Is there anything more fascinating that looking closely at nature? You can see larger views by clicking on it, and even larger on in Flickr on "all sizes". Also a part of my visit to Sky Nursery macro set.
The last week of introductions for Self-Portrait Challenge. I feel like I meet myself coming and going every day. I remember leaving the house, coming home, leaving the house, coming home. And I think "Life must be more than this". Today I had doublebooked myself, dental and counseling, a great combo, me with deadened lip, a little drool down the chin (maybe he will up my dose ;)
I was in four accidents and walked away. The first was when I was a little girl of 3 or 4, the first day of swimming. I was too impatient, jumped in the water forgetting my life jacket. I remember being calm, seeing the edge of the pool, the bubbles, tryng to reach the step. I don't know how long I was there, not long I am sure. And them my mom's hand reached in and pulled me out.
The second was when we first moved to Malta. My parents were in Italy on holiday. I was walking home from school and forgetting to look the wrong way for oncoming traffic (they drive on the other side of the road) was hit by a bus. I wet myself, and lots of people were standing around. I was not far from my house. The next thing I was in bed, the doctor being there. Then out of the blue, my parents. My mom said she decided to come home early.
The third again in Malta around age 12, got caught in a terrible undercurrent with my friend Carla while swimming at Ramala Bay. Remember gasping for air and seeing blue sky, then being sucked under again before I could get a breath of air and just seeing churning bubbles. I remember thinking this was the end for me. We were swept onto jagged rocks, we could see our parents at the other end of the beach, just realizing we were gone, out of sight. My mom, who can't swim, running out in the surf. I thought we were very lucky that day.
The fourth was a car accident with a young boyfriend driving. I must have been 16. He had a cobra? or some fast car at the time and was driving too fast down one of those treacherous country roads. We were heading towards a T in the road and I kept telling him to slow down but he did not listen. We were rollling and rolling over, coming to a stop on the top of the car in the middle of a field. Someone there with a hand pulling me out. I had on a mid-drift and slivers of glass were embedded in my stomach. But that was all. We were alive. My parents were in New Orleans on some trip.
I have thought of those times I was sparred from harm or death thinking there must be a purpose for my life.
Food has always been a huge part of our lives. My mom being a great cook. Every meal to be savored. I don't like to go to restaurants because I am always disappointed. I can remember the date, the place of the couple of meals that I consider outstanding. We are spoiled and nutured at our house with mom's wonderful food.
I have had many family members go off to war and thankfully they all returned. This post is in rememberance of so many who did not come home. And many that did and led long, full lives. Like my neighbor Harry, a WWII veteran, proud and very involved in veteran affairs such as painting flagpoles, erecting flags, placing flowers on the appropriate graves for Memorial Day at our local Memorial Park Cemetary. He passed away a couple of years but we always went with him to the Memorial Day service and watched him march with other veterans in our local 4th July parade. Also a salute to my uncle Bunny, a veteran, who passed away recently and my uncle Jim, Viet Nam veteran who is very much alive and well, kicking up some dust in Arizona. To all of those soldiers serving in Iraq and all over the world.
I am cheating again for Illustration Friday challenge Cake. But it gives me one more opportunity to show my hand-made-paper-flower-wedding-cake with the paper butterflies on top, I made sometime back for work. I just moved it out of the office I once had, it is still in the car, thinking of just throwing it away but it was so wonderful, I had so much fun creating it and I was so thrilled with the outcome. Large view.
I saw this post on gkgirl's blog and discovered Sunday Scribblings prompt of First Loves. Although I am not a contributor, it did bring up some suppressed hurt feelings and regrets. And I felt the need to jot it down.
Lessons of first loves, and women who fall in love with your first love.
SHE was my friend. He would say why don’t you wear the color lipstick SHE does. Why didn’t I see? When he kicked me out, SHE said “why don’t you come live with me?” then in 5 days she hung her clothes in the closet that was once mine. Calculating? SHE always showed up at our house claiming to feel like the third wheel, and I would say “don’t be silly! Naïve? SHE could make the perfect Beef Wellington and Ice Cream Bomb and always invited us to parties given by her friends. Showing me up? SHE threw me a birthday party and her friends gave me a scarf with the card inscribed to Isadora Duncan. Cruel? SHE always looked perfect. SHE loved gladiolas. SHE had perfectly manicured nails. SHE was the daughter of a doctor. I was awkward, unsure, immature. SHE suggested that her friend give me a perm then he said I was crazy for doing weird things to my hair. Coincidence that my perm looked like Bozo the clown hair? SHE held his hand and his gaze in line at the movie theater 7 days after I moved out. I left the mall and vomited. SHE giggled, shone of happiness and exuded confidence.I was clueless and trusting. I saw a photo of her recently, brightly smiling, hair whipped to perfection, pearls. SHE is married to my first love.
