Saturday, April 30, 2011

when a child sleeps

a child awake
boundless energy
endless curiosity
ceaseless motion
seeking more, always more

a child sleeping
soft breathing
peaceful expression
slow heart beating
a dream of angels


Friday, April 29, 2011

a stone moment

{this moment}
- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

the week of living dangerously

All things happen for a reason, and this month has been a series of life lessons lived very personally.

In December I won an RS W1 camera strap during a giveaway by my favorite photo blog, PhotoSister.  In mid April I found out about a contest being sponsored by my favorite camera strap manufacturer, BlackRapid by attending a Facebook online event sponsored by    I am telling you all this to set the stage for what happened next.

I decided I would give that photo contest at BlackRapid a shot.  I figured the experience would be good and I wanted the exposure.  So I set up a date with my daughter and granddaughter to take a series of shots.  You can read about what happened that day here.  It was not my best day with my camera.  I was also pressured by time.  I found out about the contest about ten days before the deadline, and came up with a concept, set up the kids, and made the trip (over 120 miles round trip) to get the shots I needed.  I was pumped up with excitement, and felt I had a chance to win.

I worked hard to get the shots I wanted.  In order to make them natural and unposed, I spent a little time with Maddie (my granddaughter) and Wretch (my daughter) to set up the story behind the shots.  And they got into it fully.  I had trouble with my camera, and got all goofed up on settings, but I knew I could edit the best shots when I got home.

Saturday the 9th of April was shoot day.  Sunday I began to glean the best shots and edit.  I work also, so I planned to let the creative process percolate in my brain, take the next Friday off and finish the edits, and still have plenty of time to post by the deadline on Sunday, April 17th.

Monday my Internet went out.  Totally.  I called the provider, and spoke with someone who could also not fix it.  Now I am not stupid where computers are concerned, and by the time I called I told the person helping me that I had done a cold reboot twice, and unhooked the modem and wireless router twice also, and so he tried to reset it from his end.


So he politely told me he would put in a work order and someone would give us a call the next day.  The next day, Steve fielded a call from the distributor who told him the technician would be out Friday to fix it.  I was calm because this kind of thing had happened before and been fixed with no complications.

That was not to be the case this time, because during that week a wave of tornadoes and straight line winds did a lot of damage to the state, and on Friday the technician called to tell Steve he was a day behind on calls and would come on Saturday.  I still wasn't too alarmed.  It was cutting it close, but hey, I am the queen of the last minute finishers, so I cut the poor guy some slack.

Saturday I waited patiently.  He was supposed to be there between 1 and 5 PM.  At 5PM he called to say he was running behind but still coming.  Steve had to leave at that point to go keep grandkids for my daughter, so I waited.  And waited.  And waited, counting the minutes.

The light was getting dim outside when the young man called and told me he couldn't make it and would get his office to call and reschedule on Monday.

Those words hit the pit of my stomach like a stone.  I felt gut punched.  Let down.  He never knew it because I was the polite southern woman I almost always am, and thanked him.  As I hung up the phone my mind was RACING.  With thoughts about the past weekend; the girls excitement at being part of the photo shoot, the editing I had done, and the lost opportunity.

As I thought about it I began to see it from another light.  I had gotten more experience with my camera.  I had fun with my family, and we did a lot of laughing.  I had captured an awesome sunset on the way home.  And I had enjoyed editing the photos and seeing how they turned out.

So no one was going to see them, but I was proud of myself, and realized that you can't control circumstance.  I could see myself as a victim, or take it as a learning opportunity.  I chose the latter. 

And today I saw the winners posted on the BlackRapid website.  You can see the winners here:

I wanted my photos to tell a story of their own, and these would have been my entries:

Nine days without Internet gave me a lot of time for introspection.  I learned a lot about myself during that time.  I found a new strength in me.

The strength to not whine when things don't go my way.... and to enjoy each moment as though it will be the last.  To appreciate the eye the creator gave me to see the world around me.

