Friday, November 27, 2009

A lesson in humility---

I hope all had a great Thanksgiving day...ours was quaint and enjoyable...we didnt do a turkey since we are vegetarians..lol ---BUT trust me we had plenty. We unlike Obama have pardoned more than one turkey. Ive been a vegetarian going on 5 yrs now and I dont even think about it anymore...but its funny when you get around "meat eaters" they get anxious about it.

I think people fear vegetarians-- its like they compare it to taking an alcoholic to a bar when they take a vegetarian to a restaurant where others will eating of the "flesh" ...lol. We have adapted and learned how to cope in a world of meat eaters. My Mom converted also after I moved in with her in 2006. Its second nature to ignore meat as a food item. There have been a few times it sort of got to me...Like this example....it is a funny story so Ill tell it and beware its long-- but I feel a little humor makes the Holidays a bit easier to get through.

...while traveling we went to Kanab Utah. Kanab calls itself the "Greatest Earth on Show and its true after a day of sightseeing and a long day of driving we took a room in Kanab with a pool and hot tub--we had the hot tub all to ourselves as we watched the sun slowly drift behind the distant hills and that warm relaxing soak put an even harder edge on the hunger we both had coming on. My sister who was with me is NOT a vegetarian but she will not eat meat when she is with me....she will sneak and eat bacon when Im not looking....lol its really strange.

Im a vegetarian by choice!! I made that choice based on my love of animals and I could no longer have those hipocritical feeling each time I ate meat so once when faced by the large innocent eyes of a lamb in the back of a truck headed for slaughter I made my life choice.... back to the story--- wow --its hard to stay focused sometimes!

So we asked the hotel manager "where is a good spot to get a good vegetarian dish here in Kanab?" ....he never hesitated..."there is a great place within walking distance, the Rocking V." We had to laugh because that morning in Panguitch Utah we had breakfast in a dive called the Flying M which was also within walking distance of our hotel...I'm not sure I would recommend the Flying M to you, but we did get a free drink with the recommendation.



(photos from the Rocking V webpage)

So we headed to the Rocking V and got a seat right away although it was crowded. I checked the menu and as usual I gave it a scan over first to find the meat-less dishes...and I found a really good southwestern burrito with roasted red peppers and brown rice and served with a nice salad topped with red beans and it was not too pricey...and I noticed most of the food on the menu was! My sis got one of those large salad dishes.

As women often do when going out...we had a little drink and on an empty stomach we got giddy immediately. Soon she gave me the nudge and wiggled her finger for me to come in closer. "Dont look now, but behind you sitting by the register is a gorgeous Indain man waiting for a table. "Of course I wanted to look right away but I played the coi game and eventually turned to see as promised ---a gorgeous native american man--He had prefectly groomed long dark hair, smooth native skin, and deep brown eyes.

He was dressed in tight jeans, rattle snake cowboy boots, a white button down, and a corduroy jacket with sueded elbow patches. At his neck he wore beautiful turqouise and silver jewelry and at his wrist a matching bracelet, and several expensive western styled rings decorated his perfectly shaped fingers. I raised my eyebrows back to sis to show my approval. I giggled very quietly like a school girl!!



(We sat right over there >>>on the end at the far right)

I whispered to her...with my giddy buzz on.."he's gonna come sit right next to you" and I winked while saying..."heehehehee." On her side of the table against the wall it was one LONNNGGGG booth down the entire wall with tables evenly spaced apart and on my side facing the wall it was chairs...and sure enough the booth spot directly to her right opened up as two other women on a girls nite out finished and left.

The table was hastily cleared-- a fresh starched white table cloth was spread on and within seconds the handsome man we had been googoogaga about was seated right next to my sister and looking directly at ME!..LOL

Now we had to behave and be quiet no more giggles and batting our eyes and talking about Mr. Handsome...cause he sat only inches away within listening distance of everything we said. He cordially said "hello" and nodded to us both, very prim and proper and with an air of social politeness that was exquisite!! We realized this greeting was given to us simply due to our close proximity to him..and we said.. "hello, how are you," he answered, "Hungry," and we turned our attention back to our own table.

