Sharing the beauty of the world through photography and writings.
"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence. " .... Ansel Adams
Welcome to my blog for photographers and nature lover's around the world. I hope you enjoy my chitter chatter about life, nature, gardening...and a little bit of kitchen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Stands by Me

 She had no clue what was about to happen. (smiling)  She was just patiently waiting for me to stop putting together this funky green tree in her living space.  Encroaching on her toy box space which now had to be moved to allow room for this green tree which really should be outside for the birds and the squirrels. has decided to do this once a year ritual without stopping first to throw her kong for her.  So patiently....she laid, hoping, waiting, actually minding her own business when.....
 Woah!!!  wait!!!  what the heck is happening here.  Aren't those supposed to go on the green tree.  Do I look like a tree?  Hey....DO I LOOK LIKE A TREE????  Stay?  You want me to stay?  What?  Biscuit? Biscuit?...Say it one more time....biscuit.  Oh...okay...if you say so.  I'll stay.  Smile?  well  now that is another thing and definitely not part of the deal. you want me to sit up?  Wait...what happened to my biscuit from the 'last trick' I did?

She is my best friend.  Day in and day out...she stands by my side.  She greets me and meets me at the end of each and every day...with energy and excitement, balls of fur and wagging tail...and finally she even knows what 'give me kisses mean'.  (Smiling...again).  She accepts me for who I am.  She stands by me.  No matter what.  Would she protect me if she had?  I have no clue. Hope I never have to find out.  But she protects me...from myself...each and every day.  She keeps my soul alive.  She gives me a reason  to come home every day.  She makes me doubt about it.

And yes....she got a biscuit when I was done posing her.

(A tripod would have made these just a bit clearer.  I had the room lights off and just the tree lights lit her up except the top portion of her head.  A little shadow slider in LR.  The last pose I added just a touch of flash at the lowest compensation my D7000 allowed.  I much prefer little to no flash at all. Wait til you see what I have in store for a holiday card.)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Your take - Day 89

I'm having some major need for 'time to regroup'.  I'm still in regroup mode and will quietly work my way through it during the holiday season.
Lots of activities.
Ending the year. Very anxious for the new year as I have some high hopes.  More so than in the past.
Lots of travel plans.
Lots of family activities.
Lots of new doors waiting to be opened.

The above project came at a time really needed. Creativity has been a little lacking as we slowly move in and out of the winter season here in the midwest.  Portrait season has slowed...which is okay during this regroup time.

Anxiously awaiting a bit of snow to trigger the photography juices.  Christmas light field trips right around the corner being followed up with a holiday season filled with family, friends, grandchildren.
Can. Not. Wait.

The quote.  Isn't it perfect?  Isn't it so true? It is where I find my peace.  My anchor.  It is where I get my cleansing. A walk in the woods.  A walk in a field of flowers. An afternoon driving through my most favorite marsh watching the wildlife, the breeze through the grasses.  The sunrise.  The sunset.

(My process for the above:
reduced clarity in LR
added aged photo preset
Into PSE duplicated layer in multiply mode at 35%
add layer of Linda by KK, multiply mode at 25%
add layer of dreamit by KK, screen mode at 39%
added frame
added Anne Frank quote)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A New Family

I travelled to a place called New Jersey over this Thanksgiving holiday.  I had an engagement party to attend for my son and his fiancé.  I was honored to have been invited....even though I am his mother but this one was for her family as there will be another in Houston for his again...I was honored to have been invited and would not have missed it for the world.

They invited me to Thanksgiving dinner.  Again...honored.

While in New Jersey, I had an awesome time.  I was well taken care of.  I was wonderfully entertained. The food was great.  The company was awesome.  The traditions, heartwarming to say the least.

The most amazing thing is that I learned and received an entire new concept to the definition of 'family'.

One in which it was seen that families can still be families....all together...even after two parents go their separate ways.   Two people...or even four...can continue to share the well being of their children and their new 'better halves' with peace between them....for the most part.

Sure..I could feel some constraint from time to time...but the love, the understanding, the patience, the companionship and compromising made it all work.  Day in and day out.

I left New Jersey knowing that my son had definitely gained a second family and was very happily welcomed in to it.  I left New Jersey believing that I too...have gained some new family members and actually felt like I belonged and was accepted regardless of what ever situation might exist.

Thank the Pernas family...for including me in your family traditions and teaching me what love and companionship can really accomplish and overcome.

Thank you....a thousand times.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

SumUp Sundays - Lesson Learning Challenges

This week brought some challenges for me...some good challenges...some not so good..or rather some challenging challenges.  All learning experiences.

Work continues to be a frustrating one as we are back preparing for our annual audit which requires extra to-dos on top of all the normal day to day long list of to dos.

I had two photo shoots I had to get finalized and put up for clients to that totally caught me by frustrating surprise of requiring a bit more of my attention than it should have.  I don't shoot in small apertures very often and have the larger group to photograph I used a smaller aperture to only find out that my sensor tremendously needed to be cleaned thus resulting in lower quality photos than I should have had.  Composition and poses were great.  Quality not so much.  I await a decision to possibly re do the shoot.  Lesson learned.

