Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Let's Get Physical!

Sunday morning I rolled out of bed slowly. My arms and back were achy from the kayaking and swimming I had done on Saturday. I hobbled down to the kitchen to have my morning cup of coffee which my husband lovingly prepares for me each morning. I thought about the agenda of my day - lazy, lazier and laziest of activities loomed ahead for me. No company was scheduled to come up to the camp so it looked like I might be spending my day laying in the hammock reading Jodi Piccoult's 'Change of Heart.' Nice.

It was at this point I noticed my husband pouring over his map. "Whatcha doing?" I asked as I walked by on my way to grab a pillow and blanket for the hammock. I wanted to be comfortable in case I got exhausted from reading and swinging in the hammock. A nap would be in order.

"I think we should do something physical today. The key to longevity is staying in good physical condition. I am planning a hike for us today."


"Does that sound good to you? Did you have any other plans for today?"

"No, not really." I tried to hide the pillow behind my back. I can easily fall into slug mode so I am grateful that I have a husband who is energetic and keeps me moving. I ran upstairs, got my sneakers and I didn't even turn to look back at the hammock as we climbed into the car to head out for a day of adventuring.The time for living, moving, exploring is NOW - and I enjoyed hiking, laughing, and getting physical ! If I had stayed in that hammock, I wouldn't have seen any of the following sights. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did! Get Physical!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Did you forget something?

I recently wrote in my posted titled Just Breath that my husband is an efficient packer. That is the truth. He takes pride in this fact, as he should. On more than one occasion I have stood in front of the trunk of our car, luggage scattered on the ground, ready to call U-Haul so I can rent a trailer since there was no way we could fit luggage, dog, kids, stuffed animals, pillows and a variety of necessary miscellaneous items into one car. Enter Mr. Efficient Packer. He would ask me to move away from the car and the luggage so he could work his magic. He would roll up his sleeves. I would back up but not quietly. I squawked about the fact that U-Haul was having a special rental rate this week, about how the law of physics would not allow that much stuff to be stuffed into that small space. I squawked on about how car makers must all be bachelors who knew nothing about traveling with a family of six. My patient husband would tell me that he thought the phone was ringing inside and why don't I go answer it or maybe there was some wet paint somewhere that I could go watch dry.

When I would come back to the car I was prepared to squawk on at my husband, the efficient packer. But he wasn't where I left him. Neither was the luggage. He was sitting quietly behind the wheel of the car, with all of the luggage packed in the trunk - organized by shape, size and color. He would also mention that there was room for the kitchen sink if I thought I might need it on our trip. And now after thirty years of marriage I let him work his magic as I quietly watch from the sidelines, always amazed at his packing abilities.

So when we were packing a couple of weeks ago to head to Maine for our son's wedding, my husband quickly packed his suitcase and announced it was time to go. I voiced my concerns about him having packed enough clothing and other essentials and he looked at me like I was crazy.

"Do you remember who you are talking to here? "

Mr. Efficient Packer, that's right, silly me. How could I forget?

As we settled into our hotel room for the weekend, Mr. EP started to dance a jig around the room, waving his bathing suit over his head.

"Did you remember to pack your bathing suit, Deb? "

I think I glared at him. Remember from my previous post that I had forgotten my slip so I was still rather pouty. Of course I had not packed my bathing suit. I had, in fact, forgotten to pack that also BUT I did not want to admit that to Mr. EP so I thought fast. "Dear, remember why we are up here in Maine. We are here for our son's wedding. We are not going to have time to go swimming."

He seemed to accept that. At least he stopped swinging his suit around in the air.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday, August 19th. Today was the day our son would become a married man. The plan was that the guys would all play golf in the morning since the ceremony wasn't until 4:30 PM. The women would be busy doing last minute wedding details. My wonderful husband of thirty years AKA Mr. Efficient Packer, asked me if I minded if he took his shower first. No problem. He started gathering all of his clothing together. I noticed that he was rummaging feverishly through his bag.

"What's the matter? What are you looking for?" I asked with true concern.

"I can't believe this."

" What?"

"I think I forgot to pack any underwear."

"What? I can't hear you."

"I think I forgot to pack any underwear."


"Well, maybe you could go swimming instead." Smile.

