Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving

Thanks for my daughter and her little family.  Thanks for my folks and my sisters.  Thanks for the nieces and nephews, the great-grand children.  Thanks for the precious friends.  Thanks for the music.  Thanks for insulin.  Thanks for flaming sunsets and rainy days.  Thanks for the former loves, thanks for the new one.  Thanks for my lil' pup who brings me joy each day.  Thanks for the great chicken cook-off going on today.  Thanks for brussel sprouts.  Really.  Thanks for lavender soap and lotion.  Thanks for every day of health. Thanks for creative impulses and the ability to carry them off.  Thanks for moments of peace and contentment.  Thanks for this crazy thing we call life.

I hope you are having a thankful and blissful day.  All good wishes to you and yours!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Formalism

Formalism by t.crowley

When in a photography class, everything becomes grist for the mill.  We have recently been studying Formalism.    Formalism, in a nut shell, is when a photograph reveals balance and classic composition.  Formalism doesn't tell a story, it is the story.  However, there are many instances where a so-called documentary photograph which tells a story is also deeply formalistic, certainly in the case of Walker Evans' work.  Much of the history of art is about transforming the mundane into something of importance.  Think of cave paintings of the animal hunt.  Think of Vermeer's work.  Look at this scene.
Pretty mundane stuff transformed by an artist.  After all, what is there around us but the mundane?  It is the stuff of life.  We have a need to observe and elevate, to see the sublime in shape, form, color, light, arrangement of the subject.

Now, my photos above, are arguably pretty normal, even ugly in their depiction of my kitchen sink on a Sunday morning.  But something about the arrangement caught my imagination.  In the color version, the blue of the spoon is particularly satisfying.  I think I like the color version better, but the black and white version has it's own elements arguing for it.  Blurring the edges also brings the focus to the shapes in the middle of the frame.

This is where my mind goes.

Oh, and our class is going to publish a book at the end of next semester.  I'm thrilled.  Problem is I have to select only 2 photos to be included.  That's going to be the trick.  I don't think this sink photo is going to make the cut.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Sweet Caroline

I am the same age as Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.  On that terrible day 50 years ago, we were let out of school early to go home and be with our families.  I didn't quite grasp it, being all of 6, but I do remember entering the house with my older sister, and seeing both my mother and father in front of the television.  Dad being home in the late morning was quite the oddity.  Something big must be going on.  The fear emanating from the adults in my home and neighborhood set me on edge.  There we were, as a nation, teetering on the precipice.  Looking back, I'm glad I was only 6 and still cocooned in my innocence. 

In this tragedy, I have always identified with Caroline the most.  As young girls we looked very similar.  We were the same age.  My 6 year old self was glued to her image on television and in magazines, participating in the funeral services of her father.  Her daddy was gone, never to return.  I couldn't imagine what that felt like.  My daddy was here, solidly in charge of home and family.

If you lived in the United States, you couldn't help but keep up with the Kennedy family in the years following JFK's assassination.  Caroline remained (it seemed so) wholesome, strong and forward-thinking.  She was judicious about her public speaking, and always the diplomat.  It seems fitting indeed that she is now our nation's ambassador to Japan.  I know that these kinds of jobs get awarded to big campaign contributors, but in this case, I am very pleased with her appointment.  It will be interesting to watch her work across the Pacific, especially what with the world-wide implications of the Fukushima radiation leaks.

How strange it is, 50 years later, to recall this day.  The hard-bound magazine, American Heritage, came out with a book documenting the days and hours leading to his death.  Full of color photographs, it is a graphic depiction of the horror, and I referred to it regularly when growing up.  The meaning of it all began it sink in as I grew older. 

The conspiracy theories, Oswald's CIA and Russian connections, the killing of Oswald, the national frenzy and fear:  through it all, I see a quiet little girl in her proper suit, kneeling at her father's coffin, reaching out with her hand to touch him one last time.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fukushima and Dog Food

The latest from Bill Moyers on what we need to know about the Fukushima Power Plant problems.  Now, I'll admit, I passed on some bogus information this week on Facebook about the level of contamination in fish on America's west coast due to radiation from the broken power plant.  Clare Kines kindly linked me to Snopes, which I usually check on this sort of thing.  Thank you, Clare.  But that is not to say that there are not serious serious problems with the leakage from the plant, and the possibility of more leakage in the future.  I think the scariest part of the story for me is:
"The Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo said earlier this year that there’s a 70 percent chance a 7.0-magnitude or higher quake will strike Tokyo, near Fukushima, by 2016. Should the fourth reactor collapse, Suzuki said, it would be “bye bye Japan,” and “everybody on the west coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.”
 Meanwhile, in the thriving burg of Sacramento, I spend my day researching homemade raw dog food and purchasing vitamin/mineral and fish oil supplements.  Feels a bit like fiddling when Rome is burning.  However, my little pooch has grown very very picky about her food, and will not eat much of the store bought variety.  I switched her to white rice (brown is too much for their digestive systems) and ground turkey which she loves.  Gobbles it up.  So, I decided to do a little research and by golly, there are all kinds of recipes out there for raw and cooked food for dogs.  Yes, Virginia, dogs did eat meat before commercial dog food was developed about 1860.  And, oh my, but there is a lot of frothing at the mouth when it comes to advocating various diets for dogs.  Just like foodnazis, there are dogfoodnazis.  Brown v. white rice, veg or no veg, raw or cooked, bones or not.  Shoot.  I'm picking the simpliest (ground raw meat, cooked white rice, hard boiled eggs -shells included- mashed and adding the tiniest amount of nutritional supplements for vitamins/minerals, probiotics etc.)  I kind of feel like those super conscientious moms who made all their own baby food for their little sprouts.  I did a little of that, but was not opposed to popping open a jar of Gerber when needed.

