Posted on June 29, 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.
Posted on June 1, 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.
You can also find me on Facebook, and Instagram.
Posted on December 30, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Posted on November 30, 2019
Life is hectic, Thanksgiving has come and gone and the blog goes live tomorrow. Work is gearing up to d-day in 10 days and so my time has become somewhat limited. Christmas decorations need to go up this weekend and the blog needs to be done.
In all of this busyness, Richard, knowing that I needed some down time suggested we head to the beach to watch the sunrise and then go for breakfast, knowing that once I got home I had work to do. He even chose to go to my favorite beach.
As most of you know early morning is really not my thing, but the moon was pretty cool this particular morning and as it has been for the rest of the week. Last night I was able to identify Venus and Saturn floating around the moon. I love this pier and the early morning sky was pretty spectacular as the sun was coming up. This particular morning the reflections on the edge of the waves was pretty neat.
I really wanted to finish up the Boston blog but that was not happening for me this week. So the morning on the beach is what I have to offer. I have to be honest Richard was right, I needed that time to decompress.
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. Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.
Posted on June 30, 2019
It’s time to blog and I am sitting without a computer so I have pulled up some photo’s from last year that I had edited but not posted. Last year we did an impromptu trip to Maine. I happened to be chatting to my work colleague about how I needed to use up some vacation time but really hated wasting vacation time on a staycation. She told me she had a cottage in Maine that we were welcome to use. Having never been to Maine we jumped at the opportunity. We headed up late September. The weather overall, except for our whale watching trip, was fantastic. Not hot not too cold. The whale watching trip was bitterly cold out on the ocean, and it was foggy. We did not see whales, in fact we saw practically nothing.
If you read my blogs, you will know that when I travel I am a bit of a planner. I see very little point in going somewhere blind. Yes I know there is spontaneity in doing thing impulsively and I am game for that, but I also want to have some idea of what I want to see and have some kind of plan. If we don’t get to see it, all fine well, if we do and it is on my list, I am super happy. There is nothing worse for me arriving in a unknown place, as a co-pilot and trying to find where to go. Don’t ever asking me to do Amazing Race. GPS is my best friend.
On of the places on Richard’s list was to go up to Bar Harbor, and Arcadia National Park.
Here are a few of the images I have already edit. When I get to the rest I will have to come back and share them.
As we meandered up the coast we pulled into little towns that appeared to have places of interest or we just thought we would mosey on through.
Hopefully by my next blog I will have a working computer, but who knows. I pushed the button, hit send after a 3 hours self debate of was I ordering the right piece of equipment. That said it is now ordered and along with that a 34 inch monitor, so I cannot wait to play. I am just hoping that the tech guys will manage to transfer the data and images off my laptop, since I just realized that my San Antonio images were on there and I don’t think I have a disc with them on. Bummer if they are all gone.
Thank you for joining me on this very quick and impromptu trip along the Maine coastline. This is a circle blog so I would encourage you to visit my friend Mindy and see what she has for you this month.
Posted on July 10, 2018
July 4th was a busy day for us. We were up at 5:30 am to head to the beach to watch the sunrise. I was going to photograph the sunrise and Richard was going to take his paddle board out on a very flat east side ocean. Kind of made me think of the gulf.
After that Amy and Richard decided to go kayak. I went along on the understanding that I was going to be able to walk some nature trails. That did not happen. They went kayaking and I walked around a very short walk around a park, took a few photographs watched a group of older men playing baseball, and then found myself on a blanket in the shade reading my book until the eventually came back.
The afternoon brought rain and of course, when the rain stops I head out with my camera to capture water drops.
Last shoot of the day 4th of July and nobody wanted to go. Richard had been saying all day that he was not interested in going to the fireworks. Amy decided she was tired and did not really want to go. I was undecided whether I would go on my own to the park and just stop off somewhere and take my photographs or alternatively just go outside and take photographs. The rain ultimately helped me make my decision. I was going to go out back.
So I set up my camera settings, pulled out and attached my tripod and I went outside to do my best to get some fireworks shots. I live on the edge of the Everglades. It is the slowest moving river aka a swamp lol. Obviously in summer we have a mosquito problem. Our mosquito’s remind me of the ancient of birds a “pterodactyl”. These mosquito’s are huge and they are mean. I think I spent more time swatting mosquito’s than I did taking photo’s. I lasted all of 10-15 minutes and came inside, along with a colony of mosquito’s, before the fireworks finale.
I was not sure what I would get but since this is only the second time I have tried to take fireworks, I was quite happy with what I got.
I hope that you all had a good and safe 4th of July. This is the 17th year we have had the opportunity to celebrate Independence Day, and we are thankful that we have been able to.
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my good friend Ceri of Ceri Herd Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.
Posted on March 26, 2018
March 24th, and this is a culmination of 5 weeks of pain, 5 weeks of anger, 5 weeks of tireless planning, 5 weeks of being strong in the face of such devastating sorrow and heartbreak. March 24th is the day that we marched for our Lives #Marchforourlives.
I will confess upfront that my blog images are taken over more than 30 minutes but I wanted to get all of the images in. Please forgive me!
I have been pretty vocal on my feelings about yet another gun horror, yet another senseless shooting and yet another person dying at the hands of a shooter. Parkland’s is just 20 minutes from my home. Yesterday Amy and I made the decision to walk. We chose to walk at the site of the mass shooting, to represent and give our support to this hurting community.
