Tell Me a story: June 2020

I have to confess that being stuck at home makes it hard to come up with new blogs each month. However, this month I happened to read about the Saharan Sand Storm that was moving across the Atlantic ocean towards the USA. Who would believe that a sandstorm would cross 5000 miles of ocean to affect another continent. The storm is predicted to impact Florida and Texas, and then head up even as far as Canada. One of the positives of the sandstorm is apparently sunsets, so I headed out to the Everglades National Park to catch the sunset.

Of course, I was not alone. There were plenty of folk out watching the sunset. This seems to have become the go to place just lately. I have been there on evenings when I am one of 5, and the place is really creepy and lonely, and when it get’s dark it really gets dark.

I guess every photographer had the same idea, lets see what we can get from the Sandstorm. And for each one of us, the evening definitely showed up. There were also just folk around watching the sunset. My struggle is how to social distance in this situation where there are too many people in a small area. I was able to walk away from the crowd to some extent. Added to that Palm Beach County mandated masks in public places and half the crowd had a face covering missing. Given that Florida’s Corona Virus numbers are spiking daily (3 days ago it was approximately 5000, 2 days ago in the upper 8000’s, yesterday was 9585 and today we are at 8530 and it is not even 2 pm), I am all for people wearing a mask. I have a few medical friends who have clearly stated that you do not want to be intubated. It is not fun.

I still don’t have a new zoom lens, so get in close to the sunset is still not happening, but I keep looking. Now that we are not traveling overseas, I may use my savings to get one. Simba needs to get his infected tooth out first (which is happening this week). Taking a cat to have a tooth removed, is like having a crown put on a human. Yikes. Hopefully I will be able to get both done soon.

I loved the layers of cloud, and I hope that some of this was contributed by the sand storm.

So what causes a Saharan dust storm. It does appear that the evaporation of water, along with the earth warming causes a shelf of sand between the dessert in the north and the savannah in the south causes dust to form. Smaller storms cause downdrafts, resulting in dust storms developing. Large amounts of dust are lifted into the atmosphere. The African Easterly Jet, a strong wind, was weak this June, and this allowed for more dust to accumulate on the west coast of Africa. When the wind picks up again, it then transports a very dense mass of dust.

What we are seeing now is the results of the storm across the southern states of the USA. Added to that, there appears to be another one coming through within the week. This one is set to affect south Florida more densely, so the scientists say.

Whether I saw some effects of the Saharan Sand Storm or not, I loved the effects of the clouds.

There are definitely some pro’s to the sand storm. Apparently sand storms love dry air. Hurricanes hate dry air. So while we are seeing sand storms, we are less likely to see hurricanes. I hope that is true because I am anticipating an active hurricane season. Temperatures in South Florida are high, and the air is oppressive. When it does rain, it may cool things down briefly, but then the humidity level escalates, and I am back to feeling miserable again. Richard, who loves the heat, has mentioned a few times that the air conditioning is a welcome relief just lately.

Another positive of these sand storms is that apparently, is that these dust storms bring much needed soil and nutrients to Florida and to the islands around us. The Amazon Rain Forest also receives their nutrients from these dust storms.

Apparently the sand storms also bring nutrients to the ocean in the form of phosphorus, which is a vital nutrient for growth. Who would believe it, but it is said that alga loves dust. The negative is that red tide apparently loves dust as well. We know what red tide does and we do not necessarily want that in Florida. That is a swimmers nightmare. Although that would be one way to keep people away from the beaches in this Covid-19 period.

A big positive for me is the beauty the dust causes to the sunset. Dust particles scatter the sun rays and leave us with an awesome sunrises and sunsets. Milky skies and the colors seen, will be dark oranges and reds..

There are a number of down sides to the dust storm as well. Microorganisms harmful to humans and plant life may get caught up in the dust storms. Fungal spores and bacteria may also be carried in the dust storms, which may cause harm to coral reefs.

Another negative affects people with respiratory issues, allergies, etc. Have you ever been off road riding where you are causing dust as a result of some crazy driving. I have, and my allergies kill me. Sometimes those dust particles in the storm don’t stay in the upper levels, and drop down and affect us. If you are not wearing a mask for Covid-19, you may want to reconsider the mask for the dust storms coming through. You do not want to land up in hospital with breathing issues, especially with Covid-19 spiking in a lot of areas that the dust storm will affect.

