Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 29Dec19

My last photography post of the year!

I haven’t used the Nikon this week — as you might relate, it’s been a busy week. Most of what we’ve been doing has been inside or outside at night, and it’s been more important to me to have decent photos than to practice with the flash and such, so photos this week are from the phone.

But Santa was good to me in the photography department! I got a tripod, an external flash, and a (giant) camera fanny pack.

Let me explain the fanny pack.

There are many many places around here to go hiking, and even more if we’re willing to drive an hour or so. Bringing a camera is a little dicey for a few reasons.

First, the bag the camera came in is a shoulder bag. The bag I bought to be able to carry the camera inside my backpack is a shoulder bag. Neither of these is good for my posture, and because I so rarely carry shoulder bags that aren’t crossover, I have trouble keeping them on my shoulder.

For walking and easy hiking, this is slightly annoying but I can work with it. But for harder hiking or scrambling, it’s no good at all. A camera-carrying backpack would solve this problem, but then we come to Issue Number Two.

In a few short months for a few long months, it’s going to be hot. Really hot. In summer, we don’t even go for a short hike (or walk or run or anything outside) without water.

I have a very nice Camelbak-type backpack that carries a few liters of water. But I’m not going to stash my camera next to a bag full of water.

I can’t wear a camera backpack and the Camelbak, and both are bulky enough that trying to wear one on front and one on back would be extremely uncomfortable at best (and also incredibly hot!).

And so The Climbing Daddy Santa found me a fanny pack. It’s big, as it will accommodate the body of the camera and several lenses and other accessories, but it straps on around my waist or hips, and it will work with the Camelbak. If I’m not wearing water, I can swing this thing around to the back for easier moving.

I haven’t gone out with it yet, but I am excited and hopeful that it’s exactly what I was looking for.

All that said, here are a few photos from this week.

First, our most recent addition to the Christmas decorations:



We started a tradition last year of our gifts being wrapped and dressed like snowmen. Here are this year’s:



The Kid got me an extra book, wrapped it in the same white paper, and made it to be carolers in front of the snowmen:



We had the stockings hanging from wall sconces, but that wasn’t going to work when they were full (we fill them with fruit), so climbing gear came in handy…


The Kid and his new Nintendo Switch (in dinosaur pajamas, of course!)


Finally, we took a short wander around downtown Chandler, where this was one of our stops. (I didn’t take this photo, obviously…) I’m hoping/planning to go back down there one evening with my tripod and see what I can do with settings to get some nice photos of the lights in the dark.


Posted in connections, gifts, thoughtfulness

Be happy

I was at physical therapy.

There was an older woman finishing up her appointment.

She had one of the standard old white lady perms.

Her hair was dyed purple, fading.

She had on a grey long-sleeved T-shirt with an emerald green short-sleeved T-shirt over it which read BE HAPPY in white letters.

And shiny silver high-top shoes.

(I don’t remember her pants beyond that she was wearing some.)

We exchanged a smile and a hello.

Before she left, she said she had something for me.

She said that “be happy” was her motto and that she liked to give these out, and she handed me a glass stone with a smiley face sticker on it.

As quirky and lovely as she was.

So today, I electronically pass it on to you.

I hope you’re having a good day, and if not, you can find a little something good in it anyway.

Posted in differences, education, know better do better, mental health, parenting

The Kid’s advantages

Three things that came together recently:

1- The Kid had a sleepover the other night. Big fun!

They played with LEGO, jumped on the trampoline, drank hot chocolate, read about sharks, played in the yard, and might have even slept in there somewhere.

At breakfast, I was making pancakes, and they had made up and were singing to each other a song asking how many pancakes they could eat.

This led to a conversation (between them) about really big numbers. Sextillion. Googol. Googolplex.

They’re in second grade.

2- While going through Facebook memories, I found one from several years ago where I was showing gratitude for having the education and the means to know how important preschool is and to send him to a good one. (No rigor or that bullshit. But that’s for another day.)

3- I read a piece that another mom wrote, talking about how her 8-year-old daughter often asked to bake or cook, and the answer was often no, because it was going to make a mess or it wasn’t safe or any one of the myriad of reasons tired parents say no.

And then the mom went to see what the girl was doing instead, and she was watching an episode of Chopped, Jr.—same idea as the regular version, but with kids. Apparently some of them quite young.

The mom had an epiphany that the girl can’t do those things because she, the mom, had been saying no and not giving her the opportunity. She changed that and while the kitchen was often messy, her young daughter learned to cook really well in a fairly short time.

How does that all come together?

The Kid has such an advantage over so many other kids. Because his parents aren’t stressed about basic necessities. Because he’s been read to his whole life. Because when he asks questions—regardless the topic—he gets answers. Because we’ve been able to say yes to most of the things he’s been interested in. Because we have enough self-awareness to let him pursue his interests instead of pushing him to pursue our interests (whether current or from our youth).

And you know what? I want that playing field to be more level. Not just among disadvantaged groups, necessarily. But I want kids—all the damn kids—to be given the opportunity to learn and imagine and become, not just because they go to school and get what they get at school. I want home to be a place of nurturing, of growth, of learning, of exploring, of safety. So kids can feel confident and stable and loved. Which will allow them to be kinder to others. Which would lead to a whole ton of adults who were emotionally secure and aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

Nothing but good can come of that.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 15Dec19

The only photos I have taken since our trip to Sedona have been of The Kid, both at taekwondo-related events.

First, he had a tournament, then he had his first sparring class in gear.

Since I wasn’t participating in either (I feel no need to compete nor to get kicked!), I took the opportunities to get some photos but also to try to work some of the settings on the camera.

He’s in motion, so I need faster-than typical shutter speed.

But we’re also indoors, so light is an issue with the faster shutter speed.

Some of the photos came out OK. The ones I like the best are busy in the background, especially at the tournament where there were a lot of people. Someday, I’ll learn how to use a photo editor and I’ll take the background out, and then I’ll be artistically happy with those photos. (I’m happy to have photos of my boy participating in a tournament, regardless of their weight on my artistic scale.)

But I’m not going to share any of them with you today. Just — that’s where I am on my journey right now.