Thursday, May 31, 2012

Visual Cents No. 17

"The Scarlet Arch"

May's Five Fabulous Finds

NOAH is the National Organization for Albinism and Hypo-pigmentation.  The group’s purpose is to provide support education and research with regard to albinism as well as to create a community for individuals and families whose lives are impacted by albinism.  By the time NOAH was founded in 1982, I had made it through grade school and graduated from college.  I had successfully maneuvered the challenges of albinism somehow on my own.  I did not discover this organization until a year or so ago.  Since then, I have become involved by writing for their member publication and Weber and I will attend the national NOAH conference this summer.  In an email exchange I had with another NOAH member, I said that I was surprised that I hadn’t discovered NOAH sooner.  She said, “People find NOAH when they need it or when they have something to offer.”  I hope that I have something to offer.
We have gotten at least one head of cabbage, and sometimes two, in our CSA bin every two weeks since February.  That is a lot of cabbage, which because I prefer uncooked cabbage, translates to a lot of cole slaw.  And a lot of cole slaw translates to a lot of chopping cabbage.  Sometimes you don’t have to go any further than your own kitchen for a fabulous find.  Though we still have no doors on our kitchen cabinets, we do have shelves and completed under counter drawers.  This has allowed us to finally unpack, sort, whittle down, and put away all of our kitchen stuff.  In doing so we found Weber’s mother’s Serrated Edge Slaw Chopper.  Seemingly these are not the preferred modern tool for slaw chopping, but it works great - and is a lot less trouble than dealing with the food processor and a whole lot safer than a serrated edge knife!  Our cole slaw recipe is  “Zesty Cabbage Salad” from Ginny Callan’s BEYOND THE MOON COOKBOOK, slightly modified by adding just a few red pepper flakes.  This is an awesome slaw recipe!

As part of the “Visual Cents” project I have been doing some reading about how to improve my photography.  I ran across this online article.  After reading it, I explored the rest of Ken Rockwell’s website.  It is one of the most down-to-earth, readable, and helpful websites I have ever seen.  
Now that I am on break, I have been doing a little pleasure reading.  At the recommendation of one of my students I am reading Milam Kundera’s THE UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS OF BEING.  I am somewhat hesitant to include it here at this point because I have not yet finished this novel; however, I was drawn into it in the first few paragraphs.  In a nutshell, it is a love story of sorts which is couched in a discourse with Nietzsche and his ideas on eternal recurrence.  That is all I am going to say about this right now.  Perhaps I will say more once I have finished the book.
Food trucks are a late addition to this edition of fabulous finds.  Tonight we went literally around the corner from our house to have dinner from a food truck, our first such experience.  It was great fun.  The area was packed with people young and old, black, white, hispanic, asian, families with children  - in strollers, on bikes with training wheels, walking, running, dancing,  couples strolling hand in hand, lots of people with their canine companions, and ten or so food trucks.  Food choices included sandwiches, pizza, burgers, tacos - both Mexican and Korean, frozen desserts and beverages that ran the gamut from water to beer.  We drove to the trucks this time because we were on our way home from running a few errands; next time we’ll walk so that we can partake in the beer.

And tomorrow, June will be bustin' out all over!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Visual Cents No. 14

"Memorial Day: Field of Flags"

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Visual Cents No. 13

"Yellow-crowned Night Heron"
(I think.)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Friday, May 25, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Visual Cents No. 8

"Light in the Darkness"