It took me years of journaling, licking my wounds, introspection to see clearly how I had been blind-sided. I was humiliated that I had been so stupid, so simple-minded, so trusting, how easily my life had manipulated for someone's gain. I have seen this phenomenon happen many times since with my own friend's 'relationships gone bad', but when men have done something unforgivable to someone they claim to have once loved - they treat that wife, or girlfriend as if they are crazy, they are the bitch, it is all their fault, will not speak to them. It all makes for crazy "break-up" times when you are feeling unbalanced anyway. Why can't the "dumper" just have the balls to tell the "dumped" the truth. It would so refreshing, so less hurtful. Here, like this would have been sad, but completely acceptable: "Kim, I think you are a swell gal, and I thought I loved you, but I fell in love with this other person over here who is a better match for me and I am really sorry". Wouldn't that be easier to cope with? It would take less time to try and figure out what happened? All that angst over "what did I do wrong?" I have been through many and seen my friends go through many 'being dumped" and I have never heard this rational explanation come out of the offender’s mouth....
With all of that said, I am glad that it happened just as it did. In retrospect, they were much better suited to each other. I learned that I am not or could never be a devious, don't have a clue how to be calculating or manipulating, would never choose a love affair over a friendship. I learned that I should never depend on someone else and to always have my own finances in order. I learned that I was important and that I was not crazy. And the best part was all of my "loves" were yet to come. My husband and the light of my light, my son - a first love like no other!
Remember Jake Ryan. Sixteen Candles. I loved that movie, it was silly, sweet, funny. I loved the geeks, her giving up her underwear, Anthony Michael Hall playing Farmer Ted. It was on the other day and I laughed as hard as I have many times before. I guess I tought I was the only one in the world that loved this movie until I googled it and found this hysterical piece on the illusion of Jack Ryan.
This is the fourth week of introductions of Self-Portrait Challenge and my mind wanders off to soft beds and chatty fairies.
This is my refuge. My bedroom. Quilt and matching pillow shams. A thick, warm comforter. Many pillows. A lamp. Books, magazines. Flat screen TV. REMOTE. I lift the dogs up on the bed, anytime I go there they must be with me. Scooter will howl if I leave him in there for more than 5 minutes. The dogs are always content at bedtime. Mom is safe in her spot, M safe in his, D on his way, the dogs in there usual spots...all is right with the world.
The bedroom walls are a dark pine color giving the room a calm even in the bright of day. When I am feeling overwhelmed, I go there. Sometimes I go to bed early and watch TV in blissful silence, falling off before my favorite show has seen its' first commercial break. Sometimes I go for a nap but instead watch the trees bend with the wind, or the rain hit the windows.
D and I loved when M would sleep with us. Nestled between the two of us, it all felt so safe, so perfect. Sometimes I go there and just be. Alone, for quiet time, for refuge. I really don't do that enough.
Mom and I slept together most of my youth. I can remember almost every bedroom we had. When we had two bedrooms, my grandmother and I shared a bedroom with twin beds. My mom had large, heavy Mediterranean furniture. I would lay in her bed on a rainy weekends, watching Dracula or some black and white Werewolf movie and be in hog heaven. I remember exactly the way my bedroom looked in Malta, neat and sparse with a wardrobe. My bedroom in Dundee, in this wonderful edifice called Claverhouse. Luxurious, large, old. My dog took up the other pillow, slept under the covers and mom would throw a fit about it. My first bedroom that was really decorated for me was when I was 14. My dad and step-mom bought me a French Provincial bedroom suite including a canopy bed. It was wonderful, matching, feminine ... perfect.
On Colorado Street, in Oak Cliff, Texas, I must have been 4, maybe 5 (before mom had a car, she took the bus to work) I had my best bedtime experience. We would lay in bed at night with a perfect 60's Dallas skyline, flying red Pegasus would be our nightlight. Listen and laugh at the woman on the second floor we called "elephant foot", because she was so loud at night. In that very same bed is where I had my meeting with the little fairies. The bed had a built-in bookcase for the headboard. One night, and only one night, fairies, a small as 2 inches tall visited me. I can remember laying very still as not to scare them off. I don't remember being frightened, but completely fascinated. I feigned sleep, watched and listened, as they climbed around on the bookcase, dangling off books and from threads. They were so small that I could not understand what they were saying to one another, but they were very chatty and I tried so hard to hear some of their conversation. I remember that night as if it were yesterday. And I swear to everyone I tell this to, that it was not a dream. My friend Faith said she had the same experience when she was about the same age. My mom said she had dreamed of fairies one time as well.
