Midnight Mayhem


I’m stirring up mayhem tonight, and I’ll probably kick myself for it later. My garden photographs are waiting to be sorted, and my short story still needs an ending, but I REALLY wanted to work on this portrait—so here I am—finishing up in the wee hours of the night.

Actually, the “mayhem” I’ve added is supposed to push the portrait toward the humorous side, sort of like a comic book, but I think it ended up looking more serious than fun. Anyway, there’s a story in here somewhere. I had to send a photo to the college for our virtual graduation, so I ended up with a self-portrait to play with. I don’t know… I thought it was about time I sucked it up and did a portrait of my own—for me.

Life is simply a mix of mayhem and magnolias, so embrace this gentle riot and gather flowers along the way.

kat savage

Recalibrating

Would you believe that tomorrow marks the beginning of WEEK TWELVE of my New Lifestyle, New Me project? Wow! It feels as though I’ve lost part of my life somehow—like my wall calendar has this huge red “X” scratched across the month of April or something. And half of May too!

Not to worry. As of today, there are still 532 days for me to hit my first “weight loss” goal. So… I’m in the process of recalibrating. All of this “stay at home” time has given me an opportunity to think, and to get to know myself a little better. I’ve noticed that I still have this default mode that makes me want to emulate other people. I’m not talking about the desire to be fit, there is nothing wrong with that—what I’m talking about are the numerous methods one can use in order to “get” fit.

When you think of fitness, what comes to your mind? Running? Aerobics? Joining a gym? Actually, I do have a gym membership that’s on hold due to COVID, but that’s another story. What I’m trying to say is that most of these ideas are default answers. They’re the things that automatically come to mind when thinking about fitness (or just being “active”), but they’re not necessarily things that I enjoy doing. When I set this change in motion, I wanted my new lifestyle to be different, to be fun, and—last but not least—to be adventurous.

I’ve been reading a book about prayer (thank you Collette) and something the author said really stuck with me. A lot of people put off praying because they think that they need to have everything in order before they pray. But the truth of the matter is… it is “through” our prayers that we begin transformation, and start getting things in order. It’s like putting the cart before the horse. It’s not a huge surprise either. I know people who to do house “clean-ups” before the housekeeper comes to clean! That’s actually the perfect analogy.

I mentioned a while back that once I weighed a little less, and was more limber, I wanted to sign up for some dance lessons. After reading that little tidbit on prayer, I realized what I had actually said in my statement… I wanted to get in shape, before getting in shape! What a bunch of phooey.

We’re in the beginning phase of “re-entry” here, so things won’t be happening right away, but I’m feeling good. Mid-June looks like a good time to start my own new phase—a new adventure—giving me 30 days to do my research. The goal is to start with a simple stretch class. I LOVE to stretch!

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make here is that it’s time to “DO” the things I love—NOT to plan and prepare, and “get myself in order” so that one day I can do what I love. Life is too short for that.

It’s time to dance!


Thank you for reading… I hope you’re all doing what you love!!
—Janet

The featured image is something that I chose because it makes me feel calm. A beautiful rose, whose petals are slowly unfolding to form a wonderful pattern… like a beautiful dance.

Word of the Day Challenge: Dancing

Red Solo Cup


Country songs, red solo cup—

Metaphors for simpler things.

Faded Glory, holding tight—

To the memories that they bring.


I wanted to try something creative tonight. I’ve had a couple of long days and it’s nice to take a pause, and stop (over) thinking. I took this photograph at a country music festival some time ago, using a cheap point and click, and I really like the frame. I’m always drawn to my poor quality images—it’s so fun to transform them!

I didn’t notice the red solo cup up there on the stage until I started playing around with the black and white effects, and I thought it was kind of cool; my funny little muse.

Anyway, that’s about all for now. I hope you’re all safe, healthy, and doing well…
Peace & Love!

Bare feet, Salty Hair

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.

Kahlil gibran

No rhyme or reason for this one here. I was looking into my archives, thinking about more feather close-ups, and I just fell in love with these feet.

My new classes started this morning and I was able to get in and view (with eyes wide and mouth agape) what the next 8 weeks will look like. Let’s just say that I’ll have a little less time for blogging! I’m psyching myself up to wind down, and nothing says “I MAY be on hiatus” better than toes in the sand.

Anyway, the next 8 weeks—just like my little friend here—are going to fly…

That’s about all for now. Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping healthy!!
—Janet

Yes, Yes, Yes!


Yes to the rhythm,

Yes to the beat,

If you can’t stand the fire,

Then get out of the heat!

Yes to the lyrics,

Yes to the tune,

Swing to the melody,

And dance to the moon!


This is a celebratory piece for sure. I was procrastinating a term paper in comparative religion, and the assignment is now “officially submitted.” Who would have thought that a class I chose to take for “fun” would turn out to be so brutal!? Anyway, my fear and dread is now over and it feels marvelous… almost makes me want to dance!

I’m upcycling today. Or recycling. This was originally my abstract Salsa Dancing art, and I thought it would be fun to make it more literal. I think the colors alone are enough to energize and improve the mood. If you like bright colors anyway. Now… I tried to make the dancers more conspicuous than the girl that I hid in Unraveling, so I’m hoping these two are visible, even without the cheater glasses.

I’m going to take a peek at my short story later and see if I can add to it tonight. As for now, it’s getting hot and I think it may be time to visit the kiddie pool…

Peace & Love!


Word of the Day Challenge: Yes

Faith to Fly


Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.

