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Thank you all so much for the warm congratulations on my big news! I’m seriously giddy!
It was a pretty non-eventful weekend over here. I should have been organizing my tax stuff so I can get that done (I’m doing it myself this year with a little help from my dad). I should have been cleaning the house. I should have gone grocery shopping. But I’m okay with the fact that I didn’t do any of those things. We seem to keep recycling various viruses in our house and no matter what day it is, one or more of us isn’t feeling so great. Today I feel almost good, knock-on-wood, albeit a bit tired. So Pete is probably home feeling crap. I’m back to babysitting today after a week off and the baby is not too happy about that! She’s cried a lot today after having her mom available 24/7 for a week—the bottle once again insults her after learning to love it with me before. I think she’ll be back to normal after another day or two.
Anyway, Saturday I went by myself to Coney Island for the afternoon to meet a Flickr friend and pass on this ‘traveling boa’ I had (there a bunch of silly traveling item groups in which some item is passed on to people within the group one by one and we each take photos with said item). My daughter refused to come with me because she wasn’t going to be able to go swimming. Her spring break is this week and by Saturday night she was already bored to tears. Luckily she will be babysitting for Tori three days this week and my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces are arriving Tuesday for a visit, so the week shouldn’t be too painful. The weather on Saturday was gorgeous after the forecast had threatened a rainy day, and we had a great time wandering around taking photos. I even brought the angel wings! The set of photos are on Flickr, of course, and I'll be uploading shots from the day often over the next several days.
I got home Saturday around 7pm and my daughter made tortellini for us all to eat and then asked if we could go to the video store. We rented Across the Universe and Romance and Cigarettes, watching the first one that night. Ever since we had first seen a preview for it, we were dying to see it, and it did not disappoint. I was amazed at how well the Beatles’ songs were utilized to tell the story, and how each song became brand new. Visually, it was stunning—ever since I got more into photography I see everything in terms of the camera. This movie really got my juices flowing! Loved it.
The other movie is an odd little film directed by John Turturro and written by the Coen brothers. Starring Susan Sarandon and James Gandolfini, it is a sometimes funny, often sad story of a long-married couple and his cheating. It is also, however, a musical. Many famous faces grace this movie, including Mary Louise Parker, Mandy Moore, Kate Winslet (who is hilarious and heart-breaking), Eddie Izzard, and Christopher Walkin (the movie is worth seeing for Walkin’s musical numbers alone). A very unique film.
Lastly, one of my friends on Flickr has been posting about her adventures doing “geocaching” with her husband and son. She got me intrigued as it is like a treasure hunt that gets you walking. It turned out that our credit card rewards had a hand-held GPS unit that is just the kind you are supposed to have for this hobby, so I used our points to get it. You go to this website www.geocaching.com and register (free), then you can search for caches in your area. There were over 2,000 things hidden within 30 miles of our house alone! We picked one that was rated easier in the Wissahickon and set out with the dogs. The difficult part comes with the fact that a GPS only gets you to within 20 feet of the cache location, and then you hunt, which also makes it more fun. They all have little clues on their listings too, and ours just said ‘chained to a beech tree on the side of cliff.’ Our biggest problem was that we weren’t sure what a Beech tree looked like and didn’t check before-hand. Heh. We looked and looked and I stumbled down steep leaf-covered cliffs to check tree bases. We walked up a little further and I started searching some more and then I saw a chain! I have to admit it was really exciting! There was an old ammo box attached to the chain and we opened it up to see all the little trinkets that people had left (people can take things as long as they leave things and some caches are more specific about what to take/leave). There was also a logbook to sign and we saw the first entry was from two years before. We will definitely be doing more of this cool hobby. Here's the kid with the box...I had to use my cell phone camera because I actually didn't bring my regular camera (I know...gasp)!
How was your weekend?
Today is my father's birthday and I got the best present to give him....GOOD NEWS! Yes, hearing my good news is a fabulous present for my daddy, though I did get him something else as well as cake. :-)
Remember I mentioned I might get photos in a major magazine?
Three of my self-portraits are going to be featured with an article on female body image in Fitness Magazine and one of those will also be on their website!!!!
