The minute the calendar went from April to May, I felt it. I knew it was going to be a hard month for us. My mother passed away January 3, it has been a tough road and will continue to be. Mother’s Day and her birthday were right around the corner. I know she is no longer suffering and in a better place. That gives me a bit of peace, and I know it should give me more. I guess I am selfish and want her with me.
There have been days where I hear or see something and pick up the phone to call her to tell her about it, only to stop myself realizing I can’t. Now that Spring has arrived, I see yellow roses, her favorite. Last week was brutal. I passed by the Mother’s Day card aisles in the stores and I couldn’t even look at them without getting teary-eyed. I’ve seen Mother’s Day commercials, and had to turn the channel, me being the blubbering fool. I got really angry with people complaining about their mothers and give them a piece of my mind. Whereas just a few short months ago, I was one of them. Last night I took her old sweater and wrapped it around me and cried myself to sleep.
It has been rough for me and my sidekick to say the least. And from what I hear, my sister is also having a hard time. We would text each other blubbering gibberish. Our moods fitting, as we snapped at each other on text a couple times over stupid things. My dad pretty much doesn’t know what to do with himself these days. I’ve even thought about taking him out to the refuge with us for the drive. Maybe soon.
So on the advice of family and friends, I took the day and made it about me. What??!! How dare I be a mother on Mother’s Day! We reminisced about Mom and remembered the good times. All we have now are memories, and nothing is going to change that. Learning to accept the things I cannot change has been a big struggle for me, but in the past couple years I have come a long way in that regard.
I told my sidekick this weekend was about me. And her. Afterall, it is because of her that I AM a mother. The only thing my ex gave me worth holding on to, and I will treasure her forever. So I made plans to stay busy doing what we like doing best, and hopefully make the best of this dreaded Mother’s Day weekend.
Friday was a splendid day weather-wise. During my lunch break, I took a little stroll through my favorite park for birding in the Spring. I pulled up and instantly heard several songbirds singing and I immediately wished I didn’t have to go back to work. I heard and saw a cardinal, several Yellow Rumped Warblers, etc. I walked the trail and several small Downy and Hair Woodpeckers were flitting about here and there. Sandhill Cranes were calling in the distance and I knew I had to bring my sidekick back in the evening, as they are her favorites. I have only been bird watching for a couple of years now, not nearly long enough to identify birds by their song. Some yes, most no. I once read that Minnesota is one of the top 5 states for birding, as we get well over 300 species during migration in Spring and Fall. Maybe by the time I retire I will know most of their songs.
As I walked the path hoping to see a new warbler or a Baltimore Oriole, First of Year (FOY) for me, I stopped suddenly as I heard a Rose Breasted Grosbeak. I love these beautiful birds. They sound like Robins on steroids, LOL. At any rate, I first heard, then saw the female. The male was not too far behind. I was so excited, as this was indeed FOY for me. I kept walking, and saw an Eastern Bluebird, sparrows (there are so many species it is so hard to differentiate which one), the usual suspects around here. Canada Geese nesting finally, a male Wood Duck. I always end up dilly dallying and my lunch hour goes so fast.
I got about halfway around the trail and realized it was time to start back. I turned around and headed back, only to be stopped again by the female Rose Breasted Grosbeak. However, this time I saw some nesting material in her mouth and followed her with my eyes to see where she may go. Low and behold she flew about 10 feet off the path into a nest. No eggs yet, but I was so excited, what a find for me! The male came and sat above me on a branch checking me out. With our very late Spring and cold weather, we are just starting to get buds on the trees so she is very visible from the path. My first thought was that I really hope the buds and trees come in fast so more passersby don’t interfere with the nest. I got a few shots in, not too many, as they are very skittish birds.
My sidekick and I returned that evening after dinner. We saw the nest, but no sign of the birds. I am hoping to keep track and monitor the nest for babies, but then I will be very sad if something happens to them. Nature at it’s finest, I guess. Taking the good with the bad.
