Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Black Cat, halloween,dog,seal and frog prince,

P. contemplates life BY the sea......
While this fellow contemplates life IN the sea....

 I asked A. Cat what he thought about dressing pets up in halloween costumes. He replied, "You are asking a black cat about halloween?  First of all, let me point it out that black cats are totally misunderstood on this day. Some people even carry an unnecessary superstition of black pets all year. We are much like any other animal. Some good, some not so good. To judge unfairly is unwise.  To answer your question, if it makes the owners happy, then many pets will put up with a costume for that reason.  From my point of view, I prefer to be in my natural state.  Costumes, collars, etc. only put a damper on my natural activities.  I can't imagine wearing something that tells the world I'm something I'm not.  You see my dignity and this is who I am.  I don't want to pretend I am human. Your various celebrations don't really matter much to me. In fact, they are really boring. But,if there is something good to eat, then maybe I'll be present. Mostly, I'm not interested.  Hope I didn't disappoint you with this answer, but you asked and this cat doesn't always say what you want to hear.  Take it or leave it."  
M.: "That's a very diplomatic answer.  You mean if you had a chance to be a human, even for just a day, you would not be interested?"
A.C.: "Nope.  Here's why. Humans take everything so personal and they don't live in the moment.  Just once try to use only your body language and eyes to communicate your distaste and then move on.  Don't dwell on the complications of your everyday life.  There really is no time for that.  Relax, challenge yourself, have fun, give love, treat pets like pets and not babies,  If something does not work out for you that day, don't beat yourself up.  It's not healthy.  Eat what you need and at the right amount. Eat until you are 80% full.  The Japanese people have got that right. Stay clean. Be curious.  By the way,  I don't believe in that old saying. (Curiosity Killed the Cat)  That's not been my experience." 

M.: "Thanks A. I don't know where I would be without you and our little talks."
A.C.:Well, come here and rub my right cheek and listen to me purr.  Show me your love and then let's get on with the day.  I am soon for a nap."
In my last post, I photographed a Tree Frog which was caught at a local nursery.  We didn't know what type of frog it was when we released him.  He was placed on a rock in the new pond where I took pictures.  
He sat there for some time as if not sure where to go.  Finally, he jumped in the water, swam around in there, came out and headed for the nearest tree. 
Since that time in late august, he was relocated back to the pond area from the greenhouse. Not sure how he got in there.  I've tried to keep an eye out for him, wondering about his welfare. Yesterday, while in the garden near the pond I noticed a frog.  Only this one was brown. 
Was it the same guy?
In summer; waiting before plunge into pond...

 I believe this is the same frog.

Quick Google search says that Tree Frogs DO change color to match their surroundings.
He looks like he is expecting a kiss.  I'll name him "Prince."
Um, I'll get back to you in Spring on that kiss.. Ugh.


Two views of same barn for my photographer friends.  One day, I'll be good enough to play with the big boys.

And a different angle. With a faint rainbow...

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thoreau,Wendell Berry,Douglas McArthur and Me....

Cooper's Hawk in the yard.                                     
"Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit and resign yourself to the influences of each. Let these be your only diet-drink and botanical medicines.  Grow yellow and ripe with autumn.  Drink of each season's influence as a vial for your especial use."
Henry David Thoreau 
Pacific Tree Frog .  So cool.
P. walks in the forest. 
  "Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay.  Want more of everything ready made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have window in your head.  Not even your future will be a mystery any more.  Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer."
Wendell Berry, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front 
 Best catch of the day.
If there is a trail, P. will find it.  She seems to say, "Let's go this way!"
And then we found this
Nature's dream catcher or Halloween remind?  There were many, many more like this in one area.

And they glistened with marine influence caught up in the webbing.  Interesting in a spooky way. 

Two pals share some late summer shade.
A Dreamer
and also
A Player
I came across this quotation I have kept in my drawer for a long time. It is by, of all people, Douglas McArthur.  No,  he is not my champion of great historical character.  I don't look for military heroes, and if I did, I'm quite sure it wouldn't be him.. I don't agree with or admire him, but somehow this piece of writing that he wrote resonates with me. 
"Youth is not a time of life, it is a state of mind.
Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years, people grow old by deserting their ideals.
Years may wrinkle the skin but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.
You are as young as your faith,
as old as your doubts
as young as your self confidence
as old as your fear
as young as your hope 
as old as your despair.
In the center place of your heart , there is a recording chamber.
So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young.
When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the snow of pessimism."
and the ice of cynicism, then and then only are you grown old." 
By: Douglas McArthur
And just below it in a tattered old notebook, some of my own thoughts from a time previous.  Here is one for you called
"Floating Candles"
What if you never find your way?
Like flickering lights going out one by one.
Fire and water.
Reflections burning brightly in the dark water
reaching for the sky and everlasting life,
swaying against a dangerous breeze and
only to succumb into clear,cool, waxy liquid.
Then silent as though never existed
The memory of you will flicker until the next light boasts a brave new beauty bright with heat.
Harmonious and strong with opportunity; but no meaning,
to repeat the mystery without expectation.
The harvest moon in two days. Happy fall to all.