Unlike the dust storm, Alligators are native to Florida and a trip to the Everglades would be a bust if you did not see one. Of course it does help is there is someone fishing. The gator is curious and interested in what is being caught, it’s probably interested in the fisherman as well to be honest.

This particular evening was pleasant, even wearing a mask. Right now I have a handful of surgical masks. They are great except that they are supposed to be worn in freezing cold temperatures during surgery. That makes them extremely hot to wear. But if I can protect myself, and protect my family, while protecting you, I am willing to do it. It just makes sense for me.

Of course if you have the opportunity to share the sunset with a loved one, or a friend, this would be the perfect place to visit. The skies this evening were a splendor for the eyes. Ironically when I left home, I was not sure that I was going to get much.

We did the same as these folks a month or so ago. Richard gets antsy and needs to do something. We took our chairs, our mugs of wine, and we headed out to go and watch the beauty of God’s creation.

The night is done, I have packed up and am walking back to my car, when I take one last look. Yes there are still some photographers, hanging on, waiting to get the last shot, or just catching up with one another. This is the beauty of meeting other photographers at places like the Everglades National Park. We all love creation and the magnificence of it.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Beth from Beth’s Photoblog is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share

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.

30 Minutes in the Life: May 2020

The stay at home is kind of lifting in Florida, we’re in Phase 1. I confess to being a little skeptical about numbers in Florida. That said I have been at home for the past 2 months with a partner who hates to sit still. Me I love it. I love working from home, although I need to learn when to stop. That is probably my biggest problem. You don’t pack up and drive an hour home, so you carry on working. I am getting better, but even as I write this over the long weekend, I know there are things I need to do.

For the past few weeks I have noticed some friends heading out to the local section of the Florida Everglades, Loxahatchee National Park. I mentioned to Richard that it was open and that if he wanted to go out we could go there and hopefully not encounter to many people. This is typically my sunset spot and on any given night it is kind of lonely and there may be at most 10 of us.

Right now, I have not been going to the park because my zoom lens died and I have yet to get another one. I am challenged with what I want. Of course, I want the 150-600mm lens so that I can get up to the eyeball of the creature that I am photographing but the thought of carrying that lens around has me reconsidering. I also want a lens I can travel with.

So we headed out with our chairs, our tumblers of wine, and I took along my 17-40 mm lens, and my 24-135 mm lens. So no close up of the sun heading down, but that was okay because it turned out there was no visual of the sun and the evening was very cloudy.

When we got to the park half of the county was visiting as well. So we tried to practice social distancing and set up our chairs away from folk and then sipped wine as we waited for the sun to set.

In these images I played around with my 17-40 mm lens and I really loved the super wide angle the this lens offers. I cannot wait to use it in different settings.

In these images I switched to my 28 – 135 mm lens. This was the closest I was going to be able to zoom into the horizon.

I had bought the 18 -40 mm lens after using my daughters fish eye in Rochester. We were also supposed to be on the road in August, or rather on a plane 😦 , and I wanted the 18-40mm lens because I had visions of super wide open images. However, I am not sure that I see this happening. I am going to be pretty disappointed if it doesn’t. We had plans to visit my son in law’s family in Macedonia, and the kids were going to have a wedding reception for his family.

We were heading from there down to the Lake at Ohrid in Macedonia and then on to Skopje. From Macedonia we were off to Croatia, starting out Dubrovnik, then heading up to Split. then further north to Zagreb. From there I had plans to head to Berlin. I have traveled through places in Germany, but never to Berlin.

So with all that potentially on hold, I kind of suggested that maybe by the end of the year Australia may be an option. This is a trip we really need to do. So we have to weigh up where this virus is going to take us in a few months and what international travel is going to look like. Do we really want to be on a plane again? And landing in a foreign country may mean having to go into quarantine for 2 weeks. That’s like your vacation time. May as well just stay at home.

Looks like the virus is going to rain on our parade. As did the clouds in the distance. Fortunately for us, it never made it to where we were sitting.

We were happy to be honest, just to be outdoors and for me taking the sunset again. I tried to use people where I could to create silhouettes.

