Sunday Stills: Wishing for Water, But #Droplets Will Do

Sunday Stills Water Droplets Banner

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!

End of summer daisy

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.

Evergreen with water drops

After a long, dry spell, my current library of water droplets is depleted, so please enjoy a few of my favorites from the past:

House in a droplet

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.

Weightless water


I have to share this one again of Brodie romping through the river, stirring up loads of droplets.

Brodie's First Water Experience

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!

Layers of drops on layers of leaves

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)!

Today’s images are partly inspired by two other fab photographers: Cee’s Flower of the Day and Jez’ Water, Water Everywhere.

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.

October themes are ready to view on my Sunday Stills page.

Original image Color Planet

I look forward to you sharing your images of refreshing water droplets in whatever form they might take. Have a great week!

SUPSIG

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Sunday Stills: The Power of Fantastic #Florals

American Beauty Rose, "The Earth laughs in flowers." Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This week, for Sunday Stills, let’s blow up WordPress and the rest of the Internet with gorgeous flowers! We all need some hope and beauty in our lives. Linking to Sunday Stills this week will be like we are sending each other wonderful bouquets.

From Hawaii Botanical Gardens in Hilo, 2019

Purple hibiscus flower
“Blue Bayou” Hibiscus hybrid

Calming Florals

If you haven’t read Cindy Knoke’s incredible photo-blog, please view her post, Pandemic Anxiety Busters, where she not only shares her stunning florals, but also her expertise as a psychotherapist.

Last spring’s hydrangea.

Blue and purple hydrangeas

Did you know that merely looking at photos of nature will calm your stress levels?

“Flowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank

Flower Power

Plumeria blossom
Plumeria Close-Up
Black and White Sunflower Bud

Be as creative as possible: show us a field of flowers, or an extreme close-up of your favorite flower. Try a new angle to create a fantasy look to your flower.

These tree blossoms looked like snow after a spring storm!

Tree blossoms scatter on top of walkway

Or use your photo-editing skills to show us a fantasy flower.

Painted Plumeria

This one was created from the Painnt Filter I describe below.

Drops on Top

I am linking some of my square florals of raindrops on top with Becky B’s new April Squares Challenge, Top.

Geranium Drops
Raindrops on top of my geranium.
Drops on tops of rosebud
Droplets on my American Beauty Rose
Drops on Top
My backyard plumerias enjoy Northern California’s rain and heat
Last teddy sunflower of the summer

Digital Floral Art

I love the Painnt-Pro Art Filters (for android and apple) for editing images into something different.

Painnted Hibiscus flower

I also enjoy the digital coloring app Oil Painting by Color Planet. I LOVE photography, but I also like to color! I find this to be very relaxing.

Sunflowers Graphic
Fantasy FLorals

I use my photo editing clone feature to make the logo disappear.

You can save your creations from both apps to your devices for a variety of uses: wallpaper for devices, photo-editing, etc. Both apps can be found in the Apple store and Google Play for Android users. They are free if you don’t mind the ads.

Painnted Plumeria
Painnted Sunflower

For Sunday Stills challenge this week, it’s OK to use flowers from your media files, if you can’t get out and find new images. All of these flowers and their fantasy counterparts were grown in my backyard!

And most of these images were taken by my various Samsung Galaxy series mobile phones!

Join the flower power by linking with Cee’s Flower of the Day! She loves flowers, too!

The sky is the limit this week and I can’t wait to see what you have to share.

American Beauty Rose, "The Earth laughs in flowers." Quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sunday Stills: The Essence of #Zen

Perched hummingbird
Zen of SUP

The idea of “Zen” seems to be everywhere I look these days. I have to admit that I googled the definition just to be sure I understood its components.

Zen: a state of calm attentiveness in which one’s actions are guided by intuition rather than by conscious effort.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Zen

The essence of Zen is attempting to understand the meaning of life directly, without being misled by logical thought or language.

What is the joke about the pizza vendor, as the Dalai Lama walks in and asks, “Make me one with everything?”

All kidding aside, I have high respect for those who practice Zen Buddhism, as well as all world religions, and would not make light of this spiritual practice.

I, for one, could adopt a more Zen-like attitude in my life. My mind, because of my temperament, constantly goes to the details, logic and mostly un-Zenlike ideas which keeps my poor brain in constant agitation. But, I experience Zen in moments of reflection when I am out in nature, in a forest or near the water.

The image above was taken last year by my husband from his vantage point on the bike trail bridge looking down on Lake Natoma, about 15 minutes east of Sacramento. I chose this Painnt filter to give it a more ethereal “Zen” feeling to it.

