Friday, July 30, 2010

camera fascination

different cultures are interesting. the people are just like everyone else but if they haven't been exposed to those things that i have been exposed to or take for granted, they have a reaction unlike mine and unexpected.

when i visited africa, i took my camera because i wanted to capture the country and the differences that i was going to experience. i knew i was going to see a myriad of plants, animals, and foods that don't exist in america. and i was going to meet people, too, that i would never again have the opportunity to befriend. during exploration, kids were especially open in their curiosity. mostly i think because i am so fair in complexion and they'd probably never seen someone quite so white. additionally, they were taken by the camera. everywhere i went, children wanted their pictures taken. i happily obliged.

these are school boys that stopped on the road to chat with us. they were immediately intrigued with the idea of having their picture taken, wanted to play with the camera and were all giggles seeing the digital shot afterwards.

these two cuties would pose, run away, come back and pose again and again. they said they'd been friends forever.

here are more school boys who were very shy, not letting me get out of the car so i had to snap the shot very quickly through the window. they didn't stop to talk although intrigued by the white lady and her camera. as i thanked them, they went running down the road. once i got the picture developed, i was so grateful. with the sun setting behind them and the expressions on their faces, they are so precious.

these are memories i will never forget, experiences i will forever cherish. people are people. we are all one... no matter our make up, no matter where we live. we are created equal, loved by god.

happy day.....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

hula hoop

do you remember those big plastic hoops we used to fling around our waists as kids? we'd shimmy and shake 'em with ease? laughing and giggling... trying to see who could keep them going the longest. it was like a race around our mid-sections. and the thing was, it seemed so very easy. those were the days. hula hoops were fun and easy breezy. colorful and lightweight plastic.

hooping has come back today in a big way. for adults, though, they are no longer lightweight plastic. now they are weighted. the better for maneuvering and assisting the user with keeping it in rotation. the longer you can keep it going, the greater the benefits. in fact, dr. edward laskowski of the mayo clinic says that as little as 10 minutes of continuous rotation can deliver aerobic and calorie burning benefit. isn't that amazing?

i had to get in on the fun so i ordered a weighted hoop. it came in this box.

i thought, "a box? i have to put it together? i can do this." and i did. it now looks like this.

pink, of course, is one of my favorite colors so i assumed that this would be a piece of cake. but color isn't everything, people. try twirling this baby around your tummy and you will see. add so many extra years to those of the old plastic hoops and, well.... let's just say it's very different. i am no longer 12.

the idea, though, that using a weighted hoop can massage my internal organs as it circles my tummy. it will increase my energy, strengthen my torso muscles, improve my coordination and spinal flexibility, and increase my blood flow....these are all reasons to learn and do it.

so for now, i warm up on the treadmill for a while and then have at it. i find myself laughing, cracking myself up while trying to balance the hoop. it is such a riot. all i can say is it's a good thing there are no hidden cameras in my house. and it's a good thing i have a sense of humor.

hooping is fun and engaging. get one. have fun. bring your childhood back. maybe you will find yourself hooping down the road in your neighborhood. maybe we'll hoop into each other.

happy day.....

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

kinetic wave sculptures

what makes an artist? how creative can an artist be? are there limits? should there be limits? have you ever given thought to this? for anyone can call themselves an artist, right? haven't we all seen the canvas with a squiggly line selling for a lot of money and thought, "well, i could've done that!" or some other abstract painting and we wonder about it? perhaps it's a piece of pottery in a strange form or shape that has you shaking your head. on the other end of the spectrum, of course, are the renderings that people believe are sheer genius. it's all perspective, isn't it? i might think that squiggly line is the genius piece. who's to say? that's what makes it art; keeps it creative in my mind. and because we keep talking about it.

meet a sculptor, reuben margolin. he is not your ordinary, everyday sculptor. uh-uh. he creates kinetic wave sculptures. these are moving sculptures that are made out of materials like wood, metal, cardboard and other found objects he has scavenged. they are amazing and look like they float in and through the air.

watch him here at work and learn about his incredible art.

i think we'll keep talking about reuben for some time. i find his work fascinating. i found myself captivated during this clip....that he could take such raw material and make it come to life the way he has. truly amazing....wonderfully refreshing for the world of art.

