Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Featured Guest Blogger K.L. Allendoerfer

K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Painted Ladies

Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.

Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.

In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).

To read the rest of the article click the link: Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies. Thank you, K. L. Allendoerfer for allowing me to publish your post.

For more of Norm’s 2.0 posts on Doors click the link.

For additional Photo Challenges, click the link.

Things I Learned Traveling Around Australia

Carol, the Eternal Traveller, travels incessantly. I think this is one of her funniest posts. In Melbourne I carried around the backpack you will see. It did not look like this! 🙂

Things I Learned

by the Eternal Traveller

Round Australia Road Trip #33

When doing something completely different from your usual way of life, there are certain to be some moments of self-discovery; travelling vast distances with a caravan for seven weeks around our amazing country revealed some new aspects of my character. Here are ten things I learned about myself on the Round Australia Road Trip.

1. I enjoy flying – but only in big planes. Our flight over the Bungle Bungles was in a 6 seater Cessna C10 and our very enthusiastic pilot Sam made sure we all got the best possible view …

Source: Things I Learned

Please take a second to visit Carol’s blog. Be sure to leave a comment. Tell her I said hi! 🙂

Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia in Spring

In mid-January, I awoke to a cool 69 degrees in Toowoomba at my friend Carol’s house. We toured several gardens around the city, but I missed the grandeur of the spring gardens. Her pictures of vivid September flowers will amaze you.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons

by the Eternal Traveller

The Queensland city of Toowoomba is perched on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, about 700 metres above sea level. Its location means that while much of Queensland has hot Summers and mild Winters, Toowoomba experiences four distinct seasons. For most residents, the favourite is Spring, which brings with it an unsurpassed floral display.

The rich volcanic soil of the area produces gardens vibrant with colour and Toowoomba is known across Australia as the Garden City. Each September, the city celebrates the Carnival of Flowers with a Grand Parade, arts and crafts exhibitions, garden competitions and a food and wine festival. The local parks and gardens, having been lovingly tended through the Winter months by a team of council gardeners, become a haven for locals and visitors alike.

Source: Weekly Photo Challenge – Changing Seasons

Please take a second to visit Carol’s blog and share this on social media or repost it.

Work Experience from the student’s point of view

This is a post by one of Leanne’s students who did some of the same things Carol and I did with Leanne. We did some night photography. Instead of a tripod, I used what anyone can use – a bridge, or fence post – whatever isn’t moving! You’ll see my pictures later. Meanwhile, enjoy Leanne’s and Alainne’s photos.

Alainne wrote about her experiences with Leanne.

Work Experience from the student’s point of view

This last week has been interesting for me as I have had a work experience student, Alainne. She has been great and very willing to learn.

The first photographs we took were around the Eltham Library. We took some photos of the building and photos of the trains as well. The train driver actually stopped the train to tell us that we were supposedly trespassing and weren’t allowed to take photos. Despite that, I still managed to get a good shot of the train.

On Wednesday we ventured into the city early in the morning to go to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera to take close up photos of the beautiful flowers that were on display. I got to see the effects of changing the ISO, aperture and shutter speed on the camera which helped me to understand what Leanne had taught me about them the previous day. I now know that to have a good photo you must have a perfect balance of all three settings on the camera.

We took long exposure photos of Flinders Street Station and photos of steel wool being lit and twirled in circles inside alley ways. It was so much fun and interesting to talk to that many photographers. It was good listening to them as they shared and compared tips and techniques. I used a tripod for the first time that Leanne was kind enough to lend me.

Read the rest of the post by clicking the link below.

Source: Work Experience from the student’s point of view

Taking to the Road

You have to pick when you visit Australia because it is so vast. Native Australians often travel around the country on holidays. Here is the first of Carol’s 33 posts on her trip circumnavigating Australia. If you have ever thought about going to Australia, be sure to visit her blog to see the rest of the posts.

Taking to the Road

by the Eternal Traveller

A couple of weeks ago my husband, aka Mr. ET, and our daughter set off on the first part of a great adventure.

They travelled from Toowoomba to Roma, Longreach, and Mount Isa, into the Northern Territory on the Barkly Highway, on to the Stuart Highway north to Mataranka, Katherine and Kakadu before arriving in Darwin. They covered 4046 kilometres in 11 days and saw many amazing sights along the way.

Source: Taking to the Road

Please take the time to go to Carol’s site to view the rest of her amazing photographs and read the entire story and reblog or share it over social media.

It’s been a funny time

Leanne Cole, Carol, Chris Wilson (follow Chris on Instagram) and I spent an afternoon and evening at the Docklands on the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Both Leanne and Chris are professional photographers, so Carol and I had a wonderful time picking up tips and snagging some of these same shots with our cameras.

Photos

The photos were taken in the city last week. We started late in the afternoon and we went until it was dark. We spent our time along the river, which is always a great place for photos, especially at night.

All images were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens.

Source: It’s been a funny time

Finding new places and catching up

While I was in Australia, I saw Lake Elizabeth on a map, but here you get to see it up close through Leanne Cole’s eyes. Leanne processes her photos to make them unique. Her website describes what she does and how she takes her photos, so you can learn something to help you where ever you go to take your photos.

