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26
Feb

Loving Jazz Photo Blog

This image is far from perfect – the face is blurry – horrors!

Even so, I like how the Ibis is looking over his shoulder in this shot…  So, I hope the dramatic blue-wash makes that blur less noticeable!

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26
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Indulgence (3 flamingos, art and evolution)

This weeks’ photo challenge word is “indulgence.”

How in the heck can I find a photo that epitomizes the word ‘indulge’ in my world?   Hah!  I constantly indulge in something, it seems.

Well, you might say that I indulge in most everything I do.  In phases.  There have to be phases because if one spent their days indulging in everything, it would be a bit much!

So, like the moon has its phases, so do my indulgences have phases.

I imagine we indulge in something because it gives us pleasure. (Chocolate, shopping, eating, desserts, hobbies and grandchildren are a few indulgences that spring to mind.)

Blogging is one indulgence that gives me pleasure.  Although I spent last week away from my blog – which is very unusual for me – it was due to indulging in the pleasure of my new job!

Tomorrow will be the start of my second week at my new job. . I’m indulging in the pleasurable sense of security and freedom from stress that this new job has brought into my life…..

However, as for capturing an image of indulgence…. Well, I had to think about this one!

Friday I indulged myself and purchased a new bike.  That indulgence is to cure, with exercise, another indulgence: Food!

I bought a pretty Schwinn 26″ bike that has 21 speeds…. Why do bikes have 21 speeds now?  I don’t need to indulge in all those speeds  But, all the bikes I looked at had 21 speeds!

On my first bike-ride I tried changing a speed and ended up locking the pedals for a few minutes…. I eventually figured out how to unlock them.  Thankfully.  I was a few blocks away from home and it looked like rain and I didn’t want to walk the bike all the way home.

Then, when I finally pedaled home and attempted to stop the bike – I fell off!

Yup!  I fell off of my new bike – skinned and bruised my knee, and bruised my arm above the elbow because I fell partly on the pavement and partly on a parked car.  (The bike is okay. The car is okay. I’m okay too.)

The reason I fell?  After I’d fixed the gear issue, I decided to adjust the saddle, but I moved it too high for my height.  It caused my feet to be nearly six inches above the ground.  Then, when I got home and tried to get off the bike, I tried to leaned to the left and land on my left foot, but the saddle was too high to allow that, so BAM!  Down I went with the bike on top of me!  (My first thought was the hope that no one saw me…. no one did!)

So, as far as a photographic representation of indulgence….  I’ve decided to illustrate it using these 3 Flamingos.  For hours I indulge my passion for making photography look like art…   I do love to sit at the computer and play with the images I photograph.

Here are yesterday’s indulgences – I was working on flamingos.

Here’s my Flamingo On End:

And here’s my Flamingo Shine:

This is my Soft Flamingo:

I’m a novice at it still.  However, I can tell I’m getting better the more I work at it.

And, one reason photography is an indulgence for me is because the work (on the photos) constantly evolves… at least for me.

Next week, or next month, when I look at these 3 Flamingos again, chances are they will change.  It’s all part of my indulgence in the learning process, and realizing there is evolution in it.  And that’s a good thing!

18
Feb

the joy of a zoo

Click the above link to see the photos!

Loving Jazz Photo Blog

At Zoo Miami, this past Thursday, because I took so many photos, it will take a while before I will be able to sort through them.   I just spent an hour or so going through the giraffe photos (they’re my favorites!), and came across this guy, looking so mad!  Woo baby… can you imagine coming into contact with this fellow in the jungle?

And here’s an example of the different colors and coats that giraffes wear.  These are actually three different breeds, I was told:

And here is the female enjoying some cabbage from a friendly visitor.  I also fed them some cabbage.  Their tongue is a bit rough, almost as rough as a cat’s tongue.  I loved feeling it and getting their saliva all over my fingers.  So slimy!  It was a joyful feeling to place the cabbage leaf on the edge of their curled tongue.  Once their…

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17
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Down

Thankfully, I’m not looking or feeling down!!

I’m feeling the opposite of down largely because I begin my new job on Tuesday!!  Yesterday, though, I went to Zoo Miami and captured some photos that I think are sweet “down” photos.

