Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life and the Hydrangea

When I observe the different stages of the hydrangea from early bud to the dried petals that remain long after the leaves have dropped from the bush it reminds me of a life.  First the tiny bud that grows and changes from green to white to pale pink and finally to brown.  Our lives are similiar in that we begin as a small budding little person, we are born pure in thoughts and deeds.  The change continues as we grow, develop thoughts, ideas, learn a skill, and our small single bud becomes a bush full of beautiful flowers.  Our world expands to include our own family, our friends, our business acquaintances, our expanding bush.  We could not grow without the love of each other and the love of God.  Just as God provides rain and light for the hydrangea to grow, He provides us with his love and surrounds us with what we need to grow.  As the hydrangea begins to age and it's petals take on that aged glow, we too change, our bodies change, our thoughts and ideas sometimes change and unfortunately sometimes our minds age and change. 

Hydrangea bud....

Today I admitted my husband to a Memory Care facility.  One of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make.  My sweetheart has been showing signs of Alzheimers since the late 90's and was officially diagnosed over 3 years ago.  I have been caring for him without help,  with a lot of patience and love since the beginning.  It was indeed a challenge, but one that I managed for many years.  His decline has been significant this last year and I finally realized that I cannot continue to give him the care that he needs and deserves.  I was able to find, with the help of our daughter, a loving, caring facility that is dedicated to caring for those with dementia and Alzheimers.  This disease is reaching epidemic proportions, I only pray that a cure comes soon.  My life will definitely be different as I go forward, however I know in my heart this was the right decision both for him and for me.  

"What we have once enjoyed we can never lose.  All that we love deeply becomes a part of us."  -  Helen Keller

Until next time......(comments always welcomed)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Shopping plus More

For the last 2 days I have had the opportunity to spend money, in other words I have gone shopping!!!  Yesterday we visited one of my all-time favorite garden centers, Blumen Gardens in Sycamore.  Not only do they have lovely flowers, but they also have a wonderful gift shop.  I usually walk away with at least one new seriously good purchase.  Yesterday was no exception....

Aren't these just the you probably know, that is if you are into gardening, the hottest new trend is miniture or fairy gardening.  I am not into miniture gardening, but I can't resist these tiny little toys.  Aren't they just the absolute pinnacle of cuteness??  They are sitting proudly on our kitchen windowsill.  Love them. 

Today, I discovered Big Lots....omg have you ever been to Big Lots??  They have my seal of greatness.  What bargains, what fun...  Just look at that green polka-dot mug and that cherry rug, can't beat the prices.  The mug is big enough for soup and the cherry rug runs over half of the kitchen and both of these together cost less than $15.00.  What a deal.  I will return to Big Lots.

Have you noticed all the fields of Queen Anne's Lace??  As I drive the hiways and biways, these flowers are nodding their heads with the breeze, they almost resemble white waves enticing me to stop and pick a few to enjoy at home.  Queen Anne's Lace is one of the "best things in life that are free" that I wrote about in an earlier post.  Stop, pick some, and enjoy!! 

I am linking this up to Lisa's Creative Exchange here.  Hop on over and enjoy all the lovelies that are posted each week. 

"Your mind must remain open at all times.  If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it"   -  

Until next time.....(comments always welcomed)

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Marvelous Monday

Yippee, today was a pleasant day, comfortable temps and humidity, but....the heat and humidity will return as the week progresses.  Enjoy it while we can.   My husband's sister, Mary Jo, is in town for a short visit and we have been lovin' sitting on the back porch, sipping cold drinks, and catching up on all the news.  She is so fun and we have always enjoyed each other's company, love her as tho she was my own sister, not sister-in-law. 

Mary Jo and Gary each have those same beautiful blue eyes and a love for each other that just nuzzles my heart. 


Today's entry for Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday

I took Mary Jo to the French Market on Saturday and we came home with these chin-drippingly juicy cherries, along with red cherries that I dripped all over my new white knit shirt while stuffing them into my mouth, more peaches, cheeses, and plenty of fresh veggies.  Love that place. 

The sunflowers are in bloom, aren't they just exclamation-point exceptional!!!  Today at Picture Summer the prompt was to create a triptych that told a story...the bud, the flower, the remains - life cycle of the sunflower, gorgeous in all stages.  Used a template to create this triptych from the coffee shop blog...many, many freebies, check it out. 

Hope you had a wonderful day, I did.

"This is the gift - to have the wonderful capacity to appreciate again and again, freshly and naively, the basic goods of life, with awe, pleasure, wonder, and even ecstasy."      Abraham Maslow

Until next time......(comments are always welcomed)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Some Saturday thoughts.....

The heat that was so, so oppressive has finally become tolerable, allowing us once again to enjoy our screen porch....see the smile on my face.  Eventho the weather forecast was for 90+ degrees for the last 2 days, it never got out of the 80's....for once I am glad the weathermen were wrong.  I still have the air conditioner running (boo!!) because the humidity levels are still uncomfortable.  Here I go again, talking about the weather.  I sound like my Mother....that seemed to be her top priority.  Always her first question..."what's your weather like?"  Is this an age thing?? 

