7 Cherry on the Sundae Moments in 2016 – So Far!

#WP Photo Challenge

Cherries, sweet goodness, the joys and best of life

If the cherry is on top, all’s well that ends well, right? Life is a bowl of cherries. That is this week’s photo challenge, “cherry on top.” I tried to cherry pick the best photos from my 2016 collection that fit that description.

Definitely red
Definitely red

It was hot July 3rd in the Central Valley. As appointed photographer for the Kiwanis July 3rd Blast, I sought out interesting shots. Sure enough, here was the cherry on top.

a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top
a very cute parade rider with a cherry on top

She probably did not need to be coaxed to ride in the parade. In a few years, she will probably be Miss Woodlake.

Intent on history, his and 275 others' enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.
Intent on history, his and 275 others’ enjoyment of the new Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum was the cherry on top of the entire effort.

At the Grand Opening of the Woodlake Valley Cultural Museum, we experience double-vision with this cherry-red cap. Maybe he is reading about the founding members of the Woodlake Lions.

The VIP opening of the Museum was a cherry topping experience for me. Here’s why.

My phone rang. I was about to step back into my tour bus in Hawaii. It was Carl Peden. We had never met, but he donated lots of artifacts to the museum from his time serving the White House as the pilot of Air Force One. On a whim, I asked him if he would be one of the speakers at the VIP opening. To my surprise, he agreed.

Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening, passed away two days later on President's Day. We all mourn his passing.
Carl Peden, so vibrant at the Museum VIP opening.

At the end of his speech he took off his jacket and handed it to our President, Rudy Garcia, for the Museum. What an electrifying end to his speech!

Woodlake Museum iPhone photos

He proudly pointed out his name on the donor list to his relatives.

On President’s Day, two days later, he passed away. I think this event might have been the last cherry on his cake. We loved having him.

Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.
Tulare County is one of the agricultural capitals of the world.

The Tulare County Agricultural Fair is the cherry of all ag festivals. Thousands of ag professionals come from all over the world to see cherries like the one pictured. They probably know what this machine does, too! I just think it’s pretty and red.

a festive find at the botanical gardens
a festive find at the botanical gardens

Cacti don’t bloom that often, but when they do, they give us a magnificent show. This cherry-picked this photo emerged out of hundreds during the Woodlake Botanical Gardens Berry Festival this May. Beware, do not try to eat it, though!

Gelato anyone?
Gelato anyone?

Las Vegas is hot year round compared to most places. Gelato seemed like the best option for dinner after hubby played a rousing hand of poker all day. Nourishing? Not really. A delicious end to a fun day? Definitely!

Cherry of a life time!
Cherry vacation of a lifetime!

Though not overly thrilled with being the cherry in this picture, I was on cloud nine the week we were in Hawaii with my friends Carol, the Eternal Traveler from Australia, and Connie, my friend from TCOE, and their husbands.

The guys made it too!
The guys made it too!

You never know how it is going to work out when you put six people who have never traveled together on a week’s vacation, let alone six people, most of whom have never met in person. This Hawaiian trip was more than the icing on the cake. It was definitely the cherry on top!

Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching.
Mr. ET enjoyed whale watching. I love this picture of his enthusiasm!
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where's V?
We had fun trying to fit into a selfie. Where’s V? Can you see him next to me?

We all look a little wind-blown. Make-up? Forget about it! Fun? You bet!

We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.
We climbed hundreds of stairs to take this picture at the top of Iao State Park.

Huff, huff, huff! We made it to the top! My cherry-colored hat protected my face from frying in the sun, but held in the heat. Yes, I’m still smiling, but let’s sit down and have a nice cool drink, what do you think?

I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don't you think?
I lost my cherry bonnet in the shade, and wore my sarong in a most appealing way, don’t you think?

Near the end of the week, and we are still smiling, but I’m sad inside because it will end soon.

Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?
Are cherries more valuable because they are so tiny compared to the rest of life?

One week out of our lives, such a small chunk, but it leaves lasting memories as bright as cherries on a chocolate soda.

And eventually the sun set on the cherry experience.
And eventually, the sun set on the cherry experience.

For more cherries, click the icon.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

If you enjoyed this, be the cherry on my sundae and please share it. 🙂

 

If I Could Save Time A Bottle Is As Good of Place as Any

#Hawaiitrip

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When you’re having a great time, what a wonderful concept, to be able to save time in a bottle and spend them with those we love.

For those of you like me who loved this song when we were young, we know it hasn’t worked. And maybe that’s good. What if we saved so much time that we never met the new friends that come along our paths later in life?

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Sometimes we would like to poke the bad times into a bottle, and save them to turn them into good times.

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For someone this place represents a very bad time, but for us it was a chance to view the beauty of time and honor and respect those who passed here before us even though we never met them.  So who are we to even judge what the bad times are?

