Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Disneyland Family 5K -2014

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cameras, Photographers and ... wind (?) Oh My!

It's a Tuesday and it's been a strange day already.  75 degrees by 8 a.m., but windy.  It's May, not October, so what's with the breeze?

Beware the "great" deals on cameras.  What's the old adage? Oh yeah, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  I bought a little "point and shoot" camera last summer, thinking that Brooklyn could use it when she went to Cousin's Week at Aunt Peggy's house.  I put in a memory card and took a few pictures, but they didn't look so good.  Thinking nothing of it, I set it aside (but didn't have Brooklyn take it, for fear it would get lost.)  Rob took it to Florida last November for Dodger Camp.  He said he had a few problems with it and it didn't take very good pictures.  I was not sure if it was "operator error" or the camera, but he was correct, the pictures did not look too good.  He did take some video as well, but nothing too exciting.  The camera has sat on my desk at the home office for months and I decided to take it to the Clippers game Sunday night.  Lugging the big Canon around can be a pain sometimes and the ushers and ticket takers at Staples don't always let people in with "big" cameras like mine. (It also differs by event - sporting events you can usually get the camera in, but for concerts you can't.  Someday, I'll find someone to explain that to me.)  In any event, Staples was festooned with tons of Red for the Clippers and I took a few pictures.  Yuck.  The ones I took inside the arena were blurry and just looked bad, even on that little one-inch screen.  I took better pictures with my Droid.  So, needless to say, the camera will be going the way of the buffalo soon.  Well, maybe I'll give it to Brooklyn.  But why the mention of the "great deal"?  I bought the camera at Kohls.  It was originally about $135, I think, and it was marked down (on sale, not clearance) to about $75 or maybe even $50, and I had coupons, so I paid $35 or so for it.  Turns out, I should have saved my money for a Canon Power Shot or maybe a little Nikon.  Would have been better spent.

Photographers - ugh.  I have had it with JCPenney photographers.  Can they really call themselves "professional," or do they just pull people off of the street and hand them a camera.  I know I've said it before, but this time I really mean it, I'm done with them.  I took Kensi in for an 18 month photo shoot (a few weeks ago.)  I had been feeling guilty that I took Brooklyn so many times when she was a baby, and had so far just taken pictures of Kensi myself (albeit with some really great results.)  Hoping for the best, off we trooped.  Kensi was not happy.  She walked off the mat more times that I can count and they ended up taking a total of 9 pictures.  Yup, NINE.  I regularly take 9 pictures in about 5 minutes of average things at home.  These people are supposed to be PROFESSIONALS and we were there for about a 1/2 hour before just giving up.  The kicker?  At one point, the "photographer" (and yes, I use that term VERY loosely) put the camera down in order to try and get Kensi to look at the camera and smile.  The reward for her efforts?  Kensi looked up with the sweetest look on her face and even a little grin. (Brooklyn was sitting behind her.)  The problem?  THE FREAKIN' CAMERA WAS 3 FEET BEHIND HER ON THE FLOOR!  ARGH!  I was so tempted to pick the stupid thing up and start shooting myself.  So, needless to say, I'm going to be hunting for a few basic backgrounds and some canvases that I can set up at home (I already have the light stands and a few other little toys.)  Anyone else sick of the "professionals" at JCPenneys doing a half-assed job?  Come to my house - I'll take the pictures for free and give them to you on a disk.  Can't do the digital touch ups for you, but you might get a few good ones to take home.  Grrr...

And finally, just a few things on scrapbooking.  You know it had to go there eventually, right?  I spent Friday and Saturday in Manhattan Beach at an event put on by Teresa Collins and a local online scrap store.  The event was open to 100 women (I guess men could have come too) and included 4 classes.  2 on Friday and 2 on Saturday.  Teresa Collins is a pretty big name in her own right and she was able to bring together several other large names and got products donated from several big companies.  The projects were cute, some a little more my taste than others.  (I won't give too many details here, but will try to get pictures up soon.  Some of them may turn into gifts for people.)  The company was interesting.  Scrapbookers can be a crazy lot.  Overall though, I have found these women to be very open and warm and quite friendly.  Some women came from other states and one even came from England.  Apparently Teresa has a big following. (I'm not so much a "celebrity" follower in the biz, but I like certain styles.)  Rob is convinced that all of them (except for me and a few of my scrapping friends) sit at home with their 40 cats, taking pictures of and scrapbooking those same cats.)  I will say that there are some odd birds in the group as a whole, and a few of them were there on Friday.  I could not help but wonder how many cats they owned (2 particular ladies) but I refrained from asking.  They were nice enough ladies anyway, even if they did spend 15 minutes trying to measure the pieces of wood we were working with, in order to get everything centered.  (I eyeballed it and then had to laugh when I did pull out my ruler and found that I had hit dead center.)    In any event, the weekend was a nice break.  No kids of worries for 2 whole days.  I even tried to have a beer on Friday night, since I had nowhere to drive to, nowhere to be on Saturday morning (other than to scrap some more) and no other responsibilities.  Yup, I fell asleep.  So much for my big night out without the girls.

Now I must get some work done.  Pay the bills, justify my presence, the usual things.  Pictures of the scrappy projects to come soon, hopefully, and maybe some pictures of Kensi.  In the meantime, GO DODGERS!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

More Mysteries of Motherhood...

