blessings, friends, home, life, memories, nature, photography, simple things

Heart and Home…

I’ve discovered that a city, while you’re vacationing there, behaves similar to a person on a really good first date.

From a blog called Stripsearch LA

When another blogger ‘likes’ a post of yours you get a notice of it, and a link to their blog so you can check it out. That’s how I happened across the comment above, and it’s given me a lot of food for thought. It seems that every time I travel I find myself in love with this new place, this new scenery, and I always wish I could live there. And not because I am unhappy with where ever I might be calling home at that moment, at least I don’t think I’m unhappy.  But I have always been ready to move on to the next place, as if somehow that will be some sort of answer to an unspoken question. Because if I lived there then life would be perfect? I would be perfect?

Maybe it’s because I left home at such a young age. I was 20 when I married and moved away from my home town in Massachusetts, never to live there again. But whenever I would visit I’d have an overwhelming sense of being home.  I loved driving through the little towns and looking at the houses and landscape that I grew up expecting to be part of my life forever. There is a connection there that has never lessened even though I haven’t lived there in, yikes, almost a half a century.  It’s the countryside, the trees, and the lawns with their meandering stone walls.  And little Cape Cod houses with their weathered shingles, and their breezeways, and attached garages. What would my life have been like if I would have stayed? What would I be like?

Because I haven’t ever formed a connection to where I’ve lived since, not really. I moved to the James Rouse planned community of Columbia, MD in 1976. I remember because we went with the neighbors to the bicentennial fireworks given at the lakefront ‘downtown’ that year. I hadn’t known that Columbia existed, or planned communities existed at all, but it seemed like a grand idea.  I knew that if I didn’t move there that I’d regret it. And it was a good place to raise kids, great schools, and every convenience was easily accessible. As the years went on and I’d find myself driving into my townhouse community that had become nestled in the trees over the years, and I’d recognize that if I was traveling and happened across this place I would say to myself that I would want to live there. I had come to think of my yearning for something different as a character flaw, and maybe it was. I liked it there, it was beautiful, and I lived there longer than I lived in Massachusetts, but when I left that place I never looked back.

And now here I am, in arguably the only place in the country where I could live as comfortably as I do on my income.  A ‘perfect’ place where my expenses are low, I don’t have to shovel snow, and my medical expenses are almost nil.  I appreciate being here and I love my little house, my neighbors, and my job. But is it home, in the sense that I think of New England as being home? No, not really.  I expect that whenever I head north to visit family and friends I’ll always breathe that sigh of relief when I look out at the scenery and know that this is where I come from, this is home…

 

birds, bugs, bunnies, Cranes, flowers, home improvements, life, nature, photography, squirrels

The Rest of the Story

My lake hasn’t seen much crane action at all in weeks, but here and there around the neighborhood I see a group of five cranes, four with their red heads and one colt. So I got quite the surprise when I went out back yesterday and there they were, the five cranes, and right in my backyard. Your guess is as good as mine as to whether they include any members of the original crane family, but I usually see them on the same corner that the family also liked. I think the colt is showing a red blush on her head, if it’s one of our colts then it’s just five months old.

There are still some surprise wildlife sightings out back now and then. I saw a cute little bunny out my kitchen window one day and thought I was nuts for grabbing my camera to try to get a picture, but he never moved a muscle as I slowly let myself out onto the patio. After a few photos I moved to get a different angle, kind of hoping that he’d move and give me some different shots, but nope, he stayed put, never moving a, ahem, hare.

From my chair I can see my hibiscus bush out back, and I couldn’t help but notice that it was shimmying and shaking in a most unusual way the other day.  Upon further investigation I discovered that my little Peeping Tom was at it again.

In case you were wondering, my new shower doors are still looking fantastic. I reapplied Rain-x the other day, the first time since my original application when the doors were brand new.  And, I have never once taken a shower without squeegeeing the doors off. No wonder they are still looking great. My mother would be so proud.

 

blessings, dogs, memories, nature, photography, responsibility, simple things

Zoe girl…

As I walked the dogs this morning I had to wonder if I’m doing Zoe any favors walking her. She is 12 years old now, and her walking is more trudging along, not the heads-up, ready for anything girl I used to walk. Back in the day, as we’d leave our yard we’d head up the middle of the street with me holding the retractible leash over my head, and she would take the leash out to it’s full length and run circles around me as I walked. The excitement had her blowing off some steam at the beginning of the walk since I was too slow for her. She would also run to the end of the long leash to make birds fly, and if she spotted a squirrel on the ground she would stop in perfect pointer-pose, still as a statue, and try to pounce. That it was futile didn’t seem to occur to her, and she didn’t let the fact that the squirrels didn’t bother to climb very high up the telephone poles bother her either. I always wondered what she would do if she caught one, because I remain convinced that the chasing was the entire point.

Back in Baltimore I’d walk her one block to Riverside Park after work. I’d unclip her leash as soon as we hit the sidewalk that surrounded the huge park, even though the little hill I was about to climb hid any view of who or what was in the park at that moment. She, of course, would run up the hill and disappear immediately, and I’d crest the hill in time to see her approach the pack of dogs that were already there, and then veer to the outside and cause the other dogs to follow in a huge circle, all running as fast as they could. She was a popular dog at the park. I was told that other dog parents hurried over to the park when they noticed Zoe was there because their dogs were guaranteed a good run. This despite the fact that it wasn’t uncommon for someone to come to me and announce that they were ready to go home, but Zoe had their frisbee/ball/ dog toy of some kind, and then I’d look like an idiot trying to catch her to retrieve the item.