happy day.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

blueberry salsa

salsa. not the dance. but to eat. i have had many salsas in my time. bland, spicy, spicy hot, spicy bland. tomato salsa, fruit salsa. i have my favorites...yes i do. i am partial to peach salsa only because there is a peach tree in the backyard and i can make it fresh. however i do not recommend using tomatoes with the peaches. i don't believe that's a great combination. pineapple salsa is yummy, too. with grilled salmon it can't be beat.

well, that is until i discovered the blueberry. that's right. the other day i got some blueberries.... a huge box of them from a friend and i thought "what am i going to do with all of these so they don't spoil?" and i immediately wondered about trying a blueberry salsa. so i headed to the store and gathered up some ingredients. here is the result of my labor...

it is divine! you can see i didn't shy away from using tomatoes. i decided to go full out and give the combination a chance.... see what happened. and i was not disappointed. keeping the ingredient list very simple, i threw everything in at once and then let it sit overnight in the 'fridge to meld all the flavors together. let me tell you, it is not going to take long to make my way through this batch of salsa. it is light, refreshing, crisp and juicy. the blueberries and tomatoes work well together...a perfect marriage of flavors. i also mixed both flat parsley and cilantro together and that works, too. yay! this, my friends, is a perfect summer time treat for lunch, dinner, snack that is healthy and tasty.

in case you want to give it a try, here's what i combined:

1 and a half cups of blueberries, 2 tomatoes chopped, 1 medium sweet onion chopped, 1 jalapeno pepper finely diced, 3 cloves garlic minced, 2 tbls rice vinegar, 2 tbls olive oil, 2 tbls or so flat leaf parsley, 2 tbls or so cilantro, salt and pepper to taste. mix it all together in a bowl carefully and leave in refrigerator overnight or at least several hours for everything to blend well. you might want to drain prior to serving. so good. you could probably get your kids to help you with prep on this one it's so easy and have some fun in the kitchen.

happy day.....

Friday, July 23, 2010

africa plant

no matter where we travel, beauty is around us. in plants, flowers, people, architecture.

i noticed this plant outside a house i was staying at in africa. i was taken by the bright pink of the leaves.

i have no name for it but in the hot, humid air amidst everything else that was green or brown, to see this one bit of color struck me.

happy day.....

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

calla lily

i just about jumped out of my skin today. my calla lily bloomed! no kidding... almost over night, a bloom appeared. glorious in its white majesty.

of course, i couldn't let it be to show it off with only one picture. so take a journey with a variety of views....

what a beauty...the calla lily. from the outside white, those delicate folds, the gentle purple floating around the petal enclosing that yellow and then bright green leaves balancing it all.... my oh my.

happy day.....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


i am totally fascinated by signs. don't know why...just 'cuz. all kinds, too. high signs. low signs. wood signs. metal signs. concrete signs. home made signs. sometimes they are silly. or funny. at times they make absolutely no sense; make you tilt your head and go "huh?" like this one:

does this mean that only in the years of 1982 and 1986 the flood level was 1 foot? or was it 1 foot between 1982 and 86? is it still 1 foot today? what? or is the flood level only 1 foot in this specific location? who knows? there was no indication around. neither above or around the vicinity at all to indicate or give further information. it so cracked me up. maybe no one else would have this kind of reaction. maybe, in fact, no one would even have noticed this notice since it's on the side of a very low wall. but i did and was intrigued.

would you have noticed? what do you think it means?

happy day.....

Sunday, July 18, 2010

butterflies forever

did you ever run through a meadow with a net trying to capture a butterfly? when you were a kid perhaps? or as an "older" kid? always fun no matter the age.

butterflies are amazing. they are colorful, fly with ease, are harmless, fascinating to watch, fun to play with, graceful.

there are so many varieties of butterflies as well. they can be found around the world, too. this special one was located on a walk in kansas.

can you believe these colors? the aqua blue mixed with black is to die for especially with the sun striking its wings...oh my. i was with a friend and we followed this baby for quite some time doing the standard "oohing" and "ahhing" over the course of our wandering.

for me, chasing this butterfly was a little bit like running through heaven. just for a moment... because of the gloriousness of it... knowing that only god could have created such magnificent beauty for me to enjoy.

happy day.....

