Living creatively, love of photography, and passionate living.


Practice, practice, practice.

Whatever strikes my interest, I just go ahead and take a shot.  This day, it seems it was mostly about texture.

It was such a beautiful day–in the middle of winter, at that!  So, again, I ventured out at lunch with a friend.  We drove down a deserted road and came upon an old barn.  We stopped and got out of the car, cameras in hand.  It turned out to be such a fun afternoon that neither of us wanted to go back to work.  Truly, we could have stayed out there all afternoon and had no trouble at all finding so many more things to capture on camera.

I think we’ll probably go back sometime…


This is my kind of winter!

Okay.  So, I know we had a terribly hot summer.  And I know I said I wouldn’t complain when winter got here–no matter how cold it got–because it would be such a relief from the however-many-days above 100 we had last summer.  But I have been enjoying the unusually mild winter we have been having the last couple of weeks.  I’m talking upper 50’s and low-to-mid 60’s! Especially, since this week is going back to cold and chilly again.

Because it was so nice last week, I made it a point to get out and walk during my lunch time at work, taking my camera along with me.  These are just a few of the images I was able to capture.

Hope you enjoyed viewing these and it gave you some winter relief if you live where it’s been cold and blustery lately!  Next time, I’ll post the pics from the other day I was out and about.

They made a commercial at the place I work.

…and was it ever fun!

First of all, I can’t believe how many people it took

… and even how much more equipment it took!

Believe me, there was twice as much more of each.

I’m not going to tell your where I work, for obvious safety reasons — which I try to teach to my children when they are using the Internet as well.  But I will tell you that I do digital work for a company that has a retail and Internet business.  I get all the images ready and put them online.  I make sure everything is in its place and showing up in the exact space it’s supposed to be, as well as a bunch of little extra stuff that goes along with making sure you have the right images for the item that you may be interested in purchasing.

I love my job and feel blessed to work at a place where I not only enjoy what I do, but am able to work around people who are, for the most part, upbeat and like to joke around with me and make me laugh!  It’s a relaxed atmosphere, even though there is a tremendous amount of work to be done with deadlines constantly abounding.

So, anyway.  There were all kinds of lights and cords and cameras around the place last Friday.  I was asked to be in one of the background scenes, but declined, as I am not a fan of being in front of the camera.  I’d much rather be behind it.  And that’s exactly what I did the rest of the day– stay behind the camera so I could catch the work in progress!

Chunky Crochet Hat

I am in the midst of an all out crochet-fest!  I just can’t stop crocheting things!

I have been out buying yarn like crazy for the past few months, as if the world’s supply of yarn will end in two days and I don’t want to be the   only one left with nothing to wrap and loop into something spectacular.  Thank God for printable coupons on the internet, is all I can say.

My hands haven’t cramped up quite yet while I’ve been fashioning more wraps and scarves and hats than we could ever wear in a season.  I love wearing the things I make.  I especially like the uniqueness of making something myself.  There’s nothing worse for a woman than going out and seeing someone else wearing the exact same thing you bought because you thought it looked great on you, only to discover the middle-schooler at the movies was thinking the exact same thing about herself in that blouse.

That actually happened to me once.  I was probably in my mid-twenties and I saw a 14 or 15-year-old wearing the same top as me at my husband’s nephew’s wrestling meet.  How embarrassing!   (Almost as embarrassing as the amount of times it took me to spell embarrassing correctly.  But, hey, now I should be able to spell it more easily next time!)  I vowed then to start sewing more often in an attempt to make sure that never happened again.

And that’s why I like making my own things.  My daughter wants to start an Etsy shop and says she will help make things.  Only, so far, she’s made two hats in comparison to my numerous accessories — one of which she is keeping for herself.  The other, well, let’s just say she needs some more practice.

I made this hat in a chunky yarn with a large hook.  I really didn’t have a pattern for this one.  I just started my little ring and kept going round and round till it was the size I wanted.  I’ve just been doing it for so long and so many times that I often don’t use a pattern.  I just start something and see how it comes out, having some sort of an idea what I’m going for.  I saw a couple of hats with the bigger yarn and I liked them, so I thought I would try one for myself.  The color was what attracted me to this particular yarn. It’s perfect for this time of year.  Take a look and try one yourself!

Prayer Shawl and Hat for Cancer Patient


A couple of months ago, I got some devastating news about one of my sisters who was having a lump removed from her neck.  She had  a tumor that was growing rapidly on one side of her neck.  She made arrangements to have it removed and have a biopsy done because of the size and speed of which it was growing. In the meantime, while waiting to go to her appointment, another one started growing on the other side of her neck.  

The first one was removed and was found to have all the cells in it to be dead, and no cancer.  Supposedly, this meant her immune system had killed it off.   Another appointment was made to remove the other and to biopsy it as well.  There was a delay in the appointment for some reason, and it was postponed another week.  While waiting for this appointment, two smaller tumors were popping up on the same side.  

The second tumor showed there WAS cancer this time.  She was diagnosed with some kind of Lymphoma.  The decision was made that she should have chemo, and possibly radiation afterwards, in order to stop the growth of any more cancerous tumors and to keep it from spreading.  She had already had a scan done to locate cancer in any other part of her body, but none was found.     

This news was more than my father could handle.  My father already had bad health with diabetes, and high blood pressure that was being controlled with pills.  He began to have severe chest pains that, if he was ignoring in the past, he could no longer ignore.  He went to his doctor (Thank God!) and was scheduled for an immediate heart catheter procedure.  They found at least 4 blockages in his arteries leading to his heart!  They scheduled him for emergency triple bypass – saying they would do three or four bypasses, depending on what they found when they went in. 

My dad is a stubborn man, and this was a shock to him that he was just not ready or prepared for, so he postponed the surgery for ten days.  I was so sick with worry he would not make it the ten days, because the doctors told him if he walked out of the hospital, he might not come back.  He was a walking time bomb.  I prayed daily, as did my family and friends. 

He made it back to the hospital, a little more prepared mentally for what he was about to undergo, but faced with the fact he, also, might not make it.  When they went in, they found five blockages after all and made the repairs to all five.  The surgery was approximated at 4 hours, but I think it ended up being closer to 6.  He came out okay, was in the hospital about 9 days, went home for one night, and was back in the hospital the next day.  He was swelling up and it was just getting worse.  They got his swelling down after one day and kept him in from last Thursday evening till Saturday around 1:30 in the afternoon.  He’s been home for two days now and I hope he is finally on the road to a great recovery. 

My sister, on the other hand, lost all of her hair after one chemo treatment, in just a matter of a couple of weeks.  Her mother-in-law has purchased a lovely wig for her, but she doesn’t want to wear that all the time, of course.  She has a thin knitted cap she can wear, also.  I wanted to make something special for her to help her feel somewhat comforted when receiving her chemo or just being at home.  So I made her a prayer shawl and a cap to go with it. 

The shawl is made using a double-crochet stitch.  I made the first row of chain stitches as long as I thought I wanted it to be wide.  Then I started the second row with double-crochet stitches and just kept going until it was the height I thought would be good for wrapping around her shoulders.  I used a variegated yarn in colors that I thought would be soothing, and yet cheerful enough. 

