Friday, July 31, 2009

Oh, Fridays!!! PuhLEASE with the Fridays!

I'm at work. It's Friday. Everything is done for me to start the mess except 3 sheets of paper someone has to review ... 3 sheets of paper that require less than a minute, each, to look over. So -- now comes the weekly wait-for-it segment of my day. Either I shaddup and wait, or I gently say, 'Hey, I'm waiting', or I work myself into a lather, call My Lovely Mother when the tears of frustration start rising and listen as she plays the same encouragement tape she has to play for me every Friday ...

No. NO! Instead, this morning, I 'Q' up the music that soothes and mellows me, mostly jazz and soundtrack stuff [Melody Gardot [thanks, Ian], Jaime Paul [thanks, Holly], Romeo & Juliet, Bed of Roses, Little Women, Havana, How to Make an American Quilt). I slowly read my favorite blogs; I check "The Week in Pictures" on MSN (love that -- great shots from around the world submitted, and you get to view them, then vote for your favorite). I re-read the wonderful email Ian sent me LAST Friday and which I've saved to refer to whenever I need it. I think of Sam's invitation to come sit, have a beer, & talk down-&-dirty 'bout men -- see me rubbing my palms & grinning cheekily? [Although the 'man' I most want to talk about presently is my youngest male child, who is killing my equipoise on an hourly basis. Eesh.]

I say hello to you all and leave you with this picture of My Wee Lad, Luke, and Uncle Klaus, that Dear Man (taken by Kate).

Thursday, July 30, 2009


[Tracy's Smart Car, which Dave absconds with on every possible occasion -- is it because the car matches his Thursday socks?]

Journal Entry from my patio roost, this morning:
and hark! It's morning, the crews are hard at work on the 2-story frame-up one block over, bangin' and bammin'. I dreamed of having to pee, so I finally got up (4 a.m.) and did so, then I dreamed ------? I couldn't find my car, but I was looking for my old Aveo and not the Impala. It's TODAY, by golly! Do I really feel this perky? Jeans to work, for the third day in a row. I like it. I like it a lot. Not feeling any bright ideas this morning. Still thinking of WAY narrowing down my blog-surfing list and spending my 'free' time at work somehow differently. Writing? I dunno -- more focused as I'm working, anyway. Like, WHY do I read some of these? Like, Judy Wise' journal pages kick my keister & inspire me, so that makes sense. Stuff like that goes through my mind. YOU know. I got onto somebody's blog or Flickr or some such yesterday, about 20 layers deep so I can't remember who or where, and in looking at her photos I thought -- mine are this good without all the photo doctoring. Straight Out of The Camera 'good' pictures don't seem to have any credibility OR (most significantly) MARKETABILITY anymore. People like 'prettified.' Heck, I like prettified. But what? Now no one is going to be able to distinguish a solid S.O.T.C. shot because we've raised everybody up on photoshopped photography? Digitized, airbrushed, fixed, layered, filtered, color-enhanced, textured, brushed, effected ... not always a sign of a good picture under it all. (This artist's photos were awesome, by the way, and had obviously started out that way before the prettifying.) ANYWAY ... Getty now sponsors this woman's photos (not sure what that means, but I DO know what 'GETTY' is/means). Is that because a) she's got them on Flickr where many more people can view them (such as Getty scouts?) or b) because they're prettified? She's been blogging only 3 years, if I remember correctly, and was enumerating all that blogging has brought into her life, cool things like Getty, and publication, and article writing by invite, etc.

And I think -- ok -- why her and not me? I admit it. That's what I thought. My level of writing, at least, is surely as good as anything I've seen on any blog. But no invites to write articles have come my way. My answer to myself comes in the face and voice of one Ms. SuziBlu, who so sagely reminded us on a video post on her blog that we don't NEED any of that to make it happen; we can do it all ourselves now. If I have an article to write, I can plainly write it and post it. Or a poem, or a story, or an anecdote, or a travel tale, or a photograph, or a novel, or a hello a thank you an up yours a kiss my pert heinie. I am my OWN credibility, AMEN variable, acceptance letter, final say.

