Friday, February 28, 2014

Lory Landing . . .

 . . . at the San Antonio Zoo

A few weeks back we made an impromptu visit to see our girl
and we took a trip to the zoo.

Unfortunately the butterfly house had not opened yet (sad face),
but, there was Lory Landing. . . as in heaven for me.

1. I love and adore birds. Doesn't matter what kind I love 'em all.

2. I used to have 8 birds at one time . . . 5 parakeets, a lovebird, a cockatiel and my favorite,
a mustache parakeet. My mustache would actually say, wanna go to mommy when I would walk
by his cage if he wanted to hang out with me. He was a very affectionate bird, and I had even trained
him to go potty on command.

3. When someone new would call the house, they almost always would ask me if I was at a zoo, haha!
There were certain times during the day that they would be chattier than others. Of course it it was dinner
time and my mustache didn't get some of what I had, he would let me know. And when we watched
TV at night, the louder it got, the louder the parakeets got. But, when I covered up the cage they would
get ready for bed.

4. We had just missed the feeding time for the birds, just my luck! And as they had full tummies, it was
nap time. I have to say that I was a lot horrified at the behavior of some of the kids toward these birds. It was a free flight area and I found the kids trying to kick the birds. Who lets their kids behave that way?
Oh yes, I spoke up!

5. In the photo below this lorikeet is pinning his eyes. It's when the bird dilates his pupils from
big to small and back to big again. All parrots do this when they are excited, but they will also do it
as an aggressive behavior to warn that they are a little irritated. My mustache would do this when he was
excited about food, or when he really didn't want to be picked up and would open his mouth to
warn me as well.

I miss terribly the pet store we had before we moved here. I could go and get my fix of
parrots and they had nicknamed me the "bird whisperer." I could always get one of the parakeets
to come to me, and when they are with a flock like that, they usually have no interest in humans.
I'm really thinking I would like to have another bird, probably a parakeet - they're easy and not
as needy (as in time) as bigger birds. Our very first bird we ever got was a parakeet, Liberty, and she would
lay on her side and sleep on my tummy.

I'm really hoping we get a chance to go back at feeding time so I can interact with them, and go to the
butterfly house. But I'm thinking my family will just have to drop me off and come back because I could
stay all day in just those two places.

Well, I hope you all have a great weekend...can you believe it's going to be March?

Love, Kim

sharing with Random Five Friday

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

{ stillness }

"When you lose touch with inner stillness, you lose touch with yourself.
When you lose touch with yourself, you lose yourself in the world."
- Eckhart Tolle

{ still  }

1. remaining in place or at rest; motionless; stationary
2. free from sound or noise, as a place or persons
3. free from turbulence or commotion; peaceful; tranquil; calm

{kk Minus 43}

Losing touch with ourselves seems to be an ever growing problem in our world today, and yes, it's all too easy to lose yourself in the world if you don't find that special place to be still. When Kim gave us the theme of still last week, I was reminded of something I wrote about a year and a half ago, for my collaborative blog Focusing on life, about "Walden Pond" by Henry David Thoreau and something I read that really struck me. It would seem that when it comes to the commodity of time and being still, not much has changed since 1845.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I was having some kind of trouble with my computer, for which I can't even remember, and my husband came upstairs to rescue me. I wasn't sure how long it was going to take and so rather than go on to something else I just decided to get comfy in a chair and wait. There on the table next to me was a small book that much to my surprise I hadn't seen there before . . . I picked it up and it happened to be a book from an author of some of my very favorite quotes. The title of the book was, Walden * Henry David Thoreau and is a re-count of his experiences living in a small house in the woods on Walden Pond.

As I randomly opened the book I fell upon the middle of the chapter, "Where I lived and what I lived for," and he was talking about life living too fast. Imagine that!

I began to read . . . 

"Life lives too fast. Men think that it is essential that the nation have commerce, and talk through a telegraph, and export ice, and ride thirty miles per hour, and without a doubt, whether they do or not; but whether we should live like baboons or like men is a little uncertain."

The time frame for which he spent at Walden Pond was July 4, 1845 - September 5, 1847, and I find it interesting that through time every century of people have had the same concerns about time and as he said, living with such hurry and waste. Can you just imagine what Henry would think now if he only saw how fast we go through life today. And never mind the telegraph, we now have a plethora of social media; twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest and blogging etc., all accessed on wireless boxes called computers, cell phones and ipads.

