April 3, 2014

Wedding Venue Search

Back before i was married we went to look at several options for a wedding venue. One place we looked at was the Bayside Pavillion in Alameda. I took a few shots, including one of myself in a big mirror.

I don't recall why we didnt like this one, but it's a weird random throwback, so here are the pics:


Throwback Thursday is officially a "thing" on facebook... but I just like the idea of slowly adding childhood photos to my facebook, my blog and my smugmug account, then filing them away neatly labeled in my dropbox.

So for today I have these gems to share:

At Japanese Tea Garden in SF on vacation - Mom, me and Zak August 1984

This is my mom... I am guessing Yosemite? - August 1984

This is me as a ballerina in April of 1985... always the palest!

Here I am in March of 1981...obviously enjoying a meal!

March 20, 2014

Harley Time

I love encouraging friends to ride motorcycles as it is something Wes and I love. So when my buddy Maral said she wanted to learn to ride and buy a bike I wanted to help!

I think this might be the first time she rode outside of the class (if I remember correctly). We took her to the big empty parking lot in Emeryville (which is now Target) and had fun!

Here are some photos from that fun day in July 2009:

Maral on my bike

Wes on a borrowed bike
Here is a short clip of me taping Maral riding:

Greatest Neighbors

I have this great history of wonderful neighbors since I left home in 1998. Unfortunately in South Orange County where I grew up people didnt much interact with their neighbors (*at least not on my street). I had a couple classmates nearby by coincidence, but didnt have friends on the block just because we lived near eachother.

My second apartment in SF, right after moving in (before cell phone days) we hadn't connected our phone yet so we knocked on a neighbor's door to use their phone and order a pizza. This awesome older couple were there and we instantly bonded. Ernie became a wonderful friend who introduced me to Tennessee Williams and gave me a place to have a smoke without going outside. When Ernie passed away I really connected with his partner Bill and remain friends with Bill today!

Another friend in that building was a teen across the hall. She was like a fun little sister and we recently reconnected on facebook.

In my next building I made good friends with a woman on my floor who really became a big sister and confidante. She had a number of issues and demons that she battled, but such an amazing, loving heart. She passed away many years later from a brain tumor, but I really learned a lot about living on my own, being thrifty and being fabulous from Sue.

When I moved in with Wes, we lived in a questionable area of West Oakland, but the neighbors were wonderful! We shared a duplex with a couple guys below who enjoyed board games and backyard BBQs. One of them was usually home and it just made me feel safer feeling like we had friends around. The older gentleman next door was already kind and we shared hellos and smiles with just about everyone on our corner.

When we moved to El Cerrito, I didnt think we would get so lucky again, but sure enough there was a sweet younger couple living in the same four-plex as us and we quickly became friends. Having dinner or hanging out... we took care of eachother's cats when any of us were traveling and Amber and I even went to the gym together for a minute when we were both unemployed. They have since moved to LA, and are continuing their adventure elsewhere, but I miss them dearly!

There is no way to compare, but one of my best neighbor finds so far has been Marilyn. I decided to take a CERT (community emergency response team) class and she and I hit it off as the class clowns and fellow SOA-loving comrades. She lived very closeby and we have remained great friends. She totally understands all the funny life stuff, she doesnt judge and she has vast knowledge in just about every area. She also surrounds herself with good people. We have become real friendly with her brother Bob and her roommate Joette too.

Here are a couple photos of them the day they moved out of their last house:
They were very tired from moving!

An amazing gardener, Marilyn showing off her corn

March 19, 2014

Cute Baby, Awkward Teen and Some Time in Between

Here I am on day one:
I hope no one is offended by the blatant selfie... or the nudity - its pretty graphic!

I like the lighting, the colors and the tone of the photo... its like an instagram filter w/o the filter!

and I was kinda a cute baby too.

Here I am in school I guess? I must have thought I would be an actress for a minute:

I dont know whats worse...wearing white socks with those shoes or that I probably wasnt wearing socks at all LOL

And here is me, Zak and Dad... probably some gift-giving holiday. I love Zak's sneakers and he still probably gets CDs and  books for the holidays and I rarely get stuffed animals #ohwell

March 14, 2014

Wine Country

So before Wes and I were married and before Garrett and Christine were married... back when the four of us had three last names between us... we went wine tasting together!

It was an amazing, beautiful, hot summer day in wine country and we got liquored up!