Wedding Words of Wisdom

Sunday evening we had the pleasure and honor of attending the wedding of one of my students.  Like most weddings, if was beautiful and joyful.  The thing that made it different for us was that we were the only Caucasians in attendance.  The bride and groom are both Korean as was everyone else.. Except us.  I signed the guest book on the way in with the only signature in English.  As we took our place in the back of the chapel, I must admit I felt a bit out of place, not because anyone  was rude or even looked us weirdly, just because we were a definite minority.  
We had not been seated long when another of my students, the maid of honor came and gave me a big hug.  At least then people knew that we had not just wandered in off the street.  One of my colleagues from school, who is also Korean, was the pianist for the ceremony.  Before she began her prelude she too came and spoke to us.  I was then able to relax.
Though the groom has grown up in the United States, the bride is relatively new to this country, having been here only a few years.  Her parents and brother stepped foot on American soil for the first time only three days before the wedding.   The marriage of a child is stressful under the best of conditions.  I can’t imagine traveling around the world to a country to which you have never been, where everyone speaks a language that you don’t, and then to give your only daughter in marriage, a marriage that will be lived in that unfamiliar country and culture.  
The ceremony itself was a typical Christian marriage.  However, it was done half in English and half in Korean.  The hymn verses alternated between the two languages, the prayers were offered in both languages, and when it came time for the couple to exchange their vows, the groom said his in his English and the bride said hers in Korean.  This way her family would understand her.  It was a wonderful melding of two very different languages and cultures.
The reception was a lot of fun!  Everyone was so friendly and the food was awesome.  The groom’s family owns a restaurant so his father prepared all the food - traditional Korean food.  It was awesome - korean barbecue, kimchi, japchae, and, of course, rice.  I could have gone back for seconds and thirds but I didn’t want to look any more American than I already did.
During the reception we sat at a table with some of the groom’s friends.  They were all friendly and welcoming.  Jisun, my colleague from school also sat with us because, like me, she knew no one but the bride.  It was nice to have the opportunity to talk with her away from school.  Generally we just pass in the hall or negotiate with one another for the use of a particular practice room.  Since she had grown up in Korea, Jisun was able to share with us about some of the Korean traditions as well as translatef the toasts that were spoken in Korean.   
In his short homily during the marriage ceremony, the pastor offered the couple some words of wisdom as they begin their married life together.  To help them remember his message, he used the letters of their last  name, K-O-N-G, as an acronym reminding them to always be KIND to one another, to remember that they are ONE, to be willing to NEGOTIATE, and to have a GIVING heart.  He elaborated more than I have done here, using Scripture to further illustrate his words.  At the reception, the best man asked if any one else had other advice to share using this same idea.  A few people had some good advice but none got through all four letters.  (It’s a good thing that this was a Korean wedding and not a Greek one.  Most Korean names are quite short!)  The emcee was not willing to quit until he found someone to get through KONG.  He headed our direction.  Not only did we stick out as the only white folks there, we also looked to be the oldest. ( I don’t know that we really were, but like Jisun said, Asian people age well; they never look as old as they really are.)  I suspect  that he was probably thinking that surely some old married folks would have some valuable words of wisdom for these “kids.”  Unlike in America, Koreans have respect for their elders.
The best man handed Weber the microphone and he spoke to the couple and the crowd.
K - Keep in mind the image of the one standing across from you when you made your vows to one another.
O - Open yourselves completely to one another.
N - Notice everything.
G - With every breathe you take, give thanks to God for all that He has given to you.
His remarks drew a round of applause from the crowd and a few tears from me.  I love him with all my heart and,  equally as important, I respect him for being a man who practices what he preaches.  And, I will never forget the image of the one standing across from me when I made those vows.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Evening in the Park

Today was a typical Saturday.  After sleeping a little later than we do during the school week, we spent the day doing a few chores and running errands.  At least today’s errands were the fun kind - picking up our CSA bin, shopping for a dress for an upcoming wedding, and a trip to Target.  After all of that, we decided to pack a picnic supper and head to a local park.  The weather was perfect for such an outing.
My idea of picnic food is something extremely simple; that translates as food that requires no utensils.  We loaded our bag with some crackers, several kinds of sliced gourmet cheeses, fresh fruit, a couple cans of sparkling water and cookies.  No picnic is complete without cookies!  We chose to go to a small park a few miles from home.  It has lots of trees, a creek running through the middle, pretty flowers and great swings.  It was an ideal spot for our picnic.
We spread our blanket under a tree and sat and people-watched for a while.  There were plenty of people around to make that interesting, but not too many.  I found it fascinating to see who frequents a public park on a mild May evening.
I first noticed a Hispanic family sitting on the stone wall that lines the creek.  The little boys were enjoying watching the ducks swim back and forth.  Mom was trying to take a photo of her family.  I walked over and asked if she would like me to take the photo so that she could be in it as well.  She was thrilled as I snapped the family photo with the camera on her phone.
Then, strolling across a small bridge, there came three teenaged couples dressed in formal attire, perhaps on their way to a prom.  They too were trying to figure out how to get a picture that included all six of them.  One of the couples gave up on a photo opportunity before I could offer to help them though I did take a picture of the other two couples together before they headed off.
A middle-aged man and his pomeranian strutted through the park as if on the hottest fashion runway.  The man was intent on maintaining his sophisticated demeanor while the dog was intent on proving to us that the term “stranger danger” was not in her vocabulary.  Against her master’s wishes, she stopped and had a few ear rubs from us before continuing on her walk.
On one of the park’s awesome swings, a mother sat with an infant in her lap.  The baby was perfectly content as it sucked on its bottle, looked up at the beautiful evening sky and swung back and forth in its mother’s arms.
As we were packing up our things and the sun was setting, another couple that was our age or perhaps a little older, made their way down to the edge of the creek.  They stood hand in hand watching as the day faded to night.  
Everyone in the park seemed happy, happy in different ways and for different reasons, but nonetheless happy.  The young adults were happy to be dressed up and celebrating a special event.  The mother was happy to be playing with her children in the park.  Her children were happy to be spending time outside savoring the wonders of creation.  The gentleman walking his dog seemed to be happy to have this particular girl on his arm, or on his leash.  Mom and baby were happy swinging the evening away.  And the couple at the edge of the creek seemed happy to have some quiet time together.  I know that feeling!  It is not often that any of us is able to look around and every other person visible to us and say with confidence that they all seem happy.  I liked being able to do that!
I suspect that we will spend a few more Saturday evenings in the park.

