Things I learned this week

I learned this week..

…that I’ve successfully conquered another semester – with all A’s, thank you very much.  It’s a great feeling, like the weight of the world has been lifted off my shoulders and the road to a carefree summer is now within my grasp.  As I drove away from campus yesterday, I was feeling good.  I had the windows down, the wind in my hair, and my new Sting compilation cranked up for the whole world to hear.  I’m not a believer in a lot of intangible things, but sometimes, ever so subtly, the universe speaks to me.  As if on cue, a song with a distinct island vibe began to play.   The hustle of midday traffic faded away and I found myself standing on a beach with velvety sand between my toes, a warm sea breeze caressing my skin, and a frozen rum-filled concoction in my hand.  Swaying in time to the intoxicating rhythm, I danced in slow drunken circles across the sand, feeling blissfully numb, and raised my glass in one final salutation to the sun as it descended into the abyss…

HONK!

Sigh.

Reality bites.

Yes, I realize that this imagery is probably not what Sting intended when he wrote Love is the Seventh Wave.  More likely his intention was to protest Cold War proliferation and all of the evil that went along with it.  I’m going to choose to overlook that (and the ridiculous 80’s video) and focus on the drunken beach vacation aspect of it instead. 

…that yoga for a grade is over.    Of course, as one final insult to the emotional injuries we’ve sustained over the course of the semester, my instructor decided it would be fun to have a party on the day designated for our final exam.  If you will remember from last week, we had our final early.  We were instructed to bring food – preferably something healthy, in order to keep with the spirit of the class.  We all brought store-bought cookies.  It was our little bit of revenge.  Of course, revenge is one of those things in life that tends to come back and bite you in the ass.  In response to our cookie rebellion, she made us watch the video she made of our final.    Oh, the agony of defeat.

…that in all the years I’ve watched the summer Olympics, I have never bothered to sit through any of the Equestrian events.  It’s not that I don’t like horses, I do.  It’s just that I’d much rather watch paint dry than watch a horse and rider navigate through a mindless obstacle course.  This year it will be different.  I don’t usually watch real-time television.  I rely heavily on my DVR.  But the other night I happened to catch Rock Center when I was supposed to be studying for my Sociology exam.  Harry Smith (who I really sort of despise) did a story about a horse and rider who have both been through serious hell and have barely lived to tell about it.  Needless to say, I bawled like a baby and have now committed myself to watching every Equestrian event these two will compete in.  I feel that, as an American, it is my patriot duty.   Check out Harry Smith’s story Horse Power, but grab a box of tissues first.

…that the Blue Jay who visits the feeder in my backyard teases and taunts me.  For weeks, I’ve seen him feeding – nearly every day.  For weeks, I’ve tried to sneak a few photographs of him.  For weeks, he’s alluded me.   No worries, though.  I will prevail…if its’ the last thing I do.

…and last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by my fat cat, Rollo.  Aptly named, he is enjoying a little nap in the warm afternoon sun.  What a rough life he leads.

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Flower Power

Just because they make me smile.

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Refreshing Dip

While I was out playing hooky this weekend, I happened to catch this little guy taking a refreshing dip in the fountain in front of Frisco City Hall.

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Playing hooky

I have spring fever.  It’s closing in on the end of another semester, the weather is beautiful, and I have a swanky new camera that calls to me.  Sure, I know that I should use what little free time I can eke out here and there to write my bestselling novel, but right now I can’t concentrate.  Instead of fighting a losing battle, I gave in.  My camera and I had a busy weekend.   Here are some of the fruits of our labors:

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Garden Surprise

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Every spring for the last six years, a single lily in my back garden pushes up through the warming ground, reaching skyward toward the sun.

Every year it tries to grow tall; every year it fails.  I don’t know why, and perhaps I should have put the poor thing out of its misery years ago.

But I didn’t.  I couldn’t bring myself to pull him up.

This year was no different.  A month or so ago I began to see the first signs that my little lily was going to give it a go again this year.  I gave it props for its persistence, but I knew how this story would end – without anything to show for its trouble.  I thought about pulling it up.

I didn’t.

Last week I went out into the backyard and discovered a big fat bulging bud on the end of a ridiculously thin stalk.   It wobbled around in the wind like a bobble-head.   Again, I gave the little thing props for trying, but I didn’t think it would last.  How could it, it had never bloomed before.

So, imagine my surprise when I peered out into the growing light this morning and discovered this:

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Photographic Tuesday

I’m still experimenting with this photography thing, and am still trying to learn how to manipulate the manual settings.  This weekend I used one of our cats as a muse.  She was not amused.  I am quite certain that there is a nasty fall down the stairs in my future.  But I thought I got some fairly decent shots out of the deal.

 

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Poppylicious Monday

All through middle school, I lived in a small rural village in Western Germany called Börsborn.  It was an idyllic place that shaped my early adolescence and gave me a lifetime of memories to cherish.

One of my favorite memories:  romping through fields of poppies in late spring.

