Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Not Supposed to be like THIS....

It is Autumn here in the sleepy little town of Perkasie.  We have a few bare trees and a few trees starting to turn, but we still have a LOT of green.  So we aren't supposed to get SIX INCHES of snow!

It all starts innocently enough.  A few flurries:
and the ground is just starting to show white.  Take note of that nice tall tree in the background.  See all those green leaves still left?  See the nice space between the lower branches and the ground???

Well, when the snow starts settling on the leaves, especially the very heavy wet snow we were getting, the branches start to bend under the weight of it all...

And ultimately the branches touch the ground... and some break off... :(

We lost a large branch off this tree and another in the back yard.  Almost every house in this area lost branches or entire trees.  And parts of the area are still without power, even though the storm was on Saturday.  Schools were closed today.

If this is any indication of what is to come.... I am so NOT READY for winter!!!  Please Mother Nature, can we have Autumn first????

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Picture Inspiration {36/52}

This week Tracey was looking for "Punchy Color" and I seem to have been shooting a lot of it lately!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I arrived in Denver late on Sunday afternoon.  It was a balmy 72 degrees (22C) and sunny. Gorgeous!

This was the view from my hotel window just before sunset. And this was as much "sight seeing" as I got to do!

Looking straight down from my hotel room (I was on the 20th floor), I could see this bear peeking into the Convention Center where I spent the bulk of the next two days.

Inside the convention center were a number of large back-lit billboard style advertisements.  I had to get a photo of this one.  I know the old adage that "sex sells" but I wasn't sure with this ad whether to be amused or offended! What do you think?

I woke up on Wednesday to temps in the low 30's (just below 0 for you centigrade folks) and snow!  That poor bear definitely had reason to want to be inside!  Thankfully I made it to the airport and had an on time departure despite the weather.  And arrived home late Wednesday evening.

Another city down. Another business trip crossed off my list.  And blessedly... no more traveling for a while.

And guess what I did on the plane?..................

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Art of Composition - 1

Playing with line, shape, and just the way we frame things.  I caught a beautiful day moon at 11:00 in the morning yesterday.

I thought when I was setting up the shots that I would prefer the vertical (portrait) orientation shot ... which is unfortunately a little more than the zoom on my p&s could handle.  But after uploading the photos, I much preferred the landscape orientation.  I can't decide why.

Ignoring the focus (I know the landscape is better focused, but I'm trying to look at the shapes and elements in the photo, not the clarity), which orientation do you prefer and why????

Monday, October 17, 2011

What I Did At The Crop

In the realm of better late than never, this post falls under the category of "I can't believe I'm JUST getting to this!"  

I went to a day crop on Saturday October 8th.  I had my photos taken, uploaded, edited, and saved for web by Wednesday October 12th.  All I had left was to come here and create the post.  But I was at work on Thursday. And I spent 6+ hours in the car on Friday (leaving first thing in the morning), driving to pick Sarah up from college and bring her home for Fall Break.  And I'm learning that travel just plain kills me for days on end!

But without further ado, what I created at the crop:
Two page layout about my girls and Santa, back in the early 90's.  All of the photos were taken at Grandma's
house (my Mom's home in Pine City, NY.)  Santa was played each year by Uncle Frankie, but the kids were too
young to catch on. As our families grew larger, so did the number of kids wanting attention from the fat man in the
red suit.  Sadly, 1996 was the last year of the Santa tradition.  Mom was already sick in 1997 and that was the
last year that we celebrated Christmas in New York.

I just had to document the glory days of Sarah reading out loud to her younger sisters at bedtime.  Sarah grew up
to be an avid reader.  The other two, unfortunately, avoid reading at all costs.

I loved the story told by this series of two photos. At this age, the only way Rachel and Becca were going anywhere
near Santa is if I was right there!  And you can see clearly on Becca's face that she wasn't really keen on the big
guy.  But she sure lit up when he handed her a gift!

This layout (sorry for the glare on the photos) was to document all the darling outfits that their Nana (my mother
formerly of California, now in Texas) used to make and send them. They had special outfits for Easter, Christmas,
sometimes Thanksgiving, but my absolute favorites were the adorable little summer outfits!  My girls were the
best dressed kids in town... until Nana got tired of sewing and the girls got too old to appreciate the outfits. You
know it is dangerous when kids start having opinions about what they wear. Portrait collars definitely are not on
their wish list!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

LSNED - the final installment

Title Page

I added all the pages to a 4x6 album I purchased at Target. I cut the excess photo sleeves from the center of the album because it was too bulky.

All done!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tucson - Anatomy of a Business Trip

Tuesday morning, we left for the Philadelphia Airport before sunrise, at 6 a.m.
actually.  It is about and hour and fifteen minutes to the airport.
This was the view from I 95 just before we pulled into the Airport grounds.
Pulling into the Philadelphia Airport.  7:15 a.m. I spent the next eight hours in 
airports and on planes, arriving in Tucson at 12:30 local time (3:30 my time).

