Horses in Black and White

White horse at the fence

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I share a LOT of photos, mostly in technicolor! I am happy to write that I am back to stretching my camera lenses with Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenges.

This week’s theme is “animals,” and my entry is this happy, cream-colored horse I met while walking with my Dad on Father’s Day. He lives in the Sierra Nevada foothills (Northern California), in a picturesque, quaint, but very “country” area of his small town.

She came right up to the fence as we approached and her buckskin friend dutifully came along side. This image is in color so you can see the difference from the black and white image above.

Friendly white horse

Dad and I chatted briefly about my old horse Cookie that I loved when I was a young girl living near Portland, Oregon. It got me very nostalgic for my horseback riding days.

For more about my love of horses, you can check out this oldie-but-goodie post, Borrowing Freedom.

“All horses deserve the chance, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.” Unknown

If you are looking for more photo challenges, head over to Cee’s Photo Challenge PageAnd don’t forget about my weekly feature, Sunday Stills. July’s themes will be posted next week!

Camera graphic

Sunday Stills: #Twin Fathers

Flowers twinned

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is “twin.”

I posted the above image on Instagram a few weeks ago. The dandelion weed with its twinned shadow, grew in a crack in my driveway and the dual colors of cement made an interesting yin-yang effect.

When I think of the month of June, I can’t help but think of Gemini, one of the constellations of the zodiac. Gemini is Latin for twins. According to Greek mythology, Castor and Pollux, real stars in the night sky, make up the constellation Gemini, which can be seen in the northern hemisphere’s summer sky.

My husband is an identical twin.

Since today is Father’s Day in the U.S., I had to tie this theme in to my husband and his twin brother who are both celebrating Father’s Day this weekend on different parts of the West Coast.

Twin brothers

My hubby is in San Diego visiting his children and his first grandchild! In the photo, that’s my husband on the right. They have been known to play twin jokes on many people over the years. When I knew them in high school (yes, really!), I could not tell them apart. They may be nearly identical physically, but have very different personalities.

And just for fun, I threw in these twin doors (for Norm’s Thursday Doors) found in the Gold Rush town of Sutter Creek, California.

Twin Doors

Other words associated with twin are couple, clone, duplicate, double and matched. How you interpret twin is up to you.

Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with for the theme! Linking up is optional!

Happy Father’s Day to all the hard-working dads!

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Can You Ride A Unicycle? 

Girl on unicyle rolls by motel door

Something unique for Thursday Doors today! As I turn my attention to taking part in new and old photo challenges, I came across these photos of not one, but two cute girls, with doors as their backdrop for some fun!

In the featured image above, I saw this cutie riding a unicycle around the hotel we stayed in near Yosemite a couple of years ago.  I asked her (and her mother) for permission to take her picture as she deftly rode around the hotel area on her unicycle.

In the photo below, while at San Diego’s Southern California Exposition (also known as the Del Mar Fair), one of the exhibits hosted an Alice in Wonderland theme complete with doors of varying shapes and sizes.

Del Mar Fair Doors

Those of you who posted for the weekly photo challenges, are you feeling a little lost? I joined hundreds of bloggers weekly for nearly four years posting for the WPC.

But there is hope for all of us. Our fellow bloggers are hosting other wonderful photography challenges. If you are looking for more challenges to show off your photography skills and inspire your writing, please join my weekly Sunday Stills Challenge  and take a look at Cee Neuner’s website for an expanding list of photo challenges hosted by herself and others!

And please join Norm at Thursday Doors each week with your fabulous doors!

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
— Aaron Siskind

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Sunday Stills: The #Future Is Ours

College graduates walk at commencement

The future, the Sunday Stills theme this week, asks us to think about what this means to us. Nothing says “future” like a commencement ceremony.

Jubilant student graduates from University

Recently I had the pleasure of attending the college graduation of one of my students (who was also a long-time employee of mine and one of my daughter’s best friends). I also witnessed several students from previous classes walking toward their futures!

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X

The smile on her face (the one in the middle in the white glasses) says it all. Her future is exciting because she moves out of state to be with her husband who serves in the Air Force.

