Wednesday, January 31, 2018

I got all but ONE of the words.

(Thanks to  Grannie Annie, I do this challenge once in a while.)

Bloody hell!” Jeff said angrily as he tore off his diving mask.  “What was that all about?”

I remained silent trying to collect my thoughts.  I collapsed onto the gunnel of the boat and pulled off my flippers while watching the light rain make circles on the calm surface of the lagoon.  I had lost some of my confidence and just wanted to catch my breath.  I released the tank strap and carefully lowered the tank to the deck between my legs.  The rush to the surface had been tempered with caution, not wanting to get the bends but wanting to reach the boat with the fastest but safest speed.

Our Ranger who had been tending the boat was confused at our early return.  He took his shepherding of the movie crew seriously.  His name was Byron, but we called him Apollo since he also wrote poetry and had published a small dictionary of poetic phrases many years ago after the war.  He was an odd duck and actually used to be a submarine pilot in his younger days.   He took my tank and fitted it into the side clamp and then helped Jeff with his gear straps.

“I got the shot, Jeff.  I got the shot.” I repeated slowly and quietly as I started to breathe normally again.

Byron had started the Torqeedo engine, it was one of the newer German electric outboards and ran with that quiet German engineering and precision.  We would not have heard it while diving and only would know if Apollo had put the engine in gear and we looked up and saw the bubbles of the propeller.

I looked at Apollo's questioning face and said, “Bunch of black-tips moved in over the wreck.  They were sweeping back and forth in some feeding frenzy, but I sure did not see what they were eating.  I got some great photos and a small bit of video, though.”  I pulled my underwater camera away from the clamp and began to remove the casing.

“Jesus, Melinda, you could have been dancing with the angels right now, for as close as you got!”

“But I got the shot.” I smiled.

(Word Prompts for January: )

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Photo taken our first year in this new house when morning mist caught the sun's rays.
The day is very gray and rainy, and while I love this moodiness in my British mystery shows, I do get somber when I have been inside for too many days with nothing to call me outside. My groups of acquaintances are all in stasis and many of my projects have come to a close or a long pause. It would be nice to go out to lunch with friends, but most are in Florida soaking up the sunny weather. Hubby has been sick on and off, which at our age can hang heavy on one's mind. So I get nostalgic and put on a Carole King DVD.  This is music which I had listened to in my mid-twenties (although it was a reel to reel tape back then) right after we were married and living in a small apartment on a tiny island in the South Pacific, far from family and friends.   We were more than enough for each other as newlyweds with so much to explore and new jobs to challenge us.

I remember a man who was decades older than us managing a fishing plant there saying "You will remember these days as some of the best of your lives, so pay attention."  We were having so much fun, and he was right as I look back on those times with a smile.

So today I am also trying to get my scanner, which is acting up, to scan some of the old slides that bring back memories.  Who were those naive kids with the world in a bucket of sunlight???

Friday, January 26, 2018

A Follow-up to the Prior Post

This is a follow-up to the prior post. So if you have not read that, go there and I will wait......

The photo in the prior post was taken while touring Fort Charles a formerly British fort in Jamaica in Port Royal at the mouth of Kingston Bay.   This fort was built in 1654 after the British routed the Spanish on this island. It is a minor tourist attraction mainly because it shows how an earthquake (actually two) can bury and twist buildings in the sand on a Caribbean Island.

I was there in 2011. What made me go looking for these photos was an article I read last week in The Guardian warning British citizens to be careful in touring Jamaica and to not leave their resort unless with a resort guide. It seems that crime, especially in the area of Montego Bay, has risen. Jamaica has always had a reputation for being an edgy place to tour. We were mildly uncomfortable there, but never felt we were in danger.  We freely toured the small town where our resort was located and while there were EXTREMELY polite beggars, we never felt concerned. We also took a small tour to Kingston town and other areas on the island. That was the day I took the photos in this post.

OK, now back to my question on the photo of the school children. They are certainly neat and proper. Maybe middle school age? In America a middle school group of kids would not be this composed. Boys would be poking boys and girls would be giggling, maybe using cell phones if the teachers let them.  American children might be too jaded to even look at a crowd of tourists,  boring!

And, here is my take for what it is worth.

The girl on the far left is wondering if she would ever get to America perhaps.  The girl in the middle is checking out the clothes of some of the American children that were part of a family tour.  Maybe she will be a fashion designer someday.  The girl on the right is downright curious about something one of the tourists is doing.  Not sure, as I did not look behind me.

