With Happiness, There Can Also Be Sadness

I found out last June that I was going to be a grandmother for the first time, thanks to my first born son and his wife. I had to keep it a secret (which was very hard to do) until they made the announcement. Well on January 21, 2021 We welcomed Jaxson James into the world and I immediately made plans to visit them in Arizona. Around this time my beautiful Tuxedo cat Harpo got deathly ill and I almost lost him. Thanks to my wonderful Vet he recovered and with all test results he was cleared and on the mend, or so I thought.

As I began to plan out my trip, purchase tickets, rent a car and figure out what to pack, my boy would have good days, great days and a bad day now and again. I had medication which I gave him regularly and made plans for my son to house sit and take care of him and my outdoor feral cat.

I left on a Friday and met my grandson for the very first time! He is beautiful and my heart is so full of joy over having him! I was so blessed to be able to spend time with him. I was going to enjoy him as much as I could for the ten days. He made me a Nali! While out there we went sight seeing, had a couple of beautiful meals out with family and friends and just an overall great time!

Jaxson James Owen

Unfortunately the Sunday evening after I left, my boy Harpo was gone. He was sick that morning and my son did everything he was shown to do, but Harpo stopped eating and his body slowly gave out, my son had to make the call to his mom from 2000 miles away. We both cried, me, more so for the fact that my son is the one who found him and had to take care of his final resting. I knew for me, I had a week to spend with my beautiful grandson, and his parents, so my attention was on them a hundred percent, but I knew upon returning home, the cold reality would hit me; My Harpo of almost 12 years was gone. The grief is strong, I miss him every day.

Rest In Peace my sweet boy, I miss you so much.

As I stated there was a feral I had been feeding outdoors, a very young (*less than a year old kitten). She and her siblings hang around because my neighbor feeds them. The Day Harpo got really sick was the day she decided she wanted to be “my” cat. I kept her outside because with Harpo already sick I didn’t want her to bring anything in to him, but the would chatter and “talk” through the windows. The day before his passing I saw on my kitchen cam that he jumped up on the counter (he did the rarely), but he was “talking” to his new friend. I would like to think he was having his final talk with her to let her know he would be leaving and to take care of me after he left. When I got home from the airport on that Monday, she came running to me! My heart was breaking for my loss, but I knew this was Harpo’s final gift to me. Let me introduce you to Shai (pronounced Shy) her name means “gift”. She chose me to love…and I feel Harpo told her to be kind and to not bother the birds and to sleep at night instead of play. Last night was her first night inside all night, she was excellent. Our adventure begins.

This is Shai (pronounced Shy) Her name means “gift”

*UPDATE: Shai had a chip and has been spayed. Vet’s office had to try and contact the former owner however, no one responded, and one more thing she is not a kitten, she is seven years old according to her chip information. As of yesterday she is now officially mine, she has become an inside cat and was given a clean bill of health and received all her shots and tests.

When the soul calls

Today I had made plans to go to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge and take a look at the birds that may be out and about.  I woke up this morning after a sleepless night and almost decided NOT to go.  I was talking myself out of leaving the house with my camera in tow and just stay home.  That’s been the problem with this pandemic, I have become house bound except for work.  I then decided not to go to Ding Darling, but to go to Six Mile Cypress Slough, I needed green, I needed to walk in the outdoors.  My soul was not calling me to stay in my car and drive and get out occasionally to shoot waterbirds, it was calling me to walk, to smell, to enjoy the cool breeze and to become one with nature.  

“Falling in love with the Earth is one of life’s great adventures.” – Steve Van Matre 

As I was getting ready to leave my house, I still wanted to just simply stay home…after all who would really know if I went out or not? Well to answer that question, I would know!

I arrived and and began my small journey through the cypress boardwalk.  Not too many people, but enough to be a slight disturbance with their talking.  I knew I wanted to take some photos, but I also knew I wanted them to be deliberate in nature; I wanted to enjoy my experience, to breathe in and enjoy the calmness I was feeling.

“You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait, something happens.” – Henry David Thoreau 

Sitting down on a bench I realized how much I missed this.  I missed the beauty, I missed the putrid smell of decaying debris, I missed the colors and I have missed the silence. I walked and filled my lungs with clean fresh air.  There are days I crave the silence of the woods over the noise of humans, today is that day.  

“ My heart is tuned to the quietness that the stillness of nature inspires.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

That short hour and a half was enough to sustain me for a bit longer in this crazy world.  My happiness has returned.

“One’s happiness depends less on what he knows than on what he feels.” – Liberty Hyde Bailey

What A Year!

Happy New Year (We can hope anyway)! This blog is based on my work and photography, and since there’s been a standstill in Event, concerts and Weddings, I’ve not had much to write about. So far I’ve stayed out of the Corona virus’ way and have stayed healthy. I hope you reading this have done the same and are looking forward to a New Year with new adventures back outdoors and doing what inspires you.

