30 Minutes in the Life: April 2021

It’s April, and we have been living under a cloud since mid February, and practicing day to day living. I have not vocalized what the the cloud is, just mentioned that Richard was in hospital. The black cloud we are living under is Stage 4 Metastasized Melanoma. For us this came out of the blue. Richard had been diagnosed with a melanoma in 1987 and had had it removed, a skin graft done, radiation etc. One year later he was back at the doc and they had to remove his lymph nodes. For the next 5 years he was observed and after 5 years, he was NED – no evidence diagnosed. For the last 34 years we have lived as we always had, on the coast, in the sun, paddleboarding, kayaking, camping, suntanning and changing color. We both love the outdoors, and spend a lot of time in the sun. The sun makes me feel good, a color change makes me feel like a new person.

The news we got on February 15th took a lot of processing. We are told that sometimes melanoma can spill to the organs and go dormant for years. On finding out this news you go through stages of disbelief, anger, fear, acceptance, and what’s next. What’s next is 2-3 years of immunotherapy every 3 weeks. He had a bad reaction to the first round and he ended up back in the emergency room after I called 911. Round 2 has gone well. The only side effect is a rash. Tomorrow he will have round 3.

I will confess to be hovering, checking in, wanting to have him leave me notes if he goes out. I think it is driving him nuts. But the reality is that I am worried about the “what if”.

Melanoma is one of the deadly cancers. Metastasized melanoma, means that it has gone from your skin, to your lymph nodes and organs. Richard has melanoma in his small intestine and in the lung. Stat rates are not great, but I believe we have a mighty God, and there is power in prayer. Richard has a multitude of people praying for him, for which I am very grateful.

Day to day living means you continue to work, but time off becomes time together. We are starting to say we need to begin checking off our bucket list. Despite Covid, we are going to start doing things together that takes us away, and out of town.

The other night I suggested that he join me to watch the sun set. He decided he would go walk along the edge of the canal and get his exercise in while I photographed the setting sun.

It was nice to arrive and see old familiar faces and to be able to chat to them. I have been concerned about going out for indefinite periods of time. So this was good for me. One of my good friends just recently lost her husband to cancer, so for me it was reassuring to see her smiling face and to see that she is looking so well.

It was also a good opportunity to meet new folks and to learn a little bit more about them. Richard returned just as the sun was setting and joined us as the sun went down. Chatted a little bit before we left. I know that these are the kind of evenings I want to share with him.

We have a bucket list that we want to get to ticking off. So in the immanent future we are lookin at a trip to Naples in Florida and not in Italy (unfortuantely). Richard would like to go for another sunset cruise, and I am always up for catching the setting sun. As soon as Australia opens up for visitors, Richard has said we need to go. He wants to see his mother and siblings. I have family over there that I would like to see as well.

So much has to change in what and how we do things. Eating habit have had to go almost to the side of vegetarian, lots and lots of my favorite (ugh) green veggies. One of the biggest things to go is sugar. Cancer apparently loves sugar.

Day to day, that is what we now know. Day to day becomes your visual image. While we will plan ahead, we are also limited to the medication regime and the side effects.

So today is my 30 minutes with my husband watching the sun set, and praying that the medication does what it needs to do. If you are a sunseeker like we have been, please consider using sunscreen that provides a significant cover, watch out for odd looking moles, and educate yourself. Australia, Florida, California are listed as the top 3 places for melanoma. I am going to add South Africa to that listed because where we grew up the climate is exactly the same. See a dermatologist and get yourself checked out. This was the first thing I did since Richard came home. I am good, but the peace of mind is so worth it.

