My return to blogging was fun and satisfying after a tumultuous break! Thank you for welcoming me back last week. It was great to catch up with you!
If you are confused by this week’s Sunday Stills post, we are examining the world of water droplets. In my dry, still excessively warm part of the world, if I want water, I must turn on the garden hose. Artificially produced water droplets will work!
After the few weeks of turmoil I recently experienced, I find calm and peace in my backyard garden any time of year.
During our recent visit to Spokane, a few raindrops made their presence known by the end of the week.
After a long, dry spell, my current library of water droplets is depleted, so please enjoy a few of my favorites from the past:
My plumeria blossomed last year but no blooms this year. I’m pretty sure I blew up social media and my blog with images of plumeria last summer. Here are a couple donning their droplets from daily backyard watering.
More flowers from my backyard include the Teddy Bear sunflower and the geranium in my deck garden.
Hint: I’m sure it’s no secret, but if you need an image with water droplets pronto, use a mister or spray bottle and create your own droplets.
If close-ups of water droplets aren’t your style, I included a couple of shots of suspended water drops:
Catching a wall of water drops in Baja Mexico.
I have to share this one again of Brodie romping through the river, stirring up loads of droplets.
No doubt, Spring has sprung in the Southern Hemisphere along with lots of opportunities to see water droplets in action. The calendar says that Autumn is here in the Northern Hemisphere, but we won’t see scenes like this in California until November!
As you know I also love taking part in other photo challenges and I love it when the planets align. I have been wanting to join Lisa’s Bird Weekly Challenge since I recently discovered it. Back in August, my lens captured this cute duck family (common merganser) out for a swim on Grant Lake in the June Lake loop in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas.
Yes, it’s a bit of a stretch but my Canon Sureshot managed to capture water droplets on the feathers of the adult duck, seen best in the pic below. (Best I could do, Lisa, I think their legs are short enough)!
I’m hoping to live vicariously through your wonderful images of water droplets on flowers, plants, animals, whatever! Walls of water droplets cascading down from waves and fountains and other watery images also fit this week’s theme.
Today is Mother’s Day in the US. In our current state of the world, many mothers will not see their families in person today.
This is the first Mother’s Day I am without my own mother. Many of you know she passed away on March 3rd, thankfully before the coronavirus prevented folks from spending time with their loved ones in the hospitals and care homes.
I dedicate today’s post and theme to all the mothers who give love, time, and their hearts to their families and communities.
My mom was a giver. She loved to shower family and friends with thoughtfully chosen and unusual gifts, especially to her grandchildren. She enjoyed perusing gift shops for just that right gift. This photo shows this tiny frog that hangs on the side of a potted plant. She gave me these years ago, both the frog and a tortoise. The plants are in my kitchen windowsill where I can see these all day and remember her thoughtfulness.
Many commented on our Facebook post announcing her passing how much they enjoyed the gifts she had given them over the years.
Mom gave back to her community in many ways, most notably, her volunteer work with San Diego’s Project Wildlife. She spent 10 years from 1998, rescuing orphaned and injured ducks, nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into local lakes and reservoirs. She had a backyard full of ducks in various stages of need and health, some domestic and many wild.
I like to think that this photo of her as a teen (seen here playing with her pet skunk, while her brother plays with their pet, Lucky Duck), foreshadowed her interest in this happy endeavor.
Mom’s giving was represented in her love for recreation and leisure. She loved gardening and cultivated beautiful roses. She taught me how to create potted flower vignettes in my garden and showed me how to cut back my roses for better growth. She would have loved my current backyard garden filled with sunflowers and plumeria.
I believe her enduring legacy was that she instilled the love for our national parks and outdoor leisure spaces into not just her children, but her grandchildren and beyond.
She was continually inspired by the words of John Muir and made sure we all received a healthy dose of nature and its awe-inspiring grandeur.
Like many moms, I will not be with my daughters this year. This lovely bouquet from my daughters arrived Wednesday night!
Speaking of giving, last week was the traditional week of giving with Thursday designated as the Big Day of giving. Non-profit organizations really rely on monetary and in-kind donations to operate. I have my car full of bags ready to donate to local non-profits as soon as they re-open.
Sunday Stills is taking a break on May 17th but join us again on May 24th for our water-themed challenge.
Are you a mother, a daughter, a niece, an auntie, a grandmother or granddaughter? Please enjoy your Mother’s Day and reflect on those memories while making new ones!
