Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Saturday

I am pretending it is Spring outside eventho the temps are hovering around 30 degrees.  And next Sunday is Easter.  I sure hope it warms up a little so those sweet young children can wear their new frocks without heavy coats and mittens.  Didn't you always get a new dress, shoes, sometime a hat, and always new lacy gloves?  The first year we moved to the Chicago area I dressed my son in white pants (he was still young enough that I could get away with it) on Easter Sunday....he blended nicely with the snow on the ground.

Joining Madge at The View From Right Here for her weekend

Weekly Top Shot #171
"One day everyone will realize that it's not about being perfect; it's about being happy." ~ Unknown
Until next time.....

Friday, March 27, 2015

Random Five on Friday - The March 27th Edition

Well, let's see now, what can I find that might interest you.....

1) - We had 5 inches of snow on Monday, it melted, thought Spring would appear, then was greeted by another 1 inch this morning....arghh##@!  That last word was a 4 letter word in disguise.

2) - Getting ready for Bunco on Monday evening, I turned on the shower for a clean-up of hair & body (and you know I like squeaky clean) and the water ran cold.  Down in the basement I discovered a leaking water heater.  Now I am the proud owner ($900 later) of a brand spankin' new water heater.....arghh##@!  That again, was a 4 letter word.

3) - Binged watched the new series on Netflix entitled Bloodline, starring Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepherd.  It has it's flaws but it kept me interested enough to watch the entire 13 episode Season One.  The setting is Florida near the Keys, and much of it takes place at a beautiful B&B inn right on the beach that the family has owned for 45 years. The black sheep son returns home for the big 45th celebration and it's downhill from there.  There were a lot of arghh##@ (4 letter words) throughout the series, but unfortunately I have come to expect that.

4) - Just saw a preview of "Outlander" which begins again on April 4th.  Based on Diana Gabaldon's books (there were 8 in this series) which are, I would mildly describe as "steamy" and romantic. Ms Gabaldon is well known for her very prolific romantic style.  If you didn't see the 1st season, go rent it, borrow it, or steal it.  You can thank me later.  And if there are any 4 letter words, they don't sound so bad with a Scottish brogue.

5) - Remember I was contemplating buying a new camera???  Well, now that I have spent a good chunk of change on the "can't be without" water heater, the camera purchase has been placed on hold....arghh##@ (you guessed it, a 4 letter word)

Disclaimer: The above images have absolutely nothing to do with this post.  And yes, it is a real nest and real daffodils, and no it isn't a real egg, plastic.

During Lent we have focused on our fears, a week at a time during Sunday morning services. "F-E-A-R has two meanings: 'Forget Everything And Run' or 'Face Everything And Rise.' The choice is yours." -- Zig Ziglar   I think that pretty well sums it all up in 4 words, now it is our choice to pick the right one when facing our fears.  Hope you have a blessed weekend.

Linking to Nancy's 

Until next time......

Thursday, March 26, 2015

That Time of the Year

Spring came, Spring left, and now it seems to be returning again.  I did say that it was a fickle season and this past couple of weeks proved my point.  A week ago Monday it was 70 degrees, this Monday we had a snow-fall of about 5 inches, wet, heavy stuff.  Today there is hardly any trace left of that 5 inches.  "Hope for the best. Expect the worst. Life is a play. We're unrehearsed." ~ Mel Brooks  That about sums up Spring around here.  I did manage to find a robin or two during the snowstorm, sitting on the rose bushes in the backyard, patiently waiting for the snow to stop.  

Now we are back to this.....

Linking up to Theresa's Good Fences 

I get real antsy about this time of year.  The holidays are long gone, the winter has gone on too long, my getaway to Arizona is over, too early to even think about planting flowers, it's that ho-hum time of the year for me.  I start getting real lazy....sitting around reading, binge watching TV shows, playing solitaire on my I-Phone, ya know all really important meaningful ways to spend the day. 