Last weekend I finally got to play in the water at the Sacramento River Delta.

Modified SUP with Kayak paddle

Instead of trying to stand-up paddle, I purposely brought my kayak paddle and simply sat down on my SUP board and, yes, experiences a little Zen (as well as a sunburn!). Thanks to husband’s photography skills (using my camera) in capturing the moment. I further edited the image with the Painnt filter. Because I am a huge fan of any water sports, I am also linking this to Jez Braithwaite’s “Fan Of…” challenge.

Lately, my own backyard has yielded Zen moments that captured by my lens, like this sweet hummingbird perched right above my head.

Perched hummingbird

My hummer is partly inspired by Granny Shot It’s Bird of the Day.

My pink plumeria is still blooming. I could stare at these all day, photograph them, and blow up Instagram with their images.

Plumerias

The plumerias are submitted to Cees Flower of the Day Challenge.

Perhaps that is the zen of gardening—you become one with the plants, lost in the rhythm of the tasks at hand.

Irene Virag

I’ve mentioned before that I like to inspire myself with my own Sunday Stills photo challenges! This challenge is open for any interpretation or perspective and I hope you are challenged to better understand your place in the world.

I am looking forward to seeing your Zen moments captured in photos, music, lyrics, poetry or short stories.

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Sunday Stills: Are You Ready for Your #Close-Up?

Macro Plumeria

Calling all photographers and creatives who really like a challenge this week! Last July 2018, I challenged Sunday Stillers to a macro-photography challenge. I thought it was time to offer another macro or close-up photography challenge this week.

Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.

Dorothea Lange

I felt like going with a movie theme with the headings in the post today. After all, according to Wikipedia, a “film still (sometimes called a publicity still or a production still) is a photograph taken on or off the set of a movie or television program during production.” I guess I got inspired by the words “close-up.”

“All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”

Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, 1950

In case you are confused, today’s Sunday Stills theme is macro or close-up photography.

To understand the difference between the two types, read last year’s post.

Are You Ready for Your Close-Up?

It’s all in the details. Flowers within a sunflower.

sunflower details

A macro view of a white plumeria.

Macro Plumeria

A macro view of droplets on my pink plumeria. So close it almost looks fake! But it is not.

Plumeria water droplets

Close-up of my photo-filtered hydrangea. I don’t think these colors exist naturally in hydrangeas, but it makes a stunning image.

colorful hydrangea

These are both submitted for Snow’s Friendly Friday “Fake.”

My favorite? Macro-photography makes this bee look larger than life. How do you like the pollen on the bee’s head and legs?

Bee on sunflower macro

Flower images are also submitted for Cees Flower of the Day, and for Irene’s Macro Monday.

Believe it or not, I captured these images with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge phone! I have voice-activation set up to shoot, so no fumbling with fingers!

Go Ahead, Make My Day

Last week’s mellow yellow theme sure resonated with a lot of bloggers! Not only did we have 30 links to the theme, but 6 were new to Sunday Stills! We welcomed Quincy Harley, Heart to Heart, Take a Walk, Jez Braithewaite, Lifelessons, and Sandra Matteotti.

Maybe it was the last “hurrah,” that we had this number of links and responses to Sunday Stills, as I know many bloggers are soon taking short breaks to get their holidays and vacations in. No breaks for me but I’m only posting Sunday Stills challenges as I finalize school prep and get back to weekends at the delta before our campground closes for the season.

Casting Call

I got my cast removed on July 26 and have been using the walking boot to get around when needed. Although my ankle and foot swell each day, I can walk carefully without the boot. My ankle is stiff from being in the same position for two months, but my determination and physical therapy is slowly getting things back to normal. Sorry, no close-ups available!

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

I used floral macros and close-ups as examples in my post to help inspire your creativity this week. Remember, the sky’s the limit with your choices of macro images.

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Floral Friday Favorites

Withering sunflower

I’m busy getting my cast off today, so I’m taking this moment to share two of my floral favorites! I suppose it is like sending flowers to myself to celebrate!

This first image is a stylized version of Teddy, who is withering a little each day. I know flowers don’t last long, but Teddy was my first one of this variety. The plant has several buds, so I’m sure more Teddies will bloom soon!

Withering sunflower
Filtered light on a tired Teddy Bear

I haven’t shared a lot on the blog this year about my sunflower obsession, but I have been posting on Instagram almost daily. Here is an IG post of my Tall Sungold, aka Teddy Bear, in all his golden glory!