I belong to a photography group on Meetup.com; we call ourselves the South West Florida Shutterbugs, and even though we were not able to meet in person, our lead organizer and I have kept it going all spring, summer & fall.

2020 started with me moving to a larger home, a girls weekend trip to North Carolina with my best friends, where we stayed in a beautiful cabin and played in the snow. This was in February and within two weeks, the virus reared it’s ugly head and had everyone in a panic and the begin of a shut down for businesses, people not going out and staying at home, which made me thankful I had moved to a place I could fully enjoy.

March found me working from home for a few weeks, and very thankful I had the space to create an office, where it was quiet and functional. April & May were much of the same, carrying masks, going to work and trying to stay safe. In June a few of my friends came down with the virus and one passed away. AJ was a wonderful human, and is missed terribly. June was my birthday month and I self isolated in a beautiful condo on Fort Myers beach for a long weekend.

Fall came and went, but I got to spend time with my sister who came to visit me, had a few visits from friends and did much of the same, stayed home, went to work and did limited shopping in stores (only when I had to). November my Meet up group SWFL Shutterbugs decided to do a live meet up after months of online and virtual meetings, we met at a local park where we could meet safely, following social distancing guidelines. It was wonderful to see the members and we are slowing introducing outdoor events once again.

Thanksgiving was spent alone, and Christmas my youngest son came over to have dinner and celebrate. I also got to face time with my sister and the rest of her family, I missed them so much.

I will add some photos showcasing my time during this past year. Let’s all pray for this virus to go away and that the world can return to some normalcy very soon. God Bless you all and have a Happy New Year!

Working From Home

I have now been working from home with my regular job for 2 weeks, and going into the office one day per week. How is this working? Pretty well actually, I’m getting things accomplished, and staying on track with email, invoices and other busy work. I miss the office interaction and of course I miss my Sandee my office cat, but I do have Harpo checking in on my now and then.

I’m used to working from home because of all the photos I’ve edited and spent hours working on. However, this is different. I’m on a set 8 hour schedule Monday thru Friday just as if I were going to my employment, but home alone. I wanted to share with you a few tips that are working for me.

  1. I wake up early each day to give myself time to shower, make my bed and get dressed. I dress casual, but nice and put on a touch of make up, just to make myself feel better.
  2. A nice protein rich breakfast keeps me going. Then I wash my breakfast dishes and put them away, so I am not tempted to do them when I should be working.
  3. I created a designated office space where I am not in front of a Television or any other distractions.
  4. My water bottle is filled so I can stay hydrated throughout the day; for me this is very important, it keeps me from getting tired.
  5. Difussing essential oils helps with focus.
  6. By 7:15am I log into my work station and let my boss know I am ready to have the phones transferred.
  7. Going over my daily Passion Planner helps to set up my day and I add anything new that’s come up (My Passion Panner is set up the night before).
  8. My workday begins at 7:30am with checking email to see if anything needs my immediate attention, if so it gets added to the planner.
  9. By keeping my scheduled lunch break at noon, I’m able to keep on my daily schedule. I chose a heathy option for lunch and refill the water bottle
  10. Since I’m home I keep a Yoga mat behind me so I can periodically stretch, I find this keeps my brain more focused and gives me a “move” break.
  11. Keeping track of my daily tasks by making a bullet list of the items I accomplished helps me see what I have done and what needs to be carried over to the next day (I’m not 100%, but working on it).
  12. Finally as my day ends at 4 pm. I make sure I go over my planner and move items which did not get accomplished to the following work day.

So there you have it. Are you working from home? Do you have any tips to help get you through your day? If so what are they, please feel free to share them with all of us.

Until next time, stay home, stay healthy and WASH YOUR HANDS!

The New Normal

As of this past Thursday, Our state is in a mandated shutdown. Because of my job, I’m considered essential so I am still working. However, after work and on the weekends I am sheltered at home.

During my “normal” life I am a full time employee and my spare time I’m an event photographer at a local event arena. With COVID-19 all of that has dried up. I really don’t mind the sheltering in place, but I really miss working with my camera. I decided to just set up somet things and play around with my 50mm and my 100mm Macro. I will be doing more of that on the weekends along with more writing and some artistic painting.

What are you doing during this shelter at home? Let’s keep social by having conversations on how you all are coping. Just know this too shall pass. Until next time…….

Life Interrupted

Well, life has changed once again. As I write this we are experiencing a Pandemic in not just the United States, but throughout the world.

Personally I am still working my day job; who knows how long, however we have made drastic changes and have limited who walks through our door. I don’t have as much human contact as I once did. I go home and again no contact. I may be an introvert, but I miss being with friends, but most of all I miss shooting the concerts and events which have all been postponed or canceled. This is my busy time of year too so now I’m doing basically nothing. I am adjusting, but also have been on an outing or two, with social distancing. I did that his Sunday with a friend. Kati and I met at our destination, stayed a reasonable distance apart, yet was still able to talk to each other, be outside in the sunshine and fresh air and photograph some of the cutest Owls on the planet; burrowing Owls with their young. I have starting doing Yoga at home which helps with the stress, and I bought supplies to paint again. Listening to music also helps.

