Small Things

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“Do small things with great love.” ~ Soul Pancake

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Recently, I had the privilege of spending a Saturday morning at the beach in Half Moon Bay with two beautiful, little girls.  We were there to get some snaps for the annual Christmas card and updates for the parents and grandparents.   The older daughter, serendipitously, is a member of the Class of 2020 =).  It seems appropriate, in my efforts to stay true to my blog, that I share moments and thoughts from this particular photo shoot.

These captured moments lend to my goal to remain true as straight photographer (look it up) in a digital world.  In my amateur days, I was once told by a professional that I must define myself in order to be a successful.  You must promote yourself as garden photographer, an equestrian photographer or commercial photographer.  Well, those who know me know why I will never compartmentalize myself or my photography.

The girls were a delight.  Always wondering and worrying if I got the shot, I paced a bit and stumbled over some seaweed that, when hooked in my toe, began to form an arc.  The girls looked at it, and, saw a heart.  They finished creating the seaweed heart, and, then giddily went on to make their own in the sand.  Two beautiful, loving sisters at the end of magical morning at the beach.  The last shot of the day (the one above) is always my favorite.

Peace and ♥

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Beach (1 of 1)-7

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Beach (1 of 1)

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New Beginnings

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“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” ~ Seneca

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The PBS journey (where Ally and her peers attended pre and elementary school) began in the Fall of 2005.  She was 3 1/2 and couldn’t bear the thought of us leaving her for five minutes, much less the three, long hours in this child’s playground of toys, indoor tree houses, puppets and magical teachers.  Some of the pre-schoolers would cry that first week when it was time to kiss mom or dad goodbye.  They all slowly adjusted and the tears, as expected, faded.

Fast forward to the last day of 5th grade.  Every teacher who spent time with Ally and her friends over these 8, wonderful years came to us, with tears in their eyes, to say goodbye.  The celebrating continued that evening with a 5th grade graduation party that included swimming, volleyball, zip lines and those same magical teachers who would pull us all together for one final group hug.  In the middle of this hug were the one time toddlers who grew together to find courage, kindness, community and a love of learning.  Each and every one of them had tears in their eyes, as it was now time to say goodbye.

Wishing Ally and all her peers luck and love on their journey to 2020.  May you all continue to find courage, kindness, community and a love of learning wherever this next chapter may take you.  Godspeed.

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Thermal

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“The teacher is the one who gets the most out of the lessons, and the true teacher is the learner.” ~ Elbert Hubbard


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Lessons in riding, photography and life.  The child had a wonderful experience during her three weeks in the desert.  She did her job in moving the pony named Mickey along to his next adventure, she entered the jumper ring for the first time with great success on a horse named Heid-n-Seek; and, she got back together with her best friend, Charly, who, together went on to great things in the hunter ring.  I am not sure what she would say was the highlight of her time in the desert.  Possibly winning on Charly, maybe successfully completing her first jumper course, or, perhaps simply being in the same warm up ring with US Olympian, Rich Fellers and Flexible.

The photographer “borrowed” a lens for the second half of the adventure…  borrowedlens.com is my new favorite hangout.  I’m one of the lucky photographers that lives within 5 miles of this little golden nugget, allowing me on a moments notice to go in and grab whatever new and exciting piece of equipment I need or just want to have for a play date.

The shooting was phenomenal.  The desert landscape was extraordinary with the first weekend blasting us with winter like conditions.  This winter storm resulted in snowfall on the nearby San Jacinto Mountains which created breathtaking views from the jumper rings.  Down jackets and snow gear were required.  Two days later, the temps rose and out came the shorts and t-shirts.  The shooting was more interesting during the cold snap, as the hot desert sun (after about 9:30 a.m.) makes for not-so-pretty pictures.  Much of my success was either before 10:00 a.m. or as the sun was setting.  Afternoon breaks allowed for being a spectator watching the elite line up of international riders who were flocking to Thermal for the AIG Thermal $1 Million Grand Prix.  Another story for another day.

I share with you some of my favorite shots from this last adventure.  The journey will take us in the coming months to elementary school graduation, a couple of garden shoots, a celebratory trip to Spain and horse shows around CA…all of this leading up to the child starting a new chapter as she enters middle school.   Wish me luck, Charly (if have a child who is 10, you get it).  ~ Peace!  J>

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ImageGoodbye Thermal ~

Faith in Humanity

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“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” ~
Dalai Lama

It’s been a long week.  Life can change on a dime.  All you can hope is that your faith in humanity will always maintain and hold you.  Twenty four hours ago I was losing some faith.  My child was on the receiving end of some very unkind and ugly behavior at school.  Behavior that, of course, had no merit, no foundation and that should never, ever have been tolerated.  But, ugliness happens….life happens.  Between the time of her explaining her heartbreak to Bryan and myself, and us sorting things out with teacher/parents/etc., we got a call that Aunt Re was failing.  Bryan had to catch the first flight to the East coast, immediately. He stopped by school at lunchtime today to tell the Bean he was leaving for a while.  He didn’t explain much and she didn’t ask.