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We saw the beautiful church where they worshipped. We might say it has withstood the tests of time, but the building lives, too. The stones and mortar age slower than the hands that placed each rock carefully on the next one, but time has marked it.

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Some of the beautiful pictures from our time at the little church in Wailea, Maui age even faster than we do. Many would say they are the most beautiful of all.

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If I could save time in a bottle, this would have been one of the moments I would have saved to replay over and over.

Click here to see more entries about time.

I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

Oops- We Waited One Day Too Long to Trade in Our Car: Eulogy to a Prius

We named her Pris. She was my baby for nine years, and we went everywhere together. She is my subject for this week’s WP Photo Challenge, Oops.

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See how glazed over her eyes are?

When her heart ruptured, I rushed her to the hospital and she underwent expensive heart replacement (hybrid battery) surgery, and we brought her home. Within just a few months she had another major attack, this time of her central nervous system (touch screen computer system). We took her back to the hospital, and the surgeons told us it would be $1,800 to put her back together correctly. I told Pris that was too much. She was not happy with me.

Her circulatory system was most affected by her central nerve damage. If she was cold we could press on the top of the screen to turn on the front and rear defroster even though the touchscreen buttons were on the bottom of the screen. If she had a hot flash, we could turn down the temperature of the air conditioner on the steering wheel, but her fan automatically came on full blast. (A real oops!) If we got tired of listening to her fan, we could turn it down by turning up the temperature on the steering wheel. That is not a problem in the winter, but when the outside temperature is 110 and her internal temperature is 130… (oops again)

We looked at cars for several weeks while Pris continued to limp along.  She tried to tell us the end was near. She dropped her rear view mirror and left it dangling by its cord. Vince stuck it back on. She complained because it was loose and it rubbed her windshield every time I hit a bump, but I ignored her complaining. She got in a little accident when someone backed into her at a stop sign – or she snuck up to kiss the car. We weren’t sure which, but she had to have plastic surgery. Even with insurance her face lift cost us $500. She showed wear around the door where her insulation started to sag. I told Vince I wasn’t paying for any more plastic surgery. One minute Vince could live with her for a few more months. At other times I could. Both of us should have known better.

Meanwhile Pris got sicker and sicker. One day she turned on her red triangle with the flashing exclamation point. She had leaked out all her oil in 1,000 miles. She was on a 3,000-mile checkup instead of 5,000 miles after her heart surgery. Vince filled her with expensive oil, and she felt better. She turned off her red triangle. He took her to have her oil changed about 500 miles later. Friday, she told us she would not go one mile farther, and she turned on her red triangle again. A sign appeared on her touchscreen to put her into park.

Vince and I finally HAD to agree on a car to replace Pris.  You can read about that in  a earlier post. I could afford something at the Corolla level.  I can’t tell you what he said about the Corolla because his son is proud of his. Vince told me I should get a Cruze when Pris started with her second episode. I could afford that without any help from him. Although I had drug my feet, I finally decided that a Chevy Cruze would work. We bought it after the shortest test drive in history. Vince wouldn’t even go along. He wanted to get on the way to go our Audi appointment, but  almost any car he liked and some he didn’t – an Audi, , ATS, Fusion, or Volt would need his financial help.  He wanted a Porsche, and that required all my contribution and then some. So he quickly agreed to the Cruze.

no name Chevy Cruze

We brought Pris’s replacement home Friday, No name Chevy Cruze. Pris looked forlorn, but if Friday was sad, Saturday was worse. The dealer gave us $700 in trade for Pris – dead or alive.  Vince drove her onto the tow truck. I couldn’t watch, but he took these pictures.

Pris 3 cr

Then she drove away for the last time. The mailbox looks like her cross.  She still looks good for her age – 9.5 years. Bye bye Pris. You were a good girl, and I love you. RIP

Pris 2 cr

For more mistakes aka “WP Photo Challenge – Oops” click here.

Word Press Photo Challenge: Treat

It’s a treat to thrash Bob — hard!

Bopping Bob.
Bopping Bob.

In only two months I’ve gotten so much better at it. When I started fighting Bob, I could barely tap him in the chest for 15 seconds. Now I can beat on him for a minute without being out of breath. (OK I exaggerate a LITTLE.)

I’ve learned to sock him in the solar plexus.

Watch out, Bob!
Watch out, Bob!

I can back arm him and thoroughly box his ears.

Two months ago my husband and I began training with our best friend’s daughter, Melissa, a five foot two powerhouse who has competed successfully in at least one national fitness competition. When we started I couldn’t plank, not for a second. Now I can hold still, not without a lot of groaning, for at least 30 seconds after doing two rounds of other serious exercises.

