Monday, May 27, 2013

147:365 . . . and No Flash

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This is the same plant from yesterday, in natural light and no flash. :-)

146:365 Flash . . .

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This is a "no-name" violet. On my podcast, it's known as "The Big Box Violet" because I bought it at a big box store :-) As an experiment, I grew it in a self-watering pot with commercial potting mix with fertilizer already in it (not at all what I would do with a show plant).

It's grown beautifully and is a happy addition to my sunroom :-)

This is it, photographed at night, with flash

145:365 Reflections of Spring . . .

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That's the name of this African violet. I'm very intrigued by it - not sure it will ever be a show plant, but I'm going to give it a chance.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

144:365 The Light at the End of the Tunnel . . .

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I often walk on Lower Wacker after work to get to my train. Tonight, about three blocks of vapor lights were out. It was actually a little scary, down there in the dark . . .

143:365 Cascade of Spirea

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This shrub grows everywhere here. I even have some in my yard, but it needs full sun to cascade like this :-)

142:365 Rainy Day in the City

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And it's Wednesday, which means that the bridges go up so sailboats can get out to the harbor :-)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Yesterday . . .

Yesterday was the ninth anniversary of my mom's death.  I thought about it a lot yesterday.  I miss her.  Very much.  I don't think that ever goes away. 

I have written about my mom here before.  She chose to live every day with joy and purpose.  She was a true original - a woman far ahead of her time - and I have always felt so lucky that she was my mom.  She raised me by herself (well, in our large, extended family) after my father died when I was a toddler, during a time when a woman in the workforce and a single parent were not common occurrences.

This is my favorite picture of her:

 
Mom
 
It's one I took years ago at a wedding in New Jersey.  I think it was about 1994 or 1995.  This is how I always think of her.
 
Here we are in 1970:
 
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And in 1986 (the first time I got married  :-D)
 
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Always smiling (and not just for the camera), always moving forward (except for her haircut, which was pretty much the same for what I can remember of my life).
 
Time marches on . . . and I wonder how she can be gone for this long already.  I wonder how I can have been at the same job for all this time.  I wonder how I can be as old as I am  :-)
 
I wonder, sometimes, how I managed, at times, to keep moving forward in my own life.  I don't say this in a sad way - I just wonder about it.  And then I know how I did it and how I continue to do it:  I had the best example.  My mom suffered great loss in her life, and not just the losses that we all experience.  She chose to keep moving forward. And not just putting one foot in front of the other - she chose to move forward with joy and purpose every single day of her life.  Yes, she was irritating, and a master of the side-eye with comment.  Yes, we argued - what parent and child don't?  We were as different as chalk and cheese in who we were as humans - the phrase, "You are just like your father!" was uttered more times than I can count  :-)
 
But she was my greatest champion and my greatest teacher.  She taught me that I could do or be anything and anyone I chose to be.  My heart aches for those who did not have a mom like her, and I shared her with my extended family and my closest friends. 
 
She got sick, had a surgery, and was gone in  an eight-week frame of time.  It was shocking for me.  She was here, and then she wasn't here.  And I had to honor her wishes in stopping her life support when it was clear that she would not recover from a surgery.  She went on her own terms - and trusted me to make sure.  With the support of my cousin, ME, I honored what my mom chose.
 
When you are present at the moment of death, it changes you.  Irrevocably.  And I think it's something you cannot understand until or if you experience it yourself.  When you choose to honor what someone has chosen for themselves, you open an entirely new piece of your heart. 
 
And that's what it's all about, isn't it?  Our hearts?  I know I have a great and mighty one, because of my mom - and in her last moments here, she cracked open a new piece of mine.  It took me awhile before I understood that and could put it all into perspective, but every day we have is all about choice.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to be healthy.  I choose to find meaning in my work.  I choose when to stand my ground and fight for what I know is right.  I choose when to walk away.  I choose to keep moving forward. 
 
Choose joy.  Choose purpose.  Choose happiness. 
 
These things are my mom's legacy - choice, joy, and purpose. 
 
I am so very grateful . . .
 

141:365 Sky Canyon . . .

