Another student turning

by sarah hair Email

This student had very interesting posture, poise, mannerisms, facial expressions, and movements. He is a brown belt, so at the top of his art, which clearly showed in the way he moved. I was able to catch him warming up in the sunlit strip for just a moment as well.

Den approaches his boards

by sarah hair Email

Den practiced breaking boards at our house several times the past couple months. I shot him breaking several times with pretty decent results. This shot was done by John and shows the boards being held by his fellow students as he approaches them for the break. I really like how the beards are so focused and just calm and steady with Den coming across the frame with such movement and passion.

Sparring, jumping, and avoiding

by sarah hair Email

This student was jumping throughout the whole test. We got several images of him off the ground, but this one by John is one of my favorites. It does not show so much what the jumper is up to, just shows how the sparring partner reacted to this feat. I can not remember if this jumping punch made contact, but it was a highlight none the less.

The other side

by sarah hair Email

This is the same moment (well, actually split fractions of a second after) as the image above. I shot this image from a different angle of the same sparring couple, this time focusing on the student who is jumping up for the punch (now recoiled).

Sparring match

by sarah hair Email

This image shows one of the final sparring matches of the day with a young boy who was earning his brown belt. He was so clearly exhausted after the long test, but was matched against several adults for the sparring events. He made it through the whole test, and even scored a lot of "points" during his multiple matches.

I really admired this young man, who put his all into his test. It was a very long and difficult test, in fact, it was the same as Den's test, and taken side-by-side with Den for the duration. Not everything he did looked perfect, but everything he did looked like he meant it. He ended up as the one person who had to do the most sparring matches, even sparring with one of the senseis. His was the longest test as well, and I really felt like he earned his promotion.

Cuong Nhu testing

by sarah hair Email

Today John and I went to a belt promotion test for a friend. He studies aikido with us and also studies another martial art that is more like karate. I had never seen this other art done and we wanted to shoot the event so we made a day of it and went to Davie for several hours worth of testing fun!

Our friend was testing for his brown belt. There was a child who was testing for his brown belt too and about 20 other people testing for other various ranks. They held all the tests in parallel, so we had to run from each section of a basketball court to get various angles of any given test at any given time. I wonder if any of the people testing got as much of a workout as I did...

We had planned to go and do our "ad hoc" photography business plan, where we descend upon a place, shoot it, pass out cards, put on a slideshow, and direct everyone to the site to buy photos. We got a lot of great shots and we passed out some cards, but we made a minor error in the calculations for the slideshow, so everyone left before I had it ready. Oh well, they will get to see them on the site, I hope.

I have photographed many thousands of images in aikido. I love how they turn out and I like to be able to anticipate what people will do and set up the shots. This works well since I do aikido, and most of the people I shoot are people I train with, so I know their style and can anticipate what they might do. I did find it tough to switch to a new art, but I loved how accessible it was, not just that everyone welcomed me and was so accommodating, but also how easy it was to get in and out of shots. I had a harder time setting shots up because I had no idea what they were doing, but it was a lot of fun.

After the testing, we went out to dinner (lunch?) with our friend and his friends from his dojo. It was a lot of fun. The first thing I noticed about this other martial art was how very comfortable I felt around all the people there. Everyone was very kind and accommodating to us and our shutterbuggin needs. Many people came to me and introduced themselves in a rather sincere and friendly way. The lunch was no different. Everyone we met was kind and gracious. We told them we did aikido and all around everyone was very respectful of that, some asked about our sensei, dojo, or even lineage. Everyone knew something about aikido, which embarrassed me a bit since I had never heard of their art - even though I have taken photographs of my friend doing it for many weekends in our home studio.

I liked how open their community was. It would be nice to see more of that in aikido. Aikido is always so serious, even when we do get together and party there is always this very solemn respectfulness that seems to stop people from really getting to know one another off the mat. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of friends who I know on and off the mat. I do not mean those people, I mean more like the people who I kind-of know from class who, when I go out to lunch with as a group, I would like to hear more giggles or belly-laughs from.