I am a member of a few different photography clubs and organizations.  One, WACCO (Wisconsin Area Camera Clubs Organization) has yearly photo competitions of which I have never attended or entered in the past.  I let myself be talked into it this year...still being my worst critic and in a position, employment wise...that I am still doing everything last minute.  I waited to late to make a decision of what to enter and now understand why some say they make their selections and have them printed up prior to deciding what to really enter...because sometimes prints don't look the same as they do on the computer screen.  I liked what I chose...on the computer screen but wasn't quite as thrilled when I got them back from the printer.  Not that they were poor...just not what I had hoped...  Although none of them came in first or second...I think I might have lucked out enough to possibly have had a score high enough to get an 'honorable mention'.  Still to be seen.    The above..inspired by my late sister...did get in the top three so I think I will get one for it at least...which makes me happy.

I entered some as digital also and the one I really thought would get a nice score, got less than average. What the heck?  Totally frustrating.  But another that is one of my favorites, I also think will have an honorable mention. be seen.  I heard a lot of comments from the crowd...good comments.  So...

Quite a few of the attendees that had attended and entered many times, were totally surprised at the way things were being scored.  Nothing like what they expected.  In the end, we all agreed that the winners were truly winners.  Although I had to disagree on the 'Best in Show'.  In the comes down to what do the judges like.  It really does.  Photography is all about 'one's passion'.  Not only in judging but in taking the shot.

Aside from that, I have another portrait shoot coming up that I am excited about.  Another weekend up north that I am looking forward to.

The seasons are changing.  Although winter is officially another couple of months away, our 70s have gone away to be replaced by 40s during the day and below freezing, frosty mornings.  The time change will not wake us up to darker mornings and bring us home during less light evenings.  The days..shortened will bring even more excitement for weekends.

The fall colors are being replaced slowly by the browns and tans of 'the season between awesome bright fall and enchanting, mysterious, cleanliness of winter's white blankets'....of which I am actually looking forward to from a photographic perspective...and hopefully a chance to use some new snowshoes that were received last Christmas with little to no snow to use them in.  Wishing for just enough to get out in..but not too much...or not too cold to enjoy, I should say.  I don't mind the snow.  I mind the 'way below freezing' that keeps me cooped up inside.

All in major complaints about this week.  Lessons learned.  New goals to work towards.  Things to look forward to.  Another new year soon to be planned.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Through the Fog

It's creepy and scary and nerve-wrecking when I have to drive to the office in the early morning hours when the fog is thick I can barely see in front of me.  I will drive for what seems to be hours to only realize I've only gone ten miles...if even that....less than one-fourth of the way to my destination.  Half of my route is country highways where there are no street lights.  I do all I can to keep up with the car in front of me that drives as if it is as clear as daylight and hope they don't have to get off before I get to the half way point where the lights greet me and my hands thank them for the release of the mighty grip.

Many times while enroute on the early morn of the weekdays...there will be a light layer of ground fog, making everything majestical in the fields around me.  I long for those mornings on the weekend so I can get up and have fun with it and my Nikon...knowing quite well that I will need some initiative to get up early enough on the weekend after having hit the snooze button three times when it goes off at 4:30 during the week.  A photography road trip with a fellow friend photographer recently gave me the awesome pleasure of a foggy morning photo op that was absolutely awesome.  One of my most favorite from that trip was the moon and wind turbine...

...and my most favorite marsh (that I have discovered close to home) lit by the morning sunrise..

Then there are the more recent opportunities I had with a girl's weekend 'up north'. While the others were sleeping in I got to enjoy the morning fog that totally covered what really is a lake 'behind all that fog'. Really girls, I so hate you missed this!!!

...and just so you know....this was the view the morning before...without the fog....

And people wonder why I have a difficult time sleeping in. I would have been really upset with myself if I had missed this.

Just a couple days after that...two days ago actually...our warmer fall weather created an evening fog that I was greeted with when heading back home after one of those 'fun days...NOT' in the office. What a stress reliever to be able to walk to the river behind my house and capture it's mystical  surprises.

Do you need a change of pace?  Try it...the early hours. I don't believe you will be disappointed.

Would love for you to share some of your foggy morns!!!...or evenings.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Sadly...I open my last jar of homemade applesauce.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Awesome Find

Finally shopping at an antique store that I had longed to visit for a few years now. We stopped there at my request...hoping I would find something that would satisfy my need for another photography prop. I browsed...from room to room. Not finding anything that really grabbed me...except the owners pup, Bear..whom I also didn't see until I'd browsed most of the store's rooms. He came out of no where.  Not sure where he hid until then..he wasn't small..but he was awesome.

One last walk through and I was heading up front when I saw an old tractor toy..child size that was meant to ride...with pedals to pump.  A bit out of my price range.  Oh well.  I enjoyed the time to just browse.  I turned. I looked down.

There they were...stuck..hidden...on a floor level shelf...under another one.  There is no telling how long they had been there.  Why would anyone want them?  Why would anyone give them up?!!  I'm pretty sure I stopped breathing for a I listened to them calling my name...'we're here.  Here.  Look Down.'

