Spotted this new challenge but to be honest, it was really just the word. I can barely keep up with all the challenges these days.
But BLUE just popped right out at me.
Hmmm, let’s see. I wonder if I can find any photos in my library of something BLUE…
If math was of more interest to me, I’d spend a day figuring out the actual percentage of pictures I take because of BLUE!!
OK so I have a lot of photo shoots with a strange group of “models”.
And it is definitely when I have the most FUN!!!
Once upon a time, there was a tiny village and they fell in love with a monster who came to visit.
The Village Dogs just loved this visitor and knew that even though she LOOKED terrifying, she wasn’t! Maybe it was the way she took care of her monster sister?
And the sister had a friend, nick-named Badfish, but not because he was bad. He was just “BAD”.
The Monster stayed for the holidays and helped decorate the tall parts of the tree the tiny villagers couldn’t reach.
Then the village teenagers, a non-violent gang, invited the monster’s whole family to join in the annual Cow Tipping Contest! What an Honor!
The Monsters didn’t quite get the “tipping” part but definitely enjoyed climbing the cow!
Next, there was the annual competition to see who could climb the tallest Blue Building, and the Monsters were a huge hit!! Their audience raved about it!
The Monsters loved their new Village but some of the town’s people were upset by one of their bad habits!
(although maybe not. One of those giant turds appears to be an EGG!!!)
For more on the story of my becoming a Bug Mother, read this:
I love photography that shows how much ones perspective (assumptions) can change simply by comparing one photo of something to another photo of the same thing. The following four photos are each one half of one of those comparisons. These are the half that show how beautiful BIG can be.
These next are from our Epic Roots Road Trip last summer. We visited the HUGE remains of an antibellum home North of Natchez, Mississippi, called the Windsor Ruins. While walking around and through these ruins, it required some seriously imagination-stretching to be able to see just how big and beautiful this mansion must have been.
On the same trip, I was really moved by the beauty of these big boulders at a rest stop, of all places. I couldn’t help but consider how in the world they all ended up in the precarious positions they were in. And the color of that big southwestern sky…very different from the more rare and much deeper blue of our northwestern skies.
And you might have to stretch to see any beauty in my beloved big bugs! It took me a while but now, to me they are amazing and gorgeous!
You can read their story here:
(The Featured Image at the top is a big beautiful bridge over the big beautiful Mississippi river, from Natchez to Vidalia, Louisiana.)
Posted these recently for the theme of “action” but it was so delightful watching these two “flower girls” burn off some energy waiting for the dang wedding to start, I thought I’d share them again for movement.
I made the mistake of looking further in my files and found this…
And this…(not a very clear shot but I have waited for YEARS to see one of our wild turkeys fly!!)
But then I remembered the wonderful train trip we took from Seattle to San Diego…
Can’t stop now. This challenge had stimulated some serious movement in me!
Next, I found this,,,
Normally quite docile, this batch of my bugs is very fast moving and cleaning their home has become a two person job. James has to watch them while I refresh their terrarium!
They usually just wait patiently on the screen lid while I clean, except when..and I’m not making this up…I play Pink Floyd. Then they line up like these guys, and no kidding, will sway in time with the music. Little line dancing Extasotoma’s!! (One time I even tried posting a video of this dancing phenomenon on YouTube. Hey, I thought it was cute. But was turned away because I didn’t have the rights to Comfortably Numb. I didn’t know. It was just playing on Pandora while I was cleaning.)
And then there is the movement you don’t want to see!!
Or lastly (honest,) the movement that absolutely CANNOT happen!!!
There’s my submission for this topic, Movement!
I had fun!
My life is full of Art, but it is also full of artists who define “art” very differently from me.
My best friend is an expert, having studied and collected art for most of his life. He is also a very talented artist in his own right. We’ve had an ongoing debate for more than 40 years about what actually qualifies as art and who gets to define it. I know we are not alone in this disagreement.
I found the following online at:
“The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines art as “something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings.” My own definition of art is the sharing of one’s inner thoughts, feelings, emotions, visions, and struggles through multiple mediums.”