Visual Cents No. 5

"Evening Swim"

Friday, May 18, 2012

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Visual Cents #1 "Writer's Workshop"

No. 1 "Writer's Workshop"

A New Project

I am officially on break now!  What a great feeling.  Though the spring semester was awesome in many ways, it had some challenges and by the time it was over, I was exhausted both physically and mentally.  I have three weeks to rest before summer school begins.

Some of you have asked about the writing deadline that I mentioned in my last post.  I was writing a short magazine article about what it is like to be a visually impaired photographer.  In the course of writing that article, I realized that I am not spending as much time with my camera as I once did and as I wish I did now.  Because I am a person who needs strict discipline to accomplish anything, I have created a new project for myself, a photography project.  My goal is to take pictures every day for the next hundred days and post one each day.  Beginning today, this will take until August 22.  I am calling this endeavor "Visual Cents."

Other than to take and post the pictures, I have set no other parameters for myself.  I don't guarantee that each day's photos will be good pictures, but I will try to make sure that they each have some redeeming quality.  Some days they may be artful photos.  Other days they may be recollection, or silly, or just about anything else.  I am trying to be open to the possibilities of the process.

This project is not intended to replace my regular blog posts.  I still plan to write and include photos when  appropriate.   I thought about creating a new blog just for these photographs but since they will be part of my day throughout the summer and my title here is "All In A Day" it seemed unnecessary.  I don't plan to write anything to accompany the photos.  Photography is the art of communicating through pictures.  I am going to let each image say what it has to say.

I would be grateful for any comments along the way.

We'll see what happens.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

What Mom Really Wants

For the past couple of weeks the newspaper, TV, radio, and every business who has my email address has been telling me what mom really wants for Mother's Day.

According to Amazon mom wants a Kindle.
According to Barnes and Noble she wants a Nook.
According to Apple she wants the New iPad.
According to Ross she wants a blouse and a purse.
According to Kroger and FTD she wants flowers.
According to Victoria's Secret she wants lingerie.
According to Staples she wants printer cartridges.
According to Macy's she wants a mixer, waffle iron and electric skillet.
And according to the restaurant industry mom wants to spend the day eating her way across town.

I wonder if anyone asked mom what she wanted.  Sure, maybe a Kindle or a Nook would be nice.  I personally prefer the iPad.  A blouse means more laundry.  I don't think it is mom who really wants the lingerie.  (Nice try, dads!)  Printer cartridges??  For real??  And why does mom need all of the kitchen appliances if she is going to eat her way across town?  Oh yeah, so she can cook the other 364 days, or 365 as is the case this year.

Though many of these things might be nice to have, I'll tell you what mom really wants.  Mom wants to know that she's appreciated.  Mom wants to know that all those times that she put others before herself did not go unnoticed.  Mom wants not to be taken for granted.  Mom wants to know that she is loved.

If you are wondering, this mom was not disappointed.

Weber and I were out of town this weekend - having nothing to do with eating our way across town or sexy lingerie.  Erin stayed at our house and took care of the dogs and cat.  That is a huge help to us and the dogs were much happier at home with her rather than at the kennel.  She also left us dinner for tonight in the fridge.  That was much appreciated as I am up against a writing deadline and didn't have time to cook when we got home.

I greatly appreciate all of these things, but she gave me the best Mother's Day gift a week or so ago when she sent me this video link with a message that said, "This reminds me of you."

It's nice to know that I have made it past the middle of the night feedings, the terrible twos, chicken pox, book reports and science fair projects, puberty, proms, 472 sports games a week, and everything in between and my kids are still speaking to me.  Being their mom is the best job ever!

Thanks for making me a happy mom.  I love you.