Monthly Archives: February 2013

Playing Jacks

jackswebWhile grabbing materials in class for a project , I came across a set of jacks.When a student asked what they were , I stood stunned for a moment. One or two other students explained it was a game. For me, as a child , raging jacks tournaments on the stoop of my building , kept us busy for hours and out of traffic. The jacks we played with were tiny,silvery spoked metal pieces that nestled comfortably in the hand. These oversized plastic jacks made it difficult for me to demonstrate successfully as the jacks kept dropping from my fingers, but  the kids loved it and begged for their turns to play. It was another method to improve visual spatial skills. As my kids alternately laughed and groaned in frustration,it made me wonder how many other childhood games and activities they miss out on while playing video games.

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Scavenging Abstracts

bwabstract2weby Black, white and grey make the pattern rather than the color the emphasis of the photo.Peeling paint created the image through time , endurance, and chance. The observer’s task is simply to notice and appreciate the unexpected result.

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Zoltar Dealing the Cards

fortune-blur2-webStrolling along the boardwalk in Santa Monica, I was surprised to find a Zoltar machine. The movie Big had touched my heart years ago with Tom Hanks’s innocence as an overgrown kid who wished he’d become older. How often do we wish our lives away? Waiting for the weekend? Vacation? Losing twenty pounds? Graduation? We project ourselves into the future without thought to the time we surrender. Instead of savoring the present, it often passes unnoticed in the anticipation of the next big event in our lives.  While we know there are no guarantees, we spend time we don’t have making plans or worrying. Zoltar shuffles his cards and we wait in suspense. For me, distracted by my surroundings and needing to explore, I wandered off before collecting my fortune. That left  me more time left to make my own decisions before I grow up all the way.


Needing an Extra Hand

hand1bw-webOverwhelmed by daily tasks, it’s easy to want some help. Subconsciously,  I must need assistance badly because I find myself photographing these found hands in the most random places. hands_plantersbw-web     handondoor-bw-web


Running Away Part 2 : Memorial Park Cemetery Crystal Grotto

grotto4bwwebMany might choose Paris or Istanbul as a runaway destination. Having only a few hours on a Sunday afternoon and an expired passport eliminated those possibilities. Instead, Memorials Park Cemetery was my destination, a road trip of about eight miles.The cemetery is home to the Crystal Grotto and its fantasy shaped structures.I chose my infrared camera because it would accentuate the otherworldly feel . I viewed  the cave and tree as imaginary housing, fit for visiting sprites or hobbits.

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grotto1origblur-web The faux bois structures suit the park well and it’s hard to believe they are cement.A folk artist from Mexico, Dionicio Rodriguez created the vision from his imagination. Hired by the cemetery’s founder, Clovis Hinds, Rodriguez earned $75.00 per week over a ten year period during the Depression. His creations are dream – like and religiously significant.

grotto5bw-web Working in steel and copper to form supports, the structures were formed in cement over wire. Using his hands, twigs and dinner utensils for tools, he simulated wood structures that suggest fairies and woodland creatures.Calling his work, “el trabajo rustic”, Rodriguez built Abraham’s Oak that towers 15 feet tall and 9 feet in diameter.

grottotreebw-web There is the Cave of Machpelah which is named for a burial cave from the Holy Land. The reflecting pool is the Pool of Hebron, and the Grotto appears as a mountain shaped form which houses the crystal cave. All are entirely hand-built. Walking into the cave you are stunned to find formations of limestone, rock quartz crystal and cement forming backgrounds for murals of scenes of the life of Jesus.

grottoint1-blur-web The artwork  and grotto are on the National Register of Historic Places.

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muralgrottowebMentally moving into the imaginative structures provided a needed break. I returned home energized  and without expense or jet lag.


Running Away from my Blog

runawaynote-webLast week I came across this note attached to the door of the classroom across the hall. My friend’s seven year-old son had left it for her that morning. It made me laugh and got me thinking. I realized that as a child I had never tried running away. Some people run because of anger, boredom, a desire to travel – so what was wrong with me? Maybe back then life wasn’t so bad where I was or maybe my sense of adventure was still developing. Now it would be so easy to compile a list of exotic destinations from Paris to Istanbul, dreams of the Orient Express or steamers across the ocean.Of course during the school year, it just isn’t practical or affordable.Lately though,  at least for the last three weeks, it seemed I’d run away from my blog. Inspiration evaporated, my lonely camera sat silently and unseeing on the counter, I felt caged. So , yesterday I ran away from home for a few hours .The fresh air helped to banish the stale ideas and fears.The fantasy aspect of my destination revived my imagination.The shadows inspired my camera. Running away was a healthy choice and in tomorrow’s post you’ll see some of the results.


Painting Spring

artist1blurwebA sunny Friday before Christmas in Charleston, South Carolina. The wind blustered and howled down the crowded streets.The raw air from the waterfront forced us to don scarves and gloves. As we were propelled along the streets , I continued to people watch. On the curb, more into traffic than not, this painter stood silently engrossed in his work. I couldn’t resist looking over his shoulder and then across the street to his view. While the trees were bare, his trees were full of life and color. I enjoyed his purposeful approach, focused on his task and oblivious to those that fanned out around him. There were so many parts of his story that I’d never know. Was the painting a gift that he ached to finish before the holiday? Did he only have a small, precious bit of free time to do what he loved? Were the spring leaves a sign of better days to come? I left thinking how lucky he was to be able to focus and follow through on a creative task, and how lucky I was to feel this breath of spring.


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