I'm SO happy about this exposure and not only that, I'm getting PAID! The photo editor contacted me through Flickr after just coming across my photos a while ago and asked me to call her. I did and we had a great conversation and she asked that I send her my 365 book along with as many images as I was willing on a CD, lo-res. That they would pay me just for doing that!! I did, and then she requested hi-res of three images. I tried not to get my hopes up because having worked in publishing before, I know things can get the ax at any time.
Well she finally gave me the final word...two main images, one full page and one a quarter page, plus a 'spot' image! These are them:
I'm so freaking excited!!! She said the thing is already at the presses!! :-) I guess the issue comes out in a few weeks, even though it is for 'May'. I cannot wait to see this thing!!
I was really proud of this one, so I thought I'd share it here as well as on Flickr.
It is always wonderful when I envision something in my mind and it actually comes to fruition. A lot of times in my self-portraits I have only a general notion of what I might do and allow the photos themselves to point me in a specific direction while processing. More times than not, having a specific idea to start is a recipe for frustration because getting the final image to match what I have in my head always proves difficult.
As is probably obvious here, I was thinking about the many famous "bather" paintings that have been done by the Masters. I pictured showing the line of my back, a cloth cleverly covering my rear end, and holding my hair up. I added a bowl and a wash cloth and some vintage processing (which involves layering textures I have saved of old daguerreotypes and paper) and I'm most of the way there. A bit more playing with blur and hues and I was able to capture the feel of an old painting. At least I hope that is what I did. :-)
This past weekend was the school play. They did a production of Mulan and my daughter was one of the Chinese soldiers—no speaking part, but lots of singing and choreographed dancing. The play kept her extremely busy with rehearsals after school and even two Sundays. She often got home at around 6pm, have dinner, then try to get homework done. Between the play and being out for an entire week of school last month, things started to slip.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t on top of her enough and she didn’t tell me everything, so we’ve had some issues come up recently. A phone call from her Language Arts teacher to tell me she hadn’t finished a project that she was given an extra week to finish. Fortunately, the teacher said she could work on it over the weekend and though she wouldn’t get full credit, she wouldn’t get a failing mark either. The kiddo and I had a talk and she worked really hard for hours on Sunday to get the project done. I talked with her about Pete’s motto, “Kill monsters when they are small,” and how we can both relate to avoiding something hoping it will go away. The fact is, though, things just get worse and scarier and more stressful. She worked hard and the teacher was so impressed with what she did, the kid ended up getting praise. I hope she learned a lesson.
This week I found out she wasn’t doing so well in math, but most of this was due to missing lectures and not fully understanding those sections…and not asking anyone for help. Her grades are improving now that she is back on track. We have another major project to tackle tonight and tomorrow night for her Language Arts class, and then I think we can get through the rest of the school year. She is extremely smart, but easily distracted and doesn’t enjoy the more rigid assignments that middle school offers. It is frustrating because she tries to fall back on the “I’m stupid” excuse and it drives me crazy. She’s made honor roll the first two quarters this year and I’m certain she can make it again this quarter if she stays focused for a few more weeks.
The school offers an alternative curriculum for each grade that embraces a more free-flowing, open education with group projects and work that integrates all subjects rather than a separate class for each. I tried to get her interested in this before starting sixth grade, to no avail. I think she’d do much better in this sort of environment. She has become friends with some seventh graders this year through chorus and drama club as well as the play, and after knowing some kids who follow the alternative track in their grade, it became more attractive. She’s applied to get in—it is a lottery, so there is no guarantee—but I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I honestly think some of the stuff she does now just bores her. We shall see.
The play was great, by the way, and quite the production! I worked backstage on opening night as a volunteer and ended up spending the time in the girl’s dressing room. Yikes. Girls that age are truly awful. I’m so grateful my daughter is friendly to everyone and stays away from the cliquey girls. On Saturday she had an entourage in attendance for her: Pete and I, her father and his girlfriend and her mother, my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my parents’ best friend, and of course Charlie and Cecily!! Imagine if she had had a speaking part! Ha!