We waited for our food...while he ordered, after being greeted familiarly by the owner of the restaurant..."Hello JOHN, how are you tonight sorry for the wait but Ive got you fixed up at your favorite table" the handsome man replied... "Fine thanks, its busy here tonight." He spoke in that wonderful quiet/calm way that so many natives have...I always envy the demeanor they possess and desire to be more that way myself. The calm quite nature, the dignity that oozes from them...the calm energy that surrounds them, its magnetic and something to aspire to!

So the room was dimly lit as most spots with ambiance are these days we sipped our drinks as he ordered a bottle of expensive wine..I know it was expensive cause the owner who waited on "John" said "very good!" while he jotted it down and "Ill have the usual..with a baked potato"
"Fine John, I make sure its cooked perfectly," and he swiftly left the table.

We sat in silence but every now and then I had to sweep my eyes over this perfect man....until I was able to finally ignore him and turn our conversation to the artwork on the wall-- it seems this spot is also a gallery upstairs. So finally our food arrived and we started to eat while "John" sipped his wine!

We ate sort of in hungry silence as he sat quietly...then the owner returned, "so you eating alone tonight John?"
"Seems so, Im not waiting any longer."
AH HA..so he had been stood up by someone...we both wondered who--but all we could do was conjure up an image and we turned back to eating. Soon enough...John's food arrived. Since he was seated so close to us there was no way not too see what he had on his steaming plate as it arrived...A PIECE OF STAKE as big as Texas, with blood still oozing from the rare cooking it received in the kitchen.

TRUST me when I say it was the booze talking when I suddenly gasped and before I could catch myself said, "YOU'RE NOT GOING TO EAT THAT ARE YOU," as I looked directly at him. My sister sat stunned with her eyes wide her fork paused and her mouth open. OMG-- I couldnt believe my own ears as I heard my own voice speaking harshly to this man sitting next to us...and now I didnt know what to say to make this awkward moment go away...so he quietly put down his knife n fork and calmly looked directly back at me..... "Yes, why shouldnt I eat it, its been perfectly prepared for me?"
"But it was a sweet innocent animal at one time," I stammered...now realizing I had overstepped the social boundary by leaps and bounds!!! He replied-
"Yes, but its already dead so I may as well eat it, besides animals are put on the Earth for our use."
I could see this conversation was going nowhere...and he continued
"OH you are one of those animal lovers, a tree hugger, card carrying memeber of PETA & Greenpeace, maybe a vegetarian??--"Well you dont know what you're missing"...as he cut a huge chunk of bloody meat and crammed it into his beautiful face while I watched... YUK....

Then he proceeds to tell me how man is over all the beasts of the field and yada, yada, yada...and etc. LoL...I really didnt need the preaching he gave me but he gave it anyways...like that was gonna make me want to eat meat? Probably about as much as what I had said to him would stop him from eating meat. It was a close encounter of the embarrassing kind!!

I still dont know who "John" was but Im certain by the treatment he got he is a notch or three higher than me on the totem pole, and Im sure he went and told his upper class friends about this looney tourist woman who bothered him at the Rocking V!!

DONT TRUST WOODEN INDIANS

Well I sure learned my lesson---eat before having a snort!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Memories of ~Ventura Highway in the Sunshine..do~da~do~do~



Turn on the SOUND----
Surprise how do like the tune? This song has special meaning to me. Not just because it was by the group AMERICA and Dewey Burnell who wrote the song said its about leaving...in the lyrics when he asks..."how long you gonna stay here Joe" he was referring to the cold plains of Nebraska where he grew up and thinking of moving to California where he longed to be..."alligator lizards in the air"..that line brings to mind cloud formations he saw in the sunshine...but I'll explain later why it has meaning to me...enjoy the tune while you read.

I love to travel but money is the object--unfortunately--I buy a lotto ticket now and then but so far no wins- the money is just not there to go where I want to go and do what I want to do...and Im sure its that way with most of you. I always look for bargains! The last 2 years I took trips on free air flights using Delta Sky Miles. Its one way to do it--since we have to buy our groceries and gas anyways...may as well rack up sky miles points for doing so. Currently its 25,000 points to take a domestic trip if you are willing to make several stops before you get to your destination.

