Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Intentions & OLW (March Edition)

"In March, I was fabulous because I became a runner - again." I used to run . . . back before the kids were born and off-and-on afterwards. But I hung up my shoes quite a while ago. And had assumed they were hung up for good because I was getting to be too old. But something happened this year, when I made my 2011 intention to be 50 and fabulous. I found the strength and commitment to let go of ideas of what I was too old to do. And, the other day, when I was walking in downtown Burlingame, I saw a new running shoe store. And I went in. And I bought shoes. And now every few days, I put them on, and I run. Because I can. And because it makes me feel fit and healthy and strong. And because, for me, this is what 50 looks like.
So, that's my art journal page in in Intentions journal.  Funnily enough, the picture is actually an old one I found in my stash, but, now, years later, I bought the same shoes!  Here's a couple of pages from "one little word" journal focusing on health.
The purple page says "I will keep a food journal to track what I eat." I do this as part of Weight Watchers. I've lost about 15-20 pounds so far, and I'm hoping to lose 10-15 more. I've plateaued a bit lately, but I'm hoping the running will help. Also, as the yellow page told me to do, I joined a gym. I just started, but I'm looking forward to the weight work and more organized yoga and cardio work.
How are you coming on your 2011 intentions, resolutions and one little words for this year? I'd love it if you would share a link in the comments below. Mr. Linky started charging, so I'm not able to use that service anymore. I'd love suggestions for something else if you know of any.  If you want to read more about the 2011 resolutions, intentions and one little word project, click on the "2011 intentions" label below.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Major League Baseball Opening Day

Today is opening day for Major League Baseball in the United States, and John Fogerty's song "Center Field" really captures the excitement of the day for me. Can't get enough baseball? I also found this wonderful video which captures the goosebumps of an actual game.  It's long (12 minutes) and only uses still photography, but the music is terrific:

Finally, for you S.F. Giants fans out there, the Giants anthem from last year:

The Giants open in Los Angeles this year against our hated rivals, the Dodgers.  Their home opener isn't until April 8th.  We'll be there on April 10th, for Buster Posey Rookie of the Year Day.  We can't wait! Why do we love baseball so much?  Read my post here and this one here, and you'll get a little understanding of how it can draw us together as a family. What about you?  Will you be taking in any baseball this year?  Or for my international readers, what sports will you be going to see live?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How old do you need to be to own a dog?

One of the reasons I'm "fabulous at fifty" is that I've finally become a really good dog owner. I think it takes a bit of maturity and commitment that I didn't really have when I was younger. I was thinking about that as I made today's art. It's a tag using the Tim Holtz technique featured this week by Linda of the Studio L3 blog (click on this link). I photographed it outside on my back deck, and I really like everything about it. What about you? When do you think you are old enough to have a dog? I'm thinking a lot about why I'm fabulous and fifty this year as part of an ongoing project. Since the beginning of the year, I have been running an online project to keep people on track with their 2011 resolutions, intentions and one little word projects. March is almost over, so I'll be checking in with everyone this weekend to see how you are doing and to give you a chance to link up and show off.  

I have three projects going (all in the form of art journals):
*my one little word ("health") journal (see e.g. here);
*my 2011 Resolutions Journal (see e.g. here); and
*my "Fifty an Fabulous" art journal (see e.g. here and read about my fabulous at fifty philosophy in this post).
If you click on the "2011 intentions" label below, it will bring up more pages and descriptions of my project.  Hope you can join me this weekend.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Grungy Monday & Blog Candy Winners

