Monday, June 27, 2011

Memory Monday: How It All Began

It was Valentines Day 1988, the day that I would pull the greatest of all practical jokes on my little brother, and the day a new tradition was started. It was not planned, it was just one of those spontaneous opportunities that a joker like me could not pass up.

While on a visit to see my mother and little brother and sister I happened to walk past my brothers room and notice the door open. This was a rare thing as he had begun locking his door anytime I came to visit around the time he was sixteen.

You see during his early teens I had decided he was a great target for pranks that typically centered around his bed. Such as sprinkling cornflakes or rice under the bottom sheet, short sheeting the bed or once I even soaked his pillow case in garlic juice. He was seventeen and was bound and determined not to let me get the upper hand.

Seeing his door open of course I had to go inside, it was after all an invitation. I went in and glanced around, noticing a new cartoon drawing on his wall. Then I turned around and left his room undisturbed.  As we got ready to leave I turned to my little brother and told him I really liked his new drawing.

Jumping up from his comfortable seat on the couch he ran to his room. He quickly reemerged begging my mom to make me fix it. He was sure that I had again done something to his bed. I promised him that I had done nothing, but he was not satisfied. He continued to beg my mom to make me fix it, even after she told him that we must work it out ourselves.

Once again I told him I had done nothing to his bed, but he didn't believe me so I said "ok, if I can prove I did nothing to your bed then I don't have to fix it right?" he agreed and in front of my mom we shook hands.

We went into his room and I pulled back the covers saying "see I didn't short sheet your bed." Next the sheets were pulled off, "see I didn't put anything under your sheets." Then I removed the mattress "see nothing under the mattress." He still wasn't totally convinced. I pulled off and turned over the box springs "see no alarm clock in the box springs." Finally he was convinced I had done nothing to his bed. As I turned to walk out of the room he called out 'Hey come put my bed back together'. My reply was 'but you said if I proved I didn't do anything to your bed I didn't have to fix it, I proved it so now you get to fix it'.

After driving away I began to feel guilty for having tricked my little brother so horribly. I drove to the nearest grocery store and bought him a big box of Valentine Chocolates and a very nice and loving birthday card.

No it wasn't his birthday but they don't really make mushy cards for a sister to give her brother just because she wants to give him a card so I had to settle for a birthday card. Returning to their home I slipped the signed birthday card with the words written on the envelop "Do Not Open Till Nov. 14th" yes that is his birthday into the grocery bag with the box of candy. Placing the bag on the door step I rang the bell and quickly left.

As my mother tells it, my poor little brother refused to open the door for fear it was me. Then when she opened it and found the bag with his name on it he refused to touch the bag and wouldn't even eat the candy when she opened it and showed him.

From that day on I have left his bed alone and have called or sent him a nice card on Valentines Day. Sure I still kid around and tease him but only in ways that he will also laugh. You see although my pranks were always carefully planned so there would be no chance that they would physically harm my little brother, unlike the bullying I received from our older brother, I never thought of the emotional harm they might be doing.

That was the day that I realized the fine line between practical joker and bully.

Linking up with Melanie's Crowning Moments hop at:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Going Off The Grid

July is going to be a very busy and exciting month around the Zoo. In just three days I will be boarding the bus to head back east to our oldest daughters home.

I am attempting to set up mobile blogging but if unable I will be off the grid for about a week.
The bus trip will take almost three days. Once I get to Virginia I will rest one day then I will be driving back to South Dakota with my daughter and her two beautiful children.

They will be staying with us until the end of July, giving us almost a full month to make some fantastic memories.

I am scheduling a few posts and will be back to regular blogging once we are home. Of course it is going to be a very busy month so bear with me if I am not as active with comments, blog hops and posts.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Car Shows & Summer Fun

When my children were still youngsters and in school so many of the other mothers thought I was crazy because I lived for summertime. I was almost as anxious for school to let out as the children.
Pick Nick on the river with two of my kids and some of my siblings
Sure there was always memorable things happening during the school year but for me it was all the adventures we would have when the kids were not in school that I enjoyed the most. Often as in both of these first two photos, I would pack the pick-nick basket with lunch and with no particular destination in mind we would hop in the car in search of a great place to eat our pick nick.
Son and Daughter at Crater Lake
My excitement for summer break hasn't changed much, only now it is adventures with the grandchildren that I look forward too. Of course with the high cost of gasoline hoping in the car with no particular destination doesn't happen very often anymore.
Fortunately our city is buzzing with lots of fun activities throughout the summer months. Although I don't make it to as many as I would like I do try to experience as many as possible.
Last night was the annual Automania car show. Luckily for me all of my grand kids love going to car shows as much as I do.
Automania is a great show for car enthusiasts. There are classics, hot rods, muscle cars, imports, motor cycles and even a few like this that I really don't know what you want to call it.
Overall we had a terrific time and I am sure that in years to come we will often reflect on the fun we have shared going to car shows.  Speaking of reflecting, if you like reflection photos pop over here to see two really nice reflections of the kids I got at the car show. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