For that, I am thankful.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

four eyes

I've worn glasses since I was a very young girl.  I can remember sitting with my face shoved in the TV in order to see the picture.  I also remember the blackboard at school going gradually more blurry as the teacher moved me closer and closer because my grades were starting to fall and no one could figure out why.

Finally someone figured out I was losing my eyesight.  Or rather, I needed corrective lenses.  Mom actually let me pick out the glass frames I wanted, and I picked either a pink or blue pair with silver glitter in them (I can't remember which pair came first, but I eventually had worn both colors).  Even then I loved bling.

And miracle of miracle, I could see again!  It was wonderful!  I could read a book farther away than three inches from my face, and I could see leaves on trees, and details in pictures again.

But I HATED those glasses.  They made me, an already quite shy and quiet girl, feel like I had a purple horn sticking out of the middle of my forehead. 

So I would wear the glasses to school, then take them off, and put them back on before I got home.  I left them off as much as possible, because I felt ugly with them on.  I WAS ugly with them on.  It was a stigma I was determined I would not have to bear.

Until the day Vicky and I walked home from school through a field.  I got home, and Mom asked me where my glasses were. 

I HAD FORGOTTEN TO PUT THEM BACK ON!  I reached into my pocket to get them and put them on, and NO GLASSES! 

I panicked.  And Mom was furious.  That may have been the day she chased me around the house with a yardstick, I'm not sure.  I do remember I just got one whack from it.  First, because I think I wore her down running so long, and second, because it broke in half.  (Yardsticks make crappy rods to beat your child with.)

Then Dad got home and Mom told him about it and we ALL went to the field to look for the glasses.  And Vicky found them.  And got a quarter for finding them.  It made me angry because I WAS THE ONE WHO HAD TO WEAR THOSE UGLY THINGS.  I resented Vicky for a long time for being the savior of those glasses.  But I never took my glasses off again.  Mainly because I knew Mom would kill me if I did.

Then the other night, I was laying in bed, glasses off and trying to go to sleep.  I had been without internet connection for about a week at that point.  So I am pretty sure I was in IDT's by then (internet delirium tremens).  But I had maintained my cool, and no one knew how much I missed Twitter, Facebook, and blogging.

As I laid there looking at the ceiling, I saw a light on the ceiling.  Now there is a red light over Steve's side of the bed, a nifty little thing that lets him look overhead to see what the temperature outside is and what time it is.  I really don't know why anyone would care what the outside temperature is while they are in bed, but it's his toy.  I can't see it anyway, just a red smear across the ceiling.

But I had a white light over my head.  Spooky.  I thought the problem I have been having with my right eye had finally developed into a retinal tear.  I lost my cool.  Told Steve I thought I was losing my eyesight for good because all I could see was a light on the ceiling (I could actually see more than that but I was in panic mode by then).  I was ready to go to the hospital, certain I would be blind for life.

Me: Steve, I think I am going blind.
Steve: why do you think that?
Me: because I see a light on the ceiling over the bed.
Steve: (sounding disgusted) that's because there IS a light over the bed.
Me: (deflated)...oh....

So I am still only half blind.  Blind enough the optometrist told me when they test my vision they start backing up and holding up fingers.  Blind enough to wear contacts, AND reading glasses at the same time.  Blind enough that Steve said if he had a couple old fashioned Coke bottles, he'd cut the bottoms out of them and get me a seeing eye dog.

But not so blind I can't see a UFO shining over my head on the ceiling.

I was so relieved Steve saw the same UFO that I laughed out loud for about 15 minutes.  Steve grunted, rolled over and went back to sleep amid my peals of laughter.

So I won't tell him the lizard he's been running from for days is in the house.  The lizard he fears was in our bedroom last night.

I think it was a lizard.  I can't be sure.  I had my glasses off.