Then I made her a cap to wear with it and to keep her warm.  I just used a single-crochet stitch in the round.  Again, I just kept going until I thought it would be long enough for her to have enough to roll down if she wanted more coverage.  I took the leftover yarn I had from her shawl and made a flower to accent the hat, making it look more like a matched set.  I’ll give it to her tomorrow and hope she loves it!  I made it while at the hospital with my dad when he was recovering from his surgery. 

It’s been a tiring last few weeks.  I feel tremendously drained.  I wish I could just put on my comfy pajamas, crawl in my bed, and sleep for days!  I don’t even need to eat … just sleep. I grab every soft blanket I have at night and clutch it tightly, trying to soothe myself to sleep each night since this all started.  I don’t even notice if I’ve been dreaming, and morning seems to always come way too soon. I haven’t talked to my friends for so long, except for a few texts here and there to keep them updated.  I finally got to talk to one of my best friends this evening for a little bit, and I probably didn’t give her much of a chance to speak because I just started talking immediately. I wanted to tell her as much as I could to catch her up and before the exhaustion set in again for the night. 

I want my life to get back to normal.  But it’s hard to do when my world seems all different now.  Because I forget what normal is anymore.  And I just want to find that place when I felt like I could make it through the daily “stuff” and all it took was a decent supper, a good sitcom on the t.v. and a sugary snack before bed to make my world all right again. Then, I could start the next day and do it all over again.

I’m thankful my father made it through the surgery, but I won’t be completely okay until I know he’s made it through his recovery all the way.   And we will have to wait to see if my sister will need radiation, too.  She’s already had two chemo treatments.  I think she is having one more before they check her again for tumors. 

And now, I need my sleep.

My new crochet shawl.

Hey, everybody.  I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I seem to be having a hard time lately getting to my computer to blog.  I think it’s work and being busy and life in general getting in my way with my blogging.  But that is just how life works, isn’t it?  Maybe it’s not so much that life is “getting in my way,” but that life is just happening. 

My very good friend (we’ve known each other since Jr. High) has a mother who is dying of pancreatic cancer.  My thoughts have been with her lately.  We’ve been talking  a lot, as we do when something comes up in our lives that is so life altering, and I want to make sure that I am there for her to support her.  I made her mother a prayer shawl (which I forgot to photograph before I gave it to her) out of baby yarn that was a sherbet green.  She is so frail and only weighs about 80-something pounds–at least that was a few weeks ago.  I didn’t want to make it too heavy for her so I made it out of chain stitches with an open crochet look to it to keep it lightweight.  She loved it.  I was so glad I could make her smile.  I hope it brings her much comfort in these last days of hers. 

And then I was sick myself with what I think was food poisoning.  I was so sick I had to go to the ER.  But I’m better now.  While I was resting and getting better, I started crocheting some shawls for myself as well.  I have made three shawls in the last few weeks!  I am going to show you them all, but one at a time.

I made this shawl out of black yarn with in an open crochet pattern.  It has fringe and I can wear it many ways, as you will see.  I got all the patterns from either the internet, books, magazines or old patterns I had stashed in my project files.  You can find many yourself or make up your own.  Hope you like this one and it inspires you.  I’ll show you the second one next time!


How to use old frames.

I love creating something new and different out of old things.  I use to go to auctions, estate sales, garage sales, and flea markets all the time.  Many times something would capture my attention because of some element of design, such as color, shape, or texture, and I would think I just couldn’t live without it!  I would purchase it, not sure how I was going to use it later, but sure in the thought that I would find a way. 

While out at an estate sale one day, I found these old, ornate frames and knew I wanted to hang them but didn’t have any large pictures to put inside them.  I wondered how I would find something I liked and that would fit my decor.  I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I had already got a great deal on the individual frames.  And they were all gold and peeling and flaky.  I liked the ornateness of the pieces, but not the gaudiness of them while they were gold.  So the first thing I did was paint them all.  I’ve already finished them a long time ago, so I can’t show you the process, but I can tell you what I did.

I cleaned the frames up with some rags first.  Then I took an old scrub brush and lightly brushed off any flakes of the gold finish that were already coming off.  I wiped them again with a clean rag and set them on some old newspaper to paint.  I found an off-white color and poured some into a dish.  I really didn’t want to paint completely over the frame in a thick paint, so I added some water to thin the paint out.  I used acrylic paint, like what you would use to paint your walls.  I also purchased some other pastel colors in small cans that I used for accent color.

First, I lightly brushed the off-white paint over the frames.  I didn’t worry about getting every spot and crevice, because I wanted to show off the texture and keep some depth in the design.  After I let that dry, I mixed the pastel-colored paint with water, also.  Then, I lightly brushed over the relief areas of the frames.  I didn’t do the whole frame, just areas I wanted to highlight with a touch of color.

After the frames were dry, I was anxious to hang them.  Only, I still didn’t know what to put inside them.  I went to one of the local craft stores here in town one day and found these really beautiful and small fabric frames with ribbon hangers.  I bought two of them and used some old, dried flower petals I had in my freezer to insert into their display area.  Then, I hung these inside of the bigger frames on my wall!  I absolutely loved them!  It was perfect for me.  I didn’t want these huge pictures on my walls because my room is long and narrow and I didn’t want to make it look smaller than it was with images that were too large. This solution was much better.

As you can see, I also hung an old piece of costume jewelry (which I have a nice collection of) on the corner, just for some added attraction. 

Here’s the other beautiful, old frame after I finished it.  It’s got just a hint of a mauvy-purple on it.  It’s kind of hard to see in this picture, though.

One frame was left.  This one was vertical.  I needed a place to fill above my desk where my computer sits and where I spend a lot of time.  It’s a narrow little corner in my bedroom and I like color for inspiration.  My walls are a nice neutral color that change a little as the day progresses.  They start off a sort of buttercream color and change to an almost pinky-apricot toward the late afternoon and evening. 

I wanted to keep the frame in the same color as the other two on the adjacent wall.  So I just painted the main color and no highlight color.  Because I decided the color would come from what I would hang inside.  I use it as a sort of catch-all for colorful posters and mailers and postcards.  Right now I just have them stuck inside or tacked to the wall.  I want to get some cork board and cut to a size that I can tack to the wall behind the frame. 

I like looking up while I’m working and seeing the array of images and color.  I’m going to fill the whole space up like a collage. 

So, that’s something you can do with old frames without having to find an exact image the right size to go inside.   It doesn’t even matter if they are falling apart.   A new coat of paint will help them stay intact.  I’ve had mine for over 6 years and they are not flaking or peeling anymore.   Hope you enjoyed this post.  Go out and find something old and inexpensive to decorate with that makes you smile when you look at it!

Amazing colors of a Native American Pow Wow.

I have always been fascinated with Native American history, traditions, culture, etc.  I use to read books on the different tribes that existed all over our country and could forever look at pictures of the costumes and dress that were worn by these proud people.  I taught myself how to bead woven bracelets as a young teenager from books about Indian beading.  And whenever there is any type of documentary about Native Americans, I’m sitting in front of the t.v. completely enthralled with all the facts, visuals, and narration.