In a normal universe, we would likely be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day (April 22) outside, perhaps at a large event venue. Even before this popular annual event, volunteers typically gather in various locations during April to clean up litter in the parks, rivers, creeks, and beaches.
Staying on TOP of garbage and debris pick-up by participating in community clean-up days helps keep our natural areas and leisure spaces fresh and inviting.
Speaking of the universe, two weeks ago, we had a pink super moon event, one I happily captured with my Lumix FZ 300! Without the moon’s gravitational influence on tides and weather, life on Mother Earth might look quite different.
In My Universe
My plan for Earth Day this year is to simply stay home and play in my backyard garden. By staying on top of planting…
My sunflower seedlings were ready to be planted.
Within a few short months, they’ll go from this…
…to this, a half-open sunflower from 2018…
…And, finally, to this! All grown up (from 2019)!
The rest of my deck garden is close to bursting with flowers!
To help spread the love of sunflowers, I sent a package of various seeds from last year’s sunflower crop to my daughter, so she can plant her own!
This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge is all about showcasing your favorite sports and/or hobbies. Your images of sports might show others participating or yourself engaged in one. The same is true for your hobbies. Please share any image depicting doing what you love and engaging in leisure!
I will start you off with some of my examples.
Hobby 1: Gardening
Most of my summer was confined to my backyard due to foot surgery and lack of mobility afterward. Many of my photos featured my new-ish hobby of gardening, with great success in growing (yes, and bragging about) my two favorite flowers: plumeria and sunflowers.
I was so excited to grow the Tall Sungold or Teddy Bear from seeds this season, shown in the above image.
My sunflowers are just about done, but even as they go to seed there is still beauty and hope for the next season!
My hearty little plumeria plant is still blooming and I hope by next season that the other three plants will reveal their blooms.
Hobby 2: Photography
I take at least 200 photos a week and perhaps like you, I share a few on my blog and on Instagram and Facebook.
Since I am not yet interested in trying to sell my photos, freely sharing through these creative outlets simply makes me happy. I have enjoyed much positive feedback and encouragement about my photography (and I am sure you have, too)!
One day, I may print images on canvases and sell them in local craft fairs. But for now, these are a fun and creative outlets to help me enjoy my hobby.
I enjoy seeing the astounding photographic talents on Instagram and on WordPress from the fellow bloggers who link with Sunday Stills Photo Challenge each week.
Hobby 3: Writing
I have mostly finished the first draft of my next book, No Excuses Fitness. My daughter, an aerospace engineer and CrossFit enthusiast, is reading it with a critical eye and has already made some excellent suggestions and edits!
I would have never thought about self-publishing if it not been for my blog. I have met many self-published authors through blogging and am now a fan of their published works.
Hobby 4: Caring for my Dogs
I don’t know if caring for my fur-babies counts as a hobby since I consider Aero and Brodie part of the family, but they do provide us with endless shenanigans and smiles!
At the Sacramento River Delta a few weekends ago, I enjoyed photographing Aero chasing a ball on the beach, while making sure Brodie chased sticks in the river. They know the word “delta” and stop in their tracks when I utter the word.
Sport 1 & 2: SUP and Windsurfing
When I met my husband 10 years ago, I had no idea my life would have ever been this exciting! His passion for windsurfing has opened unexpected doors to leisure pastimes I had never considered. He remembered I was athletic in high school, so it was natural for me to jump into windsurfing and stand-up paddling.
I have not windsurfed at all this summer and I’m told there were many non-windy days. I prefer SUPing anyway!
The next evolution of board sports is foiling, giving board sports enthusiasts another way to enjoy these sports. Riding on this foil lifts the board out of the water and creates a smooth ride even on a light-wind day.
Here, you can get an idea of the special board and the size of the foil.
Brodie keeps a watchful eye as his “dad” prepares to launch!
Hobby 5: Weekend Camping and Beyond
We have had our travel trailer since spring 2018 and have made excellent use of it, by camping two summers in the delta at our windsurf club’s campground. Alas, the season ends this month and we move our trailer back to storage. However, we hope to camp with the trailer a couple of weekends this fall, perhaps driving north to Lake Siskiyou or to Lake Tahoe before it gets too cold.
We are repeating our winter road trip in late December into January as we head south to San Diego and into Arizona and Nevada. If you are new to my blog, you can read more about our travel travails from earlier this year!
As I continue to write my book No Excuses Fitness, I have included my experience with exercise and recovery from injury and surgery in this post.
Two years ago, while out walking my dogs, I fell and fractured my right hand. I was lucky only to have to wear a wrist brace so I could still use my fingers, but the pain and awkwardness of the brace hindered most of my activities and personal care.
