Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Runner's Prayer



This was taken at the state crosscountry championships, which we won! Zeus proved to be a lucky mascot!

I'm just wonderin'



The newspaper headline today says that marijuana was found in a restricted area at the nuclear power plant. It sure gives me a great feeling.

This is my view recently of the same power plant from the air. If I could get this close, what's to keep terrorists from doing so? Especially if all the Homer Simpsons working below are high?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Adventure Racing



South Kakkalacky looks pretty darn lovely



I was the support "team" ("team"=1 woman and a dog) for Bill's adventure race this past weekend. The race ran through the most rugged terrain in South Carolina, and some of the loveliest. I love that in 30-40 minutes I can be in the midst of such beautiful scenery, or in a few hours be at the beach.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Savannah




I didn't take many pictures, so you're stuck with some lame ones. But I spent a few days in Savannah at a conference. I love that the Savannah School of Art and Design has taken 70+ old buildings around the city and has restored them for campus space.



This is an interior shot of the cathedral there. For a colony that didn't allow Catholics when it was formed, Georgia has made progress! The cathedral is beautiful.

Scuba certification




For Clark's birthday he got scuba lessons. He spent the better part of four days at it, finally learning to regulate the pressure in his ears, and got his 60' certification.

...And they're off!



Mackenzie has been running crosscountry this year for the first time. He's learning, as a senior, that he's pretty fast. He's hoping to get to a sub-19 time. It's a rugged course and he's working hard. It's keeping him in shape for basketball, but I think he's enjoying it on its own. Grayson was a fast runner too, though he'd be beat now by his brother.

Rivalry


Bobby is a friend of Mackenzie's whom we love like our own. But you'd think he'd kinda GET IT that this is a Red Sox house, don't you think? I mean, it's there on the freakin' fridge for everyone to see. But he persists. If he comes to our house, you can bet he'll have some sort of Yankee paraphernalia on. But we let him in anyway, because we're just tolerant and unprejudiced like that.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

US Cycling Championships



120 professional cyclists on a 115-mile course. They pass so darn fast it's really a challenge to get a good shot (at least it's hard for me, with my camera!)

Superman wears Sarah Palin pajamas


Palin fever has swept through my house and I'm now excited about a race that has not caused me to even tune in heretofore.
Just had to get that out there.
Now, I'll return to my regularly scheduled photography.

Aerial photos



My boss on Friday afternoon borrowed my camera to take some shots from above. The top photo shows our school. It is bordered to the right by I-85 North, and appears in the upper right corner of the "block" you see. The lower right corner is a CarMax, the lower left corner is a factory, and the upper left corner (new construction) is a new public high school. It's amazing how an aerial shot flattens a landscape. St. Joseph's is perched overlooking I-85 and the rest of the block on a hill that is almost undetectable from the photo.



Anyone who's blood runs orange will recognize Death Valley in the lower photo, with Littlejohn Colosseum in the foreground. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, it's Clemson University's stadium.

Thanks to my guest photographer Charlie for the shots!

Ubiquitous neighbors




I live in a really great city. But its unique sense of place is, as everywhere else I suppose, slowly giving way to the universally recognizable. My home is, sadly, conveniently situated a short walk from both of these. More and more, Bill and I would like to find or build a place that has a singular feel to it, away from the chain retailers and nearer to the heart of our unique city.

Last night found us having a party for Mackenzie's 17th birthday, so it's a bit draggy around the house this morning. Of course my husband is up and at it. Bill's riding with a fellow adventure racer, because he is training for a triathlon? half-iron man? adventure race? coming up soon (I can't keep all his races straight!) I'm headed to mass, and this afternoon we hope to meet up and watch the US Cycling Championships, which are being held in our city. I'll try out the new camera there.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Scuba diving



For his 15th birthday Clark got scuba diving lessons. He started yesterday. He usually makes goofy faces when he sees a camera, so I'm particularly grateful for this shot. He's grown this summer and is starting to fill out; he doesn't look like a kid anymore.