Saturday morning we had plans to attend the Spring Celebration at the refuge, as it was Migratory Bird Day. We got up at 5:30 (yes, on a Saturdaymorning, much to my teenager’s chagrin). It was 34 degrees, cloudy, windy and very cold. We had signed up for the birding tour which was from 7:00 to 11:00 am. The first part of the tour was a caravan around the refuge on a couple of the DNR roads which are not usually open to the public. The chilly, windy weather made it hard, as the birds were not out and about. We saw some shorebirds, including, Lesser Yellow Legs, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper. Several Blue Winged Teal, Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, and a couple of Bald Eagles.
The hearty people of the bunch decided at 9:00 to go on one of the trails hiking. My crabby, tired, cold teenager was not so eager. So we just went on the wildlife drive, saw several birds, highlights were an American Kestrel and a Ruby Crowned Kinglet, nothing too out of the ordinary. The wind was blowing so hard I had to keep the windows up in my vehicle and the sand was flying all over we couldn’t see anything, so we headed out.
The refuge headquarters was having a plant sale, so we stopped there on our way home. I always like to see what birds are at their feeders, I had been hearing good things. However, the wind always plays a factor and there wasn’t too much next to the Red Winged Blackbirds and White Breasted Nuthatch. BUT, we did scare up this guy digging around on the ground eating up the bird seed dropped by the birds. The workers at the refuge tried sending him home with me, LOL.
On Sunday morning, Mother’s Day, we had every intention of hitting two parks and walking some trails. However, the early morning on Saturday did us in and we slept in on Sunday. I also had a couple of meltdowns over my own mom, but wanted to concentrate on new memories and traditions with my daughter. By the time we headed out of the house it was after noon. We headed to a Nature Center in a suburb of the Twin Cities. They had some great birds at their feeders and had some nice walking trails. Saw my FOY Baltimore Orioles, they do have a lovely sound. We saw a number of birds, and some Canada Geese nesting, which was also a FOY for us because of the late Spring. Toward the end, my back was giving out with all the walking, so we decided to call it a day.
All in all, not many photos for the week but lots of birds seen and heard finally after such a rough Spring. Just not close enough for photos.
Hope everyone has a fabulous week!
I have been busy to say the least. I have been out and about taking photos, just not a lot of time to write about it. Here in Minnesota we have had a long, harsh winter. We had 15 inches of snow on April 18 in my neck of the woods. A week later it was another 6. Very sad that some of the birds came back too early to the cold and snow. Some did not get enough food, and I heard some froze to death, unfortunately. I was frantically throwing out birdseed during the snowstorm and sweeping my deck off for my juncos, chickadees and finches. I saw a photo from my birding group of a robin feeding at a suet feeder. You don’t see that every day. Desperate times call for desperate measures. We had “lovingly” calling it a cross between Winter and Spring “SPRINTER”!
But that melted within a couple of days and we have been enjoying some mild spring weather, FINALLY. However, I hear up in northern Minnesota the lakes still have many inches of ice on them. Our big opener fishing weekend is coming up this weekend, and some are joking they may be ice fishing! After the storm of the 18th, my sidekick had a snow day and I took a snow day from work. We drove around (I have AWD, so not so bad) and I took photos. We brought buckets of birdseed to sprinkle at several parks for the birds.
Yesterday was a good day weatherwise, as is today. We were able to head to a local birding hotspot on Saturday, saw a nice Palm Warbler, but didn’t get the shot of course; and yesterday took a walk and saw a first-timer for me, the Orange Crowned Warbler. Have been seeing several Great Egrets around here and there. Also, I went all winter without seeing a cardinal. Kind of unusual in a Minnesota winter, to not see a Northern Cardinal. Now all of a sudden I’ve seen several couples flitting about.
This weekend is Mother’s Day and weather-permitting, we have nature things planned. Saturday is a migrating bird tour with the local refuge and Sunday I think we are going to a local state park for some hiking. More to follow on this.
At any rate, I just wanted to pop on and post some photos that I have recently taken and catch up a bit. There is a big mix of photos in this slideshow, from winter/spring. Hope you enjoy!
Thanks for looking!
