Saturday, May 24, 2008

So I'm having withdrawal symptoms. Of what you ask? My 4 wk photo class was only 3 wks of photos it turns out. Wk 4 was a photoshop lesson. I wasn't particularly enthused (esp as I have to make rm on my computer and creating DVDs keeps crashing the darned thing - I do have an external drive I back up to but I want stuff in at least TWO places...). I am sure it will be valuable info (altho he wants me to shoot in RAW format that will have to be "processed" - ie spend even MORE time fussing w/ my photos than I do now!). I also have always hated photoshop - total computer hog program. Did I mention I am out of space on my computer? Pottery we're down to only being able to "glaze". No more mucking around with wet clay. I plan on photographing a couple of my latest batch. He is cooking 2 batches of stuff each class - the first batch was probably at least 75% my work! Only had 1 piece in the 2nd batch. And no class next week! Took the kids to "family ceramics" at the Randall Museum today. My teacher wasnt' there (was on some pottery retreat weekend north - complete with all nighter with the wood burning kiln...) but the other lady actually did pottery on the WHEEL today. Pretty ambitious. She helped everyone make a small bowl on the wheel. I had never tried the wheel so that was fun. We also made "lids" on our own. Pretty funky lids we have... We get to go back in 2 wks and glaze them and then pick them up a couple wks later... But kids and I had fun. We are having a rare wet weekend. Too bad we didn't have the drizzle during the week and sun for the holiday wkend! The kids have made a shambles of the house. I am far behind / swimming in paperwork. Good news is that I get to finally ditch the treasurer job for the school - I am LAME-O! Actually I am good at being a board member but suck at the day to day of entering Quickbooks entries and reconciling bank accounts etc. I get to do all the school deposits. I bring them home. Sometimes I refind them weeks after I brought them home. Like I said - lame! I will trade in my $ hat for the secretary hat. That I can do pretty well. Cousin Julia has had the role this year - I think she actually only got out about 1/2 the meeting notes for the year so the bar isn't too high :-) As we used to always say at the preschool - "you get what you pay for" - and we are a volunteer organization after all. I do have plenty of architecture work to do (and billings to bill) and paperwork for WebsterCRM I should be doing (at least I am finally caught up on tax docs - I think). Anyway - I am bumming that my creative outlets have dried up. Guess I have to spend those energies on kitchen remodels instead...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So what pics do you like best? I need to submit 3 for my class this week. I also have the "fairy house" from below in the mix. Assignment was pretty open ended - he "taught" about how to work on portraits so you don't have deep shadows, how to isolate images of flowers, how to capture motion etc. I'm not planning on submitting the one of Aidan running - but it does crack me up...

Sand dollar and pebble

Quincy by tree

Aidan by tree

Quincy goofing

Quincy with Mother's day gifts

Aidan peeking thru hole

sand dollar 'n bubbles

Monday, May 12, 2008

photo class trials
ok - this has opened up a whole new world to me. (of course not sure who my audience would be, but it is nice to know how to do this regardless!). i'm going to post 2 photos of a mother's day lily - which is your preference? quincy's comments were along the line that he thought the flower was more visible (popped?) better against the gray background but he liked the green of the other one as it reminded him of grass... i am also including a pea that i decided on spur of moment to shoot - quincy and i were enjoying eating them at the time...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

a pic for my on-line photo class of my raku pottery class project...
I was soliciting gift ideas and cousin Julia said "make a fairy house for the girls". This is my fairy house effort. It actually came out well enough that I whipped up another one on Friday (just the clay part - it still needs to be "bisqued" / fired and then glazed). I missed most of the first class - the one where they showed how raku pottery is fired (at relatively low temps) then pulled out and popped in a can that has a bed of wood shavings. The shavings catch fire and create a lot of smoke and turn any unglazed pottery black/gray and the rapid cooling causes the crackle that raku is known for. I didn't 1) know that unglazed parts turned dark and 2) that the low firing temps and/or glazed used result in pottery that is basically purely decorative and can't be used for food. What?! You mean those cups/bowls I was busy making in the first class or so are essentially useless? I don't have room for such things! But a fairy house could live outside...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happiness - do you have it? How do you get more? I just heard the barest snippet on public radio the other day but am curious and may check out their books. Arthur Brooks "Gross National Happiness" posits that conservatives are happier than liberals, religion brings happiness - with the most belonging to extremists, charitable giving is one of the few ways to bring yourself more happiness (give either of your $ or of your time). Sonya someone wrote "The How of Happiness" which sounds on its website like a happiness how to book. But what little I heard had her mentioning that our life situation had remarkably little to do with our lasting happiness. Or maybe it was the other speaker Virginia Gurley who is doing a Well-Being index. They all seemed to agree that you have a certain happiness place that you drift back to - and you can make a change - divorce, move town or job - and maybe will increase happiness in short term but will drift back to your regular state of happiness (or lack thereof). There seemed to be an agreement that giving was good for your happiness. Maybe my school volunteerism is a good thing after all! Brooks apparently goes on to propose national policies to make us happier - from the Amazon review it sounds like I won't be happy with what he has to say.

What was your dinner tonight?
Well this wasn't ours tonite - but rather a couple of weekends ago. Quincy had been begging for some crab legs to put in sushi so while in Japantown to pick up some Udon Noodle soup from our school's booth at the Cherry Blossom Festival he and I popped into the Japanese grocery store as well. We didn't find crab legs (at least not the fake stuff) but we did find shrimp and fish cake and other treasures. At home for dinner we decided to use our new chopsticks and created what you see pictured - 5 rolls of sushi (including carrot & cucumber, and even roasted asparagus with sundried tomatoes and pine nuts), rice topped with shrimp or fish cake, marinated carrots, miso soup, tofu (teriyaki flavored courtesy of Trader Joe's) and a couple of pots of green tea. We had a yummy dinner!