Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Synchronicities

It's been an interesting few days. I've been exploring the themes of synchronicity, purpose and making changes the last couple of days. In that spirit I received a wonderfully created envelope and note from someone today. I had met her last year at yoga when she was here doing a 1 month health survey for the government and helped her to get into the darkroom at the college to develop some pictures she had taken. We hadn't really kept in touch, so it was interesting to hear from her at this time. Beyond an update of what is going on, she wrote an quote from Audre Lorde on a picture she had taken.....

"When I dare to be powerful-to use my strength in the service of my vision-then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid"

It was something I needed to hear and food for thought. I thought this capture of a sculpture near the Ferry Building in SF fit the theme.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Teaism




The art of life lies in a constant readjustment to our surroundings.
-Kakuzo Okakura

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Flex Those Muscles


I went to San Francisco to see Miss Potter. After a relaxing hour of rose petal black tea and a dim sum sampler at the Imperial Tea Court, I decided to stroll the Promenade for a few minutes before heading to the movie. As I was looking out over the water, I could see this starfish on the rock. I walked further down and leaned over the edge and was able to capture a few shots. This being SF, a crowd of curious people came up to see what I was doing and before you know "Patrick" was the model for an intensive photo shoot by several people.

I highly recommend Miss Potter, it was incredible. The theatre was packed and one of those rare things happened at the end, applause. I'm amazed that Renee Zellweger nor Ewan McGregor picked up Oscar nominations for their performances. In a time of over the top performances they managed to capture the gentle, muted emotional nuances that were in keeping with the whole feel of the film. It was a day of muscles being flexed....

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Long and Winding Road

I downloaded Adobe's Lightroom and really love some of the applications. Today was spent getting ready for some company and just beginning to look to the next months, i.e. looking at long term changes such as career, moving and art. No easy answers, just looking down a long and winding road. This photo was shot the same as the bridge photo last summer. I like cyanotype so added that element from Lightroom. Such fun.

Here's something that I made. It was discovered from "Succulent Tales"....They are right it is silky and creamy and the Arborio grains have a pillow plump texture with a bit of firmness. I adapted it a bit by using light cream rather then heavy. The color from the saffron also gives it a wonderful appeal.



Saffron Parmesan Risotto

1/2 cup white wine
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup Arborio rice, uncooked
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
3 cups of good quality vegetable stock
1/4 cup light cream
1/2 cup grated fresh Parmesan

1. Put wine in bowl and place saffron in to soak
2. Heat olive oil and butter in a wide, heavy-duty skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and saute about 2 minutes. Stir constantly. Add rice, and stir to coat, about 1 minute. Add salt and pepper, and stir briefly to coat rice
3. Lower heat to medium-low. Add wine and saffron to rice, stirring until all the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in a cup of simmering stock, and cook, stirring occasionally. Shake pan back and forth often. When absorbed, stir in another cup. Continue this process for 20 minutes until all stock is added and rice is al dente (firm but not soft). Add cream and stir 30 seconds. Remove skillet from heat and stir in Parmesan.



Friday, January 26, 2007

The Old & The New

It's been quite the week. I found out that I am reportedly allergic to wheat, chocolate (how can a woman be allergic to chocolate, I thought it was programmed into our genes) and beef. Not to mention several variety of trees. Now I'm not totally convinced of this, but as I'm willing to explore any options that will stop me from experiencing some of the severe symptoms I've been having the last few months. So I'm trying a 6 week removal of these foods to see what happens. This is going to be tough, I love food and have always enjoyed a wide variety. This week I've been combing the Internet, blogs, research articles to try and bring all of it together. While I embrace a fairly healthy lifestyle, I've always been somewhat down to earth about it. I've never wanted to be an obsessive health nut (no offense to anyone). So I've cleaned cupboards, bought a few products and will be going to Whole Foods to gather some more. If I can stay a happy gourmet with taking out these foods and finding new ones then fine, if not....let's just say negotiations will commence.