Friday, April 22, 2011

my (really) it's friday moment

{this moment}
- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.


consciousness approaches slowly.
as the morning light approaches the sky,
she breathes softly next to me.

the birds awaken and greet the dawn...
she rolls into my side, hiding her head under my shoulder,
remaining locked in Morpheus' arms.

I lie quietly, listening to the cadence of her breathing
remembering the moments of her life
since she first entered mine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

how the mighty oak doth fall

Last night Stevie Wonder and I were sitting in the living room.  He was telling me about John's visit to the house.  The cute things he can do.  That he only walks when he doesn't realize he's doing it (e.g., he is after something on the end table and turns loose to walk to the object, so focused on said object that he forgets to hang onto the edges of the furniture to get there).  He couldn't say enough about how cute John is.

John is 11 months old and FAST.  He can tear a room apart in less than five minutes.  I promise this is the truth, because I have seen him do it.

John is the apple of his Gramps' eye. 

Stevie W got up to go to the bathroom.  Or the kitchen.  I can't remember which now.  Because when he stood up, he took three steps and just as he got past the couch, he SCREAMED and doubled over, staggering.  I was debating whether this was a heart attack or a stroke and about to jump off the couch to possibly resuscitate him, when Steve suddenly straightened back up with a pained expression on his face.

That was when I knew.  Because I had experienced that same agonizing pain. 

Steve looked at me.  Grinned.  Bent over and picked up a toy soldier out of the floor.   There are about 300 or so of those soldiers using our house as a barracks, with the occasional policeman thrown in the mix.  Sometimes one of them escapes the barracks and bivouacs in odd spots.  Stepping on them takes your breath and sanity for a moment.  Sometimes you curse.  OK, you curse every time.

But John was forgiven of course.  He is only 11 months old.  I never thought I would see the day Steve was felled by a two inch soldier wielded by a two foot baby. 

But I have now.  And I didn't have my camera.  :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

my almost friday moment

{this moment}
- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.
 “This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

Coming...the story behind these photos....

Monday, April 11, 2011

of photos, feet and sunsets

Some days are just...different.  Yesterday was that kind of day.  It started late because I had business to take care of first.  The afternoon was spent at my daughter Jenny's home.  I had an assignment to shoot with Big Girl (more about that another time), so we spent the afternoon grilling hamburgers and taking photographs.  Part of the assignment involved my youngest daughter Deborah (Wretch) and granddaughter Maddie Kate. 

I sat Wretch and Maddie on the couch in the living room and explained to them what I was trying to do.  Then I gave Maddie a few minutes of lessons on operating Little Girl.  I had this setup in my mind, and had worked it out perfectly over several days so that I figured this would be a piece of cake.  I did a practice shot to test the camera and light. 

I studied online tutorials for my camera.  I completely understood aperture, shutter speed and ISO.  I was stoked.  Ready to shoot the most amazing photos of my life.  Convinced this would be a matter of about fifteen minutes and it would be in the bag. 

WRONG.  As soon as I started shooting, I realized I had totally forgotten all those lessons that the tutorial maker told me would come as second nature, that would be easy to remember and be easy to figure out for each photo.  I overexposed my light, (set my ISO too high, my aperture too low), which blurred the shots because of camera shake (my excitement I am sure), then when we went outside the photos were too dark because the light coming from behind Wretch and Mad was too bright.  And at that point I couldn't remember what setting to use to compensate for it. 

Maddie understood Little Girl.  I set it to auto shoot so that she could have the enjoyment of actually taking photos while I did my thing.  Might as well reward my girl for helping her Grammy, right?

WRONG.  She was so into taking her OWN photos that she kept moving at the wrong time, because she was capturing her own magic.  On MY camera.  In her defense, she did move this way and that way, and I kept telling her not to LOOK posed, even though at times she was VERY posed. 

On top of it all, it was hot as a fourth of July firecracker on that porch, and I was sweating bullets.  I wasn't sure I was getting anything out of this.  Hopefully Maddie was and I could use HER photos.

Then Duncan showed up.  Maddie had dressed up in a new little outfit her mommy had gotten her for school.  Hair in piggy tails, she looked cute.  There stood Duncan in front of me saying he wanted to take a picture.  I thought he meant be in the photos.  I looked at him.  Still dressed in pajamas with food stains and holes in the shirt, and bedhead hair shot straight up to the moon.  I told him if he wanted to be in the photos to get dressed, and comb his hair.  He stood there balking.  Turned out he didn't want to be in the photos, he wanted to TAKE some photos.  With Little Girl.  (*sigh*)  This was getting more difficult to orchestrate by the minute.  But I am a fair Grammy, so we turned Little Girl over to him for some photos.

We spent two sessions and about two hours taking photos.  Here are some of mine:

And here are some of Mad and Dunc's shots:

Not bad for 5 year olds is it?  I honestly believe the biggest lesson I learned yesterday was that kids love to learn new things, and that the twins are going to be better photographers than I am.  All they have to do is learn focus.

Before we left Dunc wanted a candid photo of the foot he dropped a five pound weight on, so I obliged:
Then we had hugs and more hugs all around, and Steve and I headed home.  I was glad Maddie and Duncan had enjoyed the camera, and thought about their joy and excitement at discovering photography with a "real" camera.  I was also tired and frustrated with myself, wondering if I would EVER learn the art of photography, and hoping I could salvage something from all the photos I shot.  Professionals make it look so easy.  As I sat and pondered as Steve drove, I suddenly focused on the sky.  And saw this:

So the day was ended photographing a beautiful sunset through the windshield of my car.  I was in awe of the way the sky had been painted by the creator in shades of blue, pink and gold.  And reminded that nothing I created would ever surpass what was in front of my eyes.  It humbled and centered me again, and suddenly the stress and frustration from the day disappeared, and all was right with my world.

Of course, you aren't seeing the sunset shots with the bug smears on the windshield in them.  The creator also made me smart enough to be able to delete.

Friday, April 8, 2011

my friday moment

{this moment}
- A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

it begins with a flash

“This Moment” is a ritual I found on Pamanner's Blog, via Life inspired by the Wee Man adopted from SouleMama. Check out their blogs, and if you are moved too, please leave a link to your Moment in the comment box below.

*Note- I have made it easier to comment by removing those aggravating security words we all hate.  Spam is a part of internet communication, and if that occurs on this blog, I will just have to sweep it clean!  Thanks! :D 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

picture me a word

Some days there just aren't any words. Today there were only images in my head. I stopped to take the first photos before I reached home. I felt a driving urge to capture what I saw with my camera. It started with my iPhone.  The road home, the sun setting through the trees, the light casting long shadows on the road. Another day drawing to a close. So I attempted once again to capture the moments of my life, and my world, with the snap of my shutter.

I shot several photos, using several settings, hoping to find a way to perfectly express what my eyes were drinking in. 

Finally I returned to my car and drove home.  I thought I was going to go download the photos, but I had to let the dogs run, so I decided to switch cameras and grabbed Big Girl at that point and headed to my little corner of the world.  While the dogs ran circles around me, I was looking.  At everything from the sky above me to the dirt underneath my feet.  Then I began to snap the shutter.

*An aside here: I think because I was an artist first, I am hypersensitive to the things I see.  When I hang my camera around my neck, I look at the world through different eyes.  I've spent so many years composing and painting canvas, that it is just one step up to compose a photograph.  Thank goodness for digital cameras, because rather than try to set up and take one perfect photo, I try to convey something in its natural state, whether I am photographing people or nature.  So I snap lots of photos.  Each one a bit different.  Each one with another perspective.

So I looked and snapped, and snapped some more.  And what I realized while I took these photos, was the blessing of nature around me.  There are no mistakes in nature.  All around me was perfection.

