_ My post
today is, unfortunately, a sad one... Early this morning my beautiful Flower Pot passed
away. She was about three years old. I hope she has found her sister,
Cinnamon Bun in bunny heaven and they are having a wonderful time
It was love at first sight when I saw the half-pound
baby Flower, much like it was with my dog, Krissa, back in 1990. In
fact, there were many times when I would swear Flower had Krissa's soul.
They were so much alike in personality.
Anyway, it is just me and my man, Stormy Bear, now.
As I write this I am watching him snack on some hay. He made a mess of
the playpen today, but I certainly can't be upset with him about it. I
only hope he does well as a solo pet, since bunnies usually thrive on
having a companion. You see, originally I got Cinnamon and Stormy as
companions for Flower and quickly fell in love with all three
rambunctious buns. Stormy did not get along that well with the girls
after I had him neutered when he was six months old. It was like he
could care less that they were around. I'm not really sure why as most
bun pairs are male-female. Perhaps he felt he was a third wheel to the
girls. Even after Cinnamon's death in January 2011, Stormy and Flower
would only tolerate each other. I will just have to keep a watch on my
Stormy to make sure he doesn't go into a depression as a solo bun. If he
does I may have to try to find him a mate. But I'm thinking he will
love life as a bachelor, especially once I rearrange the furniture to
give him a bit of a bun castle. :)
I'm trying not to dwell on my loss of Flower, but it
is hard. I know time will heal my heartache, but that doesn't make it
any easier right now. I'm trying to focus on my art, photography,
websites, and cleaning/rearranging the house but my thoughts constantly
drift back to my baby girl. I only hope she and Cinnamon know how much I
love them and miss them. Rest in peace, my beautiful girls. Stormy and I
Catching Up December 16, 2011
So it's been a while since I've posted - over a month, in fact. Life has been seriously crazy the past few months and while I tried to keep up with the blog and the daily photos, I got to a point where I just couldn't keep up any more. I've been taking the photos for my Photo 365 project, I just haven't had a chance to load them here. I hope to do that while on winter break. The major reason I fell away from my blog and photos has been my health. I've been dealing with various symptoms since the end of September. After loads of tests and even a surgical biopsy of a lymph node in my neck, it has been determined that the source of my health issues has been allergies. You see, I've had swollen lymph nodes among other various symptoms such as fatigue and an all over unwell feeling. I thought it was lymphoma (and honestly I think my doctor did too). It was a very scary time for me and those closest to me. But in the end, it turns out to be allergies that have gotten to my lymph nodes. Since the lymph nodes are part of the immune system and work to get rid of foreign bodies, they have been reacting to allergies. My doctor said she battles the same problem but wasn't sure that was my problem until we ruled out all of the more serious possible causes. Well, all of the serious things have been ruled out. Thank God. My doctor has advised that I take a daily OTC allergy medicine. She has also prescribed a muscle relaxer for the pain I'm having in my shoulder and neck (leftover from the having the biopsy on 11/11/11). I was even given the all clear to get my flu shot, so I got that today. Woohoo. All-in-all I'm on the mend but still experiencing fatigue and some stiffness in my neck around my lymph nodes. I also need to see an ENT about a small cyst in one of my sinus cavities found during the testing to see what was wrong with me. My doctor assures me it's nothing to worry about, but my concern won't rest until I see an ENT. I also think I might see an allergist to determine exactly what I am allergic too (other than Penicillin and IV Iodine - and the iodine allergy was just discovered when I had to have CT Scans; boy was that fun! ) and what else I can do to treat my allergies.
Hopefully I'll start feeling better in a few days. Winter Break starts next Thursday (only 5 days from now), so I'll be able to have a week off to have some fun with my family (can't wait to see my parents!) and some relaxation (and catching up on my Photo 365 project). Plus, it's nearly Christmas and that's always good. I'm still very much a little kid when it comes to Christmas. I love the whole presents thing. Not just opening my own presents but watching others open things I have bought or made for them. I've got some nice things to give to my parents this, year, so I am excited about that (can't say what I have for them in case they read this. hehe). I guess that's all I have for now. Hopefully I'll be able to post more often.
