Thursday, January 28, 2016

Little Things...


*The friend that gave me these birthday tulips was sad when she saw how droopy they were in some photos I had shared with her. 

 I had to reassure her that droopy tulips make for very expressive photos. I don't think she believed me but she saw how happy I was and that was good enough for her.

*It makes me more than a little giddy that it's slowly starting to stay lighter longer.

Is it too early to think about spring?

Spring is Whispering.

I think not.

Happy (tulip) snapping!

Sharing over at Kim's 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Spilling truths and...

...saying yes

When I chose "Mindful" as my word this year it was with full intention to help boost my creative side by changing how I think...along with improving self awareness in the here and now. The world is changing & I feel like I'm being sucked in and jaded by the ugly side~quick to judge and even quicker tempered. That's not me and certainly not how I want to live. So now, everyday, I practice the art of slowing down and really surveying what's around me, reminding myself that I can only control myself and how I react. 
You and I know there's beauty out there for the taking. We see it everyday in the photography and art from the people we follow on social media.

The "in-betweens"
I tend to be a homebody, safe from the pitfalls of what's going on outside my walls. All the while, swooning over abandoned buildings, barns and the little nooks and crannies of other people's world, wishing I was the one taking those photos. Funny thing about that, Can't Shoot It Sitting At Home!
So, last Sunday when The Mr. asked if I'd be interested in driving up to Vandenberg AFB to watch Space X launch a rocket, he barely had to finish his sentence when I blurted out "YES". Even though it was a 2 Hr. drive and me...not a fan of road trips. Gimme an airplane to get from point A to point B anytime. Problem is, you miss a whole lotta in-betweens!

I was a happy mama when our youngest, Austin, wanted to go with us. College, a girl friend and social activities keep him pretty busy so it's rarely just the 3 of us. We found a great place to eat breakfast in Lompoc. It was buzzing with chatter & full of locals and visitors alike.
Bellies full, we drove down the street, parked our car and started walking to find the best vantage point. I was thrilled to see hundreds upon hundreds of cars and other space enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the fog never lifted to see the launch...but it put on a sound show for us.

The Mr didn't understand my fascination with this old out building.

It's something only a person that loves old, dilapidated ruins could understand.

It was the perfect day trip.
 I loved it SO much I googled the half way point between my daughter and I. Her coming from the North~me coming from the South. We get to meet in one of my favorite places, San Luis Obispo. I've been waiting for an opportunity to try Groupon getaways and after a quick search, found a great hotel for a great price by Morro Bay. 
The end of February can't come fast enough!

Happy (traveling) snapping!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Little Things...


I tried everything within my power to try and get the last Monarch to emerge on my birthday-but he wasn't having any of it...
...As a firm believer of "things happen for a reason"~ what could have been a dismal ending for this little guy ended up being "go out with a bang" kind of story. 
The kind of ending I'd rather witness & be present for than a self proclaimed birthday present and miss it kind of ending.

I got home from work Friday literally just in time to grab my phone & big girl camera after I took the silk plant I attached the chrysalis to out in the sun. ( that story here )
There is a specific way the chrysalis splits for a butterfly to emerge. It started out ok from the photo above. The butterfly pushes that front part out with its legs, grabs hold of something for dear life then the abdomen and wings follow.
 This all should happen in a blink of an eye. 

So, his front part came out and as the back of the chrysalis was splitting, his wings were stuck to the shell & his abdomen wasn't pushing through. It was a frantic moment for him trying to grab a hold of something and me crying out for my husband to grab a pair of tweezers. As I was waiting for those tweezers, I nervously but purposefully gently peeled the shell off his wings with my thumb nails. And just like that, it was over, he was out and I moved him to a sunny spot on a real tree so he could finish filling out.

As the sun set and the warmth of sun fading, I decided to bring him in for the night. I placed him on an orchid and set them both in a quiet part of the house until the sun came out the next afternoon. 
We hung out for a long time...

... I had a hard time letting this one go.

He seemed to comfortable and trusting of me handling him.
But the time had come. I placed him on a branch to finish drying out his wings...

...and I simply walked away.
Ok-I peeked through my kitchen window once or twice...ok...3 times. The forth time he wasn't there.

Happy (Monarch) snapping!

Sharing with Kim today over at

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Little things...