Linda of the Studio L3 Blog ran a terrific challenge series working her way through Tim Holtz's Compendium of Curiosities book.  I did most of the challenges, but I lost focus toward the end.  Now that she's done with all the techniques in the book, she's starting a new series called "Grungy Monday" focusing on a variety of other Tim techniques. I was inspired to play along this week and created this tag.  You can see the challenge at this post. 
For my background, I used Heidi Swapp ghost butterflies as masks, as well as Tim's border mask. Spritzed with cranberry and plum color wash inks.  Smudged on aged mahogany and black soot inks.  The focal element is a Tim stamp, embossed on grungepaper and then colored with antique gold and really red perfect pearls. Added vintage paper, bits of trim, some charms, Tim's ruler ribbon (which I won from The Scrappy Tree blog) and some very old doodad letters from Tim.  Lots of grungy fun! Thanks for the challenge Linda!
In other news, the winners (I decided to choose 4) of the Tsunami Relief blog candy give-away are:
#3 Sharyn (who will receive several original photographs)
#18 Amy (who will receive an original piece of art) 
#28 Kristy.A (who will receive an assortment of scrapbook goodies/ephemera) and
#37 Furry Pig (who will receive an assortment of handmade bookmarks and cards).
Email me your mailing address at, and I'll get your prize in the mail. Also, I wrote a check for $100 to the Red Cross Tsunami Relief fund.  I had 44 comments and decided to round up to an even number.  Thanks for your support!
p.s. Madeline Bea who ran the wonderful Creativity Boot Camp last summer just put up a wonderful post about the 1000 Crane photography project to benefit Japan.  You can read it here.
p.p.s. Ali Edwards just posted here about a designer digital kit benefiting Japan.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Last Call for Tsunami Relief (and more ipad photo processing)

Tonight I will pull the winners for my Tsunami Relief blog candy drawing and also write out my check for Tsunami Relief, so please stop by this post and leave a comment (if you haven't already).  I'd love to write a bigger check!
I downloaded two of the photo effects apps for the ipad that I mentioned in this post.  I got Camera Bag, which adds hipstamatic-like effects to pictures. It provides a filter option, a border option and a crop option.  I loved the app!  The picture above uses the "cinema" filter, a square crop, and a thin white borer.  The original picture looked liked this:
 Do you prefer one to the other?
I also purchased the color splash app, which turns the photo to grey scale and then allows you to add the original color back in by dragging your finger around on the photo.  It was a bit more difficult to than I would have liked to be honest, but still fun to play around with. 
You can also combine the two apps together.  I started with this photo:
I then applied color blaster to make everything grey scale except Gypsy and the ball.  Then I went to photo bag, cropped it square, added the helga filter and a thin border.  
I'm really happy with how it turned out!  What do you think?  These are very easy adjustments to make.  I'd like to be able to add textures as well, so I'm thinking about taking the adjusted pictures and working with them in PSE to see how that works.  But, I lost all my textures when my hard drive died, and I need to reload them.  Plus, it's been a while since I worked in PSE, and so I need to refresh my recollection a bit before I can do that.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Let's Talk Scrapbook Albums

I'm a chronological scrapbooker.  How about you?  I scrapbook by year, rather than by subject, although I will do some albums for trips or the occasional theme (like my Christmas card picture album or "week in a life").   Here's the bookshelf with most of my scrapbook albums. I just counted, and I have about about fifty 12x12 albums.  Most have between 35 and 50 pages.  Not all of them are on this shelf because there are a few in each of the kids' rooms (I keep their "school days" and sports albums in their rooms).  I also have about 25 smaller format albums (8.5x11, 5x7, 6x6 etc.) that cover single events, trips or themes and three 12x15 albums .  I originally used Creative Memories albums and then switched to Close to My Heart.  More recently, I used Club Scrap albums until they discontinued them.  Right now, I'm looking for a good substitute.  I'd love suggestions.
As a chronological scrapper, I do try and stay "caught up" with my pictures.  For both my husband an I, I scrapped our childhood pictures (one album for each of us).  I also have a high school album and a university album for me, as well as one album that has all the pictures from when DS and I started dating until we started having children. From 1995 (the year DS Henry was born) until the present, I have at least one annual family album per year (most have two albums). There is also a "baby" album for each child, covering their first year.  Each child also has 2-4 school days albums which cover their school activities and/or their sports.  I'm currently about half way through 2010, so I am pretty "caught up."
There are two albums that I really want to do but haven't really made much of a dent on - our wedding album and a heritage/genealogy album.
So, that's my scrapbook album story.  What's yours?
P.S. For a chance to win some blog candy and increase the donation I'm making to Tsunami relief, visit this post an leave a comment.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Let's Talk Ipads and Photography