I love you, Mr. Efficient Packer ~ underwear or not.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Color My World

I have now had adobe photoshop on my computer for one week and I have begun to do more than just look at it. I have cursed it. I have made nasty faces at it. I can't maneuver easily from point A to point B. Thank goodness for the undo button. I click that on a regular basis. I have made a zillion copies of all 4,000 pictures so I won't lose them by mistake. I experimented lots. As a matter of fact, I took the advice of Merisi , whose blog I visit on a regular basis, and I created a folder for all of my experiments. And I am starting to have fun with this technology.

Unfortunately I have also decided that what I really need is a new camera! I have wicked lens envy! My camera works fine for a little 'point and shooter' but I am ready for an upgrade. I was over visiting Kahshe Cottager yesterday and am still in awe of the incredible dragonfly pictures she was able to take with her camera. I want that camera! I want to get shots that are up close and personal. I want to see colors that pop out at you. Colors that are so vibrant that you just want to touch them. I want to take pictures that invite you to sit down and stay awhile. I want to take pictures that mesmerize, that tell a story all on their own.

I am open to suggestions from all photographers as to the type of camera I should purchase. For now, I will share with you my latest creation - with the before and after photo. At the top of this post is the 'after' shot. I would like to be able to tell you what I did to create this picture but I have forgotten. I was just clicking away on photoshop. I love playing around with the color buttons, changing the hues and saturation levels. If I could only click a few buttons each morning and color my world...

And below is the picture I originally took, untouched. It is a sunburst sculpture at the casino at Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just Breath

Still waiting impatiently for someone, anyone, to send me pictures from my son's wedding last Saturday. Please! I didn't bring my camera because I knew I would be busy performing 'the mom of the groom' duties. As soon as I have some pictures I will be sharing them here.

The day before the wedding I drove to Maine with my husband and son. No matter how organized I think I am, I find out whenever we travel anywhere which involves a suitcase that I am not so organized. I triple checked that I had my gown, my shoes, accessories - everything I would need for the wedding was packed. Cute sundress for the rehearsal dinner, pajamas, outfit for the day after the wedding, check. So far so good. Then my husband arrived back home after having spent the morning running errands. "Are we ready to go? Is my suitcase all packed?" No.

I did not pack my husband's suitcase even though I told him I would do that. Why? Basically, I forgot. I was so focused on not forgetting my gown, my cute sundress for the rehearsal dinner, outfit for the day after the wedding, appropriate shoes for each outfit, accessories...I did not want to get all the way up to Maine and realize I had no earrings.

My husband is a good sport and he knew that my stress level was maxed out so he ran upstairs to pack his own suitcase. I was rather surprised when he announced that he was ready to leave in five minutes or less. "Hmm, Hon, are you sure you packed everything you need? Golf clothes, rehearsal dinner outfit, suit?"

"Yep, let's hit the road. I am good to go." Amazing. I had made lists to make sure that I had everything I needed and was re-checking my suitcase for the tenth time while my husband, Mr. Efficient Packer, was ultra-confident in his organizational skills. I have learned after thirty years of marriage to not doubt him . After all, I have never witnessed him sitting on his suitcase, struggling to get it locked. I always pray that he won't walk into the room as I struggle to keep my luggage from popping open. He always does.

Finally we were ready to head to Maine. My son, the groom to be, became more antsy and anxious as we drove. We had a few last minute stops to make along the way which only added to his anxiety. I had hoped that I would have time before the church rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner to relax and freshen up -whatever that means. We checked into the hotel and the 'groom to be' announced that we had to leave immediately for the church rehearsal. I tried to calm him down and explained that we had plenty of time but he was already on his way to the car. His dad followed after him, telling me that they would meet me in the car. Great.

At this point I was still wearing jeans and a t-shirt. I needed to change into my cute sundress for the rehearsal activities. No time for freshening up - I threw the sundress on, prayed my deodorant was still effective and headed out the door of the room. Time for one quick glance into the mirror on the closet door. I stopped dead in my tracks. The cute sundress was a tad see through - I definitely needed a slip. Wasn't that on my list? I rummaged through my luggage trying to find a slip, how did I not pack one? What to do, what to do? I think I hear the car horn honking for me in front of the hotel. Think quick. I threw my jeans and my
t-shirt back on. Looks like I was going casual. Great.

Sputtering, I climbed back into the car. Both men looked at me.
"That's what you're wearing to the church rehearsal?"
They did.