Rabindranath Tagore

Another recycled image today! I had forgotten about my “feather close-ups” that I wanted to dig into some months ago. When I saw the Ragtag Daily Prompt: Abstract in Black and White I went searching and found one that I had done, and I re-did it. I like it! Feathers are so beautiful.

Last night I had my new student orientation. I was SO glad it was on Zoom because I felt so bad. What are the odds of that!? Anyway, today I ordered my books, and Monday is my first day EVER attending a University. How exciting! I think I’m a little nervous. Even if it is virtual for now. Anyway, I’m looking forward to starting this new chapter, and I have faith that the journey will be fulfilling and rewarding.

That’s about all for now.
Peace & Love!!
—Janet

House of Joy

Hidden in the sticks,

Forbidden love, house of tricks,

Lonely man finds joy.


I’m sorry. A little rough around the edges there, but what the hell. Couldn’t resist. I’m finding solace in humor and lightheartedness these days. Anyway… this is a recycled image from the old copper mining town of Jerome (Arizona), once known as the “wickedest town in the west.” Today it is home to about 450 residents (many of them artists) and it’s a fun tourist attraction that I had the pleasure of visiting. My haiku is a bit literal, as the building shown really WAS a bordello back in the day. Now it houses a quaint little gift shop.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love, and may your day be a great one!


Written for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Stick & Trick

Tree Party

tree

When the zephyr appears,

We flutter and sway,

A waltz in the wind,

An impassioned ballet.

If the squalls should arrive,

We’ll shake, and we’ll sing,

Let loose of the branch,

Square dance in a ring.

The birds will take part,

Building homes for the new,

Whistling with joy,

Loving chirps, or a coo.

It’s a party, my friend,

Nature offers with glee,

Come join, all are welcome,

Better yet… it is free!


The image is another recycled photo; our Ginkgo. That tree is huge, and it just keeps growing, and growing…

Anyway, I was working on it last night and this afternoon, and was tickled when I saw the Word of the Day Challenge: Zephyr. How fitting!

Not to bring up the elephant in the room, but my walking came to a halt—just for this week. In case anyone is curious. It’s been pretty hot, like in the high 90’s, so I took a little break. We put up a little pool in the backyard, to soak our feet in, and watching the birds play inspired the poem.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!
—Janet

Intersection

Lonely Street crossing,

Foggy mind, vision unclear,

Trouble lies in wait.


This haiku almost sums up some of my recent thoughts. Who would have thought that it could be done in just eleven words. Ha! “Isolation can be dangerous” is another way to say it.

Anyway, I’ve been wanting to use this image and saw the opportunity here—so I snagged it. Another one from the camping trip; driving through Pismo Beach in the rain.

That’s all for now. Happy Saturday!


Word of the Day Challenge: Lonely and RDP Saturday: Trouble

Beautiful Storm

I started working on this image during my “time out” yesterday. I feel wonderful today, and very well rested. The beach scene is not quite where I wanted it to be, but it will have to do. For now. Striving for perfection is exhausting, so it’s “good enough.”

I’ve come to the conclusion that—even with this extra time we’ve all been given—it’s still possible to burn out. Too much sleeping, overeating, excessive introspection, and even (in my own case) an overdose of blogging. Some of it isn’t visible; it’s the unseen things we do behind the scenes—thinking about what to share, writing and editing, scratching the whole shabang and then starting over—that sort of stuff. Assuming I’m not the only one who does that!

Yesterday I REALLY dug in and I’m almost finished cleaning and organizing my space (the old bedroom / desk / work area). Wednesday is my new student orientation at the University— which, unfortunately, is now on zoom instead of face to face—and then the following Monday my classes start. Yay! That being said, I’ll be too busy to over-introspect or overdose on blogging, so that’s really good news. Anyway, it felt SO good to clean and organize. Sometimes I think cleaning is good for the soul. It helps us heal, and everything looks so pleasing afterwards. Like a fresh start!

I thought I’d do a Daily Gratitude because that’s how I feel today. After writing about my struggles with the ALL or NOTHING syndrome, and trying to find some kind of balance, I see something very beautiful in that storm, something I’m very grateful for…

Sanity: The ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner.

Although it’s not official, I’ll stick to the definition of insanity as “doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” I’ve done that before! And I blamed everyone around me for the destructive tornado that seemed to follow me wherever I went. Not until recovery did I learn that it was me. I was the cause. It was MY storm.

Having a sound mind and the wherewithal to think and sort through my whirlwind of thoughts, from different perspectives, is something I’m truly grateful for. It is in that storm that the answers hide.

I’m ALSO grateful to all of the readers, my friends. Every comment (or like) encourages me, and your words have helped me to see or realize new things. 

I know it’s a bit strange to lump together sanity and readers (friends), but actually it’s not. This is a difficult and unusual time we’re all in. Life is “different” right now, and it will be different for quite some time. Being there for each other is part of what keeps us sane. So, if you ask me, I’d say that the two go hand in hand.

Thank you for reading, and for being there!

Peace & Love…
—Janet

Where am I going?


Is anyone else asking this question lately?

The featured image here is pretty significant, as it struck me in several ways. First, I took the photograph several years ago and—until yesterday—never even knew that the Santa Monica Pier is literally the end of the famous (or maybe not so famous) Route 66.

The historic route started in Illinois (Chicago), ran 2,400 miles westward (across 8 states), and ended in California, at the Pacific Ocean, right where I shot the image. Over time, the original route has been changed and rerouted, so the old Route 66 is no longer “official.” If you plan it right, you can still make the journey across a good portion of it—and there are many cool markers to be found. This is one of them… a sign delineating the End of the Trail

Which is ironic, because that’s actually another thing that struck me about the image… the end of the trail. Lately, there are a few things that I’ve thought about giving up, and blogging is one of them. “This image would be ideal for my farewell post,” I said to myself. The end of the road, so to speak. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I really did entertain the idea. 