On the brighter side, I was finally able to start working with some film that I had shot, but hadn't been able to develop. I know have found a lab that can do it reasonably and quickly. This photo was shot when I was in Michigan visiting my family over the past summer. I went down a dirt back road and found this old bridge, with the new growth. Loved the contrast and thought it fit tonight's thoughts of letting go of the old and learning the new.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Wonderland



A friend and I discussed what were some of our best childhood memories. I ended up revisiting my childhood library. My parents both being readers had started us reading early and one of the first things they did when we moved to the small town when I was nine, was to get a library card for me. It was an old converted house and I spent hours living in the dusty stacks of books and snuggled into cozy chairs. I was shy, but was always drawing or writing something and it was the perfect refuge for my imagination. One of my favorite sections contained Andrew Lang's Fairy Books. It was the perfect match up for also my love of being outdoors. Imagine my delight when my friend helped me find a online site that contained all the texts of his Fairy Books. I can see many comfortable nights in the next month or two revisiting old friends. Come to think of it I can probably thank him for my love of Jungian Psychology.


Tonight's picture somehow reminded me of that. When haven't one of us looked into the mirror with the far away look this woman has and remembered something from our younger years. I caught her in Alameda.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Succulence

.
I worked with this photo tonight and as I thought about it's being categorized as a succulent, it started me on a word search and reflection..

Succulent: Full of juice and lush.

Hmmm, nibbled lips, rosy flesh, morsels of food, bloom of a camellia, a peach gently warmed by the sun, a child's laughter, loamy grass freshly mowed.....

succulent silence
glides in on this quiet night
waiting to teach me
as i try to capture the
perfect one elusive moment

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You Never Know

One can never tell what people are going to like. Last spring I went to John Muir National Forest to try out my newly aquired Bronica SQ-AI. I developed the film in the darkroom and while much of it came out, I found this oddity. I was going to discard the negative, but several of the students loved it and nicknamed it "Ghosts in the Forests". So I kept it and played with it on the new photo scanner I just received. I didn't want to give up film entirely especially in the medium format. I was lucky enough to find a professional photo lab that will develop the film for just the negatives so I can scan it and play with it in Photoshop. While I really didn't do much to this, I was pleased with the scan. So I can continue to dabble in film to a degree.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Real Life Awards

Everyone who has had enough of award shows raise their hands. I'm really jaded by their sameness. Don't get me wrong, I used to watch and enjoy them when they were few and far between, but for the most part now find them a big repetitive bore. It seems like the same group of people find each other at award shows and/or go to the post award parties and enjoy some congratulatory mutual masturbation. Enough!! I want to see Cher wear her feathers, Bjork swim in as a swan....Some individuality please. I don't blame the actors/actresses, they are playing the role assigned to them in these media conscious modern times...still....Sorry, this was based on headlines this am screaming who wore what, who smoozed whom.... many people can tell you these details, but can they tell you what individuals are on the Presidential cabinet and their role in making major policy for our country?

Okay rant mode off. What is interesting today? Real people, not the reality show extremes, but people who have interesting faces and often stories to go along with them. One of the things I love about being a counselor is the opportunity to share in people's stories, their narratives about their lives. I enjoy how they help me to see life through a different perspective. One of the recent pleasures I have discovered is well written blogs, especially about food, art and people's experiences about life...these are the people I would like to see an awards show for.

I'm including this photograph to illustrate my point. This man was sitting in front of the de Young Museum in San Francisco around closing time. I love his face and the way he was smoking his cigarette (it reminded of a picture I once saw of Winston Churchill). I wish I'd had the chance to talk with him, but in a way the photo shared a bit of his story.

Tonight's culinary pleasure...Tiramisu Gelato, rich creamy vanilla/marsicapone, sprinkled with a dusting of chocolate that melts in your mouth brings you to orgasmic heights and then slowly lets you come back to earth with the lingering memory of it and ready to go for another round...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Quiet Reflection

looking out my window
i see
the moon peeking in
wrapped with
cloud scarf streamers of
vibrant light

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Brrrrr.......


Listening
I like the quiet on a winter's day;
it has so much to say.
It brings with it new ideas that
ordinarily wouldn't come my way.
Stillness - broken only by the whistle of a
far-off train or the ticking of the clock;
Stillness is when my mind and I never
feel the need to talk.
Eyes see more; thoughts are new;
wonder plays a part;
For in the stillness I hear those things
that are deep within my heart.

