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

Happy Easter From Seaport Village

Happy Monday everybody! I’m backtracking back to Easter Sunday. It’s taking me a bit to get back to the normal blog pace and posting things as they come. But I figure this is still fairly new news.

What’s a girl to do when the hubs has a business flight on Easter Sunday morning? She goes to Seaport Village. Only to discover there was an event, the Red Bull Air Race.

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I watched boats zip from one cone to the other – to check on stuff, I assume. Knowing this was happening. I hurried on my way to do what I came for. And to get out before the vendors and crowd gathered.

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I came to stroll thru the village.

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I came to enjoy the early morning.

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And I came to breathe in peace.

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I paused a moment to shoot barnacles at low tide.

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What a glorious morning to chill and relax.

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One last shot before I hit the road for home sweet home.

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It truly was a Happy Easter, but things are never quite right when the hubs is on the road.

I can say the hubs made it home Friday and all is right with the world.

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

Fort Worth Stock Yards

Hello peeps!  How are you? Yes, I’m here! Has it really been over a year since I had something to say on the blog? I find that hard to believe.

The blog’s been on my mind, it seems daily. And the weight of all the things left unsaid seemed to push me further away. Like a mountain of stuff piling up, and  not knowing where to begin. Things like 3 weddings in 3 different states, memories of my grandma, gardening projects, monthly book club fun dates, painting birdhouses, our trip to Hoover Dam, Meteor Crater and the Grand Canyon and little things like ducks adopting our pond and the hubs and I named them Mack and Daisy and we became Certified Kansas City BBQ judges! And other stuff that I would find blog worthy.

But at some point, it’s good to know that it’s ok to start blogging right where I am. And not fret trying to get things in chronological order.

So for now, I would like to post an update from two weeks ago.

On Monday, April 3rd, our alarm rang at 3:15am. The hubs had a business trip to Fort Worth and we decided that I should go too. Our bags were packed the night before and we were up and at it and out the door in record time.

Fort Worth was our destination. In fact, we stayed at the Hyatt, right smack in the middle of the heartbeat of Fort Wort, the Fort Worth Stock Yards.

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While the hubs worked, I found plenty to do, just steps away from our room.

One of the things I was excited about was the cattle drive.

The Old West comes to life during the Fort Worth Herd’s twice-daily cattle drive. Genuine Texas cowhands drive a herd of Texas Longhorns down Exchange Avenue in the Stockyards National Historic District every day at 11:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

On Tuesday afternoon, I arrived exceptionally early to experience the excitement on the street as people started to arrive.

I found a nice shaded bench on the sidewalk and found myself in my own little world enjoying the passing moments.

A little while later, I heard a sweet voice coming from a gal (Genevieve) who found a  place to sit on the bench next to me.

In no time, we became friends and exchanged stories about our passion for art, photography and travel. Turns out, she is traveling the entire lower 48. How awesome and impressive is that folks!?! We also exchanged blogs and emails.

She also encouraged me to get back to blogging. Many thanks to her, the blog is back sooner than expected.

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Every detail of the cattle drive—from the saddles and chaps to the boots and hats – is authentic and historically true.

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On Wednesday, the next day, I watched the cattle drive again.

“Here comes the parade!” Ha! I got such a chuckle out of the gal behind me when she uttered those words. I guess you could argue that it’s a parade of Longhorns.

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It was sweet to see the baby. His little horns are adorbs.

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And that’s a wrap on the cattle drive. Till next time…

At the Cow Wash – I love how the hubs came up with the name cow wash. This was located just behind our hotel.

They didn’t enjoy getting sprayed in the face.

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But didn’t seem to mind the rest of the wash.

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Who knew Longhorns got the full service?

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While in the Stockyards, it was nice to get out and stroll.

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While on my stroll, It was nice to take the time to enjoy the finer things. Like this furniture store (Rios) located in the heart of the Stock Yards.

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Southwest flare is pretty cool.

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The Texan swagger is on.

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A cool statue I shot one bright sunny day.

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The hubs and I enjoyed a nice BBQ brisket meal at one of our old favorite places.

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It was a must to take a picture where our daughter used to work. Just for old times sake.

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Another evening, we went to Rodeo Goat for burgers.

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Overall, the two of us got to enjoy some special things. Like our favorite fried chicken establishment, Babe’s Fried Chicken. We took a side tour of our old homestead, visited with our old neighbor in passing and enjoyed the time when we were able to do things together.

I was also blessed to visit with a good friend Jan over lunch one day. What a delight it was seeing her again, after 10 years. It’s a wonderful feeling when we are able to catch up with old friends. And able to pick right back up where we left off and not miss a beat. Does my heart good.

Our time in Fort Worth was a treasure, I gained a new friend Miss Genevieve, we were able to experience old favorite places and visit with old long lost friends. What a blessing after 10 years of separation to the place we once called home.

I have so much more to share, and look forward to posting again soon. I think it’s safe to say that I’m back and ever so happy to be here.