Students graduating from Sacramento State UniversityThe College of Health and Human Services at Sacramento State University, where I teach, had over 1200 bachelor and master candidates for graduation for Spring 2018 out of a university total of 6,600! Impressive when you consider this includes majors in recreation and parks, criminal justice, physical therapy, kinesiology, nursing, and social work.

It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves. William Shakespeare

These women and men are our future!

College graduates walk at commencement

Today’s theme was chosen by Hugh.

Remember, you can always refer to my Sunday Stills page for the monthly themes always posted in advance. Your posts can be published any day of the week! The link-up is optional, but if you do link-up, please visit a couple of bloggers.

What does “future” mean to you?

Terri_sig_hib1

 

Sunday Stills: #Furry and #Feathered Friends

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Today’s Sunday Stills theme is “fur and feathers” but feel free to add photos of your scaled and slithering friends as well.

Aero loves going to the delta
Aero loves going to the delta
Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water
Boykin Spaniel Brodie loves the water

Did you know today is National Animal Rights Day? Many organizations dedicate themselves to the betterment and loving treatment of ALL animals.

According to Christian author Gary Kurtz, who wrote Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: A Book of Hope for Those Who have Lost a Pet, he writes that “pets are God’s creatures…merely on loan to us.”

With Biblical support, Kurtz suggests that all animals have eternal spirits. As a Christian myself, I believe this to be true, which gives me great comfort knowing that my past, present and future dogs, cats, birds and even fish have a place in God’s eternity. On some spiritual level, I shall see them all again.

Almost every day, I read online from friends and family who grieve a pet who has died. I often recommend this book and have been surprised at the positive responses from those who have read it.

Regardless of your own beliefs in an eternal afterlife, or not, we must treat all creatures on Planet Earth with care and respect.

Of course, I will swat a mosquito or kill a tick that crawls on my skin. Believe it or not, even pesky bugs have a place on Earth.

To illustrate my point, while camping with family two years ago, I almost fell over as I watched my little nephew stomp on an unsuspecting beetle while hiking in a national park. I asked him why he did that, and he replied, “because he was going to bite me.”

I told him that all critters and animals are protected in a national park and he could go to jail for killing bugs and animals (yes, a teeny white lie, but bear with me here). I then asked him, “What if you were just walking along one day and a giant walked up and stepped on you?” His eyes widened with the realization that his eight-year-old imagination allowed.

A little leisure education hurts no one.

Bewildered swallow looking for its nest
Bewildered swallow looking for its nest

This swallow and her mate decided to build their nest in our neighbor’s windsurf sail shed. One of the other fellows who keeps his sails in the shed noticed the partially built nest and knocked it down with a stick, complaining about bird droppings (my word, not his). Luckily it was still under construction, so no eggs or birds were harmed.

It was an abrupt decision, one that I both disagreed with and supported.

On one hand, these swallows build their nests here on Sherman Island in the delta and there are plenty of safe areas in which to build them. On the other, these skittish birds would not have succeeded trying to hatch eggs in a noisy area with us walking in and out of the shed.

In the long run, I guess there is no right way to move a bird nest. They can quickly rebuild one in a safer location.

But these incidents beg the question, how much have humans encroached on natural habitats in the name of progress, lifestyle and leisure?

To what extent do we continue to banish native animals from their own environments due to urbanization?

It is a little sad to think we need organizations to protect Earth’s creatures from harm and violence, mistreatment and misuse.

So, let’s support our fellow creatures today by posting a favorite photo of yours for Sunday Stills!

Please help me promote Sunday Stills so that we can have more talented bloggers participate in this photo challenge, now that the long-time WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge posted its final theme this week.

Sunday Stills Fur and Feathers Graphic

Link up here:

A hearty shout-out to May Sunday Stills Photo Challenge participants!

A Day In the Life
Adventures in Weseland
CactusCatz
Cee’s Photography
Debbie Scott Photography Digital Art
Field Notes From Over The Hill
Feel Purple
Heaven’s Sunshine
Hugh’s Views and News
Idaho Bluebird
IScribler
Light Words
Living with My Ancestors
Misty Roads Blog
Mucho Spanish
NorCal Zen
Now at Home
Proscenium
Retirementally Challenged
Terry’s Desk
This, That and the Other Thing
YasminKhanBlog
zestnzealblog

Terri_sig_hib1

WPC: Thanks for the Photographic Memories

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has been a staple on my blog since January 2015, when I began submitting to its new theme each week. 