Thank you for joining me for another 30 Minutes in the Life. This is a circle blog. It’s a small circle this month. Please follow the link to see what my very talented friend, Janet Crouch Photography, has to share this month.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 Minutes in the Life: November 2020

Female Grackle

For the longest time I have felt like my 70-300mm is just not enough when I walk in the wetlands. However, when I came to replace my existing zoom lens, I was facing bills for my Sims and his lung issues. I was very reluctant to spend over a $1000-00 on a lens. So I bought the cheaper replacement lens. But it bugged me. I still could not get what I wanted

Palm Warbler
Four Spotted Pennant

I, by chance, was looking at a lens group on Facebook and decided to search the lens I had been looking at. It is always a risk to do that as you never know what you are going to get. However, this person was living in the same town as my son. My son also had a Canon camera, so I asked him set up to meet the photographer and check out the lens. If he thought the lens was in good condition, and worth purchasing then to go ahead and get it. The upside it cost half the price of a brand new one.

Female Grackle
Male Grackle

He liked the lens. In fact he liked it so much he informed me that he may have to keep it. Mmmm … no!

Green Heron
Mockingbird

He bought the lens. I had to wait. We were meeting up in Georgia, and I would only be able to get it from him then. He gave me the box and it was like Christmas. I opened up the box, was super excited, and then realized Sigma has different terminology to Canon. That meant I had to do some reading, which I only did when I got back home.

Great Blue Heron

Of course, we did not go straight home. Nope we went to Charleston. You can imagine my patience level. I really wanted to figure this out. Finally we are back home and I can to my reading, do my testing and then I am ready to hit the road this this beaut.

Green Heron

I have named the lens “The Beast”. Why? Because it is pretty darn heavy. It weighs 4.3 pounds. You are dragging this baby around for 2 miles. Not sure if that is what is giving me a sore shoulder but I am going to suck it up and figure out how to make the should area stronger.

Needham’s Skimmer
Green Heron

The first time I walked out, I found a comfortable position to hold the camera. However, what I found is that this lens is heavy and stabilizing the movement was not as easy as I thought. I found myself having to rest my arms on the boardwalk to give some level of stability. It will get better with time I am sure.

Ornate pennant
Little Blue Heron

When I got home I found that my fingers were sore. Obviously I was clutching at the lens.

Black & White Warbler
Four spotted pennant

I can tell you that I am very happy with the lens. I love the images and the ability to get so much closer to the critters just makes me happy.

Iguana
Four spotted pennant

I am have been out a couple of times since then, lugging the beast. I am excited. I just want to see everything in close up these days. What I will say is this lens will not be doing street photography, or travel photography, unless I am hunting wild horses to photograph. I will take this lens to the wetlands and places that I feel will be suitable for it’s use.

Please continue to stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography.   You will definitely love what she shares. I am always inspired with what she has to offer.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 Minutes in the Life: October 2020

This month I am going to do something just a little different for my 30 minutes. I am going to do 30 minutes of editing because it took me way longer than 30 minutes to capture these little guys.

I love dragonflies. Their mechanics are pure perfection. Have you ever looked closely at their wing formation. The design is fantastic. Along with the back of their heads. I am always amazed at what they look like/ I cropped in an image so that you could get a closer look. Their eyes are so huge and they watch every movement you make. Have you ever watched a dragonfly chew? Oh my, it is so cool. So here are a few dragonfly that I captured over 2 days, plus a few of my favorites. I have tried my best to identify them, but I could be wrong. Don’t hold that against me.

Four Spotted Pennant
Eastern Pondhawk
Isn’t the wing formation fantastic and look at all the tiny hairs at the back of its head. Along with the spiny legs. This little guy kept flying in front of me as though he wanted his photo taken.
Eastern Pondhawk

Needhams Skimmer
Blue Dasher
Scarlet Skimmer
Metallic Pennant (maybe)
Eastern Pondhawk
Four Spotted Pennant
Four Spotted Pennant
Needhams Skimmer
Orange Meadowhawk
Eastern Pondhawk
Scarlet Skimmer
Halloween Pennant
Four Spotted Pennant
Needhams Skimmer sitting on snail eggs

The best thing about dragonflies is that they eat the mosquitos. The sad thing is that in the circle of life, they become food for the birds, and the lizards. Red wing Blackbirds love dragonflies and I have seen them shove an entire dragonfly down a chick’s throat.