Clearly, the girl with her arms crossed is a ring-leader, and perhaps a future politician.  Something significant is going on in her brain.  I feel sorry for her mama. The girl in the middle is looking for an "in."  There is always an angle to everything and she is wishing she had the freedom to enter the tourist crowd.  The two larger girls on the right reveal all the sadness of poverty and isolation and lack of hope.  

In the photo above, the angry one on the right is the one the world has to deal with.  There is an opportunity here, and also a big chance to fail her.  I would not want to cross her because she is making a list and checking it everyday.

Now we come to the boys.  They have it a bit easier in this culture.  The bulk of the workload and responsibility falls to the females in Jamaica.   The two taller boys on the far left might be business leaders some day.  They are evaluating and thinking outside the box and fearless in their evaluation of what they can accomplish.  The boy on the far right is the clown and troublemaker.  Maybe he can be a Bob Marley entertainer if he does not end up in jail.  The short boy in the middle wants to be playing ball or cricket somewhere.  Anywhere but this stupid tour.

Oh well, it is a different way to spend a winter afternoon and reminisce.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Photos Can Tell a Story

A few years ago while on travel I took this photo. Clearly, the schoolchildren are curious about me or something around me. Some have different expressions. I love this photo as it can tell so many stories. What story does it tell you?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thursday Thirteen-Illustrious Genius.

CNN was interviewing a half-dozen Democratic voters (in Youngstown, Ohio) who in frustration with the system had voted for Trump. They gathered them together after a year and they were all pleased with the current administration and would vote for him again.   They liked him because they 'felt' the economy was getting better:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Industries are booming everywhere I've seen.

SAVIDGE: I look around here and I don't see a boom. 

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, in this area, no, but I feel like there's small businesses that are starting to pick up.  

When asked about what he says and his tweeting the female responded:

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's like tenacious sometimes and says stuff off the cuff, like we do. Like real Americans do. We're not perfect. I'm tired of suave, I'm tired of polished, I'm tired of the teleprompter. I am, I want my country back.

So, I decided to revisit some of what our President has said to be more reassured.
  1. "Part of the beauty of me is that I am very rich. I was always the best at what I did, I was the -- I was, you know, I went to the -- I went to the Wharton School of Finance, did well."
  2. "I created maybe the greatest brand."
  3. "Just -- and so -- so I was successful, successful, successful."
  4. "I was always the best athlete, people don't know that."
  5. "And then people say oh, is he a smart person? I'm smarter than all of them put together, but they can't admit it."
  6. "I've been, you know, pretty successful in the courts over the years, I've been a very successful person, you can check."
  7. "No, I'm not a racist. I'm the least racist person you will ever interview."
  8. "I'm a person that wants to tell the truth. I'm an honest person, and what I'm saying, you know is exactly right."
  9. "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me - consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected."
  10. "Sorry losers and haters, but my I.Q. is one of the highest -and you all know it! Please don't feel so stupid or insecure, it's not your fault."
  11. "I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I'm more honest and my women are more beautiful."
  12. "I think I can't do much better, right?"
  13. "Now, you know, I was a good student. I always hear about the elite. You know, the elite. They're elite? I went to better schools than they did. I was a better student than they were. I live in a bigger, more beautiful apartment, and I live in the White House, too, which is really great."
Now are you totally assured, people?  (No one at Wharton can remember this blusterous personality who had transferred from Fordham and he failed to get his photo in the yearbook and the university did not write a pro-Trump  letter when he was a candidate as other ivy leagues have done, even though the Trumps have donated almost a million to Penn State.)  And yes, I could have listed so many more comments to reassure you about how he is so much better than I.  He talks just like the people I hang out with...hardly.)

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Three Day Weekend--exhausting!

I am spending a three-day weekend in the suburbs of the city child-sitting while parents are off to Las Vegas to celebrate a 50th birthday with old friends. I have three children between the ages of 6 and 12 and one small dog. They are polite, responsible, and smart people. I find that the early-bird twelve-year-old gets up at 6:30 A.M. and is full of tidbits about a game where the angle of the wall and the angle of the projectile make a big difference in whether you run into the wall or go over it and that he has found a way to continue to beat the system, and he also has done the math to figure out how many millions of successes vs. crashes happen over an hour and how long he can leave the game idle with the successful settings....and I really need more coffee.  Breakfast with the others consists of a discussion about food.

I also learned this morning that I had asked each child as they got up whether they were still wearing pajamas or whether that was what they were wearing to school, because their casual school  attire and their casual sleep attire look virtually the same.

