April flowers bring?

If we were having coffee…

How are you?

We had a good day on Friday visiting the tulip fields in Skagit Valley (Washington State). The day was perfect in many ways: not too hot or too cold, plus there was a breeze and a light cloud cover so it wasn’t too hot for the dogs.

Managing the deeply rutted roads and the gravel was a bit challenging with the lightweight convertible walker/wheelchair, but we managed to get Grandma close enough to some of the flowers to feel like she was there.

As a bonus: we saw this field of snow geese (?). At first glance it looked almost like a field of white flowers a little past its peak.

As Grandma’s heart is not in the best shape, it felt important to fit this outing in before I take off for a couple of weeks.

We did have one scare: she couldn’t get up from the toilet unassisted at the restaurant where we had lunch, and I had no clue how to assist. We managed in the end, but not on the first try, and I was running through the “what should we do next” scenarios in my mind before we had success. It really made me aware of her vulnerability…and how glad I was that we did this trip.

KSM-20160408-Tulip_Day-13Who knows how things will go in the future. But, however they go, we had the time together enjoying the fresh air and beautiful surroundings.

Wishing you beauty and joy in the coming week…and if you know what kind of birds we saw please share.

Where

The assignment was Landscape specifically “an establishing shot”. I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but I tried to find some pictures that gave a sense of the character of the place where they were taken.

See if you can you figure out where they were before looking at the captions.

 

Tricky

I am getting ready to take a long trip. So I clicked on some article or the other on Pinterest related to surviving a long flight. One thing led to another and several hours later I emerged awed by how Tricky and clever people can be when it comes to travel strategies.

I have taken lots of long flights and have methods for making it more tolerable. Some are things that other people do, some are not, or at least not done by or deemed worth publishing by the various pundits who do those cool infographics.

I have, after many long hours perusing when I had better things to do, picked up a couple of new things to try: one is putting small dabs of moisturizer and a bit of beauty balm into an old contact lens container to take on the plane. The other was to take a picture of my travel documents with my smart phone.

I won’t be rubbing my hair with a dryer sheet to prevent static-y fly away hair. They are pretty perfumed and really not meant to be rubbed on one’s body.

I try to not take up the limited restroom capacity more than necessary. On a trip to Europe one time I had to wait with my legs crossed for the restroom to open up for some time and a teeny-bopper came out having obviously washed her hair! The flights aren’t that long! One can go 24 hours or more between shampoos. Besides, if you look too chipper they won’t think you go with your passport picture!

I am considering putting a set of my own tips together…except that I am too busy trying to jam little gifts for various folks into the nooks and crannies of my suitcase. Maybe when I get home…

 

Candid Kids

Here are a few candid pictures of kids from my archives for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge. All of these pictures were taken in color. I experimented with the black and white presets in Adobe Lightroom. At first I wondered why they had so many, but each picture looked best with a different setting. This is the first time I have experimented with the black and white settings in Lightroom.

KSM-20110325-BnW_Candid-03 KSM-20130818-BnW_Candid-01-720pxh KSM-20141003-BnW_Candid-02

 

 

Clarity

I finally washed most of my windows this past Wednesday. It took most of the day. A day where I started out to do other things, but the murky opacity of my windows on a beautiful spring day made me realize that the other things could wait. When it was done it felt good to see the bright sunlight and look out through clear windows on the blossoming world.

Seems like that might be a metaphor: sometimes you have to stop what you are doing and wash the windows in order to get clarity.

The past few weeks have been very busy, no time for window washing, or even looking out my dirty ones. My grandmother has been without a caregiver since the middle of March.  It has been a real challenge to get her to doctor appointments, to lunch every day, and get the dogs walked, and to try and find caregivers so I don’t have to keep doing everything myself. During the past week things finally started to come together. Good thing since I felt a bit like I was coming apart.

One point of clarity for me during this period has been that I don’t have the balance between taking care of others and taking care of myself figured out. I do the things I need to do for Grandma, plus some extra, but neglect taking care of my own home. I wound up cleaning my bathroom with a toothbrush in my mouth the other night because it needed it so badly.

Another, not unrelated, point of clarity is that I really want to be a granddaughter, not a caregiver. I want to have the time and energy to go on outings:

and plan special celebrations:

Grandma turned 93 in March and her health is okay, but she has become noticeably weaker since the beginning of the year.

No answers yet but recognizing the issue clearly may help me work the problem.

Clarity

A Vibrant Ghost of Christmas Past

We are getting ready to have some work done in our kitchen and living room and I have to relocate a lot of sh..tuff. I took a load down to my son’s room (he currently lives in China so his room tends to wind up full of things that actually belong elsewhere when events like remodeling happen.

I walked in with my load of books and saw this:

KSM-20160402-Amaryllis-02

Two amaryllis bulbs that I have saved from Christmases past had decided to put on a show. On forgets in the off season what gorgeous flowers they have (most of the year they are just leaves.

KSM-20160402-Amaryllis-03

So beautiful that I wanted to share. Cee’s Flower of the Day

A glimpse of another world

“Driveable” depends on your vehicle of choice. My dad and I were thinking about alleys and parking when we took these pictures. They were all taken along a busy-ish street beside the Forbidden City.

I felt almost like a voyeur looking down into these private alleys.

 

To walk through the gate guarded by the well worn lions seems like a good start for a movie or fantasy story.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge for this week brought these pictures to mind.

An Edgy Idea

I realize that this idea is over the Edge 😉 But it came to me when I saw the prompt.

In this morning’s Seattle Times there was an editorial titled “Hate speech is often free speech, but how can we stop it?” by Caitlin Ring Carlson, an assistant professor at Seattle University.

It was among other editorials about the presidential candidates and responses to current events. You probably know more than I about the issues, so I won’t bore you with them. I mention this one because I thought of a response, one that I haven’t seen anyone else put forward. Take the profit motive away.

We live in a ratings driven world. Part of the problem is not related to “free speech”.  The media today gives us more and more of what we watch (witness how many hours of “tiny houses” showed on the television yesterday, they must have shown every tiny house in the country!). Decisions about what to air, and how much face time various folks get, is profit driven, news today is entertainment, not a public service, and ratings drive what we see. We are seeing more hate speech because it is getting watched and advertisers need to promote their drugs for sleepless, depressed folks with low-T who need to have their closets organized and take a cruise.

Here is something anyone can do: Deny an audience to people who are guilty of hate speech. Flip the channel to HGTV or re-runs of crime shows when the TV shows hate speech, better yet turn it off. Turn off the radio, don’t buy the magazine, don’t go to the web site for more information. If a debate turns away from serious issues, then turn it off. When ratings drop these people will get less media attention (which is what they are after, running for president every time your name is put in front of people is free advertising) and they will have less power.

In today’s world silence is something we fear. It is a form of communication and it can, and probably should, be used to help curb the excesses of this somewhat surreal presidential campaign.

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