The animals were really lively yesterday – they were surely enjoying the beautiful South Florida weather.  Some of the animals, like the Gorillas, were having fun just being sleepy.  And the Giraffes, well…. their life involves always looking down – they fit the bill rather well.

So, here are the photos for my interpretation of “Down.”   I guess you could say this is my interpretation of an animal’s down-time…. 🙂

Here’s a gorilla that we resemble, don’t you think?  He’s either feeling pretty down about something, or his head is itchy!  I’d wager his head is itchy!

And here he is just a moment later contemplating the grass:

And here he is…. praying?

And here’s another gorilla snoozing in the grass, under the shade of big rocks:

And here a lovely giraffe is doing what they usually do…. look down onto those of us below:

13
Feb

a valentine in white and pink

Although it’s not quite Valentines Day…. I’m getting in the spirit a bit early this year!

Happy and loving wishes to all….

10
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

The weekly photo challenge this week is a tough one.  The word is “regret.”  I looked through all my photo archives and I found a few photos that would maybe resemble the emotion “regret.” But, not really.  Regret is a complex emotion, not easily recognizable in a photo because it could look like so many other emotions.  Regret is pensive, but pensive is not “regret.”  Regret can be sad, but sad is not “regret.”

You see what I mean?

Regret is a multifaceted emotion – layered with either a tinge or a great deal of sadness, or anger, or longing, or remorse.

Regret may consist of angst, too.  Regret rears its elusive head over things we did, or didn’t do; things left unsaid; things left undone after it’s too late to change the things we did.  Generally. saying “I’m sorry,” cures the regret.  Well, in fiction and other fairy tales that’s true.

Regret also takes the form of wishing we could turn the clock back to redo or undo things.  (If only life had the same “undo” or “redo” button that Microsoft Office and other software has.)   Wouldn’t it be nice if that”Easy” button in the Staples televisions commercials really worked?

So, I found a couple of photos that captured an element of regret.  I have a photo of a butterfly whose wings are badly damaged and who is clearly close to death.  But, when I saw that photo tonight what I felt was sadness and then I realized I regretted taking the photo.

Another photo I looked was of my niece with a sad and pensive look with tears forming in her eyes.  She wasn’t feeling regret, she was having one of those meltdowns that all kids have when they don’t get to do what they want to do.  It wasn’t regret.  Does a 6-year-old feel regret?

And then I had a picture of a Florida Panther that was really cute.  He has his forehead between his paws, down on the grass as if he’s trying to scratch the top of his head on the ground.  And I almost chose that photo because it was as close as I thought I would get to embodying regret. Of course, I know the panther was just giving his head a good scratch in the grass so it really didn’t look regretful.  And after all, the more anthropomorphically realistic our animal photos are, the more we love them – the funnier they are.  And funny is fun but it doesn’t say “regret” plus the photo is a bit blurry – horrors!

So, I kept looking for photos and nothing said “regret” to me.  I looked up the dictionary meaning, too:

Regret:

1. To feel sorry, disappointed, or distressed about.

2. To remember with a feeling of loss or sorrow; mourn.
(verb)

To feel regret.

(noun)

1. A sense of loss and longing for someone or something gone.
2. A feeling of disappointment or distress about something that one wishes could be different.
3. regrets A courteous expression of regret, especially at having to decline an invitation.

I was about ready to skip this photo challenge when I remembered what I’d bought tonight at the grocery store!!!!!   And I said, out loud, BINGO!  Talk about regret…. There’s guilt there, too….. Double whammy.

Mind you, I bought this in the grocery store tonight after I’d had a HUGE steak dinner at Outback Steakhouse.

After all, they say, it’s best NOT to go to the grocery store on an empty stomach, right?  Well I went to Publix grocery store, still full as a whale, and look what I bought and what I immediately began to eat?!!!!!

So, here’s my chocolate chip-yummy-frosting-early-valentine-to-myself-definition of regret…. 🙂

9
Feb

Creative Whack #15: Let Your Mind Wander – mostly to the left

It’s been a while since I posted a Creative Whack.  This is number 15 of the 64 marvelous cards created by Roger von Oech – http://www.creativewhack.com/

This particular card, Let Your Mind Wander, is a very good mind-tussle for me today.  It’s timely since there are many startling and mind-bending things happening in the news lately and I have so much to say!  I have more to say than I can write here…  I’m going to try to get most of it, out.

