photo blog challenge

Imagine my surprise when I realized December was almost over and I hadn’t written one word here since Dec. 7th! And now, it’s time again for PJ’s monthly photo challenge over at a ‘lil hoohaa. This month’s theme is, appropriately, Tis the Season.

Tis the Season for many things around here. Tis the Season for losing my mind with the holidayz…which can put a person in a daze. Tis the Season for birthdays…The Golfer and my Mama. Tis the Season for winter activities…bonfires and snowballs. And, Tis the Season for family.

So, here’s my five:

Tis the Season 1
Tis the Season for Christmas! This was the first year Twix was big enough to be the designated tree topper….much to Peanut’s dismay.
tis-the-season-1

Tis the Season 2
Tis the Season for Ho Ho Ho Hats. Last year, Twix was not very cooperative with the Santa hat….or any hat for that matter. This year, she couldn’t get enough of wearing it. Peanut is an old pro at this so capturing this shot was much easier this year.
tis-the-season-2

Tis the Season 3
Tis the Season to burn the brush pile in the backyard. This annual event usually takes place on the first snow so we don’t set the neighborhood on fire. Coincidentally, this year’s bonfire fell during the time when The Floridian golfer daughter was back in town for the holidays. Neighbors are invited so they don’t freak out when they see the flames. We try to make it a time to gather friends and family for “s’more” food and fun. 🙂
tis-the-season-3

Tis the Season 4
Tis the Season for a birthday for The Golfer from Florida. And since she was home, it was also time to try to capture both daughters and grand girls since they were all in one place.
tis-the-season-4

Tis the Season 5
And, finally, Tis the Season for family. A rare occurrence when we’re all together in one place at the same time.
tis-the-season-5

There’s my five for December. Don’t forget to visit PJ’s place on December 31st to see the other seasonal festivities.

 

to-the-moon-72

…He was almost too sleepy to think anymore. Then he looked beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky.
“I love you right up to the MOON,” he said, and closed his eyes.
“Oh, that’s far,” said Big Nutbrown Hare.”That’s is very far.”

Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him good night. 

Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile,
“I love you right up to the moon-AND BACK.”

~Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney

My third quote for the 3 Quote Challenge is more of a passage from a well-loved children’s book titled Guess How Much I Love You. And last month’s super moon was more than happy to help me out with this one.

Guess how much I love you?….in the literal sense of the book it’s a conversation between a child and a parent; a question and answer to reinforce the bond that happens between those that genuinely care for each other.

But what does loving someone to the moon and back really mean? The distance between the earth and moon is almost 500,000 miles. If I wanted to really convey my love, wouldn’t I say I love them “to infinity and beyond”? Yeah, I could and it would probably more accurately represent my feelings.

And why to the moon and not the sun or stars or other planets? Seems a bit short-sighted.

It does until you really stop and think about it. The closest planet to our earthly home, the moon has always been romanticized and the subject of deep mystery and intrigue. Waxing and waning…new and full…the moon’s cycles represent eternity and an endless cycle of life. She lights up the sky, yet not by her own power….but great power she has upon ocean tides that can wield unparalleled force in nature.

And to a wee one who doesn’t understand the logical or statistical nuances of the distance to the moon, “to the moon” is an unimaginable distance to travel.

So the phrase now takes on a new meaning….I love you more than you can possibly imagine, with great power, and endlessly for my whole life!

Mystery solved.

sisters-2014-16-72

Sometimes you don’t know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.
~Dr. Seuss

Wow. Talk about a huge FAIL. Carol challenged me to a 3 Quote Challenge back in November. I got one in on Nov. 22 and then………oops. So, here is my second quote post. In my defense, I did mention I probably wouldn’t post consecutive days. 🙂

These two shots capture why I drive everyone insane taking photos. Entrepreneur rolls his eyes and others drag their feet when I mention “family photo time.” But let them gripe and complain. I think it’s important to capture as much as possible as often as possible. Most of those complaining are under the age of 35, so they haven’t hit that time in their life when looking back is just as important as looking ahead.

Precious memories. That’s what looking back provides. And that’s all they are now….memories. So often, we’re so caught up in life’s stresses and interruptions that we fail to really take in those fleeting moments. Photos capture those times when we, perhaps, were too busy to notice or care.