This one find.  Made it all worth it.  Satisfied my craving...for another photography prop along the lines of the vintage sports items I was slowly collecting.

I happy camper!!!

(Two of my favorite movies full of inspiration...The Million Dollar Baby and Cinderella Man. Now...I felt 'part of it'.)

...sigh...Thank you, Dear Lord...for directing me.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My Lunchtime Escape

Lunch.  Lunch time.  Outside.  Escape.  Sun, hot and cold normally will not stop me.'s been rare this year thankfully...for my lunch escapes...not so much for earth's bounties.

The office is in a bad part of town.  Not somewhere you want to be in the evenings.  Right behind the office, the scenery changes.  It goes from 'not so nice' to 'nice and full of'.

It saves in and day out until some longer term escape can be found.

Walk with me.  Enjoy the view.  It's fall...peaking.  The leaves are colorful...yet already beginning to fall.  Creating piles.  Creating child like trails to shuffle your feet in.  Pumpkins. Haystacks. Ghosts, witches and spiders and scarecrows dapple the yards.  Creating...smiles....laughter...childhood memories.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Celebration of Growth

(The OshKosh Dragonboat race - This boat of rowers celebrating their fight against cancer. It was an awesome, inspiring moment that provided me growth of the soul, heart and mind just to have experienced.)

We've been asked to do a celebration....of our growth this year...with everything Kim has provided us with and all I can think of right now is how far behind I am on all the inspiration she has taken time to provide me with.  Such a bad student, I feel.  My own fault....or I could put part of the blame on her because she has inspired me so much, I signed up for other courses...all running at the same time...going in different directions...and not year long ones but four and six week long ones..still all running at the same time.

But...I smile.  I know winter is right around the corner and there will be catch up.  Actually I see a little light in November.  Maybe even a start this next week...or next weekend when I take a girls trip north to rest and relax.  That should bring some type of down time and further inspiration.  (shhhh...don't tell them I plan on using them and our time together for many blogging opportunities)

I've grown in my editing in to add textures and text over and above what I have done in the past.

I'm learning Lightroom now and definitely have fallen in love with it.  Taking the 'RoundTrip' to learn how to do exactly that...Lightroom to PSE and back. Can. Not. Wait. to have that under my belt.

My time capsule course....I want so much to finish and that is my goal for the next couple of weeks as after that it won't be available and it needs to be the one that I don't extend availability on....for now. I put a slide show together to share last week and couldn't get it uploaded to my blog here...for whatever reason so now...I need to go into the class more in-depth over the next week and get it up...because it is about Fall and I hate to think I won't get it posted until Winter. (uugghhh  and ggrrrr)

My blogging course was awesome and I followed it up with Make it Sparkle.  So filled with so many ideas. find the time to 'just do it'.

I have grown in a couple of other ways also.  I discovered the power of 'The Artist's Way' and it has given me so many opportunities in my photography passion which is part of what has kept me from the courses (also resulting in mixed feelings of where to spend my time..which passion... how can I get to them both because I want to do

In the past, I have not had much liking for the color white.  Past experiences of white cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms continuously needing cleaning with children and pets and just humidity and stickiness of Houston environments.  Cussing...claiming that these could only have been invented by a man.  Yet, this year...I found a new love for white (thank you to the one and only Kim Klassen) and am now trying to figure out which room is going to be the best to turn into My Whiteroom.

Along with the new love of white...has come a somewhat new love for bright long as they are not on me.  Many people wonder about my sitting in rooms with not much light.  My office at work has huge windows...tinted yes far as I am concerned in the middle of the day, I much prefer that natural light coming through the window than that overhead flourescent light that just doesn't seem necessary...after all the computer monitor is lit.  But I have discovered the awesomeness of 'light' as related to photography and love those where I can capture some bright light..although it is normally still from that wonderful 'light' the Dear Lord has blessed us with.

I've grown in my attitude, my awareness (still needing work) but getting there.
My self esteem is slowly creeping up.

Next year.  Next year will be great. I've learned so much this year and still have more to learn as I play catch up.

And today, I think I actually do 'Trust the Process' just a bit more than I did ten months ago.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crazy with a Spray Can

I just couldn't help it.
I'm home alone this weekend.  (Hunting season gives me 'me time'.)  Maybe I should use it in some more responsible way.  But I didn't.

Well..I dusted and picked up.
I did the morning dishes.
I played with the dog.
I trimmed some trees back and rearranged a garden area.
I did wash.

It's the weekend.

I had a photo shoot scheduled in which I had hoped to use the first two tires I worked on.  The red and blue. But then I knew where there was a third tire.  When I went to get it, low and behold, there were two half tires chanting very clearly....take me, take me. I want to be 'pretty' too.  I'm also up for a good challenge of making someone (or something) feel better about themselves. So off we went. Stopped at the local ace for some additional 'color' and discovered I didn't have the palette today for my normal earth tones...greens and...greens. I needed something to brighten up 'my space' even if they were to be used mainly for photography props.

Sunny Yellow
Watermelon Pink
and, yes, of course, burgundy red.