On the "mat" was something else. This art did not have a mat to speak of, well, at this test anyway, they were on a basketball court. There were really no completed techniques, no throws, no rolls (but on a very small gym mat in the corner) so the lack of a mat did not seem to hinder the art, however, I prefer the quiet seriousness of an aikido mat. I prefer to bow to my sensei or sempai every time they correct me. I prefer for the only audible sounds to be the shuffling of gi or slapping of a body against the mat.

I like the idea of doing two (or more) arts to get a well-rounded education. I also like it because I see so many people who get "stuck" on their martial art and insist it is the only one worth doing. I have met so many people in aikido who have nothing good to say about judo, karate, jiu jitsu, etc. which I find mildly annoying. They all seem to do different things, so comparison amongst them is a little unfair.

Anyway, physically, I prefer aikido. I could not at all handle active sparring. Having confrontation and violence in my face would not do me well. Aikido does have randori, which I do hate ;-) but at least I can just spend my energy getting off the line of attack and not having to "score points" and defend myself. Oh, or push-ups. I could totally not do that many push-ups. Breaking boards is a neat thing to watch, but I do not think I could do that either... too destructive. Just not my style.

I also saw some katatetori ikkyo, but they did not take it to a pin or a throw, just to the part where the uke bent over, which was pretty much the only thing from the whole test that I recognized. They did it in a pretty cool way, mixing the ikkyo with an immediate Nikkyo. Looked fun.

Oh, the martial art is called Cuong Nhu (pronounced /kuhng new/) and the wiki entry is here

on our way to vegan cookbook fun

by sarah hair Email

I spent the early part of today updating my etsy website and adding new jewelry that I had photographed several days ago. I have never really sold much from that etsy site directly, but it sure is fun to do. With a few new items under my belt and my to-add-list shortened a bit, I headed to the next order of business; getting a database set up for the girls to put together all of our awesome vegan recipes.

Last night we made one of our favorite vegan recipes for sweet potatoes. It was so awesome. We need to make sure it is in the database for our cookbook so that anyone can make it and not just me. We had a small argument last night as to the practicality of this cookbook, since everyone insists that I can always be the one who cooks. Well, I have other motives, obviously, and I would every once in a while like to be the one who just waits for food to magically appear in front of me. Not that my delightful family does not cook for me all the time, really, they do, just that when they do cook for me I would like it to be something besides a can of soup or a bowl of cereal sometimes.

Upon looking for exactly the software I want to use for the database (I was thinking filemaker, then looked at their product Bento) I am now not too sure, since Bento is only working with mac os 10.5 which is one of the Tigers or Lions or whatever other than the one I am running, meaning that I have to get a new OS (this computer I am using about 1 year old) AND to make matters even worse, they are coming out with a new NEW OS any minute now, so as soon as I upgrade my "new" os will be obsolete, again.

The whole thing infuriates me. Apple does not make much of their money from selling software, and they don't bundle software like MS. John reminded me when I began this rant to him, Apple has proprietary hardware, meaning, their software can only be used on their hardware. Wouldn't this make their software of absolutely no value to anyone other than people who have bought their hardware? At this point, wouldn't it be a better move to make the software free for everyone, getting more people to buy the hardware, since this is where they make profit?

Well, vegan cookbook fun is still in the making. We are going to pull out all the stops, make everything indexed through family user ratings, ingredients, meal type, add shopping lists, even add images of the meals! I never thought that I would have a better recipe index than my grandma, but this will absolutely blow hers away!

Sick, Boats, and delicious carrots

by sarah hair Email

Well, Malia was sick today as well, so I had her stay home from school. She slept like a rock until around 2:30pm, even through John and me going in her room and trying to wake her to see if she is still alive. I hate when my kids are sick. It is the worst. I know they want me to leave them alone, but I want to check on them, and it is hard to balance our needs.

I slept most of the day as well, getting up only to check on Malia, go to the bathroom, and jump when John shrieked like a little girl form the kitchen. I checked on him as well, though Malia slept through it. He was in the kitchen, in front of the stove, making me grits. He was wearing my giant pink fluffy bathrobe and fluffy doggie slippers. He showed me where he lit my bathrobe on fire from the stove as he was cleaning around the burning flame under the pot of grits. It was a sight to be sure.

