Friday, February 25, 2011

Photography fun

Look, I'm not an intellectual - I just take pictures.
Helmut Newton

I've been upset none of my weekly photo assignments seemed to inspire me but today, I was inspired. The assignment was "Detail" and my eyes fell upon the pile of games nearby... I liked seeing the texture but also the reflection of our changing culture. If I could put my little gals in camo too, I would.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Flash Mob!

There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are.

Bruno Mars, Just the Way You Are

Pure happiness in a couple hundred dancing, inspirational, anti-bullying, Asian students!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Conversations with my Daughter: the New Blog!

Dear Little Shit posts have moved! I figure I write enough in this segment it deserves it's own blog... that will help me maintain the initial purpose for MerciMilleFois as a blog of gratitude.

(Tell me what you think of the new blog! It's via Wordpress so it won't show up in Google-apps like Buzz unfortunately. But I wanted to try the look of WP).

Dear little shit: Pave your own way

-I wish there was a cookbook for life... recipes telling us exactly what to do. But I know, you're gonna say, 'How else will you learn?'.
-Actually, I wasn't going to say that. I was going to say you know better than anyone. It's the recipes you create yourself that are the best.

Catherine Zeta Jones, No Reservations

Dear Little Shit,

The quote above is from a terrible American remake. I hope one day you can watch the original German version because it had so many more layers and better acting. (Sorry Aaron Eckhart. Your portrayal of a dashing, charming chef is as contrived as George Bush playing the role of 'intelligent'.)

Anywho, task at hand. During my search for my purpose in life, I asked a lot of people why they're doing what they're doing and many answers started like this: "Well, I thought I wanted to be a ________, so that's why I'm here now. But looking back...". Why so many "but's"?

Oh I'll tell you why.

When you get to high school, people will start asking you what you want to be in life. When you start applying for college (which you will!... I mean... if you want to), teachers and relatives will ask what major you're applying for followed by, "Oh great, what are you going to do with a ________ degree?" (They'll definitely ask you this if you apply for a Liberal Arts degree, along with a hint of pity. Take your time answering. I have learned it's kind of fun watching their blank expressions try and hide the whirring in their heads while they search for the most distinguished possible profession you could reach with said Liberal Arts degree--it's always a Professor).

If you haven't got an answer for people, they always say, "Well you've got time". Bullshit. That clock was ticking the moment you were born, is what they're really thinking. And all through college the pressure will mount (if you choose to go to college...please at least go to college). But why, why at 18 are you expected to have a plan? Why should you be laying the foundation for your professional aspiration before you're mature enough to even vote? This is why there are so many 'buts'. Society has taught us to choose our pathways before we're old enough to know what all the career possibilities are; people are blindly choosing their way in life.

But I don't want you to go blindly.

There are SO many opportunities in this world. And you will have so many talents, whether you know it or not, that you can put to use doing something that will make you happy. My advice right now is to take your time. I might forget telling you this but hey, that's why I keep it in a blog--accountability! If you get stuck or lost, tell your daddy or me and maybe we can help you find something or at least help you experience things that will lead you to a passion. There's no one at the end of your twenties keeping track and judging you so don't feel the pressure to get it all sorted early. Your loved ones might worry for you, but we're also here supporting you. Be willing to try new things, be willing to open your mind, be willing to cut your losses, be willing to admit that everything worth doing will take a lot of work to get, and be willing to pave your own way.

(Just go to college though, ok?)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm gonna getcha!

Women gather together to wear silly hats, eat dainty food, and forget how unresponsive their husbands are. Men gather to talk sports, eat heavy food, and forget how demanding their wives are. Only where children gather is there any real chance of fun.
Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960

Remember being a little kid, maybe just past toddler-hood but before too-cool adolescence, getting chased by your daddy or big sibling? He would be running behind you taunting, "I'm gonna getcha!" and you were overwhelmed with giggles that might literally burst out of your mouth? You could barely get one giggle out before the next one came along.

Clint and I were jogging into downtown today.... correction: Clint was biking and I was jogging into downtown today--and he called after me, "I'm gonna getcha!", threatening to catch up to me. Then I thought about how my biggest brother Andrew used to play Shark in the pool with me and I would get this overwhelming urge to giggle and run. (I also got anxiety but I think that's not typical of most kids. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I was the only one on the school yard who panicked during tag.) It didn't even matter what we were doing or why he was chasing me. For some reason, a child's DNA is encoded with so much innocence and play that if someone threatens playful pursuit, kids giggle and book it. Have you ever noticed that? You could be with the grumpiest kid in the world... and if you pause just long enough for the mood to settle and then say, with a mischievous grin (not a pedophile grin but a fun grin), "I'm gonna getcha!" his mood will undoubtedly perk up. He'll know exactly what game you're playing and be ready to beat the odds.

