My son, Ben, and I were hanging around at Taman Sari Bali and I said I was thirsty. We sat near the pool drinking Orange Fanta, and I started to blow a note on the bottle. Ben tried, and failed. We tried again, and again, and again, and just at the moment I took this photo he sounded a note on the bottle. I think I was more surprised than he was.
Perfect timing, or dumb luck. Either way, it was fun.
I love when I’m shooting and I find that, to my surprise, my candid photo has turned into a posed photo.
We were sitting in the Soekarno-Hatta Airport in Jakarta, waiting to leave on our Christmas trip to Bali and I was taking some photos. I thought I had Ben without his knowing it, and then he turned to look right up my lens as I shot this. Ha! My son cracks me up.
…to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness. “
So said Mark Twain, and I agree. I think that there are other agents for the fatality of negative human attributes, like education and education. And I should be clear – some people can travel the world looking for McDonald’s restaurants and Macy’s stores and Holiday Inn hotels. They can avoid all the culture and ethnicity and find North America everywhere they go, complaining that no one speaks English. Sadly, I’ve been around some of those people as I’ve traveled around South Asia.
I’ve also had the pleasure of traveling with and around people who are looking for a better understanding of the world and its people. It may be, though, that it’s the attitude of the traveler that will determine whether prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness are fatally eradicated. Mark Twain, from what I’ve read, seemed to be the kind of man who was willing to challenge himself as well as others. Some people, sad people, do not have any desire to upend their tiny understanding of the world.
Before I moved to Indonesia, I had seen photos of South Asian families riding on motorcycles. The whole family. Parents, kids, babies with groceries, backpacks and whatever else all packed on what we, in Canada, referred to as a scooter. Some little 125cc Honda.
Then I got here and witnessed it for myself. One part of me is excited at the prospect of getting a motorcycle and riding around Jakarta streets. The parent in me has little, maybe no, interest at getting my kids on my bike and riding with me.
How does the saying go? When in Rome? or Jakarta?
Our move to Jakarta from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, was in large part due to a desire to show my children the world. There are moments, however, when I think that I was crazy to take my daughter (above) from the relative ease and comfort of North America and transplant her in a city like Jakarta.
I attended a formal dinner hosted by the Australian Embassy last night and was asked by some of the people at my table if I had lived in any other Asian cities before. When I answered, “No”, their reply was one of shock. When I asked why they were so shocked, they told me that if moving to an Asian city is like learning to ride a bike, then Singapore is the easy bike with training wheels, and Jakarta is like trying to learn to ride a bike by starting with a unicycle.
I guess I like a challenge, and I want that for my daughter. I want her to grow up knowing what the world is like, that there are challenges. What’s important is that we meet those challenges; sometimes we will fail, and sometimes we will triumph, but we will never avoid.
I hope I made the right move.
On the way home today, I snapped this shot while walking with my son this afternoon. Sometimes one has to wait a little to get the right shot. There was traffic coming towards me as I was shooting this, but I waited until they all passed by and I was able to get this shot of a father and his child, holding hands, looking at flowers.
I think it was worth the wait.
These are my kids. They’re mine. They’re also my wife’s, but they’re mine. Mine, mine, mine. Until the day comes that they leave the house, decide to get married, and move far aw…nahhh…they’ll still be mine.
I love that there are a few things that transcend cultural boundaries. When I was a lot younger, my Dad would grab my arm or reach across to hold me in place if he felt that I might come to some harm. At the time, I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it for what it is. Now that I’m thousands of kilometers away from him and thirty years on from those experiences, I feel the love that was the motivation for his firm grip. I feel it because I do the same with my son and daughter.
Thanks Dad, for reaching out to hold me in place, to keep me from harm.
This is what it looks like when a person – in this case, my son – merges with our pool. Well, the pool that belongs to our apartment complex here in Jakarta.
Oh, and yes, this was as fun to shoot as it looks.
