Bloganuary 2023 4th week selection: 

Day 21: Who is your favorite author and why?

Without doubt my favorite author is Diana Gabaldon. Her Outlander books have been a huge part of my reading since 1992 when I first read Crosstitch, and they still entertain me. Whether it’s the tv adaptations, the compendiums, the novellas, or the audiobooks, I love them all. 

It is difficult to describe the genre. There are so many covered in her books. 

Diana herself has described it thus:

Day 22: What was your dream job as a child?

Photographer. Getting  my first camera as a ten year old  ensured I was instantly hooked

My first real job entailed hand- coloring aerial photos. That was such fun. Alas,  that skill set was made redundant with the advent of colour photography. 

Another favorite photographic job was creating large aerial photo mosaics of rural properties. Also superseded by modern technology in mapping. 

Learning to develop and print my own photos was immensely satisfying to me. A camera upgrade from a point and shoot to a Pentax SlR required a steep learning curve. I loved it all. 

The move from film to digital cameras brought yet more learning challenges and much enjoyment.  

Over my teaching career, I used cameras to record and illustrate children’s learning stories, to  document teaching practice, and to plan and improve  early childhood learning environments. 

Whilst not employed as a ‘photographer’ I managed to include my passion into my work career. 

Now in retirement I have even more time to pursue my photographic passion. And I do. 

Day 23: What’s a lie you tell yourself?

One day I’ll get fit!

Day 24: How do you show love?

Kindness, caring, compassion and passion. Shouldn’t everyone? 

Day 25: What is a song or poem that speaks to you and why? 

Not one but two songs speak to me. ABBA’s new album Voyage instantly appealed to me.

DON’T SHUT ME DOWN – ABBA

A while ago, I heard the sound of children's laughter
Now it's quiet, so I guess they left the park
This wooden bench is gettin' harder by the hour
The sun is goin' down, it's gettin’ dark

I realise I'm cold, the rain begins to pour
As I watch the windows on the second floor
The lights are on, it's time to go (ooh
It's time at last, to let him know

I believe it would be fair to say
"You look bewildered"
And you wonder why I'm here today
And so you should, I would

When I left I felt, I've had enough
But, in the shape and form I appear now
I have learned to cope, and love and hope is why I am here now

And now you see another me, I've been reloaded, yeah
I'm fired up, don't shut me down

I'm like a dream within a dream that's been decoded
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down
I'm not the one you knew
I'm now, and then combined
And I'm askin' you to have an open mind

(And I won't be the same)
I'm not the same this time around (ooh)
I'm fired up, don't shut me down

Will you leave me standin' in the hall?
Or let me enter?
The apartment hasn't changed at all
I've got to say, "I'm glad"
Once these rooms were witness to our love
My tantrums and increasing frustration
But I go from mad, to not so bad
In my transformation  

And now you see another me, I've been reloaded, yeah
I'm fired up, don't shut me down
(Don't shut me down)

I'm like a dream, within a dream, that's been decoded
I'm fired up, I'm hot, don't shut me down
I am not the one you knew (I'm not the one you knew)
I'm now, and then combined
And I'm askin' you to have an open mind

(Now, I'll not be the same)
I'm not the same this time around (ooh)
I'm fired up, don't shut me down
You ask me not to leave
Well, here I am again
And I love you still and so I won't pretend
I have learnt to cope, and love and hope is why I am here now

AND;

I STILL HAVE FAITH IN YOU - ABBA

I still have faith in you
I see it now
Through all these years that faith lives on, somehow

There was a union
Of heart and mind
The likes of which are rare and oh so hard to find

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share

I still have faith in you
And I will say
I never really thought I'd feel this way
But I remind myself of who we are
How inconceivable it is to reach this far

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share

We do have it in us
New spirit has arrived
The joy and the sorrow
We have a story
And it survived 

And we need one another
Like fighters in a ring
We're in this together
Passion and courage
Is everything

I still have faith in you
It stands above 
the crazy things we did
It all comes down to love

Do I have it in me?
I believe it is in there
For I know I hear a bittersweet song
In the memories we share
Do I have it in me?

We do have it in us
New spirit has arrived
The joy and the sorrow
We have a story
And it survived

And we know that we need one another
Like fighters in a ring
We're in this together
Passion and courage
Is everything

(I still have faith in you)

And we still have it in us
We've only just arrived

(Do I have it in me?)