Thanks to those who gave me advice. What I ended up doing was going back to Canon. The camera I lost in the river was a Canon Powershot, and I liked it. I decided that I've tried three cameras since then -- an Olympus, a Samsung, and a Lumix -- and I haven't been happy with any, though the Samsung was pretty good. I have a Nikon manual camera that I like, and I hope to get a Nikon D80 one of these days, but for something to stick in my pocket I'm going to go with a known quantity and get a Powershot. Let's hope I don't have to return this one!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Belly dancer


Bill and I tried a Persian restaurant last night, and we were greeted at our table by a belly dancer. A bit out of our norm, but we had a nice time and the food was great.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Gearing up



Clark is working as a trainer for the fledgling football team at his school. They are beginning the program with a C team this year, so Clark and Mackenzie are too old to participate in playing. Clark will work as a trainer, and Mackenzie for his fall sport will run cross country.

I'm not sure I'm happy with the camera. I'll have to work with it more to see if it is operator error or equipment issues. But the pics seem very pixelated to me; very few of the ones I took today are even OK.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Here we go again?

In an exciting turn of events, I have bought a camera! It's not a D80...I'm just not ready for that yet, but it is a Panasonic Lumix that I got at Costco on the camera guy's recommendation. I have a 90 return if I don't like it, so I plan on playing with it for awhile and putting it through the paces. But I have a camera! I can blog again! I know you are all just dying to see all the exotic sights in South Carolina!

In other news, Mackenzie has a staph infection (his forearm, of all the weird places). But he hasn't wrecked anything lately, and this isn't a MRSA, so I can deal with it.
My dd is dating someone and called today to see if we wanted to meet him for lunch in a few weeks. Ack!
My job is going well, and I just finished up teaching an online art appreciation class (thanks, Julie!). I had a great time with it, but I'm ready to enjoy the last few days of summer. I start at my job with regular fulltime hours next week.... that's going to be an adjustment for someone who was a stay-at-home mom for 21 years! But it will be fun.

Hopefully tomorrow I can start photoblogging more regularly!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Saving loggerheads



I am at the beach and am leaving tomorrow to go home. All week I've been watching the loggerhead turtle nests, hoping to see a hatching. Every night I after dark I would walk to the nests and see absolutely no change. But tonight, one of the nests had a three inch hole that appeared to be about 6 inches deep. I went home and got a chair and a flashlight, and a few kids to accompany me. We set up our chairs to watch for the hatching. Within 3 minutes of getting there, the hole caved in further and started squirming (top picture). Even though there was a full moon, clouds completely obscured it. Some of the houses had their lights on and the turtles started heading for the houses, not the ocean. They would all have headed to the houses and not made it. (I saw baby turtles on my street last year who had headed inland toward the artificial lights and died.) I shone my flashlight on them and they immediately turned toward it. With flashlights and cellphones we led all of them to the ocean. I've witnessed a hatching before (and two nestings!) but have never felt like my participation made a difference, until tonight.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wall-E


Just a heads-up....this movie is great! I can't wait to watch it again. And I don't rewatch too many movies. It has romance, it has message, it has social commentary, it has music, it has laughs, it has incredible animation and an imaginative premise... I liked everything about it, even the "history of art" given in the final credits! And it is G-rated, without any over-the-kids-heads kinds of double entendres.

...About that close call



I'm finally getting pictures of what's left of his car. Today it went to the junkyard.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another close call

Anyone who has known much about my life of the last 10 years or so will read that title and think to themselves, "I wonder what Grayson has done this time?" In that relatively short span he has had a near drowning, a skateboarding-induced brain injury, and has narrowly escaped being hit by a train. He has rolled not one but two cars while driving on the interstate, and has wrecked two others. As a pedestrian, he has been hit by a car at 50 mph. There are more incidents than these, but you get the idea. And now he is soon to be deployed as a Marine. So you will be relieved that this close call doesn't involve Grayson.

His brother Mackenzie now has the distinction of being spared death on the highway. His dad had just bought a car for him to drive three weeks ago.... it hadn't even been registered yet. Late Friday afternoon he left Greenville to join us up in Asheville NC for our family reunion. We're not sure what happened, whether he nodded off, blacked out (how he described it), or just lost concentration. He went off the road, sheared several trees and drove over a fallen tree before he T-boned straight into a large tree. The car is destroyed and the EMS personnel said that they couldn't believe he was alive. Yet he only has superficial scratches and soreness, as far as we can tell.