So nothing in my range of ideas or creativity has to wait on anything or anyone external == all of THAT whining becomes an excuse for sitting on my own hands and feeling overlooked and pitiful (in the self-pitying way). Blecch. Much as I love my own big paws, but I prefer them in front of me making art, pushing a pen, typing a blog entry, folding towels, petting my Zoe-Toes. Alive. I'm already alive and viable in every way. Why does that sometimes get so lost? So diluted? Nobody can know how well I write unless I put it out there, anyway, & the technological age I live in gives me endless venues to do just that. AMEN! I think I'll start with this page, as a happy reminder to everyone out there that he or she really is the only necessary factor in the exposure equation, the expression effect. Eesh blimey and rock 'n' roll! I AM A WRITER. Period. A Toni factoid. I'm also a pretty damn decent photographer, and a steadily growing artist. DEAL WID IT. [I'm not talking to YOU. I'm not talking to 'them'. I'm talking to ME!] Own it, do the Snoopy Dance to a Stevie Ray Vaughan riff, and share the love, Woman! Maybe I don't get a paycheck for it but is that really the same thing as a reward? A sense of accomplishment or satisfaction? Is publication ACTUALLY any indication of personal growth or any measure of ability? If my goal [MY goal] is to be published and that happens, certainly. If my goal is to express myself and I've done so, haven't I achieved the same thing?


I like it. I like it a lot. I'm definitely posting this. I'm liking that wearing jeans during the week means I can procrastinate on shaving my legs, too, so this is a two-for-one AHA moment.

[all bloom photos from Ian and Traudel's garden - an AHA of an entirely different sort!]

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Patchy's Summer Schedule

This just in from my bro', Chris: "Ciera likes playing on Word, just typing junk.

I thought this was cute ---- she did what she called a "summer schedule" for Patchy:

wake up at 9:00 or 10:00

9:00 or 10:00 breakfast

11:30 nap

12:00 pm lunch

12:00 bone

at 1:00 play with Ciera

3:00 poop

walk at 3:00

diner at 5:00

get readey for bed at 8:00 or 9:00

story and bed time 8:00 or 9:00"

* * * * * * * * * * *

A career in time management, huh? I'm so loving the scheduled 'bone' and 'poop' times!

The Surprise of Shadows (for Veronica)

[all photos mine, from Fawe Park, the Beatrix Potter family summer vacation home for many years during her childhood] Sometimes even when I'm looking directly at it, I can't (don't) see what I'm meant to see. Maybe I don't want to. Maybe I'm resisting. Maybe I know it means I have to look even further inward, under the moss and mess and creepy crawlies that have important things to whisper to me (when I'm willing to listen). Maybe I know it means I have to let go of my pride. I'm always rushing to try to put my thumbprint on change, growth ... trying to own it before I'm ready for it, before I've thought about it and let it own ME, shape ME! Even though I know the latter is the better way! Procrastinating on the need for grooming, weeding, admitting, revealing, letting go or taking in ... because I feel lazy and comfortable and lulled -- or scared & inadequate & too small for the task. It's only fear that makes me unyielding, that closes my eyes and emits eerie shivers throughout my skeletal structure. Why are the walls in my way sometimes so much more intriguing, more beloved, more sought after, than the path past them, around them, even through them? God, the looming, imposing, shadow-casting mental structures, facades, moods, self-delusions, ominous speculations ... there are windows, but somehow they are seeing, looking at, ME, and not showing me anything clearly, not providing illumination. Views are sometimes backwards, peering in at me, taunting, distorted. Walls, a tangle of mental plants, with the desired vista in the distance but so much in the way to overcome. This is what finally moves me to surrender, to open my SELF, to take the risk, to imagine 'what's the worst that can happen?', to feel THAT and tremble through the pain of it so that I can take action to prevent it (the worst, I mean, not the pain), to free myself of anything stopping me in order to at least do SOMETHING toward my objective ... once I've done that? I can see more clearly what's beyond, what's possible, and what's needed from me to effect it.

My V-Luv and I, you see, had become/have been kind of distant, not a lot of interaction or exchange, not much communication. It was so gradual that by the time I realized it, it took my breath literally away, and a big hole opened up inside. And the longer I waited, without breathing, to just ask, 'Hey, wazzup!', the bigger the hole, the more colorful my dread, and the more powerful, the louder and more insistent, the voices saying, "She doesn't love you anymore!" You know, Veronica and I have never met, in person. I thought, in the twisted way fear creates, that maybe she'd moved on to newer, more interesting bloglandia friendships, that the electronic magic had gone!

