Sunday, October 30, 2016




Every year, my IG/blogging friend, Michelle, hosts a wonderful week of reflection focused on gratitude. I've participated in years passed, sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes quietly.  Either way, I'm always so happy to get Michelle's email letting her followers know about our time together-it always seems to come at a time when I feel like I need to regroup. 
Saturday marked the 3rd anniversary of my mother's passing. Thoughts of her never wander far from my mind. Somedays those thoughts are closer to the surface than others. Her last year on earth was pure hell and it traumatized my soul, my heart and my very being. 
It's been a slow but steady process that I've been trusting...

...and then there are days when Austin asks for pumpkin he does every year (so grateful he does.) I sift through my recipes cards until I find the one I'm looking for. It's all too familiar now...her handwriting...written in happier times. Her penmanship that's never deviated and so easily recognizable to everyone in the family. My mom and I loved to swap to recipes and on the days she is close to the surface, I'm ever so grateful to have this, and other small expressions of her with me. It comforts me and soothes the rough edges. 

This is not the first time a walnut heart has appeared on a finished muffin...
You can see for yourself here
It's a Mother's Love
So much to be grateful for.

Happy (grateful) snapping!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A morning with...

...the Gibbons

Groupon has become my new favorite app.
I find the best deals and it's where I discovered the Gibbon Conservation Center. The Mr. and I made the drive out there this morning not sure what to expect. I'm not particularly fond of patronizing places where animals are held in captivity. The enclosures are too small, dirty and impersonal. I do however like to support local groups that make an honest effort to conserve, repopulate and reintroduce an animal back into their native environment. 
I was pleasantly surprised at the GCC and what's going on there.

As you walk through the gates you are asked to dip the bottom of your shoes in a large pan filled with what I can only assume is an antibacterial/water mixture. Thats so you clean off and leave behind anything harmful to the Gibbons from the outside. 
We roamed around for about 30 minutes before the guided tour. The guide was very knowledgeable, engaging and funny. Gibbons are apes not I learned something new. 

The guide was telling us amazing stories about gibbons in general and of the families housed at the GCC. They behave in many ways like humans. She went on to talk about the gibbons very distinct songs. Once one starts they'll all start and the tour would pretty much be over because she wouldn't be able to talk above the callings and we'd never hear another word she'd say. But none of us were prepared for what came next. Pretty much on cue, there was a low sort of hooting noise. Then another...and another and literally within seconds there were 42 gibbons "singing" in tones and sounds that were nothing short of breathtaking. To say it was deafening would be an understatement. Combine thunderous, booming, roaring and powerful...then that might come close to what we experienced. We also learned that their songs can be heard 2 miles away! 

Gibbons can travel up to 35 mph and leap 50 ft at a time. 

I would have loved nothing more than getting a little closer to the enclosures to fade out the chain links but Gibbons' arms are 1 1/2 times longer than their legs so being any closer wouldn't be safe for either of us. So I tried my best to adapt and capture these amazing creatures that were beyond my lens' reach. 

What a thrill and an honor to experience a few hours in a day of a life of gibbons.

Do you use Group-on? What deals have you found? I'd love to hear.

Happy (find your group-on) snapping.