Peace November 6, 2011
Life has been kind of crazy lately so I was very thankful for the opportunity to take some autumn photos both yesterday and today. Yesterday was a solo venture, but today I had my good friend Becky with me. There's this amazing peace I feel when I have my camera in my hand, focusing on something I've found photo worthy; creating art. It was absolutely fantastic to spend time with Becky doing something we both love.
I took 152 photos yesterday and 183 photos today. Of course not all of them are good, or even salvageable, but I am pleased with the ones that did come out. I can't wait to get them uploaded so I can share them. The photo that appears here was taken on Sandy Point Road in Calvert County, MD.
Selective Coloring October 28, 2011
So I've really been trying to learn my camera as well as my editing software so I can have the best pictures possible. With the help of my friend Becky, I have discovered a love for something called Selective Coloring or Selective Colorization. This is when you have a primarily black and white image, with part of the image in color. This is a great technique for focusing the attention on the subject of the photo. For my photo, the rest of the photo is not very interesting, but the bright hues on the leaf are gorgeous and a solid black and white photo just didn't do it justice. I will definitely be using this technique in the future!
Autumn has Arrived September 25, 2011
Autumn is my favorite time of year. I'm so happy that Friday (the 23rd) was the Autumnal Equinox. It means cooler temperatures are on the way. I can't wait. We've already had a taste of this fall weather, and it makes me feel so good! I love absolutely everything about autumn - the colors, the temperatures, the smells, the crispness in the air, the overall feeling I have. It's just wonderful. I'm happy I have a fall birthday because it generally means nice, Shauna-friendly weather. I can't wait for the days of having the windows open and filling the house with fresh air and the scent of cinnamon from my favorite fall/winter time candles. I also love to bake this time of year. I'll be making my secret recipe pumpkin cookies and trying my hand at making cake pops.
I'm looking forward to the photo opportunities that autumn has to offer. Hopefully I'll be able to take some time to hit some local spots for photo time. Not sure where all I want to go yet, but I know I want to go to the Promenade in Leonardtown. It's beautiful there because it's on the river. I'm sure it will offer me some amazing photo opportunities.
The photo is of my Cinnamon Tree, but it was actually taken in June 2011. I love this tree because it's red in the summer and lately has been turning green.
Remembering 9/11 September 11, 2011
Everyone has been sharing their stories about 9/11, including the TV newscasters. I thought I would share my own story.
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 started off like any other Tuesday of my senior year at Western Maryland College. Lazily I got up, got my shower, and went back to my room to get ready for my 10:20 class. Still wearing my white bathrobe with the green frogs all over it, and hair still wet (wrapped up in my towel), I sat down at my computer to say good morning to my boyfriend, Jeff, a student at James Madison University. I signed on and typed a good morning message. The reply I got was startling, to say the least. "Turn on the TV." I didn't understand. I asked, "What channel?" and he replied, "Doesn't matter. Just turn it on."I'll never forget that moment, or that day. I don't remember what else I said to Jeff that day, but I do remember that I stayed in my bathrobe for hours, my hair drying all matted up because I didn't do anything to it while it was still wet. And it didn't even matter. I just sat on my bed and watched in disbelief as the towers burned and news of the crash at the Pentagon came on the screen. I cried when the towers came down.
I tried for several hours before finally getting through to my parents. They worked in the same office, just the two of them, so I was able to talk to them both. I can't remember much of what was said during that conversation but I know I told my dad I was scared and I know I was crying, still in my bathrobe with my messy hair, still unable to peel myself away from the TV. My dad paused at one point, and with a soft but serious voice he told me that even though I wasn't raised in a very religious household, it would be a good idea to pray. That was the moment it hit me how real this all was, and how very, very bad. When we finally got off the phone, I just laid on my bed crying, still watching TV.
I don't know what time it was when I finally got dressed or even what clothes I put on. Classes, of course, had been canceled. But I heard my housemates moving around, so I got myself semi-presentable and opened my door. My housemates were crying. It was sad and scary. I found out that everyone had gotten in touch with their immediate families, and everyone was okay. One of my housemates lived in Westminster and his mom wanted him to come home. He refused and told her we were safe on campus. Another housemate's mom worked at the Pentagon. She stayed home sick and was therefore not harmed in the crash. Another housemate grew up near NYC and knew a lot of people in and around NYC.
