Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Project 365 - December 29, 2015

Change is Coming

Marilyn and Howie

It is all around me.  I can feel it. 

Change, it is inevitable. From the day we are born there is change. Not only are our bodies changing on a daily basis, whether it is developing and growing when we are children or healing when we are sick or injured, but everything around us changes on a daily basis.

Sometimes these changes come in batches. That is what I am feeling today. The New Year is almost here. 2016, it will be the year that I retire from Broward County government after 35 years of public service.  Although I moved from job to job throughout my 35 years, I have only ever worked in my professional career for Broward County. It is a scary move, but also a point in my life where I can do what I am most passionate about.

So as that May 31 date hovers in the near future, there are other changes.

Joel finally landed a job that he is  passionate about in the creative industries. He started two weeks ago and I have never seen him more content, more satisfied and comfortable. I am thankful and very happy for him. It has been a long road, but I believe this has only made him more appreciative for where he is today.

Adina is home once again. Midway through her junior year at Indiana State University, she has made a very tough decision to transfer to a Florida university.  She will take all of her remaining general education classes at Broward College in January and then transfer to Florida Atlantic University in the fall to finish her Forensic Anthropology major.

Rachel is now handling 19 malls throughout the country through her job at Goodman PR.  She is now coming to understand the significance of the responsibilities that have been given to her.  At 25 (in a few days), she has acheived so much in this position.

In addition to this job, Rachel has created a small business for herself.  She hand-paints designs on white mugs and has been selling them on Etsy.com.  She surprised herself with the quantity of orders she has already received.

I am about to embark on a freelance public relations job for a company that handles the various needs of condominium and homeowners associations. That will keep me very busy on nights and weekends after the holidays are over.  HOpefully this will develop into a larger job and/or more freelance jobs after I retire.  I anticipated that this might happen and that I might find some arts consulting jobs so I created an LLC for myself, Out of the Box Creative Communications LLC. 

And the biggest and saddest change of all came last night.  We all knew it was inevitable, but no matter how much you try to prepare, you are never ready when the call comes.

My uncle Howie has been ill for so very long.  Many different ailments and complications that stemmed from his prostate cancer, glaucoma and kidney failure.  We all knew, as he did, that his time was limited.  He was a trooper over the six years that he battled these challenges.  He did so with bravery, humor and love. He spent all of his time with Aunt Marilyn who in turn, cared for him with such detail that sometimes he told her off!  With love of course.

I do believe that he waited until Hal, his son, my cousin, flew down, held his hand and told him that he loved him.  I watched my uncle's eyelids flutter as both Hal and I laid our hands on his shoulders and told him that we were with him and we were all going to be okay and we would take care of Marilyn. He never woke up, but seemed to settle back on the pillow and relax. That was about 2:30 pm.

At 7:30 pm as we were all sitting around our dining room table eating Chinese food, the call came. We were just talking about Howie and telling our best memories when that phone rang.  We all knew.  A hot pain went through my body and laid my fork on the dinner plate. Memories of that moment when I knew my mom was gone flooded back. It was a familiar feeling. Not terrible, but sad nonetheless. 

I knew that we had to get the word to my cousin Roni who is in India on a month-long Yoga retreat.  So I went onto Facebook and sent her a cryptic private message to call me, now.  She did and I handed the phone to Hal. 

The rest of the evening was spent spilling a few tears, talking about the weird coincidences and more of our memories of Howie.

Changes.  They will always come and we need to be like a branch in the wind and bend or else we will break.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Project 365 - March 8, 2015

Playing with a Lens

Every once in a while, I borrow a lens to see what it is like and how it is different from the ones I own.  This lens is a 50 mm Nikkor lens.  It is a manual focus, which provides a challenge, but that is okay.  I like a challenge.

So naturally, I use whatever subjects are available to me.  Today, it was Newton!  Or Noot as my daughter now likes to call him!!

Noot is a great subject since all he does all day is eat and sleep!  He was lazily napping on our dining room table.  Lots of natural lighting for me to play with.  This was taken on manual everything at 400 ISO and 2.8 aperture.  I love the amount of detail in the fur and the whiskers.

Then I decided to step outside and see what my flowers would look like with this lens.

I love the shallow depth of field.  I think I moved the aperture to 2.0 here.  I sat on the ground and focused by moving my body closer or further away to get just the one flower in focus.  The colors are a bit weird on the leaves.  Not sure why they look purple.  

 Then I took the last photo of this new marigold that just started to grow at the base of my avocado plant.  Supposedly the marigolds keep spiders away.  So far, no, but I keep trying!!

So a short lesson on photography today.  Best to just pick up the camera and use it!  It has been a long time.

Project 365 - January 14, 2015

A Little Leftover Christmas

I haven't visited this blog in a very long time.  But I was outside doing my wandering thing with my camera.  As I walked out the front door, I immediately giggled when I saw that Joel and I had forgotten to remove the penguins!  Yes, there is a bit of Christmas still at the Hills of Inverrary!

I guess these guys just got away from us!  So perhaps we will leave them out a little longer!!  No one has said anything.  Usually we get a letter if we do something against the condo rules.  But not this time.  Maybe these are nondenominational penguins!!

I kept walking.  I have a usual pattern, where I walk between two homes across the street and then down near the lake.  There I usually find some birds or bugs that capture my attention.

I like when the sun is setting. It is much more challenging to take the photos in a darkening situation. So these birds were flying by me and I played with the settings and tried to capture them the best that I could.I love the colors of the reflections.  

And then there are these birds.  Someday I will look up the species.  Until I do, I will just continue to call them the "monkey birds" because they sound like the monkeys in the Wizard of Oz!  I love when the sun illuminates their perch and especially their beaks.  The bright orange certainly stands out in nature!!  I could watch these guys for hours.

And then, of course, I always looks for something in bloom.  This was in front of Jackie Gleason's former residence.  There were so many of these flowers blooming on this tree.  This was the last of my light.  So after I snapped this one, I headed back to the house.  I really haven't done much of this type of photography lately since I took up running 5K races. I always feel like have to keep moving and not with a camera in my hand.  But this day, I just made the time.