Sunday, November 30, 2014

Frozen Wonderland

Have you ever felt like the whole month passed by in the blink of an eye? That is exactly how I feel right now. I can't believe it is already November 30th! Not only the end of the month but the last Sunday, so I better hurry and get this Sunday in my City post written.
Unknown Mami

Today I am going back one week to share my visit to the city I call home, Sioux Falls South Dakota. During the winter the city turns Falls Park into a winter wonderland with beautiful twinkling lights and fun ice sculptures. 

I was just as excited as this frozen sculpture when my friend offered to take me down to Falls Park a little after 9pm.
Mrs. G had dropped me off and I realized I had left my tripod in her car. That didn't stop me though.
I managed to get some half way decent shots even without the tripod. Although it was a bit difficult to keep from shaking in the cold night air.
 How about a some sun flare lamp flare?

 I just love all the twinkling lights!
Although the frozen falls are amazing too, especially if you come earlier in the evening when they have colored spotlights lighting up the falls.
 Of course one should not forget the inviting little restaurant.
 Or the Buffalo statue
 Or the gift shop with the observation tower!
Or the wonderful view of the Falls and the ruins of the Queen B Mill from the walking bridge.
My visit to Falls Park Winter Wonderland made my visit home extra special. Thanks to my dear friend our gift shop now features some of these photos on Christmas Ornaments and Greeting Cards.

I hope you enjoyed your virtual visit, and are able to join in the virtual travel at Unknown Mami's Sunday In My City.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Caption This Wordless Wednesday and a Wish

Caption This

Now for the not so wordless part of this Wednesday post. That is right it is Wednesday and usually I post the Wordless Wednesday photo on my photo blog but today I posted the last of my Autumn photos. While Wednesdays here on Artistic Composition are reserved for letting the Universe know what my heart desires. Since my Wordless Wednesday photo and my wish are tied together I figured why not share them in one post. 

This little sweetie is my youngest granddaughter. She lives with her father and mother over 300 miles away. My wish is that we lived closer to them so I could spend more time with her and her sisters.
So there you have it my Wordless Wednesday and my wish for this week. I would love to hear your caption ideas, just post them in the comments. 

Don't forget to make a wish!

And join in the wordless fun at:
Wordless Wednesday

Wishing You a Wonderful Wednesday!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Five Little Frags Fritted Franticly For Freedom

Luckily my little frags know just where to find their freedom, yep over at Mrs. 4444's Friday Fragments. If you need a home for your wayward blog fragments stop on by, the more the merrier!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Thank you Mother Nature!
The weather is nice and I am running away for the weekend! Not sure that I will get a chance to see the Falls this trip but I will be spending some much needed time with family and friends. How about you, will you be traveling to visit friends and family for the upcoming holidays? 

One thing I have to admit about winter, it sure makes for some spectacular skies.
Skywatch Friday Submission

The strangest thing has happened. My grandson's cat is five years old and has been a very anti-social animal ever since they got him as a kitten. He has always been a very good guard kitty, sitting guard at the foot of my grandson's bed or in his doorway at night. But that was about the closest he would get to humans. Until recently. He has become more than social, sitting in laps, wanting to be petted and so on. Now he is down right needy! 

I don't watch a lot of TV, especially reality TV but I do have to say I am addicted to The Voice. This season has me in a quandary though. The final 10 are all so good I really have no clue who I want to win. Although I do have a very soft spot for this artist, especially after this performance of one of my favorite Bread songs. If you are watching this season do you have a favorite?

I have found a new book to add to my list of must haves. It is Photojournalist Scott Strazzante book Common Ground. I read a recent article  about the project in which Strazzante  documented the transformation of a family farm into a suburban track of homes, and how it had come to life. If you haven't heard about it check out the article that shares some of the photos and a little bit about the book.

Week In Review:

On Artistic Composition the week started off with a true story of how one man gave three homeless children The Gift Of Joy. Then on Wednesday I posted a simple wish that included where you can find this awesome planner.

On Nita's Photography the week focus was late Autumn fun in the park with children playing, workers working and of course some pretty flowers and a playful critter.

 Have A Fantastic Weekend!

Please drop a comment or quick hi and I will stop by and return the favor.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Wishing: Simple Wishes

Remember how when we were a kid all posed to blow out our candles on our Birthday cake and mom or dad would say 'make a wish… but don't say it out loud or it won't come true' ? Well guess what they were WRONG! Last week I made some pretty serious wishes and I am happy to say that at least one of them is already well on its way to coming true. Since making those wishes known my focus has improved and I am feeling much more optimistic. So don't hold back go ahead make your wish and you can even share it by clicking on the Wednesday Wishing button.

This week my wishes are much simpler. 

1. I would like to ask Mother Nature to please keep the weather nice enough for my daughters and I to travel this coming Friday to the western part of the state to spend  the weekend with my two sons and their families.

