Monday, April 30, 2007

Oaks Vivid Wheel / I Wish You Hadn't Asked

Oaks Vivid Wheel
January 27, 2007

Winter at Oaks Park.
Only skeletons remain.


Over the weekend, I was at the local swimming pool, in the water with our children (all of them except the newborn).

When we are in public, we are often asked questions by complete strangers about our two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I can't say that I'm used to it, but I have come to expect it. This time, a lady watching her own kids from the side of the pool asked me, "Who taught her to speak so well?!"

How am I supposed to answer that? Questions like that drive me nuts!

Our little girl *does* speak remarkably well, I recognize that. Especially when we are at home. We sometimes forget to remember that she is still just two years old, when she is speaking in such perfectly-formed complete sentences. We forget that she does not yet understand the appropriate use for things like lotion, and that it's our fault for leaving it on the counter.

When we are out of the house and she is aware that people are listening, she usually goes into shy-mode -- she doesn't let on that she could actually bust out a paragraph or two of charming prose if she wanted to. For most people to hear her communicating at her full potential, she needs to have forgotten that anyone else is around and is possibly listening.

So while she played with me and her brothers in the pool, this lady had caught a peek into our daughter's somewhat private world of language. And being impressed, the lady asked the question, "Who taught her to speak so well?"

Who *taught* her? Ugh!

I hate having to come up with something to say in response to a question like that. Because, I don't want to... and because there *is* nothing appropriate to say in response to it. Because it's not an appropriate question to ask. Let me offer this to the impressed stranger-ladies of the world out there: If you must say something, say something like, "Wow, your little girl *does* speak remarkably well! I imagine you must sometimes forget to remember that she is still just two years old, when she is speaking in such perfectly-formed complete sentences." That's a statement I could respect. And best of all, it's not a question.

But there was that question hanging out there. I don't know what kind of answer the lady wanted, what would fulfill her curiosity. I don't think she thought that far ahead. And it's not my job to fulfill her curiosity, but I felt pressured by the situation to give something back. After an internal pause, I said something like, "Well... she has always just been good with words. She has two older brothers, so she's motivated to keep up with them verbally." I don't know. It fills the void. You say words, I say words. We'll call it a conversation.

Other things to say that I thought of later:

"It's the pre-Yale program we enrolled her in at nine months. Well worth the investment."

"She's participating in an experimental gene-therapy program at OHSU to develop super-genius traits. The side-effects are minimal. She could also guess your weight."

"Her mother and I won't let her have breakfast until she goes twice through the stack of vocabulary flash-cards from Gymboree."

Or, "Come on in the water and I'll *show* you!"

Just to point out that there was that added layer of awkwardness, me being dressed only in wet shorts, and her towering over us fully clothed. Totally not fair. That's actually a position to consider next time you want to negotiate a raise, or broker international peace. But make sure you are the one with clothes on. -=-

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Darkest Light in Town / Can I Write?

The St. John's Bridge, North Portland, Oregon.
The sky was so ... non-existent. (It reminds me of a blank-background studio shot.) I was really drawn to the lamps this time, and didn't remember seeing them featured much in other photos of The Bridge.
See also this shot from the same session.

- - - - - - - - - -

I've fantasized about writing, journaling, blogging. ...Wroggaling.

I've thought: I could do that, I could be pretty good at that. Because I think that I handle words fairly well, and that I am able string them together into a complete thought, and that it usually communicates the idea I originally intended. That's a good start, right? I mean, think how much writing you have to deal with that does not get even /that/ far.

On top of that, I think I even write with style, or have the potential to develop style. Or at least I would know what a style was if one were to bite me. (My style, maybe, is the style of 'trying too hard.' That always goes over well. Also, I have the style of 'too many commas.' A proven winner, yes.)

My problem though is not ability, but committment. I've tried journaling before and it has always faded quickly away, run its course in short order. Failed. I get excited about the idea at some point (like now), and start writing again for several days in a row. But it doesn't last. I end up missing a day, and later missing a couple days, and then every day. This is how it goes with me and trying to form new habits. You can insert diet and exersize here, and generally being organized, and most other things that would make me a better person.

Another problem I have, when it comes to the idea of writing, is that I don't have an /exciting/ life, fertile with material about which to write. I don't find myself surrounded by drama. I certainly don't create drama. ...So what would I write about? Or more importantly, what would I write about that anyone would want to read?

Maybe what I really lack is imagination. Imagination about what is already going on around me that would make it write- and read-worthy. Maybe, and perhaps, many of the other good bloggers out there actually have lives similar to mine, with a similarly high mundane-quotient, but they are seeing the potential and making it sound good. I couldn't do that, probably.

What I don't think I lack is self-deprication. I think I'm pretty good at that. [Ironic, hmm?] And don't we all need more self-depricators in our lives, to help us feel better about ourselves? It saves us the trouble of putting others down if they are willing to do it themselves.

So here's my committment to you:
> I will fail at this. Probably several times.
> I will speak poorly of myself, from which you can infer whatever you want about yourself.
> I will provide jobs to millions of out-of-work punctuation marks. Until I fail to do that.

Nothing like dashing the hopes of an earnest semi-colon. -=-

Friday, April 13, 2007

Being Taller

Being Taller, originally uploaded by Whateverthing.

In the fog, even utility poles are something special.

Taken on January 25, 2007
Beaverton, Oregon

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Glory in the Forest

Glory in the Forest, originally uploaded by Whateverthing.

From our November 11 outing to Sliver Falls State Park.
Taken within a few feet of this photo of the South Falls:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Rose Manor Motel Sign

Rose Manor Motel Sign, originally uploaded by Whateverthing.

[ Portland, Oregon ]
I've been wanting to take some portraits of this sign for some time. Now, they've recently leveled the lot next to it, so I fear for the future of this sign. I figure I better stop and get some shots before it's too late.