Wednesday, April 30, 2014

It's Coming . . . 2014 Summertime Photography Scavenger Hunt

Starting June 1, 2014 . . . 
I'm making a list and checking it twice.
Will you be joining in?
Here's a small version of this summer's icon, in case you want to put it on your blog:

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ZIZO #18: Art Abandonment

Cheri, over at Scrap Dreams, is challenging people this week to participate in "Art Abandonment" or the practice of making art and then leaving it out in public for someone else to find. I've known about this practice for a long time and have been intrigued but have never participated because it seems scary to me. I'm not sure why . . . but I get worried thinking that someone might see me leaving art around. Silly, I know.
So, today I bit the bullet. I made a cute tag which reads "Pssst. . . Hey you, yes you! This little idea book is a gift from the universe. Enjoy!" When I went to the post office today, I left it in front of the local brew pub and walked away. Well, I took a quick photo and then walked away. And then took a few more photos. Because even though I'm afraid of people seeing me leaving art around, I'm never afraid of people seeing me taking photos. Go figure.
Here are the photos,
That's my story for today and my zoom in < zoom out pictures for this week. To see other ZIZO's, check out Helena's blog here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let's sit and have a cup of tea

Welcome! Every month, Abi hosts a gathering of blog friends, who welcome each other for a chat over a virtual cup of tea. This month, I'm serving up some health blueberry muffins with either tea or coffee. If you were really here, I'd welcome you in on a very lazy Sunday. I've been making soup today, baking muffins and binge watching "Orphan Black." I'd ask you if you'd seen it and what you think of it. I'd tell you that I'm completely smitten with it. 
I'd also tell you how much I'm enjoying taking a day to just relax at home. My teaching term ended last week, and the end of term is full of make-up classes, reading papers, meeting with students, writing finals, etc. I've also been traveling a lot lately - up to Eugene, Oregon for a crafting weekend; down to Arcadia, California for a track meet; out to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a hearing.
In-between work and travel, I've been trying to attend to my day-to-day home activities. I'd tell you that I was happy to be blogging more regularly and that I'm slowly getting a chance to catch up with all my blog friends. I'd tell you that the chickens are laying lots of eggs, but Clara's egg business is off to a slow start. She's got two customers so far, but she has eggs for about six. Paul is happy to eat lots of eggs, so they don't go to waste. But, it would be nice if she could make a bit more income. I'd also tell you that Clara really enjoys practicing her driving, and she's doing pretty well (although there have been a few white knuckle rides over the mountain pass). She's also running track - a lot! There's only a few more weeks left of her track season (depending upon how successful she is in the end of the season meets).
I'd tell you that we're also busy volunteering at the local animal shelter. In addition to walking dogs for about an hour a week, we're also spending 2-3 hours a week working in the "kitten nursery." It's a seasonal facility on the third floor which takes cares of litters of kittens from 2-4 weeks old who need extra help before going to foster care and then up for adoption. Most of the kittens need to be fed with a syringe. They're so tiny! And so cute! We'll be doing it through most of the summer. I'll have to take some pictures and post them soon.
As we enjoyed our muffins and tea, I'd sit back and ask you if you'd seen Julie's post over at Notes on Paper  about making a fresh start in the spring, instead of January. I'd tell you that it really resonated with me because, now that teaching is over, I'm ready to make a to-do list and get some things done . . . creatively, professionally and around the house. And I'd ask you, whether Spring is going to be a time of renewal and fresh starts for you.

Sunday Morning Book Review

Back before we had kids, Paul and I used to really enjoy lounging around on Sunday mornings. We would buy a big bag of bagels, a container of freshly whipped cream cheese, delicious fruit and two huge newspapers . . . the New York Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. We would spend hours enjoying brunch, working on the cross word puzzle, laughing over and discussing stories from the papers and pouring over the Book Review sections. I'm afraid those days are long gone, but I still thought Sunday was a good day to share a few book reviews.  
In March, my book group chose a large book called The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wicker. It is a fantasy/fable about two mythical creatures arriving in New York City at the turn of the century. The writing is fabulous, and the author's description of NYC at that time was captivating.  The characters are also really interesting - well drawn with tremendous back stories.  The plot is complex but well laid out. For such a long book, it ended a bit abruptly, but that was my only real criticism. Like most fables, it raised some really interesting, big questions that apply to contemporary life. On the whole, I would recommend it, and I give it 4/5 stars.
Next up is Defending Jacob by William Landay. It's a courtroom murder mystery that asks really troubling questions about how far parents will go and/or should go to defend their children. It was a page-turner, well written and very well plotted. It's a notch above a typical murder mystery and one that will be interesting to discuss at our next book group.
My book group is also reading Life after Life by Kate Atkinson. I haven't started that one yet, but I'd be interested to hear what you thought about it, if you have read it.
I'm also interested to hear what else you're reading and what you thought of it.  I think blog land can be just as informative as the New York Times Book Review!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bearing Witness to Kindness

Cheri, over at Scrap Dreams, is running a year long challenge focused on acts of kindness. This week, she's focusing on being kind to the earth through planting trees. In that spirit, I wanted to share the story of this wonderful woman. I often see her walking her dog, Lady, in the park when I walk to work. She's hunched and grey, probably in her 80's, but she walks with boundless energy and a bright smile. And every spring, she tends a plot of earth in the corner of the public park. She plants flowers. Trims them. Waters them. And every time I see her, my faith in humanity take an uptick. I think she's awesome. And I think the world would be a better place if we were all just a little bit more like her. Have a great weekend!