We have been busy going through my parents’ things to prepare for my dad moving in with me. It truly is amazing what people accumulate through 57 years of marriage.
At any rate, we have had some more snow and I got out a couple times during my lunch hour to take a few photos last week. After a while, they all start to look alike. LOL. I just thought I’d pop on quickly and dump these new ones into the cache
I am taking a day this weekend for me and my sidekick for a little road trip, weather-permitting. I am going to try to go in search of the infamous Snowy Owl. Sightings have been popping up throughout Minnesota this winter. Not as many as last year, but a few nonetheless. This year it is considered a Boreal Owl irruption, however, this is way up north and I don’t have the time or means to get up there this season, so I have to live vicariously through my birding friends.
Also wanted to get a few barns in the snow. Forecast by the end of the week is for a major snow storm to come blowing through Thursday through Friday. Hopefully out of our hair by Sunday for a fun road trip.
Hope you all enjoy your week and stay warm!
On February 2 as I woke up, it was -2 below zero. We had been below zero in the deep freeze for a few days and that day’s forecast was 10 above. WOOP WOOP! My sidekick and I had plans to head out to the refuge for the annual Winterfest festivities. There were going to be birds from the Audubon Center of the Northwoods, and I wanted photos of them. But when I woke up to -2 below, I started having doubts. Last year when we attended, there was no snow and it was above 20 degrees. It’s one thing for me to walk around like a lunatic in -18 below zero taking photos, it’s another for my sidekick to follow suit.
She had had a sleepover the night before and as I was sitting chatting with the girls at breakfast, I said that I thought we should just go on a brisk walk locally instead. She informed me we were going to bundle up, and we were going to go to Winterfest. Ooooh-kayyy. So we bundled up, which means in layers. We had long underwear on and three layers on top. 3 pairs of socks, heavy boots and 2 pairs of gloves. I looked like I belonged in an 80′s hair band and felt like the Michelin Man.
We dropped the “extra” girl off on the way and headed up the 18 miles to my peaceful place. We hadn’t been there since November.When we arrived, it had warmed up to about 5 degrees. The American Kestrel and Great Horned Owl were on display in the bird tent. The Audubon Center takes in injured birds and rehabilitates them if at all possible. If not, they keep them for educational purposes. I wasn’t in the tent to hear the Kestrel’s story, but the Great Horned Owl had been hit by a car and could not hunt on his own. But they both were too dang cute for words.
They were changing the birds out in a 1/2 hour, so we moved on. We hit up the hot chocolate booth and got some birthday cake, the refuge was celebrating it’s 110th birthday. Bought a sweatshirt and headed toward the horse-drawn wagon rides. The crowd was a lot thinner than last year, I’m sure because it was under 10 degrees. We had stood in line for over an hour last year, this year it was more like 10 minutes. The horses are beautiful Percheron horses and it really was a beautiful, sunshiney day. The guide told us about the trails and wildlife drive the refuge has to offer, that we are very familiar with. I think at that point my toes were getting numb.
We walked back to the bird tent to check out the Barred Owl and the Eastern Screech Owl. The Eastern Screech Owl’s story was that she had brain damage. She just wasn’t “all there”. I don’t re She was just tiny and adorable, if an owl can be adorable, LOL. I don’t remember the Barred Owl’s story, but the educational director was explaining to everyone how “owls can turn their heads around” is a myth. They can turn it ALMOST all the way around, but have to turn it back because they have a vertebrae.
My sidekick wanted to head to the craft tent before we left. There she made a pinecone bird feeder. They had peanut butter to slap on some pinecones, and cover it with bird seed. They had snowshoeing, but she didn’t want to do that. Lots of bird education and DNR booths, a silent auction and a bonfire to warm your toes. Since we were pretty cold, we didn’t stay too long. 90 minutes tops.