-Joan Adams Burchell


California resembles the Midwest/East Coast more then it's mild self. The media is full of news on how to cope with the cold (note to people in the town where I'm at; put away the flip flops). So I decided to get and remain cozy for the day. I did do a brunch, making a dutch mama and a spiced cherry compote with grilled ham slices and Irish Breakfast Tea. Mmmm, the air now smells like vanilla and it reinforces the desire to snuggle in and be cozy. Cups of tea with Irish Cream laced with honey and a good book await

I'm going to take the advice of this poem and just chill and let some artistic ideas peculate. Back to Photoshop learning tomorrow.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Born Into...





Whenever I've had a difficult week, I try to bring things to mind that remind me of my blessings and luck.Tonight it became about Born Into Brothels. I was lucky enough to meet Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman in Berkley at a showing of this when they did a question and answer period. They were kind enough to spend about 20 minutes speaking with Bill (he took the photo of them together) and I about their work. Also there was some fun kidding about what Zana was going to wear for the Oscars as it had just been nominated for Best Documentary. Usually I don't get excited about getting someone's autograph, but because of the warmness and generous spirit of both individuals I was this time. I had a book signed by Zana and a poster by both her and Ross. They continue to do extraordinary work through her organization Kids with Cameras.

Earlier this week I was told to discontinue any community social work efforts (some were creative and fun) I was doing. My job was redefined as a result of political bull going on. For once I backed down, knowing it was best. I was pretty heart heavy though and I came back to this to remind of a hope that some day I can combine both my clinical and camera talents into something creative and unique.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I listen...



"I listen to the wind
to the wind of my
soul"
....Cat Stevens


...what can I say; Ano Nuevo State Reserve and seeing a day's full of elephant seals, whales, and other sea life other then I went to nature's church....

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Home and Homework

Today has been staying home and catching up on the housework and learning Photoshop CS2 which I just installed. I decided to move more away from film and into digital as the college rarely has the darkroom open on the weekends or classes are using it in the evening and with my work hours I was only getting a few hours a week in when it was open to anyone interested. Plus I've never fit well into the structured classroom so I'm doing workshops and independent study to continue to advance. Of course I had some help today with my "homework"...Bella loves to grab my clothes from the laundry and play with them. For some reason she loves this cap, so when I caught her with it again I couldn't resist the opportunity to set up a photo session. She was a good model for all of 2 seconds. Luckily I was able to get this.

I'm off tomorrow and going to Ano Nuveo State Reserve to take a guided walk and photograph the elephant seals and sea lions as this is their breeding season. It's close to impossible to get tickets on the weekend, but as I have tomorrow off and it's supposed to be a beautiful day...perfect.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Life's Paths

When I decided to do this blog, I wanted it to be about the good, the bad, the not so good and the definitely ugly. Today started on the good, skidded into the ugly and came back to the good by days end again.

The ugly is coming from my work. To put it simply I don't always color inside the lines and my skies are often many colors instead of blues. It creates conflict at times when I'm working in a medical environment. When I went to college I was encouraged by teachers to follow a fine arts path due to my approach to life. I didn't have enough confidence in myself at that time and took the path to an eventual MSW. Don't get me wrong I've enjoyed what I've learned and done so far, but I know it's now about walking the fine arts path...but I'm finding it's not easy. Little things like a regular salary, benefits (a chronic health issue has made health insurance mandatory) etc. I know it should be therapist heal thyself, but I haven't found the way to find balance yet.

My job itself isn't stressful it's the people who are in charge of one of the clinics where I work. Today I came very close to walking off my job. A quick walk outside, a talk with someone and the promise that I was coming onto a three day weekend, stopped me. I know the time is coming for me to move back East as my time out in California was only meant to be 1-2 years.....The question I have is how do I want to go...working part-time, doing something like waitressing instead etc....I know I'll eventually get there, I just have to keep open to opportunities that open. One thing I've discovered in my life's wanderings: the right path opens up at the right time for the right reasons. I was never sure why I ended up in California until the last months, but I now know it was to get me back onto a fine arts path....