So last month when the opportunity came to attend the American Indian Festival held here in town, I grabbed my camera and took off with my son and daughter to experience the sights and sounds and abundant color of the original people of our country. 

Bugs! Eww! …and I don’t mean the funny carrot-eating kind!

This has been such a season of scurry, hurry, and flurry for me.  And now, to top it all off,  I’ve got a horrible bug infestation of some sort! 

I don’t know what kind of bug it is, but they are everywhere.  They are driving me crazy, and I can’t figure out the source.  Maybe from my bathroom drain?  I’m just not sure.  They are crawling and flying everywhere.  So, I’m temporarily out of service on my normal PC time because I’ve been busy bagging up and cleaning everything so we can have the place exterminated. 

Forgive me, but I cannot live with bugs.  This place just isn’t big enough for me and the however-many-hundreds there seems to be of them!  Got to take care of business, people. 

But I have some pics of a pow wow when I get a chance to get to them.  Soon, I hope.

Gotta get back to cleaning and packing up stuff. 


I can’t keep up!

Ugh!  I am so behind!  I have images I need to work on.  I have a utility room that needs sorting through.  I have a laundry room that needs reorganizing.  My laundry is piling up.  My refrigerator needs cleaning out — again! I have a garden that’s never been weeded and made ready for planting, so now it’s overgrown with a season’s worth of weeds.  I need to clean out drawers and give away clothes no longer used.  And that’s only part  of the list. Where am I suppose to find time for it all?!!

I love blogging, but I’m so used to incorporating my images into my posts that I feel like I can’t post unless I have a few photos to go along with it.  So that’s put me off my usual schedule.  I did a semi-major cleaning (hey, there is so such a thing!) a few weeks ago when my son had his late (the party, not his graduation) graduation party because we had a ton of kids over–some, of which, ended up spending the night.  That was totally unexpected.  After all that cramming-cleaning, I felt I needed/deserved a break from at least a couple of weeks cleaning.  Hence, the laundry piling up, and the utility and laundry room still needing to be cleaned and organized. 

And I’d forgotten how tiring it can be to work 8 hours a day and try to come home and do anything that requires me to stand, chop, sort, or wash for more than 20 minutes.  I always did it before, but it tired me sometimes then, too.  Of course, it would help if I went to bed earlier.  But when would I find my ME time?  That Mahjong game isn’t going to complete itself.  And after I finish the first one, you know I just have to be challenged and do the remaining 5 games till I win.  …I just have to.  The same thing goes for solitaire.  It’s a good thing I’m not on Facebook and know nothing about that farm game I hear so much about. 

By the way, I’ve rediscovered Starburst candies.  I love those things!  Now I remember why I was so addicted to them before.  I should save the wrappers and make some of those cute little purses or wallets.  Wait.  See, now.  This is how I end up getting distracted and not accomplishing the things around here that I need to do.  Of course, who doesn’t want to be distracted when there are too many chores staring you in the face? 

I wish someone would invent a self-cleaning refrigerator. 

Well, at least I can blame the inability to work out in the yard on the 100 degree plus weather we’ve been having the past few weeks.  And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.  Besides, the grass has almost completely died, saving me the bother of trying to get it mowed.  I tried watering it a couple of times, but I’m not paying a $100 plus water bill for the month.  Sorry, grass;  it’s survival of the fittest.  I have to save the water for the plants and flowers.  I spent way too much money on them. 

I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself.  I’ve accomplished some things these past weeks.  I cut out two pair of pants to sew and wear.  Finished one already.  Going to start sewing the 2nd pair this week sometime.  I did some laundry tonight.  On my way to put the last of it in the dryer when I’m done typing here.  Went to the grocery store this past weekend and picked up all the necessities and food supplies for this week.  Half-completed cleaning my own bathroom.  The other half will have to wait till tomorrow.  So I’m not a complete failure, I guess! 

And anyway, there’s always going to be housework and yard work.  So what if I get a little behind and need a lazy break and just want to kick back and watch some good shows.  Somebody make me some popcorn!  Please…?

Why do we eat!…and eat…and eat!

The other day my daughter and I were talking about her friends.  She says that most of the time, she has to tell her friends to eat, that it’s okay to eat, or that they need to eat.  Her friends don’t understand why she is seemingly obsessed with food and eating.  She thinks this is funny, because to her, they are obsessed with not eating.

Let me explain.  Because I totally get it and why they have opposing views about food.  It’s how she was raised.  It’s how I was raised.  Our family life centers around food.  Okay, well, maybe it doesn’t center around food exactly, but food it so much intertwined with what we do–no matter what it is.

For instance, if one of us is getting a headache, it’s because “you need to eat.”  If we’re celebrating a birthday, it’s “what do you want for your birthday supper?”  If someone wins something, graduates from something, or gets a raise, we go out to eat. If someone is sad or had something bad happen to them, we go get ice cream.  When it’s bedtime and anyone is having trouble sleeping, it’s “go get a little something to eat so you can sleep better.”  When we come home from school or work, it’s “have an after-school snack” or a “little something before supper.” 

When we’re getting ready to go shopping or know we’re going to be out for more than an hour, it’s “better eat something before we leave the house.”  If we have to do some housework or chores for any length of time, it’s “let’s eat something before we start.”  (All right, that one might just be pure procrastination, but we choose food as the means to which to procrastinate.)  For Christmas, I often bake things to give out as presents.  I use to spend days making up goodies to box up and give to my siblings and their families, and they always looked forward to that box! 

My son’s friends are dumbfounded whenever they come over because I always make food a part of their visit.  Once, my son had a couple of friends over and I had said I would barbecue some hot dogs for them.  I’m sure they thought there might be some chips and something to drink along with those hot dogs.  But I know they weren’t expecting the corn-on-the-cob, baked beans, crudites  and dip, homemade cookies, and cucumber salad to be spread out on the table, too! 

Another time, his best friend was coming over to spend the day, so I wanted to make sure they had plenty to eat.  I made homemade pizza for lunch, rice crispy treats for a snack, and fed them the enchiladas and rice I had made the day before for supper — before I gave them some cake and ice cream.  I even made his friend take home some cake. 

Food is love.  It’s how we show our love, our emotion, our togetherness.  I have many happy memories of going down to the local Sonic when the kids were younger and just sitting there in the car, our feet hanging out the window, listening to the music Sonic always plays while sipping a yummy ice cream drink and eating corn dogs.  The summer winds would usually be blowing, and we’d laugh and talk while just enjoying the weather, the casualness of the day, and our precious time together.  The kids can recall those same memories.   Many times, I would pick the kids up from grade school for lunch (they hated eating in the school cafeteria because it was always so noisy) and drive to the park where we would pop the back of our van open and sit there eating a lunch of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn (Grandy’s, why did you ever leave town?!  We loved your food!).  The trees were so big and would blow in the wind, while people walked their dogs or parent’s were hanging out with their young ones by the swing set and the slide. 

So, to my daughter, getting together with your friends is a very good reason to eat and to show your appreciation for each other and to share your love for one another.  I mean, why not?  We’re not gluttons about it, and none of us is obese. We don’t abuse food or how we eat it.  We use it as a part of our celebration of life and living.  It makes us feel grounded and centered and all “homey.” 

