Thursday, December 27, 2007

The World is a little darker place today.....

I wasn't online yesterday because we were visiting my brother.... I returned to the cyberworld to find sad news awaiting me. Kim of I shaved my Legs for This? went to take her place among the stars yesterday. How like Kim to somehow manage to wait till the day after Christmas to leave her family. It is so like her! She would not have wanted Christmas to be remembered by them as the day she left them...

Kim fought her long battle with cancer with bravery and courage. I was often in awe of her strength and of the way she never lost her sense of humor even when faced with news that would have devastated anyone. This isn't to say she didn't have days that she railed against the disease! But always, through it all, she kept reminding us that every day spent with our loved ones is a good day.

I 'knew' Kim through her journal before the dreaded 'C' word reared it's ugly head. She would often tell us stories of her immediate family, her history, and of her extended family. Always with a dash of humor thrown in.

When she was diagnosed she ranted a little, cried a little, and then became the warrior against the disease that we all followed in her journal. Being Kim, she felt that if the tale of her battle helped even one other person to have a little hope, gave them a little more strength to fight, then she had accomplished her goal.

Kim held nothing back. We heard of the dark days when she contemplated her mortality. We were with her when she received good news from tests AND bad news. She constantly reminded us that she was fighting to spend as many precious moments with her family as she could manage.

Today there is one more bright star in the heaven's. Kim hasn't left us. I know that she will continue to watch over her children and her husband from wherever she has gone. She loved all four of those children with a fierceness that we would often see when she would go into 'mama bear' mode.... and she loved her husband. Jim was the other half of her... her sole mate.

Goodbye Dear Friend....... I will miss your humor, your strength, your poetry, and the beautiful way you could see the world thru the lens of your camera. I will miss you......

Edited to add later:
I just found out thru another journal that J-land lost another person this week. Lahoma of Lahoma's Laments also lost her battle with cancer. She passed on Christmas Day. It is truly a sad week in cyberland....

Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas Eve!

Since I sort of missed (i.e. never got around to) doing a caroling around J-land entry, I'm doing it now... today... on Christmas Eve! LOL!

The idea was that each person would tell their favorite Christmas song and make an entry. Then everyone could go from journal to journal leaving links back to their own Caroling around J-land entry.... Yeah, I hopped right on that, didn't I?!?

I present for your viewing/listening pleasure my very favorite Christmas song. I adore the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and I especially love Christmas Eve in Sarejevo. So, for your enjoyment I present.....


Hope everyone had a Happy Winter Holiday of their Choice!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Celebrations of Light & Hope

It has become tradition that on Dec 21 I repost this entry from my first year of blogging. It originally appeared on my AOL Journal in 2004. This is the fourth year that I have 'reprinted' it. It still says what I want to remember about this time of year, so I am repeating it again this year. Some of the circumstances have changed... We won't be seeing my brother and his family until New Year's this year because G is again working for someone so that they may be home for the Santa Ritual with their small children. Our little family is one smaller with the passing of D.K. Things change and yet some things remain the same. I hope you enjoy my annual Celebration of Light and Hope.

PreviewToday is the shortest day of the year... and the longest night. It is the first day of Winter. It is the celebration of Yule. It is an acknowledgement of Hope. That Light and Warmth and other good things will always return after the darkness. It is the day that G. and I celebrate as our personal Winter Holiday. In ancient times, this was the festival of the rebirth of the new god and a promise that after today the days would get longer, the nights would get shorter, and warmth and Spring WOULD come.

Yes, secularly we, like so many others, celebrate Christmas. In the United States, Christmas is no longer just a religious holiday. With the gift giving, and Santa, and the decorations... Christmas has become more, and less, than what was originally intended. Everyone takes the pieces and parts of the holiday that works for them. Some embrace the religious parts, and try to ignore how secular it has become... others embrace the secular with it's parties, lights, Santa, and presents and ignore any religious beginnings of the holiday. But, at it's heart, it is still a Winter Holiday.. A celebration of Hope. And every religion/belief system seems to have a celebration of some type that embraces this.

I grew up in the States, and therefore my memories of a Winter Holiday include all of the above. And Christmas itself is as much a melting pot as the United States itself. The Christmas tree is German, and Santa is the culmination of a blend of traditions from many countries. Mistletoe? Druid. Christmas Cards? England. You see what I mean. G. and I will be celebrating with my brother and his family on Christmas Eve at his house. That's the day we all have off together. Christmas Day G. is working so a co-worker can be home with his small children for the Santa Claus ritual <g>.

I think what I'm trying to say is that it doesn't Previewmatter who you are, or what your core beliefs are... There is a place in the Winter Holidays for all. But, please, take a moment this season, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Yule, or Christmas, to remember that the REAL reason for all of these celebrations is to celebrate HOPE in all of its forms

graphics by useless graphics

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Saturday, December 15, 2007

Introducing Ricco!



This is Ricco. He is an andalusian stallion and just about the sweetest stallion you could ever hope to meet. In fact, unless you looked, you would probably assume when meeting him that he was a gelding. He is that docile and gentle. But don't let that sweet attitude fool you, he can be quite the handful if he wants to be!

Isn't he beautiful? His Poppa is an award winning stud, and Ricco doesn't want you to forget it! While he is very sweet and gentle, he just radiates attitude. "Look at ME!" would be his favorite phrase if he could talk. Probably followed very closely by, "Got any Food?" He is a real Mooch.

The little scamp slipped out of his fenced off area the other day. It is just an area fenced off by hot wire so he can spend his days outside since he has to be turned out alone... (the whole stallion thing!) He slipped under one of the strands of hot wire  and went out into the yard to look around and visit with the other horses in the regular pastures... and probably look for food LOL!. I looked up and saw him loose, and quickly walked outside to make sure he wasn't getting into any trouble. A "Hey You!" and a "Come Here, Ricco" was all it took to have him come trotting over to me. I looped my finger in his forelock and led him back to his area and put him back in, tightening up the piece of fence that had stretched out and allowed him to slip out. I swear he looked at me with a "Who Me?" look on his face when I was telling him what a little rascal he was. This is why he gets put back in his stall at night! The picture above was taken under the tree that he likes to hang out under in the afternoon.

Andalusians are usually born dark and then gray out (i.e. turn white) as they age. Occasionally you will also see other colors, but gray is the dominant color. Ricco will slowly lose his dapples as he ages, but will probably maintain the black on his legs for many years. The full body shot of him at the bottom of the entry shows what I mean about his legs being darker. That shot was taken in one of the big pastures this last summer.

Here are a couple of links if you are interested in learning more about these beautiful horses. There is one from Wikipedia, another from The International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Assoc, one from (the Andalusian was a major influence in the beginnings of the Lippizzaner breed), and finally one from the Dept of Animal Sciences at Oklahoma State University.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Ricco as much as I enjoy having him around!


Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Wonderful Gift



Yesterday I opened up the mailbox and found a package inside. I had been expecting the package, but was a little upset because the package, while relatively flat, had been forced into our mailbox. Luckily we have a large mailbox and it had been put in at as much of an angle as the mailman could manage. The edges were a little bent, but the main package was fine.

I hurried to the house to open the package and assure myself that what was inside wasn't harmed. I was very happy to see that it wasn't. Inside was a wonderful gift from a very talented  artist friend. Her name is Maryanne and she paints beautiful pictures that she shares with us in her blog called Paint Dance. I just love everything she does, but I especially enjoy her bright, colorful, amazing landscapes. She sees everything in her minds eye in wonderful, vivid colors and puts it down on a canvas in a way that makes you want to just walk into the paintings and stay for a while. I have commented a few times on how much I enjoy her work and was ecstatic when she made a very generous offer to send me one of her beautiful canvases. I, of course, immediately said "YES, please!"

