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  • The Goose

    April 30, 2009

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    This is one of the geese that lives across the street from my house.  He’s a stately fellow and doesn’t mind having his picture taken.  This picture is “right out of the box” as they say, which is to say I haven’t gone all artsy fartsy with it yet.

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    But as you know by now, I”m an artsy fartsy gal and can’t stop myself from screwing around with my pictures.  This is the same photo as the first one,  but using Picasa I cropped it, took the color up a notch and applied the soft focus feature.  Took all of about 10 seconds. I love Picasa for quick edits and minor improvements.

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    Here, I achieved the painterly, sparkly, Monet effect in Photoshop using the Bokeh brush which is a free download from Obsidian Dawn.  Bokeh is the Japanese word for broken. Not really. I just made that up.

    Anyway, I just downloaded the Bokeh brushes this morning and haven’t really figured out how to use them, but as you can see, with the right photo editing software, you can basically be clueless and still get some fun effects.

    I don’t know if that should inspire you or frighten you. You decide.

    The Mourning Dove

    April 29, 2009

    Early one morning last week, I glanced out my kitchen window and noticed a mourning dove perched upon the fence.  He paused to look around, as if making sure no one was looking.  He hopped sideways down the fence a few quick steps and then disappeared into an effusion of jasmine.

    Dainty yellow buds shivered and fell away to the ground as he rustled around in the thicket. A few seconds later, he popped back up onto the fence, tried to look nonchalant, spread his graceful wings and flew away.

    A minute later he was back again.  This time I noticed he had a small twig in his beak.  Once again, he looked around to make sure no one was watching, and once again he plopped down into the jasmine.  After another round of rustling and rummaging, he hopped back up on the fence and was off. Again.

    I watched him off and on throughout the morning. He must have made 30 trips back and forth to the jasmine, each time carrying a tiny twig.

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    Later that afternoon, my curiosity got the better of me.  I had to see what was going on, so I quietly crept down the driveway towards the jasmine to take a look.

    This time of year the aroma of Carolina jasmine is so thick and sweet it makes your head hurt and so bright and pretty it makes your heart ache.  I stood on my tiptoes and carefully pulled back a long wayward leafy tendril.  There in the middle of a tangle of vines was a mama dove, almost the exact same shade of gray as the weathered wooden fence.  An eye, perfectly black and round,  stared back at me.  She made no move to send me away, but sat as silent and still as a stone.  I gently let the vine down, as though I were drawing a curtain, and left her to her privacy.

    The next several days brought cold, razor sharp rain and whip cracking wind.  After the storms passed, I peeked in on my dove to see how she had fared.  I thought I might find an abandoned nest or worse.  But there she was.  Undaunted, she blinked the rain from her eyes and continued to sit patiently on her nest.  No amount of misery was going to separate her from her eggs.

    I let down the vine and left her once again to the business of brooding. As I walked back up the driveway, my mind was filled with the pitiful image of her protecting her beloved eggs with her own body as rain pelted her head and the wind rattled her delicate home of twigs.

    I would do the same.  The very same ancient and unseen thing that drives the mourning dove to suffer any discomfort, to bear any burden, to do whatever it takes to see her babies safely out of the nest… drives me too.

    As It Relates To Swine Flu

    April 27, 2009

    So what are you telling your children about the Swine Flu?  Are you talking to them about it, and if so, to what degree?  How would you rate your level of concern?   Are you planning to change anything, travel plans or whatever, because of it?

    Margie

    April 26, 2009

    You know, the thing about having a camera is that sometimes the people you hang out with get tired of you pointing it at them.  It’s true. I was in Tuna this past weekend and the only one who wouldn’t run away from me was Margie.  So now, Margie is my muse.

    I present to you, the lovely and mesmerizing – Margie!

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    Pensive Margie

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    Come Hither Margie

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    Contemplative Margie

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    Serene  Margie

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    Meditative Margie.  Or, Margie Nods Off.  Shortly thereafter, Margie got up and wandered off.

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    Oh hey! My old muse! Yo! Dude!

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    Muse! Come back! Where ya’ goin??

    Placid

    April 24, 2009

    waterlilly1a

    Lizzie

    April 23, 2009

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    This guy was either really afraid of me or really turned on by me. Or like AD, both.

