Friday, May 31, 2013

The seaweed is here {jumping for joy} . . .

"People protect what they love"
- Jacques Cousteau

Yes we do. We protect our families, our homes, our possessions.
We protect our freedom.
We do so with force and sometimes 'til death.

But in my humble opinion, we have failed epically to protect our environment and its precious resources.
Everything was put here on this Earth to fulfill a purpose.
Not just for our sustainability, but also for our pleasure.

So, without further delay, I'm here today to help you fall in love . . . with a frogfish! lol
Oh yeah, you're gonna wish you could hold one when this is over

Do you remember I finally found one last year in the sargassum seaweed? Well, in my only two visits to the beach so far this year (yes that comes as a shock to me too-the two part not the visit), I not only found one but I found 5!

I was so happy to get to the beach AND see the seaweed  . . .  I skipped straight into the water!!
And I'm not the only one that gets excited for this massive entrance of seaweed dinner.

The seagulls can almost always be found waiting for their fair share of seaweed critters to snatch up.

I was only going to go and stay for a few hours . . . 

. . . but me and my handy dandy blue net (you remember that one) were having way too much fun!

The waves AND the seaweed were crashing into the shore (and my legs). Always takes just a bit to desensitize my legs to that feeling of something crawling on me. But as you start to hit pay dirt, you just kinda forget about it.

The one I found last year was probably about twice this size, and they can reach up to 7.5".
Such a fascinating looking fish complete with weedy dermal appendages that help it to blend right in. Ever seen a fish with blue eyes? Me either. 

They depend on their camouflage for protection since this fish has no scales.
Now watch what happens when I put him in the water . . . 

Ta da, just look at all those crazy appendages, isn't it cute! Do you see the sargassum shrimp on the left?

Oh yeah, I caught a ton of millet too. These are used a lot as bait fish, when they get larger of course.

As I was photographing these through my temporary aquarium glass jar, I hear someone say excuse me.
I turn around and it's a white truck with the words, Texas Parks and Wildlife! Ruh roh, and then he asks me, "Whatcha got there"? Whew, he was really just interested in what I had in the container, and was a little surprised that I caught them in my little kids net. 

1. I could live at the beach (shocker)
2. I go to the beach to relax, but I never sit down...hardly ever (another shocker)
3. I love the seaweed . . . people think I'm crazy (I know, shocked again)
4. There is almost 100 species of marine life that lives in that seaweed (I heard ya say wow)
5. I'm on a mission to find them all (of course you're not surprised) 
Sargassum shrimp...check
Sargassum frogfish...check
sargassum crab...check
cute little fish I do not know the name of ...check  

The problem is, people look at the seaweed as a smelly glass that is half empty . . . 
But really it's half chocked full of really cool sea life!!

I can tell you nearly 9.5 times out of 10 after someone asks me why I'm shaking the seaweed
they had no idea all these things live in there and then they get really interested. In fact, most of the things that do live in it can be found no where else, exclusive to this seaweed.

From experience I have found that people warm up to things they may fear when they have some knowledge
and understanding . . . which may lead to interest and caring about it . . . which may lead to loving it.


People protect what they love.

Have a wonderful weekend,
Love, Kim

Sharing with Little Things Thursday, Friday Photo Journal, Finding Serendipity {1440}

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My thoughts from the CT room . . .

"True courage is not the absence of fear 
but the willingness to proceed in spite of it."
- Anonymous

It's Friday, May 24, and we have arrived at Texas Children's Hospital. It's 3 o'clock.

We didn't have to wait too long before they called our name and we are now waiting for the vascular access team to come in and find a large enough vein in his leg that can handle the pressure of the contrast, the dye that will allow them to see his coronary arteries and the arteries that lead to his kidneys. 

And here they are, complete with an ultrasound machine. It's pretty fascinating to watch them find the vein they want to use this way, and just like that they're finished and he has an IV in his calf. The tech says there is one person in front us and we are next. Yes!

There is not a clock in the room, but I'm pretty sure I hear one ticking . . . it's been almost an hour and a half and I'm getting really nervous because my daughter has her very last, ever, choir pop show at 7:00 - she is a senior. And of all the visits here, today is the day I don't bring anything to read?