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When I have my camera in hand, I find myself looking up much more often than when I'm without it. City Hall on the left, the Thompson Center in the middle, with peaks of others and street lights in the valley.

140:365 Deadwood . . .

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The branches hanging on one of my Blue Spuce trees . . . :-(

139:365 Fabulous Fiber

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This is a "bump" of an 85/15 blend of Blue-Faced Leicester and silk. The colorway is called Grapevine. I can hardly wait to spin it!
 
Anyone else hate Flickr's new interface?   Geez . . .  :-S

Sunday, May 19, 2013

138:365 Hmmmmm . . .

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This is an African violet named Blueberry Sprite. Its normal blossom is a deep, deep purple with what is called a Geneva edge (white edge). I used a different fertilizer at one point in the pre-show blooming schedule, and I've had bizarre stuff happen to four of my six show hopefuls. Not sure yet what I will do with this one . . . if I take it show, it would have to be shown in the sport class - guess I'll wait and see . . .

137:365 Farmers' Market

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The very first one of the season was YESTERDAY!! Yes, once again - twice this week - I managed to fall asleep not having taken a photo :-S This was taken on Thursday the 16th. Not much there yet - plants, like these Sweet Allysum, and honey, and the pickled beet man, but not much else yet.

136:365 Old and New

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At the corner of Randolph and Dearborn

135:365 Broken Pieces . . .

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Once in awhile I feel like this - like I can never put all of my life all together all at the same time . . . but only once in awhile :-)

This is my 500th photo in the 365 Project  :-) Wup Wup!!!

134:365 Missing . . .

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I forgot to take a photo this day - this one was taken on Wednesday the 15th. The blue spruce trees in my yard are dying from the ground up. So is the juniper. I don't know what's wrong with them, and apparently, neither does the arborist . . . :-(

133:365 Praying for Spring . . .

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I wore my winter coat again today, but the restaurants all have their outdoor tables ready . . .

Sunday, May 12, 2013

132:365 Play Us, Please . . .

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Really. We're serious. We've been lying here for months. You say we're "resting" in the living room. Could you just put your earplugs in, pick us up and PLAY? Dammit!

Trying to Catch Up :-D

I'm really behind  :-D   I just caught up the 365 Project, and thought I should write an actual post  :-D

I've been busy - as usual  :-)   My suitcase is still exploded on the guest room floor from last weekend, and I haven't done individual photos of the loot I came home with from Maryland Sheep and Wool.  The plants on the pre-show schedule for the National African violet convention are giving me fits, and it was in the low 40's again here on Friday.  Seriously cold and windy again.  Geez.

I went Friday to hear Jillian Michaels speak - best known as one of the trainers on the television show The Biggest Loser, I was interested to hear what she had to say.  She is refreshingly normal and personable, and fit (not skin and bones).  She also has a very balanced view about nutrition.  I appreciate that.  I saw a few contestants from the show there - and one, who was a size 4 at the finale of the season she won, is certainly not that small now.  As much as I confess to enjoying the show, it really worries me that nearly all the contestants have not had sustainable shrinkage. . .

Anyway - the speaking tour is called Maximize your Life.  She is worth hearing.

I finally got to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival last weekend.  It was great and I'm really glad I went, but I don't need to ever go again  :-D  One of the things that I always look for at a regional festival like this is unique yarn and fiber that I would not be able to get here at home in the Midwest.  I founds that a substantial majority of the unique stuff at this event was mohair or was blended with Mohair.  Mohair is just not my thing . . .  it's fuzzy.  And it itches.  Yeah  no, not for me.  I did pick up a few things (as you saw in the photo a few posts below, and I saw some friends and met new people!

Here I am with the KnitGirrls, Leslie (L) and Laura (R).  We haven't seen each other in far too long!

 
Leslie Me Lala
 
And yes, I had a haircut the week before . . . new person cut it . . . we decided to leave it a little longer . . . I'm going back in an hour to have it cut shorter.  Just completely unmanageable and really, my bedhead haircut is sort of my signature, but who wants their hair to look like Phil Spector's did at his trial? 
 