Silhouettes are a favorite of mine and there is that part where you don’t have to pose someone and the look is kind of natural and they are not aware that you are taking their pic.

Luckily the sun was starting to set and I was hoping that I could get something out of this cloudy sunset.

Evenings like this on the Everglades is always fun. You become the food source for all sorts of bugs, my favorite being the mosquito and the yellow fly. The yellow fly is actually worse for me as I react to it as I would to a bee sting. Nice sweet swelling that is as itchy as can be and normally results in me swallowing anti-histamine before I get any real relief.

I have learned to make sure, that even in summer, that I have a long sleeve sweater with me. That way I can try and stay away from being part of the food chain.

There were a few local fishermen hanging out, along with a couple of gator on the far side of the water. The Everglades is a natural habitat for gator. We have kayaked inside the waterways and come across all sizes of gators. It is kind of creepy, especially when the water is low or when the gator goes down under water. I keep wondering where it may come up and pray that it is not right alongside the kayak.

As the last of the sun was setting, I switched back to the 18 – 40 mm lens to try to get a few more wide angle images. The clouds created dynamic dark images with that tiny flare of light.

I was not the only person with a camera out there. Actually it is a popular spot for photographers and you never really know what kind of sunset you are going to get. Our day is done and all that is left to do is pack up and head home.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for chilling out with the sunset.  

I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Janet of Janet Crouch Photography 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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Tell me a story: April 2020

I apologize to my other bloggers, last month was crazy with the whole switch to working from home and trying to come up with new scenarios on how to meet clients.  Hello telemedicine, but it certainly has been a journey.

We are still on the stay at home status, and so there is not a lot to photograph. Maybe I should be doing one a day but somehow I spend most of the day at my computer working.

Friday last week, I decided that I needed to get some vitamin D, and headed out to the deck to try and grab a little bit of sunshine.  While the weather is hot, it is really overcast and there is not a lot of sun grabbing going on.  Once the deck clouded over, I picked up my macro and decided to walk around our small garden and see what captured my attention.  Here are a few things from the garden.

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Tiny berries shooting of the variegated leaf tree that Richard plants everywhere

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Dead spikes of a evergreen plant out in the garden

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One of seven spikes of a tree orchid that is attached to my palm tree.  The ants clearly love the sap of the buds.

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The start of the third pineapple growing in the garden. And yes, it really looks like the colors in the image.

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The upper spikes of the older pineapple.

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One of the many succulent stems of the tree orchid attached to my palm tree.

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New buds on a very spiky plant.

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The opened version of the above buds.

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Berries from the chopped down palm tree flowers.

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A brand new palm frond coming up in the garden.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  Days are not overly exciting right now, but I would rather do this and stay safe than go out and end up getting sick.

This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend LUPJi Photography is up next and I can’t wait to read what he has to share.

 

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30 Minutes in the Life: April 2020

In the 2020….. (How does the song go “In the year 2525, if man is still alive
If woman can survive ~ Zager, Evens”).  Earlier today I saw someone added an “in the year 2020…” a Facebook post with the idea that this would come up in their memories.

So what does Corona Virus Stay at home look like for you?  For me, it is still work as normal, in fact a little more than normal, but it has to be done so I am going to do it.

Richard has his office downstairs, I have my office upstairs.  Hoodini (the quaker parakeet I rescued) is moved out of my office into the spare room every morning, Ms Moo sits at the closed door whining to get in and Sims just ignores everyone and everything.  That is us, day in and day out, work and Zoom meetings make up my days.  Sunday evening we have managed to set up a Zoom games evening with the kids who are not close by.  It adds a little variety.  When necessary I will go to the shop, but so far I have managed to keep that to once a week.  I have been out of the house a total of 6 times in the last 5 weeks.

So for this month, my 30 minutes is really my editing time.  I thought I would get us on the road again.  We traveled a fair bit the last two years, and I found I was not able to keep up with the editing on all the trips.  Today I am going to go back to Maine, and a charming town that I got to visit with a friend.

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My friend Karen had married and moved to New Hampshire a few years ago.  When we decided to go up that way I connected with her to see if we could meet.  I also knew she spent a lot of time hiking in New Hampshire and I thought I would pick her brains on where to go.  She went one step further.  She decided to drive through to Maine and we went on a road trip.  First to the Ogunquit Musuem, then stopped by a lighthouse, then drove through to Portsmouth.