It almost feels like someone just forgot us in here . . .I haven't seen anyone in a while, a long while. I have to go into the hallway and pace for a moment, and breathe, because this is stressful enough without having to tell my daughter we will most likely miss her show. I'm on the verge of tears . . .but as I'm standing there and walking back and forth I realize this hallway is right next to the ER. I can hear a young child crying and they are wheeling two children, one just an infant, on gurneys to the elevators . . . they are being admitted. I feel like Alice in Wonderland, and every where I turn the hallways seem to shrink. There is a sense of panic for all these sick children.

I go back into the room and thankfully someone comes in  . . . they are about to put an IV in a child behind the curtain next to us. She is young and she really doesn't want that IV and it breaks your heart to hear her plead to not have it. I ask the tech about how much longer and explain my sense of urgency.

Finally after an over two hour wait, it's our turn and we walk around the corner to the CT room. And my son lays on the table and they try to flush his IV and it goes into his vein and just stops. The IV has gone bad and we now have to go back to the other room and wait for the VAT team again. They assured us we would not lose our spot. They try the other leg and after a long attempt the tech just can't get the right angle and he has to try the foot. There is concern that this vein may not be large enough to handle the pressure from the contrast and there is a possibility it could rupture. 

We go back into the CT room just to be told that the doctor overseeing this test had to run to a meeting because it took so long to finally get the IV. BACK to the other room . . . we are never going to make my daughters show . . . it's now 6 p.m. But thankfully only a few minutes later they came back and said the doctor had returned.

They do a test flush of his IV and it is still intact. We want to stay in the room with him so one of the tech's brings us each a vest to put on and we stand against a row of cabinets. Another tech, a woman, stays with Sam and keeps her hand on his foot to feel the vein even though they are monitoring the pressure in the other room.

You can hear them firing up the machine, it sounds like an engine, and the doctor comes over to talk to us. He tells us this test will tell us a few things . . . if this is an asymptomatic anomaly, if there will be an exercise reduction or if he will need surgery. We knew based on a certain outcome that surgery might be an option, but his is the first time someone has actually said it to us out loud.  He is just 15!

The doctor returns to the room behind the glass and you can see serious discussion going on in there. I wish I read lips . . .they inject the contrast into his vein . . . his pulse shoots from 77 to 99 and as soon as she gives the thumbs up that the vein is okay, his pulse plummets. My husband grabs my hand and I see a tear out of the corner of his eye. I close my eyes and begin to pray . . . Lord, I wouldn't at all be opposed to a miracle here today, thank you . . . Amen.

The test only takes a few minutes . . . it's done. The doctor had told us before the test that he would bring us back to see the pictures. It was only about 20 feet from where we were standing, but it sure felt like it took a long time to get there. I feel so hesitant, like when you are watching a scary movie hiding your eyes behind your hands. He begins by showing us the left coronary artery . . . and then . . . there it is, his right coronary artery right where it is supposed to be! And his arteries to his kidneys . . . no stenosis (narrowing).

We walk out into the hallway, my son  goes to the bathroom, my husband and I  . . . weep in an embrace in the hallway. Such a huge weight has been lifted.

We even made it before the intermission was over to the second half of our daughter's pop show! 

Through all of this, my son has shown us what true courage is.

And P.S.- Today I'm over at Focusing on life (click here) - Have you ever waited for inspiration to hit only to be waiting? Something I realized in the last few months is that even though I haven't necessarily felt inspired, I picked up my camera anyway. . . turns out it's the action that inspires.Come join me as I share some thoughts on this.

Love, Kim

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

A little texture on Tuesday . . .

{Kim Klassen music lovin'}

"To analyze the charms of flowers is like dissecting music;
it is one of those things which it is far better to enjoy,
rather than attempt to fully understand."

- Henry T Tuckerman

I suppose most things in life are better enjoyed rather than understood which is why
  I'm not even going to try to fully understand why my poppy plant is even still blooming, here in Texas, in almost 100 degree temps as of late. I never even got it planted in the ground, which is why it is even more amazing the thing is still alive. The first blooms I got on it were a really pretty peachy pink, but they have since turned to white blooms. It said it was a mix, but apparently it now has the hiccups.

Today was supposed to be the start of my Monarch series, I know, I keep teasing you, but I promise it's not on purpose. Honestly, I was chasing 42 caterpillars today, just keeping their poop cleaned up with that many is a full time job! I had to transfer them to new plants as they devoured the other ones, and then one kept wanting to climb all over the swallowtail chrysalis, I had to break up some fights (seriously then can get really fiesty with one another and have battle scars to show for it), and then there was the one that had green vomit, which is a very bad sign. 

