connections, coping, courage, faith, finding my way, friends, gardens, go with the flow, growing old, life goes on, loneliness, perseverance, photography

I went to a garden party…

“I went to a garden party to reminisce with my old friends,
A chance to share old memories and play our songs again.
When I got to the garden party they all knew my name,
No one recognized me I didn’t look the same.”

“But it’s all right now,
I learned my lesson well.
You see you can’t please everyone,
So you got to please yourself.”

Maybe Ricky Nelson knew what he wanted out of life, how to please himself, but I’m not as lucky.  I have no idea what I want the rest of my life to look like so I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope it comes to me one of these days.

I took these pictures at the little local botanical garden this morning.  I was in search of butterflies but the sprinklers were on in the butterfly garden and I guess that kept them away.  But these structures caught my eye, and ‘garden party’ started playing in my head, and then I started thinking, about life and it’s twists and turns.  Maybe ‘blowing in the wind’ would have been a more appropriate song for my current state of mind…5-10HDRshed25-10HDRshed-35-17castle5-17iris5-17tilebench5-17tilerug5-17whiteflowers5-17budda5-17peekabooWhat’s the phrase these days, ‘fake it ’til you make it’…

adventure, birds, connections, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, neighbors, nesting, Owls, photography, Uncategorized

Burrowing owls…

The only thing better than being lucky in love is being lucky in neighbors.  Well, okay, lucky in love wins out, but not by a lot.  If you are lucky in neighbors you might realize that your neighbor ran his lawnmower across the last several swipes at the bottom of your yard, the part that you are too chicken to do on your lawn mower for fear it’ll tip over.  Or you will be invited to go shooting, photographs that is, and you won’t get home for 12 1/2 hours, but your dog will be well taken care of, your outside lights will be on to light your way when you get home, and your mail, including a Mother’s Day gift, will be sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for you.  

And good neighbors also mean that when you have a chance to go on a marathon photo shoot you can say yes.  It was a ride along for me.  One of my friend’s main goals was to see young burrowing owls before they fledged the nest.  Or in their case the burrow.  I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I’d seen photos of these tiny owls standing beside their burrows in an open sandy field, with scattered shrubs and not much else.  I didn’t realize that the burrows in these fields would be marked off by short sections of white pipe with yellow tape, indicating the perimeter of their area, or that these open lots were in residential neighborhoods.  I hoped we’d see these owls, but for some reason I was dubious.  I needn’t have worried…

5-12burrowingowl5-12burrowingowl3Ah yes, the babies!5-12burrowingowlbaby5-12burrowingowlbaby2Didn’t expect them on the wire…5-12burrowingowlonthewireIn the burrow…5-12burrowingowlpopup5-12burrowingowllonglegs

Merlin said that these owls are characterized by their long legs, which aren’t apparent when they are hunkered down in the burrow, but they are showing here.

I’m a lucky gal every day, but yesterday was special…

Florida landmarks, friends, fun, history, old dogs new tricks, photography, technology, Ybor City

Historic Ybor City…

Ybor City was founded by immigrants in the 1880s by Vincento Martinez-Ybor and other cigar manufacturers, and for the next 60 years thousands of immigrants from Cuba, Spain, and Italy made a living rolling fine cigars there.  The city was unique in that it was founded and populated by immigrants, who prospered and helped grow Tampa into a bustling city in only 20 years.  But the Great Depression reduced the demand for fine cigars, and by the 1970s parts of the area were completely abandoned.  The area has since been deemed an historic district and 7th Avenue has become an entertainment and night club hub, and in 2008 7th Avenue in Ybor City was designated as one of the 10 best streets in America.  We visited on Wednesday night for some night photo ops, and a stop at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company to fortify ourselves for the drive home.  We were only a few of the people who were enjoying ourselves in Ybor City last night.


friends, fun, go with the flow, photography

Racing redux…

It was back to Tampa Bay Downs today, on a gorgeous, sunny, Florida day.  The members of the group were enthusiastic, more so than the horse below who seemed to want to do anything but what the trainer wanted him to do.4-28calmdown4-28calmdown24-28whoa4-28whoa2

This horse and trainer seemed to be on the same wavelength however.4-28coolingoff