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This is a quaint little seaside town.  All of them are quaint to me.  Not sure how little they are though.  But for me the immediate town was so interesting.  I love the old brownstone buildings and the cobblestone pavers or brick sidewalks.  Today was an overcast day but luckily when we arrived in Portsmouth it stopped raining.

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The first stop was at a small street side bar called Portsmouth Gas Light Co, for lunch.  Of course, when in the north we had to have lobster rolls (and this was a first for me, both being in the north and the lobster rolls).  Karen and I shared and I can promise you that was more than enough food.  When I compare it to the ridiculous lobster roll we got in New York, this is amazing.  It tasted it good, and it was super filling.  Added to that we were able to indulge in the local brew.  I am a Heineken kind of person, and they were able to come up with a brew that matched my taste.  If you are in town, I highly recommend stopping by.   

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Another favorite of mine is street art, and we managed to find a few interesting murals to capture our attention.

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Walking the city was fun, and we soon headed down to the Piscataqua River that separates Portsmouth, New Hampshire from Kittery, Maine.

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We found a beautiful garden square that was a riot of color, carefully planned out and very appealing to the eye.

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We continued on crossing one of the local traffic bridges and walk along the waters edge enjoying the beautiful sites in front of us.

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The image below caught my attention because of the beautiful reflections in the water.

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We landed up along a quay of yachts and fishing boats which may or may not have been situated on North Mill Pond.  It’s been over a year, what can I say.  The bridge in the image is called the Memorial Bridge and it is a vertical lift bridge.  This bridge allows commercial boats to pass through.

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This bridge replaced an earlier built bridge that spanned this river from 1923 to 2012.  On the original bridge there was a plaque that read “Memorial to the Sailors and Soldiers of New Hampshire who gave their lives in the World War 1917–1919.”  This plaque was moved to the newly built bridge.

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Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018: 0858

We headed down to the Strawberry Banke Museum, side stepping into a historical grave site area.  I am a big fan of wandering through, reading the different tombstones.  I love history and these tombstones were very interesting in design.

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The tombstone about was that of Capt Tobias Lear who died November 6th, 1781.  According to the notes found on an onsite notice board, “Lear was a mariner of Portsmouth whose home, now a historic site, is a few blocks from Point of Graves on Hunkering Street.  His son Tobias Jr, Served as President George Washington’s private secretary.  The elder Lear’s gravestone was carved by John Homer and displays the realistic skull and cross bones for which he is known“.

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Another one that had clear writings on was the tombstone of Mary Blagdon. The tombstone says “Here lies the body of Mrs Mary Blagdon wife to Doc. Samuel Blagdon Aged 75 years.  Died Dec y 11th 1735.  I found the images on the tombstone interesting and wondered who chose the design on this woman’s tombstone.

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We passed the South Meetinghouse on Macy Street.  The building of this beautiful building was completed in 1866, and in those days cost $9,600-00 to complete.

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We walked down some side streets and this stairway caught my attention with all it’s number plates on it.  It certainly was creative, as was the front door of another house we passed.

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We found two new friends (for a short period of time) sunning themselves outside now that the rain had gone.

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Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts:  September 2018:

We walked passed some alley ways where I captured this beautiful spiral staircase.

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And then we were back at the water’s edge, having walked along a boardwalk of restaurants.  I loved looking at the tug boards and fire rescue boats.

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In the distance we could see the Memorial Bridge we had walked past earlier.  We were on the other side of the bridge looking down towards it.

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In the opposite direction is the stunning Piscataqua River Bridge which spans the Piscataqua River.  The bridge connects Portsmouth. New Hampshire with Kittery, Maine.

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The bridge has 6 lanes and arches high above the river, eliminating the need for a lift bridge for boats.  The structure is this incredible mass of metal work that is absolutely stunning.

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Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this this small but oh so interesting seaside town. I hope you enjoyed getting out and about with me.  I look forward to the day we can pack up the suitcase and head out again.  I am still holding out hope for my Eastern European trip in August. 

Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Janet of Janet Crouch Photography and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook  and Instagram pages as well. 
30 minutes contributor

Share Six: April 2020: Imperfection

This month Ceri  of Ceri Herd Photography chose the theme {Imperfection}.   The dictionary says that imperfection is the state of being faulty or incomplete.

I love fresh flowers.   Flowers make me happy.  I love the vibrant colors, the smells, the perfection of new flowers.  Flowers bring a smile to my face and this is definitely one of my love languages

What I don’t love that they don’t last forever.  I have had this bunch of flowers drying out downstairs for the past two weeks so that I can photograph them in their imperfect state – dried out crinkled and looking beyond repair.  Yet in their state of imperfection, there is still something that appeals to me.  There is a different kind of beauty albeit imperfect.

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Imperfection: April 1, 2020: 0211

Right now we are looking at an imperfect world. There is very few places in the world that have not been affected by this virus.  The USA has 278 458 positive cases of Corona Virus.  By the time this goes live I have to wonder how close we will be to 300 000. (I will add in a piece here.  From I time I wrote this to now is a space of 10 hours.  The number has not only reached but surpassed 300 000.   It is now this morning sitting at 312 345.)  The US has surpassed the rest of the world for positive cases.  The death toll sits at 8438 and it still has to peak. I have not seen an update yet on the death toll this morning, but it will climb, it is just a matter of time, and how many.  

Imperfection: April 1, 2020: 0212 Imperfection: April 1, 2020: 0214

And yet in this imperfect world, there are levels of perfection.  The medical staff across the world are worthy of being hailed as an element of perfection in this world.  No person is perfect, but when I look at how the medical staff have rallied to the call that is perfection in my eyes.  Those men and women who have selflessly stepped up and answered a call, that is perfection for me.  Those medical men and women who have gone above and beyond their call of duty, going into situations with one thought – to save a life.  I respect and admire and salute these men and women for their courage, their dedication and the willingness to give their all, including their lives, for this imperfect world.

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I look at our own medical staff, who are not on the front lines, but are willing to see women who may need answers, despite the risk to themselves.  They have stepped up been counted, and while they may have worried about their health, have still come into the clinic each day to serve those women who still come looking for help.  I admire these women.  They are perfection in an imperfect world.

There is beauty in the imperfection, we just need to look beyond the outer appearance.  Look deeper at what lies beneath.  Look for the good in all of the bad.  Look for moments of perfection in spite of the imperfection.

As we continue to watch the world, isolated in our homes, I pray that you are safe and continue to stay safe.

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 Lynne Grant Photography 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.

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30 Minutes in the Life: March 2020

It is 30 Minutes in the Life, and if you are wondering, my 30 Minutes was not at the beach.  Since March 13, I feel like I have been on a 25 hour call.  Why? My real job is working with Policies & Procedures, Written Plans, Quality Control, training, and such other things that may be assigned, for Medical Clinics.  And yes, we are most definitely impacted by the changes the world is seeing.

I am tired, but so are many others. This 30 Minutes I wanted to look at the contrast in life – what does that look like, and where do we go from here.

For so long life has been kind of rosy.  The last Flu pandemic, according to the CDC, was in 1918.  Almost 100 years ago.  I feel like we have become complacent and unprepared.  I understand, we do not want thousands of ventilators sitting around for 100 years.  However, it feels like society has been slow to respond to what is going on around us.

On any given day, our lives are sunny and rosy and off to the beach we go.  All these image are taken at Orchard Beach in Maine.

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But we don’t know what lurks around the corner.  China was slow to get the news out that things had turned dark, and that they were struggling with something that was rapidly becoming beyond their control. Limited information came out until the situation be came so dire that they were overwhelmed with what they are dealing with.

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The rest of the world carried on as normal, enjoying life, living what essentially is part of the social norm.  We head out to restaurants, we go to the beach, we cluster as folks are often want to do.

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It was only when Italy started to show signs of panic that the rest of the world opened up their eyes and started to take notice.  And when Italy’s days became bleak, finally the rest of the world sat up and said perhaps we should do something about it.  The information I kept reading seemed unbelievable and disturbing.