Thankfully when I brought in a new plant for them I noticed something under one of the leaves. I removed it and looked closer and it was literally hundreds of some kind of caterpillar that is not a Monarch, which would be all over my dining room by now. I'm pretty sure by my google search that they're milkweed tussock moth caterpillars, I think?

I'll be late in getting around to everyone since today is another infusion day. Geez, the doctor called yesterday and said I had forgotten to make his infusion appointment for right after her appointment she didn't know if they would have his medicine. I felt horrible, but thankfully they called back and said they did have the medication on hand and that they could work us in, Yeah! I've been so horribly forgetful lately, in fact most of my freshly brewed coffee ended up all over my counter and under the refrigerator . . . I forgot to empty the pot of the old coffee before brewing a new batch and the other day I somehow took my home phone with me to Walgreen's in my pocket! haha

I hope you have a great day!
Love, Kim

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Got Milk?

"Think what a better world it would be if we all,
the whole world,
had cookies and milk about 3 o'clock every afternoon
and then lay down on our blankets for a nap."

- Robert Fulghum

YES, I think this is a great experiment . . . who's in?


let's start today, okay?

But can we move it to noon, 'cause at 3 0'clock I have to be somewhere and  somehow
I don't think the doctor will appreciate me eating cookies on a blanket in his office! ;)

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose" - Woody Allen

Wishing you a weekend with lots of cookies and milk . . . and of course a couple of naps to go with it!!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A little grey is okay . . .

"When I was a little girl, everything in the world fell into either of these two categories: wrong or right.
Black or white. Now that I am an adult, I have put childish things aside and now I know that some 
things fall into wrong and some things fall into right. Some things are categorized as black and some 
things are categorized as white. But most things in the world aren't either! Most things in the world 
aren't black, aren't white, aren't wrong, aren't' right, but most of everything is just different. And now
I know that there's nothing wrong with different, and that we can let things be different, we don't have 
to try and make them black and white, we can just let them be grey. And when I was a child, I thought 
that God was the God who only saw black and white. Now that I am no longer a child, I can see, that
God is the God who can see the black and white and the grey, too, and He dances on grey!
Grey is okay."

- C. Joybell C.

{KK ugglovebandw, KK word}

I have read that artistry in photography requires the ability to achieve a state of unconstricted awareness, free of conventional ways of seeing and thinking.

And well, I think that is true in life too.

We lose the art of living our own life when we are motivated to please others by conforming to their way of thinking only to be in the group, to win approval, or to feel accepted.

It's funny, everyone wants to be different, they just don't want to "like" different.

People want to stand out from the crowd, but don't want to give permission to anyone else to do the same. 

They like the tidiness of black and white. But black and white is about control and if we are always trying to be "in control" don't we miss out on all the beautiful loose ends that end up being life, that just passes all of us by simply because we forgot how to read between black and white.

Because between black and white is grey, shades of grey. And I'm not talking about a book, but about shades of beautiful people that we miss because we have only learned to see contrast, black or white, right and wrong.

{KK Not too shabby}

Between black and white, between yielding and rigid, is compromise. Both in life and photography. Between black and white there are no labels. Frederick Franck said, " By these labels we recognize everything but no longer see anything." Between black and white everything and everyone is important and has value, there is no judgment, no categories.

Seeing only black or white does not give way to flexibility, nor does it give one the ability to deviate from their own so called rules of life. In photography it means always leaning into the "rules of composition", just to miss the essence of what we are photographing in the first place.

Grey is okay. In fact, grey is really good. And a black and white photograph? Its made up of shades of grey.

Life, is made up of shades of grey too. 

I don't believe there is much adventure to be found in black and white, you are either a leader or a follower, never both.

Always teetering on the edge of right and wrong, black and white keeps our imagination from our camera and allows us to miss the true beauty of people too.

I've learned that dancing to the beat of my own drum, one that is a shade of grey (definitely with a hint of pink), is a much happier place to be. Like me for who I am, or leave me for someone I am not.

Yes, being a shade of grey means we are different, and different is what makes life interesting. God gave us each a unique shade so that we would be, could be different.