Redwing Blackbird
Hungry dragonfly eating lizard (since I do not know what it is called). I think it may be a Brown Anole

It’s either feast of famine for the lizard. He was not having a lot of success while I was watching him.

Please continue to stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

30 Minutes in the Life: June 2020

It’s three months into the pandemic and I am watching the US numbers closely. My state is one of those that is spiking. When I first started looking at stats on March 18 the USA had 8500 positive corona virus tests. Today we have 706 830 a of 10:45 am. I was not watching deaths at the time. However today we have 37,175 deaths. My heart grieves for those families who have lost loved ones and who are unable to say their goodbyes properly. 63 510 people have recovered in the USA, that means there are a huge number of people still out there battling with this virus.

Florida on April 10 had 16828 positive tests and 37 deaths. Today they have 114 018 and 3329 deaths. Palm Beach County (where I live) now has 12498 positive cases and 490 deaths. Florida is spiking. Yesterday we had over 5000 new cases, and by the end of today we will be over 9000 new cases. Palm Beach county has now mandated as of yesterday everyone to wear face masks. It’s pretty strict, and it comes with fines if you do not comply. Many are freaking out, me I am good with it. All I need is to get a decent mask. Surgical masks are meant for negative temperatures and South Florida is not cold right now.

Life has changed for me as a result of the virus. I am now permanently working from home. I have to confess, I work pretty well from home. Best news is that I do not have to travel 2 hours a day to work a day. My 10 hour day is now an 8 hour day. I moved my computers home and had Richard and Cameron haul a huge 4 drawer metal filing cabinet up the stairs. If the office wants it back they are going to have to carry it out themselves 🙂

My desktop looks like something from the space shuttle monitoring room. I have my own personal 30 inch computer monitor. I have my work laptop. I also have two 20 inch work monitors. It is nice not to have to have work items on my personal computer, and it is also nice to be able to log directly into the server.

My office has to be a lot tidier these days. We have a zoom meeting at 9:30 am every day. I don’t work Fridays so I can be a little more lapse on the 3 day weekend. I have had to create boundaries as well. I tend to work beyond my hours because I am in my space. Before my meeting, Houdini, the quaker parakeet I rescued, has to be moved out of my office to the other room. He gets to come back at the end of my work day. He is kind of noisy.

I also have to create breaks. When you work in an office you are moving. You get up to go to the printer. You move to the kitchen for that cup of coffee. You head to your bosses office to meet. You are moving without thinking about it. Being at home, my office is complete. The printer is in my office. I make my hot drink when I wake up and my protein shake before my 9:30 meeting. I also bring up a flask of ice water. I am set for the morning. I am not moving.

I set a time on my calendar for lunch, I planned to walk around the community circle. I did that once and decided it was too hot. I moved the fan this morning to the front of the elliptical machine. I guess that is going to have to happen again. Florida is stinking hot right now and we have not even got through July and August.

My home office has become my place to be. Beyond my work day, I head to my couch to watch the news or to read my book. I am glad that I still love my home office space. This virus has definitely made changes in our lives. I was lying on my couch, in my office, the other night and I looked up to see what the sun was doing, when I looked up I saw the light shining on my flower arrangement. I loved the light on the tulips and I love this spiky greenery that makes me think it may be a thistle. Straight away I got up and grabbed my camera with my macro lens and started taking some images.

Just as you think life is opening up, life seems to be closing up again. As Florida spikes so my home office looks more appealing. I am happy to stay at home. I am not keen to be out and about and exposing myself or my family to the virus. My daughter in law has immunity issues. She is vulnerable. I want to do my part to keep her safe. So, I will stay at home as much as I can, and I will wear a mask when I go out. For me, it is the right thing to do.