I got an ipad last summer, and it makes my life easier in many ways.  I use it to quickly check my email and scan the internet.  I love it for watching Grey's Anatomy and Modern Family on ABC Player and a ton of different streaming videos on Netflix.  Of course, I use it to read books, too.
Recently, I've also been exploring its uses for photography.  I got the camera adapter as a Christmas present, and I use the ipad to review pictures and decide which ones to delete from my memory card.  This is particularly useful when I'm doing photo shoots for the school sports teams.  I take 10-12 shots of the team.  On the ipad I can quickly and easily compare them and decide which 1 or 2 to upload to my computer.  I have also used it in a photo walk class to do a critique session.  The display is so large and bright that it's the perfect way for 3 or 4 people to really look at the same image.
And now, I discover that there's all kinds of cool photo editing apps for the ipad!  There's a great review of a bunch of them at this site.  I installed the free one called PhotoPad by Zagg, and had some fun playing with it.
I took the daffodil picture above and easily created these two images:

Kindof fun, huh?  In a more realistic vein, I took this sports portrait:
Did a little photo editing (removed red eye and adjusted some cropping and color) and then turned it to sepia to get this photo, which his mother really loved:
I've been very happy with this as a free app, and I'm considering some of the paid photo editing apps recommended in the article.  I'm curious about whether any of you have used them and what you think of them.  There's also this article on ipad photo effects, rather than photo editing.  They're all paid apps, but I'm considering "Camera Bag" (a filter app that looks to be kindof hipstamatic like) for $2.99; Color Splash (turns the picture black & white and then you go back in to add color in selected areas) for $1.99; and FX Photo Studio HD (which seems to be almost more of a photo editor than effects-adder) for $2.99.  I know that these duplicate some of what you can do in PSE or photoshop, but the advantage seems to be in portability (I can do this all without a computer) and in ease of use.  Again, I'm curious as to whether you've tried any of these and what your take is on them.  And whether you have used an ipad in your photography in any other ways.
P.S. For a chance to win some blog candy and increase the donation I'm making to Tsunami relief, visit this post an leave a comment.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Portraits of Gypsy

I finally got out my camera (as opposed to my iphone) and tried to get a decent portrait of my new dog, Gypsy.  Here (above) is the first one I took.  It may be the best one, but I didn't stop there.
I kept snapping away:
The hardest part was trying to get some expression on her face.  For the next one, I meowed (for the life of me, I have no idea why blogger won't post this in the correct orientation!):
And I thought I should get at least one that had her whole body in it:
Eventually, Gypsy grew weary of the whole thing, and I remembered Shimelle's idea about just putting your camera on the ground amd pressing the button:
I learned that shooting a dog portrait was much harder than I imagined!  So, which is your favorite shot (#1-6)?  And a couple of questions for you dog lovers - do you have any great tips to share for shooting pet portraits?  And, what kind of dog do you think Gypsy is?  We've been thinking she's a Norfolk Terrier mix, but I'm curious what others think.
P.S. For a chance to win some blog candy and increase the donation I'm making to Tsunami relief, visit this post an leave a comment.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

An Unusual Sign of Spring

Yesterday I was sitting outside on my deck, giving my dog a chance to stretch her legs and do her thing, and I noticed a sure sign of spring around here - my orange toe nails.  I get a pedicure 3-4 times a year, and in the spring I paint my toe nails orange.  Why you may ask?
It's my son's fault.  His high school colors are orange and black. And in the spring, I go to his baseball games.  When the weather's nice, I wear shorts and sandals.  And show off my orange toe nails.  Like any good mother would.
Do you have any unusual spring traditions?
P.S. For a chance to win some blog candy and increase the donation I'm making to Tsunami relief, visit this post an leave a comment.

The Blogs of My Life

Six Friends Making Art (art journal page). Journaling reads: "This weekend six friends gathered to splash paint an spray ink and have fun together making art. We fly via our art."

I made this page to celebrate the fun class I taught over the weekend. I am blessed to have a local mixed media group and am now doubly-blessed to find we're developing an ongoing art journaling community as a subset of that group! But today's post is not about my local, real life community.  It about my community in blog land.  I have teachers and inspirations in blog land that I visit with regularly, including:
Ali Edwards - she inspires me with the stories of her life and her memory keeping ideas;
Dina Wakley - she exposed me to the wonderful world that is art journaling and continues to inspire me with her new classes and inspiring pages (plus she thinks I'm a great artist, too!);
Tara Whitney - she's the kind of photographer I hope to be someday, and her honest writing about her family makes my heart sing and ache at the same time;
Tim Holtz - the king of inky, grungy goodness; a generous soul and incredibly funny human being;
Robyn of Made in Brooklyn - she inspires me with her blog which reads like an ongoing memoir of a creative spirit raising kids in Brooklyn, NY.