But wait, my green garden bench needed to be redone.
My garden wagon has haunted me since I received it with a gray that was just 'too gray' for me. I splotched it with white over the gray and added a bit of red to make it feel unique..and it smiled.

Since I had white...well that little children's table that had been sitting in my basement for months needed to be repainted as I wanted to cover up the stick on fruit emblem on the top.  I wanted (thanks to Kim Klassen) a white table...even if it is a bit on the wee side.  I believe it will do what I need it to do.

Needless to say, of course I didn't plan the purchase quite right and had to go back a second time for a couple of the colors..and the same checkout girl, of course, commented on my quick return.  Nicely.

The project took me about five between the other things I did while waiting for coats of color to dry.

I needed to do some computer time as I am behind on my classes and hoped to browse for some fresh ideas for my photo shoot...which would have been a waste of time anyhow as my portrait sessions normally end up being different than I expect...depending on who the subject is.

Bills didn't get paid.
Clothes are still hanging on the line.  Yes, I guess I should atleast remove them so the night critters don't  decide to play dress up tonight.

Tomorrow I have a photo hopes of finding that one inspiring shot.  Fall color.  Hills. West Wisconsin. Friends to chat with.

Hopefully I will return early enough to fit in a bit more responsibility...before he returns. Before the Monday dreads.

Can't wait to actually use my new 'toys' in a photo shoot to share with you.

Won't you share a home made prop with us? Or just some unplanned creativity on a day that 'responsibility' just didn't show up!!

( I cleaned up from this project, I found a garden foot stool that I rummage from 'the abandoned house' which was nasty worn out green...and recovered it with Cherry Red. Unfortunately I didn't have time to snap a pic before my session subjects showed up.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Wednesday Words - Fall Smiles

How the bright dancing colors of the leaves tempt Mother Nature's creativity, feeding mine throughout the day.

Vibrance. Inspiration.

Cool crisp air breezily flirting and rustling through the branches.

The fragrance. The sound underneath the step, step step.

Colorful wardrobes changing day in and day out.

Grasping the last breath of fresh air before...

Winter. Nearing. Just around the corner.

Get out and feed your color palette with what Mother Nature is offering up and share your awesome fall photos for all to enjoy!!!

By far, my most favorite season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In Loving Memory

She would be 54 tomorrow, September 26. A year younger than me. In many ways, she was older than I.  In many ways she was much much younger, but then we all have our days.

We had many things in common....the love of sunflowers, gardening, convertible Mustangs, the sun, the moon, horses, football.  She had a free spirit that somedays I really longed for.  She always seemed to be so happy go lucky.  She had an ease around people that I always struggled with and still do to a certain extent (although age definitely makes one a bit more vocal than younger days).  She made friends easier.  I had to be the responsible one. I hated that.  Still times....but someone had to do it.

I miss her tremendously many days.  I miss our heart to heart chats.  I miss her laugh. Riding horses together.  Camping together.  Discovering the White Pelicans together.  Sitting on her Florida patio.  Chatting in my Houston backyard. Laughing together on the phone regardless of the miles between us.

We cried together.  We fought...after all if we hadn't, we wouldn't have been sisters.

We went through life, at times, rescuing each other from those curve balls life tended to throw at us. Yet, life always got the best of us and just about the time we would start to become really close, miles came between us.  Life had other plans for us.

I could really use her advice now.

I wish she could hug me.  I wish her children could hug her. I know she would be oh so proud of them. I know she IS so proud of them.

I'm guessing today that the Dear Lord wishes He had left her here with us much longer as I am sure she is painting the heavens red in celebration of her life.  I can see it now. I can see her now.

We love you, Loretta Mary.  We miss you tremendously.

Someday.  Someday we will chat again.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Words

As a continuance to my post yesterday (today was least on the home front), I was advised today that my uncle had posted something on facebook that my aunt has kidney cancer. (I didn't even know he was on Facebook.)  When I heard this today, I remembered the old belief that things come in threes.  I hope this isn't true.

It also reminded me of these words that always make me want to do the craziest things to insure I have lived life to its fullest, because we never know when that chance might be gone.'s time to ponder up that 'take away my breath moments' bucket list although I believe that some of those moments just can not be planned.

How have you planned to insure you have experienced the ultimate 'take my breath away' moment?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Something's Amiss

I went to a funeral yesterday.  I don't know if that is what has me off kilter today or not.  I woke up and cried for twenty minutes this morning because 'I hate my job and I don't want to go'.  I came home grumpy tonight and my Lexi is tiptoeing around me.  Standing. Staring. At this crazy lady that cries. Not knowing how to answer the questions of, 'What have I done wrong?  How can I make things right? Why am I so lost?' It must be all the little things I have done wrong piled up between a couple larger things I haven't done right?


We buried and now live only with memories of Judy, the lady that lived with my dad for many years before he passed away.  She 'took care of him' during his last several years of life as he died slowly, motionlessly, having to be hand fed and cleaned like a baby from a rare form of we were told.

Some would say she was a step mom.  They were not married.  To me...she was not a 'mom' but she was a 'step' between my dad and I.  A step separating us and at times a step connecting us.