Maybe that is why Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year.  Actually, we make food a big deal at every holiday!

My daughter’s friends asked her why she is always telling them “eat!”  She said, “Because it’s what we do in my family!”

More Night Images

Okay.  So sorry, I forgot to post last week!  I got busy and thought I would do it on Monday (Tuesday at the latest) and before I knew it, the weekend was here already! 


I’ve been out taking  more night images, trying to get better at it.  I had good opportunity the week before last because we had so much going on here around town.  There were even fireworks!  The weather was so stinkin’ hot during the day that the evening was the only time we wanted to venture out anyways.  My kids were good sports and tagged along most of the time (okay, there might have been some forcing and threatening) and helped carry my “stuff.”  My son even attended part of an outdoor night concert of someone who was before his time — although he has heard me play Eddie Money’s album on my old stereo before.

I had some nice surprises and was pleased with the ones that I was able to capture nicely.  The goal is to learn, even from my mistakes.  Hope you find something you like as well.

This first one is of a guy who had the coolest car with hydraulics.  He put on a show for me when he saw I was taking pictures with my camera.  Unfortunately, another car came up beside him (between me and the white car) and was blocking my view just as he had his car turned all the way on its side and was shooting out all this white smoke!  By the time I ran around to the front side of the car that was blocking my view and readjusted my camera, the show was over.  I was so mad!  I have one of where he is looking straight into the camera and giving me this big smile!  What a great guy.

This couple was just as friendly.  Maybe the guy on the farthest motorcycle didn’t want to be photographed, but the lady on the back of the closest one gave me a friendly wave and a smile.

When I was a  kid in high school, the big thing to do on Friday and Saturday night was to “drag Douglas.’   That’s the name of the main street in our town, and you would see all your friends and meet some new ones by getting in a car and driving along Douglas street.  The cops were good about letting the kids ride up and down the street, as long as no one was breaking any laws.  People still do it, obviously. 

Here’s what it looks like now.

And here are the rest of my night shots.

Eddie Money in concert.

A cool “mistake.”

And a fireworks show along the river.

Water Fountains at Night

It’s that time of year again.  Our annual RiverFestival is in full swing and there are plenty of opportunities for some practicing of  night shooting.  It’s tricky for me, because it causes me to have to use more settings than I’m use to or know exactly how to use.  But what better way for me to get in some practice.  The nights are full of people and events, so I plan on making full use of that.

The festival has changed dates this year, and it’s a month later than it normally takes place.  I can honestly say I don’t like it at this time of year.  It seems like they are trying to shift things and there were some big changes that I have heard a lot of people say they don’t like.  So we’ll see if they keep it this way or switch it back to May.  It’s been extremely HOT and that doesn’t make it any more fun for me.  I almost had heat stroke yesterday.  I know I had a moderate case of heat exhaustion.  My daughter and I were out walking in the heat in the middle part (also, the hottest part of the day and not the wisest time to be out, but my son wanted to meet up with a friend) of the day.  We had umbrellas, but the temp was up around 100 degrees.  We were out for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours — a third of that time was indoors in air-conditioning.  We both drank plenty of water the whole time we were out walking around. 

When we finally stopped for the day, we were driving to get something to eat when I started to feel sick to my stomach and a little headachy.  I was struggling with my window (it fell off the track and I was having trouble getting it to roll back up–yes, the air conditioner is broke right now so we do the old-fashioned way and roll our windows down) and was standing in the parking lot, in the shade, and pulling it back in place.  I guess I exerted enough energy to wear myself out even more after the sun and heat had already taken a beating out of me.  By the time we walked into the lovely air conditioning of the restaurant and I sat down, my legs and even the palms of my hands were sweating profusely.  I had to sit and just try to relax with the ice-cold water bottle on the back of my neck and side of my throat to help cool my blood going to my head.  Finally, I started to feel normal again, and once I ate a little something and drank some iced tea, I felt much better.

My point of saying all of that is that I won’t be doing much at the RiverFestival until the evening hours when things have cooled down some.  As a result, I will be able to do more night shooting in an effort to figure out what is the best way to do it and how to make it all work. 

There are some pics I won’t be able to show just yet, because I am entering the photo contest again this year and hope to win more than I did last year.  Therefore, I can’t show the photos I plan on entering yet until the contest winners have been announced sometime in July.  Here are the results of my first night.  They are pics of water fountains in the area.  There was another one that was of a larger waterfall, but I couldn’t get those to come out right.  I need more practice first!  Plus, the wind was blowing like crazy and I had to stand right in front of the fountain to get the pic I wanted, which meant the water was splashing and blowing all over me and my camera.  I wasn’t going to risk it and just wanted to wait for a calmer night. 

I have to tell you it took me several tries to get the effect I wanted.  I had to mess around with my settings and every time I moved to a different area or fountain, the lighting changed depending on where I stood.  I need to learn to slow down and just take my time.  I didn’t use a tripod.  I probably should, but I don’t want to carry one around and I like the challenge of hand-holding my camera and just using what I have–myself and whatever is around me.  It forces me to use my settings more and to do a lot of adjusting, which is how I think I want to learn in order to know exactly what my camera does when I use this setting or that, and when I turn the dial this way (up or down in numbers) or that.

I like the way the water droplets in the second one shine like jewels in the air and stand still.  And I think I captured the flow of the water at just the right speed in the first one.  It’s not too milky and not too stagnate.  You can see some of the water droplets captured in a stand-still mode, while the main waterfall flows naturally.  And I tried to get the bottom one when the wind was blowing really hard so you could see the water splashing sideways, but I never could get it just right with the time I had.  My son was with me and he was getting tired and wanted to go home.  I didn’t want to try his patience any more than I already had, because we had a really nice time that evening together.  His sister had teamed up with some of her friends and it was just him and I for the night.  We walked around, had some good food, and then sat and watched the fireworks before grabbing these shots and heading home. 

Stay tuned for more to come of my night shooting practices!

Changing a photo.

Well, I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday weekend and was able to squeeze every moment of relaxation out of it they could.  I know I tried.  I ended up doing a lot of cooking.  Although, I didn’t barbecue even once over the past three days.  I just did a lot of indoor cooking instead.  I guess I was just in one of those moods. 

Anyway, I had planned on getting out and doing a lot of things with my camera.  However, I never seemed to be able to fit it in anywhere.  Then, on Sunday in the late afternoon, I was finally able to step outside and down the street to photograph one of the many downtown churches in our area.  I’m only going to show you one part of what I shot, because I am working on transforming it into something other than what I started with. 

The church is absolutely gorgeous on the inside, too.  Maybe I’ll be able to get inside one day and see if I can take some photos.  But for now, I wanted to focus on the outside.  When I got there, I saw that some repairs were being done and there were wooden railings and scaffolding up everywhere on the building.  So I zeroed in on the top.  There are a total of three domes on top, and I picked the one I could get the best view of at the time. 

Here is the original.  Actually, I shot it in RAW but always make my adjustments and then save it as a TIFF.  This is that TIFF after my initial adjustments.

You can see the scaffolding in the lower right corner.  I removed it and did some improvements with color and tone.

Then I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make it black and white, or just desaturate the color a little, so I played around and came up with this.