The parents have left us a two-page hand-written list of activities and times and addresses.  Included are weekend sports classes, a birthday gift shopping trip along with the time for the party, religious classes and a meals list.  I am exhausted just listening to Dad go through it with me.  Thank goodness these kiddos are independent enough to know what happens next.

They are all off to school and now I sit writing my blog while the little dog looks out the window  and barks at the mailman...clearly a highlight of his day.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Burdens Need Strong Boots

This has been an extremely rough week for those I love and since I have no control over their lives, and can only worry,  I curl up like an abandoned kitten and hide out at my computer and fiddle. When it is too cold to go outside, I do still life photos. These are two pairs of shoes I took from my closet and with filters and layering and some dodging and burning, made a vintage photo to match the subject of the photo. The black boots are my snow boots and the other's are a favorite pair of cowboy boots that I own.

"No temptation[a] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[b] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[c] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it."  Corinthians 10:13   When someone says "God will not give you more than you can handle," please note that this Biblical quote is about temptation and not about the burdens of life.  God WILL give you more than you can handle, and all you have to do is wait if your burdens are light.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

That Extra Layer for Warmth

The ice cold weather is here to stay through the beginning of next week. We have not had such an extensive and harsh freeze for a number of years, so we are trying to adjust. I do not go outside except to grab a quick photo from the dock, or to fill the bird feeders. We check the mail every other day and sometimes even every third day. The roads are not dangerous, but any time spent outdoors is.

Yesterday the brutal winds returned and I am sure they reached peaks of thirty miles per hour. At least the clouds let the sun throw nice shadows. Of course, a cloudless sky means bitter nights. My heater kicks on often and I worry about its age and the amount of fuel left in our tank outside.

So we sit around the wood fireplace and hibernate like two old bears.  I clean out the leftovers in the refrigerator and make hearty soups and stir-fry meals in the old wok.

I spend afternoons baking as we crave the carbs.

I actually have time to scour the Internet and old cookbooks for challenging recipes, because I am not going anywhere and thus not rushing home.

AND of course, I have to exercise  more regularly, because even though these calories keep me warm, they also keep me fat!

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

The Collector

I see two types of people in this world:  those that live a very clean and uncluttered  life.   They get rid of junk, stuff, old memories and sometimes old friends as the new year begins.   They value the  simplicity of a clean start with fresh chances for success.  They strive for a Zen mind.  (I  want to be that type of person but...)

Others are somewhat like me.  They try hard to remove the clutter, but find the memory of the time it was acquired makes them hang on to it.  They refuse to ignore that annoying old friend that contacts them once a year over the holidays to bemoan their life or to brag about it.  I still respond and make attempts at meet-ups that will never happen.  I am not a collector in any formal sense, except for turtle figurines that I used to collect on my travels (never labeled them as to country or state) and which I really no longer collect, after I started putting them in a box!!

There is also my extensive seashell collection that I started when I lived out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in my younger years.   Most of others like these beauties are also in cardboard boxes!

I do save new buttons, just clipped from new garments and put them in a box or a bag never  to be used.  I guess I would have to admit that I have a rather extensive collection in drawers of glitter, beads, yarns, threads, connectors, paints, fabrics, batik tools, ribbons, bits of jewelry, colored papers, bits of craft from my Mother-in-Law...all in my crafting closet in the basement.  I do not use those things much these days, except if the grandchildren come by and want an activity.  They take up an entire closet in the basement!

I have a growing collection of books of poetry, yes, but who does not have shelves of those?  This is just one shelf below.

I can explain how I got here at the beginning of a new year.  I  was standing  looking out the kitchen window  and then decided to take the photo below.  The photo is what motivated this rant,  post on collections for this day.

I am a collector  of bits and bobs of my life.  This is the window sill above my plants in the corner of the kitchen that comes about  after I empty my pockets at the end of the day.  (Left to Right:  seeds, more seeds, a stainless cup I accidentally brought home from a restaurant, a tiny turtle shell, a regular seashell, acorn seeds, a beautiful burl of wood I found, a grouping of oyster shells from a canoe ride, a cardinal feather, and a dried Celosia flower and in the middle background branches from some piece of  coral that had washed  up  on a beach.)

Collections of ephemera in Victorian times were placed in cabinets (Curios) that were  called "Wunderkind", "Cabinets of Wonder" or even whole Wonder Rooms.  Most were filled with collections by scientists.  FDR and Beatrix Potter had such collections, so I am in good company, if not as well organized.