These posts are from her WordPress.com site. Leanne has a new site now, which is her professional site.

Finding new places and catching up

by Leanne Cole on March 13, 2016

This next week is set to be a very busy time for me. I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and there are places to go and take photos. Though first let’s start where I always do.

Book on Banyule Flats

I went out the other morning and got my final images for the book. I have done nearly all I have to now. On the morning I went out I was greeted with the most beautiful sunrise, which I took photos of. I now have the cover shot for the book and I’m really happy about that. I did take some long exposures as well.  Now I have to coordinate the book being put together and get it published.

Lake Elizabeth

We went to an amazing place up the back of Lorne called Lake Elizabeth. I have to say it was a lovely surprise. When we got to the car park I kept saying, are you sure there is a lake here, as we were in the middle of rainforest. We had to walk a bit, and do some not so nice uphill, but it was worth it. As I am sure you can see from the photos. Of course, plans are being made for a return trip. I believe camping was mentioned as well. Mmm, I’m doing some of that in a couple of weeks, will see how that goes first.  The things we do for our photography.

The photos are the walk to and from the lake and the lake. I do love how the light comes through rainforests and catches foliage. All the images were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens, the perfect lens for a walk like this.

Source: Finding new places and catching up

Walkabout Around the City

Carol and I traveled from Brisbane, Australia to Melbourne then to the gold mines of Ballarat for about ten days. While we were there, we met our blogging friend, Leanne Cole, a fantastic photographer and artist. We had several excursions together, which I will “get sorted” when I get back to the United States. I’ll create my series of posts then. Meanwhile, I’m working on my Australian dictionary!

While I’m away you have been enjoying The Eternal Traveller’s posts about Australia on the odd numbered days. Leanne has given me permission to publicize her posts on my blog as well. So you can find those on the even days.

Please click over to her blog to catch all the photos.

Walkabout Around the City

by Leanne Cole on March 28, 2016


Usually I do this post with a catch up and let you know what I’m up to, but to be honest, time is running out this weekend. I’m off tomorrow on a small camping trip. I know, hard to believe, but yes I’m camping. Nothing too much just overnight. I will tell you more when I get back.

Source: Walkabout Around the City

Waistlines Go West in Western Australia!

Miss Me Yet? I Just Got to Australia.

Waistlines Go West I think means spread out! I’ll be at the east coast of Australia from Dec. 26-Jan 16. I’m starting with my western waist from birthdays and Christmas feasting. I can’t imagine what is going to happen if my waistline goes any farther west!

Another Great Eternal Traveler Post

The bounty of the Margaret River region of south-west Western Australia is renowned for its quality, freshness and lack of food miles. There are more than 120 wineries, eight breweries …

Source: Waistlines Go West in Western Australia!

Piggles Again

Yesterday I got a comment from TOM, the other Marcia, and she told me I needed a tablet and a stylus to draw.  Since she is an artist, and I definitely am not, I decided to try it.  V dropped me off at Best Buy, and they told me that I needed a Bamboo tablet.  They were only $99.00, and I decided that would be worth the amount of entertainment I would get from it.  So it came home with me.

After going through the tutorial ad nauseum, I wondered if I could draw a house for Piggles.  It looked like a square with a triangle on top.  So, NO.  There are no images in my mind for houses.  I have to see pictures, I guess.  So I went back to Piggles, and drew her again, using the same photograph, but this time using the stylus, and coloring in a background color.

Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.
Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.

So here is the Old Piggles, drawn with the mouse

Piggles 2

And here is the new Piggles, drawn with the stylus.  You can see that I am still not an artist. I just don’t have the eye, but it was my best try for as long as I want to sit doing it.  You can tell me what you think.

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

This seems the perfect place to feature my new friend, Marcia, or T.O.M. as she calls herself. There must be something to the name because she is married to Mark, and my first husband was named Mark.  Very coincidental.  So it only makes sense that since she taught me about this product and gave me a mini-art lesson that I should feature her blog.  Like my other friend Darla Welchel, who I plan to feature later this week – warning Darla, I’ll be over camping on your site, Marcia loves to read and review books.  I get one book read, and they probably are reading 10.  The important thing is that the books get read and reviewed.

Marcia's site

The other interest that she and I are sharing is writing.  I am so new at this sport as well, in spite of writing for a living in my job, teaching writing to children, having a few articles published in journals and magazines, and even a few pieces of poetry.  Books are a different matter.  Marcia, however, is all over art work.  She emailed me some of her work, and they are astounding.  You are just going to have to discover T.O.M. for yourself.  She’s astounding.  Too bad she’s not single, Ralph!  She’s got a great sense of humor, too.

Book Review: The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

This book, The Elephant Whisperer, kept me on the edge of my seat the entire two days it took me to finish it.

Considering that I was reading it on my cell phone the whole time because my Kindle needs to be emptied before I can load any more books, it’s amazing that I even stuck it out.   Out of forty-two chapters, there wasn’t a single dud.  I read it because I was intrigued when someone  wrote that when Lawrence Anthony died, the elephants mourned.