With the exception of Dina, I don't ever comment on the blogs above, although I read and enjoy every post they make. They're all such big names with a huge number of followers that I don't think they would know me from Adam.  But, I have another list of blogs to share, the blogs which in the words of Amy "are a part of my life now." When she wrote those words about my blog, they touched me beyond measure. And they rang true.  There are certain blogs that have become a real part of my life - their authors feel like old friends.  If they disappeared from blogland, I would miss them and begin to worry and send an email to find out where they went.  Although I have only met one of these women so far, I feel in my heart that someday I will meet each one in real life.  I'm a little hesitant to post my list because I don't want to hurt the feelings of anyone I leave out. And also a little, greedy part of me doesn't want to share them with anyone else.  But today I feel a need to write about them and pay tribute to this group which has become such a big part of my day-to-day life.  So, I've decided to identify them by a psueodanym, rather than by name.  We'll see if you can figure out who they are by the description.  And maybe tomorrow, I'll tell you their real names and give you links.  Maybe . . .  
H&M - One of the two best writers I've found in blogland. We don't have that much in common. She lives in the southeast in an underground house; I'm on the West Coast up on a hill overlooking the ocean. She hates Little League; I love all things baseball.  Her life is full of Star Wars and Lego; mine is full of hip-hop and law.  But none of that matters. Because we're friends.  Plus she has the best name for a blog. Ever.
'roo - My friend in Australia. Her design is as clean and crisp as mine is textured and messy, but we click. Maybe it's because we're both fond of the ocean. I know she'll greet me when I get to Australia someday, whether it's next year or ten years from now.
Maverick  - She blogs about knitting, sewing and quilting - three things I hate can't do. She reads all the time; I'm lucky to get through one book a month. But we have a connection - I think it's because she's up at all hours of the night. And lives in Michigan, where I fly every other month for work. I imagine waving to her every time I fly in and out of DWI.
Seneca - A beautiful, classy lady who takes photos and makes cards in upstate New York. I have had the pleasure of meeting her , and I hope to see her again. Maybe she'll stay and decorate my house.  I'd like that. A lot.
Turtle - My friend in the Arizona desert who collects heart shaped rocks.  She actually grew up in California, and we both have a western sensibility I think. Everything she makes is gorgeous, fun and full of love. I envy the relationship she has with her daughter. Plus, I want to live in her house.
Smiles - One of the many wonderful women of the UK who I met through Shimelle's classes. She blogs about anything and everything in a totally refreshing way.  Fun, quirky and full of life - that's our Smiles .  I can't wait to meet her this summer.
Tilda - Queen of layering, a new grandma, an English gardener, a purveyor of cute images. You think you have her pegged and then she blows your mind by effortlessly creating some grungy, vintage collage piece! The creative waters run very deep in this girl, and she's a huge source of inspiration to me. Another one I hope to meet this summer.
Muse - An awesome photographer who shares her life with a bunch of border collies and freckle-faced men.  She lives in Florida and has a ranch and an air boat to drive through the everglades! She lives a life that I thought only existed in the imagination.  I would love to spend a week with her, taking photographs, creating digital art and breathing in a life so different from my own.
Belfast - The other best writer I know in blogland. Her stories take my breath away in how they capture human relationships and a sense of time and place, all with an incredible economy of words. An amazing scrapbooker, knitter and seamstress - everything she touches turns to gold. I'm going to visit Ireland in the summer of 2012, and I'll meet her then.  That may seem like a long time in the future, but I know we'll still be friends then. That's just the way it is.
So, how many do you recognize?  Do you recognize yourself? And, if so, do you think I did you justice?
P.S. For a chance to win some blog candy and increase the donation I'm making to Tsunami relief, visit this post an leave a comment.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tsunami Relief Donation & Blog Give-Away