This is purely a family project. It’s not a great photo. It’s not the best photoshop job…but it is my son. Today, at the pool, I set the camera to hi-burst mode and took shots of my kids jumping in the water. My wife snapped off a couple of me too, but I won’t post those here as some people may not have strong stomachs.
As my family, my parents and sisters and their families, wakes up in a couple of hours, this will greet them in their email in-boxes. I’m posting it for them. Mom and Dad, Kerry, Alison, brothers-in-law, niece and nephews, we miss you and love you and we’re having fun.
I know it was Mother’s Day today, but I saw this Father/Son duo and couldn’t help but snap the photo.
…although, it could be boredom. I can’t tell if he was posing and making sure that I snapped a few photos of him, or if he was bored and didn’t care that I was photographing him.
Oh, and for those of you who are new here, he’s my son.
My son and I went for a hike Monday and we had a great little walk and talk. I have to admit that I’m more out of shape than I’d like to be, but I am working on it.
My son, however, kept telling me how tired he was, but spent the entire hike swinging a stick at everything and taking three steps for every one of mine. He exerted himself far more than I did and then came home to jump on the trampoline. I came home and sat down on the couch.
The photo above is him checking out our local cedars. They’re always beautiful and smell so great. He was ooh-ing and ahh-ing over their height.
This was what my daughter wanted for her birthday cake. She and I have been cooking together for a long time. She is turning eleven in a couple of days and since she was old enough to help, she’s been my assistant in the kitchen. I had her smelling spices and stirring batter and cracking eggs at age three.
So when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday cake, I should have expected her to say something like this. What I wasn’t expecting was how long it would take to make it. It was worth it, though. It might be the best “birthday cake” I’ve ever made.
I realize this is not my best photo ever posted, but it certainly is one of the tastiest.
I love Christmas Holidays. It gives me time to “craft”. And…
Ha! Hahahahahaaaa….no seriously. I don’t “craft”. I take photos. That’s my hobby. But when some evil genius designs Star Wars snowflake templates, I jump into action. For my son…yeah…not for me…my son.
Here’s the details. Anthony Herrera, a graphic designer, has designed a bunch of snowflake templates that appeal to the Star Wars geek in me. If you want to download the designs and spend hours meticulously cutting them out with a scalpel and a self-healing cutting mat, here’s the link: Star Wars Snowflakes.
BTW, if I’ve not said it already, Anthony Herrera is AWESOME!
I roasted a turkey today. My family was coming over and my parents are leaving in three days for Guatemala for six months. They started working there years ago and have formed their own missions organization, Love Guatemala, wherein they show love to people through meeting practical needs – housing, water filters, clinics. We (kind of) had Christmas today, as they’ll be away when Christmas actually occurs. I’ll miss them a lot, so it felt right to do a big family dinner. I made roasted potatoes, carrots and parsnips, stuffing and gravy.
So, I roasted a turkey today. I like to cook and doing a turkey is fun. I know, that makes me weird. What you see above are the herbs that were combined with garlic and olive oil and then massaged into the bird, under the skin and then over. The oil adds a nice golden-ness to the turkey. The herbs are Italian parsley (I’m not sure what makes it Italian), thyme, rosemary, and sage. I love fresh herbs and the chopping is particularly satisfying. Something about wielding a big knife that appeals to the neanderthal in me.
Oh, and this week’s Photo Friday Challenge is “Noon“. Seeing as I was chopping these around noon in order to get the turkey ready for dinner, I thought this might meet the challenge.
I took these three photos and stitched them together. The vista of my backyard, the mountains in the background, the umbrella on my deck were too tempting to resist. I snapped a good number of photos while on my deck, admiring God’s handiwork. It’s like He came down on Sunday night and said, like an excited four year old clutching a crayoned piece of paper, “Look what I can do!”
Please feel free to click on it to see the full size version in detail.
A couple of days ago a friend of mine came to speak at my school. She was awesome. She said a lot of things our girls needed to hear. When I was saying farewell to her, a cool breeze blew through the school’s parking lot and thousands of leaves all flew off the surrounding trees. Kate looked at me and said, “I think Fall just started. Right now. Right here.” I laughed, but since then the leaves have been falling off all the trees around our house.