July 4th Celebrations

One of my favorite celebrations of year is the 4th of July. There are so many fun things going on. With the pick-nicks, parades, family get-to-gathers and the fireworks it is a very special time.

I love seeing the look on the kids faces as they watch the parades and the fireworks. Of course try to keep my camera at the ready so that I can capturing their excitement and joy.

By the end of the day the film is all used or now that I have gone digital my memory cards are all full.

It use to make me kind of sad when all the photos of such a joyful time wound up in the box of old photos or hidden away and forgotten in one of the many photo albums.

Another thing that would frustrate me is when I would go to put the photos in one of the kids scrapbooks and there was only enough room for a few photos on the page.

There was always enough photos that I probably could have filled up a twenty page scrapbook for every holiday.

Take for example these few photos on the left of some fireworks and my Granddaughter at her first 4th of July parade.

And to think photos like these probably would have wound up in the box with all the photos that wouldn't fit in her photo album.

Now it is so much easier, I can go through the photos and pick out up to twenty five of my favorite photos and make a single 8x10 memory photo to frame and display around the house or put in their scrapbook.

Here are two different memory photos using the same eight photographs.
 Personally I like this next one best. I love the combination of the composite background with the three firework photographs blended together to create one background and the scrapbook style framing around the remaining five photographs, which gives it almost a three dimensional look.
Not only am I now able to show off more of the fun photos but I am able to do so with professional quality photographs instead of low resolution quick lab prints. At Artistix Network L.L.C., unless otherwise requested we have the lab print all our high resolution memory photos on metallic paper. The metallic photo paper adds an amazing affect to the photo. Seeing them on the computer is one thing but seeing them in person always excites me even when the photo is for a client because when the light hits the metallic paper all the colors just pop adding to the three dimensional look of the photograph.

This year it looks like we will have all our children and most of our grand children home for the 4th of July. If the weather co-operates we plan on having a BBQ and of course taking lots of pictures. How do you like to celebrate the fourth of July, or your national independence day if you are not in the USA?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Point the Tail Art Show

I had a wonderful time last night at the Point the Tail Art Show, a benefit art show for The Retreat at Pointer's Ridge.  There was so much wonderful art from area artists, I was very honored to show my work beside them. I really enjoyed meeting the different artists and talking with visitors at the show. My thanks to the organizers and to all who came out to support the arts.

Here is a list of the other artist that were there, each one links to the artists' profile on Point the Tail and shows a few pieces of the art they brought to the show:

Here are more of the artists, each of these link to the artists' website:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wordless Wednesday:

Were Did The Time Go!

Well some how I lost Monday! As my husband says I have no concept of the whole time space continuum concept. Come to think of it he has a point. Today pretty much disappeared before I was ready for it to be gone. I have been so busy getting things all ready for tomorrows' art show, I let time get away from me. My Monday memory will just have to wait till next Monday, but at least I do have some Tuesday Wise Words.

With these wise words I will wish you all a very good week!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Embracing My Midlife Crisis!

Last year I celebrated the 25th anniversary of my 25th birthday and promptly decided it was time to quit playing with the idea of re-inventing myself and actually do it. The year before I had realized my dream of owning my own business if I could do that surely I could re-invent myself. I was not on a quest to become someone I wasn't but rather to become the woman I had planned on being the first time I celebrated my 25th birthday. The re-invention process has gone well yet now as I near another birthday it dawns on me that while I have re-released the artist in me to create again and have regained my confidence as an individual and artist not just a wife and mother, something is still missing.
Maybe I should trade the mini-van in for a
 or better yet
Hmmmm, I don't think my bank account could handle that. So much for a new car, maybe I should update my wardrobe. M & Em had a few outfits I really love, especially this one
I don't know, What do you think, is it just a tad to radical for this grandmother? I thought long and hard for all of three minutes this morning when it came to me! Instead of a new car or a sexy wardrobe I embraced my crisis. First instead of just dying my hair a plain natural color, I got creative. Using both a burgundy and a blue/black hair dye I dyed my hair burgundy then added couple of black streaks and saturated the tips with the black as well. To top off the change I went into my jewelry box and pulled out my earring with the long dangly chains. It may sound odd but when I was 25 my best friend/sister-in-law and I bought this set of earrings, she wore one earring and I wore the other. I haven't worn any earrings for at least ten years but could never bring myself to part with this one earring. So with my hair looking great and my one earring back in my ear where it belongs I am feeling GOOD! 

