Early March – In Like a Lion

Well good day! Finally, I’m back!

Yes, I’m back to bite off early March, bit by bit. I’m not so thrilled when I get this far behind, but I refuse to carry on as if nothing happened. There is so much to catch up on and there is no better time than now to start. Well, all of those yesterdays would have been a good time too, but they’re gone.

So here goes…

The date, March 2nd. – There was a crazy loud boom as March unfolded. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. We were blasted with hail.

Totally in like a lion.

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I don’t think the fish have ever experienced this much commotion. I know I haven’t.

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And I know the palms were probably in shock. This just doesn’t happen in So Cal. Or does it? It was a first for us in the 5 years we’ve lived here.

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It was a month of fire too. Nice evenings spent around the fire pit. This was another early March weekend evening. (actually, this shot was taken the morning after) I still remember the day, it was one of the many days I had spent 99% of my time outdoors. And looking up into the clear night sky peppered with stars and planets, was glorious.

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During late February – early March, we had the old plantings ripped out of the immediate left side of the waterfall. I had been working on transplanting things from around the yard to the area. It will be fun to watch the ground cover spread and the plants blossom. I also planted 4 roses in various areas on the upper terrace. Meals were also enjoyed on the patio. This is pretty much where I spent a good deal of time…

An early foggy Monday morning. Note the purple wisteria in bloom.

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As mid March drew near, I was beginning to think of all the stuff that needed a little sprucing before company arrived on the 14th.

So I started Wednesday, the 11th at the car wash, then salon.

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The hubs wanted a smile. Much better he said.

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Then we waited for our guests to arrive.

Oh wait, one more lil thing!

On the 13th, we had the electricians over to add LED lights in the kitchen and dining room. “What were we thinking” were my thoughts, when company was due to arrive the next day. So much dust, oh the dust…But in the end, we were so happy to have the job done. And all the dust bunnies were put to rest before company arrived.

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To be continued…

Blessings – Debbie

Inspiration in the Backyard

Inspiration comes in many forms while visiting the garden. It was this rose-bush, in dire need of deadheading, that caught my attention.

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And this faucet, in the line of water as it gathered drops on the web. Surely I should capture this too.

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Life around the pond, is a constant inspiration. This image (below) was printed on 11 x 17 and matted for my upcoming critique this week.

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The more I learn, the more I learn that there is still so much to learn. Cheers to being stretched mentally this semester.

Blessings – Debbie

Dear September

You went way too fast! And I did not get my act together to keep up. However, I’m back to recover some of little things in life last month.

Catfish – Our latest edition in May. They (we have two) were about 2″ + when we got them, now they are approximately 9″ – Finally I got a shot this month – These guys love to hide under rocks and come out of hiding for breakfast – The perk = we don’t have “fry” this year – While the fish did spawn, the catfish took care of all the eggs. Nice edition if you were to ask me.

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September school assignment – The lesson called to shoot 6 different categories in the Urban Environment with a total of 42 images. Then select two of our favorite images to print out on 11 x 17 for critique. And hand in the other 40 images compacted on two 8.5 x 11 contact sheets.

The six different categories – 1. Bench where people come and go – 2. Absence of people 3. Twilight 4. Collection of things (anything) 5. Non sequitur, something that looks out of place 6. Nature and manmade blended together

One of my favorite images printed on 11 x 17 and mated it for critique in class. Category = Bench

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The second image I used for my final urban assignment. Category = Twilight

On a good note – the professor was so thrilled with our work that it was all hung in the school gallery.

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What my contact sheets for the assignment (printed on 8.5 x 11) look like…

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Next…. I still don’t have my grade, but I hope it’s a good one.

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Guess who thought it necessary to be there with me, as he did not want me alone out there on my urban assignment…Makes my heart smile…

He’s the BEST!

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Friendship – Lunch with friends at the beach, is always a good idea. It’s times like this that I kick myself for not having my camera. But ever so thankful for the trusty cell phone.

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Fresh cool air – sipping soda beachside with friends – enjoying the visit – more than a girl could ask on a summer day.

