Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trip Memories....

Traveling thru Texas on the way to Santa Fe, NM

A trip to Colorado to photograph the aspens in the Fall led by my friend and mentor Lou Nettlehorst, good golly yes, I'm in. That plan began much earlier this year with my blogging/photographer buddy, Jeanne Stone. We have made 2 trips together, one to Charleston, SC and another to photograph the Hill Country in Texas during bluebonnet season. We are compatible companions, even with my snoring and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors and nature. We get it when we take 30 minutes to photograph a wildflower, unlike those who do not see how we photographer's see. You guys out there know what I'm talking about.  Jeanne has breathing issues in high altitudes and her doctor advised her to drive to Colorado instead of flying to help her lungs gradually get used to the difference. OK, instead of flying to Colorado as originally planned I flew to Dallas (where Jeanne lives). A wee bit off track but not only did we plan on joining Lou in Gunnison, Colorado on Saturday, Sept 16th we decided to extend our trip by driving from Dallas to Santa Fe, NM...

staying 2 nights in Santa Fe (which was not nearly enough), then drive to Ghost Ranch near Abiquiu, New Mexico, the land of Georgia O'Keefe spending one night there (again not nearly enough) and then on to Gunnison, CO to meetup with our group for dinner and a get-together before outings began early the next morning. And what I mean by early is setting my alarm for 3:30 AM, holy mackerel who gets up at 3:30 except maybe to go pee. Lou has a habit of choosing places that are a bit of a drive for those early morning sessions, but it's all worth it for the end results. 

The night we arrived in Santa Fe we ate at a restaurant known for their tasty margaritas. Now I'm a frozen fruity margarita fan so that was a choice I decidedly agreed upon. Jeanne could only take a few sips, while I enjoyed every last drop and didn't feel a thing. While in Santa Fe, we wandered thru the streets, popping into churches to admire their beauty, touring the Georgia O'Keefe Museum and stopping at the rail station where the rail runner still had regular scheduled departures. Notice the rainbow in the scene....I took this as a positive sign that our trip would be filled with good times. It was until the phone call from my daughter came on Sunday evening. 

After leaving Santa Fe we headed to Ghost Ranch, the iconic place where Georgia O'Keefe created some of her finest work. The ranch itself is over 22,000 acres, but to my surprise, Georgia only owned about 7 acres of this grand space. Apparently she tried with earnest to buy the whole 22,000 acres, but in the end the owner, Arthur Pack left everything, except the 7 acres to the Presbyterian Church. It now resides as a retreat and education center with over 300 classes taught there each year. In fact, our humble abode (and they are rather humble, with no AC and concrete floors) was right next to a large group of oil paint artists that were in the midst of their last creation before packing up and leaving the next day. What a panorama for a subject. 

Yeah, that's me on the back of the horse, not the good looking cowgirl in front leading, me on the back of blonde horse, clinging (not really) to the reins and trying desperately to take photos with my big girl camera as we rode around Ghost Ranch for 1 1/2 hours. Please don't inquire as to my butt condition after that ride. Let's just say, I didn't fall off and the scenery was amazing. 

Our two wranglers, very kind to us oldies....

That evening we wandered down to the entrance to Ghost Ranch to capture the sunset. You can see from the wagon that the golden hour was indeed golden.  Wonder if riding in the wagon would be any more comfortable than the back of the horse...probably not. And that sweet little cabin is the one (so I have been told) that was featured in the movie, "City Slickers" with Billy Crystal.  In the visitors center there are a whole slew of movie posters featuring movies that were filmed at Ghost Ranch. 

Next stop (except for a few minor pull off the road I need to get that shot episodes) Gunnison, CO. 

PS - Thank you all for leaving such kind comments on my last post. I so appreciate your prayers and love that you have expressed. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!! 

Until next time.....

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Time Goes By....

Sunset at the Mackinac Bridge

I've been missing this place. Since my last post back in May, (surely it can't be that long ago) a lot has happened in my life. Some great, some good, some gladness, some sadness. I began this blog in May of 2011 when my sweetie was still home with me and I was desperate to find an outlet for creativity. I had found a new passion, photography that was a "hobby" that my sweetie could be with me by my side as I began to hone my photography skills.  I began using flickr as my "go-to" for posting my pictures a year earlier, but somehow I felt the need to write more, post more....thus the beginnings of this blog. After I settled my sweetheart in bed for the night, I would open my laptop and begin writing. It was tranquilizing after a day of dealing with the devastation of Alzheimer's. I purposefully didn't want my blog to be about my struggles or about my sweetie's illness. I focused on the beauty around me and it's here that I found peace.

Shaker Town near Lexington, KY

This blog gave me that outlet that I needed, and I posted almost daily for several years. Then I began to let my posting slide, I began to skip short periods of time, then long periods of time, now so irregular that I will be surprised if anybody finds this. Blogging has become almost a thing of the past, Instagram has taken over. I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to express feelings on Instagram. And I'm sure not crazy about ranting and whining on Facebook. My soul hurts from all the negatives that are posted on Facebook. We've had so much sadness and devastation in our lives recently that some days scrolling thru social media becomes a burden. Yes, I do agree that it's a good platform for keeping in touch with friends and family, but so much more has filtered thru.