I wanted to immediately show off the not one but TWO beautiful paintings she sent me. I wanted to post a picture of them the very moment I got them, but I needed light to get a good photo. Taking a picture indoors was not going to do it. First thing this morning I grabbed the paintings and my camera and went outside.  The photos don't do justice to the paintings. They don't even begin to capture the texture and color of these beautiful pieces of art.

The picture above is of the smaller piece. Maryanne calls it Dappled Light and Shadow. The piece at the bottom of the entry, which is a little larger, is called Banyans on the Bay. Both are sooo gorgeous in person.

Some of my other favorite paintings of hers are: Yellow Springs-the west meadow view, Beach Bums, Tahitian Moon and Halloween at The General Warren Inn. There are many, many more. Go and look in her archives, you won't be sorry!

I wish I had the ability to create such beautiful things, but since I don't I'm glad that I can at least enjoy them!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Thoughts

Tonight is another night of just random thoughts and links. I have a really cool surprise for tomorrows entry, but I need to take a picture. A picture requires light. While I could take the picture indoors, I think the subject will look nicer under natural light. Intrigued? Let's just say that surprising gifts from really nice people are the best.

Now for the random thoughts:

#1 Wow! Surprisingly there are some people who find my life interesting. Compared to the life I was living, I find my current life to be, not boring exactly, but not as fast paced as I was used to. This is not a bad thing by any means, just different. I'm just surprised that people find my day to day interesting ;p  Still, since people seem interested, I will try to post a little more often about my daily life and the critters who inhabit it.

#2 I'm currently reading (and enjoying) John Scalzi's book The Android's Dream. This book is very different from the other two books of his I have read. I enjoyed Old Man's War and it's sequel The Ghost Brigades, but this current book really gives you a look at the undeniably warped sense of humor that John has. The book starts out with a diplomat killing his extraterrestrial opposite by... wait for it.... farting at him till he has a stroke! Oh, and then dying himself from a heart attack from laughing too hard. From there the story gets weird. I'm about 1/2 way thru and it is great. It helps that I have an odd sense of humor and enjoy the absurd. Still, even with all of the 'funny' stuff going on, John manages to craft a really good Sci-fi story... albeit with a wink and a nod.

#3 I found this link today, and when I clicked through I was amazed. I'm assuming he blows the eggs out first and then uses the dremel on them. How delicate and intricate these are. The patience he must have..... Enjoy!

#4 It's December and Santa is on our minds. Here are a few unusual ones for you to take a look at. I particularly like Scuba Santa LOL!

#5 and finally, because I know that this season, while full of joy and fun, can be a little nerve wracking, I offer up something to help you relax. Click here and pop your way to calmness!

Oops almost forgot #6.... The picture below is one I took when we went to the local  botanical garden. Enjoy!



Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Horsy Post




It has come to my attention (both thru e-mail and comments on my Blogger and AOL Journals) that some of you may be interested in hearing about the horses that I take care of. Before you hear stories about them, first you need to know the cast of characters. Today you get a glimps of all my 'babies' and a little about each. Then, if people seem interested I might do some individual entries.

Only one of these horses belongs to me personally. He is an arabian and his name is Boo. You've seen a few pictures of him over the years. The picture at the top of this post is of my handsome boy. I've owned Boo since he was a baby and he is going to be 18 next year. He is what we call a black bay, but, since he lives in Florida, he is usually sunburned to a lighter brown ;p

The rest of the horses are owned by a very dear friend of mine who I knew before we moved here. Her farm turned out to be right across the road from where I live now, which makes it very convenient for me! She own performing horses, and is often away performing with them. My normal compliment of horses are the ones who stay home when she is away. All of her horses are gray and either Arabians, Andalusians, or an Andalusian crosses. Yep, they are all supposed to look similar.

The cast of Characters that stay here all the time, in addition to my guy,  are:The Five who are retired from the ring for one reason or another (mostly because of age--two are over 30 years old!). They are Ten, Omar, Orin, Mahome, and Abduhl. All five of them are Arabians. The next two are also Arabians, but they are Yearlings (soon to be 2). One is a smokey color, and the other has a pink cast, but both will eventually be gray. They are known as Bebe and Bizou. You probably guessed that Bebe is French for Baby, but Bizou's name means Kiss. Why French names? Because my friend speaks French to her horses as that is her 'first' language. The last two are my andalusian crosses. They are both 2 years old (soon to be 3) and they will start their training this year to join the act. One is an andalusian/percheron cross and the other is an andalusian/quarter horse cross. Their names are French for thunder and lightning: Eclair and Tonnerre. All of these guys are geldings.

Currently my friend is on vacation for 19 days, and in addition to the normal cast of characters I also have 7 extras! The 'young guys' are four geldings known as: Gomlet, Sahab, Bajo, and Gazie. I'm not sure I got the spellings right, but that's how I pronounce them! We also have Alidar who is a little bit older. He is snow white and gorgeous. They are all arabians. The last two are the stallions, Rico and Shagal. Shagal is a smokey gray arabian  and the apple of his mama's eye. My friend has had him since the day he was born and you can tell. He just worships her. Rico is a beautiful andalusian stallion.

So, there you have it. My friend was worried that adding in the extra 7 would be a problem, but really it doesn't take that much extra time to take care of the extras. Everyone is outside in pastures enjoying the Florida winter weather most of the day. The stallions come in at night so I don't have to worry about them getting into trouble, but unless we get a cold snap everyone else is happy in their pastures. We are a little cramped with double the numbers, but with a little shuffling of pastures everyone has a place.

Have I bored you all to death yet? LOL!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Random Thoughts

Tonight you get an issue of Random Thoughts.......

#1. Someone in e-mail mentioned that I don't post often lately, and it's mostly a Wordless Wednesday picture, or some such thing. I don't seem to ever talk about my life anymore.

Whew! I guess that has been true, especially this last year. I've not been very good about posting on a regular basis. Why? My 'real' life just isn't very exciting since I moved out into the country. That is unless you are interested in hay, poop, and assorted boring animal stuff. Mostly I've been taking care of the horses and since that is seven days a week.. well, I don't get to do much else. This person seems to think that would make interesting blog fodder so I guess I could do some of that. If I bore you the little red x is always there!

However, I think that things are going to possibly get a little more blog worthy around here. There is the possibility of a little adventure in the near future. We will see. In the meantime, I am going to start trying to post something --even if it is just random thoughts on life in general-- at least a couple of time a week. Maybe I will find my 'blog bliss' again...

#2 Another person asked in comments about one of my favorite (albeit boring to many people) things. Donna asked about my horses. Everyone is doing great, I'm up to 17 horses right now. I've got a long 'horsy' post that I've been meaning to do for the last week, so stay tuned for that.

#3 I've been decorating for Christmas! On my AOL Journal that is simply a change of colors and the addition of a picture in my All About Me section. I have a couple more things I plan to add to that. My Blogger Blog, on the other hand, got a new heading, new background and pretty green and red fonts. I'll have a few more things to add during the month to both places.

#4 I'm sure most of you have heard by now, but our Blog Father is leaving us. I know many of you, like me, will miss your daily dose of Scalzi. Lucky for us John has a blog out in the 'wilds' of the Blogosphere called The Whatever. I started reading the Whatever soon after I found By The Way. It's a little edgier than BTW, but if you are missing Mr. Scalzi, it's a place to see what he is up to. You won't get Monday Photo shoots, or Weekend Assignments, but you WILL get Athena pictures, pics of the Cats and Dog, the occasional sunset/sunrise picture, and John's take on the world around him. Quick... go... Check it Out... I'll wait.

Lalalalalala.... Oh, your back! Onward to:

#5 Need something to do that will cause you to lose long blocks of time that you will never find again? Do you like Spirograph and kaleidoscope type things? Do you ooh and aah at fireworks? Go here and check this out. Once it loads move your mouse across the open space. Cool, huh? Now, see those circles at the bottom right and left corners? Click them and move your mouse again. Yeah... you can lose some time playing here ;p I don't know if I've ever posted that link before, but I was playing with it earlier today, soooooo.....

