Friday, March 27, 2009

Fuse Beads

There is a time guzzling drug marketed specifically to 4 and 5 year olds- It's manufactured in a multitude of colors, with or without glitter, transparent or opaque... Yes! Fuse beads! If in your youth you missed out on this activity of wonder, there's still hope- somehow adults are willingly lured into the fuse bead festivities of their children-

Today at work a valuable lesson was reintroduced to me. Gabriel had be slaving away at a circle template with a deliberate color pattern. This had involved asking everyone at the table to excavate their individual fuse bead bowls for a few rare and precious black fuse beads. Then he had to convince the other 6 children that they wanted to devote their coal colored beads to him. It was an arduous process. I had been so proud of him for working hard to obtain his goal.

Meanwhile, one of the girls was drawing a crowd at an adjacent table with her 3 pokey-backed black caterpillars she'd captured at home. Gabriel and "Carlito" left for a moment of admiration and upon return, Carlito's elbow sent Gabriel's beads rocketing across the deck- Gabriel's face dropped, his brow crinkled, he huffed a few understandably flustered words and jetted to the structure to be alone-

My heart ached, especially because Gabriel refrained from retaliation (a common response at this age). I wanted to scoop all the orphaned beads into a bowl and recreate his masterpiece for him. As a Purple Side teacher, I know that fixing or saving a child from disappointment is a big no-no. Still, I let my natural response mode get the best of me, at first. I collected as many black, green, red, and white beads as I could find from the floor, put them in Gabe's bowl and even started beading the black periphery. Years of training began creeping into my mind.

Am I helping Gabe by trying to take this negative experience away? It might make me feel a whole lot better. In the long run though, kids need to go through hard things so they learn how to handle trying situations, the emotions *and appropriate solutions* that accompany them.

I dumped the beads back into Gabe's bowl, set the template on top, and asked another teacher to check in with Gabe. No immediate response. A while later he started playing with Ricky. Then! A half hour later he returned to the table. This was terribly rewarding to see.

I offered him the scavenged remains and his barren template. He refused the template saying he wanted to use a square instead of a circle. With the same color scheme, he created a white door with a black nob and deemed it far superior to the original. In his words, "I didn't like the other one. This one is a lot better."

As he made this remark Andres' fuse beads spilled from his template. Disgruntled, he began chucking the beads across the table. I stopped him and explained how Gabe had lost his work that day and that sometimes when we are forced to start over, it is an opportunity to assess where we've been and create something better- :) The principle clicked and Andres began a new project, agreeing that he could like this one even more than the last.

Great lessons for life. I heart preschoolers!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Ansa Verse SOiReE

A soiree- a party; a social gathering of celebration and recreation, with religious, cultural, or seasonal implications...

Last April I ventured to the desert wonderland of Ansa Borrego with my dear friend Erin. Yesterday we returned to this arid landscape, bustling alive with flowering spring- it was GORGEOUS! And, instead of two, we were three! I accompanied Erin and her fiance of two months, Brandon, and shot a days worth of engagement photos.

As I reminisce about the day's activities, I smile. It was truly a fun adventure- Loved every minute- even the moments I stepped and sat in cacti! I'm still laughing about that! :)

Thank you Erin and Brandon for a great day!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My Momma

I gotta pay some homage.

In countless ways throughout my life, my mother has shown me what it means to put her children first. She has modeled sacrifice, sheltering, and selflessness. I hope to shadow her one day.

Let me share two illustrations.

Two weeks ago, she attended an annual Spaghetti dinner fundraiser- after dinner, to add to "the pot", they had a dessert auction. My mom monetarily maneuvered her way into winning a plate of rice krispy treats sprinkled with a rainbow of M&Ms. Let's just say those turned out to be the costliest marshmallow delights in the world! AND she gave them to me to take to church the next day for the Linger Longer Pot Luck! Elmo says sharing is caring.

Yesterday, after having spent a full morning orchestrating and running the Scouts Pinewood Derby then grocery shopping the afternoon away, she agreed to prepare and host a family dinner especially for a scene in my documentary short film. She fed all the family and my small crew of friends and helped dinner convo to stay on topic. She is a lifesaver! God bless you Momma! Thanks for 31 years+ of hard work and love.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Free at Last

Friday was laced with good intention. I attempted to fulfill requirements for 2 photography assignments in one go; one project focusing on color, the other composition. I drove to Signal Hill's industrial district, parked in 1 hour parking, and began to scout the area on foot.

I stumbled upon a photographic treasure trove at Gardena and 29th St. A giant lot heaped with monochromatic and analogous colored scrap metals, orphaned car parts, and towering trucks. I asked the 2 men sweeping for permission to take a few photos. They welcomed me. Before I knew it, 1 photo led to another and another...and...

One of the men called to me as he was leaving, "Good luck with your project!" "Thanks!" I called back. Half an hour later it occurred to me that it might be beneficial to my pocket book to move my car so I wouldn't get a parking ticket, or worse, towed.

I walked towards the gate I had originally entered. Strange. It was closed. Anxiety inducing. It was locked. It was the only way out and I was the only one inside! Which left me with this chilling challenge: To find a way out!!!

Like a pinball rickashaying off all 4 walls, I bounced from corner to corner, searching for a loose board, a latter, anything that would help me scale the tall gate sporting it's wiry barbed hairdo. Nothing.

My eye spied the vintage truck parked beside the gate. I hopped onto the running board which lent me enough height to become a floating head. "Look at me, here I am, right where I belong..." A bobbing head-

I tried waving down the cars driving by, yelling to cell phone man down the street- no one noticed me- My car! I had to get out of here! I offered a desperate prayer. Heavenly Father, please please please send someone to rescue me. Five minutes later a delivery truck pulls into a driveway across the street. On his way out, he begins rolling down his window. I call to him, he stops! He let me borrow his cell phone. I called the cops.

An officer showed up with backup. The first thing he said to me was, "So you're turning yourself in for breaking and entering huh?" "No officer, I got permission to be here." "Oh yah? From who?" "Shoot. I didn't get their names." "Oh. You don't know their names..." He gave me a really hard time, laughing all along the way.

The officer had just completed a two hour lock picking training a couple weekends before! Unfortunately it didn't help him. Somehow they were able to get a hold of the company's owner and 2 hours later I returned to my car. Yes! It was still there and no ticket! :)