Sometimes it all seems overwhelming. That's when Grandma is needed the most.
I like the transposition of the menacing dragon (my kids' school mascot) with the scared child with a comforting grandmother, the last being an archetype that is often seen in fairy tales as the protector or comforter.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sometimes it all seems overwhelming. That's when Grandma is needed the most.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
I just don't see this as prurient. However, it would be interesting to know people's reaction if, say, this was a woman who was evidently not so affluent, or not White and young. What if it were a 40-year-old mestiza, nursing her fifth child, with a lined face and her other four children grouped around her? How would people react then?
What do you think?
Updated: it occurs to me that someone might think I just went ahead and took this shot of what was intended to be an intimate moment. Not so. This woman was participating in a public "nurse in" that was being held on the doorstep of a Cost Plus in Orange, CA. Last week, a woman starting nursing her baby in that store and was asked to leave. Although the store management later apologized, a friend of this woman organized this event to raise awareness of breastfeeding and to make it more acceptable in public. This woman was aware that there were a number of cameras about and was sitting, literally, steps away from the front door of the store.
August 28, 2010.
After a woman was asked to stop nursing her baby at the Cost Plus in Orange, California, a friend of ehrs organized a "nurse in."
Here is my take, being the mother of two kids. Breastfeeding is fine. I think it can be done modestly in public, however. One woman told me that her chil does not like having her head covered while she is feeding - okay, but she can find a private corner to accomplish the task, it need not be in the middle of foot traffic.
As for toddlers - maybe to 3 or 4, but past that age, I think it is time for the "baby" to grow up. Mind you, a lot of children in the past were weaned at one because Momma's milk dried up with the next pregnancy. I heard one mother on the radio say EIGHT was still okay to breastfeed. Uh-uh . . . if little Octavius can read a menu, he can order from that!
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Orange International Street Fair in Orange, California. September 2009. This is a yearly food-drink-music fest over the Labor Day weekend.
The title comes from an expression I would imagine my late father making about these fellows.
Every year at the fair, I sell margaritas at my church's booth, which I enjoy immensely, since it allows me to be at the fair but not out in the crowd. It gets very crowded, as the OISF hasbecome Orange County's answer to Mardi Gras.
Why horns? Over on Denmark Street, certain Scandanavian groups sell these souvenir Viking horns, which over the years have become THE thing to wear while at the fair. People save their horns from year to year, and consider it a special thing each year when they don their horns and head out to drink at the fair.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
August 2006 - a settler's cabin in Cade's Cove, in the Great Smoky Mountains in eastern Tennessee, photographed on my first reconnaissance to that area.
*** MANIFESTO ***
A manifesto is defined as a public declaration of principles, policies, or intentions, especially of a political nature. Well, I don't know how very political this will be, although there are some who might read between the lines, as it were, and presume certain subtext. Fine with me because . . . I don't care.
Let's go back to 1921. For me, that was a significant year as a young man stepped off a ship and onto Ellis Island in hopes of a better life in America. This, after managing to survive a childhood in the Ukraine with a high infant mortality rate, living a life of secret catechism in the Catholic church that would have had him killed, fighting in the tsarist army against the Bolsheviks during the Revolution of 1917, being captured as a prisoner of war in WWI, working in the coal mines of Belgium, farming in France, and finally making his way across the Atlantic. That man was my grandfather, Michael Koretzky.
I start with his story not to imply that I am anywhere near as brave as he was, but to illustrate that I come from stock that says, "Hey, it sucks here . . . let's get up and go make a better life somewhere else." And thus my manifesto, because the Better Half and I have decided to emigrate from Southern California (my observations are limited to the greater Los Angeles region, the Inland Empire, and Orange County, what you might hear described typically as "the Southland"). Our intentions (see, I met the definition of "mainfesto") is to relocate in the summer of 2011 to Knoxville, Tennessee.
Why? There is never one reason, but let me list a few here:
# 1 - The Cost of Living is outpacing the Quality of Life. I have had to take a hard look at our budget, especially after I decided to open my own mediation practice and forgo traditional "lawyering." What I found surprised me. Both of us were working hard - but not for ourselves. As self-employed people, a huge amount of income was going to tax agencies on federal, state, and county levels. We managed to make significant contributions to retirement because we had to, to offset the tax liability.