One of the things I’ve wanted to write about is the mind-bending topic of the crazy, bordering on obscene, GOP primaries.  This whole GOP primary is a fiasco bordering on madness. Does anyone expect Newt or Romney or Santorum to be taken seriously?   If it weren’t for the fact that it’s really happening, it would be a huge joke, and a great movie. It would be like one of those “Focker” movies.  The Fockers are a focked up family who…..

Anyway…..How anyone over the age of 40 could actually vote for Newt Gingrich, after his despicable history in congress and as Speaker, is mind-numbing.

If Newt was president, wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d treat the U.S. and its allies like he treated his former wives?  Wouldn’t you be afraid that he’d bring back his proposal to send the children of people on welfare to orphanages?  Don’t laugh.  That was a Newt proposal during his dismal “Contract ‘against’ America” days. Maybe he’d try to make school-children janitors, after all.

If the inane ideas of some (not all) of the people in the GOP weren’t bad enough, their religiosity drives me crazy!   And yet, the GOP, with their heavy reliance on family values, are not even holding their collective noses when it comes to Newt.  Now that surprises me.  Unless it’s a matter of the GOP realizing that Newt can’t possibly win anyway.  Maybe the GOP just doesn’t want to play with Newt.  I don’t really think they like Mitt too much either.

But, really, to the GOP who would back Newt, I’d ask, “What about your marriage and family values? How does fig the Newt stack up with those principles?”

And now there’s Rick Santorum who, in the last three primaries, has trampled over both Newt and Mitt (Romney).  Last week Newt and Mitt were the players to beat in Florida.  Now Rick thinks that because he won Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, he’s joined the big boys….

Um, does anyone actually believe that Rick has a chance to be the GOP candidate?

Back to Newt and Mitt.… (There’s something about the iteration of those two names together…..  When I think of Newt and Mitt I think of the Little Rascal in Spanky and the Gang.)  

Newt and Mitt, they recall (for me) the days of Ozzie and Harriet, Denice the Menace cartoons, coming out of the 1960’s and segregation to be bowled over by the surprises of the seventies…. another story, the 70’s.

The Newt and Mitt Show.  The Mitt and Newt Show… No matter how you say it, it’s a lousy sounding title.  It doesn’t sell.  Neither does The Newt Show.  Or The Mitt Show.  Can’t take either seriously.  One sounds like it could be another Sid the Science Kid show with cookie commercials, and the other sounds like a story about a kitten who looses his mittens…..

With Newt and Mitt, or Rick – frightening men each one – in Washington, would Civil Rights be pushed back 50 years?  That’s what I am afraid of should either one win the presidency.

I was reading a book about the history of America yesterday.  From the Civil War, to WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, and all through the struggle for Civil Rights in this country.

And, I am reminded anew of the hard-fought battles for Civil Rights and equality for all.   And, not only did I realize that the lead-up into the Great Depression mirrors where we are today in our Great Rescission, but I realized that the GLBT is fighting just as hard for equality today as blacks (and women and other minorities), mostly blacks, fought for their rights.  It’s the same type of battle.  And the economy issues are the same issues today as the Great Depression.  There are many, many similarities!  Hoover’s failed state until FDRs New Deal… the rich v. poor, the banks, and on and on the similarities between today and the Great Depression continue!

The Hitler / Stalin Pact. Japan.  How this country treated Japanese American’s after Pearl Harbor is such a terrible blight, such a huge sore that festered until the US finally apologized, in 1988, I believe.  Can you imagine that happening now?  No?  I can.  You know why?  The people – not the government so much – the people of this country who are filled with hate and rage against “Muslim” or “Islam” that such isolation could happen all over again, like it did to the Japanese in this country.   I hate to think that… but, if we don’t remember our history, we’re bound to repeat it.

