I was perusing Shutter Sisters this morning and came across the 100 step challenge. I have really been struggling lately to find inspiration on the photography front. I don’t know if that’s because I was a little burned out from doing 365 or if it’s just because things seem tired and brown here during the winter. So it seemed like a good excuse to get out the camera.
The idea of this challenge is to take 100 steps with your camera in hand, and then take a picture right where you’re at. To get a different perspective on your ordinary surroundings. This is mine:
100 steps takes me from my kitchen, out my back door and right onto the playground. I love that about this house.
And look at that grass starting to get green again!
This, my friends, is a picture of my very last Diet Coke. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent.
I’m not sure why I decided this year to give something up, I’ve always liked the idea but never really followed through on it. I made some random remark about doing it way back around Christmas and my dh hasn’t let me forget. “I thought you were giving that up,” he would say as I chugged down one of the many Diet Cokes that make up my day. He’s sort of a health nut, and that combined with frugality makes him shudder at the thought of how much my habit is costing us in terms of yearly consumption. We’ve actually had spats about it. Yes, spats about Diet Coke (known around these parts “the sweet elixir of life”).
The uncomfortable truth of the matter is that I really do crave it, all the time, and I have never mastered moderation. I can go days without actually drinking water. I know it’s not good for me, and I realized awhile back that I really don’t like it how dependent I am. Or that my reduce, reuse, recycling self is consuming something that ends with a horrifying number of empty plastic bottles. I guess now is as good a time as any to see if I can do it. I figured I better blog about it to keep myself accountable.
Ahem. How many days until Easter?
I wrote last year about my mommy guilt over putting the dutchkid into a preschool two mornings a week this year, which by the way, has turned out to be a great experience. She has thrived in the social environment and really enjoys it. When I chose that particular preschool, it was in part because I heard good things from other parents, but also because it is faith based. I am the product of a Christian education and so almost by default that was always the route I had planned to go.
Over the past few years, however, I have been exposed to and read about the many different schooling options out there. Things that I just never considered before. In my attempts to figure it all out, this past year I read a really interesting book called The Power of Play by David Elkind (the author of The Hurried Child). He talks about how children today are so pushed scholastically from such a young age that they lose the valuable skills provided by self-directed spontaneous play. I felt fortunate that I had chosen a play-based preschool for the dutchkid.
But now I have to choose all over again! We are moving to a much larger community and the options are overwhelming. And ironically now that I’ve educated myself by reading all sorts of books, I feel like it’s such an important decision and I’m worried I’m going to screw it up. My dh likes to remind me that she is only 3, but we will likely be at this duty station until she is through kindergarten. And the all important “they” say that these early years are so important! Not even to mention waiting lists and all the rest.
Right now I’m seriously considering Montessori, an option we didn’t have where we are now. They have multi-age classes with children from ages 3 to 6. So we’d ideally need to decide now if we’re going to try that out this fall. And then there’s the cost of it all, which is about enough to drive my dh to drink. If she weren’t an only child, I think I would keep her at home through kindergarten, the more I learn about homeschooling the more appealing it looks sometimes. I just worry about finding enough social interaction for her, not relying too much on the television and still keeping my sanity. And of course there are zillions of other options as far as religious based education, traditional public education…. Sometimes it feels like parenting is one of those choose-your-own-ending books: “To go down the dark tunnel, turn to page 25. To go into the forest, turn to page 30.”
Which page do I turn to for a happy, well-adjusted, productive member of society?
Sometimes I really hate my cell phone.
We don’t have a regular telephone anymore, just cell phones. It drives my dh up the wall that I rarely have mine accessible. It’s usually buried in my purse where I can’t hear it, or still plugged into the charger while I’m gallivanting about town. He likes to leave me threatening messages on it when I don’t answer.
I’m not sure why I don’t like it. I carry it with me when I know that I absolutely must have it (like when the dutchkid is at preschool and they might call me to tell me she has a serious injury) but otherwise I just… forget. And sometimes? I hear it ring and I don’t answer. Just because.
Maybe it’s my passive agressive streak? Maybe I have early onset Alzheimer’s? Maybe I’m too much of a free spirit? I don’t know, but everytime my dh nags me about it I feel like I’m 16 again and rolling my eyeballs out of my head.
Am I the only one who does this? Maybe I’m too much of a throwback to the olden days when we used to have phones that were attached to the wall (shocking I know). It took dh years to convince me to go to the “no house phone” plan. I think it’s a good lesson in patience. Everybody is so used to being able to reach anyone, anytime.
Well anyone except me, that is. And if you are one of the lucky few who actually have my number, (don’t laugh, my mother-in-law didn’t have it until a few months ago), if you call me and I don’t answer, don’t take it personally. It’s just my one woman protest against The Man. I mean, the phone.
I’m working on some new pieces. I now have a Haydn sonata (concentrating on the first movement) and a Nouvelle Etude by Chopin. Mind you, I still don’t have the other pieces mastered, I think my teacher’s theory is that if he introduces me to the concepts within this new music I can then continue on my own until I find a new teacher when we move. Either that or he’s trying to see how much music he can bury me under before I crack. (It might be because he is pushing for me to get in contact with whichever school of music I choose and see about scheduling an audition this summer… which is not going to happen. I don’t feel ready yet).
What I’m learning is not about being able to play the notes, it’s about interpretation, voicing and my new nemesis: deceptive legato. I first ran into it a little bit with the Beethoven variations. To try to put in a nutshell, it is using fingering in such a way that the melody line is connected (ie legato), without using the pedal. That’s easy, when you only have to play a single note melody with one hand, but doing that within your hand while playing 3 other notes doing unrelated things? Maddening. It feels like you’re playing with your hands stuck in cement.
