Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to School for Mama too!

Click photo for larger view

I got to head back to classes at Mission College this week.  I had way too long of a vacation, and need to get back in the swing of things.  This is the inside of the main building at Mission College.  From my understanding, this building won't be around too much longer.  Apparently, having all the empty space in the middle, with a large heavy ceiling above it, is not such a good idea in the event of a major earthquake.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Digital Parenting

What's worse than sitting idly by as your small child shovels in enough food for three at the all you can eat buffet?  Doing so while the child is absolutely glued to mobile tv.  How bad a parent are you that you need to hypnotize your child with such a device at a restaurant?
I hate being judgmental, but this one was so very wrong.  Bad parent!  Bad, bad parent!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Mom

Hallmark sux!  Especially when you can use your blog to tell the world how much you love your mom on her birthday.

I love you Mom!

This one is from Alexis, of course.  Completely her idea, and execution, I just snapped the pic.  It's hard to read, but it says "Happy Bday Grma!"

Happy Birthday Mom, you are so beautiful.  Wish we were there with you to celebrate.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'll pencil you in

That's my 10 year old, mulling over her planner.  Busy, busy, busy is the life of a 10 year old.  I guess I should be happy it's just on paper and she's not syncing Microsoft Outlook on her phone so she can respond to an e-vite as to whether or not she'll be home for dinner.  Those years are coming.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Holy Hell it was hot in valley today.  We're cresting the hump of a three day meltdown on the West coast.  With no air conditioning in my tiny shack, there is no salvation.  Yesterday's high 90's had me filling ill, so with the temp expected to surpass that today, the only thing I could do was skip town to the breezy coast.  The temperature reading in my car read 98 when we left, and hit 109 just before hitting the Santa Cruz Mountains.  Upon arrival to the beaches in Santa Cruz, it was back down to the 80's.  That's easily the highest temps I've seen it in Santa Cruz.
The calm waters were filled with sleek, black suited surfers.  If even a tiny, three foot wave made it's way in, there was a tussle for a spot to hitch a ride.   Certainly it was a fine excuse to cool off in the chilly Pacific waters.  As you can see in this picture, there was a lot more sweet boredom than boarding.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Resubmitting homework from 17 years ago

The first assignment in Mrs. Flament's photography class in 1993 at Euclid High School, was to photograph light.  This was my very first assignment in my very first photography class.  Basically, it sounded like I could photograph anything, because ultimately light would be in the picture in some form or another.  There would be no photography without light.  I really didn't get it.  I ended up turning in a picture of a halloween decoration that adorned the costume shop where I worked.  I am certain I could find that assignment somewhere in a box in my garage right now.  
I hadn't had the capacity to understand the beauty of light dancing on surfaces, sparkling in a reflection, or glowing through the cracks of a dark room.  I couldn't see it.  It took a few years for me to understand, even a few years after leaving art school to really get it. 
I start each day not knowing what will end up on this page.  Likely I will see something to spark interest, or hope to be at the right place at the right time to catch something interesting.  I can't expect to be at the zoo to catch gorillas playing with Nintendos every day.  Sometimes, it's just the way the light falls on the coffee table on a pile of folded paper and origami bits left by my daughter.  It's not really about the origami, but the highlights and voids around it.
I don't remember what grade I got on that assignment in Mrs. Flament's class, but I am providing these as a resubmission for the assignment.  I get it now, Mrs. Flament.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


As the parent of an only child, I have to play big sister and play games with my daughter.
As the parent of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, I have to pretend to lose at least 50% of the time in order to prevent meltdowns and further self esteem pitfalls.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

O Happy Day

Happy New School Year.  This was a glorious morning, seeing all those kids converging on school grounds.

There was a disturbing amount of helicopter parenting going on.  I never saw this many parents anywhere near my school as a kid, even on school play night.  These are 5th graders, not 5 year olds that might cry or pee their pants anytime soon.  Drop them off and let them go.

At the end of the first day, I picked my daughter up from class.  She was surprised to hear me calling out her name as she was running from the classroom.

And so very happy to see me, once again with the camera in my hand.

