Monday, May 28, 2012

U is for Unique Sighting

A couple of months ago, there was a lot of hoopla regarding the transport of a massive rock from a nearby city. The 340 ton  boulder was on a convoy toward the Los Angeles County Museum of Art to be part of a display called "Gravitating Mass." It was in all the local news of how this would happen and the circuitous route needed to take in order to avoid overpasses and other obstacles. I had hoped I would get to see it, but did not plan to go out of my way to achieve this.

The rock and it's entourage traveled at night when there was less traffic, and had scheduled daytime stops. So, on that particular Thursday morning, I headed off to work and started to make a left turn onto a street I routinely travel. I noticed a lot of parked cars and heavy equipment where there is usually none, and then it dawned on me- the ROCK! 

There it was! A humongous white shrink-wrapped boulder nestled into a red mobile contraption that was called the transporter. I did an impatient U-turn in the unusually heavy traffic and parked alongside the normally vacant lot, as were other curious visitors. Not being on a time constraint, I was able to spend time there and happened to have my good camera with me, so began snapping pictures. I noticed local newspaper reporters were doing interviews and I kind of felt like I was also there on official  business. 
Note it's massive size by seeing the car to the left of the rock!

The placement of person to the left puts into perspective the enormity of the rock.

For all the information about this project:

This is a short video taken the night the rock began its' journey:

It's not everyday, if ever, that one can observe something like this! I'm sure that the soon to be opening museum display will be anti-climatic, considering the effort it took to get the rock there! (Thought I just read that the entrance to the museum will be free to persons residing in the zip code of the transport route!)  
It was exciting to be a part of the history and to observe this very unusual, one-of-a-kind event!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

T is Tea for Two

During the first week of May, I flew to my niece's home in Colorado Springs to help out while she was in the hospital, giving birth to her fourth daughter.

 The oldest daughter, Samantha (age 6), stayed with me at their home, while the two younger ones stayed with the paternal grandparents, and their dad stayed at the hospital with my niece, Stephanie.

Sammi and I have a special bond, because she and Stephanie lived with me the first two years of her life. We had a great time together and one of our adventures was that of participating in a Victorian Tea at Miramont Castle Museum in Manitou Springs, Colorado.

We dressed up in long, lacy dresses to be princesses for a day! Sammi kept getting compliments on her pretty dress from everyone we came across!

We had reservations for Saturday, May 5th, at twelve noon. We arrived at the Tea Room and Sammi was offered a choice of hats to wear. It took her a couple of choices before she decided on one that fit just right. She looked so cute!


Our first course was of a  single scone with 3 types of topping-two flavored butters and a jelly. I really liked the Devonshire Cream, and Sammi enjoyed the jelly! We each had a lovely tea pot with pretty cups and delicate stirring spoons. Sammi had pink lemonade in hers and I had  a tasty mango tea.  

We were then served individual plates with 4 two-inch sandwiches, bedded between flower buds. One sandwich was of cucumber and cream cheese, another was a cinnamon butter, another was a strawberry butter and I forgot what the last one was, but they were all yummy! Sammi also received a crystal dish filled with fruit and whipped cream that was included in the "Princess Tea" that catered to kids.

Sammi was not impressed with the sandwiches so being the child that she is, began to play with her food-stabbing the bread with the ends of the flowers. Silly girl! 
    The shared dessert plate  had lemon bars, a fruit cake type dessert, cheese cake and a chocolate caramel candy. Since I'd eaten Sammi's unwanted sandwiches, I was full, but did taste a couple of the sweets. I had asked the waitress if I could purchase a cucumber sandwich for my niece, per her request, but they were not set up to do that. However, she brought out a to-go container with several pieces of the dessert! (She was generously tipped)  I added to the container what I did not eat, and later took it to Stephanie.

 Sammi's favorite part was the tea pot and dainty cup. She consumed the entire pot! She took this photo of me sipping my tea.

After we finished with our tea, we explored the castle. It had a history from the 1800's and was four stories in height. We felt as though we were in another world!

Okay, I'm now going to flaunt this adorable child and my new found photography skills!

 I  enhanced this photo by changing it to a sepia color to mimic photos of old!

Sammi blended in so well with the Victorian  theme!
This photo is cropped in closer to cut out other decor on the walls in the gift shop. 

This one is my absolute favorite!  It's the original; not cropped or color enhanced!

It was late afternoon when we left the castle and had to face a short uphill walk to where the rental car was parked. It was hot and we were not appropriately dressed for hiking, but we took frequent stops as Sammi was delighted with the dandelion puffs lining the road. A lot of dandelion seeds, and a few wishes floated off on a breeze that afternoon!  

We completed our outing by going to the hospital to see Mommy and Daddy,
 and newborn sister, Anneliese Noelle. 
Sammi got to hold 3 day old Annie for the first time. Annie was in the NICU due to breathing problems as a result of her mama needing to be anesthetized prior to her birth. She is now home, but still on oxygen.

We really had a grand time that day, and it is a memory we will both cherish. I'm now making a digital scrapbook for Sammi, as a gift to remember that special time we had together.  I wished I lived close to the family so that I could be there all the time, but that is not feasible at this time. I have learned to appreciate and value the times I do get!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

S is for Sea Gulls

I do love the ocean, and the sea gulls are so much a part of that environment. They are also fun to photograph so here are a few pics I have on file.

