Saturday, May 31, 2008

You're Fired!

You're Fired! Only it wasn't Donald Trump that issued the words. In fact, I wasn't fired. But I did lose my position. All is well. Let me explain. I was told several months ago that if our state's current budget crisis meant there would be cuts to the educational program in which I've been involved for the past four years, I would be among the first to lose my position. As of last week, that possibility became reality. As some of you have known, I have toyed with the idea of returning to the classroom for some time now. Well, I no longer have to decide. The decision has been made for me. So, I am actively looking for a teaching position. If I do not secure one on my own, I still have a job. I would be placed in a school by the district. I would not have choice of school or grade level should that be the case. But I still have a job. So in the meantime, I'm trying to find a school of my choice and my grade level of preference- 3rd, 4th, or 5th, in that order. A year of K, 1st or 2nd just scares me! But God is in control. So I'm not worried. It's comforting to know that He is in control and that I still have a job. I'm actually quite excited about having a class of my own again. I'm looking forward to seeing what I can do with a single group of students throughout the course of a school year. I'm curious to see how I can move a class now that I've had all this extra experience and training. I have high hopes.

Image taken from this site.

MMMMM Chocolate Cake

Such a cute lil mess!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

40 Words or Less

I originally showed interest in this challenge. Until I read the details. I erroneously thought we were to read a prompt and go take a picture to satisfy the prompt. Later I discovered the rules to play along are to look at the prompt picture and respond in either a caption, title, short story or poem in 40 words or less. Most players seem to choose poetry. So then I had no intention of playing along. Poetry? ME??? Ha ha. But after a personal group email urging participation, I said what the heck. I went out to the garage and found my old teacher supplement books (which will come in handy next year-that story will follow soon). I dug out my Poetry Party book that I used to use to teach my third and fourth grade students. After thumbing through the descriptions of each type of poem, I decided on a limerick. In case I actually butchered it, maybe I shouldn't have told you that. So, here it goes: (Disclaimer: None of the preceding words count toward my 40 or less!)

***UPDATE: The picture below belongs to the hostess, Robin, at Pensieve.***

I see a big hole in the sky

For my stature it's way too high

The defenders prepare

To lay out their snare

It's now that I wish I could fly

Click the button above to see all the players.

What's Your Name?

As we had previously mentioned, Lily had not been saying her name. She has always called herself baby. Until recently. She now says her name but has a little bit of trouble (which makes it soooo cute. May I introduce to you, Yi-Yee (sometimes Ya-Yee). Or better yet, I'll let her do it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Tonight I wanted to shoot something of significance. I also wanted more practice withe my new lighting system. I enjoy my pictures more when I have some connection to them. Hopefully it comes through that tonights post is about much more than a baseball. Yesterday's Superman post was fun to shoot, but made for a very uninspired post.

I did not want to grow up to be a baseball player. I grew up wanting to be a Dodger. It was this little boy's dream to play the game I loved. My early memories of the Dodgers are tied closely to memories of my dad. He taught me the game. He taught me to love the game. My favorite player as a youth was Ron Cey. Like most kids, I was drawn to the home run hitter and Ron Cey surely fit that bill. Not by today's standard's though. I had pictures of him on my wall. I even had a small picture of him cut out from the newspaper that I kept on the outside of my bedroom door. Until my sister ripped it in half during one of our tiffs!

Fast forward to just a few years ago. A friend of mine and I were going to a Dodger game. I got field level tickets. It was a giveaway night. The Dodgers were celebrating their record setting infield of the 70's which included a presentation before the game. In attendance was Ron Cey. Since I knew he would be there, and since we had field level seats, I decided to bring a pen and baseball just in case I had the opportunity to see him. We arrived early, and sure enough, there he was on the field prior to the game. The usher graciously let me approach the rail at the edge of the field. I called out to him and motioned that I had a ball and pen awaiting his signature. He asked me to wait a moment until he finished a conversation he was having. In that time the kind usher was gone and I was approached by a less pleasant usher. Fortunately, after pleading my case, I was permitted to stay and get the signature.

The autographed baseball might have some monetary value. But to me, its value is that of a memento of a boy and his dream, and a boy and his father.

Superman - Wordless Wednesday

Here is something new for me. As I previously mentioned, I got a new light tent and lights. My friend brought over some things for us to practice with, including this Superman figure. I shot five images here and strung them together as an animated GIF - something I've never done before. It was kind of fun and I hope you like the results.

***Still having technical difficulties. The animation is not working yet. Grrrr.***

Click on the image below to see the gif play from my photo website. I'll keep trying to get it to play here but I'm out of time now. :(

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Cross at Grant Park

Julianne found a photo contest that she is encouraging me to enter. I've never entered a contest before. The rules state that the "Photos must be 'recognizably Ventura' and taken in our city." The one and only place I wanted to shoot was The Cross at Grant Park. It screams "Ventura" to me. It is a site of significant importance for us. First and foremost, this is where we were married back in 1997. Rather than marrying in a church, we brought the church outside. And sadly, it is the location where we said goodbye to my father in law. Prior to meeting Julianne, it is where she said goodbye to her brother and grandfather as well.