Anyway, I, despite my fever and pain in my body, especially throat, went to Avalon and worked on getting the swim ladder attached this afternoon. I went into the aft stateroom and crammed my body into a space below the poop deck and over the bunk where I tried to leverage a small wrench one tiny 15 degree turn at a time until the ladder was affixed by John who was holding the ladder while standing on the dinghy outside of the boat floating at her stern. It was all kinds of pathetic when it got dark and we were still not finished with the first half of the screws. It seems we do most of our work when it is about to get dark, but anyway, we eventually finished and headed home to dinner with the girls.

We sat down to dinner and discussed making our own cookbook database. I am really excited about the project, and hope the girls can do a lot of the cooking and organizing with me. We talked about setting up a database we can all use that has all the recipes we use along with pictures and even user ratings for each family member. Get ready secret carrots! Your user rating is 5 stars from every member! Artichoke spinach dip... you only got 3 stars from someone (Madison) so you will have to wait until another day. Madison immediately asked if she can sell the cookbook once it is finished. That's my girl! I told her only if we can sell a digital version and she puts it in her blog. There is me, delegating.

promised tutorial on printing color separations in Adobe Illustrator

by sarah hair Email

Well, yesterday was my "last day of class" at Broward College where I have been attending for the past two years. I was majoring in Graphic Design Technology, also re-taking some algebra courses that were long forgotten since junior high in 1989.

The class who earned the last day description was my digital illustration course. For what it is worth, I love illustration and ended up loving working with Adobe Illustrator, even though I hated Adobe Photoshop.

I woke from a rough night of little sleep on Sunday night with persistent nightmares of me not being finished with my project. Everything from me in class without the project at all to me at home trying to print with the church bells across the street chiming 1:00 pm. I absolutely never leave things to the last minute and this is part of why, since my anxiety is too overwhelming and it makes me just do it in the first place. Unfortunately, this project stretched all the way to the due date. I had a difficult time working on it between all the other things I had to do, and as it was not particularly inspirational, it took me even longer. Come on, a casual dining, family friendly, upscale, fish house wtf? At least two of those criteria are mutually exclusive and if any client ever told me this, I would ask to see their business plan for a good laugh... before turning down the job. Besides, who the hell is stupid enough to design their company logo in three coors? One, perfect, 2, pushing it, 3? Seriously? Well, I had to do it though, since that was the assignment.

Luckily, unlike in my nightmares, my final project was completed and I was ready to print it on Monday morning with time to spare before my 1:00 pm class. My project had taken many twists and turns in its life as a logo and I was preparing the file for print on both of our printers; the epson photo printer for the final full-color proof, and the crappy laser printer for crisper detail on my black only separations.

I had John bring the computer and printers to the dining table, since my back is still hurting and bending or lifting is out of the question at this point. I sat at the table, opened the file, set up everything to print it out, printed the proof on the photo printer. Crap! The colors are a mess! I tweaked it for a total of 3 prints before it as net acceptable, only having to replace two ink cartridges during the job. Searching for the ink cartridges set me back a bit, as did the tweaking and re-printing, but only until about 9:00 am.

Next came the separations. Having used Adobe Illustrator to do separations before, I thought this would be a breeze. I had set up my file with every single color on its own layer, everything was well organized, I know how to use the print dialog to choose to print the separations from the mode menu, so, little to worry about, right?

Notsomuch... As it turns out, if the "mode" does not let you choose "separations" there is a little more to it. You can do like I did and start first by going through the file, looking for anything out of place, layers with hidden elements, incorrect colors, incompatible file names, re saving the file in a different place, trying to print form another machine, etc. etc. etc. until finally turning to the internet!

Now, it was more like 10:00 am, and I was getting very upset, frustrated, and sweaty from my fever that I picked up which obviously did not help with my nightmares last night either.

The internet had so many help and how-to articles on printing color separations in Adobe Illustrator that I could have spent the next few years going through them, except that it would not have helped. They all said the same thing. All of them made assumptions that I was able to actually choose to print the separations from the mode menu!

I finally did work everything out and rushed to class, where I helped at least 5 other students print their work before the teacher came in for the critique.

So, this is what I figured out.

1. The internet is a great place to get information

2. The information obtained on the internet does not always help

3. I should finish and print my projects on a day BEFORE the day they are due

4. The separations option in the "mode" settings in the print dialog of Adobe Illustrator is a product of the PRINTER and not of the driver.