I lived in Houston.  They in Milwaukee.  My dad and separated when him and mom got divorced after 29 years of marriage. I was 16 going on 17.  We, Dad and I, had our differences during those teen years of mine.  Differences that are not met on a normal basis between a father and daughter.  Differences that have affected who I am for some 45 years later.  It took me almost 35 to 40 years to realize how they affected me.  (I never said I was observant.)

Judy is the mother of my brother's wife and the grandmother to my nieces.

Although I appreciated, at the time, very much all she did for my dad, there were many days I questioned what the reason was behind it.  Days when  I travelled thousands of miles to come see him that she locked me out and wouldn't let me in that had me questioning it even more.  I believe he loved her.  I believed that somewhere in there she loved him.  I believe that sometimes greed gets in the way.  I also believe in karma.

I 'loved' Judy many days for what she did for my dad.  I 'loved' Judy for making my dad happy while he was healthy enough to be aware of it.  It is easy to love.  It isn't always easy to like.

Yes, there is some bitterness.  Yet there is sorrow.  I feel for my sister-in-law and my nieces as well as the rest of her family. I am sure she is a great loss to them.  I went to the funeral out of respect for my family.  It was a nice funeral, as funerals go.  They always make me think.  Ponder.  Wonder.  What will life bring around the next corner.  Will I be alive to bury my mom..or will my mom be alive to bury me. I cried at the funeral...mostly because of those thoughts and a lot for the loss and sorrow that I know everyone was feeling. I have lost my dad, my stepdad and my sister...all within a couple years of each other.  I miss them tremendously....especially my sis. Especially. My. Sister.

I hate that it takes a funeral to make you realize how very very important family is...when one has lost sight of that.

She rests in peace now.  More than likely by my dad's side, walking in heaven, because I believe we all go to heaven...sooner or later.  I love you daddy.  I miss you.  I miss what we didn't have.  I miss what we did have.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Travels Beyond

Ah, the travel bug.

My dad was in the air force.  We moved every two to three years.  Some would say that that might make one find a place to be rooted to and not go anywhere any more.  Maybe this influenced my desire...or tendencies to move every few years even now as an adult.  I believe it did give me that great desire to discover new places.  Is it the reason I tend to not stay in the same home place for extremely long periods of time? I don't know.  Maybe.  I think that also though is partly because I haven't found my 'I want to be here for the rest of my life' place yet.  I did realize not long ago that I gave up my dream home, per se, about ten years ago. Unfortunately, it wasn't in the dream spot with the dream companion.  I am, at the age of fifty plus, still searching for that.

The above is a Moose.  Yes.  Really and truly it is.  Accompany it with this

and you have Rocky and Bullwinkle. (Secretly I have  desire to merge these two pics together just for that bring back major childhood simplicity memories.)  Rocky and Bullwinkle.  Anyhow, I digressed I do believe.

This year I decided it was about time to start checking off some of my travel bucket list items.  Yellowstone was one of them and just seemed to be the first and easiest step to take because I told myself I could do it with or without a companion.  I'm glad I had company...and days I wish I had been alone only because my companion is not a photographer...but he is a wonderful say the least.  Although sometimes, he doesn't understand the need to stop and take pictures.  Go figure.

The trip was only a week long.  Way not long enough.  We crammed too much in that span of time but it was a great exploratory trip and I have kept mental notes as to where I would explore more next time.

When I look at these pictures from this trip which you can find here,  I long to be there again.  A photographer friend is going again in a couple of weeks in time for the fall rut and colors and I so wish I could ditch this nine to five responsibility and join him...but the bank seems to think I need to make a house payment monthly.  What the heck!!  Besides, my Lexi would definitely attempt to find a new home if I left her behind again.  (I will have to confront that next year...actually...later this year.)

I love road trips.  And I appreciate a great plane flight although I'm not sure I can always rate those up there as conveniences but that is another whole entire story in itself.

I've travelled to Europe several times.  France. Germany. Austria. Belgium. I've lived in seven states, travelled through many more to and from each and even lived in Okinawa for a couple of years.  I don't think I can say anything 'bad' about any of them.  They all have given me memories...good and bad and in between.  They have all made me 'who I am'.

I have so much more to see in what might be too short of a time to see it all, so a priority list is always a good thing.  This year I will take a road trip from Wisconsin to New Jersey at Thanksgiving in hopes that the weather will be in my favor and a plane trip to see my grandchildren at Christmas.  yahooooo! Next year, Wisconsin to California and back in 2 weeks...different routes I hope.  North Carolina for weddings and Ohio for receptions. And again...possibly a home move.