Friday, July 16, 2010

stand by me

music. it can do many things: act as a balm, bring people together, soothe your spirit, give you energy, bring you to tears, make you smile, make you dance... need i go on? because there are just too many to list in my mind. i love music.

and when i heard of playing for change i was intrigued. they are a collaboration of people. i always love it when i hear that people are working together, especially for the betterment of others or our world. this group is a multimedia project brought together to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world using music. how cool is that? there is the common belief that the power of music can break down boundaries and overcome distances between people; music has the ability to unite us as one in the human race. i say amen to that! we all see how fans come together at concerts and they are from all walks of life. there is an incredible amount of music on the shelves; all kinds, all sounds that is for sale.

so playing for change has gone around the world gathering artists to contribute to making music. one of the songs they've covered is "stand by me," which happens to be a favorite of mine.

the thing i love about this song is that it points out that we need to stand by each other. how apropos that playing for change chose a song that speaks to being there for our fellow man when they are promoting peace and unity. plus this is one of those songs that gets your toes to tapping, isn't it? weren't your toes tapping, just now as you were listening? and you were humming along, weren't you? i was. i was belting it out. in fact, i found myself doing a little air guitar and a bit of drumming on my computer. it's a catchy tune but very meaningful.

by the way, playing for change has now formed a foundation to help give back to the musicians who have been helping with this project. they are playing benefit concerts as well. it's a worthy cause. can music change the world?

happy day.....

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

life of a flower

remember when i talked about the african violet that i was babying because i hadn't given it the "kiss of death" yet? well low and behold, with my talking to it every day and telling it how awesome it was doing it really did do very well. within several weeks, i noticed a bud. i was doing the dance of joy. look at that baby here.

and then within about a week, that bud was opening up into a wonderful little pink flower. pink is one of my favorite colors. here it's looking like a small umbrella barely open to the world yet.

in another few days, the flower was unfolding into this gorgeous little thing that almost appear artificial. if i didn't know better, upon close examination it had a sort of fabric-like texture to it. so delicate...truly amazing in its beauty.

just for fun, i tried a black and white shot. the petals of the plant seem kind of velvety don't they? i am always fascinated how different the perspective is with the simplicity of a pure shot like this.

and here is the african violet in its full bloom. truly beautiful, amazing and perfect.

happy day.....

Monday, July 12, 2010

the writer who couldn't read

this is a fascinating story. one about the brain and its capabilities. i must admit, the older i get the more it seems to fascinate me. i am completely captivated by the brain; what it can do, the way it's underrated, how we take it for granted, how little we use it, stretch it and rely on it. why do you suppose that is? we really utilize it as little as necessary. just enough to get by for the most part. all that unused brain power...makes one wonder what the possibilities are that are being missed.

but for howard engel... he is a writer who woke up one day with the realization that he'd had a stroke. he tried to read the morning paper and although he recognized pictures and words, the words soon became jumbled. he found he had what's called, alexia or word blindness. i'd never heard of this before have you?

after watching this, i was amazed at engel's accomplishment. his ability to relearn, to teach his brain to read by writing. to figure out the intricacy's of what needed to happen for him to enjoy reading again, and then be able to put pen to paper and publish? astounding and remarkable. that's using his brain power.

happy day.....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

plant paths

i love plants. i love the greenery. i love the leaves. i love that they give off oxygen into the air. i love that they fill the house with life. and between you and me, they are a kind of companion to me because yes...i talk to them. i talk to my plants.
i tell them how beautiful they are, how well they are doing, what a great day it is. do you think that's goofy? let me tell you...they respond. just look over there, will you? do you see that? it's new growth.

i was watering my lovelies the other day and wouldn't you know. there i saw growing out of the bottoms of both these plants, new sprouts. i thought that was sort of odd to be growing way at the bottom of the plant like that. usually you find the newbies growing at the top with the other leaves. but here they are, all on their own making their way. how cool is that?