2. Robin at The Ranch Wife Chronicles reminded me how having a great planner can make all the difference in successful organization. So my second wish it to get a planner but not just any planner. I would like to get the Passion Planner. Click on this Video Link to learn what makes this planner so special.

For the longest time I used a good old paper spiral bound planner. It actually became a bit of a joke in my family that if it wasn't on my 'calendar' (the family called my planner a calendar) it was not going to happen. Then a few years ago I went digital and to be honest it just isn't the same. How about you, do you use a planner?  

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Gift of Joy

photographer: Daniel Sinoca
It was the summer of '66 when four children found themselves in the beautifully temperate city of Huntington Beach California.  Home to swaying palm trees and sandy beaches, lined with upscale boutiques and fancy homes. A city exploding with fun; afternoons swimming in the ocean; riding the waves; feeling the warmth of the sun as you relax laid out on the warm glittery sand. A place for joy filled walks along the boardwalk; colorful sidewalk vendors; and roller skaters who glide around you as you stroll along. The go to spot for playing volleyball in the sand while music fills the air. No matter where you turned, Huntington Beach waterfront exuded excitement.

But not for these four, no their motel room was not one of the upscale fancy rooms one might rent close to the beach. Instead they found themselves in one of the rent by the month motels in the more run down seedy part of town.  At least it was a deluxe kitchenette, with two full size beds that took up the entire main part of the room. A thin wall that ran 3/4 the depth of the room separated the bathroom, kitchen and 2 nautical style sleeping berths from the main room.  It was a far cry from glamorous part of Huntington Beach and what felt like a lifetime from the three bedroom ranch home they had shared with their parents.

The children; three boys ages 11, 10 and 8 and the girl age 6 were wards of the state put in the care of their grandmother. The year before, their parents had divorced and their grandmother had convinced the courts that she alone could provide the children a stable home. Somehow she had continued to convince everyone she should have custody, even though they had moved twice before winding up in the motel. Now they found themselves without a real home, living in this hovel with their grandmother, 35 year old aunt, 17 year old uncle and scores of filthy cockroaches. The room was hot and stuffy, with dust and grime so think the roaches left trails through it.  So many roaches that with each footstep they would scatter like the ripples in a pond when a rock is dropped in the water.  All seven people crammed into that one filthy little room.

Each morning the children's aunt and uncle would go off to work and the grandmother would shoo the children out the door. They didn't need any persuading really, none of them wanted to be inside that little room. They knew that it would mean sitting quietly reading their bibles as their grandmother sat at the tiny table cluttered with papers and dirty dishes, studying her bible or writing some story she would never share with anyone. So out they would go in their tattered, dingy and often dirty play clothes and bare feet.

They were only few miles from the glorious beach, and yet it may as well have been a hundred miles.  Instead, all around was run down buildings, vacant lots and busy streets. No playgrounds, just stores, offices and fields.  Most of their day was spent with the boys playing catch in the vacant lot across from the hotel or taking turns on an old rough wooden skateboard in the adjacent shopping center parking lot, while the little girl ran after them begging to take a turn. Had this been the extent of their existence it is likely none would have anything but dreadful memories of their summer without a home. But it wasn't, there was one glorious thing that changed how they viewed their situation.

In that very same shopping center, where they rode their skateboard, sat what became the saving grace for all four children. It was a shop, but not just any shop. On the big glass window that covered the entire front of the shop read a sign 'Ben's Hobby Shop'. The first time the children cupped their hands to shield their eyes from the reflection of the sunlight on the glass and peered within that big window a lasting memory of excitement and joy was burned upon their hearts. Through the window you could see a large oval table, with an elaborate model train set elevated in the center of a fabulous slot car race track.

Little cars zipped around the track at lightening speeds as a small train worked it's way through a picturesque town with glittering lights and tiny people, over a bridge and up into snow capped mountains. On one side of the table stood a young man operating the controls that controlled the train while at the head of the table stood four teenagers, each holding the controls for their car. As the four silent children stared at the scene before them pure delight. Racers and spectators alike filled the small shop with the sound of their excitement. Cheers of triumph and groans of defeat spilled out the door as it opened to let newcomers in.

The clean little shop wasn't fancy, as a matter of fact the table took up the majority of the shop.  Along the wall opposite the table were shelves with all kinds of kits and supplies for building your very own slot car. At the back of the shop there were more shelves full of model trains and prebuilt slot cars as well as all the supplies to build your own tracks and train tables. It was more than the children had ever dreamed. One day the owner invited the children in to watch the slot car races.

Who knows if the shop owner understood the importance of his actions or the lasting impression he gave the children when he invited the children to come back during the shops slow time and race his cars and control the train free for a half hour every day. He was a kind man, who obviously realized the children could not pay to play. A kind man whose generosity gave those four homeless children hope. He made them feel accepted. He gave them something to look forward to every day and he gave them their fondest memory during a difficult time in their young lives.

