Friday, November 11, 2011

They Offer Everything

Local Veterans 
I grew up a half an hour from Pearl Harbor.  There are bunkers in the mountains all over the island and military bases peppered everywhere.  As a child I was often mistaken for a military kid.  Why else would a caucasian girl live in the most local place on the island?  Kole Kole pass in the Waianae Mountains on the coast where I lived was the place US radar first spotted the attacking planes on December 7, 1941.  History was all around us growing up there, but it wasn't until later in life that I really understood the gravity of the sacrifices made on that day.

I remember walking on Schofield military base with my brother one time when we were children.  We were there for some sort of event and we were amazed that these military families had houses.  We grew up in a 2 bedroom condo, so that seemed pretty impressive.  I remember seeing a light come on in my brother's eyes and I wondered if one day he'd be a soldier too.

Danny did end up becoming a soldier right after high school, but I don't think it was for the housing.  He was a single guy, and he joined the Hawaii National Guard not long after 9/11.  Danny has always been fiercely loyal and caring, and I think he wanted a chance to look after the people of His country.  He ended up being deployed for a year to the Kuwait.  Not long after our youngest brother Matt felt he should goin too. He was eventually also deployed to the Iraq and Kuwait two different times becoming the gunner in a humvee guarding convoys of delivery trucks all through that war torn region.

The Star Spangled Banner
My brothers were in a place where their life was actually placed in such a place of vulnerability for mine.  It was only then that I really began to understand that the houses and other benefits the military receives are only meager offerings compared to what they offer for us.  Every day I heard news of bombings and prayed they didn't say anything related to the areas my brothers were in or the jobs they were doing.  I can only imagine how it felt to my mother, to wives and to children of soldiers.

Today is Veteran's day.  We went in to the local parade, even though the rain made for miserable weather.  I thought of the World War II veterans who would be there, even in their old age.  I remembered a WWII veteran telling me that they were dying at the rate of over 1000 per day.  If they could fly through gunfire, parachute into harm's way, sustain emotional and physical trauma for people they did not know, surely standing in the rain to honor them was the tiniest thing we could do.  Thank you veterans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


Repetition.  You think it's everywhere,  but when you really are looking for interesting ways to portray it, it's quite a challenge to find.  This Monday, the students in our photo class will learn about repetition in art and how it can emphasize a subject and create interest.  

I was looking for repetition in nature, which does happen in lots of lovely ways, but most of these are subtle, and not so garish as to stand out in the soldierly manner I was seeking.  It seems that man likes to try to create order in his environment through repetition, so there is much of it here.  We even find beauty in lining things up.  Have you ever absentmindedly lined up chocolate chips or something similar while you were on the telephone?  Have you watched your child make a road of books down the hall?  

There is something very human about repetition.  It makes things predictable.  How would we find the correct letters if the keyboard had various sizes of keys?  I think we'd be a little freaked if the baby gate had random sizing in the holes of its mesh.  The harmony of a perfectly woven basket or chair makes us want to relax.  The endless succession of cars on a train say industry and efficiency.  

After a while, most man made repetition seems to look like glorified versions of the building blocks and legos we played with as children.  We must have things simple, straightforward: stacked.  The unfathomably organized chaos that is nature intimidates us, yet we emulate it with these blocks we make of life.  They help us to create beauty in our own way.  They are our individual interpretations of the wonder that surrounds us.  

My eyes will now be more aware of repetition in the manmade world around me, but what I am really thrilled to find are the subtle ways God has used repetition in His designs.  Then, what will be really wonderful is to find a way to interpret that through the creation of a photograph.  It will be a challenge.  I know I will find it in the way a sunflower's seeds are arranged, the way leaves are arranged around a stem and branches upon a tree.  There are the many hexagons of the honey comb and the stars in the sky.  There is a certain harmony, balance and familiarity about the repeating designs that God has made that make them mysterious and fascinating when we begin to notice.  What do you think you'll find as you look?  

The Mountain, the Butterflies and Bob Ross' Home Station

Today I am thankful for living in the Pacific Northwest. We have family nearby. Our family members are also some of our best friends. We have all kinds of back to the basics type country friends. We have great fall leaves. We have spectacular cloudy sunsets. We have beautiful wild birds, like bluejays, eagles and even crows and seagulls. 


When we drove to Seattle today for a Co-Op field trip, I was particularly struck by the beauty of this place.  We live in a place with a rich history in its indigenous people. We can live insanely close to a large dormant volcano and still be surprised at its proximity when the clouds roll back. We can visit a major city full of museums, book lovers and coffee drinkers, barefoot runners and activists, but get to avoid its daily traffic by living an hour away. We are near the ocean if we care to drive and are surrounded by temperate rainforest and mind boggling diversity of life in those forests. To me, it's a taste of what heaven might be, but a little colder.

The field trip led us to the Pacific Science Center at Seattle Center.  We watched a beautiful film about two women who rescued orphaned animals.  One raised elephants orphaned by poachers in Kenya,  The other raised orangutans orphaned by deforestation in Borneo.  Both lived their lives according to their passion and interest.  I like to try to live my life like that, right here where I've been put.  

Next, we went into the Butterfly room.  The tropical plants there are all those I grew up with.   I was reminded of how blessed I was to have grown up in a place with plants of such incredible beauty.  One of the first things I noticed was a gardenia.  It it my favorite flower and was in my wedding bouquet.  Butterflies were as common as birds in that place and the kids were entranced.  They rested on hands and heads, looking like beautiful adornments.  We saw them drinking up yumminess with their proboscis.  We left that tropical place to go to the coolness of the tide pool exhibit.  There, we saw animals who live right in the Puget Sound.  


new hair decor 

Starfish sending up her little suckers

It was time to eat some yummy packed lunches, comprised of apples, tortilla sandwiches and granola bars.  We enjoyed the seagulls begging for a snack, then headed to the next place.  Channel 9, KCTS, is our local public television station.  The kids sat in a call center, visited a sound stage, saw the main control and editing rooms for the station and saw the current playing show: that of Bob Ross, the painter of "happy little trees."    It was a lovely day.  I'm glad we live here.

This is why we homeschool
best buddies

Public Television, KCTS

Sound Stage

Back home, Maia sitting by the window

Our kitty, Pearl