Monday, December 27, 2010

Buh-bye 2010

As I began this year, I looked beyond the dreaded foot surgery to... visitors from afar, road trips around the southeast and generally moving on with life. Of course, life moves on whether you're ready or not. 

There were good times and there were also losses. Life can turn on a dime, make no mistake about it.

So, I have no grand expectations for 2011. I don't know where life will take me or what hurdles will be placed in my path. I can only hope there is more laughter than sadness.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Not Enough Photos

I have been unable to find any Christmas morning photos from when I was little. I have asked my mother and we've both looked through all of our photo albums. I found one, taken at the post-Christmas dinner table at my Grandmother's house and my Grandmother has just opened a gift. My older sister is in the picture and she passed away not too long afterward.

There are tons of photos taken at other times of the year, but none from Christmas morning. I found one taken on Easter Sunday, outside my Grandparents' house, of two of my cousins and myself. It seems we always got new "outfits" for Easter and we were showing off our new coats. There is quite a lot of snow on the ground too. But it's not Christmas.

Maybe my dad, who was the photographer in the family, wasn't a morning person. Maybe he wasn't a fan of Christmas... which would explain a lot about my lack of enthusiasm for the holiday. No, that's not true. When my son was little (above), Christmas was fun because his expectations were sky-high and we tried not to disappoint him.

I don't know... I guess as a photographer, I want there to be more pictures.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Get up, dammit!

For years, we've had two lighted deer out on the lawn at Christmas time. The rest of the year, they are stored in the basement. I thought I would drag them out this year because I really do think that they look pretty at night and it seemed a simple enough task. 

Now, I must tell you that my lawn slopes downhill - all of it. So getting anything that is meant to stand on level ground... doesn't work well. My husband used to come up with all sorts of methods to get these creatures to remain upright. Wood, rope and 'whatever' was used. I never examined the how's and why's - the deer were standing, they remained standing throughout the season and I was happy.

So much the metaphor for my life now that I am the one who must figure out how to keep things upright (including myself). But I try. I take each hurdle as it comes and deal with it as best I can. But there are moments that I look to the sky and say "Really? This is going to be my test today? A damn deer?"

"Now you listen to me, young lady! Even if we're *horribly mangled*, there'll be no sad faces on Christmas!" The Grinch, to Cindy Lou Who.

Monday, December 06, 2010


I am reading Pat Conroy's "My Reading Life". He's been a favorite author of mine for a long time and I find it  interesting to read about the books and the people who gave him inspiration. I feel that way about any artist - to learn what brings them to the page or the canvas or the lens is fascinating to me.

Mr. Conroy writes about keeping journals - of words; words that he would hear or read somewhere and feel a connection. They would eventually, when he would return to them,  help him weave wonderful stories.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

I remember...

a big, plastic, lighted Santa Claus.

once, coming downstairs before Santa had been there. we went to my sleeping parents' bedroom, understandably upset. "Go back to bed for a little while.", mom said. we went back upstairs, heard the rustling of paper et voila!. Santa had arrived.

Christmas dinner at my Grandmother's house... with all of the aunts, uncles and cousins.

an aluminum Christmas tree... seriously - it looked like tinfoil. I think this was when we lived in Florida... it sounds like Florida.

bubble lights... I still love 'em and have lots of them, stored in the basement.

my mother always made sure my little sister and I had the same number of gifts... usually the same thing, but in different colors. in her defense, my sister and I would fight over anything and everything.

my maternal grandparents had thirteen children and we went to their house on Christmas Eve. my Grandmother would start shopping in September and every grandchild got a gift. they had very little money, so this was no easy feat.

the best times.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

To tree or not to tree...

I don't think I've ever not had a decorated tree in my home at Christmas time, but this year may be the first. It's not just that there's no-one to put it up and take it down for me becuse I could easily get a small tree. But I don't think the presence or absence of decorations will make me any less sad.