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Truly a glorious day to remember…

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Happy Fish and Cloudy Water – We’ve had the pond guy out a couple of times to try to help us figure out why we can’t seem to get the clarity back. Turns out, I’m cleaning it TOO MUCH and backwashing TOO MUCH. Jokingly he said, this is not a pool, it’s a pond. And you need to allow the algae to grow on the sides to develop a good ecosystem.  And he said “don’t touch it ’til I come back the end of the month.” On a good note, the fish are happy and the water ph is just dandy. But the clarity we are used to seeing is just not there. My bad.

The get this thing clean and backwash mentality is hard to let go, but I must.

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New Frames – The hubs is up for new frames. The supposedly really nice frames he picked up the last time continue to have a screw loose ALL. THE. TIME.

We’ve shopped a few places and took a pic the last place we visited over the weekend. Now to go back to the other place to compare notes with the other frames we liked.

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While I still love my frames, it’s a growing concern that I could use bigger frames do to wearing progressives and the need for a little more room to see. Totally not something I’m thrilled about.

But I think I found something that may fill the order next year. I think…

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October Class Assignment – I spent the last couple of weeks in september working on images that could be used for my upcoming assignment. Images were not to be taken in direct sunlight.

I was quite fond of the bubble I captured as it was moving down the waterfall over the stem of the leaf.

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But this image captured days later caused my heart to sing. Getting ready to print this guy and mat it next week.

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I must say, this semester has brought a lot of doubt. Doubt on the days we have a solid 3 hour lecture.

And I come home feeling discouraged that I’m unable to carry out the task. And when I tell the hubs all about it, a tear or two may trickle down my cheek. And he listens, while the look on his face tells me that he wished he could make it all better. And that’s what makes everything better.

And it’s weeks like this (in class) when we’ve had a solid 3 hour lab, that things begin to sink in. Somehow when we as students get to sit at the computer and begin to work on our assignments, ask questions and put to use what we’re learning, the process kicks in.  And somehow I’m able to grasp what he was saying all along during those lectures.

And now I could practically do the assignment with my eyes closed. And I smile and say, it wasn’t that bad after all.

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Cheers to learning new things!

And may I remember that it’s alright if I don’t come home from school knowing everything the professor finished lecturing about. Somethings take time to process.

On a Happy Note – Happy October! Puts me in the holiday spirit already. Yup, I’m one of the crazies that love to blend Pumpkin, Thanksgiving and Christmas all into one.

Blessings – Debbie

In the Garden

Our three-day weekend was filled with good things. We did a bit of shopping for the garden – dinning out – resting – working in the garden – oatmeal chocolate chip baking – cooking together, the hubs makes killer shrimp tacos + I make killer garnish = we make the best team – planting in the garden = I transplanted 11 “pup” sago palms – we stopped at an estate sale and I picked up a little something (decor that I want to paint white) for the kitchen and the hubs paid for it = $5.00 – I used a sledge hammer “I used a SLEDGE hammer!” The hubs helped to coach me on how to better swing it, makes me happy he lets me do these fun things along side him + it got my heart rate up = great workout – Had a bit more work done on the pavers + the boys dug a trench out to the road to complete the drainage for the project – the hubs had a dental (cleaning) appointment and I took a nap in the waiting room (you should have seen his grin when I woke up) – And Monday morning the hubs said “I could use another 1,000 weekends like this.

And just like that, it was Monday.

I shot a picture of the leader on my way home. Yes, one hand was on the wheel. Both eyes on the road. The other hand in my purse digging for my cell. And I managed to get a shot. Then I just had to throw it in Photoshop for a bit of an edit. How fun!

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We had a visitor again last evening. It looks like our fake decor egret is not holding up his end of the deal. Guess it’s time for me to move it again…

So it’s been a year this week that we added fish to the pond. In this amount of time, we’ve lost a total of 4 to the egret and heron. Not too bad, if you were to ask me. As we will always live with this sort of threat…And I’m thankful yelling works when all else fails…

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The hubs knows just the place to look when I’m nowhere to be found, this morning.

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She’ll be in the garden.

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Inspecting the daylily at all angles.

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And spying a daylily just before the bloom…

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Checking to see how the red bell pepper begins to form.

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And the roses…

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Oh, the roses.

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They truly have a greeting all of their own.

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And just like that, the early morning hours are past and we are well on our way into Tuesday.

Which means, I think it’s about time to get on with a few of the nitty-gritty things, as I just heard the washing machine stop.