I only wish they would come back and visit. Just one more time!
When you see an old friend, no time passes between you. You see the person as they were then and met the person they are now. Nancy and I were high school friends, life guards. Took scuba lessons together. She was one of the smartest girls in my class, held a job as a reporter at our local paper during her junior and senior years. We have kept in touch over the years and met up this weekend for her daughter's wedding. A wonderful affair. And the highlight was seeing her again.
Held on a small island, with trees and Puget Sound as the backdrop. Flip-flops being mandatory for the wedding party.
I have lost days on this exercise of Every Day In May. My life and work took over...but this is a comment I heard the other day and I felt like documenting it so I can look back at it the next time I work 6, many-hours days. And I know, that I am NOT on autopilot.
This is the third week of introductions to Self-Portrait Challenge. I never had a game plan about my career, I did not have a clue what I wanted to do. But I worked a variety of jobs and finally found a couple that suited me.
I was a ticket agent and an assistant station manager for the now-defunct Rio Airways, a small commuter airline. We flew (small airplanes) Beech 1900C and De Havilland Canada DHC-6-310 Twin and they were painted bright yellow, orange and red. AND we had uniforms to MATCH. Bright yellow and orange polyester uniforms - A-line skirt, vest, jacket with coordinating striped blouse and matching scarf. I am sorry to say that I do not have the photograph to back up this astonishing image. It was a very stressful, but fun job and I learned so much about dealing with the public. We were always late or losing someone’s luggage and I became the master of diplomacy in very bad-vibe situations. People still want to fly even if the pilot thinks the weather is too dangerous. They will talk to you like you are an idiot. They will lie and plead and do unimaginable things to get from point A to point B. Think A&E Airline – I would watch that show and laugh, thinking, yeah, I have heard that, or I have seen that. I guess my worst night was when I had to deny an overweight woman a seat on the airplane because the extension belt we normally kept, was on another airplane. A couple of hours and lots of verbal abuse from her, we finally had her on her way. But that was my job and I took it all very seriously. She said she thought I was doing this to her because she was fat, and that was so far from the truth. I just kept apologizing and stood firm on what I had to do.
I applied many times for Delta but they never saw fit to hire me and I was devastated then.
I have sold expensive designer clothes at Lucienne Phillips on Knightsbridge in London, Hemphill Wells in San Angelo, some upscale dress store in Snyder, Texas. Sold boot, jeans and hats at L&L Western Wear in Lewisville, Texas and perfume at Boots Pharmacy in Dundee, Scotland. I have been a bartender and waitress. I have shoveled shit out of horse stalls and nursing homes. Cleaned water troughs and houses for other people.
Unlicensed respiratory therapist learned on-the-job to take blood gases on the near dead. A blood donor technician. It did not take long to realize hospitals, blood, needles and sick people were not in my future.
Then finally my friend Sherry introduced me to her neighbor and I landed the first I really loved - Corley’s Ad agency in San Angelo. Then newspapers in Dallas, San Francisco and Seattle, WA. And now I work for an Internet news site.
I worked two jobs most of my adult life. I would work at the airline at night and freelance at the newspaper during the day. Then when I was full-time at the newspaper ad department, I would freelance in the editorial department doing the weather map during the weekends.
But my most challenging job is being a mom. The balance between being a rational parent, a sweet mother, not yelling too much about dirty rooms or dirt tracked on to the floor you just spent an hour cleaning. Staying on top of homework but wanting him to be responsible to take that challenge on himself and not have us tell him when it should be done. To pay and encourage him to pursue extreme sports he wants to do and not being scared to death he is going to do terrible harm to himself. To want him to be independent and go to lunch in the town center with his friends and not worrying myself sick that someone will abduct him. This has been a battle for D and I for the last 14 years. And I know all of you understand exactly where I am coming from. I think the job at the airlines gave me the patience to be a mother.
I am still waiting and looking for the ideal job for me. Someplace where I can make pretty things, use all of the skills I have, make things, photograph things, and not sit in front a computer all day. I am still looking and scheming ;)
To much work. Just enough time to run home, water, listen to the birds and look around to see what is blooming next! Peonies, snowball, ferns, rhodies, columbine ... yard is a mess, but the flowers are wonderful.