do you ever feel like you need to branch out on your own? set off on a footpath by yourself? go in a direction that isn't ventured by others or is maybe less taken by others? you feel called to head out on an adventure or something that you need to heed? are you waiting? for anything in particular? we all need to listen to that inner voice we have. the one that tells us what to do, how to do it, when to do it. whether we seek our guidance through prayer or meditation or reading or whatever, we do tend to know the direction we should follow most times.

it's like these little sprouts are doing, isn't it? they are following their own drum. they are not going along with the pack. they're doing their own thing and i believe they'll be just fine. i can hardly wait to see them grow big and strong; branches hardy with leaves green and billowy.

happy day.....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

thinking 'bout grandma

when i was little, there was a time that my grandmother lived with us. i remember her baking. i would come home from school with my siblings, walk into the house and smell the most mouth watering smells i have ever experienced. there has never been anything like it since. breads and rolls - all the doughy goodness. grandma had the ability to just throw ingredients together and make it work. i don't remember her measuring anything. it was always a little of this or some of that. i wish i had some of her recipes for those rolls, but...

she also sewed and crocheted things... did embroidery on the finest linens. most incredible. she had the utmost patience for working with tiny needles; combining colors and being able to work without patterns. i guess that was like her baking. no recipes, no patterns! grandma had an eye. here are some of her pieces that i enjoy...

although i will probably always needs a pattern or the recipe to follow, i do have an eye for the beauty grandma created and love that i get to share it.

happy day.....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

aarp card

i got a gift in the mail the other day. i wasn’t expecting it at all. well, okay… that’s not entirely true. i was thinking i should be getting it but really thought i’d have gotten it before now. it was the all dreaded “aarp” card. plus, i found it really wasn't a gift. boo!

now i’ve heard about this card and the membership and all. its benefits; the pros and cons. been warned about it like it had some kind of power. i wondered what all the fuss was about. after all, turning 50 is just another day in my mind. 50 is just a number people. although… granted… i do recall when i was a kid i thought 30 was old. and by 40 people were truly ancient, so who knows what 50 brought.

but anyway…. now that i’m all grown up, 50 isn’t a big deal anymore. i’ve come to realize that it’s all in your head. i’ve gained perspective. i believe we’re as young or as old as we feel and allow ourselves to be. in my mind, i still feel like i’m 30 something. i often wonder what 50 is supposed to feel like. am i supposed to feel old? or older? older than what? i think it’s just a game we play with ourselves….it’s all mental.

oh, and here's the rub. the other thing with the aarp card? you have to pay for the membership! huh? i couldn't quite believe that. why do i want to do that? are they serious? shouldn’t they be giving that to me? they should be privileged to have me on board with them, right? at least that's my attitude. i'm worth it, aren't i? they are the ones marketing the card to me after all. i'm not going to them. so give it to me. yes, i admit the yearly cost is pretty minimal but i was still appalled there is a fee attached for turning 50. my opinion is that it should be a present. a gift for this milestone in my life.

happy day.....

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

simple pleasures

a warm summer night,

a breeze gently blowing,

the storms clouds gathering...

seems only fitting to sit on the back porch and enjoy simple pleasures.

luscious red grapes.... hunks of cheese.... yum, yum, yummy!

happy day.....

Monday, July 5, 2010

in reflection of the 4th

as kids, we used to watch the red skelton show on saturday nights. i loved him. his gentleness, kindness, humor... he was someone in the arts i always looked up to.

i was privileged to meet red when i was in college. he was unassuming and humble in person, speaking to each of us in class with a warmth that was very real and down to earth. that's probably what captured me in the first place - his ability to be one of us and tell stories that hit home.

as we reflect on the birthday of our nation, here is one of red's stories about the pledge of allegiance and what it stands for.

happy day.....

Friday, July 2, 2010

lone lily

there it was. i came out of the garage and out of the corner of my eye in the glare of sunlight, saw a splash of color. could it be? not a chance, i thought. but i looked again and sure enough...

a lone tiger lily sprouting up from the weeds.

this after the bush had been chopped down due to all the overgrown hot mess prevented me from being able to get into the garage. additionally, there has been virtually no rain so the ground is more than dry. how did it grow? who knew the lily was so hardy? gotta love it...standing strong!

happy day.....