Dad" because we wanted to take some control of the situation and do what we could to help.  As is so often the case, what we got out of the experience, what we learned, how we grew individually and in our relationship, what we received was far greater than what we contributed.