I prefer to drive my own car. Currently my car is a 2001 Chevy Blazer with over 180,000 miles on it! I purchased it when I moved back to SC from NYC in 2006. Its still in good condition, still gets me where I need to go, most of those miles are highway miles put on by the previous owner probably a work commuter.

Sunset Strip

11 years ago my Mom and I made a fantastic journey around America in my 1994 Ford Explorer. It had 115,000 miles on the odometer when we left and we when we returned it read 123,064. Dont bother doing the math it was 8,064 miles.

It was a thrilling adventure and the car never gave one bit of trouble. We stopped along the way for oil changes every 3,000 miles and the memories fueled by that trip have kept me going mentally for many years--when life starts to get me down I zone out and go back to one of the wonderful parks we visited (these days its very difficult to find solace in a National Park unless you are willing to get off the beaten path a little). We did that when we drove the Gold Belt Byway from Canon City to Cripple Creek and Victor, in Colorado. This wonderful bit of highway is an unpaved road. It took us about 3 hours to make the trip from Canon City where the Royal Gorge Bridge is to Cripple Creek. We stopped for a nice lunch overlooking a canyon. It was fantastic there...you can see a bit of the hood of the old red Explorer in this photo as we approached one of the crude tunnels cut through the rock on the byway. All the photos of that trip were taken with a 35 mm load,point n shoot film cameras. I took the negatives to Eckerds drug store and had reprints placed on cd discs when I decided to build a web page about our trip.

Now as much as I love adventure-- my Mom is the opposite...for much of this trip she was the reluctant traveler...here she is faining a headache due to altitude..she can be a bit of a drama queen...lol-- but she got it all sorted out and had a wonderful adventure after I threatened to drive her to the nearest airport and put her on homebound plane!..lol

Much of what was going on with her was --fear of the unknown. She was afraid of being lost, afraid of being attacked by man or bear, afraid of the car breaking down, afraid to enjoy our adventure. She finally realized living in the moment would mean letting go of that fear and enjoying whats happening right now....I reminded her we were not lost, we were not being attacked, our car was still running~ so why live the fear of what is NOT happening?? Why be afraid???

Many times she would sit in the car with the doors locked while I was outside the car pumping the gas. I would just shake my head and laugh and she would grin back through the windshield at me, if that eased her fear then so be it. But for 34 days she became fearless and we ADVENTURED anyways!!
Me---im scared of spiders!!!!
You can see she began to enjoy herself...and loosen up a bit as she picked this huge sunflower through the open car window..



Now why is this song so important to me?... as we drove toward Barstow CA in San Burnardino County just coming out of the Mohave Desert we had to wait for construction they were paving the road...We sat in the heat with windows down and I could see our exit about a half mile up but the right lane was penned off with bright orange cones up to that exit...I took a look into my right side mirror at all of us travelers stuck in that long line and in that instant I made up my mind to jump the barrier and leave the flock...Mom gave me that look as I steered around the cones and took off in the "closed" lane...within minutes we had the desert air blowing our hair as we threw caution to the wind and made a B-line to our exit....I took one last look in the rear view at the others still sitting ---but suddenly another car took the same path I had, and then another, and well ---yepp I had opened up the gate and the sheep had left the fold and followed!!!

.... we headed north while the road behind us continued west-- eventually to the Ventura Freeway (hwy 101)---and just as we made that northward swing with the other independent thinkers following our lead this song came on the radio, no we werent on the Ventura Highway but we were dam close ....so it sort of became our theme song for the trip...& I used it for our commemorative website. It gave us a feeling of freedom and independence, and MOM bellowed with laughter as we zoomed down the highway (after her initial shock at her misbehaving daughter who thumbed her nose at the establishment once again!) LOL.

So now when Im listening to an oldies station and this song comes on I'm immediately transported back to 1998 and that long highway and that wonderful trip with my Mom!
Take a lookie see at our Great Adventure when you get time...


Monday, November 16, 2009

The Results Are IN--!!!