Thank you for stopping by on this beautiful summer day.

Blessings – Debbie

What Caught My Eye

Good afternoon friends! It’s a glorious day. The hubs is on the mend. Knock on wood, I still feel like a million bucks. And that gives me reason to celebrate right there.

So today, I decided I would shoot a few things that have recently caught my eye.

First up – the climbing rose over the arch in the garden. This guy has made some really nice changes since we started fertilizing this year. The buds keep a coming and the roses burst with joy.

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Beefsteak Tomato – My eye has been all over this guy the last few days. I think this is the largest beefsteak we have on the vine so far.

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As I passed by these heirloom cherry tomatoes, in front of the roses – I had a thought that the roses would provide a pretty background. That said, I decided to shoot because it caught my eye.

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Anybody out there know the name of this really pretty tall blue flowering grass? I just love how it has spilled over with flowers since the spring.

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Love…

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Love…

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And love…I couldn’t decide which image I liked the best. So I used all the above and this guy below.

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Love when the agave begin to bloom…

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We have oodles of daylilies preparing to burst.

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And finally, this fallen leaf in the bottom of the old rusted-out wheelbarrow truly caught my eye.

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It was a nice little break to stop and capture a few of the things that have caused me to pause over the last few days, weeks and months.

Thank you for visiting.

Blessings – Debbie

In The Last 24 Hours

We had a visitor last evening.

The guy down below is our fake decoy egret for the fish pond. The guy up above, just flew in. I actually ran out there and yelled at him right after I took this blurry shot.

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This morning – things moved along as usual. I made breakfast and lunch for the hubs while he was getting ready for work.

Made a cup of coffee as soon as I bid farewell to the hubs.

Sat down for about 30 min for a little reading with my coffee.

Then went out to the garden.

And spied this little crimson sweet watermelon for the very first time. And as I looked, I noticed a few more babies. Did you know these guys can reach up to 25 pounds? No matter the size, we’re just hoping for some sweet homegrown melon this year.

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And then I went over to check out the tomatoes. It seems they are changing by the day too. Here’s a few of our little cherry tomatoes.

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Our red bell peppers are growing too.

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And just about the time I was getting ready to pay a little attention to the roses, I hear from down below “Honey, I’m home and I don’t feel so good.”

So I dropped what I was doing and ran down to see what was wrong.

Turns out he was violently sick and asked if I would take him to Urgent Care right away.

I would have done anything to make his illness go away, so off we went to get him some help.

Soon, the nurse gave him dose of Zofran. After a while, he was still terribly sick so the Dr. ordered another dose + a nice IV to keep him from dehydrating.

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After about 20 or so minutes he was feeling a lot better.

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While he was enjoying his IV, they were working on his blood samples in the lab.

As it turns out, his blood work checked out just peachy. And he was sent home to rest, drink lots of clear fluids, rest and hopefully shoo this flu bug away.

The hubs seems to be a bit exhausted but feeling so much better this evening. And that makes me one very happy wifey.

Later this afternoon, we had an exciting find in the pond. We both spied the two (very small) catfish our nephew added to the pond just four weeks ago (yesterday). It was a happy moment let me tell you. I still can’t believe they were in hiding all month.

While I don’t have an image of our catfish, here’s a fun picture I took at dinnertime this evening. They have me wrapped right around their little fins and I think they know it too.

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I close the day with a grateful heart and much to be thankful for.

Blessings – Debbie

Happiness is

Happiness is – Changing plans for my outdoor garden party when our beautiful weather turned cool and rainy. My party of 12 ladies enjoyed laughter, visits and friendship.

Unfortunately this is the only image I have to show for the ladies luncheon yesterday. It does make me a little sad that I don’t have pictures to remember our day.

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Happiness is – a tiny begonia in full bloom.

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Happiness is – Taking more than one picture of the plant, just because.

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Happiness is – Receiving this lovely vase of roses from my neighbors garden.

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And finding the right spot to enjoy them this weekend.

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Happiness is – Wisteria in full bloom this time of the year. I sure wish I could bottle the aroma.

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Happiness is – Picking a rose from the garden for my bud vase.

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I spy an Egret! How about you?