To add to that, the cost of employment was justifying the employment. How many of you know folks who pay high costs of transportation - let's go look at those gas prices, shall we? - to commute to a job that they need . . . in order to be at the job? Or daycare? Auto maintenance? Now add to that the cost of the everyday necessities of food, clothing, and shelter and I found that the norm in California was "to make it." Not thrive, but just to get by. In retrospect, this should not have surprised me, given the large number of Income and Expense Declarations I have reviewed as an attorney. The norm is to use up nearly all discretionary income and rely on credit for the things that make life worth living. For some, it can be exorbitant, like annual cruises, so when I tell you that I would say that a lot of divorcing couples have an average of, say, $75,000 to $90,000 in credit card debt, don't look skance. But for others, like myself, it's being able to take the family to a ball game, or the movies, or buy a larger television set. Sure, you can "go without" and I have done that, but I think any of us, after a while, would find that pretty depressing.
Fortunately, Mark and I don't have that credit problem, and we have significant equity in our house since we did not join that dance of multiple refinancing and equity lines of credit when house values soared. We have figured out that housing costs, as an example, are about one-third in Tennessee than what they are here. Gas is cheaper, food is cheaper, insurance is cheaper (especially no giant liability pool for auto insurance).
# 2 - To Simplify Life. I know that when people ask my husband, "But Mark, what's in Tennessee?", being the card that he is, he usually answers, "Less." Indeed, the lifestyle of the South is one that is a little more sane than here. I realize that I will never re-create the childhood I had in the Bronx where despite having limited income, we felt rich because of our acceptance of a simple lifestyle. But it is hard to live in an area where stress and tension have become such a common part of our lives that we take it for granted that we are stressed, or depressed, or "overwhelmed" - and find some miracle of pharmaceuticals to help us get through the day.
An example was when I first met Jackie Price. Mr. Price is a realtor in Knoxville who, after meeting us on a "just browsing" visit to his office back in 2006, said, "Well, talking isn't going to do you justice - let me drive you around to show you a few things . . ." Which he did - for the next two hours. But walking out to his car, he opened the door and on the passenger seat were his car keys. I said, "Jackie, you left your keys in the car!" "I know," he said, and when he saw the look on my face, he laughed and added, "Aw, no one's gonna steal it here!"
Now, crime exists everywhere. Urban decay exists everywhere. Poverty exists everywhere. Assholes exist everywhere. But, there is just more in one location than in others. What does Mark say? "Less." I long to feel a little more free, which is hard to do in an area that has basically become a paved lot from Palm Springs to the sea, and from Santa Barbara to San Diego. I want to experience and absorb some more civility, and reduce the amount of negativity that I perceive here, whether it comes from students lowering and desecrating an American flag so they can hoist a Mexican one in Montebello, or constant advertising about approving oneself physically whether it is the lap band or "vaginal rejuvenation", or just the gal who I saw drive by in a convertible Mustang with the license plate frame that read, "My other ride . . . is your husband."
#3 - The Middle Class in California is Dying. I suppose this is an extension of #1, but it is discouraging to see what was once the Golden State become so business adverse, that the middle class can no longer survive. How many of us who own our homes feel that our children will be able to purchase their own in the neighborhood where you live now? Do you feel secure that they will be able to find employment? I think Proposition 13 (for those not in the state, it is our law that limits annual raises on property tax to no more than 2%) is no longer the sacred cow that it has been because the people it affects most are leaving, and if counties and municipalities can set it aside, they will use property tax like drunken sailors to fund more government programs (I know, that's insulting to drunken sailors, because at least they use their own money).
I invite you to read a good article by, Joel Kotkin, entitled "The Golden State's War on Itself." It can be found at www.joelkotkin.com/content/00272-golden-state%E2%80%99s-w.... Mr. Kotkin does a very good job of laying out the road California has taken to make itself a leader in failure. He is hopeful that the state can turn itself around. I am not.
#4 - I Miss the Eastern Woodlands. Yes, I know the weather will not be as nice. But I want to see some green hills, not brown ones. I will put on that extra sweater when the weather turns cold - that's something I can do, at least, as opposed to remaining indoors when the Santa Anas blow and I don't feel like chancing a sinus infection.
So, February will see Casa Mas Rico go on the market. If we cannot sell it by next summer, we will lease it. I will be securing housing in Tennessee with plenty of space for guests so the welcome mat will be out for those who wish to visit.
You can ask me any questions, but know that we are dubbing this "Operation Beta Blockers," in honor of the drugs that moderate Mark's high blood pressure, a condition that prevented us from moving in 2007. Once we are in Tennessee and settled, however, we will be starting "Operation Noah's Ark" - getting the people we love to come and join us.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
See picture below.