I don’t buy into fear mongering, I’m doing what I can to keep my hands washed and my place clean. I know I’m not the only one feeling this impact upon our lives, so share with me what you are doing to get through this trying time in our lives. Are you self quarantining? Are you still working your regular job or are you working from home? Are you in the service industry? Let’s hold a conversation and get each other through this trying time in our lives. Just know this too shall pass. We are all in this together, God bless each and every one of you.

Update on Life

So much has happened in these short three months.  I moved to a larger place, I went on a quick girls trip to North Carolina with my best friends, I have been shooting concerts, and events like crazy and I did a maternity shoot. 

Let’s start with the move.  Back in early December a friend told me that there was a place to rent that was within my budget and much larger than where I was.  I went from about 350sq ft to well over 850sq ft.  from one tiny bedroom/kitchen living area to two bedrooms and two bathrooms and a large kitchen and living space.  Oh, and I’m much closer to my day job.  This move took what seemed like forever, it was just me doing the work with the help of a friend with a truck for my “big” stuff.  (I didn’t really have that much, just the fact that I had to do it after work, and on my own time was exhausting.  Then in the middle of this I had a trip planned to go to North Carolina early February.  A trip that had been planned for about nine months or so.

After returning I finished up my packing and moving and I’m almost settled in……..almost, I still need a couple of pieces of furniture and a washer & dryer.  But I really like the space, I had not realized it, but I was in a bit of a funk and moving has lifted me up.  I was so grateful for that little mobile home and the timing of when I was having to move, but it was very small and seemed so far away from life. 

After this March came roaring in with concerts and events and I’ve been crazy busy, but it’s back to doing what I love.  A caveat to the move with the extra bedroom…..I have studio space and I put it to use with some beautiful family/maternity photos.  I’m excited on this prospect and the fact that I can do some entertaining. 

Life is really wonderful right now, I have a calming space I call home, my photo work is picking up, and I’m just getting back to having adventures. 

Stay tuned……..Life as we know it has abruptly changed; update soon.

 

Time With Friends

I woke up before daylight yesterday to go shooting with some girlfriends. We were going up to the Venice Bird Rookery here in South West Florida. We met up at 6:30 am and piled into one of the vehicles and headed off.

As we arrived we saw the line of photographers which reminded me of being in Yellowstone National Park when the Grizzly Bears show up. We sidled up to the other photographers and took in the sight before us; beautiful, nesting wading birds in full breeding plumage.

We spent a couple of hours then off to breakfast to a wonderful local breakfast spot.

I hope you enjoy a few of my photos.

Babcock Ranch Eco Tours

I belong to a Meetup.com group for photographers call the SWFL Shutterbugs. I have been a member of this group for quite a number of years and have made some wonderful friends. This past weekend 26 of us gathered and went on an eco tour of Babcock Ranch. It’s not just a historic part of Florida’s history, but it’s still a working ranch with the descendants of the original Spanish Cattle and real working cracker cowboys.

The best thing is the wildlife we saw. Lots of wild hogs and baby pigs (bacon bits!), Wild turkey, Sandhill Cranes and lots of Alligators; lots to photograph!

We were fortunate enough to have our own private tour with a wonderful tour guide. The tour uses old school busses as their swamp buggies. It’s open, and bumpy and just a lot of fun; we filled the bus with our group. I love the wildlife, but my heart danced with joy when the cowboy’s horses came over and graced us with their presence. Our tour was over 90 minutes and was simply wonderful.

After the tour we all had lunch together catered by the ranch. As much as our group loves to take pictures, we love to gather together fellowship with each other and eat just as much.

If you ever make it to South West Florida please visit the Babcock Ranch Eco Tour, it’s worth every penny. Please enjoy the photos and feel free to leave me your thoughts.

Welcome to 2020!

A new year with lots of new changes. So what’s new you ask? First of all I will be moving to a larger space, one that will allow me to take portraits and head shots in my home because I will finally have a dedicated studio space and an office to work in. I will also be able to be a lot more creative with more space to do so. The move will take place in the middle of January; I’m excited!

My year has already started with a bang and with 9 concerts & events, three Meetup events and add moving into that mix; this girl is going to be busy!

Another area I want to address is my social media, I want to set up a designated social media schedule that will allow me to plan out my posts and schedule them for the week. This is going to be a challenge, but I need a good challenge!

Well since I don’t have any new photos to share, please enjoy my cats.  Harpo my house cat is a tuxedo and Sandee my office cat is a tabby.41F19569-682C-4237-A3FF-FDD1643378F5