Now to just work on the wardrobe :D
Linking up with

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Furry Family Members

As most pet owners will agree the family pet is more than an animal. They are a true friend, a companion and a loved member of the family. I often think back to the furry family members that brought me joy and love during my childhood and wish there were photos capturing some of those special memories. It is with this in mind that I try to make sure I capture my children and grandchildren interacting with their pets.

When our granddaughter Ephy was born Paulie our calico cat was just a kitten. Paulie watched over her as she grew and entered her toddling years. They were fast friends and soon became inseparable. Ephy and her parents moved to another state when she was just two and a few years later they came to visit and she looked for her cat but Paulie had passed away just shortly before their visit. I was glad I had taken a good amount of photos of her and Paulie. I made this memorial of Paulie for Ephy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fantasy Meets Reality

While everyday is a day to be grateful, Thursdays are the day I try to post about something I am grateful for and why. Today I want to share two things I am eternally grateful for.

 #1 Eyesight
Although I began wearing glasses at the age of 12, I pretty much took my eyesight for granted. Then a few years back that all changed. At times the world around me looked like the photo on the left. I thought maybe I was just overly tired. So I tried to slow down and get more rest. Things would come back into focus and then soon everything would be a blur again. To make a long story short it wasn't a lack of sleep but a condition with my eye muscles. I am so grateful that I can still see and that my vision is not always blurry.

Fantasy Meets Reality by Nita Davis
#2 Technology
Of course I am thankful for technology for all the usual reasons. But I am most thankful for it because without it there would be so many creative things I would not be able to do. My digital camera allows me the ability to switch to auto and just point and shoot when I can't tell if the shot I am after is in focus, or stay on manual when I can see clearly. With my extra large screen computer I can magnify my photos and art work so that fine details are not missed. It also makes it much easier to read and write. I still haven't gotten use to the Adobe Acrobat which is a special magnifier for reading print materials, fortunately I can do most of my reading on the computer. Technology makes it possible for me to continue drawing and see what it is I am drawing. It enables me to combine those drawings with photography and digital artwork to create artwork like Fantasy Meets Reality and for this I am ever grateful.

My fantasy has met reality and prevailed for this I count myself blessed.

Linking up with Mexabella Loves Grateful linky. Hop on over to enjoy some beautiful posts on gratefulness.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Going Green

Linking up with Java for Wordless Wednesday.
Visit and enjoy some great photographs that 'speak' for themselves, or add your link and share your Wordless Wednesday photograph. 

Going in Circles

Alright so I think I may be going in circles but this is a direction that is all to familiar for me. In an attempt to prevent Artistic Composition from overflowing with my photographic exploits I tried to create a page to display some of my favorite shots from my photo shoots. When I realized a page wasn't going to work the way I wanted I decided to create yet another blog. I will still share some of the photography here but the majority will be on my photography blog. I hope to use it as a sort of on-line portfolio. I have added this button to my page so you may visit anytime you like.

The first post to my photography blog shares the fun and a few challenges I faced photographing these lovely children.
Do you ever feel like the focus of your blog needs to be narrowed?

Tuesday's Wise Words

While contemplating lisleman's post this thought came to me and I felt it was perfect for my Tuesday's Wise Words. Thanks lisleman for inspiring today's inspirational thought.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brothers: Curse or Blessing

 Some might think growing up the youngest of four with three older brothers would result in a girl becoming spoiled and overprotected. I am here to tell you that is not always the case. I was that girl. During my youth and into young adulthood I often considered having brothers as a curse rather than a blessing. At that time if some evil sorceress had told me I could only have one brother the choice would have been easy. Hands down, no questions it would have been the middle brother. Don't get me wrong, I do love all three of my brothers and now that we are all grown I wouldn't get rid of a single one. But back then, oh back then the story is a whole different one.

Let me take you back to a time long ago when every chance I got I denied that the oldest of my brother was even related to me. When I routinely wished the youngest of the three had the sense God gave a worm. To a time when the sun rose and set on my middle brother, and I knew I could survive as long as he was by my side.

