pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out

30 August 2015

Pool party

Backyard party
Orange County, California
30 August 2015

We're in one of the areas that is currently under all sorts of water restrictions, among them, no freshwater fountains. Mine has a recirculating pump (of course!), but even if it didn't, this is one restriction I'd ignore. The birds are clearly suffering this summer, and my fountain has been extremely popular all season long, especially with this last hot spell and the one a couple of weeks ago. Birds that can't bathe aren't healthy birds. Birds that don't have water sources are dead birds. And it's not just birds. Lizards, bees, butterflies, the bloody squirrel, and probably a bunch of creatures I don't want to think about also avail themselves of the water.

El Nino can't show up soon enough.

(Though I welcome the birds. And the lizards, bees and butterflies. Squirrely-o not so much. The other stuff, not so much. Though I don't begrudge them a drink.)


End of summer. Regrets, things that didn't get done. Things that did get done. This was a wonderful article about just that: The Summer That Never Was. Most of my summer went to teaching the daughter to drive. I didn't get back to Iceland or Europe (I will, though). It was college prep, the parent end. But there were concerts (!!!). There was laughter.

Now, there must be household maintenance. And, of course, at least for awhile, taking the daughter to school. Picking up the daughter from school. At least it's a better drive than Santa Ana.

And I've promised myself a trip east in the autumn.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000 and telephoto.

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29 August 2015

Where is the wave that will carry me...?

Super moon Saturday
Orange County, California
29 August 2015

I was on a bit of a tear today. Mostly irrational high spirits.

Tempered by heat.

I haven't done this in awhile. A full moon! Big waves at the beach...

I could have gotten a better photo, but I am still not well versed in using the better camera. After wrestling with it for 1/2 an hour in the 80+ degree heat (yes, that was after dark), I finally got this. And I was covered in spider webs, and some kind of sticky goo from the new tripod.

(And a good deal of nervous--or enraged--perspiration.)

Perhaps it's time to take the time to study the manual. Now that maybe I'll have some time?

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000 and telephoto. Click on the photo to enlarge.

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26 August 2015

So tired my teeth hurt

Orange County, California
25 August 2015

So my part in the orientation proceedings has ended. I dropped off the daughter this morning, stuck around long enough to take her to lunch and then bailed (because I am a terrible parent, I did not go to any of their talks). Went back for the dinner held by her college tonight, and no, we didn't go for the food.

She has said each evening, "I'm so glad that I get to go home."

She is anxious to start her classes.

The son takes off for his senior year this weekend.

Love my family, but looking forward to some quiet.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6.

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25 August 2015

Orientation (last time!)

Orange County, California
25 August 2015
Balloons. Water. Bad food. Droning speakers. Excessive heat. Upperclass students acting as cheerleaders. More bad food. Searching for the place to pick up textbooks. Trying not to run over wandering people moving into dorms.
Another university orientation.
The son was determined to move as far from California as possible. The daughter managed to stay as close to home as possible. All of her friends have been moving into dorms. She reorganized her bedroom and moved all her bedroom furniture.
(This was her choice. I told her she could live in a dorm if she wanted to. She declined, determinedly, and enumerated all the reasons that staying home was the best choice: good food, not paying for laundry service, no roommate, a private bathroom, a quiet place to study. Oh, and it was cheaper.)
Just another freshman orientation day.
Last. One. Ever.
Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6 and a mystery Hipstamatic combination.

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24 August 2015

What lies at the edge of perception

Japanese American National Museum
Los Angeles, California
14 August 2015

It looked like there had been a festival or a celebration. Colorful figures hung from the museum and further down the plaza, there were ranks of similar, smaller figures. There were inscriptions on some of the streamers that made up the lower third of each one. I wondered what they meant, what they were intended to represent. The heads looked like they were made from paper chrysanthemums. They waved and drifted in the breeze, bright.

I took photos from multiple angles with multiple exposures, using different filters. Later that night, I downloaded all my photos and perused them. The color photos looked bright and cheerful, childlike dolls, fluttering in the air. Two that were black and white made the figures look horrifyingly like hanging bodies.

How can something so simple as exposure and color completely change the complexion of a photograph?

I know that I've looked at photographs, and when I feel happy, I see happiness in the subjects' faces, too, almost a reflection of my own. And when I feel anxious or unhappy, I see censure in those same faces in that same photo. Rationally, it makes no sense that I can project my own pleasure or my own uncertainty on a static image.