It’s only when your children are grown and gone that photos from their childhood take on a newfound importance.

It’s only when your spouse is no longer with you that those photos become cherished memories of a life together.

It’s only when you’ve had to say goodbye to those that now wait at the Rainbow Bridge that you realize how special those muddy paws were on your clean floor.

No, we rarely realize the value of a moment until it’s past and all that remains is a memory.

So, as we all enter the holiday season…get those cameras ready!

thanksgiving72If the only prayer you said
in your whole life was,
“thank you,”
that would suffice.
~Meister Eckhart

Carol at Wanderings of an Elusive Mind tagged me to participate in a 3 Quote Challenge. I’m to write and post about a quote that impresses me each day for three days. Then, I’m suppose to tag 3 people to do the same. I am terrible about tagging, but I will do my best to try to pick some people. I see you cowering over there……

Since Kelley and I play Quotography, I used her prompt of Thanksgiving for this first one.

I don’t know about you but my prayers always seem to revolve around a mountain I want God to move so life becomes a bit easier. And, more often than not, that mountain remains, and I’m left with having to navigate around or over it. Do I say thank you for that answer? Rarely.

But, maybe I should.

It’s so easy to be thankful for the things in life that go our way; things we view as benefits…loving family, that promotion at work, the Turkey Day spread of food most of us will have on Thursday, the near miss on the highway. Yes, being thankful for those things come easy for us.

It’s really not in our nature to say thank you for the crap in our lives…the behavior issues with children, the conflict with family members, the job loss and resulting financial hardship. No, we don’t view those as blessings worthy of thanks. They’re just mountains we want moved. And the sooner, the better, thank you very much.

But what if we looked at them with a thankful eye and ask what we’re suppose to learn about ourselves when we’re desperate? Because a person learns an awful lot about themselves in the middle of conflict, strife, chaos and crisis.

What if, instead of asking for that mountain to be moved, we ask for a guide to show us how to get to the top where we can see our surroundings better? Many times when I’ve faced adversity, it’s served to point out a major character flaw…..in myself. While those revelations are often humbling and painful, they are always necessary adjustments needed in order to make me a better person.

And that is always worthy of thankfulness.

So this is Day 1 of the 3 Quote Challenge. I probably will not post for a consecutive three days…just saying’. As for tagging, I’ll throw it out there for Peabea at Peabea’s Patch Photography, Roger at Ramblin’ with Roger, and my Quotography buddy, Kelley at the road goes ever on. I will not be tagging each day, so if you are so moved, please feel free to play along.

november-leaf-quotographyNovember’s sky is chill and drear,
November’s leaf is red and sear.
~Sir Walter Scott

November is only half over, but a lot has happened, hasn’t it? The election fallout is still falling out and I’m both surprised and saddened by the behavior of some people from both sides. This quote may sum up November in more ways than one.

It’s strange to me how those whose presidential candidate lost have completely abandoned all semblance of common sense and decency. In 2008 and 2012, I don’t recall riots and hysteria when Obama won the election….and I knew plenty of people who detested the outcome. This election has shown the worst side of some people….or sadly, maybe it’s shown them for who they really are.

Bad men cannot make good citizens. A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience are incompatible with freedom. ~Patrick Henry

In my opinion, there is absolutely no excuse for anyone demonstrating violence against another person because their candidate lost…or won. It makes me sad to hear of assaults by Trump supporters that spew hatred and “white supremacy.” There is no place for that in America, and those people should be prosecuted.

People fail to get along because they fear each other; they fear each other because they don’t know each other; they don’t know each other because they have not communicated with each other. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

I’m equally appalled at some Democrat supporters who are rioting in the streets and causing mayhem because Trump won. In Portland, a mob attacked a pregnant woman. She was trying to get to the hospital for a medical emergency. Someone hit her windshield with a bat and then attacked her outside her car. And, what’s with the person taking the video…and posted it on social media? Are these people so heartless and self-absorbed that they have no common decency?

The vitriol on Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication from Democrat supporters towards anyone who voted for their opponent is so caustic that I believe they’ve turned into the very personification of character traits they rallied against during the election.

The viciousness of words in the populace on both sides are driving wedges between friends, neighbors and families. It’s ridiculous. No amount of justification will excuse being mean-spirited and hateful because you disagree with or want to gloat about the outcome.