For the second time in the years that we've known each other, I had to say, "Veronica, I'm jealous." And then 'splain myself. Allow myself to be hurt and confused and needy and emotional and scared and just plain vulnerable. But this time, Veronica said it first! I've been shocked a few times in my life, but never like hearing her say that to me. Suddenly, fears and creepy crawlies and walls and distortions and neediness and big huge playground-bawly-sized tears morphed, for us both, into the mode of transportation we needed to cross, and to close, the distance. And just that easily (well, not 'easily', but you know what I mean), all my ducks (or geese, in this case) were swiftly in a row again. And once again shadows give way to internal panoramas, light, air, blue skies, and lush green connection, communication, and reiterated, joyful, jubilant LOVE!!! Hello, breath! Hello, whole internal self! Hello, happiness! Hello, New Attitude! Hello, my Soul Sister, V-Luv, Cabbage Girl!!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Gotcha!!! (Got ME, in this case!)

Dave and Tracy recently let me know to expect a parcel with a CD containing Dave's photos of their recent journey to the D-Day celebration/memorial. So I wasn't surprised when I saw this package on the mail table when I got home from work tonight. But -- uh, er -- then I picked it up and started perusing it for which 'bits' I would be saving for my journal. Look. Look again. Are you seeing what I'm seeing? Yea, it says small packet. And there, under customs declarations, it says CD. But do you see that other word? That little seemingly innocent word, right there, above CD? SOCKS! Eesh! [Interruption while Toni dashes for the Daddy-O Cam!] hahahahahahahaha. Cackle, grin, hohohohohoho!!! [I knew I'd pay for posting that picture of Dave's tootsies in his Thursday socks!!] Holy ohmyGAWD!!! HAHAHAHAHA. HO HO HO HO. GUFFAW, WOOT, HEE HEE HEE !!!!! Blimey! A case of actually LOVING 'payback'! The perfect gift for a wench whose bare feet look (and I've said it before) "like hamburgers with everything on 'em!"

TRACY AND DAVE, at the risk of further repeating myself: YOU GUYS ROCK!!!!

Bath Time at #7

This just in from Ian: "Bath time at #7.

Followed by bedtime with Green Eggs and Ham ... ... and finally asleep with Mr Jeremy Fisher. Rainy Sunday morning after the walk to the paper shop but just couldn't get him to smile. Mr Buzzy Bee."