5. If your printer came for free when you ordered some other item, it probably can not print separations.

6. You can trick your printer into printing color separations in Adobe Illustrator by following my tutorial below

7. When you give a presentation on a logo that kind-of sucks, you can waste about 10 minutes telling everyone how to print their separations from a printer that does not want to print separations in Adobe Illustrator.

So, how did I do it?

Here is how I did it, with instructions for getting the printers marks as well, since that was a pretty rough spot for many people in my class. If you do not need printers marks, you can skip right to choosing FILE>PRINT and then proceeding to step 6.

1. Make sure your file is set up how you want it and the colors are spot rather than composite, lest you run the chance of having extra pages in your separations.

2. Make sure that your artboard is set up to outline only the outside of your artwork by going to FILE>DOCUMENT SETUP and entering the size of exactly your desired output. Then scale your artwork to fit in the artboard.

3. Go to FILE>PRINT to open the print dialog.

4. Click on setup and choose "crop artwork to artboard"

5. Click on Marks and Bleed and choose whichever printers marks you need

6. Click on Output in the left column and change the printer from whatever printer you have that does not allow separations to "Adobe PDF"

7. NOW change the output mode from "composite" to "separations"

8. Choose PRINT at the bottom of the print dialog

9. Open the brand new file titled "YOURFILENAME.PDF" where YOURFILENAME is the name of your file.

10. When the open dialog comes up, open and print the first page of the pdf, then open and print the second page, third page, and so on. This may have to be done one page at a time where you close the file after each page prints and re-open it to the following page for every print.

So, there I was with my logo finally printed and I was able to ramble about the printer during my presentation, so it is finally over. I did promise the other students that I would add it in my blog, so future searchers might get to class with their projects printed without the whole ordeal I had to go through.


Better living through chemistry

by sarah hair Email

I went to bed last night and was unable to sleep with all the mucus in my head and my tonsils swollen to the size of bowling balls in my throat. Maybe I should have had those things removed years ago, but as far as their purpose, I suppose I should keep them since they do tend to collect the infections in my body and concentrate them in my throat effectively stopping anything from getting into my lungs. Though I have had tonsilitis (how you spell??) every time I get a cold, I have never had pneumonia. Good stuff. Also, my colds tend to last for about half as long as my friends who have their tonsils removed, so maybe the tonsils evolved this way to remove and collect infection for a purpose.

Anyway, I hate being sick. It is a rare thing, but I hate it. The last really big sick I had was before I was pregnant with Malia, some 8 years ago. THis will probably not be a really big one, but still, I hate it. My body is sore and my neck is enormous. Everything is swollen and though I do not have a stuffy nose, my head is stuffy and my thoughts unclear.

I have been sleeping on the floor on settee cushions from our boat this past week or so since I hurt my back. John came to the floor and joined me last night and took care of me with my sickness. He slept while I wiggled around in every possible position one could imagine involving three pillows and three blankets. I tried having one pillow under my head with one on my belly and my favorite on over my eyes smashed as hard as I could into my head to try to stop the pounding. It did not work. I tried having one blanket wadded up in a ball and put on one side of my body to prop me up while another covered me and the third was strewn over my eyes. Pillows propped up my head and arms. It did not work either. Every configuration I came up with just made me more uncomfortable than the last. I had to squish my little head between pillows to stop the painful light seeping in from the window and to try to contain the pounding.

At one point John woke and gave me drugs. Two blue pills about the size of very large kidney beans. I very rarely take drugs, as I am particularly sensitive and tend to overreact and feel very awful and affected in ways that make me feel uncomfortable. Hell, I do not even drink, and rarely take tylenol or anything else for that matter. Well, the drugs helped though, so who am I to complain? Better living through chemistry, as they say. They made me sleep, for better or worse, though I still felt terrible, I could no longer react to it and adjust my pillows or roll over or anything else. I just felt everything become very slow, acknowledged my uncomfortableness, ignored it as unavoidable, and let my body succomb to the medication.

I woke today around 2:30pm. I am still exhausted.