Life on the Ovo-Pescarian front is going well - I skipped the lamb last weekend (and it was a challenge!) and I'm still moving forward.  Sure would like to meet another dietitian, though - I'm really sorry the one I had left the practice.
 
Plugging away on a Hanami shawl - it's a gift, and since I finished all the works in progress that were lingering, I've been relatively monogamous with this one.  I did, however, swatch this morning for a Carol Sunday jacket called Ginko and Lotus Fitted Jacket that I've had waiting for about three years.  :-)
 
I'm hoping it's going to warm up again . . .

131:365 Nuclear Family

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Well, sort of :-D I'm not sure how common it is to see a Canada Goose couple with only one gosling - this is on the upper retention pond near my home.   It was a gloomy sort of morning . . .

130:365 Creeping Charlie

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It seems to be taking over my yard. Truth be told, I don't really mind . . . but I suppose the neighbors might . . .

129:365 The Haul . . .

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These are the things I came home with from Maryland Sheep & Wool last weekend. And really, I was quite restrained, because the two smaller skeins to the right (Plucky Knitter) were purchased at Fibre Space, a great yarn store in Old Town Alexandria. A bump of fiber to spin (Blue-Faced Leicester/silk blend), three skeins of worsted weight yarn from a wonderful local to the D.C. area dyer called Neighborhood Fibers, and a Tsarina of Tsocks kit to make an awesome pair of socks :-) Yay me!!

128:365 Viburnum . . .

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Each viburnum in my yard blooms differently, but they all smell as sweet :-) These blossoms are from the one I jokingly call the "Don King Viburnum." If you don't know who Don King is, google his image and check out his hair - that's exactly how this shrub grows :-D

127:365 The Rookery

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This is the ceiling of the Rookery building. So very beautiful. I shot this building two years ago, too, from the outside.

126:365 Bradford Pear . . .

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These are the blossoms on the Bradford Pear tree at the train station. I think it's just me, but when this particular kind of tree is in bloom, it smells like rotting garbage to me. I know, gross, but it does. Same thing happens to me with Russian Olive trees - they smell good for about 4 days, and then . . . ick

125:365 Pixie Blue

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This is a miniature trailing African violets. Needs some grooming, but it's a show hopeful for the national show in a few weeks.

124:365 At the Festival . . .

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We were ready to go home - all the way at the far end of the fairgrounds. It hadn't been crowded at all until this time - about 2:30.

Do you see that smoke?  It was lamb cooking.  OMG - I LOVE lamb - my mom used to say that people either love lamb or they hate it, that there was never an in between.  Well, I love it, and on this day, I really was sorry that I'm an Ovo-Pescetarian right now . . .  I gave great thought to having some, but since I had no reference for how my body might react after being meatless for nearly two months (and the lines to both the "flush privies" as they say at the Ren Faire, and the port-o-potties were long), I decided to play it safe.  It smelled like heaven . . .

I'll share more photos soon - the festival is really not a place for babies in strollers, or huge backpacks - it always surprises me to see both at events like this.   

123:365 Dreams of Japan . . .

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These are the Wisteria in a city park in Old Town Alexandria. Wisteria always seem Japanese to me - or what I imagine, since I've never been to Japan. Yet . . .

122:365 On the Wing . . .

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On my way to the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival!

121:365 Petal Fall . . .

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Two days later and they are on the ground . . .

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

120:365 Progress . . .

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This is the Wells Street Bridge over the Chicago River. Chicago has about 18 moveable bridges, and this one was past its sell-by date, having been built in 1922 :-) It's an interesting one because it's a double decker, with cars and pedestrians on the lower level, and L trains on the upper. The full name of this style of bridge is: "Chicago Type, Fixed Trunnion, Double Leaf, Bascule Bridge."

It's been interesting to watch the construction.

The fortress-like building on the left is a corner of the Merchandise Mart. The construction has once again shut down all trains for a limited period of time. Coordinating the shuttle busses to get passengers off the line, across the river, and on to their destinations resembles a military operation. One of the shuttle stops is right in front of my office building, and there are hazard-jacketed CTA employees everywhere directing the flow of so many additional busses into and out of the Loop during rush hour every day.