Tsunami (art journal page). Journaling reads "3/11/11 Japan - Crescent City - Santa Cruz - Half Moon Bay"
I continue to think about the tsunami in Japan and its devastating effects on that country. And I want to do something about it. My blog friend Tammy and her blogging group, the Mortal Muses, inspired me with the wonderful art sales and auctions they are holding to benefit Japan. Check it out here and here. I'm not really set up for that, but I have decided to do a Donation and Give-Away.  So, for each comment left on this blog post (one comment per person please), I will donate two dollars to the Red Cross (with a cap of 125 comments).  Also, I will give away one prize for each twenty-five comments. . . prizes include an ephemera pack, mixed media art work, original photographs and a collage sheet. If you have a preference among these prizes, let me know in your comment.  
My art journal page for today has a tissue paper background, colored with acrylic paint. The image is a photograph taken by my friend Connie Andrews.  I drew in the tear.  Not a lot of journaling on the page, but I think it's enough. Shimelle's prompt for her SFB class today talks about how blog posts and scrapbook pages can be effective even when they don't tell the whole story.  I think the same thing is true of art journal pages. They can convey a lot of emotion, even with just a few words because the color, texture and images do a lot of that work. 
Tsunami Relief Donation and Blog Give-Away will remain open until 9:00 p.m. Monday, March 28, 2011 (California time).  Comment away!
Updated to add:  Winners have been drawn! Check it out here.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Art/Work and my Blog

Art/Work (art journal page).  Journaling reads: "Sometimes you need to turn your back on work and simply make art instead."
Today is the beginning of the relaunch of Shimelle's class, Blogging for Scrapbookers. I started my blog about sixteen months ago when she first taught the class, and I'm following along on the relaunch as a way to reconsider and freshen up my blog. I think both are needed!
So, welcome new friends (and old) to my blog - Gallorganico. The first prompt for Shimelle's class focuses on why to blog and why scrapbookers in particular might blog. I started my blog mainly as a way to catalog my art, which tends to mixed media collage.  You can see some samples in this post or this one.  As my art has expanded into photography, I have used my blog to feature some of my favorite photographs and PSE work.   Some examples are here and there.  I'm also an avid art journaler, and I often most my art journal pages, like the one today. Over time, I have started to share more about my life in general on my blog and have started to use my blog to record photographs and stories that will eventually make their way into my scrapbooks, just like Shimelle suggested in her prompt today. You can see my photos and journaling about the recent tsunami alert in this post or getting a new dog in this one. Without a doubt, one of the best things about blogging has been the friends that I have met along the way.
Another wonderful thing I've discovered in blogland are challenges that help spur my art. One of my favorite challenge blogs is Gingersnap Creations. Their current monthly challenge is about "work," and I created today's art journal page in response to the challenge. It's also allowed me to think about whether my art and my blog are "work" or something different.  For most of the last year or so, I've posted every day, but lately I've started to slow down.  Partly because I've been busy and partly because I think I've lost a little of that lovin' feeling.  Somedays my blog does feel a bit like work. I'm hoping this class will help me rekindle my love for my blog or help me come to terms with "blogging without obligation" (only on those days and in those ways that bring me joy).
So, old friends, why do you blog? How do you use your blog? Are you as excited as ever or have you slowed down?  And new friends, welcome! What are you plans for your blog? By the way, let me know if you're a new reader, and I'll definitely go visit your blog.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What are you reading these days?

I received some happy mail yesterday from Becky in Essex, England.  It's the book Still Missing, which originated in Sian's Pass the Book project.  You can read more about it here, and she's got a terrific book up to share this month.  I especially love the card which Becky enclosed - especially the punched butterflies along the top. And the sentiment is wonderful, too: "The road to a friend's house is never long."
I'm looking forward to reading this book.  I will have to alternate it with my current book group - a nonfiction book called "Unbroken." Anyone read it? My last book group book was "The Imperfectionists," which was a book of interrelated short stories.  It was a very fast and interesting read; everyone in the group liked it. And it led to some interesting discussion. What are you reading these days?

Monday, March 14, 2011

She walked into our life . . .