Looking forward to doing it all again tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Turtle Rescue

We made a terrible mistake today, we showed up to the Cal Academy of Art on what turned out to be the 1 free day per month.  The line went on for over a half mile, no joke, nor exaggeration.  So, we passed on that circus.
We were already in beautiful Golden Gate Park, so we took a stroll around our favorite spot, Stow Lake.  There's a path around the lake, and a few bridges crossing the water to get to an island in the middle.  There's a waterfall, a chinese pagoda, and lots of little critters all around.
Along the way, we spotted this turtle on a sloping bank.  He looked like he was heading uphill.  As I was trying to take his picture, he seemed agitated and snapped a few times.  Soon, we came to realize that he was stuck in his present spot.  He tried and tried to climb in any direction, but only managed to dig himself deeper into the nook in which we lay.  So, our good deed for the day was to point him back downhill and he quickly scurried back to the water.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I am having an anti-pretty pictures day.  So this is a first thing this morning picture, sans makeup, coffee, and brushed teeth.

And since Ninja is never more than a few inches away from me, he got a morning wake up shot too.  He didn't brush his teeth either.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Doin' the Bat-Stroke

You may have noticed a trend in the past few posts.  We have been on a whirlwind tour of the city by the bay.  We picked up a San Francisco City Pass last week, and have been masquerading as tourists in the city.  Sort of a last hurrah before school starts.  Today was the Aquarium of the Bay.

The bat rays were showing off their Bat-Stroke.

I had a hard time identifying this fish.  It didn't seem to be displayed on the sign in the exhibit.

I don't usually like taking pictures of fish in aquariums, but I just kinda liked this fish playing in the anemone.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Where's Waldo?

I have to admit, I am a fragile person, on the inside at least (the outside is pretty damn sturdy).  I don't handle the inevitable cruelty and criticism that come with exposure.  It seems people will say anything they damn well please, as long as they can post it with the anonymity the www will provide.  So, I have been a bit down since the recent influx of looky-loos to my blog and flickr page.  Thank goodness it's just about over, and everything can go back to normal.  But I let some of the negativity get to me.  Since then, photography has lost some of it's appeal.  I don't feel good about most things I've photographed since then.  The wind is out of my sails.
We visited the SF Museum of Modern Art today.  I like art, but I am very critical.  If it looks like something a small child could paint, or isn't much more than a heap of garbage poorly glued together, I don't like it.  I would say that I found about 10% of the art at the MOMA to be interesting and deserving of merit.  Yet, someone likes it.  They must, to be in a museum.
So, I pondered the criticism thrown my way, and  came to realize that art is very personal.  The art one creates usually only appeals to a small demographic.  The old adage, "You can't please everyone" comes to mind.   And I never wanted to.
It's just a shame that for every ten compliments I get, it's that one person who feels the need to piss all over everything I do that resonates.

I took this picture from inside the MOMA today.  It's certainly nothing about technical nor aesthetic achievements.  It's just for fun.  It's a life size "Where's Waldo?"  Just like the books, in this photograph somewhere is Waldo.  Red striped shirt, Waldo.  If you've been to the MOMA, you probably know where it is already.  Your going to have to open the picture to the larger view to find it, no doubt.  Let me know if you find him!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I know your not supposed to play with your food, but i don't ever remember anyone saying anything about posing them for pictures.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hole in the Wall

Ok, it's a hole in a window, but that doesn't sound as nice for a title.  This is taken at the infamous Alcatraz prison.  It was nearly impossible to get the great photos that I wanted because there were people everywhere.  It was packed almost wall to wall.  These two faces popped up into my shot a micro-second before I snapped the shot, but in this and only this photo, I don't mind the people ruining my shot.  I like their curious faces.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Confidence in Your Back Pocket

It's back to school time.  (hooray!  hooray!)  It's time to fill up those new backpacks with brand new pencils and perfectly clean notebooks.  It's not a bad idea to send them in with a little confidence in their back pocket either.  Make this school year count.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ghosts of Schoolyear Past

The discarded remnants of last school year, left to collect dirt all summer at the edge of the blacktop at Stocklmeir Elementary School in Sunnyvale, CA.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Caged Beauties

What a time to have my camera break, when the WORLD is watching my little blog.  Anyone got a nice camera they can send me?  I'm doing the best with what I have.

This one looks like it's holding up little arms to surrender.  I didn't mess with the plant, I swear it was like that when I got there!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Home Sweet Maybe?

We are one step closer to home ownership, maybe.  We wrote an offer on the house pictured above.  That's my daughter and our wonderful realtor, Bill.  It's a short sale, which is so prevalent in today's market.  The difference between Silicon Valley and most of the rest of the country is, houses still sell fast and sell high here.  We were told the bank will likely not accept our first bid, but that opens the door to negotiation.  They have had a few offers already, but people have walked away because the banks just take too long to answer.  We are willing to be patient, and see what happens.  I won't get my heart set on anything just yet, but we really like the house.

This is a pic from the apple tree in the back yard.  Along with an orange tree and lemon tree. Apple pie anyone?