I volunteered to take pictures of the animals at our Humane Society, thinking I would go a couple of times a week.  But after further discussion, I think they want someone that can come practically every day.  I don't know if I want to be that committed to a volunteer undertaking.  They did say they needed photographers for their events, which is a consideration.  I was so excited about the possibility of being around animals and photographing them, but it's just a might much for me to commit oneself to.  I know my limits.  

We have been studying Joanna Weaver's "Having a Mary Spirit" in Bible Study.  This last week we focused on forgiving others.  Sometimes we have been hurt and the person responsible isn't even aware of the hurt.  Many times we carry this burden of hurt and don't want to forgive.  I found this quote today and thought it was so appropriate for letting go....  "Holding on to anger, resentment and hurt only gives you tense muscles, a headache and a sore jaw from clenching your teeth. Forgiveness gives you back the laughter and the lightness in your life." ~ Joan Lunden  Isn't that just perfect. And I also found this on Pinterest and decided to add it to an Arizona image of mine. 

Yes, we can count on God and his love for healing old wounds and help us to forgive.  Who wants to carry around old hurts, not me. 

Until next time.....

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Happy Saturday Twice Over

Happy Saturday.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, it really appears that Spring is right around the corner.  My bushes that were snow laden and frozen to the ground have regained their shape.  Hooray.

I have had a shower, washed my hair, dried and styled, put on my make-up, got dressed and am ready to enjoy an afternoon at the movies seeing the 2nd "Marigold Hotel" and eating a delicious Mexican dinner at a local spot with friends.  Great way to spend a Saturday.  Now that I have given you an expose (whether you wanted it or not) on my morning.....I want to ask you a probing question.  When you shower or bathe in the tub, do you want your results to be squeaky clean or luxuriously soft?  I am talking about your skin ofcourse.  Personally, I want my skin and hair to be squeaky clean, if I want luxuriously soft I add lotion to my skin.  But stepping right out of the shower, definitely squeaky.

Today is Butterfly Appreciation Day so thought I would slip in another butterfly shot taken in Arizona.

Oops, well it's now Sunday, never got this posted.  I was in the middle of writing this when I heard the honk of my friend's car beckoning me to head off to the movies.  And yes, I did so enjoy the Marigold Hotel and the dinner was delicious, along with the frozen peach margarita.  Have I mentioned how much I like fruity frozen margaritas?  I am a sweet drink lover.

Ok this is getting ridiculous...I am now on Day 4 of this post and I still haven't finished it. But I will be brief....

1) Downloaded samples of two books recommended in People Magazine this past week.  "The Fifth Gospel" by Ian Caldwell and "Bettyville" by George Hodgman.  I may continue on with The Fifth Gospel, I am drawn to this kind of genre occassionally,  I was a huge Da Vinci Code fan when it first arrived on the scene and I enjoy a thriller and a good page turner and this appears to be just that. "Bettyville" probably not, story of a gay man returning home to care for his aged mother (Betty) who is developing dementia.  Sometimes I just can't go down that road.  I haven't even seen the academy award winning "Still Alice" just because it is such a harsh reminder.
2) I re-joined the Presbyterian church on Sunday.  Felt good, felt right.
3) Went to see Cinderella with friends on Monday.  Go see it, it is spellbinding in it's beauty.
4) Spring came and now it's gone.  It was in the 70's yesterday, but today 30's.  Spring is fickle, there's no denying it.  We are still in the midst of brown.

5) Waffling back and forth about upgrading to a Nikon D810 which is a full frame camera.  A couple of my favorite lenses will not fit on the full frame and it's darn near close to $3,000, but the reviews have been outstanding. And then I talked to Barbara Hurst about a mirrorless camera, she has a Fuji X T1.  She loves it, but that not only means a new camera but new lenses as well.  YIKES!  Also read a review on the Nikon D7200, but I don't think the differences between the 7100 (which I have) and 7200 are substantial enough to spend over $1,000 on it.  I purchased my very first DSLR for my birthday 5 or is it 6 years ago? and every year about this time I get an itch for a new lens or a new camera.  So far I've done nothing.

