While The Hubs Was Away

Hello World! I hope this finds you doing well. Hey, I’m posting a second post today. What’s up with that?

I suppose I’m in the mood to get caught up on things.

April 16th – 23rd

It’s that time of the year for new growth. And word is out that there are new baby egrets over at the nearby lake.

Which brings me to the reason our pond is still covered. This guy came for a visit last week, only to discover he was not able to reach the fish, thank you pond net for holding up.

It’s also a busy time in and around the pond.

The fish have spawned several times and I’m working double duty to keep the pond nice and clean. In the process, I think I’m getting a little extra vitamin D.

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Monday evening, the hubs called to see if I wanted to watch our show together. While we were worlds apart. Or so it seemed.

Note: If you are anyone that knows me well, you know I’m not a TV person. While I enjoy the shows we watch together, like survivor, Master Chef and Better Call Saul, I don’t bother turning on the TV when the hubs is away.

So on that particular night, he had to walk me thru instructions, just to get the TV on.

Once “we” (the me part of we) got to the right channel, we were all set to watch Better Call Saul.

The fun part was texting between commercials and even during the show. That was my favorite night, as he felt really close.

One day I picked roses from the garden. It makes me happy to bring the outdoors in.

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What makes my heart sing – Sometimes things grab our attention without trying to notice. Like this canister at the front of the store in the after Easter clearance sale. Several thoughts that ran thru my mind in like 1 second. 4 dollars and change? really? I love it! It’s cheerful and happy! For that price it’s ours. And so it was. Next year, I’ll have to make a cozy little spot for us to enjoy.

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One day the hubs sent a text…”How many pieces of fudge would you like?”

You see, he was in Ft Worth again, staying in the Stockyards next to the candy store where they sell my favorite fudge in the world. Of course not counting my mom’s fudge, her fudge is the best, but only made once a year. That’s another story for another time.

Back to the number of pieces I wanted. I responded “One piece baby, just one.” That was my fudge order.

Well fudge, I didn’t think another thing until he got home Friday afternoon with a couple of boxes of goodies. I wonder if he left enough fudge on the shelf for others. Obviously he was not concerned with sharing. That’s 8 huge pieces of fudge for me. Yeah, he’s not a fudge kinda guy, so it’s all mine.

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The best part about this fudge is, the decadence of peanut butter and chocolate in one smooth creamy bite. It is sure to satisfy the craziest of chocoholics.

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After the hubs busy week, we decided a laid back weekend was the ticket to rest up. We did enjoy a few dinners out, a quick stop at the ice cream store and a lot of relaxation.

And with that, my wish for you is a Happy New Week.

Blessings – Debbie

New Season New Projects

It’s such a pretty time of the year. A magical time when things begin to appear after a little nap. Like the gladiolas, day lilies and water lilies. The water-lily pads are leafing out and we look forward to the pink, white and yellow flowers to be on display any day now.

The backyard has been an ongoing project. A fun project. A labor of love. The arbors are fairly new but the one on the right is the latest edition.

See the bird houses up top? They’re not new, but I applied a new coat/color of paint to make them pop.  And each of them have been moved 3 times. I think I like the spots they’re in this time around.

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The yellow bird house, zoomed in a bit.

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And the green bird house with a new splash of paint. See the yellow dragonfly, flying thru the lavender? I painted him not too long ago as well.

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This arbor is the second (matching) arbor added to the upper terrace. I’m super excited about the little project that will complete the area. It’s probably weeks out, but still, exciting.

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After working several hours in the garden, I craved a nice tall glass of sweet tea, made with honey.

I took my nice cool beverage to the patio and sipped and thought about the next project I would like to tackle.

I “think” it involves paint.

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I’m happy to report that we had a glorious spring day. And I look forward to sharing as I go along the way.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

Much has happened between now and the time I last posted.

I feel like I’ve been sick for way too long. From dealing with muscle issues in my back for a couple of months to catching a cold on Christmas night. It finally feels good to have the old me back.

A big Happy New Year shout out from our home to yours!

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Little reminders from the last couple of months.

This friendly reminder was shot at the salon. A nice reminder that shows how they love to treat their customers.

