Saturday, February 23, 2019

Pork n' Beans



Happy Saturday from the land of rain and gloom.  Yesterday hit above 40 degrees with sun. Time to bring out the summer-wear...well, not me but there were those that felt the need to show off their hairy, white legs.  And speaking of white legs, I will be showing mine off in less than 2 weeks, a flight to Miami, overnight stay there and then off to Cuba for a 10 day photography trip. Oh man am I looking forward to viewing something in my camera lens besides Gracie, TJ's flowers, and whatever bird decides to land on my bird feeder. I'll be in the land of color....yea!!

I wasn't too good, what am I saying, I was horrible at blogging about my trips from 2018. Such great places, what fun, I don't know if I could pick a favorite.


Began the year with my usual trip to Arizona. Always look forward to visiting with old friends and enjoying the warmth and sun, cactus and birds, trips to Butterfly Wonderland, and to the Desert Botanical Garden.  I would probably be there about this time, and it snowed....that would not make me happy.  I go there for a little respite from winter and if I was greeted with the same weather that I came from, not good. Unfortunately this year I'm not making the trip. My good friend, Rich has been battling Cancer with procedures, chemo and radiation. They don't need a visitor to muddy up with what they are dealing with right now. I'm praying for a good outcome, he's been through a lot in the past months. Please remember Rich and all others who are suffering thru the battles with Cancer in your prayers.



It's amazing what a $4.99 bouquet from TJ's can do to lift your spirits when the weather is so gloomy outside. Even tho today is gloomy I have had a great week with movies, dinners, theater tickets, a concert. I have a group of women, some single, some married that love to go to concerts and to the theater. This is my 4th year at having season tickets to the Paramount Theater in Aurora, IL, with presentations that are absolutely outstanding.  Wednesday night we saw "The Producers", amazing talent and ridiculously funny.  And then a group of us dubbed "the rowdy church ladies" love to go to the movies and out to dinner. We are having an Oscar Party Sunday night so we've been hustling to see all the movies nominated. Last night and a couple of weeks ago we gathered at my house, because I have Amazon Prime and watched "The Wife" and "Bohemian Rhapsody", both good but I have to say my favorite this year was "The Green Book". Great casting and heartfilled story. The only two I have not seen are Roma and Black Panther and both are on Netflix. Might have to crawl in bed and watch these tonight....not much time left. We did see "The Favourite" it was not my favorite. And to think the lead in that will be playing Queen Elizabeth in the next go round of "The Crown" on Netflix.

Gracie at her finest....she has bitten me a couple of times with those fangs and they are a might sharp.


I  pulled out my trusty 50mm 1.4 to take all these pics. Probably one of the first lenses I purchased. Stays true and is the lightest weight lens I own. Too bad it's not a good landscape or macro lens or I would have it on all the time. 

And fyi, that first image is my latest succulent addition. Wasn't planning on adding another but a trip to Hobby Lobby (another dangerous place along with Home Goods) produced this cute little vase and it was just calling to me to add to my windowsill. It reminded me of a little pig and when I shopped for a new succulent I found this one, perfect name, "Pork n' Beans".

See you next time...



Friday, February 15, 2019

Happy 2019


Oh for crying outloud....it's been since March 7th 2018 since I have written on this page. Honestly,
this past year has been a time of letting go, letting go of so many of my former routines. Some good, some not so good. I have a definite propensity toward laziness and believe me it has truly blossomed in the past year. My garden suffered this past summer due to not spending time that is needed to cultivate beauty, I've added pounds to my body due to the lack of movement, I have not decorated the house for Christmas for two years running, in fact I'm what you call a "hot mess". Since I live in the US and our habit is to blame someone or something for our failures, I'm pointing my finger at losses. My losses were rather significant in the past year. First and foremost was the loss of my sweetie. Final goodbyes are the worst and then just a few short months later, one of my kids, Toby (dogs) contracted lymphoma and with reluctance I had him put down. Then....another few months go by and my other kid, Cinder had several major issues, mammary gland cancer and Cushings Disease and again, with reluctance I had her put down. Three major beings in my life all gone in less than a year. So hell yes, I'm pointing my finger at losses. My star word for the year was "weeping" and you bet that word encircled my year. (fyi star words are words from the Bible that we choose during church services on Epiphany Sunday by reaching into a basket and selecting a star cutout not knowing what word will appear on the star)

We are about ready to turn the corner on a New Year and next weekend is "star" weekend. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my word for the year will be more affirmative than "weep". There are no give-backs so I'm stuck with what comes my way. Catching up....I'm now writing this post Feb 15th and my star word is BOLD, you noticed I even typed the word in bold type. OK, so what am I going to do to live up to this word BOLD? In retrospect, "weep" was accomplished, not exactly to my liking, but I did weep, no question.