We stand on a summit
Humble and grateful
To have survived

I still have faith in you
It stands above 
the crazy things we did
It all comes down to love

Do I have it in me? 
 

Yes, I do have it in me to survive, especially if I am not shut down! These powerful lyrics speak to me. 

I play these constantly whilst creating my art, it is relaxing and affirming.

Day 26: What language do you wish you could speak?

Te Reo Maori- it is one of the three official languages of Aotearoa/New Zealand. Alongside English and the NZ sign language.

I do understand more Te Reo Maori than I speak and love listening to waiata/songs.

Day 27:   What are the pros and cons of procrastination?

Pros:

“Giving you more time to think, allowing you to gather and process more relevant information before making a decision. It helps conserve your energy when procrastination leads you to postpone a task that ends up being canceled.” 

Bonus point!

Cons:

“Over-thinkers are some of the best procrastinators out there. Why? Because they let their thoughts eat up their momentum. While brainstorming and preparing yourself mentally for work is a good idea, overthinking takes what could be a proactive thought and turns it into a worried, impenetrable wall of inaction.” 

Yes that’s me too! 

But wait, there’s more – if I can only just get around to it. Well maybe ‘a round tuit’ is just what I need.

Sunday Stills – Silence at sunset

Patiently I wait 
for the sunset glow to bring
Silence at sunset

The birds stop their cries
As the last rays touch the skies
Silence is golden

At last the sun sets 
Glowing it’s light to the clouds 
Farewell to the sun

Until the very next morn
Sunrise shines pink and golden
And birds chirp again


Bloganuary 2023 – Weeks 1 & 2 – a selection

Last year I started yet did not complete Bloganuary -maybe this time I will.  

Day 1: What is something you want to achieve this year?

I have rather a big item list. 

Finish my memoir

Sell  our property and build a new house. 

Undertake a road trip  in our caravan. It may be that we will be living in it while the house is being built?

Revisit my photography:  I have been lacking my phojo for the last few months of 2022 so this year it’s time to revisit and hone my techniques. And I have a new lens to play with.

If I achieve all these I will meet my WOTY ‘happiness’ goal. 

Day 2:  How are you brave?

Just being on here and sharing my thoughts and photos is a brave action. But also facing my fears and doing it anyway is something I continue to work on. Last year I toyed with the idea of having a WOTY. It was going to be courage but I chickened out due to all sorts of challenging circumstances. 

I recently got a health concern checked out and facing that fear bravely was courageous enough. 

Maybe I will commit to a WOTY this year?  That would be brave.

Day 3: What is the earliest memory you have?

Getting chased by a jumping jack firecracker when I was about three.  I was wearing a red coat at the time. I still hate the colour red!

Day 5: What brings you joy in life?

I lift my Kaleidoscope towards the light 

What do I seek?

Twisting patterns and tumbling shapes

Behold the joyous colours  of my life.

Day 6: Why do you write?

Writing to me is a way to record my inner thoughts and to make sense of the feelings and thoughts that wander through my mind. The more I write the better I think and the more the creative juices flow. 

Day 7: Write a short story or poem about rain.

The first raindrops pattered gently onto the parched soil. An earthy aroma arose to assault her senses. She inhaled deeply. There it was. That illusive scent of musky dust  yet there was something else lingering in the air.

The rain sparked a memory of long ago when life was bountiful. a time when  leaves gleamed a soft light green.

The fat raindrops became heavier and more persistent. Rivulets of water grew to become streams. Flowing faster now, the streams began to fill the cracked earth. The earth took on a richer hue. Green shoots suddenly appeared where once there was dust. 

The drought was over. Life could begin anew. And with it came her sense of relief and renewal.

Day 9: What is the most memorable gift you have received?

A surprise visit from my Swedish son for the big 70th birthday.  He was back in New Zealand for just 6 days before departing  just before the country went into lockdown. It was the best kept secret and memorable gift I have ever had.

Day 10: Has a book changed your life?

All of the very many books I have read have changed my life. No way could I pick just one book. I am just addicted to reading.

Day 12: What chore do you find the most challenging to do?

That would be those repetitive housework chores. It’s not that challenging just really frustrating and repetitive. Other more pleasurable activities are way more challenging but they are not chores. Still I much prefer spending time and energy on something much more creative.

Maybe I can manage these prompts a daily basis from this day forward. That is not a chore but is still a challenge

Sunday Stills – Aqua Awesomeness

Out fishing in the aqua waters of the Marlborough Sounds this summer, I photographed these amazing sea creatures,  and became intrigued. They don’t look dangerous, they don’t look edible, they don’t even seem to be in charge of their own direction, and yet….. they are awesome.