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Click photo for larger view

The response to yesterday's pictures from the zoo have been overwhelming.  I was ecstatic when the pics of Ninja and Alex attracted a few hundred lookers, but I never expected anything like this.  This is a look at my flickr stats page, showing just how many hits those pictures have gotten.  Over 14,000 yesterday, and as I type, it's closing in on 3,000 since 5:00pm PDT, 1 hour and 40 minutes ago.  The pics were reposted on blogs and websites all over the world.

I am not posting this to brag.  I am astonished, and humbled.  I am just really happy that so many people enjoyed my pictures.  So, thank you to every one who stopped by flickr to see them.

I also posted this pic because I didn't have too much I could take pictures with.  I took this pic, and my camera shut off right afterwards again.  I sadly might have to downgrade to my hubby's camera, or even my daughter's camera.  That will just provide me a challenge, to get great pics from very simple point and shoot.  That's looking at the bright side of the situation.

Friday, August 6, 2010

You got Donkey Kong on this thing?

Please view photos on flickr.

CAMERA UPDATE:  I now believe I know the problem with my camera after my sweet little doggie, Ninja, crashed into the lens the other day.  I cannot exactly pinpoint what is rattling, but there seems to be a problem with the power.  Shortly after arriving at the SF Zoo today, it died.  But, always being prepared, I had spare batteries.  Then about 10 pictures into the new batteries, the red "low battery" signal showed up again.  I could take a picture, then it would shut off.  Then I could turn it on again, take one picture, then it shut off again.  Good news is, I can still take pictures, bad news is, I can only take one and I don't have very long to do so.

So as I said, we went to the San Francisco Zoo today, and were treated to a very funny incident when a gorilla got hold of a Nintendo NDS that a little boy dropped into the gorilla habitat.

The gorilla was very interested in his prized new find.

It wasn't long before the little gorilla wanted to see what it was.

He was trying to figure it out.

Then he flipped it around to see if that would work.

Then they both held it very close to their eyes to try to see through it.

Of course, the little guy thought he could do a better job and figure it out.  Kids, ya know.

Then, I began taking this video.  But it wasn't very long into it, that my camera died.  At the very end of the movie, you can see the gorilla start to get up.  It was at that moment that a trainer lured him over with an apple, and traded the game for the shiny red apple.

The little boy got his game system back, a little beat up and slobbered on, but it still worked.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

testing... testing...1-2-3

So, today I was trying to get a good action shot of my doggie, Ninja, running through the back yard; a shot I have been trying to get since we brought him home three months ago.  He's a fast little bugger, my yard is a bit small, and my camera is a bit slow.  So I have yet to get a shot I like.  Well, today while trying to get that coveted shot once again, I laid in my grass, which is a hazard in and of itself, and held the camera in front of my face at about a 15-18 inch height off the ground, eye level with my poochie.  Called out for my Ninja to run to me, and he did.  He didn't stop.  Nor did he dodge, turn, nor jump over me.  He ran full force into the lens of my camera (wish I had that shot).  There was a rather loud thud of skull meeting lens. then clicking and rattling from my lens.  I checked out the dog, he seemed ok, and gave me his regular "I'm sorry" look.  But the camera was still in questionable condition.  So far, so good, but there is still definitely something loose and rattling in there.  So, I had to do some testing on it to see if it's all working ok.

So, I took a picture of the fishing frog and Bruce Lee that adorn the desk in the office/library/endless crap room we have.

I wasn't certain if it was completely sharp, so I messed a little with focus and depth of field. 

Then I just thought it'd be silly if Bruce Lee kung-fu'd you with a Ricola.  
The thick layer of dust on the desk stands as a testament that the PC is dead in La Casa de Spicuzza, and receives little attention.

I'm still pretty bummed, because I know the rattling inside my camera cannot be a good thing, and worry that every picture might be my last.  It's been a great camera, I've only had it a year now, and really don't have the money to replace it.  So, unless a wealthy person with big heart wants to buy me a new set-up, I must treasure every picture that comes out of my camera, because they could be my last for a while.  I will certainly not be a happy gal if that's the case.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Drink at your own risk

Click on photo for larger view

There's a reason I have told my daughter over and over to avoid public drinking fountains.  Yuck!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hi-jinx of a 10 year old

Today's photo is courtesy of my 10 year old, and the fun she had with a promotional clown nose from the circus and her sleeping model, her dad.
Not bad, I will just have to share with her the macro button for further close action like this, so it's a little better focused next time.  Thank you, Alexis.