I liked it.  It reminds me of something out of an old school book.  But I never stop there when I have captured an image that I see so much potential in if I know I can play around even more and just work it out. 

I knew I wanted to see this as a night image.  And I knew I didn’t want the building to become a silhouette.  I wanted to be able to still see what a magnificent structure this is by keeping some of the lines and curves showing.  So, I knew moonlight would have to be included. 

This is what I’ve done on it so far.

I’m loving it so far!  I know I want to add some night creatures, but I don’t want to make it into something creepy.  I’ve begun to add an angel to it, though I know you can’t see that yet.  I won’t show that until I am completely done with it.  But I love what it’s becoming and I can’t wait to work some more on it! 

I’ll show you the completed work when I’m finished.  I just wanted to share with you one of my work’s in progress. 

See you next time!

Getting Through It All.

Oh, I should be in bed now.  My son has already let me know it’s past my bedtime, now that I’m back in the working world of steady paychecks. (Yea!) But I meant what I said, I love blogging and I don’t want to give it up.  I may be busy as can be right now, but I have no intentions of slowing down.  That’s just not me.  If there’s a way for me to push one more minute out of the day, believe me, I will.

And this is just another part of my life that I am getting through.  Not rushing through, not hurrying through, but living through.  And it feels wonderful! I don’t want to let all that I have on my plate right now keep me from enjoying one little minute of it.  It’s just life.  So much to do, true, but when is it not like that — at least if you are a single mother anyway?  I’m sure all parents, in general, tend to feel rushed at times.  So I know I don’t hold the trophy for busy parents.  And, Lord knows, I’ve done it long enough that I ought to be used to it by now. 

I’m just going to keep on doing what I’ve been doing and not let anything stop me from living and getting the most out of every precious moment of life!  And thanks and praise to God!

And if you’ve been keeping up with what’s been going on in my busy life, you know my son (my youngest), just graduated from high school.  It was a special moment, for sure.

Here’s the moment I lost it. 

Yep, that’s right.  From the moment that kid walked out to find his seat, I started feeling the insides of me come pouring out.  I was thankful I had my camera to hide behind and to make myself focus.  It was one of those just-bite-your-lip-till-it-bleeds moments.  A trying time to steel my emotions and keep it together. 

And if it weren’t for the giant jumbo-tron, I don’t know if I would have ever caught a glimpse of him walking past those first few steps because I was shaking so much trying to keep from breaking down while holding my camera (hence, the blurry pics) that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to enjoy watching the moment instead of trying to record it.  (Note to self: Don’t attempt to ever take important family moment pics again or I’ll miss the times of my life!)

When my son finally did sit down, I can honestly tell you right now that I’ve never stared at the back of someone’s head for so long and with such intent as I did for those long minutes before he got up to receive his diploma. 

My eyes (and my heart) never left the back of his head.  With every sideways glance he gave his friends, with every nod, with every smile and laugh during those minutes, I thought of all the goodness that is my son.  My heart sang with happiness and pride for the long road we’ve been down to get here.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that he’s overcome some disease or drug problem or disability.  I know there are plenty of kids that go through stuff like that.  Kids that go through troubled living environments. 

But what I will tell you is my son is the product of a divorce.  Something that he did not ask for nor did he deserve.  Nor did his sister.  My son is the product of a single-parent household.  He was a latchkey kid who had to come home to a house alone and to no adult supervision–unless you count the over-the-phone check-ups and threats to “get that homework done!”  He was responsible for his own laundry and his own snacks and sometimes his own meals so that I could keep a job and pay the bills to keep a roof over our heads. 

And never did this boy give me one ounce of trouble. 

Yes, there were the usual arguments over teenage problems like getting his room clean and staying off the video games till homework was done.  But he never ran the streets, never left the house without my permission, never fell prey to anyone who tried to steer him in the wrong direction.  He’s got a strong will and a strong sense of right and wrong.  And I just couldn’t have asked for a better son.

And if you’re tired of hearing me sing his praises, we’ll you better just stop reading now because this is my blog and I love my son! 

We are close and always have been.  I was thinking of all the times I made him peanut butter cookies while he was growing up as I watched him walk up the stairs to the stage.  I thought of the time during winter, toward the spring, when he was about 4 yrs. old and there was snow on the ground.  He’d been sick with a cold and had been wanting to go outside and play.  Finally, he got better and the sun had come out and it was warm enough to take him and his sister outside. 

I’d been telling him all about snow angels and what they were and how you make them.  The sun had already begun to melt the snow into puddles of muddy water here and there in the yard in between mounds of snow.  I was helping his sister roll balls for a snowman when I looked around for him.  I didn’t see him standing anywhere close and I sort of panicked for a second.  Then, as I walked toward the driveway, I spotted him lying on the ground, smack dab in some half-way melted snow, arms outstretched, with the biggest smile on his face I have ever seen on any child.  I said, “Son! What are you doing in that water?! You’re going to get sick again!”  He just looked up into my face and said, “I’m making snow angels, mommy.”  He was so happy.  My heart was filled with so much joy to see the joy he had inside him to just make one snow angel. 

That was one of those “just stand here and cherish it, burn it into your mind for safe keeping, and don’t ever forget it” moments. 

This day was another one of those moments.  So that’s exactly what I did.  It’s there forever.  And I will never forget how happy I was seeing the smile on his face as he felt joy again for this accomplishment in his life. 

Everything our children do are such  milestones in their young lives and something to cherish, for the moment passes so quickly.  Even a camera can’t capture that time and make it hold still forever–it’s just a glimpse of a memory already gone by.  But…it is such a joy to know that we had some part of making our children into the fine young men and women they become in life someday.  I feel proud, for him and for myself.  

Busy, busy, busy!

This is not going to be one of my usual posts with lots of pictures and things to look at.  Because I am just super busy lately!  There is so much going on, and I barely have time to eat or sleep.  Okay, not true.  I always have time to eat.

What I really mean is I’ve been planting flowers, my son is graduating, and… I finally got a new job!  And then, of course, there’s all the little everyday stuff to get done or find a place to fit it all in. 

But back to the “I got a new job” part.  And the “finally” part.  You may not have known it, but I have been without a full-time permanent job for the last 21 months.  Yes, it’s true.  I got laid-off my old job in August of 2009 and have been doing freelance work since then.  It’s been really hard making ends meet, but God really was watching over me and my children and we made it through.  {That doesn’t sound right to say that, though.  Because it almost implies that God is picky about who he helps.  (My mother use to always tell us that God helps those who help themselves.)} I feel very fortunate and blessed to have finally found this job and the place where I’m suppose to be right now.  I can’t even begin to tell you how many interviews I went on (although, those were not that easy to get in this economy) and how many applications I filled out during this time. 

And for every job I went on, there were so many other applicants wanting the same positions.  It was just crazy!  Even the minimum wage jobs, which everyone was so desperate for — no matter how little it paid. ( A little of something is better than a lot of nothing!)  So many with families to feed and house/rent payments to make.  It can get really hard to keep your spirits up in times like that.  But, like a lot of people, I never gave up. 

