You Capture Emotions in B&W

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 “Emotions in Black & White.”

Hey y’all! I’ve been missing for the last ten days. I guess I sort of fell off the blogging train and got left behind for a while.

Life is funny, ain’t it? I mean, you start out blogging because you want to capture bits of your life, either in words or in photos, or both. Then, you get so wrapped up in blogging that sometimes you don’t have time to live. Or, you get so busy living that you don’t have time to blog.

Sigh.

That’s what happened to me this past week. Both of my sons came home for a visit. My son, Ryan, who moved to Michigan a year and a half ago, was here to attend a wedding (and catch up on some much deserved R&R, not to mention family time.) My son, Klinton, was on spring break. He pretty much came home to see his brother, Ryan, and provide him with a free taxi-cab service, I think.

Myself, I was nothing but a huge mass of raw menopausal emotions walking around on two legs. It was bitter-sweet for me to have all of my sons together again. It has been over a year since I had them all sit down to my table to eat. I couldn’t figure out whether to cry tears of happiness or tears of sadness, because the week flew by so quickly, and they both had to go back to where they live now.

Notice I didn’t say they had to go home? Silly me, I still think they are home when they are with me. Darn those old Empty Nest Syndrome emotions!

One of the nicest things that happened this past week was Ryan finally got to meet his nephew, Kole.

I grabbed the camera when they were outside feeding the ducks in our back yard. Ryan was tenderly showing Kole how to feed tiny pieces of bread to them, but Kole was a little terrified at first. After all, the ducks are almost as big as he is, and they have big scary looking mouths.

Ryan gave Kole a little piece of bread, thinking he would like to throw it to the feathered friends.

Kole had his own idea. He promptly stuck it into his own mouth!

After that, Ryan picked him up and they ran around the yard like maniacs, chasing the ducks back into the pond. Kole was a lot happier when the ducks were running away from him, instead of running towards him!

My step daughter, Danielle, who lives in New York wanted to be a part of the family reunion, so we skyped her after dinner. While all three of my “boys” were gathered around my netbook talking to her, Kole just couldn’t figure out how that pretty girl inside the computer could be talking to him!

Now that everyone has gone home, and things are starting to get back to normal around my house, I find myself itching to get back onto the blogging train. Thanks to You Capture, I had a good excuse to post some of my photos from my week of being an emotional wreck living.

Next week’s You Capture topic is Youth! Grab your cameras, y’all, and join in the fun!

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Why I Blog

Today’s topic on The daily Post is to tell the reason you started blogging.

I suppose the short answer is that I wanted to write.

But, like anything else, there is more to it than that.

All my life, I wanted to be an artist. I felt like I was an artist. I wanted to write, tell stories, draw, paint, create.

When I was a child, I discovered that I could write poetry. My Grandmother was a poet, and reading her poems and then writing one of my own was an easy transition for me. That same Grandmother was also a self-taught painter, and her paintings have inspired me to paint a few canvases of my own.

However, it wasn’t until I was in my late forties, and married for the second time, that I discovered what it is I really love to do. My husband and I were laid off from our manufacturing jobs at the time, and I was getting a little tired of sitting around the house trying to keep it clean. My mother called me one day and said that she had read that my Uncle had his magazine for sale – and I should think about buying it.

My Uncle Joe, my father’s brother, had started a local magazine in 1975. Called Scene Magazine, it was a small, free publication that showcased photography, events and businesses around my city, Wilmington, North Carolina. Or, as Uncle Joe liked to call it – “The Cape Fear Country.”

I knew nothing, and I do mean nothing about publishing a magazine. I had had several jobs – cashier, waitress, seamstress, day care worker, optometry assistant and fiber processing technician – none of which prepared me for writing, editing, laying out and marketing a magazine.

But? I don’t know why – it sounded like a reasonable idea.

So I called my Uncle Joe and we talked about it. I figured he would laugh, tell me to stop being cute and hang up the phone.

But? He didn’t. Actually he said he would love to turn his magazine over to his favorite niece.