This is the last week that the weekly photo challenge will prompt bloggers like myself to stretch our imaginations and take a photograph that depicts the theme. The last theme, appropriately is All-Time Favorites, where we are to share our favorite images from past WPC posts.

This was one of my first entries into an amazing world of photo blogging! Expressive Dock Eagerly Awaits Visitors

Lake-Natoma-Dock
Lake Dock

Not only did this photo pop, but it was one of my better attempts at a decent blog post title.

Here are a couple of fan favorites and one of mine:

Legs cast shadows and reflections
Reflections and Shadows
SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

These photos are different in nature but all seem to have unusual features: a downward focus to catch both shadows and reflections; a fleeting moment in space, or a macro shot of Mother Nature in action. This is the creativity the WPC inspired in me,  to think and see like a photographer every minute of the day.

The weekly photo challenge was responsible for providing me with hundreds of followers over the years and was instrumental in improving my photography over the last three years, and I credit it for linking me with so many other amazing bloggers who share their photos in posts each week. I will seriously miss this blogging event!

I must give a special shout-out to a fellow blogger and Northern California neighbor, Frank at Petaluma Spectator Blog.

Lumix cameraWhen I began shopping for a REAL camera, I reached out to Frank by e-mail asking what camera he used for the WPCs. Not only did he share the information on his favorite camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ300, which I purchased), he sent several messages with the links to good photography practices. And he even sent me a hard copy photography book!

Without Frank’s help and inspiration, this amazing world of photography I find myself in would not be the same. My photography has certainly leveled up all because I developed a relationship with a fellow blogger on the subject.

 

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. Elliott Erwitt

Although I hate to see the WPC go, I thank the WordPress team at the Daily Post  for the support and prompts to help new and veteran bloggers stretch our wings and soar!

Stuck for ideas? Why not join these photo challenges hosted by your fellow bloggers?

Cees Photo Challenges 
Thursday Doors 
Tourmaline Jennifer Nichole Wells 
Sunday Stills (hosted by me)
Visit this WordPress Daily Post Community Event page for more blogging events!

Terri_sig_hib1

Sunday Stills: #Aroma

Mouthwatering Aroma of canapes

Mouthwatering Aroma of canapes

While the U.S. celebrates Memorial Day this weekend (holiday observed Monday), my co-host Aixa at Mucho Spanish chose the theme “aroma” for the Sunday Stills photo challenge.

Memorial Day weekend is the traditional “unofficial” kick-off to the summer season here in the Northern Hemisphere. I, myself, am at the Sacramento Delta for a long weekend as this publishes. Part of the tradition includes backyard BBQ filling the air with mouthwatering aromas of chicken, salmon, tri-tip (my hubby’s specialty) and other grilled treats!

The above image shows an array of canapes perfect to whet your appetite!

Deepest gratitude to those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.

Last week as I rode my bike around the neighborhood, I noticed many folks preparing their RVs for a long weekend excursion.

Here in Northern California we are within two hours of either the Sierra Nevadas (Lake Tahoe, Gold Country, and Yosemite just 4 hours south east) and the San Francisco Bay area and the ocean. In between are countless campgrounds, lakes, rivers and other wonderful leisure places.

Each with their own, distinct aromas.

In one of the classes I teach, we study a concept called “smellscape,” sort of an exploration of the senses. Students are asked to think about their favorite leisure places and identify the scents, smells, odors and aromas associated with them.

For me, my favorite scent is the blast of pine that fills the cool mountain air as you enter the forest. As kids on our long drive into Yosemite from the Mohave Desert along the Eastern Sierra Nevada, we rolled down the car windows and drank in the scent, as soon as we reached 7000 feet elevation and saw the trees.

Morning glow on I-5

Similarly, there is such a distinctive smell associated with the ocean as soon as you pull into the parking lot at the southern California beaches.

The salt air, sun-warmed asphalt and sidewalks, BBQs, sand and ocean air create a cacophony of smells that announces “you are now at the beach.”

the beach is calling

So, take a moment, close your eyes and think of scents that bring you joy and remind you of your favorite leisure activities.