Melissa and her friend, Bob

Some things I still can’t do. While V is doing serious pull-ups, I’m stretching trying to hang from a bar without pulling anything up. I still have to have my tippy toes on the ground, though, and even that hurts. the other day I stretched out with my feet on the ball and my hands clenching a couple of hanging rings. I swear I lifted my body about an eighth of an inch. I was so proud I called over to Melissa to watch.

But put me behind a pair of rope handles, and I can drive those ropes into submission. Melissa tells V to watch my great form. I am so proud.

So what does all this violence do for our bodies? Melissa says our core will get stronger. So far I have only gained weight – about 4-5 pounds. My clothes still fit , and my body still looks roly poly in the mid-section, but I’m definitely able to do more harm to Bob that I ever thought possible, and that’s a treat!

BTW, I thought Melissa named Bob after her dad, but everyone on YouTube seems to call him Bob, and here I thought I was pounding “Bob,” (which I would never have dared in real life!)  🙂

For more treats click here.

Twinkle

The six million dollar photo that sold recently captured the perfect twinkle of light and processed it beautifully. These are my $1.00 twinkles taken with my iPhone last year at the NCSS Conference in St. Louis and their different processes.

Twinkle1

First I cropped it to help it adhere to the thirds rule.

Stylized with Glowing Edges
Stylized with Glowing Edges

Then I added filters.   I thought this one was pretty cool because it took it from real and somewhat blurry to on-purpose blurry with some sharp edges.

Filter:  Stylized - Solarized
Filter: Stylized – Solarized

I solarized Twinkle 3, and I like the rainbow of colors.

Distortion:  Glass
Distortion: Glass

Twinkle 4 reminds me of driving through St. Louis with my dad when

rain pelted the windshield unfettered by wipers.  I’m not sure why we lived through that ride.

I actually thought they turned out well considering the beginning photo.  Mr. Snowman, however, reflects my best camera’s capabilities (before I dropped it) – and mine too, for that matter.

SFW Christmas 2012004RT

Mr. Snowman posed beautifully on our tree last year.  Here he poses pretending he is outside in the snow instead of our cozy cottage.  He came back shivering, though.

Filter:  Stylize:  Find Edges
Filter: Stylize: Find Edges

He tried on the Glowing Edges next, and liked the look when he preened in the mirror, and asked for one more make-over.

Fliter: Stylized: Glowing Edges
Fliter: Stylized: Glowing Edges

I threw him into the texturizer, and he came out immortalized as a stained glass window.

Texture: Stained Glass
Texture: Stained Glass

With a twinkle in his eye he asked me to find out from you which of his pictures you like best.  🙂  I’ll be sure to tell him.  He’s got his eye on me from the tree in the living room.  🙂  He thinks he’d make a good Christmas card.  What do you think?  🙂

For more great Twinkle pictures click the icon below

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Angular: the Daily Post Photo Challenge

I examined 12 posts before I wrote this.  I don’t usually do that, but I needed inspiration.  I smiled at this favorite .  You have to look past the obvious angle to see the real angle, and wonder where the photographer stood to shoot this single picture post.

Angular1CRT

Angles are easy to find in the city, but what about in the country?  I checked out some of my most recent Woodlake pictures for you from my folder of Buttes and Bridges, and found more angles than I expected.  I love this one because it looks like Jack’s steel beanstalk disappearing into the sky climbing to an unknown giant’s castle.

Actually, the power company decided that detouring the installation of these monstrosities into the country served the better good that marching them up the straight path along a freeway.  Not everyone agreed with that angle of thought, but there were fewer voters to object in the sparsely populated areas.

What’s your angle?  Here is the key to others that I liked.

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Word Press Photo Challenge: Achievement – Zoom Zoom

This isn't Alex, and yes, I really did this, but next to last place is not an achievement I'm proud of.
This isn’t Alex,or me, but yes, I really did this.  However, last place is not my proud achievement.

I achieved something today.  I overcame an annoyance that, for many months, demolished my joy in blogging.  To you bucket list – high achievers, I hope this post won’t destroy what little respect you might have for me when you see how little it takes to make me feel successful.  To Alex Gustafson thank you for showing me the way to success.

Achievement Zoom zoom 1
This may not look annoying. It didn’t to Alex.  But, believe me, it was!

 

So the problem was, my font got too big for its britches on my dashboard.  It took a scroll just to see my stats!

Achievement Zoom Zoom 2

When it came time to post, I felt dyslectic trying to read the names of my former posts.  Even Ed—————- …it was on two lines!  Alex said everything looked normal to him.  Hmmmm… Right…

“Try adjusting the settings on your web browser,” he told me, and gave me a link.  That’s link, not wink!   https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/96810?hl=en

So I gave it a try.