So, I need to get my sleep now, because I have a steady job to go to once again, people!  But, I’m not giving up my blogging, because I love it too much.  And I love all the readers who read and comment and connect with me.  I just don’t want to give up all the neat and cool people I have met on here.  And I still have so much more to say and to share and to learn.  I’m just running a little late on things, but will get back in the groove as soon as I get a few things out of my way and get right back on track. 

Plus, I want to get out and use my camera more!  And I want to share all those photos with you, too!  Stay tuned and have a great week. Now, I have a son to go see get his high school diploma!

Unknown Roads.

Sometimes in life, our world changes.  Maybe it’s because we made the choice to change it, or maybe it’s because it’s changing due to circumstances we have no control over.  Whatever the reason, we have two choices.  Either we can embrace the change or we can be unhappy about it. 

Being unhappy about it doesn’t really seem like it will do any good in the end.  The change is still going to come.  And trying to fight it is only going to waste time that could be better spent figuring out how to deal with it, how to get through it, and how to get on with it.  I’m not necessarily talking about a life or death health issue here.  Some of those are definitely a worthwhile fight.

What I’m talking about are changes that come in life that make us have to make choices.  Like job changes or moving changes or career changes.  Maybe its a change to live with someone like a roommate, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend.  Whatever the change, we know the road is uncertain.

We can’t see the end result, so how can we even be sure we are doing the right thing?  Well, I don’t know the answer to that.  What I do know is that once you make your choice, don’t look back.  Keep moving forward, one step at a time, until your road gets better. 

You may not always be able to see what’s at the end of the path or even what lies ahead at times.  Everything seems unsure, and you can’t always see things clearly.  But if you have a goal, a plan of what you’re after, of where you want to be or get to, then you can make it through the seemingly scary parts.  Keep your eye on what lies beyond the obscurity.

Because, you know, sometimes it the part of the road that makes us have to take chances and figure it all out without a map to get us through that teaches us the important things in life.  It’s that part that makes us grow and learn and become a better person.  It can be that exact part that makes us proud of ourselves for making it through and coming out even better than when we started this path, this unknown road.

And you might have to make some detours along the way.  But that’s okay, too.  A straight road, while seemingly safe and secure, can make for less adventure, excitement, and opportunity for growth.  You might not always know which way to go.  Some days, you could be heading one direction, a little to the right, and the next week, you could be headed a little to the left.  As long as your still moving forward, that’s what matters the most. 

Traveling down unknown roads can be nerve-racking, or full of uncertainty that brings anxiety.  Change can do that sometimes. But if we remember that we are strong and can deal with anything that comes up as we travel along, we can end up in a pretty good place.  And then, and only then, we can look back at the road we traveled to get to our destination and realize what we endured to get here and how much better it made us.  And then we can smile with pride at how we conquered our fears and took a chance, with confidence, that no matter where our road ended, we made the best of it and we let it make us a better person.

And there are no pretty pictures for that.  We all make our own picture of our lives that fit us.  Go out and find yours!

America’s Big News

Earlier tonight, I sat on the couch with my daughter (who just turned 20) as we listened to the President tell us the big news that Osama bin Laden had been killed.  We had been watching another program when the news cut in to tell us the President was about to make an important statement to the country.  “What could it be?” we wondered.  What was so important that it had to be told so late this Sunday evening.  We heard nothing of any type of news impending in the last couple of days.  So what was so important that he had to address the whole nation?

I went to my son’s room to make sure he had his T.V. on and was watching.  He was.  I make it a point to make sure my children watch all important news programs and announcements about our government in an effort to help them understand, somewhat, politics so they will be prepared and educated voters when they are able to do so.  I try to tell them that voting is a privilege and not something they should take lightly or do if they can’t make an honest attempt to understand what they are voting for and who they are voting into any office. 

They seem to have a great interest in what goes on in our country and how it is being run, so I feel I have done my job as a parent in that area.  And they are very concerned, as young folks should be, about the future of our country.  So, here we three sat in anticipation of this very important news.  We waited and waited as delay after delay came, until  finally, he went to the podium to make his announcement.  Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks, had finally been killed.  His body was taken by the U.S. team that shot him.  After all this time, he had finally been found and killed.

We were stunned.  This whole thing had been going on for so long and now it had finally been done.  As the President spoke of the day of the attack on the Twin Towers, I thought of that day way back then as it had unfolded.  From those early morning hours when I learned of the first plane hitting the first tower, after I had dropped my children off at their grade school, till the end of the day when I didn’t know if it was even safe to lay my head down on my pillow and go to sleep that night, and everything that happened in between. 

I thought of all those people who had died in those buildings and their families.  I thought of all the soldiers in every military service who has fought for our country and who had enrolled in the service as a result of that attack.  And I said a silent prayer of thanks for them while I continued to listen to the President speak. 

Who knows what the next few days, weeks, and months will hold?  I feel proud, as an American, that we have some sort of victory after all this time.  I feel strong and brave to know we didn’t give up.  I feel relieved that there is one less crazy, violent, evil person on this planet who spews his ugly ideas onto weak humans in an effort to gain control over things he should have no control over. 

And I feel glad to live in America and am proud of my country, once again.

The Boy is Growing Up

It’s true.  You look up…and they’re almost grown.  I’ve been busy this past week, and will be the next few, getting my son all ready for graduation.  Prom has come and gone.  Graduation is around the corner.  Parties are being planned.  Memories are rushing through my head.  I won’t bore you with pics of a boy you didn’t know (although, you may have one of your own who is in the same stage in life or close to it), but I will brag about the man he is becoming.  Because that is exactly what is happening, right before my very eyes.  And I’m proud of him.

My son never has a harsh word to say about anyone.  He wouldn’t even know how to form the words to describe that kind of feeling because he just doesn’t look at people that way.  If he sees a negative quality in someone, he observes it,  then lets it alone.  Everyone that crosses his path in life is treated fairly by him, and he sees them as a potential friend and treats them as such.   He treats all people with respect–whether they deserve it or not, or whether they have earned it or not. 

I have watched my son hold doors open for women of all ages, and a few men, too.  He is generous with his things and loans out anything that is his without even a care about having things damaged, lost or not returned.  If there is one piece of chicken left on the serving plate, he will ask if anyone else would care for it before he will take it for himself.  He will ask me if I can give his friends who have no means of transportation a ride home if it is cold or rainy so they won’t have to walk (and, of course, I say yes). 

My son has played a few sports throughout his school years.  While he is fairly competitive and likes to win more than lose, he believes in good sportsmanship and doesn’t mind losing to someone who is good-hearted in whatever sport they are playing. He likes a good joke and lots of laughs with his friends and his family.  He’s intelligent, well-spoken, polite, and well-liked.

And he prays.  He prays in such earnest that I am in awe of him when I see the obvious relationship he has with his God.  It sometimes almost brings me to tears to know that my son is touched so deeply by the faith he has in God. 

He has plans to go to college in the fall.  And as I watch him turn into this great young man who I once knew as a playful little boy, I feel so much joy in my heart that I can barely stand it. For I could not have asked for a better son.  And I wait in great anticipation of the full-grown man he will soon be.  I wonder at what he will do and accomplish in his lifetime.  I believe he will be a great father and husband, friend and co-worker, uncle and mentor.  He is a loving person, always willing to take a hug from me, or surprise me with one of his own, along with a kiss on the cheek. 

