Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Days Are Too Short

Have you ever felt the days are just too darn short? I sure have. Actually I frequently feel that there are not enough hours in the day for all I want to do. This quote seemed to fit my sentiments perfectly, and when I was going though some sunset photos I took last month this shot seemed a perfect match.

If you enjoy image quotes check out the other great 'quotography' posts at:

Quotography at {My}Perspective

Monday, July 30, 2012

Here Birdie Birdie

Yesterday afternoon my granddaughter Sissy and I went out to see what we could find to photograph. We found a few flowers.

There were three or four birds playing in the tree tops and while I was trying to get a shot or two of the birds Sissy decided she would call to them and try to get them to come closer. 

Of course it didn't work, I guess she just didn't have the right tune.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Goodbye July

This has felt like the longest July ever. With the heat and storms the days have dragged by and yet the month is just days from being over. The heat finally decided to let up a little allowing us a chance to get out and enjoy one of our favorite parks.

Northside Park in Norfolk, has something for everyone.
We stopped for a few minutes to watch the kids with their bmx bikes and skateboards having what looked like a lot of fun at the skate park.
 The sun was still so hot we decided to head to the shaded playground for a bit of fun.
Even with lots of water to drink and cool clothes to try and cool us down the heat began to take it's toll.
 Even this poor little guy was feeling the effects of the heat.
Sunday Best Submission
 Even the poor birds were looking a frazzled.

Linking up with:

Unknown Mami

Monday, July 23, 2012

Duck Hunting

 When my son brought home Max, he told me that Dachshunds were originally bread as hunting dogs. So I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that Max has a very strong attachment to his duck. 
This is actually Max's second duck. The first one became so tattered we threw it away. He was so unhappy and missed his favorite play thing that a friend bought him a new duck. Which he unrelentingly guarded. While he may guard the duck from others it was definitely not safe from him. Within a matter of minutes he had torn out the squeaker and ripped off the ducks poor head. Still he would not let us have the duck. Thankfully Max is old and naps frequently, so as soon as he fell asleep the duck was removed and placed in the trash. Yes, we threw his new duck in the trash. It was at that point shredded and a major hazard for Max.
Now I am off to go duck hunting. This time it will be a hard rubber duck, hopefully Max will like it as much as he did the stuffed ones.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Day In History

Special days come and go each year. Sometimes we mark them with big celebrations and at other times they become days of private reflection. After losing my husband in February I expected some of these special days to be very difficult, such as the day of our wedding anniversary, his birthday, Thanksgiving or Christmas. 
What I did not anticipate was how difficult my birthday would be. Generally my birthday is no big deal. We rarely did anything special. I know I am odd but until last year I had never even had a birthday party. So this year all I could think of in the days proceeding my birthday was how my husband had gone out of his way to plan a surprise party for me last year and now he wasn't here to spend this birthday with me. 
photo courtesy of NASA
In years past my birthday was a reminder of the excitement I experienced when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on my birthday. This year the thought never even entered my mind. As with many my thoughts were not on joyful events but on the tragedy and loss faced by others that tragic day, and the loss of my husband.
I have always thought how difficult it must be having some major tragic event on one's birthday and now I have sadly joined the ranks of those whose birthdays fall on days such as September 11th, December 7th and April 20th. While I strive to focus on the good one must also remember there is evil in this world and not forget those who have suffered at the hands of evil. Today sitting in our home in Norfolk, my daughter, son-in-law and I sat down and discussed how we could honor the victims of this tragedy, and decided one way was to create a Facebook cover in their memory.
Our hearts go out to all and wish them strength in this very difficult time.

Unknown Mami

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cooking Experiment

Unlike normal people who when they get bored with their menu they open a cook book I tend to just look in the cupboards and see what I can throw together. Some times the result is a big hit and at other times it crashes and burns. Last night the experiment was a major hit so I thought I would share it here. One of my favorite parts of these experiments is the family input to naming the new dish.

Mexican Stuffed Pepper Pizza
2 large green peppers
1lb hamburger
1 pkg enchilada sauce mix
1pkg Knorr Spanish rice mix
6 flour tortilla's
3 or 4 cups grated cheese ( I used half cheddar cheese and half that is a Mexican blend cheese) 

Clean and boil two large green peppers. 
Prepare enchilada sauce mix according to package instructions.
In a large skillet brown 1lb hamburger, drain then add two cups of water and 1pkg Knorr Spanish rice. Bring to a boil and then turn down and simmer till water is all gone, steering occasionally. Remove and drain water from the green pepper when they are tender but not too soft.  Cut one of the peppers into cubes and add to the rice/meat mixture. Slice the other pepper to garnish the finished dish.