#6 Now that I've given you #5, I can safely leave you to play by yourself. Bwahahahahahaha!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wordless Wednesday



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Wordless Wednesday



Saturday, November 17, 2007

Ohhhhh... Shiny!

I am a Geek... No really, you don't need to try to deny it, I know it... In fact, I kind of like it. But, in all of my Geekiness, I am also a little bit of a tightwad. I have been looking at MP3 players now for almost a year. G even tried to buy me one for my birthday in June, but I hadn't found exactly what I wanted yet, so I waited... I looked... I waited... I looked. Finally this week we were in town and I spotted this cute little number.

It had most of what I was looking for. It is almost exactly the size of a shuffle (which I find adorable), but had the things that I wanted that the shuffle didn't. It has 2GB of storage, a clip (like the shuffle), an FM tuner, and a screen so that you can see what is playing and choose something else. That (and the no FM tuner) was the biggest drawback to the shuffle. With the Shuffle, you load it up, and then you listen to it. Your only option being to skip to the next song. Uh No! I have eclectic tastes. Today I want to listen to Country, tomorrow Rock, and the next day some Mannheim Steamroller! But, this little Cutie had a screen, AND the price was right ($20 less than a 1GB Shuffle)... AND it had a screen... AND it had an FM tuner...... AND I wasn't tied to buying my music from ITunes! Not that I have anything against ITunes, I just like options!

The minute I said, "I think this is the one I am going to get" G had it in his hands and headed for the cashier LOL! He even got me the armband and silicone case to go with it so I could walk/jog/exercise while wearing it (Yeah, THAT's going to happen). His only thing was that it only had a small screen that shows the options/what's playing. He wanted me to get one of the players that had the color screen that you could show people pictures with and you could see album art, etc. But, I don't plan to waste any of my song room with picture files, and the biggest draw to this player was the size. It is actually smaller than the picture on the website! A display big enough to show a picture decently would defeat the whole "Look how tiny it is" thing! It is almost exactly the size of a Shuffle if you have seen one of those.

I got it on Tuesday, and I spent the next 2 days ripping all of our CDs to the laptop so I would have music to put on it. I was actually dreading ripping the CDs because I hadn't ripped any music in a couple of years, but I was really pleased with the Windows Media Player. It's come a loooong way since the last time I used it. What you say, the ultimate Geek didn't have all of her music ripped to her laptop?!? Nope, I have a really nice 5 CD player that we've always used to play music with, so I don't usually play music off of the laptop, and if I did I just played it straight from the CD, so I just had no reason to rip any of the CD's. And, I am lazy.... If I don't need to do something... well, you know, I'm lazy!

I'm really happy with my little player, can you tell?? Now I'll have a reason to go out and buy some new music ;p

Let's see if I can dig up a picture to end this entry with. I took this picture during the trip to the zoo that was new to me. I thought he was really handsome. The only touch up work I did was tiny bit of gaussian blur because the background wasn't quite as out of focus as I had planned when I took the picture, a tweek to the levels, and then a quick unsharp mask.

Someone asked how I do the frames, and the answer is... several different ways LOL! This particular frame was done by selecting the edge of the picture and doing a stroke command in black, then making my selection smaller, again doing the stroke command, this time using the eyedropper to choose a little bit of green from the background. One more time of making the selection smaller and one more time with the stroke command, this time with black again. If anyone is really interested, I could do a tutorial here one day on how to do it. I use Photoshop Elements usually, but I find that most of the different programs have similar things, you just sometimes have to look for them.

O.K.... Here he is, Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wordless Wednesday



Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day 2007

Love your country and live with pride
And don't forget those who died America can't you see

All gave some and some gave all
And some stood through for the red, white and blue
And some had to fall
And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall
Some gave all

And if you ever think of me
Think of all your liberties and recall, yes recall
Some gave all

-- Lyrics from "Some Gave All" by Billy Ray Cyrus

The graphic above is this years official poster from the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Go here to see not only this years offering, but also the posters from previous years.

Friday, November 09, 2007




Doesn't that picture just radiate peacefulness? Aaaaaaaaah!

This is my Boo, his buddy Ten and the two yearlings. Aren't the youngsters getting big? They are sweet, kind and funny. I'm really pleased with how they are developing both physically and mentally.

I had a couple of questions on the Wordless Wednesday entry, so let me see if I can answer them....

The frog was a funny little decoration on a tree at the botanical garden we visited. The way I got the picture was setting the shot up and then turning off the auto-focus and manually focusing in on the frog. This caused the blades on the plant in front of it take on a 'fuzzy' or out of focus aspect. This is the same as idea as when you take a picture of an animal in a wire fence or cage. You set the focal distance for the main subject. You have to turn off the auto-focus though, or the camera wants to focus on what is closest. I have a couple of pics of the frog taken from a different angles, but I thought the out of focus grass added to the 'feeling' of the picture. I then cropped the picture with an oval, put a bevel on that to give the under glass feel, filled the background with a gradient fill that started with a light gray and ended with black. A quick selection and red stroke fill for interest and Viola!


What kind of art is it? Ummm.. I really don't know. I just thought it was cool. I think they have some similar pieces for sale in the gift shop. Next time I am there I will have to see if they have a name for it.

I took a bunch of pictures of flowers and decorations both at the Gardens and at the zoo, so you will probably be seeing quite a few of them over the next several entries. It is fun to see what you can do with them with some cropping and framing.

And, one more flower picture!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Hello.... Hello....

::cough:: ::cough::

Wow, it's a little dusty in here. Anyone still around?? Hello?!?  ;p

O.K. First the Obligatory Picture (Sorry Pat, it's not an animal this time)



Now, with that out of the way, let me take a quick peek at what my last post was..... Eek! It has been a while since I posted anything hasn't it? No real reason why. I would see things, or think about things, or see Photo assignments/Weekend assignments that  I would enjoy doing a post about, but they just never seemed to make it to fruition. It's not that we haven't been doing things this summer, but it just seems like I didn't have enough hours in the day, or at least I couldn't seem to find the energy to post.

I didn't feel like I was more busy than usual, but besides the 10 horses I normally care for, Morgan's Agility classes, the new barn that is being built  for the horses (the owner is out of town and I've been being the go-between for her and the builders), Zoo Tycoon2, several book series that I have recently discovered, and well, just life... I guess I was a little busy. Add to that the fact that I'm the only one taking care of the horses and therefore don't get 'days off' often. Well, I guess I was busier than I thought! LOL!

During the couple of weeks that the lady who owns the horses was home, we managed to visit both my very favorite zoo, and a new zoo I had never been to. Both are about a two hour trip from here, so I don't have the access I was used to when I lived nearby the favorite zoo, but both made a nice day trip.

We also found a very dog friendly botanical garden near-by that Morgan really enjoyed. The above 'obligatory picture' is from there. We just found it recently and it is a nice size and beautiful. They have lovely winding paths and are so dog friendly! Morgan got a treat at the desk when we paid admission, a 'doody' bag (just in case we didn't have some--we, being responsible doggy parents, had brought our own also!), and a very friendly petting from the greeter. There were also several bowls with fresh water spaced out on the paths for any thirsty dogs! We had brought some bottled water along for her just in case, but this was a very nice feature and now we know we don't have to do that next time. I'm really looking forward to visiting again this spring when all of the flowers are in bloom. If we were up north I would probably go back and enjoy the fall colors, but we really don't get much of that here.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: 2003

Four years ago the Blog Father was born when John Scalzi started his Journal By the Way on AOL's brand new (then) blogging platform. To celebrate, John's challenge for this week is:

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Find a picture from 2003 and post it. Any picture is fine; it just has to be from the now-oh-so-distant year of two thousand aught-three. Surely you have pictures from then? Yes?

