Share Six: June 2020: Ordinary to extraordinary

Where are we this month. I have been working from home in my upstairs office since March 16. Those first 4 weeks were crazy for me changing staff from live to virtual appointments. I had 4 weeks of things slowing down a bit. Along with work, I spent my time in the evenings studying the to stats. Watching what was happening in the world, in the state, and in the county with this virus. I was doing this daily. Downstairs Richard worked in his office. He started to go back to work 2 weeks ago. I have shifted to the permanent option of working from home. I have to be honest, I am happy that I will not be driving 2 hours a day. My office looks like the monitor room of NASA . There is a lot of monitors on my desk. And yes, I did stop and watch the SpaceEx shuttle head to out of space I have to be honest. What an amazing achievement for science.

Unemployment is high, the markets have dropped, people are wondering how they are going to feed their families, pay their rents. Food Shelters have lines heading out for miles and this is day after day. I am grateful that our company has managed to keep going and keep all staff employed.

This past 12 days has been hard. Having grown up in South Africa and lived through the Apartheid era, I know how much I hate racism. Watching what happened to George Floyd this week breaks my heart. My heart goes out to his family. I cannot imagine the hurt his mother must be feeling, hearing her son cry out for her. To hear him say “I cannot breathe”. My heart breaks for his children, who will never see their father again. My heart breaks for his family.

We have watched peaceful protests and we have watched we have watched protests that have got violent and angry with lots of looting and damaging and stealing the property of shop owners. I don’t agree with the violence, but I understand the underlying anger that comes with these actions. The killing of George Floyd has become a catalyst for change. There are so many areas that need to change. I am aware that I know only what I have read in books and seen in movies on the history of people of color in the USA. I know that I want to stop and educate myself better. I can do better.

The theme for Share Six this month is {Ordinary to Extraordinary} and it was chosen by Michele Tremblay Photo. The general idea is to take something that is simply ordinary and change it to something that could be viewed as extraordinary. I think we can apply that to our lives now in these difficult times.

This month was a challenging theme. Above are some of my ordinary images. Below is what I have done to try and make them into something a little more extraordinary.

Some years ago when I was in Seattle a friend gave my a hanging glass decoration which I have hang on my bedroom curtain rail. At certain times of the day when the light shines one it you will see these rainbow patterns.

The same curtains have a layer of beaded drapes. I fell in love with them when I was first decorating my room. The ribbon ends have taken some wear and tear from the cats and threads have pulled and they tend to knot up, but I still love the look of the beaded drapes hanging over my curtains.

I happened to pick up a feather walking out of the grocery store one day. Using a mirror I created this reflection that often reminds that this looks like it is lying reflected on the beach. This turned out to be one of my favorite experiments.

Nature is the simple pleasures in life I can find in my garden. These fat Lizards hang out sunning themselves on the rocks. I love the bokeh that this lens has created in the background that just gives this little guy a bit more oomph.

Feathers, I do love feathers. For the longest time we had little brown ducks coming up to feed at the edge of the canal. I have since been banned from feeding them because apparently they cause weeds in the grass. Of course, they drop their feathers everywhere, and this particular day I collect a few and again experimented with a mirror and then some black and white textures.

A simple chess set, lots of angles and some great window light and a bit of editing left me feeling happy with the final result I got from this image. My topic at the time was glass and it was fund to experiment with this photo.

Arum Lily are one of my favorite plants, and I love the color version but I wanted something with a stronger edge to it and so I decided to go black and white, with a little bit of texture.

This was definitely a fun experiment and I loved the abstract look of it. What is it? It’s a dragonfly 🙂 I came across a article about making abstract out of your images and decided to play.

Feathers, and this was definitely another favorite of mine. A feather from a Mallard Duck that hangs out in my back garden – placed on a mirror in front of a window with the light shining onto it caused the image to look sepia.

Another fun abstract image. Believe it or not the original image was wedding flowers. My son was getting married and I was asked to do the wedding flowers for the reception, bathrooms, and isles. This was the isle image that I had hung on my naked lady to see what it would look like. Playing with the same steps as the dragonfly, I was able to capture this creative abstract image.

My last image is back to the Arum Lily. This was taken in front of a window with the natural light shining in on it and then converted to black and white with textures.

Life right now is very ordinary, and yet not ordinary. Right now days seem the same, and yet we are watching all the protesting in the city. While the world is opening up slowly, I am still working from home, and I have to be honest, I am not rushing out. I am happy to take each day step by step, to watch the numbers and wait and see what tomorrow brings. I am not going to skip out on life, but I am going to make sure I know what life looks like before I head out. So ordinary is what each day is looking like, but in so many ways we can make it extraordinary. We can be kind, we can love on our families, snuggle with our pets, we can reach out to friends, by phone or by social media or write an email. We can enjoy the moments that this world has given us, the sound of rain, the beautiful sunset, the birds, our critters and we can appreciate the beauty in the simple things. I hope that you can make your ordinary day extraordinary as well.

We can come alongside our friends of color. Let them know we are there, and that we hear them. We can take time to educate ourselves. Read some books on what it is like for a person of color day to day. To pray for friends (and their families) who worry about their teenage sons going running, or driving out, or who are protesting. Be a catalyst for change, however small. Make a difference. Love your neighbor.

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 of 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.

Come and share your images  Facebook and Instagram tagging #sharesix_ordinarytoextraordinary

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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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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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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

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.