    Does My Neck Look A Little Pink To You?

    April 22, 2009

    Yesterday, I was multitasking, which is always a dangerous proposition for a blonde type person like me.

    I was sitting on the sofa doing some computer work while taking turns with Sean shooting a Nerf gun at some targets he had set up in the window across the room.

    “Mom!” he said, demanding my attention. “Mom, it’s your turn!”

    He offers me the gun and the spongy bullets, but I’ve got my hands full of laptop.

    “Reload the gun for your mama, will you please,” I said.

    If you’ve ever uttered those words to your five-year-old…you might just be a redneck.

    Crocodile Tears

    April 20, 2009

    I was in the kitchen when I heard the sound of crying coming from the backyard.  The wailing was muffled by the windows but I could tell that he had hurt himself.  And because I am his mother, I could also tell it was an injury that could be fixed with a band-aid and a kiss, or at worst, a popsicle.  So I finished what I was doing before making my way to the scene of the accident.

    When I got outside, he was in his father’s arms. Big juicy crocodile tears were spilling down his cheeks.

    “What’s going on here?” I asked, “Are you okay?”

    “Noooo!” he howled as he reached both arms straight out for me, his face artificially twisted in anguish.

    He sobbed into my neck as I carried him into the house.  I sat him down on the kitchen counter to inspect the injuries and he showed me the palms of his hands. They were slightly pink and smarting from where he had caught himself when he had fallen on the concrete. He showed me his knees.  Also slightly pink.  A thorough search was made, but not one drop of blood could be found.  I looked into his dirty little boy face. His tears had left a trail of clean. I tried not to smile given the gravity of the situation.

    I told him how sorry I was that he had hurt himself and I wrapped my arms around him.  He clutched me tight around the neck and worked up a few more sobs which he bellowed into my ear to demonstrate the searing pain he was suffering.  “My sweet boy” I whispered over and over into his ear as I gently rocked him from side to side.

    He continued to work it, the crying, for another half minute as I held him close.  Not because he was still hurt, but because….  Well, just because.

    Bows and Bovines

    April 18, 2009

    After I posted the picture of the Doublemint Bovines which I cleverly titled “Two Cows”, my mother and my friend Ruthie pointed out that they are not cows. They are bulls. I told them that I’m a city girl. In my world, if it goes “moo” it is a cow.

    Then, the other day Sean told me that he had discovered what made girls different from boys.

    GULP!

    “Oh really? What?” I asked nonchalantly.

    “Bows,” he said. “Girls wear bows.”

    I confirmed that this was true. Girls wear bows and cows moo.

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    Ode To Susan Boyle

    April 17, 2009

    Have you watched the YouTube video of Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old British Idol contestant?

    If you haven’t, you should.

    Susan is kind of a frumpy middle-aged gal with bushy eye brows and not much style, but with a bright and charming personality.

    When she takes the stage to audition, she tells the judges that she wants to be a professional singer.  The judges raise their eye brows and make faces and steal not-so-secret glances at one another that all but say, “You? What a joke!”

    The camera pans the audience and catches a young gal who has crafted the perfect expression of scornful amusement (no doubt with much practice) that makes me want to slap her.  Except I’m sorta feeling the same thing.

    But all of this is lost on Susan, or at least she shows no evidence that she notices or cares.  In her frumpy church dress and her white shoes, bad hair and ample eye brows, she stands before the judges with cheerful confidence.

    And then she opens her mouth to sing and out comes the voice of angels, sophisticated lyrical phrasing and perfect pitch. The inside does not match the outside.  The judges are blown away. The audience is blown away. Everyone goes wild and leaps to their feet to cheer her.  No one had any idea.

    When she is finished, she cheerfully leaves the stage expecting nothing more whereas I would have maybe hollered something like, “So there! Take that you fill-in-the-blanks!!” And then blown raspberries to punctuate my point.

    This video sends shivers down my spine. Not only because of Susan’s amazingly beautiful voice that pierces my heart but because I think of how often I make judgments about people by what I see on the outside and how often I am wrong and how often I must be missing out on something wonderful because I have already dismissed them with scornful amusement.

    Susan had good reason to stand before the judges with confidence. She knew what was inside of her. She knew.

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    “…Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

    1st Samuel 16:7