Sunday, January 31, 2016

Going my way? (Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt)

Just a quick end-of-the month check in on the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. I loved the prompt for arrow and found this one in Southern California. For some reason, it makes me happy when I look at it! I'm two-thirds of the way done with the Hunt, and should be able to finish next month!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Snap! The Texture of Nature

Last week while hiking in Southern California, I spied this interesting plant. I love it's shape and silhouette and texture. So, I decided to capture four versions of it for Helena's Snap! meme.  I've always been captivated by seed pods, and I think these look . . . I don't know, almost dangerous! I'm looking forward to using the photos to sketch a bit later on.
Anyone know what kind of plant this is? I'd love to find out.
Happy Snapping!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Memorandum Monday: Creating an Alternate Universe

Hello Monday!
Sian over From High in the Sky organizes an opportunity on Monday to check in on your weekend and (especially) mention anything new you've done lately.
Well, I had a pretty relaxing weekend. Spent a lot of time in front of the TV catching up on Downton Abby, The Bachelor and Top Chef. Also watched the entire second season of The Fall! Yikes! No wonder I didn't get much done. 
The one new thing I did was work-related. For the law class I teach on employment discrimination, I created a case file of documents that the students will work with this semester to evaluate whether the two made-up applicants could successfully sue the fake employer that refused to hire them. I made up a job description, mocked up applications, wrote imaginary interview notes, drafted rejection letters, etc. Both applicants are applying for jobs as air traffic controllers. One is turned away because he is color-blind (which affects men more than women and could also be a disability); the other is possibly turned away because he is a Muslim of Pakistani descent (although he was born in the UK and worked at Heathrow). It should be interesting to see how the students work with the imaginary, real-world documents I created for class.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Nostalgic Art Journal Page

Sian of From High in the Sky posted an interesting quote on her instagram feed:
"What one wants to say is formed in one's childhood and we spend the rest of our lives trying to say it."
Barbara Hepwoth
I know that I use a lot of nostalgic elements in my art journaling because who I am and the art I create is definitely shaped by my childhood. 
For this page, I started with the background and then sorted through some tags I had sitting around. The bright yellow monocled cat jumped out at me. I started layering on other elements that seemed to fit the mood I was in. A dozen additions later, I decided it was ready for journaling. I wrote around the circles first, repeating "my heart is filled with nostalgia" and "childhood memories fill my heart." I then filled the internal white space with more journaling about how my childhood memories fill my heart and make me brave.
I did a lot of art journaling this last week during my visit to southern California and this was probably my favorite page.
I'm not sure if what I want to say was completely formed in my childhood, but I know that my childhood definitely influences who I am and what I have to say.

What do you think of Sian's quote?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Winter Photo Scavenger Hunt x2

Just a quick check-in with two more photos for the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt. . . #11 a favorite pudding (I love cheesecake!) and #19 a fountain (taken at a road side stop called Casa de Fruta). Both were captured on my recent road trip to Southern California.  I've only got 7/21 left to find, so I'm feeling pretty accomplished!
How are the rest of you doing?

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snap x2! Making Friends at the Animal Sanctuary

I've been spending some time in Southern California where my sister lives. Clara's down here, too, and she took me to visit Living Free Animal Sanctuary, a wonderful animal rescue with lots of open space for the animals. On the tour, we visited the cattery, and she made friends with this very friendly cat. I made this triptych for Helena's Snap Meme (a series of one to four photos on a related topic). 
Of course, Clara loves dogs, too. And she spent some time with this  big guy named Ross.
He's very shy, but as you can see, he's taken to her because my girl is such an animal whisperer.
So, that's two different versions of the weekly Snap! because I couldn't decide which I liked best. For more Snap! fun, go check out Helena's blog here.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Memorandum Monday x2!

Happy Monday Morning! Isn't this a beautiful view? It's taken from the top of Thomas Mountain, a peak I hiked for the first time this weekend. And that makes it a perfect topic for Sian's new meme "Memorandum Monday," The meme is an opportunity to share something you've done for the first time ever over the weekend. I am visiting my sister in Southern California, and we love to hike the mountains when we get here. But this is the first time up this trail. It's amazing to me how many different routes there are around here, and Memorandum Monday is a good opportunity to remember to hike a different one.
And while I'm at it. . . 
Here's the Memorandum Monday I should/could have posted last weekend.
For the first time ever, I returned something by mail! Henry received two pairs of pants for Christmas - both in the wrong size. In the defense of the present givers, he told us the wrong size. Normally I would have told him to deal with it and wear the too-big pants, but this year I decided to return them. Now, I'm sure many of you do this all the time. But, for me, it was uncharted territory. It was actually pretty easy, and this week I received an email that the replacement pants are on their way!
So, do the rest of you do this often? Or do you just live with things that aren't quite right?

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Snap! Superfoods

Cashew Nuts
Goji Berries
Hemp Seeds
Chia Seeds
This year, Helena is hosting a photo meme called Snap!  It should be a "visually linked set of between 2 and 4 images."  For week #2, I am sharing four images of superfoods - natural foods that pack a huge nutritional boost. This year, I am making a lot of Superfood Smoothies (which are inspired by the book of the same name by Julie Morris). These are four of my  favorites, and I thought they would make a good set of photos for this week's Snap! They also qualify as #7 Berries and/or Nuts for the Wintertime Photography Scavenger Hunt!
I also created a four photo collage with the goji berries, cashews chia seeds and acai powder (clockwise from upper left), but visually I think I like the four individual photos better.