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A nice reminder of my love for putting all things Christmas up on the day after Halloween. Better known as November 1st. It makes perfect sense to enjoy those evenings when the time change hits and makes the world dark before it should.

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The best reminder of family. We traveled to see family for thanksgiving. What a special treat to have my two siblings, all nieces and nephews. Our nephew and his new bride. Our nephew and his fiancé, mom and dad and my grandma. Talk about great memories with family, it doesn’t get any better.

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A reminder as I was getting ready to have my bookclub friends over to discuss our 2016 schedule.

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A reminder of the morning beverages for the girls.

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And a little reminder of the fruit bowl and other morning snacks (brownies and biscotti) on the dining room table. Following our morning meeting, we girls headed to Olive Garden for a wonderful lunch and more fellowship.

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A reminder of the hubs amazing smoked brisket over his 2 week Christmas holiday. Loved spending those two weeks together around home sweet home.

While I don’t have a photo of the amazing chili he made with the brisket leftovers, I will never forget how wonderful it was. I rank it as the best chili ever made.

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I don’t have a reminder picture of the fish we purchased for our pond, but I’ll never forget that wonderful experience with the hubs over Christmas. If you are reading this, My Love, Thank You!

A reminder of carolers on Christmas day.

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A pretty reminder of where we sat enjoying our Christmas dinner. The view of ice-skating beneath the palm trees with an ocean view, what a delight.

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A beautiful reminder of how we stayed until nearly sunset. We savored desert and slowly ever so slowly sipping my coffee while visiting with the hubs and taking in the view.

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Approximately 2 hours after our Christmas dinner, I told the hubs “I feel a sore throat coming on”. And on the morning of December 26th, I woke  to a sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy head sort of cold. The sort of cold where the hubs dropped everything and took care of me. After the 1st week, I told the hubs, “This feels like a 3 week cold”. Turns out, it was a 3 week cold.

A reminder of how pretty it was one morning as the sun came up. Especially since it rained the day before. A reminder of how the hubs made me promise to stay inside while I was sick. A reminder of my view from the sofa where I sat feeling miserable from my cold that morning. A reminder that I obeyed and took this image from inside the house. Thank you for taking care of me, My Love. And bringing medicine to me when I did not feel like moving. You’re the BEST!

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Our New Years Reminder – I was still sick, but we watched the ball drop at Times Square, per usual. We kissed, yes, the hubs kisses me, even when I’m sick. And wished each other a Happy New Year. And chose to get an early start on sleep that night. No staying up for us until the New Year on the west coast, when we can watch it ring in on the east coast.

While I only have a few reminders in picture form, I’m thankful for the blessings of family, love and feeling back to my old self again.

Happy New Year!

Blessings – Debbie

October

Time is on the move. And I better do something on the blog, as time is not going to wait a moment.

So October rolled in with my friend wanting to use me as a subject in her photography class.

And 9 x’s out of 10 she asked me to take off my glasses. Something I would never do for a photographer or anyone. But for her and her assignment, I obliged. But I still can’t figure out if it was the way she bribed me or not. She kept telling me that I looked like a 12-year-old school girl. The bribe seemed to work. But looking at the image, it just doesn’t feel like the “real” me. I’m a glasses wearing gal from the time I rise and shine to the time I fall asleep. And if you are one of the few to catch me without glasses,  it’s a rare happening. So here ya go.

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No smiles she would say. Looking for that serious side of you. Here’s what she captured. We had such a fun day in her studio.

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We had a nice little rain early October. I captured an image between raindrops.

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I would say this past October was one of the warmer ones we’ve had since we moved here. Can you believe we’ve already been here 6 years this October?

My little mid October stroll in the garden one “cooler” morning.

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I got so excited this particular morning to see the orange rose-tree in full bloom. It’s a tree I hand-picked to sit next to the pond. There’s just something about the color of the fish and rose that makes me smile.

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Enjoying my new mugs from Costco and coffee as the sun comes up.