Waste More Green

by sarah hair Email

The family packed up this morning to go out to breakfast, as used to be our tradition on Sunday mornings. As of late, with John getting laid off and our time being a little less structured, we have been saving our cash and foregoing the Sunday morning festivities.

The sailing adventure creeps closer and closer yet as we have my last day of school tomorrow (yay!!!) and we devote ever more time and resources toward getting the boat ready and provisioning. Today was no different. Last night John agreed to do a morning breakfast with me before heading off to the boat, and since the girls woke before we did, they got to come along as well, adding a small bit of family time to the day in addition to the boat work planned.

We gobbled down some toast, salad, spinach pie, tea, and biscuits, and headed of to West Marine for the particular hardware needed for the boat today. Today's projects include readying ground tackle, getting everything packed away in the locker, and attaching a swim ladder to the stern. To complete these tasks, we needed several items form West Marine.

We bicycled to West Marine (Waste More Green, or simply "Waste" as John calls it) and as usual everyone behaved like kids in candy stores. John started going through every thing he ever wanted in his life and girls ravaged through books and fishing lures (as if they have ever been fishing in their lives! But, I do understand that they are girls and lures are shiny...) sorting and arranging pageants of which lures have the most glitter, are the most beautiful, have the most swishiness, etc.

After going through the store and making several careful selections, John requested the sales rep (Al, who we have gotten to know fairly well over the past months) to open the case holding expensive things. At first I thought he was going to show me up close and personal the masthead light that we had purchased several months ago and spent the past, well, since then searching for in piles of boxes at our house (aka boat staging area and building ground). He has talked about it daily and sent pictures of it to me on my phone, even bribed the girls with desserts hoping someone would find it. We have talked about replacing the missing brand new, factory sealed, 350.00 item, but kept putting it off hoping it would show up somehow. Today turned out to be the day, as John removed the expensive item from the glass cabinet and rather than having each of us look at and reaffirm our commitment to finding the one lost in our dystopia, he carried it solemnly to the counter.

Not surprisingly, our credit card was declined when he attempted the purchase. A sign, to be sure. But, as with masthead lights, it is always better to have a spare, so whipping out the spare credit card, a second masthead light is now ours.


by sarah hair Email

So, Thanksgiving was seriously awesome. We do not really "do" holidays so much, since our schedule allows for celebrating whenever we want and it seems silly to have some government agency or church group do the scheduling for us, but Thanksgiving is one of those that is special. Totally independent of any commercial stress and just a day to hang out and make it as simple as possible. Make food, eat it, be grateful. Just be grateful, for something as simple as being able to eat good food. Organize your whole day around it, make it last, do it together as an event, talk about it, share it, don't even get dressed if you don't want to. Just think about living and do it as simply as possible by just thinking about what to eat.

I have made the same several special foods since my 18th Thanksgiving when I lived in California with my friend Daynah. I have picked up a few things since then along the way, but the basic set-up has remained the same. It is always vegan and always includes things I used to eat when I would be with my extended family. It reminds me of "home" and "family" as well as a ton of other things I have done, places I have been, people I have lived with, and other precious memories which rush to the surface every time I smell a particular gravy or spinach dip.

Well, Madison, Malia, John, and I had a totally vegan Thanksgiving feast which lasted for 3 days (so far) and included everyone cooking for two days.

We made a veggie meat loaf, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, fresh rosemary lemon yams, pineapple marmalade carrots, pumpkin pie, cherry pie, chocolate cherry black forrest cake, spinach green onion dip with fresh rolls, roasted garlic, and gumdrop cookies (just like gramma used to make, but vegan).

Madison and Malia cooked several dishes on their own, including Madison making the cake from a recipe she found in a cookbook and followed all on her own as a surprise to everyone.

Malia prepared and read a surprise speech for us telling us all how thankful she is to have us in her life. It was beautiful and I felt a little "underdressed" suddenly after realizing that all I really did was heat food.

We took a family photo using the new remote for my camera and Madison and Malia took turns pressing the button. It was hilarious.

vegan thanksgiving meal

In short, we all spent the time together and just hung out, and thought about how grateful we are to have each other, to have this time, to have this much easily obtainable delicious and healthy food, and then we ate so much of it that we stopped being able to keep track of which serving we were on after 4ths.

