pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: August 2010

31 August 2010


First day of school
28 August 2001

The son began his junior year of high school this morning, and the daughter began her eighth grade year. It's hard to believe that she's been at the same school for 10 years; this was taken the day she started junior kindergarten.

Children growing up...

Tech stuff: I think this was taken with a Canon ELPH.

30 August 2010


Columbus, Ohio
29 August 2010

Oh, was it hot yesterday.

Still, I wandered through downtown Columbus, and into the German village, looking at the buildings, and being generally astonished at the emptiness of the area.

The newspaper building was across the street from my hotel, and I was struck by the incongruity of the news ticker located on the facade of the old building announcing the demise of the print edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

27 August 2010


Mourning dove
27 August 2010

I got home this afternoon and this enormous dove was staring at me from the fountain. The spouse posited the idea that it might have flown in from the Nevada Test Site.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

26 August 2010


Glacier Park Lodge, MT
11 July 2010

We were engaged in a heated game of Hearts in the lodge's lobby when a fast-moving, violent thunderstorm went roaring by. I had to excuse myself briefly from the game to take this. I ultimately won anyway, to the chagrin of all.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

24 August 2010


aka Olivier
20 December 2003

He's roughly Milton's age, and I don't remember precisely when he suddenly showed up in the 'hood. But suddenly, there he every neighborhood party.

We figured he must be a fairly social cat, and it became apparent at some point that he was homeless. Neighbor B named him Oliver, but I called him Olivier. B. took him to the vet, who pointed out that Olivier must have been cared for at some point since he was neutered. I fed him and created a makeshift shelter for him that very rainy winter. Neither B. nor I was in a position to take Olivier in: he wasn't dog friendly, and his behavior was a little unpredictable, and both of us had young children.

It didn't help that Milton despised him.

Olivier was a cat about town, however, and he made his own choice and adopted an elderly couple up the street. They love him, and I watch them, so much frailer now, hobbling up the street with Olivier bringing up the rear.

A cat walking his people.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110.

23 August 2010

Greenland glacier

Prins Christian Sund, Greenland
28 July 2008

Mother Nature suddenly remembered it was summer, and we're having a heat wave. Not actually unexpected in Southern California in August, but it's been so unseasonably cool the last couple of months that I think we were all taken a bit by surprise.

Best to think cool thoughts.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

20 August 2010

Time to break from the past

Albuquerque, New Mexico
29 June 2010

It was the clouds that caught my eye when I took this, but the curiosity of the photo--and why I didn't crop it--is that this could easily be Anytown, Southwest United States. I've traversed neighbors that look identical to this, down to the crooked speed limit sign, in the place where I spent my adolescence yearning for something more, and in the city north of it.

For years, I lived as though I didn't have a past, as though my life started when I turned 18, but the past has a way of catching one up, whether in the color of a child's eyes or the cast of a shadow on a wall. I've made my peace now and see the past is just another teacher, another part of the road. It's only a threat if I make it one.

Interestingly, I've never stopped wanting something more. I don't know what more means, of course, except that it's not *stuff* that I desire, and I'm not sure that I'm meant to know what it means. It would take the fun out of the chase, the life out of the living.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

19 August 2010


Northern Arizona
24 August 2005

If you've gotten the impression that rock often figures in my vacations, you're correct.

(That pun is so intended.)

Anyway, yes, a fossil footprint. I can't actually remember where I took this, but I think it was somewhere off the road between the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot S110.

18 August 2010

Through the sunroof

Trans-Canada Highway
9 July 2010

I thought this would make a really lovely photo, but there was no safe place to stop along the road, so I opened the sunroof and held the camera up through the opening. To hear the kids tell it, you'd think I climbed through myself and took this while balancing on the roof of the car.

No. And I wasn't driving, either.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40 through the sunroof.

17 August 2010

Books are for tourists

The Library
17 August 2010

And when people visit our house, whether for a party or an overnight stay, one of the first places they stop is our bookshelves. Sometimes, my friends come not to visit me, but to visit my books. Books tend to exit the house so frequently, that one friend actually gave me a library stamp kit with check out cards, which made me laugh.

This is only a tiny portion of the books that live all over the place. We have them in boxes, stacked by our beds, overflowing onto nightstands and bureaus. At any given moment, I am reading two or four, with magazines thrown in for variety.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, manual settings, in natural light and the can lights above the shelves. The post title comes from the t-shirt the son scored at Friday's Rush concert. Too apropos, really.

16 August 2010

A swiftly tilting horizon

North Sea
21 July 2008

On the other blog, I was writing quite seriously about the whole idea of a leap of faith (mostly because today was a leap-of-faith day, a stretch on any day), using metaphors of water and diving boards, blah to the blah blah blah.