I didn't really see much of Tucson. I saw a dust storm flying in. I saw the airport.    
drove a whopping 18 miles from the airport to the hotel.  I spent my entire day 
and a half on hotel grounds.  

View from the back of the hotel lobby, overlooking the pool and the mountains 
behind the hotel.

Cactus along the road leading up to the hotel. I took a walk 
back down (85 degrees and 1:30 in the afternoon... what 
was I thinking?) the road to take photos.

This view is from outside the front of the hotel... from the upper level parking 
area.  Tucson is definitely not flat!
View from the balcony of my hotel room, looking left.  If I looked straight out I 
was facing the pool and to the right, the main hotel  lobby.

Wednesday, I spent nearly 9 hours inside one of the hotel conference rooms. I
took 14 pages of notes.  Afterwards I was spent. I went back to my room, called
for room service, and read until bedtime.

Thursday, I was up at 4:30 a.m. and drove myself back to the Tuscon airport in 
the dark.  And did the whole first day in reverse. Arriving back at my home 
around 7:30 p.m.  Another U.S. city down and no site seeing done.  Some day 
that's going to change.

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 1st Scott Kelby Annual Photo Walk

On October 1st Jay and I joined in the Scott Kelby Annual Photo Walk. We were in downtown Doylestown PA and very luckily the predicted rain held off and we had a nice morning.  Here are some of my favorite shots:

A sculpture at the James Michener Museum of Art

Don't know what kind of flower this was on a large bush overhead, but thought it was really cool!

Love the way this tree had literally grown around and
enveloped the headstone. Feels like there is a story there.
some kind of fungus on a tree - looks like sea shells
close up
really tall tree

this tree grew around and through the iron fence
A little further back to give the full perspective
The sky that morning as we began the walk.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Gone Postal

I'm writing this post on Monday, the 3rd, but setting it to go live on my blog on Thursday, the 6th. I had finished these little canvases and needed to have them on their way to their new owners before this post went live.  Hopefully at least one of them will be in hand before the big reveal!
For Karen - who asked for the Mary Oliver quote. I chose the colors for her canvas
based on one of her favorite color schemes for the cards she makes - kraft, black,
and red. I even used some of the rub-ons she had sent me! So they went right
back to her, just in a different form.
For Sian, who gave me no direction, but who loves books and
telling stories, and vintage color schemes,
this just seemed the right way to go.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thanks and MIA

First I wanted to say a very heart-felt thanks to everyone who has posted positive thoughts, hugs, prayers, and good vibes in response to my Storytelling Sunday post. Every single comment is greatly appreciated... positive vibes and prayers gratefully accepted... I'll take all the help I can get in coping with this! So many thanks and {{{{hugs}}}} right back to you all!

I won't be around for a bit. Leaving on a jet plane before the sun rises this morning.  Headed to Tucson AZ for work.  Won't be back until late on Thursday.  Leaving you with this:
Taken September 29, 2010 from my back yard.
"God puts rainbows in the clouds so that each of us - in the dreariest and most dreaded moments - can see a possibility of hope." ~ Maya Angelou

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Storytelling Sunday - Not "That Lady"

In this episode, our heroine finds herself faced with new medical obstacles and searching for solutions.  But she doesn't want to be "that lady" ... you know that one... you most likely have an elderly relative or neighbor who is "that lady"... the one who only ever wants to talk about her medical problems and what the doctor said at the latest visit and how it is affecting her every bodily function in excruciating detail, on and on, until you are ready to make a run for the hills just to avoid the verbal onslaught of medical terminology that is sure to cause you to catch something icky...

sourced from Google images
September has been a crazy month.

A new word entered my life - Fibromyalgia.

Provisional diagnosis on the 15th.  But first the doctor had to rule out a host of other ugliness - lupus, lyme, rheumatoid arthritis, Vitamin D deficiency... honestly, I can't even tell you everything they tested for - just that it took SEVEN vials of blood to run all the tests.  All of which, thankfully, after waiting around a full week, came back normal.  Because as scary as fibromyalgia is, the other options were a heap load more frightening to contemplate. Fibromyalgia Syndrome is not life threatening and not debilitating unless you let it be. I am so grateful it was not anything worse.

The best way I can describe fibromyalgia - it feels like you have the flu – your body aches all over, you have a non-stop headache, and you just feel lethargic – all you want to do is curl up in a corner and sleep… or maybe read a good novel. Only unlike the flu, this feeling doesn't resolve after a few days. In my case, it has been ongoing for months. Some days better than others, but never a day that is totally pain or fatigue free.  And the constant pain and fatigue has a tendency to make you a bit, um, ... cranky. Yep, cranky.

