Archive for March, 2012

I thought this was a great topic…there are so many arrangements that we see in our everyday life: in stores and in nature. I chose three very different photos because I couldn’t decide which direction I wanted to go in.  The first is a photo of a flower arrangement I took at a flower show.

The second photo is a cairn that my neighbor made as part of his landscaping in the front of his house.

The last one is nature’s arrangement of barnacles on a rock.

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This week I’ve decided to cheat a bit and post two pictures that my husband took.  The first one was taken at the gardens at the Biltmore mansion in Asheville, NC.

The second photo was taken at Rock City.

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They are so bright and cheerful. They burst from the last of winter’s muted landscape as a personification of our joy at the coming spring.

In New England, March is early for the daffodils to be out, but with this year’s warm weather…here they are!

I lived in Knoxville for a while, and one of my favorite sights was the naturalized daffodils on the side of the highway (this was taken a couple of years ago along Pellissippi Parkway). In Tennessee, everything is out around now (note the dogwoods in the background–the dogwood festival starts next week).

I have some favorite poems about daffodils. One is Wordsworth’s poem and this is the other.

To an Early Daffodil
Thou yellow trumpeter of laggard Spring!
Thou herald of rich Summer’s myriad flowers!
The climbing sun with new recovered powers
Does warm thee into being, through the ring
Of rich, brown earth he woos thee, makes thee fling
Thy green shoots up, inheriting the dowers
Of bending sky and sudden, sweeping showers,
Till ripe and blossoming thou art a thing
To make all nature glad, thou art so gay;
To fill the lonely with a joy untold;
Nodding at every gust of wind to-day,
To-morrow jewelled with raindrops. Always bold
To stand erect, full in the dazzling play
Of April’s sun, for thou hast caught his gold.
Amy Lowell

Notice she says April. She was from New England.

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Hard to believe, but summers were sometimes boring to me when I was growing up; I actually liked school. When I was a tweenager I didn’t hang out at malls, go to a camp, or hang out with a group (until after I had my license), so I had to find something to keep myself occupied. One I summer I read all Agatha Christie’s books (when my mother kept telling me to “get outside!”), and another one (when I was 14, I think) I drew cartoons. Using a school yearbook, I made caricatures of my teachers and a boy I had a crush on (my reason for keeping them private). I cut out the ones I liked best and glued them into an old blue exam book from my geology class and kept my little book hidden as if it were a diary. (If you look carefully you can see the lines in the background and the edges of the cartoon.)

I rediscovered the cartoon book a few years ago when going through some old stuff.  Because my father’s lifetime passion was drawing cartoons (political ones generally), I decided to share it with him after all these years; I had never showed them to him before. At first he seemed amazed, then he smiled and chuckled, and said, “These are pretty good. I’m glad I saw these.”  I was glad too; he died 6 months later, but it gave me another memory to keep.

My Gravatar is one of the cartoons from that book (it is one of my husband’s favorites). Most of my “self-portrait” cartoons from that period were expressions of teenage angst with sad or depressed eyes and frowns. My “little girl” is a happier, carefree image more in keeping with how I want to see the world now.

[Note: After writing this I tried to find my cartoon book so I could post a different one with this post; turns out I put it somewhere for safekeeping and can’t remember where that is! It will turn up again in a few years when I get in a “sorting” mood.]

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I couldn’t decide on a direction for this theme, so this time I’m posting three very different photos. The first was taken in Cincinnati a couple years ago when they were having a “painted squirrel” charity event. The size (and painting) of the squirrel is “unusual” in relation to his surroundings.

The second is my cat Zoee.  She loves to play with water and asks us to put the water on in the sink for her to drink and play with.

And finally, a picture of the pickguard on my guitar.  It has Hank Snow’s autograph inside. When I researched its origin, I found out it was a guitar that someone customized (thus it is unusual) and was not owned by Hank Snow.

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If you want a sense of perspective on today’s tough economic times, watch “The Grapes of Wrath.”  I just watched it over the weekend (for the first time unbelievably enough…it was a revisit for my husband). I don’t know whether they watch this in history or literature classes in public schools, but they should. As a lifetime New Englander unfamiliar with issues related to the mid-west, I admit to being pretty ignorant about the phenomenon of the Dust Bowl, its role in the Great Depression, what caused it, and its long-term effects.

The movie (nominated for Best Picture) came out in 1940 and was based on John Steinbeck’s book with the same name. Midwest sharecroppers, kicked off their land due to new farming methods and extreme weather conditions caused by the old farming methods, “loaded up the truck and moved to Beverly” (couldn’t resist the Beverly Hillbillys reference because that’s what their truck reminded me of…but this is very serious). They find the advertised jobs in California did not exist or were not a living wage. They lived in camps with terrible conditions and in some cases broke picket lines to make pennies for food. They lost their homes and way of life forever; just as some people working in manufacturing have in the present time. But today we have safety nets that those people did not have: food stamps, unemployment wages, and other social programs.

If those Americans stuck together and lived through it, we can. There’s nothing like a little perspective to make you grateful for what you have.

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I thought I would do a humorous take this week:


I could have had another level of contrast if I had a Cubs cap, but I didn’t have one. 🙂

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Last year I hit a wall with my blog (sued51).  I went through a period where I was busy working on freelance editing projects and projects in my personal life.  My blog took a back seat and became a chore. Without time to read (and think) I lost inspiration…and readers. My postings became sporadic and my writing became forced.  I felt lost.  I decided to start a new blog with a more focused theme (a change of web scenery, so to speak), but I still felt uninspired.

Then I discovered the Weekly Photo Challenge. It has sparked my creativity and I have rediscovered a passion from earlier in my life. My husband and I both had Pentax K1000 cameras back in film photography days.  We would go on outings and spend hours taking photos. After the pictures were developed we got to compare and share our “visions.”  It was a lot of fun. As money got tighter and we got busier, my interest in film photography tailed off. I began to focus more on my writing. By the time we got our first digital camera, I just didn’t “see” the world that way and barely used it.

Participating in the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has me seeing the world creatively again. Not only am I more inspired to take pictures, I am more into my writing too!  I felt the need to express my appreciation to WordPress and all the other participants in the photo challenges. I love seeing how others interpret the themes and what they have to say about their work.

Thank you WordPress Bloggers and Thank You WordPress! (No…nobody asked me to writing this…I just felt inspired!)

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Thanks to my husband for help with this week’s challenge:

This is one of my cats as seen through the shower door…

This is another cat seen through the front door. The orange string is their favorite toy.

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