We all have problems and obstacles when we follow our dreams, but this man had more than most.  He bought a 5,000 acre game reserve in Zululand, South Africa called Thula Thula.  He had the ability to get, not only wild elephants to listen to him, but also local police, local political leaders including tribal leaders from warring tribes.  He conquered poaching problems, floods, and built a thriving lodge in the midst of this reserve full of all kinds of wild animals, the largest being the elephants.

These desperate, wild elephants uprooted trees weighing several tons and crashed through electric fencing to escape the reserve and run free in towns and countryside where EVERYONE from poachers to police wanted to shoot them.  The logistics of capturing, transporting and keeping animals of this strength and determination were mind-boggling.  His story of training and taming them without domesticating them kept me transfixed and absorbed for about two days.

One of the major characteristics that comes out about Lawrence Anthony besides his ability to work hard in horrible circumstances, is his humility.  He credited everyone for the wonderful ways they contributed to his project, and in so doing inspired immense loyalty.  Possibly just as amazing was his companion, Franςoise.  She combatted snakes, and nursed a dying 280 pound baby elephant in her spare bedroom – well the run of the house, actually.  She ran the lodge, made and served gourmet French cuisine, and finally after living with the man who didn’t mind having elephant slobber all over his body for 15 years planned and executed their surprise wedding.

Elephants and the Common Core

Remembering that the Common Core is all about non-fiction, and integrating science, social studies, and technology, this book will do it all – especially if students are reading it on their iPhones as I was.  In spite of it’s length this is an engaging read for upper elementary students and above.  It is also a great one to engage male readers, who statistically respond both to animals and adventure.

Anthony’s story of survival, love, adventure, drama, and caring for both animals, the environment and culture of the people will inspire and challenge everyone to meet their own challenges with courage and innovation.

Featured Blog

Featured BlogThe perfect blog to feature today is one of another adventurer, Amy at shareandconnect.  I have heaped awards on Amy’s shoulders, and I have enjoyed her company, her uplifting comments on my blog for many months, but tonight I spent time just thumbing through her blog, reading the back pages, and the more I read, the more I liked.  This wonder woman has been everywhere.  If it has a trail, she climbed it.  If it’s beautiful, she’s photographed it.

Here’s a peek.  You are going to want to set aside some time and just go browse in her museum of photos.

You can thank me later because you’ll be richer for it!  Enjoy Share and Connect, you’ll be glad you connected.  🙂  Marsha

 

Guess What This One Is

This is a puzzle.  I personally think this is harder than my last guessing picture.  You all did very well on that one, but now are you up to this challenge?

What is this?cropped again copy

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

I have accumulated so many blogs on my list, and some of them I never hear from, so last night I was rummaging through my list to find who I want to honor today.  Low and behold I found him.  GMan’s Galaxy.  I’m blown away by George’s amazing blog.  I think George loves everything.

Oh yes, and he’s on Good Reads, too.  We just bought Legos for Edward for Christmas, and here is an affectionado of his who builds Lego places, and then acts out a drama in them for You Tube.

Here is one of his sets.  If George doesn’t blow you out of the water, I don’t know what will!

I’m assuming he goes to school, makes great grades, reads, writes, builds, videos – and Blogs having over 60,000 hits!  I think this may be one of our next presidents some day. George, you have my vote.  🙂

Awards Made Easy

If you’ve been blogging regularly and faithfully for more than two or three weeks, you’ve probably received your first award.  This post is primarily for NEW bloggers.  Experienced bloggers don’t always stick by the letter of the Award Laws, but they have developed their own ways to responding to awards.  This is my way.

In my opinion, Awards are fun.  Someone took the time to develop them.  They are an invitation from someone who is reaching out and saying, “I like you.  What you are saying is resonating with me.”  They may also be a newbie and be saying to themselves, “I got this award, and I have to pass it on, or the whole blogosphere is going to blow up in my face.”

Cyberspace – if you don’t pass on your award.

Panic-stricken they continue their muse, “Who can I give it to? I”ve only read three people’s blogs.  How was I supposed to know I have to read OTHER people’s blogs?  I thought I would just write, and people would come read it.  And soon an online magazine would pick up my stuff and start publishing it.  Hmmm  OK, I know, I’ll give it to another new kid on the block.”

Like this!
One of my first posts. An obvious sign of a newbie blogger who desperately NEEDED an award!!!!

Whatever reason an award comes your way, there it is and now you have to make a decision.  Are you going to respond, blow it off and pretend you didn’t get it, or hang up a “Do Not Disturb – No Blogs Allowed” sign on your blog?  I think most people respond, which perpetuates the award giving, but there is always the temptation to move on and ignore the award.  I’m going to err on the side of acceptance for lots of reasons.  First I’m going to tell you why I don’t want to hang up a “go away award givers” sign.

Very few newbies write well enough to tell people to go away and expect them to come back and visit their site.  The only one I know who gets by with that is Ralph, and Ralph is just special.  He doesn’t even have to write a post and people come and leave 80-100 comments in his box.  You need to visit Ralph just to know it’s true, but beware, you will be hooked.  Ralph just has enough “Je ne sais crois,” as one of his friend’s puts it, to pull it off.  The rest of us starter bloggers, well ….  Only you can make that decision.  Most people who don’t respond eventually have few people visiting their site even caring what they write.  If that’s really what you want – and some people do – then, by all means, hang up the sign.  And people will leave you alone by the droves.