As a parent, I've gotten these calls so many times that I've become emotionally inured, I think. But my gray hairs keep sprouting and I keep wondering why it seems that my children have thus far survived so many incidents, when I can read any day in the paper of other children who are, in similar incidents, lost to their parents.

Because they have had these experiences, and because their siblings see all these accidents/judgment errors, our home certainly doesn't want for lack of "life lessons". Mackenzie has had more than his share of those "learning opportunities". How many more of these will it take? What important purpose do all these incidents, and resulting losses, add up to? Will life always involve phone calls from schools, from jails, from hospitals, from strangers that begin, "I think he's going to be alright, but I'm calling to let you know that your son has been involved in ... " ? And will a call come one day that doesn't have any positive news first, only sadness and regret? I can't help but think these thoughts.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Major life change

Well, the decision has been made. The confirmation has been sent. The background checks will be done tomorrow. If I pass that (and I'm not a skeleton-in-the-closet kind of gal) I will be gainfully employed. The last time I drew a paycheck Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Amadeus was on the big screen, and the first Ford Taurus was rolling off the assembly line. So you can imagine that this is a major change around here! I accepted a job at the boys' Catholic school, as the assistant director of advancement. (And for all you Office fans, that's NOT the same as "the assistant to the director of advancement".) I start in a week. I feel good about the work I'll be doing and the people I'll be working with, and the school I'll be advancing. My duties will be to orchestrate the fundraising events, to oversee parent volunteer groups, to oversee communications with donors, etc. Of course, that means an end to my art classes. But to everything there is a season -- (I can't say that without hearing that Pete Seger song say "Turn! Turn! Turn!"). I hope one day I can take at least a few more classes. Actually, I'm going to take a Photoshop workshop in August. But for now, this season of life calls for me to focus on a job.

I'm happy that I was able to find a job relatively quickly, and that the whole "homemaker gone back to work" thing wasn't so much of an issue. I'm also happy with the schedule, giving me half-time in the summer, and enough vacation days & school holidays to spend with the family. The pay is what you'd expect in the education world, but the easier schedule and the tuition breaks make it more attractive. I think getting back into the work world will give me a new challenge, and I like that. It will be good for my kids to see their mom in a new role too. Maybe with my first paycheck I'll get a digital camera and start back up with blogging! :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News from Camp Pendleton

Grayson has informed us that the Marines will be deploying him on a ship for 6 months, leaving in November. He has 30 days leave before then, so if we're lucky he'll chose to spend that leave time here in SC.
I'm visiting my daughter tomorrow (she's living in Charlotte for the summer) to help her out with grocery shopping and cooking. She's trying a pretty restrictive diet and some nutritional supplements, to see if she can avert gall bladder surgery. She's been doing well since the event a few weeks ago, but in order to get to the point of being really healthy, she's got to stick with this for some time.... there are no easy fixes when you opt out of the surgical method. So I'll be up there encouraging her to hang in there!
I'm getting tired of not having a camera, so hopefully soon I'll just break down and get one, even if it isn't THE one I want.
As for me, I met with a headhunter yesterday about re-entering the workforce after a 22 year break. :-) I may put my school on hold in order to start working. I'm not sure what the future holds for me! Bill's working hard, as always, but his field is severely impacted by the current economy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

It's always something!



This morning my 21 year old daughter pulled into the driveway in tears. (She lives an hour and a half away, at college). She was having a gall bladder attack. She drove all the way home by herself, in excruciating pain. She said she felt like she was going to die. She's my child who has a very high toleration for pain, so I knew it must be terrible. I spent the morning with her in the doctor's office, then she fasted for the rest of the day and we spent the late afternoon until now (11 pm) at the hospital, where it was determined that her gall bladder is not functioning. We're going to a natural nutritional-type practitioner tomorrow, then she'll weigh her treatment options. We could be looking at surgery. And of course, this is the week that Grayson leaves for San Diego. Ah, being a mother. Sometimes it tears you up.

Friday, May 02, 2008

My apologies

Since I don't have a digital camera anymore, and since my photo class is finished now, I haven't been posting anything here. I'm sorry! Hopefully a new digital camera will be in my future (I'm not sure how, exactly, but maybe santa or the tooth fairy or mother's day? .... nah.) In the meantime, I will try to post something, anything, so I won't completely lose my readership!