I pray we never forget the horrors that we put the innocent American Japanese through. I pray we continue to teach the bitter and ugly history of slavery.  I hope we continue to teach about what led to the murder of 6 millions, mostly Jewish, people. I hope we teach our children what hate does to people, to countries, and to us all.

Remember FDR?  He was a Democrat.  He followed Hoover who ran this country into the Great Depression.  FDR and the New Deal (and the lead up to WWII) got this country going again.  Anyway, FDR promised us that we need to hold sacred four freedoms:

The freedom of speech and expression.

The freedom of worship.

The freedom from want, and

The freedom from fear.

FDR's 4 Freedoms, painted by Norman Rockwell

FDR, of course, and his congress were not perfect.  Far from it.  But, FDR understood oppression.  He understood the need for equality.  FDR knew about fear when he consoled the American people by saying:  “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…”

Whereas the Bush administration badly wanted an America who stood afraid so he could better control it, FDR wanted to warn AGAINST fear when he said, on January 6, 1941, in his speech that is now known as “The Four Freedoms” speech, the following:

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression — everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want — which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants — everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear — which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor– anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

To that new order we oppose the greater conception — the moral order. A good society is able to face schemes of world domination and foreign revolutions alike without fear.

So, yes.  We must remember history.  We must believe in the bottom of our hearts that all men and women are created equal.  We MUST put religion back into the living rooms of our homes and in our churches or temples, where it rightfully belongs.  We MUST not care if a man loves another man, or a woman another woman, or if a man born a man but meant to be a woman, becomes a woman not by choice, but by necessity.  It is not our business.  Be happy for the men and women who marry each other.  There is no greater thing than the ability to be happy for someone else’s happiness.

There are mean and unhappy people in this world who wear their hate like a duck wears its feathers.  These people let happiness and thoughts of equality drop off of them like water on a ducks back. The trick is to deny them an audience – let them swim in a pond of their own making.  Ignore those who would wish ill on another person.

Our sanity depends on it.

February is Black History month, which reminds me of the enormous struggle, years in the making, that raged and raged, and to a large degree, still must rage.

However….. can it be there is light in the distance?

A wonderful and amazing and beautiful thing happened just the other day with regards to Civil Rights:  California’s Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage was declared unconstitutional!  Which of course it is.

Other states, we hope, will follow suit and realize that equal treatment for all, means equal treatment for all.

Equal means just that.  Equality doesn’t measure sexual persuasion or gender into its equation.

The US Constitution never mentions the bedroom or the bed, now does it?  Does the Constitution mention sex at all?  Nope.

So, I would tell Mr. or Mrs. Jane and John Doe in Idaho who rails against abortion, same-sex marriage, and all GLTB issues —>  Keep your nose out of other people’s bedrooms, keep your hands off my female body, let me chose the contraception I alone want to use, and for Gods sake stay out of the marriage argument!

The only marriage argument any one person should have needs to pertain to their own marriage.  How dare anyone try to relegate my marriage?  I don’t think Mr. and Mrs. John and Jane Doe would like to be told who they can or cannot marry.  Equal means equal.  It doesn’t mean equal for everyone but GLBT and women!

Oh, and while we’re at it, can we please remember to treat Muslims with the same respect we give our Christian brothers and sisters?  That would be wonderful.

And so, as I think about this 15th Creative Whack: Let Your Mind Wander, I think, well, this is a good exercise for opening the mind to the acceptance of other ideals or values that are different from our own.

For instance, I just read that Bill O’Reilly, the loud and wild man on Fox News who I am loath to listen to, recently stood up for Ellen DeGeneres .  Yes, he is on record, saying that to fire Ellen or to treat her differently because of her sexuality is akin to McCarthyism.  My, my, my!  Who would have thunk that O’Reilly would have such a heart?

I heart Bill O’Reilly!!!  Well, today anyway.

I think, therefore, we all can have new thoughts, just like Bill O’Reilly did!  If we use creative associations that trigger thoughts and beliefs that are potentially loving and kinder towards groups that have historically been targets of hate, it’s a great start!  After all, no one wants to continue to see children bullied to death or to suicide due to their sexual identity, right?