So let’s say you get an award or two, what do you do to keep up?  I don’t want to mislead you – it does take some effort on your part to participate.  Here are my steps.

  1. Thank your award giver right away – even if you are not going to respond and pick the blogs you want to pass the award yet.  If you don’t do this and forget who gave you awards, you can search your comments to find who has given you awards.
  2. First of all you don’t HAVE to follow all the instructions exactly as written if YOU don’t want to do so.  There are no award police.  This is not a grant application that will be rejected if you don’t answer one of the questions.   It’s not a chain letter that will break and bring you bad luck to you and your descendants for hundreds of years.  So if the award doesn’t work exactly for you, be creative.  It’s the thought that counts.
  3. Open a word document to copy and paste the instructions for your blog award(s) as well as the url of the person awarding you.  I usually open a new document when I have a couple of awards, rather than just one because I’m not really THAT organized.   Answer the questions, and create a blanket invitation that you will cut and past in your awardee’s comment boxes later.   I always try to let them know that they don’t have to feel obligated by my nomination.  
  4. Open your reader.  Copy and paste some or all of the blogs you follow into the document you created.
  5. Clean it up so that all you have are the links to the websites.  This is important.  You are going to use these links several times.
  6. We tend to pay attention to the first blogs we follow, and the most recent ones as well, so some blogs always get ignored.  Highlight a group of blogs you follow from your reader tab on your stats page, copy and paste them into a new place on the page.  Pick more than you need for the award.  I included a sample of my document in pink.

My cleaned up list

  1. A year of reading the world 
  2. ruleofstupid  
  3. benzeknees  
  4. 1earthnow 
  5. a recipe sharing and bento blog 
  6. The numpty novice with a compact camera and a laptop 
  7. The Adventures of Justin Beaver 
  8. rarasaur 
  9. Roxie’s Blog 
  10. An electric journal of a castaway 
  11. Views From My World 
  12. Anna Scott Graham, Indie Novelist 
  13. Erin Daniel Photography 
  14. Coming East 
  15. MY RIGHT TO BITCH
  16. Guapola 
  17. The Bottom of a Bottle
  18. GLORIOUS METTLE 

My award choices and blanket invitation/congratulations statement to paste into their comment box

Wonderful Team Member Readership

  1. ruleofstupid
  2. An electric journal of a castaway
  3. MY RIGHT TO BITCH
  4. Guapola
  5. The Bottom of a Bottle
  6. GLORIOUS METTLE

As I meet new bloggers, I am always impressed by, not only creative blogs, but those blogs that can create readership, and participate as engaged readers in others’ blogs.  That is the reason I have nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Enjoy it as a compliment.  http://wp.me/p2jC53-13f

  1. Let’s assume that you have more than enough sights that you follow to choose from.  If you don’t I’ll address that in a minute.  Start down your list (on the Word document) and click on the sites.  This is time consuming because you want to “camp out” on each site for a bit to get to know them if you are not reading them regularly.  I prefer working from the offline page rather than trying to keep track of them in my reader.  I have to watch my internet usage, and it saves time.  Don’t give awards to sites you really don’t know AT ALL!   
  2. Write your post.  You can cut and paste from your Word document including all the names.  Paste the links into the tags of your post as well, so that your awardees get better coverage on Google.  Remember award giving will help them build readership.
  3. Insert a picture of the award by copying the url from your friend who gave you the award.  Save and close it.  Insert it into the post near the top and use the url for  that also.  Publish your post, and copy the short link.  Open the your sidebar image and fill in the blanks with the title of the award, url for the picture, and paste the short link for YOUR POST in the space that says link to an url, near the bottom of the insertion.  I also write the name of the award giver in the caption line.  (see sample )
  4. Widget for awardUsing your Word document, click on each website again, go to a comment section and paste in your blanket response.  I always personalize it to respond to what Ive read on their site as well.  That should take care of it.

Follow-up

  1. As you regularly visit sites, check out the awards, write congratulation notes.  Awards are a tool for making connections with others.  
  2. Respond to people as they thank you choosing them for the award.  Be positive and always congratulate them because you had a reason for picking them.  If you can elaborate on their return comment, it never hurts to tell them a few more details about why you chose them.

What to do if you don’t have enough followers?

  1. If you haven’t been blogging for very long and don’t have enough, then you can just put the award away for a while, or you can visit your favorite pages, and look at the comment sections and see who else you might like to have as a friend.
  2. Click on the links of the comments you like and check them out, looking at the about pages and a few posts.  Don’t give awards to people you find out that you don’t really like.  This makes them meaningless!!!!

What happens after you’re nominated for an award?

 Nothing happens.  No WordPress person is going to come and say, “You were nominated, and out of the 600,000,000 bloggers world-wide, your new blog is the best we’ve ever seen.”  I say that because at first I was so shocked to receive an award.   I was so naive vain, that I wondered when someone was going to tell me that I’d actually WON!  The experience is the nomination.  The fact that another blogger likes you is the prize.