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. ~1 Peter 3:8-9

In light of all these protests, let’s have a little history lesson.

  • Abraham Lincoln received only 40% of the popular vote in 1860 and narrowly received enough electoral votes to win. No riots resulted from the opposition’s supporters, and he went on to become one of the most beloved presidents in history.
  • In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes won the election over Samuel Tilden by one electoral vote, but lost the popular vote by more than 250,000 votes. No violent assaults erupted.
  • Benjamin Harrison received 233 electoral votes to Grover Cleveland’s 168 in 1888. But, Harrison lost the popular vote by more than 90,000 votes. Again, no hysterical protests or calls for abandoning the Electoral College.
  • America is a Republic with a Federalist government. That means power is divided between the states and three branches of government so to avoid disproportionate mob rule.

If a simple majority was to rule the land, candidates would never bother with most of the states except those along each coast. Their focus would only be on states with the largest populations.

And, here’s a few event in history that would not have happened if the majority had had their way:

  • The Declaration of Independence would not have been adopted because most colonists were afraid of the consequences.
  • Slavery would not have been abolished.
  • Women would not have the right to vote.
  • Civil rights legislation would not have been passed.

Wow, those Founding Fathers were pretty darn smart setting up our country to NOT have majority rule.

Up until quite recently, America was one of a few nations where a peaceful transition of power could happen. Apparently, not anymore. The protests that have resulted are anything but peaceful and should come nowhere near being considered a First Amendment Right. How have we become a nation where we have forgotten the tenants of why America was formed; to escape tyranny.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. ~John Adams

Sharing with Quotography and Life Through the Lens.

autumn-quotography-72
Autumn is the eternal corrective. It is ripeness and color and a time of maturity; but it is also breadth, and depth, and distance.
~Hal Borland

November is here and the strangest thing has happened. In the course of just a few days, a coziness has settled in and everything just feels different. October is lovely, and the wildness of the autumnal colors peak about the third week here in middle Missouri. But now, watching the leaves fall like rain with the November wind, everything is becoming more subdued and a quietness is descending…much like when wisdom and maturity sets in after the wildness of youth.

November is the month we close our windows and begin to turn inward…to hearth and home….to focus on relationships….to take time to assess our lives and count our blessings. The force that drives us indoors is the same one that invites us to look inward at ourselves.

There is mystery in Autumn like no other season. Spring holds the excitement of rebirth, and summer is nothing but a scattered, free spirit. Winter is deceptive with its mirage of bleakness all the while harboring growth and anticipation underneath its white mantle.

But, there are layers to Autumn.

As we are drawn inside (physically and psychologically) during Autumn, we tap into our inner selves and in reflection…reflect outwardly on the year as well as inwardly in self-evaluation. And, that inward evaluation can lead to feelings of vulnerability as we asses our comfort zones and areas where a seasonal shift may be necessary. Outwardly, Autumn’s harvest has been brought inside and is neatly stored in the pantries and cellars for winter nourishment. Inwardly, Autumn is a time for us to nourish the soul by letting go of behaviors and mindsets that keep us from thriving, and focusing on priorities of the mind, body and spirit.

So put on that cozy sweater. Simmer a pot of soup. Walk in the brisk, cold air with the summer’s leaves crunching under your feet. Feel the warmth that stirs both body and soul.

Welcome November with its sweet reflections and rich blessing.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley
and with Lisa at Life Through the Lens

photo blog challenge

Here we are again, the end of another month—and ready for PJ’s photo challenge. This month’s prompt was Water. I know everyone is sick of me commenting on how quickly time is passing and how little of said time I seem to have each month. So I’m not going to say any more about that except that I was able to put together five water-based photos to survive another month. 🙂 If this prompt would have come in February, I’d have tons of beachy, vacay photos to share!

Watery #1
water-4-pond
My in-laws live on a farm and run a few head of cattle on their land. This is a shot of Entrepreneur’s brother’s house, taken from his parent’s barn lot. This is a shot of their backyard, and the cows are not allowed in this particular pond. But, now you’re stuck with shots from land-locked Middle Missouri.

Watery #2
water-2-birdbath
It is that time of year—Autumn, but our temps still say summer with the thermometer running about 20 degrees warmer than normal. The leaves are falling like rain from the trees and I did finally take in the hummingbird feeders….much to the yellow jacket bee’s irritation.