Happiness is – Having the new alligator head in the pond to prevent this guy from helping himself to our fish. I decided to watch him today to see what he would do. He definitely seemed bothered as he made quite a commotion. After 3 or so minutes, he flew away.

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Happiness is – Seeing a grasshopper for the second time this week. This guy crossed my path today and I decided to shoot him too. Makes me happy.

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Happiness is – Getting a 3 day weekend with my love. That makes me so very happy.

Happiness is – Feeling blessed…

Blessings – Debbie

The Backyard Was Jacked

with a jackhammer yesterday.

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It’s quite a powerful tool, as it pounded thru the granite rock.

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It’s hard to shoot the magnitude of the job, but here’s an image up close to see a little better.

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A pick…

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was used to dig out major roots and the not so major roots.

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And the flat shovel was used to…

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make the area smooth. We still have a long way to go from start to finish, but progress makes us happy. Oh so happy!

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A view from the upper terrace. We plan to extend the pavers over and carry on with the retaining wall.

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And for a little pond reflecting today:

The fish seemed pretty skidish this morning.

This guy in particular. I took this image of him this morning and I haven’t seen him since. I’m pretty sad, as he was my favorite fish.

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Now the fish are in hiding under a large rock area and I can’t get a count. I just hope they continue to take cover and pray I see my favorite little guy out and about tomorrow.

This is the only evidence I gathered floating around this afternoon.

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All in all, I think the fish population will survive whatever comes our way. And if we must take matters into our own hands, I’m sure we will find another decoy to “help” keep those critters out.

Exciting News! I saw my first dragonfly (this season) around the pond today. I can’t express how exciting that was. Just so you know, I was in the middle of a conversation with the hubs when I interrupted the with “OH LOOK – A DRAGONFLY!” It pretty much went down just like that. Tee Hee, super exciting!

That’s all for today.

Blessings – Debbie

January Garden

Latest edition to the pond – I love the new fish pot the hubs picked up for me, a week ago.

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And I love his new home across the way…

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And I love how the doves stand by – allowing me to take their pictures. I think they are getting ready to nest.

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And I love the January roses.

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I’ve watched this rose (for days) as the petals continue to open and open and… I don’t have the nerve to cut and bring inside.

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Things of accomplishment:

  • I finished painting the office over the weekend!
  • We spent a lot of time working in the garden – change is coming!
  • I’m almost to the end of my book. That’s a huge accomplishment plowing thru 1,024 pages this month. But it’s a good read and I’m about to finish it up today…I hope.

And before I forget, yesterday, I wrote with pen (at the Dr’s office) the year 2014 for the first time this year. And as I wrote the date, I said aloud “2014” as if it were a news flash. And a gal gave me a silly look as if to say “duh”.

Wishing a blessed day and week to you…

Blessings – Debbie

What’s Going On

Well, I’ll tell you. But first, I hope you’ve had a glorious weekend.

So the clock of the New Year is ticking away and we’re getting ready to bid the second week of the new year goodbye.

For the last few days, I’ve been busy doing a bit of this and that.

For starters, I’m reading World Without End by Ken Follett – It’s the 1024 page book our book club is reading. Love the Kindle, especially for larger books!

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And I had such a desire to add turtles to the pond. So I called my pond guy mid week and the girls (two red eared slider turtles) were delivered Friday.

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They are as cute as can be.

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And a lot of fun to watch them chill with the fish.

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Along with the turtles, a couple of shubunkin goldfish were delivered too.

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The hubs vision for his Christmas vacation project is now complete, as of early this past week.

The house now has gigabit ethernet to all PC’s and TV/Media Centers as well as 5G WIFI throughout. “It’s faster than I can keep up with!” I exclaimed, when I gave it a spin. He has not yet tested it to determine if he can really get 1,000 Mbps between PC’s; however, we can now watch a movie off the Office PC hard drive on the TV in the Family Room without any delays or buffering. XBOX also confirms that the network supports HDTV streaming as the network quality bars are pegged to the max. He says the true test will come when we start moving large files across the network. That took a long time on the old network, but should now be 10x faster. This house ROCKS!

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Over the last couple of days, I’ve been busy working on editing Sr pictures. She is such a doll and so much fun to work with.

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And I just blogged, that counts for something this weekend. Right?