Yes, between black and white are shades of grey and if we read carefully between the lines, those shades of grey, we will also find a hint of color.

God not only dances on grey, but He celebrates it!

Love, Kim

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Pop it . . .

"[Orange] is one of God's favorite colors --
He stuck it right there between red and yellow as the second color of the rainbow.
He decorates entire forests with shades of orange every Autumn.
It shows up in sunrises at the start of the day,
sunsets at the end of the day,
and in the glow of the moon at the right time of night."

- Reggie Joiner

Today's texture theme is "pop" to be interpreted in which ever way floats our boat. . . 
I chose to use a "pop" of orange, one of my Monarch's that eclosed while we were gone
on Sunday and must not have had enough room to spread her wings completely out, and they dried
slightly curled. She was having a great deal of difficulty flying properly.

I used a very slow shutter speed here to show the motion of her trying to flap her wings.

{Kim Klassen All that, look up, and weathered}

{Kim Klassen Phoebe}

How excited was I when my dear bloggy friend Deanna told me that she saw I had won Kim Klassen's giveaway . . . the cloth and paper texture collection.

It's awesome . . . thank you again Kim, for your generosity!

And to Deanna, seriously if she had not told me I may have missed it....

And . . . oh my . . . 

Speaking of missing something...deep even deeper sigh . . . 

I got a summons for jury duty, like a month ago, when Sam first got sick.

I put the envelope on the counter, and forgot about it! I forgot about it!!

I called, practically in tears...oh yes tears, and tried to calmly tell the woman why I missed it.

All the while hoping she hadn't sent the police to come arrest me, seriously . . . 

She said I hadn't missed it, she said today IS the 6th . . . even bigger panic . . . it was in 30 minutes. daughter happened to have a very late arrival day...and I had to drive her to school.

She took pity on me and rescheduled me for July . . . 

Did you hear that? That POP sound . . . with all the stress, I think I finally popped a gasket in my brain...

And the beat goes on,

Today, by the time you're reading this, I have been up since o'dark thirty to drive the boy and I back to the Children's hospital for more appointments and some new testing . . . .in matters of the heart, literally.

There is a potential new problem and all I can say is . . . . serenity now!!

As much as I have tried not to let this all get to me, it's gotten to me.

But on the plus side of things I have 14 chrysalis's and counting hanging in my dining room . . . 
and that is exciting stuff people! 

Have a great day, if I don't see you on Thursday I'll see you next week.
I need to find the rest of my marbles and re-attached that darn gasket, haha!

Love, Kim

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Photo-heart connection, number 4

I don't know about you, but I love the movie, "Finding Nemo",
there are so many great lessons . . . and from a fish no less.

Dory says to Marlin (Nemo's father) . . .

"Do you know whatcha gotta do when life gets you down? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, Just keep swimming swimming swimming."

I took this photo last weekend at my favorite place, Maas Nursery. It's part of their new "blue room". But little did I know that this week I would feel a lot more like this little blue fish, going against the current being chased by something bigger.

Even more so, I'm sure my son feels like that fish too . . .going against the current, chased by some big mean fish and wondering why, why did it single him out.

You see, we got a call from the doctor yesterday that his inflammation marker has gone back up to 20 times what it should be. It means that this was not a one time thing that would eventually just go away, possibly caused by an infection as we had hoped. It now means a change of medication that comes along with a new set of risks, and more frequent visits to the doctor. And it now means we pray for a remission.

As a parent I feel somewhat helpless (okay a lot) . . . I can't change the direction of the current and I surely can't stop the big mean fish that is chasing him. All I can do is be there to support him, love and comfort him. But maybe more importantly be an example of perseverance and of not giving up and of having continued hope through faith in God.

Scripture tells me to find joy in my trials and to let it be an opportunity, James 1:3, "For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow."  He doesn't want me to find joy in suffering, mine or my son's, or my family's but rather to rejoice because He is using life's difficulties to build our character. To help soften our hearts and to give us compassion towards others that find themselves in similar situations. Trials bring us humility and a bigger awareness of who is really in control.

I also know, that God does not cause suffering, but will use it to create something good from it.

I have a choice to see the glass half full or half empty, to stand on the ledge and wonder when I will fall off  or accept the peace and endurance that only comes by trusting in God. 

Today I choose to just keep swimming, swimming, swimming!

Love, Kim

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