Do you ever do things and then completely forget you did it? Like while I was traveling in September I picked up a flyer about a photo contest of the Rainbow Bridge National Monument and when I got home at the very last minute I sent in an entry. The winner of that would get their photo on a poster to commerate the centennial of the Monument and a free boat trip to the monument...second place would be featured on centennial exhibits and third place would receive a Rainbow Bridge hat & shirt, fourth place a gift certificate from the Colorado River Discovery Store. So I won Third Place!!


Shocked me when I got a call today from Mr. King of the Glen Canyon National Rec. Area to tell me I had been selected as the third place winner!! I was like ----WOW you are kidding!! The contest was open to professionals and amatures and editing was allowed. I submitted the photo Im currently using as my page header, up on top of my blog page! He said mine was the only entry that contained wildlife!!

Initial judging was done by the National Parks Service staff, and finalists were judged by a panel of independent photographers based on the following criteria--Overall compostion, quality, originality, and creativity.

Mr. King told me that all the photos will be posted on the Official Rainbow Bridge Website and each winner will receive a certificate as well....I was just thrilled to even be involved--let alone be sent a prize!! Im honored to be a part of the upcoming centennial of such a beautiful spot.

Here is a link to the website, hope ya'll get a chance to check it out:

http://www.nps.gov/rabr/photosmultimedia/index.htm?eid=420189&root_aId=632#e_420189
So that was my news of the week. End of the week Im dog sitting again--hope it doesnt rain this time!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

B-Listed

Making the A list

NO you are not seeing things! That is one huge moon over the formations of Monument Valley...but its sort of a hoax perpetrated by Moi! Reason you ask? I got bored! With all that rain and I'm caught up on my cardboard swatch freelance work...waiting for the next influx of samples to arrive so I played one afternoon with some of the photos I took in September and photoshopped them to make my B-list photos more into B+'s.

This moon is from halloweens big moon...I changed the color of it to a big Red Moon. I sandwiched it between 2 duplicate layers of this not so well composed landscape shot from Monument Valley. This was a drastic makeover like plastic surgery! I enjoy creative editing. I took some other B-List photos and enhanced color, sharpness, etc to get a better looking finished product.

This next shot I had the light but it was blah! So I darkened it and it now its an A-List shot to me. Its like applying lipstick to a set of perfect lips, just enhancing whats already there!
so here is the original--

9-06 269

To make the shot more dramatic and work with the light I had captured I darkened the overall shot and to me its more appealing.

9-06 269a

Here is another B-list shot...

9-06 266

By increasing the color saturation and sharpness now it really shows off the color striations on these hoodoo rocks at Bryce Canyon.

Bryce Hoodoos

And for my birding friends out there...I chased this chickadee all around this pine tree trying to get a shot! He wouldnt be still and I got this dark shot of him...and never really got a good look at him until I lightened up this dark image and behold-- I had a new bird to add to my life-list--the Mountain Chickadee!

The B- photo:

9-06 134

The B+ photo:

Mountain Chickadee

Taking things up a notch can mean more "keepers" in your digital photo albums!
PS: I got that Tom Till book from Amazon for 1/2 price so looking very much forward to that little jewel arriving!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rainy Day

I havent seen the sun in 2 days now so....


Light Show

... today is a wash out as was yesterday and tomorrow promises to be as well! YUK--T.S. Ida is paying us a not so welcome visit with her constant downpour for over 24 hrs straight now...sort of putting me in a down and out state of mind! So I went looking over some of the photos I took when visiting Glen Canyon in hopes it would lift my spirits and its working!

GlenCanyon Red Rock

My favorite landscape photographer has a studio in Moab, Utah. I tried to visit while there but he had a sign on the door--gone be back this afternoon--unfortunately on that particular day we were on a time schedule and couldnt wait for his return. However I did some heavy duty window snooping and was able with nose pressed to glass to see his fabulous work! What I really like about him is he is not afraid to give advice freely and that only makes all of us better photographers! One quote from an article I read of his was "The first step in becoming a landscape photographer is to begin to play close attention to light and its qualities--its the key to successful landscape photography." --Tom Till--

Well I kept that quote in the back of my mind while I was attempting to get some photos that I could look back on and feel that I had achieved what I set out to do--capture light!!
He has a calendar for $12 the only thing I can afford--if the shop had been open I could have purchased it at the special Walk In price of $5. I think Im going to order it for myself for Christmas and look for the Landscape Photogaphy book at Amazon, maybe Ill find it at bargain prices!

