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.
Delicate 4
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.
Delicate2
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.

sweater 1

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????

Christmas Crafting

Before I begin I must express my extreme sorrow over what has happened in the school in Connecticut and publicly share my sympathies to all the families.  Words cannot express how much distress is in my heart about this horrific event.

Those of you who are creative, crafty types, as opposed to villainous, crafty types might enjoy seeing one of my Christmas bloopers.  And since Ana just gave me an Inspiring Blogger Award, (thanks Ana) just seeing the word “inspiring” might inspire someone to do a video tutorial on how to fix what you are about to see.  I did fix it, but I’ve decided that maybe hats aren’t my thing.  The number of times you will see me in a hat…oh yeah, I forget that most of you never see me in real life.  So you’ll never know if I’m truthful or falseful.  But, not only do I not wear them often, I’m not too great at making them.  This was one I made last Christmas season to try it out before I made my friend a hat for real.  Her hat is still sitting in a ball on the top shelf of my new bookcase. At least it’s out as a constant reminder to me.  If I’ve already told you this woeful knitting story, just press “LIKE”and move on.  🙂

Notice anything out of the ordinary here?
Notice anything out of the ordinary here?

First of all, I should have known this hat would be trouble.  I even had trouble getting the yarn out of its skein form and into a ball.  There was a HUGE knot in the middle of it!  AND I can’t tell you how often the crazy ball, with a mind of its own, rolled off my lap onto the carpet in the airport.  So after I struggled through making the ball, then knitting the hat using circular needles for the first time, I ended up with a twisted hot mess – oh yeah, I was the hot mess!  Anyway, the whole thing gave me fits.  It was a week-end quick, one-skeined wonder.  Hahahaha  Who writes those “this is going to be easy” books anyway?

Knitted pink hat2

This is how I solved my problem.  It worked and I redid it, and hated it.  So I took it to work.  I don’t have it anymore, so it’s in someone else’s closet.  Whew!!!

Did I ever tell you my sweater story?  Do you want to hear it?  So if no one pops over to visit me in Bloggerland, I can always knit.  Anyone want me to make them a hat?

SUNDAY POST : Concept

Concept is hard to visualize.  It can be anything and nothing all at the same time.  Without concepts, we can work, and play, but we can’t do it sustainably effectively or with passion.  Most of the time we think of concepts in terms of what is.  A dog is an animal with specific characteristics.  Addition is a concept of combining groups.  Liberty and freedom are concepts that is not so easily illustrated.  Which brings me to the point of my exploration.  Not all concepts are immediately visible and easy to explain, but they existed in the mind of the inventor before they ever became a concept the rest of the world could use:  the light bulb, the wheel, the internet.

water-dragon-poster1My husband conceptualizes space much better than I do.  When we bought our house 11 years ago, is was a mess.  There was a short driveway right up against the side of the house, and everything else was weeds.  Several years later it was still somewhat a mess, but V. always carried a concept of what he wanted in both the back and front yard.

SFW Concept - landscaping 2

This may look like grass, but we (hahaha) watered AND MOWED our weeds.  The back yard started with three dying orange trees and an overgrown garden with bricks running through it where the brown patch of dirt is.  He began right away removing the trees and the garden, piled the bricks from the lopsided paths, tore down the grape stem fence around the perimeter of  the garden.  I couldn’t see doing it.  I thought I’d putter in the garden, and clean it up a bit.   However, rattlesnakes hang out here in the summer, so every high weed could have a snake lurking under it.  V didn’t like that concept.

Concept - Landscaping1
You can still see where the three orange trees had been. The tractor helped us keep down the weeds.

