Spirit Lifters:Day 101 of being “grounded” 6/14/2020

Life and the world have been a bit distracting of late. For a while there, even I, the self-appointed champion of uplifting things, had a difficult time finding stuff to share.

But here are just a few things that hopefully bring you a sliver of beauty or a tiny laugh or little piece of inspiration to hang in there…yep, even longer than we had hoped!

 

I have enjoyed the wildlife in my yard lately.

This guy is relentless!!!

 

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scared deer in Spokane

Brazen intruder in Bellevue

 

 

 

And Bunnies everywhere!!

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And of course, flowers!

 

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And my favorite, the Birds…

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But of course, also the indoor wildlife…even though it’s often hidden…

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Where is that silly cat now???

 

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No wonder I can’t make a smooth bed…

 

Creative Quarantine

(mostly) WordlessWednesday on Earth Day, 2020

Earth Day slide show

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Earth Day Entertainment and Inspiration

 

 

 

 

Downhill from Everywhere by Jackson Browne…released today…

Jackson Browne Drops New Song for Earth Day, ‘Downhill From Everywhere’

 

 

 

And best for last, DEFINITELY X Rated, so watch when your kids are at Home School in the other room…

Spirit Lifters-Day 46 of being “grounded” 4/20/20

Impossible to be down today…

Meet our newest family member…long awaited (a couple of years)!

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two weeks ago!

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This puppy is very special, bred by Crooked Rooster Farms in Snohomish, WA. He is a Border Collie/Golden Retriever blend, bred for the Collie’s intelligence as well as the temperament of the Retriever. He is already exhibiting both those qualities.

And we think he will probably grow to be more Retriever size (he’s a little CHUNK!) than the Border Collie.

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after first bath! a giant fluff ball!

We are all so in love!!!!

Even Loki, the Maine Coon kitten, who has had the run of the upstairs house…until now. He can’t wait to be done with his silly cone so he can romp with the puppy!

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Spirit Lifter-Day 29 of being “Grounded” Part Five

 

If THIS doesn’t bring a smile, the Virus has already WON!!!

Fight it! Fight back!! Don’t give in!!

 

And if you need even more “uplift”, read (or re-read) this!

 

Warning: Cuteness Overload!  (first published in January, 2016)

Well, it all started early last June…..

1) This guy starts visiting outside regularly and riling up Phineas and Zorro (our indoor Cat Bosses).

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We think this is an “Evil Wild Tomcat”, just stirring up trouble.

 

2) Then James has a big surprise. He sees movement under the wood pile, just beyond where we sit on our porch swing to look out over the valley. He literally drags me dripping out of my shower to come and see!!

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It’s a close call but, after a while, I convince him to put this baby back where he got it as it is WAY too little for humans to mess with.
3) Then later that day I see a different ,but regular visitor in our yard and she is glowing in her bulging state, so I have to take her picture.

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(Can you see why she is “glowing”?)
4) James, uninterested in my Mama Deer, has stationed himself by the woodpile, you know, just in case….

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5) And sure enough, look who he finds!!!!

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UH OH!!

We already have two “very bad cats” (aren’t they all?)

So I am screaming, “NO, no! For god’s sake, don’t FEED them!”

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I had a hard time getting James to put them back. I’m afraid we may have three new residents if I don’t watch him (James) closely!
6) Speaking of watching closely, apparently “Evil Tom Cat” is actually “Protective MOM!” Here she is guarding the woodpile.

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7) And as if this was not enough “cute” for one day…as we arrived home from a quick trip to town, look who we nearly ran into!!! Our Glowing MOM!

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She is still licking them off.

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We watched as she led them off into the woods for safety, and no doubt, so she could have a rest.

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She’s not so Robust/rotund anymore, is she?

 

 

8) Had enough Cuteness for one day??? Not so fast! We get home and have to check on our 3 new little “guest” kittens, right? And guess what!!!

 

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We discover this white one!

Now THERE ARE FOUR!!!  So far, anyway……..

I’m exhausted from delight!

As Paul Harvey would always say “And now, the rest of the story.”

Any guesses as to which one we kept??

We eventually found homes for 3 of them, with folks who were committed to socializing these terrified feral kittens, but this little tough one, the smallest, would just not leave us alone. She would bound out of hiding to see us, even as her siblings would scatter and hide.

 

IMG_2317Meet Lucy, named by my grandsons who wanted her to have a strong (super hero) girl name. (The movie Lucy had just been released and though they were not allowed to see it, they got the idea from the previews.)

 

(parts of this story were published previously in Pacific Northwest Green Friends Newsletter)


Next Chapter:

Lucy’s Story

 

New Mental Health Regimen

For every 5 minutes spent searching for, and reading, the terrifying news we all need to be responsible to know about now, balance it with at least 5 minutes (maybe 20) of searching for, and reading some, of the amazing good news happening all over the world right now.

Writing you from Ground Zero in Washington State, USA., I know the Bad News all too well so I am determined to add to the good.

I spotted a couple great items around here yesterday.

First, for all the struggling local parents whose working lives revolve around and depend on their children being in schools that are now closed (some for weeks), one neighborhood is doing this creative thing.

