Friday, August 25, 2017

Stalking the Wild Mushroom

We have gotten lots of rain here. (Not the bad rain that south Texas is enduring.)   When it rains in my woods this time of year, it usually means an abundance of mushrooms pushes their heads through the moss. These photos below were taken just a few feet from my back yard in what we pretend is the "lawn."  While the weather seems a bit cooler, the ground was wet and muddy and soaked through my jeans while I balanced on my knees to capture these.

Since mushrooms grow well on dead matter you can guess that my lawn is not all that healthy. It used to be woodlands, after all!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Skating on Black Ice

You cannot see it and even if someone warns you, how long can you keep your antenna up and your attention sharp. You have a life to live, after all, as you go blindly forward. Being cautious all the time is not the way to live life fully nor is it even being healthy. Yet just when you think you have your balance, it comes at you sideways and you find yourself tumbling and frightened and helpless as you are pushed head over heels. Things are going to be broken and maybe irreparable and most certainly scarred.

I am now in the phase where everyone still has shards of glass and is in prickly pain and is lost in their own thoughts while they lick their wounds. We are all pulling our tools of amazement, shock, anger, bitterness, love, hate, helplessness from the deep dark shed.  There are still those of us who naively think we can fix it.  Others have drawn their lines in the sand.  As our eyes clear we can see down the foggy road and do not like what is ahead. The road is longer than we thought and far rougher and covered in the blood of others as if warning us to turn back. But there is nothing behind us. We can only plod carefully forward.  Now looking for my thin, light tool called strength which I can wrap around my shoulders against the cold and loneliness.

(This is not about politics.  It is about other stuff which I just cannot write about, but this vagueness helps me, if not you.  Two friends have had some tough times this week as have I.)

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Art in Calgary

During our Calgary visit the city was in the middle of a heavy controversy about what to do with their arts council and all its expensive mistakes.  The city is full of interesting sculpture which is relatable, for the most part.  In downtown Calgary, we saw these bronze sculptures that were in Olympic Park, a lovey if small, quiet place in heart of the city.

They represented this part of women's suffrage in Canada:

Sorry for the lens flare above.

This was an impressive park sculpture only a few blocks away.

My daughter-in-law added her foot for perspective.

This photo above was taken from our hotel room window.  If you look closely you can realize its' actual size by taking note that the rectangle in the back right is a double door for the building behind it.  It is the sculpture of a young girl named "Wonderland" and created by Spanish sculptor Juame Plensa representing youth and energy of Alberta.  It was really beautiful even up close.

So, where is the controversy?  There are several very large 6 figure projects which the citizens of Calgary are angry about.  One is this brand new piece.

It can only be seen while whizzing by on the highway to Banff!  Read more about this "Indian" tribute here:

There were at least two more art pieces that cost 6 figures (or more) and for which taxpayers were gobsmacked.

Then there is THIS accident waiting to happen:

Taken from this article below---please read as it is kind of funny:

And then there was this which we passed every single day from the parking garage to our hotel.  I loved it!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lists and Restrictions

It is good to be home even if I have a long list of things to do.  We all have errands, chores, etc. waiting for us when we return from being away from home for several days.  I am detailed about these things and try to put them in order of importance.  This becomes a joke because I end up doing the easy things first, always.  I am currently down to my last load of laundry.  Mail and bills are all done.  Birthday gift for granddaughter is wrapped.  Food has been replenished and produce bins cleaned.  Photos are sorted and many deleted. I have not looked at the weedy flower beds, but since it is currently raining pretty heavily, I feel no guilt for that.

We set Calgary as our base of operations.  We were going both east and west from there.  Years before we stayed in Canmore which is the gateway to Banff National Park but this restricts touring to the park itself.  This year the park entrance fees were all waived because it is Canada's 150th anniversary.  

The weather was perfectly warm, mostly hot some days!  Banff was flooded with tourists (mostly from Asia) and Canadians.  The main attractions had little if any parking and we finally tried the major features on a Thursday early in the morning just to get in.  The remote trails and lakes were more available.  

Everyone above is waiting in line to see the waterfall up close through a hole in the rocks at Johnston Canyon.  When we came here years ago there was only a handful of people.  Not exactly the experience one hopes for on a mountain vacation.

