I Went To A Garden Party

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“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~  John Muir

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My daughter’s school offers an elective course in sustainable gardening in their curriculum.  Their teacher, Hovey Clark, is passionate about gardening, the food it generates and the healthy lifestyle it affords.  The Class of 2020 began working in the garden during their first year at Priory and now, as seventh graders, have become pros at cultivating, growing and sustaining this massive garden.  The garden is known as The Franklin Garden, situated at the back of the school’s property in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains in Portola Valley.

As you can imagine, this, for me is photographer bliss and allows me to keep my blog post 100% on point (photographing the stuff that put me on the map, so to speak, with the 2020 kids.  The kids of Priory participated in preparing The Franklin Garden for this amazing evening of food, wine and music with great friends, inspirational monks, talented gardeners and chefs and, of course, awesome musicians (one of whom is also a Priory teacher).  I’m not sure, but, when the band started playing The Doors, it just added an additional layer of cool to the event.

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Black and White

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“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” ~ Oscar Wilde

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My black and white work is what fulfills me the most as an artist.  I feel somewhat indifferent to how others view these photographs.  Black and white energizes me … touches my soul.  The same does not necessarily hold true of my color work.  With color, I feel much more vulnerable and judged and the work feels a little more commercial and contrived.  And, of course it would (and probably should), because I am commissioned for much of my colored work.  Don’t get me wrong, commissions and publications are a VERY good thing.  It’s just that I have recently been recognized for a few black and whites.  I can’t explain the joy it brings because it is in black and white where I feel and find my truth.

spurs“Spurs”  Rancho Viejo, CA

atrium“Atrium” ~ Casa Batlló, Barcelona

memphis car“Tennessee Ride” ~ Memphis

memphiscross“La Grange”

memphishouse“Abandoned” ~ La Grange, TN

Barcelona“Gaudí’s Neighbor” ~ Barcelona

Spain“El Quatre Gats” ~ Barcelona

Spain“Night Cap” ~ Barcelona

Spain“Closing Time” ~ Barcelona

Curved Lines“Curved Lines” ~ Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Gift“Desert Rat” ~ Palm Desert, CA

hakone“Hakone” ~ Saratoga, CA

 

Never Been to Spain

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“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” ~ Pablo Picasso

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I dreamed of one day going to Spain.  I had the opportunity to join my best friend after graduating from high school.  I opted to stay home with a newly scored boyfriend, while she and two other girls traipsed around Spain and Portugal with their backpacks.  BIG MISTAKE!  This is the time in your life for youth hostels, Eurail passes and free spirits NOT high school boyfriends and lousy summer jobs.

Lucky for me, opportunity knocked again last summer.  “Where would you like to go to celebrate your half century on this planet?” Bryan asked.  Without hesitation, “Spain”.  So, almost 32 years to the day, we headed to Spain.  No backpacks, no youth hostels (thank you Airbnb); however, I opted for the Eurail pass rather than a car or flight from Barcelona to Málaga.

The trip was remarkable.  We were free spirits in Spain, me, Bryan and Ally, each of us having a dear friend by our side.  It may have taken awhile to get here, but, it sure was worth the wait.  I will have an apartment in Barcelona again, one day.  I will travel back to Málaga and Marbella and sit with a sangria in hand, a flower in my hair and watch the sun set over the Mediterranean.

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@woodside images | jsinclair

 

Olympic Dreams

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“We all have dreams.  But in order to make dreams come into reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline and effort.” ~ Jesse Owens 1936 Olympics ~ Photo courtesy of Cheval Photos

I have been saving this post for a few weeks because I thought today would be the perfect day to share this little story.  As you all know, my daughter, Ally, is a little equestrian with very big dreams.  Her dream, she will tell you, is to go to the Olympics one day.  While she is only 10, that dream, should it ever come to fruition could be as soon as 8 years aways.  2020 is the first year she would be eligible (you must be at least 18) for the equestrian Olympic team.  While Ally’s journey to 2020 may or may not take her to the Olympics, I can tell you this, without a doubt, many hours of training and many horse shows will fill the days of her future.  She is beyond horse crazy.  She has a passion that is her driving force.