Wow... 2003..... My immediate thought was, "Cool! We were still with the circus then and traveling all over the country. I should have something really interesting from then I could post. I grabbed the DVD that has those pictures on it, blew the dust off of it, and inserted it in the laptop. I was busy going thru my mind what wonderful thing I would show you about my life way back then. But, the first set of photos I brought up reminded me of the most important thing that happened that year..... Puppy pictures of Morgan! She was so tiny when we got her in July of 2003 at barely 6 weeks old. Get ready to say "Awwwwwwwww!" 



Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Favorite Character -- A Contest Entry

Today is the last day of deslily's contest. If you don't read her, you should! Anyway, she is having a contest over there with some great prizes. One of which is a t-shirt that was hand-painted by her brother. He is very talented! I have been meaning to get to this, but this post (along with any other and most other things like oh... housework) have been put on the back burner because I have spent every second that I wasn't busy doing something else with my nose buried in...... what else? The newest Harry Potter book. I am delighted to report that I finished it last night and I am please with the ending and with how all the little plot points got sorted out AND with the fact that the way the book ended there is a possibility that we might again be allowed to venture into this world of wizards and witches and quidditch! I would love to see J.K. Rowlings do another series about these wonderful characters at some future time, but I am sure right now she is just ready for a rest and maybe the opportunity to do a different book with a whole new cast of characters.

Awww.... but we were discussing the contest and the 'rules' of it and my entry that I have put off! Here is a portion of the post that gives you an idea of what she is looking for: 

I want the post to be about a character in a book that you really like. One that for whatever reason, you can't seem to forget. Or one that you related to. Or one that made you laugh. Just make it about a character you can't seem to forget. Tell about how you found this character, and most of all... why you like him/ her/ it... post it before August 3rd and leave a link so that others can read your post (note: she went ahead and extended the deadline till Aug 5 so we would have the weekend!)

O.k..... way to make it difficult! I have so many favorite books... and so many favorite authors... and so MANY favorite characters! I actually considered this for the last week, trying to decide. Finally I thought, "What book do I reach for when I want 'comfort' reading?" Well, that narrowed it down, but still there was quite a list. You know the type of book. The books that you reach for when you want to relive a familiar tale and reconnect with the friends you have made there. I finally settled on Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon, is called "Satanas" by enemy and friend alike. Awwww... Satanas. He at first comes off as a dandy, then as a sometimes cruel, self-centered person.... but there is more there! He doesn't allow people in on his plans, and that includes you- the reader! He is featured most prominently in a book by Georgette Heyer called These Old Shades, and also is a secondary character in The Devil's Cub.

What is it that draws me to this character? Frankly, I am not sure. My normal reading material is Science Fiction or Fantasy... with a few other things thrown in for variety. I often say I don't read by genre, but by author. If I like how an author writes I will read them.... even if they do write romances, which is exactly what Georgette Heyer does write. Her portrayal of Justin Alastair just draws you in. As I said, in the beginning he isn't even a very likable character, but he starts by fascinating you and then you start to see that although he doesn't show it, he does care about the people around him... he just doesn't want them to know it! Satanas is a law unto himself. He seems to be omnipotent, which is very annoying to those around him, but he just hides (behind a veneer of nonchalance and a hint of boredom) a very well-developed intellect, which he uses to manipulate events the way he wants them to progress! Ms. Heyer writes about the period of history known as the regency with flair and style and she creates characters that are witty, brave, and intelligent and they will stick around and talk to you long after you put her books down. I think my favorite part about her writing is the dialogue.... and the fact that her hero and  heroines are intelligent and articulate!

Oh, and if you try this book and enjoy it.... Next you need to check out a couple of other beloved characters of mine that she has created. There are Prudence Marriot and her brother Robin who romp thru The Masqueraders, and Sophie in The Grand Sophie, and of course, Venetia in the book by the same name, who ran a close second to Justin Alastair as a favorite character who I would like to know in person.

O.k.... Now that I have blown my "I am an educated person who reads mostly speculative fiction with broad reaching ideas" persona and let you know that I have read the occasional romance... I guess I am done here! :p  Now I am off to read about other peoples favorite characters and maybe, just maybe, I will find someone new that I will want to meet.... and that will require a trip to the bookstore. Oh the pain, and agony of being forced to visit a place filled with books for me to explore ROFL!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Artsy Essay is back!

Judith Heartsong had brought back The Artsy Essay! I can't even tell you how happy this makes me. You MUST click on the link above and go to her Blog and check out all the wonderful people who are participating. And, while you are there, be sure to check out the rest of the blog. Judith is a very accomplished artist and often shares her artwork with us, along with her thoughts. She is one of the most generous and gentlest souls you will ever find.

The theme for this edition of the Artsy Essay is as follows:

What is your favorite and most inspiring possession? Tell us about it, and if you want an extra creative challenge... tell us about it without naming it until the very last sentence of your essay:):):)

So, Click on the link above, read the rules, and join us in the inaugural edition of The Artsy Essay!

Below is my entry:

When I first started considering what my favorite or most inspiring possession might be, frankly I was stumped. My first gut reaction was an entry about either Morgan or Boo, but the fact that I call them the furkids gives you the first clue as to why they wouldn't by appropriate. Morgan and Boo are not possessions, they are part of our family! My second knee-jerk thought was a toss-up between my camera and my laptop. But that was too easy, and I knew that I could get by perfectly well without either of them. I might not be happy about it, but neither of them were things that I couldn't do without. So, digging deep, and giving it a lot of thought, I finally came up with the perfect thing.

My most favorite, inspiring, irreplaceable, and loved possession was given to me by my Mother. I don't think she did it on purpose, in fact I'm pretty sure she didn't! See, my step-father worked an evening job when they were first married, and a 3 year old running around the small duplex early in the morning was not conducive to my new Daddy getting the rest he needed. My Mother figured that if I stayed up until they went to bed in the evening, I would sleep later the next day. Being the resourceful person she was, and noting my interest in one of her favorite things, she decided to gift me with something which I still love and value even to this day.

Taking my Christmas gift from my Grandparents and moving it from my bedroom into the living room, she sat me down and we took turns. She would draw something on my blackboard easel and tell me what it was. I would then carefully try to copy her movements and repeat her words back to her. Soon I was able to name what she drew on my little blackboard before she could tell me. Before long I was sitting down on the couch with her and paging thru the little board books that my Grandparents were always gifting me with, and sharing the stories I found there with her.

To this day, I prefer my Mother's gift over anything else I own. Because of her gift, I have ridden on the backs of dragons as they flew through the sky. I've joined Hobbits in their houses, and had tea with a stuffed animal or two. I've flown in spaceships to other planets and met people with ideas that are different than mine. As long as I can read, I will always have new places to visit, both real and imaginary, and friends to meet, both old and new. She gave me not just the gift of stories and entertainment, but the ability to learn anything I want to.

My Mother's Gift was the ability to read and understand the written word, but, more importantly, she gifted me with her love of books.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

What is it?!?

I knew when I did my Wordless Wednesday pic this week that I would probably get a few questions... and I was right!



What is that strange animal? It's an Okapi! Okapis are one of my favorite animals. They look like a zebra and a giraffe got together for a night of interesting fun, but the truth is that they are only related to the giraffe. I was hoping to get a tongue picture, but I wasn't lucky enough on this particular visit to get one. An Okapi tongue is an Amazing thing. They can actually lick their ears with their tongues! I personally love the little horns. They are very gentle, very sweet animals.

Okapis are still relatively rare in zoos, and it was good news to me that my favorite zoo was getting one. This little one is in the newest part of the zoo, and is a little off the beaten path. Some animals are a little more shy than others and require more privacy in their homes. Okapis are notoriously shy and are easily made uncomfortable if they feel crowded. This makes them a challenge to breed, but not impossible as most Okapis in zoos were bred in captivity. I am hoping that they are planning on trying to breed them here as a baby okapi is absolutely adorable. Click here and here for the chance to see a baby Okapi. Isn't she cute??