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But the world was slow in responding, we carried on as normal.  Around mid March, our offices, began to look at the what if, and a meeting was called to plan for the what if.  What if we have to shut down, do we have a pandemic plan in place, do we have policies and procedures in place?  Do we have a pandemic plan?  Can you draft up one?  Beyond that what does it look like to have staff working from home?  What does it look like to run medical clinics on limited staff? Can we go virtual?  I am grateful that our office was forward thinking and we began to seriously plan for the potential future.

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As the devastating news came out of Italy and the numbers began to increase, and the horror of  living with a pandemic really looks like when you are not prepared for the impact of it, begins to seep in.  What hospitals look like when they are overcrowded.  When people are sleeping on the floor because there is no beds for them. What medical staff have to endure when they are working 24 hours on call and they are watching, not only 1 or 2, but thousands of people dying.  When morgues and crematoriums cannot keep up with the death rate.  When churches start to store the coffins and the bodies lie waiting for when their loved ones can bury them.  When medical personnel are required to choose who can live or die.  My heart breaks.  It breaks for each and every person fighting for the life of someone who may die, or more than likely will die.  My heart aches for the medical staff’s family, who do not know if they will see their loved one again.  Children who cannot see their parents.

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And yet here in the USA it is business as usual. While leaders indicate that there is a problem, it does not appear that they are ready to make some hard choices.  Spring breakers still hit the beaches in Florida because it is their right to do so, forcing the state to close parks and beaches.  Restaurants are shut down except for take out.  I worry about the possibility of workers being contagious.  People head out on the Intracoastal on their boats, with little regard for the potential that they may be carriers.  It is their right, and besides it does not appear that their age group is not dying, although stats coming in show that the virus is moving across age groups.  They may not be dying, they are right, but they may be killing their grandparents, or parents.

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The USA is slow on the uptake.  It seemed that it was viewed more as a hoax and then as something we would be over soon.  March 20, the numbers were around 8500 people who were tested positive for the virus.  While I understand that there was limited testing in the early days, and a scrambling for the necessary equipment and testing kits, over the past 10 days the numbers have escalated to 105, 470 (as I am writing this).  The death toll is 1590.  This is no longer a joke or something that will die down in a few days.  We no longer have control of the virus. The situation is bleak.  Working from home is not what folks may think it is.  Working from home, for me, this past 12 days has felt like a 25 hour day – 7 days a week right now.  It is learning new technology so that we can still meet the client where they are at, that we can still be of service.  Virtual is the new normal!

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The days ahead seem surreal.  Cities are slow to shut down.  Government is worried about economy.  I understand, but I have to wonder what the economy will look like 24 months from now if a stand is not taken now.  I am praying for a nation wide shut down.  Life to freeze in all aspects, so that this situation can be controlled.  We don’t want to be China.  We don’t want to be Italy, where the death toll went from 9134 to 10 779  men, women and children in less than 24 hours.  We don’t want to be Spain where they are having to make decision on who lives and who dies.  Where they are using scuba diving equipment just to help people breathe. Where they are storing bodies in an ice rink just to protect the bodies from decaying and smelling.

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Life has become a roller coaster.  We are on a fast ride, and we don’t know when it is going to stop.  We need to face reality that unless something significant is done by all States at the same time, nothing is going to change.  Right now I live in a State and in an area where “snowbirds” are a huge part of our lives.  In winter they are in our county and in summer they head up north.  A lot of them to New York.  I cannot blame them for wanting to flee New York.  That would be my first instinct as well.  But I live here and I have to wonder what that will bring to South Florida.  A community made up of a lot of elderly folk.  Already Miami is under curfew, Broward county is under stay at home, Boca Raton, is under stay at home, and Palm Beach County has implemented some mandates as well.  We have to start making some really hard decisions at a much higher level than me.  All I can do, is do my part.

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We can be part of the pack, or if we are able, we can stay at home, isolate from the crowd. We can protect our families and friends, and we can ease the burden that our medical system is going to have to deal with.  Friends remember to take these items into account:

  1. Have you or a family member, or co-worker traveled internationally (or been in close contact with someone who has traveled internationally) within the last 14 days?
  2. Have you have traveled from a “hot spot” to another area?
  3. Have you been in close contact with someone who has or is suspected to have a pandemic virus?
  4. Are you experiencing any respiratory symptoms such as cough, runny nose, or difficulty breathing?
  5. Are you experiencing a fever or flu like symptoms?

