LIFE IS NOTHING LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES

If I could go back and change my past, I wouldn’t. Life isn’t anything like a box of chocolates. You cannot pick and choose the pieces you like and leave the rest. Or, as my mother did, cut each open to see whether you like it before you eat it, leaving all those gooey messes behind.

circle of life teepee door

You pick one, close your eyes, pop it in your mouth, and bite. If you don’t like it, try a different one. Maybe it’ll be worse. Or it might be a chocolate cherry cordial. Mm, yum.

Just to mix my metaphors, I’ll leave it as it is, was, will be. My life is really all one cloth. You can’t pull out threads without ruining the tapestry.

SHARING MY WORLD – OCTOBER, COFFEE, GAMES, AND POODLES

SHARE YOUR WORLD – 2015 WEEK #27

What is your favorite month of the year?

October. It has amber sunlight, scarlet maple leaves. Crisp air.

New England puts on her party clothing and sings hosanna. I take out all my cameras and run around like a crazy person trying to capture it all before it goes away.

Do you drink coffee at all?

In the morning. Two large cups. After that, no more until the next morning. BUT. Those two cups in the morning make the difference between waking up and spending the whole day in a semi coma.

What was one of your first moneymaking jobs (other than babysitting or newspaper delivery)?

I washed poodles. I developed a deep loathing for the smell of poodle shampoo. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in the early weeks of pregnancy. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to tolerate that smell without feeling a little queasy.

List:  If you play video/computer games list 5 games you like? 

I play little bubble popping games on Facebook — which is pretty much all I do on Facebook. I used to play Caesar, Civilization, and a variety of “Sim” games. All of them were “improved” until I didn’t like them anymore, or they became unavailable.

I play computer versions of Monopoly, Scrabble, Life, and a couple of others, but I don’t think they count as video/computer games. They are merely computerized versions of board games.

ADULTERY – THE SIN OF GROWING UP

The first time I heard the word “adultery,” I assumed it meant the sin of growing up. I’m not sure I was entirely wrong.

I thought adulthood was about freedom. Not having to take orders from parents, teachers, and every grownup in the world.

It turns out that bosses were less fun than teachers, and everything was ultimately about money. Working for it. Saving it. Using it well. Building a career that would support the life you wanted. Having enough so your family could have a house and nice things.

I rebelled against it, the whole concept … and went off to do my own thing, dragging my son with me. I took a sharp right turn into unexplored territory. And it did indeed give me a great deal of satisfaction, not to mention many experiences that were beyond price. But I still had to work and money was still the bottom line.

monopoly

Money is the issue, unless you have so much you never have to worry about it — an experience I’ve never had. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but having enough will buy physical comfort, peace of mind, and a good chunk of freedom to do as one pleases.

When I was little, I remember hearing my parents talking in soft voices at night behind their closed door. I wondered what exciting things they were discussing. Would I ever have such adult conversations in my life?

Indeed, I had many of those conversations. Because they were talking about money. How to earn it, how to spend it. What they needed. What they might be able to afford for themselves, for us. That’s the basic issue of adulthood in this world. Maybe it has always been this way.

The freedom I was looking for definitely is part of reaching grownupped-ness … but so are a heap of responsibilities I never considered. Having to work when it isn’t fun and not what you want to do. And the worry and insecurity that goes with it.

Next time around the wheel, I’ll try to do better. I give myself a solid B minus on this round. Which might be an overly generous assessment.

AVOID FLYING SPACE JUNK

FORGET ME NOT?

Anybody can die of anything anytime. It’s a fact. You, me, anyone — we could step into the street and get hit by a bus. Be struck by lightning. Fall down, break our skull. We could be tooling along on the way to the grocery store and get broadsided by a truck.

The likelihood of imminent demise is statistically higher for some of us. By definition, the longer you live, the closer comes your last day on Earth. Unless you are my ex-mother-in-law. She lived to 104. We thought she might have beaten the odds — a special case — but in the end, she succumbed. Not, however, without a fight.

macro fuchsia July 2015

Me, I’m another story. I’m almost dying every day. Nobody — certainly not me — would bet two cents on my survival. Yet here I am. If not standing straight and tall, than at least crouching crooked and hunched. Let’s not be picky. I’m here, right?