Thinking back on it, I’m surprised I had the guts to even approach him. This was my Dad’s brother. He had never had any children of his own and we had never been close. My parents had divorced several years earlier and although I was proud of the fact that my uncle owned a magazine – a magazine that I always proudly picked up and read – I had never talked to him on the phone, never been invited to his house, and, quite frankly, had no idea what he was like.

I had to literally get directions to his house. Every day for six weeks, I arrived on his doorstep with a composition book and a pencil at 9 o’clock sharp to be tutored on how to run a magazine. He taught me everything he knew – how to make a list of advertising prospects, how to call on them to “pitch” our magazine, how to design the ads, how to plan the magazine articles, how to obtain the photographs, how to lay out the magazine, how to organize the pages and get it ready for the printer and how to get the whole thing done and delivered within the 30 days allotted without going crazy.

What he didn’t count on, and couldn’t believe, was that I would learn how to do it as easily as I did, love it as much as he did, and actually want to write the articles and take the photographs as well (two things he had always relied on someone else to do.)

What neither one of us bargained on was that we would discover how much we had in common – we both shared a deep love for our city and its history, we both loved the same music, the same art, the same places, had the same values. We are both deeply religious – yet, don’t feel the need to religiously attend church. We both love the ocean, and dogs, and beer.

I went into it thinking I was going to buy a magazine. What I really got was so much more. I got the privilege of getting to know my Uncle. And we became more than relatives. We became friends.

For thirteen months my sweet husband (who was drafted into helping me with this project against his will, y’all, but he loves me that much!) and I labored seven days a week, and fourteen to sixteen hours a day eating, sleeping and breathing Scene Magazine.

We made it work. We sold enough ads to cover our printing cost, plus a bit more. And for any business in its first year, that was pretty much a success. We had some stunning cover photos, some interesting articles, new advertisers, excited readers and, well, a lot of fun.

We also made a few mistakes along the way, lost some advertisers, lost some money, put way too many miles on our car and about worked ourselves to death.

But we learned a lot.

One day I woke up as if I had been in a coma and realized that I needed help, but could not afford to pay anyone. I also had to admit that this wonderful creation of a magazine was not lucrative enough to pay our bills or provide us with health insurance. At least, not any time soon.

So I went back to work – as an Ophthalmic Assistant. Which is, about as uncreative a job as you can get.

After a year of working for a glaucoma specialist, I saw a want ad in the newspaper one day for a position at one of the other, local magazines (very much like Scene Magazine, but bigger). On a whim, I wrote a letter to the editor, got asked to come in for an interview and wound up with a job as the assistant to the publisher of  that magazine and a local newspaper!

I loved working for that company. I was able to write magazine and newspaper articles and seeing my work published in the larger venue was thrilling. And since I wasn’t responsible for the entire publication – it didn’t consume all of my time.

After I had been working there for about another year, I received an unexpected phone call one day from the HR lady at the production facility that I had been laid off from. Business had picked back up and I was being offered a chance to return. Returning meant going back to shift work, long 12 hour days (and nights) and boring, repetitive work. It also meant great medical benefits, union pay, paid vacations, a retirement pension, a 401K and a seven-day “break” (time off!) every month.

I went back to the union job, y’all.

And I don’t regret it (much.) My husband and I work there together and we have the same hours, so that helps. We love having the time off to travel (we just got back from a trip to Florida to visit my Uncle Joe!) and I have made significantly more money doing this than I ever would have from working in the publishing business.

But there are days when I really feel the need to create. To put together a good-looking page. To write an article, or story. To publish pictures of my beloved, beautiful city. To let my creative side get out and stretch its legs for a bit.

To make Uncle Joe proud.

So. Here I am. Blogging.

And I’ve learned that instead of boring articles about what’s going on around the city, or the history of one of the area’s grand homes – I’d rather write about something funny, or ironic that has happened to me. I’d rather write about my family, my hopes, my fears, my life.

And I’ve learned that I’d rather take photographs than paint. That I love to take my camera everywhere, just like I used to do when I was hoping to get a good “cover shot” for my magazine. Only now, I’m thinking about how it will look on my blog, and what I can write about it.