I'm not sure whose idea it was, maybe Lisa's, but someone suggested we turn off all of the news coverage for a little while and make dinner (late lunch) together. So we did. We made spaghetti. We talked. We laughed. We bonded on that darkest of days, and not for the rest of the school year were we as close as we were that day, eating our spaghetti and laughing.
WMC held a candlelight vigil for the victims of that fateful morning. Most of my housemates went together. We stood and listened to the prayers and poems and stories. We cried. But this crazy thing happened... Life went on. We kept going. We resumed class on Thursday and things started to go back to normal. Only, they would never truly be normal ever again.
I mourned for all of the people who lost their lives on September 11th. I mourned for the families who would never see their loved one again and the children who would grow up not knowing one of their parents. I mourned for the rescue workers who lost their lives trying to save others (true heroes). I mourned for the loss of the twin towers - NYC is my favorite city and the skyline was forever changed. I mourned for America's loss of innocence.
September 11, 2001 - a day we will never forget.
Thought of the day: “I know what it’s like to receive that call out of the blue that the dearest thing in your life is gone," Vice President Joseph Biden told a crowd that gathered at the Pentagon Sunday [9/11/11] to remember those who died when Flight 77 crashed into the headquarters of the U.S. military in Washington, D.C. Biden was referring to the heartbreaking call he got when his wife and infant daughter were killed in a car crash decades ago. “No memorial, no ceremony, no words will ever fill the void left in your hearts by their loss,” Biden said. “My prayer for you is that 10 years later, when you think of them,” he said, “that it brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye.”
Lee September 9, 2011
So I've already written about the earthquake, one tornado, and Irene... Well it gets better. This past week, we only went to school for 2 days. We were off on Monday for Labor Day. We went to school on Tuesday and Wednesday, but we were off yesterday and today because of massive flooding and road closures (many roads closed due to either downed trees or sinkholes). The remnants of tropical depression Lee came through and just pummeled us with rain. Last night, I heard thunder and could see lightning flashes for over 3 solid hours. There have been at least 3 tornado warnings in my county and one of them was very close to here. I had the bunnies in the bathtub and I was sitting on the bathroom floor. It was very scary!
The last time I heard totals, La Plata had over 15 inches of rain from this storm alone. This is on top of the rain we got from Irene (and before Irene). At the end of the second week of school, we've already used 3 snow days. Hopefully the county can apply for a waiver for the days we've missed since there were States of Emergency declared for both Irene and Lee.
Irene September 5, 2011
So I finally have the opportunity to sit down and reflect on the events of Hurricane Irene. Irene hit us here on the morning of Saturday, August 27th as a category 1 storm. Irene was gone by 11 am on Sunday. I lost power around 9:30pm on Saturday. We had been having flickers and mini outages all day, but it went out for good at 9:30. What follows are the notes I wrote down during the aftermath/power outage of the storm.
11am Sunday - Power has not come back yet. It's nice inside - around 75 degrees. Irene is gone, but it is still quite windy out. I went out to take photos of the damage and I witnessed a limb falling from a tree. I also saw where the worst looking nearby damage was that half of one of the large trees across the street came down.
4:30pm Sunday - Still without power. Starting to worry about the food in the fridge, but I'm keeping it closed so I don't add any hot air to the mix. The indoor temperature isn't bad. I took another round of photos outside while I charged my phone in the car. The winds have died down. Since I have my phone, I have internet and I have heard that Charles County - along with many others in the area, will have schools closed tomorrow. I also heard that a State of Emergency was declared which means basically a free day off. Too bad I won't be able to fully enjoy it - unless my power comes back. I'm not really sure what to do now because my laptop battery is now dead and I'm trying to stay off my phone. I did all of my seating charts for my classes and now have nothing left on the to-do list.
8:00pm Sunday - Lighting my candles for the night. I know you're not supposed to use candles because of the fire hazard, but I will be super careful with them. I was able to talk to my parents while sitting in the car so I could charge my phone at the same time - and I took advantage of the air conditioning. I'm praying I wake up to power tomorrow.