I always like to check the refuge headquarters bird feeders while I’m up there. The DNR had been reporting Grosbeaks and Redpolls in the area, which was unusual this far south. Also a Barred Owl had been spotted several times by the DNR near the headquarters building. So we stopped to have a look see. My sidekick stayed in the car and played on her phone staying warm, kids these days. I snuck up behind the building to check the feeders out. There were dozens of Black Capped Chickadees, White-Breasted Nuthatches and lots of different woodpeckers, but no Redpolls, Grosbeaks or Owls to be found. I took several shots and my toes started to get numb again so I went back to the car.
We are very much looking forward to spring when the refuge wildlife drive once again opens for us to trek. I think when the weather warms up a tad bit, we will check out the Blue Hill Trail again like we did last year. It was a great hike for the winter.
Hope you enjoyed our day in photos!
Minnesota winters are harsh. I have seen 27 inches of snow in two days, and I have seen -50 F below zero with almost as low windchills. Not fit for man nor beast. Seems they used to be harsher when I was a kid. But back in the 70’s (yes, I’m that old) winters were fun. We had way more snow and way more cold. And yet it didn’t seem to bother us. We were ALWAYS outside, whether we were making snowmen, snow forts, sledding, etc. You name it, we did it. I remember for Christmas one year I wanted the new K-TEL block maker or whatever it was called. I got it and let me tell you, it was the best igloo maker around! Rarely did we have snow days when I was going to school. The big joke around here is when it gets up to 30, it is bikini time!
Last year we hardly got any snow. We had one big storm dubbed “The Leap Year” storm and that was it. Mild temperatures and less snow. We had 30′s and 40′s in January. Snowmobilers, ice fisherma, resort owners, and photographers like me were disappointed in the lack of snow we had. I bet we didn’t even have 20 inches. Everyone was joking that Old Man Winter had been laid to rest.
Well, I’m here to tell you that Old Man Winter is alive and well in Minnesota this year. We have had 30′s, and we have had frigid temperatures. I have been out walking the last couple weeks, warm and cold. One day was even 18 below zero on my lunch hour and I headed to the river to see what I could find. The only thing NOT normal is that we have had snow, but not as much as in other years. I am sure part of the global warming.
I have also sat on my deck watching the birds. Not many hang out with us in the winter season because of the cold. We keep the summer stand-by’s like the Northern Cardinal, Blue Jays, Black-Capped Chickadees, and White-Breasted Nuthatches. We acquire the snowbirds, down from Canada, like the Dark-Eyed Junco’s and Snow Buntings. And of course, we have the Owls and Woodpeckers in all their glory. I bought a heated bird bath the other day and just set it up. Will see if it makes a difference in birds on my deck.
At any rate, here are some photos that I particularly liked in the past few weeks, along with my iPhone weather report, LOL
My trip to the river, I think by the time I made it there at noon it was -10 below. I walked along the Mighty Mississippi taking photos of the steam coming up off the river, and of the swans seemingly totally oblivious to the fact that it was bitterly cold outside. The water was warmer than the air temp at that time.
Another day it was in the 20′s and nice and balmy, I checked out my favorite park and it didn’t disappoint. LOTS of woodpeckers to be seen, although far away so I couldn’t get any photos. I had all I could do to get back to work on time that day.
And the day on my deck, taking photos of the Dark-Eyed Juncos and Black Capped Chickadees flitting around my deck, I’d say it was about 15 degrees above zero and snowing.
As I sit here ready to upload this blog, it is about 10 degrees. The weather this week looks to be in the 20′s and 30′s all week. I plan a couple days for walking at lunch. Back to my favorite park to try my luck in viewing the Pileated Woodpecker that frequents the park up close and personal. Saturday, my sidekick and I are headed on a 5K for our local community. The big thing around here is jumping in the lake at the Shiver Elk River every year. My sidekick wanted to do it, I was afraid I would have a heart attack! So we settled on the 5K. However, if I am in the vicinity of the plungers, I will definitely take it upon myself to take a few shots!
Hope everyone enjoys the rest of the week!
This is not about nature or photography. This is about my life recently. I wrote the following “Letter to the Editor” in my local newspaper. I also sent it to my local state representatives. I really think that all Americans should write letters to their representatives when they are unhappy with the government. Which is pretty much everyone these days! I just thought I would also post it here for good measure. I promise I won’t go off on a political rant, personally, I am not very political very often. But this needed to be done.