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In other October news. We had a little minor issue in our bathroom. Floor tiles needed replacing, toilet needed replaced (well not really, but we wanted a new one) and I decided while we were at it to go ahead and paint the baseboards and paint the bathroom. It’s great being on this end with all things fresh in our master bath.

Cheers to a wonderful season with the hubs and getting things back to normal around the homestead.

But wait. I still have a big project to finish this weekend. A reminder that there will always be something to do and there is no such thing as normal. Or is there?

Blessings – Debbie

Oh Summer You Went So Fast

Dear summer of 2015, thank you for your bountiful blessings.

We were so excited about our grape-vine this year, that we picked up two more vines and planted them. Unfortunately, around picking time, there were no grapes left for us. Lesson learned, we will cover them with a net to keep the birds away next time.

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And our little pumpkin patch flourished with more pumpkins than we could use this autumn. Unfortunately, we just ended up tossing them as we planted a little too early this year. Lessons learned…

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Fresh summer California berries deserve a standing ovation. Amen…

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July 10th – An exciting day! Our solar panels were delivered. A big shout out for solar energy, oh happy day! We are so thrilled to have that done.

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Enjoyed our Sweet 16 Anniversary. Feeling blessed and so very happy to spend life with My Love. It truly has been a great adventure.

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Mid August – Taking pictures lately? That’s the question my photographer friend asked while we were out having some girl time. No was the reply. No was her reply too. We think it has to do with the overload from school that put us both over the edge. However, we both still love our camera and in no way are we putting it on the shelf. Just taking a little breather. Here’s an image of roses I brought in from the garden. Made me so very happy…

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August 31 – Spent hours by the waterfall = My favorite place to chill. The activity in and around the pond = priceless.

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I love a garden with flowers and fish. I’m thankful each day to have both. Love our Shubunkin pumpkins as I fondly call them. This guy was wondering when I would stop shooting and feed him.

Threw a paint filter on this in Photoshop, because I thought it needed a little something somethin.

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A little early September morning blessing from the garden.

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Loving my babies! It has to be one of my favorite spots to visit.

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Yes, we have watermelon! And I must say, it is some of the best melon ever. It continues to produce and we’ve enjoyed it daily for weeks.

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One of the great blessings of the week is – I have the hubs home taking a little vacation with me. Loving this time together around Home Sweet Home.

Back to celebrating his time off. Happy Day! And Happy Catching up on the Blog… Well as much catching up as I plan to do. I know there are things I missed like special dates and such, but I’m calling it quits and caught up. And feeling blessed.

Happy Day and Blessings – Debbie

Springtime in CA 2015

I know, it’s autumn, but I plan to do some spring catching up on the blog. I can’t seem to move forward without catching up. It’s time.

I’m still here. Kicking it and loving life.

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In late March, I picked this little vase of goodies from the garden. In hopes to help my sick hubby to feel better. They certainly brightened the space…

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Early April – I painted this image with the help of my Wacom and Photoshop.

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Happy Easter! We spent the afternoon with friends watching our Red Birds on Opening Day.

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A true Cardinal fan and our host.

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Bring on the Cardinal color…

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The beautiful hostess – Everything was positively delecious!

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Children – Loved taking images of them in and around the pool.

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Bashful – Image taken right after her first bite of dinner…But those eyes and expression…LOVE!

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The big boys and girls had it made…

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My Red Bird Fan! And my number 1 Hero.

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Another early April painting. This is an underpainting (Layer 2) taking on a little shape.

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Finished painting.

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A little shot of my kitchen window garden with a fresh rose from the garden.

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A rose as it begins to drift away. I just love the color!

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April 16 – My somebody special on his way to work to present to the customer. I’m happy his meetings went well…

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Mid April evening in the garden – Enjoying the last drop of light…

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Late April – Amaryllis in bloom.

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End of April – We joined Costco! Now that is an event worth noting. It had been 12 years since we enjoyed the benefits of being customers of Costco.

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End of April – It’s the time of year when the dragonflies return. They come in all sorts of colors during the season. Here’s a female laying her eggs.