The hubs and I played backgammon several x’s a day over the weekend. Still love daily games with the hubs.

And now I’m getting ready to watch our show (Revenge) and call it a glorious day and weekend with the hubs.

‘Til next time…

Blessings – Debbie

Things Happen

So the last couple of weeks, things happened.

And when things happen, I tend to get behind on the blog.

And then I really get behind on the blog.

So I would like to do a quick one post update. All right, there is nothing quick about this as there will be a smattering of pictures and material that range all over the place. So if you’re up for a smattering, please do scroll along with me.

And for this post, I plan to post the date with the pictures, to keep some sort of order to the post.

June 29th – The Jacaranda Tree – Enjoying the beauty of summer in the backyard.

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June 29th – The little baby goldfish are hatching from the (first) spawn on June 20th. And the fake egret sort of got the name of the stork that day. And dragonflies gathered ’round for the grand occasion.

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June 30th – Happiness Is – Quality time with family. We had the joy of spending the day with my cousin and her beautiful family. We kicked back around the homestead and talked into the early morning.

This shot was a warm up shot for my little second cousin. I was taking her senior pictures that week too.

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Side note for June 30th – The fish were spawning again that morning! Woo HOO!

July 1st – the hubs and I gave the family a grand tour around San Diego. First stop, Mount Soledad.

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July 1st – Mount Soledad

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July 1st – Lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack – Pacific Beach.

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July 1st – Pacific Beach from the pier.

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July 1st – My cute little second cousin checking things out.

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July 1st – On over to Coronado Island and a visit to Hotel Del as she celebrates her 125th year birthday.

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July 1st – Second cousins pose at the beach behind Hotel Del.

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July 2nd – Senior Pix of Liz underway!

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Can you tell we had a blast in the backyard?

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And Jordan, I got to take pix of this cool guy too!

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He provided a lot of emotion and it was difficult to sort thru the nearly 2,000 images shot of the kids.

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And my little second cousin, do they come any cuter than this little guy? I tell you, he likes ice cream more than anyone I know. I think that’s how he got to be so sweet.

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July 4th – Beautiful weather to be outside – watching dragonflies – counting fish, I counted 11 little fry (that’s what little baby fish are called) on one end of the pond alone – keeping an eye on that heron (in the neighbors yard) – listening to music – enjoying time with the hubs – and thinking what a great time we are having with my cousin and family – feeling blessed.

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July 5th – Our last evening with my cousins. He was all over those yummy ribs with very special BBQ sauce. The hubs was manning the other grill. Oh what a lovely evening spent together with good food, fellowship, outdoor dining and stories into the night.

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July 7th – Sunday – The Dragonfly Fun Facts – The dragonfly spends most of its life in the larva state (up to three years) – The adult winged stage only lasts a few weeks – Mating is the primary reason for their winged stage – So when you see a dragonfly, you know it’s toward the end of its lifespan – So this image is a female laying her young in the pond, see the splash? Not a perfect shot, but fun for me to observe these guys and girls daily.

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Monday July 8th – I never knew the many hours of enjoyment these guys and girls could bring. They’ve been with us going on 4 weeks and have spawned x 2. And I counted 20 + little fry (babies) on one end of the pond alone, the other morning. I still can’t get over how fast the fry are growing.

I think this has to be my favorite hobby of all time + I get to take pictures of them = my other favorite hobby of all time. That’s blessed x 2 if you were to ask me.

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Tuesday July 9th – What the fuss is all about – I shot a fry, finally! Goodness, the little guys are so hard to capture. But now that they have at least tripled in size, the images are getting better. See him in the bottom left corner, above the lillypad?

It was such a lovely day for a visit on the patio with my dear friend Beth.

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Wednesday July 10th – Distractions – Sometimes it takes awhile to get into a book, especially when distractions are all around. Like the sound of fish flopping, birds chirping and the constant desire to fish watch instead of read. But finally, I got into my (Book Club) book this afternoon. And was able to enjoy the great outdoors without too many distractions.

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July 11th – I talk to the fish – I recently learned that fish can get to know their owners better when you speak to them. As they learn the tone of their owners voice . So each morning I say “Good morning guys” and drift into chitter chatter with them.

