N-N-1 Season Changes

As always, it’s been a pleasure to participate in this photo/writing challenge that we bloggers call N-N-1, where the first N stands for the number of participants, the second for the number of photos (they should be the same), and the 1 stands for one moment in time. This time around, there weren’t as many participants, but the entries, as you will see if you click to see the entire post below, were all poignant and thought provoking. I hope you’ll join us in this wonderful project next time around! And thank you, Natalie, from Wild Rivers Run South, for hosting it this time!

I have been honored to offer this most recent N-N-1. Thank you to everyone who participated. I am already looking forward to the next one. Princess Butter, whose blog is asplashofmylife.wordpress.com, has a short, but very sweet, entry for this N-N-1. It could be spring, summer, or winter, for all I care. Right now, it […]

via N-N-1 Season Changes — Wild Rivers Run South

What a Wonderful World

If you’re feeling jaded about the state of the planet, whether it be environmentally or politically, I urge you to take a moment to do the following internet search: Scott Kelly Photographs. You won’t regret it.

As an astronaut and three-time commander of the International Space Station, Scott Kelly has spent a great deal of time gazing at our planet from outer space. In the process, he was kind enough to take many stunning photographs of what he saw, so we could share in the beauty and wonder.

There are two other great ways to see his spectacular work. You can read this article about him in the New York Times, or you can buy his book, entitled Infinite Wonder: An Astronaut’s Photographs from a Year in Space. This book is making me struggle to remember that I’m trying really hard not to accumulate more stuff. I want it, I want it, I want it…

But whether it winds up gracing my coffee table or not, I’m really thrilled that these photos exist in the universe. Because no matter how horribly we behave as a species, we still, it seems, haven’t quite managed to muck up the planet beyond all recognition. These photos are proof positive of that.

We live in a gorgeous place, full of color and wonder and infinite majesty. There’s still a slight hope that we can preserve what’s left, and these photographs, more than anything else I’ve seen in a long time, give us all the reason we need to do so.

And dare I say it? They’re a testament to the fact that the earth is not flat! If you believe otherwise, you’re a fool.

Anyway.

Earth. What a gift!

(Join me in gazing up at the International Space Station as they gaze down at us. Learn now, here. It’s fun!)

Scott-Kelly--800x430
That’s one helluva selfie!

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The Trump Presidential Library

No matter how this train wreck that is our current presidency plays out, there will one day be a Trump Presidential Library. I mean, Nixon had one. Trump will not be left out. Andrew Carnegie is probably spinning in his grave.

What would this library look like? I mean, Trump is the poster child for everything libraries are against. Misinformation. Lies. Disdain for science. Inequality. Prejudice in its many forms. Closed-mindedness. Ignorance. Illiteracy. Avoidance of research. Elitism. Suppression of information. Not doing your damned homework.

What could this man possibly contribute to a library?

I’m sure there would be vast sections of porn. He objectifies women. And there would be comic books, too, because he has the attention span of a squirrel. There would be stacks devoted to nothing but copies of everything that had been ghost written in his name, as well as every interview he had ever done, and every photograph that was ever taken of him. There would be vast archives devoted to nothing but his tweets. Oddly, even the insulting and embarrassing things would be included, because it doesn’t matter as far as he’s concerned, as long as it’s about him.

There would be no section on religion, and nobody would seem to notice.

The whole place would be gilded, and over-the-top baroque architecture would be the order of the day. So much so, in fact, that it would take the focus away from the books, because really, who needs to read in this day and age, right?

There would be an Ivanka Trump shoe display, with ability to order them on line, and stuffed and mounted evidence of the many things his sons have shot. And a life sized statue of Trump, sitting on a throne, so you could take your picture whilst sitting on his lap.

Storytelling classes would be held regularly, with an emphasis on fictional narratives told with confidence and a complete lack of remorse.

And on every shelf, whether it belonged there or not, there would be at least one Russian book. “We have no idea how it got there, but…”

There would be an outrageous admission fee to enter the Trump Presidential Library, and you’d have to be a white male. And where would Trump choose to build this edifice to ignorance? On the grounds of Mar-a-Lago, where else?

That’s the only bright spot. Because then when non-existent global warming truly kicks in, we’ll all have the pleasure of watching this monument to pomposity sink into the sea, much like his ill-fated presidency. Good riddance.