I've spoken (often!) of the fact that I have no sense of my own presence in the world. And I've said (truthfully!) that I'm fairly sure that I only exist in my own head. When I discover other people can and do see me, the idea is novel (and periodically terrifying). But it never, at base, changes my own perception that I am invisible. And I'm not especially interesting, so I am always surprised that people actually read what I write here. I have no wish to be famous on the Internet, even if I have quietly claimed my own little corner, but I have come around to the idea that I don't only write for myself.

Colorful fluttering doll or a black and white nightmare?

Both, I suspect, especially since I know they reconcile themselves into the same image. It's all a matter of perception.

Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6 and a mystery Hipstamatic combination. "What lies at the edge of perception" as a phrase and a concept is borrowed from Eleanor Cameron's Court of the Stone Children, which was one of the most awesome books I read as a child.

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23 August 2015

Having none of it

11 June 2015

The rigors of domesticity.

The new washer and dryer were delivered Friday. It's rather appalling to think that I lived with the last set as long as I did.

Milton did not approve of the morning's doings. And of course, there were problems (next week, I get to call the plumber. Of course. And the electrician. Landscaping, roof, insulation, AIR CONDITIONING...I could write a song about this).

In any event, the cat is keeping a very close eye on the new monsters in his laundry room. He sneaks quietly to the doorway to eye them as they rumble and hum to themselves.

He does not approve.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D7000.

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22 August 2015

The spaces between

Giants Causeway
Bushmills, Moyle, United Kingdom
16 July 2012

Much of my life is spent careering from one thing to another. Whether it's plane-concert-plane, grocery-daughter's school-whatever board I'm serving on, plane-kid on the east coast-plane, work-deadline-bike ride home, whatever, there's forward motion, banquet tables, ear plugs, green pens, and usually a heaping helping of stress, even if it's good stress.

Then there are the interstitial moments, the spaces between, the breath, the silence, the deliberate smile between verses.

A kiss on the wind and we'll make the land.

When I was dancing, we learned in choreography to stop. That was the breath, the pause, the cessation that, if used properly, was as important as motion. As a dancer, sometimes it was really a moment designed by a smart choreographer to allow us to catch our collective breath (after you've grand jeté'd the length of a large stage four times in under a minute, breathing is welcome), but it's also a way to engage the audience: what happens next?

A decade ago, I was traveling to Toronto, and it was a frenetic day with the joy of long flights and passport control. Finally, I was in a taxi en route to the hotel, checked in, and ready to roam. I was supposed to meet D. later in the evening, but my phone was dropping calls and I kept missing her. I finally just took off, in the general direction of where I was supposed to go, and started walking.

I don't know how many miles I went, but it was a distance. The aggravations of the day fell away as I breathed real, not airplane, air, looked at the neighborhoods through which I passed and wonder replaced frustration. New city, new adventure. As the sun started to sink in the west, I suddenly realized in the lengthening shadows that summer was ending, autumn was en route again, and I was incredibly tired. I found a shop and bought a coffee, and as I sank down on a seat outdoors to drink it, there suddenly was D. walking up the street toward me. The serendipity delighted me.

The breath. The pause. What happens next?

We along with some others went to a club to listen to a live band, and made a plan to meet up the next day. D., who is a mover and a shaker and an instigator (this woman could run the world if she had a mind to), had a plan to make some signs for the show that night, and she talked me into helping. Making signs and actually holding up signs are two different things, so I entered happily into making signs. The rest is history.

(Yes, she talked me into holding up signs, too. We could talk about her gift for persuasion, and my equal but opposite gift for stubbornness, and I can tell you that she usually wins. Which is how I ended up in the pit at Irvine Meadows in July, but that's another story altogether.)

For years, I walked and chauffeured my children between home and school. An interstitial moment, the place between point A and point B. So much laughter, so much singing, so much discussion (and when I was driving through Santa Ana, so much profanity). But we all remember those times through all those years (the daughter, apparently, mostly remembers profanity, though trust me, there was a lot of singing).

Work gets done in those interstitial moments. A heart beats. A muscle contracts. An idea forms. A wave gathers. Something grows in the space between structures: a friendship, a gust of wind, a birthday cake, a sapling. Love takes hold.

The breath. The pause. What happens next?

Life, as a construct, can be dense and filled with so much: responsibility and family, work and school, grocery shopping and laundry, baseball and bicycling. So much good, so much bad, so much boredom and so much fun. But it is in the moment that I stop when I am most able to appreciate the friendship, the breeze, the lengthening shadows of the end of summer, the terror of holding a sign, the smile between verses, and love takes hold.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40. I have developed a fine tendency to start with one idea and then wander off on a detour, though this mostly kept to what I intended. I get interrupted a lot. I am looking forward to everyone going back to school. Empty nest FTW! And that concert was 11 years ago tonight.

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