As we get more and more of these technological advances and devices, our world seems to get smaller and smaller. Our connection to people, places, and things seemingly grows closer and closer and we now have the illusion that we can do or get things done faster and faster. But everything comes at a cost, everything. I believe the price we are paying is the exchange of quality for quantity. But really, we are just cheating ourselves.

We have become a society addicted to technology and to speed in the name of being connected (and to doing things faster). But are we really connecting? Because it seems with every new step of technology we seem to forget our true connections to each other, let alone to the living of life. Sometimes we live so fast I'm not sure we even notice, and I often wonder, do we even know where it is we are going anymore, or why we can't seem to stop to smell the roses along the way.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against technology. It can be a good thing when used in moderation and allows us a glimpse into the snippets of others lives, family and friends who live so far away. It has allowed me here on my own blog to connect with all of you, to strangers who have become friends. To share stories of our lives, to celebrate with one another and give encouragement and support each other through difficult times. But if we aren't careful it can become the very obstacle in our ability to live life fully. If we aren't careful we can lose our internal selves to the external expectations of society.

"Perhaps it would be a good idea, fantastic as it sounds, to muffle every telephone, stop every motor and halt all activity for an hour some day to give people a chance to ponder for a few minutes on what it is all about, why they are living and what they really want."
- James Truslow Adams

I think when we are younger life seems to be more about how much you can juggle, but as I've gotten older it has become more about balance and the quieter, softer side of life. I enjoy my moments of solitude to re-connect so that I don't get lost in the world and its unrealistic expectations . . . and, the red light runners. Who, by the way are never more than 5 seconds ahead of me, or two cars from me at the next light.

You know, Henry went to live at Walden Pond to continue his writing at the suggestion of Ellery Channing. He need a quieter place than his household to write, but in the same chapter he describes another motive . . .
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."

All I know is that the faster we go, the more likely we are to miss out on the true meaning of life. That we need to slow down or chance missing the real connections that are meant for each of us along the way. Because when we are in a hurry we sacrifice patience, with ourselves, our relationships and our empathy toward others. We sacrifice moments. And, we sacrifice life.

I don't want to ever lose the sense of urgency, in a society that promotes hurriedness, to find stillness.

And, I don't want to come to the end of my life and find that I sacrificed being deliberate for a rush to nowhere.

Do you have a place of stillness. . .do you visit regularly?

Love, Kim xo

sharing with Texture Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesday

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Spring has been caught speeding . . .

. . . yep, it was spotted on the gulf coast going 80 in a 60 degree zone!

Now, I know, I'm not going to get much sympathy from most of you,
but we already had to turn on the A/C.

It's February people! And I was quite hoping for a REAL Spring.

But . . . 

1. I'm over the moon to see the bees again.

2. And apparently the bees are over the moon flowers to drink nectar once again. This, seemed
to be a common sight the other day at the nursery . . . they appear to have tipped the juice
a little too far and were in a suspended stuper. (He seemed to be hanging on for dear life.)

3. Look who's here . . . he emerged on Tuesday and since we've had several hard freezes I have
zero plants for a food source, so I boxed him up and took him to my nursery. I figured he would
really enjoy the variety of flowers and appreciate the fact he didn't have to fly all over looking for food.
And...that proboscis of his went right to work.

4. As I was making my way to the front I spied this Houdini leaf performing feats of wonder. If you look really, really close you can see a hint of a silk string. I didn't really think much about it, until I noticed it
was bobbing up and down? next......

5. So.....I looked up, and, what do ya know I found Charlotte! She was using the leaf for one of her anchor threads for the beautiful web she was putting the finishing touches on. She was tricky to get a picture of moving around so much because when your a spider, there is no rest for the weary.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm loving the fact that it isn't 50 shades of grey (of course by the time you
read this it could possibly be raining cats and dogs), but you have to remember . . . here on the gulf coast our summer is a little like your winter only instead of below zero, we are over a hundred. It's just that I was thinking it would be nice to have spring first.

and one more, 7. because I know you were wondering. The APHIDS are out in full force already, UGH!

Have a great weekend - I would if I could bottle some of this up and send it to you! :)

Love, Kim xo

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A seeker . . .

. . . of light

"This is the play of light,
it enters through the
borders of being. It
occupies each particle
of the air. The air becomes
shining seed. It squirms.
It dances."