It's not a grinch thing... I sincerely hope all the Who's down in Whoville have a wonderful Christmas. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Locked Up

I am sick-to-death of the scams and cons. The constant vigilence necessary to keep my money, computers, home and self safe is exhausting. No longer can I assume that 'most' people are honest and 'most' situations are safe. More and more of my time every day is spent checking locks, alarms, bank accounts and generally looking over my shoulder.

If all of this is a sign-of-the-times, then the times are very bad.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I cannot understand

I have been trying all week to write about someone who chose to take her own life because she could no longer deal with her illness. I haven't been able to find the words, because I cannot understand and I hope and pray that I never know what complete hopelessness feels like.

Tell me how a soul can be so lost 
and swallowed by despair,
that walking into nothingness 
seems easiest to bear.

I cannot understand.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Please save us from ourselves

When will people stop expecting the government to run their lives for them, especially when it comes to eating healthy foods? The voters in San Francisco voted to keep toys out of fast food kids' meals... unless or until the kids' meals are healthy. When I first heard this, I thought it was absurd, but I considered the craziness of San Francisco. 

The mayor of San Francisco announced recently that he will veto this Happy Meal ban. "Parents, not politicians, should decide what their children eat, especially when it comes to spending their own money. Despite its good intentions, I cannot support this unwise and unprecedented governmental intrusion into parental responsibilities and private choices.", said Mayor Newsome. 

Exactly. And the same thing applies to too much tv watching, violent video games and anything else that you, the parent, believe is harming your children. If you expect the government to do the parenting, your kids will grow up thinking that if it's for sale, it's good for them and if it's on tv (or the internet), it must be true.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I don't have any. I don't like repetition and maybe that's why. Other than paying bills on certain dates, I don't have any daily rituals. This suddenly seems a bit odd to me. If I ever have to take medication on a daily basis... well, that's going to be a challenge.

I don't have a 9-5 job and if I did, I'm sure my days would be more regimented. I don't wake up or go to sleep at specific times. I eat when I get hungry and I pray when I feel sad or overwhelmed.

Crikey! This revelation is making me feel like such an slacker! Well, of course, I do things, go places and generally accomplish tasks, I just do them... whenever. 

I think (maybe) I should introduce ONE thing into my days that MUST be done at a certain time. Or... should I make it weekly? Daily seems like such a chore. Hehehe....

Monday, November 08, 2010

Here today, Gone tomorrow

I am not a writer. I use words to express what my photographs mean to me... and sometimes I have something to say and I will use a photo to get the words flowing.

Yesterday, I noticed the late light shining on the surface of the pond. There's a fountain that generates ripples on the water; ripples that transform the reflected light into abstract forms - never the same from one moment to the next. Then, I like to add something to the scene in order to create a contrast between liquid and solid. I like seeing the points of tension, where the 'thing' meets the swirling current.

This once-crunchy leaf will eventually absorb enough water that it will slip beneath the surface and begin to decay.

That's what leaves do.

Friday, November 05, 2010

She was released on her own recognizance...

If my thought process today had left tracks, they would resemble a maze. No, a maze is not a good example as it's too organized.

Long ago trip to the amish country in Ohio -> Photos? -> Were they film? Are they in boxes? -> No, albums. -> The albums were organized by year. What year did I make that trip? -> *goes to living room, albums have been bookcased* -> Wait, I have a photo of the albums! -> *goes to Pbase to find photo* -> When did I take the photo of the albums? -> Hours later, the album photo had not been located. -> Back to Ohio? -> Back to 'real' albums. 

The year was 2000, the camera was digital (Sony F707) and my photography skills were non-existent.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

the office

My recent cleaning/straightening/clearing out around the house has enabled the rolltop on the desk to... roll! It's an Autumn miracle!

One day last week, I decided that it was time to empty the closet. It was much more difficult than I had anticipated. Once I decide to do something, I'm a rip-the-band-aid-off type person. There was no way this task was going to be quick and/or easy, however. But I did it... it took me most of the day and then I donated the clothes to Goodwill. I kept a few items that held special memories for me. More on this later...

When my husband passed away, I remember many people saying "Whenever you decide to clean out his things, let us know and we'll be glad to help." None of them was here last week when I needed them.