Aqua awesomeness
Teal as in blue
Blue as in moon
Moon as in Jellyfish…..

Jellyfish drifting along in the aqua sea
Pulsating gently as they catch a ride in the tide.
No destination to decide.
They have no brains but,
it's amazing how long they have survived.

I became fascinated in the why’s and wherefore’s of Jellyfish so I googled – (as you do)

And found…… Jellyfish are the oldest multicellular creatures on earth, older than even the dinosaurs.

But wait, there’s more…… Some Jellyfish are also immortal.

“Turritopsis dohrnii, dubbed ‘the immortal jellyfish’ because on reaching maturity, it regenerates into its younger form, so appears to be immortal.” When this jellyfish gets old, or hurt, or even too hungry, it uses a process called ‘transdifferentiation’ to regenerate its old cells.

First, the jellyfish falls to the ocean floor, or coral reef. From there the adult medusa reverts back to its polyp form, regenerating the cells and creating brand new, youthful cells that are genetically identical to the old medusa. The immortal jellyfish can theoretically do this forever, that is, until it gets eaten by some other sea creature like a turtle, whale, or fish. Scientists think that, unhindered, the immortal jellyfish can keep on living forever, with no cap on the number of times it can regenerate.”

The immortality of jellyfish -who knew?

Now that would be a handy thing to be able to do!

The moon jellyfish is the most common in New Zealand. They also make awesome subjects to photograph whilst waiting for the fish to bite. I took some artistic licence when abstracting one of my photos to highlight their aqua awesomeness.

A group of jellyfish is called a SMACK – I’m thinking it should be a STING

ACROSS AQUA OCEAN AND RIVERS

Awesome aquatic adventures across the world’s oceans
Journeys from the river mouths to the sea.
Building bridges to span the waters
to keep us connected and free.

Every breaking wave reminds me
of seashores near and far
with the awesomeness of Aqua
those connections again will be.

Willy Winky – and his night light

It’s all very well to tell me to light my candle but my firelighter is wet. 
How can I be a Wee Willie Winkie when I can’t shed any light in the night?

I ran through the night calling out my plight.
The children peeped out from their  bedrooms
"Its ok, Willy Winky, don’t take fright"

Don't let it mess with your head
We are already abed.
It's warm and snuggly inside

Please don’t turn on that light 
It will keep us all  awake


https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2021/08/01/august-2021-writing-prompts/

Saving Grace – It shouldn’t have been a race

She was fair of face
and elegant of motion.
She showed a rare form of speed,
and was graceful in action.

Grace could have won the race.
She ran at a fair pace
I tripped her and she fell
She was badly hurt, I could tell,

I thought of saving Grace
Instead I chose to save face 
Because I had lost my nerve
What else do I deserve

So give me some space
I’ll disappear without trace
Now you have heard
what I did to Grace.


https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2021/08/01/august-2021-writing-prompts

Paisley prints and peppermints

The 1960s and  70s were about peace and love
Hippies or heavy metal
Pop rock or punk
Disco queen or retro folk
Were the music choices to make

Bright flowing maxi skirts
Psychedelic colours of every hue
Bell bottom  jeans and polyester shirts 
Jumpsuits or crochet
Were the order of the day. 

Gaudy days of paisley prints
Teardrop-shapes ending with a flick. 
Life was a box of chocolates ( not peppermints)
Choosing your own fashion was the latest trick

The world changed forever
Through the music and fashion
Never say never…..
Just follow your passion …


But oh - I didn’t like those paisley prints!


Paisley prints
Jumpsuits in Paisley

Pictures of the past – precious memories

I have a picture in my mind’s eye.


Once I was a little  girl with blonde curls and blue eyes, clutching a cuddly soft toy under my arm.

Those eyes blinked once, and then suddenly I am ten. Already I have found some interests to pursue. 

I had my first riding lessons on a black racehorse named Chunkette. She left a lasting impression on me (and not just on my tender bottom) Gentle to ride yet she had a quietly determined character. She liked to lead the way when trotting along the jungle path.

I took many photos with my brand new camera and instantly I was hooked into an abiding passion – photography. Such magic to be able to capture pictures of the present which would become fond memories of the past. What an exciting and absorbing activity this has become. Little did I realise at that moment how my childhood interests would become my lifelong passion.