If you read This Post then you'll know I had 11, VERY late in the season critters to worry about. That was Dec. 3rd. Several didn't make it due to disease. Some wandered off and I couldn't find them. Thankfully, winter came a we bit late so 1 of the 4 I was able to offer safe place to pupate emerged long ago and hopefully is wintering someplace farther south where it's warm. El Nino hit and so did the colder weather. I snipped the leaves and branches off the plants where the chrysalis' were hanging and literally paper clipped them to inside silk plants. I should have done it sooner but I didn't and I honestly don't know how long a butterfly can survive during its transformation. 

At first glance she looks perfect. But funny thing about butterflies, they emerge pretty much before noon. I was at work and missed her emerging. She must have struggled trying to come out as one of her legs were broken. Also, one of her inside wings just never filled with blood and it dried up never reaching full size. It was really hard to euthanize her but it was the humane thing to do.

Today however...

I got lucky. I missed him emerging, but he's healthy.

It got chilly fast so after he sunned for a few hours, I moved him to a plant under our patio so he wouldn't get soaked when the sprinklers go off tomorrow morning.

These little things are just so beautiful and have changed my life on so many levels.

I have one more left...stay tuned.

Happy (butterfly) snapping!

Sharing over at Kim's today

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Change is...


The older I get, the less I like change, especially when it's thrust upon me and I don't get a say in it. 
But, opening my heart and allowing my word "Mindful" help guide me is helping me accept and actually look forward to changes that will start Monday morning when I go back to work.

If you Google "ALISO CANYON GAS LEAK" you'll see that the city I live in, Porter Ranch, is suffering the affects of the largest natural gas leak in U.S. history. Not since the BP oil spill in 2010, has something been so environmentally damaging. In a nutshell, the leak is pouring out an estimated 50,000 kilograms of methane every hour and is now a quarter of all California's total methane emissions. The mercaptan that is mixed with the gas to make it detectable is causing the air to be filled with a sulfur, rotten egg odor. The leak was reported back in Oct. but I have been smelling the gas since summer. We live less than a 1/2 mile from the leak but our school, along with another neighborhood school, is literally right below the canyon where the wells are. The days leading up to Winter break were grim as parents were pulling their kids from school and relocating as nobody is certain of the long term health affects the cancer causing gas will have on us.

The Governor has declared a state of emergency and LAUSD, our school district, has been hard at work relocating our school as well as Porter Elementary. District workers gave up their winter vacation to ready both schools by building extra bungalows and moving furniture from our home schools to the new sites.

 Just think about it...Your child's school and all that is familiar to them...moved.

So many lives and comforts are being disrupted and morning routines will certainly be challenged. I've been spoiled the last 12 years by only having to drive 5 minutes to work with no traffic. Now? I'll be thrown in with the rest of the working commuters to try and make it to work on time.

But it's all about the kids at this point and I'm pretty sure my word quietly whispered to me before January 1st. I'm ready to face the changes that will undoubtedly be powerful and re-energize my day to be a better educator.

So what do butterflies and a gas leak have in common?
Socrates said it best:
"The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not fighting the old, but on building the new."

I'm plunging in...magnificent, spiritually, show up and be present change.

Happy Snapping!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Little things...


My word for 2016 is


I love being able to look down and have a constant reminder to be a better me. Being mindful is not an easy discipline. But to be present in any given moment, I need to learn to let go. I've been hanging on to a bit a garbage lately. Some things I can't do anything about so I jot these concerns in my journal and write these words,
"I release this into the universe."
Letting go...I mean REALLY letting go of something means that you can't revisit it. I feel that if I am  hanging on to old stuff, I can't live in the present moment. There's no room to use my senses and be completely aware of what's going on around me. I don't want to live in an automatic mode-I want to fully appreciate everything from opening my eyes every morning in the warmth and comfort of my bed to actually being grateful at doing the most mundane of chores. Doing laundry and dusting my home means I'm fortunate enough to have a home to actually do these tasks.
The world is a scary and uncertain place these days & being less judgmental and critical is how I hope to help humanity. 
I'm aware that there is a balance that must be struck between being open with awareness and being sensible but I look forward to the daily practice of being mindful.

Sharing with Kim over at littlebylittle
Jewelry by Sandra over LITVAS jewelry
 This is my 2nd year ordering from Sandra. She is awesome to deal with.

Happy (mindful) snapping

Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others.
Thich Nhat Hanh