Posted on February 28, 2015
I traveled to Gainesville to stay with my daughter Amy while she had surgery. Her surgery was done on Wednesday morning. Thursday Xeno, the pet rat, had surgery. Mom had two patients to take care of. Amy was pretty easy. The meds kicked in and she slept. Xeno on the other hand, was a lot harder. The poor little mite did not understand the need for a great big collar on her tiny neck. For a good part of Thursday I had to hold her just to keep her still.
Friday Amy felt a little better and the meds did help. Around lunch time she asked if I would like to go to Paynes Prairie State Park. I had mentioned that I had seen a photo of wild horses and was really keen to get out and see if I could find them. So with a swollen face, Amy graciously and courageously went out with me.
I went with all the details and so we made out way to the furthest point of the park where the horses had been seen, parked the car, and started to walk.
Walking through the forest was kind of chilly. I am fascinated by the Spanish moss that drapes the trees. The walkways are quiet and restful. Occasional benches are set along the way for folk to rest.
Vines dangle in mid air from the trees above.
Walking through the forest did not take to long, We did not see any wild horses in that section much to my disappointment. Through the stile and off we go along a dirt road that has obvious signs that horses have been out this way.
So far we have got to see a Cardinal.
And the real thrill, was to see a Bald Eagle in the wild. Such a majestic bird, that swooped in and settled on a stump not too far from us.
The area is very dry and the grasses are in abundance and my sinuses are not happy.
For some reason and I am not sure what it is, some of the images have a crazy pattern in the background. I am not sure if there was something on the lens or not, but I have re-edited a couple of times and they are still there. So I am going to leave the crazy patterns.
It is a beautiful day for strolling along the pathway. I wish we had walked further but my feet are not up to the long walk. Amy’s meds were also starting to wear off and she was ready to head on home. That aside we had left Xeno long enough.
Back up into the forest and the cool air once again.
I have to confess to being a little disappointed that I did not get to see wild horses, but like anything in nature you may see it and you may not and it really is the luck of the draw. I got to see a Bald Eagle in the wild and I got time with Amy.
I had asked Amy to model for me with a red umbrella. I only wanted one image but she really got into the swing of things and we go a whole series of them. For more on the umbrella story you can click here.
This was my last day with Amy before I head on home. I was so glad to be able to be up there when she had her surgery. As a mom, I always worry about my children and when I know that they are hurting or have to have a general anesthetic, I want to be there with them. Gainesville is an interesting town and I enjoyed spending a few days there, but it is back to work and the routine of an office again.
“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society, where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more”
~ George Gordon Byron
This is a circle blog so remember to go and check out what the other photographers have for you. Up next is LUPJi Photography and just a little hint – look out for the snow. As a Floridian, I have to be honest, I envy those who get to see snow, and yet I cannot begin to imagine spending too much time in the snow. I will freeze.
Posted on February 27, 2015
I am cabin bound. Amy is sleeping and Xeno is curled in tight against her. Still can’t get over how a rat cuddles. If they weren’t so stinky I think I would have one for a pet as well. I decided to embrace the cold weather and head outside for a walk.
Weeds abound on the edges of the road.
Old houses, my favorite kind, are in abundance in this area. I loved looking at each of them. My favorite was the house with the red door.
Spanish Moss hangs from trees where ever you look.
I loved this little building for the Progressive Church Administration Office.
The house that I was staying in had a chimney. I am not sure this has ever been used.
This little plant was blowing in the chilly wind.
My favorite was of course all the cats that strolled the streets. There seems like there is a large amount of cats. Perhaps many of them were feral.
I loved the stretching this guy did as he woke up from lying in the limited rays of sun.
Time to head off and meet up with all the other cats.
The all congregated outside the door of the local hairdresser. Walk Ins Welcome seemed to be the appropriate sign for these guy.
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.”
~ John Muir, John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir
Posted on February 23, 2015
Day 2 was Xeno’s surgery day. Mom will now have two patients to watch. Xeno developed a mammary tumor that has kept getting bigger and bigger at a fairly rapid pace. So Amy decided that it needed to be removed. While prepping for surgery the vet found two smaller tumors. I cannot for the life of me begin to visualize surgery on a tiny rat, but clearly it can be done.
Our day started out pretty cold, somewhere down near 32 F or 0 C for those working in metric. That is cold for this African and reminded me of the old Pretoria days, where we had gas heaters and electric blankets in winter. Somehow that seems kind of silly for Florida, the apparent “Sunshine State”. I guess it is down south, but not in Gainesville. It is dry and bitterly cold.
We discovered that Xeno would be spending the day at the vet. After surgery she would be monitored. We could pick her up at 4:30. So what to do? Amy seemed to be feeling fine. Her mouth did not hurt and there was no swelling. All in all it seemed to be going well. So, since I had mentioned it, she asked me if I would like to go to the Sante’ Fe Rehabilitation and Teaching Zoo. Cameron had told me it was a place to visit and so I agreed. I will however start out by saying that while I will visit a zoo, I am not a big fan of animals in cages, even big cages. I also discovered from a photographers point of view bars are not what I want in my photo’s.