The rain and humidity has been great for the geraniums that adorn our front porch. 

More from my collection of daylilies...I just think these are "make a joyful noise beautiful". My entry for  "A Rural Journal's Sunday Best" this week. 

The Black-eyed Susans have begun to bloom, they have always had a timeless appeal in many mid-west gardens.  Don't ya just love their name!!

Another shot of one of the many, many, many chipmunks that absolutly drive Toby crazy.  They are cute tho.  I had a wonderful hummingbird that visited the garden at least 3 times this morning...did I get him on camera?  No...he was always way too fast.  So, you will just have to be satisfied with a chipmunk. 

The sky was exceptionally blue this evening a true cerulean splendor.  And I thought the cloud formations were stunning.  The 2nd one reminds me of angel wings.

I was watching, well more listening than watching, to our PBS station (Channel 11) as I was writing this post and the program was entitled "Chicago Food".  I didn't know and I bet you didn't either that Dairy Queen originated here, along with McDonald's, the hot dog, Italian beef, caramel apples, and I can't remember what else.  All foods to be particularly thankful for.....  I don't know about you, but Dairy Queen Blizzards are pure yumness in this household in the summertime.  And there is a DQ about 3 blocks from our house.  Is that a good thing or a bad thing?....haven't figured that out yet.  The McDonald's McFlurries are pretty darn good too, and they are less than 1/2 mile from our house.  Can you tell I like ice cream?? 

Oh, I hear the rain has rained the last 3 days.  The grass, crops, and gardens are indeed drinking in the most needed moisture.  I can do without the thunder and lightning, but I will sure take the rain. 

"If you want the rainbow, you've got to put up with a little rain."   - Dolly Parton

Until next time.......(comments always welcome)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An Extra for Lisa's Creative Exchange

You would have thought I would have used one of the many "Aurora" texture images to link up to Lisa's Creative Exchange, but somehow felt the need to take another shot.  I ventured outside several times today and each time came in the house with sweat rolling down my back & forehead.  As a "lady" I should say I was glistening....but heh, when there is that much and it is burning your eyes, in my book it's called "sweat".  Now I am not complaining, merely offering a commentary on the weather today.

 My entry for Lisa's Creative Exchange, not a macro but a sweet image of the Rozanne Geraniums that meander thru the rusty garden gate.  Another perennial that you should definitely investigate.  Beautiful toned leaves, small bluish/light purple flowers and blooms continuously from June thru frost (my kind of flower).  Rozanne will take some sun, and she needs some sun, but NOT full sun.  She is a dainty flower with tendrils so plant something bold to compliment her.    I have some large leafed reddish coleus planted next to mine that highlight both.  They have a pleasant English cottage garden feel. 

And one more....another daylily.  I planted these so many years ago and I can't even begin to remember how old they are...let's just say they are definitely older than any of our grandchildren and the oldest is there.  So to add to the list of benefits of having and enjoying daylilies old age is another.  They do like to be divided after so many years, having babies so to speak, or losing weight, whichever analogy you prefer.  At this stage in my life, losing weight is my preferred analogy.   After dividing not only do you have more lovelies, but it invigorates the old one helping her to produce many more head-turning flowers.  This particular beauty not only looks good, but smells good.  The aroma is almost like a perfume, another benefit.  So many of the newer flowers today have no smell, they have been hyberdized so much they have lost one of their attractions, their aroma.

"The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose"   -   Hada Bejar

Until next time......(comments always welcomed)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aurora x 4 and More

Tomorrow is Texture Tuesday at Kim Klassen...last week her free texture entitled Aurora, is the center of attention this week.  Every entry must have at least one layer of Aurora.   Aurora has quickly become one of my fav's.  I am pretty partial to textures with script...

Couldn't resist buying this cute little bottle holder, I can think of many possibilities.  Bought it on one of my Friday Foto Fun trips.  The extra texture that looks like screen, guess what, is a screen.  These little bottles were setting on the screen porch window sill with the screen in the background....maybe I should make this into a texture....ha!  There are too many talented artists that create beautiful textures, and many of them are free....why in the world would I want to make my own textures?? 

Number 2 image with the Aurora texture.  This beautiful geranium snippet is sitting on a old, peeling paint chair that I found on one of our Fun Foto Friday trips.  I thought about painting it, but decided I would just leave it for it character. 

Image #3...I like this one too....oh my, which one to choose.

And finally #4....a dried rose left over from the lovely flowers I bought at the French Market last weekend.  Oh dear, I am going to have to pick one, or maybe not, maybe I will just keep adding them one at a time. 
 No texture on this, another daylily from my garden.  Several years ago, on one of our trips to Saugatuck, MI, I bought 3 daylilies called Rosie Returns....a spectacular pinkish, repeat bloomer.  The 2nd year, I noticed another daylily growing amongst the Rosie did I know? the extra one appeared to be quite a bit taller.  Sooo, I dug it up and re-planted it and the above is the result, a spectacular red with a gorgeous yellow center.   I think I have said before that daylilies are head-turning gorgeous and so easy to maintain.  Get yourself some...they come in every possible color, no excuses.