In a large deep dish pizza pan pour a thin layer of enchilada sauce, layer 3 flour tortilla's to cover as much of the bottom as possible. Spread a thick layer of your favorite Mexican style cheeses. Top with another layer of flour tortilla's and then spread another thin layer of enchilada sauce over the tortilla's. Top with the rice/meat mixture, place green pepper slices around the side, drizzle the last of the enchilada sauce over the rice/meat mixture and top with cheese. Bake at 400 about 15min to melt the cheese and enjoy! 

Delicious and very very filling.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Power Failure

Trying to keep cool after the house heated up.
It is rather scary and a bit sad to see just how dependent upon electronics we have become. Here is a peak into the chaos of our day on Monday.
It was early afternoon, right around 1pm. It was hot and humid, too hot for our heat sensitive family so we were all inside. Val and I were working on our computers. Mel, my youngest daughter was reading again on her computer. Sissy was playing a word challenge game on her computer and little Bubba was playing a game on the Kinect. All of a sudden everything went dark. The power had gone out. Ok, no big deal right?

Wrong! After calming Bubba and Sissy down, yep they both were scared as neither likes the dark and to keep the heat from the afternoon sun out and the house cool we closed all the shades on the east side of the house. With our work put on hold we turned to finding ways to entertain the children. Out came the toys, coloring books and paperback books. By 4pm we were all more than ready for the power to be back on. Dinner needed to be fixed and although the stove is gas so we could still use it to cook dinner that would mean heating the house up and with the air conditioning off for three hours now the house was getting warmer by the hour. Opting for the least heat producing dinner Petey, Val's husband decided to cook out doors on the bar-b-Que. Which turned out delicious even if the french fries were a bit on the soggy side.

6pm it is getting darker in the house and still no power. Val pulls out all the candles. The shades on the west side of the house get closed and those on the east side opened to let in a little light. Mel and Sissy pull out paper and drawing supplies and go to work drawing cartoons. Val finds a good novel and curls up on the couch. Bubba and Petey find things to keep them occupied, and there I sit. I guess you could say that at times I have a one track mind. I had been working on the Mysterious Past novel when the power went out and all my research and drafts are on the computer. Sure I have many other hobbies and could have easily turned to painting, drawing, sewing or some other fun activity. But my mind was reeling with ideas for the book so I pulled out a note book and began to write.

8pm still no power, the house is now dark and it is time for Sissy and Bubba to head up to bed. Using the flashlight on his cell phone Petey takes the kids up to bed as Val grabs the battery operated trinket I got her for Christmas a few years back that lights up a square crystal with fairy etchings on it, to place on the dresser so the kids have some light. There is only one so the kids agree to sleep in Bubba's room so neither have to sleep in the dark.  By now the house is too dark for any of the activities we had been doing so Val, Petey, Mel and I place all the candles in the middle of the dining room table and pull out two decks of playing cards.

10pm still no power but that is alright we are having a great time. I had been wanting to play canasta for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to teach these young whipper snappers a fun card game. The power finally came back on at 10:48pm just in time for us to wrap up our game and head to bed ourselves.

This day without power showed just how reliant on electronics we have become and makes me think it would be a good idea to routinely unplug for a full day. It is easy to unplug for a few hours and not really think too much about it but when it is unplanned and last for a full day it is almost as if one feels crippled. What would you do without power for a full day? Do you routinely unplug?

Linking up my not so wordless post with wordless Wednesday at:
Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Laugh At Yourself

The serious side of life can zap the life out of you if you let it. I believe laughter is the key to unlocking the weight of the world that often sits on our shoulders. Being able to laugh at ourselves and each other has been instrumental in our families resilience. We are blessed with quick wit and the ability to find humor in even dire circumstances. Looking in one may think we are totally insane, but in all honesty if we could not find the humor in life I believe we would all go insane.
With that in mind I would like to share a bit of the story behind our most recent humor design, which is available on T-shirts in our Cafepress gift shop. First let me say, we do not make fun of individuals who face physical or mental challenges, and although our humor may at times be warped it is not mean spirited. We do however make fun of our own challenges. My daughter and her husband were joking around one day and he said he saw her on the short bus to which she replied that she was only there to keep him from licking the windows. To which he replied 'licking windows is fun'.

Available for both men and women

Available for both men and women

and for children
Our local neighborhood watch on the job.
So whether we are here in Norfolk or some other city we try to find humor in our everyday lives.