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May 2nd – Boxing party was held at our house! The hubs and his buddy putting the brisket on the smoker early that morning. And the sad thing, this is the only shot I have from that glorious afternoon and evening with friends. But the memories are priceless…

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Our dear friend gifted us with the beautiful flag (made and painted by her) that proudly waves over our front door.

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The heron has landed – I figured a shot was appropriate before yelling at him. Sometimes they are persistent around the fish pond. But my yelling and screaming at them seems to do the trick.

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In early May, I had the gardener transplant this tree. I really hoped to keep it alive. Unfortunately, it did not like the new home.

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Springtime dilemma is when a girl can’t figure out what color she wants.

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One of my May dates to Red Lobster with my love = Time well spent.

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Another May Date with the hubs at the Cheesecake Factory. Just love this composition at the hostess desk…

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An early morning capture of the dragonfly on a net.

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And a bee pollenating…

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A little capture of the hubs boots at the back door – a nice reminder he was busy in the garden.

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My Christmas wish for 2015 came early. As in May early for my birthday! I had told the hubs (months ago – Jan/Feb this year) when I spied this arbor that I would like it for Christmas. Not only did he remember. But he surprised me with this a week before my birthday.

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Up on the hill at the top of the winding stair path is where I wanted it. And so it was…

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On the morning of my birthday, the hubs knew right where to place the special card for me.

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When a statue is larger than life – Sometimes it’s the little things that need to be captured. Just bummed my cell is the only camera I had with me on that May evening night. But a great evening and dinner along the San Diego Harbor with the hubs and a friend.

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May 31st is the day we picked this big guy from the garden – Indeed we kept it on the vine too long, but we grilled it for dinner anyway. The skin was obviously tough but the inside was tender and good.

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One last image – rosebuds in the garden.

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And that my friends takes us thru the month of May, 2015.

Blessings – Debbie

Spring Break Continued

A day spent around home. In no particular order.

The girls took off on a walkabout around the house.

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And found themselves here.

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 Love that they shared these wonderful images with me.

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It was also a good day to meet up with the hubs for lunch. We had Mongolian. Basically, you put your meat, veggies noodles and sauces in a bowl and they cook it on the grill behind the counter.

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Back to the table, you enjoy your very own creation.

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It was also a perfect day to pick up some new fish for the pond. The girls each picked a fish and I added 5 more to the order. They also named their fish Gator and Toothless. Great meaning behind each.

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A little relaxation was thrown into the mix.

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And barefoot tree climbing too.

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For our evening meal, we had the best chef doing her thing.

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We enjoyed dinner on paper plates, such that we had less time cleaning up and more time for cards.

What a glorious day, all the way around.

More to come…

Blessings – Debbie

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

More Babies

Good afternoon. It’s Monday. The third week in January. Martin Luther King Day. And a day I planned to do a bit of gardening. And gardening I did bright and early this morning.

Then the thought crossed my mind to see if I could find a few shubunkins.

So I’ve called the local fish stores (for nearly a year) in search for shubunkins. And finally, today, I nailed a place that had a tank of about 30 or so. I don’t know how to express my feelings other than sheer excitement and joy with an exclamation!

I had a little visit with the hubs via text and he said to go pick out some for the pond. At that point, I think it took me all of about 5 minutes to hit the road.

Here’s the little batch of 7 that I hand-picked. They were transferred to this little tub prior to them going into the bag.

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Here’s a couple right after we got home. They (in the bag) floated in the pond for about 20 min to acclimate slowly to the temperature of the pond. Then I released them into their new home.

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I spent the majority of the day watching these guys make friends with all the other fish. And they enjoyed the first meal in their new home.

Momma thinks the babies are doing just swimmingly.

Blessings – Debbie

Montage Conclusion and then some…

Blue struck in more ways than one over the last few weeks. This was me fretting over numerous areas of concern with my montage project.

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My montage assignment went in several directions early on.

While I was excited about the grape leaves, I was torn on which way to go – Blue or Autumn?

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Then a magical moment came and the blue completely won my heart.

This is the part I jumped all in.

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Many leaves made their way to the canvas/Photoshop. They were scattered and layered with bits of overlay in areas. In the end, the image below made my heart sing.