And…he let me take his senior pics!  What a great kid!

Good memories, bad pictures.

I took a trip this past weekend with a very good friend of mine to Manhattan, KS to see Los Lonely Boys (YEA!!!) at the McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus.  It was the first time I had ever been to K State or Manhattan.  The campus was awesome.  We didn’t see much of it, mind you, because we didn’t get to the campus till late when it was just starting to get dark.  But what little I did see, I thought it was very nice.  I would love to go back and just walk around some time. 

I took my daughter’s camera–just a small point-and-shoot.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to take my larger camera inside the concert and I wasn’t sure if it would have been safe in the hotel room or left in our vehicle.  Didn’t want to risk it, so I borrowed hers instead.  But when we left for the show, I was worried I wouldn’t even be able to take hers in, so I left it in the car.  It’s not mine and I didn’t want to have it confiscated.  I’m just not good at NOT obeying the rules.   But when I got inside the auditorium and discovered our seats were in the 4th row from the stage, directly in the middle with no obstructions whatsoever, I was so upset I didn’t risk it after all!

The concert was great and I loved every minute of it.  My legs were shaking from the excitement of the music and constantly tapping my foot on the floor.  These guys are just so good.  My friend and I were gettin’ our groove on, boppin’ around in our seats to the music, getting up a couple of times toward the end to shake our groove thing (Yes, I grew up in the 70’s, sorry.  I haven’t a clue what kids say today.) My friend can scream like no other and was not afraid to show her appreciation with a hoot and a holler whenever she could.  I even gave a few cries of gratitude myself with a couple of closed-fist shakes and waves. 

**This video was not taken by either my friend or I, but it’s a good one, nonetheless. It’s long, so just be aware.

We stayed the night and got up in the morning to barely grab a couple of bagels and orange juice from the complimentary breakfast set up.  On our way out of town, we stopped at the most fabulous place to eat called Coco Bolos.  The smells were drawing us in from the street, and the flowers and colors of the building, along with the outdoor patio on such a beautiful sunny day were beckoning us to go inside and taste!  I’m so glad we did because the food was excellent.   The food was fantastic and the atmosphere was so nice.  And this is where I would have had these great images to show you of the meals we had, the artwork hanging along the bar wall, the chairs (red and black with curved legs) along the bar, the awesome bathroom with black toilet and sink and artistic tilework along the backsplash.  They had stereo piped into the bathroom with another quirky chair in the corner, a large oval mirror and tilework coming under the door but not completely covering the concrete floor. 

I hope I can go back sometime this summer.  But I’ll have to make a plan of it because it’s a 2 1/2 hr. drive from where I live.  Maybe I can take the same route and retake all the beautiful pics I missed on the way up and back because I didn’t know her camera well enough to realize all but 7 of the pics did not come out properly.   When I questioned my daughter about why they didn’t come out, she tells me then that you have to hold the button “like this” or you’ll end up thinking you took them when you really didn’t!  Ugh! 

Anyway, here’s what I did take on the way back, on the road and as we made one stop in Council Grove (most of those pics didn’t come out either).

*This was a really quaint church we saw in Manhattan before we got to the restaurant.  Didn’t get the steeple pic, though.

*These next two are from the man-made lake in Council Grove.  My friend stopped so she could use the pit stop, but I was afraid of possible spiders under the rim, so I passed and just prayed my bladder would hold out till the next stop.  It did. 🙂 

*These next few are from the town of Council Grove on their main street.  I really like stopping in the main area of small towns here in the mid-west.  We did a little shopping and they had a really neat soda fountain in one store where we shopped.  No pics came out, but great to see and talk with the lady in the shop.  She was really pleasant and asked us where we were from. 

*We headed home and I only got one shot out of all the rolling hills, the green pastures, the horses and the cows, the old churches and barns… but what a great time I had with a really good friend.  And what fun and fond memories I’ll always have — even without the photos to remind me!

Sisters and Quilt Shows

Today I had a great time doing a little sister bonding and perusing the Walnut Valley Quilter’s Guild bi-annual quilt show.  It was entitled “There’s No Place Like Home…A Kansas Quilt Show.”  It was about a 45 minute drive from where we both live, so it gave us plenty of time to talk and catch up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives. 

I knew the drive was going to be just a little bit, so I took along some crocheting to keep me busy.  Actually, the truth of the matter is, I wasn’t sure what kind of driver my sister was because I haven’t been a passenger in a car she’s driven in quite some time.  So, I was trying to distract myself — just in case.   I do all the driving around here, chaffeuring my two teenagers around everywhere.  I don’t trust very many people to drive me anywhere, and it’s nerve-wracking for me to be in the passenger’s seat rather than behind the wheel.  I hate having no control in any situation.  I didn’t say I need to be in control of everything, I said I dislike not having even a tiny smidgen of control in a situation. (Did you hear that ex-husband? Do you understand the difference? Oh, hell, you don’t even read my blog!) 

Anyway, she did okay, I guess.  As I said, I tried not to pay too much attention.  It was nice to talk about our interests, how our kids were doing, the similarities in raising teenagers, and family gossip.  Normally, I don’t like gossip and try not to partake in it, but this was family gossip. You know, things I need to know.  The weather was perfect.  It wasn’t supposed to get bad till later in the day so we were fine because we left early enough in the day.  We had a great time looking at all the beautiful, hard work these people put into their quilts. 

         “Pay no attention to the man behind that curtain!”

                               How fun is that?!  I loved all the colors and the artwork.

                  Normally, I’m not a fan of dark quilts in general, but I really liked this next one. 

There was also another room full of quilts called The Patriotic Exhibit.  It was fantastic and very sentimental.  They were so beautiful it made me want to make one to display in my home.  One in particular had the Pledge of Allegiance embroidered on it. 

There was also an area entitled “The Man Cave” with a sign quilted saying exactly that.  At first, I thought it was an exhibit.  I was standing there staring at the sign and the work put into it and the two smaller quilts in the area portraying “man cave” scenes.  There was an older gentleman sitting in a chair and he was not very friendly looking.  We were laughing at the idea (and I was wondering why the man was not telling us anything about the mini-quilts).  Then I realized it was an actual “man cave” for the men who did not want to walk around looking at quilts with their wives!  Ooops!  We quickly walked away, our heads down. 

On the way back, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant to have a bite.  We sat and talked about our kids, laughing and sharing our frustrations over the antics of teenagers.   Finally, we drove home.  We decided we should do this kind of thing more often.  It was nice to get away for a few hours.  And living in the mid-west, there is always something of this nature going on somewhere.  We made plans to make plans for a once-a-month trip during the summer and fall, maybe just traveling to an out-of-town quilt shop for supplies and to drool over the fabric, buttons, patterns and ideas. 

I’m so glad my mother taught us to sew when we were young.  It not only created a good life-skill that helps us save money and gives us another outlet for our creativity, but it brings us together and enables us to continue to create good memories in our lives as we spend time sharing our love of sewing.  And I really enjoy that.

And the winner is…Me!