I don’t feel like I’ve even begun to scratch the surface. There is so much left to write about. So much learning to do. So much more improving. And so much more courage needed to tell the stories I have bottled up inside.

Like this one, about why I blog.

Six Words Saturday

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I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

There’s a new forum I’m interested in posting in called Six Words Saturday. You post something about yourself or your life, or whatever is on your mind using only six words. Not only is this an interesting little concept, but it works out well for me, because I only have time to type about six words.

I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

Plus I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the shorter a blog post is, the more likely folks are to read it and comment.

Yes, comment. I’m that shallow, y’all.

So here are my incredibly well thought-out six words. Are y’all ready?

I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

I am. Really.

And yes, I know it is Sunday right now. That’s because I’m working night shift and my Saturday started really late and before I could get it together it was Sunday already.

See? I’m So Ready For Another Cruise

Random Tuesday Whining

randomtuesdayKeely, over at Unmom, does this thing.

You post Random Thoughts on Tuesday. That’s it.

Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo,and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month.

*Warning: Full Blown Whining To Follow*

It has been kinda tough posting something every single day this month. It takes more time than y’all would think. Thank God I’m on vacation. I have no idea if I will be able to continue to do this after we go back to work. Not really having any idea what to post about, I decided I would chronicle our vacation with pictures of what we have been doing each day. Sort of a vacation diary, if you will.

This is not going over very well with y’all.

Y’all? Y’all?

*Ginger hears echo*

See, the thing is, there is no one here. That’s right. I’m apparently all alone in my blogging adventure. No one has commented me in two whole days, and the day before that, I only got one comment (thank you so much Jan, at planetjan. Love you. Mean it.) Whine, whine, whine. This is leaving me to scratch my head and wonder what I’m doing wrong. I used to pretty much just post random pictures, and I got a few comments. But that was OK, I really didn’t expect many. Now that I’m taking time to actually write something, nobody is reading me.

*Ginger’s lip is poked out so far she might trip over it when she gets up*

Maybe I should just go back to posting pictures. Maybe I should crawl under a rock and die.

*Heavy sigh*

Yesterday, on my other blog, I posted a picture of a door knocker. A door knocker, y’all. (Wait. Sorry. There is no y’all.) Anyway, the door knocker received 137 views and 5 comments. This blog recieved a grand total of 24 views and zero comments. Clearly, I am doing something wrong. I just have no idea what it is.

*Update: my husband  explained this to me. It was the word “knocker” that did it. Hmm.*

So as long as I am all alone in this here place, I’m going to post some random pictures that make me smile to cheer myself up. Surely, if cats being silly, babies playing piano, wandering peeps, decorated toes and me showing my fat ass my cute, little, southern derriere won’t warrant some comments, then nothing will!

This is my cat, Pixie, pretending to be an elephant ear. She thinks that if her head is hidden, her whole body is, too. Cracks me right up.

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This is my grand daughter being introduced to the piano. She has such long fingers, I can’t wait to teach her to play!

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A mother duck and her brood wandered into our yard.

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Dani decided to draw faces on her step brother’s hairy toes.

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Her finished handiwork.

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Yesterday, to update my Staycation diary, we went golfing. I was pretty much in a pissy mood all day. This is how I expressed myself. I figure this will be a good ending (no pun intended) to this post.

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A Post Every Day? Heavens to Betsy!

IMG_1072Thanks to my friend, Jan, over at Jan’s Sushi Bar, I’ve decided to give this here posting every day thing a try, y’all.

It’s called NaBloPoMo, and I can’t believe how long it just took me to write that. Stands for “National Blog Posting Month”. You post something every day for a month, so here is my first post for the month of August.

The theme for the month is “Tomorrow.”

I’m not sure how we’re supposed to incorporate that. Being southern, I should be able to figure out something to say, right?