Sometimes these waves come over me—however fleeting they may be—and I consider throwing in the towel. It feels as though I’m writing “much ado about nothing” and tossing empty words into an even emptier universe; the dark tunnel we call the internet. My words echo as they leave me… FADING… fading…… and then they disappear, never to return. 

For one thing, the things that I write about have morphed dramatically over time. The reason for coming aboard in the first place was to share my story of finding God and recovering from alcoholism. That story has been told. It’s preserved in time, WAY back in my archives, and there are many other bloggers out there—just like me—telling the same story. We’ve done it! We’re doing it… every day.

As for the present, I’m not an evangelist, or an apologist, and I have no education in theology, so I try to be VERY careful with my words about my faith. Someone was too quick to hint around about my errors, and I was deeply saddened by that. So… I’ve stuck to the philosophy that “living my life as I now live it” is continuous (and rather convincing) evidence of my walk of faith. And I am still sober and forever grateful for this new life.

And then I considered my New Lifestyle, New Me project. I LOVE the idea, and I’m very enthusiastic about it, but already it’s a struggle. Off to a rough start you might say. Who would have thought that the quarantine would alter our lives so drastically just as I set sail on my new adventure! Not to mention the fact that it’s embarrassing to share my thoughts along this journey, because my thoughts —like everything else in life—are ever changing. I can only imagine that trying to keep up with the wanderings of my mind is an exhausting task. 

So… Where AM I going? What am I to make of all of this? Today, writing about all of this feels good—because I’m actually getting somewhere.

No. 1 Look Outward

The first thing I see from my observations is that my lack of knowledge about the significance of that Route 66 marker is an analogy, of sorts, for my introversion. My tendency to look inward for insights and inspiration is a hindrance at times. I’m always missing out on things—things that are going on all around me—because I’m hyper focused on that odd little world that lives inside of me. Talk about a dark tunnel through an empty universe. Ha-Ha! 

I’m going to work on changing that. Rather than allowing this pandemic to bury me even deeper inside of myself… I’m going to reach out more. Less thinking and talking—more watching, looking, listening, and doing. 

No. 2 The Curse of the All or Nothing

The other thing—the really exciting thing—is the other analogy that I notice, that relates to my blogging experience, and my New Lifestyle, New Me project. If things aren’t working for me, my first inclination is always “walk away!” The changing and re-routing of the old Route 66 speaks volumes to me here. The journey is still possible, it just looks different. The road is not CLOSED, it’s just been altered.  

Having an “all or nothing” attitude toward everything has done nothing but get me into trouble—for the better part of my life. I want to DO IT BIG, or DO NOTHING. It’s so hard for me to find the middle of the road, that space in between—where perfect balance exists. But that’s exactly what is needed right now. Rather than shutting it all down, all I really need to do is some altering and re-routing, just like they did with old Route 66.

This is not the end of the trail. It’s the beginning!


Thank you for reading if you made it all the way down. I’m thrilled that these were not just empty words today—they were from my heart.

God Bless!
—Janet

Unraveling


The chaotic bold,

Hides her shadow.

Underneath this bravado,

She shrinks.

Her quilted facade,

Is unraveling,

And soon…

She will be revealed.


As I was putting this post together, I realized a couple of things. First of all, I’m not comfortable writing words that aren’t bursting with sunshine and happiness (except for my occasional rants, or whispers of self-doubt). Let’s say it another way. This poem is not about me. Ha! It did, however, remind me of what I’ve mentioned before, about feeling like an impostor at times. That being said, maybe the piece was constructed by my subconscious mind.

Secondly, although the featured image started out as a total abstract (which was originally some very blurry lights), after thinking about the poem I did an alteration—and now I can’t resist the urge to share it with you! If you didn’t notice already, there IS a girl curled up in there; the woman who’s unraveling. So, now that I’ve told you… I guess it’s not so abstract after all.

I hope you’re able to see her, and not just a blob. I was going to make her even more subtle—and not say anything at all—but then, what’s the point? And I’m not so sure I like her there. I’ve saved my original, so it may come back another day, with a different (more uplifting) message.

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!!


Word of the Day Challenge: Quilt
RDP Tuesday: Bravado

Femme Fatale

black cat

Cold-hearted feline,

Smugly bats her eyelashes,

Struts across the lawn.


If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that my Haiku was written for our cat “Gypsy” who thinks she rules the roost (and likes to ignore people). BUT, she was nice enough to pose for the featured image, so I’ll cut her some slack.

We love Gypsy. She waits at the front door and signals us with the cutest and meekest meow, so we’ll let her in. Then she sashays her way straight to the back door and waits again, for us to let her out to the backyard. I guess she’s too good to use the gate. Ha! Anyway…

Thanks for reading.
A good afternoon to you all!
—Janet

Written for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Cat and Bat

Weathering the Storm


Not much required,
To get through the storm,
Here’s advice I was given in life:
Drive a modest abode,
Keep the tank full of gas,
Ne’er forget…
Your Swiss Army knife.


So… maybe I’m NOT the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s the 19th of April and I’ve just learned (via Google) what NaPoWriMo stands for! With just 11 days left, I find out that it’s National Poetry Writing Month. Ha! One would think that—with my unusually low tolerance for curiosity—I might have inquired about this sooner. Anyway…

The image is another photo from yesterday’s walk (with 1 or 2 hours worth of playful editing included). LOVE the RV!