I recall reading about "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" as a teenager, but  would like to go back and re-read  to see if there was more to the story than what I understood at that time.  Have you ever read that tale? Any thoughts on it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

R is for Roller Coasters

When my niece, Stephanie, and her family came to California for a visit this past November, we had a wonderful outing at Disneyland! My beloved grandniece was just a few weeks away from turning 6 and had  not yet experienced the thrill of a roller coaster ride and she wanted to go on one with me, her beloved "Barbie"

 We planned for months in advanced to get her mentally prepared for the event. She viewed photos and videos of the available coasters and was  eager to go for it. On the actual day, I believe I was more excited than she was! Samantha was distracted by Sleeping Beauty's Castle, Princess Aurora and Cinderella who were mingling with star-struck kids. We finally made it to "Toon Town" where there was a good size roller coaster made for kids. I told Sammi it was okay to scream, because it made the ride more fun! We did...and it did!

The second roller coaster we went on was Thunder Mountain over in "Frontier Land." The ride is fast and has some sharp turns. I loved it; Sammi did too, and we rode it twice!

It was late afternoon when everyone was getting tired, but Sammi's Daddy wanted to try the big roller coaster- Space Mountain in "Tomorrow Land" The ride was totally dark and involved laser lights- a really cool experience -and the ride was FAST! My little lady loved that ride and wanted to do it again! 

             The photo below is a page from the digital scrapbook I made for Sammi.

     Sammi so enjoyed the roller coaster rides! It was an extra thrill for me, too, watching her delight!

My niece and her family live in another state so I don't get to routinely experience these fun things with the kids, but when we have the opportunity, we do the best we can with the time we have!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Q is for Quackers

I speak not of the crispy kind that are tasty with cheese or peanut butter; but of the feathered ones residing in the man-made lakes of local parks.

Learning photography has me looking for interesting subjects in unique situations. Ducks in a park are not unique, but they can be when paired with other critters.

Turtles are abundant in the waters at the two parks I explored. I believe they merely tolererate one another.
This puppy was leashed yet had a grand time chasing the ducks back into the water.

As I walk by, turtles and ducks quickly dive to safety

This poser "quacks" me up! I think he's yelling "AFLAC"!

So what Quacks you up?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

P is for Pinwheel

I've always loved pinwheels! 

Their simple beauty and the thrill of seeing them spin upon a breath of air still delights me today!

I remember a time, when Sammi was about 6 months old, I accompanied her and mama to the beach, along with  several other friends with babies of the same age. On impulse, I brought several colorful pinwheels and planted them in the sand; spaced out between the group. When the wind blew, the pinwheels put on their show! 
For me, it was magical! I believe Sammi was impressed too!

Have you ever made a pinwheel? Here are easy instructions. Give it a try!

Pinwheels are fairly simple to make, and you can use most any type of paper

Thursday, April 19, 2012

O is for Ocular Sinister

In the medical world, the abbreviation for left eye is OS or ocular sinister. I cringed when I first heard that, as it inferred that the left side is evil. I happen to be left handed. That is not evil!

Hey, everyone knows that the right side of the brain controls the left side of the body, and therefore, we are in our right minds! 

I have a history of problems with both the left and right eyes. I've had  retinal tears in the left and bleeds in the right. I've experienced injections in the left eyeball and laser therapy in the right eye. I wear contact lenses that are mono vision. The left eye is for close up and the right eye is for distance. I always fail the left side vision tests until I tell the clinician of the special lenses. That's still not evil! I have a form of macular degeneration due to severe myopia but cannot remember which eye it is in. I still have my vision and for that, very thankful! My grandma went blind with untreated glaucoma and my mom has it now. I get tested at every visit. So far, so good!

Currently, I'm overdue for follow-up with the optometrist for new contacts and glasses and also with the opthamologist for checking up on the retinal tear and bleeders floating in my line of vision. My eyes are dilated at each visit and they stay that way up to 10 hours. That makes it difficult to work some times, so I've put off making  the appointments due to being so busy at work but expect to make one in the next few weeks. I do not want to lose my  vision! That would be evil.

Monday, April 9, 2012

N is for NATURE

Ever since I was a child, I had an appreciation for nature. I collected rocks and arranged them in egg cartons. I gathered leaves and preserved them by fusing them between two sheets of waxed paper. I checked out library books about birds and studied them for hours. I even had a phase where I wanted to garden.When I was  8, my mom had obtained a book of nature for me and I loved that book and kept it till just a few years ago when I passed it on to my first grand niece.

I continue to have an appreciation for nature and it comes out in the photographs I take.  I see beauty in the sky, clouds, trees, flowers, rocks, animals, waterways, ocean - what ever is there that is the creation of God!

The photo above was snapped while waiting at a traffic signal on my way into work one morning.  The eastern sky was ablaze and  it was hard to keep my  attention on driving!

                                       The ocean- my favorite place to be!

                             A trail of sea stones, shells and other ocean debris

                              Turtles basking in the sun at a pond of a local park.

Lovely flowers at the Mission San Juan Capistrano. I appreciate how nature uses opposing colors!

After I watered my plants, a spider climbed up a web ladder and into the safety of one of the pipes of my  large wind-chime

Taken at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California

This Peregrine Falcon was flying around the parking lot of a local Target store

Nature is one of God's gifts to us. May you learn to appreciate it and worship the creator!