Trump

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My Mall Dream

When I was little, I used to fantasize about being locked in a mall after closing time. Of course, for this to work, none of the individual stores would be locked and there would be no security whatsoever. I’d get to spend the night going from shop to shop, getting anything I wanted for free. Clothes, toys, books… I’d also be able to eat whatever I wanted, and in the end, I could sleep in the mattress section of the biggest department store. I never gave much thought to what would happen the next morning.

Funny. My idea of heaven on earth at age nine is my idea of hell on earth now. I avoid malls whenever possible. If I wind up in one more than once a year, something has gone seriously wrong in my world.

The older I get, the less interested I am in accumulation. I recently went to a craft fair and enjoyed myself immensely. I liked seeing the creativity and admiring the craftsmanship, but not once did I have even the slightest desire to buy anything.

Stuff just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I don’t think I’ve shopped until I’ve dropped since my early 20’s. Part of that is, of course, because finances are tight. But mostly I look at objects as things that I will have to lug to wherever my next address will be, and after having moved across country with a ton of crap that I’ve since disposed of, I just don’t see the point. The mere contemplation of the sheer weight of it all makes me tired.

Now I’d much rather collect digital photographs of my life experiences. I prefer to remember living rather than bury myself in a mound of possessions. I also pity the poor schmuck (likely my sister) who will have to sort through and dispose of all this junk when I shuffle off this cluttered mortal coil, so for her sake, I try to keep it to a minimum.

As I sit here, I can’t think of a single thing I want or need besides groceries. Because of that, I am more generous with myself when it comes to food. I try to buy local and organic whenever possible and cost be damned. I look forward to when my farmer’s market reopens for the season. I look at these purchases as gifts to myself, for my well-being. And the better I feel, the less I look to inanimate objects for my happiness. So it comes full circle.

Mall

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The Business of Sexualization

Recently I wrote a blog entry entitled Gender-Specific Jobs? Pfft. I wanted a picture of a female construction worker for the entry, and I settled on this one.

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But in order to find that one, I had to wade through a ton of photos like this.

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Why is that? How long will it be before women can be taken seriously in the workplace? It’s as if men feel that as long as they can sexualize a woman’s career choice, they can take away some of her power, some of her ability, some of her professionalism.

Yes, you’ll stumble across the occasional beefcake career oriented photos of men. Calendars of firemen spring to mind, but those are the exception, not the rule, and they are usually clad in some clean motivation, such as a fundraiser, to lend them credence.

The women who model for these photographs need to realize that they are making it much harder for those of us who are serious about our professions. The disrespect they demonstrate toward our career choices gives us yet another hurdle to jump over before we can be considered on an equal footing with our male coworkers. These sexy photos should not be part of our occupational stereotype, but they are.

What follows are photos of hard working women contrasted with their “naughty” and unfortunate counterparts. I can’t help but shake my head.

130123223824-women-marines-afghanistan-story-top1woman military

female_firefighters_38WomenFirefighters-580x360

policepolice sexy

Travel Sounds

Have you ever noticed that a sound or a smell can instantly transport you back to an experience in your past? A certain song always reminds you of your first kiss. The smell of baking bread takes you back to your mother’s kitchen when you were a child.

I love it when this happens.

Unfortunately, there’s really no efficient way to collect smells. But you can collect sounds. And one day it occurred to me that it would be lovely to collect sounds that I associate with my travels.

As tourists, we all seem to scurry around, desperately taking pictures because we want to remember this experience. Travel is often the high point of our lives, made even more poignant because it is so rare due to its expense. So why not collect sounds in addition to photos?

I have amassed quite a few of those sounds over my lifetime of travel.

Nothing says Puerto Rico like the sound of the Coqui frog.

And the beautiful, profound, haunting Muslim call to prayer instantly transports me back to Istanbul.

Fog horns remind me of the cold and isolated coast of Saint-Siméon, Canada, the farthest north I’ve ever been.

I had amassed quite a travel sound library, but unfortunately it went the way of my ex-boyfriend. This makes me think rather less of him, since I made it a point to make sure he got copies of all the photos.

But I have every intention of starting afresh. Along with my camera, I will always bring a recording device when I travel, and on those quiet nights at home when I feel the urge to reminisce, I will close my eyes, turn on the sounds, and travel back in time to some of the happiest moments in my life.

Saint-simeon, Canada

Saint-Siméon, Canada on a day without fog.