It was quite the cloudy, gloomy day. Some patchy clouds would have been preferred but that didn't stop me. I wanted to capture the cross in a non traditional way. Hopefully I have done that. Depending on the categories, I will enter 1 to five of the following images. We'll see what happens.

Z is for Zirconium

You'd think for what this class ring cost, it'd come with a genuine diamond. But I couldn't justify the price increase. Even if it was a gift to me. But the cubic zirconium has been fine. I just wanted something to signify my completion of a very long difficult road. I had never had any plan or desire to go to college. Upon completion of high school, I was posed with two options: go to school or get a job. I had a choice? Really? Well up to this point, I hated school. I know, not something you'd expect a teacher to admit. But I did. My answer was a no-brainer. I was getting a job. I worked for about 2 years at a high end entertainment law firm. We had top name clients in the music, film, and television industries. For a kid out of high school, I was making decent money and was enjoying working in the industry. During that time I took a photography course in the evenings through UCLA Extension. I had to go to the university during the day to get my books though. I remember walking across the campus seeing kids my age that didn't seem miserable to be there. It was on that walk that I decided to quit my job and go back to school. I got a job at Nordstrom (where I later met Julianne!!!) and enrolled in a junior college. In my second year there, my father died. My focus was cloudy for a while, but another 2 years later, I graduated. Junior college that is. Then I went on the the university. Another 4 years later, I had my bachelor's degree. What took most people 4 years took me 8. But I finished. And you know what? I liked it. So much that I went back for my teaching credential. And then my masters. So this ring, embedded with a cubic zirconium and all, signifies a very difficult path for me. One of which I'm proud.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Y is for Yi-yee's Toys

I have my daughter to thank for tonight's post. Here it was, early Saturday evening, and I still had nothing ready to post for Y. I considered something yellow. Or dare I say, looking through my archives for something yellow. But every yellow picture I have got posted for Anna's Project Yellow. But then I thought of my daughter. Some of you may have read this on Julianne's blog so forgive me for being redundant. Lily has recently started saying her name. But the letter L is still a little hard for her so her name comes out as Yi-yee. We've got to record that. It's so stinkin cute. Anyhow, when using my new toy tonight (no, I'm not talking about the macro lens) , I shot about 80 pictures before I found these on the coffee table and decided to shoot them. And I'm glad I did. I love how they came out. Thanks Yi-yee!

The above image is my favorite of the dozen I took of these.

This was a close second.

This was probably my least favorite of the set but I'm posting it so you can see the wide variety of lighting results. Here, all four lights were on giving a direct more evenly lit image. Although lit very well, I find it has much less character than the above images.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

X is for Xylophone (what else?)

Thank goodness Lily already had a xylophone. What else starts with X? I would have had to dig out the Scrabble Vocabulary List. Well, fortunately her toy made for some fun and colorful shots.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Friday, May 23, 2008

W is for Wet

Lily loves her bath time. Usually. As you scroll through the pictures below, one will catch you off guard. You might ask yourself what horrible things we did to make her so unhappy in the second from the bottom picture. Our crime? Not having enough bubbles on her hands. A problem quickly remedied by her mommy.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

V is for Victory

It is with a very heavy heart that I write tonight. I came home from shooting the picture below to have my wife give me the devastating news the Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest daughter, Maria, died earlier today in a horrible accident. Julianne wrote about it as well so I encourage you to read more about it here. I hope you will join us in keeping the Chapman family in prayer during this incredibly difficult time.

The cross above can be seen overlooking the San Fernando Valley. I pass it everyday on my way to work. Often, when I leave early enough, I can see the rising sun right along side the cross. Tonight I did some long exposures of it to bring out the detail in the hillside. In doing so I almost washed out the light from the cross. But that light needs to shine brightly. On days such as this, these words resonate deeply within:

O victory in Jesus,
My Savior, forever.
He sought me and bought me
With His redeeming blood;
He loved me ere I knew Him
And all my love is due Him,
He plunged me to victory,
Beneath the cleansing flood.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

U is for Ugly (and Wordless Wednesday)

Living in a valley here in southern California, it can get pretty hot. We tend to jump from winter to summer with very little spring. Many of the gorgeous flowers that arrived last month are beginning to whither away. Many would call what you see below "ugly" but as I got in to shoot these, I found a rather appealing quality to them. Would I call them beautiful? Not in the same regard as the full bloom, but yes, I think I would.

Since I shot nothing else that I have ready to post and didn't feel like digging through the archives, I'm combining the ABC photos and WW today.

Please visit Quilly's Pacific Paradise for more Alphabet Photos.

Click HERE for all my Alphabet Photos.

Wordless Wednesday website