That’s about all for now. Peace & Love!


Written for RDP Sunday: Swiss

Good Ol’ Days

family portrait

Since I’m still excited about personalized portraits (and waiting for my next victim) I thought I’d play around with a new style this weekend. This one’s an old family photograph that’s been circulating in my “circle.”

The original was scanned, and pretty small, so the task was to figure out how to keep it from getting stretched and pixelated. I decided to do it in black and white, turn it into an old Polaroid, and then add a background to frame it. If you haven’t guessed already (and why would you), I’m the little blonde in shorts sitting up front—on my Aunt’s lap. The tall, dark, and handsome man straight behind me in the very back is my dad (who is sadly, no longer with us), and next to him (on his left) is my mom.

I’m going to take a guess and say that this photo was taken in the late 60’s. Yikes. The good ol’ days indeed.

Good Ol’ Days

A phrase used by old people. When these words are used in combination it is a signal to young people to get the hell out. “Ahh yes the Good Ol’ Days. Did I ever tell you about the time we rode the train from St. Louis to San Diego?” (this is where you leave)

Definition courtesy of Urban Dictionary.

Pier Ride

Buckle Up!

This image depicts a good chunk of my life: One Wild Ride. Full of ups and downs, spins and twists, hairpin turns— and (far too many) “hold onto your hat!” moments. Of course, the ride in the photograph is actually pretty tame—hence the bold colors and wild effects that I’ve added.

I thought it was a fun thing to do today. This is from my Santa Monica Pier archives, from several years back. I’m beginning to think that my recent obsession with bright colors has something to do with feeling pent up. I don’t react well to being caged. Ha-ha! True story.

New Lifestyle Update

I’m still on hiatus from my walking, but I’m buckling down and putting a (semi) routine together: Walks on Saturday, Tuesday and Thursday.

I think that’s about all I can handle right now but it’s my minimum. If I do more than that, then how awesome is that!? And I do notice that walking day after day doesn’t necessarily work for me. I feel weak the day after a long walk, so I like the idea of resting days in between.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve actually done a lifestyle change before (altering my diet and adding exercise) and I lost 50 pounds doing it. I’d say that, all in all, it took about a year. I was in my 30’s (from what I remember) and the method was simple: eating healthier, unprocessed foods, and walking 3 miles, 3 times per week. And honestly, I’m pretty sure it was the walking routine that did the trick.

Anyway, I like the idea of a routine like this because I won’t guilt myself out on the days I rest and I’ll really “look forward” to the days that I do walk. Like tomorrow, for example! I’m really jazzed knowing that tomorrow is THE DAY. I’ll get up early, pack up my bag (which just arrived) and be out the door. I like that plan!

That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading!


The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine.
—Mike Murdock

Art-Hollywood Closed

Restricted Access

Hollywood has unfortunately become a memory. It’s nothing but a sign on the side of a hill. —Mickey Rooney


I haven’t taken my walk yet but I’ll be on my way shortly!

I’m still testing out the new photo editor with some of my older images. This upcycled photograph (the original taken while hiking up to the Hollywood sign) seems to sum up all kinds of emotions that are circling around these days, and it is now my latest addition to the Quarantine Collection.

Let’s hope my walk discovers some of the beauty that is still out there.

Peace & Love!

Leaf Art

Hanging On

I watched little leaves, 
Drifting in the wind.
Spinning, twirling, floating.
Landing ever so softly,
On the ground beneath my feet.

On the branch above,
One was still hanging on.
Quivering in the breeze.

And I wondered…
Was it shaking from fear,
Afraid to let go?
Or was it fighting to break free,
Hoping to fly?

And I wondered…
If that were me,
What would I do?
Would I play it safe,
And hang on to what I know?
Or would I take a risk,
And fight to break free?

Their journey,
However beautiful,
Was too brief. 
A landing was imminent,
Leading to death and decay.
And never again,
Could they return to the tree.

Then a gust swept through.
And the leaves took flight again,
Spinning, twirling, floating,
Drifting up to the sky.

And then I knew…
Which I would choose.


So this is what happens when you have quarantine time on your hands and you use that time to go for a walk. Ha! I really DID watch a couple of leaves drift in the wind, and I thought about those leaves (and this poem) for the remainder of my walk. The image is not from my walk, but it IS mine; made today…especially for this poem.

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed it!
—Janet


Walk Stats: 3.39 Miles / 1 Hour, 11 Minutes / 7,923 Steps

Rejoice!

painted spring

Where flowers bloom, so does hope. —Lady Bird Johnson


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4: 4-7 (NIV)

Happy Easter Everyone
Stay healthy, hopeful and positive… and Rejoice!

City Sunset

City Lines

dark city sky

City life is millions of people being lonesome together.
—Henry David Thoreau

sunset city sky

I took some additional photographs of the sunset a few nights ago (pictured in Mesmerized) and I liked this one because of all the utility lines. I like how they added interest to the sky… sort of City meets Sunset.

With my new photo editor, I have so many styles and effects to choose from that I’m having a hard time making up my mind on anything! I thought these two versions were a great display of opposites—light and dark, sad and happy, gloomy and bright.

I think the message here is that those lines in the sky are a symbol—or at least they used to be when we actually used wired phones! For me… they send a message… Stay Connected!