The White Headed Capuchin Monkey is a smallish black and white character and are catergorized as new world monkeys. They are commonly found in Central America. They are very instrumental in dispersing seeds and pollen in the rainforrest.
The Guanaco is part of the camel family and can be found in South America, typically in arid areas. This Guanaco had us chuckling with the sultry looks on her face. At one stage she looked like she was blowing a kiss.
Signs of winter are all over and I have really enjoyed seeing them. Living in South Florida we rarely see the true signs of winter. We go from a deep shade of green to a yellow shade of green but we never see the autumn colors of reds, yellows, oranges and greens.
The White Handed Gibbon is a primate. There were two in this cage – a dark brown Gibbon and this sandy colored Gibbon. The natural home to these Gibbons is Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand.
I walked around the corner to find Amy taking a photograph of something.
Turns out it was this gorgeous Kookaburra. The bird was incredibly active and it was hard to get a photo of it and then to try and focus on the bird and not on the cage wires. The Kookaburra is a type of Kingfisher and is native to Australia and New Guinea.
I am not sure what this was about but it did have something to do with Bees, and their nest building.
I felt like I was back in my homeland in this section of the zoo. The Leopard tortoise is found in the savannas of eastern and southern Africa, from Sudan to the southern Cape and is distinctive by its size and markings.
Added to that we were able to see the national animal of South Africa, the beautiful and gracefull Springbok. They run extremely fast, at times reaching speeds of 62mph or 100km/h. They tend to spring as they are running, hence the name.
The Ocelot is know as the dwarf leopard. They are typically found in South and Central America and on the islands of Trinidad and Margarita. These Ocelot pair were brought in for breeding purposes.
We meandered on through the trees, enjoying the quiet, restful environment.
I always like to catch photo’s of Amy whenever I have the chance because she does not live at home, and soon will be living a continent away. I am trying to spend as much time as I can with her over the next few months.
We moved on to the reptile area where the only way to view critters was through a glass window. Not my idea of fun and the photo’s are not what I would like them to be, however I did like these two. The top image is of the Florida Softshell Turtle, that I see quiet often in the wetlands. The lower image is of my least favorite creatures but I did try to catch the narrow depth of field with this snake. I believe that it is a Dusky Pygmy Rattlesnake.
Last but not least were the beautiful and protected bird of prey, the American Bald Eagle. Both of these had been injured and were being treated at the Zoo. This was a first for me and I cannot begin to explain how beautiful this bird is. The Bald Eagle feeds mainly on fish and you will typically find them where there is a large body of water.
“You become excellent when you fly at a level that creates a wide gap between where you were before and where you are now. Fly like the eagle; the eagle flies as if it never remembered it was once an egg!”
~ Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes.
Our day ended with us picking up Xeno. Poor little thing. It is pitiful to see a rat in a collar. She did not like it but since her little body looked like a tapestry, she had to have it on to protect her stitches. Added to that out of no where the bone graft pain arrived and the swelling quickly happened to Amy. Poor Amy, Poor Xeno. Mom got to nurse them both.
Amy quickly crashed as the meds took effect but Xeno was still struggling with her collar. One forgets that rats and other rodent type critters eat with their hands and so we had to remove her collar every time she needed to eat or drink. That night I kept this tiny rat as quiet as possible while Amy slept through the pain.
What mom’s will do for their children. I have to confess, since coming home, I have missed this little critter, as well as my daughter. I look forward to spending a brief amount of time with her in March.
If you are interested Road Tripping to Gainesville day 1 can be found here.
Posted on February 23, 2015
You are probably asking …”Why Gainesville?”. Simple – my daughter lives there. She is a graduate biding time, waiting to leave for the Peace Corps. In December, Amy had an accident where she fractured the bone in her upper jaw. Six weeks later, she was now ready to have her bone graft to repair the damage. For me, if my baby is having surgery, that’s exactly where I want to be.
Wednesday morning we headed off the the surgical rooms. Amy was so ready for this to happen. My thought was that during the 2 hours that she was having surgery I would wander around on campus taking photo’s. Well the surgical police had a different agenda for me. Here is there chair where you will wait for 2 hours while she has her surgery…..ah no thank you. But she was very insistent.
So I mumbled something about taking my jacket and coffee cup to the car and I would be back shortly….Yay freedom.
Here is just a few photo’s from the walk to and from my car….my very slow walk. Winter is in full force in Gainesville. The colors are beautiful. They air is dry and dusty. My sinuses were already killing me….
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
~ John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
Amy’s surgery went well. In fact she felt fine, probably the meds at work. But we took it easy for the rest of the day. Hung out and watched movies.
Tomorrow is another day and Xeno is up for surgery. Xeno in case you are wondering, is Amy’s pet rat.
Posted on February 23, 2015
I have to confess, that I am a little envious of artists who can create beautiful images on a canvas. I like to doodle. I think I doodle well. I know you can make out what I am doodling, but to take a picture in your mind or one that you are looking at it, and create something big out of it, that is a gift. I did art at school, although I have to say pottery was my favorite part of the art class.
