Career Day Shenanigans

careerdays2The purpose of Career Day at school is so that the kids will get to network and communicate with perspective employers.

But because the kids are who they are, there has to be a lot of fun involved too. After all, one can get way too serious at these things.

careerday11Career Day at UND is different than most. At UND, there are big airplanes.

careerday4And small airplanes. This one in particular garnered a lot of comment with the kids. It was new and on loan from Cessna for a few months. They painted a school tail number on it so the boy is determined to fly this airplane while it’s there.

careerday1The boy and Lexi-girl were pretending to be the aircrew on this big airplane. One day!

careerday7Among some of the things available to the kids was free photos for their online networking presence.

careerday8Smile!

careerday10I said, SMILE!

careerday9It helps to know the photographers! They were doing this as part of their internship for the marketing department. They said they dressed “normally” rather than “dressed up” so as to separate themselves from the rest of the aviators there. I just love these kids.

careerday6I  met Lexi-girl the night before at a campus activity. She’s one of the few females in the course and an absolute cutie.

careerday3And of course these boys are my loves.

careerday12I met so many of the boy’s friends on this day. As they networked and spoke to perspective employers, I shot photos and I had a blast. I am so hopeful for these young people. We’re really all in great hands!

April 17, Seeing Polka Dots

apr18Don’t you want to live here?

Maybe not – but don’t you want to know who lives here? What a fun spirit they must have.

apr17aI’m sure they’re the kind of people who embarrass their children in school all the time! I panned out a little bit to show you the neighbors.

One of these things don’t look like the other!

April 17, It’s A Wish

apr17I was looking though my archives and I ran across this cute photo of Ella and the cat. They were out enjoying the warm weather together and when I look at this photo I realized that I miss them today. Look how cute they are.

I wish I can have all of my children, the husband, the dogs and the cat with me in one place instead of spread out all over the country. I know it’s not reality – just a wish.

From Sea To Shining Sea

apr16cYesterday I was on my way to the airport when I stopped in the middle of my driveway and captured a few shots of the beautiful first blooms of the spring.

apr16dEverything is bursting with beauty everywhere I look! I couldn’t help but to capture some quick shots of the blooms all around me.

apr16eI’m afraid that when I get back home – sometime in the next week – that they will be gone. This season is so quick to come and go – I had to capture it while I could.

apr16bAnd after a stuck overnight in Minneapolis I made it to Grand Forks just this morning. And as I was walking to my hotel room from the boy’s classroom – yes, he was running late so I had to walk to the hotel from his class – I stopped and took some quick shots.

apr16aWhat a difference a day makes right?

apr16A day ago I was shooting cherry blossoms in Washington DC. Today, I’m in the building of the aerospace department of UND.

I have to say this – this set of buildings is amazing. The Hilton is attached to the school’s aerospace department. You can walk from the classrooms to the HILTON through a series of covered, climate controlled air tunnels that go from building to building, without ever going outside. It’s that cold out in North Dakota and they’ve found a creative way to keep guests warm.

A day makes a big difference but I like both worlds I think.

April 14, My Filomena

One of the best experiences of my life – of my life! – was teaching the culinary school over the last couple of months. I know I still have to explain how the entire experience came to be – I’m not sure if I can in a single blog post. In the meantime, I just want to revel in the wonderful, exhausting, creative, frustrating, transcending & incredible experience.

It’s the cherry blossom season here in Washington DC it’s a beautiful time here every year. The husband and I decided to drive downtown to see them. After living here for almost 13 years, it’s naive to think just that we could do just that. We drove toward the Tidal Basin and were inundated with people of all kinds, tourist, DC-ites and the locals, like us. As we drove by the World War II Memorial the husband rolled down his window and said, “Take a photo. Here are the cherry blossoms.” I didn’t take a photo but I did breath deeply. They really are beautiful.

