Friday, April 29, 2011

Monthly Family Photo: April 2011

It's been a few months since I posted a monthly family photo. I don't really have a good excuse for missing some months. Except that BSD is in/out, in/out. And my whole family now runs whenever I pull out the camera.

I managed to corner them all. Literally. For a brief moment over Spring Break. We were on a picnic in the state park. Camped out at the end of a small bridge to nowhere. They had no choice but to cooperate. sit still at least.

Of course my favorite photos of this picnic are sans moi. Oh well, hopefully, when I'm gone they'll look back on all of these pictures. Turn to each other and say, "Oh yeah...Mom was there. She must have been. Someone had to have taken these pictures?"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meet George...

The totally fab, totally retro, Cat in the Hat fishbowl is up and running. Thanks to Dani and Karina for all their helpful advice. We decided on a beta.  Because he was just too cool. All blue and fringe-y looking. His funk factor was the perfect match. For the perfect bowl.

Meet George.

The ballerinas and I went through a lot of names before finally deciding on George.

I wanted to name him Max. Because he's a Beta. Get it? BetaMax? The ballerinas didn't either. Goes back to the whole typewriter issue. BB finally won the argument over the name Max since her hamster is named Max. We wouldn't want the two to both come running when we called them to dinner, now would we?

From there we moved on to Bob. Because he has a pineapple in his bowl. I tried to convince them. We can tell everyone, "My name is Bob. That's Mr. SquarePants to you." They weren't buying that either.

We tossed around the cliche cutesy names. Swimmy. Fishy. Fin. Big veto on those too. He's not a cutesy fish.

Next were the fun, retro names. Harold. Herbie. Fred.

Everyone finally agreed on Fred. It was set. But then LB asked, "What was Papa's real name?"

"George," I replied, with a lump in my throat.

"Let's name him George. After Papa," LB declared. BB was totally on board.

And so it was decided. Our new pet fish was dubbed George. After Papa.

I'm not too sure Papa would feel overly honored that we named our fish after him. But it actually kind of fits. Betas are loners. Only one to a bowl. And Papa definitely preferred his "own bowl."

Although the ballerinas still don't understand that about him.
 That fish planter? One of my other recent thrift store finds. LOVE!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Best Easter Ever...

"This was the BEST day EVER!" The ballerinas say this all the time. Something as simple as getting an ice cream from the ice cream man can move them to utter the favorite phrase. I love that about them! What I don't love is the constant bickering. The two of them rarely get along. Rarely. I'm not kidding.

Enter Spring Break. One whole week of both of them at home. Together. For one whole week. With no set plans. And no BSD. The thought of this kept me up at night for weeks prior. How would I survive.

But I was pleasantly surprised. The arguing was at a minimum. For one whole week. They actually got along. And I'm pretty sure I heard, "This was the BEST day EVER!" from at least one of them each day.

Easter Eve was especially blissful. The ballerinas both woke up on the right side of the bed. And immediately started jockeying for a sleepover together. They campaigned all day long. With their best sisterly love impressions. They even moved the furniture in BB's room. Pulled out her trundle bed. And had the bed made by 10am. 

They spent the rest of the morning hidden behind closed doors together. I had no idea what was going on. But they were quiet. There was no yelling. And no blood. Life was good.

Fast forward to Easter morning. When I would normally pay the price for ignoring the silence. And instead woke up to this.

My very own Easter egg hunt. Complete with 14 eggs. Artfully decorated. And well hidden. By two adorable conspirators.

And on the inside? Eggs filled not with candy. But love. Sweet, sisterly love.

"This was the BEST Easter EVER!"

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Break Staycation: Picasso Exhibit

We're on Spring Break this week. Since we already took our ski trip in March we're just hanging out at home. Enjoying some of the local attractions. On Wednesday, it was a trip to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to see the Picasso exhibit with some friends.

The ballerinas weren't overly excited about the idea of looking at art for the day. So I loaded up my big orange handbag with three cameras. The big mamma jamma for me. A point and shoot for BB. And my camera phone for LB. That bag was h.e.a.v.y. But it was going to be worth the welts on my shoulder to capture these once-in-a-lifetime images of the ballerinas co-mingling with works of fine art. That is until I handed over the tickets. And came face to face with the sign.  

"No photography allowed in the exhibit." No freakin' way. 

Well...I noticed there were some other criminals like-minded culture vultures snapping shots with their iPhones. So I pulled mine out too. Two seconds later the uniformed lady was on me like a fly on sh$t. She rambled on and on. Something about French representatives. Nightly reviews of surveillance tapes. Fines against the museum for  photos taken.

I assured her I hadn't taken any photographs. Not like those others posing with Les Desmoiselles d'Avignon over there in the corner. I offered her my phone to inspect. Yet she declined. Big mistake. And so I proudly share with you a few works from Picasso's collection privée.