- Fiona Farrell

{KK Benjamin}

it is simply essential in life
and through the lens
our own light
and that required in a photograph

we paint it on canvases
one tells a story, the other lives it
we seek it in life to keep away the darkness
through the lens the darkness
will show us the way to the light.

It reveals and defines
gives structure and form
it glows, cascades, eludes
light is ever changing and magical
and sets the mood for everything

misty, bright, beautiful
early morning or at dusk
reflective, gentle, diffused
mysterious, dreamlike, and at times even brusk

My name is Kim
I am a seeker and finder of things
I paint with light, moments at a time
through a hole in a box.

I am also over at Focusing on Life today, musing about capturing the same light
and creating art not represented in a traditional way. What? Your just gonna have
to click HERE to find out! ;)

Love, Kim xo

sharing with Texture Tuesday, Sweet Shot Tuesday

Thursday, February 13, 2014

It happened . . .

. . . and I missed it!

Can you believe, that after 10 months of waiting, this fellow decided he just had to make
his debut in the hour I had to be gone at a doctors appointment? I knew that morning
when I left, that he wasn't gonna wait for me. I had even considered cancelling my appointment.
All I know is that I can't wait until this weather starts to warm
up so I can get started on my dill, and fennel.  

As the solder flows from my metals class - she is soldering on a bezel to attach
an enameled piece to later. Using a hammer, and a saw and a torch . . . all great
tools for reducing stress, especially when art is the end result.

This . . . is going to happen tomorrow! There is a 100% chance of sunshine in the morning and I'll
be there to report on it. It will however only be in the mid 30's, colder if there is a wind off the bay. 

{I got photo bombed, lol)

And then off for a coffee, a walk and the nursery. If I'm lucky, the poppies are blooming. I'll probably
stalk my "spot' and hope some people walk by for some more abstract photo making. I'm kinda liking
the ones with people in them. And my mind is wandering with some ideas that would include a cross and a crown of thorns. Now to figure out how to execute it.

As much as we didn't like the idea of having to back for the boy's infusions, we sure did love seeing
the nurses on floor 3 - it's also where the food court is. That's dangerous when you're there all day.

As soon as we got there, Roshanda says, "Sam's here, that's what I'm talkin' about. I've been waitin' all day for you to get here so we can talk football." To which you see the biggest smile on his face. And you know what's really amazing? One of the other nurses, the one that put in his IV, we hadn't see her for awhile. Turns out that she got lymphoma and went through chemo in the last couple of months . . . has lost all her hair, and is about to start radiation next week. And there she is, with a beautiful smile on her face, and telling us how she got to touch Justin Timberlake's leg at a concert and making us both laugh until our sides hurt with her stories.

On Tuesday's post I talked about the butterfly effect and how everything we do matters. Well, on that third floor of the critical care center it's not just a butterfly effect, it's a movement. An earthquake kind of movement that you can feel under your feet and in your heart and you won't just travel far forward, but to infinity to show the difference they are making in peoples lives.

Because people will remember how you make them feel!
Wishing you a weekend filled with sunshine and laughter . . . 

Love, Kim

sharing with Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Random Five Friday, Friday Photo Journal

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Chaos and the butterfly effect . . .

"It used to be thought that the events that changed the world were things
like big bombs, maniac politicians, huge earthquakes, or vast population
movements, but it has now been realized that this is a very old-fashioned
view held by people totally out of touch with modern thought. The things
that really change the world, according to Chaos theory, are the tiny things.
A butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazonian jungle, and subsequently
a storm ravages half of Europe."

- Neil Gaiman

{KK love and Mary}

An Abstract - "Walking with Butterflies"

 The butterfly effect . . . 

Often times things that are random could be explained away as chaos,
but chaos often times is far from random, and is probably somewhat predictable.
Yes, I think I just confused myself!

The Butterfly Effect as an example of Chaos Theory states that a particular occurrence,
no matter how small, can change the path of the universe...forever. That those small
changes in the original conditions bring drastic changes in the results.

As humans, we shouldn't need a theory or an effect to tell us that our actions matter.
But somehow we have relegated those thoughts to include everything else BUT ourselves.
We seem to have become immune to the fact that our actions have consequences.
Far reaching consequences.

It's also ironic and saddens me, that what didn't really have anything to do with butterflies per se, 
takes on a whole new meaning for the monarch with the term butterfly effect. One company,
a chemical, fields of corn and soybean and farmers. Oh, and let's not forget about greed.
One small change to the fields of America and we nearly have the demise of a butterfly.

