Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Every Once In A Blue Moon and Other Random Tidbits

Last night we had a blue moon.  No, not the beer... that big thing that hangs up in the night sky, providing light in the darkness...
I tried to capture a shot, but I don't have the technical knowledge and my camera was definitely not seeing what I was seeing... a big bright moon with clearly defined craters.  Oh well, gave it a shot! (pun fully intended).

So what exactly is a blue moon?  Apparently there is more than one definition. To purists - the third full moon in a season that has four full moons - which only happens once every 2.7 years.  To the rest of the world - the second full moon in a calendar month - which happens much more frequently.  This one was the real deal.  Maybe by the next time the real thing rolls around, I'll know how to shoot it!

I had a few people wondering, after my Simple Moment post, what a katydid sounds like.  And honestly, there are so many different sounds a katydid can make, depending on where you are located and the particular variety of bug.  But I was able to source a sound wave that sounds EXACTLY like the irritating little bugger outside my bedroom window:  Link to sound wave.  If you listen, you can hear the crickets in the background and how the sound of the katydid really overpowers the background noises. That is pretty much what I hear every night now when I go to bed!

My babies both leave for college on Saturday. I'm kind of excited and kind of freaking out. My first real taste of empty nest is a mere four days away. Where DID the time go???

And no, I wasn't the photographer for this shot of the two of them outside our temporary home at the shore.

Last, but by no means least, a few shots from our last trip to Longwood Gardens. The summer display includes water lilies. I could have spent hours photographing these plants.

But the display was crowded with people who were obviously far more serious photographers than me. I felt intimidated and very out of my element.

The beautiful shots I managed to capture made the time I did spend there very worthwhile! :)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Just A Quote {In Defense of the Birds} For Friday

Deb recently  posted that she is not a fan of birds. Well, I had to laugh. If the only birds around here were pigeons and grackles I might feel much the same way. Thankfully we have a much better diversity in the species pool around here.  Occasionally I even get treated to a brief glimpse of a hummingbird on my back deck. But they are here and gone so quickly I've never been able to get a photograph.

A trip last week to Longwood Gardens is my case in point.
Tell me you can see the pretty little yellow bird with the black wings? I had about less than a split second to snap this photo before he moved on, but what a pretty sight he made flying off through the blue sky.

This little guy had a bunch of friends. They all seemed to enjoy sitting atop the heads of these large sunflowers that had already gone to seed.

So here's my quote for Friday:

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.
Henry Van Dyke 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Being Me - Week 10

The topic for Week 10 of Being Me was Eating Fresh. And since we already know that I'm trying very hard to eat only REAL food - difficult lately because it is definitely ice cream weather - this topic is all too familiar for me.
I chose to do a collage of many different "healthy" food pictures taken from magazines and paired that with several quotes and a really random variety of letter stickers and rubons. And when I had it all together, I splattered paint all over it  - reminiscent of the mess you'd make while cooking or during a food fight. Wetter paint (the red and orange) got me droplets. Very think paint (white) got me the stringy splatter that I absolutely love on this page!  And by the way, splattering paint is FUN! :)

My quotes are:

1. "Let food be thy medicine." ~ Hippocrates.  Very apt considering how much changing my diet has lessened my fibro symptoms.

2. "If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." ~ Thomas Jefferson.  And he may have said that a long time ago, but it is even more true now. What passes as the "Standard American Diet" or "Conventional Wisdom" right now requires that the bulk of our diet be comprised of grains.  As I learned from my paleo/primal eating experiment, it was all those grains that were making me so sick. Not saying it is the answer for everyone, but sure made a difference for me.

3. "We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are." ~Adelle Davis.  Hear, hear!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Finishing Out Finding Your Photo Style

Week 6 of Finding Your Photo Style covered a lot of ground. I chose the "Essence of Place" assignment. Use photographs to convey the essential essence of a location.

The thing here is - this is the essence of Ocean City early in the morning before anyone else is out and about. And these are some of my very favorite shots from the week.  If I were to attempt the same series of shots mid-day or in the evening, it would give you a very different picture of what our shore spot is all about. And if I'm being 100% honest, the seagull shot is early evening in Cape May.

Although I've now posted a layout for each of the six weeks of this class, there is so much more content I never got to.  Each week offered three different assignment options and it was just way too much for me to keep up with.  Someday I'll have to go back and spend some more time in the classroom - I'm sure there are still many more things for me to learn!  I can't really give an honest opinion of the value of this class since I was not fully engaged during the class period.  I'm thrilled with my layout series that I created from the class but that was something I devised on my own and not really even a part of the class.  

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Finishing Out Clean & Simple

I've finally finished the last lesson for Clean & Simple, the Cathy Zielski 4 Experts class over at BPC that ended on June 30th.  I purposefully passed on Lesson 11 which was a mini album that I had no present need for - I will keep it in mind for a future project if the need arises.

Lesson 12 was a two page make-it-from-scratch layout that had us creating our own template and then filling it in.  Cathy's was titled "Hello Life" and was really meaningful. I went a little more light-hearted and created this layout about our recent trip to D.C.

Of course, Cathy's layout was backed onto plain kraft cardstock, but you know me and fun grungy papers!