V. wanted to put in a pool.  So he laid out his concept with a hose so that I could visualize it.  He left it there, and would change its shape from time to time.  He walked the pool guys out to show them the concept when they came to talk to us. Our neighbor ordered EXACTLY the same V-designed pool from Tahiti Pools after they shared V’s concept with him.  Maybe you can see a pool here better than I did at the time.  I was all in favor of putting in a pool.   Below you see the same exact area.

concept landscaping 9

Concept - landscaping 4

The picture was my present to him – my concept of his favorite things.  What I conceived I was able to do, but he wasn’t!  haha

concept house and car mergeimg copy

He wanted to landscape the front as well.  We explored the grounds of one of the Central Coastal Wineries to check out their concept of landscaping with grass paths.  He adapted the concept of grass pathways with growing something pretty in each framed area.  He mapped it out his concepts for me using Microsoft Publisher.  He took me out to the yard and walked me around where all the changes would be made.  He didn’t ask for much input from me.  He constantly talked about his concept because he didn’t think I understood it well enough, and it was a huge investment of time and money.  He wanted me enthused about it.

SFW Concept Landscaping 3
He got his pathway all laid out in stone. All the stones in the yard were part of his master concept.

You can see the basic paths.  Then he slowly filled them in.

Challenge landscaping 6 concept - landscaping 5

This porch and landscaped flower area had been the location of the narrow driveway when we moved in.  V made it beautiful.

concept landscaping 11

It’s interesting about concepts.  They motivate people.  If you grasp the concept, you can communicate it.  V would talk to me daily about his concepts.  Soon I was able to see it, and support them, and add my two cents once in a while.   Even now I am amazed that it is as beautiful as it turned out to be.   Concepts and living your dreams – the next challenge of Jakesprinter are very much connected in my mind.  The concepts that V could communicate – his dreams – allowed us to live his dreams.

Watch his concept unfurl.
Watch his concept unfurl.

concept landscaping 13

Motivate by concepts.
Motivate by concepts.

For more concept ideas click here.

Featured Blog

Yesterday received a comment from Amy that read, “Hi Marsha, You might enjoy reading this posthttp://shareandconnect.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/an-unexpected-christmas-present/ Re-blog Susan’s post…”  I adore and trust Amy, and was touched that she knows me well enough to refer me to another blog.  So I went there immediately and found Susan, another kindred spirit.  So Susie AKA Coming East is my Featured Blog for the day.

Here’s a wonderful picture of her from the newspaper when she stood in line at the opening of Whole Foods.  I’ll tell you what it is that attracts me to Susie.  It’s her dry British-ancestry sense of humor.  She doesn’t need pictures like I do to prime her pump, but she does tell down-home stories.  She does take beautiful pictures, though if you read her Challenge posts.  If you like me, you’ll love her.  I pressed the follow button before I even finished the first article.  I’ve gone back tonight to “camp out” like Russel Ray.  (It’s after 12:00 a.m here and I can now surf for free.  My husband is monitoring my internet use now since we used up last month’s allotment in 2 weeks.)

So visit Susie, then YOU tell me if I wasn’t right about her.

You’re Invited to Renee’s Online Birthday Party

Featured Blog

Who’s Renee?   I started following Renee and her mom’s blog 6 month’s and 2 weeks ago, making her the 8th blog I followed.  I followed her because she gave me one of my first awards before I even knew what an award was.  Little did I know that this expert blogger  was a mere 16 years old.  Over the months I have gotten to know Renee a bit better, and found out that her birthday is on Christmas.  How hard is that???  Since she lives in New Zealand, and I live in California, the likelihood of us ever meeting to have an actual birthday party, I thought, “Why not try to have a party online?”

PG sniffing around for an invite

So please join me in my blog-party experiment.  I’ll host the party starting on Christmas Eve, which I think is Christmas Day in New Zealand. and continue to have that as my only post through Christmas Day.  Come and wish Renee a happy birthday with me.  To visit her and get acquainted ahead of time click here.  That will get you started.  From there you can go to her second blog The Odd One Out.   Keep in mind that she’s only 16.  I know you will be as blown away as I am by her many interests and talent.

youre-invited

Gif compliments of  http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/party.shtml