I Heart Pink in a Parade

 

 

 

The 2011 Azalea Festival Parade, held annually in Wilmington, North Carolina, had a plethora of pink in it. And for good reason, y’all; azalea’s come in all shades of pink.  Everyone was wearing it – even the clowns. This one, with his pink-mobile, his pink feathers and his pink poodle, really got into the spirit!

This week’s photo challenge theme at I Heart Faces is “Tickled Pink!” I think the expression on this clown’s face captures the emotion perfectly.

I Heart Faces is a photography sharing forum that focuses on the art of capturing faces and their various emotions. Each week, people from across the world enter their favorite face photos.

Click on the picture for a better view and click the button to check out lots of other interesting hands, or to enter a photo of your own.

 

You Capture Spring

I’ve been participating in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week it was “Spring.”

Spring is here in southeastern North Carolina, and with it comes days warm enough to finally return to the beach, strawberries to pick at the local fields, nights warm enough to finally sit outside on the patio and enjoy a glass of wine, our annual Azalea Festival and spring breaks.

I took a vacation from work (and blogging) and spent the last two weeks having the whole family over for an authentic southern meal (fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, butter-beans with pork neck bones, fresh tomato salad and sour cream pound cake) for my youngest son’s birthday, rushing to the emergency room right in the middle of beating the eggs into the pound cake batter because my mom passed out from not being able to breathe (she’s fine now and getting treatment), driving to and from New York in two days to pick up two giggly fifteen year old girls (my step daughter and her BFFL)  who spent their spring break with us, dragging the two girls to an Azalea Festival Parade, street fair, fireworks,  garden tour, the beach, a “girl day” complete with mani-pedis and mimosas, going out to dinner several times (which added another ten pounds to my already disgusting weight gain!) and visiting a couple of local garden centers to pick up hundreds of dollars worth a few flowers to plant in my flower beds.

Whew! Did I leave anything out? Probably, but you get the general idea.

Of course, I toted my camera everywhere with me, snapping  hundreds thousands of photos of just about everything! Because everything around here is just so darn gorgeous right now, y’all!

Azaleas and dogwoods are the stars of the festival.

Along with the Azalea Belles!

The North Carolina Azalea Festival is held in April every year in Wilmington, NC. It’s a celebration of everything exceptional about Wilmington: artwork, gardens, rich history and culture.  It is a grand party, southern style, that includes entertainment, a parade, a street fair, a circus, several concerts, pageantry, and of course, authentic southern belles in a variety of pretty costumes.

I have so many gorgeous photos to share, that I’ve decided to start posting again in my other blog, Wilmington Daily Photo, which I have neglected since (gasp!) spring of last year!

Next week’s challenge on You Capture is “Pink!” I will definitely be back to post lots of pink flowers, dresses  hats and poodles from my collection of hundreds thousands of springtime photos!

Yee Haw, Y’all!

I’m so thrilled, so flabbergasted, so excited  cain’t hardly BREATH, y’all! Today was one of those Red-Letter-Mark-Your-Calender Days –  I got chosen to be on the front page of WordPress’s Freshly Pressed!

What makes it so gooses-bumpy excitin’ is that the folks over at Freshly Pressed picked a blog post of mine (Going Home) that just happens to be about my favorite subject – my hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina! I am so passionate about this beautiful spot of earth, that I used to own and publish a magazine about it! Called Scene Magazine, started by my dear Uncle Joe in 1975, it was a tribute to the people, the places and the beauty of my hometown.

As of the time of this writing, I have had 1032 visitors today, and have gotten 38 comments. A good day for me is about 40 visitors and five or six comments, so this is extraordinary!

Many of today’s comments have been about my dear, departed Grandmama Gladys. An artist, a writer, a poet,  a life-long Wilmingtonian who lived to be a ripe old age of 96, and quite possibly one of the world’s best Southern cooks, she was my inspiration and my teacher. Many of my blog posts have been about her, and I have another blog, called Rock of Gibraltar, that is about the story of her life, and showcases many of her poems.

As I read through the comments today, I could not stop the sudden rush of tears, and the feeling that, somehow, she knows and she is proud of me.

Oh, and the photo of the little cutie-pie in the cowboy hat? Yesterday my grandson, Kole, had some glamour shots taken at a wonderful photography studio here, in Wilmington.

Y’all should have seen me, and the crazy things I was doing to get him to smile! Jumping up and down, waving a blue feather  boa around, holding a toy in my teeth while growling like a dog and lying cheek-down against the carpet, hiding my big ole head behind a large block so I could play “peep-eye.”

Anyways, it was successful session, judging by the amount of photos I have to buy frames for, and I feel like the World’s Most Accomplished Grandma for all the smiles I coaxed out of him.

He smiles quickly and easily when he sees me. He’s my pride and joy, and I can’t wait to introduce him to all that our southern hometown has to offer. After all, what else are Grandmas for?

Signs in My City

I chose these images for Sunday in My City, a photo forum that has folks posting pictures on Sunday of their cities. To visit other cities, click on the button and link up with photos of your own town.


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Yesterday I wrote about the subject of home, and what my city means to me. Go on and read it, if you haven’t already. My love for my hometown city, Wilmington, North Carolina, is the reason I love to participate in The Unknown Mami’s Sunday in my City.

Every Sunday, folks from all over the world post photos of their cities, and I’ve seen some pretty decent photos, some pretty interesting ones, and learned a lot about different locations that I didn’t know. I hope that by posting photos of my city, y’all can get a flavor of what it’s like.

Today’s  slide show is a collection of some photos I took this year in and around downtown Wilmington. All of them have a sign of some kind or another in them. I like photographing signs wherever I go. I think they really showcase an area and give you a certain feel for its inhabitants.