Watery #3
water-5-fog
The change in seasons is usually accompanied by temperature inversions. Here we have water suspended in mid-air (aka: fog). If the temps were colder, we would have had frozen fog on the cedar trees….one of my favorite things to capture with a camera.

Watery #4
water-3-car-wash-soap
What to do while sitting in the car and being pulled through an automatic car wash? Take photos, of course. This might make an interesting photo texture…hmmmm…the muse may need to play around with that idea.

Watery #5
water-1-droplet
My favorite of this grouping; front porch mums after a watery shower.

For more wet photos, pop over to PJ’s and see what others shared for October.

photo blog challenge

Here we are again with PJ’s photo blogging challenge. This month’s theme is My Town. There are many aspects to life in my town, but most of these photos will be primarily in and around the University of Missouri’s flagship campus, located in my little town.

My Town #1
mmorial-union
The University of Missouri-Columbia (or Mizzou as it’s nicknamed) began in 1939 with an investment from 900 citizens of Boone County. The library was created in 1841 and the first graduation occurred in 1843. In 1862, the university closed from spring to fall because federal troops engaged in the Civil War were quartered in one of the buildings. This is a shot of Memorial Union, a massive, gothic-inspired building that was built as a memorial to the university’s alumni that died in WWI. Pledges from students and faculty totaled $238,000 and construction began. You can read more about the history of Mizzou HERE.

My town #2
jesse-hall
Jesse Hall serves as an admin building and houses the University Concert Series in an ornate theatre located inside the building. The original Academic Hall on campus burned in 1892, leaving the six columns you see in the photo. Jesse Hall was built in 1895 as the new “Academic Hall,” and renamed in 1922 after retiring university president, Richard Jesse.

My Town #3
mu-tiger-stripe-game
The university’s mascot is a tiger. The name was selected in 1890 shortly after the football team was formed. The name, Tigers, didn’t originate because of a love of the animal….it came from a band of armed guards called the Fighting Tigers of Columbia who, in 1864, protected the town during the Civil War. This photo was taken at the recent Tiger Stripe football game where each section of the stadium was supposed to wear either black or gold.

My Town #4
heidelberg-front
The Heidelberg restaurant and bar celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.  A group of investors initially purchased former Ever Eat Café and renamed it The Old Heidelberg after one of the world’s oldest universities in Germany. It’s a beloved dining tradition among alums located across the street from the journalism school. The original restaurant burned in 2003 but was rebuilt because it holds many nostalgic memories among students and alums alike.

My Town #5
missouri-theatre
Just off campus is the Missouri Theatre. It’s a concert and theatrical production venue built in 1928, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s also the town’s only surviving pre-Depression building that housed a movie theatre and vaudeville stage. The theatre was designed after the Paris Opera House and the interior is done in the ornate baroque style of the Louis XIV and XV periods. In addition to offering theatrical productions, it is home to the area’s only professional orchestra, the Missouri Symphony Orchestra.

There’s my five for September. Please make a point to visit PJ’s place and enjoy touring other towns.

 

If I knew then what I know now…….how often have we said that? Or, I’d go back if I could take the brain I have now with me.

Do you ever wonder how different life would be if your younger, more stupid self had been sent a letter by your older, much wiser self?

We’d be able to see what younger self was about to do and warn them, Hey dumb-@$$, don’t do what you’re thinking about doing or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. How awesome would that be? We could avoid a lot of pain, suffering and hardship.

And yet, all those stupid mistakes my younger self made…and the lessons learned….has molded me into who I am today. Okay, maybe I could do without some of those aspects but, on the whole, I know all those experiences happened for a reason. They all were part of a bigger plan and served to skool me in much more than academics.

lisa1976And yet…..if I could warn my younger self about life, here’s what I would say:

Dear Younger Me,

Love yourself. Regardless of what that tag on your clothing says, love the person inside those jeans. If, in your opinion, the packaging needs work, then take measures to become a  healthier me. And remember, you are more than a number on a pair of pants.

Stop being afraid to take a risk. But what if it’s a mistake? Then, it’s a mistake. The awesome thing about life is there’s always the opportunity for a do-over when the sun rises. Don’t look back when you’re 60, 70 or 100 and say, I wish I would have done…….