About 8 months ago I saw an image in a photography group and I had to ask where it had been taken. Lake Worth Street Painting was the answer. This weekend was the 2015 event, and I decided that we needed to go to it. Weather permitting of course. Friday was freezing. Saturday was overcast, but the promise of rain was only 25%. We decided to head out around the middle of the day as we thought that may be the warmest. And yes I know all the folk in the north are shaking their heads at me, but this African likes warm weather.
The roads were blocked off and after a short walk we arrived at the hustle and bustle of street artists, ranging from very young children up to the professionals.
It was hard to decide where to start my 30 minutes and where to end it. There was so much incredible work. What a riot of color and noise. This was a fun day, of artists, and music, and restaurants and take outs and beer.
I love graffiti and so I really enjoyed seeing what folk had to offer. This face caught my attention right off. It was dark and brooding and intriguing.
Fun, cartoonish and full of color.
Quite often the artist would have the work she was creating on a sheet in front of her, and so where I saw that I tried to capture it as well.
Work in progress was all over the place, and it was easy to see the designs taking shape. Perhaps we had gone a little bit early but I think we still enjoyed what was being created.
Knee pads graced knees, chalk dust graced butts.
We arrived at the food and drink area. On a podium in the park was live music. Take out caravans lined the streets. Food was in all varieties. Chinese take out, Philly Cheesesteaks, Gyros, cheese stuffed corn cakes, crab cakes. I could go on. And of course, there was beer. This wall resonated with me. I have seen this done before but never with the words “Before I die… I want to…” Makes you stop and think. I have a bucket list of things I want to do before I die.
Intensive concentration as they work to create their image. I am sympathizing – this event goes all weekend. To be on your knees and crouched in this position is going to be seriously painful by Sunday evening.
Of all the work, this had to have been my favorite. I am in a real black and white mode these days and this quickly grabbed my attention.
These young guys were creating a piece of artwork in the depiction of Jesus. They had outlined and were beginning to fill in. I overheard a conversation a lady was having with them. She asked them if they would like to be part of the event next year and they eagerly agreed that they would like to be a part of the 2016 event.
Another piece that spoke to my soul was the face with tears. I loved it. I loved the simplicity and the vulnerability I found in this image.
I am not sure how this woman can stand and work like that for the length of time she did. I can only assume she practices that crouching position daily. There ain’t no way my body would be able to do that. 🙂
Last image of the event. I am always impressed by the ability to create 3D artwork. You often see work of artist that will have you falling into a hole. This photo truly was like that. What creativity this woman has.
I will confess that I probably went 4 minutes over the 30 minutes. However, this is only half of the images that I saw today. It was a fun event, and I for sure will head on back there next year. It was time to head home, the sky was cloudy and dark and I kept thinking I hope it does not rain on their parade. To have all this incredible artwork washed away in one down pour would be so disheartening.
Talking rain – it certainly rained on our parade driving home. I hope that the rain stayed west and did not go east.
“It is good to love many things, for therein lies the true strength, and whosoever loves much performs much, and can accomplish much, and what is done in love is well done.”
~ Vincent van Gogh
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 minutes. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my friend, Olivia Gatti :: Click Click Love and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have for you.
P.S. I have a busy month ahead. Look out for the images from Gainesville coming up in this week. The Renaissance Festival is running and I will be heading their next weekend. The Theme for the weekend will be the Orient. I wanted the Warlords and the theme from Mordor, but I am traveling to Georgia that weekend and then to Nashville the following weekend. I guess I am going to have a lot of blogging coming up.
Posted on February 15, 2015
This past week, I spent 5 days with my daughter Amy. She had to have a bone graft and I wanted to be with her when it was done, and be there to nurse her if she needed her mommy, in the days that followed. We mistakenly believed that this surgery had been easier than the original accident that caused the need for the bone graft. However, 36 hours after the surgery her face started to swell and the pain kicked in. However, knowing that I wanted to go and look for wild horses at the Prairie, she bravely went out with me late Friday after taking her pain meds. We did not walk much, and I did not get to see the wild horses, but I did get quality time with my child.
Beyond that I had asked her if she would model for me so that I could get one photo of a red and black umbrella. Well Amy got into the swing of things and for a while I started thinking Mary Poppins. I chose not to take close ups of her face because truthfully it is swollen. She looks like she has had botox, poor child. But she was a real sport working with me.
Here is my take on the topic “Same”. Same umbrella, different poses, different colors, some without color.
As of today we heard the news that Amy will be leaving the USA on Sept 11 (her birthday) and joining up with the Peace Corp to teach in Macedonia. She is excited and ready for this. Mom is excited for her, but I am going to miss her a lot. I am going to have to start saving to visit her. Life experiences grow us all and she has had a few hard ones since December but she is strong and I have not doubt in my mind that she is going to love exploring new places.
“A bit of magic. It’s easy. You think. You wink. You do a double blink. You close your eyes… And jump”.
~ A quote from the film Mary Poppins.
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