30 November 2010

generation gap.

Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Monday being what it was, I decided on my way home last night that I was not "doing dinner" and thus stopped off at Jersey Mike's for a couple of subs. (I highly recommend the number 43 Chipotle Cheese Steak by the way.)

Of course, Liam was with me and begun politely shouting to the fellow behind the counter as I was placing the order, "Excuse me! Uhm, sir, excuse me!" I quiet the child, complete the order, and then turned my attention back to the child curious as to what he had been so anxious to say... Turns out, he wanted to know about the deli slicer, what it was, what it did, and all that.

The young gentleman kindly explained and gave Liam a demonstration as he made our sandwiches. Then he added, that you had to be very careful and could only use the machine if you were a grown-up because you could get hurt really bad.

The man standing in line beside me said that it's now a law in North Carolina that you have to be 18 years old in order to operate a deli slicer. --WHAT? Seriously?

The Jersey Mike's guy replies that you have to be 16 in order to use the large serrated bread knife because they had a 15 year old girl working there who had to have a waiver signed by her parents in order to wield the big bread sword. --Dumbfounded, I just couldn't help but laugh...

I smiled at the young at-least-18-because-he-used-the-dangerous-deli-slicer man wrapping my sandwich and said to him: "See, this is the difference between your generation and mine. When we were 15, we had to get our parents to sign our smoking permits so we could smoke cigarettes in the high school smoking area."

He looked at me as though I were from another planet.

"Book is the new cool for the txt generation."

-Erica Wagner

26 November 2010

my young playa.

Daniel & Mallory.
Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Thanksgiving this year, like many fond holidays past, we spent with my 'sister-of-soul' and family up in Petersburg, Virgina.

It's an easy two hour drive, perhaps a bit more, however none to our surprise, Liam chatted away the entire drive. If no one is participating in his conversation, he's usually content to carry on with himself, though he does prefer a healthy exchange and will insert himself into whatever other dialog may be happening in the car. A perfect example is when I mentioned to Kevin that I had a headache and needed to eat something soon...

Liam: "I have a headache too."
Kevin: "No you don't. You're fine."
Liam: "Uh huh, I do. I ate a lot of food and it made my head hurt."

He's also getting a bit more brazen in his constant interruptions when we grown-ups may dare to get a word in edgewise... "Excuse me I'm talking!" he says.

Very excited to see Tio Juan, a Sergeant First Class and former Drill Sergeant in the US Army, Liam wore his "army pants" (e.g. camouflaged cargo pants) to show him. In the car, Liam also announced that he had a surprise for Tio Juan.

Kevin: "What's the surprise?"
Liam: "I can't tell you. It's a surprise for Tio Juan."
Kevin: "Well can you tell me?"
Liam: "No. It's a surprise."
Kevin (to me): "You try."
Me: "What's the surprise?"
Liam: "I can't tell you. It's not your surprise."

Alrighty then.

Recently, Liam has learned to count to 10 in Spanish (and German) and likes to randomly practice his language skills. Pausing in mid-count, he asked out of the blue, if Tio Juan spoke Spanish...
Me: "Yes, he does. He also speaks English."
Liam: "English? What is English?"
Kevin: "English is the language that we speak."
Liam: "What does English sound like?"


A side note: En route, I saw a fantastic bumper sticker on a Volvo station wagon which read: "Honk if you love silence" ...Now that's just the sort of sarcastic wit I can appreciate in my world. ;-)

We arrive around 2:30, thrilled to release the children into the waiting audience that is anyone besides us and see if we remember how to carry on an adult conversation. --But first, Liam has to give Tio Juan his surprise... which turned out to be a cotton bowl and wad of cotton he had collected on our trip to Grandma's farm. Awww.

And then (my eyes are watering and heart bursting with pride writing this), we watched our sweet little four year old boy as he stood tall and saluted his Uncle. Juan beamed, returning the salute. Then he let Liam try on his Drill Sergeant hat and his Texas Calvary hat... then Liam wanted to know about Tio Juan's tanks...