Yes, I know.  It may not be subtle or modest, but I just have to shout it out that someone awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award a few days ago and I couldn’t be happier!  Who is this award bearer, you ask?  Well, her name is Lian and you can find her at her rather cheery site liannouwen Thanks, Lian!  Love your site, too!

Here are the responsibilities I must now carry forward as new recipient of this award:

1.  Thank the person who awarded you and link back to them in your post.

2. Tell 7 random facts about yourself.

3. Pass the award on to 15 new-found bloggers.

4. Contact each blogger you want to pass the award on to and let them know you’ve done so, and let the giver of your award know you accept it … or not.

You may follow of modify the rules.

So, here is my response to #2:

1. I love anything that has to do with lemons.  I can’t get enough of that tangy, citrusy flavor in cookies, frosting, cake, pies, on vegetables, in soups, on chicken (baked or grilled), etc.  The smell is  great and makes me feel invigorated.  I use to have a lemon body spray when I was 14 that I wore every chance I got, I loved it that much.  My mom would make lemon meringue pie because she knew I loved lemons so much.  Homemade lemonade is the best!  Lemon in iced tea … I could go on and on and …

2. I have this thing where even though I am dead-dog tired, I will stay up late at night anyway, till I can barely stand it before I will finally go to sleep.  I think it started when I was in the middle of young motherhood and I just wanted some time to myself where  no one was asking me for “this” or “that” or to “come to bed, honey” or did I pick up toothpaste at the store or did I remember  to fill out the permission slips for the kid’s field trips or could I, please, drive on the field trip or what’s for breakfast, lunch, or dinner?! 

Now, I just like to listen to the hum of my sewing machine in the late night/early morning hours when no one else is awake.  Or watch old reruns of ER because I never got to see it when it originally came on because I was too busy doing the mom/wife thing.  Or  play mahjong or solitaire on my PC.  Or find an old movie to watch while snuggling in my blankets with only the glow from my monitor shining in my bedroom.  Who says being single is lonely?  It’s a relief, is what it is!

3. I could write forever.  Once I get going, I just let it all out.  I constantly have to reduce, reduce, reduce because writing is so therapeutic for me.  It provides me with a way to purge everything in my head to a place that may or may not make sense to anyone else.  I mostly keep it personal, so I have to edit what I write on my blog A WHOLE LOT!  Otherwise, everyone would know every little part of my soul and I would no longer be “mysterious” to any man or creature. 🙂

4. I daydream about winning the lottery and talking all my women friends on a vacation to a tropical island where we could laugh, talk, party, hangout, be ourselves, not wear make-up, not worry about weight and what men think of us, eat whatever and whenever we wanted,  buy any kind of shoes we wanted –whether we need them or not– and have handsome, well-built men wait on us hand and foot!

5.  I daydream about winning the lottery (yes, I have this daydream A LOT) and taking my two wonderful (I think they’re wonderful, anyway–this week, but ask me again in a couple of days) teenagers on a vacation to some place where we could have the best fun and family time with just the three of us.  Everyone would have a good time.  We would all do whatever we wanted and there would be something for all of us to enjoy.   We would come home feeling refreshed and relaxed!

6. I love to laugh.  And I think any man who can make me laugh is sexy.  To me, when a man can make you so comfortable with laughing (with him, at him, either way) that you do it freely in front of him (you know, the whole “mouth wide-open”  kind of laugh), then you know he will accept you just as you are.  And, that’s sexy. 

7. I’m still scared of the dark.

Now for #3:


Road to Joy

 Jenny Bean’s Blog


Play 101

Matt Posky

Notes From Rumbly Cottage

Created Today

Mark Armstrong Illustration

Jumping In Mud Puddles

The Real Full House

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

Leah’s Thoughts


Handmade by Anne Potter

Once again, I’d like to say thank you to Lian at liannouwen for awarding me.  Please, visit her site as well as the others on my list and see why they are so deserving of this award.  I think this is a great idea and a good way to find out about other blogs, make new friends, and help each other become known! 




What a wonderful night for a moondance!

Last night was the night of the Supermoon.  Something about the closest the moon has ever been to the earth, or in a long time, or something.  I didn’t even know about it till my friend told me.  So, I got my camera ready and was anxious to see if I could get some good shots.  But, it was cloudy most of the day and I wasn’t sure if the clouds would clear up by evening.

After getting back from the grocery store with my son, I told him it didn’t look like it was going to be a very good night for moon gazing, much less picture-taking.  We looked everywhere in the sky, but could see nothing.  Then, when coming back from picking up my daughter from a play, there it was … big and bright and shiny.  The clouds had started separating and it was like a curtain was being pulled back for us to take a peek.

I ran inside and got my camera, and my son accompanied me to the drive way, where I had a perfect shot between a couple of trees.  I didn’t have a tripod (still not yet! what is wrong with me?!) and so he let me use his shoulder part of the time to lean against.  Then, I just started leaning against my car to try to hold steady.  We were “ewwing” and “awwing” all over the place at the sight.  The clouds were just so spectacular, the way the moon cast it’s light upon, in front, and behind them.  The best part was spending time with my son.  He had just as good a time as I did.  I hope I made some great memories for him and that he will remember the night he and I stood in the chilly night air gazing at the moon!

Do you “like” it, or do you “love” it?

Lately, I’ve been noticing just how much I use the word “love” for practically everything I “really like.”  Maybe it’s because I read a comment somewhere by someone who voiced their opinion and said she thought people were overusing the word love — and using it inappropriately.  I mean, I had already begun to realize I use the word more than I use to, but her comment caused me to pay attention to every time I prepared to use it.  And, it was quite a bit.

Remember when you were a kid, about 7 or 8, and you said you “loved” something and some smart-aleck kid (maybe even your supposed best friend) would say, “If you love it so much, why don’t you marry it! …eehhh?” 

You just wanted to punch them for embarrassing you in front of all the other kids, because no one wanted to think about marrying anybody (ick!) or anything at that young age.  You were only supposed to love your boyfriend or girlfriend, who then later (according to the morals of society back then) would become your “forever” wife or husband.

So, how in the world can you say you “love” chocolate ice cream?  You can’t marry it.  Jeeez!  Or you “loved” that movie or that song.  Or you love Johnny Depp (okay, maybe you can say that one) or John Travolta (but I really do!) or any other actor on the screen. 

Websters gives these definitions of the word “love:”

a (1) : strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties *maternal love for a child* (2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers (3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests *love for his old schoolmates* b : an assurance of affection *give her my love*
: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion  *love of the sea*
a : the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration  *baseball was his first love*
So, apparently, I can “love” chocolate ice cream.  And I can even love Johnny Depp and John Travolta, according to definition no. 1, part 1 of 2.  (Hey, they don’t say it has to be mutual!)  Reading definition no. 3, you can even “love” beer, the Yankees, or Charmin toilet paper, if you so desire.  Whatever trips your trigger…!
But…even knowing that I can use “love” to encompass so many things I “really like,” there is something there to knowing that word can be reserved in my usage for only those I truly have strong feelings for and who, hopefully, reciprocate those feelings.  I mean, it does make it more special when we hold some things in reverence and reserve for only unique situations.
I guess I’m going to have to demote chocolate ice cream to “really like.”  But, for you, John, I’m still going to always “love” you.