On a side note, I have a nice nature and photography blog in the works for next time
My Letter to the Editor
I have watched documentaries and have seen news stories about homeless veterans and often wondered, “How can a U.S. veteran be homeless?” I am finding out firsthand how this happens.
My dad is a Korean War veteran. He grew up working on a farm, was drafted into the U.S. Army, and headed to Korea to fight for his country. He came back and married my mom in 1955. Both my parents worked hard for many years to provide for us children. He was finally forced to retire at 75.
Both my parents collected very small pensions, along with Social Security. They barely had enough to make ends meet. In early January, after 57 years of marriage, my mother passed away. My dad’s income was cut in half. I helped him sign up for any kind of assistance he could get. Which has proven to be futile.
He does not qualify for assisted living. Waiting lists for subsidized senior housing are months, if not years, long. HRA rental assistance waiting list is years long. He doesn’t qualify for Medical Assistance because he has a very small life insurance policy that is over the “asset limit.” He could get a little help from the VA, but it involves waiting lists, changing doctors and driving miles to see a new one.
Even if he got into subsidized housing, he doesn’t make enough money to pay his bills and rent. So he will be moving in with me. I am a single mom and have worked full time since I was 18 years old. I have received assistance ONCE in my entire life while I was laid off with a very small child. That is what government assistance is all about, to help those who work for a living and fall on hard times. Not for those who are too lazy to work. The government hasn’t figured this out yet?
Yet the U.S. continues to provide for other countries and immigrants at the drop of a hat, while ignoring the homeless veterans and hungry Americans. I walked into the Social Security office a couple of years ago and was astonished at the people waiting in line. Some couldn’t even speak English. Others had children in $100 tennis shoes and playing on smartphones. Yet they are collecting Social Security? This was not the welfare office, it was Social Security. For what reason did they qualify? Have they paid their dues? I don’t know their story, but I highly doubt they have paid as much as my father has paid. I could go on and on, but why bother? It falls on deaf ears.
I am very proud of my dad and his patriotism, and am proud to be an American. But right now I am very ashamed of the U.S. government and what it has become.
My dad and my sidekick at Applebee’s on Veteran’s Day.
A couple weeks ago, we took a drive back out to the Monticello Swan Park. I blogged about the Swan Park last year here. This was our first time out there this winter. The swans are at the park usually from December thru March feeding on the corn the residents hand out. The numbers this year looked like almost double from last year. There had to have been 1,000 trumpeters along with some Canada honkers and mallards. This particular day we had my niece from California and a friend with us. It was -2 below zero. She was in a hurry to get out of there, I could’ve stayed all day.
I just wanted to drop a line with some photos of the swan park. I have been under the weather with a nasty head cold the past few days. It has been frigid and it has been mild in the past couple weeks. And I have gone on a couple of winter photo walks I am writing about. I also spent some time on my deck today with the heavy snow falling trying my best to get the Dark-Eyed Juncos to my feeders for photo opps. Another blog coming on that note.
Enjoy the swans!
I finally got out for a bit during my lunch hour on Thursday and it felt great. I didn’t have my long lens, so I didn’t get some shots I wanted. But I didn’t care. I also didn’t have a lot of time, but I still didn’t care. It just felt good to be out and about with my camera on a short photo walk taking photos again. It hit me that I really did miss this. Camera in hand. Dead of winter. Looking for signs of life.
We have been having another unusually warm winter, but this year we have a bit of snow. It was about 34 degrees and sunny. I grabbed my dusty binoculars out of the trunk of the old Mercury and headed for the river bank. There were about 25-30 Trumpeter Swans out a ways on the Mississippi, juvenile and adult. Also a bird or two singing on shore; however, I didn’t recognize the song. I frequent this park a lot in the spring, it is known for its Cedar Waxwing population. Sometimes they stick around in winter, other times not.