A handsome horse…4-28horseface

Racing is a dirtier business than I realized…4-28intheturn

After a dirty race it’s time to cool off.4-28coolingdown

Snuck in a photo of a few of the group members doing their thing.  Seems only fair, but of course I hate being on that side of the camera myself…4-28raceday1



adventure, backyard visitors, birds, connections, Cranes, Florida wildlife, friends, life, life goes on, nature, nesting, perseverance, photography

Here we go again…

As you can see from the feature photo, our new Sandhill crane chicks have arrived.  To you it’s obvious, but it wasn’t to me when I came home from work to see the adult cranes across the lake with no babies in sight.  I didn’t worry at first, I just grabbed the camera and went out there to look through the telescopic lens.  And as was the case last year, my neighbor was out working on his yard, so I alerted him and we looked together and couldn’t see the chicks.  I don’t know how long it took.  I kept telling myself it was hopeless, and to go in and change out of my work clothes, but still I stayed out there, looking.  There is taller grass out there, greener too, so the little ones might just be out of sight I thought.  And the two adult cranes were feeding pretty close together, more so than usual it seemed, and recognizing that I stuck with it.  And then I finally I spotted one and called to my neighbor to see it.  He spotted the second one a bit later.  Four hours later I finally called it quits for the day.4-16cranes44-16cranes54-16cranes34-16cranesx34-16chicks14-16cranesx3-24-16sailinghomeI had no thoughts of writing a blog when I took a class on how to start a blog.  I had found some photography classes and was trying to learn to use the features of the camera that I had bought on a whim, and was lucky enough to have last year’s crane family to photograph just a month after buying the camera.  I took the blogging class because I enjoyed the people I’d met in the classes, and I thought

]it would be interesting.  So by the end of the class we had the framework of the blog in our computers, but the real incentive to write was to tell the story of last year’s crane family.  If for no other reason but to get the whole saga straight in my own mind.  It’s fourteen months later and my life bears very little resemblance to what it was then.  I’m more ‘connected’ than I was, to new friends, to old friends, and to a larger group of photographers who have expanded my view immensely.   I know I spend a lot of time thinking about the past, enjoying the memories, but I have more faith now that there are memories yet to be made…

adventure, childhood, connections, friends, kids, life, life goes on, memories, photography

Old friends…

There was, after all, a lot to lose. My most treasured memories stem from the neighborhood that I lived in from ages 4 to 9. It doesn’t look at all the same now, it seems to have shrunk. I know this because I drove past it this weekend. I was there to visit with my lifelong best friend, but also to spend a little time at ‘home’. But there was also the fact that a few months ago my sister contacted my constant partner in crime from back in those days. It was a fluke that she spotted him online, and once she messaged me that she had contacted him I was tempted to contact him, but also a little afraid. All my life, it seems, when I would roll out a favorite memory of mine, my mother would jump in and insist that I had it all wrong. I would see it perfectly clearly in my head, but be told that I was wrong. Then when my daughter got to be about 12 or so I found myself in the same situation, my memories being corrected by my daughter. Clearly my memory was suspect. To my mind, back then we were like the kids in the Charlie Brown cartoons, with parents who were vaguely in the background. We were free, to climb trees, and swing on a rope swing out over the river, and there was even a garage roof we used to jump off of, grabbing a young tree trunk that would bounce us up and down a few times before we let let go, and then we would climb back onto the roof to do it again. I don’t recall sneaking to do these things, it was just what we did. If our parents knew it seemed to be okay. Even when my shoe fell off as I rode the rope swing over the river, I only remember watching it float away, I don’t remember going home to confess.

So making contact ran the risk of ruining those memories I’ve hung onto for all these years. To be told I was wrong, or, worse, to be greeted with a blank stare. But from my sister I did know that he remembered us, that much was a plus. But still it took me a month of thinking about it to actually message him, and over the weekend we were finally together. It is at least 60 years later, and those years most definitely have taken their toll on us both, but that cherished connection was still there. I think all the kids who grew up in that neighborhood in the 50s remember it the exact same way. It was a perfect time to be a kid. I thought we ought to climb a tree, but instead we talked, and talked, and talked some more. He told my sister that I was the first girl he ever kissed. I don’t think we said goodbye 60 years ago, we were still so young. But we kissed goodby this time, that same sort of kiss as from 60 years ago. He laughed and said that now I’m the first and also the last girl he’s ever kissed. I still think that next time we meet we ought to climb a tree…4-9Nausetlight