My bucket list:

Galapagos Islands
The New Mexico Balloon Festival
California up the coastland
The San Diego Zoo - YES
Africa and Australia
The West Coast states of Washington and Oregon
A fall trip to the north east of Massachusetts and Upstate New York
Canada and Iceland

That is the short list. I need to find a job that pays me while I am travelling from state to state.  And a line of hotels from here to there that will allow Lexi to join me. And a companion to humor me. (smiling)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Simply Put - My Daughter


She is my daughter. My only daughter. My most favorite daughter. She has grown up to be an absolutely awesome person and, as with my sons, I hope I can say I had something to do with that.  Whether she learned her awesome parental techniques from me or from my mistakes, I can say that she really 'rocks' as a mom.  She should be totally proud of herself.  I can only remind her that parents can do everything right, teach them all the good, protect them from the bad, direct them hopefully in the proper direction, praise them, discipline them, challenge them, send them to the best schools, give them all the love and respect and attention anyone could possibly need, and no matter what, they will grow up to be who they are 'born to be'.  We can only cross our fingers and pray that it is a person we are proud of.

I miss her tremendously.  We don't talk enough.  She has her life filled with two little, wonderfully adorable girls.  Mine is freakishly filled too much with employment 'crap' put it nicely. There are too many miles between us, this I regret on a regular basis as it is my doing...not hers.  I tell myself that over time that regret will go away but I don't believe it ever will.  

We were apart in other ways than just distance at one long time ago point in our lives.  Thankfully only for a short period of time.  I believe I can say we are close now although not as close as I would like to be.  I envy the closeness she has to her mother-in-law  and at the same time am happy that she has that.  It's better than the other mother-in-law issue. (smiling)

I am proud of her. She is one awesome person to be proud of.  I know her girls will grow up to be just as awesome.  No question about it. I only want to continue to insure that they know who this 'grandma' is and that hopefully some day she and they can say that I was an important part of their lives. 

I love you, dear daughter.  More than you could ever know.

Happy Birthday, sweetie.  Happy Birthday.

SH #86 - A Shadow

A gardener and her gardens.
A photographer and her subject.
A shadow shared in awesome afternoon light.

SH #9 - A Junk Car/Truck

We were up north four wheeling this weekend and one of the driver's decided he would try to play in a mud hole.  That little mud hole ended up being a hidden sinkhole and sucked them right down.  Literally.  Funny.  Really.  They laughed too.

Luckily we were just a short distance from the little town where we stopped to eat some lunch and turned around to go find a water hose to wash off the couple inch thick layer of black mud that was clogging up the radiator.  Luckily, for me, this little gem was hiding in a small brush area right next to the station where we found the water hose.

It kept company with this lost car also.  It's like they parked and the growth just wrapped around them and didn't let them go. The front license plate on the car actually looked quite new but had no year sticker on it.  How I would love to have these in my outdoor studio.

PS, I don't call these junk. I call them gems. An awesome find.

SH #18 - A Child Laughing

Really?  How could this not brighten a persons day?

There is nothing more heartwarming than to watch a child play and discover the beauty of the world around him.  Smiling.  Laughing.  At the simplest thing.  I don't even remember what he was doing.  What was he laughing at?  Truly...does it even matter. That one little laugh will remove every sad and mad thought that one carrys on about at that moment and hopefully for hours afterwards.

There is nothing more therapeutic than a child's innocent, explorative, laughter at the world.  So when you're down, when you're sad, or just plain mad at the world....find your inner child...and laugh at the situation because probably is very funny.

SH #15 - A Live Performance

He was the cutest thing.  We walked by...holding hands...and he commented about how cute we were...holding hands.

A midget in a costume?  A kid with a really deep voice?

A remote control puppet with a microphone relaying what his controller was saying through a speaker. Cute idea.   Awesome.  Totally had the 'followers' throughout the fair grounds. Large and small.

#2 - Barnyard Animal

Have you ever really touched a pigs snout?  I did.  This one.  At the Fond du Lac County Fair.  Do you see how shiny it is?  It looks soft and mushy doesn't it? Guess what?  It isn't. It's hard and slightly wet.

When I was a young teenager.  I had a horse for a pet, as well as dogs, and mice and guinea pigs. My little brother..he had two pigs. You would have to know him to totally understand how that really makes sense.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Layers of Script

A layer with script. Kind of cool, right?  A new lesson.  The thing I am really enjoying about the entire process is not only am I gaining some creative perspective to providing a new view on 'life', I am also learning some new little tips and tricks within PSE. So. That. Is. Cool.  Adding layers to my pictures.  A bit of texture here and there.  All the while also adding layers to my level of knowledge and creativity.

I do find in these practices as I find in my photography many days that my pics turn out 'darker' than what I think they are initially intended to be...from the tutorial anyhow.  I guess I like the high contrast. The vividness, although I also find myself lowering saturation a bit.  I'm sure it is just a setting in my camera I need to slightly change. But for now....

So I played a bit more

I think I like it just a bit better.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Seeing the Light

(mouse over to see before photo)

This weeks lesson just goes to prove that not all bad pictures are throw away material.  Sometimes a little bit of creativity will shed some wonderful new light on the subject thus producing a complete and sometimes awesome save (not necessarily the case here).

I had some difficulty with this one and definitely will need to review the tutorial again and try it on a bit of a different picture.  I thought I had totally blown it...until I looked at the before and after...and again...the before was nothing to write home about - just a pic taken quite quickly at the office in poor lighting and no thought process or setup time used efficiently at all.