A photography website that has taught me a lot (and it’s free!) is Digital Photography School. The subject of one of the tutorials was “Photographing Signs – Travel Photography Tip.” The author list several reasons why he likes to photograph signs when he is on trips.

He writes: “I set myself the task of photographing the ‘little things’ that we saw along the way. My hope was that in photographing ordinary, everyday aspects of the countries that we were traveling through that I’d capture the essence of the country.”

I hope my ordinary, everyday signs from around my city will give you an essence of what it’s like. I also hope I’ve inspired you to get out and capture a few “snaps” of your own.

Going Home

This is my home, Wilmington, North Carolina. I was born here, but I haven’t always lived here. My family relocated to Florida when I was five years old. But Wilmington was always home.

Most families leave home to go on vacation. My family’s vacation was to go home.

Home is a name, a word, it is a strong one; stronger than magician ever spoke, or spirit ever answered to, in the strongest conjuration.  ~Charles Dickens

Yesterday’s challenge on the Daily Word was What is your favorite word? Why?

“Home” is the best word to my ears. It conjures up comfort, warmth, familiarity, love.

My family moved a lot when I was a kid. I went to thirteen different schools in twelve years. Some years, I went to different schools in the same year. It was hard to feel like you had a “home” when your home kept changing from one rented house to another every few months.

I guess that’s why “home” became so important to me. I needed, desperately, a place that I could feel connected to.

Every year, in the summer, my parents would pack my brother and myself into the back of whatever car we happened to have at the time, from whatever city in Florida we were living in, and they would say, “We’re going on vacation kids! We’re going home.”

It was a good twelve-hour ride in the back-seat of the car, cooped up with my younger brother, and books and toys that were supposed to keep us occupied. There was also no air conditioner in the cars in those days, so it was hot. My dad liked to get a good early start, which meant getting up at three am so we could be on the road by four.

After a long day on the road, enduring the heat and the constant bickering with my brother about who was taking up more room, the best part for me was driving over the Cape Fear River and my first view of home.

My dad would say, “Look, kids! We’re home!”

I would get a lump in my throat. I would crane my neck to look out of the backseat window, so I could get a view of the familiar Wilmington waterfront – the church spires, the boats in the river including the majestic BATTLESHIP NORTH CAROLINA, the quaint historic buildings.

Going home meant visits with friends and relatives; aunts and uncles, cousins, both grandmothers. It meant playing on my grandmother’s front porch, eating from a huge pot of goulash that was prepared by her loving hands, going to sleep on the back porch with my cousins, listening to the crickets, giggling under the covers.

Going home meant spending the day under Johnny Mercer’s Pier at Wrightsville beach, slathering on Coppertone, eating hot dogs with chili and  coleslaw, riding the waves on rented canvas rafts, walking on the beach listening to the seagulls screams mingling with the joyous cries of children playing in the surf, smelling cotton candy and popcorn and salty air.

Going home meant listening to my parents laugh, watching them try to dance the shag and cut up with their friends from high school, getting up early to eat scrambled eggs and taste sweet coffee in my grandmother’s kitchen. It was listening to old stories about how things used to be. It was belonging somewhere.

Now I am 53 years old. I have lived my entire adult life back in, or near, my hometown. There is no one house that I can point to and say – that was my home. I have adopted the whole city as mine. Today, driving over the bridge and seeing my precious city still brings tears to my eyes.

I’m still happy to be home.

You Capture: Doorways Around Wilmington

I like to participate in a photo forum on Thursdays. Brought to us by Beth, at I Should Be Folding Laundry (me too, by the way), it’s called You Capture. Every week there is a new theme. This week’s theme is “Doorways.”

I just got back from a three-day trip to Florida. I have thousands of gorgeous Florida photos sitting in my computer, just waiting to be posted. But? The theme of Beth’s blog this week caught my attention. So I decided to post pictures of Wilmington’s doorways instead.

We saw some beautiful scenery in Florida. But my hometown, Wilmington North Carolina, is on the top of my beautiful scenery list. In addition to being scenic, it is colorful, quirky, interesting and I love to photograph it. I hope these photos do it justice and help y’all to get a feel of my city.

Head on over to Beth’s to see more Autumn photos, or to participate with some of your own. Next week’s challenge is Circles. Now that should be challenging.

A Segway Tour of My City

I chose these images for Sunday in My City, a photo forum that has folks posting pictures on Sunday of their cities. I thought Wilmington, NC, should be included.

Wilmington is a beautiful city, rich in history and natural scenery. As a Wilmington native, I am so proud to show off my hometown.

I love it so much that I have another blog called Wilmington Daily Photo. It keeps me busy posting a new photo of the Wilmington area every day. I hope y’all will check it out and see for yourselves why I think this place is so spectacular.

These shots were taken on a recent segway tour with Cape Fear Segway. The two-hour tour takes you through part of the historic district and gives you a chance to look into the yards and gardens of some of the oldest homes in the city.

The architectural features on some of our older homes are simply stunning.

This is our group posing in front of the Graystone Inn, one of Wilmington’s popular Bed and Breakfast Inns. This palatial mansion, built in 1906, is one of the most imposing structures downtown and a historic landmark.

We had a blast riding the segways and it is an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. A Segway, also called a Ginger or Personal Transport (PT,) is a two-wheeled transportation device related to a scooter.  Some experts believe the Segway is a revolutionary technology that will change transportation in the world, while others consider it a glorified scooter of real use only to technology fans.

To participate in Sunday in My City, visit Unknown Mami and link up! Let’s visit and travel the world together.