Consistently engaging in leisure-time physical activity makes up part of my identity. The idea of not being able to walk, swim, go to the gym or ride my bike sets up high levels of anxiety within me. Not only do I want to maintain my fitness level, but I also want to keep weight off.
I admit I am a little addicted to exercise and its effects on weight loss, among other benefits. So of course, I went to the gym three days after I broke my hand. I figured I could still walk on the treadmill or use the elliptical since my legs were fine. I did not want to lose the progress I had made in my fitness journey.
After only 15 minutes on the elliptical, and not engaging my right hand, I was pouring sweat and feeling strange. I later shared this news with my daughter, an avid, 30-something Cross-Fitter, who admonished me for not resting. Our bodies use a LOT of energy to heal even a minor fracture. Feeling much better after a week, I went back to the gym and engaged in my usual workouts but in shorter durations. I was also able to carefully walk the dogs again, using my left hand to hold the leashes.
Two years later, my mindset toward physical activity hasn’t changed much. When I elected to have bunion surgery on my left foot in early June, I thought I went in with my eyes wide open. Having never experienced firsthand the mobility issues of using crutches or a knee scooter, I assumed I could gracefully and patiently handle the whole process of recovering from surgery.
It has been quite a journey. “Gracefully and patiently” are distant ideals.
As each day went by, I gradually got more energy. Most physical activities had to be done in the morning, as my foot would typically swell in mid-afternoon. This is the time when I would elevate my feet on my La-Z-Boy!
Here is a look at a week in my life post-surgery. Please note that light activity was approved by my doctor during my third week when the real cast was placed.
Walking the Dogs
With assistance, I found I could get my knee scooter outside, while someone wrangled the dogs. My small dog, Aero, walks well and I could attach his leash to the scooter handlebars, while someone walked alongside with Brodie. I went from walking 15 minutes to over 45 minutes, 2-3 days a week!
I keep my phone with me in case of photo ops!
I bought a used stationary bike I keep on the backyard deck, and 2-3 times a week I cycle for 15-20 minutes. The casted foot occasionally slips a little while pedaling, but most of the work is done with my right foot.
Calisthenics, Strength Training, and Stretching
I keep a resistance band in my scooter basket. When the mood strikes, I do some simple resistance exercises for about 10 minutes. I also lie on the floor and gently work my abs and legs. Due to the cast and inactivity, my left thigh is now an inch smaller around than my right thigh! With my ankle immobilized within the cast, I know I have some work to do once it’s off.
Short Errands to the Store
Once the fourth week arrived, I was able to drive to nearby stores to run errands. Hubby showed me how to place the scooter in the back of my SUV, which takes some maneuvering. It’s lightweight, so it is easy to lift in and out of the car. Just doing this much and rolling around the grocery store takes energy and time. I discovered last week I can pull a cart with one hand while riding the scooter, but I save the big trips for hubby.
To get into my backyard, I need to use the crutches. Our deck has three steps into the backyard, so the scooter does not work. My plumerias and sunflowers need water daily while the rest of the plants and flowers need water every other day in our Northern California 90+ degree heat. Some gardening projects will have to wait until I am back on both feet.
My two proudest achievements this summer! My first pink plumeria bloomed yesterday, a huge surprise since it can take up to three years for cuttings to bloom.
Last year I planted sunflowers to photograph and enjoy. Once I saw this type, a Tall Sungold, aka Teddy Bear, I just had to have one. A blogger friend sent me some of his seeds from his harvest!
I take photos of the sunflowers and plumeria almost every day. Have you ever tried to hold a cell phone with two fingers while using crutches? I knew I should have bought one of those Velcro pouches made for crutches while I was at the medical supply store in San Diego!
Getting Back to Normal
Looking forward to when the cast comes off in a few days, I may end up wearing a walking boot for a while longer, which is OK since I can remove it. From this point, I plan to swim and do some aqua aerobics and water walking at the gym swimming pool, along with using the elliptical again. I’m also looking forward to my Friday or Saturday morning yoga classes too!
The key is to resume physical activity gradually. Complete recovery from bunion surgery can take up to one year, due to mild residual pain and swelling!
I’m excited about getting back to the delta for our summer weekends where I can kayak and ease into stand-up paddling’ but I think I will put off windsurfing until next season!
I know that my recovery will be slow, but I have an entire month before I’m back in the classroom.
Was it worth it? I’ll let you know in a few weeks! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the scooter ride with me today.