The event was well organized. We drove to Florida Atlantic University to park our car and take a shuttle through to the park where the event would host speeches and the start of the walk. It was a first time for me riding on a school bus. We were dropped off as close to the park as the buses were allowed and we walked with the masses though the police entry point and onto the field.
Voter registration was in place, along with bottles of water and snack bars being handed out. Sunscreen was a necessity, and yours truly did not use it, and I now look like a raccoon.
Speeches were made and at times I cheered, and at times I cried. Students voiced their fears, frustrations, sorrow and anger. Parents shared their losses. One young girl who had been shot in the knee stood up to talk. My heart went out to her. Safety is needed for these children. Safety from guns. Safety when they are in the classrooms. It saddens me that children have to ask for bullet proof windows and doors. How did it get to this? How is it that our schools have effectively become their prisons?
In closing 17 students stood up and represented each person who had been murdered on that fateful February 14th Valentines Day shooting. Each one said “I walk for…..”. My heart breaks again as they say this.
And then the walk began. We were to walk 2 miles to the school. As I looked around, I was overwhelmed at the number of people who had attended the Parkland’s function, knowing full well that many had traveled to DC to march in Washington. People respectfully exited the field and waited until the 17 representatives lead the way ahead of the crowd.
The walk was well done. There were no difficult situations. There was chanting of slogans, there was #enoughisenough. There was a purpose to the march that joined us all together. I was proud to walk alongside Amy for this cause.
And suddenly there was quiet. There was respect. Each person walked passed the memorial silently honoring those who had died. For me, I had been there the previous week. I, in a previous blog, compared visiting the memorial site to a visit I made to Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany. The moment overwhelmed me and it was hard to comprehend what had happened here. For Amy, this was a new moment which she said she felt haunted by. She had friends that had attended Margory Stoneman Douglas High School. It was hard for her to take all the emotions in.
And then we walked the 2 miles back to our original start, back to our bus, so that we could take the shuttle back to the car. I will confess, for someone who had foot surgery just 6 months ago, the 2 hours of standing through speeches, and the 5 miles of walking did takes it’s toll. My feet hurt and my body aches and my legs have started to seize up, but I would do it all again.
I, once again, commend these children for their courage, for their amazing words, for the willingness to take the lead on this issue. As I listened to Emma Gonzalez give her speech, I commend her for her courage. 6 minutes and 20 seconds of silence. 6 minutes and 20 seconds that it took for the murderer to kill 17 people and injure another 15. One of them is still in hospital. In her words “Fight for your life before it is someone else’s job”. These children, should not have to do this, but I am so proud of them for taking a stand against the senseless slaughter of civilians in this country.
The USA that I came to love is more than this. It is more than the stockpiling of weapons. It is more than the NRA paying for the election of an official. It is more…..lets stand up and make it more. My prayers is that these children “Do not go gentle into that good night” (Dylan Thomas). My prayer is that they continue to fight. In November many of these students will be able to vote. They are registering to vote. I see change on the horizon, and the politicians really should be watching closely. The children have spoken in a way that no one expected. Now is the time for the politicians to be talking about gun control and putting parameters in place that require all purchase of guns to be subject to a 3 day waiting period, a background check that includes mental stability, a database that tracks the movement of guns, and the stockpiling of guns and ammunition by individuals. The March did not just happen in Parkland’s or Boca, or Delray or even DC, it is happening country wide. It is time to wake up.
I will leave you with the words that the children see each day as they leave school in the afternoon
Be the change
You wish to see in the world
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 30 Minutes in Life. These are my personal views and not that of the blog group. For the rest of the blog group, please take time to visit my friend and fellow blogger Liz Godfrey Photography 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.
Posted on March 10, 2018
The 10th snuck up on me really quickly. I suddenly realized that today was the 9th and I still had not written my blog.
So last weekend Amy and I headed south to a Scottish Festival. There is a wee bit of Scottish history in our family on my father’s side of the family. They emigrated to Australia, and then story goes that my great grandmother was homesick and wanted to go back to Scotland. So they boarded a boat to head home. Halfway home she became very ill and they ended up docking in South Africa and never leaving. My grandmother married my grandfather in South Africa. He though was also of Australian decent. So we claim that wee bit of Scottish blood running through our veins along with the Australian, South African and Irish blood.
The Scottish Festival was fun. Lots of kilts, marching bands, bagpipes, dancing and pole tossing. Actually, pole tossing aside, tossing rather large metal blocks and hessian bags filled with straw and various other things got tossed as well. So we experienced our mini highland games.
The highlight for me was English food and I automatically gravitated and salivated over the English Sausage Roll. My all time favorite and something I miss here in the US. And of course, beer was plentiful. It was a great day and added to that we stopped home at the South African shop and filled up on home goodies as well. A day well spent. So here are 10 images from the Scottish Festival.
Overheard as we were walking by a group of men talking was the words of the famous song “The Bonny Banks of Loch Lomond”. The song was written by a MacGregor of Glen Endrick
“Ye’ll tak’ the high road and I’ll tak the low road
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye”
Today we had our little taste of Scotland. A first for Amy and a second for me. I have visited and loved Scotland.
Thank you for joining me for this month’s 10 on 10. This is a circle blog. Please take time to visit my fellow blogger Lexie from Alexis Merritt Photography and see what she has for you this month. Keep following the circle to see what the other photographers have shared this month. Don’t forget to leave a little love on their pages.
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