I came across tracks that are debatable as far as what species it is. I am not good at tracking. Yet. I also came across a lone Bald Eagle sitting out on a rock. Waiting for its lunch to swim by, perhaps? Too far out to tell or get a photo.
I took a few photos of the small stream running into the river and some odds and ends. Not really taking a picture of anything, just taking pictures.
Friday brought rain and about 35 degrees around the noon hour. Yes, rain in Minnesota in January. Very unusual. I had to stop by the funeral home and pick up my mom’s ashes, and lucky for me it is right on the river. I grabbed my protein shake and away I went. Unfortunately, I am no stranger to death. I have lost many in my family and also some close friends. Including my brother in 2005 at the age of 52, after a massive stroke. When my sister and I picked up my brother’s ashes years ago, we made a joke about seat-belting him in. Today it was just me. And no jokes. It was almost surreal. But I surprised myself and didn’t turn into a blubbering fool.
I headed down the hill to the river. I hung out in this area a lot last winter, this was my first time this season. Nothing much going down there, a couple of Trumpeter Swans swam through. I again forgot my 300mm and was disappointed. I still had 25 minutes to kill so I headed down to the boat landing again. I walked a little path to the river and took in the woods and the surroundings.
I walked through the woods, looking for critters and birds, and just took in nature. This was so much a part of me a year ago and I had come to love it. The drizzle was melting the snow a bit, there were leaves scattered, left from fall. I was searching for owls, but heard only the faint sound of some 40 or so Goldeneyes out on the river. I took some photos of random stuff, not really anything. I was alone at the park and it was a bit eery. But I felt so alive and at peace at that moment. More alive than I had felt in a long time. I knew that I was meant to do this. I headed back up the hill to the old car, stopped and got some Chinese and headed back to work.
As I sat eating my lunch at my desk, I opened my fortune cookie. I am not one to believe in any of that stuff, but my fortune read “the rubber bands are heading in the right direction”. I like to think it means something along the lines of my life is finally headed in the right direction, things are coming together, etc. It felt right.
As I was surfing the web the other night, I came across a saying that hit me like a ton of bricks.
“Today I close the door to the past, open the door to the future, take a deep breath, step on through and start a new chapter in my life”
Oh, and P.S. Sunday I went to the Swan Park. I have blogged about the swan park in the past. It was -2 F and there were at least a thousand Trumpeter Swans. I will save that for the next blog post!
I have been remiss in my blogging and photography duties, and I feel it. I took some time to reflect on my priorities last night, there are no photos, just thoughts, just words.
I have always had a love for taking pictures and photography. In May of 2011, I decided to start a Project 365 and surprised myself by finishing it in May of 2012. I faithfully took a picture every day, whether it was of my cat, or a landscape photo at the local refuge I frequent. In those 365 days, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I have a knack for landscape photography and I love wildlife and the great outdoors. I learned that I would be even better with different equipment, if I ever have the money to buy it. I am not in a hurry in that aspect. I also learned a lot about my camera, and that I have a gift and can take a pretty mean picture if the stars are aligned.
During that time, on a personal level, I went through a difficult period and lost a good friend. Not by death, by choice. But it wasn’t my choice. I learned friendship means more to some than others. I learned addiction causes harm to those who have it, and those around it. I learned that I deserve to be treated with respect, and I learned that it was his loss. Dealing with that was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. But I did it. I moved on. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I think I took some of my best photos during my healing process. Photography was huge for me, and I used it as therapy, and it worked. I brought my camera with me wherever I went. I spent lunch hours driving around looking for “the shot” or I would grab a sandwich and head down to the river to see what I could scare up.
Also during this time, my elderly mother’s health was ailing. She had been diagnosed with COPD and congestive heart failure many years ago. Homebound on oxygen and in a wheel chair, she did not have a good quality of life. After my brother passed away in 2005, I became one of her main caregivers along with my dad. They lived on the bottom floor of my apartment building, which was great. They were close and I could help them as needed. She always enjoyed looking at my photos. Her favorite were my eagles and flowers.