Wondering what all this has to do with “twisted”?
I think his choice of art is twisted…and I’m sure he thinks mine is invalidly defined as art in the first place.
The photo at the top of this post is a gift my best friend gave me many years ago. I’m sure it was expensive and to many, would be defined as art.
I just think it’s twisted.
He actually spent money on that piece for me, where as I bought myself these pieces.
Here are some more examples of “art” in his home and “art” in mine.
His is on the left, mine on the right
His choice on top
My choice is “twisted” artwork from my grandson, at 9 and then 11 years old.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying my best friend is twisted. As a matter of fact, here is my newest absolute favorite piece of art, ironically, a gift from him. Not my chosen “style” by any means but he knew how moved I would be by this piece!
I, on the other hand, by the definition of many, am quite happily Twisted.
I do, that’s who. So I will now officially, and gladly accept the adjective of TWISTED!
I am in great company, as you know if you have ever read The Shameful Sheep or Jennifer Day at The Iconophile, two of my favorite bloggers.
I really felt it while I was going through all kinds of contortions trying to photograph my friend’s art, including, taking his series called “the 7 deadly sins” into a dark closet to eliminate some of the reflection. Didn’t work, and besides, too creepy! This is as good as I could get.
It’s not just about art though.
Just the other day, a newish friend, while I was introducing him to my Bugs, asked me if I realized just how twisted it was for me to be this enthusiastic about them.
He has no idea. Even I know it is completely torqued to set up the photo shoots I have with my bugs.
Witness these, as examples…
I won’t even get started on the debate we have about Photography as ART!!
Anyway, I know this is a long post, with a lot of photos, but the topic and the recent Daily Post announcement inspired me to do less censoring than I usually apply to my weekly photo challenge entry.
I’ll end on this note.
Initially, I was of like mind with many other contributors this week. I immediately thought of these things:
But then I allowed the word to take me on this unexpected journey.
For that, I wish to express deep gratitude to The Daily Press for your regular inspiration for so many posts!! I will really miss you.
PS I have received many Twisted gifts over the years from other twisted folks. Here are a couple involving antlers…yikes.
A few months ago, I thought about posting about the inexplicable grief I felt at the passing of my very last 2 Bugs.
If you are a first-time reader here, you may wonder what I mean by “bug”. It’s a long, seemingly gross story but an experience I still feel so blessed to have had. You can read the short version here.
Anyway, my last two bugs, having lived way longer than any of their female-only ancestors, passed away last summer and I was way sadder than I would have expected. It was probably much more existential grief than I want to admit…end of an era…passing of time…my own mortality, etc.
Or maybe I had simply bonded to these mild, extravagant creatures. I confess, I LOVED my bugs!!
For the seven or eight years I have raised Giant Spiny Australian Leaf bugs (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extatosoma_tiaratum) I saved every single one of the hundreds of eggs they laid, hoping for later hatchings. (It takes over a year when *parthenogenesis is the method.) I kept the eggs safe and in the medium suggested by my research on Google (warm, moist soil).
With the last batch born (39 of them) I knew I was getting tired…but not of my bugs. They are so easy to care for. Feed them and put fresh paper towels at the bottom of their terrarium every 10 days or so. No big deal. (Well, I am leaving out the part that James does for me…scrounging around for uncontaminated Blackberry bushes, cutting off several branches, and then “dethorning” them for the safety of the bigger bugs who can accidentally impale themselves on these thorns. Poor James comes home bleeding every time!)
It had become quite an extravagant hobby.
After so many generations, I was up to a whole “colony”. With each new generation, I would happily give away as many bugs as I could to good homes (schools, parents, friends, independent Pet Stores… boy, are those hard to find now…) but it was requiring a lot more of the kind of energy I no longer have due to my age or an exhausting autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s? I don’t know which.
Also, at that number of bugs, there were just too many for me to “socialize”…meaning, getting the bugs used to being handled by humans. I wanted the occasional brave guest to be able to have the experience of one of these mild monsters sitting peacefully in the palm of their hand. This last batch had basically no direct human contact.