These days with three teenagers, everyone has a boyfriend/girlfriend and so the house was full with young people and even friends and neighbors - which was great for us because it was like having a house full of unsuspecting babysitters. --Liam worked the house and monopolized everyone's time (particularly Nicki's boyfriend Jake) and honed in on Daniel's girlfriend Mallory... while Isabel, the unnaturally good and quiet child for a change, set about carving out her walking path, sampling the food being prepared, and decided who she liked best by swatting at them. --Oh, and getting the cap off of a two-liter of Coke and chugaluggin' it. (Why her Occupational Therapist thought it wise to teach her to unscrew lids is beyond me. Yeah, thanks for that.)

At last the smorgasbord of food was prepared, the table set, and per tradition at Elvia's, we all took turns telling what we were thankful for... Isabel was thankful for food and Liam was thankful for windows. Huh? --Anyway, Thanksgiving being what it is, we all gorged ourselves on the traditional favorites and had no room for dessert, though that didn't stop us. Isn't that what it's all about after all?

So, after a wonderful day with friends and family, wonderful food, laughter and memories... we were trying to find the energy to head back to Raleigh when we noticed our son busy rearranging the room of people by simply taking a hand and dragging that person to the spot he wanted to reposition them. Curiously we watched...

Liam then walks over to where Daniel was sitting on the love seat sofa with his sweet, pretty fifteen year old girlfriend and takes Mallory by the hand, pulls her from the couch and leads her over to a fold out chair just two feet away. On cue, she sits as the little prince then strategically places himself in between the object of his affection and her beloved and proceeds to serenade her with the most romantic song he knew... "Happy Birthday to you..."

O.M.G. We are in SO much trouble.

"The life of man is the true romance, which when it is valiantly conduced, will yield the imagination a higher joy than any fiction."

...Ralph Waldo Emerson

16 November 2010

still got it.

surf 'n' turf., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.
Facebook is a double-edged sword. It's amazing the people you find and that find you, people you never thought you'd ever see or hear from again, and some you never wanted to. Though I have to say that overall, it's pretty cool, in this small Internet world, reconnecting with old friends from elementary school, high school, even a few ex-boyfriends - people I've wondered about every since our paths crossed and they left a mark on my life... it's interesting seeing how people grew up, turned out, and what they've done with their lives. It's interesting how many unpopular oddballs turned into very successful happy people, how many dope heads and drug dealers turned into staunch right-wing Bible-thumpers, how many popular kids just grew up to be average ordinary folks, those that still march to their own drum, and some who had it all figured out from the get go and continued on their path to where they are now.

I'm not sure which category I fall into; I was neither popular nor unpopular, I had my share of tokes but was never a dope head nor did I turn out to be uber-conservative, I've marched to many different drums in my life, but I didn't have it all figured out then and even less so now.


Recently I was contacted by a fellow South Johnston graduate a couple years my senior, one of those guys who I think had it all figured out - at least in the way of what he was to do with his life... He grew up from a tall lanky kid I once knew into a body builder and personal trainer. No surprise. I remember as a freshman when I first saw him after several years how he'd undergone some testosterone metamorphosis and suddenly was sporting the bod of a well-built twenty-something year old.

As it turns out, he had been following my photo feeds, really liked my work, and wanted to know if I could do some shots for him while he still had it going on. Sure, I need some male models for my portfolio so, we met, caught up a bit and set a date to shoot at Fort Fisher this past weekend.

Spring and Fall are about the only times of year that I can truly enjoy the ocean and Sunday could not have been a more perfect day had I custom ordered it. Wow. Absolutely spectacular and wholly rejuvenating.

Fort Fisher is one of the few places where one can drive onto the North Carolina beaches, provided that one has adequate four-wheel-drive. Chris has a sweet Jeep and so off we bounced across the sands packed with gear, wardrobe, surfboards and other props until we could drive no further.