At this point I am completely unappreciative of the genius of composers who wrote music like that. Even if Chopin was still a teenager when he composed many of the etudes. I will only begrudgingly give him that it is pretty. What on earth does he have against the pedal for heaven’s sake? My teacher says that using too much pedal in this situation is like using a sledgehammer where a light tap would do.
He obviously doesn’t know me at all. I am a sledgehammer kind of girl. Sigh. If only I had 5 hours a day to practice.
Note to self for future reference:
Clair de Lune (memorized, fine tuning)
Bach Prelude and Fugue (playable, memorization of Prelude started)
Haydn Sonata (started 1/29: 1st mvmt playable, 2nd in progress, 3rd sight read)
Nouvelle Etude (ARGH started 2/12)
Beethoven variations (all playable, working mainly on 6th – finger pedaling)
Consolation (playable, on the backburner)
Raindrop Prelude (playable, on the backburner)
Ok, so it didn’t take much since we don’t “do” Valentine’s Day normally.
We spent the beginning of the weekend in the big city. We went to the zoo, had some delicious Thai food and did a lot of window shopping. I did buy some cold weather gear on sale for the dutchkid since we’re moving to where they actually have winter. I’m not normally a “shopper” but I seriously love to shop for her. It’s a weakness. They have a Hanna Andersson shop up there, and boy, was it dangerous to see all that cuteness in person.
The Valentine’s present was so thoughtful: my sweet husband surprised me with a gift certificate for an hour massage AND chocolate. Awww. This is big for a guy who doesn’t easily part with money and thinks Valentine’s Day is partially (ok, mostly) a sham. The only bad part was that all I had for him was a card. I had absolutely no idea that he was going to go all out this year.
But I think the sweetest thing he did is take the time this morning to take a photo of us just so that he could send it to his grandmother and wish her a happy Valentine’s Day (via email). She lives alone and is often quite lonely. The dutchkid and I made her a handprint valentine earlier this week to send and she told him it was already hanging up. She thinks he has hung the moon and stars.
Published February 11, 2009
Tags: film, Holga, photography
with a camera that is.
A few months ago my future brother-in-law posted some fascinating photos on his Flickr account. He will soon be graduating with his degree in photography and does all sorts of interesting things. One of which is using a camera called a Holga, which is a cheapo plastic camera originally meant for children. It uses a plastic lens, and as it turns out there’s a whole world of photography out there called “lomography” dedicated to the use of said plastic equipment. For some reason there’s just something about the images that really interests me… especially the vignetting (black corners) that you sometimes get on the prints.
So of course I had to have one. Which made my dh so puzzled. You see, he is the real photographer in the family. He loves the latest and greatest in camera equipment. Why I would pay more money to have a camera that doesn’t take tack sharp reliable images? And why would I go back to using film, of all things?
Oh but this is why:
This is straight out of the camera and scanned. I love it, I think it looks like a vintage postcard. I suppose you could do something like that to a regular digital image in photoshop, but that feels so… contrived or something. Not to mention I have no idea how to use photoshop.
I really like this one too, I forgot how magical film could be. I like that you can see the grain.
It’s definitely a tempramental camera, the first time I tried to use it the film didn’t load correctly and I got an entire roll of nothing. It doesn’t even focus like a normal camera would, so it’s always a surprise as to what you’re going to get. It reminds me of when I was a kid and used a 110 camera, remember they were long and skinny? (yeah, I’m that old).
I’m seeing a lot of film in my future.
Published February 9, 2009
Tags: military life, orders, PCS
would you like to know where we’re going?
It’s not Germany, or Korea. Expect the unexpected, right? That’s my new motto. Maybe I need to have a total meltdown more often. That and if you need something, you need to ask my mother because the good Lord totally answers her prayers. While I was praying just that God would send us wherever we were supposed to be, she was more direct: “keep them in the States!”
They ended up giving my dh his second choice. We’re moving back out west, to the mountains. I think I’m still in shock, but the RFO came today as well. I really need to quit talking smack about the branch managers.
I’ve been going to a yoga class here on post once a week. It’s been about a month now, and I really like it (heaven knows with all the stress about the move, I’ve needed it). I’ve done yoga via video before, and visited a studio my mom goes to, but I haven’t had the chance before to attend a class regularly. It’s much better in person.
So I’ve been tired of carrying my mat around and trying to juggle it with my id and all the rest of the jazz I carry, so I decided to make myself a little yoga bag:
It turned out fairly well, I didn’t use a pattern or anything. I did look at this tutorial, but I didn’t really follow the measurements or anything. The fabric was just some old home dec weight fabric I’ve had for ages, it’s not my favorite but it will do.
Maybe it will make me look like I know what I’m doing, and make up for the fact that sometimes I can’t figure out how to do the poses.
Published February 6, 2009
Tags: inner peace, moving, PCS
I feel better this morning, it’s amazing how sleeping on something makes it more manageable. My subconsious must have been hard at work last night.
I just couldn’t leave that last post on the top of the blog, although I don’t have much else to say about it. I will wait as gracefully as I know how.
So for this morning, I will give you my favorite quote:
Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift! That’s why they call it the present.
And it came from Kung Fu Panda, of all places. I am now reduced to finding my inspiration from cartoons. But it’s a good one, no? Someone famous probably said it first, although I don’t know who. So if you know, please enlighten me.