One of the coolest things about Okapis is that they were basically undiscovered till 1901. They were probably the last large mammal 'discovered' by the Western World. They live only in the Ituri Forest, and although they had probably been hunted by the natives, it wasn't until 1890 or so when rumors of a strange donkey like creature were exposed to the 'civilized' world. Even today they are one of the least documented and least understood of all animals in their natural habitat. Why? Mostly because they are very shy, very quick, and have excellent hearing so they hear any one approaching long before they can be seen. Here is a link that gives a little more info about their discovery. It is a very good article from the American Museum of Natural History. And here are a couple more with some interesting facts and a few more pictures for the young and young at heart.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Weekend Assignment #174: Humiliate Your Pet!

John over at By The Way offers up this for our weekend amusement:

Let's face it, your pets have a pretty sweet gig -- all they have to do, mostly, is lie around and look cute, and for that they get free room and board. It's such a sweet gig, in fact, that I think they sometimes forget who is boss. Reminding them (and you) of their place in the household hierarchy is the goal of this Weekend Assignment:

Weekend Assignment #174: Humiliate your pet! Show a picture or tell a story that features your pet doing something that's goofy or silly, even for dumb animal. If you don't currently have a pet, you can tell a pet story from a previous furry pal of yours, or pass along a pet humiliation story someone once shared with you.

This is a pretty easy assignment if you have pets! In fact I've posted a set of embarrassing pictures before!

The picture I've used here is of my Corgi, Morgan. Morgan likes to get comfortable when she sleeps. I have pictures of her stretched out, I have pictures of her on her back, I have pictures of her sleeping on pillows and under blankets and.....Well, you get the picture! LOL! 

I just liked the expression she has in this picture. She is stretched out on the couch, head on a throw pillow, laying on one of my jackets and she just looks like she is saying "Oh, please Mom..... Don't take... Oh Man! Don't I look stupid!" Of course, what she was really thinking was, "Mom, put that silly picture box away... the flash is interrupting my nap!"




Extra credit: Do you think your pet is actually humiliated?

Ummm... No, I don't think she is actually humiliated... more annoyed at being woke up!

Friday, July 13, 2007

This Is Just Creepy!

Go HERE! Do this.... It is just Creepy! It doesn't work unless you do the math problem, but I haven't figured out how it is doing it. If anyone figures it out please tell me! LOL!

Update: I figured out how it works... if anyone wants to know ask in comments and I'll e-mail you the answer!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Geometry

Monday Photo Shoot: Picture something that shows off something geometrical. Squares, cubes, vectors, right angles, tangents and so on; basically, any picture that shows geometrical forms and shapes in an interesting and obvious way.

When I saw this week's Photo Shoot topic over at By the Way, I knew I had the perfect photo.... At the zoo last Thursday I saw a cute little 'extra' animal. If you keep your eyes open you sometimes see animals at the zoo who aren't 'officially' a part of the show! This little guy was hanging out next to one of the exhibits and I snapped a couple of shots. Actually you will see him again as I have a shot after he moved when he is surrounded by leaves that I like, but it didn't fit this particular assignment.

I almost didn't bother to put the photo up since I missed the deadline, but decided to do so anyway because: 1. I already had the photo ready to go and 2. I figured you would all understand the reason I wasn't online. I had the chance to go to the movies and see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my favorite man! Ummmm... my impression? I liked it. Now I just have to wait one more week for the last book! LOL!


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger

This post is a little late, but I hope that DesLily will forgive me. Seems that she picked me as one of the 5 blogs to pass this award on to. Check here to see her other picks.



According to the Rules of the Award, I'm to pass the Award on to 5 other "girls", who's blogs I read and enjoy. (Sorry to all you guys)  And they, in turn, pass it on to 5 girls blogs that they enjoy.

Well, in theory, that seems easy enough.... but how to pick just 5 blogs from all of the many I read and enjoy? sigh... At least I can throw out all the guys I read... that cuts it down a little... Still, for every 1 journal I pick there are at least 5 more I enjoy (or more LOL!)

1. Well, Kim over at I Shaved my Legs for This is an obvious pick. This woman is amazing! I loved her blog back in the days she told us stories about her growing up years, and stories about her lovely family. These days she is taking us on an amazing journey with her. Last year she was diagnosed with breast cancer and we went along for the ride. Surgery, Chemo, tests... we went thru it all with her. And her faith and courage never wavered. She is facing a new battle with cancer these days, and as always, shares it all with us. Her reasoning? If she can help the next person see that they are not alone on this journey and give them a little faith and hope, then she feels like she has accomplished something. DEFINITELY a Rockin' Girl blogger!

2. Next I offer up Adventures in Juggling. Laura is a NICU nurse, a wife, a mother of five kids, and just an amazing person. My favorite clown in her little circus of life is her 'Little Man'. This little guy was born with special needs, and Laura and her family saw that he was the last piece to their family puzzle, and thru her journal we get to see his amazing progress! His smile would light up anyone's day.

3. What can I say about Dust Bunny Club of North America?? The author of this blog just lays it out on the line. There are farts and burps, and love and support. This was always a fun blog to visit, but took a poignant turn when her oldest joined the armed forces and then was stationed in the middle east. I think I worried about Gabe almost as much as his mother did. She even started a second journal so that she could leave special entries for Gabe and we could comment and give him our support also. In addition to Gabe there are several other Oompa Loompas (as she calls them) to give us entertainment. And, lets not forget Dickidoo!

4. My Country Life was one of the first blogs I started reading way back when... And I still don't miss an entry. Mosie let's us enjoy her horse, her calf, her dog, and her family. Often thru the lens of a camera, and always thru her words. From her blog you also get to meet her daughter and son who also both have blogs. We've enjoyed many horse back rides, motorcycle rides, weeks at the fair, and nights at her cabin with her. I look forward to enjoying many more.

5. The last one is In My Opinion. Kelly caught my attention the first time because of a link to her blog that was to an entry about her son. Joshua is no longer with us, and Kelly deals with that and shares some of her feelings about it with us. She also shares her daily joy in her daughter (who she calls Princess), her struggles as a single mom, and as a full time student. Her parents are also much in evidence in her blog. Her Mom is always there to help, and she and her father often share an afternoon at the movies. They are both movie fanatics LOL! Kelly is just an all around amazing person and shares one very special habit with me... neither one of us updates our blogs as often as we should ROFL!!

Just in case these aren't enough to keep you occupied... Here are a few more 'bonus' blogs: Hope Floats, Just Mary, Sometimes I think, Raven's Lament, How did I get here?!, and Dancing in the Rain.... Want more? Check out my sidebar!!

Friday, June 29, 2007

A Little Blog Housekeeping...

I decided today that my Blog over here at Blogspot was boring.... or maybe I was just bored with the look since I hadn't changed it in a while. With these thoughts lurking in the back of my mind I was playing in Photoshop Elements when I realized I had the perfect 'brush' to make a Heading Graphic with. So.... Tada! LOL! I do love playing with Templates, but it can be tedious. I'm just starting to figure out the new 'widgets' on the new blogs. It took me about 2 hours from the time I said, "Gosh, I'm bored with the Spring Flowers" till I was able to put this up.

Now to answer a few questions:

About the Crowds picture for the Monday Photo Shoot.... No, I don't have any pictures without animals ;p Not really, but it is always fun to try and interpret the picture so I can use an animal shot.... It's kind of become a tradition and wouldn't all of you be disappointed if I didn't? LOL!

Several people asked about the spider in the Wordless Wednesday entry.... Ummmm.... I wasn't sure what kind of spider it was, so I asked G. He says it is a young Banana Spider. I had only noticed the big ones before I guess ::shrug:: To those of you who this creeped out... SORRY! Ummm.... The web is actually right over the top of the barrels I store my grain in. Just above my head I leave it because I figure he/she eats flies, and it doesn't bother me so I don't bother it!