Aside from my cousin Jennifer (and the ongoing chronicles of Bell and Liam), this was my first solo shoot so I was rather stoked. We shot pretty much all day, breaking for a picnic lunch around high noon, and had a blast. The day produced some excellent shots and I'm happy to report that the "client" was most pleased with the product.

washed ashore., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

We wrapped up at sunset and I headed back to Raleighwood consumed of course with both gratitude and guilt for leaving my awesome hubby stuck with the offspring all day while I was frolicking about taking pictures of some hot guy on the beach. Kevin, bless him, he doesn't completely understand the whole old soul / poetic passion thing or how I simply must express myself in some creative fashion or I'll shrivel up and die, but he's a big fan and wholeheartedly supports me in my quests; I couldn't ask for anything more.

Arriving home around 8-ish, I was met in the garage by a pajama-clad midget jumping up and down excitedly disclosing that he had made me a birthday cake and I had cards and a balloon. Then I came inside and acted surprised all over again. A perfect ending to a perfect day. =)

And yes Chris, you still got it going on.

"Men go abroad to wonder at the heights of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motions of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering."

...Saint Augustine of Hippo

09 November 2010

the big surprise.

NC Museum of Art., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.

A couple of weeks ago, we took the kids out for a "surprise." --Well, I told Bella since they were actually her tickets but i knew she wouldn't tell anyone... and Kevin, not one for surprises, pestered me until I gave him enough clues that he finally figured it out (I sure could use a fixed aperture telephoto lens, a natural disaster, indoors) - so really I guess it was Liam's surprise... Yes, that's right, we went to a Carolina Hurricanes game. It was a first for the kids and they both loved it!

In spite of the loud-mouth jackass sitting behind us yelling the whole game with a scorn on his face like he was watching his girlfriend get it on with someone else in the rink.

No matter where you sit, there's always at least one isn't there? These are the same kind of guys who ruin little league games too with their explosive rantings. Key word folks: "GAME." This one had a supportive wife beside him egging her man on who actually said, "These seats should be filled to capacity! People just need to understand what an honor and privilege it is to come to a real NHL Hockey game?" Seriously??? Is the high altitude up here in the nose-bleed section getting to you or what? I mean come on, sure we enjoy going to a game when we can (Hockey is one of the only sports that Kevin and I can enjoy together after all) but there are a couple of reasons why we haven't gotten season tickets: 1) we don't have 2-5 thousand dollars lying around and 2) because with my luck, our seats for the whole season would be assigned right next to some loud-mouth inconsiderate asshole like you.

But I digress.

new lil' Caniac.., originally uploaded by Luna Soledad.
So Saturday we woke up, did our morning thing (coffee, breakfast, news, yell at the kids...) then got everyone ready and told them we were going somewhere and it was a surprise. --Yay! Everyone was excited. Especially Liam.

Every since Liam and I had played hooky one Monday afternoon from school/work and spend the afternoon gallivanting about the grounds of the newly expanded North Carolina Museum of Art (which I forgot was closed on Mondays), Liam has been asking to go back. So - surprise!

Ten minutes into the new building, Liam begins to cry, "I don't like this surprise. I wanna go to a hockey game!"

"If you make every game a life and death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot."

...Coach Dean Smith

02 November 2010

CW: bumper stickers.

Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Driving about town this past weekend, I was struck with a sudden inspiration for a new blog series: "Crystal's World" (CW)... how things would be in my personal utopia, who would be banished to other planets, how basic manners would be legally upheld, permissive acts that would entitle productive citizens to flog another for outlandish stupidity, acceptable acts of vigilantism, bumpers stickers, and so on.

And the beauty is, you don't have to agree with my opinions and twisted humor because after all, it is MY world. =P

You, if you so desire, can be the center of your own little universe too and even with reckless disregard for everything around you, but do allow me to warn you -- you've got a hell of a lot of competition orbiting out there!