Back to my cleaning... .

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Free Hugs

I took this photo a couple of years ago at the Festival of the Photograph in Charlottesville. VA. A fellow photographer posted a similar "Free Hugs" photo yesterday at Pbase. Some of the comments were "No way!" and "I'll pass on the hug!" and I can understand that reaction. The world we live in has become a place where we are immediately wary of anything free, let alone an invitation to make physical contact with a stranger. This is with good reason of course. There's no shortage of people in the world willing and able to take advantage of anyone who dares to trust.

Don't get me wrong - I don't fantasize about a world that is one big hug-fest. Hugs will never rid the world of evil, but wouldn't it be nice if we didn't assume that a hug had an ulterior motive? Or that people didn't feel the need to wear a sign offering free hugs?

By the way, I gave a hug to the guy in this photo... I felt I was in a safe environment and I wasn't alone. I have to admit though, that on the streets of downtown Atlanta - I would have passed by him... quickly.

Friday, October 15, 2010

In the 'hood

As you can see, it's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. The leaves are slow in changing color this year - possibly because the hot weather stayed through September?

I looked at the utility bill lying on my desk this morning and realized that I still haven't put the utility accounts in my name... more loose ends that seem to get pushed aside as they aren't critical to daily life. But I know that to be thorough I need to take care of these types of things, so I'd better start a list.

But there's a more urgent problem that needs to be addressed... squirrels have eaten a hole through the siding and into the garage attic area, so I need to A) figure out how to cut a small piece of wood to cover the hole and B) nail it into place. It won't be pretty...

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Nothing is working these days... Life's a struggle that repeats every twenty-four hours. I know that I have to move forward... look forward.

This year marks twenty-three years of being cancer free. In the past I have always given myself a little high-five for still being here. This year, I don't feel as though I have survived.

I'm not producing any photographs that make me happy, although I sold three prints last month.

I am reminded of something a friend once wrote:

"Being aimless is looking at a flower and seeing a flower. Aimless would be never confronting fear or seeking an understanding of its cause and being held captive by it. Aimless is living on one’s knees. Aimless is being someone else and never knowing it.

 And as often as necessary, breathe"

Friday, September 10, 2010


This was one of my favorite places on my tour - Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana. After two nights in Johannesburg, this was my introduction to "the wild" No tent camping for me! Through those doors and across an expanse of lawn is the Chobe River. There was plenty of wildlife roaming around the grounds.... monkeys, wart hogs and exotic birds to name a few. I was there for three nights and when we left, I was wishing that I could stay for another week. It was so peaceful and relaxing. I think I was just beginning to recuperate from the long flight and the urban setting of Jo'burg.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Long Ago and Far Away

A year ago, I had just arrived in South Africa and was on a tour of Soweto. This photo was taken inside Nelson Mandela's home.

We also visited the monument commemorating the 1976 Student Uprising:

We had lunch at the Sakhumzi Restaurant:

This is a popular place and was quite crowded. The food is served buffet style and the line was long. The closer we got to the food, the more people cut in front of me in line. Eventually, most of my group had filled their plates and were on their way back to the table. One of the last of my tour group, who was about seven or eight people ahead of me, reached through to take my arm and pull me up to where he was. I'd probably still be there... in line... had he not come to my aid.

This was my first full day in South Africa and I think my body was still adjusting to the time difference and the long flight.

Sunday, August 08, 2010


Me and my son Todd, Daytona Beach, circa: never-you-mind. ;-)

I went looking through old family photos yesterday and found several that I knew I must scan and keep online... because, as in the case of this polaroid, they will deteriorate over time and cannot be replaced.

I loved the awkward crop of this... though I also wish there was more of our shadow. Todd was dressed warmly, so it must have been winter. The fact that I am apparently in shorts testifies to the mildness of Florida winters.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Coffee Table Book

My 2009 Photo Journal arrived from Blurb yesterday. I'm more than happy with the way it turned out. The print quality is good and it's such fun to see all of my photos together. As I leafed through it last night, I remembered taking each photo... where I was and what I was feeling at the moment.