[Image credit: bonjourquebec.com]

This Wondrous World

I was surfing through Google Images in hopes of being inspired for a blog entry when I came across an amazing photo that led me to an equally amazing website called Atlas of Wonders. This site has photographs of some of the most beautiful and unexpected places on earth. I wound up searching this site for a good hour and a half, which is, roughly, 88 minutes longer than my usual attention span. I contacted the site owner and was given permission to share some of my favorite photos with you, provided I credit the photographers. So without further ado, here is the beauty that we call planet earth. If this doesn’t make you stop throwing cigarette butts out your car window, nothing will.

Painted Hills Oregon Painted Hills, Oregon. Photo by Scott Butner.

Humahuarca, Argentina Quebrada de Humahuaca, Argentina. Photo by Ra Moon.

Dallol, Ethiopia Dallol, Ethiopia. Photo by Pierre-Yves Burgi.

Jeju Island South Korea Jeju Island, South Korea. Photo by Korea.net.

kaui, hawaii Honopū Valley, Kauai, Hawaii. Photo by Wallyg.

Croatia Plitvice Lakes, Croatia. Photo by Oissaly.

Zhangye Danxia IV Zhangye Danxia, China. Photo by Mohsin A. Soomro.

 

 

A Photographic Mistake

Sometimes I am my own science experiment. Yesterday I got about 3 hours of sleep. And between getting off work at 8 a.m., getting the oil changed in my car, then waiting for the glass guy to come and replace my windshield, plus various unwanted phone calls, and my dog who decided to vomit all over my landlady’s plush carpet, those three hours weren’t even consecutive.

Then I went back to work at midnight without even being able to remember the drive. Finally I’m home again, but I’m seeing things out of the corners of my eyes that aren’t there, and I hope you’ll forgive me, but my mind is in such a fog that I can’t think of anything to write.

So I’ll leave you with this picture which I took entirely by accident. I was driving away from a camping trip to Chaco Canyon and there was this gorgeous sunset. I was on a busy highway and there was no way to stop, so I decided to take the picture on the fly. Little did I know I had the lens open for an extended period, so it came out like an impressionist painting. This photo, which was a complete mistake, is one of my all-time favorites. Nature provides the most colorful of palettes.             Hope you like it.

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Now I’m preparing for bed, but I seem to have gotten a most unwelcome second wind, so I shall eat comfort food, then lie here with a towel over my eyes to block out the light, and bitterly weep as only one who understands profound exhaustion can.

My Gift to Myself

For many years now I have been setting aside 45 dollars a month to give myself a gift when I turn 50. Just a sort of thank you for having been on the planet for that long, for having survived with at least a modicum of sanity and good health, for having taken care of myself. By then I think I will have earned it.

When the time comes, I plan to take all that money and spend three weeks in Italy. First I’d like to rent a villa on the Amalfi Coast, and explore Pompeii and Naples. I plan to sit in the sun and do nothing at all. Just watch people, become a regular at a cafe, if only for a few days, eat good food, and bask like a lizard on a hot rock. I want Italy to soak into my skin.

Next, I will go to Rome, and not do as the Romans do, because I’m sure they don’t spend their time seeing all the sights and focusing on the history that surrounds them every day. I will be the typical tourist in Rome, and make no apologies for it. I want to see the coliseum, sit on the Spanish steps, eat entirely too much gelato, and tour the Vatican City.

After that, it will be on to Florence. Ah, Firenze! There, I will focus on the architecture. I want to take photographs, and maybe even draw what I see. I have no drawing experience. I’m sure these drawings will be horrible. But I will take them home and frame them because there could be no better souvenir than a horrible drawing that takes you right back to the very moment it was drawn every time you look at it.

But the bulk of my money will be spent, I’m sure, in Venice. I want to live there like a woman of the upper classes. I want a room with a view of the Grand Canal. I want to wear beautiful flowing clothing that I buy in the city. I want to eat at the finest restaurants. My focus there will be art. I will walk slowly through the galleries and savor the creativity. I want to slowly luxuriate in all the best and most beautiful things in life.

One cannot plan these things, of course, but if I’m not in a relationship at that time, I’d like to fall in love–just for a day or two, and preferably with someone who would be facing the same language barrier that I am. Communication has a nasty habit of ruining the fantasy. I simply want to be enveloped in an Italian aura, and then go home and have people remark that occasionally I get a smile on my face that no one but me will understand.

I’m looking forward to turning 50.