I blinked again and it was the next decade  I kept up my horse-riding. I took  pictures to record my interests and life experiences but alas they  went missing over the years.


I learned to develop and print my own film photographs in the school darkroom. Precious pictures of those schoolgirl years long since past but still they remain in my albums.


A decade after my first riding lessons, I bought my own horse. Yes it was another beautiful black racehorse. It seems I had a certain affinity with racehorses. I took pictures of course.

My first job when I left school was hand-painting aerial photographs using photo oil paints. My second photographic job saw me making large mosaic aerial photomaps of rural properties. No horses but plenty of farm animals in the photo maps. Lots of time spent in the darkroom, developing and printing very large aerial photographs, using copy cameras and retouching negatives.

Once again I was making pictures to identify the present land use and to record these for posterity.


In my third decade my passion for photography was set aside for a short time as motherhood and parenting took priority.  However there were still plenty of photographic opportunities in that part of my life journey. I  took many pictures of my children and I put them in my family albums.

I look at these pictures  of the past quite often these days. 


Fourth decade: As I travelled the country with my work in early childhood education, I became aware of the emerging importance of photo documentation of children’s learning journeys.  I took many pictures of early childhood environments, examples of best teaching practice, and of the many work colleagues who became close friends. I was able once again to focus on my lifelong passion for photography. 


I had also discovered digital and video cameras. Now there were limitless images to capture and record. And so much more to learn. The internet arrived.  I started a 365 project – a photo a day for 365 days.  I’m now into the 8th year of my 365 project. What can I say… it is an addiction. And I’m still learning.

Over the last three decades I have been capturing my travel memories in photographs. So many pictures to record our amazing trips around the world.  Travelling internationally may now be a distant memory. 

These memories are already my pictures of the past.

Fortunately, I now have 7 grandchildren. My latest and greatest joy is when I capture pictures of their blonde curls and blue eyes. The pictures of the past have become the pictures of the present generation.


I must have blinked my eyes at least once for every decade as my life changed direction, yet I still remain focussed on my abiding passion.

And the pictures of my past? they are still there to remind me of my lifetime memories. 

Abbreviated disclosure

The meaning of ‘disclosure’ is “the speech act of making something evident’, and‘abbreviated’ is “a shortened version of a word or a phrase”


So surely an ‘abbreviated disclosure’ is to shorten the speech or act of clarity?

In the spirit of full disclosure, I went down quite a rabbit hole…. and I do love colloquialisms.


The current habit of sending a message with an abbreviation is aggravating to the receiver if the abbreviation is not familiar and well known. Lack of clear understanding lends itself to frustration and confusion.


As I love playing with wordsI, I decided to have alternative fun with some of the more commonly abbreviated disclosures (initialism acronyms), I share with you how these abbreviated disclosures could otherwise be construed.

 IMHO – it is not necessary to be humble in your opinion but please be humorous in the way you express it 
TBC – to be or not to be continued – that is the dilemma of the tentative date. 
LOL – Look Or Leer – What you see or think is how you act. 
OMG – Overall  My Giggles are contagious or contentious
IDK – Intentionally Disowned Knowledge 
LMAO – Leaves Me Anticipating Often

Oh – and please don’t get me started on emoticons or even those emojis!


An emoticon, short for “emotion icon”, also known simply as an emote, is a pictorial representation of a facial expression using characters—usually punctuation marks, numbers, and letters—to express a person’s feelings, mood or reaction, or as a time-saving method.”{Wikipedia)


I can’t imagine even trying to use punctuation marks, number and letter combinations to describe the depth of human emotions. How far the human race has come from the guttural grunts, body and sign language of prehistoric man. 


Do we really need to save time when relating to our human companions? Or are we just lazy?

And then there are those annoying little yellow characters….. No, I’m not talking about minions (who I think are quite cute)


“Emojis for smileys, people, families, hand gestures, clothing and accessories.”


There are even ‘emojipedia’ websites where hundreds of emojis lie in waiting to trap and entangle the technically or verbally challenged. 

Emoji emotions

Surely emotions need to be expressed verbally not visually?  Or have we all become accustomed to communicating in abbreviated disclosures?


I wondered if there is an emoji for soapbox.  I’ll get off mine now (and climb out of that rabbit hole.)

MY HUMBLE SOAPBOX

What do you think? Do you have a favourite emoji or emoticon or do you still have realtime conversations?

https://puttingmyfeetinthedirt.com/2021/08/01/august-2021-writing-prompts/