What are your favorite aromas? Please share photos that represent them!


May is National Water Safety MonthBeing that this post publishes during Memorial Day Weekend, I am compelled to share one more Water Safety post. 20+ years working in the public swimming pool and aquatics industry will do that to a person!

ABCDs of Being Water Safe

 


Too busy to post because of the holiday? You are never too late to post and link-up. Join us anytime!

Terri_sig_palm2

 

Twisted Twitter

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

Curved and straight lines appear in nature and in items made by humans. In the WordPress weekly photo challenge, those curved or Twisted lines are the theme for this week.

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

In Hawaii last January, we encountered so many colorful birds! These two Saffron Finches were happily enjoying the sunshine. The one on the right really contorted to get those feathers preened just so!

Other twists are going on in the photo, too. Can you see them?

Drop by my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page any time to add your photos and links to the fun! The June calendar is up, so start planning today!

Enjoy the start to your Memorial Day holiday weekend to those who celebrate.

Terri_sig_palm2

 

Sunday Stills: #Recreational

recreational fishing on Hilo Bay

recreational fishing on Hilo Bay

This theme is right up this blog’s alley…that’s right, when you’re the host of a photo challenge, you get to pick them! I know you will love it though, since recreation and leisure are essential in our lives.

I bet you find yourself participating in something recreational or leisurely every day. Why not share what you do for recreation for the Sunday Stills photo challenge?

In the above photo, I watched as these two fishermen enjoyed their experience on Hilo Bay juxta-positioned against the backdrop of the apartments. It was a Friday, a school holiday, and these fishermen shared the beach with several young surfers.

And I’ll bet you didn’t know that today is also “National Take Your Parents to the Playground Day.” Playgrounds appear in parks and in swimming pools.

Pool Playground

I would be remiss (as a former aquatics director) if I didn’t include my annual plug for May is National Water Safety Month.

May is National Water Safety Month

For more information on keeping yourself and your family safe in and around the water, visit these links:

Together We Play

National Water Safety Month

and a previous post: Is a Life Jacket in Your Beach Bag

Speaking of Liquid, this is also submitted for the Weekly Photo Challenge! I love it when this happens!

Don’t forget to link up your fabulous recreational-themed photos this week! You have all week to link up and I will share your posts!

 

The Nature of #Liquid

Fish appear to be floating in air

The weekly photo challenge offers a seemingly common theme Liquid. What we as photographers do with it remains to be seen.

My favorite leisure spaces are all about water, but today I wanted to give you a new way of looking at this most important element of life.

While on a blogging break I posted this photo on Instagram of a tiny droplet of water hanging from a rosebush.

House in a droplet

What do you see inside the droplet?

In this next image, taken from an open window in the Ponds Hilo restaurant (famous for their koi ponds), I saw the koi swimming just below us. I’m sure they were waiting for random food crumbs to fall, as they slowly circled around.

Fish appear to be floating in air

Illuminated from above and below, they appear to be floating in an ethereal liquid rather than ordinary pond water. Hard to tell where the air ends and the water begins.

Tiki signature

 

Sunday Stills: Embrace

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.

This week’s Sunday Stills theme falls on Mother’s Day celebrated in the U.S. The theme is embrace (thanks to Hugh for the great theme idea)! 

To get you started, is my interpretation of embrace.

Brodie's home and missed his orange pillow.
Brodie’s home and missed his orange pillow.

A photo of me and my dog Brodie last summer when we brought him home after two days in the Emergency Vet Hospital. Out of the blue he got extremely sick and was tested and diagnosed with a mild case of canine parvovirus, potentially deadly in young puppies and senior dogs.

I thought I would not see him alive after the veterinary staff took him away into isolation. His case was mild because he’d had a full round of vaccinations but still got sick.

When he came home that day, I clasped and cuddled him close to me. I love both my sweet pooches! Almost a year later and I cannot hug him enough!