It is now the following Saturday from when I began this post.  So Happy Saturday, once again.

This time I am done.  Have a good week all.

Until next time....

Friday, March 13, 2015

My Random Five On Friday...Friday the 13th Edition

It's been a long time since joining Nancy for her Random 5 on Friday.  Nancy took a break from blogging, which happens to most of us now and again, but we in the blogging world are happy to have her back.

1. This week I was still riding high from my trip to Arizona....culling thru the gazillion or so images that I took while there.  In my post on what I did while there, I forgot to mention that we went to a Dog Show.  Well, what fun that was.  As a dog lover, it was a delight to walk around watching the dogs being groomed and I mean groomed to the max.  All of the owners were generous in letting me gawk and take tons of pictures.  Let me share just a couple......or more.

Sweet, sweet face

Suppose he is imitating David Bowie??

This one looks ready for a little mischief...

She looks so dreamy but then I stop and think about the mud in my front yard and that stops me dead in my tracks for even thinking about a white dog...!!

2. And speaking of mud, the sun is shining, the temps are moderate so I grabbed my camera hoping to find some semblance of Spring.  I did see a couple of shoots of green and a teeny tiny bud on my quince bush, but for the most part it looks pretty much like winter around here.  There are still piles of dirty, ugly snow especially in parking lots, and with each melting layer I find old newspapers that were buried along with piles of ya know, piles.

So instead of bits of Spring I took pictures of the survivors of our (once again) bad winter.  It's hard to believe that there are still remnants of hydrangea petals and the sedum is still standing tall. Amazing, but a few of the bushes aren't looking too perky and an evergreen right by the front door has a lot of dead pine needles.  Spring has sprung in many places but I have lived here long enough to know that Spring is a fickle season around here.  One day we can experience 70 degrees (like the weatherman is predicting for next week), and the next day a freeze.  But I do know that it's on its way, and that's good enough for me.

3. I started reading Kristen Hannah's book "The Nightingale" which is on the bestseller list and she apparently is a very popular writer, but....after reading almost 1/2 of it's 400 + pages I put it down. Sorry, just didn't like her writing style.  And didn't I tell you that "The Girl On the Train" was a real page turner??'s been Number 1 on the best-seller list for about 3 weeks in a row.

4. My birthday was Tuesday, no big celebration, just a quiet day at home.

5. So many of the shows that I regularly watch on TV have already had their season finales, so early, but now we have new shows joining the foray.  I have always enjoyed a good mystery so I am liking "Secrets and Lies".  Good cast and a who-dun-it.  It is a "limited run" which means it has a beginning and an end and doesn't drag on from one season to the next.

Until next time.....

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Seeing the Beauty

Daffodils, one of the earliest flowers to begin blooming here, altho these are not from here, well, technically they are not, they are actually from Trader Joe's and I have no idea where they came from. But they remind me of Spring and what's eventually to come and the sun is shining and all is good with the world.

Well, not everything. Just reading the newspapers is a scary event.  What with Hilary hiding e-mails, the violence continuing in Ferguson, ISIS spreading and destroying lives as well as precious artifacts, and next season may be the last for Downton Abbey, so no I guess everything is not right with the world.  It's difficult to think of all the bad things there are in this world, all the unfairness, all the diseases that are not curable, but dwelling on these fears is not good for our souls.  Many of you know that my husband's decline is what brought me to photography.  It gave me beauty when I was surrounded by grief and anger.  So I encourage you all to find something, someone, anything that takes away the fear and sadness in your life and replace that with something of beauty.

God has given us beauty, let us enjoy that beauty that surrounds us and try not to dwell on the ugliness in the world.  I don't know why I chose this subject to write on today, except perhaps after reading the newspaper this morning, which seemed to be exceptionally worrisome, I looked up and saw the daffodils that I bought yesterday that were nothing but tight little buds, now in full bloom and so cheery on the windowsill.  So my focus went from troubling to beauty in a turn of the head.