Recently a friend of mine posted a story on her facebook page about a little terrier she had rescued from a shelter in Los Angeles (350 miles south of here) and was fostering.  There was something about that little face that spoke to us.  We took her to the baseball game:
Where she stole Clara's heart with her kisses:
Then, she came to book group with me:
As we heard more about her story, our hearts went out to this tiny four year old girl who may have been part of a backyard breeding program and then dumped on the street. She had been picked up as a stray with badly matted fur and weighing a mere 8 pounds.  With a little love from our friend who fostered her for a week, she was looking much better:
So, we brought her home to be part of our family:
She in sleeping quite contentedly in her bed right now, next to me while I work:
Our friend had named her Gypsy, and we decided to keep the name. It seemed to fit this sweet, sweet, spunky girl who walked off the streets and out of the shelter right into our hearts.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

And sometimes I even scrapbook . . .

So, the other day after I was done making art journal pages, I started putting stuff away and came across a bunch of Halloween embellishments.  Since I had this page started, I added a few of them (alright, a lot of them) and finished it up! I don't scrapbook nearly as often as I used to. Right now it's only about once a month. And it feels a little weird to be doing Halloween in March, but so be it! How often are you scrapping and what are you working on?

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Spot of Excitment Around Here . . .

Before I went to bed last night, I heard about the awful earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  I said a prayer for them as I drifted off to sleep. This morning, at 5:45 a.m., I heard my husband's cell phone ring. I thought "This can't be good news; I hope no one is sick." A few moments later, my cell phone rang. I answered it and was greeted with a recorded message that all schools in our district were closed for the day and that voluntary evacuations were taking place because a tsunami watch was in effect!  Knowing that our house is on a hill several hundred feet above the local "Tsunami Gathering Site," I wasn't too worried about our safety.  But as the tsunami sirens were going off at fairly regular intervals between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m., I pulled myself out of bed and went upstairs to watch TV with my husband.
The authorities were in fact asking for voluntary evacuations in low-lying areas on the west side of the highway.  We're on the east side and up on top of a big hill, but there were plenty of people who did evacuate.  Our high school was one of the evacuation sites:
The kids woke up and trundled upstairs mid-morning for what felt to us like a snow day.  There wasn't much to do but watch the news and see what developed.  Luckily for us, the disaster turned out to be, in my son's words, "kind of lame." The ocean surge and wave action around here was less than what we normally see for a winter storm. My son's baseball game, scheduled for 3:30, went on as planned.  When I went to drop him off at the high school, I saw that the television crew was still around interviewing people:
Most of us here on the Coast are a hardy lot, and many think this was much ado about nothing.  But still . . . it does give one pause. It's nice to know that the systems are in place in case of a real emergency. And it's a good reminder of the power of nature and a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted.  My husband took the day off, and we had a very nice family day.  I made a point of hugging my kids today and telling them that I loved them.  Because part of me thinks that there's a thin line between the tsunami that wasn't and the tsunami that could have been.  And I'm glad that, for today at least, we were on the right side of that line.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

2011 Resolutions - February Travel Page

One of my resolutions for this year is to travel outside the U.S.  We had been planning to go to Puebla, Mexico, where I would teach in a summer abroad program. Unfortunately, the University decided that Mexico is too dangerous right now to take students. Sigh.  So, rather than give up on the resolution entirely, I've been working on plans to attend a conference in England.  It's to be held at Cambridge University, July 20-22. It's not a done deal yet, but it's definitely in the works. So I thought it was fair to add it to my resolutions art journal. One exciting thing about the trip is that I'm planning it to just be me and Paul - no kids! We'll send them to stay with the relatives in Southern California. In addition to the time in Cambridge, we'll spend time in London. I'd love to have suggestions for other places to visit in the general London/Cambridge area of England, and I'm curious whether I'll be anywhere near where any of you live. I'd also love to know if you have travel plans for the summer.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