Having successfully completed this entire class (keeping my own intention of "finish what you start") I have to say I LOVED IT! Every assignment (yes, even the one I chose not to do for now) was meaningful and the skills built upon one another. Even though I've been a digi-scrapper for about three years now, I learned new tricks with every lesson.  If you have any interest in hybrid or digital scrapbooking and ever have the opportunity to take this class (I'm assuming BPC will bring it back as a self-paced class), I highly recommend it!  In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that the first four lessons were worth the price of admission and the next eight were just icing on the cake!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Being Me - Weeks 8 and 9

Week 8 of Being Me occurred while I was on vacation at the shore. So needless to say, I'm playing catch up.  The theme for week eight was finding solitude.  The theme for week nine was reflection.  And to me, these two go hand in hand, I use solitude as a time to reflect, gather my thoughts, recharge, and start anew. So I found a lot of overlap in the two layouts I created for these themes:

Week 8 - Solitude:

This page started with a photo of sunrise at the shore that I printed at roughly 10x7 on regular copy paper. I laid the photo in place and painted a background around the space that the photo would occupy. Then I adhered the photo down and went to work trying to blend the photograph into the background. Obviously, I couldn't get a true mix of all the colors in the photo, nor am I able to paint quite as well as I photograph, but I was happy enough with the results.

The quotes read:  "Solitude is not a way of running away from life ... from our feelings. On the contrary, this is the time we sort them out, air them, get over them, and go on without the burden of yesterday." Joan Chittister  and "Solitude is aloneness you choose and embrace. Great things can come out of solitude, out of going to a place where all is quiet except the beating of your heart."  Jeanne Marie Laskas

Week 9 - Reflect:
For this one I first painted a background of sand, sea, and sky. And added bits of stamping and texture. I printed off two 4x6 photos on actual photo paper and fit them into  background I'd made. Both photos I chose have reflections in the water, so symbolic of the week's theme. I had to trim down the one on the right hand side to fit. Then I went back with paint and blended the photos in a bit with the background.  The quote reads "Women need real moments of solitude and self-reflection to balance out how much of ourselves we give away." Barbara De Angelis  

While I'm happy with both pages, this second one is brighter and just feels more like me.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Story Telling Sunday - My Precious 8

The truth of the matter is that I've never truly been adopted as the "human" of choice by any pet. I grew up with dogs, then a cat, guinea pigs, fish.  And we've had cat(s) my entire adult life - but none of them have ever claimed ME as their human.  Tia, the first cat in my married life, clearly adopted Jay as her human.  When Tia went to kitty heaven at age 12, we got Ashley and Kira. And those two immediately adopted the girls (Becca and Rachel) as their humans.  Ashley and Kira are 12 now.  And times, they are a-changin'.

Kira remains true to herself - happy and purring one second, hissing and leaving a 3" long gash in your arm for daring to pet her the next second. BiPolar kitty.  

Ashley, on the other hand is struggling.  The Vet thinks it is a food allergy that has caused her to have lesions on her chin, eyes, and ears which she then scratches until she is furless, bloody, and covered in scabs. Eeew. I've taken her to the vet three times. She has had antibiotic and steroid injections and has been put on a new hydrolyzed protein food. She has been tested for mites, fleas, fungus, and I don't know what else. The vet seems to think all we can do now is wait to see if the new food does the trick.  Meanwhile, my poor kitty is bald on her chin and below both ears and she's starting on her whiskers now.  And I've suddenly become her new best friend.

*this photo also counts for #6 (taking a nap) on Rinda's Summer Time Photo Scavenger Hunt
Yes, this feline who virtually ignored me for eleven years, now spends all day at my side. First it was in the studio on the sewing desk, the window bench, or the table. Then she moved into the office on the floor beneath my feet or under the side table. And this past week she's moved to my work desk - and claimed the vast majority of my work space as her domain, leaving me very little room to work on the computer or write. She tends to show up around 10:30 or so in the morning and stay until dinner time or later.  She likes to use the trackball mouse as a pillow.  She doesn't care what is on the desk, she'll happily lay on top of papers, calendar, pens, whatever might be in her space.  And I'm sort of getting used to this constant companion. And thinking about installing a keyboard tray under this table!

So this month I'm claiming Ashley as my Precious since it appears she has now claimed me as her human!

For more Precious Stories visit Sian's Story Telling Sunday.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

One Little Word Blog Hop - July Edition

Whether you arrived here from Lee's Blog  as part of the One Little Word Blog Hop, or you are here because you love me and drop by regularly... Welcome! I love visitors! The One Little Word Blog Hop is a monthly hop run by Lee for members of Ali Edwards' One Little Word class over at Big Picture Classes. The hop goes live on Thursday at 6:00 a.m.  You can always check back later if someone's post isn't live yet.

The assignment for July involved using sticky notes to record when our word was active in our lives. While the concept was intriguing, I have to admit that July was far too busy and full for me to devote any creative effort to making use of the idea.  That's the long way of saying I didn't get my homework done.  :( July was full with more office days than usual (including three in one week!) and a week away for vacation.

But "DARE" was alive and well in my life throughout the month of July.  I DARED to:

  • purchase a Living Social voucher for yoga classes to guarantee that I would get started again
  • make my young adult daughters go to the dentist for regular check-ups without me there to hold their hands
  • let go of all of my pre-conceived notions and expectations of what I would accomplish during my vacation and just RELAX.
  • practice Tai Chi on the beach by myself even though other people were walking by
  • stop procrastinating and set up appointments for yearly routine medical testing
  • trade in my trusty old Blackberry for an iPhone (learning new technology doesn't come easy for me!)
I hope you all found your words manifesting in your lives!

Here's my tracker for July - you can tell it was an unusual month for me:

If you are continuing on in the hop, your next stop is  Michelle's Blog.

And just in case you get lost, here's the entire list: