Friday, February 27, 2009

Learn Something New Everyday (Day Fortyseven, Paragraphs 42 & 43)

Cool - an engine that looks like a flower! Woohoo - what the heck am I going to write about that. Turns out, though, that the caption to today's photo on Flickr was like a mini-lesson on the engine. I just thought it was cool looking. But it is more than just pretty. It is Innovation and Invention realized.

The engine was designed to be lighter thereby making planes faster. This engine was in the Sopwith F.1 Camel , the plane of everyone's favorite World War One flying ace - SNOOPY! Of course, Snoopy's plane was really his dog house, but no one really cared. Believing in Snoopy's imagined adventures is a much stronger instinct than shooting them down.* Imagination is where Innovation and Invention are born (maybe Necessity is the other parent in that equation?). Do we (that is a collective "we" as humans) do enough to encourage Imagination? I say, "No, we don't." Do we do enough to encourage Innovation and Invention? I say, "No, we don't." Do we stifle our natural inclination to let imaginations soar?* I say, "Yes. Yes, we do." Even if you are too jaded to let your own mind go, open yourself up to someone else's inner Snoopy - let him fly or at the very least, don't try to ground him. You never know what you might learn.

* Pun: optional

Photo credit: cliff1066 on Flickr

Thursday, February 26, 2009

(Day Fortysix, Paragraphs 40 & 41)

I opened the Flickr page and started crying. Most of the nonsense on Flickr makes me roll my eyes, not dab at them madly with a tissue. Both the strength of this image and the surprise of something so moving was a shock. We've all witnessed a scene in a public park where the pigeons are swarming, clucking, flapping, vying for position near the food - so much chaos. This image captures that chaos, yet there is a stillness here too. As if the birds are lined up, waiting their turns. As if they have been invited to join this man for lunch and they know they will get some so long as they are patient. As intent as this man seems in eating his lunch, he doesn't look like he minds sharing. Even if he is sharing with pigeons.

I have never been a big fan of pigeons - regardless of how patient they are. I have become more tolerant of pigeons largely because of Mo Willems. I haven't read all of his books, but he has written about the pigeon going to bed, driving the bus, having feelings, and a whole host of other things - including hot dogs. I do not think, though, that he has answered this question: Do pigeons eat bananas?

Photo credit: pedrosimoes7 on Flickr

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Drained (Day Thirtynine, Paragraph 39)

I don't really feel like I need to write more than one word to describe how I've been feeling lately: drained. I am worn out. I need some time to myself. I need to feel some more financial and job security (not gonna happen). I. I. I. I. I. Yes, this time it is all about me. Or what is left. I go through the motions every day. My favorite time of the day lately is when I get to knit for an hour or so at night while my husband snores on the couch. Other than the shower and my commute, that is the only time I really have to myself. I'm not sure what to do. I don't have many girlfriends. My primary hobby is shopping and like everyone else, I really can't indulge. A new knitting store is opening in my town and the owner is doing an open evening for coffee and knitting. I should try to do that sometimes. But it is difficult to do something that intentionally takes me away from the Boy. I will figure out the balance eventually. But for now, I feel like a raisin that wishes it was still a grape.
Photo credit: weexpectedthis on Flickr

The Devil Is Among Us (Day Thirtynine, Paragraph 38)

We have, as my husband so perfectly expressed last night, worked very hard to create an "Elmo-free" environment* for our son.

Well, in yesterday's mail, addressed to the Boy was a talking Valentine's card** from his Granny featuring none other than . . . Elmo. We weren't too concerned: the Boy had never been exposed to Elmo before so this "blip" wouldn't have much impact on his delicate psyche, right? Upon seeing the fuzzy red creature and hearing that helium-filled voice the Boy exclaimed, "MELMO!" as if they were old friends. We parents were stunned - stopped dead in our tracks. How had this red devil infused himself into our sweet boy's brain? How could this be? We were so careful.