2011 Intentions Journal: February Edition (Team)

My intention for 2011 is to be "Fifty and Fabulous." This month my journaling reads: "In February, I was fabulous because I helped build a soccer program . . . and that made my community stronger." Here's the rest of the story-
My son loves soccer, and I love my son. So, I learned all about off-sides and drove him to practices and watched his games. Last year, he started playing high school soccer. He was one of only two freshman who went out for the sport. Some of his frosh-soph teammates got kicked off for poor grades, some got injured, and some chose to go play for their Club team instead of the school.  So, they finished the season with just nine players on the roster - in a sport where there's supposed to be eleven players on the field. Last year's Varsity team fared just a bit better - limping into season's end with just ten players. But my son really loves soccer and really wanted to play.  So, at the start of this year I asked myself, "How do I help build a soccer program?" 
I worked with the coaches to have the boys get together in the fall and start thinking of themselves as a team even before the season started.  We held a variety of fundraisers, including a soccer clinic hosted by the local professional soccer team (the San Jose Earthquakes). For each hour worked, the boys earned a $4 credit toward a team jacket that had their name on the back.  The jackets weren't required, and the boys could buy one for $40 or any combination of cash/team service credit hours. In the end, almost every boy got a jacket, and most of them earned them by putting in team service hours. And they wore them with pride.  By the time the season rolled around, we had 18 kids on each team. We lost one from each team due to grades, but both teams finished strong. We brought out the fans, too, hosting a youth soccer night for the local club teams (including a former professional soccer player who came out to announce the game) and the first ever Senior Honors Game.  Before the beginning of our last game of the season, we introduced each of the Seniors, they hugged their families (who we had assembled on field), gave their mom flowers, and received a nice 8x10 action photograph from the season. It was an awesome experience for them.  
As you know, they had a very successful season on the field, too. (League Champions, in case you don't remember).  But the best thing was how they came together as a team and how they all grew as young men . . . how they held themselves tall and how it became cool to be on the soccer team. It was about the smiles and comraderie as they walked around together.  Winning definitely helped, but, in the end, I think it was all about the jackets. . . 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Disoriented (art journal page)

Today I feel like my muse finally returned, and all it took was a call last night from Dell telling me that they would be sending me a replacement hard drive. It's not here yet; I'm still working on my son's computer.  But something relaxed inside me when I realized that I would soon have a dedicated and reliable computer back.  So I made a bunch of art journal pages. And figured out a way to post them.  This one is called "Disoriented," and the journaling reads: "I can't believe how disoriented I have been without a reliable computer.  I has affected everything - everything!"  I started with a watercolored stenciled background, embossed some fish in black and then added rub-ons (yes, rub-ons).  I owe the rub-on idea to all those folks in blogland who are taking a class called "She Art" and are posting really awesome canvases with rub-ons in the background.   I admit to having gone through a rub-on phase, so I pulled out the packs that I had.  Added a cut-out stamped image, some artists tape and gesso'd top texture.  It was a lot of fun to make, and I really like how it turned out. Thanks for sticking with me through my disorientation.  And let me know if you went through a rub-on phase and the last time you pulled them out and used them!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My first car (Story telling Sunday)

A true story inspired by one of Sian's Random Five Facts and posted to her story telling Sunday:
My first car was a 1963 Chevrolet Valiant Stationwagon. It looked a lot like the car in the advertisement above (still limping along in the computer department, so this is the best I could do). It was already fifteen years old when it came into my possession and not in the best repair.  Every morning, I filled it up with water (which leaked overnight) and checked the oil (which had to be replenished every week or so).  The biggest problem (probably related to these first two) is that it would overheat if I tried to drive more than a mile without giving it a chance to cool off.  No worries, though, as my high school was just under a mile from my house.  I was able to drive it to and fro.  And, at lunch, I knew every lunch hotspot within a mile radius of my high school. It served me well for my junior and senior years. When I went away to college, I left it with my parents.  None of my siblings would deign to drive it. It sat unattended in front of their house for years. And then one day it disappeared. Against all good sense, someone had stolen it!  A few months later, it was recovered.  The police told my parents it had been used in a robbery but had broken down during the get-away.  Apparently, the crooks lived more than a mile from the store they had held up. . .

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On to baseball . . .

Yes, I'm still here . . . barely.  My computer problems continue unabated, and I'm doing my best to limp along. I haven't had much of a chance to visit blogs either, so I've been missing commenting on your posts. My work has also been very busy . . . good, but busy. And keeping me away from art.  In the meantime, my soccer boys lost a heartbreaker in overtime. So, the season is officially over. DS Henry had a good pout and is now moving on to baseball.  He's on the frosh/soph team at the High School, which is more "fun" and less serious than Varsity soccer. The other day the team went on a field trip to go see the San Francisco Giants World Series trophy, which is touring California.  The team posed for a picture with it, and the Giants liked it so much that they put the boys on their website! You can see a blurry picture above (Henry is the one in the front, right), and here's the link.  If you click on it, you'll see a much better picture!  Hope to be back online soon.