Friday, April 25, 2014

ZIZO #17: Watching My Girl Run

I love watching this girl run. She's strong. She's fast.
And she's a winner. Here she is, leading the pack and heading toward the finish line in a 1600 meter race. I've been spending a lot of time at track meets this spring. Watching her run the 1600, the 800 and occasionally the 3200. She also does relays (often running 400 meters).
This group of girls is her high school 4x1600 meter relay team. They have performed so well this year that they were invited to compete in the highly selective Arcadia Invitational in Southern California. I was one of the parent drivers who went along on the trip. It was a long drive and a tiring weekend.
But definitely worth it to give the girls the fantastic experience of participating in a high level, professional meet. The did great, setting a new school record and placing well among the elite competition. They also had fun!
They're a great group of girls, and so happy that Clara has gotten to know them and now calls them friends. Posting to zoom in zoom out, the wonderful meme sponsored by Helena.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

ZIZO #16: At the Ball Park with My Boy

I had been under the somewhat mistaken belief that most of my parenting work would be over once my boy went off to University. But, truth to told, there are still things to be done. Money to be sent for books and house boat trips to the lake. Essays be to proof read (at his request). Calls to be answered when he just feels like talking. And, always, nudge, nudge nudging him along to remember to register for classes, to study for that midterm and try to find a summer internship.
One such nudge resulted in him scoring an interview with the San Francisco Giants for a summer internship. It would be his dream job. And it's very competitive. So, we agreed to fly him down for the interview. And pick him up at the airport, drive him to the interview and then drop him back off at the airport in the evening. He looked very sharp.
And every bit the college kid.
We got to the ball park early and had breakfast together before it was time to head over to the Giants Corporate Offices at 24 Willie Mays Plaza. While he went for his interview, I wandered around a bit. It seemed a good time to capture another pair of zoom in zoom out photos,  and I chose to focus on the Juan Marichal statue to come up with the pair featured up top.
Before I knew it, the boy texted that I should meet him at the car. I ferried him back home for a bit and then later to the airport. It took up an entire day in an already busy week. But, 
truth be told, I didn't mind one bit.  I'm glad that my parenting work is not over yet because I love this boy with all my heart and welcome every phone call, every interaction, and every call for help. And I'm sending up a little prayer that he gets this job for the summer. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

ZIZO #15: Springtime in Oregon

A few weekends ago, I took a weekend trip up to Eugene, Oregon to spend a crafty, girl weekend with a group of friends I have know for about ten years now. We met because we were all members of the monthly scrapbook club, Club Scrap. We also all lived in the greater San Francisco bay area. Over time, many of us have stopped receiving Club Scrap's kits and people have moved away. But we've still remained friends. 
And every so often, we get together to craft.
And have fun.
And do girl stuff.
It's all good!
Since I was in Eugene, I took Henry out for dinner and we went for a walk around campus where I found the wonderful flowering tree which I'm using for this week's Zoom In, Zoom Out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Where have I Been? (A Simple Moment)

It's late. I'm tired. Ready to crawl into bed. My computer is neatly tucked under my bed. I had planned to turn it on tonight, read some blogs and write a post. Maybe catch up with my ZIZO's; maybe blog about the weekend crop I went to in Eugene, Oregon; maybe brag a bit about my girl's running success or share an uplifting story from my morning walk.
I meant to do that last night, too. And the night before. And Sunday morning, too, truth be told. But I just haven't had the energy. I've been busy.  My work-work has been draining; my kids keep me hopping; and I've actually been reading. I didn't plan a blog break, but other things called to me instead. I haven't forgotten about my blog or my blog friends. I've been taking pictures; storing memories; planning posts in my head. And I know I'll be back. Because my blog, and all of you, are an important part of my life. Even if other things are taking precedence right now.  See you soon.
I meant to link this up with Alexa's Simple Moment meme, but I keep getting an error message when I try to go to her blog. Anyone else having this problem?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Art Journal Page: Art Song

My job has been very stressful lately, so today I decided to run away to my art studio. I finished up a bunch of backgrounds for my 2013 Learn Something New Everyday faces journal and came really close to finishing my December Daily (will blog those later). 
Along the way, I put bits and pieces aside to use in my art journal. I drew a bird; added some background colors; doodled here and there; and finally declared it done!
And I'm really happy with it. Love the colors, love the symbols. The major journaling reads "Keep a song in your heart and art in your life."
Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ZIZO #14: A World in a Puddle

It's been rainy around her lately. That path on which I walk to work is wet and puddles have formed.  When I stop and gaze into a puddle,
I see the reflections of eucalyptus trees, an entire world in a puddle.
And I find the perfect pair for this week's zoom in < zoom out meme, sponsored by Helena. To see other pairings, click here.