The leaf in the photo above comes from the park across the street from our house. The kids rode their bikes while I ran. At the end of our time in the park, we walked through all the fallen leaves. As we walked, we quietly listened to the crispy and crunchy leaves under our feet. It was a great zen moment. There is beauty in the decay of Autumn.
We did not go to the Buddhist Temple this summer and I kind of miss these guys. The face above belongs to one of many statues depicting the “Lohans” of Buddhism. My kids love going to the temple and it’s a cool way to experience a culture outside our own. But there are lessons to be learned in a temple that go far beyond culture.
A couple of summers ago, when we took the kids to the temple in Steveston, BC for the first time, my son was doing his best to exercise self-control. He walked instead of running. He spoke quietly instead of excitedly shouting. He kept his hands behind his back. To this day, when I need him to exercise that same restraint, I say to him: “Ben. Buddhist Temple.” And that’s all he needs. Buddhist Temple.
Oh, and this week’s photo challenge is “Faces“.
When we bought the trampoline last summer, my son was at times curious about it, at times petrified. The most he would do was bounce and only when no one was on with him. This summer he seems to think that he’s Dick Grayson (the original Robin in the Batman comics) of the Flying Graysons. He’s gone from terrified to a holy terror on the trampoline.
As a kid, I never had a trampoline, so watching my own kids is full of terrifying excitement for me. I’m always curious to see what they’ll do next, with my thumbs ever-ready to phone 9-1-1.
The kids and I had a wonderful weekend, with a lot of activity. This is but one. It’s not the most beautiful photo from a technical standpoint, but it’s one of the most beautiful photos I’ve taken because it’s my daughter executing a possible broken neck over a sprinkler shooting through a trampoline. Not a great backdrop, nor is it in the best focus, but it’s fun.
Oh, and she’s UP.
This was the most fun aspect of camping in Oregon. My kids love the beach, the water, the sun so camping on the Oregon Coast is dead easy. We spent most of the days running in and out of the surf, lying on the sand, building sand castles and flinging floaty pieces of wood into the waves. There was no need for discipline. There was little need for parenting skills. The kids never fought as long as they were on the beach. It was awesome. I need to somehow move a beach into my house.
“In spite of the six thousand manuals on child raising in the bookstores, child raising is still a dark continent and no one really knows anything. You just need a lot of love and luck – and, of course, courage. ” – Bill Cosby
Above are my two beautiful children. I love them more than my own life. But they have spawned in me some complete confusion and inspired love. Let me give you a couple of examples:
1. When we were traveling to Oregon only a scant two weeks ago, my children made me so proud. The happily dealt with a full day of traveling, followed by five days of bliss. They got along. They saved small aquatic animals from death. They found utter joy in throwing a stick in the ocean, only to chase it down the beach, rescue it from the surf and throw it right back in. They comforted me when, in a fit of stupidity I thought I was younger than I am, I hurled myself into and over a railing, leaving a sizable dent in my shin. They were stupendous. And for a brief and amazing moment, I thought, “We’re amazing parents. We should write books.”
2. My children decided last night that they wanted to sleep in our basement in our original three-man tent. At 10:00, my wife found them lying in the tent with the lights out but their Nintendo DS’s fully engaged when they were supposed to be fast asleep. After a stern, but amused, talking-to, they went to sleep. At 2:00 in the morning, my daughter came upstairs to the living room, where my wife chose to sleep so she could “hear the children”, to inform my wife that she could not sleep. My wife made her way to the basement, where she slept in the tent on the floor so that the children could continue their adventure. This morning, after a dearth of sleep, my children proceeded to fight with each other at such a volume that even I could not ignore it. And for a brief and groggy moment, I thought, “What were we thinking when we thought we could be parents?”
In the span of two weeks I’ve gone from proud and maybe a little arrogant parent to a bewildered and short-fused parent. I love my children, but this parenting thing? Well, I can’t have one without the other.