Here are some photos I dont think I ever shared on my blog from back in 2009:

If you have ever been in a barrel room at a winery you know the smell... I love this smell!

Awww... warthog kisses

Isnt this an amazing photo of a a beautiful couple? LOVE these two!

Can you tell I didnt enhance this photo of the sibs?

Bitchin' Flames

The the following is a photo that reminded me of the paint job on a bike I owned for a few months (before I crashed it on the bay bridge)... I downloaded this from the internets to show to Wes when he asked what kind of paint job I would like (a long time ago):
There is something about the blue outline and the orange and yellow against black that is just so bitchin!

Now I know this is a tough thing to mimic, plus I like to be different so my husband painted my tank recently and this is what I got:
Ummm... how awesome and amazing is that?!??! I cant believe this is MY bike! Can't wait to ride it!

Happy Friday

A list:

  • Yesterday hit me harder than I thought... the more I thought about dad, the sadder I felt. Talking to family helped!
  • I am excited for my garage sale tomorrow
  • I won the lottery today ($2 is doubling my investment!)
  • I got tickets to baseball games for my husband today (GO Giants!)
  • I wish it were 5pm
  • I forgot to upload this photo yesterday, it this is part of why I felt more sad... here is me (at around 4 years old) and my dad... he has his camera in this photo. He bought that camera the year I was born - its an amazing camera with MANY lenses. When I was in Jr. High I took my first photography class and he "loaned" me this camera kit. I continued with photo classes in high school and dad built me a darkroom in his garage. When I went to college to study photography, he gave me this camera kit as a gift. He really supported and encouraged my art and passion. It is because of him that we have all these great photos from childhood. The photos mean EVERYTHING to me. Thanks Dad!

Neked playing with dirt and rocks

Just born Jessy (JbJ)

March 13, 2014

My Dad

One year ago today, on 3/13/13, my dad passed away.

I had taken a couple days off work to move into my new house, when my sister called me while I was in Home Depot, to tell me that Dad fell down the stairs and was in ICU. She said they are running tests and no one will do anything until we know more. She also said she and Sacha were communicating with my step-mom, so not to call her and overwhelm her. I decided to ignore that advice, as I felt strongly that these are my parents, and that sort of warning is reserved for more distant relatives. I think I texted my stepmom first, as I didnt want to go against my sister's request not to call her, but eventually talked to my stepmom and asked if I could come. She said I could and I booked a flight. This seemed to set off a chain-reaction as before I knew it I was making hotel reservations for myself, as well as all my siblings and my uncle too.

Going to Scottsdale in the middle of Baseball Spring Training is heinous because there arent many lodging options available. I managed to find affordable accommodations for everyone and off I went.

I will skip all the fun sibling dramatics and just say it was really hard to see my dad look so absent. That I can remember, i have never seen my dad in a hospital bed - I dont think I have ever seen him sick! This man was invincible as far as I was concerned- this this was quite a shock. I remember worrying about my stepmom and paying attention to the reaction of my siblings.

Everyone talked a lot about logistics and what dad would want.

We all decided he wouldn't want to be a vegetable and we decided to let him go. I couldnt remember my last conversation with him and I am pretty sure I hadn't seen him since my wedding. This makes me sad. Strange how I saw him on 10/10/10, then he passed on 3/13/13... coincidence - but still.

I also get sad when I think about what a good grandpa he is and how he will never meet my kids (if I have any). But after I let myself have those grieving thoughts I try to remember the good stuff and how he had a long, amazing life with many children that he adored.

Recently my step-mom sent me some great photos and cards and things for me to keep and I picked out the ones with my dad to share today, the the first anniversary of his passing:

Handome Sy

Me and my Dad - 1982 - What a hipster!

I was 15 I think...with dad and cousin Simone

Funny face with dad and Zak

Easting and talking

High School Graduation

How 80s can YOU be?

Mom, dad and a bunny!

Fathers Day note - with coupons!

My portrait of dad - 1986

Could YOU draw happy heart people that well in 1986?

My gift to dad the last time I saw him before he died (@wedding)

September 30, 2013

Over One Year Hiatus...Over?!

I have not blogged in many many moons...mostly because I started working at a start-up and lost site of most all personal endeavors.