Getting ready for bed, I decided to do a little test. Maybe the "MELMO" outburst was a fluke - like a little Myna bird mimicking what it hears. I held up a clean diaper which is obnoxiously tattooed with depictions of our furry Satan. "Who is this?" I asked, teeth gritted. "MELMO, MELMO, MELMO, MELMO!" came the enthusiastic response.***

We have officially entered the Eighth Circle of Hell.

*I am not counting licensed character diapers. Sensitive skin has prevented us from using diapers that do NOT depict our nemesis (and his friends) in some form.

** And seriously, U.S. Postal Service - what was the deal with EVERY Valentine card from grandparents arriving at our house POSTAGE DUE.

*** Investigation into the source of this foul affliction is ongoing.
Admission: this post is not within the usual format of this blog but the story was too good not to share and besides, I behind a day and need to make up the deficit somehow!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

(Day Thirtyseven, Paragraph 37)

I haven't been on an airplane since January 2006. Airplanes have a distinctive smell that I can recall in my minds nose. The windows have a particular feel as does the upholstery of the seats and the nap of the covers on those teeny-tiny pillows (do they even have those on planes anymore? do they cost an extra $900?). None of these things are very glamorous but they are all associated - for me anyway - with going on vacation. And I haven't been on vacation since January 2006. Maybe that isn't so crazy but seriously - three years is a long time to not go anywhere for more than an over-night (once to D.C. for a concert and once to Virginia for a wedding - both more than two years ago). Part of it is money. Part of it is the Boy and not wanting to be away from him. Part of it is hoarding vacation time for a hopeful second baby maternity leave. My husband is supposed to go away for a few days next month on a guy's trip and I can tell you that I am insanely jealous but I'm just not ready yet.
Photo credit: bonus1up on Flickr

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monkey Boy (Day Thirtysix, Paragraph 36)

The Boy is really becoming a climber of sorts. I fear that soon I will have to make sure that every piece of furniture that has even a remote chance of tipping is anchored to the wall. Not to mention our new ginormous TV. I guess it isn't really as big as big could be but compared to what we had it is huge. The Boy has been climbing the ladder to the slide at the park. He climbs on stacks of pillows to get to onto the couch. He tries to climb up into the corners of the bathtub or over the edge (as an aside, I always wonder where he thinks he will get to by climbing out of the tub - I am right there, the bathroom door is closed, and the whole bathroom is as big as a minute. Maybe it seems like a big adventure when you are under three feet tall. I don't know.) Next will probably climbing out of the crib - I do not look forward to hearing that "thud" for the first time!

Photo credit: Tony Crider on Flickr

Friday, February 13, 2009

"Most of the time is was probably real bad . . . " (Day Thirtythree, Paragraph 35)

. . . being stuck down in a dungeon. But some days, when there was a bad storm outside, you'd look out your little window and think, 'Boy, I'm glad I'm not out in that.'" - Jack Handy (SNL)
How is this for an overwrought metaphor: work is the dungeon (as portrayed in some overly dramatic Medieval movie) and the economy is a bad storm outside. Sure, I am being dramatic - especially in these economic times when so many find out every day that they no longer have work to go to. So inasmuch as I am grateful to have a job to go to I really really really don't like my job. As I've alluded to before, I am "out" in terms of the social scene here - and granted, work is for work and not for play but a huge part of liking your job is the people you work with. I don't really care for what I do for a living and I never really had. A few years ago I took off about a year to see if there was something else that maybe I would rather do but my timing was off and there weren't many open jobs around back then either (it was late 2001 - not a great time to be looking for work in down town New York City) so I ended up where I had started by default not because I found out that I was doing the right thing for me. Now I have a kid and a house with a huge mortgage. I no longer have the luxury of taking time off to explore. So I drag my butt to work everyday and wait and wait for the weekend to come. Every Sunday I have to force myself to not cry - especially when I think about how awesome the time I'm spending with the Boy is and how four other days during the week I have to drop him off at day care. OK - that's it. I have to go because I'm going to cry. And I can't cry here. Crying is not allowed in the dungeon.