We arrived at the church - early. The 'groom to be' announced that he was famished. He had to eat NOW or he was going to pass out. There was a deli down the street from the church so we headed in that direction. I was still sputtering about my cute sundress but no one was listening to me. These two men saw nothing wrong with me, the mother of the groom, arriving for the reheasal wearing my jeans and t-shirt. I had planned my outfits weeks ago - how could I have forgotten a slip? Maybe I should have just thrown all modesty to the wind and let my pink polka dotted undies be seen by all - including the minister? Nope, not happening. So, while my husband and the 'groom to be' ran into a deli to grab a snadwich, I sat in the car, sputtering.

If only these were designer jeans or I had some funky jewelry so I could dress up this t-shirt. As I sat in the car, stewing over my situation, I noticed a consignment shop across the street. Odd place for a consignment shop, almost in the middle of nowhere. Whoa, wait a minute...a consignment shop! I jumped out of the car, ran across the street, praying this wasn't just a figment of my imagination. The store clerk looked startled as I practically threw myself into her arms. I started rambling on, incoherently, about my situation. She backed up slowly. I realized I probably looked like a raving lunatic so I took a breath and slowed down. Finally the woman realized I meant her no harm and she began helping me search for an outfit.
She understood that time was against me and began throwing outfits in my direction as I stood in the changing room. I think she saw this as a true challenge.

Ten minutes later, I left the shop with my jeans and t-shirt in a bag. My 'new' blouse and skirt with matching jacket were the perfect outfit to wear to the rehearsal. The pink stone of my 'new' necklace matched the colors of the wedding. As I entered the church for the rehearsal I thought about the craziness of the past couple of hours and realized how much energy I had wasted on sputtering and stewing. When I can just slow down, take a deep breath and clear my head, I find that the answer usually does come to me. Just breath. I sat down in the front pew and watched my handsome son practice for his wedding day. Just breath.

Friday, August 15, 2008

We can see clearly now...

My Wednesday picture was just one part of the whole. This was a window from one of the older homes we visited while at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. Long ago window panes were hand blown and had a bullseye effect which distorts images. I zoomed in on one individual pane of glass and then did further distortions using my 'new gift to self.' Thanks to all who took a guess, and for the valuable advice. I think these windows have so much more personality and beauty than the windows of today.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What in the World?

I treated myself to a little present yesterday. I have been admiring 'it' for awhile. I had even done some research so 'it' wasn't just an impulse buy. Plus my son just got married on Saturday so I am suffering from some odd emotions and nothing cheers me up more than a little gift.

'It' is not glittery or sparkly but I have been having fun since the purchase. I have also been mildly frustrated but I realize that there is a learning curve involved with 'it'. I am still in total amateur mode and would probably benefit from a class to help me better understand 'it'. Are you scratching your head, wondering what in the world I could have bought for myself? Sorry. Didn't mean to perplex you. I bought Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 so I can do more with my pictures. I love my pictures and am truly a 'wannabe' photographer.

I successfully downloaded the program onto my computer - that was the easy part. Now I am figuring out all of the jargon. I am nervous about just pushing icon buttons in fear of losing my pictures. I am amazed by the technology especially when I think back a few years to my old Polaroid camera which I thought was magical.

I have great respect for the photography I have seen on the many blogs which I read. I am totally self-taught and striving to improve. One photographer/author whose work I truly appreciate is David McMahon. I always fiind myself wanting to touch his photographs. I love the shininess and the clarity. I want my colors to pop out that way his do.

So I am taking a deep breath as I now proudly present to you my first 'What in the World? Wednesday photo. What in the world is it? Let me know what you think then check back on Friday when I reveal the truth. Enjoy.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Forever and Always

Twenty four years ago a baby boy was born on the floor of our local hospital. The reason he was born on the floor was not because his mother made it to the hospital just in the nick of time. No, she had plenty of time. It wasn't because there was no room in the hospital. No, there were plenty of beds. He was born on the floor because his mother got into an argument with her doctor. The mother had been laying quietly in her bed in the maternity ward, breathing and meditating through the pain. This was her third child and she was confident about the birthing process.

Her doctor strode quickly and abruptly into the room and told the mother that she needed to start pushing soon. "It isn't time for me to push yet," the mom replied, "I will know when it is time to push."