If you have please, please you need to consider quarantining yourself

Wash your hands, well, use hand sanitizer if you have it.  If you go to the shop, take your sanitizer with you and clean the cart.  Be aware of what you are touching, the people you are interacting with, people who may be coughing and sneezing around you.  Protect yourself, protect your family.

Stay well, stay safe, and stay sane, don’t be like me, having major conversations with the TV, and watching my blood pressure rise.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, during this challenging time in life.
Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Crystal from Crystal Bella Photography and see what she has for you this month.  

Tell me a Story: February 2020: Maine

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The Coastline of Maine is beautiful, and we got to explore the area.  Heading up to Bar Harbor, Maine, Richard had a goal.  Visit Arcadia National Park.  If you know anything about me or if you have learned over the past few years, I have had 3 foot surgeries.  The words National Park, and foot surgeries do not go well together in my opinion.  I know what to expect when I hear National Park.  While my feet are okay they certainly are not pain free and after 3-4 hours of walking I need to stop and rest for a while.

One thing that I really enjoyed about Arcadia National Park was the coastline.  And yes, it did involve the word “Hiking”.  Ever since my 20’s the word “hiking” makes me want to run and hide.  I do however, get through it and typically find I have enjoyed it by the end.  Hiking in Arcadia National Park is really not the same as hiking in South Africa.  In the USA it is more drive to the next parking lot, spend 20 minutes trying to find the furthest parking from where you are actually going and then walking on a pathway/steps etc to get to where you are going.

Arcadia was not far from that although we did get to do some rough climbing over rocks etc.  The coastline is rugged and impressive and is well worth the visit. On some of these images I  stood at the top of the rocks looking down watching the water come in and go out and kept getting the feeling that I was being sucked into the flow.

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If you are visiting Maine, do your best to plan a stop over in Bar Harbor and Arcadia National Park.  Visit the Mount Desert dramatic rocky coastline and also look out for Jordan’s Pond in Arcadia, or also know as Long Pond.  It is definitely a highlight in the area.  Look out for our early morning sunrise at Bar Harbor blog coming out on the 6th.

Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives.  This is a circle blog.  Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. My friend Mindy of  is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.

 

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30 Minutes in the Life: February 2020

If you are heading to Maine, take a bit of time to visit Ogunquit, found on the southern coast of Maine.  Lying between the Ogunquit River and the Atlantic Ocean, Ogunquit Beach is a long, sandy peninsula with grassy dunes.  There are also cliff walks with coastal view

While in town, take some time to look up the Ogunquit Museum of American Art.  I visited with a friend on an overcast and damp{ish} day.  The art is unique and interesting, the gardens are beautiful, and the view over the bay stunning.  The grass was a little waterlogged but we continued on through the gardens.  Here is my 30 minutes of the exterior visit the Ogunquit Museum.

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Henry Strater was the founder of this art gallery in 1953.  This art gallery houses over 3000 pieces of artwork – prints, photographs, paintings, drawings and sculptures.

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Current exhibits at the time of writing this blog include Kathleen Speranza, Emily Nelligan, Jo Sandman and Charles Woodbury, along with Art’s Ball: Wood Gaylor and American Modernism, The View from Narrow Cove, Bicentennial Ogunquit,  and Light Southerly:  Henry Strater in Verde Valley.

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If you are planning on visiting the Museum, remember that it is closed for the season.  Open hours are Daily, 10am – 5pm from May 1st to October 31st.

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Also make sure to check out the website for their photography policy 

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We  did meander through the interior of the museum before heading on to our next destination, Nubble Lighthouse.  Sadly the Lighthouse was under construction and was covered in green cladding preventing us from actually seeing the beauty of the lighthouse.  It was also raining and out stay there was not long.

Thank you for joining me for 30 Minutes in the Life, and for traveling with me through this this small but oh so interesting museum of art.  Look out for another travel blog at the end of the month.  This time we are heading to the rugged coast of Bar Harbor. 
Just a reminder that this is a circle blog.  We have a number of new ladies join the 30 minutes group, and I would encourage you to take some time to visit my very talented friend Jess from The Art of Adventures Photography and see what she has for you this month.  Check out her Facebook  and Instagram pages as well.