Tuesday, March 30, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 12

Glittering BaubleI found this shiny bauble in the most unlikely place - on a car! It's the tail lamp, to be exact.

I never thought I would take pictures of cars but here it is. I saw it glittering and shimmering in the sun and was attracted like a crow who loves collecting shiny objects!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ode to My Grandfather

If you've been reading this blog, you know that I'm kinda sorta addicted to Flickr! I feel like photos express myself more purely, without all the over-thinking and editing that goes on when I'm trying to express myself in words. It's the best way to convey the sense of awe and wonder that I feel about the extraordinary details in ordinary objects. And I hope that when he grows up, my son will look at the photos I took of him and realize just how much I love him.

But photography isn't just a way to express myself for me. It's a way for me to reconnect with my maternal grandfather. He loved photography, and he's the one that introduced me to the world beyond snapshots. I can still picture this one photo he took of fall leaves in a stream. It took my breath away and awakened something within, even though I didn't know it at the time.

Now, you might think, from what I've written so far, that we had a great relationship. We didn't. I was petrified of him and I might say that the fear bordered on hate. There are many pictures that he took of me in which I'm frowning or giving him the same cold, icy look I have in the picture shown.

I didn't even know why or care to find out why I felt that way. I was still very young, and I just instinctively knew that I did. And I continued to feel that way until his death, when I was about 10.

Then, something happened. I looked at my grandmother, whom I liked very much, and felt the same fear and disgust I felt when I used to look at my grandfather. And it hit me... I was afraid of her because she was now the oldest person I knew, and oldest meant that she was the closest to death. And the fear that I had felt around my grandfather had actually been fear of death!

The sense of guilt I felt then was immense. I never got to know my grandfather, the person, because I had unfairly allowed my misconception about death to judge his character.

I lived with that guilt for over 15 years. What saved me was the photo I showed above. I was looking at it and was thinking about how I openly admitted that I did not like him, and yet, he still treated me like a princess. Whenever we were visiting, he would often come home from work with a little package from Sanrio. I remember he even brought home a flowery dress once, which was totally out of character and surprised everyone. I mean, imagine, a 70-year-old man in a suit and a tie, walking around the children's department looking for something pink!

And as I was remembering this, it occurred to me, "If that's not unconditional love, I don't know what it is." That elusive unconditional love that everyone seeks - I had it, and I didn't even know it.

This revelation actually made me feel worse, and I started bawling like a little child. But something within told me that it was OK. He loved me unconditionally, and he forgives me for that too. I like to think it was the part of the DNA that we both share. After 15+ years, I was finally free of the lingering guilt and felt closer to my grandfather than I ever had.

And now, every time I pick up my camera, I tap into that shared DNA and our shared love for photography. Although it's impossible to reconnect with him in the physical world, I feel more connected with him at a much deeper level when I'm taking photos. It's almost a spiritual experience rather than just a way to document what I see.

Well, this turned out to be more of a book than an ode, but I wanted to share with you why photography is such an important part of my life.

Friday, March 19, 2010

It's finally spring!

Pure Luck

Looks like the long snowy winter is finally coming to an end. Don't get me wrong, I actually love snow. But this winter, it snowed a little bit too much. Even for me. And I used to live in Rochester, NY. Of course, back then, I never had to shovel the snow...

Anyway, back to the point! The weather has been just about perfect for the last couple of days, and I'm starting to notice little buds on branches. Everyone seems to be out and about, from kids running around in playgrounds to just people in general coming out of hibernation.

Yesterday, my son and I were playing outside when this lady bug graced us with its presence. I don't know where they go during the winter, but I'm definitely happy that this one came out to enjoy the spring sun. I can't help but feel lucky that it allowed me to take a picture like this!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Glass Half Full?

Is the glass half full or half empty? You hear that question a lot when someone's talking about optimists and pessimists. I've never bought that as an accurate way to judge someone. Maybe it's because the first time I was ever asked that question, I answered "half empty," and was made to feel horrible for being a "pessimist."

But really, people are so much more complex than that, and just because you lean towards "half empty" doesn't mean you are an Eeyore. Take, for example, a person who says "That glass is only half full," and a person who says "That glass is only half empty." Which one is an optimist now?

Personally, I think I'm still a "half empty" person. But after I look at the glass a little while, I'm likely to say "But just look at the light dancing on the water! It's really beautiful." Or "Wow, it's amazing how the water distorts the items behind the glass. If the glass was completely full or completely empty, I probably would've never noticed it."

Yup, I may be a bit of a pessimist at first, but I always find a silver lining in the end. And I'd rather be the that way than be an "optimist" who always says, "That glass is half full, but I wish it was completely full," or "I'd rather it was filled with soda than water."

Anyway, what triggered this little rant? My 52 Weeks Challenge photo. I think it's a perfect example that sometimes, you'll run into a silver lining if you just stick it out. This week, I was having trouble finding something that inspired me. Finally, I just stacked two of my son's toy cups on the floor, just like the picture on the left. I wasn't expecting much, but when I got close to it and played around with the camera setting, the result was breathtaking!

So please, don't judge me on the first impression! I'm really an optimist at heart, but sometimes, I need a little more time to find that optimism within! :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010


If you've noticed that I haven't been posting much on this blog, or over at Etsy for that matter, you are right. I've been busy sorting.

I got a giant box full of new beads for a brand new line of items that I've been planning to make. They are actually acrylic beads, and they all came strung in an assortment of colors. Well, I don't know about you, but I HAVE to have them all sorted by color before I can start working on anything new.

So, I've been sorting through thousands, if not tens of thousands of beads! I can see the end of the tunnel now, and I'm excited that I'll soon get to actually create something with these! I'll keep you updated on the progress, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hina Matsuri

Hina Matsuri

Today, March 3rd, is Hina Matsuri in Japan. It lietrally translates to "Doll Festival", but it's a day to celebrate and wish for the health of girls in the family.

We display a set of dolls called Hina-Ningyo. Although some lucky girls have a full 7-tier set with lots of accessories and servant dolls, mine were just a pair. One of the emperor and one of the empress. Still, I loved my Ohinasama, and it was one of those days that you felt really special.

While I don't have my dolls to display, I still couldn't resist getting some sweets at Mitsuwa, the Japanese Supermarket. Hina Matsuri sweets are just so pretty! The kanten jellies pictured has always been one of my favorites. They are somewhere between jello and gummies, something that I haven't encountered anywhere else.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

52 Week Challenge: Week 8

In His Eyes

This photo was nearly impossible to take! Even though my son was sitting down, when you get that close, any minor movement completely throws the focus. And for the same reason, I couldn't use a tripod, so I had to hold the camera as steadily as possible. As if that's not frustrating enough, my camera has been acting up lately, and it doesn't always take a picture when I ask it to!

I've always loved my son's eyes, though, so I was pretty determined to get a good picture before he grew up and his eyes matured. In fact, I've been working on the concept for months. I'm pretty happy with this one, but I may try it again later with a different lens.

Flickr is definitely bringing out the camera geek in me! :)