My Rant

I wish we did something like this with students so that they were not looking at the teacher to give all the praise.  Students need learn to do a good job just to do a good job, and to appreciate EACH OTHER because they evaluate each other’s work and deem it valuable in some way.  Everybody can be the BEST something.

I have many blogging awards in my sidebar, and I’m proud of all of them.  My non-blogger friends think I’m really a master blogger when they see all those award seals!!! hahaha  And to some of you lovely bloggers I AM!!!

Award giving builds community and caring between bloggers.  No one can monitor all of this.  We wouldn’t want them to!!  We monitor each other.  We visit bloggers because we want to read what they have to say.  I started blogging in April, 2012.  A few of my blogger friends and I have started emailing so we don’t blog up the blog.  I have given and received items from my friends in the snail mailbox.  We have exchanged pictures.   We have become Facebook friends or fans.  We are really becoming more than just Cyber friends.

As a word of caution to all of this personal sharing we all want to be safe.  My husband wanted me to take off my location on my Facebook page, which I did.  It is also not a great idea to include your birthday on FB.

Do you think I love blogging?  Come join the fun.  I hope this has made your award receiving and giving a little easier.  🙂

Featured Blog

Featured Blog

Featured Blogs are my alternative to awards.  You can see my criteria on my Featured Blogs page.  Patricia Drury is my pick for today.  She is  retired and relatively new to blogging, a newbie photographer with a Canon Camera with talent just bursting to be shared.  She open and full of life.  I think I’d like to BE in some of her photographs they are in such beautiful places!!  See what I mean?

Anybody want to join me???

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise

I enjoy photo challenges because they always make me think.  I don’t usually think about themes.  I was surprised this morning when I was reading Russel Ray’s site that anyone could come up with enough pictures of chimneys, let alone the idea that the chimneys were Santa-unfriendly chimneys, and therefore the cause of undelivered gifts in Southern California.  I am surprised at the creative thinking of others.

Being basically self-centered my first thought was, when have I ever been surprised.  Of course I’ve had surprise parties, but that’s a little too self-centered even for me!  So I just started scouting.  And I found a mutual surprise.  He was as surprised seeing me as I was seeing him hiding in the trees.

V in HI copy

I wanted to at least get my feet wet, so V waited for me while I ran down to get in the warm water for a few minutes.

Surprise1When I got up close, we were talking for a minute when I glanced over, and poof, this guy had sprung up out of nowhere, and looked like he had been comfortably ensconced for a lifetime.  I was surprised I hadn’t noticed him before in his bright red hammock.  Who misses red stuff???

Surprise 2He seemed not to notice me, but I had to ask if I could take his picture. He was surprised, too!

Here are some more blogs to check out so you can also be surprised at the creativity of others.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/weekly-photo-challenge-surprise/

  1. Weekly Photo Challenge:  Surprise | Patricia Drury 
  2. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « janna hill
  3. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Simply Charming
  4. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | ranDom muZings
  5. Weekly photo challenge: Surprise « Leanne’s delicious food and travel adventures
  6. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 1 « KnowledgeKnut
  7. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 2 « KnowledgeKnut
  8. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise No. 3 « KnowledgeKnut
  9. A Whale of a Surprise | The Wanderlust Gene
  10. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | LooknWalk
  11. Surprise? Surprise! | Empire of Lights
  12. Peace, Love, Joy | Ron Mayhew Photography
  13. WPC: Surprise | eljaygee
  14. WordPress Photo Challenge: Surprise! « right in front of me
  15. Another post of ‘Surprise’ birthday | Bams’ Blog
  16. Weekly Photo Challenge : Surprise! « Cheryl Andrews
  17. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « To Mother Earth, with Love
  18. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | En snögummas tankar om livet
  19. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « Try 2B cool ‘n smart…
  20. Surprise « Stray Thoughts
  21. Weekly photo challenge: surprise | Cloud and Mountain
  22. Weekly Photo Challenge: Christmas Surprise Triage at Grandma’s | Humbled Pie
  23. Winter Wonderland « Rainbow Bakery
  24. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise! | IsobelandCat’s Blog
  25. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE « Nam Writes.
  26. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise « My Tropical Home
  27. WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE: SURPRISE « Francine In Retirement
  28. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | Eat, travel, photograph
  29. Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise | belgradestreets

Featured Blog

 Featured Blog

Lantern Post http://lanternpost2012.wordpress.com/  Daniela will break your heat and inspire you at the same time.  Although she a native of Zagreb, (Croatia), she writes with a simple, honest elegance in English that few native writers ever achieve.  One of my favorite posts, entitled, Is Blogging Addictive?, haunted me long after I remembered who wrote it.  It continued to inspire me as I thought about the symptoms that I display more and more each day to my husband’s consternation.

This is one blog that doesn’t need a lot of photography and art to draw you in and hold your attention.  This was her only media, and yet, her thoughts lasted in my mind for months. Like a good book, you won’t be able to put her tab down and move to another site or get up and do something in the real world (heaven forbid!).

As soon as I publish this post, I’m going over to her site to surprise her with the news that she’s MY Featured Blog.