There is a group of us who call ourselves the Darkroom Dames and we get together to support each others artistic efforts...that helped me tonight. It focused me and re energized me...not to mention the carmel chai tea I had.

crowded cubicles
cold people, phones keep ringing
no soft peace at work
hot carmel chai tea steaming
pet on lap, homecoming bliss

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Full Moon Goodies



Moon of the New Year
The year begins
with a full moon
good-luck coin of good weight
in the pocket of what is to come-
may it multiply without measure.
- Rafael Jesus Gonzalez

As I was finishing up dinner with a friend, we saw this full moon. Out came the camera, tripod and a surreal experience of color and motion due to the high winds blowing clouds through the valley. This photo was the most unexpected from the group. My friend thought it was like looking at an alien landscape....

Dinner was a delight. I made a simple meal with grilled chicken breast, salad and baked sweet potato fries. I tried to make a easy version that my friend would enjoy (and could make) as he had eaten at a restaurant called "Harvest Moon" and liked their version. He loved what I came up with. They were sensually earthy, a bit garlicky and full of the unique truffle flavor that Trader Joe's has managed to capture in their White Truffle Oil. Here is the recipe:


White Truffle Sweet Potato Fries

2 large sweet potatoes
1 Tbsp of Trader Joe's White Truffle Oil
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Peel then,cut the sweet potatoes in 1/2 inch strips or wedges and toss in the oil and salt. Arrange in a single layer on a nonstick baking sheet.
Place in oven for 30 minutes, turn once.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

In A Fog
















"Not to find one's way in a city may well be uninteresting and banal. It requires ignorance-nothing more. But to lose oneself in a city-as one loses oneself in a forest-that calls for quite a different schooling. Then, signboard and street names, passers-by, roofs, kiosks, or bars must speak to the wanderer like a crackling twig under her feet in the forest."
-Walter Benjamin






As I drove to work in the tule fog this morning, I wanted to stop and photograph many sights in a world transformed. A set of railroad cars turned into beckoning objects of mystery. Trees were shrouded and you expected elves or other fey to peek out....And once again one of my biggest dilemmas came knocking as I continue to wander further into the world of photography and arts. Do I continue to work as a clinical social worker, draw back and juggle working part-time with photography studies etc., etc?. No answers yet, so I'm just letting it quietly sit and proof as they say in cooking terms....in the meantime I couldn't resist a shot of the sun coming up that was occurring just as I pulled into the parking lot of the dialysis clinic where I work. I took about 8 shots and it gave me quiet joy for the rest of the day...

Speaking of quiet joy, I stopped at Trader Joe's on the way home to pick up dog snacks for Bella and found something new. Cranberry Rolls! Combine it with their Chocolate Tea with a bit of half and half and a dash of honey mixed in and you have the perfect early January pre-bedtime snack.

Monday, January 1, 2007

Little Red....



With apologies to Prince, forget the Corvette, I want a 1965 or 66 Red Mustang (I know it's a cliche, doesn't everyone want one? Still...). Preferably convertible. My neighbor Art had his 1966 hardtop Mustang out and I grabbed some shots. This is the original grill. She's a gorgeous car and unfortunately has been stolen a couple of times. Art has been lucky enough to get her back both times with minimal damage. He now keeps her in a very secure location.

This car is so California. A few years before I moved to California I rented a Mustang Cobra convertible and drove up Rt 1 from Southern Cal and back with a girlfriend for a couple weeks. Who knew you could get so much attention, it was a total guy magnet. Hmmm, time to plan a 2007 road trip? Could be one my resolutions....

Speaking of resolutions; a friend send me a link about establishing resolutions, more in line of making healthy changes:

http://stress.about.com/od/lowstresslifestyle/a/changes.htm

My hope is to continue enjoying good food, developing my skills as a photographer, travel, take time to be with friends/family and just enjoying the moments life gives me.

Beauty Is...

  "Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it." -Anonymous  I went outside tonight and found the waning moon in a glow surrou...