When I could feel the end nearing for my two oldest Queens, I did not do anything to protect or preserve their hundreds of eggs in the way their gestation requires. That was a much more difficult decision than I would have thought.
When they both died, I gave them what I considered a loving and respectful send off by placing them on blossoms outside in the sun. My keeping them safe in captivity may have given them a much longer life but had prevented their outdoor experience.
I put away the terrariums, and the jars that acted as vases for Blackberry vines. I gathered books and tchotchkes to fill up the empty shelves, dresser tops and counters that used to hold giant Bug Homes for all to see. I had all those interesting-looking eggs in a bowl and just set them off somewhere on a shelf.
I have missed my bugs. I know they are not pets in the way most of us think of a pet…like a companion. I didn’t talk to them or anything, at least not nearly as much as I talk to my cats (wish I had a winking emoji for right here…)
I did try to provide entertainment for them though…exposure to different settings, and playing loud music for them. They love Comfortably Numb and actually sway in time with music, but I guess I needed copyright permission for a video I made with Pink Floyd playing in the background, because WordPress would not include it in that post long ago.
But for all those years they were such a mild, peaceful presence in my life.
Having that amazing bug activity, straight from a David Attenborough-type nature show, happening right in my living room, was a constant and graphic reminder of the miracles in Nature. The molting process alone would blow the most uninterested of minds.
I think I have missed seeing daily the natural flow of the bugs’ stages, the proof that though one life comes to an end, another is always starting…
And those gentle bugs actually made me miss my life’s work a little less. In my practice, I was a regular witness to the amazing cycle of human life……coaching childbirths, end of life counselling, with all of life’s challenges, traumas and gifts in between.
Retirement! Heck, what was I thinking???
Now this will seem like an abrupt change of subject, but we have this cat named Lucy. She was born in the wild (well, in the woodpile in front of our mountain home). She is by far the most mild cat either of us have ever had. We think she is expressing gratitude for allowing her to adopt us as her humans, and rescuing her from a treacherous life in the mountains filled with cougars, coyotes and bears….to say nothing of the below zero temps we sometimes have in the winter. She is gentle and careful and sweet and affectionate (this last, at her own whim of course…she IS a CAT after all).
And she is also amazing in that she learns after just one or two corrections. I post about her a lot. You can read her story here:
Her most vicious trait is that she hunts, chases, kills and eats spiders. I have mixed feelings about that but so far have not prevented her Spider Patrols. What can I say, I’m a hypocrite.
Last week, I had a shocking experience. I lifted a pile of papers off the table I was working on and found a dead (squashed?) BABY BUG!!! Absolutely no idea how it got there. Or from how long ago? And did Sweet Lucy do this or did I crush a new baby bug and not even know it?
I Confess, I actually cried.
And then, I had an even more surprising realization. It seemed unrelated but in my tears I discovered how much I HATE being even semi-retired. (I see maybe 4 clients a month on average.) I miss working so much. I loved my well over 40 years of being a Group Psychotherapist with a booming practice. I never got tired of it. I never experienced “burn out”. I worked hard to live the principals I taught so I never really experienced the conflict and dissonance possible in that line of work. I was really, REALLY happy being able to do the work I was doing.
AND I missed my post-retirement hobby, my BUGS!
I want BUGS and I want to WORK!
You’ve heard the old Chinese proverb “Be careful what you wish for”?
In the last 5 days, SIX live, baby bugs have appeared out of nowhere in my office. I don’t have any eggs stashed in here. No adult bugs were ever loose in this room to drop unknown eggs. I have no idea where these hatch-lings are coming from, but I do know that after the very first one, which Lucy spotted up on the ceiling, I had a talk with her to remind her the difference between spiders and our bugs. Since then, five more have hatched and been unmolested by our Gentle Hunter Lucy. She just sits and watches them until I can capture and contain them. (I cannot however, confirm what she does behind my back of course.)
But anyway, apparently, I am on my way again, with a whole new generation of Extatosoma_tiaratum.
Gosh, maybe my phone will start ringing soon and I’ll have some new clients to work with too!?!