I also wanted to say something about my last post – The Quarantine Project. The featured image was actually made from Broccoli leaves. We have a wild, overgrown Broccoli plant in our garden that is so large it reminds me of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. If you look close at the background you can see the outline of some of the leaves. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that! I thought I’d add it to my Garden Art. 🙂

Thank you for reading! Blessings…
—Janet

Artwork

The Quarantine Project

Resurrecting Gratitude

When the (unofficial) quarantine began, I was on a mission. Two if you count the New Lifestyle New, New Me project—but that actually started before “everything changed.” What I’m referring to, and what I totally lost sight of, were my Daily Gratitude posts. It completely slipped my mind.

How easy it is to forget gratitude. For me anyway. I was reminded of this by Rebekah at forty-one-ten (who I just discovered and started following because she’s a wonderful writer). Rebekah proposed a new idea,

The Quarantine Writing Project

And here are her words on the project:


“Write about the ways in which you and your family fill the long hours of each day. Or write about your hopes and fears. Write about the things you’ve witnessed (good or bad). Write something funny. Or write about the things for which you’ve learned to be grateful during this difficult time.”

I’ve been hemming and hawing over this for a few days. To be honest, and please don’t hold this against me, it’s hard to come up with “quality” content right now. Benjamin Franklin sure got it right…


“Either Write Things Worth Reading or Do Things Worth the Writing.”

It’s hard to find new material while sitting in my living room. BUT, I can always find something to be grateful for—which would include the fact that I even HAVE a living room to sit in.

So, without further ado… Today I am EXTREMELY grateful that the rain has stopped and the sun is shining. I think the rain has been harder (on those of us in my household) than any fears or restrictions imposed on us due to the virus. I’m grateful that I’m healthy and strong, and able to walk… so I’m off to do just that; I’m going to take a walk.

I pray that my body and soul are nourished and energized by the exercise and the sunshine, and that new ideas will fill my heart and mind so that I’ve something of value to share with you all upon my return.

I may just take my camera… still debating.

Have a blessed day everyone!

Painted boarder

Not an Island

I am not an island,

That is what I have been told.

But I am alone when at sea, it seems, 

Paddling out in the cold.

I am not an island,

Isolation takes its toll.

But the fish and birds accompany me,

While the ocean feeds my soul.


Written for the Word of the Day Challenge: Island. The accompanying image is a photograph I shot at Malibu beach a few months back.

Note: We all do what we can to stay busy during these long days of social isolation. Apparently swimming out in the ocean should not be one of them though, as a man was arrested on this very same beach for paddle boarding during the quarantine. Yikes!

Birds on a roof

Stay in Your Own Square

I am easily amused. A cheap date, so to speak. It takes very little to keep me happy.

This morning I splurged and purchased a new program, for my “loaner” laptop, called Smart Photo Editor.

A blogger/photographer that I follow had mentioned it in an old post, and I’ve been waiting for the right time to buy it.

All I can say is I love it! I’m like a kid in a candy store right now. For a mere $30 I have enough entertainment to last me through a few months of quarantine—if need be. Let’s hope it’s not that long. It’s VERY easy to use (for anyone who’s interested in some “at home” entertainment). Of course, I’d rather be out walking… but it’s still raining outside.

Anyway, the featured image was my first project this morning. It’s a photo from my camping trip last year, and the birds appear to have one up on us when it comes to the rules of social distancing. 😉

That’s about all for now. Thanks for reading and I’ll be back very soon!

Mesmerized

sunset

Today is my experimental day.

I finished my WordPress course and started another condensed class: Web Development II. That being said, I’m trying out a little CSS to create a border and padding around my image.

What stinks is that I have no idea if it will work in the reader… I’m guessing that’s a big fat no, but I’m doing it anyway. It works on the blog itself, so that will just have to suffice if need be.

The photograph was taken last week when the sky was full of pinks, oranges and blues. It took a while to find the energy (and patience) to open Photoshop since the laptop gets worse every time I use it. If I didn’t know any better I’d swear that Microsoft installed a virus with one of my updates so I’d go out and buy a new one. They do that you know. Or so I’ve been told.

Anyway, I’ve also been testing out Pixlr X for free online photo editing. After some experimentation in there… I came up with the strange, unidentified flying lights for the sky. Since the colors in the sky seemed so surreal, I wanted to give it a fantasy feel.

Last but not least, I must confess. I stepped on the scale today. Never again will I vow to stop doing that. It only increased my temptation and shot my curiosity level through the roof. Needless to say, nothing has changed… but that’s OK.


Better to rest on plateau than to fall down mountain.
—My Own Proverb


Orange Flower

Sunbeams and Laughter

Keep your face with sunshine lit,
Laugh a little bit.
All the shadows off will flit,
If you have the grit and wit,
Just to laugh a little bit.

An excerpt from Laugh a Little, by Edmund Vance Cooke

I’ve been working on another recycle/upcycle of an old image for the past few days (which can be found HERE if you’re interested). I decided tonight that it’s finished and ready to go. I love the new colors… they remind me of sunshine.

One of the reasons I love posting my images is so I have a record of how I’ve progressed—as I learn different styles and new techniques. Every now and then I look back at the very beginning and I find all kinds of doozies that I can’t help but DELETE. I wonder what the heck I was thinking when I look at some of my old stuff.

Other times, I look back and I see all kinds of potential. It’s like each photograph I’ve ever taken is it’s own (semi) blank canvas, begging me to come on out and play… to come and make it beautiful.

That’s about all for now.
Peace & Love!

Black and White Portrait

Out(side) of Time

This morning I read a ‘daily email’ on the subject of Eternity. One of the definitions is: A state of existence outside of time, and this particular meaning reminded me of something that happened years back—something that’s perfect for today’s Daily Gratitude.