Monday, September 3, 2012

5 days of hot balloons and a wizard sighting

It's a Beautiful Morning!  The kind that makes you think you can see heaven in the sky.
When I arrived at the airport, all was calm and quiet at 6:10am.  I planned to shoot each morning of the 5 day event so I could get the different light levels available each day. I found a spot in the field where the rising sun would be at my back, sipped my coffee, prepared my camera and threw some fetches for the semi-awake P. Dog. This became our routine each day.

The volunteers were scurrying around looking for their assigned areas as the trucks arrived.  The trucks were lined with lights like christmas trees and drove slowly around the dark field looking for a perfect spot.  A weather balloon was launched to locate where the wind would blow the big ones that day.  All morning tests were completed as the bystanders waited for the action to begin.

Rolling out the balloon.  It came out of a large sack, just like a rolled up mylar sleeping bag.

The volunteers, or balloon crew, helped hold up the edges of the balloon so the fans could blow air inside after the attachment was made to the basket.
I don't know him.  I didn't talk to him, but I had a special name for him, "The Wizard of Balloon." If you didn't look close, you would not see him.. He was often hidden behind a curtain of people, reminding me of The Wizard of Oz. The Wizard manned the final propane blasts after the initial fan blowing. This would soon raise the balloon to a standing position.
 He was probably the pilot for this balloon,
but I'm not positive. 
I was satisfied thinking of him as The Wizard; not knowing the details.
 Imagination is a gamble.  If left unsolved, it may sometimes be better than reality.
Otherwise, he might say, "Go away and come back tomorrow! Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"
"The Wizard of Balloon"

               And of course, the flames in darkness are irresistible and a powerful show off tool.

And a necessary lift-off tool.

So, would you like to ride in my beautiful balloon?
                                     A special viewing of the "Blue Moon" and of the mountains.

For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
***Love is waiting there in my beautiful balloon
Way up in the air in my beautiful balloon
If you'll hold my hand we'll chase your dream across the sky
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
Up, up, and away.....

 - The Fifth Dimension

And as P. and I walked home picking blackberries to share, we watched one float away over the wheat field..

To be continued...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Phobia/Fear Update & Dog Tired

"To fear is one thing.  To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another."
- Katherine Paterson
"Well, we can't have that, now can we?" -P.
(Get ready, here it comes!)
My last post described my fear of spiders and my decision to self cure using photography.  Um, I am making some progress.  I can now take shots like this without breaking out in a paranoiac itchy rash or giving into the flight part of the "fight or flight response" or any involuntary screeching.
However, I wouldn't say I'm ready to allow a hairy, creepy crawly of the spidery persuasion climb up my arm...  Truth be told, I am alittle disappointed that it is taking longer to beat this fear than I thought it would. That's partly due to the "professional"s on the internet who claim to completely cure your phobias in one day.  Yeah right. Hypnosis is not for me.  What if you were under the spell and you woke up too early and there were tarantulas placed all over you???

(Throat closing.  Not good.  Must remember the plan.  No imaginary situations.  Some people have tarantulas as pets and they love them.  I have pets too.  It's all good.....Ahhhhhh, yeah. calm.....breathing deeply into the paper bag...)
Sorry, a little episode, still working on my issues. See how the ideas can sneak up?  Pretty sneaky. 


I do believe in curing phobias.  I also believe we can either get professional help or we can do it ourselves.  Expect a much harder time doing it yourself.  As for me, I know it can and will be done.
A work in progress.....

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust." 
-T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land
And now for something completely different
our recent hike pictures. Whew, thank goodness....

That's my puppa, P. The ever enthusiastic nature girl.
Good dog waits for voice command at trailhead.
You can bring this dog to water, and she'll always go in it!   
Back and forth. 


And again.....

A bridge in the wilderness and the beauty of forest floor. Happy fern and oregon grape.
A gnarly blow down?  Exposing sharp woody swords.