I so prefer to get the picture right in the first place so that I don't then have to sit and edit it even more but if I can save a sentimental action such as this one ( a gift of a flower from a of my favorite flowers at that...second only to the daisy group) then a little creative editing to add passion and pizzaz is always worth the little bit of extra time needed.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Trust the Process

Trust the process?

"trust yourself in all you do. Be true to YOU..... allowing both love and hurt, bruises and bumps and be a possibility. Being true to YOU is the only way to go.
Sometimes in order to find our gifts, life's treasures...we have to step up and out..... move into the fear.... We have to risk feeling uncomfortable, vulnerable....scared even..... and when we bravely move toward that... and push through...bountiful gifts await.
from Julia Cameron's The Artist Way.
'When we trust ourselves, we become both more humble and more daring. When we trust ourselves we move surely. There is no unnecessary strain in our grasp as we reach out to meet life. There is no snatching at people and events trying to force them to give us what we think we want. We become what we are meant to be. It is that simple. We become what we are, and we do it by being who we are, not who we strive to be.'"
The words above as shared by Kim and Julia Cameron are words and processes defined that I struggle with quite often.  So often, I've given up who I am in order to make someone else happy.  After 55 years of doing so, I find it is still a hard habit to break.  This is why I work the hours I keep my company happy.  This is why I gave up going to school in my late twenties and my fab job of challenges and travels...and at times....why I have given up parts of my family (thankfully for only a short period).
'Trust yourself in all you do....'
Ah...what a struggle that brings.  Only just this morning with my Artist Way project, I told myself that I find myself asking myself if I am really committed to this creative passion I have.  I find sometimes the littlest excuses for not going through with what I really want to do.  Work gets in the way.  But...I don't see him during the week as we work two different shifts so I need to spend every moment around him on weekends. Giving up the two days during the week that I have some creative energy to grow on.  I ask him to join me but, not being a photographer, I feel guilty spending the time trying to capture the shot I want as I feel I am holding him back.  In reality, I am probably holding us both back.
I don't have confidence in myself.
I don't trust the process on a regular basis.
I love my passions of photography and nature and travel.
I hate my job. It's monotonous, boring, unchallenging, exhausting.
I am, quite often, afraid to get out 'of the box'.  Afraid of what others will say and feel.
I'm tired of giving 'me' up in order to make everyone else happy.
I know who I truly am...who I am supposed to be.  There have been short spurts in my life when I was allowed to be that.  I can feel 'me'.  I can see 'me'. Behind that protective wall. I only need...Me to pull Me out.
A very favorite song of mine....Break Away by Kelly Clarkson

Friday, July 27, 2012

Instagramish Dream

I was enroute from one of my evening treks out to my favorite marsh and at the bottom of a country road hill, as bright and cheery as ever, was this farm field filled with awesomely smiling yellowness. There is no way one could miss it.  It just screamed, nicely, 'Sunshine'.  Definitely a spot I will need to remember next year for a portrait photo shoot.

This is part of 'the dream'. A home surrounded by beautiful fields and gardens of flowers for each season supplying an endless supply of photo shoots and fresh 'bokehs' in the house. Accompanied of course by old barn doors, windows, and antique automobiles as backdrops.

'The Dream'

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Water Instagram - Scavenger Hunt #5

(Children, don't practice this at home...taking pictures while behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.)

What a perfect subject for today.  W.A.T.E.R.

Finally.  Finally. Water. Raindrops on my windows.  A nice rain. The second of the day.

We received a couple inches now throughout the several small showers we have had over the past couple of days. Not really a down pour that just runs off.  Probably not the most beneficial slow rain either.  Just enough to the let the trees and grasses know that there might still be hope yet.

My gardens are so happy. It is amazing how a little bit of rain can completely remove the brown crunchiness of grass. It's as if when the snow melts or the rain comes down, that it stirs up some hidden bowl of green food dye below the ground that immediately gets soaked up by the grasses and other struggling shrubs and trees.

If I'd been on a back road...I would have pulled over, stopped, and climbed out of the car to let it hit my face and arms and feet.

I can only hope that what we have, what we will get, will provide the awesome saturation of autumn colors...just a couple months away.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Instagramish - Something Borrowed

Yes, the eyesight is slowing dwindling.  Fading away.  More so in one eye than the other...which makes the whole...getting older thing even that more frustrating and challenging.

I bought some cheaters.  I'm too...hhmmm...stubborn...and don't want to wear them. So, as in everything else these days, I lose track of them.  On purpose?  Possibly.

Thank goodness for kindles and apple functionality that you can easily enlarge the print of things. Some day...every thing will be electronic and have that ability and we won't need glasses?  Yes, that is a question mark.

Meanwhile, luckily, I'm not the only one in the house that needs those little cheaters from time to time, so in my haste, my purposeful losing of cheaters that belong to me...I borrow the next best thing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Instagramish - Something Blue

This is one of my most favorite blue things. 
An awesome bird. 
Always posing. Beautifully. 
Standing. Still. 
A step here. 
Stepping now. 
Neck stretching. 
Standing straight again. 
Crawfish etouffe.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Instagramish - Something Pretty

Wow...what an awesome challenge.  It's late...but .......