As I sit here at 1:00 a.m. and wait to hear whatever news I can receive, my heart breaks for the journey that Bryan is taking with his/our beloved Aunt Re.  Prayers for a peaceful journey are all I can wish and hope for.  However, through this heartbreak, I must share that my faith in humanity has been restored.  This evening I have received an outpouring of e-mails from parents from the Bean’s class wanting to know if she is okay and if there is anything they can do to help.  Apparently, after Bryan left her at school, she had a difficult time masking her emotions from her classmates.  They all knew, immediately, something was wrong and surrounded her with hugs and kindness. She found comfort in her friends.  Many of them told their parents and the parents took the time to send me an e-mail.  It’s amazing to know that despite the road bumps and tragedies in life’s journey, humanity really does always prevail.

I dedicate Journey to 2020 to Re/Aunt Re/Sharon Frasier.  You have always been my biggest fan and cheerleader, and for that I am forever grateful.  You are kindness.  You are courage.  You are wisdom.  We love you are with you, hand in hand, on your journey.

Secrets

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“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
― Diane Arbus

I had intentions with the photo.  Frame was set.  I was going to capture a moment.  I think we all know where I was going with this.  Caption would read “When I grow up I want to be just like her”.   However, every good photographer/artist knows you need to make sure the composition is just right.   I knew it was all wrong; but, I went ahead because I love the two beings so much I just had to take the shot.  I would see if I could “weed out” the noise in the background later.

After uploading the photo, I decided, it’s just one of those shots you need to leave “as is”.  DOF is good in the foreground, but, the rest is just a hot mess.  I leave it and share it because every photograph has its own story.  The dude in the background is always by my side at the hunter rings.   We stand together on the same line and our clicks are in sync 99% of the time.  I still have a few fails.  I can see that he is wondering what I’m up to at this moment.  Well, my friend, I have little secret 🙂

Perspective

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“It’s not only children who grow.  Parents do too.  As much as we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.”  

~Joyce Maynard

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to title this post, “pondering”, “parenthood” or “disenchantment”.  As my daughter approaches her tenth year, I ponder how Bryan and I are measuring as her parents.  I believe our successes greatly outweigh our failures and I believe we are doing a pretty darn good job at nurturing a decent human being.  Parenthood, while not a piece of cake, has come to us gracefully, without a lot of drama.  The child, as I have always said, brings more to our plate then we could ever dish out on to hers.  This beautiful person is such a gift in my life and inspires me everyday to dig deeper into my art.  Parents sometimes forget to continue to grow on their own journey as they raise the next generation.  My daughter and my journey to 2020 becomes richer each day with knowledge, love, understanding and, sometimes, disappointment.  Fortunately, the few moments of disenchantment when actions of unkindness or cruelty come along, I always have this small person to remind me that resilience is “rooted in a tenacity of spirit”.   On her first day of preschool they asked us to describe our child in one word.  We chose “empathetic”.  Yep, we were right!

Photo taken of the sun setting over the Pacific during the Super Bowl ♥

Resilience

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“Resilience is rooted in a tenacity of spirit—a determination to embrace all that makes life worth living even in the face of overwhelming odds. When we have a clear sense of identity and purpose, we are more resilient, because we can hold fast to our vision of a better future.” ~ Author Unknown

I received a letter today from my oldest sister.  In this letter she reflects on how fortunate I was to inherit the gift of practicality and resilience from our late mother.  Our mother saw, in the first 25 years of her life, so much more than many of us have or will ever see in a lifetime.  She survived WWII leaving her homeland of Romania at the age of 18, never to return.  Bombings in Poland (where she fled a theater moments before a bomb wiped the building off the radar), raids in Austria, then moving throughout Europe until the war ended and she arrived safely in Trieste, Italy, with her younger sister in tow.  She fell in love with an American G.I.  They married and had a child (my oldest sister) in Italy.  The army sent my father home due to illness leaving my mother and sister alone in Trieste.  They joined him months later arriving by boat on Ellis Island in 1956.  I don’t know, but, it seems one might have no other choice than to become practical and resilient in times like those.

Being the youngest and most obnoxious child of the brood, I’m flattered and honored that I remind my sister so much of my mother.  I’m not sure if it was nature or nurture, but, somehow I do believe I took on my mother’s sense of practicality; but, more importantly her tolerance for life and people.  Resilient, I’m not so sure.

Fast forward to mid December….the last two weeks of 2011 brought brain cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer and ovarian cancer affecting members of our family and close friends.   I’m still standing and, believe or not, smiling some times.  Am I super(wo)man?  No, not really.  I’m muddling through and being the person my mother taught me to be.  Optimistic, hopeful and helpful whenever possible.  Perhaps it is because I learned very early in life to embrace the good, turn away from the bad and try not to let the ugly get in the way.  Still, I find myself, sometimes, struggling with my own resilience to the hurt and pain caused by the insensitivity and mean spirited-ness of some people.  Insensitive, intolerant and, well, just plain mean people still exist.   Nine and a half years ago I got the gift of my mother’s spirit back.   This little being came to us with the most amazing spirit of kindness, understanding of tolerance with a keen sense of resilience.  Where this perspective and resilience comes from I do not know.  What I do know is that I am blessed to have her near me, to remind me of what is most important and often offer perspective that goes way beyond her nine little years.

Do not think that we are only here to teach our children.  We are also here to listen and learn from them.  I wish you all peace, love, happiness, tolerance; but, most of all, resilience in this new year.  Be safe. Be well!