I have been hit by meteorites. Not once. Several times.

It seems post-meteorite hit technology has come a long way. Although each hit whacked me senseless and knocked me off my feet, I managed to climb up again. A little the worse for wear, but breathing. Maybe more like gasping, but moving air.

72-Gar-Q7-Mar-DAM_38

Over all, it’s best to avoid meteorites, but if you are in the known trajectory of an oncoming extraterrestrial object, there are a number of strategies worth trying.

Duck. Hide. Run away. Roll into a ball and play dead. If these don’t do it, figure on having a really bad headache and some scars. And a great story to tell to your friends, later.

My legacy? Really, you want to know my legacy? How about surviving multiple hits by flying junk from outer space? If that’s not enough, I took some pretty pictures. Wrote some stuff, too.

That should do it, you think?

FUCHSIA AND CHRYSANTHEMUM – A TALE OF TWO LENSES

This is the time of month when I go through all the memory cards in my cameras. I look at each one to see if there are any pictures I have forgotten to download. I don’t miss much, but this month I found quite a few pictures I’d forgotten.

The pictures of the fuchsia were the first pictures I took using my macro lens. I was still figuring out how to find my focus. I’m still figuring it out.

fuchsia macro 0615-10

I took most (but not all) of these from further away then later pictures. Minimal processing. For reasons I’m sure someone who has a better understanding of optics could explain to me, macro pictures intensify grain and distortion.

yellow chrysanthemum OIL

Therefore, aside from a bit of cropping and sharpening, these are as they came out of the lens. I didn’t mess with the lighting, contrast, or color because less is more with my macro lens. All shot with the Olympus PEN PL-5 and the Olympus f2.8 60mm macro lens.

The chrysanthemum is my bouquet of the week from my dashing husband. I did not use my macro lens because I was shooting the house. The light is pretty dim, so I used my f1.8 45mm portrait lens. Sometimes, that extra stop makes all the difference.

Again, very little processing, mostly because the pictures didn’t need it. With one exception, they were reasonably sharp. The color was true. I cropped more than I do using the macro, probably because there was more to crop.

Everything shot with the aforementioned Olympus f1.8 45mm lens on the Olympus PEN PL-6.

ODDER BALLS – WEEK 27 – CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – Week 27

Odd Ball Photos are those pictures we take which don’t to fit into a tidy category. This week, I went out to my deck to see what I could find. A few oddities emerged.

A grill thermometer

A grill thermometer

Stone frog sun dial

Stone frog sun-dial

The longer lens - Olympus PEN PL-5

The longer lens – Olympus PEN PL-5

THEN, SHE SAID “CHRIST DIED SO WE WOULD BE NICE TO EACH OTHER”

IN MEMORY OF MARILYN BAKER, MY FRIEND WHO IS GONE

I had a very dear friend who recently died. When I first wrote this, she was going through a terrible time. The thing she feared the most had come to pass. Her husband was sick, never likely to get better, and her children were pulling them out of the home they’d shared for more than 60 years.

marilyn baker 2

Her Christian faith never wavered. She remained calm, unshaken, even though her world was being disassembled. I was heartbroken. Inconsolable. I knew I’d never see her again. We both knew.

She once told me you could sum up Christianity in a sentence.

“What is that?” I asked.

“Christ died,” she answered, “so we would be nice to each other — even before morning coffee.” Then she smiled, and sipped from her cup.

Marilyn Baker

Be kind to everyone. Even when you don’t feel like it. Especially then. Because maybe you’ll never see them again.

 

OLD BRONZES – SACRED ART FROM ASIA – MONOCHROME

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: SCULPTURES, STATUES, CARVINGS

Photographing small, antique bronze sculpture turned out to be a lot more difficult than I expected. I’m sure setting up some lights would have helped, but I put away my lights a few years ago and the idea of climbing into the attic to dig them out did not appeal to me. Nonetheless, I thought this was a good opportunity to finally make a few good pictures of some of my most prize possession, my Asian sacred art bronzes.

Vishnu rides garuda bronze macro sepia

Vishnu Rides Garuda. Tibet.

Old Bronze buddha, Tibet, date unknown, Maybe 18th century.

Buddha. Tibet.