When I saw Illustration Friday challenge Angel and Devil, I thought of my SPT Angel and Devil. I know this is not an illustration, it is a manipulated digital photo, but it so perfect for the challenge that I can't help myself. Plus I am suppose to be on a blogging break now ;) so no illustrations for a week. I also have a recipe of how I created this in photoshop. Large view here.
I have been fortunate to be surrounded by incredible women in my life. My rock, my inspiration is my own wonderful, selfless, gifted mom (I LOVE YOU). My brilliant, talented mother-in-law, Peggy. My second mom by association, Ruth, we think we were separated at birth. My aunt Lucy, my hero. My step-mom, Judy who is never afraid to speak her mind, tell the world what she thinks, she has with an enormous heart. Nanny, Big Moma, Noveline, all gone but live inside of me. My treasured friend Flo, who has passed on, but never leaves my thoughts and heart. My junior high school english teacher, Mrs. Hunt, who inspired and encouraged me to be a better person. To all of my best buddies, from junior high and beyond.
So many women that I love, without them my life would be a dull place indeed. Happy Mother's Day to you and to all those fabulous blogging moms out there to whom I have come to know and adore.
I am juggling a bunch of balls in the air right now and I need to concentrate of them. I am taking a little break. I will on email. Will be back soon ;) This is one of my first flowers photos I ever took, that made my a flower-photographing-maniac.
Self-Portrait Tuesday has changed to Self-Portrait Challenge. This is the second part of my introduction. I feel like I have all ready told many aspects of myself in previous SPT, and I certainly don't want to be redundant.
I remember being a very sullen, intense little girl and looking at the photographs confirms that memory. I don't think I was always unhappy but I looked liked I was. I was the only child of a divorced mom until I was 12. So, that cemented the "loner" part of my personality. My mom dressed me like a little princess. Dresses that had crinoline slips. I was not allowed to "get dirty" which explains why I love to live in paint clothes today.
I have to admit I always felt different from everyone else. Not so much better, but set apart. Not a part of the world as I see it. Never a part of the world that I wanted to be a part of, that part always seemed to shun me. My mom dated a man for many years whom I adored and wanted them to get married so he could be my dad. They did not and I finally came to terms with all of that at the age of 30! I was close to my dad and step-mom but did not see them on a daily basis. My mom did eventually remarry, a good father to me, but a raging alcoholic which only got worse with age. They eventually divorced, but that is another terrible story of pain including my half-brother battling his own drug/alcohol addictions.
I have always felt, even now, that I am on the outside looking into life. I wish I could feel I was on the inside. I try to change that, but still, things happen that confirm that I feel like an alien. I consider myself a "loner" and being with animals is always a comfort. I felt perfectly at ease riding by myself in a pasture, just the sound of the wind and the scent of weeds scorching in a hot Texas sun.
I believe in justice and fairness, am often sorely disappointed in the world and people on those two scores. I have been on the wrong side of relationships many times and am shocked how easily people can break hearts, use people for their own gains, and go on living with themselves as if they had done nothing wrong. And I will not even go into shocking world events that keeps my sense of justice in a whirlwind all the time. I am disgusted why we adore movie stars, cling to their every move, word but not everyday people who really do something noteworthy with their lives.
I was an outlaw in my 20's. Had the best time, had wonderful, crazy friends. Had as many best male friends as female best friends. Was a homecoming queen x 2. Never sure how that happened. But I came out of my sullen self. Majored in art and stayed in school far longer than I should have. I loved living in the academic world. Looking back I wish I had taken it all more seriously, but I didn't and can't change it now. There are just some things in your life you must accept as they are and understand that they developed who you are now.
I love warm sea water, sealife, suntans, bathing suits, scuba diving, finding shells at the beach. But I have not done any of those things in many, many years. I spent many teenage years on an island in the Mediterrean and lived at the beach. That was heaven. I finally got a glimpse of who I could be when I was in my early 30's. I finally became strong, self-confident, independent with a sense of what I wanted in my life. Never allowing anyone to take advantage of me, never depending on another for financial security, or personal happiness. And about that point, I became a mother. Thankfully, I had discovered myself, my patience was firmly established, my party days were over. It was a good time for me to meet my husband and start a family. And although I did not think I wanted children, I have had the time of my life being a mother, learned what is truly important. Now, that might have been as much as I have ever written in on of my post - are you still awake?