Sunday, March 30, 2008

40 year old's and a Mouse

I'm way behind on posting so I'm just going to make this one really long post! Starting with Michelle's surprise 40th party that we threw on March 1st.

If you read Christy's blog, you saw some of the pics from the party. I don't have many more to add because for once I wasn't concerned with taking pictures. I was too busy giving people directions, making sure Jamie didn't bring Michelle to the party too early and mingling with the guests. Everyone had a blast, especially Michelle (aside from baby shower's, this was Michelle's first ever adult party) so it was worth any stress or tiredness I felt. And of course, now we can't surprise any more 40th birthday's (mine next year, Rob the year after..) but that's okay because surprises are stressful!

And then of course we had our trip to Disney World over Spring Break. This time we just took the little ones...Ethan, Isaiah, Jakob and Ella. It was the 2nd trip for the boys and Ella's first. It's never really a "vacation" when you go to Disney World, unless you consider waking up early, getting to bed late and walking around all day long a vacation. But we love Disney so we just deal with it, and get massages when we get back home! Christy and I get just as excited about seeing the characters as the kids do...Michelle not so much but she will beat you down if you try and cut ahead of her in line! :-) Ella was so sweet with the characters, once she got over having to wait in line to see them. She asked each one if she could give them a hug and a kiss and apparently she was asking lots of questions too because Christy and I heard Snow White say "oh no, I'm not wearing lips are as red as a rose!" I can only imagine what Ella said to her, probably something about wearing too much lipstick!! :-)

Of course, having just finished my photography course and wanting to practice, I was on the lookout for any interesting objects. Thanks to "Asia" at the Animal Kingdom, I found these..

So now I'm just trying to finish unpacking. Yes...I still have some things in my suitcase (like clothes I didn't wear) which is still in my bedroom (so much for my New Years resolution about not procrastinating. But at least I AM making my bed EVERY morning!) Hell, I might as well just leave them in there for Hawaii which will be here before I know it.

Speaking of Hawaii...I'm still hovering on a total weight loss of 8 pounds, though sometimes I feel like I've gained 80. When I travel, I retain water and er, the "plumbing" stops. I don't know why, it's some strange phenomenon...even if went out of town for a night it would happen. So in order to feel like I lost anything before Hawaii, I need to lose double, or triple even. So I'm going to give the South Beach Diet a try before Hawaii...Michelle has had amazing success with it (her doc ordered her to do it when her bad cholesterol reading came back high...she was so focused that at her PARTY she didn't cheat, and we would have all given her a pass that day.) I'm not so disciplined...tell me I can't have something and I immediately crave it all the time even if I never ate it before, so we'll see how I do. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Movie Review

It's that time again!!

What I saw in the theater:

Enchanted -- I can't believe this is already out on DVD, seems like I just saw it. It was a really cute movie. Fun, sweet, funny... a must see. If you see it...tell me if you think Amy Adams (the princess) sounds like Lesley Ann Warren who played "Miss Scarlet" in the movie Clue. They have the same laugh/giggle, I swear they must be related!!!

Atonement -- I wasn't really that interested in seeing this movie but my roommate, Grace, and cousin were. And since it starred Keira Knightley and James McAvoy, both of whom I like...especially him, I went. I knew going in that it was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture but I still don't see why. It wasn't horrible, the plot was good, but there were some scenes that had me looking over to Grace and whispering "I'm lost".

Penelope -- about a girl cursed with a pig-nose. It was as cute as I thought it would be. And James McAvoy was a plus. Really sweet movie, you must rent when it comes out on DVD.

The Other Boleyn Girl -- very good movie, though the critics didn't give it a good rating. It wasn't as sexually explicit as I thought it would be; the Showtime series "The Tudors" is very explicit so I was expecting the same thing. It stuck pretty much to the book but they didn't explain why Mary Boleyn was able to remarry at the end of the movie. Had I not read the book, I would be questioning that. My mom, Jamie and Christy didn't catch it so maybe it's just a "Lisa quirk" that I catch details like that.

What I saw on DVD:

American Gangster -- Man, there was a LOT of killing going on in this movie. It was amazing to think that it's based on a true story! Denzel plays a good bad guy, hands down. Very good movie, I was upset to see that only Ruby Dee (who deserved her nomination -- would have been nice to see her win) was nominated for an Academy Award.