Achievement Zoom Zoom 3T

Don’t you wish that the buttons they tell you to select had a big sign on them like this???  At any rate, I felt very intelligent that I was able to find all the buttons in the article.  And it worked.  My browser was the culprit all along, and now I know how to fix it if poltergeists every come in and switch it again!

Achievement Zoom zoom 4B

So what underwhelming achievement have you accomplished recently?  Make me feel better, and I won’t tell you the struggle I had putting a border (simple, simple) on this last bit of media.  Poltergeists, I tell you!  🙂

Wait for it!  Wait ....  She's coming...  Keep waiting...
Wait for it! Wait …. She’s coming… Keep waiting…

For more stunning achievements click on the WP icon.

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WP Photo Challenge: Nighttime

Nighttime in St. Louis last November sparkled with Christmas lights.  We were on the snow route, but someone forgot the snow.

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They didn’t forget the cold.  Cheryl and I both had our reindeer noses on, but no sleigh!  🙂

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Breathtaking sights that phenomenal night walking around in the bitter, clear cold.

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Without my friends my magnificent night would have bubbled away and escaped into a book.  I’m so glad I have friends who wouldn’t let me miss the magic.

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About a week after I left St. Louis, Vince and I flew to Honolulu.  What a difference!  It is almost a challenge to find nighttime in Honolulu.  The island Los Angeles never sleeps.  We found this statuesque young man on the street corner, painted in silver, shimmering in the city lights, and not moving a muscle…then he did.

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NCSS holds conferences all over the United States.  In 2011 we went to Washington DC.  These statues at the Korean Memorial stayed eerily still that night during the nighttime tour.  I can’t guarantee what happened after the tour ended.

Korean Memorial

Nighttime city tours are the best.  The Marine Corps War Memorial signified the conclusion of the campaign in Pacific.

Iwo Jima Memorial, Washington

You never know who you will meet.

FDR Memorial @ night

Important people you don’t expect to see.

Vincent J. Ingrao, WWII Veteran

Of course, nothing is nicer than nighttime at home….. once in a blue moon!  🙂

Nighttime1

I apologise for the quality of my photos, I hope the nighttime story is still enjoyable.  Sleep tight!  🙂

If you can’t sleep check out some other nighttime stories here.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Relic

In the rustic western town, Woodlake, California, and surrounding countryside, people often decorate with relics.  It takes artistic flair to arrange relics to look more than junky.

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I’m still at the junky level.  My friend Sally Pace has moved beyond that.  She and her husband host weddings and many free events at their rustic ranch.

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Mike pampers his favorite relic.  Not only is it in the barn, but it’s covered.

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The following 1940s picture is a relic even though Sally’s road looks almost the same.

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Sally’s house and all its decorative relics weren’t there yet.

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Woodlake Hardware boasts of nearly 100 years of service, making it somewhat of a relic, yet the building today hasn’t changed much since the 1940s when Morris Bennett started working there.

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Woodlake Hardware_R

Morris decorated the walls with relics from the past.

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Of course, the pair of skates is my favorite relic. Relic3

At 90+ Morris still works most days.

SFW 08132013 Morris Bennett027r

He’s my hero, but he’s NOT a relic!  🙂

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For more examples of relics, click the WP logo.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Letters

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum didn’t bother to post their rules in any language but English.  That may have been their downfall.

Manny can't read

Sometimes the letters aren’t right when you take a picture, and you have to make some changes.

Fugitive Manny2

For more stories and pictures about letters click on the WP image.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

I love most colors.  My house and clothes closet swell with many colors that reflect my love of variety and life.  I love contrast.  Blue might be my favorite hue because it is the color of both sky and water, it was my mother’s favorite color, my eyes are blue, and people compliment me when I wear blue.  I’m a pushover for compliments.

SFW Nortre Dame390

My brother Randy and I took a cross-country trip, and saw many beautiful sights.  A picture that illustrates some of my favorite colors is one of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Indianapolis where we attended when we were children.  All the colors are crisp.  I love red brick with white trim, dark green trees and perfect sky blue even without the clouds.

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Here is one Chicago building I liked that displays many shades of blue. The color of aged copper  roof ornament contrasts with the reflective glass panes.  Set against a perfect sky, few pictures could show my favorite hues more beautifully.

One way to narrow down what you like is to throw out what you don’t like.  This next picture epitomizes the colors that depress me.

SFW Warren Dunes SP MI102

I love green, but these green trees did not invite me to sit under them and have a picnic, nap, or a chat with a friend.  These sparsely clad autumn trees said, “You are welcome to hold on to me to keep from blowing away, but I may fall over, too!”  I love clouds, but these clouds are dirty gray, not even promising rain, just cold. Even the sand and turquoise water in Lake Michigan has a grayish cast. I don’t recommend visiting Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan in late October.