In addition, further south and west there were hundreds of large and small forest fires.  Some started by lightning storms and others by careless campers.  Ranchers had evacuated leaving behind sheep and dogs to watch the sheep and only taking a few horses.  Large parts of the park were closed due to that.

The air was not difficult for breathing and you could just barely smell smoke, but when the wind shifted the scenery disappeared.  My eyes were red the next day.  Fortunately, later in the week, we got rain followed by some lovely scenery.

To make things even tighter all the Bears were down by the valleys eating the berries to get fat before winter and those parts of the park were closed off with "crime" tape.  Of course, the bears were not following the rules and sometimes pulled away the tape to get at more food.  One local Canmore woman who jogged each morning with her dog wandered into the restricted area and was attacked (only slightly injured) by surprising an eating Bear.  There was some talk about her being charged for entry into a restricted area, but then the Park realized the tape has long disappeared and she would not have known.  What an insult that would have been, a wounded shoulder and then a Park fine!  Park Rangers do not get paid enough.  It was an adventure.

I had seen the popular spots (Lake Louise, Bow Lake, etc.) years before and did not care, but my son and DIL had not, so we braved the crowds.  Quite frankly I could have closed my eyes and imagined I was back in NYC, it was so crowded in those places.  We spent some days going to the eastern "badlands" area and even those places were well visited.  Maybe everyone who had planned to come to America decided Canada was more friendly.

Next a view of the "cowtown" of Calgary.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Addiction 2

I am packing and one of the first things I did was pack my camera, lenses and batteries.  I do not leave until tomorrow.  I am going crazy without my DSLR and the hummingbird is visiting over and over and over and over again.  Yep, it IS an addiction.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

On the Road Again

Among bloggers, I am perhaps considered more "wealthy" than average. Perhaps that is true according to data for family incomes and savings, but I still carry with me my poorer roots and realize this financial security is a blessing and I do donate to many causes. 

Thus, I am off again on a trip with my son and daughter-in-law. We are headed to Calgary and with some good luck for stamina, we may join them on some Banff hikes. We have been there before on our own about 8 years ago.(?)  It is a fresh air cow town and fun to visit if you live on the East Coast, as we do.  We will be gone for a week.  I am more focused on spending  time with these two people that I love so very much, I  really do not care where we go or what we do.  The Banff National Park is magnificent.  I met a young man there years ago and we are still friends on FB!

In September we are off to Europe for a river cruise.  (I told you we have money, but just wait until  this bubble market crashes!)  

I hope to share interesting stories and photos and not just travel stuff.  We will see.  I am so sick of this administration and its promotion of fear and  barely hidden white supremacist agenda, that is a relief to get away from the news.  The cable network is so addicted to this President and his crazy tweets and routine lies.  It is important stuff, but they can drill much deeper into our nation and tell the stories that affect regular Americans, if they get off the crack of shocking headlines.

Anyway, I shall return and will find time to read blogs if  not  post!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017


I am sure that we all have addictions of some type, whether it is that piece of chocolate before bedtime or looking for our cat before that first coffee. If the addiction is small or inconsequential we may call it a bad habit or tick, and if it is bad for us we know it and must find a way to shut off the endorphins provided or compromise our life greatly. If the addictions are rewarding to others we call them talent.  Someone I know is addicted to listening to others problems and solving them, and he is pretty good at it.  If not rewarding we may call them annoying or a bit crazy, like grandma's insistence that hanging the laundry at an exact time of day prevents rain.

I have a number of addictions, but certainly taking photos or editing photos each day, is one of them. I cannot take a walk around the yard without thinking about the way the light or shadow falls, the movement of some creature, the pattern of some botanical miracle, and then wonder how the camera lens could be framed to capture the feeling that I get when my eye falls on the object or scene.  This cosmos below was a quick capture this morning and I only adjusted the lighting levels.  The undulations of the petals of the cosmos are addictive.

I am most annoying when walking through a city as I want to stop and hide in a corner for a while and capture a zillion candids of all the activity or frame a neat story I see.  It is not as much fun when they know you are taking their picture as you hurry by with your 'pack', but there are indeed a million stories in those eyes.

The result of this "chasing the light" is thousands of photos that must be deleted. If I am honest with myself the majority of my captures are mediocre at best. The few good ones are most certainly derivative and the best is a happy accident if I am truly reflective.

Above I wonder if this street performer loves to mime and act and be the center of an audience, or does he do this so he can eat for the week?

What is your small or big addiction?