9:30pm Sunday - I hit the 24 hour mark for no power. Having seen Facebook on my phone, I am able to see that I'm certainly not alone in being without power. I wish I hadn't looked at FB though because a lot of people who have power are posting about the TV shows they are watching. TV doesn't even matter. I just want my food to not spoil and I'd love a hot shower. If my power isn't restored in the morning, I'm going searching for ice to put in the fridge. Also, my good friends Stacy and Tim said I could go over there since they got their power back. They said I could stay in their spare room. I don't want to impose and I don't want to leave the bunnies. However, if school reopens before I get power, I will take them up on the offer - if for no other reason than to get a shower. I can't go back to school looking/smelling like a bum! So anyway, I've been reading by candle light and now I'm going to bed.
9:30am Monday - 36 hours without power but I got word that SMECO is on my street working to restore the power here! YAY! I checked the fridge really quickly and everything is still cold. Wahoo! So I think I'm going to stay off FB until I get power back. People are really irritating me right now. Maybe a little disconnect is a good thing. Oh, and I opened the windows because when I went out to take more photos this morning, I discovered that it is absolutely fantastic outside. It's cool and there's a lovely breeze. This is my favorite kind of weather!
11:15am Monday - I just ate a sandwich that had been in the fridge and it was still cold. I touched the milk jug and it was still cold, too. I may not lose any food afterall! Wahoo! I went outside and saw crews from SMECO, PENN, and PIKE working away on my street. I'm really hoping that means I'll have power soon. God Bless all of the hard working people who are trying to restore power to everyone. It's still fabulous outside so my windows are still open. Is this normal after a hurricane? I'm totally loving that it's August 29 and my windows are OPEN!!! The weather app on my phone says it is 71 degrees with a high of 76 today. Rock on. A taste of fall. I love it! It occurred to me that I haven't really missed TV. I do miss my laptop, though, and the first thing I do when I get power back will be to turn it on. I want to upload my Irene photos. Then I'll take a shower (after the water heater has had time to heat the water again).
11:45am Monday - 38 1/2 hours later, I have power!!! I am one happy girl!
Thought of the day: Just remember... if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off. - Trevor Myers
Weather August 25, 2011
I'm a science nerd and I love weather. This week has made me rethink that. Tuesday we had an earthquake. Tonight there were severe storms and reports of a tornado south of here but in the same county I live in, and this weekend Irene is coming for a visit. Irene is a hurricane. This is just too much.
Ponder This August 24, 2011
I've decided to start a series of posts about things that make you think... These could be quotes, funny/unusual sayings, or anything else I come up with. Just to be clear, I will probably take on a rather sarcastic tone with these - just because I can! Here's my first one:
THE BUG OR THE WINDSHIELD?
So you've probably all heard that saying, "Some days you're the bug, some days the windshield." Really, how is either of these things good? If you're the bug, you get squished in a most unpleasant way on the windshield of a speeding car or truck. Yeah, that sounds fun. But if you're the windshield, you get gross bug guts spewed across you. In a lot of cases, the guts don't clean off easily either. MMM appetizing. And if you're anything like my windshield, you're all cracked up! So which one is supposed to be the good one again? I really don't want to be either, thanks. I'll be the worm that oversleeps and misses out on getting caught by the early bird.
The attached photo is of a bug that splattered my dad's windshield when we were headed back to his house after our trip to the Blue Rige Parkway in June, 2011. So would you rather be the bug or the windshield? Neither one looks good to me.
5.8 or 5.9? August 23, 2011
5.8 or 5.9? The news can't seem to figure out which one it is. It doesn't really matter. What matters is that today at 1:51 pm we had an earthquake - an almost 6.0 earthquake! The epicenter was in Mineral, Virginia. I drive through Mineral to get to my parents' house in West Virginia. The earthquake was very scary, even for me who has lived through a bunch of them between the years in Japan and the summer in Alaska.