Photo credit: steve p2008 on Flickr

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Downs and Ups (Day Thirtytwo, Paragraphs 32 & 34)*

Bodhi is gone. Beautiful Baby M is here! This is not Bodhi in the photo. This is not Beautiful Baby M in the photo. They aren't even connected in life through any means but me.

Bodhi was the canine love of my dear friend, Liz. He was diagnosed with lymphoma and had large and numerous masses in his lungs and abdomen. Within a few hours of the diagnosis, Bodhi asked Liz to let him go. [it was his time and he decisively told me so. I wont go into details but if anyone says you wont know when its time, you will. Believe me and trust your gut you will know and they will tell you and you will not doubt it and through your tears you will urgently say "its now, we have to go now"]** I know it was one of the hardest things she has ever had to do. She wrote a beautiful tribute to her boy [I knew we were in trouble. This wasn[']t "I stole too much butter" not eating. This was serious.]. He was a special, goofy, loving dog [- and when we gave him the shot, I told him to go find Dante (his buddy) and then he threw his head back and howled - and I mean HOWLED like we would always "sing" in the car anywhere we went or in my house- you could aroo and he would sing along..... anytime I "arooo'd" he would start in and even match my pitch . . . I just knew it was my boy saying he was ok. "we always sing together like this" I said, and I wasn't just saying that. I knew he was talking to me. His last breath was his singing. It was Bodhi. There was no other way he would have gone.].

At about the same time on very the same day, my friend Holly's baby was being born. Holly and her husband are in the process of adopting a girl. They have been through so much to arrive at this point (read about their journey here). They are the most resilient, level headed, practical people. As far as I know, they are on the way right now to meet their daughter who the nurses have dubbed "Baby Beautiful" pending the parents' (Holly and her husband are parents!!!!!) final decision about the name.

With a heavy heart, I bid farewell to Bodhi Odhi Oh. With a heart full of joy, I say welcome to the world Baby Beautiful. You both are loved.

* This was not the first photo on the Creative Commons page but today's content required a relevant photo. Also, the dog pictured here is not the same breed as Bodhi but he looks pretty darn close!

** Italicized text are excerpts from Liz's eulogy to Bodhi.

Photo credit: Dan Harrelson on Flickr

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Orange You Glad (Day Thirtyone, Paragraph 31)

My mother-in-law sent us a case of oranges and grapefruits from Florida - after we told her not to spend the money and besides, we don't even eat grapefruit. So they arrived Monday. I've been trying to figure out what to do with a case of citrus fruit but haven't had much luck in coming up with ideas other than eat it or anthropomorphize it or play with it or maybe learn to juggle. Citrus is tough. Apples, pears, berries - even bananas - are easy to imagineer into tarts, pies, breads, muffins without much effort. It is difficult to use citrus in baked good beyond the zest. Zesting, though, only solves part of my problem because then the protective skin is scraped away leaving an even more fragile and exposed fruity flesh that I can't even juggle with. Maybe my thinking is too narrow - I should do a quick search for for recipes with orange. OK, I'm back - Sunkist has a whole section of its website dedicated to citrus containing recipes. See now why didn't Cinnamon Nachos with Yogurt Cheese and Ginger-Citrus Salsa pop right into my head when I was brain storming? or the Dilly Orange Scramble? I guess I will just eat the dang things. At least I won't get scurvy and maybe I will finally learn how to juggle.
Photo credit: on Flickr psd

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Spring (Day Thirty, Paragraph 30)

In the last week Mother Nature has both taken away and given freely. First the Groundhog saw his shadow bringing the promise of six more weeks of winter. The week also brought nasty snow and freezing temperatures that reinforced Puxatawney Phil's prediction making it seem more like a threat than a promise. Then this weekend the sun was shining and temperatures were in the high 50s - walking with the Boy, swinging and sliding at the playground - no jackets required. Winter is far from over though. So was this weekend's weather a cruel tease or a sweet, delicate taste of what is to come in the next few months? Let us be positive today and say that the little glimpse of spring was a joyful reminder of the fun we will have as we leave Old Man Winter behind and welcome the loamy smells of Spring.