To the people who commented on the Summer Vacation entry and saying that they didn't think I looked 46... Well, I was, but just barely. That picture was taken the last week in May and I actually turned 47 the first week in June. But, I WAS only 46 when the picture was taken. As for the others that commented about none of us looking the ages I listed (except for my Grandson, of course)..... All I can say is THANK YOU!... and Blush a little. I guess I'll just rack it up to good genes LOL!

I have a cool entry planned for John's Weekend assignment...... Stay Tuned!

Note added later: I noticed in looking at the widgets which I set up to have my Blogrolls from Bloglines displayed that I have several 'bad' and/or 'dead' links in there. I guess I don't usually notice because I mostly just look at the ones that have entries. I see a little weekend job of cleaning up my Bloglines account in my future. I won't remove all the links, just the ones to blogs that no longer exist. I think I will just move the 'inactive' ones to a folder marked as such. You never know when an old friend will return to blogging and I wouldn't want to miss them!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Crowds

Taking a break from my Adventures in Vacationing, I thought I would see what John over at By The Way had up for this weeks photo shoot.

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Get a picture of a crowd or crowded event. Conventions, weddings, parties in cramped spaces -- you know, anywhere there's lots of folks doing something.

Hmmmm... well, that seemed simple enough! So, here is a picture of one of the locals here getting ready to rope a steer and the crowd behind him, Most of them were waiting their turns ;p



Want to play along?? Snap a picture, pull it up out of your archives, or scan it in. Once you have it in some form of electronic pixels and bits, put it into a blog entry and pop over to John's and leave your link! Now, get out there and find a crowd!?! 

Sunday, June 24, 2007

What I did on my Summer Vacation--Part 1

If you read the mess in the entry below this one you saw, buried somewhere in all of that, the mention of a vacation... The first one that G and I had taken in almost 3 years. Why so long? Hmmm... well in the way things have of being, we just had never had everything come together for us to take more than a couple of days off at any one time. We had 2 weeks coming and we planned to enjoy them!

We spent the first few days of freedom just vegging at home and packing :p  But we had big plans for the remainder of the time before we would need to come back to reality. We were making a road trip! Spending time together and driving is something we've always loved and was actually cheaper than the two of us flying close to our destination and then renting a car.

Our road trip would take us out of Florida, up thru Georgia, into Tennessee and finally the beautiful state of Kentucky. The end of our trek would find us at my Grandmother's house. We would be there for 8 days visiting with my Grandmother (who turned 92 this year) and my Mother. My Mother lives with Gram and helps her out. But not as much as you would think. My Mother still works a full time job and Gram is by herself for eight hours most every day.

Seeing my Gram and Mom, who I hadn't seen for a while, was pretty great, but four days into our stay would come the bestest part: My Son, DIL, and four year old Grandson would arrive to spend 3 days with us. Although we had all visited each other in several varied combinations, this would be the first time we ALL got together under one roof at the same time. It would also be the first time my Grandmother (who doesn't travel well anymore--she likes to be in familiar surroundings since my grandfather died a few years ago) had gotten to see her Great, Great Grandson!

The highlight of the trip was the taking of a photo... a very special photo... it would contain 5 generations of my family. The day we took the picture we would also enjoy a surprise visit by my Uncle and Aunt, who live near my grandmother, stopping by to meet their Great nephew. My Cousin (daughter of said Aunt and Uncle) and her husband and two sons would also stop by to say Hi to all of the out of towners.



We all gravitated to the front porch as the house became too full. It was a wonderful afternoon spent on the porch, swinging on the porch swing, sitting on the steps and various porch chairs, sipping glasses of tea and soda with the air full of  "Do you remember..." and "Remember the time" and "Wow, the last time we..."

It may not have been the most remarkable trip I have ever taken, or the most exciting time G and I  have ever had together. No Roller Coasters, or amazing scenery, or exciting city to explore. But I think it was probably one of the best vacation I have ever had and will probably be treasured more than any other I have taken in a long time. 

Note: The picture is of my Grandmother (92), my Mother (65), myself (46), my son (31), and my Grandon (4..almost 5).. Yep, that would be Five Generations!

Next Post: What I did on my Summer Vacation: Part 2

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm Back... I'm back... I'm Back!!

I'm back... I've returned... I'm here!!! LOL! Why have I been gone? Well, the usual answer... technology attacked! ROFL!

This has not been a good year for me staying connected has it? Last year at this time we were moving and I had SUCH a time finding a good way to connect to the Internet causing me to be gone for many weeks, then in December/January we had the whole laptop must visit the repair shop several times with the final result being me getting a new (almost free... I had to pay for insurance on it) laptop. Then we had the problem with my satellite dish (which I use to connect to the Internet) being slightly out of line and needing to be put on a different kind of post..... Well, this story actually starts THERE.

The problem earlier this spring was that my original installer put my -very- heavy satellite dish on a wooden post. This worked just fine for several months until...  Until the continuous getting wet/drying out of the post and the weight of the dish caused the dish to pull just a tiny bit off of the signal. Now, for those of you with satellite TV... this wouldn't have affected you hardly at all, but I, in order to send a signal back to the satellite, need to be much more specifically aimed. So, I called the nice person in India (yep, it always seems to be India, doesn't it LOL!) and was finally sent back to a person in the States and an appointment was set up for someone to come out and take a look at what was going on.

This is how we met Mark. Mark is about the nicest repair guy you could imagine. Anyway, he took one look, asked me if a local guy installed me, and, when I said yes, he just smiled. Seems that a lot of people you contact locally (not thru the actual company) are 'representatives' and pay a fee to be allowed to install the dishes. They are NOT techs. AND, a lot of them install on wooden posts or other places that eventually don't work out. Mark let me know that a metal post was what I needed, but that he didn't have one with him. He would get me back on line, but it would eventually do the same thing again. He fixed me up and we made arrangements for him to come back out and put me in a metal post. This he did for me a few days later. Problem solved!

Yeah, Right! Not if you have my luck. A few weeks later I am again on the phone with India and eventually gotten into contact with Mark. Why not call Mark directly? Well, because he actually works for the Large Company that supports my dish he has to have a work order so he won't have to charge me (I'm under warranty still). In fact, that is what he told me when I did call him first. Sigh! So I have to talk to India first LOL!

Mark shows up in one day (not the 4 to 5 I was told to expect, I told you he was the best!) and he checks me out and it turns out my transmitter on the dish was bad. This was the middle of May. He fixes it, looks at the tree (which is now in full leaf) and says. "Geez, I can't believe I put your pole there... that tree is -almost- in your path. You may have to trim it back a little, or I could move the pole....."

"Naw" I say..."Don't worry about it... We'll just trim the tree when we get back from Vacation!"

So, we went on vacation 2 days later and when we returned in 2 weeks we had a messed up signal. Figuring it was the tree, we trimmed the tree.... And we trimmed it again... And THEN G went after limbs with a saw! We cut a huge 'hole' in the tree and still had no access. This all went on over a period of about 2 weeks. All this time I had no access most of the time. Sometimes I would catch a signal for a couple of hours, just enough time to check e-mail (maybe!) and then it would be gone again! :(   At this point I again call India! They put me in contact with Mark who feels terrible. He comes out and apologizes and apologizes. Like it was his fault... which it wasn't... technology sometimes doesn't work! He thought at first the piece he had replaced had also failed, but after testing we decided it was probably still the tree.

Long story short (o.k., not really short LOL!) instead of moving the pole, which would have been a PAIN! He got the company to let him move us to a different satellite. This puts our signal coming in over the huge field next to us, and missing the tree entirely AND I actually ended up with a better signal! Alls well that ends well, and I spent all of yesterday catching up with my mail and everyone's blogs from the last -3- weeks! Which took a while let me tell you!