The biggest news of the year was the passing of my father, Sy. This has proved to be confusing, as I often refer to my step-father (Jim) as my "dad". Jim and I are very close, whereas Sy and I not so much. I would often say that as the youngest of his many kids, and having spent the least time actually living with him as a child, he always felt more like a grandpa...but nonetheless he was my dad and I loved him very much.

I will probably write more on the subject at some point but for now I will say I am on a quest to clear out my email inbox and am finally reading some emails my sister, Rebecca, forwarded to me. She took it upon herself in recent years to ask my dad sciencey questions, since she knew his in-depth answers would educate and amuse. I am SO glad she did, as this is precisely the information I want to pull out when I have a kid and they ask about these things...proudly saying it was their grandfather who wrote it especially for his kids/grandkids.

Here is his answer to her question about rainbows (warning - its LONG):

Hi Rebzy,Ah, rainbows!

In empty space light travels at the same speed, regardless of the color. That speed (about 186,000 miles per second) is a constant of nature, commonly designated by lower case "c". We won't get into details but they are an outgrowth of Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. It requires ninth grade algebra to understand but we'll skip that here. What IS important for understanding rainbows is that when light travels in a material substance, i.e., in a non-vacuum, different colors travel at different speeds. Light color = light energy. When we see different colors, that just our way of perceiving different energies.

Light seems to have a dual nature, depending on what kind of experiment we use to study it. It has a "wave" nature and a "particle" nature. Nobody can understand how it can "be" a wave AND particle. That's because our intuition developed in the corner of the world humans are familiar with. Waves are like water waves (the waves are pure form or structure, and the wave moves forward but water molecules don't; they just bob up and down) But we think of particles as solid objects (like hard balls), and they can certainly move forward and hit things. But each half of the wave/particle duality is just a different "model", described by different types of mathematical equations, so we tend to think that a real phenomenon "should" behave one way or the other, exclusively. Our "models" are distinct, so why should nature perversely mush them together? Nature, however, does not feel constrained by our limited intuition. Since things are the way they are, whether we like it that way or not, any mismatch between intuition and reality is entirely due to the inadequacies of intuition. Math also has limitations, but the limitations are much further out than our intuitive limitations. That's why there inevitably comes a time during the education of a physicist when one has to give up on intuition and rely on math instead. Usually, that happens at or about the time one studies electromagnetic theory, which is borderline understandable intuitively.

You can learn about waves by standing on a pier and watching water waves moving toward the shore. If you have a stopwatch you can time the interval between successive waves, measured from crest-to-crest or from trough-to-trough. Suppose you determine that 12 waves travel past your position on the pier in a single minute. In physics-speak, you might say that the wave frequency is 12 per minute, which means one wave every 5 seconds, or a fifth of a wave per second. A fifth is two-tenths, so on a "per second" basis, that's a "frequency" of 0.2 per second. That's how "frequently" waves go past your location. The frequency (call it "f") is said to be 0.2 Hertz, or 0.2 per second. (Hertz is the standard unit of frequency, in honor of the first person to generate radio waves in a lab.)

Suppose you could measure or estimate the wavelength of the ocean waves passing you as you stand on the pier. Let's say it's 25 feet (from the crest of one wave to the crest of the next wave). Then it's easy to see that the wave velocity is 5 feet per second.  If 1/5 of a wave rolls past you in a second, that amounts  to 1/5 of a 25-foot long wave, or 5 feet worth of wave. This is just math, as Bill Clinton would say:

Velocity = Wavelength times frequency, or V = L x f, or V=Lf.

The same relationship applies to light waves traveling in a vacuum. As I said earlier, the velocity of light in a vacuum is a universal constant, often called "c". Since c is constant, to say that c=LF means that L and f are inversely proportional to each other. The frequency is always just c/L, and the wavelength is always just c/f. So if you know the value of c, you can determine the frequency of a monochromatic beam of light once you know its wavelength. And if you know its wavelength you can determine its frequency.

It turns out that the ENERGY of a wave is directly proportional to its frequency. "Directly proportional" just means it's a constant times the frequency. In the case of light, the constant -- another universal constant of nature -- is called Planck's constant (traditionally symbolized by the letter "h"). This means that if you know the frequency of a lightwave, you also know its energy: E=hf. Since f and L are inversely proportional to one another, the shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. Combining that information with the statement in the previous sentence, we see that the higher the energy of a lightwave, the higher its frequency (and the shorter its wavelength. In the spectrum of visible light, the highest frequency/highest energy belongs to violet-colored light. The reason ultraviolet light is dangerous is because its energy is greater even than that of violet, so it disrupts cell molecules more, causing sunburn, cancer and mutations.

