Art, Creativity, Nature, Photographs, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer Lovin’

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Ah, the splendid sunsets, trips to the coast, boats in the water, the gentle sway of the palm trees, that says Summer Lovin’ to me!

To see other interpretations of Summer Lovin’ check out the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Art, Astrophotography, Creativity, Photographs, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge – Contrasts

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(Two images) The sun and the moon – two universal contrasts. The better the contrast on the moon, the better the view. The sun photograph was taken with a solar filter on my telescope, which acted as my camera’s lens.

To see other interpretations of Contrasts, visit the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Art, Creativity, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

San Antonio architecture

One aspect I love about San Antonio, Texas, is they don’t tear down their old buildings; instead, they reuse, or build on, such as with these two buildings. Oh, the stories that must exist between the old and the new. The imagination the architects had in combining the past and the present!

To see other interpretations of Between, visit the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Art, Creativity, Nature, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge – Extra, Extra

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Check out those hidden ancient insects trapped inside this amethyst!
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See those gold and blue gemstones? Hidden treasures!

(Two images) You’d think I’d easily locate a photograph to use for this particular challenge because most of my macro photography exposes hidden subjects, like a little, itty-bitty spider. The problem is, I’ve posted most of them! I was not meant to locate the one image I searched for (where did it go?!?); however, I stumbled across one I thought perfect – a rock with hidden gemstones inside. You cannot see them with your naked eye! But then I found this other image, and I discovered the “extra, extra!” in this one – several insects trapped inside a piece of amethyst. I just love finding those hidden treasures! Don’t you?

To see other interpretations of Extra, Extra, check out the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge here.

Art, Creativity, Nature, Photographs, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Focus

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The weekly photo challenge: create a post showing FOCUS. This is perfect for me since my photography style tends to focus on a very narrow depth of field. This way I can draw your attention (your focus) to the area I want you to see. In the top photograph, the focus is on the end of the stamens, and the rest of the lily is blurred. In the bottom photograph, I’ve narrowed the focus to only the tips of the stamens, and again, the rest of the lily appears blurred. In both cases, I’ve used a soft focus, which gives the images a dreamy look.

To see other interpretations of “Focus,” visit the Daily Post here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/23/weekly-photo-challenge-focus/

Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color

ImageI love, love, love this colorful ride at Hollywood Studios at Disneyworld. The ride takes you through the life of the great movies throughout cinematic time.

You can play, too! Just go to: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/04/05/weekly-photo-challenge-color/ and enter!

Photography, Uncategorized, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

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My family was so fortunate to view the first-ever launch of the Ares rocket from Kennedy Space Center. This picture of Ares is blasting forward into space.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/forward/#more-14611

Weekly Writing Challenge, Writing

Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap – eBook or Printed?

I have always loved books; as a child, a book fair at school was pure heaven. The book store was even better! I was a library-card holding book worm! My books became cherished items – just as much or more so – than my toys. When I was 12, I asked for a dictionary for Christmas, and was uber delighted in this huge, mammoth book of words that Santa delivered. I still have that dictionary.

Words, words, words. My entire career has been built around words. I am a lover of the printed word. My bookshelves overflow with way too many books and not enough shelves. The books are three rows deep! And all over the place.

So when the Daily Post posed the question of whether we prefer eBooks over printed books (and to blog about it, thus, this post), my mind became a quandary. I am torn. I love both.

Honestly, I did not think I’d ever like reading on an electronic device – and resisted doing so for quite some time. And a disclaimer here: I love my technological gadgets! But I thought “there’s no way I’d ever like this over a real book.” And then my hubby gave me an electronic reader. I found it … easy to use!

And easy to buy books! Holy smokes, I can buy a book on this device and be reading in less than a minute! I don’t need storage space on my bookshelves for this book. And when I finish said book in less than three days, guess what … I can order another one! Painless ordering. Talk about instantaneous gratification, I am spellbound. I am hooked.

I don’t even want to know how many books I breezed through over the course of just last year. Most of them were on the technological gadgets – note that plural use – and found that I enjoyed it. I could purchase a book on one device and read it on multiple gadgets, even my computer!

But I felt like I was cheating.

Seriously! Because with an eBook, I can read anything, at any time, buy a book at 3:22 in the morning if I want, read that book in the dark because my iPad, iPhone, or Kindle Fire are all back lit. No need for lights or tiny book lights. I can prop up my device and read hands free!

But I’m not shopping in the local bookstore. Where I live, we have already lost Borders, a Barnes & Noble, and a Books A Million. I love book stores! I love perusing book cover designs, it’s the artwork or the wording that normally lures me. It’s kind of hard to do that on an electronic device (even if you do see a thumbnail image).

I don’t ever get a chance to put my imprint on that printed book if I’m reading it as an eBook. There’s something beautiful about a book that has been read many times, with all of its cracks in the spine, the worn edges of pages, the whiff of old book smell. It’s kind of hard to experience that on an electronic device. (I’m not holding my breath for the invention of eSniff devices!)

So I’m truly torn in claiming devotion for either the eBook or printed book. Although there are so many advantages of the eBooks (that instant dictionary feature by clicking a word is awesome, by the way), I feel disloyal to those printed relics crammed on my bookshelves.

