Catching Up

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Layla

With Thermal just a few weeks away, I have been mostly shooting horses and barn candids.  Thermal – the HITS Desert Circuit Horse Show begins today in Thermal, California and continues through March 17.  Ally and the Oak Haven crew will be competing during the second half of the circuit and our horses, trainers and riders head south in just a few weeks.  That means, I head south in just a few weeks and will be enjoying the warm desert sunshine while dedicating my next posts to Thermal.  Not to fear flower children, the gardens bloom and the garden shows gear up in March. But, for now, let’s catch up.

My goal this year is to post more pictures, shorten the stories and continue with the intended theme of documenting Ally and my journey to 2020.

2012 ended with the ten year old saying goodbye to two dear furry friends and a stuffed pony named Smores.  But, as the saying goes, “every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end.”  Two new furry friends have joined our extended family and she continues to ride the real pony named Mickey (along with her beloved, best friend Charly).  As she approaches the end of her 10th year she is gracefully saying goodbye to a few of her childish ways and hello to her tweens.  Fear for me.

I am saying goodbye to an old friend, my Nikon D70.  Great camera that simply hit the pavement too many times (thanks to the 10 year old mentioned above).  My tried and true Nikon D5000 will travel with me to Thermal for the dirty, dusty work.  He will be joined by a new friend who is en-route to Woodside as I type.

I dedicate this post to Layla and Darwin Murray.  We miss you, we love you, may you rest in peace.  xo!!

darwin2p

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September 11

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“Imagine all the people living life in peace” ~ John LennonImage

This is an updated edit from the post I made a year ago.  New photo thanks to Ted Mattison and his awesome lunch box.  Today, I sit next to my now ten-year old daughter and tell her the story of what happened on September 11, 2001.  Believe it or not, I have no longer kept the horrific details of that tragic day away from her.  She has learned of the terrorists, and she now understands there were horrible wars being fought on lands far away and she comprehends that America continues to fight a war on terrorism.  She also knows that the leader of these atrocities, Osama bin Laden, is dead.  Thank you, President Obama!

Do you remember where you were the morning of September 11?  Of course, you do.  We all do.  As I mentioned before, the cats were unusually restless and woke us at 6:00 a.m.  There was no small child yet; though the Bean was starting to sprout.  Those who know me understand that I will never willingly get out of bed at 6:00 a.m., however, on that day, I did.  The phone rang and I knew immediately it was not going to be good news.  It was my friend, Lisa, from D.C. calling, “turn on the news”.  The first tower had already been hit; and, Paula Zahn was announcing it was a small plane.  As she spoke, the view behind her was of the twin towers with smoke billowing out of the first.  I stared in disbelief; the unthinkable was approaching the second tower.  I watched, in real-time, as the jetliner smash into the second tower.  I thought how surreal life had just become.  I contemplated turning off the television.  I was one month pregnant with the  Bean in what I’ll simply describe as a very sensitive pregnancy.  This was so horrific and tragic, I didn’t want these emotions filtering through by body and soul.  As much as I thought I should, I didn’t turn off the television.  In fact, I could do nothing, but, watch for the next week.

On this day, I am now able to share with my now thriving 10 year old, the story of one victim that hit very close to home.  Our friend and contractor was at the house the morning of the attack.  He and I sat in silence waiting to hear the news.  His nephew was a financial planner for Cantor Fitzgerald.  He arrived every morning that week and we watched.  One morning, he called.  He would not be coming to the house today.  It had been confirmed, his nephew had been killed.  What hit me the hardest was that his nephew’s wife was also expecting.  Her now ten year old never got to meet her father.  I count my blessings every day.

My husband flew into D.C. last May, moments before President Obama made the announcement….Osama Bin Laden was dead.  Bryan was able to join the thousands of revelers just after midnight at the White House.  He described it as a moment of  beautiful mayhem that he will never forget.  Americans coming together in celebration that terror and evil did not prevail.