The low-energy end of the visible spectrum is red. Beyond red is infrared, which we can't see but we can feel it as heat radiation. Some snakes and other animals can see infrared (and bees can see ultraviolet).

Up to now I've only spoken about light in a vacuum. What happens when light travels in some material substance? To the extent that the medium is transparent, the light moves forward, though some of it is absorbed by the material, and when the light first enters the material, some of it is reflected back. But since the lightwave is a form of energy, the amount lost through absorption decreases the energy of the wave. the wave is deflected, that is, its path is bent, and the more energetic the light, the more energy it loses, and therefore the more it is deflected. The name given to this deflection by "optical folks" is REFRACTION. So violet light is bent more than red light, i.e., its angle of refraction is greater. (From these considerations it's just a short hop to understanding why the sky is blue, but that's a different story.)

Sunlight is a mixture of frequencies, extending from the ultraviolet through the infrared. Sunlight peaks in the yellow, which is why that round thing in the sky looks like a yellow disk. (Since one knows the frequency corresponding to yellow, one can easily calculate its energy, and thereby determine the temperature of the surface of the sun (around 5,600 degrees F. And since that yellow thing is almost a hundred million miles away, math can, among other astounding things, function as a mighty long thermometer.)

Back in the 1600s, Newton played with glass prisms. Let a sunbeam shine through the glass and, as you might expect, the violet and blue light gets slowed down more than the red and yellow light, so the high energy components are refracted more than the low energy components. Bingo! There's your rainbow: The mixed-color light fans out into its different-colored constituents. This phenomenon is called dispersion, but notice that  real power comes from understanding something, not from merely naming it.

Well, my beloved daughter, tiny droplets of water populating the air (especially between a rain cloud and your eye) act like a bazillion little prisms. Hence the rainbows you see when there are water droplets in the air, and the droplets are at just the right angle between your eyes and the sun.

An equally interesting thing happens with puddles on the ground -- especially when there are molecules of an oily substance that are floating as a thin film on top of the puddle. It entails another property of waves call diffraction. A material object will bend a wave into a changed direction (that terminology should sound vaguely familiar to you because refraction and diffraction are related). But what happens when the SIZE of the material object is close to the wavelength of the wave? That's when unusual and interesting things happen. The bending gets extreme. When the wavelength of a water wave is comparable to the size of a jetty, the wave gets diffracted, and it's interesting to watch. Since our topic is chasing rainbows, you should note that the human eye can see wavelengths as short as 380 nanometers (violet) and as long as 750 nanometers, which corresponds several ten-thousandths of a millimeter. Visible light has wavelengths that are tiny by normal human size standards. In essence, films that thin are of a size comparable to the wavelengths of visible light, so such films bend light, dispersing (spreading out) the different colors just like prisms do. Hence the puddle rainbows. What if you could cut tiny grooves in metal or plastic that are ten-thousandths of a millimeter apart (i.e., hundred-thousdandths of a centimeter or inch apart)? Should such groovy things produce the same rainbow effect? They should and do. They are called diffraction gratings, and you can buy them from lab supply companies. It happens, incidentally, that that size and spacing of the pits in the surface of a DVD are also of the same scale. Voila! More rainbows!

As a cranky old man I know said, "It's a joy to see the light."



July 22, 2013

Photo Class

Back in February of last year for the fun of it I took a DSLR c;ass at UC Berkeley and here are a few of my favorite shots from the class:

Huntington Beach

SoCal owns the beaches in Cali...

A couple more...

Heather and I had SUCH a blast on this trip. She is so beautiful. I miss her a lot!

Here is my niece - SO cute!

Hiatus Over?!

Its been a REALLY long time...(sorry!)

Mostly I got way too busy to even check personal email while I was working at Lyft. But I am BACK! And going through photos I never processed.

Here is one from a road trip I took with Heather in February of 2012. We stopped along the way to take pics and the I-5 can be pretty....

August 6, 2012

more fun booth fun yeah!

Randy and Jenai may win prize for most fun and expressive fun booth photos without props!

my brother in law and nephew goofin

father and son look so much alike!

LOVE the baseball photo!

No longer an item, but man thats one squishy hug!