After my Project 365, I became busy with other things. I had a very unusually busy summer; fall came and I did a lot of portrait photography to make some extra money on the side. I tried a 52-week challenge, but barely made it 8 weeks. I was no longer bringing my camera everywhere. In fact, it grew dusty. I rarely made it to my peaceful place at the refuge, and in fact only made it there a ½ dozen times. In the previous year it was about a ½ dozen times in a month. Many times I would drive by a barn, see a tree or a “Kodak” moment in general, and want to pull over as I had in the past, but didn’t have my camera. I started to miss it. I got out a couple times to focus on photography, but it wasn’t the same.
The snow came and it was beautiful, but I just “didn’t have time”. The busy holidays came, and I spent a lot of weekends helping my mother do her holiday baking and shopping. On December 23, she developed a nasty cough. We “cancelled” Christmas dinner with family, as she was deteriorating. On December 29, I called the paramedics. By the time she got to the hospital she was barely breathing and borderline comatose. She was put on a respirator and there we sat. She would never have wanted to be kept alive by any machines so on Thursday, January 3, my sister and I made the decision to take her off the respirator, and see what happens. She passed away at 5:55 pm surrounded by all of us.
So now it becomes difficult for my dad, who is 82, has a bit of memory loss and has known nothing except taking care of her for the past 15 years. On top of everything else, he took a spill Friday night and dislocated his shoulder. We had her memorial service Monday, my sister went back home 2-1/2 hours away yesterday, my daughter and I went back to school and work today. Back to life. Back to normalcy. As normal as it is going to get.
I keep telling myself she isn’t suffering, she is at peace, she is in a better place. It doesn’t make it easier. Losing my mother has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. I pride myself on being a strong person. I have loved and I have lost. Several times over, in fact. I am a single mom, working full time and raising a beautiful, wonderful teenaged daughter. It’s hard. It’s damn hard. But we keep on keepin’ on. I have a great support system with my family and friends. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. And all those cliché’s you read. They all fit. I have put my life on hold for some time now. She lived her life. I have to move on with mine.
As I dropped my sidekick off at school yesterday morning, I noticed the sunrise. For the first time in a long time. A bright pink and orange haze, and the clouds around it looked like marshmallows melted together. It was beautiful. I didn’t have my phone on me to take a picture. But at that moment, I knew. I knew that I had to go on with my photography. Not sure if she was trying to tell me that, but I know she would’ve wanted me to. And I know just like my last hurdle, it will be my therapy and comfort.
I have to do something. Whether I do another Project 365, a 52-week challenge or just dust my camera off and get out more, I will be taking more photos.
When one life ends, another begins….
My sidekick and I have been busy with school, dance, work, etc. I even ended up selling my old beat-up blazer a few weeks ago and transferred to an old, beat up Ford Mercury until I can afford something else in the Spring. AFTER the orthodontist payments, lol. Fall has also been busy for me with family photo shoots, and I have had mini-sessions the last two weekends. We have a scheduled trip to Southeastern Minnesota for a “fall color tour” this weekend. However, the fall color is pretty much gone, and it is supposed to be cold, wet and windy. Good thing we have a pool and wi fi at the hotel. Hopefully soon, I will have time to blog hop like I used to and catch up with some of you I haven’t “seen” in a while.
My sidekick celebrated her 14th birthday earlier this month. Where has the time gone? Soon she will be dating, driving, graduating from high school and heading off to college. It goes by way too fast. I am sad to see the time that has past, but I am also looking forward to what is yet to come!
I have also been asked to donate to an upcoming silent auction for breast cancer. I decided to put a few framed prints, a calendar and some matted prints up for auction for this. My sidekick goes to school and has been friends with the woman’s daughter since kindergarten. It was kind of fun picking out a few of my best prints, and searching for the best frames and mattes. Hopefully, it will bring some money in for the family. It is just a little something that I can do for them.
My 52 Week Challenge, however, leaves a lot to be desired. I missed last week entirely. I am seriously considering another 365 challenge at the first of the year. I have to admit, some of my best work has come out of my Project 365. We will have to wait and see.
So that is “what’s up” in my neck of the woods. I hope you enjoy the slideshow!