Blessings – Debbie

Mama said there’ll be days like this

There’ll be days like this my mama said. Such a smart lady my mama.

Some days beg for a little vent, a shoulder to cry on, someone to listen as we share little challenges, all in a day. That was yesterday and today we’re still without water.

First things first, we woke to no internet. Ok, no biggie, the hubs can get to it later.

Next, I noticed our sprinklers were not turning off and water was pooling.  This is the second ordeal with the sprinklers in the last week. Turns out we have a bad valve and we look to replace them over the weekend. But in the meantime, we have the water turned off for the entire household. Luckily we can turn it on for showers and such and then right back off it goes. I told the hubs this morning as he was getting dressed for the outdoors that it was as though he had to make a run for the well before he could shower this morning. And then it took me back to the days before me, when folks really did have to pump their water. And then I thought of how thankful I am that all we need to do is turn a knob for running water. It’s not so bad after all.

Note: this issue it unrelated to the broken/repaired pipe I shared last week.

So last evening, the hubs insisted we go out for dinner. It was a nice treat with all that was going on at home.

But folks, the shoe dropped once again after dinner. As the hubs went to start the car, it would not start. We both grinned, looked at each other and agreed that we were ready for the nonsense and day to end.

We were also delighted to have AAA to the rescue. They were by our side in less than 30 min., they came equipped with new batteries and provided the best service on the spot. And our car was good as new and back on the road within 45 min of our first call.

While the internet was down, I painted in Photoshop (yesterday). It’s the image that so inspired me to shoot the other day. I can’t express the amount of joy that comes from painting. And I can say it was good for the body and soul. Amen.

The first image on the left is a underpainting. Image in the middle is the next layer, what I refer to as intermediate strokes and the last image is referred to as detail strokes.

While the layers are far from finished, it gives an idea of the steps taken while in the process of putting the layers together as one.

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And with that, I shall continue to move forward. And feel grateful that we have so much to be thankful for. Even if we have a mound of dirty clothes in need of washing.

Blessings – Debbie

Flowers and Friendship

Happy Day! Today feels like flowers and friendship, because it is.

It’s flowers, because I noticed the ice plant on the upper terrace beginning to bloom. It’s also known as delosperma cooperi or mesembryanthemum cooperi.

However you call it, I find what little we have to be so very pretty.

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And friendship, because a few of us got together for a little brunch and had the best time visiting over coffee before and after we finished eating. In fact, our special time together, prompted another brunch date in a couple of weeks.

And now to finish a little more work around home sweet home.

I’m sure the hubs and I will have another fun date (this evening) catching up on our new favorite show, Downton Abbey. I think we watched 3, if not more episodes last evening. It’s bound to be GOOD! No spoilers, we are still catching up.

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

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

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

7/52 – Pastel

Hey friends, I’m on a roll today! How about you? I hope things are well.

It’s time I get my weekly project finished early. I’m pretty excited about that.

So when pastel was given as our inspiration this week, all I could think about were the lovely roses in the garden.

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So today I took several images to show some of the pretty pastel colors in the backyard.

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This was such a fun assignment!

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This week is filled with all sorts of fun stuff:

  • I’ve been playing in the dirt.
  • Digging and planting new plants in one of our little cleared out areas in the backyard. Pictures to come when I finish that little project.
  • The roses were fertilized over the weekend. They are leafing out so nice this year and the buds are getting ready to pop!
  • I find it difficult to be indoors when all I want to do is enjoy the pretty outdoors.
  • The hubs and I enjoyed a fire in the fire-pit over the weekend.
  • Visited with our next door neighbors on the patio and then went over to their place and enjoyed a bit more afternoon patio sitting and visiting.
  • I’m excited about my lunch date with the hubs today.
  • And looking forward to my friend coming over tomorrow for coffee and a visit on the patio.

Can you take a guess at what I’m looking forward to? Well, the time change! That = a lot more outdoor activity during the evening hours. And that makes me so very happy!

Blessings – Debbie

1/52 – Fresh

So I joined a project 52 group this year. Basically, we as a group take an image a week (based on the theme) and present our images.

I’m really excited to be a part of the group as I feel it will offer inspiration and the drive to get out there and shoot.

This past week, our theme was “Fresh”.

I was inspired to keep it simple and shoot something that had everything to do with the week.

“Fresh” flowers from the garden for family arriving from Alaska.

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The hubs sister and her husband from Alaska. Image shot in the rain this morning just before we said good-bye. We had a wonderful visit with them this week. Some of the highlights = Cheesecake Factory – Lunch date with the hubs (he had to work this week) – Visit to the local library – Strolls in the neighborhood – Evening visits – Farmers market – Japanese Garden – Oceanside dinner – Hike along the scenic lake and mountains – Afternoon tea at the local tea house…

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The hubs woke violently ill yesterday. And a drive to Urgent Care was necessary. After an IV laced with Zofran and 5 hours later, he was feeling much better. Fortunately, he is on the mend and not contagious at this stage.