Please stay safe, wherever you are in the world. Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life. I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Ivana from MaMagare Kidz Photo in Croatia and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook and Instagram pages as well.

You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.

Share Six: May 2020: Simplicity

How does it get to be May already?  Half our year has gone and we are sitting at home watching it go by.  I hope you are all surviving the stay at home period.  This month Lynne chose the theme {Simplicity} and that works for me.

On my last trip to the grocery store to get bread and milk, I bought some tulips.  They are simple yet beautiful flowers.  They don’t last long and I bought three bunches of them.  The sad part is, like roses, they die way to quickly.

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Taken in the evening as the sun shone through the window just catching the tip of the flowers.

 

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Reflections on a dirty window.  Sadly it is a second story window and I am not climbing up to clean the outside of it.

 

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The beautiful simplicity of a single bud.

 

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Daylight and they are all stretched up high and facing the day.

 

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Each bud is is perfect in it’s simplicity and design

 

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I love how this bud has opened up so that we can see the stigma of the plant so clearly.

 

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Simplicity at it’s best.

Thank you for joining me for this month’s Share Six blog post.  This is a circle blog.  I love sneak peaks – they are always amazing.  This is an incredibly talented group of ladies.  Please take time to visit my friend and very talented artist Elizabeth from It’s Still Live Photography by Elizabeth Willson and see what she has for you this month. To check out her Facebook page click here and her Instagram page here.

Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their page as well.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_simplicity

 

 

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30 Minutes in the Life: December 2019: Festive Five

Ever since I have been a part of 30 minutes in the life, we have done a Festive Five theme at Christmas.  We are very conscious of the fact that this is a busy time of the year and each and every one of us has something going on.

Mine is a couple more than 5 and one I did not take but have added in to finish off the photo blog.

Christmas is always my favorite time of the year.  I love having the family gather in one place for a meal.  Over the years growing up I remember my fathers family all gathering together.  As a married adult, I gathered family at my home each Christmas.  Not only my immediate family and my brother’s wife’s family, but Richard’s family and their families in-laws as well, along with my adopted brother and his family.  So often we all want to spend Christmas day together and if it all works out that we can be together I love to do that.

Christmas is about love.  My love for my Lord, who in Himself was Love Incarnate. My love for my family.  My love for my jolly little fella’s who I lovingly unwrap each year and hang on the tree.  My love for decorating and making the home look festive and my love for sitting at a Christmas table and looking at the faces of those I love, admire and respect.

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I only bake once a year.  It is at Christmas time.  This is when I remember my mother and how she would bake up a storm.  I pull out her shortbread recipe and I bake more than enough for the season.  This year got a little more technical.  I had to bake normal shortbread, gluten free shortbread, and vegan shortbread.  I take time to be grateful that I have the opportunity to be able to bake this variety because it means that I have my children in my life.

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I climb up in the attic after Thanksgiving and pull all my buddies down that I have collected over the years.  My penguin is about 25 years old.  My mother in law made it for me one year.  I love that I still have him and that I can remember how talented she was when it came to sewing.  Another thing that I am not very good at. My Santa was given to me by a friend about 10 years ago and I love to see him out and on display.  My snowman was given to me more recently.

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My Christmas tree is decorated in jolly little fella’s.  It feels like I am finally seeing my little friends again.  This year I added 5 new Santa’s to my collection.  They come in all shapes and sizes and I try to always look for something different.  This year this guy was one of the newbies.  I also found a bottle top Santa that was pretty cool.  Each one is hung in a specific place, with my favorites being front and center.

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In addition, I wanted to remember the family members who have been in our lives for so many years.  However, we do not necessary have typical names.  Mine is Sharleen, my mother was Daphne, my mother in law Yolande.  I cannot find Christmas ornaments with those names.  I am still looking.  I may eventually have to buy some that I can write the names on.  However, I did find one that had my nickname, Charlie, so that is hanging on the tree in place of my name for now.