Now that I have a (hopefully) reliable connection, and a (hopefully) reliable computer, what do you have to look forward to? Well, a nice post (with pictures) of our vacation. Pictures of the new barn going up. We have a trip to the zoo planned for next week (which will, of course, have lots of pictures), and lots of just silly things. I'm thrilled to have my connection back. You don't realize how much you depend on it till you don't have it! I don't know how many times I said, "I'll just check on that" and then realize I couldn't just pop on the Internet for the information. Oh, and our new friend, Mark? He and his wife (who we met when she accompanied him on a call) invited us to their house for a Halloween party. See, if I hadn't had problems with my connection we wouldn't have met two very nice people who are now our friends! So every cloud does have a silver lining!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Orange

At first glance I wasn't sure about what to do for this weeks Photo Shoot from John, but luckily for me the perfect photo opportunity presented itself on Tuesday. They came to break ground for the new barn, and low and behold.... one of the big earth movers was ORANGE! But, not being satisfied with just a picture of a big orange machine, I wanted a horsy reaction to it. Unfortunately, all of the horses met the coming of the big orange monsters with.... boredom! Sigh! Still, I did get a shot of Boo at least lifting his head from his supper to take a look at one of them!

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Orange

Consider Orange. It's a fine color, but of all the colors in our cultural spectrum, it's the one that seems to get the least respect -- sure, you wear it for a safety vest, but you're not especially likely to wear it to fancy ball (especially if you're a guy). So this week's Photo Shoot is about giving up a little respect for the color:
Your Monday Photo Shoot: Picture something in orange. As a challenge, don't take pictures of actual oranges (the fruit), and picturing actual pumpkins seems a little too easy too. Other than that, go for it.

Want to play along?? Just pop over to By The Way on Monday's and check out the topic and get out there and take a photo!

Side note added later: It's harder to see in this pic because I downsized for the internet, but in the original larger file you can -really- see Boo's tongue sticking out LOL!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: The Letter "B"

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a picture of something beginning with the letter "B". That shouldn't be too brain-busting, right?

It's especially easy if your favorite horse is named.... Boo! LOL!

If you want to play along, just pop over to John Scalzi's blog By The Way and join in! 

Saturday, May 12, 2007

I've Been Tagged!


Pretty Flower


Mary Jo over at From the Edge of Dementia tagged me to do this... I don't do a lot of these, but for her I'll make an exception! O.K... here it is:

List seven things that most people don't know about you.  Tag seven people to play along.  Send a comment to their journal letting them know they're in the game. 

Let's see.... what does the Internet not know about me....

  1. I'm sure a few people know this, but I haven't mentioned it in a while, but I used to work for a major circus and traveled all over the country and lived on a train!
  2. I have a 4 year old grandson.
  3. I was born in the "Land of Beautiful Horses and Fast Women" or as most people call it, Kentucky.
  4. I was there when my horse was born and helped him stand and nurse for the first time... and he has been with me for the 17 years since
  5. After having 1 child I figured out that it hurt and I decided that 1 was plenty <LOL> (even though I was told I had an 'easy' delivery!)
  6. I am a Geek! But I spend a good part of my day outside taking care of one animal or another.
  7. When my family gets together in a few days we are going to be able to take a 5 generation picture. My grandmother is 92 this year, my mother 65, I'm 46,soon to be 47, my son is 31, and my grandson is 4 (soon to be 5). My Grandmother is his Great, Great Grandmother!

True story: When my Grandson was born, I was busy trying to come up with something he could call me besides Grandma! My Mother on the other hand was thrilled to be a Great Grandmother and went around showing everyone his picture and announcing, "I'm a Great Grandmother". She looks at my Grandmother and says, "And that makes you a Great, Great Grandmother!" My grandmother told her, "Shush, Janice Ann... You don't have to announce THAT to the world!" She turns around and looks at me and says, "Doesn't she know that we aren't old enough for this??"

The picture at the top of the entry doesn't have anything to do with the entry... I just thought it was pretty!

I'm not going to tag anyone... but if you want to play along, please do! Be sure to leave me a link so I can learn something new about you!

Late Weekend Assignment! Weekend Assignment #163: "Take a Picture of Your Local Weather."

I don't always do John's weekend assignments, but I had every intention of doing this one... I mean, how hard could it be to take a picture of some weather and post it?? AND we were having some really cool sunsets because of the smoke.....

Smoke, you say... What smoke? Well, it seems that we have a bunch of wildfires in Georgia and northern Florida, and while I am not anywhere physically near any of these fires, the winds have been blowing a lot of smoke our way. This smoke makes the sun a gorgeous red color as it goes below the horizon each night. Simple enough.. go outside at the end of the day and take a picture of the red sun... Yeah, right! It actually took me 4 days of trying before everything came together for me to get the shot. See, I do a barn check at about the time the sun is setting and by the time I walk back and grab the camera... Sun is below the horizon line!.. and then we had rain one night, and on the first night I noticed the red sun I was actually in the truck coming home......... Yeah, it took me a while to pull it all together.. LOL!

Red Sunset

Better Late than Never I guess.... I present for your pleasure... my weather! And, even with John's 'extension' I still didn't get it over there fast enough to be included. Eh! Maybe next week....

Monday, May 07, 2007

More Randomness......

Just another one of those random, stream of consciousness type posts...

If anyone with a blog on AOL has been missing getting a comment from me, well it's because AOL has refused to allow me to sign in all day on Sunday. Every time I would try I would get to the page with the boxes for screenname and password, I would enter my information, then I would get a 404 page saying something like the server didn't recognize the command. WEIRD! I finally got it to accept at almost midnight. Sigh!

Here's something for people who like things like the old Spirographs. I loved those things when I was a kid! Anyway, go here and when the page loads move your mouse pointer over the white square. Cool, huh! Now, click one of those little circles down in the left hand corner and move your mouse again. Seriously, this thing kept me occupied for about 30 minutes. ROFL!

It rained here today, a pretty good thunderstorm actually. Because I access the internet thru a dish, the weather affects if I can surf or not. You don't realize how much you use something till it randomly is denied to you.  ;p

If you haven't checked in with Kim lately over at I Shaved My Legs for This, drop by and say Hi! She could use all the support we can give her. She is a very brave lady, but it never hurts to know that others are rooting for you!  

Poor Morgan. In the first shot she is all... "Look, Mom has that cool box thing and wants to take my picture...... this is Great!"

Morgan at the Beginning of a Photo Shoot

Then, after several minutes of this we get, "Is she ever going to get that thing out of my face!" LOL!

Morgan at the END of the Photo Shoot

Friday, May 04, 2007

Feline Friday--Sad Edition



This was always one of my favorite D.K. pictures. I've used it for a Feline Friday post before. I have some recent shots that I would like to post, but they make me cry because you can see how much weight she had lost.

I've been trying to do a Feline Friday post every since I lost D.K., but just haven't been able to bring myself to do it. She had a lump in November that was odd. Upon being taken to visit our wonderful vet, we were told it was malignant and had already spread from the area of the lump and into her lungs. When told of my dismay at not spotting anything sooner, the Vet told us that this was a fast moving form of the disease and the lump had probably not been there in a size we could feel for more than a couple of weeks.We were told we couldn't do much as far as treatment except spoil her, treat any symptoms as they appeared, and enjoy her for the time we had left.  When I asked when, the Vet said we would know when it was time. After telling me that, she would receive several more visits from D.K. and I because if she even sneezed or wheezed I had an appointment and would start  my conversation with "It's probably nothing... But..." She made it 6 more months.

Although she lost a lot of weight during those 6 months, she continued to eat and move about the house somewhat normally, although a little slower than before. But, then she was 12 years old!  She remained bright and happy. And, surprisingly she gave us absolutely no problem taking the medicine each day that she needed. Sometimes it was one pill, sometimes two.... She seemed to know that it helped her! After having been given dry kibble for her entire life I started feeding her soft foods in any variety I thought she would like and we bought her favorite treats in quantity. I figured any food going in was good and was no longer worried about calories or her getting too heavy. Even with unlimited access to food she would go from a robust 12 pounds down to 6 before the end.

