The Japanese art of folding patterned paper

A few years ago, a work associate I knew only slightly was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He was given a few months to live, but survived almost a year. During that time, I followed a Caring Bridge blog documenting his illness, treatment and family life.

One of the ways his loved ones coped was to fold origami cranes. Thousands of them. Their goal was to fold a symbolic 1,000 cranes, but they exceeded that number. At his memorial service, they handed out the extras.

I thought this was a beautiful idea and decided to learn how to fold cranes. For Christmas, I received a book on origami and a couple of packs of patterned paper. Last week, I opened them for the first time.

Cranes are not difficult to fold, but unless you have someone to show you in person, I recommend following along with a book, starting with the more basic shapes until you master the preliminary fold and the petal fold.

Here is my offering for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Pattern:

Iconic Northwest Rain

Al Roker’s voice rings in my head. Wet weather in the Pacific Northwest. What else is new?

This week’s writing challenge felt like a photo challenge as well: Write about something iconic. I mulled over this assignment, asking myself, What is iconic to me? How to capture it visually? What to write about it?

Inspiration struck on Thursday as I drove from Bellingham to Olympia in the pouring rain. What could be more iconic than Seattle Rain? But again, how best to capture it visually? From the freeway, I recklessly snapped a few photos through my windshield with my phone. This after sitting out the month of Phoneography challenges, because as much as I enjoy my LG slider, it is no smart phone, and certainly nothing special as a camera phone.

I admit to taking my Canon DSLR out of my bag and trying to take a few photos with it when the car was nearly stopped in traffic. Then thought better of it.

What I really wanted to get a picture of, and write about, was my passenger on this drive. I’d been traveling more than an hour when a ladybug came out of nowhere and landed on the inside of my windshield. More sinister bugs are ushered quickly out of rolled-down windows, but what about the rain? Can ladybugs fly in the rain?

She flitted from the windshield to the steering wheel, landing with one of her wings partially out-tucked from her red and black carapace, a dark lacy prom dress sticking from a limousine door. I aimed my poor woman’s camera phone at the ladybug as she circumnavigated the steering wheel, but I was too close, she moved too fast, and I couldn’t get her in focus.

lady2

lady

For a short time, she disappeared into the center of the wheel, then reappeared for another few laps before disappearing again and that was the last I saw of her.

My attention back to the assignment at hand. Wet weather in the Pacific Northwest. When I google-imaged “Seattle rain,” I found several lovely shots of the Space Needle through raindrop-spattered windows. Yes, that’s the picture in my head as well. But I wasn’t close enough to the Space Needle. On my drive back north on Friday, I think it was too gray to even see the landmark.

Sunshine is easy to capture. Snow is glorious. But rain? I had a harder time. The images on my memory card didn’t reflect what I thought I saw with my eyes.

I gave it a go. Here’s my collage.

My Awesome Saturday

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

First time using the Gallery feature. Didn’t even know it existed. Daily Post, you may have created a monster.

 

Leo’s metaphoric ladder of success

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

leo forward

Leo would love to climb this ladder, but I doubt he ever will. He doesn’t seem to understand the nuances of his hind legs. Not that he’s disabled in any way. He can run and jump just fine. He is capable of jumping or climbing on the furniture, but half the time, he just rests his front paws on the bed or couch, leaving his hind feet on the floor. I help him out by lifting his back legs up the rest of the way. It’s weird.

I took this photo yesterday to represent a commitment to move forward. To help our Leo be the best Leo he can be.

He’s sort of a problem child. I found myself saying the other day, “Leo is not reactive like Isis was. When he barks at a bicycle, he’s doesn’t have a full-blown, out-of-his-mind reaction. We just have to watch out for his redirected biting … oh, who am I kidding? He’s reactive.”

Leo experiences barrier frustration. When he’s on a leash and sees a bicycle, he barks at it. Confined by the leash, he can’t get to the bike. He gets frustrated and lashes out at the nearest thing. Sometimes Mia’s head, sometimes our legs. Mia’s head can take it. Our legs are more sensitive.

Joggers and other dogs present a similar problem, but usually I can get him far enough away that he doesn’t bark. Lately, bicycles have become more of a challenge. Rob and I like to walk the dogs after dark, when there are fewer people around. Last Saturday night after 10 pm, we encountered two bicycles. I couldn’t get Leo far enough away. He barked and lunged.

I’m overwhelmed by the prospect of training this behavior away, because of what I went though with Isis. Writing her memoir, I’m still living those two years when I was obsessed with fixing her. With Isis, we got to a point where I could safely walk her around the neighborhood. I need to revisit those techniques to make Leo less reactive.

We started last week by taking Leo to a neutral location with Rob’s bicycle. Leo had no trouble walking beside us while we walked the bicycle. We got overconfident and tried walking around a larger area, inhabited by other people. A person riding a bicycle passed. I clicked and treated Leo, who didn’t react. Hooray. I let my guard down further and missed the approach of a second bicycle. Leo barked and lunged.

I burst into tears, something I don’t remember doing with Isis at this phase of her training. I failed him. Why is this so hard? 

Nothing is worse for reactive dog training than losing your cool.

I realized we need to go back before we can go forward.

We tried again yesterday with the goal of keeping it short and successful. Make sure Leo is calm before we get started, able to make eye contact with me. Have Rob walk by with bicycle. Click and treat Leo for calm. Have Rob ride bicycle slowly past us at a distance. End on success.

Leo became very agitated when Rob mounted the bike. He barked a high-pitched nervous bark (as opposed to the Big Boy ferocious bark) and I could get him to calm down. I moved him farther away, had Rob get off the bike and stand next to it.

Leo could not calm down 50 feet away from Rob standing next to a bicycle. Part of that could be anxiety because he wanted to get to his daddy, but it shows that we tried to move too fast.

So, that’s our starting point. Next time we will start with Rob standing next to the bicycle at a greater distance away. I will try some BAT techniques of rewarding Leo by moving him farther away when he shows calming signals.

We’ll take it from there. Move forward.