The world may be going to hell in a hand-basket, but while it does, my little buddy is going to eat well.  And I hope it will benefit her health as much as all the pundits say it will.  She is my little miracle*, after all. 


 *A warm living being that adores you and wants to be with you at all times.  A being that will lick your face and make you feel like the most wonderful person on the planet.  A being that radiates JOY.

Friday, November 15, 2013

TGIF

It's been a hard week, folks.  That's the way it is sometimes.  My house is as clean as a whistle, though.  (Come to think of it, how clean is a whistle?  What with all that spit and all?)


Once upon a time, I climbed these stairs.  I felt mighty that day.  I will feel mighty again, like last week when, on a hike I hopped a fence.  With a little help from my friends.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wordless Wednesday



                                                                                                                                        Taradharma 11/13


Monday, November 11, 2013

To Thine Own Self Be True

For the last year I have been doing a great deal of work to dig deep and wrestle with the codependent aspects of myself.  Codependency will always lead you down the wrong path, and what's even worse is that you take others with you.  I'm working on being in harmony with my inner voice, because she usually speaks the truth.  I need to listen to her, I mean me.  This, from an article in Psychology Today:

"Not surprisingly, surveys show that, on average, people who scored higher on tests for authenticity are more satisfied with life, have higher self-esteem and are generally happier. As Mohandas Gandhi put it so well, ‘happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony’."

I am usually confused when it comes to knowing what is compassion and empathy, and what is codependency, because I'm seriously codependent.  (If you're codependent and you know it, clap your hands!)

Polonius had it right, that when one is true to themselves they seek to be true with everyone else.
 
"And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
 
Without self-awareness, one keeps repeating patterns that ill serve them.  
 
This, of course, all revolves around dating and contemplation of a long-term relationship.  Here's an interesting article on the role of dating.  We all (or most of us) seek love, and it is a rare and often tricky thing to get to know someone.  We all come with our baggage, we all come with our hopes and dreams.  The important thing is to be self-aware and self-loving so that you can hear and trust that inner voice that tells you if something or someone is a healthy choice for you, or not.  The voice often does not make sense at first blush...it's called denial.  But I am discovering that that voice is the only sane thing I've got, and I'd better listen up.  I've been involved, too many times, with people who were good souls and essentially decent, but were not right for me.  Often, the 'not right' things were so opaque that I ignored them.  But they mattered, and my ignoring them did not make them matter less.
 
I now know that I don't have to justify and ruminate on the 'not right things.'  I just have to acknowledge that they are there and they are telling me not to move forward.  I don't get involved with bad people; I get involved with good people who are not right, for whatever reason, for me.  

So, here's a shout out to the power of the inner voice.  I'm letting it guide me in the right direction this time.  

How are you at listening to your inner voice?  Has it served you well?  I'd love to know.


 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

When the weather turns

Well, I've managed to avoid research on my report on the photographer Walker Evans.  I'll get to it...in the meantime I'm in cooking mode.  Playing jazz on the ipod, making tomato sauce from fresh, homegrown tomatoes and garlic; putting together the innards for a Shepard's Pie to take with me when I visit my daughter.  Last night I made a tomato tarte that a friend and I enjoyed.  Oh, and for an appetizer, I made the Curry and Sriracha Roasted Garbanzo beans from the Simple Veganista.  Oh, they were good.  Spicy.  But not too.  What a healthy snack!  Legumes are especially great for those of us who live with diabetes; they digest slowly and evenly so no blood sugar spikes.  And nutritious.  Much better than a bag of potato chips (empty calories).

It's one of my favorite ways to relax, cooking.  When I'm not under pressure.  Just hanging, listening to music, waiting for the daily mail, doing homework (yeah, right).  When the weather turns chilly, it's the best time to cook up a storm.  I've got meals for days now. 

Hearth and Home.  Speaking of which, I went to a fundraising breakfast today for an organizing called Mutual Housing.  And I made a small monthly donation.  This group has been around for 25 years now, a friend of mine is the CEO, and her girlfriend (also my friend) invited me to join her at her table.  I am so impressed with the work these folks have been doing -- we heard the stories of several current and former residents of Mutual Housing projects, which are so much more than "projects."  People are provided with a safe, clean, well-maintained, affordable place to live and thrive.  Their children grow up in a community that emphasizes healthy living, community participation and education.  Many of the residents go on to lives with purpose and dignity.  I can't tell you how this presentation warmed my heart.  Wish there housing developments like this all over the world!  Check it.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Double Booking

I've been too busy for my own good.  I'm double booking things.  Just found out I missed a massage appt. with my very expensive therapist yesterday -- didn't even have on my calendar.  I was enjoying myself at the wedding of dear friends.

I also double booked dinner for tomorrow night, but I've righted that one and will reschedule one for Wed. night.

The Urban Dictionary defines Double - Booking (or over-booking) thusly.  But mine are not of the romantic nature.  Airlines routinely overbook, don't they?  What's their excuse?

I'm just too damned busy.  Homework is not getting done.  Playing with new camera is not getting done.  I'm often feeling as if I'm forgetting something -- like that massage appt. yesterday -- but I don't know what it is.  Christ.  If I'm like this now, what the hell will I be like 20 years from now?  Assuming I have the good fortune to make it that long.

I feel like crawling into an isolation tank and floating in salt water with all senses blocked.  I'm on overload.

Tell me, dear readers, how do you combat overload?  (and YES, even retired people experience it, thank you very much).

Surly Bonds

My dad slipped the surly bonds of earth on January 13.  He'd had a massive stroke on the ninth and doctors were clear he was not going t...