A new recipe.  A practice at setting up.  Flowers home grown, in a found vase, framed by the curtain of my kitchen sink window...adding some homemade instagramish, framing....and a whole lot of determination and patience...a pinch of exhaustion...and a gallon of inspiration.

That really is all the energy I have to say tonight. was fun and inspirational as usual.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Half a Century - Gone By

He is my oldest son...the middle child.  The geek...who would have known.  His childhood nickname was Smiley as given by his sitter's husband - Papa Pete.  He loved to sit on the kitchen floor and dig into the jar of goldfish.  He loved his Dr Suess books, the one about the firefly was his favorite (and mine).  He started racing mountain bikes when he was 10 and continued to race until a couple of years ago. He is now a Business Analyst, software person.

He just turned 25.  Twenty. Five. My, I'm glad I'm not getting old (smiling secretly). The girl?  His fiancé to be wed in 2013.  Proposal in front of the Eiffel Tower of Paris (pronounced Pareeee for the romantic accent).  I'd like to believe he got his romanticism from me...his mom.  I excitedly visited them during their stay in Germany last year and did engagement photos for them in Versailles..I'm sure there is a dream come true in there somewhere.  It was an awesome visit. A bit rushed.  A bit short.  But truly awesome.  Memories for years to come.

They stayed in Germany for just over a year and although it was a very dreary weather year, they saw a lot.  I believe now they appreciate what they have in the US of A...the sun more than anything...he being a native Houstonian.  I hope they will always appreciate that opportunity they had this past year.

Shortly after my departure from his dad, we talked about going to New York for a visit together.  We haven't done that yet but his fiancé (yes, she has a name...Alexis) is from New Jersey so he has made it there now...without me (oh woah is me...I fear I am not needed any more.)  But I digress...I believe in deja vu per se and believe his desire to go to New York was a karma...pulling him that her maybe...probably.

They are wonderfully in love and I can only hope and pray each and every day that they will experience that love, that connection with each other for a life time...for a long happy life time. It's not easy finding those connections and it takes work to keep them.  Patience, compromising, understanding, allowing each other to be theirselves, honesty, trust.  Dear them and protect them.

Did I say...he just turned 25?  smiling.

I love you Mitch. I miss you so. I'll see you soon.

(photo by TrishannC Photography, taken in Versailles France, edited with pumpkingrunge and a little added blur - the original photo here)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

5 Questions

1 1. What makes me  happy?….. in 5 words or less….?
My Children, Photography, Writing, Nature
2. Which talent would you most like to have? 
To be able to draw and paint. To be able to sit in front of an awesome creation of the  world and put it on a canvas to share with the world hopefully inspiring others to love and respect every little detail that we have been blessed with.  
3. Which words or phrases do you overuse most?
Lately, unfortunately, my most used phrase is ‘I need to…’, then there’s I’m exhausted, I’m so far behind and, I don’t want to go to work.
4. What is your favourite movie, book or both?
This is a tough one as I discovered a long time ago that I don’t have a particular favorite thing.  I have a lot of favorite things. Does this mean I have no interests, or just that I’m not ‘picky’ about things?  I don’t know.
Movies that I try to watch every time they are on…
On Golden Pond, Pretty Woman, Free Willy and Karate Kid and White Christmas
Books I love…the Janet Evanovich ‘Number series’.
5. If you could go anywhere in the world for a creative retreat where might it be? 

The Galapagos Islands – hands down.  No second guessing that one.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dream Like Layers - Day 51

I have a large yard...almost half an acre.  I love gardening but in this yard, I have one spot close to my back door, across the driveway on which sits my patio table, on which I created my 'little garden space' about 4 years ago.  I want more gardens.  My house is for sale for whatever reason....and so I haven't expanded except the ones that line the sides of my house.  Those I enjoy on my daily strolls around the property.

This one particular garden, especially at this time of the year, is 'my spot'.  I am an early riser...and a late when I get up in the morning on these beautiful midwest weather days, I grab my journal, my kindle fire, my pen, my cameras and my tripod and most cup of coffee...and set myself up..sometimes right before the birds really start moving...sometimes about the same my patio table, surrounded by the morning songs of the birds and scampering of the chipmunks and squirrels.

It is my dream spot.  My soul saver. My 'morning coffee'. My friend, peace and tranquility.  It is...just. Plain. Awesome.

I do my morning journal (The Artists Way) and am constantly distracted by a bird in the bird bath, a red squirrel chattering at a gray squirrel, a robin pulling the fattest worm you can ever imagine from no hole in the ground, the buzzing of the bees and the fluttering of the butterflies.

The coneflowers that grow here started out as four, overwatered, 75% off sale items at the local hardware store.  Four.  Now much more.  They survived.  They thrive.  They give off the ray of love and peace that they were meant for...not only making the bees and butterflies happy...but also making me smiling.

(Utilized yesteryear and thursday but without reducing the opacity quite as much because I loved the graininess.  I also brushed it away from the butterfly at 50% to let it stand out a bit more.)