Photo credit: acane_s on Flickr

Friday, February 6, 2009

HOT Dog! (Day Twentysix, Paragraph 29)

This picture is awesome. First the subject matter is great - two of my favorite things: hot dogs and 30 Rock. Then - a costume party! Costume parties are a great excuse to wander about and be silly and these guys seem to be doing a bang-up job of that. Do you think these guys even know each other? Where in the party timeline was this photo snapped: (1) eh, we just got here - where is the keg? (2) whoooooooooo! time for keg stands! who remembers where the keg is? (3) I'm gritting my teeth to keep the puke at bay. Hair of the dog - where is the keg? Next the red-eye is reminiscent of my prowess with the camera. And last but not least - the color composition on this shot is amazing. Look at how the red-eye picks up the red highlights in the crazy streamers in the background, the shirt, the hat, and the big wiener. The yellow offers nice bright spots that draw your eye through the photo.

Photo credit: Circa71 on Flickr

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tag, I Am It (Day Twentyfive, Paragraph 28)

Holly tagged me. I don't usually play these kinds of things but it seems at least half-way relevant to this blog and so I will play along!

The Rules of this Game:
1. Go to where you store your digital photos and open the 4th folder.

2. Post the 4th picture in that folder.

3. Explain the picture.

4. Tag 4 people.

Here is my 4th in my 4th photo:

This pic, which I pulled off a long-forgotten blog post, was the first place I saw the poster that was the primary inspiration for decorating my son's nursery. I knew I wanted a modern vibe that wasn't babyish but was still child-friendly (and gender neutral since we didn't know the Boy was a boy until he was born). When I saw this poster, I knew I had to have it. The grey and orange were exactly what I was going for, the alphabet is classic nursery, I loved that the things used for the letters were a mix of traditional and odd - "D" is for dog but "A" is for Ant; "E" is for Elephant but "V" is for Village; "X" is for Xylophone but "I" is for Inch worm. The walls of the nursery were painted white with wide horizontal grey stripes; the furniture is plain and mostly white; the bedding is orange & white; I found cool UFO-looking lamps; and I found some cool orange art for the other walls; and interspersed some classic things that my husband and I had had in our rooms as children. The final result was better than I could have hoped for and I love being in that room.

I tag:

Mitzi, Sue, Erica, and Jen.

Ski Trip (Day Twentyfive, Paragraphs 26 & 27)

Aside from falling, my most vivid memory of my first time skiing is curly fries. My dad took us skiing, my brother and I. The three of us bundled into the car (I feel like it was our orange Beetle but maybe I am just being overly nostalgic? somehow 1983 Nissan Sentra doesn't have the same magic to it and the heat worked well in that car and I remember being cold) on the drive to Hunter Mountain. My dad had been skiing only once in his life and, according to his version of the story (which is corroborated by my mom) he spent the whole trip at the bar in the lodge. My experience skiing that first trip left me with the notion that future ski trips would be spent much the way my dad liked to spend his. I did put on ski boots and skis. I held ski poles. But I could not stay vertical. I fell. And fell. And fell. And fell. My brother skied like an expert right from the get go. My dad waived to us from a bench on the sidelines. When I couldn't take it anymore, we went to the cafeteria and had hot chocolate and the curliest curly fries we had ever seen. They were the kind of fries that look incredible - curlicues galore, golden brown, glistening, steaming - yet taste like cardboard. We ate them anyway because they looked amazing.

Several years later, I tried skiing again on a family trip to Vermont. The conditions were terrible - the instructors and ski patrol people were telling us that it was the coldest winter on record and that even hard core skiers were staying away. Not being one to like failing I gave it a go again. I put on ski boots and skis. I held ski poles. But I could not stay vertical. I fell. And fell. And fell. And fell. My brother skied like an expert right from the get go. My dad wived to us from a bench on the sidelines. When I couldn't take it anymore, we went to the bar and had hot chocolate with Baileys. Who needs curly fries.