The Mutter Museum is a museum of medical oddities, meant to be a training museum for physicians. While I was visiting there, they had this strange art exhibit going on, and these were from here. Post-procesing of the pictures was done by me on my iPhone.
Taken May 2010 at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Please note that this was for my own interest. The actual artwork is not mine and is copyrighted protected.
Taken on an iPhone and processed thereafter.
They made the mistake of putting up a sign that read "No photographs allowed."
Monday, August 09, 2010
Okay, I am mean - I took an ordinary and friendly clown and made him look like something else, just to play around with Photoshop. It was one of those, "Okay, and what would happen if I did this?" moments . . .
I do tend to be protective of my kids, and as many a Mom will tell you, the youngest tends to get the most protection, but I was a little disappointed today when the priest did not acknowledge my son's first time as altar server at the end of Mass. Granted, it was a visiting priest but he was no stranger to the parish and knew our tradition of doing so. If I know it is the first time for a server, I make a point of reminding the priest at the end of Mass so he can say something. Unfortunately, today I was situated on the far end of the Sanctuary, over by the ambo, since I was Lector and would have had to stage whisper across the altar.
And here is why it's important, Father - where do you think vocations start? Taking the time for the junior ministers to get a little public pat on the back may well nourish a seed of thought that they would like to enter the religious life. Especially since it is usually the girls who show up when they are scheduled to serve Mass . . . all too often I have heard parents make an excuse like, "Well, he's got Little League on Sundays." No wonder we have a priest shortage! Fortunately, Patrick is excited about being an altar server and my husband and I made sure he knew that we were inordinately proud of him for doing such a good job for his first time . . . and he did do a good job. A little hesitant, but he did not make any mistakes, even though the candle that he had to handle is actually pretty heavy for him.
At least there were a number of regular parishioners who attend that particular Mass who saw Patrick and came up to him afterward to tell him he did a good job. I just think that if a boy gets a public nod of approval from the presider, he is more likely to consider donning the Roman collar later on in life. Maybe that is why the boys do not show up - unnoticed service makes it a "girl's job."
Sunday, August 08, 2010
Today my 9-year-old son, Patrick, served as an altar server for the first time at the Mass at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, California. Here he is soliciting some last second advice from Veronica, a more seasoned altar server, as they made their way across the altar.
Another shot of my 9-year-old son, Patrick, serving Mass for the first time today, at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, California. Here he is holding the bowl as the priest, Fr. Ed Becker, washes his hands before Consecration.
My 9-year-old son, Patrick, serving Mass as an altar boy for the first time at St. Joseph Church in Santa Ana, California on August 8, 2010.
I am kvelling, if anyone knows a little Yiddish . . .
Saturday, August 07, 2010
August 7, 2010 at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa, California.
I have a soft spot for carnies. I have for some years run the rummage sale at my church during our annual fiesta, and I have had numerous chats with the carnies who operate the rides. For the most part, although definitely fringe players in society, they are decent folk.
Actor Toby Maguire at LAX on August 5, 2010. Watching paparazzi wait for him to come out of customs made me realize what a thankless job that is. Just to get a shot of Smiley here wheel his luggage out.
Friday, August 06, 2010
Thursday, August 05, 2010
Dominic Hirota of "Loaf" and "Cheap Date" on the patio at Original Mike's in Santa Ana, California. June 18, 2010.
I promised big brother Tim Hirota that I would get these pictures to him by the end of the week. That means Friday at 11:59 pm, right?
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
July 31, 2010 at El Dorado Park in Long Beach, California.
After the battle, both sides did a "pass and review". I caught this Confederate drummer boy and loved how seriously he takes his role. It was fine in color but then I started playing with some quadtone processing and felt it added to his mood. Some dodging, some high pass, and a little more tweaking in Photoshop.
Think I'll call him . . . Jeb.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
This was a photo I did back in about 1981 in New York City on a summer's day, back when we had film. It remains one of my favorite photos because I find the evident closeness of the relationship between the woman and child so moving.
Monday, August 02, 2010
When a contact on Flickr made a joking remark about a picture of an Elvis impersonator I posted, I knew I needed to throw some hot damn love at him - a classic shot of the great Phil Shane, circa August 2006.
I have not gone to see Phil in awhile and I think I need some hot damn love. Catch him Wednesdays at Original Mike's in Santa Ana, CA.