Here in urban Texas, we have fields of Texas Bluebonnets strategically located and solely designated for our viewing pleasure.  Unlike the wilds of the German countryside, it’s all very structured and contrived.  It is beautiful, nonetheless, and the fields are the perfect place to practice my new hobby – photography.  During my latest photo-taking expedition, I made an unexpected and thrilling discovery.

When the Bluebonnets begin to fade, poppies rise up, stand tall, and shine.

For an hour or two, I felt twelve again…well, minus the frizz ball hair and unibrow…and itched to throw off my shoes and frolic.

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Bees

It’s spring time in Texas.  That means fields and fields of glorious Texas Bluebonnets.  In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been out to take photos in my favorite field.  Flipping through the fruits of my labor, I discovered a recurring theme.

Bees. 

Lots and lots of bees.

Who knew I liked bees some much?

Not me.

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Picture Perfect Thursday

I’ve discovered that I am falling in love with photography.  I am still trying to figure it all out, but here are few from the last week…

 

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Things I learned this week

I learned this week…

…that inversion poses are where it’s at in yoga, and the handstand is king.  A notch down from the handstand is a head stand.  I can do neither.  However, this week in “yoga for a grade” I learned a pose that serves as a stepping stone toward a true head stand.   Tripod balance pose.   It’s not the most comfortable pose, certainly not the most elegant, and I wasn’t able to hold it for very long, but I did it.  And that’s all that matters to me.

…that sometime when I wasn’t looking, my daughter discovered that she likes my t-shirts.  I’m not sure which I’m more upset about, the fact that she is borrowing my clothes or that they actually fit her.

…that traffic will invariably flow contradictory to my immediate needs.

…that my daughter has been asked to the Spring dance at her middle school – and she’s going to go!  Last time she was asked, she declined because she was going to have to – EGADS – wear a dress.  This time around there is a more relaxed dress code.  Good thing, too.  My daughter’s idea of dressing up is a white button up shirt and low top Converse sneakers.

…that as I age, the fit of a good tennis shoe trumps aesthetic.   Recently, I spent two days scouring athletic shoe stores looking for replacement sneakers.  It was a trying process – it always is.  I can’t just walk into a store and buy the first shoe that strikes my fancy.  There are important factors that must be considered.   Do my prescription orthotics fit?  Are they made from natural material or synthetic?  Are they lightweight?  Breathable?  Cross trainer or walker?  Is the tongue thick?  Does it ride too high?  Too low?  Are they narrow across the bridge?  Do my bunions cry out in agony with every step I take?  These are all valid questions that must be asked before committing to such an important purchase.  After torturing a half a dozen salespeople, I finally settled on a pair of Nikes.  I usually steer clear of that particular brand because of their tendency toward a narrow bridge and a thick tongue, but I found a pair that fits all my requirements.  Of course, they are neon pink, likely glow in the dark, and are perhaps the ugliest things I’ve ever put on my feet, but who gives a shit.  They adequately serve their purpose.

…that I didn’t win the Mega Millions Jackpot.  Bummer.

…that five little words of criticism – “not as complete as usual” – written on an in-class discussion assignment will cause me a great amount of internal suffering – indeed, eat at my very soul.  I will obsess over this negative review until it encapsulates my every thought and I’m left with no alternative but to email the professor in an effort to explain my shortcomings as a student.   Of course, the realization that he likely never gave the note a second thought just adds to my level of frustration and humiliation.  I need to learn to let these things go.

Yeah, right.  Who am I trying to kid?

…that I am becoming a photography junkie.  I want to take pictures of everything.  Here’s one I took a couple of days ago of the Knock Out roses in my backyard.

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…and last, but not least, this week’s awww moment is brought to you by this little miniature schnauzer named Bear.  I had the pleasure of spending my Monday with him.  He was rescued from a puppy mill and is up for adoption through a local schnauzer rescue group.  Photograph is courtesy of Efrain Sain, a local photographer, attorney, and musician, who office shares with our law firm.

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Taciturn Thursday

I don’t have much to say today, but I thought I would share a couple more of my photos from this weekend’s romp through the Bluebonnet field.  I’m still trying to figure out the new camera and all that goes with taking a decent photograph.  I think these came out pretty good.  Enjoy.

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I love finding a splash of red in a sea of blue.  This one reminds me of some of my favorite Impressionist paintings.

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Springtime in Texas

This weekend was gorgeous – warm, sunny, and windless.  Springtime perfection.  So perfect, in fact, that for the first time in my life I had the desire to be one of those people who plops their kids down in the middle of a field of Texas Bluebonnets and snaps lots and lots of pictures.

Here are some of the results:

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Hello, Spring.

I’m not much of a photographer, though I am trying to improve my skills.  A few weeks ago, my husband was kind enough to gift me with my first DSLR – a Canon EOS T2i with a kickin’ telephoto lens.

I’ve been playing around and here are a few of my latest efforts:

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I have lots of room for improvement, but I think I’ve made a good start.