So, think of the children. Think of poor Robert Champion who was “hazed” to death by FAMU students.  Think of humanity…… Think of the Ugandan government who believes so strongly in Western religion they tried to pass a law to give homosexuals who are “caught” either a life sentence in jail, or the death sentence.  (Their legislation is “dead” but is still being “reviewed” by the government as of today.)

To start with, this creative whack uses the example of Work and goes on to compare it to play.  You’d think that work and play would be opposite, right?  Not true.  To be creative and make work meaningful, there are strong elements of “play” (though some would disagree).

Anyway, the trick here is to keep our thoughts positive and kind….

So, when we say:

Marriage, let’s associate it with Anyone.

When we say: Equal, let’s say Same Sex

When we say: Homosexual, say Love;

Equality: Everyone;

Children: Protection;

Reproduction: Women’s rights;

Differences: Blessings;

Religion: To each their own.

Respect: Women’s bodies; laws; rights of others; differences…….

And on and on we go!

7
Feb

Love.Live.Dream

Here’s to everyone out there looking for a new job, or any new opportunity in life.

Remember this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit:

http://shop.holstee.com/pages/about

7
Feb

good stuff to put in the “that’s life” file….

Darn!  I’ve been under the weather these past couple of days with something that feels like the flu but it’s not as bad as the flu but it’s wiped me out.

It started Saturday night after I came home from seeing an old Neil Simon play called, “Last of the Red Hot Lovers.”   It was a good production – very funny.  But, for about ten minutes before curtain and during intermission, I was craning and straining my neck to chat with people sitting behind me, like this:

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

I knew I was straining my neck, but never realized I’d disable it completely.

Only today has the pain subsided.  But what it left in its wake is a horrible clogged throat and head and nose blah.   It can’t decide if it wants to be a reasonably common cold, or a hateful and feverish flu.

So, I’ve laid on the couch and in the bed waiting for it to decide how mean and nasty it wants to treat me.

I think I’m getting better though.  I finally got out of my PJ’s and into real clothes.

Now, for the good news…..

I got a job!  I don’t have the written offer yet….so it’s not a completely done deal, but I have a start date!  It’s February 20th.

And it’s a good one, too!  I’m not going to jinx it by talking too much about it.  I can tell you that it’s a good company, with super nice people!

Here’s the bad news though…. I had to tell Microsoft that I have another job.  I emailed the recruiter today.

I was still in the interview process with Microsoft.  I’d had 3 interviews and the 4th one was not scheduled until next week. This meant I’d have to stall on the job I’d just accepted to wait for Microsoft. I didn’t want to do that.  Plus, if I had gotten denied by Microsoft and I’d put off the other job, I’d be the real loser.

I didn’t want to play games or gamble.  I sent my Microsoft recruiter an email and said thank you for considering me and….. I hated to send that email.

So….I didn’t get this:

It’s okay.  But I really really really really REALLY hate leaving that great opportunity on the table….

Then again, I love the job that I got – I am very excited about it – it’s a perfect fit in so many ways and I am very happy.

So, my “that’s life” file is looking pretty good.

(I still heart Microsoft.)

 

6
Feb

Weekly Photo Challenge: Ready? Splash!

This week the word for the photo challenge is, ready.

This little guy is deciding whether to jump into the water.

To splash or not to splash?  That is the question!

He stood there a while just looking into space.  Perhaps he was just dreaming, or maybe he didn’t like the water fountain.  Or, maybe he was wondering if he needed a bath.  Do birds decide when they’re ready for a bath?   Maybe!

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

He seemed leery about the water fountain. He wouldn’t jump in until the fountain stopped…

By Andrea O'Connell

Then the water suddenly stopped and he was ready….

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

And then, not two seconds later, big splash!

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

Love those splashes!

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

He is having a grand time, until another bird came and he flew away…. you can see the wake he left!

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

Click on any of the photos to see a larger version.

3
Feb

it rains and pours good things

Although this little fellow looks somewhat miffed at being in the rain, I am happily enjoying the fact that it’s raining (opportunities) for me…

There’s one really good opportunity, with a company and people I really like, there’s still Microsoft, too…..  I’ll have an update soon.

In the meantime, Happy Friday everyone…. I’ll be back with a story soon!

photo by Andrea O'Connell

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