I am now going to complain a is so dang hot and it is going to stay hot and even get hotter.  When it gets hot here, the humidity rises with the temps making it sooo uncomfortable, in otherwords, I sweat.  And I don't know about you but I don't like to sweat.  I am listening to the news right now, and it is going to be miserable thru next Monday.  It might last longer, the weatherman just doesn't predict longer than a week.  This causes me to get cranky because I don't spend time on the screened porch, even with an overhead fan, it's still hot and now I can't even use our new attic fan.  I know, I know, I am really whinning, but we had such a long, cold, snowy winter, I had great hopes that summer would be pleasant.  Ok, I am done complaining now.  But I can't promise there will not be more complaining as the week progresses, just sayin'.....But I am totally grateful that we do have air-conditioning. 

I'll close this post with this....yesterday morning as I was walking in the garden with camera in hand, I spotted this little critter flying around the monarda...his wings are totally transparent, you can see right thru them.  It is not a hummingbird, altho it resembles one, but it is classified as a moth-hummingbird ,  fascinating. 

"Your mind must remain open at all times.  If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it."
    -  Heraclitus

Until next time......(comments always welcomed)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Innocence of a Child

I love taking pictures of children.  They have such an innocence and joy that has not been spoiled by the grown-up life of worries, heartaches, disappointments and losses.  I am feeling a wee bit down today, big decisions are coming that are weighing on me, hoping and praying that I make the right choices and that lives will change in a positive way. 

Look at that innocence...I captured this at our granddaughter's graduation from highschool...this little sweetie was sitting about 2 rows over from us and she was just too cute not to take her picture.  That curly hair and those long eyelashes are predictions of the beauty to come. 

Aaron is the apple of his Dad's eye...he was in mid-air when I snapped this.  

Pink is Gaby's favorite color and it's one of my favs too.

This little one could not quite figure out what I was doing and who I was...she never took her big, brown eyes off of me and if you look close enough you can see my reflection in her eyes.  And those lips...look out Angelena Jolie, you have some competition here. 

Those blue eyes and eyelashes...oh my!!

I think this young lady thought I was some sort of talent scout looking for some new models...she really smiled and posed, sorry to disappoint but I am just a amateur photographer having fun. 

This little guy just melts my heart!!

As I said, I love taking pictures of children.  The brightness in their eyes, the softness of their skin, the innocence of their smiles all brings me joy. 

"Remember that feeling as a child when you woke up and the morning smiled?  It's time you felt like that again."     Taj Mahal

Until next time.....(comments are always welcomed)

An Afternoon at the Riverwalk

One of my favorite places to spend a summer afternoon is at the Riverwalk in downtown Naperville. It is a photographer's delight. The weather prediction for the next 7+ days of 90+ temps prompted me to take this opportunity to enjoy the 80 degree day at the Riverwalk. Along with the weather as an incentive, I also needed a photograph for Picture Summer that represented a postcard. I thought the Riverwalk would be the perfect postcard place.

The lovely fountain is the welcome mat to the Riverwalk.  This is the beginning of the original Riverwalk that opened in 1981, in recognition of Naperville's 150 year anniversary, the city has continually improved and added to the Riverwalk since then. 

Last year Dick Tracy joined the many other statues along the Riverwalk.  Dick Lochner, the artist that drew the daily cartoon that appears in many newspapers across our nation, lives in Naperville, and has for several years.  The statue is solid bronze and stands 9 feet tall, very easy to spot.

These ladies decided that the afternoon was perfect for rafting on the river.  First they had to drag the boat into deep enough water to even get into it.  But as you can see, they were rowing down the river probably singing "row row row your boat" as they drifted along. 

I love walking along the Riverwalk talking to the people who are also out enjoying the day.  These 3 were eating ice-cream, a brother and sister with their Nanny. 

Beautiful girl, beautiful eyes..... I am entering this in Live Every Moment  I think this young lady is so beautiful with her beautiful eyes and the touches of freckles just add to her beauty. 

Mom, look at the rock....can I throw it...huh, can I??

Ahhhh....sweet, young love!!!!

Blues and oranges were the colors of the day...look at those orange berries...don't know what they are, but they are gorgeous. 

Brother and their eyes, big, dark, brown & eyelashes that wouldn't quit.

I giggled when I saw this...a hook, line and sinker tangled up in the tree, and this wasn't the only one. 

We decided to join this little girl and eat a hotdog before we left the Riverwalk.  An enterprising young man has a hot dog stand right next to the fountain, lots of business during the summer and I understand his late night business is better than his lunch business.  After the bars close I guess lots of people need some food before they get in their cars and drive home.  And speaking of driving home, after we ate our hotdogs we got in our car and drove home...a lovely afternoon at the Riverwalk.  

"Today a new sun rises for me, everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it."    -    Anne de Lenclos

Until next time.....(comments always welcomed)