Monthly Archives: November 2011

Two Swans A-Swimming

Swans swim in the early-morning light.

Even though it’s not after Thanksgiving, I decided to break out the Christmas music for my 13-mile jog yesterday. Usually I wait until after the gobble holiday, but I figured I’d need a lift what with Mother Nature refusing to acknowledge that this is mid-November. It was 72 degrees at 6 a.m.! Totally miserable.

As I weebled along the lake in our neighboring master-planned community, I saw a couple swans a-swimming.

Where are the drummers drumming?

Too bad I didn’t have the “Twelve Days of Christmas” on my iPod shuffle!


Like Father, Like Son

The Mister shows his muster.

As you well know, my younger son excels at disc golf.

And the Mister plays, too.

They both started learning the sport at the end of 2007. Since then they’ve both improved, of course. It’s just that our little guy got bigger and stronger, while his dad got, well, older. That’s not to say that they don’t enjoy competing in doubles or practicing together. It’s just that our #2 son plays a long, power game, while his shorter-distance-throwing father has to be craftier. Kind of sneak up on the basket.

Keeping an eye on the ball

But now the tables literally have turned. Our little big guy suddenly has become obsessed with table tennis for some reason.

Father awaits the son’s hit.

Guess who’s a prime ping pong player? Yep, the Mister! He started competing years ago, and his skills still are sharp enough to beat most recreational competitors, even though he’s rarely played or practiced.

Returning a shot from Pops

Lately, father and son have been practicing ping pong at the Jewish Community Center in Houston. I tagged along last weekend to document the occasion and photographically battle the atrocious overhead lights that turned everything yellow (especially the top of the Mister’s bald head!).

It was my first time shooting table tennis (I opted for my Nikon D700 and Nikon 85mm lens), and I found it to be a difficult task.

Much like it’s been for my son to beat his father in ping pong . . . so far.

Running for a New Reason

This year’s fundraising cause

Want to come along with me as I run the Chevron Houston Marathon on January 15? Help me raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

For the fourth straight year, I’m fundraising through the marathon’s wonderful Run for a Reason program. But this time, I’ve changed the recipient. In the past I’ve run for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which is near and dear to my heart because too many of my loved ones (especially my father, stepfather, and cousin Lisa) have died from blood cancers. Plus now my friends’ kids have fought them.

Sheri when she had hair

But this time I’ve been inspired and motivated by a couple friends who are battling breast cancer. Sheri was diagnosed just this fall. We’ve known each other since our #1 sons were in the first grade.

Janet has lost her hair again. (Photo by Janie Picou)

Meanwhile, breast cancer has been a part of Janet’s life since 2001. She and I became buds through her sister Claire, whose #2 son is the same age as my older boy.

I’m counting on the motivation from these two lovely ladies to push me through those 26.2 miles. And I’m hoping that my readers will help those miles count by donating at this link:  Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Let’s kick breast cancer to the curb! Thanks for all your help and for keeping Sheri and Janet in your thoughts.

One-Word Wednesday

Pretty grasses!


A Past Nondecision Sparks a Discussion

“Go away, Mom!”

My younger son walked into my home office yesterday and said, “I don’t want to make you feel bad, but . . . .”

At that moment, I flinched and wondered what horrible thing (in his mind) I had done that he was going to rag at me about this time. Of course, there are so many of them when it comes to a 16-year-old boy and his mother who are home together all the live-long day. Sometimes just the fact that I’m within 50 yards of him is enough to make him clamp on a set of headphones and put me on permanent “ignore.” Guess I’m lucky he hasn’t taken a restraining order out on me . . . yet.

So I merely gazed into his gorgeous green eyes and waited for him to finish his opening sentence.

“Our gaming lives would have been better if you hadn’t bought that N64 as our first video-game system,” my beloved son continued. “The games are better for the Xbox and Playstation.”

The venerable Nintendo 64 game system, which my sons still use.

Really, son? You think I feel bad about that decision? Heck, I don’t even remember buying the N64! How in the world did it come into our lives?

My older son Skypes with his younger brother.

That evening my #2 son Skyped with his older brother, and they discussed the merits and demerits of their mom’s possible woeful decision . . . that she can’t even remember making. And even though my older son claims he has a terrible memory, guess who knew how the N64 became a permanent resident of our house . . . to be followed by the Nintendo Game Cube and Wii?

“It came with the minivan,” my #1 son reminded us.

Oh, of course! After the Mister and I bought our twin Mercury Villagers (his blue, mine red) in 1999, he surprised me by putting a now-obsolete entertainment package in Big Red (now Ancient Red). It contained a VCR and a small TV . . . and that ever-loving N64. We stuck with Nintendo after that because 1) Mom was too cheap frugal to buy another gaming system, and 2) the boys loved the Mario games. It stayed that way until my younger son earned his Xbox 360 (which he hardly uses, because apparently I’m the only mom in the world who doesn’t allow children to play M-rated games).

My younger son takes notes as he chats with his brother.

Fortunately for me, my collegian doesn’t agree that their gaming lives would’ve been improved with a different system. That didn’t surprise me—he does have a subscription to “Nintendo Power” magazine, after all!

But just in case I actually was feeling bad about sticking with Nintendo when other video-game systems beckoned, my younger son comforted me by saying, “If that’s the worse thing you’ve ever done for us, you’re doing okay, Mom.”

Whew! Glad he didn’t harangue me about trying to take his picture all the time. I’ve really got no defense for that one.

The Wide View

It looks like Eric is putting on top of the world!

When it comes to photography, most of the time I’m in a zoom mode. Shooting action pix means that I’m trying to get as close as I can to my subject and (usually) the ball or disc. I love seeing expressions close up.

The Texas and American flags flutter in the wind.

But last week when I was snapping shots with my iPhone 4S of my younger son and our pal Eric playing disc golf, I discovered something new: I loved the iPhone camera’s great wide-angle view!

The sun sets amid the clouds.

The iPhone’s digital zoom is pathetic. Of course, digital zoom is an abomination in any camera, barely better than no photo at all.

The darkening sky tells us it’s almost time to quit playing.

But that same iPhone camera shines when the angle is wide. It’s able to tell more of the photographic story.

Eric watches my younger son putt in the gloaming.

Every now and then even sports photographers need to widen their view!

Looking for Autumn

My younger son practices putting.

While my guys played disc golf last Saturday, I searched for signs of fall.

The Mister watches his tee shot sail away.

After the hottest summer on record in Houston resulted in a dominant landscape hue of ugly brown, I’ve been anxious to finally find some color wherever I go. With their disc golf tournament at a large park, I figured it was a great place to search for autumn.

Red leaves brighten the park.

Looks like I found it!

Love the diversity of color!

Although the park wasn’t awash in colors like places in the northeast, it was comforting to see that welcome change is on the horizon.

Here’s to rooting for a gorgeous fall on 11/11/11!