My other floral obsession is with plumerias. After our last visit to Hawaii in March, I was determined to plant my own and grow these amazing flowers. When a friend on Facebook who lives in my area shared that her potted plumerias are thriving, my quest to plant my own began.

I found a Hilo vendor on Amazon who sent a four-pack of cuttings. I did my research, prepped the proper soil in large pots using the recommended rooting powder. All four were planted in late April.

I continued to fertilize them and water as scheduled. My research suggested that it would likely take up to three years for the plants to bloom.

This week, when I looked out my bedroom window, I saw a pop of pink. Thinking it was one of Brodie’s ubiquitous rubber balls that had bounced into the pot (oh, the horror!), I grabbed the crutches and raced out (as if) to check it out.

Surprise!

My first plumeria
My first plumeria!

Here is the Instagram version. Once I watered them (having a very hot week here), I saw yet another photo op!

Sharing for Becky B’s Blue July Squares and Cee’s Flower of the Day challenges.

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No Excuses Fitness: Exercising with a Cast

using the knee scooter

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!

sunflowers surrounded by blue
Sunflowers are seen on a walk around my neighborhood

Stationary Bike

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.

view from exercise bike
At least the view is nice!

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.

Backyard Gardening

Plumeria sprouting

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.

My first plumeria
First plumeria

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!

Close-up of TeddyBear, aka Tall Sungold

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.

This post is inspired in part by Restless Jo’s Monday Walk, How to Exercise with A Cast and Becky B’s Blue July Squares.

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Sunday Stills: A Spiky #Spring Has Sprung

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, spring officially sprung on March 20…also known as the vernal equinox! While perhaps it does not feel like spring yet where you are, just know that the days are getting longer than the nights by 2 minutes a day.

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

If you have not guessed, “spring” is this week’s theme for Sunday Stills.

I am also linking some images in this post to Becky B’s Spiky March Squares.

I may have a slight advantage since I enjoyed spring on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii this past week. I spent the first day of spring at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden just north of Hilo with none other than Graham, from Graham’s Island! He graciously drove 2 hours from the north side of the island to hang out with me! More about this next week!

For your spring viewing pleasure today, I have several photos taken around the Hilo, Hawaii area this week.

Here is a little preview of one of the orchids I photographed while visiting the botanical gardens. Do you see the little orchid’s perky face as she welcomes spring?

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring
Cat-faced Orchid welcomes Spring

The plumeria is my favorite Hawaiian flower. My last visits to Hawaii were in January and plumeria do not bloom until spring. Last week I looked everywhere for plumeria then accidentally found the naked tree with a few blossoms that had just flowered on the first day of spring. I usually recognize the plant by its dark green, leathery, spiky leaves, so it took a moment to realize what I was looking at. This plumeria bloom was captured with the long lens of my camera at the top of the tree from across the street!

Plumeria welcomes spring
First plumeria getting ready for spring!
pink plumeria
What plumeria should look like!

I need to time my Hawaii visits to when the plant is in full flower!

On one of my walks around the neighborhood on Hilo Bay, I spied an elementary school with the beautiful pink ginger plants that grow wild, as well as the hibiscus plants. Nothing like an education among all that floral beauty.

Wild ginger and hibiscus at local school
Pink, spiky ginger plants grow wild along the school fence.

Closer to home, spring means we get ready to head back to the Sacramento River Delta to our windsurf club’s campground. As I drove along the river last April (2018), I couldn’t get over the calm water and its brown reflection. Reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s chocolate river!

Chocolate River
Chocolate river ready for…?

If you are not yet feeling springy or if you just fell into Fall in your part of the world, you can spring into action, spring into Fall or use some other spring idiom to get your creativity flowing!

Meanwhile I will leave you with two more inspirational quotes:

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
— John Muir

The promise of spring's arrival

I can’t wait to see the virtual “spring in your step” as you share something springy for Sunday Stills!

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Squares in September: Pink #Plumeria

pink plumeria

I am excited to contribute to Becky’s photo challenge Squares in September, In the Pink!

While in San Diego for my 40th high school reunion last week, we stayed at my daughter’s house. All around her neighborhood are yards and gardens lush with plumeria, my other favorite flower!

I love how this cluster peeked at me from its leaves! I was “tickled pink” to discover these, and then take multiple photos!

Plumeria are native to Hawaii, but each time I have visited there was during January, a month they do not bloom! 

My daughter has been busy with her garden and I hope to have convinced her to plant a couple plumeria!

What is your favorite flower?

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