Ally’s idol is Reed Kessler, who you see in the beautiful photo, above.  Reed Kessler is the youngest person in history to make an Olympic equestrian show jumping team, being selected on June 17 (while still 17) at Spruce Meadows in Calgary.  Reed celebrated her 18th birthday July 9, less than three weeks before the cutoff date to qualify for the Olympics in London.

The photo posted above was taken by my friend and fellow equestrian photographer, Selena Frederick, owner of http://www.ChevalPhotos.com.  Selena photographs many of the top riders in the world and travels to most of the high profile events in North America.  I feel very blessed to know her and call her my friend.  She inspires me artistically and has shown me that even in this small world of equestrians and professionals, there is room for everyone.

Selena was at Spruce Meadows when Reed was named to the Olympic Team.  I called Selena and I asked her if she could possibly ask Reed for an autograph for Ally. A napkin with her name would do.  I hate to ask for these kind of favors and understood completely if she didn’t feel comfortable asking.  Selena said she would see what she could do.  The next day I heard from Selena and she told me she had something to Ally.  Later that week that “something” arrived ~

As you can imagine the small child is beside herself.  A frame has been purchased and a space on the wall selected for the note and one of Selena’s beautiful photos of Reed.  You can check out the rest of Selena’s photos of Reed on her blog http://chevalphotos.com/3129/every-little-girls-dream.

Thank you, Selena for your kindness, your art and your inspiration!  Reed, thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful note to Ally.  Good luck to you and Cylana this week!  We will be cheering you on every step of the way!   You are a hero and inspiration not only to my little one; but, to many little ones with big dreams.  ♥♥

Journey through the Past

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“Will your restless heart come back to mine on a journey through the past? Will I still be in your eyes and on your mind?” ~ Neil Young

They say when you have a child you begin to flash back to your own childhood, with memories creeping in that have long been forgotten.  Around the time the Bean was 5, vivid memories came rushing back of my life in my childhood home on Choctaw Lane in Ohio.  On my birthday a week ago, the Bean had a birthday party of her own to attend for a friend who was turning 10. I began to reminisce about my childhood birthday parties on Choctaw Lane; parties my mother so joyfully threw for me every summer.  No party themes, no menu, no Disney characters on hand to entertain and no rules on who must be included on the guest list.  The guests were simply the neighborhood kids, menu of ice cream and cake,  and games of pin the tail and dropping clothes pins in a jar.  The gifts were so awesome (and cheap).  I remember clinging to a slinky during most of the party; to this day one of my favorite birthday gifts of all time.   We would swing on our swings, run around the neighbor’s cornfield chasing the chickens, do cartwheels, ride bikes and just play.

40 years later, kids have Alice in Wonderland tea parties with the Mad Hatter as the guest of honor, race go carts, indoor skydive, attend events at country clubs and travel on ski trips.  The party the Bean attended was a murder mystery ~ Clue ~ themed party.  She had a script, a costume and was beyond excited for the event.  We wouldn’t have had a “clue”  back in the day how to even approach a party like this.  So, maybe some of these parties are over the top.  Life, in general, today is over the top.

You might think I’m now going to say “I miss the good old days”; the days when life was simple.  Well, I’m not and I don’t.  Indeed, the memories are lovely; however, I’m thrilled to be a part of the changing times.  I am in awe of the children of this generation.  These kids define our future.  They are smart, kind, globally aware and conscientious!  They don’t need to be convinced that our planet is in danger.  They know it and are eager and willing to help fix the damage caused by their predecessors.

So, 40 years later the small child attended her friend’s birthday party and successfully solved the murder mystery while I sat with friends drinking a martini or two and sharing stories about the good old days (not really 🙂  Life is good ♥

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!