Pouples et fille
Octopus and Girl
wood block relief

Homme de tatouage
Tattoo Man
oil on canvas

Les dames qui déjeunent
Ladies who lunch
india ink on parchment 

Fille avec le cône de glace
Girl with ice cream cone
sculpture in bronze 

 La cuisine de Weezie
Weezie's Kitchen
charcoal and watercolor on paper

La longue promenade à la maison
The long walk home
oil on cardboard

No. I didn't lie. I didn't take any photos in the exhibit. But not because I didn't want to. Or try to.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wax On, Wax Off...

So the other day I was loooonnngggg overdue for a brow wax. The months of plucking at the strays here and there had turned two nice arches into more of the Golden Arches. Not. a. pretty. sight.

I had no choice but to go to my appointment with the Big Ballerina in tow. Now my brows were bad, but BB's got some serious caterpillars living on her face. It's not something I usually take notice of, but when it comes showtime and I have to apply shadow to her lids, it gets a bit difficult with those furballs in the way. I once took tweezers and plucked out one teeny tiny hair. I may as well have shot the girl in the eye the way she screamed and carried on. Lesson learned. Those caterpillars would not be morphing into butterflies any time soon. 

Just for fun, as we walked into the salon, I asked BB, "You want to get your brows waxed too?"

To my surprise she considered it. "Well...let me watch you, and then I'll decide."

She hovered over me. Asking every 30 seconds, "Does it hurt?"

When it was over. And she saw that I was still alive. And wasn't crying. She quietly nodded her head at me. 

I was stunned. I was excited. I was... a stage mom. Ready to hoist her up on the table before she could change her mind.

But then I realized. What if she does one strip and freaks out? I can't let her walk around with a bald spot in one of her brows. She had to be fully committed.

I couldn't take the chance. I couldn't let her go through with it. I couldn't... let go. It suddenly felt a little too "Toddlers and Tiaras" to me.

And so we left. Her with her caterpillars. And me with, my baby.

Butterflies are overrated. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chasing Vision...

Last year I took a beginning photography class at the local art center. It was a great class, and I'm really excited that the teacher will now be offering two more levels of the course. The Intermediate class finally starts at the end of this month. I'm so excited!

This class will focus on off-camera flash, custom white balance and shooting in RAW, as well as continuing to explore aspects of composition and light. There will also be weekly photo critiques and possible off-site meet-ups for shooting. I cannot wait!

I've wanted to learn about off-camera flash for a while now. I have come to realize that no matter what I do, I am not going to be able to shoot strictly "natural light" in my house. I'm going to have to learn how to bounce flash. The only problem? I don't HAVE an off-camera flash. I will need to get one. So, of course, I turn to my photo bloggy friends out there for recommendations. Anyone have one they love? Hate? Care to share?

There's also a reading list involved this time. Shoot! This class is hard core. I've got both books already. I started the first one. I'm loving this one so far because the author is a choreographer. So, even though the book is for any creative pursuit she does refer to dancing quite a bit. And you know, we love us some dance around here.
I'm not even halfway through yet, but I like the message. A lot of it is basic. But, I like that she's saying you don't have to be born with the gift of genius to be great at something creative. You can LEARN it. Through practice. Copying. Commitment.

"There's a process that generates creativity -- and you can learn it. And you can make it habitual."  Sounds like a resounding endorsement for a Project 365. No?

She also says that you need skills to be creative. You need the proper prep work. "Without the time and effort invested in getting ready to create, you can be hit by the thunderbolt and it'll just leave you stunned." So, I'm hopefully going to get me some skillz by taking this class.

The other book is written by a photographer. This one is a beautiful book. Filled with amazing photos. I've only read the intro and I'm on board already. The book is "not a manual." It's not going to teach "technical stuff." It's a book about vision. And how to "chase it."

It's a rainy night. Excuse me. I'm off to chase some vision.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ten on Ten: April Twenty Eleven

Lazy, daisy Sunday. Felt good after a long week to do a whole lotta nothing. Doesn't make for a very exciting blog post. Hopefully, the pictures will make up for it. 

And in case they don't. I'll leave you with this. GO SEE Soul Surfer! Take your kids. Bring a box of tissues. Prepare to be inspired.

Ten on Ten. Take a picture every hour over ten hours on the tenth of the month. See more here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

It may as well have been a typewriter...

Or an 8-Track player. Or maybe even a VCR. The ballerinas had no idea what it was. And I was shocked.

The ballerinas notice e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I thought for sure they were going to jump up and down begging me to race over to the pet store when they saw it. Instead it sat on the kitchen counter all day. Unnoticed. Unremarkable. unbelievable.

I've been thrifting these past few days. Came home with some uber fun goodies. Will get to those later in the week. But this big beauty called my name. The minute I laid eyes on it I had visions of The Cat in the Hat. And I snatched it off the shelf. Before the totally uninterested shoppers other savvy thrifters could lay their paws on my prize.

I had to add that itty bitty to get the ballerinas to realize what this was. C'mon, tell me you would have recognized this if you stumbled upon it. Seriously. I'm not THAT old. Am I?
I can't wait to hit up the pet shop to deck this baby out. If any of you have any words of wisdom about proper fish care, I'm all ears.