Dianne Gray, author, new and dear friend, and one of my Featured Blogs,   recommended my to Robin Coyle the other day.  I was so honored, and I wondered who Robin was. Now I’m following Robin, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we became friends in the future.  Thank you Dianne for recommending me.  I hope my friend Daniela will feel as honored and surprised as I was.  Yes, Daniela, to answer your question, Blogging IS Addictive!!!!

Do you have people you want to feature, but they are award-shy?  Or you don’t have the right award to give them at the moment.  I have my own criteria which you can read about on my new Featured Blog page.  You have your ideas of what blogs draw you into their personal spidery web.  Talk to me about it.  You might even want to feature someone yourself, or send me a recommendation with a little explanation.  Even though I designed a little seal to give people I feature, I’m still mulling this over in my mind.

Romance in Tulare County

horses kissing

If you’ve been reading my blog recently, you’ll notice that several blogger friends are wanting to get together.  Several have suggested that they want to come to Tulare County.  I will just say that it’s a great place!  Romance is in the air.  You’ll be given lots of space

space in TC

So come to TC for your special romantic vacation.  You can’t go wrong!  Boyfriends or girlfriends are not provided!!!

*******************************************************************************************************************Now for some serious business:

I received a present of a book from author Lisa Winkler, Black Cowboy’s Ride Across America.  I started it last night, and it is wonderful.  I’ll be writing a review soon.  Her blog,  Cycling Grandma, was my Featured Blog recently.  Thanks so much, Lisa.

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For some reason my blog was selected to put on a special hotel website.  Here is the email.  They use the words WordPress in the email, so I’m just assuming that it’s legitimate.  Since this has never happened to me before, I’m going to rely on all of you to let me know it is.  Their link is provided in the email.  🙂

Hello,
This is Shiela from HotelShivSaiShirdi.com.
We stumbled on your blog while searching for Hotel. We operate the largest WordPress Hotel blog website featuring more than 30,000+ blogs. Our site averages 200,000+ uniques visitors per month. As a kind note We have featured your blog at http://hotelshivsaishirdi.com.pink.mysitehosted.com/blog_awards/index.php?id=2115 We would be grateful if you could add the following details to your blogroll or in a post
<a href=’http://hotelshivsaishirdi.com/‘>Hotels in Shirdi</a>
Looking forward for your confirmation.
Thanks
Shiela
HotelShivSaiShirdi.com.

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Don’t forget Renee’s Online Birthday Party Coming up Dec. 24th at 12:00 a.m. PST and going through Dec. 26 at 12:00 a.m.

Renee copy

Day Trip From Woodlake to Three Rivers, CA In Search of Snow

Winding Through the Backroads Out of Woodlake, CA

We got up Sunday morning to absolutely sparkly blue skies, and cool temperatures.  It was a perfect day for a trip to the mountains.  I wanted to see snow up close and personal.  In the summer here the weather changes very little, but in the winter it can change from minute to minute.  Before it changed too much V, Kalev and I hopped into the car and headed for the hills.  My goal was to get to Sequoia National Park, and play in the snow.

TC Drive to Kaweah Lake014The trip up to the park was distracting.  “Pull over right here, V.  I want to snap a picture of rock outcroppings.”

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“Stop, stop, stop. right here V.  There’s a great picture of a horse for Auty.”

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“Look at that view, V.  Don’t you think I should take that?  SToooooop!!!”

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“Thanks V.  I’m ready now.”  Both V and Kalev were VERY patient

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Kaweah Lake near Three Rivers, CA

I do want to stop at Kaweah Lake and take a few pictures.  OK?

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Now that’s what I’m talking about.  I can’t believe that I thought this was ugly when I first moved here.  Right now it is at its lowest levels.  You can see the high-level water mark on the side of the hill.  When the rains come, and the snows melt, the lake behind Terminus Dam builds up.  If the Corps of Engineers doesn’t keep it empty now, it could conceivably break the dam built in 1955.  Before that time our valley was subject to extreme droughts most years, then huge floods every 7-10 years that bathed all the valley towns in several feet of fast-flowing, tree and rock-laden river waters.

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We pulled into the Tulare County Boat Safety Patrol Lake Kaweah Office parking lot, saw a friend of V’s, and took some pictures.  The flag was flying at half-mast in honor of victims of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.

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Terminus Dam
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“No, no Puppy Girl. Mommy doesn’t want to climb back UP those stairs.” – ML
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I’ll bring you back here this spring, and you’ll wonder how those cars could have ever been driving down there. ML

TC Drive to Kaweah Lake052 TC Drive to Kaweah Lake055 TC Drive to Kaweah Lake076Then we headed up the road in search of snow.  Almost immediately we came to Horse Creek Bridge.  When I was teaching, just before summer vacation one year, a young woman came to speak to our 4th graders about swimming safety.

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Like many other youngsters, when summer came, she went with her friends and took turns jumping off Horse Creek Bridge into the water below.  Of course, there’s a lot more water in the summer.

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Nonetheless, the rocks are still there, buried, and impossible to judge.  She hit her head and broke her neck.

TC Drive to Kaweah Lake082 The jump paralyzed her for life at age 19.