We kept driving past all the crowds and somehow ended up in Georgetown. We decided to drop in on a local Georgetown restaurant called Filomena. It’s one of our non-profit partner establishments. They are taking in one of our students as an intern and I wanted to see what the restaurant was like.

What a beauty. The restaurant was gorgeous, the decor was pitch perfect for the culinary culture and well – the food was great. Add to all of the that, affordability, the great wait staff and the ambiance and I would go back in a New York, or Georgetown minute.

Because I was more interested in the restaurant experience than photography, I didn’t plan well and I had the wrong lens. As a result, all I can show you are photos that are not quite planned – but for some reason they seemed to capture the essence of the establishment. I will be going back – and photographing more! In the meantime, enjoy.

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filomena10 Buon Appetito!

And here’s the link!

Going Back . . .

I’m going back to North Dakota this week to see the boy. He needs some mothering – or at least I think so. It’s also Aviation Parents Weekend and I was going to get a ride in an airplane with the boy at the helm. As it turns out, the boy forgot to go to a mandatory meeting last week about flying parents around so now he can’t fly me. He felt badly about it. Me? Not so much. I almost threw up in the simulator when I was there last month. I was a little worried about how I would do in the flight and boy, that would be embarrassing if I had to use a brown bag . . .

In any case, I think we’ll be busy even without the flight. There’s grocery shopping, apartment hunting and a myriad of errands to run. mothering11Here’s a photo I found on his photo stream. He’s in an alley?

mothering8And he snap chatted from the back of a truck. Not real safe.

mothering10Then he sent this – he and his two best friends flying together. Not sure about this . . .

mothering2This is why moms have to make occasional visits.

mothering6We were coming back from a very long and very windy 50 miles bike ride and I sent him this. A NOTAM or Notice To Airmen, is put out when there is unusual flight activity that pilots need to be aware of, or any type of airspace or airport safety issues, or when three boys are allowed to fly together in an airplane.

mothering9Apparently Kyle was the instructor so he’s in charge. That’s a great thing.

mothering1And I see this – they were out clay shooting. Can we do anymore dangerous things in one day?

mothering3And that evening, the boy texted and said he was flying again – at night.

I think I need to visit – moms unite!

mothering7I am looking forward to seeing the Northern Lights though. They were apparently quite bright this weekend and the boy sent us the picture above.

mothering7… then he sent several more.

And I thanked him for all of the black photos.

mothering5He took them with his phone so he added a filter so we can see. I hope they’re out when I’m there!

One thing is for sure, I will not be riding in the back of a truck, in the back of a plane with three boys, shooting clay or standing in a random alley. Everything I will be doing will be safe and mom approved!

But before I go to North Dakota, I hope to go to downtown DC and take some cherry blossoms. Yes, it’s that lovely time of year again! Happiest of Mondays to you all.

Les Miserable & The Fugitive

kennedycenter1I’ve been in love with Les Miserables since I was a little girl and had to read the famed Victor Hugo’s novel in its native language, French. It was both a literary exercise as well as a foreign language exercise. After all, living in Algeria as a girl forces one to learn either French or Arabic – or both.

French lessons were a daily exercise, every day, two hours a day with the fiercely red-headed Madame Antoine who would speak only French to all her students who in a single classroom, ranged from age nine to sixteen, all of which who’s first language was English. Since she spoke only French to us, one could sometimes forget that she was also very fluent in Russian, Hungarian and of course, English. Once the always mischievous Roger told her to shut up, and she turned to him with glaring eyes and said, “I know this “shut up”. Go!” and she sent him to the principal. That would be the last time Roger misjudged her language skills.

I heard the music of Les Miserable for the first time back in the early 1990’s. My mother send me the 10th anniversary edition filmed in the Royal Albert Hall and I was hooked. The music was incredible, like angels singing. Here it is on youtube. It’s a couple hours long but if you’re a fan, you can play it in the background to whatever you are doing; housework, cooking:) It will elevate your spirit.