I hurried up to get this challenge post completed before the new one comes out tomorrow.  If you haven’t taken a look at other people’s posts, click here.

Wednesday Challenge: Focus

Focus. This week’s challenge is inspired by Matthew George’s post on focus, in which he introduced us to the basics of depth of field and aperture. He explained what an image with a shallow depth of field looks like (or conversely, a photo with a greater depth of field), and how the aperture setting on your camera affects it.

Edward in a tree

I didn’t accomplish this with aperture, but the lighting blurred the background for me somewhat.

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Another issue of focus occurs when one member of the pose does not really want to be there.  Then you have a focus problem.

Want to be my buddy?
Want to be my buddy?

Now I am stretching myself to find something that meets the bill.  This was taken this spring at the Woodlake Botanical Gardens.  Flowers are especially good at posing like this.

SFW Fall in Foothills_281So are leaves.

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Cotton can do it, too.

Like a whirlpool, it never ends.
Like a whirlpool, it never ends.

Even Manny likes to pose best when I blur the background.  Oops, what went wrong?  Manny’s not happy about this!  🙂

Manny's in Focus

Whew, that’s better!

For more ideas click here.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreshadow

Wednesday is two days before the WordPress challenge changes, so I’d better get busy.  Nobody wants to go to the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in Davis, California and leave the prize display in pieces.  Why they told us we could all take turns riding the antique bicycle, I can’t imagine.  Something must have foreshadowed that this might happen.  Look at how delicately thin the wheels are.  Even stabilized on a stand, it looked delicate.

Challenge Foreshadow06Justin got on the same way the rest of us did, only maybe slightly more gracefully.  “One foot is placed on a peg above the back wheel. The rider grasps the handlebar, scoots and lifts himself into the saddle.[26]”  Wikipedia

Challenge Foreshadow02Taking headers off the high-riders commonly occurred in the 1890s when the Penny-Farthing was in its heyday.  But Justin watched most of us maneuver the “ordinary” machine without a single misstep.  So he got on unsuspecting any danger.

Challenge Foreshadow03We could see the foreshadowing of disaster as he confidently swung his legs.

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Whee, at this point WE knew….

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I’m not sure how he got off in one piece, and he wasn’t sure what went wrong, but he was sure something had.

New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.

 

 

WP Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

Have you ever wanted to escape from your past?  From the faults and character qualities of your family that you didn’t like or admire?  We always sort of disowned my dad’s mom. I never even think of her very often, but when I saw this picture from Sethsnap, I escaped back to my childhood, and remembered my Grandma Tressie Lee.

Seth invited us to write something about the picture, so I escaped into the picture for about a half an hour or so.  You can do the same. The colors reminded me of my father’s mother.   I’m afraid I wasn’t very complimentary, but the picture was just SO HER!  Sorry Grandma.  “Bless your little heart.”

Flat lander's house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dusky, like the colors in my grandmother’s duster, the baggy dress that she wore every day I ever saw her.

Every day, she donned a different dress, the same dusky colors, large floral prints, barren of interest,

Her personality lost in folds of fabric.

Smiling her pink plaster smile at my hopeful upturned look, never dusting in her duster,

Every surface always spotless, wiped clean of every evidence of life.

After I finished with the colors the picture just kept talking.  I went with it escaping from today back into yesteryear.

Sparse and windblown, like Grandma’s graying thin brown hair,

Each permed curl standing out at an odd angle from her scalp like the spindly, lone tree bending away from  earth’s scalp.

Cold, like the feeling I had after staying with Grandma for an obligatory day or two.

Even the clouds are stretched to their limit of endurance,

Color seeping from them leaving them dusky, dim and dull, the day’s promise drawn away by the wind.

One can almost feel a storm brewing.

Boxy house shaped, square, clean, and boring.

Grandma and her little square house with shiny hardwood floors covered with a million throw rugs,

Rugs that tripped Grandpa as he scratched from room to room with his walker.

Outside red roses grew on the trellis, a spot of unexpected beauty against the white frame wall.

This photo – the look of my paternal Grandma.

I’m afraid that in my tiny family we all joked about my poor Grandma who was such a complainer, and probably misunderstood.  She blamed her lack of education on her older sister.  She never “gradgiated” from third grade.  I have no idea how Aunt Hazel, who was actually quite delightful, could have prevented young Tressie Lee from going to fourth grade, but apparently she did, and was never forgiven.

Mom hosted every family reunion for Dad’s family because Grandma complained so much.   She bragged that she only cleaned house after company left because they would mess the house up anyway.  Tressie Lee always knew months ahead of time when she was going to be sick – whenever there was a family gathering scheduled at HER house.