Gone Baby Gone -- Going into this one I didn't really know what to expect. I knew that Ben Affleck directed and the movie got good reviews. I also knew the actress who portrays the mother in the movie, whose child is kidnapped, was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie was really good and I thought I was about to be upset at the ending when you realize that really wasn't the ending...that there are more twists and turns to come. Worth renting. And Ben's younger brother, Casey, is nice to look at (plus he's a good actor.)

The Jane Austen Book Club -- being a fan of Jane Austen (though I've only seen movies of her books and never actually read one) I was very excited for this movie which is based on a book. I am SO glad I did not pay to see it in the theater. It was a bit of a let down. Not a horrible movie, but the movie trailer made it look more interesting than it actually is. I wonder if the book is any better? If you read it, please offer up your thoughts!

Dan in Real Life -- Cute...but not nearly the gut-busting, crying-because-I'm-laughing-so-hard movie that I thought it would be.

Elizabeth, The Golden Age -- I loved the first 'Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth' movie so was happy to see there was a follow-up. I was pleased. The critics gave it a bad rating, but I liked it alot. I think I bought the first movie so I'll have to get this one as well for the home collection.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sleep Walking

I don't know when I started sleep walking. As a kid, it was Michelle who walked in her sleep. Once, when she was 7 or 8, my parents got a call in the middle of the night saying "don't be alarmed, but Michelle is at our home." She unlocked the door and walked right out of our mobile home and across the street to our babysitter's home. At some point she stopped and I started. I've never walked out of my home, usually I stay in my room and the only evidence I have that I was sleep walking is a light left on or waking up in my bathrobe. Once Grace (my roommate) got up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and heard me talking in my closet, pushing clothes around like I was looking for something to wear. She's terrified that one day she will get up to use the potty and see me standing in the foyer in the dark. Last year I actually did venture outside of my bedroom because the front patio light switch was turned on, but the lightbulb was out so I know I went to bed with the switch turned off. What's odd is how I can walk thru the living room in the dark, sound asleep, and not bump into any furniture but when I'm wide awake I bump into everything, including the walls!

I've never slept walked when I've had an overnight guest, but I have talked in my sleep when others are around. I've even sat up in bed and mumbled something. Usually if the other person says "go back to sleep" I do.

Sometimes it happens alot, other times it happens once in a blue moon. It happened last night. I was up late packing for my upcoming trip and went to bed around 11pm. I was exhausted so I crashed hard and fast and then the next thing I know I'm in my bathroom getting a drink of water from the faucet and thinking "why can't I fall asleep?!" I believe I was sleep walking and must have been dreaming about not being able to fall asleep, and I guess I also was dreaming that I was thirsty, but somehow I woke up in the middle of it. I fell back asleep easily but this morning I am dragging-ass-tired!

I've often thought about having a sleep study done but I'm sure if I did I wouldn't talk or walk because I know that I'm hooked up to probes. Kinda like when you take the car to the shop and tell the mechanic that it's making noise and then it doesn't make a sound in front of him. It was suggested that I should videotape myself sleeping...but I'm not sure I want to see and hear what I do and say!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Photo Assignment, weeks 6, 7, and 8

Well, my "Understanding Exposure" class is finished! 8 weeks is a looong time but this class was SO worth the money. In fact, there are several other classes I want to take thru PPSOP but since I'm heading to DisneyWorld this Saturday and then heading to Hawaii 3 weeks later, I'm going to put off taking any courses for now. But I can't wait until I can enroll again, I learned so much and I think my photography skills have bumped up a notch.

As in past posts, below are the pictures I submitted for weeks 6, 7, and 8 along with the critique by professional photographer, Bryan Peterson.

Week 6 - understanding how light changes a scene in just a few minutes or hours.

Taken at 5:19 p.m.

Taken at 5:30 p.m. "This is a stunning sky and what a difference 11 minutes can make! I love that second shot and the sky above is SOOOO moody and the one at 5:19 just doesn't have that punch! Great comparison and a PERFECT PICTURE for the 5:30 shot!"

Week 7 - learning how to meter for white scenes (so that the white photographs white and not gray), and using a reflector (or car sun-visor in my case!) for backlit portraits (when the sun is at your subjects back.)