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Walking to Keswick

OH. CRIKEY. A bridge. A bridge over water. This is my number one fear of all fears, more so even than snakes. Doesn't matter that this bridge was maybe 10 feet high and 15 feet long, over a river at most two feet deep. Oh, gawd! No no no, please not this!!! My legs started clattering. [I get so ANNOYED with myself -- such a stupid, inexplicable, illogical fear, but yet so real to me.] One step at a time, worse if I look down. (dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb) Am I across yet? Is it over? Don't look down, then, Silly Wench! Pick up camera, point straight out, see beautiful photo op, shoot!! Meanwhile, keep the feet moving, and breathe! And safely across, a few yards beyond? Here. This. I'm glad I made it. Here is where Klaus found me the 'whirlygigs' [seeds] from the tree that Holly 'splained me is a maple. Worth the trauma. Another river view. In Phoenix, there is rarely such a thing as water IN the rivers. What a heavenly, natural, normal, healing yet still SHOCKING sight. Water. In a river. Wow. I had to travel all the way to England for it! And stone! -- But you knew that was coming! This is a drystone wall, again, but it's been built with mortar. And nearby, a 'kissing gate', but my photo didn't turn out at all! Sad. You push open the swing mechanism and pass into one side of the rectangular, fenced area. Then you have to close the mechanism again in order to pass out the other side. Prevents animal escapees. One person on one side, though, can lean over and steal a kiss from the individual waiting on the other side. I tried to steal a Luke kiss but was soundly rebuffed. Shucks. And then? A one-mile walk through fields that look like this [& yes, that is Keswick off in the distance] -- white sheep with an occasional black marking, and (separately), younger, black sheep that will ultimately turn white (Klaus said -- I admit to wondering about that). They aren't branded but rather spray painted in bright tags of color. And cattle, too, in yet another pasture, most of them laying down for an afternoon snooze, chewing with their eyes closed, blissed out! Pretty and clean animals, all. A mile walk that feels like a hop, skip and jump because the scenery is so distractingly luscious. Blooms, everywhere. I need to do a post strictly for 'blooms', I do. Why bend over when you have a sheep-crazed tourist to feed you hands full of the fresh green stuff just beyond the fence? [Toni collected lots of sheeps' wool off the barbs on the fence, too, yes she did, now residing in a glassine envelope in my travel journal.] [And, by the way, Toni did not once, ever, require the use of the lovely macintosh she toted about everywhere. I finally left it in the boot of the car and looped a small umbrella about my wrist - living dangerously!] My helper, Luke. Wee Lad, Luke, was beside himself. Sheep? Who cares about sheep, man! "An Aeroplane! An Aeroplane!" Indeed! My bros, and Dave, tell me (now) that this is a C-31 (or was it a C-130) transport plane, and that it's unusual for such to fly this low. I knew because of Klaus' attentiveness that pictures would du rigeur. (I also knew it might be 'something' and my bros would kill me if I let the photo op pass.] Very distinct engine growl, as yummy as a Harley engine snarl! Have I said 'green' lately? GREEN. Green green green. And green. Back near our B&B, we found this lodge, and HERE is where I had fish & chips. After all that yammering on the subject before I left (also while I was there, I confess), do you think I was smart enough to take a photo before diving in? Eesh. But BLIMEY was it ever good!! I ate it ALL, and it was a whole fish, fileted and battered and fried, and made-on-the-spot chips, perfectly salted and malt vinegar'd. However, I gave the mushy peas to My Lovely Mother - can't stand the thangs. My bros have yet to forgive us for coming home with no cans of mushy peas for them amid our assorted bags. True story.

Hubble Space Telescope - First Image!!!

This just in from my cousin Jackie, the Wide Field Camera Instrument Manager for the Hubble Space Telescope Program: "The first science image from the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3 -- the instrument that I spent the last 5 years building) has been released -- two months ahead of schedule!!

As you may have heard, an amateur astronomer noticed a new feature on Jupiter late last week that may be evidence of a recent impact. Such an impact event is quite rare, so many telescopes shuffled observation schedules to image this phenomenon, and the Hubble Space Telescope decided to join the fun.

Thursday, WFC3, was used to observe Jupiter, and the image is available HERE !

Go check out one of our nearest celestial neighbors recovering from a black eye. :-)

The instrument hasn't even finished calibration, but this rare opportunity couldn't be missed. So, I get the chance to tell my friends and family that my camera really works a bit earlier than expected!! Following this early release image, the Hubble program will resume its clandestine calibration activities and is scheduled to release the first "planned" observation images some time around Labor Day.

So, as cool as this image is . . . the best is yet to come!!

Thanks for listening (to this and to all my crazy stories over the years in getting here!)




I find this all so mind-blowing -- to have a cherished cousin working so intimately with, so directly and knowledgeably for, such a significant scientific advancement ... and to reap this kind of reward. I LOVE this kind of thing and I'm so proud of Jackie!

Friday, July 24, 2009

This Post for Mel and her Nanna

Yesterday, Mel left me a comment and told me her Nanna was born in Keswick -- wistfully wondering if perhaps I'd walked by her Nanna's home. I wonder, too. All photos below are from Keswick. You could stay here if you wished -- it's one of Kate's favorite buildings, just the look of it. Inviting walkways. Signs with personality, huh? James Bond Museum? Not so much ... but the pencil museum, that would've been FUN! My love, Ciera, has a box of pencils from here. I love light fixtures and sconces almost as much as I love stone. Window border like lace! Isn't this a photogenic little facade? My Lovely Mother took a photo of this very building on her trip last year - I was happy to meet it in person! Looking over a gate between two buildings -- ever since traveling to Italy, I seek out laundry shots! The only place I saw any of these: WELLIES, BABEEE!!! Red poste boxes ... Kate, holding Luke, heads up the street.