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We drove up to Slick Rock, a popular place to swim in the summer.

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Kalev was thankful for a chance to explore.

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Mom and Dad weren’t paying much attention to her.  Good thing she had on her leash!

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Plenty of green grass. Don’t look Dad! About time we get to explore something besides pavement!  This is MORE like it. OK, I’m done now, Dad. DAD! I said I’m DONE. LET”S MOVE IT!   COME ON! – K
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Finally, there’s a lot to sniff here . – K
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I could make it down this little slope, but Dad said no. If he’d just LOSE this leash! – K
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I could climb those. He’s not being reasonable with this leash thing. MMMM, What’s this smell? -K
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Dad seems preoccupied with this view. I don’t know what the big deal is. I could just run around if he’d just unsnap my leash. – K
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Mom doesn’t even care. Do you think SHE is going to climb those rocks. hahaha Last time she tried something like that she smashed her camera lens when she tripped. LOL  BUT I COULD BE CLIMBING THOSE ROCKS!  DAD, LET ME GO!  -K
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I wonder how I could get his attention? – K
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There, these did the trick! Now he’s looking.  He’s bending down.  He’ll unsnap my leash now.  Ouch DAD! You’re pulling my hair!  I don’t have much, hair, and … What are you doing?  Leave those burs in my back alone. They aren’t bothering anyone! – K
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Great, now he’s called Mom over. She never gives up on these things. OUUUUUCH! MOM! Why don’t they just go back to their sightseeing? – K

 

V came unglued.  I struggled with my bandaged thumb to pull out burs for about the next 15 minutes.  Finally we were down to the last three, but they weren’t budging.  Then one more to go.  It was almost in her mouth, and needed to be cut out.  About that time, the park ranger drove up.  I got out of the car and asked if he had any scissors.  He did!  We cut the last bur out, bit by bit.  Kalev was such a good girl.  She did jerk her head a bit, but never a yelp or a snap. In the end, it took both V and me to hold her head still while Ranger Bill snipped out the bur.  Here’s a FAQ for you about burs.  “The bur of burdock was the inspiration for Velcro.”  Wikipedia

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That wasn’t so bad. Maybe Ranger Bill will let me down to run around. – K

Kalev was very grateful to Ranger Bill.

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Our next stop was Horse Creek Campground.

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You can see how exposed the tree roots are because of the higher level of the water in the spring and early summer.  That means the campground is under water, and we wouldn’t be driving on this road.

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Dad, put me down. Mom’s leaving us.  MOM, you forgot me!  Do you see that grass? What’s a Pac-Man? – K

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Across the road, I spotted Pac-Man hanging out at Horse Creek Campground.

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Can you tell how old this tree is?  Me either, the rings are too small for me to count, but it’s dead now.  After one last shot for Toemail, we were ready to leave. The blue skies suddenly turned gray, we were tired, and we never drove high enough to reach snow.  We decided to go back home and wait for the snow to come down to us.  It was a relatively quick trip, and we thought of many other reasons to come back.  It was a great date.  People come from all over the world to visit the Sequoia National Park, home of the biggest trees in the world.  We didn’t make it up that far today.

So if you come visit us, we’ll make the entire trip to the Sequoias without all the distractions because you will have seen them already.  Or maybe you’d like the distractions, too.

What do you think?  With or without distractions?

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delicate

Delicate suggests many diverse meanings. Curiously, now and again what seems delicate may actually be quite strong, and conversely, when something appears heavy, mechanical, sturdy or awkward may have delicate functions, characteristics, or aspects.  Here are some of my choices for the many meanings of delicate.  How many of them might at the same time be surprisingly durable, hardy, vigorous or unyielding?