When I was going in and out of sobriety—and making a mess of what little life I had left—one of the things that I had to do was move in with my mother. Things were tough for MANY months. Even though I was staying sober, there was a LOT of friction between the two of us.

I babysat my grandsons for some of those months, and I would often walk the youngest in a stroller while his brother was at school. I remember praying a lot… asking God to remove the character defects that stood in the way of me “being a better daughter;” the selfishness that caused me to act out, the self-pity that made react like a child (because I felt like one for being there) and the bitterness that I felt inside.

On this particular day, I remember feeling frustrated. I pushed the stroller across the bridge (pictured in The Hot Seat) and listened to music as I prayed about it. Stopping on the other side of the bridge, I turned back and looked at the house. I had never really seen our house from that perspective. I’m sure I may have decades ago—when I was a child—but none that I remember.

Anyway, that moment felt like eternity to me; as if I had escaped time. The house looked sad and empty. I knew my mother was inside, but from where I was standing the life—her loving spirit that filled it and made it a home—was missing. It seemed as though I was not seeing, but feeling the future… with my mother gone. All that stood before me was a sad old house.

I had no question it was a sign. A glimpse into what my future could be like if my perspective didn’t change… a life filled with remorse and regret… full of if onlys and what ifs. I’ll never forget that day, and I’m forever grateful for it.

It’s as if… just for a moment… God allowed me to step outside of time.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed today’s Daily Gratitude!

A word about the image here.

This is kind of random, but it’s actually another one of my personalized portraits. The gentleman is a dear friend of mine, and I took the photograph when we were at the beach sometime back. I’ve been wanting to use it and could never quite figure out how. I thought it was perfect for a state of existence outside of time since he seems to be peering in at us—through the glass of a fast moving vehicle.

Abstract Blue Lights

Child’s Play

They’re coming for us!

Swords blazing bright, fight or flight…

Get out while you can!

It kind of ruins the mood when I try to explain everything, but this Image and Haiku are just too weird to NOT have something to back them up.

The base of the abstract is a jungle gym at a neighborhood park. After some distortions and effects, I thought it was perfect for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Bright & Fight.

It reminded me of watching my sons play years ago—or my grandsons now, for that matter—so the Haiku is a reenactment of how one of their imaginary invasions might play out.

With everything else that’s going on right now (like we’re living in the twilight zone), a visitation from extraterrestrial beings might not be such a shocker!

Anyway, thank you for reading.
Be safe and stay healthy!

—Janet

On the Bay

Drop-ins at the Bay,

Laugh and Play Pitter-patter,

Welcome intrusion.

Last night I decided that using borrowed images, or upcycling my own (which I’ve done here) is about all I can handle at the moment. Besides my old laptop looking tired, programs are running WAY to slow lately. This one’s an old photo from South Texas, jazzed up with new effects.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I only have so much patience when it comes to waiting for my hard drive to catch up with me. I may seem nice, but last night I was cussing like a sailor. I’ve had it!

Maybe it’s my laptop, or maybe it’s the internet, but I refuse to watch that little blue wheel of death spin around anymore. It’s time to give Photoshop a rest. I’ll be shopping for a new PC in May, so—until then—I’m going to focus on my lifestyle changes, journaling, and some creative writing.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going!

Written for Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Bay & Play

Amhráin Ghrá

May the lilt of Irish laughter lighten every load.

Irish Blessing

If Google translate is working today, Amhráin Ghrá means Songs of Love. We need more of those today. If it’s not, if there’s an error in what my title says—and I’ve just said something insulting—please forgive my ignorance. 😉 Just trying to spread some Irish love today.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist adding this to my Going Green series. Nothing says GREEN more than St. Paddy’s Day!

I’ve never mentioned this before, but my laptop is falling apart. I can’t close the lid because something broke and the monitor screen is barely attached—it’s hanging by a thread. The battery no longer charges as well, so if I’m working and the cord somehow disconnects, the PC shuts off instantly and I lose what I’m working on.

Needless to say, I don’t use my laptop to take quizzes or exams for school. If it disconnects during those, it’s pretty much an automatic fail. Fortunately, my sister gave me a hand me down. Older sisters are cool like that! It will work for now, until I’m ready to invest in something new and improved.

Anyway, I bring this up because the borrowed PC is still on Windows 7 and I can’t load my Photoshop on it. Bummer! That being said, another blogger mentioned the free program GIMP. I’ve been trying it out, and this morning I used the Kaleidoscope effect to make the image I’ve featured here. I think it’s pretty fun!

I thought I’d add a gallery here to show the original, the kaleidoscope version, and a square version (that I call lights) that I made in Photoshop last night. It’s a fun and unusual display of Green. I’m not sure if the reader will distort this, but I will give it a shot…

Thank you for stopping by, I hope you found something enjoyable here…

Sláinte! (Cheers!)

Land of Make Believe

I wanted to stay up and do something before bed. I am NOT adjusting to the time change at all, and I am not a fan of staring at the ceiling until God knows what time. So, I thought I’d try something more constructive.

Earlier this evening I had dinner with a couple of friends. I put the food police on mute. We celebrated my four years of sobriety, and a very dear friend’s belated birthday. There was sushi, and dumplings, soup, salad, honey walnut shrimp… oh man… it seemed like a bottomless buffet. It was so good. Then we headed down the street for dessert!