Social distancing friendly scavenger hunt

Since the only safe get outside activities include walks, I have a proposal to inject some fun! (Borrowing this from a friend out of state). Daily window scavenger hunts! Tomorrow, let’s do Shamrocks (a day late, but who cares!) Basics: 1. Put the thing in a window on the front of your house. 2. Call it exercise (walk) 3. Call it math for you kids (count the [shamrocks] each day. 4. Call it art class the day before: make a [shamrock]. Let’s see if we can find a bit of joy. If you see someone else counting on your walk, wish them luck, from 6+ feet away!

 

Another has organized a group sponsoring Food Trucks from all over to come to suburban neighborhoods (from all their gas station parking lots) to bring Meals for whole families. This both feeds folks who can’t find open restaurants, and helps support the many local food truck businesses.

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And of course, SPRING just keeps happening, relentless and unstoppable…thank you Nature!

Photo a Week Challenge-Sleeping 2/13/2020

I know all cat guardians have favorite photos of their cats sleeping. I’m no exception.

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I think this is the last time I saw Loki asleep…at least two months ago.

 

This may be why…

 

But then there is Phineas, who will sleep anywhere, anytime, and through most anything.

 

Maybe it’s our house ,because even visitors fall asleep here…

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Of course, disappearing into the carpet may have helped.

 

Lucy, the Baby of the family (until that evil Loki showed up) also sleeps where ever she wants.

 

But she always slept way better with Zorro right near by.

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So did Phineas..

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We all miss Zorro, the protector of us all, even in his sleep….

 

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2020/02/13/a-photo-a-week-challenge-sleeping/

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

I had a slightly startling revelation as I was plowing through thousands of photos from 2019….and No, I don’t mean realizing that I take way, WAY too many pictures. I already knew that.

I had already picked 29 “favorite photos” before arriving at the end of February. I was exhausted trying to choose so I stopped there.

It became clear that, only on occasion do I take a photo hoping it will capture exquisite beauty or be all “artsy”. Instead, often I snap away at images that will enhance a good narrative. Good visual aids for a tale that might interest, tickle or inspire someone.

I guess I’m saying I prefer story telling over photography, which is what startled me. I might be saying that although I am an extremely visual person, and I still hate writing (see my bio), I’d rather write you a story with photos than anything else.

So here are the pictures I picked (for January and February)…with the most brief explanation an overly wordy, *unpolished writer can come up with. (*ending my sentence with a preposition…)

 

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This is the Seattle skyline, especially the Columbia tower. I took this while trying to distract myself, waiting at the Harborview Medical Center to find out about a very blue, slightly broken ankle…and yes, I took pictures of my ankle but will spare you. It was so cool to see the Tower from this perspective, having just officiated a wedding at the top a few months prior.

 

 

Next, we have a poignant plea tacked onto the neighborhood’s most beautiful old tree. The note was written by a very young environmentalist, a precocious 6 year old, when she realized they might cut down this tree in the process of building a new home across the street from hers.

The note didn’t work so I felt compelled to capture as much of the mystery and beauty of this tree’s remains as possible. I did several posts on it.

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Next, I thought I’d experiment with my new point and shoot Canon on the occasion of the Super Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse. I was not that disappointed given the limitations of my equipment.

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We had a ton of snow in January, a bit rare for the Seattle area. I worried about all the birds I feed all year round (mostly Crows, Hummingbirds, and a variety of seed birds). I had wondered what would happen in the snow to the Covey of Quail that visited each morning to clean up under the bird feeder, after the messy House Finches had their breakfast.

I guess I needn’t have worried…

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Throughout the last few years, I have shared about my bugs. I love photographing them (and coming up with silly captions).

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Lucy says “I know, I know…not a toy, right?” (Good Kitty.)
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Giant, Spiny Australian Leaf Bug…GIANT indeed…

 

And of course, my cats. This was Lucy’s way of comforting me while I had to stay off my feet for a while for that ankle thing.

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My favorite photo of Lucy last year though was the one at the top of the page.

You know that thing older people sometimes do, where they are frantically searching for their glasses, only to find them right there on top of their head? Well, I took this shot after a frantic 20 minute household search for Miss Lucy. She has never been outside (our neighborhood is plagued by coyotes) so when I couldn’t find her, I panicked! I called and called her and though she is normally, the sweetest, most sensitive, gentle and affectionate cat I have ever had, this photo captured something akin to disdain. A kind of judgment at my ignorance, having walked literally right under her nose probably 10 or 12 times! sigh.

 

I walk daily, and if I keep my eyes wide open, like my Dad taught me very early on, I can make the same exact walk completely different every single day. I look for anything Nature has re-arranged (since yesterday) for my personal viewing pleasure.

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This is one of my all time favorite photos…a total accident!

 

 

Thanks to the Lens Artist Photo Challenge. This was really fun…and I fear there may have to be more installments. I hope you’ll comment.

And visit more of my Blog in the future!

Happy New Year from ChosenPerspectives!