When Cinder left in August I was heartbroken. Returning from my trip to the Oregon coast I began crying in the limo driving home knowing that no dogs would be greeting me on my return. Again, that weeping thing. After a few months without any animals, I decided to rescue a cat. Me, who has never had cats in my entire life except for brief exposures when my daughter had one for a short while and when my Bailey lived with me for a year. So now I have Gracie, a Tabby about a year old, and fortunately is very affectionate and likes to be around me most of the time.  I've had Gracie since December 1st and we have developed a very loving relationship. She is usually by my side, sleeps at the foot of my bed at night and enjoys playing fetch with her puff ball.  And....is quite a bit easier to care for than a dog.  I can stay out all day and not worry about something unpleasant greeting me when I return.

And speaking of trips, I do have a few already planned for the year.  I'm leaving in early March for a trip to Cuba with my friend, Winnie. Winnie and I became fast friends at a photography conference about 3 years ago and we have been traveling together a number of times. She and my friend, Sue Anne, are the only two friends that I can room with that can tolerate my snoring.  While in Cuba I will be celebrating my 76th birthday...hooray or in Spanish hurra.


Last year I was determined to come up with 75 things that made me happy prior to celebrating my 75th birthday, but I failed at about #50. I am not even going to attempt the challenge this year. There are many, many, many things that make me happy and I do feel really blessed but I know that trying to come up with 76 happy reasons is not in the cards unless I try to do it all in one post.




I don't know about you but we've had a rather interesting winter....our temps and moisture have been all over the place. We managed to get thru the Polar Vortex (I never left my house for 4 days straight, didn't want to, didn't have to) and then the temps heated up to over 75 degrees warmer and then we had a snow/ice storm, beautiful but wicked. Who says we are not going thru some climate change???  I was so grateful that my heat and electricity remained intact thru the worst of the cold. I was sure feeling it for those poor souls that had to be out in the dangerous weather ie; firemen, policemen, outdoor workers etc. Thank God for them. And I guess you saw on the news, the woman from Chicago who rented out rooms in a hotel to house the homeless during the worst of the cold. There are so many good people in this world, the bad news seems to be always louder than the good news.

So that's about it for now....Happy 2019 as I shake my head in wonder. 

Until next time....

Saturday, March 3, 2018

All The Way to 50

March 1st.....how did that happen? Two months gone, and what have I accomplished? Hmmm, nope can't seem to come up with anything significant. But I better get crackin' on my list of 75 things that make me happy before BD date.

#42 - #44 I leave for Phoenix on Tuesday to visit with friends and enjoy some sun and warmth...it's been cool there lately but according to our ever reliable (?) weather forecast it will be in the 70's and 80's while I am there. Can't wait to to see sites like this....


or this....one of my favs because of it's pinkish red color!


And how about this....the view from porch.


and ofcourse there are the sunsets...


My morning ritual is always the same...rise, potty, let Cinder out to do her potty, make coffee, grab my I-Pad and check email, read the paper on line, check instagram and facebook. Pretty boring, but it begins my day. I am definitely not a leap out of bed, immediately get dressed kinda gal. Easing into the day is my way. Today as I was doing the above I ran across a blurb about recently read books and she printed a quote from "An American Marriage" by Tayari Jones....it says "But mostly my life is good, only it's a different type of good from what I figured on."  That pretty much sums up my life...good but not exactly what I had planned.#45 Life is definitely not a straight line but twists and turns that become a part of who you are.


Door County, Wisconsin

Last Sunday I joined up with a photography group with Lou Nettlehorst and his son, Todd. I met Lou several years ago on a trip to the Smokey Mountains and have kept in contact with him since. He's a great teacher mentor and it's always a pleasure to be with him.#46. We met in the city around Lincoln Park, which is on the north side of downtown Chicago. Great views of the city from this vantage point and I managed to get a few shots of our beautiful city. #47




Fancy Schmanzy Apartment/Condo with views of Lake Michigan

I've had a rather quiet week, which was welcomed after last weeks busyness....after we walked and walked and walked on Sunday my ankles and thighs were screaming on Monday. I've always had bad ankles, even as a kid. My friend Winnie walked the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage last year and wants to do it again this year. I can't even fathom walking a journey that long. My hats off to you Winnie!! And to all others that attempt these journeys. 

The Out of Chicago Photography group that I participate with is having a 4 day workshop at the Chicago Botanic Garden in August photographing flowers and such. Only 100 participants, and 10 professional photographers to guide and mentor us along the way. Oh joy oh joy!! Definitely #48. 
And yes, I have already registered, absolutely no hesitation. 

OK to round this up to 50, yellow roses from TJ's....#49


Sunny days...2 in a row after a gloomy February. March came in like a lamb...hoping it doesn't go out like a lion. #50. 

Enjoy your weekend. Oscar night, Sunday night. And do something that makes you happy.

Until next time...