Let's start with something simple: bumper stickers.

My husband is vehemently opposed to car stickers of any kind, while I on the other hand rather enjoy the comical antidote and appreciate self-expression with a few exceptions of course. Okay, here goes...

  1. Absolutely NO freakin' political stickers after election day! I don't care what extremist wing you're on, whether you're still pining away for the fascist psycho who left office two years ago, or if you had Hope in '08 -- scrape the shit off your car and stop telling everyone what an asshole you are; they'll figure that out on their own soon enough without the temptation to key your automobile.
  2. No ignorant hateful racist bullshit. Period.
  3. No Americanized-mock-Euro stickers which have absolutely no rhyme or reason, from BBQ to OBX, for whatever alphabet selection someone has had printed inside a little white oval emulating the European custom of displaying one's country's abbreviation (i.e. D for Deutschland, GB = Great Britain, CZ = Czech Republic, etc.). Unless you're European or wanna-be, scrape that shit off -- nobody knows what the heck PBO, OKI, CLS, QIK, or MHD, means anyway.
  4. No stick-people representations of your family. --No body cares if you're a successful breeder nor how many cats you have.
  5. No artsy-fartsy window monograms. --Ever wonder why that monogrammed sweater phase died out? There is a reason for that.
  6. Little boy peeing on Ford, Chevrolet, etc.: if you're old enough to have a driver's licence you're too old for this dumb shit. Scrape it off.
  7. Flip-flops, bass fish, and deer head stickers: I find them all annoying, but in the spirit of self-expression, I'll let 'em slide.
  8. Memorials: Frankly, I really don't get the new, bizarre tribute to love ones lost by pasting head-stone-like decals of names, dates, epitaphs, and praying hands on your back windshield but hey, whatever helps ease the pain. I'm not dissin' your loss, really I'm not; I just think it's an odd thing to do, but we'll file it under self-expression and let it go. However...
  9. If you're one of those people driving around with a Dale Earnhardt sticker that reads, "God needed a driver... # 3" or some such nonsense and you're not related by blood to the man, scrape that shit off.
  10. Anybody who has a sticker that reads in small print something along the lines of "If you can read this, you're too close," is asking to be tailgated. --Trust me, tapping on your breaks a few times is a much better deterrent.
  11. And I'm all about being passionate about worthy causes, but let's put a limit on the stickers, okay? How about three? No more than three stickers per cause on your vehicle. Examples of overkill: a) the "Jesus man" who lives around the corner with his pickup completely covered in magnetic Biblical verses, religious exclamations such as, "Jesus is God!" (which I find nonsensical and a tad contradictory but whatever), and images of hellfire (great motivational; sign me up!... and by the way I'd just love to know how many times his giant burning-souls magnet has been stolen), and b) the pro-life-mobile I found cruising around my 'hood one day which was basically wall-papered with such over-the-top pro-life propaganda that it not only caused me to stop and stare (partially for fear that the driver could not see thru her windows) but completely betrayed any shred of credibility for her obviously passionate cause... So, remember, from now on, you can only pick three!
  12. Humor, wit, and sarcasm strongly encouraged: bonus points for stickers, vanity plates, etc. that make me laugh. =)

"Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm. But the harm does not interest them."

...T.S. Eliot

happy November!

Originally uploaded by Luna Soledad
Now that the 'month which must not be named' has finally been laid to rest, it's time to move forward into colorful, blissful chill that is autumn. Yay!

Long live November!

...Unless of course, you - month of my birth, of scarves and jackets, month of turkey and thanks, have turned on me too, in which case I think I may just have to find myself a dark hole and hibernate.

But let's use our imaginations and pretend for a moment that I am an optimist...

Happy November! =)

"There is a harmony in autumn, and a luster in its sky, which through the summer is not heard or seen, as if it could not be, as if it had not been!"

...Percy Bysshe Shelley