I'm sure Grandma had this painting!  :)
I’m sure Grandma had this painting! 🙂

Grandma did like some things.  She painted at least 50 paint by number paintings – mostly dusky flowers.  They hung framed all over her pale lavender walls right over one of many pastel bouquets of plastic flowers.  I used to paint with her.  I actually enjoyed it, but keep in mind I am not the creative one in my family.  She taught me to like spinach and kale.  I’m sure that’s a good thing!  I also learned from her NOT to put my hand in the garbage disposal when it was turned on.  My other grandmas were not wealthy enough to have a garbage disposal.

She loved to sew.  She would make herself a new duster, and stand on the dining room table so Grandpa could pin the hem in for her.  Then she would fall off her Duncan Fife table.  She never broke anything – not even the table.  I laughed at this until I got to be about 40.  Then I fell off a table in the school cafeteria full of after-school students watching me put up a bulletin board.  Once I fell as I was just STANDING under a tree waiting to go into a museum.  One minute I was upright, the next on I was flat on the ground.  No explanation – Grandma, did you trip me?

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She also loved to watch Oral Roberts and Billy Graham on TV.  I remember asking her one time if she was Jesus!  I have no idea what prompted me to ask that.  I was a preschooler, and they say the “darndest” things, but I distinctly remember that my childish question did not please her.  Maybe I thought I would, but I knew I had said something terribly wrong by the time she got finished with me.

billy_graham

She had bunions and aching toenails, and complained of them day and night.

Bunions

She groaned so much that when my brother got old enough began to imitate her whining voice. “OH my aching toenails!” he’d wail in a wavery falsetto voice.  Then my mother’s dad would answer him saying the same thing.  By the time we were teens it was our signature telephone greeting.  In oour best Grandma T. voice we’d moan, “heLLLLLLLLLooooooooww????  Oooooooooh my aching toenails.”  Soon all our teenage friends were doing it too.  This was not nice, but keep in mind that Grandma lived 2400 miles away and never called, so it’s unlikely that it disturbed her.  However, one day my dad called, and I answered in our typical pre-voicemail whine.  I believe that both Randy and I got in trouble for that even though I wouldn’t be surprised if Dad started talking that way also.

I think I’m sorry that I made fun of Grandma, but we escaped the hum-drum of our everyday life, and had a lot of fun at her expense.

Dad once said I was so much like her, and Mom defended my character.  I’m not sure he was convinced.  I wanted to escape that accusation!  I couldn’t see any truth to it, but the genes are there even though I pretended all through my life that somehow HER genes never made it into the mix.  However, I have to admit that my toenails do ache sometimes, and once in a while I like to watch tv.  I did escape to a prayer breakfast a couple of weeks ago in which Bill Graham, Franklin’s son, Billy Graham’s grandson spoke.  I felt like Grandma would be proud, though she would never have ventured out of her home to see and hear him.

The picture below was taken at my parents’ wedding.  Grandma wasn’t wearing her typical colors in this picture.

Grandma stood 4'10" tall
Grandma stood 4’10” tall  Don’t they look happy????  Grandpa just wanted to escape!  Where were their glasses.  They had escaped somewhere, too!  🙂

So did you have any family characters in your family, or have you escaped the reality of life and everyone in YOUR family is/was just perfectly amazing?

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up

I enjoy the WordPress challenges.  This one, UP, was particularly fun.  Up is ubiquitous. As I looked up my photos, “up” took on one meaning after another.  Some of my up connections may be stretching it a bit, but I’ve heard them all used – or used them myself.  Yesterday I wanted to finish up showing my favorite quilt show  pictures using different challenges, but then I wondered….

Are you fed up with quilts, or are you still upbeat about looking at the Best of the Valley Quilts?

This quilt is up on the wall, but the squirrel is up, too.
This quilt is up on the wall, but the squirrel is up, too.  Vince would never let a squirrel up on our furniture.  I’m not up to telling you what he does when he sneaks up on a squirrel.

But things keep happening in my life, and I can’t keep up with the many things I want to share with you.  I wanted to put up a few pictures from my first ever photography class.  We went up into the foothills to a TCOE property called Circle J Ranch near Springville, CA on Yokohl Valley Road.  The class was learning to take wildflowers, but  it seems that when we hold a camera up to our eyes, anything that moves captures our attention.  Never barking up the wrong tree, this photogenic squirrel filled up on acorns.  As for me, I am now up on the latest in using ISOs, F-stops, and can now manually focus my camera.  Yeah!  Yippee!  Giddyup!

This little guy distracted me at my wildflower photo class today!
This little guy messed me up and distracted me at my wildflower photo class today!

Someone had to give me a leg up today.  What’s up with that?

I gave my brother a leg up.
I gave my brother a leg up.  I guess Dad didn’t know how to blur the background.  Who skates in the living room?  At least we had our boots laced up correctly.