Of course, you can interpret the theme any way you choose, and it does not have to have the sub-theme of mom. Here are some ideas to get you thinking from Dictionary dot com:

Embrace: to put one’s arms around and press tightly

  • Synonyms of embrace: bear-hug, clasp, crush, enfold, grasp, hug,
    Words related to embrace: clamp, cling, cradle, grab, grip, hold, entwine, fold, lock, cuddle, fondle, nestle, nuzzle, pat, pet, snuggle, stroke

Embrace: to surround or cover closely.

  • “The stone walls that embrace the monastery serve to symbolize its function as a retreat from an unquiet world.” Encircle, envelop, wrap

As a verb, embrace can mean accept or support (a belief, theory, or change) willingly and enthusiastically: “besides traditional methods, artists are embracing new technology.”

  • synonyms: welcome, welcome with open arms, accept, take up, take to one’s heart.

In this photo, my sister-in-law embraces her soon-to-be adopted daughter as we open Christmas presents.

A young mother's embrace

We have embraced little EM and her sister into our family as our newest nieces!

My own mother is 500 miles away. I hope my family nearby can hug her for me.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Who or what will you embrace this week?

Don’t forget to link-up!

My Place in the World as a (Leisure) Educator

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

University students blow bubbles to prove that spontaneity in leisure is rewarding.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. Nelson Mandela

I spent 35 years in the world of public parks and recreation providing clients with quality leisure experiences. The last 13 years before I retired in 2014 was spent as the aquatics director overseeing 15 public swimming pools and several sports facilities.

Back then, my Place in the World consisted of training lifeguards and staff in how to save lives, teaching kids and adults to swim and providing a cool, refreshing respite from the hot summer days found here in Central Northern California. It was also chatting with families, youth and adults about programs and activities in which they could be involved.

What is the role of a leisure educator? Simply to encourage and provide individuals with quality leisure experiences and activities to improve their skills and knowledge.

One teacher can change the world

Although I enjoyed my career in public recreation service, I knew I could contribute more to the goals of wise use of leisure time. And a little extra money wouldn’t hurt.

Following the lead of some of my colleagues, who were teaching part-time as lecturers in the parks and recreation departments at various universities, I got a master’s degree at the age of 50 and began my second career teaching students the values of leisure and sharing my 30 years of knowledge in management, communication, marketing and human resources.

What started out in 2011 as teaching one three-unit night class per semester, grew into teaching 15 units a year once I retired a few years later.

My place in the world grew to include teaching and mentoring hundreds of university students.

In the featured image at the top of the post, is my leisure education class experiencing spontaneous play by blowing bubbles on the Guy West Bridge on the Sacramento State University campus. Selfies and smiles, what’s not to love?

This past spring saw me temporarily putting aside the blog to focus my energy on creating relevant curriculum for a class new to me.

As this week marked my last class, I shared with my students that it has been an honor to be their instructor and that I am proud of what they accomplished with their assignments and quizzes. I say this on my last day of classes every semester and I am still amazed at their applause.

My reward is to see them graduate and to hear about them in the future as a recreation and leisure professional.

The last night of class, I was surprised to see a dozen students lingering around chatting among themselves. Many came up to me to thank me as well as inquire about other classes I’ll be teaching.

As we said our good-lucks and goodbyes, I recall several messages from students over the week:

“This is the only class this semester that is supporting my growth as a student!”

“Thank you for a great semester! I really think that our program will benefit from your instruction of this class from now on. You have brought a lot of valuable and relevant information to the course which will set students up for success in their future careers.”

“Thank you, professor Terri, it has been an honor learning from your courses.”

I am humbled.

Truly this is my place in the world.

I hope we can all express gratitude to those who teach our children and grandchildren, or those who teach in adult education. I worked with many dedicated and tireless volunteers who taught for free just to give back skills in photography, art, music and sports.

For those new to my blog, you may be interested in reading an older post Reconnecting with my High School Teacher.


A great teacher inspires!


Do you like these quotes? I was nominated by A Momma’s View, a long-time blogger friend, for the 3-Days, 3-Quotes Challenge. I’m cheating a bit because I have three quotes in this one post, and I won’t be able to post consecutively. Here are the rules if you would like to play along–the rules are simple:

  • Thank you to the person who nominates you
  • Post one quote per day for 3 consecutive days
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

I’m nominating anyone interested in this challenge!


It is not too late to thank a teacher today!

 

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