Sunrise in Door County over Lake Michigan

Oh my, when I began writing this post, I didn't realize that I would get off track with social media. Now, back on track....I've traveled quite a bit since early spring going to Mackinaw, Michigan, Lexington, Ky, Door County, WI, Santa Fe, NM and finally to Gunnison, CO. Ofcourse having my camera always attached to my body.

North of Santa Fe, NM

While I was on my last trip to Colorado for a week-long photography workshop I received a call from my daughter that my sweetie had been admitted to the hospital with a UTI.  He has had a handful of these attacks since he has been in a care facility, always responding to the medication and after about 3 days in the hospital he returns to his residence. Not this time, he developed a serious infection and there were few options. Prayerfully and with a great deal of thought, I made the choice to place him under Hospice Care, knowing that his quality of life was not what he would want for himself. With all in agreement that this was the right choice, my sweetie passed in no pain with his family by his side on Thursday, Sept 21st. There were many tears shed that night, a lot of hugs and a beautiful prayer and blessing from the hospital chaplain. As we were leaving the hospital the night nurses that had cared for him earlier in the week came to us, also with tears in their eyes and gentle hugs for our loss. 

Santa Fe National Cemetery 

I took this image above less than a week before my sweetie died, not knowing that within a few days I would be making the decision for his ashes to be buried at a cemetery similar to this one with a gravestone like the ones above.  My faith, my family and my friends were there for me when I needed them the most.  I am at peace with my decision knowing that he is resting in God's hands, whole again and without any pain. Fifty-three years of marriage to a wonderful man.

Until next time.....

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Latest....

Very busy week. And continues....I hosted the Presbyterian Women's Luncheon for the 3rd year in a row this past Wednesday, It's a bring a salad luncheon, always decorated tables by a hostess, and a guest speaker.  We average around 75 women at these luncheons and it's always been a fun thing for me to do. I was asked to chair the luncheon 3 years ago when I wasn't even a member of the church. That immediately prompted me into becoming a member and its been and continues to be a loving and spiritually fed relationship. I've decided to not chair again next year, 3 years is enough. I give the opportunity to someone new.

Last weekend was my friend Marti's, 5K run brunch to raise money for Purdue University Cancer Research Center. She calls it her 5K because normally she would run or walk a 5K to raise money, but she opts for a more personal and more delicious way to raise money. In order to enjoy the delicious brunch she serves, we are asked to donate money toward this very worthy cause. In the last 6 years this group of women that attend and others who donate and cannot come to the brunch have donated $21,000.

I'm off to Michigan tomorrow morning to meet up with a photography friend of mine in Mackinaw City, MI.  Winnie and I met last summer in Chicago at the photography convention held each year in June. We immediately became friends and have since been on a photography trip together, photographing the Michigan Lighthouses last September. And now tomorrow we meet again for a few fun days of photography together. Winnie is from Michigan so she will be my tour guide to all the fab places to photograph. It's a bit cooler up there than its been here. This week has been warm, almost too warm, 91 on Tuesday, and now the 80's. Checking the forecast for the trip and what to pack, it's obvious I'm going to have to bundle up and not take my 2 piece, obviously it won't be needed. Forties and fifties with a possibility of rain, so keep your fingers crossed the weather won't stop our adventures.

We have had horrific winds the past couple/3 days. It seems to be dying down to normal, but man, it was whipping the trees to the point of breaking. Lots of dead limbs fell to the ground and I think my sweet clematis which had grown so well and was full of blooms, received one too many gusts and snapped. Now the top half is all wilted, full of buds, and the bottom half seems ok. But darn, just when they were beginning their blossom season. That's the thing about nature, it gives, but it also takes away.

I'm skipping bookclub tonight. First time I have done that in a long long time. I didn't have time to read the book and I'm still in need of packing for tomorrow. Shame on me, for not being better organized. Organize seems to be a foreign word in my vocabulary, something I just don't understand.

The porch is back in service again. A big thank-you to my son-in-law, Sam. I always tell him he's my fav, course he's the only one I have. Sam arrived early Monday morning, took my Christmas boxes (yes, I had stored them on the back porch) to the basement, removed all the porch furniture, then began the cleaning process. We were (notice I said we, I did a little) done by early afternoon. I also conned him into digging up a huge hosta and moving it to a new location, getting all my pots out of the garage and placing them in the appropriate spot, and helping me to set up my little gardening fence. I've enjoyed my coffee on the porch for the last 3 days. Love my porch.

Planting will begin after my trip to Michigan. Didn't want to put anything in the ground until I return so I can baby the newly planted. Hope your spring has sprung and that you are able to enjoy the newness that comes each year.

Until next time....