I was so focused on the work of upping my use of F-stops, that I didn’t realize my pants were soaking up moisture from the ground until all of the sudden I felt wet!   Having already gotten my knees wet from the grass, I little suspected that I had sat in a fresh cow pie.  I got up when I was done, only to realize that the gig was up, and no one there was going to look up to me and think I was cool, or smart or anything but messed up.  It looked like I …  well, you know!  I wore my jacket the rest of the day around my waist as a cover-up.

Hahaha  10 points for getting an old gal!  Add 'em up.  I'm ahead.
Hahaha 10 points for getting an old gal! Add ’em up. I’m ahead.

These guys were probably off in the background chatting up a storm and having a good laugh at my expense.  I give up.  I’ll never be cool.  I had to clean up when I got home.  Did you know that Oxy-clean does NOT clean up all stains?

Imagine cleaning up Benjamin Powell's , one of the 88 original buildings in Colonial Williamsburg.
Imagine cleaning up Benjamin Powell’s , one of the 88 original buildings in Colonial Williamsburg.

Changing up the conversation, but keeping up with the theme, a few years ago I went with a group of teachers from the Central Valley to a teachers’ institute in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.   In Colonial Williamsburg we learned a lot about how folks cleaned up around the house in the 17th and 18th centuries, about the time my family arrived here from England.

Bunny instructed us how to fold up the napkins just so.
Bunny instructed us how to fold up the napkins just so.

After cleaning, we had to set up for dinner.  Education for women in the 18th century included: measurement, time-management, keeping up the books, preserving and storing up food for winter months by pickling, smoking and drying as well as using up a lot of salt. They also had to be up on politics because they hosted political meetings in their homes.

Heads up girls.  You could have been tarred and feathered for what you did!
Heads up girls. You could have been tarred and feathered for what you did!

Some of us stocked up on trouble.  Jami Beck and I fessed up, and look where it got us.  I give up!  Jami has really shaped up.

Hands up for Jami Beck!
Hands up for Jami Beck!

She was honored Thursday, April 18th as the SJVCSS Elementary Teacher of the Year!  Give it up for Jami everyone!!

Do you have any hang-up about tobacco use?  It all started here.
Do you have any hang-ups about tobacco use? In the Colonies it all started here.

Back in Williamsburg some of the socially upward-moving folks in those days, called “middling sorts,” were tobacco farmers.  They hung up the tobacco leaves to dry in the barn.

"Hi, I'm Clementina.  Come on up."
“Hi, I’m Clementina. Come on up.”

Others, like Clementina Rind, were publishers.  She had to go up stairs just to get inside the front door.  That’s really me, but we all were assigned to be a certain person for a week, and I was Clementina, and this was her house.

Re-enactors showed up everywhere to draw us into the 18th century daily life.
Here’s Jami again listening up, soaking up the experience to take back to her students.

We spent much of our week in taverns.  That’s where everyone congregated and visit and eat in those days.  They are still good places to go and bulk up.  Re-enactors dressed up in colonial clothing showed up everywhere to draw us into the 18th century daily life.  This tavern owner, is telling us what George Washington liked at her tavern.

"Look up.  Hold still.  I don't want to cut up your face," said the early 20th century barber.
“Look up. Hold still. I don’t want to cut up your face,” said the early 20th century barber.

Let’s jump forward two centuries.  Former slaves, led by Col. Allen Allensworth, who fought in the Civil War, established the one freedom colony in California. It is located in the southern end of Tulare County.  He rounded up other retired African-American military men, known as Buffalo Soldiers to settle his town, founded in 1908.  Interpreter Steve Ptomey lifted up spirits with his razor-sharp demonstration of a trip to the Barbershop.  In Allensworth some of the kids cleaned up really well.  Just so you don’t suspect Steve of child abuse – he wasn’t using a real razor!

Yum.  Does this make you want to throw up?  I hope not.
Yum. Does this make you want to throw up? I hope not.

Moving back up to the 21st century to the small upscale town Exeter, folks are considering what to cook up for dinner.  Hanging up in the meat locker might be one of those cows that got up the nerve to laugh at me!

This cart is busted up.
This cart is busted up.

In nearby Woodlake someone took borrowed a cart from the grocery story, and left it broken up, littering up our beautiful lake.  Do people do that in your area?  That steams me up.

What's he digging?  Give up?  He's a cable guy.
What’s he digging? Give up? He’s a cable guy.

I’d like to hurry up and get this published.   I have many more pictures to share, but I’m going to limit myself to two or three that I dug up from my collection.

What's the scoop here?
What’s the scoop here?

That’s all I could scoop up in a couple of days of preparing this post. (lie – I have tons more)

No good trying to row upstream on this creek.
No good trying to row upstream on this creek.

