Two legs
Two arms
A face and a nose
Parts that all work
That should be enough

Running water
A roof over my head
That should be enough

A husband
A home
Purring kitties at my feet
That should be enough

I will keep repeating
That IS enough


I'd love to take credit for the illustrations in this post, but, alas, I cannot.
They are fun graphics generated by A&E's website madmenyourself.com.
I did think it was fun that one of the backgrounds to choose from was the bedroom above.
It looks a lot like my own bedroom.

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Finding creative motivation through flickr

The County Fair
"The County Fair"
collage created for flickr Creative Challenge group's weekly challenge "Collages"

One my greatest sources of inspiration are the creative communities that exist at flickr. There's a group for just about every niche, hobby or interest you can imagine. And within those groups are wonderfully talented individuals that "gather" to share and support others with like interests.

Not very long ago, a new group was formed by a very talented woman whose flickr handle is Simply Hue (aka Vicki Dvorak from the blog Simply Hue). The group is simply entitled Creative Challenge. As a challenge group, the purpose is to "motivate us as artists, photographers, and designers to keep our work fresh and new". Vicki presents a challenge each week and if we choose, we can share our own interpretation of that challenge theme.

This week's challenge was simply "collages" with no boundaries other than that. Last week was "your favorite color" with the only rules being "post anything (illustrations, collages, photos, mixed media work) that includes your favorite color! The work you submit should have about 75 percent of your favorite color with a few other colors sprinkled in" (my interpretation to last week's challenge is found below).

I've mentioned several times that being part of the flickr community is a lot like being in a master of arts seminar. I feel enlivened by the work of others, inspired by their views of the world, and buoyed up in my own creative attempts by their kind comments and insights on my own work. Flickr has been responsible for a great deal of my creative growth over the past couple of years. I can safely say that without it I probably wouldn't have pushed myself and discovered new styles of creative communication. I am so grateful for the technology that makes this wonderful phenomenon possible!

My favorite color...
"My Favorite Color: Ballet Slipper Pink"
created for flickr Creative Challenge group's weekly challenge "Your Favorite Color"
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Look up to see the music... look up to see the magic

Look up to see the music...

"Look up to see the music... look up to see the magic"

As I've read the feedback I've received on my last few images of the fair, I've contemplated how different people see things through different eyes and perspectives. The reflection caused introspection and finally it dawned on me one of the main reasons why I see the world from a childlike perspective... I'm short!

Unlike the rest of my family, I wasn't blessed with physical height. I am 5'2" on a good day, shorter on most, and probably getting shorter as I get older. Because I've never had the pleasure of being tall, I've spent my life looking up to have conversations with just about everyone except small children.

When one spends one's life looking up just to function, one creates a habit of generally looking in the upwards direction even when not carrying on conversations with those that are vertically blessed.

A child's world is also filled with a lot of looking up. And it is always amazing to me what a child can see that adults around them don't see. Is it because adults have gotten into the habit of looking down?

Down is where there's lint in the corners that needs to be vacuumed. Down is where there's gum on the pavement you don't want to step on. Down is where the plate of spaghetti fell when it slipped from your hand and onto the newly mopped kitchen floor.

But up...

Up is where the birds sing and dreams fly. Up is where the little wish fairies fly after you've blown them off a spent dandelion. Up is where music lilts and floats on the same breeze that carries the smells of homemade bread, apple pie and hot chocolate chip cookies. Up is the direction that a child looks to meet your gaze and know how much you love her without you speaking a single word.

This week, I finally figured out that my "vertically challenged" state has blessed me with a suspended state of looking up... looking up to see the music... looking up to see the magic.
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Fresh hot buttered popcorn

Fresh hot buttered popcorn

We have our favorite old movie theatre here in our area that has all the original elaborate architectural details of times gone by. I remember the first time I visited a similar movie theatre when I was a kid. I was enthralled with the ornate beauty and was a bit disappointed when the lights had to go down for the movie to start. I still have similar feelings when Hubby and I visit the vintage theatre we love.

When I was working on the above piece, I wanted to capture all those feelings somehow--the feelings of sitting and eating something fresh like the hot buttered popcorn while admiring the ambiance of the beautifully aged vintage theatre that surrounds us. It's a happy kind of paradox of emotions, and I think I captured a bit of it.

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Souvenirs (No. 2 of "The Fair is in Town" series)
"Souvenirs" No. 2 in the Series "The Fair is in Town"

Pink and turquoise-aqua... one of my favorite color combinations... you can imagine what delight I had when I spotted this souvenir stand at the fair. I felt like a little kid again when I thought every bright light in the night meant the fair was in town.

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The Fair is in Town

The carnival has come to town...
"Pomegranate Jewels" No. 1 in The Fair is in Town series

With kettle-korn and sno-cones
Cotton candy and bright lights
Frozen lemonade
On warm summer nights
Pomegranate jewels turn on
As the sun goes down
Everyone knows
The fair is in town.

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Photographic serendipity

Up High, Down Low
"Up high, down low" taken at Pismo Beach June 25, 2010

As we strolled along the beach just down from where we were staying in Pismo Beach last weekend, I had my camera in hand ready to take shots of whatever struck my fancy. I was mostly on a hunt for great textures to use as Photoshop overlays, but I'll never pass up a chance to take advantage of what I call "photographic serendipity"--those moments that are so perfect yet so fleeting that if I don't snap the shutter quickly, I'll have missed it. It's those candid moments that I am always on the lookout to find and shoot.

I had several of those fantastic moments as we took our stroll. The first is the shot above with the family ascending the stairs after spending the afternoon playing at the beach.

The second is the shot below. I saw these darling sandals sitting on the wall up close to the bluff and got behind them for macros. Then the girls appeared in the background and the rest was... well... "photographic serendipity".

Kick off your shoes... and play.
"Kick off your shoes... and play" taken at Pismo Beach June 25, 2010
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Distant conversations

"Distant Conversations" taken at Pismo Beach June 25, 2010

A week ago today, Hubby and I took a drive down the state of California a couple hundred miles to spend an overnighter at Pismo Beach. I was grateful to escape the heatwave that was hitting our part of the state and drive to the coast where it never seems to get too hot. As we always do on road-trips, we talked a lot and then we listened to an audio book together. I think the time spent in the car on the way there is almost as rewarding as the time spent at the destination.

To our delight, our accommodations included a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean. After the sun went down, we discovered another delightful surprise. If we opened our balcony door we were being serenaded by the sound of the surf crashing on the beach not far away and the cool ocean breezes fluttered gently into our room.

The coolest thing about this whole trip was that Hubby had gotten our accommodations from a co-worker that had redeemed his frequent flier miles for a hotel voucher and then couldn't use it before the expiration. So he offered it to Hubby for $100. It was the best $100 we've ever spent on a hotel room!
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