Life….your career, your marriage, your children….will be a roller coaster ride most of the time. Sometimes it will all feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle, and other times it will feel like an out-of-control, downhill race to the finish line. And there will be those loopy-loops in the middle that make your stomach lurch. But the good and the bad serve a purpose, even if that purpose is above your pay grade at this time. So, don’t be afraid to live, laugh and love….a lot.

Don’t obsess over the small stuff….or small people. Everything from traffic lights to idiot drivers to that five cent error in the checkbook. Life is much too short to be angry or worried over these things. And, likewise about small-minded people whose mission in life is to make you feel inferior and inadequate. These are part of those character-building experiences your parents told you about.

Don’t wish away the pain. Emotional, physical, psychological. You’re going to feel all of it more than you’d like. It sounds trite, but the pain is there to teach and, if you let it, mold you into the best version of yourself. Rarely are lessons learned from the easy, good times in life. Life lessons are mainly learned through pain, heartache, struggles, challenges, devastation and loss. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is. So, embrace the pain and discover what you are supposed to learn from the experience and then move forward…not backwards.

Your faith will wax and wane like the moon. Life experiences will bring you to mountain-top epiphanies, but will also lay you flat with doubts. Through all of this, do whatever it takes to understand these are challenges designed to refine your faith and strengthen it. But even if you walk away and do unspeakable things, remember it’s never too late to turn around and come back. You are never too far gone for forgiveness and grace if you truly desire to have it. God may have just let you wander around feeling lost for a reason.

Some day it will all make sense. But, perhaps not in this life. And that’s okay. You don’t need to figure it all out. Trust that things happen for a reason and God has a specific mountain valley abyss path you need to take. Pray for guidance, and use your head and heart to make the best decisions possible. It will all get sorted out in the end.

With love,
Your Older, Much Wiser Me

And then I’d leave Younger Me with this music video.

Sharing with Life Through the Lens

autumn-quotography72

By all these lovely tokens,
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather,
And autumn’s best of cheer.
~Helen Hunt Jackson

 Wasn’t the first of September just last week? I really don’t know how the months slip by so quickly. With October just a short one week away, we’re quickly falling into Fall. Temps are suppose to cool a bit this coming week. Right now, it’s only 61F at 10am. The windows have been thrown open and the AC turned OFF!

I found some signs of early Autumn last week. You can see them HERE. I hope to make it to a park with the grand girls for the main event in a few weeks.

Entrepreneur celebrated a birthday this past week. The Golfer couldn’t make it but The Recruiter, Peanut, Twix and his parents joined us. He says it’s no big deal, but I’m thankful for every day….especially birth days since the cancer scare of a couple years ago. We also celebrated Peanut’s 8th birthday earlier this month.

I hope you all have a wonderful, Autumn week.

Playing Quotography along with Kelley

Autumn! It’s here! Or is it?

The calendar says today marks a seasonal shift with the first day of Autumn. The Autumnal Equinox….when there is almost an equal number of daylight and moonlight hours in the day. Woo Hoo! Bring on the apple cider, pumpkin-spice everything, boots, jackets, cozy sweaters, and the warmth of crackling fire pits.

But my weather app says this:

2016-autumn-equinox-1 2016-autumn-equinox-2

A bit of a disconnect. All week the temps have been in the upper 80sF with heat a head index in the 90sF.

But Autumn’s coming….I know she is.

single-red-leaf

The Fall asters are blooming. A little different color than the usual Autumn bronzes, golds and crimsons.

aster

The burning bushes are beginning to burn.

burning bush-leaf

To hurry the season along a bit, I bought some mums for the front porch. Looks like they are just waiting to explode into full bloom.

orange-mum

Hurry up little bee. Those dreams of more honey are almost gone.

honey-bee

So, Happy Autumnal Equinox to everyone in the norther hemisphere.

May you harvest the light and keep it burning brightly in your heart, so that when the deepest darkness of winter is upon us, you will remember the summer sun.
~Teo Bishop

red-quotography-72
Red is the ultimate cure for sadness.
~Bill Blass

and hummingbirds….definitely hummingbirds.

I’m finally playing along again with Kelley and Quotography, and Lisa at Life Thru the Lens! Twix went down for a nap and I made the executive decision to grab the camera and go outside…specifically looking for Red.