My oldest brother was the evil genius of the group. Five years my senior and a bully to boot. My protection was the furthest thing from his mind. More often than not I was his personal test dummy. I will never forget one summer when I was eight years old and he had just finished building a really cool wooden go-cart. Of course every 'car' must go through a series of crash safety test. We lived in a residential neighborhood that was laid out on some rather steep hills. So with me in tow he took his go-cart up the street to the top of one hill. After tying me into the go-cart and gaging me, yes I was screaming to beat all hell. I had no desire to ride that contraption down that hill.  But ride it I did, right down the hill and half way up the other side of the next hill. Then backwards till it came to a stop in the valley between the hills. Now, imagine if you will this is a housing tract with streets intersecting other streets. In all there were two side streets that luckily did not have any cars coming on the day I had the wild ride. Next was the jump test. That is right, he had to make sure that the go-cart would not fall apart when taken over a ramp, and that the ramp was placed correctly so the go-cart wouldn't hit the garage when sailing through the air. Once again I was tied and gagged and sent on my merry way. When he wasn't using me as a test dummy for his inventions, he was using me as a guinea pig for his education in the fine art of chinese torture. First came the water torture, soon followed by some evil torture the name of which I have yet to learn where he would pin me to the floor cover my head and strongly tap with quick repeated jabs on my chest bone. One might easily assume that given my oldest brothers disposition at terrorizing me he would turn to a life of violent crime or abusive behaviors as an adult, but amazingly he did not. Although it took until he was in his early thirties he did eventually become a brother that I can now say I am very proud of and happy to call my brother.

At times I have to wonder why I felt the way I did about the middle brother. No he was not mean in the way the oldest was but at the same time he never stopped the oldest from terrorizing me. At times he even joined in, like the time the oldest decided it would be great fun to shake the ends of the rope suspension bridge that ran over the Kings River in Kings Canyon National Forest with me in the middle of the bridge. That time my oldest brother must have realized he couldn't do it all by himself so he convinced my middle brother and two of my cousins to help him. With two on each side of the bridge they waited till I reached the middle and shook the ropes creating a wave affect nearly knocking me into the rapids below. I can only surmise that after the oldest left home when I was twelve a bond was formed with my middle brother. We lived with an Aunt and her husband who was not a very nice man. My middle brother went out of his way to shield me from the turmoil in that home taking me with him when he would go out with his friends. He helped me understand how to avoid our uncles anger. He was there for me in a way neither of my other brothers were. He was the father figure that I had so long wished for, even if he was only four years older. For many years I held him on a pedestal, but as so often happens eventually one has to face the imperfections that are within us all.

As for the youngest of my three older brothers, it is hard to explain. Although he is two years older than I am, I have always thought of him as my little brother. It is not that he is dumb, he is actually very smart about some things, but growing up he lacked any form of common sense. I spent my early teens trying to protect him from himself. Fighting fights that he instigated by saying the wrong thing to the wrong person. Putting out fires that he started by playing with fire or just being careless. Eventually it got to the point that I just automatically introduced him as my little brother, which oddly enough he never disputed. He even began introducing me as his big sister. Then about ten years ago I was visiting in California and had the chance to finally meet his teenage children. My brother went to introduce me and started to tell his kids that I was his big sister, then all of a sudden he stopped and looked at me with a confused look and said 'hey, wait. I am two years older and a foot taller. How are you my big sister?" I just laughed and said something about my being the wiser one of us.

No, these three brothers were not this little girls protectors, nor did they spoil me. Yet each one taught me important lessons. My relationship with each one has grown and changed over the years and should that evil sorceress come now I honestly would not be able to choose. Now I consider each of my brothers to be a blessing. My only regret is that there are little to no photographs of our childhood to capture the good memories, for yes there are many good memories of each of my brothers.

The photo in the begining of this post is one of only three photos I have of when we were children. Here is one of us all together as adults. As you can see we are not all shying away from the oldest in this photo as we did in the top photo.

Linking up with Melanie's "crowning moments" blog hop because I consider the realization that my brothers were all a blessing to me and not a curse to be a crowning moment in my life.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Down Town River Walk

This park sits on the edge of the Big Sioux River and down town Sioux Falls. To the west of the park is the business district, to the east the river, and David is right in the middle.

A few pretty flowers along the way
Our final destination, the Falls
This last shot is my favorite shot of the week.
Linking up with three great blog hops, stop on by each and enjoy the fun.

Unknown Mami