This had nothing to do with leaping, faith or anything other than pure, joyous insanity. YES! That's a real horizon! The ship was tossing, pitching, and yawing, and I had one arm wrapped around the railing, the other holding the camera. I wanted a photo of backlit spume. At sunset. With North Sea waves.

What I should have photographed was the horrified expression of the crewman who passed me while I was engaged in this nonsense.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, and a judicious dose of nerve. I am grateful that I'm not subject to motion sickness.

15 August 2010

A tree grew on Catalina

Catalina Island, California
4 August 2007

Right about the time the boy popped his patella for the second time and was awaiting knee surgery, and I was simultaneously trying to wiggle my way out of foot and ankle surgery, mostly by promising that I wouldn't walk for years, we got an opportunity to go to Catalina, expenses paid.

Of course.

I'd never been to Catalina, so I wasn't going to miss the chance. The spouse hunted around and discovered that the Catalina Island Conservancy offers jeep tours of the island. Since Catalina is basically closed to vehicular traffic, this was a great way to see everything, since half of our party wasn't going to be doing much hiking. We saw bison and birds, and our guide was a very nice woman who was quite knowledgeable about the surrounds.

We were given snacks under this tree, and it was here that my children were introduced to spray cheese. You know: the stuff in the can that looks like Silly String. They were completely appalled. Instead, they graciously accepted the apples that were offered.

My kids are funny that way.

Tech stuff: Taken with a Canon PowerShot 110. The more I look at the photos that came off that camera, the more I dislike the camera. In this case, of course, it wasn't the camera's fault that the photographer was trying to balance on her one good foot.

14 August 2010

Crescent moon

12 August 2010

I suppose that I should apologize for posting another picture of the moon. Unfortunately, I'm having a lot of fun taking them.

Last night, just before the show started, the moon was rising over the hillside at Irvine Meadows, Venus to the right of it. The spouse said that at one point, he saw a meteor fly by overhead, but I guess I was just too busy watching the fireworks on stage.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40 at twilight. I like my telephoto lens. In fact, I like it so much, I'm thinking about buying some other nifty lens.

12 August 2010


27 September 2009

"You want to schedule a midnight evisceration? Noooo problem."

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40 with a cat who doesn't care for photo ops.

11 August 2010

At twilight

Universal City Walk, Hollywood, California
5 April 2010

After eating massive quantities of meat at Samba and dancing in the middle of the restaurant to the delight of everyone, the daughter had a single objective:

Ice cream.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40 at twilight.

10 August 2010

Madison landslide

Madison Canyon, Montana
17 August 2003

The denuded mountain front in this photo was formed by a landslide when a M7.3-M7.5 earthquake occurred late the night of August 17, 1959. But here's the part that's particularly difficult to wrap one's head around: The bluff on which I stood while taking this photo was made up entirely of debris that used to be part of that mountain miles across the river.

Tech stuff: Taken with Canon PowerShot S110. And yes, it was completely a coincidence that we happened to make a second visit to this damned place on the 44th anniversary of the landslide's occurrence.

09 August 2010

Scary monsters

Viking Ship Museum
Oslo, Norway
19 July 2008

Museums have been on my mind the last few weeks. I love museums, and make a practice of visiting any interesting ones that I find. Some of my favorites books as a child were From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Court of the Stone Children.

Museums are filled with so much possibility. There can be so much life in the artifacts, and sometimes, so much potential.

I've actually been to the Viking Ship Museum twice, and both times found much to contemplate. Tiny wooden ships tossed on seas that I've sailed on in much larger ships...I can't even imagine how brutal those journeys must have been.

What crossed the minds of the carvers of this ship? Fear? Love of the creation of the art? Religion, perhaps? Did they go along for the ride? Or were they content to stay home and let others adventure?

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.

03 August 2010

But what does it MEAN?

En route to Victoria, British Columbia
6 July 2010

Seriously. "Smoosh smaller people under the nearest overhang?"

We travel a lot; all over the world; by land, sea, and air, and I think this may be first time we all have been stumped by a sign. I photographed it on the car ferry from Vancouver to Victoria in the cafe. It was hanging above the window where one was to return plates and trays, but I don't get the impression it had anything to do with plates and trays.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40, which I'd forgotten to reset to appropriate settings, so it's a bit blurry. I remember when I was really young and the first international picture signs were introduced. These days, they're governed by ISO 7001:2007 (Public information symbols), but I'm not sure if the earliest ones actually had a standard.

02 August 2010

Board of Trade

Victoria, British Columbia
6 July 2010

I never thought much about buildings until the summer of my 17th year and the person who'd been charged with entertaining me drove me around Los Angeles exhorting me to "Look up! Look up!"

It was a whole new world.

Oddly, I was watching 500 Days of Summer today, and there is a moment when Tom tells Summer the same thing, almost verbatim.

Tech stuff: Taken with my Nikon D40.