"VERY nice job on the exposure here and this is really well done! This is great because he looks perfectly happy to us- a darn cute smile there, actually! A little different time of day and you can get the sun low to the sky at your back and that will light up his eyes. In this light his eyes are left a little dark. Nice job on the lesson!"

"A great subject here! It is difficult to find people who engage with the camera and really connect and you have that here for sure! In the first shot of her with the haze and the tilt - a little too much tilt there for her. If this was a person with tattoos and spiked hair with piercings all over the place- -that would be great. The haze is lens flare from the sun hitting the front element of the lens. Throw on that lens hood and it will help a lot. The second shot is just what I am looking for and what we have there as well is a nice catchlight in the eyes and that really draws the attention where we want it and that is the eyes! A PERFECT PICTURE! Great job on the lesson!"

Week 8 - submit pics using any technique that was our favorite, mine was the singular/isolation themes.

"This is really nice and not only will they (my hair salon) want to see this, but they will want it for use in the salon and possibly for advertising! LOVE the colors here and that is an amazing background. I like this amount of hair products because it leaves the shot to be about the card! ANOTHER really creative take and another PERFECT PICTURE! Thanks so much for letting us see your world over the past couple months!"

"Well, two isolation shots here and both are fantastic! I really like the shot of Jamie and you did well there with a nice background and excellent sharpness on the camera. All I wish for there is a little more happiness on her face. The shot looking through the stylist isn't just creative- it's stunning! Honestly, this is an amazing isolation shot and the frame you created there is truly wonderful. Love this and it is a PERFECT PICTURE for sure and I am sure the workers there would love to see these!"

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Si' Se Puede - Yes We Can!

I fell for him back in 2004 (I think that was the year) when he gave his now famous speech at the Democratic National Convention. I, like many, had never heard of him before. And I don't know why I was even watching the convention, I'm not that much of a politics fan, but there I was....a baby Ella in my arms, staring at the TV...mesmerized with him. His speech brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my arms. And even Ella, daughter of devout Republicans, loved him...she was staring at him too and was waving her arms and kicking her legs in excitement.

So when I heard he was holding a Town Hall Rally in San Antonio on February 19th, not far from where I worked, I knew I had to go. My BFF and coworker, Katherine, came along with me and man do I wish I knew then what I know now. Things like: wear flats or tennis shoes because you will walk for BLOCKS to get to the end of the line and will be on your feet for hours; they said no bags but they are allowing purses so you don't have to lock it in your car; if you don't bring your purse, stash some cash in your bra because you will get thirsty and they will be selling food and drinks and cute "hot chicks vote for Obama" buttons and you will want one, because you're a hot chick; take the afternoon off because although the doors open at 11am, you won't get inside until 2pm and Barack won't arrive until 2:20pm and you'll have to leave 5 minutes after he's started speaking because your boss is expecting you back; scratch that..take the whole day off if you want to get in line early enough (like at 8am) in order to get a spot in the seating area.

When we did arrive inside the Guadalupe Cultural Center, it was standing room only and while people were seated, you could see where Barack would take the stage. Of course when he entered everyone was on their feet so all I saw were the backs of people. For a moment I thought all I'd see was a glimpse of his forehead as he walked thru the crowd to the stage. You know how in movies, if a dead president or Elvis is making a cameo and instead of using a look-a-like actor they just show you the top of his forehead as he's walking by?...that's exactly how it felt, I was in a movie watching Barack's forehead walk by! Luckily he asked everyone to be seated so for 5 wonderful minutes I got to watch him speak. Those 5 minutes were completely worth the aching feet (that hurt for days after!) and standing in the sun with little wind to cool us down. I will never forget the excitement, the man behind me in line who would answer his cell phone with "yes we can" every single time, and the "oh shit, this is a black man running for president" moment I had when I spotted the SWAT guys on top of buildings scanning the crowd. Nothing speaks of reality like SWAT and Secret Service!

My guardian angel situated me behind a man and his wife who, because of the bench they were standing on, had a better view than I did from the ground. Feeling sorry for me that I couldn't get any pictures, he grabbed my camera and snapped away. His wife later told me that he is a photographer, so no blurry pics of "see that little spec, that's him" but instead I have wonderful images to forever document that I was a part of a historical moment in San Antonio.

You can view these pictures on my Flickr account thru this link: