Sunday, May 31, 2015

my best photo

Today is the last day of May and the last day of May NaBloPoMo. Thirty one days ago I started this daily blog prompt centered around photos. One reason I joined the blog prompt over at BlogHer was that I had not been writing much for an extended period of time, for personal reasons. My focus was elsewhere, and I couldn't seem to focus on writing, photography, drawing or painting.

Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is: your best photo. I thought about that one for several days now. It is hard to pick out my best photo. I thought about all the photos I had taken that I felt demonstrated an increase in my skill as a photographer. Then I thought about what is important for me to share with my photographs, and the answer came to me.

Plain and simple, I think the most important thing I can convey as a photographer is emotion, or the story I am trying to tell. I chose this photo to share. It was shot quickly, not the technically best photo I have ever taken, but I see it now, and I feel strong emotion wash over me. It is a photo of my daughter holding my granddaughter's face in her hand. In Maddie's eyes I see pure love. And I know, because I took that photo, that the love in Maddie's eyes is mirrored in her mommy's eyes, and felt through the touch of her hand.

Total devotion and love of a child for her mother, and a mother for her child. Unplanned and blurry, this may be the best photo I have ever taken. It is certainly one of the most important moments in my life. Captured now, forever. That is the magic of photography.


Life, lived moment by moment, photo by photo. Shared. Experienced.

My best photo.

...life, lived, is your best photo... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Saturday, May 30, 2015

nightlife is the bright life

Reminiscing tonight after seeing something on the television triggered a memory for tonight's photo response to the NaBloPoMo prompt, NIGHTLIFE.

When Jim (our middle child) was about 4 or 5 years old, we were eating dinner and talking when we noticed that Jim had gotten quiet.  We looked at him and started laughing.  He had fallen asleep in his chair, with a half eaten chicken leg still grasped in his left hand, his arm dangling at the side of the chair. As we laughed, it led to another "Jim story" from about the same time.  Steve got up before daylight one morning to find the refrigerator door standing wide open. Lying on the floor in the light cast from the open door was the red rind off a piece of bologna, an empty cheese wrapper and an empty soda can. When Steve checked on Jim, he found half a piece of bologna laying on the pillow beside his head.  He asked Jim why he had left the door to the refrigerator open. Jim's response: "because it was dark and I was afraid I couldn't see to get back to bed."

Nightlife in my house revolves around the family refrigerator.  The welcoming gleam of the interior light provides security in a darkened room, foods and treats to scavenge, and drama after a big family meal when we struggle and fight to find places to stuff all the leftovers. Then there is the unsolved mystery of the light. Is it on all the time, or only when the door opens?  Even Jim still hasn't figured that one out, 37 years later.

(Happy Birthday to my sweet Sneezer, who turned 42 on May 25.)

...life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Friday, May 29, 2015

food for the soul

Food. The prompt for today from NaBloPoMo on day number 29. Fitting that today the focus is food. I wondered if I had any photos of food worth posting. I've taken some doozies, and some $%*&ed up shots too. Minions and Marmite (#20) figured high on my list of considerations. Then I saw the photo, and the food became secondary. It was not the focus of the photo for me.

ragu with rotini, served on my Grammy's dishes
It was the dish it was served on. Food keeps the body going.  But love and memories feed the soul. I ate many meals on the Franciscan apple dishes shown in the photo. Years ago, I acquired my mom's and Grammy's dishes. So old that many of them say "made in California" on them. Later dishes say "made in the USA" on them. I have both. I don't own any that say "made in England" which is where they are manufactured now. Mine came from my childhood, and I am of an age that the dishes are close to being antique. A fact that does not faze me one bit. I can close my eyes and remember so many meals, so many conversations. The strep throat I unknowingly had as I struggled to eat chili, each bite setting my throat on fire. Learning to eat squash and like it. Talking to Grammy as she washed dishes, watching her rub each plate dry with embroidered dish towels.

concoction
Many memories.  Memories that will last longer than the food that is served on those plates now. Food served to my family. Plates that are hand washed by me now. Plates and memories that are a common thread of love that runs through my family, from generation to generation.


...life is delicious...   -cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Thursday, May 28, 2015

talk the walk

My sisters were walking up a flight of stone steps recently, oblivious to me watching them as they walked upward, heads together, chattering away. It was a gorgeous sunny day in California,and we had stopped at a winery. I watched them talking, noticing how the sunlight danced around them, creating a halo of light around their heads. It was a special moment for me, and I snapped them as they continued to ascend the stairway.

Today is day 28 of NaBloPoMo, and the prompt was ACTION. Although it can be portrayed many ways, I chose to use this photo of my sisters and include a haiku. The action may be more subtle, but the light, the contrast, and their movement is action in any sense of the word. How do you portray action in your photos? 

I used three apps to edit this photo. Snapseed (my #1 app), VSCO cam, and Color Cap for the text. Three more days to go in this month's challenge to blog daily. It's been uphill at times, but sometimes it helps to have a goal and routine to help deal with the unknown factors in life that pop up.

...life is full of action... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

purrfect portraits

NaBloPoMo...day 27...prompt is portrait and I'm stumped. I mean, I'm with my daughter today, getting her fifth procedure on her vocal chord, this time to make sure she is still (almost) clear from the vocal chord cancer she'd endured 4 surgeries for. Now we will have to wait for biopsy results. Able to breathe a sigh of relief, I contemplated portrait and what that means to me. 

I considered taking a few shots of Jen as we waited for her to go to surgery, but my mood wasn't right and I'm wasn't feeling it. I wanted something I haven't tried before. So I rejected each family member for various similar reasons. Soon I was almost out of material. We got home from hospital, and I was playing with the new kittens when it hit me:

Portraits don't have to be human. 

Inspired, I grabbed my iPhone and started snapping. I soon realized for every 100 shots I took of these furry moving targets, I might get one usable photo. But I'm loving and living in the moment, and realized I am beginning to gain more control over this medium called iPhoneography. So here are my choices for today, presented for consideration. And totally unretouched. Did I capture the story I was trying to tell? You tell me...




...life is purrrfect... ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter 








Tuesday, May 26, 2015

still life

Day 26 of NaBloPoMo prompt uses the theme STILL LIFE. When you use your camera to shoot still life, it can include any inanimate, or nonliving object. Still life is one of my favorite subjects, but I also like shots that include a message, whether it is implied, or stated straight out and in your face.

Today has been an "in your face kind of day" after a long, lazy three day weekend. So I skimmed a few hundred photos, and my eyes were caught by this photo. There are so many people who cause me to smile in my life. Smiling and laughter are the best kind of medicine for whatever might ail you. Today I am sharing this, for all the people in my life who make me smile.

...thank you, for making me smile. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Monday, May 25, 2015

man vs. nature


NaBloPoMo, day 25: NATURE. My take on the prompt. Man makes his mark, nature slowly wears it away. We rush through our busy little lives, and miss the point of living. Surrounded by beauty, we are trapped, blinded by petty human struggles. It's not too late to open your eyes, and truly see the beauty that is nature. I challenge you to take a moment every day, and look around you.

...life is good. ~cath




Sunday, May 24, 2015

upside down

Life is upside down right now, for the forseeable future. There are a few constants, but many of the things in my life I thought I could count on, have suddenly changed. So I forge ahead, finding my way, day by day.

Day 24 NaBloPoMo prompt is: UPSIDE DOWN. How fitting, and what a perfect description of my life at this moment in time. Life is never static though, and so I take a deep breath, and wait...and wait...for the change to come.



...life is what it is... ~cath
  i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Saturday, May 23, 2015

friday reflection: the funniest thing I saw this week

This week, the +FridayReflections prompts offered a chance to go back to previous weeks and write about something we had not used as a prompt. Since I missed a few weeks, dealing with other things, I looked back and the prompt I wanted to write about jumped right off the page and into my head:

What was the funniest thing you saw or heard this week?

If you saw what I posted yesterday you will see a photo of a 10 year old boy smiling. If you are very observant, you will notice his tie. His mother noticed it the second she saw him from the other side of the room. Here is the story behind the tie:

Jen called me the other day to share something. I had been feeling a bit overwhelmed, dealing with one thing after another in my life. I was beginning to feel as though a day wasn't going to dawn that didn't bring some major thing to endure with it. So I was half ass listening to what Jen said at first. She told me about Awards Day at school for the twins, and their accomplishments. I was proud of the kids, no doubt about that, but still miserable in my own skin. Then she told me about Duncan. 

This year not only did they receive awards for accomplishments, the twins also graduated from elementary school to middle school. So graduation was a big thing for them. Jen told me she sent a tie, shirt and jacket with Dunc so he could dress properly for such an important occasion. She arrived from work just in time to see the ceremony.

And being a mother, she noticed it right away. Dunc, who didn't hold his bottle until 3 days before Jen weaned him off it, and didn't dress himself until he was well over 5, had dressed himself. Jacket, shirt and tie in place. Except for one thing.

The tie was INSIDE the neck of his shirt. When she saw it, Jen started laughing. Then she fought the urge to do corrective dressing and let him wear it like it was. 

I was laughing as loudly as Jen while she told me this. I could just picture it, and when I did get a picture from Jen, it was exactly as I imagined. And...the tie was RED, which meant it REALLY stood out.

A bit later I was struck by the real lesson. It wasn't the laughter, although that was medicine for my soul. It was the fact that Jen got it. She understood what was important that day. It wasn't the tie. It was the fact that Duncan, the boy with ADD who had been failing the first grade, was graduating on the A/B honor roll.

And THAT is more important than a red tie inside a shirt.

...life is good. ~cath
i am @jonesbabie on twitter

Today is day 23 of NaBloPoMo over at BlogHer and the prompt is OUTSIDE. I was stumped about it until we stopped at a traffic light today. Stevie Wonder said "look what is painted on the outside of that guy's truck!"  I saw it, and as we passed by I shot this photo. Little bit of editing (I couldn't be me without tweaking a photo with an app), a caption, and here is my take on the prompt (and also the funniest thing I saw besides Dunc's tie):

Friday, May 22, 2015

inside a mother's heart

...his mother saw it, but said nothing...
it was his day to shine.

NaBloPoMo, day 22: INSIDE. A haiku.
...life, through a child's eyes, is perfect...
~ cath 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

to maggie

Maggie was about one year old when she came into my sister and brother-in-law's lives.  She was beautiful, and well cared for, with toenails painted pink.  Someone loved her, and Vicky and Donnie spent weeks trying to find the owner, and never could. So Maggie became part of their family.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

day 19: vintage treasures

Seems a good night to sit back and think about family, memories and smile as I look at the photos I took for today's prompt over at NaBloPoMo.

Monday, May 18, 2015

contrast, day 18

I look at each day's blog prompt at NaBloPoMo and wonder if I can find something suitable.  Today it is contrast.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Saturday, May 16, 2015

the shell game

Today's NaBlopomo prompt is "filter me this". I took this shot of some shells I collected walking on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida recently. This shot was edited on my iPhone with the Photoshop Express app, and also using the Snapseed and Camera+ apps. I love pushing the outside of the envelope with apps. There are many interesting results that are serendipitous by nature, but I am also learning to recognize how to produce certain results purposely. The best advice I can give is learn the basic functions of the apps you are using, then start tweaking them. It will  be fun as well as educational. :)

nablopomo photo day 14 and 15

the road from home, early morning
It's been a busy, overwhelming kind of week, so I combined the NaBloPoMo photography prompts sun flare (day 14) and black and white (day 15). A picture is worth a thousand words, the saying goes. So these should be good for about 4,000, on a day when I feel more comfortable with a photo than a written word.
Have a good weekend.  Look at the sky and feel the ground beneath your feet. 


my office, early morning sun flare


approaching storm at sundown

view from my office, early morning fog
...the best is yet to come....cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter





Wednesday, May 13, 2015

day 13: bokeh

Ok, I spent more time reading about people arguing how to pronounce "bokeh" than I did learning how to shoot this style of photography. Then I realized I was running out of time so I downloaded an iPhone app and cheated my way to my version of a bokeh shot. So take it any way you like, since I've been up since 3AM and am looking at the back of my eyelids trying to post this before I doze off.

Bokeh is a photo that is partly blurry, the background part. The more circular the lights or colors in the background are, the better. I think. My photo ended up looking like a cut out pasted on a blurred background, but, oh well. I'm finished. 

Have a great day or night, and remember every day is brand new. Isn't that exciting? 

Addendum: another shot at bokeh. This is one I will have to work on...(sigh)

My sister's bougainvillea, and her photo, with my editing, using Tadaa, a great app to use...



don't bury me yet!

Today I got the verdict. After almost 2 months, a mammogram, a repeat mammogram, an ultrasound, and a needle biopsy. 

I have cancer.

There. I can say it. Because several weeks ago I had a meltdown thinking all the what ifs. So I am past all that shit, and to the point where I am just ok, tell me what the percentages are, what my options are, and let's get this show on the road. 

My youngest daughter and I were sharing a Subway sandwich when the phone call came. She had just had a job interview, and we went out to grab a bite. And of course, after waiting for days, the call managed to come at a not so convenient time. But really, when you are getting news like that, is there ever a convenient time?

So, after about one split second, I thanked the surgeon for calling me, and made an appointment to see her in two days to talk about my options. Being a nurse, and having discussed possible options while I was having the needle biopsy, I kind of already know where I will probably go with this. 

The bad news was that it is breast cancer. But between you and me? I knew when I saw it on the ultrasound that it most likely would be. So today was kind of anticlimactic. Meh. 


The good news? That it is very small, 7-8mm. Coming from the boomer generation, I had to use my converter app to figure out just how little it was. Eight millimeters is equal to 0.3149606299 inches. (Is that even a real number?) If you ignore all but the first two digits, that is less than a half inch. Little bit more than a quarter of an inch. Tiny. With, I am told, a 90-95% cure rate. That is good news.

