SAVE THE SPARE

Spare. It’s when you need two tries to get all the pins down at the bowling alley. Not as good as a strike, but not bad, either. Respectable.

A spare tire on the road is a must. Even though tires rarely pop these days the way they did back in the golden olden days. Still, stuff happens. Nails, glass and the miscellaneous road rubble are always there to puncture a sidewall or flay a tread.

You can be spare and lean, a mean machine. All muscle and fat-free.

And then … you could be a leftover. The remaining single of what was previously a set.

Where they were purchased.

Where they were purchased.

Which brings me to the lovely green earrings I bought while we were in Arizona. I spotted them and the sales lady and co-owner of the shop said “Oh, yes. And they hang so beautifully,” which shows a deep understanding of earrings.

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I was enchanted and obliged to buy them, especially since I have a wonderful green turquoise pendant with which these dangles would go perfectly, and harmoniously blend. While acquiring them, I realized there were several other small items without which I could not survive.

So I bought a second pair of earrings plus a nicely coördinated choker too. It was off-season for tourism, so discounts were meaningful … and the jewelry looked so good on me.

In my defense, I would like to point out that these were my only purchases for the trip … a level of self-control that was aided by avoiding anyplace that sold jewelry. And I had not let Garry buy me anything for Christmas because I absolutely knew in my heart that something lovely was waiting in Arizona.

A month (two?) ago, I was wearing my lovely green earrings with the coördinated choker. When I went to remove the earrings, instead of a pair of earrings, I was wearing one of each pair I had bought. I dug around in the cache bowl in which I put my jewelry when I remove it at night and found one matching earring — but not the second green one.

I was devastated. How could I possibly lose one of those earrings? We had recently traveled for a weekend, so I checked the suitcases, all my travel jewelry pouches, then emptied out the cache dishes and both earring drawers in my jewelry chest. No green earring. I now had one green dangly earring. A spare.

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I put the single green one back in the bowl and tried to gain some perspective. While it was a very lovely earring, it wasn’t terribly expensive (but it was a “one of a kind”) and losing an earring is not the end of the world. It just feels like the end of the world.

Life went on. Yesterday, I went looking for a pair of earrings in that same little bowl … and the second green earring was there. Garry tried to blame me (“You didn’t look hard enough”) but I was not having it. I emptied that bowl. I tore everything apart,

It’s those thieving pixies. Or maybe mini demons. There’s a fair chance that Bonnie is a demon. She acts like one.

I know for sure — that earring was not there. Until yesterday, when it was.

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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2016

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE | Spare

DAY TWO – THE SEVEN DAY NATURE CHALLENGE

I feel honored to be chosen by Cee Neuner  to participate in the Seven Day Nature Challenge.

I am supposed to post a photo per day for seven days. The subject can be anything from the natural world. Each day I will try to nominate a new participant.  I’ll do the best I can with that, but if you would like to participate … especially if you are a nature photographer … please, contact me. I prefer to not draft people without asking first.

I have thousands of photographs, about 90% landscapes and other natural subjects. Autumn, the Blackstone River, water fowl, Arizona, and sunrises are all favorite subjects. This has encouraged me to go back into my files and process pictures that I’ve never worked with.

THE SUPERSTITION MOUNTAINS

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I took these photographs on one wonderful, long day in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. It was mid January with the sun high in the sky. The Superstitions (locally called “the Supes”) are impressive and forbidding. Beautiful to look at and a joy to photograph.

This final photograph has the distinction of being unprocessed except for a bit of cropping. It looked exactly like this, except maybe better.

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We took thousands of pictures in Arizona. I haven’t gotten to processing more than a quarter of them. I tried to limit myself to one picture today, but I failed. Sorry!

Cee and I are acquainted with most of the same groups of photo bloggers and pretty much anyone I can think to nominate has already been nominated. If by some quirk of luck, you have been overlooked, PLEASE participate. Consider yourself nominated and chosen! Especially if these are the kind of pictures you usually post, it’s no stretch to just post them as part of the challenge. Come one, come all!

CONVERGENCE: BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY

Black & White Sunday: Convergence

There’s a short story that goes with this picture.

It was January in Arizona. A beautiful day in the desert. We stopped to take some pictures of the distant mountains. I looked overhead and saw the wires stretching from horizon to horizon.

I wanted the convergence of the wires, but to get it, I had to shoot from underneath the wires. It was the only way to get that  perspective. Which meant a long walk.

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I’m not an enthusiastic hiker these days, but I wanted this picture. So, I walked.

I’ve been trying to find a way to satisfactorily process this photograph ever since. I’ve tried many combinations of filters to make the wires stand out against the sky. I like this version the best so far. It’s surprisingly difficult to get the wires to display properly.

SQUIGGLY LINES: CEE’S B & W PHOTO CHALLENGE

CEE’S BLACK & WHITE PHOTO CHALLENGE: CROOKED AND SQUIGGLY LINES

From CeeThis week’s Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge (CB&W) topic is Crooked and Squiggly Lines.  I want to see any line that has more than two squiggles or curves.  Anything from plants, trees, roads, made-made items.

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Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge Badge

 

MORE SOUTHWESTERN ODDBALLS

CEE’S ODDBALL PHOTO CHALLENGE – 2016 WEEK 8

I spent hours yesterday and the day before going back through volumes of photographs from Arizona. I am no longer sure what constitutes oddball and what is just a miscellaneous picture I took for some reason. These strange pictures do amuse me and on some level, tickle my aesthetic sense.

This one is indisputably odd. It's lunch, through a coke and a menu

This one is indisputably odd. It’s lunch, through a coke and a menu.

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An old gold mine ...

An old gold mine …

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Art or oddball? You are the judge.

BACK ON THE SAGEBRUSH TRAIL – GARRY ARMSTRONG

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With the world around us covered with snow, it seems a perfect time for one (last?)(probably not) visit to Arizona …

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We were watching an old western the other night. “The Quest” was an unsuccessful TV pilot. Marilyn watched it for a while, then said “That’s Arizona. We were just there. That’s just outside Phoenix. I have pictures of that mountain. You have pictures of that mountain.”

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We watched the credits. She was right. (I hate when that happens.) It was, indeed, Arizona.

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We have pictures. These are my pictures of those mountains. As opposed to Marilyn’s, which look pretty much the same. Roads cross the sands where before, there was empty desert. More houses, here and there.

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Many more cacti. Arizona has done a really good job protecting the saguaro, so they’ve been growing huge and spiny since the movie was made in 1976.

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The mountains haven’t changed.

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DUDES IN THE DESERT

Just two days after we got to Arizona, we spent a long day exploring the desert around Phoenix.

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The city sprawls for miles, but the desert spreads out even further. Interesting surprises are out there in the desert.

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We found a dirt road that seemed to be going somewhere, so we followed it. It led to a smelly water recycling facility which, if you could handle the odor, had some interesting photo opportunities.

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Then, we went a bit further and just around the corner, a riding stable with a lot of very handsome horses, a casino, and a Sheraton Hotel with exquisite landscaping.

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Back to the desert … Vistas of mountains in the distance.

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Twisted ironwood under which speedy little quail dart around as if they had no wings, preferring to run everywhere. At top speed.

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And then it was time for lunch in “Rawhide.”

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The food was really good and we were hungry. And tired. Ready to go home, which we did, stopping only for a beautiful sunset.

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Photos by Garry and Marilyn Armstrong