Honestly, I have no shame. It felt good to eat a meal and literally SAVOR every bite. I kid you not. Maybe cutting down isn’t all about suffering. Maybe it helps you appreciate things more when you do splurge. When enjoyed in moderation, some foods are… well… heavenly.

Anyway, I recycled an old image—trying to create something fantasy-like. When I thought of make believe, I thought of my step counter. So far I’m only reaching half of my goal. I’m not mad at myself though. I just wish I had been wiser about setting my goal. So… I decided that this first week of stepping is my “test run,” to get a sense of what the average is. THEN I’ll set my goal. Plus it’s been stormy here all week… kind of raining on my parade.

Then, thinking of fantasy made me think of the virus. You know which one I’m talking about. It feels like the twilight zone around here. First I think the world is WAY over-reacting, and then I wonder if I’m one of those birds with my head in the sand, refusing to accept that this oddity is going on. I mean, I am kind of out-numbered here. I don’t know. Regardless, everything is closing up, shutting down… coming to a slow halt. The restaurant wasn’t that busy but the super markets are all packed.

Anyway, that’s all for now. I think the sleepy bug has crept in. For anyone out there who has been negatively affected by this thing (minus the bathroom tissue dilemma), you’re in my prayers tonight.

God bless. Stay safe and remember to wash those hands.

Oh, and apparently drinking lots of water (no ice) helps keep the germs at bay.

Phase II

Week one has come to an end and I’m happy to report that I’m down 4 pounds. What’s even better? It’s the beginning of week TWO!

Now it’s time to shake things up. I’ve been reading the book I mentioned before, One Small Step Can Change Your Life: The Kaizen Way, and it has inspired me to take some steps. Some very SMALL steps. And I’ll be counting every one of them.

I ordered a fitness tracker and will have that in hand by Tuesday evening. So… starting Wednesday, I’m going to shoot for 10,000 steps a day and see how that works. What I hope is that wearing the tracker around my wrist will be a constant reminder to me—to get up and move!


My image began as a photo of the moon. I shot it a few days ago when the sun was still shining. I always light up when I can see the moon in the afternoon sky. Does it make for a fantastic photograph? Not always. Not this time anyway. That being said… I decided to give her a little makeover of her own… something to bring out her natural glow.

That’s about all for now. Thank you for reading!

This upcoming week I’ll be sharing some of the cool things that I’ve learned on this journey so far. I hope you’ll stay tuned!

Empowered

The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.

Alan Watts

I thought I’d create this composite piece to express how I’m feeling this evening: Empowered.

Nothing earthshaking has happened. The scale hasn’t tipped and my willpower crumbled again at the sight of the cookies. The good news is that—with a little help from the family—that little brown box is empty now. Yay! Overall I’m eating much better than I was a week ago, so I’m making positive changes. That’s not why I feel empowered, though.

The fact that I see this as an endless undertaking is what is giving me strength. There is no finish line; no gold medal to be won if I move at warp speed. I have months (even years) to work on this lifestyle change… and that is what empowers me. I have time.

I’ve taken the plunge, and although the changes are slow and small, I am in there… moving and dancing with them.

Peace & love everyone. Thank you for allowing me to share my journey with you!

Roses

Nostalgia

Butterfly kisses,

Sweet memories, pure and chaste,

Taste of innocence.


Today’s Everything Red is another recycling project; a collage of red roses with a guiltless white. It stands out like a sore thumb… the white sheep of the family. There’s some symbolism there I’m sure.

Reusing the old arouses nostalgia… it’s a great way to bring new life to things long forgotten. I think I’m psyching myself up for something here… a little dream chasing, perhaps. Time will tell.

Anyway, this Everything Red Art and the Haiku were created for the Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge: Chaste & Taste

Signs

Get up and go!

You create enthusiasm around you.

PANDA EXPRESS

Inspiration can come from just about anywhere… including a fortune cookie. So… thanks to my last fast food adventure… today’s Everything Red is about enthusiasm.

According to several articles on the psychology of color, the color red is energizing. It excites the emotions and motivates us to take action. I think that one of the things that’s held me back lately was a lack of enthusiasm. Nothing was exciting me, so my immediate assumption was that everything was all wrong. I was on the wrong path.

But maybe lack of enthusiasm is just a synonym for self-doubt. We want to be excited about our direction, but we hold ourselves back. We stop, when really we should GO.

I did a remake of an old photograph from my last camping adventure. It’s kind of ironic that—although the color red apparently prompts us to take action—everywhere you look it’s telling us NOT TO. No wonder we’re so conflicted!

So, today I will be enthusiastic. I will not doubt, I will just GO.

Knowledge is power but enthusiasm pulls the switch.

Ivern Ball

And according to Panda, we create enthusiasm around us as well. Let’s all spread some enthusiasm! 😉

The Clique

The Clique

The worst cliques are those which consist of one man.

George Bernard Shaw

What a wonderful day it is!

First things first. I got my hands on some new filters for Photoshop (thanks to a fellow blogger). Now that my options have increased… so have my ideas. This is going to be a great week!

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Flowering Plum

Spring is in the air…

Tiny blossoms are springing forth on the flowering plum tree. You have to look hard to find them, but they’re there. I think I’m wrapping up the Garden Art series with this one. It’s time to move on!

Speaking of things in the air… do you ever feel like a fraud? I don’t mean “fraudulent” as in committing dastardly crimes, I mean that strange sensation that you’re not who you think you are.

I’ve been in that kind of a funk lately. I think I’m going to journal my way through it. Not in one night. This baby might take a while. I can’t figure out if it’s that inner critic that I should ignore (the one that always tries to sabotage me) or if it’s that still small voice that I need to heed.