Life was stressful for me then as we were closing our office and arranging our move to Florida, but I’d forget my worries as I watched her run. I thought of how good that stretch in her back must feel after waiting all day for this big moment. Even though the park was so close to our office I didn’t seem to run into dental patients there, so I let go of all thoughts of the problems of the day as I watched her. Once life in Florida became a reality my blood pressure medication was cut by more than half, so it may not be an exaggeration to say that she saved my life back then.

These days there is much excitement as I pick up the leash, but now her walk is more of a trudge, and her huffing and puffing begin almost right away. She takes note of squirrels and bunnies, but doesn’t bother attempting to chase them. We do what I used to think of as the short walk, probably about a mile, and she collapses onto the cool tile floor when we get back, and soon I hear her snoring softly.

There have been many good dogs in my life, and Zoe has earned her place as one of them. Yes, she has earned her Milk Bones, she is a good girl.zoe2

 

nature, photography, Pine Island, simple things, sunset

Pine Island Sunset…

Wednesday night I gave in to the urge to go out for the sunset.  It seemed as if I’d missed a few good ones in a row, based on what the sky had looked like at home, but I met a couple who said that this was their fifth night straight out there, and this was the first night that the sunset was reflected in the water.  They were happy since they were headed back to Ohio the next day.  The reflection of the sunset in the sky to the east was very pretty also.

 

I took a lot of pictures of the water craft that was paddling around out there all evening, but when he paddled in closer it turned out to be a guy on a paddle board type surface and sitting on a cooler.  With a cushion, LOL.

The green color on the water was something different that night, and not something added by me.  I thought the sunset itself was the star of the evening…

 

 

death, dogs, life, photography, sunrise, sunset, the big picture, travel

1948…

I have recently entered into my last year of being in my 60’s. Which is significant since it wasn’t all that long ago that I thought that 70 was it, THE END. Not surprising in this youth-worshiping age. I think it was generous of me to allow 70 to be my personal cut off point for age-related oblivion. Signing up for anything online where they ask your age gets you a drop down box where you choose your age. But it stops at 65+, because, obviously, once you are 65 and up it totally doesn’t matter how old you are, what you are is irrelevant. Some of those sign ups have you scroll for your birth year. Scrolling for 1948 is depressing, if it would scroll without your input you could go get yourself a glass of water, or something alcoholic, and still get back in time to click on 1948.

Probably 4 or 5 dogs ago I started declaring that “my next dog will be able to be bathed in the kitchen sink.” but it always seems to be big dogs that manage to worm their way into my heart. It has now occurred to me that if I ever get that little dog who can have a bath in the kitchen sink it will probably out-live me. Now that’s a sobering thought. This age thing is getting serious.

So what am I going to do in this last year of my 60s? I have a vague wanderlust, a hankering to go everywhere, see everything. And take pictures. Seems like I would need to pin that down a bit, or buy an RV. I never made a bucket list exactly, probably because I have seen a lot of the country over all these years. But if I had made a bucket list there would be only one place left on it, Key West. Not sure why exactly, except for the sunrises and sunsets. I have a vague notion of colorful little houses, and six-toed cats, but that’s about it for expectations. But I’m glad I blathered on about this because Key West is doable. All I need to do is get out of this chair…clunker

bucket list, butterflies, flowers, nature, photography, Uncategorized

Butterflies flutter by…

I spent the last six months obsessed with cranes, we’ve established that.  Probably because that’s what I’d see out my kitchen window every day.  Who wouldn’t go outside to watch tiny crane chicks right in their own backyard?  For whatever reason the cranes have moved on at the moment, but what I am seeing every time I look out the window is butterflies flitting around the plumbago out there.  I can’t resist going out with my iPhone and practicing what I learned in the iPhonephotographyschool.com.  I still use my iPhone a lot even though I have also invested in a DSLR.  Having your phone in your pocket is the photography equivalent of being a quick draw in the old west!

As much as I loved my phone and have had an iPhone ever since I stood in line with the rest of the crazy people on the day they released the first version, I didn’t know how to use the camera to it’s full potential at all.  Which came as a bit of a surprise since I got some really great photos with it in spite of not knowing what I was doing.  Then I saw a list of iPhone photography tips from the iPhonephotographyschool, and I didn’t know a single one of them.  I was hooked!  One was that you can set the focus by tapping the screen where you want to focus and holding it a second so it locks.  This made a huge difference when I was standing in the backyard trying to get my photos to reflect the color of the sunrise that was right in front of me.  When I set the focus on the red color in the sky it worked perfectly.

For the butterflies photos I locked the focus on a flower from about 4 feet away, and now I could chase butterflies around and when I got them in the 4 foot or so range I could hold down the shutter button taking ‘bursts’ of photos.  The theory is that even though you’ll get a lot of photos to toss, your chances of getting a few that are in perfect focus will be much higher doing it that way.  It applies anytime you are trying to photograph kids, or pets, or any moving subject.  I never take iPhone photos without setting the focus, it has become second nature.   I also take bursts with my DSLR, and I’ve gotten some good butterfly photos with that too, but it takes a cooperative butterfly that will hold a pose a second.

As long as I passed the lock focus tip along let me also mention that after you lock the focus you’ll see a little sun symbol right beside the focus ‘box’.  Slide your finger up or down anywhere on the screen and it will adjust the exposure.  Try that with a sunrise or sunset photo and you’ll be hooked too!