Here's an update on my life: 3 stresses.

My last exam is today, and I'm finished with this semester of school. I give the experience two thumbs up! I'm not sure what the future holds in that regard though. The economy isn't being kind to our family right now, so I may have to postpone further school while I get a job with a paycheck attached. I'm not sure how a full-time mom returns to the workforce successfully, but it looks like I'm going to have to give it a whirl.

PFC Grayson is home on leave right now, but will be shipping off in a week to San Diego, his permanent duty station. There are a lot of bittersweet feelings rolling around in me right now, but I just can't give voice to them.

My mom's cancer is active again. She's had breast cancer, uterine cancer, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma for over 25 years now. Somehow she's managed to live a great life nevertheless. Though she's had several surgeries she's never taken radiation or chemotherapy, and she's not about to do it now, although the cancer is now inoperable. She's doing a nutritional thing while she contemplates another non-chemo type of therapy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Light and shadow

This week's assignment is to explore the interplay of light and shadow. For the photo to be successful the shadow must play an integral part of the design. All these were shot with ISO 50 film. For purposes of the assignment all "Light/Shadow" photos had to be on a separate roll from the "Light/Texture" photos...which was frustrating. I think the jellyfish here could go in either category, and the photo of Zeus in the "Light/Texture" post could equally well go here.





Light and Texture

The assignment here is to use light to accentuate surface texture. It helps on these to click and enlarge, in order to see surface texture well.

ISO 50, 125@f8


ISO 50, 2@f11


ISO 50, 125@f8


ISO 50, 350@f4

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Metaphor: Fear

This assignment was to take pictures of metaphor. Unlike in past years, this year they gave the class a theme. I found it hard to portray fear (or do they want us to elicit fear??) without turning to cliches. And to portray fear in a universal sense, yet having that sense informed by my personal choices. Not sure whether I succeeded or not. I'm posting more than my usual five because I haven't yet decided which of these to turn in as my final 5. After you look at them, I'll give my comments of what I was going for. I'm sorry I downloaded these in small format...I am not sure that Pictures and Busted I & II really come through in this small format.

Bedroom Floor:


Bras:


Busted:


Pictures:


Hand:


Busted II:


Porch:


With Bedroom Floor, I was challenging myself to take a roll in the house...to find fears close to home. In my bedroom I laid on the floor and pictured the aftermath of an event (a robbery? a heart attack?) and what that would be like. The idea here was to show the disorientation of not quite having your bearings. Thus the odd focus, odd perspective thing.

In Bras, I had a few thoughts in mind. One was breast cancer, or the thought of mastectomy (and the bras therefore being irrelevant). Another thought was the empty nest...fearing that I'd no longer be needed, that I myself might be irrelevant, once my nurturing role was done.

Over the weekend, we went to the ACC tournament in Charlotte. Leaving the arena, we passed the bus station and found some happenings going on. Lucky for me the car was nearby with my camera, so I got out and tried out my future in the growing field of papparazzi. In both Busted I and Busted II, I tried to capture the feeling of vulnerability this woman must have felt, and her fear of what would happen in her run-in with the law.

In Pictures, I set up a shelf of my family photos so that none of the faces except Grayson's was actually visible, and tried to make his eye the focal point of the shot. I fear for him in the Marines (well, I fear for him anyway because he is fearLESS, but being in the Marines exacerbates my fear). There's always a pang in my heart when I view his official military portrait, knowing that if something happened to him, it would be the published picture in the newspaper. Maybe that's morbid, but it is what it is. Because this fear is more personal to myself, it might not be the best one to put in my portfolio....I don't know.

Hand is another shot taken in my bedroom. It's supposed to be ambiguous and elicit unease. Again, it could reference someone trying to escape an intruder; it could refer to falling or losing one's orientation; it might be a plea for mercy; it might reference feeling sucked into a vortex.

There's a small old house on a busy street near me. It is unoccupied, so I stopped one afternoon and took quite a few views of it. This was my favorite, and I was trying to illustrate a fear of abandonment.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Selective focus

Last week's assignment was "selective focus". It's where the aperture is set so that what you want is in focus, and what you don't want in focus, isn't. These were all shot with Ilford PanF B/W film.






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