Last week I took my 10-year old son to the book store, relishing the fact that he requested to go, and enjoyed a good meandering through the racks and racks of that printed word. Words, words, words, I can’t get enough!

I picked up the Life of Pi and quickly knew it would be accompanying me home, regardless of if there’s space or not on the overflowing bookshelves. I won’t be able to read it at night without a light, can’t look up a word just by clicking it, and I’ll have to actually turn the page. But I think I can live with that.

I can’t wait!

P.S. Please don’t tell my books but I plan on reading on my eBook devices again. 🙂

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http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/02/04/weekly-writing-challenge-mind-the-gap-2/

Life, Weekly Writing Challenge, Writing

Weekly Writing Challenge: 1,000 Words

Circle of Life

We’ve all heard of the “circle of life,” if you’ve ever seen The Lion King (Disney movie), you know all about the circle of life in the animal kingdom.

But it’s the same for us human folks, too. There’s a circle of life, whether we see it or not. For me, I personally got to feel that circle.

Flashback: Forty-six years ago, my mom gave birth to me, and she was the first one to welcome me into this life. Of course, being a newborn infant, I don’t remember a single thing. But my mom did, and she certainly let me know all about the severe back pain my birth caused her. Not to mention I was about two weeks late! Trust me, I apologized since I now know what it’s like to give birth. Alas, my son made up for that two-week lateness, as he came two weeks early. The circle evens out.

Flashback: It’s December 30th, 2011, I am in the Big Bend Hospice house with my mom’s best friend, Marie, who has been at her side ever since her fall the day after Christmas. It’s just the two of us, it’s late, the family already gone home. I hear the struggled breath of my mom.

I have given her permission to leave her body. I know that’s important to her, she believes that your soul has to be given the “thumbs up” to depart the body. She’s been waiting for this, for a very long time. Way before we ever made it this far, this close to the end of the circle, she has suffered at the end of a dialysis machine. The dialysis sucks. Her arm keeps on clotting where the plastic port has been surgically installed, and each time, requires more surgery. We’ve gone through this nine times so far. Mom claims her bucket list is full, she doesn’t want to suffer anymore. This is not the way to live, she says.

And I agree.

Flashback: The phone startles me awake, it’s just 8:00 in the morning, the day after Christmas. What a great Christmas we had, my mom finally had her wish fulfilled that my family and my brother’s family would all be together on Christmas Eve. I answer the phone … it’s my mom. She has fallen in the kitchen, she thinks she had passed out. It’s a blur while I frantically get dressed and grab my son. I might need him, as I have no idea what I’m going to face.

She’s on the floor, the tile floor. I cannot move her, and I know it’s time to call 911. I’ve got to get help from medical professionals, she’s in serious dire need. The ambulance ride is traumatizing as she screams in pain the entire way.

My mom has broken two vertebrae in her back. Almost two hours into the ordeal the ER finally gives her pain relief. Finally. The admitting doctor breaks the news to us, we’re talking at least 12 weeks in bed, and that’s after major surgery.

She looks at me. “I am not having any surgery. I am done. And you are NOT taking me to dialysis.”

Mom’s the boss. She knows what she wants. I know what she wants. I am not going to let them do surgery or take her to dialysis. Time starts to speed up. Rapidly.

Will the doctors give me grief like they did to my mother when her father was dying? “You mean you’re going to let your father starve to death by taking out his feeding tubes?” My grandfather was already gone, just a body on the bed. He had made his wishes known, my mom knew what to do. But just over 15 years ago, dying with dignity wasn’t “kosher.”

I need a referral to hospice, I tell the doctor. The head nurse said she would call. “I will make the call. You know what your mom wants, she has made it clear.” Wow, no guilt trips. Instead, a hug from a stranger.

Flashback: It’s Wednesday now, two days into this ordeal. My mom is already losing her mental facilities, the poison from her kidneys is slowly killing her brain, her heart, her organs. My brother rides with her to the hospice house. At least she knows who he is.

This woman on the bed here is not acting like my mom. She is crazy! She is throwing out crazy talk! But she is funny. Or maybe we’re just too in shock to do anything but laugh. Maybe we all need a moment of levity in this terrible time of sadness.

Flashback: It’s Thursday. It’s been a long, long day. The grandkids have all been hovering in her room, it’s kind of ironic, that her hospice room is like a resort. My mom loved to travel. I told her she was still in style. Dozens of friends come and go. There are only a few moments of clarity in my mom’s world. Now it’s night. It’s late. I’ve got to get home, get a shower, get ready for tomorrow. How long do we have? “I love you mom.”

“I love you too.” The last words my mom ever said to me. And I’m pretty sure that’s what she said to me when I was born. We’re closing in on that circle.

Flashback: Friday. My mom hasn’t uttered one word. She is not going to wake up. The doctor says it’s going to be soon. Friday night. My brother has just left. I am telling Marie what my sister-in-law has said to me, that we’re going to do a better job of being a family. That’s all my mom had wanted.

As soon as I say those words, about being a family, my mom takes her last breath.

I feel my mom’s soul move through me.

My mom welcomed me into the world, and now I turn her loose, she has left this Earthly plane. The circle of life is complete.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/writing-challenge-1000-words/#more-13580