1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way,  and
2. Very subtle in difference or distinction.  With its delicate beauty this dainty, paper-thin blossom, tinged with a hint of pink, entices human admirers as it attracts and feeds tiny insects.
flower with delicate pink tinged petals.
flower with delicate pink tinged petals.
3. Exquisitely fine or dainty:  I am especially enamored with spider webs.  After a light rain, these delicate strings sparkle like diamonds.  All the while they seem delicate, spider webs capture insects, weather strong winds and rain, and even resist persistent humans who try to destroy them.
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4. Frail in constitution or health.  Like any elderly living thing, fallen leaves lose their suppleness as they age.  When they first fall, they are colorful, and easy to gather.  After a few months their delicate, frail forms crunch and break easily when touched.  Even in their broken condition, they function as fertilizer and conditioner to improve the soil and retain its valuable moisture.
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5. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation.  Most people consider a flag of the United States a symbol of strength, not something fragile or delicate, but I would argue that the delicate experiment of our democratic government is always only one generation from total collapse.  If citizens are not vigil, the rights and privileges we enjoy in the United States can disappear.
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6. Easily broken or damaged.  I took many pictures as workmen replaced our 30-40 year old furnace with an efficient new model.  One of the men asked for my pictures.  He told me that working on a roof with a crane swinging a heavy HVAC unit towards them was extremely delicate work.  One false move with the powerful arm of the crane, and the installers could be knocked off the roof, or the unit or roof structure ruined.  Until I talked to him, I would not have thought of this as a delicate task, but he changed my thinking.
installing a heating/air conditioning unit
installing a heating/air conditioning unit
Another delicate operation is archaeology.  In Jamestown students worked alongside experienced archaeologists to uncover secrets buried in the settlement established in 1607.    Nothing here looked very delicate, but once they dug a large area down to a specific level, they started working with brushes and spoons rather than shovels, being very careful not to destroy fragile artifacts.  
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7. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination:
a. Considerate of the feelings of others.
b. Concerned with propriety.
c. Squeamish or fastidious.
These students reenacted the giants in the women’s suffrage movement.  Although considered the delicate sex, the suffragists  showed amazing strength in the face of danger and harsh punishment.
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8. Fine or soft in touch or skill.  Although the dandelion seeds are delicate to the touch, the dichotomy is that these hardy seeds weather strong winds, travel great distances, and  reproduce many offspring.
Dandelions have delicate
Dandelions have delicate
9. precise, skilled, or sensitive in action or operation: Kalev got burrs stuck all around her mouth.  Taking them out was a delicate matter because they were so close to her sensitive mouth.  We didn’t have scissors, so we had to pull her tangled fur off each bur.  A park ranger came to our rescue with a pair of surgical scissors, but even that was a delicate operation.  Even if Kalev had been sedated for the delicate procedure, which she wasn’t, there was so little space between her skin and the bur that we could have easily cut her skin instead.  We had to cut the bur into pieces, then pull gently.  Success!!! 
Delicate- Kalev's bur removal operation
The dichotomy of delicacy intrigued me almost as much as the search for pictures to match the many definitions of delicate.
For more delicate pictures click here.
Featured Blog
Sydney Fong is a funny guy from Singapore.  I don’t mean he’s funny looking or acting or weird, but just plain funny.  If you’ve read my blog, you know that I dearly love humor at the expense of almost all other things – even history.  However, Sydney also has a soft spot in his heart as you will see with some of his posts.   He hates violence, and loves the environment.  What better combination can you get than that!  Go to his most popular posts first.  My favorite is, “Shall We Go for a Stroll?  Let me tell you, if you go for a stroll with this architectural artist, you’ll end up needing stitches – in your side from giggling. I also loved Paw Driving.
Kalev liked this picture from Sydney’s blog, so if you want to see more like this, go visit his site.

Christmas Sweater

When my first husband, Mark, went to Bible College, and worked, and worked some more, I worked at the college as a secretary, and had such fun with the other four secretaries that worked in the office with me.  They were the ones that refused to  bake me a birthday cake, but gave me the best birthday party ever.  During the long, cold Colorado nights while Mark worked, my neighbor, Lois, labored to teach me how to knit.  And finally I became pretty good.  One of my first successes was this sweater, which now is all stretched out of shape and pilled with age.  I keep it as a reminder of those days.

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I think I wore this sweater on my birthday.  The other four ladies in the office said, “Make us a sweater for Christmas, Marsha.”  Since my birthday is November 7th, I knew THAT was an impossibility for newbie knitter me.  BUT they kept after me, “Have you started our sweaters yet, Marsha.”  “I want a pink one.”  “I want a yellow one.”   And on and on it went until Christmas.

So I came with a solution.  I DID knit a sweater – ONE sweater for all of them.  I got it done, too.  Well, all but sewing it together.  I gave one of them a beautifully packed arm, another one got the second arm, one got the front, and the last one got the back!  Were they every surprised when they opened their Christmas presents!   And I laughed out loud!!!

The anti-climax of that story was that I had to knit three more sweaters before my husband graduated in May.  I’ll tell you, I was so busy!!!  But all four women got their sweaters.  Then Harriette in the business office said, “I’d just like a vest, Marsha”  So I made her a vest.  Then Dorothy in the library said, “I’d like a sweater like your pink one.”  So I made her a pink sweater which was a much more complicated pattern.   I finished those after we had moved to California to take our pastorate, along with a cardigan sweater made from the beautiful Australian yarn that my friend Janet brought me back from her trip.  Finally my patient husband, Mark, said, “You’ve never made me a sweater.”  He wanted an Irish knit sweater which would have been beautiful.  I got the front, back, and one sleeve done, and put the button holes on the wrong side.  After that I never knitted again until two years ago.  And I’ve never made another sweater.

Would you have?

Featured Blog

Today’s featured blog,  Cycling Grandma, writes about her talented 3-year-old grandson’s first hair cut, and the hair is donated to charity.  Lisa Winkler is an amazing, active woman with a heart of gold.  In just a few clicks of a mouse you can see that this blog isn’t just about her, and selling her books, although she is an author. Besides writing books and a blog, raising kids, grandkids and cycling, Lisa worked as a reporter, taught middle school, and was a literacy consultant.  Yes, another teacher!  She also has a professional website advertising you books http://www.lisakwinkler.com/.  Black Cowboys Ride Across America looks like a must read for me.  There has to be some history in that book!!!!

Lisa Winkler's grandson
Lisa Winkler’s grandson

So check our Lisa’s  out, and tell me if I didn’t make a good choice for today’s featured blog.  So is Simon Isaiah really playing the violin at age 3????