Honestly, I think a lot of it has to do with the two new jobs I just started. They are jobs that I took because they allow very minimal hours, but I have to say that they’re SO not me. Maybe going so far out of my comfort zone is what’s causing this fraud alert thing.

I mean, not only am I doing something that I’ve NEVER done before, I’m doing something that I don’t really care to do. It’s strictly for cash. And no it’s nothing illegal. 😉

I feel so strange when I go to work… like I should be looking over my shoulder to make sure no one I know sees me! Ha! Is that weird?? I don’t know. Now that I’m thinking this out loud, I think I’ll have to finish these thoughts later. It’s after midnight here and my mind is finished.

Has anyone else ever felt this way before?

Anyway, I know these thoughts have very little to do with the featured image, but then again… maybe they have everything to do with it. Spring is in the air! Time for cleaning—to get rid of useless crap. New things are waiting to be born—ready to flourish. That sounds like the perfect time!

If it doesn’t nourish your soul, get rid of it.

Thanks for reading!

I’ll be back to finish my thoughts later.

—Janet

Peace & Love!!

Brussels Sprouts Art

Finding my Muse in Brussels

Sprouts that is.

Actually… I had no idea WHAT this plant was when I decided to use it in my Garden Art. This may be one of the last pieces in that series, too. For now anyway. I started working at two (very small) part time jobs, so when you add that to school, things are starting to get hectic.

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Light Trails

Light Trails

Sometimes you have to close your eyes to see.

A Wise Man

I’m starting to see patterns. I can write for a while, but when things shut down… they REALLY shut down. Images, on the other hand, are all I can think about right now.

Some ornamental cabbage made up the base of my featured image. It’s been blended, twisted and stroked, and… voila! I can only imagine what will happen when I get my hands on an onion. 😉

It’s goodnight for me now. Sweet dreams everyone!

Loquat Tree

Another Day in Paradise

If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.

Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

One of the things that I love the most about the Garden Art series is the fact that it’s limited to my backyard. Well, with the exception of my neighbor’s Flowering Pear that is.

There are so many cool things in our yard, but the truth is… I don’t go out there as often as I should. Been there, done that maybe? What I’m trying to say is that I—like many others—tend to take what I have for granted.

Things lose their appeal after a while.

To go a step further, I’m no real fan of our Loquat Tree. The fruit gets brown and a great deal of them end up on the ground. You can see squirrel bites in them, too. It needs to be topped, so it’s too tall and the branches rub against the cables that stretch across the sky.

I know, I know… I sound like a cranky old grumbler. That’s my point. This Garden Art series is forcing me to forget what I think or feel about the things that have been around me for what seems like forever… and to look at them in a whole new way.

That’s what makes this piece special to me. That little star of the show is just two inches in size. I see growth, regeneration and renewal in this shot. It wasn’t easy to see, I had to look for it.

I see tropical flair, beautiful colors, and glistening light… things I don’t normally notice. The backyard looks brand new!

I feel very blessed today. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it’s another beautiful day here in paradise!

Thank you for reading!

Enjoy your day… and may everything seem brand new!

Wheatgrass

In the Jungle

If I were a flying insect…

…this might be my view as I make my way through the wheat grass.

Something is Stirring

I thought I would use this particular Garden Art piece to do a little journaling and (publicly) admit something. I’ve been wanting to share this for awhile now, but I didn’t want it to be another one of “those things” that I bring up and start… and then never finish.

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Blueberry Blossoms

Blossoms of Light

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.

Alfred Austin

Back to a black and white with some more Garden Art. I thought these blueberry blossoms deserved a little illumination. They reminded me of little church bells, shining in their glory.

Bee & Broccoli

Garden Party

I visited our backyard this morning to see how the garden is growing. I may get my Garden Art series going again. My son has gone “vegetable crazy,” so we have lots of fun and interesting (and edible!) plants out there.

This is the broccoli aisle… and the bees just love this area!

I thought this would be a good submission for Brashley Photography’s Photo for the Week – 55 – Insects.

The flower doesn’t dream of the bee, it blossoms and the bee comes.

Mark Nepo

Have a Bee-utiful day!

Valentine's Moon

Valentine Moon

Moving on with The Alphabet Game, it’s ironic that I caught up with the letter “V” just in time (well, almost) for the Big One…

Valentine’s Day.

I’ll start with a confession. I haven’t liked Valentine’s Day for many moons (no pun intended ha-ha). It’s funny. I’m an over-the-top optimist, and SO happy-go-lucky that I’m sure it wears on people—but… when I hear that old “V” word—I’m overpowered by the urge to pucker up (my nose) and cringe.

Here’s the thing though. Valentine’s Day may be about love, but love isn’t JUST about romance. I’ve managed to list a few of the things that I love (from A to U), and so far I’ve barely scratched the surface! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I really DO love LOVE.

Maybe the bigger point to be made is that no matter how I feel about Valentine’s Day, or how it compares to how you feel about it, something we can celebrate here is the fact that we can VOICE our thoughts freely (whether they are good, bad, or indifferent), and we can do it with love.

That being said… I thought I’d show some love to Valentine’s Day by making it the centerpiece of my image. The backdrop is from my front yard… it’s the Snow Moon that I was lucky enough to capture last night. I have to include a disclaimer though—the real deal was much more majestic!

That’s about all for today. Thank you for reading!

I hope you enjoyed “V,” and I’ll see you soon for the letter “W.”

Spoiler Alert: It’s a biggie!

—Janet

To speak kindly does not hurt the tongue.

Proverb