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #77: Favorite Photos of 2019

For my Best Friend, on his Seventy (Hundredth) Birthday (for a Photo a Week: Traditions) 9/8/19

For 43 years now, this birthday guy and I have been proof that men and women can be best friends without all that romantic nonsense that seems required when a boy and girl become friends. We have had a fairly gender-less relationship.

It’s not that we haven’t had a bunch of different roles with each other. We’ve tried ’em all, believe me. 43 years is a long time.

For 30 years or more of those years, we had a delightful tradition of competing over our birthdays…who could outwit, out do, out surprise the other? My favorites from him involved dinner on a train with friends, a sunset cruise with his family, and the really sneaky one, when I met him for a drink in a very dark, very fancy bar, where it took me the better part of an embarrassing hour to realize all the other patrons in the bar were friends of mine…just waiting for me to discover them and be surprised! My favorite for him was the time I had a limo drive him all around town to very specific locations. Waiting for him in each destination, was the friend (sometimes a long-lost friend) he had shared a memorable event with in that very location. That one I was so proud of because the logistics (arrival times especially) were a nightmare and this was before GPS, cell phone contact, etc. It all went off perfectly. The evening culminated in dinner at his family’s favorite Mexican restaurant, and by then, our limo driver, having witnessed all these emotional reunions, was so connected, he joined us for dinner.

Each year, this tradition became more dramatic and elaborate until I think we both maxed out and silently agreed to just stop, and go back to corny, insulting birthday cards.

We do have our other ongoing battles for sure (sometimes feeling like the sibling role we adopt with each other). When we were younger, the fights we had were, uh, intense, heated, passionate, dramatic, elaborate, but always clean. He is the person in my adult life who taught me, through experience, people could be really angry with each other, and it didn’t mean they would leave or the relationship would be permanently damaged….or damaged at all, for that matter. Not my experience growing up, believe me.

Here’s a milder example of one of our disagreements.

I believe art is about taste, and only “good” if you happen to personally like it. He believes art is inherently either good or bad. Different upbringing for sure. He is widely educated in, and had a lifetime of exposure to historically and world famous art. His whole family is well versed in the field. He knows “good art” and will tell you exactly what’s wrong with “bad art”. He’s just that informed.

I, on the other hand, have very little interest in or knowledge of “real art”…although, when he and his family took me to the Getty museum, I have to admit getting goose bumps standing in front of several paintings. But I couldn’t tell you now who was on exhibit at the time.

I think, because my Dad taught me so young, to observe the “art” in even the smallest details around me, I instead fell in love with photography. Starting in the 4th grade, I never went anywhere without a camera. Are you old enough to remember that cheap Brownie camera so many of us had? Then the Instamatic, and I also had a Polaroid or two. I even got my first real job working in one of those little drive-thru Fotomat booths. People were thrilled to be able to get their pictures developed in ONE DAY!! And I loved being around all those people who loved snapping pictures like I did.

One of our ongoing debates has been about photography. Can it be “art”? He has leaned toward “No”. But to me, there is nothing more beautiful than capturing the “art” that actually exists…in real life…right there in front of you and your camera!

Being such a good friend, sometime in the early 1980’s, he gave me my first real camera…a beautiful Nikon, with amazing telephoto and macro lens! In some ways, it was wasted on me as I never really maximized my knowledge of that great camera. But I did get hooked on that macro lens. Imagine some 35 years ago, being able to take a close-up of a butterfly’s feet, or the mountainous texture of wrinkled blue velvet. Of course, now most of our phones can do that, but back then?? People seemed impressed because that kind of close up was so new. I kinda got it in my head that I might be ever so slightly “artistic” with my camera…a bit of a stretch, but the bottom line is I became completely enthralled with photography and it has been one of my favorite hobbies (passions? obsessions?) ever since. I LOVE taking pictures.

I have my best friend to thank for that.

So for his birthday (very few know his actual birth year, because he looks and acts much younger than his age) I am dedicating this post to him. To say thank you for the life-lessons, the experiences, the joy all these years, and for sharing his family with me. But most especially, to thank him for finally finding his princess…a lovely modelesque, blond-bombshell, adorned in all her pinks!! (He’s met his match with her, educationally, artistically, and she is so wonderful, she may well bump him into the 2nd best friend position!)

Oh and to say thanks for that now almost antique camera.

Here are some of my favorite photos, many of which I deserve no artist credit for because they were completely accidental. But they are my version of Art, so I share them in love and gratitude. There are a lot of them but in keeping with our tradition, I had to go BIG and be dramatic!

Hope you enjoy! (If you want to see an individual photo bigger, click on it and it should enlarge.)

Flowers and other growing things

 

 

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back up ALL 8-07 068

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no clue what this is

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avocados you left in your fridge

 

Animals

 

Birds

 

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Landing HOT!

Hummers and Crows (different from the other birds…)

 

 

 

 

Oddities

 

 

 

Perfect Timing

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Favorite photo subject

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back ups 114
“Just resting Gramma”
sundog curve
Sun Dog

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very last family outing

Sky

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I would love comments!!! Even if they are to debate!!

 

https://nadiamerrillphotography.wordpress.com/2019/09/06/a-photo-a-week-challenge-traditions/