We talked about our favorite Thanksgivings past and what made them special so we could make sure to make this one special too. We all had stories of things we remembered, favorite foods we tried, special people we shared with and more. I missed some of my extended family, so I made a bunch of foods that my grandma used to make (like the gumdrop cookies) some of which I had never made before, but we all loved and I will be sure to make again.

I had recently been contacted by one of my cousins and been in contact with some others, so the girls and I looked up their facebook or myspace pages and clicked through some pictures. It was great, since most of my extended family I have not seen much of in over ten years. Madison and Malia have never even met many of the people we looked up, so to them it was really fun. They would point to every person in a photo and ask who it was. I guess it is just there, some place in us all where we just want to know where we came from and who else is the most like us.

I am so very thankful.

How did I get here???

by sarah hair Email

So, John, at my request, set up this blog so I could get started with the web site and setting up everything for our workflow and data set up. In English: now I can play with another techie thing.

To date, we have already: with our pictures and photo shoots set up for sale to clients with my jewelry and some photos and digital art etc. for sale with Madison and Malia's jewelry and our collaborative art in Martial arts and crafts themes with our family photos, etc. onto which I intend to publish this blog
Madison's school website (which is private and password protected, so no point listing it but to show how very digitally busy and savvy I must be, and Malia's class website in the works with the same data as already listed for Madison's, but that I have not finished it yet, so as to show how even more busy and tech slow I am.

I really have been wanting to have a blog set up which can be edited online without logging in to the dreamweaver software and doing a whole ftp thing. For me, this is huge. I only have 1 gig of ram in my laptop and I always have at least 7 applications running with about 10 files open, so opening dw, which is not one of my standard "always opens" is really a pain.

Anyway, I have been thinking for weeks about all the things I want to "blog" about, so I have already a list. For starters, I want to talk about our planned getaway. Actually, not the getaway itself, since it is as of yet mainly unplanned and because of the nature of the getaway it will probably remain unplanned until the day of departure. I want to talk about MY plans. The stuff I have to do to get ready to leave the Country and the economy and my lifestyle and my job(s) and everything else so I can have a life of traveling and adventure on the high seas and cozy anchorages.

The high seas and cozy anchorages can wait to be blogged about when they happen. I am sure there will be time for that when it happens. The interesting stuff, the, "How did you get to do that?" stuff is what is happening now. This is what I want to talk about. I want to pre-empt everyone asking this and just tell them the plan.

Step 1: John gets laid off.
Step 2: John (with a little help from me when he really needs it) fixes the boat to be in ship-shape and ready for an extended cruise.
Step 3: I strategize and plan for over a year on setting up a business plan to meet our talents and needs and set us up for a travel friendly income venture.
Step 4: We give away/sell everything we own that does nt specifically have a home on the boat.
Step 5. We untie and sail off.

So, step 1 was pretty much unforeseen and out of our control. However, we knew we wanted to go cruising on our boat soon and the timing just pushed us to get up and do it better and sooner, since we could absolutely not afford to stay in Florida without John's income. As of yet, the business plans I had been working on were not set in motion and even if they were, they are only designed to bring us enough income to keep the boat in the water and us fed. Boat living away from docks and US cities can be done for about 10% 0f what we normally spend here in Florida and yet our quality of living is actually higher since we have time to go sailing, swimming, exploring, hanging out with the kids, and taking naps.

So, the business plan, if I do say so myself, is an intricate work of sheer exhaustion. It took me over a year to finally weave together enough parts with enough diversity and to have them meet our collective talents and needs including the most overlooked need of us all, money. I seriously insisted on writing the plan and strategizing the parts without considering the money. John and I have found that we are miserable when we work for money, so I ignored it. Really. People will have to pay us to do what we love because we are just not going to compromise this time. He went to a job for almost two years, the worst times we had together. We had the most money and the nicest condo, then the bestest house, in the nicest neighborhood either of had lived in, the girls had the best school, we ate the best food, we were the most miserable. Why? Because he had to work for money.

So, I have a plan. It is a very good plan. It will come to realization and be detailed here at some point over the coming months and after that, I can just detail all the fun we have and our adventures in other Countries and exotic seas.

<< 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11