I told the family, they were kind of subdued. A little bit of texting, a couple phone calls and silence. My family IS NEVER SILENT. So I can feel the gears in their brains working, from here to the west coast. I told Wretch before she left me at my office to tell Steve not to bury me yet.

It is going to take a lot more than a little lump the size of my smallest finger nail to stop me. 

Although I am thinking, maybe I could ask the surgeon to slip with the scalpel and do a tummy tuck while she is resculpting my right breast to match my left.

So, don't bury me yet.

Oh, and ladies?  GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. This cancer was so deep and tiny it couldn't be felt, not by me or the surgeon. The mammogram we all love to bitch about having has most likely saved my life.

SO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM. DO IT. EVERY YEAR.



...life really is good. ~cath 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

far...day 12



NaBloPoMo day 12: FAR
Don't focus on what is in front of your eyes...look afar. See what lies in the distance. Is it the bend in the road, the railing end on a fence? Chase it as far as you can see.
My eyesight is so poor that many times I am shooting almost blind. I can see major objects, but detail escapes me until I edit. Many times I edit with my glasses off and my face one inch from the screen, so that I can try to see all the details. But I chose to leave these captures a bit out of focus, to capture the essence of distance. The road leads to my home, the fence is a neighbor's fence. The more photos I take, the more I realize there is no place like home. Really.


...life is full of new places to explore... ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Monday, May 11, 2015

close

NaBloPoMo day 11: CLOSE

alice through the looking glass.

...life is full of new places to explore... ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Sunday, May 10, 2015

three

I've always thought 2 was my lucky number, but I've come to believe it is the number 3.  My sisters and I make three, I have three children, and things often seem to happen in threes.  Which begins to make me sound superstitious, and I am not.  So I will just finish right here with the prompt for NaBloPoMo day 10: THREE.

I shot this photo after all the hubbub of today died down, and everyone was either gone home, or gone to bed, leaving me sitting here reflecting on the number three.  Then I glanced at the flowers that I had received from Wretch for Mother's Day today, and shot this photo.  I thought it fitting.  
Happy Mother's Day to my mother, and all the mothers or people who nurture and protect, guide and love other people.

...be positive...the best is yet to come... ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Saturday, May 9, 2015

the sugar in my lemonade

I was going to write something pithy and wise today, the day before Mother's Day, about something that would be so important it would change your life forever.

Forget that. I do good to put two sentences together. So I decided to respond to the +FridayReflections prompt of who has impacted my life for the better. I could say something about my mum, because it is almost Mother's Day here in the USA. She and I haven't always seen eye to eye, but she did contribute one important thing to me. She gave me a backbone of steel, and the belief that I could do anything I wanted to do. 
But the people I want to talk about today are two of the most important people in my life. Throughout my whole life, they were there for me. During hard times, lonely times, times when I didn't have an answer, there they were. They didn't always have the answer either, just as I often didn't have it for them. But they loved me unconditionally, and without judgment. Even when we disagreed, it was always with the understanding that it was ok to disagree, and that it would not affect our trust or feelings for each other. I think of them every day, and especially today. 
They are my sisters, Vicky and Debbie. The sugar in my lemonade.
Vicky, Debbie, and Cathy
day2
We have another side too. A raucous, wicked side that lets us make fun of each other, laugh at each other, and gives me a feeling of zest and joy that last for days. Yesterday we were texting each other, asking Vix if mum's gifts we sent had gotten there. I just KNEW I was gonna have the most unique gift. I had thought this through, plotted, and planned it so that I would be mum's favorite daughter by Mother's Day. I sent flowers:
day 1
Vix Gave mother flowers:


We were both texting back and forth, pretty proud that we had made mum happy.  Then Dooj's GIFT arrived and Vix sent me a picture:
that is a balloon on top and chocolates too
Our text chat then proceeded along these lines:
Vix: the #$&%@ has outdone us Cath. LMAO.
Me: how dare she do that! I think that $(#*#@$ balloon is a $%*#&@$ bit over the top. 
Dooj: LMAO
Vix: is that the one you wanted Dooj, or is this arrangement too small?
Dooj: lolololol
Me: you sure you didn't tell them that was for a funeral Dooj? It's big enough to cover a casket.
Dooj: lololololol...I did tell them no lilies but I'm not going to tell Mother that.
Vix: Momma is getting a kick out of these comments. She did say it was big enough for a funeral. I told her if she kicked the bucket before Sunday (Mother's Day) we would use it.
Me: lololol.
Me:(to Vix) I hope Dooj's flowers die first....
Vix: lolololol....

I have a secret weapon though...today mum got these:
Score one for the big sis...


NaBloPoMo photo prompt day 9 is: Light

...be positive...the best is yet to come... ~cath
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Monday, May 4, 2015

day 4: my energy

A recent photo of my sisters having a chat. The connection and love between them is evident in their hands.