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The other memory I wanted to include is our pets.  So this year I looked all over for different types of pets.  I found a few.  My Noddy was a sausage dog (Dachshund) when I was growing up.  We had Labradors as well, Duke and Monty.  Richard and I had Flash a beautiful German Shepherd with a pedigree longer than ours.  We also had Bella, a Rottweiler.  Mika was our white German Shepherd.  Over the years we have had Oliver, a tuxedo cat, who has an ornament with angel wings.  He was the best.  Then we had Moonshine, a little all black cat.  We got Simba, our street rescue, who is a tabby kind of cat and he holds my heart.  Finally our last addition has been Mirrabel or Ms Moo as I call her.  She came to stay when we took someone in for a period of time.  Her owner left and she stayed.  That was 2 years ago.  She is mine now.  She is our scaredy cat who runs at the sounds of unknown voices.  However, she is also rapidly becoming my cat.  She has found her place on my stomach at night and loves to cuddle.  The ornament above represents Mirrabel, our little gray and white cat.

Christmas 2019: December 25, 2019:

Lastly I love to set the Christmas table and make it look pretty.  I really don’t do snowmen but I did love these two when I was out shopping.  Added to that everything has snowmen on them,  I got snowman plates and napkins.  I tied their napkin together with a letter ornament. I gathered a few other snowman ornaments.  Initially I wanted snowmen snow globes but I wasn’t finding exactly what I wanted.  I had a runner in tartan that I forgot to put out but maybe I will use it next year 🙂 Oh and white beads in all sizes make great snowballs.

Below is an image of each place setting which my daughter-in-law took, because I was in the kitchen getting everything ready and forgot to do it.  Thanks to Kathryn I have another place setting to remember.  Every so often I go back and look at the different designs I have had over the years and remember the folks that have sat at the table and smile and know that I have been blessed to be able to share that little bit of time together with others.

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I do hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.  As this year rapidly draws to a close, I would like to wish you a very Happy New Year.  I hope that this coming year is filled with family and friends, new and old, laughter and joy, good memory making moments.

In my mothers tradition, I will once again put outside the front door, a cookie, a drink, and a piece of coal.  May there always be food in the house, something to drink and may you never go cold.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this incredible journey in time. Remembering is what I do and I love to do it.  Just a reminder that this is a circle blog, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Jess of the Art of Adventure and see what she has for you this month.  I am pretty  excited to learn more about these wonderful ladies from all over the world.  I would certainly encourage you to visit their pages.  
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Thirty Minutes in the Life: October 2017

Knowing that I was going to have surgery, I took some time to go out and pre-shoot some images so that I would be able to keep up with my blogs.  Today I am sharing some images taken at the Butterfly World.

I am always amazed at the beauty of creation.  Butterflies encompass that beauty and the unique creativity that we see in this world around us.

The aviary was tropical, hot and humid.  My lens kept fogging up, I was glistening, and overheated, and being bitten by mosquito, but it was so worth the visit.  I may well have to go back in the winter and enjoy spending a couple of hours just watching their beautiful angels flutter around.

Butterfly World: June 16, 2017:

Tree Nymph

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Blue Morpho – this shows a tiny bit of the blue that the upperside of their wings looks like.

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Piano Key

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Malachite

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Piano Key

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Piano Key

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This could be an owl butterfly

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Blue Morpho – The upperside of their wings is a beautiful blue color

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Piano key

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Piano Key

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Malachite

Butterfly World: June 16, 2017:

Piano Key

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Malachite

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Piano Key

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Possibly Rosina

Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life.  Please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger in Germany  Sonia of Sonia Epple Fotographie and see what she has for you this month.   Keep following the circle of photographers to see what the other photographers, from the US and around the world,  have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.

You can also find me on FacebookFlickrInstagramViewbug and Google+

 

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