Photo credit: Leo-setä on Flickr

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Have you met TED? (Day Twentyfour, Paragraph 25)

I spy with my little eye: nifty looking messenger bag, panda bear, bliss Spa travel size sampler, name badge,books, a spiral bound book with an "Hello My Name is Not Ted" imprint on the cover, a journal and the maybes: chocolate bar, a travel umbrella or mug, travel pillow, mints, workout or outdoor gear, towel.* Although I have posted somewhat disparagingly about Flickr photos of bag contents in the past, it appears that this is not just any bag. This is a goody bag - a loot bag - a swag bag. TED related swag. But who is TED? First, TED is not a who. TED stands for "Technology, Entertainment, Design." TED began as a conference for the exchange of ideas in the 1980s and has since expanded to web "talks" and a whole host of other events and grants. The mission of TED is to spread ideas. TED aspires to be a global community and welcomes individuals from a broad range of disciplines: science, business, the arts and those with a handle on other global issues. For instance, Al Gore spoke at the annual conference in 2006. All of the recent talks are online at the TED website - free. Some of the subjects from the top ten TED talks of all time -

Jeff Han: "Touchscreen demo foreshadows the iPhone"

Blaise Aguera y Arcas: "Jaw-dropping Photosynth demo"

Sir Ken Robinson: "Do schools kill creativity?"

Johnny Lee: "Creating tech marvels out of a $40 Wii Remote"

I, for one, am intrigued. I was also intrigued to see what kind of person is attending TED and I found the (English language) blog of today's lens man. I spy there is much more to the contents of the TED bag - and TED - than meets this little eye.

*To see what is really in the bag look here.

Photo credit: loiclemeur on Flickr

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Snow Day (Day Twentythree, Paragraph 23 & 24)

Snow was so much magic when I was a kid. I remember the way the light filtered through my shades on snow days - there was a glow to the light on those mornings that I snuggled into bed with my mom to listen to the school closings on the radio. And then! Oh then! The snow pants, winter jacket, hat, gloves, scarf and out, out, out the door. But wait! Don't mess up the snow in the back yard - let's leave that pristine so we can look watch it glisten later in the moon light. Snow angels, snow balls, where is the hat for the snow man? Ewwwww - why is the snow yellow???

Now snow mostly means two things: dodging drivers who drive like it isn't snowing and wishing for a snow day. Fortunately for the practical me (who does a fair amount of driving on my daily commute), there isn't much snow where I live now. I do, however, miss the joy of the snow day. Sure, schools close for snow days now and again but a "snow" day is called if there is an inch of snow predicted. More often though fog (yes, really) is the cause of school delays. Somehow "fog day" just doesn't have the same ring to it. What does a child do for fun on a fog day? Play Marco-Polo?

Photo credit: Haxxah and KraZug on Flickr

Monday, February 2, 2009

Random Thought

I'm not planning on changing my subject matter selection but I was thinking that this choice makes it harder to cheat. I can't write up a few entries for upcoming days. Either I will have to write multiple-paragraph posts or I will have to choose multiple photos and do separate entries when I am behind or when I know I'll be away from the computer. Just thinking. I know that is a dangerous thing. And no, I am not counting this as a paragraph.
Photo credit: aaronx on Flickr

Chosing a Subject - The Choice (Day Twenty Two, Paragraph 22)

As I expected there were zero (0) votes in the poll so I get to arbitrarily choose my subject for the blog. To recap (for "all" you readers out there) the three choices were (1) the "5 things" decluttering project where I would write about the five objects in my house I considered as I work on getting rid of clutter in my house (with photos); (2) writing about the "Next Blog" on; and (3) using the first photo in Flickr's Creative Commons Attribution required section as inspiration for my daily paragraph. I have chosen number three. That gets me out of having to clean my house. I did a little "field work" on the "Next Blog" idea and was not very inspired. Writing about a photo will be interesting: I can critique the photo; I can write some kind of fictional account about the circumstances surrounding the images in the photo; I can write about a memory, dream, or wish inspired by the photo. I think it is a solid choice with broad enough range to prevent stagnation.

Photo credit: satguru on Flickr