So I'm standing at my desk this afternoon when I hear this rattling of the "wall of glass" in my classroom (literally, I have a whole interior wall of windows). It sounded like it does when there are kids in the hallway banging on the glass as they walk by. I think maybe one of the teacher's kids are out there playing... Then I start to feel the vibration under my feet. The realization hits me that we're having an earthquake. But I'm calm at first because I've been through this before and it doesn't seem like it's going to be that bad. Then the next moment is fuzzy. I remember the shaking grew more violent (me, being the nerd that I am, marveled at the awesome power of the Earth to shake like that), and I could hear other teachers screaming and squealing amidst the rumbling of the Earth (I remember it being quite loud. After all, it's a lot of work to move miles of Earth all at once). I had been tempted to dive under my desk (years of earthquake drill training in school in Japan came flooding back to me) but then it occurred to me that most of the people I work with have probably never experienced a true quake before, and for this to be their first is not a good experience. So I take off. I trip from the motion of the Earth, but keep going until I'm standing in my doorway (another fairly safe place to be during a quake). People are running around screaming, asking, "what's going on?!" I tell them it's an earthquake and to get outside. Everyone was safe and immediately began trying to contact loved ones. It was a very odd moment for me. I didn't know what to do. I knew the quake was over, but what now? That was a big one. I wanted to know where it came from. I guessed New York. I guessed wrong. (I only guessed NY because my senior year of college I felt a tiny earthquake that happened around 7 am - no one believed me because they'd all been asleep - and its epicenter was in NY).
Our old school building survived, minus a few ceiling tiles and a window in the library that will need to be replaced because it cracked from top to bottom. The County decided we all had to evacuate the schools because they couldn't be sure the buildings would survive if there were to be any sizable aftershocks. So, we all marched (drove) off to Silver Skewers to begin our Celebration a little early. We had fun, but everyone was definitely shaken. Forgive me, the nerd is coming out again. I think it was neat! I never thought I would experience a quake like that here. Maybe I'm imagining it, but I believe I actually felt the rolling motion of the Earth move as the quake spread away from Mineral. I also believe I heard more than just furniture and windows shaking. We're lucky it wasn't worse. We're lucky people weren't killed (so far I believe the death toll still stands at ZERO!). Mother Earth is angry, and growing angrier. Maybe the people in Washington will finally take notice of our HOME. Oh, and Irene is coming. Yeah, that's not a distant relative or anything. It's a hurricane. We're expected to have some weather from her this weekend. Time will tell how nice she's going to be to us.
There've only been 2 aftershocks according to the U.S. Geological Survey. By the way, according to them, it was a 5.8.
Thought of the day: "It is not light that we need, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake." ~Frederick Douglass
Reflections August 22, 2011
So tomorrow it is back to work for me (and all teachers in the county). This will be my 7th school year teaching in the computer lab. I love my job. I can't even believe that seven years have gone by already. I'm excited to see everyone but I'm not ready for my vacation to be over. This will probably be my last year as the computer teacher. I'm both happy and sad about that. I'm happy because I recently got my student teaching grade (I got an A) and that was the last thing I needed to be able to submit my paperwork to the state for certification. I've been working on this since roughly 2008 and my hard work has paid off. I maintained a 4.0 in all of my post graduate classes and I'm very proud of myself. I even got an A in my art class! I'm sad because I love my school family and I don't want to have to leave them. Maybe I will luck out and something at my school will open up.
This summer I was able to go on an amazing trip with my dad to the Blue Ridge Parkway (with some members of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club), where I fell in love even more with photography and nature. Everywhere I go now, I see a photo. Too bad I can't take pictures while I'm driving because that's when I see a lot of them. I feel blessed to see the beautiful sights I see every day.
I have started as an Independent Consultant for Thirty-One Gifts. I've had a few small parties, but I'm hoping my business will grow with some exposure and with the new school year. I'm also hoping to get back into my Stampin' Up! business some. Maybe I will have more time this school year than I did last year.
I have developed a new love in digital scrapbooking (goes well with the love of digital photography, don't you think?). I'm currently using iScrapbook, but I only have the trial version so it says "TRIAL VERSION" in red text on all of my pages. I'm hoping to get the full version of the program (maybe from Mom and Dad as an early Christmas present). I'm loving the ease of scrapping digitally. It's less messy, and everything is in one place - my laptop and external hard drive -- instead of in boxes, drawers, on shelves, etc. This scrapping was made for me! I'll still do "real" scrapping - especially for my Alaska album (yeah, I was there in 2002 and 2003 and still haven't done either album). The photo included with this post is my first ever digital scrap page. Hope you like it!
Another thing that happened this summer is that I FINALLY got this website up and running. I'm proud of it and this is my first official blog post! Wahoo! :)
Thought of the Day: "Do one thing everyday that scares you." ~Eleanor Roosevelt