I would advise all photographers to do this. My 2009 book was big because I traveled so much last year, but I couldn't possibly have left any of them out. I consider this book a gift to myself.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

there are closets to be cleaned

"Beyond this place there are dragons."

Closets full of:

Clothes that don't fit
Purses and shoes, long out of fashion
Books that, for whatever reason, don't warrant a spot in the bookcase
Seasonal decorations... Red,White&Blue and Easter pastels
But nothing that will not evoke a memory or two.

Monday, August 02, 2010

flora sunrise

Playing with flowers... it really is too hot for photo expeditions, so I'm shooting mostly indoors.

Summer is half gone. The schools will be back in session soon and autumn will follow. The seasons pass by; like watching sailboats from the shore, they glide past our vantage point. In summer the white hot sunlight fills the sails and the sound of children playing on the shore fills the air. The breeze is a welcome coolness on suntanned skin. As autumn approaches, the skies are less blue and passing storms disturb the calm surface of the sea. Boats head for the safety of the harbors and bays, the beach is nearly abandoned and we begin our preparations for the onset of winter.

So... we are mid-way through the season. Last chance for vacations to sunny beaches, last chance for flip-flops and shorts, last chance for sunflowers.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Renewing the passport and other administrative tasks:

Today is another scorcher outside, so I've been clearing up the piles of paperwork on my desk. One item was the renewal of my passport. It doesn't expire until Feb. 2011, but I won't be traveling internationally before then, so this is a good time to send it off. Never has getting a photo EXACTLY the right size been so difficult. 2"x2" overall size, with the distance from the tip of my chin to the top of my head (including hair) to be not less than 1" and not more than 1 3/8". I think I finally got one to be close enough.

A year ago today I was on my way to Maui for a week. I was avoiding spending my birthday at home, alone. It was a beautiful and exciting distraction, but this year I am staying home and taking in some local events - laser show and a baseball game for instance. It's just a date, right? 

"Waiter!! Another martini, please."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

left behind

As I lay in bed the other night, I realized that:

No one will mourn when I die... not the way someone who has lost their other half mourns.
No one will touch my pillow and miss seeing my face there.
No one will gently touch the clothes left in my closet and bring them to their face, trying to remember my scent.
No one will feel the emptiness in the house, every minute of every day.
No one.

But that is okay... because I wouldn't wish these feelings on anyone.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Let's Go!

I have just spent most of two days creating a photo book of my 2009 photographs. I knew I had done a lot of traveling last year, but seeing the the pictures from each trip in one place is amazing. It seems as though I was always taking photos and always going somewhere. I'm not sure where I found the stamina but the memories are worth it. This year has been a quiet contrast; I had planned it this way but I think I need a few more journeys to round out the year.

Which reminds me, I have to renew my passport!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

sitting here, waiting for happy

I finished my SoFoBoMo book yesterday... I wish I could say that I learned something in the process; or that I feel newly inspired or have felt a sense of accomplishment. Instead, the conclusion is anticlimactic.

The summer drones on... with extreme heat and severe thunderstorms. I went to the pool yesterday morning. I like to get there early to enjoy the peace and quiet, while also getting some exercise. I can't tolerate the hottest part of the day, even in close proximity to the water. I remembered another time, a couple of years ago, when we came early to the pool. The first thing I usually do is clear the toys, floats, etc that have blocked the skimmers overnight. On that morning, when I pulled away the toys, I was greeted by two huge bullfrog eyes! Can I walk on water? Perhaps not, but I can move very quickly! Jeremiah hopped out of the skimmer basket and into the pool. He was eventually rescued and evicted from the pool area (read: over the fence). I didn't realize at the time what a happy memory this would be.

We take these moments for granted. If I had looked around me on that morning, I would have seen the happy, smiling faces of my family; not one of us could imagine that it would ever be anything different. There is a phrase "The world was made round so we would not see too far down the road."

So now I am waiting for happy, hoping I will recognize its smiling face.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

sprint to the finish

I have nine days to finish my SoFoBoMo project and still need eight photos... I'm experiencing more distractions than abstractions, it seems. I need to keep clicking!

Summer is only days old, yet we are having our 10th (or 14th, I can't remember) day of 90+ degree temperatures. America has fallen in love with soccer... sort of. At least there is more interest, discussion and watching-on-tv than I have seen in the past. It's too bad that some people are so fanatical about it all. Sheesh... get a life, folks! Have a Cherry Coke!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

the games people play

I am trying very hard to get into the World Cup; partly because I know that it is the number one sport in the world and also because South Africa holds a special place in my heart. I even bought a decal for my car (see above).

But... it's just so exasperating; all that exertion for very little reward. Not just scoring a goal but just getting the chance to attempt scoring a goal. I find myself thinking "If I had been playing this game since I was a little kid, I should be better at it."

And nooooooo, I am not soccer-bashing, which seems to be all too prevalent in this country. And I readily admit that I know precious little about the rules and nuances of the game. And I understand that other countries look at some of the USA games and yawn.

So I asked myself why my favorite game to watch is baseball. I think the answer is precision. The players have very specific places to stand, the location of the bases is precisely defined and the ball must cross the plate within the parameters of a very small box. And it would be impossible for a player to score a run for the opposing team.

Maybe if soccer teams had more players or if the field was smaller...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Shrimp Boat story...

We were heading out (away from the casino, hehehe) to do some sightseeing. We spotted three shrimp boats in the inlet, headed in the same direction as us. We tried to get ahead of them, in order to have time to stop and take photos but "No Left Turn" signs kept us from getting into position.

We finally came to a traffic light, made a turn and parked next to the dock. I grabbed my camera and headed for the dock... there was one last boat headed toward me. I lifted the camera to my eye and... I couldn't see a thing! The camera was still cold from the hotel room and the outside air was hot and humid. The lens was fogged up and the boat was getting closer! I wiped the front of the lens but that didn't help much. The lens was a zoom and as they are not air-tight, the inside was also fogged up.

I took several shots anyway, hoping I would be able to bring the ship out of the mist in post-processing.

Here is the image as it came out of the camera:

catching up

I'm putting my camera down for the day. I'm caught up and on-track with my SoFoBoMo project and I can relax a little.

It's amazing how quickly you can get out of the habit of taking photos. I've been really lazy lately... seeing possible photos and not picking up the camera. This current project is giving me a nudge, but I still fell as though I am in limbo - in every aspect of my life... not just with photography.

We will see...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

wait for it...

I had seen this shot back in March, when I took this photo:

... but I didn't take the time to get it. We were on the same route yesterday and pulled off the highway to get the "8" image.

Meanwhile, I have lots of photos to process from my week traversing the Southeast. I have no shots of oil on the beaches though because while we were there, the oil hadn't reached the Mississippi coast... I doubt it will remain untouched for long.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

SoFoBoMo Cover

Abstraction is the process or result of generalization by reducing the information content of a concept or an observable phenomenon, typically to retain only information which is relevant for a particular purpose.

Distraction is the diversion of attention of an individual or group from the chosen object of attention onto the source of distraction. Distraction is caused by one of the following: lack of ability to pay attention; lack of interest in the object of attention; greater interest in something other than the object of attention; or the great intensity, novelty or attractiveness of something other than the object of attention.

I finally settled on a theme/topic for my SoFoBoMo project. I feel good about it and I think it is broad enough to give me options, yet narrow enough to provide a cohesiveness to the 35 photos. My initial book description is "the art of seeing".  How often do we "see" things because our brain makes assumptions and fills in the blanks... and our lazy eyes just fall in step? "Yep, that's an apple.(or a bridge or a boat)" But if we just see, just look - at the shapes, the light and dark, the lines - it doesn't matter what "it" is, only that our eyes take control and the brain follows.

"A thing is not what you say it is or what you photograph it to be or what you paint it to be or what you sculpt it to be. Words, photographs, paintings, and sculptures are symbols of what you see, think, and feel things to be, but they are not the things themselves." Wynn Bullock

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

the doldrums

There are no waves, no currents to carry me.
T he days and weeks fly by and yet I have not moved.
I sit, holding on to my piece of wreckage and I wait.

I made a splash once and nearly lost it all.
I floundered into the unsure waters, with the greatest of confidence.
And discovered, almost too late, that it was just a mirage.

So now, I survive and wonder.

"Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain." ~ William Faulkner

the cat worrier

So Now... I have become the cat worrier. There was a heavy downpour last night and I could hear the Mama cat meowing on the deck. I opened the back door, she wouldn't come inside. I opened the garage door and put out some fresh food to lure her inside - no go. So I finally put a tarp over a couple of chairs and gave her a place to at least get out of the rain. I should add that there is a very large dog house that I bought for the outside cats last winter and it is ten feet away from the deck; a nice, cozy, dry refuge that they refuse to use now.

And I worry about her three little kittens. They are so afraid of humans that if I open the door while they are playing on the deck, they immediately jump off and hide underneath the deck. There is a reason I'm not a farmer...

Monday, May 31, 2010

where have I been?

It certainly was not my intention to completely drop out of sight when I stopped the Photo-a-Day project. I haven't any excuses. I attended the photography event in the Smokies and had a wonderful visit from two dear friends from South Africa, but beyond that - I've been lazy with the camera and the words. I shall attempt to make amends starting tomorrow/next month/June.

The SoFoBoMo project begins tomorrow... well, the "fuzzy" month begins tomorrow. The 35 photos need to be taken during a 31 day period, between June 1 and July 31. I may shift my start date - better decide soon, eh?

There is also NaBloPoMo and the June theme is NOW.... I can't decide if I should combine the two.

AND I have another project coming up... I will be on a road trip next week to Mississippi and Florida, celebrating my niece's birthday and I plan to take lots of pics and put them into a book ("Fifty is a four-letter word") for her.

I think that's enough on my photo-plate for the mo...

Thursday, May 06, 2010

first and last

I attended a three-day photography event in the Smoky Mountains last weekend. In the past, I had purposely avoided these events because 1) I don't like the idea of lining everyone up in the same spot and shooting the same thing and 2) I'm not a "group" person... I don't enjoy hanging around meeting rooms - even with fellow photographers.

So... although I love the photo above and also several others that I took over the weekend, I will not be signing up for another organized photo shoot. However, I will continue to travel to places that I want to see and take photographs on my own.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Lilac History

Occasionally I will go back to my photo galleries to look at pictures I took a year or two or three ago. Today, I couldn't help notice a recurring subject - lilacs. I went back as far as 2006; I think my lilac bush was planted at least a year before, but took time to bloom.






Sunday, April 11, 2010


"April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”,  T.S. Eliot

Sunday, April 04, 2010


“Don't grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.” ~ Rumi

Monday, March 29, 2010


It's spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

Friday, March 26, 2010


I am away this weekend... trying to distract myself from the fact that today would have been my wedding anniversary.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Augustine and Abigirl

I was going through some papers left over from my trip to South Africa and I came across the address and email of Augustine Sibanda who lives in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. A group of about six of us on the tour visited Augustine's home for a traditional dinner one evening. His wife, Abigirl, and her sister prepared a typical African meal for us. After we finished eating, we were able to ask questions about their life. Augustine is a 6th grade teacher; they have two children (a boy and a girl). Hosting dinners for tour groups also supplements their income.

Augustine told us that malaria is the biggest health threat for them. He also told us how to tell if a mosquito is carrying malaria... if the mosquito sits slanted on a wall, it is a carrier.

They do not own a car or a bike. Things had been very hard for them, especially when the Zimbabwean economy collapsed. I hope they are well.

A couple of months after I got back home, I received this email from Augustine:

"it seems awful long time since you left.Sometimes we do not quite understand or realise the impcat on our lives visitors make.We really feel proud,honored and priveledged to have hosted you at our small place ,we really enjoyed every minute of that memorable evening .It i was a special evening for us all.We can't thank you enough.We hope you enjoyed your entire holiday.