Bathed in the Light

The shot below was so surreal--the sun was gleaming through the cloud bank that gathered and the water became as a mirror and turned white--

Streaks of Light

And this rock was standing alongside the floating dock on the trail to view the Rainbow Bridge---to me it looks exactly like a hood ornament for some reason so when I returned home I looked for that hood ornament and found it!

This rock looks like a hood ornament?

What do you think???


1941 cadillac flying goddess
(source ebay photograher unknown)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Study of an Egret

Visiting my friend Keith's Blog brought this trip to mind, a visit to the Huntington Beach State Park near Myrtle Beach, SC. Its a wonderful salt marsh and there is a great camp ground there and just one hop over the dune and there is the Atlantic Ocean! But what I really love about it is the wading birds and of course the alligators!

I stalked this egret who was stalking his dinner-- but didnt allow my presence to put him off his game...he spots something toward the brush...

BEACH WALK 2 348

He heads toward it...

BEACH WALK 2 355

Then he zeros in...

BEACH WALK 2 354

He jabbed into the water so quickly I missed that shot..but he came up with this huge shrimp!

BEACH WALK 2 358

He repositioned...

BEACH WALK 2 360

Then down the hatch!...No melted butter--

BEACH WALK 2 361

Lots of other wading birds can be seen there but many people come to this park to see these guys...this shot I took some liberties with some exotic framing techniques!

19 AAlligator-

If you are ever in the area this is a "gotta see it" spot!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Stardate 11.01.2009 6:12 pm/st

Did you turn back your clock? I dont like the daylight savings time....makes me wish I lived in Arizona, they have refused to do this silly clock manipulation thing...and I think they have the right idea...why not start school an hr later? Im sure the children wouldn't mind!--
So now Ill be up before the chickens and yawning by 8 pm!... Maybe in the spring when its DST again...I will hold a solo protest by not going along with it ---will be very confusing tho...lol

HOWL-O-WEEN Moon

I had an almost quiet Halloween, a few gun shots in the night to keep me on my toes...the trials and tribulations of living in the southern USA where hunting is the number two hobby right behind getting liquored up and shooting at the moon. (However I was stone sober when I shot this moon!)
It's not a good time of yr to go traipsing off into the woods, one could get shot--makes me yearn for the good ole' days before the NRA's strategy and very successful marketing campaign armed every redneck within 500 miles of us...spouting the right to bear arms as their slogan... I guess you can tell I'm not happy its hunting season! I used to walk in the woods around here with my dogs off leash but that can never happen again now!!Sigh--

~Lets see what else is new in my little corner of the world~..hmmm well this little pumpkin we didnt carve we will make a nice pumpkin pie, I have a great recipe...

Image2

Here is last yrs pumpkin stem photo...I have a thing about stems---


Pumpkin Stem

TN 005

Giant Pumpkins!
Snapped this one while driving 3 yrs ago...
So it needs to be straightened... but I had to get these big pumpkins proudly displayed on someones porch! I yearn for a record holder of my own some day

and here is an odd one---
I didnt get a shot of this so you will have to use your imagination--before I left to take the trip upstate last Wednesday I decided to check my oil and all those other liquids under the hood...I opened the hood, propped the hood support rod up then turned my attention to the engine and unbelievably there was a NEST right on top of my engine!! At first I was puzzled what it was then realized it was a field mouse's nest! I couldnt believe it, I removed the nest before thinking it would have made an interesting photo!! It was complete with shredded mop strings to make it soft and warm, and half eaten acorns that must have been a midnight snack...then the big shock was when we raised Mom's hood to check her fluid levels several days later and Bingo another nest!! This time I had the camera....this nest looks older than the one I found in my engine...and it was over to the side not right on top. I have to wonder if they went along with us on our travels???