I’ll be presenting the image below for critique this week. Would you believe 30 (Fun and Enjoyable) + hours went into the image below? Knowing when to stop, is when I look at the image without seeing areas that beg for attention.

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Now that I had one concept under my belt, I still had to come up with another, as two images are due. That alone may have caused another dose of anxiety and doubt blended with thoughts that I would not be able to come up with another concept.

Then I came up with the idea of creating flowers with bits and pieces (mainly parts with bokeh) of different photos I’ve taken.

I got this far along when I fell completely out of love with this idea. Yuck is my honest feeling. This is where I let go.

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Then I thought – How would it be if I used the images I took at the Wild Animal Park? Surely I would be able to come up with something cool. Excitement returned!

So I put thoughts and ideas into Photoshop. Then, after working on this image a good portion of a day or two, I fell out of love with this too – “it looks TOO cut and paste ish, I don’t like it“. And this is the place I abandoned it.

I was searching, searching for something. I didn’t know what, but something that would make my heart sing in the end. And this is not that, that’s all I know.

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And then I put another thought to paper. I went into my next idea with a great deal of joy. But I also had my doubts.

The thought was to take images of our pond and blend them with a sailboat. I started with a simple pond image and boat. But I still needed at least 3 more images to complete this assignment. While working and searchings for ideas, thoughts came to mind. And the waterfall and other images (in time) fell into place.

The five images blended together (below) consist of – The upper portion of the pond with lilies is image #1 – Image #2 is the waterfall and rocks (upper right)- Image #3 the sailboat – Image #4 the lower pond with the long reflections – Image #5 the rock in the foreground.

In the end, I’m happy with the way the image flows and appears to come together seamlessly. I’m happy to say I will be presenting this as my second montage image.

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I’m thankful that just because we let go, doesn’t mean we give up. Rather, letting go gives the freedom to express ourselves as we find our way to the place our hearts sing. That’s what it’s all about.  While I don’t feel I’m the best, I do believe in giving my best effort.

Then Halloween rolled around – And the hubs invited me to join him for a lunch date last Friday. And then we went to pick up some chocolates for the ghosts and goblins that evening.

I could not help but capture this image of our bag-boy in costume. I have no words. But, the chocolate was GOOD!

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Ahhh – November 1st, what a special day. The hubs brought all the Christmas stuff in. I know, we have such an early start. But in my defense…

  • We’ve celebrated autumn the last two months
  • Christmas should be celebrated just as much as autumn – No?
  • My classes have hit a little breather where I just finished up one project and it seemed the perfect timing to get some things done before diving into another huge assignment. Makes sense to me.
  • The time change was Sunday. It made sense to brighten the place a bit more during these early dark evenings.
  • And I have the Christmas spirit. I’m ready!
  • AND the hubs and I wished each other Merry Christmas over the weekend. Double love that the hubs enjoys these days as much as me.

And we enjoyed a lovely Saturday evening dinner with friends Jer Bear and Julie.

This is the tree I worked on, it’s our dining room tree. First I had to take the “pre-lit” lights off, as the old cord and lights were bad. Then I fluffed the branches and applied new lights. This is where I left off over the weekend. It’s coming right along as I have a little more time to dote this week.

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Another thing, today is the day to vote! We normally vote by mail, but we didn’t get them filled out in time. However, we were able to fill out the form and vote from the comforts of home. I dropped mine off at the polls this morning. No lines no waiting.

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Back to work on Christmas decorating, with the sounds of the season filling the air.

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

To Do

As in to-do list.

I started the day with a number of things on my list of things to do.

First up – Clean the pond. I don’t believe I’ve talked too much about how I like to keep the pond free of debris. But it’s one of those things I strive to do daily. Not because it’s a necessity, I just enjoy it better when it’s clean.

The daily cleaning = netting out any leaves or debris that may have blown in overnight.

Today was the day to actually get in with the fish. During the summer months, I like to dip in about once a week to clean out the lilly pads and flowers that are no longer bloom. Something like deadheading the lilies and pads.

It also tickles me that the fish actually come swimming right up to me the moment I get in. They let me pet them and we’re like best buddies. And if I stand in one place for a while, they begin to nibble on my skin. The whole experience truly makes my heart happy.