Alright. Tomorrow I will try to think up a more interesting post. I swaunnie. (That’s southern-ese for “I swear”, which was pretty much forbidden to say in the Southern Baptist household that I grew up in. We also couldn’t say piss. We had to say “tee tee” or “wee wee” or maybe “pee pee”, but definitely not “Pee”. Pee sounded way too crass, y’all.)


Visit NaBloPoMo

A Meme of Eight

My friend Jan, at Jan’s Sushi Bar, tagged me in this Meme. After you read this, go on over there and check her out. She always cracks me up, y’all. In addition to a lot of funny observations and stories, she has a lot of yummy looking recipes.

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Eight things I’m looking forward to, in no particular order:

1. Finishing my blog saga about what a pain in the ass neck it was to try and catch a damn dern cruise.

2. Summer. Which means going to the beach again. And eating hot dogs on the pier. And wearing shorts.

3.Vacation. I’m in the pre-planning mode right now. I’m not sure where we’re going this year, but it will be somewhere fun. The best part is the planning, which is what I get to do after I decide where we’re going.

4. Holding my first grand baby. Next month, y’all!

5. Getting another room added onto my house. Then maybe we will have enough room to invite the whole family over for dinner.

6. Buying new furniture. I’m going to absolutely need a bigger dining room table and more chairs for my new room.

7. Losing some more golf balls. My ultimate goal is to beat my Dad at golf. I’ve taken a lesson and I’m practicing really hard. In twelve more days I’ll have a shot at it!

8. Planting flowers in our flower beds. This year, I hope to include a few veggies.

Eight things I did yesterday:

1. Brought down a Draw, cleaned it, threaded it, and started it up again all by myself! (For those of you who are not employed at Corning – it’s a complicated new job I’m being forced trained to do.)

2. Had a Bloody Mary for breakfast. (After working all night, so in reality it was a cocktail after work.)

3. Took some close up photos of a family of geese.

4. Slept. All day. (See number 2.)

5. Practiced my golf swing while I was having my morning coffee at 5 pm. (See number 2.)

6. Hit golf balls in the neighborhood field. Watched Hannah run around and try to get all of them in her mouth.

7. Posted TWO blog posts. Wow. It usually takes me several days to just get ONE ready. (Update: It is already the next day and I’m not done with this. See?)

8. Did some research on resort hotels in Myrtle Beach. ( Part of vacation pre-planning. And I didn’t have any idea that there is a huge fire down there right now!)

Eight things I wish I could do:

1. Go on another Cruise. With much less drama than the first one!

2. Go to Hawaii. And stay there until I got tired of it.

3. Become so good at golf that I could quit my job and go on the senior tour. (Snort! Yeah, right after I break a hundred!)

4. Go back to the body I had when I was 20, but keeping the life wisdom I’ve acquired in the past 31 years.)

5. Buy a neat little house in the country for my son and his girlfriend who are having my first grandbaby next month. And a decent car for them to drive.

6. Kidnap my brother and force him to go to a doctor.

7. Retire with plenty of money so I could clean, rearrange and redecorate to my heart’s content, take a painting class, play golf all over the world, and cook dinner for my entire family once a week. (Yeah. Maybe I’d hire a chef, too.)

8. It occurs to me that winning the lottery would take care of most of this, so that’s number eight.

Eight shows I watch:

I’m not even sure I can come up with eight. We watch the same ones over and over, and we have all those Netflex rentals to keep on top of.  But I’ll give it a whirl.

1. CNN

2. Two And a Half Men

3. American Idol

4. Dancing With The Stars

5. The Dog Whisperer

6. Extreme Home Makeover

7. The Big Break (It’s a golf show. Yawn.)

8. Design On A Dime

Eight people I tag for this meme:

1. Debbie@ Buzzin By

2. Kyle@Meta Blog

3. Sandie@ Sandie Simply Says

4. Teenie@Teenie Thoughts

5. Jan @ Planetjan

6. Mrs.4444@Half Past Kissin’ Time

7. The Mom Jen @ Cheaper Than Therapy

8. Claudie @ Bubblin’ Over

What the Heck is a Meme?