The perfection of a tangle of grape vines against the blue sky.  The perfection of a rose in full bloom.  The perfection of collards in the garden, gone to seed and blooming profusely, with the hum of bees lifting from the bright yellow flowers.  And the perfection of an old well bucket and pulley hanging silently from a peeling frame, patiently waiting to be put to use once again.

Perfection.  Captured in a split second.  Shared with you today.  Drink it in.  Savor it.  Because the second it took me to capture this, is a second that will never exist again.

Except in my photographs.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

the smiling geek

Ever wonder what a geek like me does on a lazy day while the hub is watching Nascar?

That's right, I dink around with new software.

This little program was on my laptop. Smilebox. Don't know how it got there (which tells you how many "try this free" buttons I click on). So far I am smiling. Trying it out before I sink any money into the paid version. There are ads (which is why most software gives you a "free" version, to trap you into the ads), so forgive me. And let me know what you think.

Oh, and forgive the lounge lizard music too. It was either that, or too lively jazz, or some bouncy Italian music. I had a nice Loreena McKennitt tune chosen, but of course, I can't use it on the free version. So Larry the Lounge Lizard it is....
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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A slideshow design by Smilebox

Saturday, April 2, 2011

an award to share

I've been blogging for about eight months now and loving it.  I'm not a professional writer, and don't pretend to be.  I write because it's fun, and I can share my thoughts with my family and friends.  In the past 8 months I have seen my circle of friends growing, and found a sense of community in the blogging arena that I didn't know existed.  It's fun and exciting to share thoughts and ideas!

Imagine my surprise when Hajra from Hajra Kvetches sent me a comment on a post telling me she was sharing the Versatile Blogger Award she had received with me.  It is a unique award, shared from one blogger to another for no other reason than that you like the blog.  I've checked out a few of the recipients, and it is quite a diverse collection of blogs.

 The catch is that I have to share this with 7 bloggers, and tell 7 things about myself.  Rather than rattle on I am just going to jump in with the stuff about me.  Brace yourselves; this is stuff I don't normally share. 

1. I am obsessive at times.  That is bad.  I have learned over the years to recognize it and can control the obsessiveness before it takes over my whole being.  Case in point: I had this cute little twirly globe rotating on my blog, showing where my readers were located, along with a stat counter.  One day I realized I was checking that little globe and stat counter way too often, to the point of sneaking into the bathroom at work with my iPhone to check it.  So I deleted them. 

2. I love my four grandkids more than my own life.  Seriously, I was reborn when they arrived.

3. I am a procrastinator of the first water.  I put other procrastinators to shame.  I have come within a hair of causing my husband to have heart failure because of my procrastination.  Example: I've been working on my income taxes for over a week.  In fact I should be finishing them up right now instead of typing this.

4. I keep my desk very neat and am totally organized at work.  At home?  Well we don't call the computer room the Wreck Room for no reason.  I don't iron.  If it can't be fluffed and worn straight out of the dryer, I don't own it.  We also eat our groceries straight from the bag because I don't cook. 

5. I am a good listener.  One day my sister was visiting and saw me listening to a woman in Wal Mart tell me her whole legal history and problems.  She asked who the woman was when she left.  I had no idea, I'd never seen the woman before.  Maybe that is why I work in mental health.  Good listening is a must.

6. I am a speed reader.  I comprehend most of what I read.  Sure helps since I follow 50+ blogs.

7. I have a dark side no one knows about.  Not one single living person.

Now for the bloggers that make life so interesting, and who've taught me so much:

1. Jerene Dunn (@JereneD on Twitter) at Jerened's Blog ...the first blog I ever read...

2. Josie at Josie Speaks Up... ...and she sure does, on her life and lessons she's learned...

3. Karen at A Blog Day Afternoon ...she has a keen sense of observation, and humor too

4. Eileen at Ferocious Introvert ...for the artist in me, this blog is sheer heaven to read

5. LaRae Lobdell (@laraelobdell on Twitter) at Photosister ...a professional photographer, dedicated to photo sisters all over

6. Kathy at One Day You're Making Pizza ...her style is adult and honest, as she examines her life

7. Mary at The Adventures of Cilgin Kiz ...her tongue-in-cheek look at traveling, with some beautiful photography

Those are my picks, and it wasn't easy.  There are so many excellent blogs out there, that I sometimes find myself intimidated.  But we all come to the community for a reason, and those reasons are as varied as the blogs we all write.  I hope you will give all these blogs a look, and if you enjoy any of them, leave a comment.  No one wants to write into a void. 