The worst symptom IMHO is the fatigue. Total. mind. numbing. fatigue. 

"Today I don't feel like doing anything. I just want to lay in my bed." 

Fatigue that leaves you unable to concentrate on anything. Almost like you've suddenly developed ADD. And you know how sometimes you have a word on the tip of your tongue but you can't find it for a few seconds? Well, that seems to be a daily occurrence now, multiple times a day. Serious Brain Fog

All that to say, I've been away from my blog for awhile and just recently reappeared. You may have noticed a lack of comments from me on your blogs as well - I assure you I have read every post, just didn't have the energy to comment most of the time! 

I waited for the blood work to come back before saying anything. I wanted a confirmed diagnosis. And I guess I needed some time to digest it all.  All the uncertainty, fear, depression. I needed to work it out. I didn't want to gunk up my blog with posts about worries and complaints. I so DON'T want to be "that lady."  

On the same day my diagnosis was confirmed, this post came up in my Google Reader.  Jonathan Fields writes that "...uncertainty is the new normal."  Check. The past four or five months have been living testament to that.  But he goes on to say "When you find the strength to act in the face of uncertainty, you till the soil of genius." Cool. I must be borderline brilliant by now!  

I think that blog post was just the Universe's way of letting me know that it is okay to feel uncertain about where things are at and where they are going.  

Truth is, I know that I will cope. I know that I will find ways to work around, over, and through it. I refuse to allow fibromyalgia to define me or to defeat me.

My first act of defiance will be to go sugar-free for the month of October ... just to see if the change in diet has an effect on the symptoms.  Not crazy sugar-free (I'm not reading pasta sauce labels or eliminating my morning bowl of organic oatmeal that is sweetened with organic cane sugar).  I am eliminating all cakes, cookies, brownies, ice cream, etc.  Believe me... it is a big enough percentage of my current eating habits to make a difference!  Even if it doesn't touch the fibromyalgia symptoms, it will at least be healthier!  Maybe a side-effect will be a reduction in waistline chub???

And today I was reminded that happiness must come from within.  I'm drawing on reserves right now. But I'm still smiling. :)

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Little Word Blog Hop - October Edition

Hello and Welcome to the One Little Word Blog Hop! If you came here from Julie Ann's blog, welcome! You made it to the right place.  Grab a drink and stay awhile! I love visitors!

If you are a regular reader, you already know the drill! ;) The entire hop goes live at 8:00 a.m. Pacific (11:00 my time) so if you are early, just check back later to catch everyone!
My one little word for 2011 is "happy". I am focusing this year on what it means to be happy, what makes me happy, how mindful I can be about choosing happiness.

For September, Ali asked us to pick one thing that we were going to focus on during the month, and one thing that we chose to "let go". I took awhile to think about it, but realized it was a really good thing to meditate on... I have so many things competing for my attention all the time and I really needed to focus.
But as usual, I can never follow directions!
I chose three things to focus on for the month - exercise (15 minutes every day), morning pages (journaling), and participating in LOAD - although I only wrote about the exercise part in the form Ali gave us.  

To keep track of my focus items I created this chart, totally scraplifted from Melissa:

It is easy to see that I wasn't perfect. But as I write this, with two days left to finish out the month, just look at all those stars! I may not have made my goal of "every. single. day." but I can't help but wonder how many days I wouldn't have exercised or written morning pages if I hadn't made the commitment!

At the same time, I chose to surrender my involvement in Art Journal Caravan (I haven't done a single art journal page of the digi variety this year), the Goddess Circle, Project 64, and Album of Awesome. These are all things that I signed up for or got involved in but then lost interest in favor of other projects and opportunities. And I need to be okay with saying I tried it, but it just wasn't for me. So freeing to just let them go!

I loved my September Goals chart so much, that I already made one for October!

 I also finished the cover of my One Little Word album.  Remember what it looked like last month?  Well, here it is finished!
I decided after staring at it for days that my problem was the butterflies, while pretty, were so FLAT. So I drew in a shadow. Then I drew in stitching to give them additional dimension.

Then I drew on the border - which kind of ties in with the look Ali has given us with the pages throughout.

Once the border was there, I decided it needed some inking to soften the edges.

Then the title. I didn't want to use my word "happy" because I intend to continue using this album for whatever word I choose for 2012!

The final touch was adding this gorgeous wing charm that Ginger sent me in a packet of butterfly and bird themed ephemera.  Got to say I just LOVE it!

Thanks to everyone for your helpful suggestions on finishing off the cover. I'm loving this album and so so glad I took this class! Ali has already said that it will be offered again in 2012... I highly recommend it!

Your next step on the hop is Nikki's Blog.

And just in case you get lost along the way, here is the entire list:

This month's hop participants:

Julie Ann 
Cheri        <---- You are HERE
Nikki          <---------------------  Next Stop!