Homelessness and the plight of the homeless is a subject that touches me deeply. The above true story is an excerpt from my memoir.  I don't talk about it much other than to impress on my children and now on my grandchildren that one should never judge as we have no way of knowing what circumstances may have led to the situation those more unfortunate than we find themselves in, instead we should acknowledge them and help when we can even if all we can do is say hello and share a smile. Being homeless does not mean you are no longer human with needs and dreams like every other human being on this planet.

Homeless people whether young or old don't need our scorn. They need kindness, empathy and where possible our help. They need our acceptance as another human being worthy of love and happiness. So the next time you see homeless person or a ragged child smile and say hi, you never know that little act may be the only kindness they experience that day.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Freezing Fragments


Click here for Winter Switch winter wear
There are a number of things I like about snow; the beauty of fresh undisturbed snow; the fun memories that we make playing in the snow; having a chance to capture gorgeous snow covered landscapes with my camera. In other words it is great to visit, but I am not thrilled to live in it. So I created three variations of the above Winter Switch for those who feel the same. 
A photo posted by Nita Davis (@artistixnetwork) on
We have one car and I am the designated taxi driver. This photo was taken on my first run of the morning. About an hour and three additional inches of snow later, I tried to take my other daughter to work. Rear wheel drive, hills, snow and ice just don't go well together. We got a mile from home when we hit the first and smallest of the hills we needed to go over.  Twenty minutes and 200 feet later I turned around and went home.

Mrs. G commented that we should put a bumper sticker on the back of the car to let people know it is rear wheel drive so they don't get mad or think we just have no clue how to drive in the snow. So after my morning runs I got to work on the perfect bumper sticker. My first design had to be scrapped due to a senior moment. It read 'Front' wheel drive instead of rear wheel drive.
Available in both bumper stickers and car magnets

Enough about winter! How about them 49ers? Not sure where that came from especially since I am not a football person. On to a few of this weeks revelations.

The universe doesn't hate me! My third wish is on it's way to being answered.

Carol at Never...Ever...Give Up Hope posted a weekly sum up that included this article she wrote at the beginning of the month that reminded me I was able to accomplish much more when I took on more than I thought I could possibly handle. I still am not 100% sure which direction I am headed but at least I am in motion! 

The Berlin Wall wasn't nearly as thick as I thought it was.

Now for a bit of fun!

I can't wait for spring to try these out!

So how did your week go? Let me know in the comments. Are you a Fragmented Blogger? If so, Mrs. 4444's is the best place! Just click the Fridays Fragments button and start fragging!

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Remenants of a Chilling Time

Memorial Park 
Berlin Wall Exhibit
As I stood before this portion of the wall  two weeks ago reading the dedication I couldn't help but remember how for three decades the mention of the Berlin Wall sent chills down my spine. I always imagined the wall to be much thicker, much taller. Oh, I don't know but some how I imagined it to be much more sinister looking than this small section that stood before me.

For so long the words Berlin Wall only brought to mind oppression and tyranny and a wish to somehow change the plight of all trapped behind the wall. Twenty five years after the fall those same words serve as proof of hope, proof that freedom can be gained, that the oppressions of tyranny can be escaped. One of the many wonderful articles on the coverage of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall can be found here on CNN.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Wishes: Getting Real

Claudya of Unknown Mami fame has a nice little thing going where she celebrates the abundance of the Universe on Wednesdays by making her wishes known, and invites others to do the same. The idea behind posting her wishes is that as she says "... the first step toward getting what you want is knowing what you want." By putting our wishes down in black and white we are consciously taking the time to figure out what it is we want, and thus the likelihood that we will receive or achieve our wishes rises exponentially with our acknowledgment of the wish.  I encourage all to join us in celebrating the abundance of the Universe. Your wishes can be big or small, silly or serious because the Universe is vast and can handle them all.


After missing a number of weeks, this week I have decided it is time for me to get real, so here goes.

Life is a challenge, sometimes that challenge can become overwhelming resulting in stress, anxiety and yes even depression. Optimism during such times can be our greatest asset, yet it too can suffer the blow of the challenges we face. This is where I have been for nearly a year now, with it spiraling this last month to a place where no creativity thrives and even conscious thoughts struggle to survive. A situation verging on impossible. Faced with decisions that feel like they have no viable solutions.  Zapping my optimism as well as my ability to focus, to create, to write.

A while back Michelle at The Space Between Raindrops wrote a post about desperation that really resonated with me. She wrote:
"Desperation breeds attempt. It makes people do things they usually avoid, it unearths latent talent, gets us off the couch, makes us find jobs and research health improvements. Desperation turns us into learners and seekers. Desperation is responsible for the achievement of more than a few of the world’s impossible dreams. Desperation is fuel." Although it has taken weeks, her words have moved me to use this desperation for the positive.