So this morning as I was out with my skimmer net doing my daily morning clean up of the debris and fallen leaves, I was singing clean up – clean up to them. Yes, I’m off the deep end with these guys, and loving every minute of it.

When all of a sudden, I heard something “big” coming in for a landing. I spun around on my heals, and looked up to see a huge egret in the process of landing up in the top of the peppermint willow. You had to see me as I scurried over to the tree with my long skimmer net in hand while yelling “HEY” to the big bird in the tree. Apparently I talk to big birds too, just not with my happy voice.

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July 12th – My Favorite: Shot of the day = these two going after the same piece of food. Meal of the day = Lunch date with the hubs. Chore of the day = Having the food shopping checked off the list. Happy Weekend Friends!

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And that brings me to today, July 13th. I have no image for today. But I do have good memories. Like talking to my dad on the phone, visiting with the hubs, fish watching (I counted 38 fry on one end of the pond this morning), catching up on a few things, more fun time with the hubs and even a little ice cream date this evening.

I’m thankful things happen. And I hope to continue capturing things, to remember the days, as they pass.

And just like that, I’m calling things up to date.

Blessings – Debbie

The Nest

There is something magical about a nest. Something that echoes love, hard work and patience.

This dove has been here since we moved in two weeks ago.

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And it amazes me how still she sits all day long. Day in and day out. Well, at least it looks like the same bird, but I understand the mother and father swap shifts.

And each day I wonder, how long for her babies to hatch. From what I read, they should start hatching  any day now.

As I think about this nest, I think of our new nest.

The place we hope we hope to stay for a very long time.

And thinking about this new nest that we feel so blessed to care for, is enough to send me over the edge.

There is so much to share, so I’m going to bite it off piece by piece in the weeks and months to come.

Blessings – Debbie

A New Lens

I love weekends!

I love time with the hubs!

And I love the unexpected nugget the hubs picked up for me while we were out on our lunch date and errands.

The Micro Nikkor 105mm 2.8 lens is the lens I’ve been drooling over since my lady friend allowed me to give hers a whirl last week. And the hubs made that lens come to life for me today.

For the longest time the hubs has been asking “what lens do you want next”? And I continued to say, “I don’t know”? I knew the prime 105 was right up at the top of my list but I also have another lens close to the top as well. So it was hard to know which one I wanted without having a one on one feel with each lens. So last week after my little twirl with my friends lens, I knew. I knew without a doubt the next lens I wanted to add to my stash.

Here’s one of the first of 70 + shots I took on my first spin with the girl.

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Now the journey with this lens has just begun, as I’m looking forward to throwing it in drive tomorrow, and the day after that and…

Sigh

Blessings – Debbie

Monday

Oh what a day! I hope you had a good one.

It’s almost a rude awakening when the Monday morning alarm rings. As these days, it means it’s time for me to get up. I don’t wait for a snooze, as I immediately hop out of bed, shower, get ready for class, make the hubs breakfast and lunch, and make my way out the door to class by 7 am.

I wasn’t so sure I would like this schedule, as it throws a bit of a twist rolling out of bed that early. But for some reason, I seem to think I kinda like it. Just don’t ask me next Monday when the alarm goes off.

One of the things I like about getting up and at em, is the joy of getting out of class by 11 and having the rest of the day to work on my assignments or what have you.

Today I was able to catch up on a little reading, do some computer work and pretty much get caught-up on a few things on my to do list.

Finally evening has rolled around and there is something special about this nice peaceful quiet end.

I captured this shot just before the sun went down. Now I’m sipping a nice cold glass of Root Beer. And all feels right with the world.

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And here’s a shot I took last evening, just for fun.

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Now is the time to sit back, do a little more reading and wait for the hubs to walk thru the door.

Good night all!

Blessings – Debbie

Weeds Take on Artsy Look

The dandelions that once speckled the yard have been replaced with clover and so many other colorful weeds.


I rushed out this beautiful summer morning to snap some pics of the weeds before the lawn guy beat me to it.

I even gave a few of my shots an artsy look. The early morning sun was so bright and the rays were like little jewels from heaven.


And a couple more shots of the wild flowers flourishing out back.


And on this beautiful summer day. How about this bowl of bright colorful pasta with some Parmesan Garlic Pretzel Waves.


Wishing each of you a colorful day.