The calendar says the first day of Autumn is later this week, but the thermometer still says it’s summer here in middle Missouri. Temps are in the upper 80sF with the heat index in the upper 90sF. Not very conducive to Autumn thinking.

The hummers were impressive this year. They buzzed around the feeders all summer and are still going strong. I figure they are beginning to migrate south and are catching a quick bite along the way. So, the feeders will stay up for a while.

I decided to take time the next couple of months for a Women’s Bible Study class on C.S. Lewis. We’re specifically talking about Mere Christianity and The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. He’s such a favorite of mine, and his story of how he walked away from Christianity and became an atheist…only to be drawn back to faith through logic and reason. Much of his writings make my brain hurt. Did you know “Jack” (as he wanted to be called) was the first Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at the University of Cambridge? That means he must have been an extremely well-read person. Good and bad, fiction or fact…he read them and gained insight, discernment and a respect for differing points of view. I may write more on Jack as the study gets further into the details of his life and writing.

But for now, I’ll just leave you with one of my hummers….just to make you smile.

Playing along with Kelley and Quotography, and sharing with Lisa at Life Thru the Lens

Well, I did it again. Or, more accurately, I didn’t do it again. It was September 6th before I realized I had not done my monthly calendar. No surprise. It’s been a wild summer.

august-2016-72

You might not know it by this calendar selection, but aside from our sitter services for Twix during work hours, the grand girls are not here much anymore. And it’s quiet in our house. Veeeeery quiet….especially after 5pm. It’s a strange feeling, and we’re slowly adjusting to our new routines.

I’m slowly regaining control over my house…one room at a time. The Recruiter is 99% moved out, but still has pockets of possessions that have not been relocated yet. Entrepreneur is already making noises about downsizing, but I need a few years of enjoying my space before I even consider making a change.

So, the garden is, for the most part, done for the year. The pool has been drained and the toys put away until next summer. I’m mapping out some landscaping changes to tackle when the temps cool a bit more. And I need to get back to walking 2-3 miles every day or so. My exercise routine took a back seat this past year…but the stress eating did not.

I hope your summer was enjoyable. Even though temps will tend to stay warm for another month, I’m sorta looking forward to some cooler days.

 

 

So, what is this thing called blogging and how does it work? Once again, I’ve been MIA for far too long. Life events the past few months feels like we’ve been drinking from a fire hose and I gotta tell you, we’re T.I.R.E.D. I’m slowly trying to get back into the swing of things here in the blogosphere.

But today, I’d like to stroll with you around the grounds and chat a while. Along with the stress the past few months, I’m becoming increasingly frustrated with world events. How about you? The election is looming and our choices are a narcissistic opportunist or a criminal so slick she seems to get a pass for very questionable activities. It’s really sad this is the best the two main parties can come up with for candidates. Where are all the “statesmen”? I’m extremely worried about the future of our country regardless of which one wins. The debates and non objective follow-up analysis from the media should be entertaining frustrating nauseating interesting.

morning glory

This? This is a Morning Glory. I saved some seeds from last year and threw them in a pot last spring. They took their own sweet time coming up but are going strong here at the end of summer. The cool blue color is refreshing against the 90+F temps.

Going back to politics for a moment…..I don’t understand why anyone would want to run for office in this day and age. It seems like as soon as someone announces their candidacy, the skeletons simply cannot fall out of the closet fast enough. And that’s all the media want to focus on. Let’s just ignore anything of substance….let’s focus on how much dirt can be uncovered,  how much mud can be slung, and what new, catchy, derogatory names can be adopted. And have you noticed, when a candidate has absolutely no plan, their focus becomes primarily on character assassination of their opponent?

bee

The Rose of Sharons are completely out of control. For 15 years, one Rose of Sharon bush lived peacefully in a flower bed off the driveway with a cedar tree, perennial geraniums and day lilies. However, in the last few years, Sharon has started proliferating like a bunny. That bed is now almost completely covered with volunteer Rose of Sharon bushes, which would be okay except they are starting to grow into the cedar tree, and are crowding out the perennial geranium ground cover. But the bees and hummingbirds love them. This carpenter bee was so laden down with pollen, it was flying in slow motion.