And for you bloggers, consider disabling that annoying little security word.  There is nothing to fear from spam, and to be honest, since I disabled mine, I haven't had any problems.  It makes it so much easier for the commenters.  Try it.  You'll like it.

Thanks to Hajra for sharing this award with me.  It's the first one I have received, and I appreciate that she thought of me. 

Happy Reading and Blogging! 
follow me on Twitter- @jonesbabie

Friday, April 1, 2011

april fools me

mom, kinda long ago :)
I was having this nice little chat with mum today.  And I accidentally backed into an April Fool's joke with her by being a smarta** and confusing her...and I was laughing and thought I would share what we said (or most of it).  It went something like this:

(talking about a Southwest plane that made an emergency landing in Arizona)
mum: just glad to know you weren't on your way here lol
they just said plane had hole in fuselage...
me: that is the spot I fell out of mum
mum: fell outta what
me: the hole in the fuselage
where I fell through or would have if I had been there
mum: how did u do that?
me: mum it is April 1 and I am being a fool
mum: oh s**t I knew someone would do it to me today and I thought I was home safe
I was expecting it from vix since she came by after appt. but she didn't

me: you are the ONLY one I did anything to :D
mum: it's not nice to fool mother (nature) :D:D
me: aww that s**t doesn't work on me I am too old
and besides there ain't nothin natural about you miss 80yr old with black hair :D:D
mum: well the plane thing wasn't an april fool joke
wonder if the people on the plane thought it was
hey if Liz Taylor can have black hair at 79 I guess I can at 80
me: you sure can!
you go girl cause I am right behind you at almost 60 with auburn locks of beauty :D:D
mum: :D:D gotta go fix something to eat
luv u and talk to you later

this is vix. i wouldn't dare show my face

Things went downhill fast after this because I thought I was copying the chat to paste here in the blog...because I am so computer savvy you I hit this button in the Facebook chat window that said report.  It didn't report the chat to me...OH reported my mum to Facebook authorities as a suspicious character...
I had a little panic and meltdown at that point...and did a panic post on my wall asking for help...of course the only advice I got was to "suck up" and calling me a "bully".  And that was my friends talking!...then my sister Vix chimes in and says she went to the help page and I need to go unblock mum...well by then I am really thinking mum is gonna chew on me...with her teeth in.
At this point I am trying to find out how to unblock mum.  I see a post by a page I like (I get sidetracked easily),  and I try to make a comment...
I'm blocked.  I get this big old yellow triangle and it says I am not allowed to post.
I am ready to throw up, pack my bags, and leave the Facebook country forever.  A Facebook orphan, unloved and unwanted because I am now a FB criminal...all kinds of scenarios are going through my head.
Then I notice there are two of those page posts by Hipstamatic.  You that read this blog know I love my Hipsta app and I timidly hit the "like" button and... takes it!  Hallelujah!  I am saved!  I am not a Facebook criminal who turned my mum in after all...
Wait...yes I am and yes I I keep clicking links, and eventually get to the how to un-block a beloved mum page...but mum isn't listed there...all I have blocked are the 20,049 apps and games I don't use anymore....
*sigh* I'm saved....
...and that is how the first of April unraveled and made a fool....out of me....
Now I have to go delete my panic post before my mum sees it.  It has 58 comments on it, mostly mine.
Happy Facebooking y'all! (muffling retching noises in my armpit)

mum and me on mother's day a few years ago.  that is her finger.