Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Town Shoot Out - Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the choice this week from the TownBlogger Team. "Every town has a hero. From the past, in the here and now, or someone we know will make us proud in the future.
If out of ideas it always helps me to look up the definition of related words – so here is a list of definitions gotten from an online search -
Definitions of Hero on the Web:
a man (or woman) distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength;
the principal character in a play or movie or novel or poem
champion: someone who fights for a cause
(classical mythology) a being of great strength and courage celebrated for bold exploits; often the offspring of a mortal and a god
bomber: a large sandwich made of a long crusty roll split lengthwise and filled with meats and cheese (and tomato and onion and lettuce and condiments); different names are used in different sections of the United States
Or heroism – heroic
heroic - epic: very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale); "an epic voyage"; "of heroic proportions"; "heroic ...
heroic - relating to or characteristic of heroes of antiquity; "heroic legends"; "the heroic age"
heroic - having or displaying qualities appropriate for heroes;
heroic - expansive: of behavior that is impressive and ambitious in scale or scope; "an expansive lifestyle"; "in the grand manner"; "collecting on a grand scale"; "heroic undertakings"
heroic verse: a verse form suited to the treatment of heroic or elevated themes; dactylic hexameter or iambic pentameter
heroic - desperate: showing extreme courage; especially of actions courageously undertaken in desperation as a last resort;
This topic might not lend itself to photos but I look forward to all of your takes on the topic and the stories of heroes from each of your towns."
I encourage you to go and see everyone's contributions here or here.

I happen to think this topic does lend itself to photos. Here in Dublin, we have a Memorial Day Celebration to honor the people who have given their lives in service to our country. We also honor curretly serving and retired military personnel. With an Army base in town, we all have friends and neighbors who are involved to some degree.

This year, The Oldest signed up to sing in the School District Elementary Choir, and their performance at the Memorial Day celebration was really great. There were speeches by our esteemed Mayor, Tim Sbranti:
Our School District Superintendent, Stephan Hanke:
And The Choir Director Irene Fong:
There was the presentation of the Color Guard from base:
The Leading out of the family members of fallen soldiers.
The Oldest was especially proud to lead the Marines:
There was singing, of course:
Because The Oldest has a loud and clear speaking voice, he had the honor of reading all of the Presidentioal quotes:
While The Youngest only wanted to play with a friend in the last light of day:
I hope you take the time this weekend to remember those who have fought to ensure we live in freedom.
One last image from the series for Sacred Ground:
Enjoy your weekend.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's been one of those weeks.

You know the ones - you try to smile and be cheerful, but are just slammed in the head and heart repeatedly.

I have friends who are facing serious health situations, life ending health situations.

BF - he's been battling cancer - esophageal, and now it's in his hip, ribs, spine and possibly lungs.
HH - she was breast cancer free for the past 2 years - this week she had a rod put in her spine because it has been weakened by cancer, which they found in her spine last week.
JC - a nearly 2 year old who received the news this week that his life expectancy due to Leigh Syndrome is around age 3. His family is trying to handle as best they can.
GG - went in for routine exam and is having bypass surgery today.
AZ - attended his funeral yesterday and he was 45.

All I can think is WTF. I am taking deep breaths, hugging my family extra long, and bawling my eyes out.

I did find out one piece of relieving news yesterday that the program The Boys attend is expanding to include all elementary grades. I won't have to stress about standard classrooms and environments for another 2 years - when The Oldest enters Junior High. By then, he will be ready. I'm also looking forward to teaching art to the older kids. We'll be working on 1 and 2 point perspective, negative space and life drawing. I've been wanting to do that for a while, but they are not topics for K-3rd graders. I'm sure we'll get in more ceramics, water colors, and dabble in photography.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tableau Tuesday 5/18/2010

I am finished with my final portfolios for Photo 68 - Color Field Photography, so I thought I'd share the digital portfolio with you:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

If you want to see the printed portfolio - I made a blurb book and turned it in this past Saturday.
Look here!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Music Monday and Weekend Wrap Up

In honor of yesterday's Sunday Stills theme:

The weekend held the usual business, with the addition of The Dude holding an open house Fri-Sun, and having 2 soccer games on Sunday.

Friday, I worked in The Boys' classroom for 2.5 hours, helping the 1st and 2nd graders make ceramic gifts for Father's Day. A half hour of clean up, and then an hour unsuccessfully sifting through lost and found for The Youngest's lunch box.

Saturday, The Youngest had a Baseball game, and Teh Oldest made mud balls coated in sand. I did the majority of the laundry and that night we went out to dinner with friends, and got home late.

Sunday I had the itch to do SOMETHING about my house. So I changed and washed all the linens, and scrubbed both bathrooms. I hung up the final tomoato bucket, watered the garden and wrote the list of needs (as I was working I busted one of the sprinkler heads...). I also scooped all the poop from the last 2 weeks, and vacuumed the house. Oh, and I reorganized ALL the legos and duplos in The Boys' room. That required one boy climbing under the bunk bed to retrieve all sorts of things from the far corners, and me sitting on the floor pulling apart legos until I couldn't feel my finger tips. However, now their room and dressers are clean, and there are 4 bins: 1 for duplos; 1 for legos colors of Black, Brown, Grey (all shades), and White; 1 for legos of other colors; and one for pieces of and accessories to mini figs.

Created a grocery list and decided to cook a decent dinner of tri tip, baked potatoes, roasted beet salad, and steamed broccoli. I am feeling very much like I need to cook more healthy alternatives to kid food. Last week I picked and cooked all the Swiss Chard, and The Youngest LOVED it, while The Oldest didn't.

And now a song that comes to mind when thinking of the upcoming Friday Shoot Out Theme:

Sunday Stills - Wildflowers

Now that I have completed my final assignments for Photography 68, I can return to the things which I love - actually capturing images and sharing those with like minded people!

I am back to Sunday Stills, hoping to be able to look at and comment on all the participants.

This week is Wild Flowers, and all images were taken yesterday on Croak Rd., a frontage road that is little used these days, and resplendent with weeds that make me sneeze, but have interesting flowers.
Mustard seed fields cover the surrounding hills:
Close up, and between sneezes:
Another flower that grows within the mustard:
These grew behind my house as a kid, and the spikes on the stems and leaves are NASTY!
The rest of these were all in one small area, and I think the result of some neighbor dumping one of those wildflower cans along the barbed wire fence.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tableau Tuesday is Back!!!

Yeah! These are all DOOC, snaps really, no time yet to fine tune, rotate and crop, but wanted to show youwhat a great time we all had on Sunday at the beach!

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother's Day wrap up

I had a FANTASTIC Mother's Day!
The Dude and The Boys let me sleep in.
When I did wake up, I had a fun time opening my ceramic creations from the boys, BVI French Toast, coffee and a lovely card from The Dude.
We packed the car and headed to the beach with My Folks, My Aunt, My Sister and My Nephews. It was windy, a bit cold, and SOOOOOooooooooo relaxing and delightful! I felt rejuvinated by the smells of sea air, the salt, the sand, the sun, the wind and the sounds. OMG, this is my FAVORITE way to spend time. Seriously. Favorite.
We came back to town and had dinner at The Dude's Mom's home, and that was relaxing too - I didn't have to cook or clean all day, The boys had a blast, and I was able to breathe and NOT WORK. I stayed off my work computer all weekend, and slept instead.

As a result, I feel WAY better today than I have in weeks, and my patience has been extended.

Pictures to come for Tableau Tuesday's return!!!!

Yeah me!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I have this on my office wall:

Why Mothers Cry ....

"Why are you crying?" he asked his mom.
"Because I'm a mother," she told him.
"I don't understand," he said.
His mom just hugged him and said, "You never will!"

Later the little boy asked his father why Mother seemed to cry for no reason.
"All mothers cry for no reason," was all his dad could say.

The little boy grew up and became a man, still wondering why mothers cry.
So he finally put in a call to God and when God got on the phone the man said,
"God, why do mothers cry so easily."
God said, "You see son, when I made mothers they had to be special.
I made their shoulders strong enough to carry the weight of the world, yet gentle enough to give comfort.
I gave them an inner strength to endure childbirth and the rejection that many times come from their children.
"I gave them a hardiness that allows them to keep going when everyone else gives up, and to take care of their families through sickness and fatigue without complaining.
"I gave them the sensitivity to love their children under all circumstances, even when their child has hurt
them very badly. This same sensitivity helps them to make a child's boo-boo feel better and helps them share a teenager's anxieties and fears.

"I gave them a tear to shed. It's theirs exclusively to use whenever it's needed. It's their only weakness.
It's a tear for mankind."

Monday, May 3, 2010

Music Monday and Weekend Wrap Up

Let's get this party started:

And now for the week's wrap up, because too f*cking much happened this week for me to not post. I'm going backward as my mind will allow.

Sunday - Spent the day in my backyard wringing out and hanging laundry on the line until it was only damp, then it went to the dryer to finish. The Boys lazed about the house, and The Dude had a soccer game in which he was kicked in the head (not causing any physical damage, but pissing him off), and a run to the garbage dump for a kitchen remodel he is working.

Saturday - Early baseball game for The Youngest (at the field at 8:30), Black Belt testing for The Oldest (11:30 - 4:30), and a class for me (10-noon). I missed the first time The Youngest pitched, but one of the mom's got some pictures. My class went well and I got some positive feedback on my work. The Oldest did really well on all but the written portion of the test. That was not really his fault, as many of the questions were from the adult curriculum, and we were studying the children's curriculum. He has a retest (not sure if it is just written, or full test) in a week. He broke boards, did great on his forms, and sparred 3 people at the same time, along with doing 1,000 kicks for warm up. In the afternoon we got Augie back from the vet with meds, a cone of shame, and special food while he heals.
Decided that it would be more cost and time effective to drip dry the laundry on a line in back before placing in the dryer. Hung a couple of lines, and bought clothespins. Completed 2 loads of laundry this way before sundown, and figured out that wringing the water out before hanging makes things go more quickly. Also decided that pre electric women were burly for a reason.

Friday - Augie was not any better than yesterday, and The Dude took him to the vet while I was on back to back calls for work. Got a text that Augie had blocked intestines and they would be operating, AND it was going to cost the equivalent of a mortgage payment... Worked in The Boys' classroom, and hosted a Happy Hour Play Date with 4 other moms and their kids that lasted until 9:00. We decided we need a trip to see Rocky Horror Picture Show. Was very relaxed by the end and decided that I need more time like this! Also decided that I would NOT be working over the weekend, as my hacking cough was approaching bronchitis. The part for the washer came and The Dude and I worked on fixing the washer only to discover that what we thought was wrong, wasn't and the only fix needed was to place a spring back where it belonged. Now the washer doesn't leak, and we have a part that cost over $100 that we didn't need. Of course, the washer also doesn't effectively drain or run the spin cycle, but that is a problem for another day. Had to wash uniforms for tomorrow, and it took until 2am for them to dry, running repeated cycles on the dryer.

Thursday - Augie spent today throwing up what looked like foam pieces of a slipper he ate yesterday, and not eating or drinking. Was able to get him to hoild down an eyedropper of water every hour or so. Final day of Tae Kwon Do class before Black Belt Testing. I know The Oldest is ready, but I am nervous for him. Spent the day baking boards in between calls for work. Sap is still leaking out and dripping, and I'm not sure if the boards will be breakable by Saturday...

Wednesday - Augie ate one of my slippers. I don't think he actually swallowed any of it, as the amount of foam lying around seemed to match the missing volume from the slipper. Today The Boys were playing with Legos when The Oldest asked me to come look at what he'd built:
When I inquired as to what it was, he replied, "A wig shop." Seriously. All I could think of at that point is a sound bite on The Frank DeCaro Show, "To The Wig Shop!" When I find it, I'll add it! The Dude finally bought a board for The Oldest to use during Black Belt testing. I should have done it myself a month ago (when I first asked him to do so). It is a really crappy board, full of knots, warped and VERY green. Spent the evening baking the boards, pine smoke filling my kitchen and setting off my smoke alarms. The sap is still seeping out of the boards, and I'll have to spend tomorrow baking them even more. Had to put together a bunch of metrics and algorythms for work which took me past midnight.