A couple of weeks ago a tribute to the music of the composers of the music of Les Miserable, Miss Saigon and others were honored at the Kennedy Center. The husband wanted to take me: it was the sweetest gift. Many of the original Broadway singers were in attendance, like the wonderful Lea Salonga, who was the character of Eponine in the Royal Hall 10th Anniversary edition so long ago. We took our friends and neighbors, Neighbors Beth and Bill, and to me – it was like listening to heaven.

kennedycenter2At the end of the concert, the composers Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg were introduced on the stage. I had no idea they would be there. It was better than the Beatles walking on stage as a band. It was that exciting! I took out my camera and attempted a photo over my head, at the risk of incarceration by the way. The docents were on high alert. I had the wrong camera settings and no idea of what image would look like – and well, it looked like the above but I didn’t care. Monsieurs Boublil and Schonberg were there somewhere!

What does this have to do with the movie, The Fugitive? I’ve always loved that movie and as I spent Sunday relaxing and watching it once again, as it happens to play over and over as a rerun on so many stations. I think that perhaps I like it so much because the characters remind of the characters in Les Miserable. It’s similar in a way, the Harrison Ford character is an innocent man on the run, caught up in circumstances not under his control, much like Jean Valjean was in Les Miserable. He is relentlessly pursued by Tommy Lee Jones who, much like Javert, pursues Jean Valjean in spite knowing of (or sensing) Jean Valjean’s innocence of a terrible crime (only of taking bread to survive). Tommy Lee Jones confronts Harrison Ford in the sewers (once again analogous to Les Mis) and Harrison Ford (aka Richard Kimble) tells Tommy Lee Jones that he is innocent of the crime to which Tommy Lee Jones says, “I don’t care.”

It’s the core of both the movie and the novel. It gives me chills.

In the end finds that Jean Valjean is the better man and the knowledge is too much for him to handle for he is also a failed human – as we all are. Things end differently in The Fugitive than in Les Miserable. Justice finds itself in the movie – but in the great literary work of Victory Hugo, things don’t end that neatly. It’s why it’s called a tragedy.

Perhaps I love the musical so much that I analogize it to almost everything? I like to think it’s just a timeless theme, with characters brought about by the gifted hand of the author and composer.

Can you tell I love this book? I do.

kennedycenterHere we are all together that night. By the way, a docent took this photo of us. I was still on cloud nine when this was taken. Thanks Neighbor Beth and Bill for coming with us. We can always count on you to have a great time and to appreciate beautiful, timeless, meaningful music!

I promise to get back to more relevant things – like what in the world the boy is doing – I’m dizzy just thinking about it:)

Because You Asked

apr12Last weekend, Easter weekend, my church handed out this card asking the body to choose the sermon that they want to hear. I didn’t fill one out, instead, I tucked my card into my purse, intending to think about it before I handed it in. As it always happens, life happens and I forgot.

About five days later, I was involved in a fender bender. Actually, I was trying to ease myself into a parking spot and I misjudge and tapped a parked car. That really is what happened. The woman who was sitting inside the car opened the car door and came at me screaming, “Are you crazy? Are you nuts? What are you doing?”

Well, I’m not crazy, I’m just not a good driver.

I held up my hands and mouthed from inside my car, “I’m sorry,” but truthfully, I felt like she was attacking me verbally. I didn’t understand her fierce anger, but maybe she was suffering. There may be pain her life she was dealing with at the moment. In any case, I got out of the car and confronted her fully and apologized. She calmed down immediately. We looked a the damage and determined there was none, either to her car or mine.

I did however, write my information down – on the only thing I had in my purse, the card asking those really hard questions. I thought briefly about the irony of it all and I wish I had invited her to church. That would have been the icing on the cake.

I went to church last Saturday night and heard the message, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and I was overwhelmed by the raw truth of it.

Here’s the link to the podcast. Please listen – I promise it will give you hope, and you will know that your suffering and those of your loved ones is not in vain. It’s really powerful – listen and determine that for yourself.