"I have a C-Section in less than one hour. You need to start pushing soon or I won't be able to keep on my schedule, " the male obstetrician arrogantly replied.

The experienced, indignant mom, who was now in the throes of intense labor, propped herself up in the bed. In a voice straight from the movie 'The Exorcist', she screeched at the male doctor, "Who do you think you are to tell me when to start pushing? I will know when it is time to push. Leave Me ALONE!"

A nurse appeared out of nowhere and suggested to the doctor that he leave the room since the mom was now extremely agitated. In the meantime the mom slid out of her bed and began to pace around the room. Her eyes had begun to glaze over and sweat beads were running off her brow. As she paced around, the pain intensified. Breathe, pant,pant, breathe, SCREAM.

The mom sat down on the floor. The nurse and the dad ran over to her, coaxing, bribing her to please get back on the bed. She stared at them, trying to determine who they were. She had lost her sense of reality and all dignity. She laid down on the hard tile floor and pressed her cheek on the coolness. The relief was welcome but temporary. Because now it was time to PUSH.
There was no time to move Mom back up onto the bed - the baby was coming -NOW.

And that is how my third child, my Velcro Boy, arrived into this world. Over the past few weeks I have been reflecting about him, his arrival and his life. I have been walking down memory lane thinking about how he has changed my life, how he has brightened my days, how much he has taught me. I have poured over the hundreds of photos, smiling as I think about the adventures we have shared, the laughs, the conversations, the debates and the challenges. I respect his quest for knowledge, his inquisitive mind, his unending questions and his incredible Tigger-like energy. He is lovable, huggable, intelligient and extremely hard working. He has a good heart and I love him - always have, always will. And on Saturday he is getting married. On Saturday, I will watch him through my happy tears as he marries his true love. She is a wonderful woman and I truly believe that they will share a wonderful life together.

My wish for this young couple is that they will continue to fill their lives with love, laughter, hugs, kisses, smiles, respect, humor, conversations, debates, understanding, honesty, trust, adventures, risk taking, romance, comfort, compassion, silliness and lots more love. And I hope that Velcro Boy knows that I will love him ~forever and always.

Here are a few photos of my Velcro Boy which show his true colors! And now I must go and fill my pocketbook with tissues...I have a wedding to attend.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Coincidence? I think not.

After our romantic getaway in Vermont we continued on our way to Niagara Falls - a honeymoon destination for many. We had never been to this natural wonder before, so it seemed like the perfect place to celebrate our 30th honeymoon. On the morning of our anniversary we wandered down to the hotel restaurant which had large windows overlooking the Falls. The prime tables were right up front, allowing one to feel as if they could reach out and touch the mist. Of course, the majority of tables were in rows and tiers away from the windows. As we followed the hostess to our seat I realized I had not asked her for a front row seat. Maybe I should have mentioned that it was our 30th anniversary. Oh, well... I decided to sit where told to sit. My excitement grew as I followed her to the front row. Wow, what a wonderful way to start our day. We had the perfect seats for watching this show of nature. How did she know that we were looking for a romantic table for two? Coincidence? I think not.

After our perfect breakfast we headed out on a guided tour of the area. Our bus driver/guide, Dave, led us around the city allowing us to gain a better understanding of the area and the dramatic history of the Falls. Did you know that 5,000 years ago, the Falls was actually seven miles down river? And now 'man' controls the water so that the erosion rate has slowed down.

Dave drove the bus to a historic looking building on a hill...a Carmelite Monastery. Dave started to expound on the history but I wasn't listening to him. The hairs on my neck were standing on end. My husband and I met while working at Mt. Carmel Nursing Home - I was a dietary aide, he was the cute maintenance man. Coincidence? I think not.

The hotel concierge sent us to a small Italian restaurant for our romantic anniversary dinner. We ordered a bottle of our favorite wine, snuggled up and whispered sweet nothings to each other. The music playing quietly in the background. Wait. What is that song? I pushed my husband away and sat up straight, almost knocking over my glass of wine. I listened as our wedding song - 'Just the Way You Are' filled the room. Out of all the millions of songs, OUR song played at the perfect moment. Coincidence? I think not.

The Power of the Falls !

Looking like drowned rats but still smiling !

The Famous ' Maiden of the Mist'

Disappearing into the Falls

The Happy Honeymooners! Coincidence? I think not!

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