But I digress, because today this isn't as much about the butterfly as it is the effect. It's more
about how we think and what we do, and maybe more importantly what we don't think and
what we haven't done.

Just last week I bought a little book called The Butterfly Effect, by Andy Andrews.
It's a small book, but it is powerful....and I've been thinking a lot about it.

And what he said in the last few pages touched me deeply.

"And how far forward would we need to go in your life to show the difference you make?
Every single thing you do matters."

Kim's theme this week is love . . . and it's with that love that I want to make everything I do matter.

Love, Kim

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The good, the bad, the random . . .

"From where we stand the rain seems random.
If we could stand somewhere else, we would see the order in it."

- Tony Hillerman

I don't know, I think only about twice have I ever been on the other side of the rain.
You know, when where you're standing it's not raining but 10 feet in front of you it is. So very strange.
Not sure I saw any order in it though - it still seemed pretty random to me.
But then again maybe I was just standing too close.

I enjoyed my 50mm class and decided to go ahead and delve a little deeper into abstract. I have already
been in the last year enjoying experimenting with slow shutter speed and swiping - painting with my lens.
And I love the abstract feeling I find in water reflections. I'm interested to see how this open my eyes even
more to lines and shapes and sometimes to just how I feel about something rather than what it is in reality.

This rose was done both in camera and post processing. A slow shutter speed allowed for softer shapes, and textures added later for a painterly feel. (anyone else having issues loading photos and having them look different here than in your photo folders? The color is a little off in this one)

This one of the same rose with a very shallow depth of field done in camera.

This one is quite different for me. Our prompt for the monthly Photo Art Friday is graphic/angular, and I started with a photo I took last summer while on a boat tour on the Chicago river that went through downtown Chicago. I used two of Bonnie's textures (Graphique and Art Smoke) after I did a little posterize to the photo. It took several different photos and textures to find a combination that I was pleased with. And I have to say I quite like how this turned out.  

"Chicago Meets van Gogh"

Yesterday I started a new Beth Moore bible study called 'Exploring the fruit of the Spirit." In her video she talked about how if we are still drawing a breath then we aren't done and how God is still happening . . . only it's on his calendar. I love how He gives me concrete examples of these things and yesterday was one of those days. When I got home I just happened to feel the need to look at this chrysalis, a black swallowtail, that has been in this state for at least 10 months maybe more. I know I've mentioned before that they usually emerge about 2 weeks after pupating. I kept this chrysalis because I'm a die hard hopeful and if after a year it hadn't emerged it would be enshrined in resin. I had to cut a little square off the netting as I replace the netting after each new generation and I placed it over a bowl where I keep my not so fortunate butterflies. There just might be a little dust that gathered and stuck to the silk from the other caterpillars rambling on and around it when it was in the enclosure.

And don't ya know it has started changing color, getting darker, and if you look closely you can start to see some of the wing pattern showing through. As I was holding the square up to take a photo for instagram the darn thing, it wiggled. After 10 months it's still alive and all I can say is this must be one special butterfly!!

Moral of the story . . . He gives us daily examples and we need to slow down long enough to see them. That patience isn't something we teach ourselves, but instead surrender to. 

I got to immediately put this little lesson of patience to the test when I got a call from my son's Rheumatology doctor. About 7 weeks ago she decided that since his blood work was consistently coming back with normal numbers - white blood cell count, inflammation markers, sed rate - and had been for nearly 6 months with next to no breakthrough symptoms, that we could discontinue his infusions. We just had blood work taken the day before as he has been having intermittent pain and stiffness and fatigue. The numbers are going back up and to avoid getting out of control quickly he started back on steroids and we have an infusion for next Tuesday. I guess I can't say that I'm surprised, I've seen it coming, but it pains me none the less that it didn't go into remission. Now, what was I saying about God's timing? Oh yes, reminder to myself that He is going at the perfect speed and I am not. It seems patience is easier for some things than others.

Last but not least, last weekend we were missing our girl, so we drove over to see her and spent a family day at the zoo. A good time was had by all, but with nearly an 8 hour round trip drive it makes for a long day. Next year she will be even closer as she'll transfer to UT Austin.

Have a great weekend y'all!
Love, Kim

sharing with Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Friday Photo Journal

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