This topic has been rolling around in my head for awhile, gaining momentum and then falling by the wayside.  In light of the current TIME cover that is on everyone's minds these past few days, I thought I'd pull this out of the ol' noggin and put it out there.  If you're not sure what I am talking about with respect to the TIME cover, just google "TIME breastfeeding cover" or words like that and you will soon be up to speed.

What mysteries are we pondering today?  One recent one for me is this idea that we, as parents, have the right to judge what other parents are doing, based on our own experiences.  This fits squarely into the discussion of how long to breast feed your child and the whole idea of attachment parenting, but those recent hot buttons are not what is fueling this topic for me.  The cause of it was a brief stop at Wal-Mart a few weeks ago.  Of course you see all kinds of people at Wal-Mart.  Heck, I shop there and I'm sure I could someday end up on a "People of Wal-Mart" picture (not that I aspire to that.)

Anyway, I was waiting in line to check out at Wal-Mart and a child started screaming a few lanes over.  The person who was in front of me in line started talking to the check-out person about the child, and making comments about how her children never behaved that way in public and if they had, she would have dragged them out.  What followed was about 10 minutes of the check-out person and the woman in front of me talking about this poor child and parent a few lanes over and how they would handle the situation differently.  At least, it felt like 10 minutes when you factor in that I was in a hurry, had only come in for one or two things and was headed elsewhere, and the kid was still screaming.   After the woman in front of me finished up, the check-out person then tried to continue the conversation with me (I was not a willing participant) and then started up with the woman behind me in line.

So here is my dilemma.  Even as parents, are we really ever qualified to discuss and opine on someone else's child rearing?  Do we ever really know all of the facts of any given situation, such that we are able to offer up advice or tell someone what we would do in that situation?  I don't think so, because I do not believe that we can ever really, truly step into someone else's shoes in that way.  I will say that I have been on the receiving end of screaming tantrums once or twice in B's 6 years.  We actually walked out of a birthday party because she started throwing a fit.  We quietly apologized to the mother of the party girl and physically picked B up and carried her out - literally kicking and screaming.  We even had an "Exorcist" moment in the car when she, finally buckled into her car seat, ordered us to "turn this car around, right now!" in a very throaty, deep voice.  If it had not been slightly comical through our tears of frustration and embarrassment, we might have been a little freaked out.  My point in telling that story is not to highlight one of B's episodes, but to highlight the idea that while many of the other parents at that party might have understood what we were going through, none of them would know exactly what the situation was, or why we handled it the way we did (although I am sure some there might have had an opinion on how they would have handled it.)

I revert back to something one of Rob's cousins mentioned to me a year or two ago.  She said that you cannot be a parent without being a hypocrite, something that she learned through hands on parenting as well.  A good example of this, is that before I was blessed with little ones, I used to swear that I would never use a leash on my child.  I thought that parents who had cords attached to their kids just did not know how to control them and that when I became a parent, I would do better.  Then I became a parent.  Then my daughter started to walk and then run.  Then I bought a leash.  Seriously, you never know how you will handle a situation until you are smack in the middle of it.

So, what did I do at Wal-Mart?  I kept my mouth shut and my opinions to myself.  I silently chided the women in the lane I was in for having the gall to think that might know better than the little girl's mom what to do.  I also silently said a little prayer for the Mom of that little girl, wishing her peace and patience to deal with the situation.  But I kept my mouth shut.  In that same vein, I may opine about breast feeding, but at the end of the day, I did what was best for my kids and what my body allowed me to do.  I do not assume to know what is in the hearts and minds of other moms and I do not assume to know what works for them or their children.  I will say that it is kind of creepy (for me) to see a toddler walk up to his or her mom and actually ask for milk, then go back to playing with his friends, but that is me.  I do not have a problem with breast feeding in public, but that's another topic for another day.

The other little mystery that has been bugging me.... hours of labor.  How exactly do you count the hours of labor?  Is it the time from the first contraction until the baby comes, or is it just from when the water breaks until baby's arrival?  Or maybe just the active pushing?  I am confused and curious because several friends have recently had babies and I have heard "horror" stories about the long hours of labor - going to the hospital at lunchtime on Wednesday and baby coming early Thursday morning, or even better, going to the hospital on Sunday and baby coming on Tuesday. Oh wait, that was me.  I wonder.  Does anyone even know?  Is there a standard measurement?  How do we figure this out?

With B, I started having contractions around 1 or 2 in the afternoon.  They were short and not very close together, but it was enough for me to call the doctor.  By 4 in the afternoon, they were closer together and lasting longer.  By 7, we were on our way to the hospital.  At 8:30, my water broke and B arrived around 11:30.  I would say that my labor lasted around 3 or 4 hours, going from the time my water broke until she arrived.  I guess that would be "active labor."  Where does the rest of that day figure in?

With K, I was sent to the hospital by my doctor, before contractions started.  I guess you could say that I was induced, starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday night.  Nothing really happened until Tuesday morning, when I was given a different medication to really get things moving.  I got the epidural around 7 and I think the doctor broke my water around 8 and K arrived around 1. (I would have to check what the time of birth was, cause as I write this, I don't remember.)  But with her, I'd say I was in labor for 5 or 6 hours.  Realistically, before that, nothing much happened.

As I write this, I do not really have a closing for my thoughts, just the idea that they are finally out of my head and that space can be taken up with something else..., like why I can win random contests at the mall but can't win the lottery.  More on that another day.