A new semester has begun and I’m, once again, an instructor for Strategic Campaigns. This is the capstone course for students graduating in the strategic communications department. I have 17 students this semester who really have no idea how much work awaits them. And I can already see managing client expectations is going to be a problem.

rose of sharon

Twix is two and a half and continues to keep us on our toes with such phrases as, I can do it!; Let me do it!; Don’t help me! Her newly-found independent abilities is entertaining….and frustrating at the same time. Her problem-solving abilities are mind boggling. Every time I turn around, she’s carrying a chair somewhere in order to get to something that has been put (what we thought was) out of reach. And the complete sentences that come out of her mouth will make your head spin. She began a sentence the other day with, Actually…….

mantis

This little guy hitched a ride on Entrepreneur’s car and ended up relocating to our yard. I’m sure he found a smorgasbord to whet his appetite. I also have a toad that lives in  a couple of aloe vera plant pots. Mental note: check the pot before brining it inside for the winter.

pantry

So you might wonder what I’ve been doing that’s kept me away from you all for so long? Well, here’s part of the reason. The garden yielded 17 quarts of canned green beans, a mixture of quarts and pints of pickled beets, pickled okra and dilly beans. The corn, once we got it tied up after the rains, rewarded our effort with 10 quart jars of golden deliciousness in the freezer, plus we had more than enough for corn on the cob dinners. But, no bell peppers….which made me sad. On the other end of the spectrum, the okra is still going gangbusters and I swear one could stand and literally watch it grow. I’ve started giving it away as I have about ten, gallon bags frozen in the deep freeze already and two more gallon bags in the frig. I’m looking forward to putting that little plot of ground to rest for the year.

Are you looking forward to Autumn? I think I might be ready for it soon. I seem to be hearing the call of cute boots and cuddly sweaters from my closet.

lantana and chair

So, The Recruiter, Peanut and Twix are now officially moved into their newly-renovated home. Peanut started a new school and is less than thrilled about the situation. But, I’m hoping she will adapt, in time. Twix comes to our house during the weekdays while mom is at work and, mercifully, still takes naps. 🙂

So, that’s where I’ve been for many, many weeks. I’ve tried to stay active on Facebook, but that’s more like “hit and run” postings. Perhaps once it gets colder I’ll have more time to contemplate deep thoughts and put into words. I have a lot of those thoughts floating around in my head. But, for the foreseeable future, I think I’ll be living hand-to-mouth and trying to keep my head above the time commitment waters.

How was your summer?

 

 

 

 

photo blog challenge

Another month has flown by and here it is, time again for PJ’s photo challenge. This month’s prompt was Black and White. I love black and white photography and the depth of the tonality that can be seen in the absence of color. And while it was tempting to just take photos and turn them into black and white ones, I tried to mix those with some that were really black and white.

Black and White #1
Children and flowers. They go together perfectly when you have a camera in hand….provided you can successfully capture them just at the right moment.
Twix BW

Black and White #2
Ditto #1
Peanut BW

Black and White #3
The Recruiter has a Black and White kitty named Darby. And, yes, this shot captures her personality perfectly.
Darby

Black and White #4
This beauty was seen at an area butterfly palace. I rarely see true black and white butterflies.
BW Butterfly

Black and White #5
As I was considering my fifth photo, it suddenly dawned on me that the solution was right in front of my eyes….every. single. day. My kitchen countertop is quartz and definitely has black and white swirls.
Quartz counter 72
The muse said you can do better, so I pulled it into Photoshop and tried to make it look more like a texture.
Quartz counter lite 72
Then, the muse prompted me to find a photo and try it out. So I pulled one from our recent trip to Florida. This is the above texture used with a soft light filter.
Intracoastal wine72
I like the idea, but the texture is not exactly where I want it so I’ll keep tweaking it….in my spare time. Yeah, right. I really just said that to keep the muse happy.

Black and White Bonus
This black and white kitty is no longer with us. Midget passed to the Rainbow Bridge late last year. She was Darby’s sister, but not a twin. But I always thought she was a very pretty black and white cat….but if you rubbed her fur the opposite direction, she had calico coloring.
Midget

There’s my Black and White five for the month. Please take time to visit PJ’s place and see what inspired the others this month.

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As a kid I was never happy with the 24 crayons box. I was more of a 96 crayon box kid. Still am.

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