I’m almost all dried up.

Puppy Girl either curls up between us or throws herself against us.  She's in love.
Puppy Girl either curls up between us or throws herself against us. She’s in love.

I’ll leave you with this thought.  Cuddle up with someone you love and read a good post or book, or watch a movie.  Life is looking up!

For more ups worldwide check out WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge:  Up.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons

A dear friend gave me wool yarn from Australia to make a warm sweater as a departure gift from Colorado Springs.  It was summer, and even in Colorado we weren’t thinking about cold weather, but certainly not in Tulare County where the 90 degree temperature recorded at 5:00 a.m. almost persuaded us to find a job elsewhere.  I wondered if I would ever need a sweater!  Was I ever naive!  While the temperatures rarely get below freezing, sweaters are VERY useful.

Changing SeasonsThis first picture, taken December 4th, shows the basic gray that indicates that winter is upon us.

Winter in TC

Last January, while hustling to a meeting, the picture above demanded me to stop, and remove my camera from its bag, and click it.  Where we only get 10 inches of rain a year, 99% of it comes in November – January.  Rain could start any minute – and it did.

TC January 2012 FogWhen the rain stops, dastardly Tule fog creeps across the landscape blinding drivers who can not longer see two feet away from them in the daytime!  On this beautiful January last year the sun broke through, dashing the plans of Fog’s armed clouds that stuck close, protecting their earthly territory.  Warrior Sun fought valiantly for two or three days to slash through thick foggy armor to free us.  We have not had fog this year, but we all know it’s on its way.

Featured Blog

Justice For Raymond, written by Ray’s Mom, differs from most of the blogs I see. The first time I visited it, I thought, “Wow could that happen?”  So far in my blogging travels this blog challenges viewers to do more than like the article or write a response.  The blogster says it best,

http://www.denied-justice.com is a web site that holds documents, court transcripts, autopsy for Raymond Zachry, the reason for the blog, Justice for Raymond.  Ray suddenly, unexpectedly died September 25, 2007.  The autopsy revealed that he had a huge amount of lethal poison in his system.  Still the coroner refused to cooperate and allow an investigation.”

In this season of giving, I need to pause sometimes, and think seriously about the meaning of life and my purpose for enjoying the privilege of being here.  Thanks Ray’s Mom for reminding me that life is precious.

More ideas for Changing Seasons

Celebrate the season!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections

To all my blog readers!!!
To all my blog readers!!!

As I reflect on my blogging experiment this first day of December, I realize that it has gone from experiment to addictive hobby.  I am thankful to all of you for taking the time to visit my streaming thoughts started in April, 2012.  While not breaking any records, this blog has attracted over 11,000 views, and 2,000 comments.  I was awfully lonely the first couple of months, but on November 29th the site reached a high of 196 views.  THANK YOU!!!

Reflections on December 1st.
Reflections on December 1st.

Back to the topic as I’m sure it was intended, I have almost no reflection pictures in my collection.  I came across this picture that a friend of mine took for me.  She is much more of a professional photographer than I, and I absolutely love Johanna Coyne’s picture of the little lagoon in Mooney Grove Park south of Visalia, CA, and north of Tulare, CA on Mooney Boulevard.1102_Mooney_1285

Early Tulare County settler and saloon owner, Michael Mooney, like most European immigrants worked hard to acquire property in the United States.  Mooney speculated in thousands of acres, and sold many of them at a profit.  However this plot of land didn’t earn Mooney a dime, and it protected the largest native oak grove in the county.  He purchased a 173 acre oak grove from another settler, Benjamin Willis in 1878 for $4,000.  After Mooney’s death in 1881, his heirs sold 100 acres to Tulare County in 1909, thus saving the huge grove of native trees for the people.

Tulare County Supervisor, Bartlett “suggested in 1915 that the park should have a lake.” (Allen. p. 41), although it was not until May of 1933 that the lagoon officially opened.  Stocked with fish to ward off mosquitos, the pond, with its “No Fishing” sign, tempted young poacher Stanley A. Clark, who brought home more than the bacon to his widowed mother and siblings during the World War II when meat was scarce in the market.

Through the years Tulare County residents swam, boated and were baptized in the reflective pond in Mooney Grove Park.  Today the only swimmers are quacks – I mean ducks.  At times photographers would have to Photoshop a reflective picture of this body of water because “goopy algae” scum covers  much of the surface.  Vast numbers of summer visitors feed the ducks, dropping food that decays in the water and feeds the scum.  In the fall, when the weather is cooler photographers can capture pictures of clean water.

Anybody for a picnic in the park?

Bibliography

  • Allen William R.  Mooney’s Oak Grove 1828-1881 Volume I
  • Allen William R.  Michael Mooney 1906-2003 Volume II

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