Finally on April 14 she showed no appetite for the first time... And on the 15th she stopped drinking. She quickly started to dehydrate, and I could tell she was ready to go. Her eyes no longer bright, she wanted to just stay in her favorite spot and sleep.

Early evening they gave her the shot and she peaceful fell asleep in my arms......

She was a wonderful friend who kept  me laughing and entertained for 12 years. She came to me at only 5 weeks old... a stray kitty who didn't even know how to eat solid food good yet. She would accompany me when I went on the road with the circus and traveled by train all over the country and even to Mexico! When G and I got together she slowly gave her approval and then finally started to prefer his lap to mine. (Something about his sharing of ice cream and other treats maybe??) She will be greatly missed by both of us AND her little 'sister' Morgan.

Rest in Peace


1995 to April 15, 2007


Thursday, May 03, 2007

Random Photo... Random Thoughts

Today you get a bunch of random LOL!

O.k... First the Random Photo... and I admit to a little photoshopping here (and yes, I do know that Adobe HATES when you use their product name as a verb... they can just deal with it!). First I isolated the two flowers in the front (and the bug incidentally). I then decreased the color in the rest of the picture. Then I increased the saturation of the selected area slightly. A quick crop with a shape, a decrease in size for web viewing and Viola!  I feel like Steven with my little macro shot.


flower and bug


We have been having a lot of smoke hanging around due to a burn locally. I'm not sure if it was an accidental one or a planned one. For my purposes it all amounts to the same thing. Last night as the sun was going down it was the most vivid red. Unfortunately I was on the way home from Morgan's Agility class and didn't have my camera. By the time I got home it was too late. I'm hoping for a second chance tonight.

Speaking of heavenly bodies, the full moon we are having is called the Full Flower Moon (along with some other names, but I liked that one)... AND there will be a second full moon on the 31st making it a BLUE MOON! Cool, huh!?!

I'm putting this as a link instead of an embedded player for the convenience of my poor readers on dial-up. It takes a little for the download if you are on a slow connection, but I got a real kick out of it. The song AND the singers were so cool.... The Zimmers sing My Generation

I told you this was random... Check out this photo also. Very cute.

I think I'm done now.......

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Weekend Assignment #162: Karma Chameleon

Woo Hoo! Look, I'm famous... well sorta... This weeks Weekend Assignment was inspired by ..... ME!

Weekend Assignment #162: Reincarnation is a fact and you are going to come back as some type of animal. What kind would you prefer and why?
Extra Credit: Do you think you have good Karma or bad? Do you believe in Karma?

My first instinct was a house cat! I mean... what a life! AND they don't even have to pretend to like you!?! But, John beat me to that one... Hmmmmmmm....

So....... what animal is beautiful, intelligent, loving, strong and, most importantly, admired?

"The horse is God's gift to man."--Arabian Proverb

"And God took a handful of southerly wind, blew His breath over it and created the horse." ~Bedouin Legend

Both very appropriate quotes since some of my favorite horses are Arabians!

I think I would love to come back as a horse. To race the wind just because and to kick up my heels in pure joy of being alive. To have a pure and forgiving heart. To be strong, yet gentle and curious.

Horses - if God made anything more beautiful, he kept it for himself. ~Author Unknown

As for the extra credit portion of the assignment.... I don't believe in Karma with a capital K.... but I do believe that what you give to the world and how you see the world shapes the things that happen to you. Bad things sometimes happen to good people, but how you face the bad things makes us who we are. And, I do think the world helps the person who helps themselves. I've read lately that reality is created by thought and that you can change your reality by changing how you think... Sounds like karma to me!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Check This Out-- Very High Cool Factor!

Stephen Hawking is one of my favorite people. I love his books, lectures, and most especially his spirit. On Thursday he was given a chance to ride the 'Vomit Comet' and experience Zero G. Check out the stories here and here and also here and here! And, one final link to what he thinks about Humans and Space.

I saw the video of his trip on CNN and the grin on his face said it all. The report stated that the plan was for 6 instances of Zero G, with the possibility of ending it after 1 if Stephen wasn't comfortable..... He negotiated them into adding two  more times for a total of 8 and they said he would have done more!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Blue Skies

Well, this assignment from John was a no brainer:

Your Monday Shoot: Picture some blue, blue skies. Wide stretches of blue are the goal here. Fluffy clouds are great, too -- but try to get the skies mostly blue. Interesting stuff in the foreground is groovy, too.

What's a picture of a pretty blue sky without a couple of horses up front for contrast?!? And, as luck would have it, yesterday morning showed me a beautiful, cloud free sky... Perfect for Mr. Scalzi to fly thru. Unfortunately for him..... He was flying somewhere else and had to spend some time sitting on a runway in a plane that wasn't moving. Oh well, at least you get to enjoy my pretty blue sky AND my pretty horses!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Bunny Day!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Bunny Day! And, in honor of the day I made this:


Hope you enjoy the day and have a chance to spend it with people you love!

sidenote: if you like the graphic I have it in this size as a jpg, a smaller gif file (with transparent background), and even a couple of others graphics over at my 'other' Journal.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Blossoms and Blooms

This week the blogfather offers up a chance to bring a little Spring into our blogs. I had taken a few pictures of new blooms last week, but couldn't decide on just 1 to use... heck, I had trouble picking 6!


Your Monday Photo Shoot: Take a snap of some of the latest blossoms and blooms near you. If for some reason it's still too chilly where you are, one, you my sympathy, and two, go ahead and use a picture from your archives. But everyone else should go out and take a fresh picture if they can. Let's see what spring looks like here in 2007.

For my entry, I give you an explosion of color!


Want to play along?? Put up a pic, pop over to By the Way and leave a link!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Just Another Gratuitous Animal Photo

and a little Photoshop fun....

I have a friend who just got a new addition to her 'family'. This little girl was born a few weeks ago, and I finally got out there to take some shots. When you take pictures of something alive, in a large pasture, and with a wide angle lens.. well, it is easiest just to start firing off shots and see what you have when you are done. Little baby horses just don't pose very well. LOL!

A bunch of the shots came out great, and my friend was thrilled with them. I had one shot that I just loved..... except it wasn't one of the better shots. This photo had a few problems. It had a lens flair, it was a little washed out, and I didn't care for the composition (lots of pasture, tiny horse)... BUT, the little foal was leaping in the air so joyfully and I had caught her with all four feet off the ground! My friend commented that several others in the series of shots were great, but I liked that one, go figure! Here is what came out of the camera 'raw'

Original photo

For anyone interested, here's what I did to get from the original to the finished product. I'm Learning! First I cloned out the lens flair, then I cropped the picture down using the rule of 3rds to give the shot some interest, and then I added just a little rotation before hitting the ok to crop button. Then I adjusted the washed out problem using levels. Now I had the little guy looking like I wanted... but the background was a little distracting. Hmmm.. selecting the foal, inversing the selection with a nice feather and adding a slight Gaussian blur took care of that. Since the picture now looked like something I might want to frame, I decided to add some 'strokes' around the picture (and a touch of beveling) to simulate matting it. I chose black for the outer mat, then two colors of green which I chose by using the picker to get the colors from the picture itself. Almost done! I then added a 'frame' from my effects folder to go around my mats... and VIOLA!

Finished Photo

What do you think??

For anyone interested, the little girl is a Fjord. They are really cool horses. They look and act much like draft horses, but are small, almost pony sized. Here is a link to a page with info if you are interested!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Your Monday Photo Shoot: Night Shots

John over at By The Way offers up this Monday Goodness....

Your Monday Photo Shoot: It's Night! Take a picture. Naturally, taking a picture inside at night (i.e., where it's well lit and indistinguishable from day) won't do; take a picture that captures some of the quality of the night time. Also: No sunset photos. We'll save them up to do another time

The minute I saw this assignment I knew exactly what shot I was going to use. This was taken with my 18-55 lens. I hadn't gotten my new lens yet, which was too bad because the shot would have been even better with it. I'm sure I'll get another chance at clouds and moon again ;p