I also made a few collages with six images (these also include flax seed meal in the lower right hand corner). Two other superfoods I enjoy that are not included in any photos are cacoa powder and camu berries. It's been fun to play with different ways of photographing these superfoods. Thanks for the challenge Helena.
Anyone else including superfoods in your diet?

Friday, January 8, 2016

It's Time to Pick the Postcards!

Kat, over at Kay Eye Studios, hosts a wonderful post card swap every year. You can read the details here.  I've participated for four years now and always really enjoyed it. You can find my posts about the swap at this link. Every year, I spend some time going through my photographs to see which ones will show well as post cards. This year, I have many to choose from coming out of the Still Life Photography class that I took this year, as well as some photo outings. Here are the ones I'm sending:
These first two were taken at Filoli Gardens, where I spent a wonderful afternoon with Alison of Life in the Slow Lane.
This one was taken in San Francisco's Mission District where I toured the murals with Jacky of Scrappy Jacky.
These last two were taken in my home, as part of Kim Klassen's Still Life 52 class I participated in during the first part of the year. I think they are a pretty good representation of me as a photographer, and they will all show up well on a post card (most got more tightly cropped when converted to post card size).
Are you joining the swap? Do you have a favorite among these cards?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Snap! Happy New Year!

Helena has been hosting a weekly photography challenge for a few years now. For 2016, her theme is "Snap!" She has in mind "between 2 and 4 photos that create a visual set." I like the idea of Snap! as a very small photo essay. 
I'm not sure how this will play out, but for my first Snap Set, I'm sharing four photos from New Year's Eve. 
To me, they capture the joy of being young and celebrating with friends, 
of being confident that your life is good,
and knowing you have a bright future ahead.
What do you think? What will you snap this year?

Monday, January 4, 2016

Me on Monday: Holiday Wrap-Up

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday. Before launching in to some year-end reflections and coming year intentions, I thought I'd wave hi on Monday with a quick holiday wrap-up.
What kindof holiday was it?
It was a traveling to southern California kind of holiday, where I organized Family Jeopardy for Paul's family (above). It was a great hit!
It was a tons of presents for the kids kind of holiday:
And a posing with the cousins for the traditional photograph on the stairway kind of holiday:
It was a seeing the movie Creed (and really enjoying it), eating tamales and ham and tri-tip kind of holiday;
It was also a really happy to have my son home from University (and enjoying playing this board game with him); binge watching Sherlock and Jessica Jones kind of holiday;
A champagne on New Year's Eve and
our traditional black-eyed peas and pork roast on New Year's Day kind of holiday.
And finally,
A grading exams with the kitten kind of holiday!
So relieved they're all done.
So, what kind of a holiday did you have?
(This wrap-up is done in the style of Sian's Me on Monday).

Saturday, January 2, 2016

One Little Word 2016: Brave

Every year, for the last nine years, inspired by Ali Edwards, I have been selecting "one little word" upon which to focus during the year. My previous words include: open (2007); flow (2008); accomplish (2009); horizon (2010); health (2011); home (2012); paramount (2013); illuminate (2014) and selfhood (2015).
For 2016, I have chosen the word Brave. I like the word because of the way it shifts meanings depending upon whether it is being used an adjective, a verb or a noun. They're interrelated but carry different meanings. When used as an adjective (its most common use), it means being fearless, daring and intrepid. But change it to a verb, "to brave," and it means to confront, endure,withstand and defy. Finally, after playing around, I realized that it can also be a noun. A Brave is a warrior, a hero (think Native American) and even a yoga pose.
And there is so much about the word which speaks to me. About where I am in my life right now. And how I want to behave this year. And where I want to be at the end of 2016.
What about you? Have you chosen a word?
In the next few days and weeks, look for some reflections on my 2015 word and some brave posts about why my 2015 word speaks to me.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Winter Time Photography Scavenger Hunt Round-Up

#2 Tinsel
Joy at Daisy Row and Eileen at In My Playroom  host a wintertime photography scavenger hunt, and I've enjoyed playing along. Eileen is hosting the first monthly link-up (find it here). I'm about half-way through the list! Just sharing the final holiday-ish find today; figured I better grab a photo before all the holiday decorations were removed. I need to keep my eye out for a robin and figure out what a "pudding" is, as I'm sure it's not an American term - LOL! The rest should be doable. You can find most of my earlier posts at this link. Are you playing along? 
1.   A robin redbreast
2.   Tinsel
3.   Outside lighting
4.   A star
5.   A snowman
6.   A puddle
7.   Berries and/or nuts
8.   A wreath
9.   A tree that has lost all its leaves
10.  A windy day
11.  Your favourite pudding
12.  A fancy button
13.  Street art
14.  Afternoon tea
15.  Candle light
16.  A chimney
17.  A ladder
18.  An arrow
19.  A fountain
20.  Cutlery
21.  Your own handwriting (this one is compulsory and cannot be substituted)