It dawned on me the next time I get to play chase, I'll be on the other side of that game. I got pretty excited thinking about that. Reasons are twofold: 1) I get to play chase without feeling that surge of panic and 2) it's so much fun, especially hearing a little kid's giggle bursting out uncontrollably to the point of squeal.

So, future little shit... get yourself some good shoes (that's right, buy your own darn shoes) and I'll promise to stay in shape cause chase just might be the easiest and funnest game for anyone in single digits. I don't want you to miss out on that!
(by Nas-city on Flickr)

Friday, December 10, 2010

This too Shall Pass: the Angry Brazilian man

Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.
Paulo Coelho

One of the things I hate doing is anything I am bad at. Blame this on my achievement orientation or whatever but being bad at something makes me feel vulnerable and well, stupid. But I guess everyone feels that way with things they suck at--some just handle the occasion with more elegance than others.

Last night, I accepted this little known fact: I am not good at everything. And then I embraced it. I took Clint to a Capoeira class last night because he's mentioned a few times how much he misses taking lessons. To be honest, I thought of Capoeira the way some people think of the white crayon--what's the point? Are you really going to kick someone's ass with Capoeria? Will you really color using the white crayon?

But 30 minutes into last night's lesson, I gained a new respect for Capoeira dancers. The Mestre leading our class was an intense little man who kind of reminded me of the man who plays the "Angry Elf" author in Elf (but about a foot taller): Peter Dinklage .
He had a thick accent and when he spoke to me specifically, I had no idea what he said after "Are you okay?" He was very athletic though. After trying some of the motions and exercises the Mestre taught us, I had a new respect for him, his coordination and strength, and Capoeira in general. Not only did I start sweating rain droplets, I also felt the tension in my hip flexors and hamstrings reminding me that I am not a flexible bendy straw. I definitely pulled out a few awesome unnecessary Matrix moves and felt really uncoordinated. I was ready to quit at the half-way point but then I reminded myself that 1) how disrespectful would that be to the class and the Mestre (who ended up giving me private tutelage from time to time which proved difficult since I could barely understand him past the music and Capoeira vocabulary); 2) that would have been cheating myself--I had no good reason to give up other than my own insecurity.... so I kept going; and 3) "this too shall pass"--I was already halfway through, I can accept that I am not the best and then give my best effort for the last 45 minutes.

While I still am not convinced that a Capoeira fighter would stand a chance against any other martial arts fighter, I have new respect for Capoeira due to the fitness, coordination and strength required to execute the movements. I also appreciated the humbling experience and all the nice fellow students who chipped in to help me understand particular moves. I'll probably never go again (and the Mestre will probably be happy about that) but I think it was a good lesson in patience, humility and trying new things.

So for your viewing pleasure, an old Friends clip. The girls decide to go to a tap class which Monica supremely sucks at:
(I was somewhere between a Phoebe and a Monica. The clip's embed code was disabled.)

And for fun....

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Little Things in Life: Music to my Ears

A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.
Leopold Stokowski

Music is a funny thing. Essentially, music is just a rhythm. It can be a rhythm accented with words or instruments. It can be a beat kept by the tapping of a palm onto the side of a leg. And in everyone's life, there is music--there is a personal rhythm. The chime of a cash box, a baby's happy squeal, or the roar of an ignited engine can all reverberate with a person's personal rhythm. These little notes and tunes perk us up unknowingly; they help us keep pace with our day. These are our favorite sounds...

My favorite sounds:

1. The flutter of a camera shutter
2. The swoosh of a net in a silent gym
3. The crack of a bat in a huge stadium
4. The pitter-patter of Willoughby's little feet as he rounds our bed... followed by the silence while he prepares to jump onto the bed
5. The pop of a peanut jar when you first open it
6. The clumsy speech of little French kids and their cute accents (I once heard two little French toddlers bantering at the New Release aisle in Blockbuster. They were so cute... toddlers have a way of speaking where the words seem too big for their mouths and so words seem to fall out of their mouths rather than be spoken. When those big clumsy words are in French, the kids are even cuter).
7. Laughter... some people have trademark laughs which are the best. Clint has the silent laugh where only his shoulders move. My mom gets almost cackly. Manda has an adorable giggle that makes me wonder if she laughed the exact same way when she was a kid. And Lisa always starts her laughs with a big 'O' face. These are little reasons I will pretty much do or say anything if it invokes a laugh.
8. The clicking of laptop keys
9. Gwen's whiny meow
10. The whir of our KitchenAid mixer's motor

What are some of the rhythm-keepers in your life? What are your favorite sounds?