The Bean and I now have long talks about 9/11.  She has seen the images and watched the video of this horrific moment in time.  She is not afraid.  Based on what she shares with me I think she intends to be part of the change and forward momentum that America needs to make this country become again a place where people live in harmony and find and enjoy their freedoms.  Sounds corny, but, let’s see what happens!  Peace!

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 🙂

Forever Young

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Quote of the Day:  May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true, may you always know the truth, and see the lights surrounding you, may you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong; and, may you stay forever young.”  ~ Bob Dylan

This has been a very emotional week.  My best friends from childhood will be gathering in my hometown, celebrating 30 years from our graduation from high school.  First of all, 30 years from ANYTHING is emotional; but, high school is another story.  I have always believed in the saying “make new friends, but, keep the old ~ one is silver and the other is gold” and I now instill this same philosophy in my child.

It is such an important philosophy for me to hold close, because there have been so many chapters in my  life.  I sometimes wonder if the small child will have such a big book, with so many chapters to lug around.  Perhaps her own novel will be more concise, less dramatic and; therefore, require fewer chapters.  My intuition tells me it will be the latter.  Whatever her story may be, I will tell her this: “friends will come and they will go; however, the impact of the lessons and gifts they bring will stay with you forever.”   As I write my blog, I generally try to parallel my daughter’s life and journey with my own.  Whether that is good or bad, it always brings the same resolution; that no matter how much life changes, it really does remain the same (with much better technology 🙂 ).  Thank you, Steve Jobs ~ may you rest in peace!

Whether it is the result of the many chapters of my life, the moves from coast to coast or the distance I live from my childhood home, I have always had this idea that I would never reconnect with my friends from childhood.  Well, that idea went completely out the window when Zuckerberg came to town with his baby, Facebook.  Initially, I thought Facebook was silly and trite; but, then I succumbed to the idea and, BOOM, Kathy appeared.  We saw each other’s names and “accepted” a friendship (maybe there should be a “re-accept” button).  I said, “come to California” and she said  “okay”.  We hadn’t seen or spoken to each other in over 30 years.  I pulled up to the curb at SFO and we were both crying before I even got out of the car.  We talked for 5 days straight, remembering idiosyncrasies that were long forgotten.   Every time I laughed, she cried, because it was a memory so profound within her ~ with that, I cried because I remembered that laugh from my childhood.  A laugh that only she could resonate.

So I dedicate this week’s blog to my 8th grade best friend forever, Kathy, and the Milford High School Class of 1981.  It’s been a joy reconnecting with you all.  May we find some other old friends along the way, may we find joy in our own personal journeys; but, most of all may we stay forever young in our hearts and in our souls.  I love you all and thank you for my childhood.   I wish this wonderful kind of childhood for my daughter and all her friends on their journey to 2020!  Godspeed!

Go West (paradise is there)

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“If you’re going to San Francisco ~ be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.” ~ John Phillips

I believe it was 1970, the year I turned 7, and I had just purchased my very first album.  It was Crosby Still Nash & Young’s DejaVu.  Wouldn’t that be cool if it were true!  In reality, my first album was the The Partridge Family Album; however, DejaVu came shortly thereafter.  After spending many of my days trying to master the Tracy Partridge tambourine (while standing on the coffee table) I believe it was the 20th replay of “I Think I Love You” that sent my older brother over the edge.  He tossed the record and put on DejaVu.   I listened to Teach Your Children over and over because they said “hell” in the lyrics and it was the first time I could say that word without receiving a bar of soap in my mouth.

During the 70’s I was completely enchanted with the hippie culture.  I dreamed of moving to San Francisco to join the flower children and wear flowers in my hair.  I had left David Cassidy behind and fallen in love with Neil Young.  By the time I was 13 I had decided I would forego college, move West, find Neil and marry him.  By high school, I still was determined to go West and leave my boring, conservative upbringing far behind.  Still enthralled with the hippie culture, me and my high school friends tried as hard as we could to hang on to the coolness of the 60’s and 70’s.  We hung out on a hill we called Sugar Mountain, smoked pot (okay, I didn’t smoke; but, I wore pot leaf earrings and settled for the contact high) and listened to Neil.  All, of course, while wearing our Harvest t-shirts we silkscreened in shop.