Now I’m looking forward to a new week and a new photography project challenge. Should be fun.

Blessings – Debbie

Happy New Year

I’m still here!

Whew tho, I have a lot of catching up to do over the last couple of months. So I’ll try to make it as brief as possible.

November was pretty packed, as I was learning a lot (in school) about using the paintbrush and tools in Photoshop. That’s when things began to fall off my plate. Like the blog, unfortunately.

And things were added to my plate.

I joined the girls for a day trip up to Rogers Gardens. It was great way to step away from my school work. It was the best distraction and just what I needed to kick off the Christmas season.

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After my much needed day away, it was time to refocus on school work. The image below is one of the two paintings I finished in Photoshop.

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Then Thanksgiving rolled around. We dined at the Hotel Del.

The view from our table.

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Everything was cooked to perfection.

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After dinner, we watched some ice skating beneath the blue sky and palm trees.

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And we took a selfie to remember the day.

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Then it was time to plan for our annual Christmas party. Hors d’Oeuvres, dinner, white elephant gift exchange, and a bonfire with s’mores – those were the highlights of the party. But it was our friends that made the party so special. If I remember correctly, we had 14 guests in all.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t take that many  pictures. But the Starbucks mug with gift card was a big hit.

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By this time, the month of December was in full swing. And the churn of my busy schedule kept right on churning.

We had a lot of rain and I found that to calm my nerves as I planned my next and final school project. I had to give a speech. There was a lot of planning and the hubs helped out so much with my powerpoint presentation. He’s the BEST! Then I rehearsed and rehearsed and rehearsed some more. Finally the day came (mid December) and I was ready to present to the class my evolution and passion for art From Crayons to Photography.

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And then, as time marched on, we only had one weekend to do our annual Christmas newsletter. I was inspired after all the rain to take an image of our ornament in a puddle. Turns out, we liked it so much that we made it our 2014 Christmas card. The only regret, we did not have a lot of time to review our newsletter and we found some type o’s. For shame!

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Finally, we got to relax while the December dust settled. And I found the time to put my nose in a book called Delicious by Ruth Reichl. What a great read!

Our dear neighbors brought the most delectable plate of homemade yumminess over on Christmas Eve. What a treat!

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Soon it was time to celebrate Christmas.

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The hubs and I, along with our friend went back to the Hotel Del for Christmas dinner.

The image below was taken on our stroll along the pacific after dinner.

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I kicked my shoes off to enjoy the soft sand between my toes.

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And to check out this sandcastle.

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A close up – it truly was a marvelous work of art, all the way around.

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Our friend came back to the house to spend the late afternoon and early evening visiting.  And we watched The Christmas Story together.

Then, the hubs and I found ourselves alone and made a mad dash for jammies!

Our Christmas picture later that evening.

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On the day after Christmas, we decided it was time to put all the decorations away for another year. It actually took 1.5 days to get everything put away, cleaned up and back to normal.

The only thing resembling Christmas, are the candy-canes tucked in the bud vase.

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I’m ready for the New Year. And ready to add more things to my plate. Like family/company coming from Alaska this weekend and the blog and other things of importance.

Until next time – Happy New Year and many blessings to you this year…

Blessings – Debbie

Christmas is in the Air and I’m Jet Lagged

WHAT?

Hey Peeps! It’s worse than jet lag – that’s how this time change is hitting me.

How are you doing with the new time? Truly, I hope you are doing better than me.

Honestly? I feel so jet lagged and we haven’t gone anywhere. I was wide awake last Sunday (Time change day) at 4:30am. You know, this sleeping another hour bit is not working. I think 5:30 is the latest I’ve been able to sleep in all week. What time do I go to bed? Before the chickens! Last evening I could feel my body begin to shut down at 7 o’clock. My head was on the pillow by 7:45 and out like a light before 8 o’clock. Just like clock work, I was wide-eyed with a happy little jingle in my step at 4:45 this morning. I guess I’ll just snub the time change and let my body do its thing.

So it’s Thursday and it feels like Friday. That could have something to do with   catching up on Friday chores. I have the last load of laundry in – the ironing should be done soon. Since tomorrow is the hubs Friday off, I much prefer having the household caught up such that I can play and work with the hubs over the weekend.

On another note, Christmas is taking over!

Seriously? Yup! The stockings were hung today. Mantel # 1

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Mantel #2

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It was 5 years ago when I opened the Christmas decorations and found this little church. We still don’t recall how we acquired it, but it’s been a fun little piece for the mantel ever since.

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This is as close as we get to snowflakes in So Cal. Although, we can see snow (in the winter) on the distant mountains from home.

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From the inside – I’ll refrain from hanging the wreaths outdoors. We wouldn’t want the ‘hood to think we’re crazy or anything.

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I’m starting on the Christmas tree in the family room tomorrow and hope to have all the finishing touches done over the weekend.

Wishing a happy weekend to all of you who stopped by.

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