Unknown Mami

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Peaches Peaches Peaches

It's been a peach of a week!
On Sunday we picked all the peaches on our little tree. This is what was left after giving away two bags, and using two more bags to make two jars of jam, one quart of dehydrated peach chips and four quart bags of frozen peach slices. It is a good thing most of us like peaches. 

Of course we all ate a peach or two today and I used eight peaches to make this Southern Style Peach Cobbler. I will be freezing and dehydrating more tonight. Unfortunately I don't have all that is needed to can this large quantity of peaches. So most of them will have to be frozen or dehydrated. Thankfully tomorrow my Son-in-law will be taking a few bags to work with him. 

Thankfully we have a good size deep freezer so most of them will be sliced and frozen in juice packs or dry freeze so they can be used later. Sissy and I already have plans for making peach upside down cake, peach oatmeal cookies and a number of other tasty goodies.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Work or Play

Adjusting to a new life and a new area has left me feeling a bit off balance. The easy route would be to simply retire to a life of pure creativity for the simple enjoyment of creating. Yet, one must still earn an income and so I strive to find balance between work and play. 

It might be easier if there was a vast difference between my work and my play. For although I often head out with my camera with the intent to capture images to use in designing new products or artwork, the exploration seems so much more like play. Then at other times I head out with my camera to have fun with family and wind up capturing an image that is perfect for some product or artwork I am working on. Like this one which was taken during a family outing to the beach.

Even photo sessions like this one feel more like play than actual work.
It is so much easier to differentiate between work and play when ones job is clearly defined. I have a feeling that many artists would agree with me when I say the only part of our job that actually feels like that nasty four letter word (WORK) is all the administrative duties that come with turning ones creative talents into an actual business.

So for now I stumble along designing a routine and revising it until hopefully one day soon I find a routine that feels balanced.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Week In Photos

I have been experiencing a rather gripping bout of lethargy, most likely a direct result of the heat wave that has assaulted the US the last few weeks. Almost every day there were warnings to stay indoors or use extreme caution as the combination of high heat and humidity was at dangerous levels.  We did try to fight fire with water and set up the pool. Unfortunately the only spot to set the pool up is in direct sunlight until late afternoon. During the early hours of the day the pool became more of a sauna than a nice source for cooling down.

The 4th was a quiet day around our home due to the extreme heat. With both kids being very sensitive to both heat and loud noise they stayed home while I went to the fireworks display in down town Norfolk, VA. With of course a promise to take lots of pictures so they could see the fireworks. 

The next afternoon we braved the heat and headed to the beach in the late afternoon.

We had a great deal of fun swimming, building castles, finding sea shells and even a crab or two. But we were so wiped out by the heat the rest of the week was spent indoors. 
Hopefully this heat wave will end soon and we can get back to a more typical summer. 
Have a beautiful week everyone!
Linking up with:

Unknown Mami

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Week In Photos

After a long hot week I am happy to say I not only survived but made it out and about in the heat and captured some good shots. Here is some of the my favorite shots from this last week. 

This first shot is from last Sunday just before we took my niece to catch her bus back to DC. Although she is gone Bubba and Sissy still keep me hopping and entertained much of the time.
 In my explorations this week I discovered Hell's Kitchen in down town Norfolk.
Here is another shot of the beautiful Gothic church tower I shared here.
On another trip to the Japanese Garden I discovered this pretty pink Water Lilly's. So far the Japanese Gardens is giving the beach a good run for my favorite spot for photo walks.
Your Sunday Best Submission
This week I was searching high and low for the perfect landscape shot and although I didn't find exactly what I was looking for I did find this hidden park.
 With this really great playground.
 And surrounded by this intriguing wooded area,
with all kinds of surprises waiting just beyond the trees.
Living in a major metropolitan area definitely has it's drawbacks when you are wanting to capture a landscape shot that doesn't have a lot of man made noise.  I did come across a few spots that fit what I have in mind, unfortunately I haven't figured out how to get access to the land to photograph from the angle I would like to shoot from. So last night just before sunset I decided to capture a sunset landscape on the beach. Driving to the beach I kept thinking the ski was too clear and that a few clouds would be nice. The weather didn't disappoint me as shortly after arriving at the beach a rapidly moving storm came in from the west and was graced with this sight.

Skywatch Friday submission
 And that folks was my week, and my submission for Sunday in my City, Norfolk VA. 
How was your week?
Linking up with:


Unknown Mami