Yes, without going into details which I am sure you don't really want to hear, my situation is desperate. Suffice it to say I have until the beginning of the new year in which to decide if I will give up my dream of making Artistix Network LLC a profitable business, if that is even possible, or close it down. Beyond that, for my sanity I have until May of next year to find a way to become financially independent. Now that may not sound like much of a challenge, however due to various health issues working a regular full time job where I am unable to set my own hours is not possible. So far I have been unable to even obtain a part-time job. With this in mind here are my wishes:

  1. I wish to find a way to make a livable income from one or more of my talents and abilities.
  2. I wish for the strength and courage to explore all possibilities, and learn how to make them profitable.
  3. I wish to regain my optimistic outlook. To take back my life and embrace my life motto.

Oh yes, and Mother Nature ... a bit of sunshine would be real nice about now.

Because the universe is filled with endless possibilities one more wish:
I wish you all a glorious day!

Set the winds in motion with a wish of your own.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Honoring Our Veterans

Today is Veteran's Day
A day when most people go out of their way to thank Veterans.
Is thanking them enough?
Should we not also honor them, and find ways to truly show them how much we appreciate their service? 

For The Depth of Their Understanding
 For fighting for freedom, ours and others.
Section of the Berlin Wall, Rapid City SD
 For all the sacrifices they have made big and small.

To all the Veterans who have served or continue to serve I would like to say not only thank you, but that your sacrifices are not in vain and are greatly appreciated.

Now for a look at how small towns and big cities across the country  pay tribute to members of our armed forces.

Inwood, IA
 Rock Rapids, IA
 Sioux Falls, SD
 Hayward, IA
 Washington DC
Many have served most honorably to keep our country safe and make the world a better place and for this we should all be thankful and do what we can not only on this day but on every day to show them we are grateful. Let's do more than just build monuments.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

SIMC: Rising to the Challenge

It has taken us a while to convince 10 year old Sissy that the only way to overcome a fear is to face it. She is so terrified of heights that until recently we had to carry when crossing bridges, climbing staircases other than the one at home and going in elevators. But look at what we got her to do last week!

7 year old Bubba coaxed her all the way up, pointing out where to grab on to the rock and where to place her feet, and on occasion touching her sleeve to make her feel more stable.
She was very excited that when she realized she had made it to the top. We of course were very happy she made it and didn't panic. It may not look very high in these first two photos, but check this next one out!
 If I had to guess I would say it was about 13 feet high give or take a foot.
As you can see Bubba is the fearless one when it comes to heights.
As I explore more of the hidden parks around Rapid City I am discovering most of them don't have much in the way of traditional playgrounds but they do all seem to have rock formations like this one that the children can climb.

Thank you for visiting. To continue your virtual travels visit Unknown Mami's to see what other cities are linked up.

Unknown Mami

Friday, November 7, 2014

Brought to you by the Letter K

Let's see if my muddled overwhelmed brain can put together a few coherent fragments. Over the last few months I have been trying to sort things out and figure out which way is up and which way is down. Needless to say I believe what I have accomplished the most is becoming lost. So today in an attempt to get back into some sense of normalcy. I am going back to preschool. 

This blog post is brought to you 
by the letter K
otherwise known as my eldest son, Mr. K

During one of my late night chit chats with Mr. K, (he calls me on his drive home from work between 11pm and Midnight) he was telling me all about how the Tesla was good but there were some much better environmentally friendly cars on the way. He was telling me all about this car that runs on Hydrogen. It all sounded  like something from Back to the Future or maybe even the Jetson's but either way it sounded pretty cool. Then in the on Yahoo yesterday I saw this bit about the new BMW, and all I could think was how right now I feel like a discarded Vespa, so even though it is a hybrid and not a fancy new hydrogen car I could settle to be that BMW. Just why I am thinking of becoming a car of any kind I have no clue. That's normal isn't it? Or, maybe not.

Speaking of Mr. K, he obviously loves cars and one of his very favorites is the original VW's both the beetles and the buses. So when I saw this cute little bug I had to snap a few shots with my cell phone. 

While walking through Wal-Mart I came across this huge greeting card, with Mr. K's favorite Sesame Street character, of course I just had to snap a photo.

While I am on the subject of Mr. K, tomorrow is his 32nd birthday. Since I can't travel the 300 miles to cook him his birthday dinner I made him this little birthday greeting. 

So there you have it, my bits and pieces for the week. If you have some you would like to share don't be shy, head over to Mrs 4444's and join in with the Friday Fragments by clicking the her name above or the button below.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Oh yes, if you would be so kind as to send good vibes and well wishes my way they will be greatly appreciated, and if you have a spare miracle in your pocket that wouldn't hurt either. 

Have a great weekend!