Ah, the best laid plans.  Perhaps the 80’s got the best of me.  Big hair, bad clothes and a college degree made sure I didn’t move to California.  Not only did I NOT move West, I moved East and worked for big law firms.  The good news is that by the 90’s I had given up the big hair and my wardrobe improved dramatically.  I wore Ally McBeal skirts, made a bunch of money and landed a cool husband (probably thanks to the Ally McBeal skirts).  He wasn’t the rock star I had planned on, however, he proved early on that he could party like one (while still maintaining gainful employment) and assured a life far from boring and conservative.

They say you are born with a vision, a “birth vision” if you will.  So, as it turns out, I am living happily ever after in California.  Sugar Mountain is nearby.  Sometimes I wear flowers in my hair, especially when I am photographing flowers.  My daughter, Ally (named after……KIDDING!!) loves to wear hippie clothes and peace signs; and, sometimes I wave to Neil when he drives by.  I still don’t smoke pot, but, every once in awhile I stumble across an isolated plant or two in the mountains thanks to the old hippies who still lurk about.

It’s good to be home!

Charming Life

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Quote of the Day:  It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. 
William Shakespeare 

My daughter said to me a few weeks ago, “Mama, I’m so lucky”.  I couldn’t help but smile as she said this, because, at the time I agreed whole heartedly with her.   However, if you look at the definition, it will tell you that luck is a success (or failure) brought about by chance rather than through one’s own actions.  Lucky, yes she is; by chance or accident, I don’t think so.  I am a firm believer in karma.  The energy you put forth is the energy that will always come back and surround you.  Okay, perhaps I’m walking down my path of kooky, hippie ideology; however, it is such a privilege for me to watch and be a part of this small child’s life.  Her energy has such a positive and profound effect on me.  The child has a dream and passion that motivates and drives her.  She has a heart of gold that has not be affected by the negativity that life can sometimes throw your way.  She has a conscience in her soul and a kindness in her heart that I pray will stay with her as she continues on her journey.  Wherever you are and wherever you go you will take this energy, charm and light with you and it will be contagious.

It does not come as much of a surprise that the name of her new best friend and first horse is Charming.   Yes, my small child, you are lucky, however, it is the energy within you that brings such luck your way.  Stay true to yourself and to your dreams, and may you forever have a charming life!

Sand Castle Virtues

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Quote of the Day:  “And the sand castle virtues are all swept away in the tidal destruction ~ the moral melee.” ~ Ian Anderson

I wasn’t so sure where I was going to take the Journey this week.  I was busy with shooting, editing, child and traveling.  In the normal course of a week, I generally have my ideas formed by Tuesday and crank something out by Wednesday morning.  As it happened, Wednesday came and I had nothing.  So, I walked on the beach for inspiration and took this shot.   I was mesmerized by the sand castle.  I had posted a shorter version of this quote earlier in the week on my personal page ~ “and the sand castle virtues were all swept away”.   Coincidence?  I think not.  Perhaps just a simple reminder that everything is as it should be.  What’s great about song lyrics is they are wildly open for interpretation.  So…my blog, my interpretation :).  I am fortunate to say that my sand castle virtues have not be swept away.  Time has only made them stronger.

As I photographed the sand castle, I had an “aha!” moment.  I angled my camera to capture the castle with the ocean as its background. However,  I was inundated with tourist standing on the other side to snap a shot.  I was fortunate enough to catch this lovely moment with the young boy running towards me.  However, the tourist kept coming; paying me no regard.  I was irritated and becoming very disenchanted  with the moment.  Defeated, I surrendered and walked to the other side of the castle to try to get a clean shot.  This is what I captured.  I still favor my ocean shot, but, am glad for my irritation with the tourists.  I’m sure they were having similar feelings about me as I blocked the view of The Del.