We found a spot to rest by the river.
A beautiful spot.  Time to head back. R. and P. head for home.
Know how to tell if your dog had a good time?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Fear itself and steps to self cure.

"The only thing we have to fear, is fear it'self." - F.D.R 3/3/1933

So, I want to share my experience with confronting a fear.  I moved into the country and must live with certain truths. It's not always relaxing and low key.  There are things that no one tells you and you must find out the hard way.  For me, the major thing is spiders.  Big ones, little ones, fascinating ones and bland.  They all make me afraid.   According to Wikipedia, one of the most common specific phobias are those of spiders and other arachnids.  Furthermore, some statistics show 50% women and 10% men display symptoms.  (Is that because some men denied this fear in the study? Aww, come on guys, please catch that huge spider and release it outside please.  Give me a break!) At the time I viewed it, the Wiki page titled, "How to overcome the fear of spiders" was followed by 92,789 readers.  
This summer it became clear to me that I can no longer avoid this fear.  It's not getting better by itself.  I do the self talk about how spiders are busy eating bugs and are an important pest control, but the mere thought on them near, or (yikes) on my person sends me into wild dance and involuntary scream mode.  (As I write this, I suddenly feel something crawly on me and try brushing it away. Imagination clearly plays a part ) Gardening this summer is difficult as well.  I always inspect any outdoor gloves, shoes etc. for any 8 leggers lounging in there. I have never found them in there, but the thought of it.......Horrors!  (Shortness of breath, pant pant.)
Very recently, I was on a hike and saw a small one on my arm.  A noise came out of me so loud that it echoed across the canyon.  So unlike me.   Normally, I prefer quiet, and try not to disturb wildlife or other people in the mountains.  
The very next day, my research began.  After viewing various phobia sites, I decided to try curing this phobia by myself. My understanding is that cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications for anxiety or anti-depressants can be utilized for treatment. The next step is to be exposed to pictures of spiders. Later, face-to-face with a real spider. When you are able to HOLD a live spider without feeling anxious, you have conquered your fear.
Granted some people have much more serious conditions then I.  I don't cry or curl up in the fetal position when I see a spider across the room.  But, I am clearly bothered by these encounters more then the average country folk. 
My plan will follow three steps. 

1.) Seek out the spider. (not hard to do here) See if I can get close enough to photograph them. Why? Apparently, patients begin therapy in safely controlled settings using photos of their phobias.  I am comfortable taking pictures, so why not take them myself?
Easy does it. No pressure, just pictures.  If I can't get close, oh well.  It's about how close I CAN get.  May take a few days.
2.) Relaxation/breathing technique. Deep, slow breathes until relaxed. (Do not hyperventilate! Maybe carry paper bag?)
3.) Challenge negative thoughts. Stop telling the future. (No, it's not going to jump and land on your face....Or is it?)
Don't overgeneralize.  Not all spideys are biters and/or venomous.  Stop catastrophizing. Yeah, they are everywhere when you start paying attention, but this is not the movies and they are not taking over the world. Or on a smaller scale, they are not taking over my world.
4.) If I start getting crazier due to the above steps, I will discontinue the plan immediately.
5.) Hold a live spider........Seriously? I am not going to commit to this one yet.
OK, ready? Here's what happened on my first attempt:

I stepped outside on the rapidly warming morning of august 16, 2012.  I located my first spider.  I stood far enough away and was setting up just fine untilI (gulp) zoomed in!
"OH MY FREAKIN' DOG!" (Sweaty palms, urge to quickly run away, really wanted to put camera down first. No just run! ) "Wait, must breathe deeply innnnnnnn and ouuuuuuuut. It's much smaller than I and probably much more afraid..Yeah. He's just doin' his thing like a good guy that he is.  Yeah."

*Warning graphic photos to follow. Some images may be disturbing to some viewers and may be inappropriate for all ages.*                  

"Uh, like me."

Against orange paint gives me a spooky feeling.  Comfort level non existent at time of picture shoot.

Please tell me those aren't EYES looking back at me!!!!

Hands shaking.

Duct taped my scream hole closed.

That was enough yesterday.   How do I feel after that?  Well,  I looked at these photos today and kind of think the patterns on them are pretty cool.  I actually wanted to add one picture to the collection! And guess what?  No fear at all!   

Guess I have a bit more work to do. Will update progress next week.  Until then remember, it's all in your head.

"Courage is not the lack of fear; but the ability to face it." - Lt. John B. Putnam (1921-1944)