My trip to Arizona was filled with beauty everywhere I looked.  I probably have close to 1,000 shots taken while there.  This shot in particular caught my eye as Terri and I wandered the streets of the Barrio in Tucson.  Do you suppose the owner of this motorcycle bought this particular color with the BMW logo to match his house??  I choose to think he did.  And because it has a little fence separating the bike from the house I am joining Theresa at Good Fences and Kim at Little Things Thursday because daffodils after all are little.

"Surround yourself with people who make you a better person." ~ Unknown

Until next time.....

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to me
Happy Birthday to Deanna
Happy Birthday to me
(and many more!!!)

That last line is really important at my age....72.  Holy moly, in my younger years I would definitely say that's old, but now that I am that age, well, it's still old.  But....I don't feel 72, thank God, and I don't think I look 72, so I'm good with it.  My Mom lived to almost 92 and for most of those years she was in really good health and very active and mobile, so I only pray for the same. 

Since there is absolutely nothing to photograph outside my windows, no signs of Spring (no robins spotted yet) and the mud level is getting higher with the warming temps and melting snow, I will continue sharing Arizona images.  Much more appealing than what's going on in my part of the world. I could share a pic of Toby's mud-caked legs and paws, but definitely not a pretty site.

I searched the whole time I was in Arizona for a Desert Wren, the state bird, but darn I never spotted one.  But I did spot these beauties....

A Black Crowned Night Heron, eventho it's more blue than black, he's a beauty.

A male Quail...notice the dark on the neck area.  That is what distinguishes them from the females.

This is the female Quail, light on the neck area....and so sweet!!

A Texas Mountain Laurel bush in Arizona.  I saw both bushes and trees with these dazzling lavender flowers.  The flowers are about the size of a fist, well my fist, so they show off quite well. 

Tiny cactus with red flowers rimming around its tips.  Almost reminds me of the laurels of flowers for May Day, except there are no prickly thorns on May Day.

I love this one because of it's bend...most of the time they are tall and very straight. Must be a female showing off her curves

This is a Jacaranda tree.  Isn't it stunning!!?  It was in full bloom while I was there, lucky me.  These beauties can grow up to 50 feet tall.

So now you see why I would much rather share these images than anything from my parts right now. I need to go to Trader Joe's to add color to my world.  Hint, for those of you who have purchased cut Hydrangea flowers and they have wilted almost immediately, (which happened to me) I saw where if you mist them with water daily they can last up to 2 weeks.  Gonna try that for sure.  

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. ~  Oprah Winfrey
Until next time.....

Monday, March 9, 2015

A Little Winter Weary in Pics....

It's so wonderful seeing the early signs of Spring in other parts, here....not so much.  Snow is still on the ground, getting to that really messy stage where the kid's feet are usually covered in mud everytime they venture outside.  I haven't seen Robins yet, and I usually always see them just about this time of year.  I bet they are here, I just haven't spotted them.  When I do, you will be the first to know.

By this time of the year I feel like I could really use a about you??

And I am so tired of wearing that heavy muffler around my neck...

I have definitely overeaten this winter...

I am really tired of stepping gingerly thru the piles of snow and slippery ice...

I am so looking forward to Spring colors....pinks & yellows..

A trip to the spa where I am preemed and pampered is probably a "must do"

Or a new hair-do would be just the thing....

I get really bored about this time of year, just waiting for that warm weather to return...

Where I can sit in the sun and just let the sunshine warm my body...

How about you, are you feeling the first signs of Spring in your neighborhood or are you still in a snowy mess as I am?  Hang on, Spring will come, I guarantee it!!  

The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt 
to revive also.—Harriet Ann Jacobs

All images are from the Phoenix Zoo where my friend, Joyce volunteers twice a week.

Until next time....