Richard Dawkins initially defined meme (rhymes with dream) as a noun which “conveys the idea of a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation”.  Memeticists often define an individual’s mind as a “playground for memes”  and what they regard as “meme-generated patterns of behavior” can also be referred to as a person’s personality.

These days, a meme is an Internet  list of questions that you saw somewhere else and you decided to answer the questions. Then someone else sees them and does them and so on and so on. There’s even a bunch of websites devoted to memes, like The Daily Meme.

Why am I blathering on about this, you might ask. Well, my good  friend Debbie, over at Buzzin’ By, tagged me with this meme. It doesn’t have any questions, but  here’s the rules:

1. Go to your documents
2. Go to your 6th file
3. Go to your 6th picture
4. Blog about it
5. Tag 6 friends to do the same

There seems to be alot of controversy about how to do this. What if your pictures aren’t in your documents? What if your documents don’t contain picture files? How about if your pictures aren’t in files…just a whole bunch of pictures in one little ole picture file?

Well.

Here’s what I decided to blog about. It’s the sixth picture in my documents, which only contains five files.

ar008502This picture was taken in the summer of 2004, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  This is me and my step daughter, Danielle, getting ready to climb up into the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, which was constructed back in 18 70.

Also known as America’s Lighthouse, it’s the tallest brick beacon in the nation. It stands at an impressive 208-feet. The familiar spiral-striped landmark serves as a warning to mariners of submerged and shifting sandbars which extend almost twenty miles off Cape Hatteras into the Atlantic Ocean, known as the Diamond Shoals. In 1999 the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse was moved, at a cost of millions of taxpayers’ dollars, a half mile inland, to save it from falling into the encroaching sea.

It was a great weekend, y’all. My husband, Jeff, Danielle and I were invited up there to spend it with, coincidentally, my same friend, Debbie and her husband, Kirk. They had rented a beach house somewhere near Avon, NC, for the week, and had invited a  menagerie of their kids, step kids, friends and parents. Lucky for us, we got included. It was one of those priceless, summer weekends that will go down in my memory banks as one of the All Time Greatest.

While we were there, I had a decision that I was mulling over. On Friday before we left, I had been called by Kathy, the HR person at Corning, and offered the right to return to my former job there. Three years before, in 2001, Jeff and I had both been laid off.

At the time, I was working as the publisher’s assistant at Wrightsville Beach Magazine. I loved the job. I got to write articles for the magazine and also for it’s sister publication, The Lumina News.  My office had a wonderful view of the Intrcoastal Waterway. I really had no intention of leaving there and going back to the boring production work at Corning. Also, there was no guarantee that  Jeff would ever be recalled, which would mean that the two of us would never be on the same sleeping schedule, since we worked swing shifts at Corning.

However, that beautiful and warm Sunday morning, Jeff and I walked on the beach, stealing a few minutes of solitude with our morning coffees in hand. We found ourselves remembering  how we met at Corning, the days of our courtship, and the friends we had made there. We realized how much we  had been missing for three years.

Monday morning, when we returned to Wilmington, in a move that suprised me more than anyone, I called Kathy and told her I would return.

In February of 2005, Jeff got “the call” from Kathy.

Five years later, I find I miss writing for the magazine, but not much else. The deadlines, the dramas, the stress….are all gone. Right now I am on a relaxing seven day break. I get to enjoy one of these every month, thanks to my schedule at Corning. And during these breaks, I ‘m fulfilling  my creative urges by blogging, thanks to, again, my friend Debbie, who suggested it.

Debbie, I sure do owe you a lot.

This visit to the playground of my mind was fun. Now to tag some more folks!

I’ll tag my son, Kyle, because he really needs to get blogging again. My first “stranger” that commented, Jan, because she has such a unique take on everything. Goodfather, because he’s been laid off, too, and he has already demonstrated he ability to do memes. Another Jan, at Jan’s Sushi Bar, because she and I have a million things in common (we just haven’t discovered quite all of ’em yet!) I guess I’ll tag our Spin Cycle hostess, Sprite’s Keeper, because I’m hoping I’ll become a little more popular by association. Finally, because she likes fried okra, Meli!