Here’s an image I shot of one of the babies. I can hardly believe they are a year old this month. Yup, he was born in the pond last year.

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I also wanted to give the roses some attention. I gave some a little extra TLC with a dose of coffee grounds. And while I was at it, I thought I’d shoot an image of the roses, but in a different perspective. I love the array color throughout the garden.

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And I took an image of this plant. It bloomed this week for the first time this season. Soon it will be loaded with pretty flowers.

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And then I had other things on my list.

Things like returning an item back to the store. It wasn’t a painful task, but it sure felt like it. It’s one of those things I’ve been procrastinating. So it’s a relief to have that little pesky thing crossed off.

And picking up some items at Bed Bath and Beyond. I was particularly excited with this stop as I had three 20% off coupons + one $5.00 off coupon + one $25.00 gift card. I’ll say I made out really well today.

One last stop at the grocery store for some much needed grub and then home sweet home.

My list also included some household chores, laundry and ironing. Done, done and DONE!

And then I got to do something that wasn’t on my list. I took a nap. Because my peepers were heavy, so I gave them a rest. And that sure did a body good.

And now we’re heading into a nice 3-day weekend. I’m really looking forward to it, as we have a few fun gardening things on our weekend list of things to-do.

Cheers to To-Do lists and getting things crossed off.

Happy Weekend Friends!

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

A Flurry Of Events

I chalk this week up to a flurry of events.

The beginning of May, is another story (a good story that I can’t wait to tell). But a story that will have to wait for now.

The Flurry starts Monday, May 12, 2014.

Monday – the hubs left on a business trip bright and early in the morning.

Monday – I took the day off to relax and to read my book (The Last Aloha) for book club this month. I’m so glad I did, as I’m not so sure I would have finished the book for the meeting (next week) otherwise.

Tuesday – I took our cars for the annual emissions test, they both passed.

Tuesday – Fires broke out in San Diego County. Pretty nerve-racking. Especially with the hubs out-of-town.

Tuesday evening I went to my girlfriends for dinner. Since our boys were out-of-town, she had me over to their new home (they just moved in last Saturday, May 10th) for a nice dinner. Grilled chicken, and shrimp on the BBQ and all the ingredients to make fajitas, rice and beans. It was such and enjoyable evening of patio dining + conversation + Hawaiian music = perfection into the night.

I made her card compliments of nail polish.

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Wednesday – It was hard to focus on much. At that time, we had six wildfires burning in San Diego County.

I could see smoke from the house – I’d watched fire tornadoes broadcast in the area – Heard of 15,000 evacuations in Carlsbad alone – Watched thousands of acres burn – registered for reverse 911 – By then we (San Diego County) were calling in state and federal reserves…

And I was so ready for the hubs to get home.

Image taken from the neighborhood, Wednesday evening.

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I stood watching flames climb the side of the mountain. If you look close, you too can see the flames highlighting the mountain in the image.

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Oh what a night…

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It seemed our little world was going up in smoke while daylight vanished.

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Wednesday evening – From a fire captain on the ground – about the fire near us. – “…The reinforcement of crew is still coming in. More planes and they are allowing them to fly which is unheard of at night. They will be busting their butt all night.”

All I could do that evening was pack my little emergency bag in the event of evacuation and pray for the best.

Thursday morning – These “Bad Boys” were flying over our home – Made me tear up as I watched plane after plane and helicopter fly into the wildfires.

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Below is a view from our neighborhood Thursday morning.

I wasn’t so sure what was going on in the news. I was busy preparing for the hubs to come home.

I picked up the hubs around 10:45 and from there, we went for an early lunch date. Have you any idea how overjoyed I was to have him home?

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By the time we got home, these guys were in the hood. The officers told me that if the fire reached the ridge, we would all have to go.

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I stood and watched a bit longer, watching what seemed to be an ever-growing fire. While plane after plane flew in and out, trying to gain control.

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What I recall in the next few hours…

Packing the car – watering the garden – ash beginning to fall in the yard – the hubs paying some bills – getting stung by a bee – feeding the fish – telling the fish that I loved them, I did – and making one more round in the house to ensure we had everything that mattered most.

Soon, the mandatory evacuation was in force. And the reverse 911 call came,  it was time to evacuate. We didn’t argue.

Image taken from our driveway Thursday evening. These guys were trolling the hood with their sirens and speakers – telling all of us we need to get out! I recall the hubs and I giving a nod of respect and a friendly wave to these men on duty.

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We had suitcases packed, boxes of pictures, important documents…

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A fragile keepsake from China – computers – and other precious things we didn’t want to leave behind.

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And I recall that special hug and kiss in the hub of the home, before making our way out.

Finally we were able to relax in our new home – the Residence Inn.

Although we hit a rough patch finding a room. The first hotel was booked (due to  evacuations) and there were only two rooms available at the next Residence Inn.

Once we kicked off our shoes, we were truly at peace with whatever happened after that.

Thank you friends for your thoughts, concern, prayers and many in the area offering your homes for us to stay.

Friday morning – We woke feeling rested. The mandatory evacuation was lifted for us = we were free to go home! But not before breakfast. Que the “Happy” song somebody!

Friday Fire Report In Our Area – While it was good to be home, the fire doubled in size overnight consuming 3,018 acres. Fortunately for us, the wind had shifted. But there are still so many facing the loss of homes and businesses.

Today – Saturday Morning Update: Nothing But Blue Skies and 68° – Feeling so blessed this morning.

We came home early yesterday morning to a few signs of ash in the backyard and the smell of smoke.

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Still praying for our firefighters and officers hard at work today. We’ve had – Eight Marine Corps CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, seven CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters and four UH-1Y Huey helicopters, 1,000 firefighters and 161 fire engines providing support to the fire in what we call our backyard. Note: This does not include all the firefighters/fire engines/planes/helicopters fighting the many fires in our San Diego County area. There are so many more…

May we not forget those where the fire has reduced homes and businesses to rubble.

The fire is now 70% contained per our latest update.

San Diego Fires May 2014 – For those not in the area, a few more details – “The 2014 San Diego County wildfires are a swarm of wildfires that erupted in mid-May, in San Diego County, California during severe Santa Ana Wind conditions and a heat wave. The severe weather conditions contributed to the spread of at least 14 fires, with 10 of them receiving names. At least nine of the wildfires are believed to have originated from the Bernardo Fire, which ignited on May 13, 2014. Igniting some 25,000 acres…”

Please remember those who are less fortunate. Those who came home to rubble. Those who suffered and who will continue to suffer loss in the days ahead…

Happy Note – I’ve been waiting for the daylily to bloom. Today is the first of many more blooms to come…

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Blessings – Debbie

All in a Week

Thinking back over the last week, there are so many new and exciting things happening.

Perhaps “spring” has a lot to do with these things, and I love it! I love the time change and that our daylight pushes further into the evening hours. And the ever changing scenery around home sweet home gets sweeter as the days go by.

Like the first sign of our water lilies producing the very first bloom of the year, last week. I can’t express just how excited I was. And the pads are getting so big already! And the fish are loving the weather and spawning too! The dragonflies have returned and everything seems to echo – “it’s spring”!

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Picking roses from the garden is such a joy.

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And the excitement that comes while working in the garden. 11 of these bad boys (Boeing CH-47 Chinooks) flew overhead one day this week. I’ve never seen a sight like this before. And the rumble and vibration – was amazing – gave me goosebumps.

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I trimmed my bangs yesterday morning too.

I think the hubs has given up on me going in to have them done. It’s like I can’t help myself. I wake up one morning and realize they drive me nuts, so I cut them.

I may or may not have done a little fretting over the new Artisan Bread we girls whipped up yesterday.

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But I purchased my very first Dutch Oven this morning! All for the love of bread, a girl needs a dutch oven. And she doesn’t let a little fret stand in her way.

It was like Christmas unwrapping this guy today.

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And tonight we shall see how it turns out. I believe excitement wells more and more as the hours go by. Tick Tock – only time will tell.

Until next time…

Blessings – Debbie