Ahhh…Spring!

Ahhh…Spring! The world is waking from its winter slumber. The trees and plants are budding and blooming,

the bees are busy gathering nectar and pollinating the flowers,

the butterflies are emerging,

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the birds are migrating and beginning their nests,

and the lizards are emerging from…from…well, from wherever it is they hide away during the winter.

Everything is new and alive and awake…including me. Well, maybe not new, but definitely alive and awake. My mind is awake with thoughts. My lungs are filled with spring air. The very essence of my being can feel the world around me waking up and coming to life.

So here I sit at one in the morning writing while everyone else is sleeping and dreaming sweet spring dreams. I feel the need to create, and this seems to be the least intrusive outlet of my creative urges, as it will allow my loved ones to continue to slumber.

Yet soon, in the daylight hours, I will be out photographing the waking world and sharing its joys and wonders with you, my faithful readers. But until then, I will leave you with a beautiful sunrise

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and a peaceful sunset

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to enjoy until the ‘morrow.

Christmas Memories (Part 1: Decorating and the Parade)

Christmas is over and a new year has begun, so we are left with but memories of the special things that happen at this most wonderful time of the year. Old traditions mix with new memories to say goodbye to one year and issue in the next.

So, with that being said, I will trot down memory lane and tell you about my Christmas. This year was a little different than most. My daughter turned 16 this year near Christmas, so a Sweet 16 Birthday Trip was scheduled during this holiday season. Because of this, we skipped many of the family gatherings in favor of a trip to Disney World. Yes folks, we skipped Christmas…but not entirely. Some traditions must be kept, and some traditions were sadly missed, but Christmas was still fun and exciting and especially special this year.

Now the tradition that always brings in the holiday season is of course the decorating. Every year on Thanksgiving Night we begin decorating the house for Christmas. When the guests are gone and our bellies are stuffed with turkey and all the fixings, we put on the Christmas music and bring the decorations down from the attic.

And of course, no Christmas tree is complete without a cat sleeping under its branches.

Every year we each get a new ornament, so each one we place on the tree has a special Christmas memory attached.

This year the nativity went up on the mantel.

And after all was said and done, we had a beautifully decorated tree…if I do say so myself.

Even the sock monkeys helped to decorate this year.

Then the day after Thanksgiving, we finished up the decorating with the outside lights.

The next big Christmas tradition is the local annual Christmas Parade. Each year my husband’s workplace has a float in the parade, so usually, we are all in the parade in some fashion. This year, only my daughter followed the float while I took pictures and my husband prepared for the after-parade kids’ party.

There were so many beautiful floats this year, and everyone seemed to be having such a great time. Like with every year though, I think half of our town was in the parade leaving the viewing audience a bit thin. But it’s all fun!

And that is the end of Part 1. Be sure to keep your eyes open for Part 2: Twilights at Chimney Park.

At Victor’s Pond

One of my favorite places to visit as a child was Victor’s Pond. Now, it really isn’t named that. In fact, it doesn’t even have a name. It is a pond on my daddy’s uncle’s property. His 40 acres was right next door to our 17, so the walk over was a short quarter-mile hike down the dirt road. We didn’t get to go very often when we were young, because we could only go if Daddy went with us and if there weren’t any activities going on at the pond that day. Therefore, the infrequency of the hikes made them all the more special.

One of my fondest memories is walking over there with my Daddy, and nearly every time we went, I would find a little plastic army man, cowboy, or indian. When I was very young, I often wondered if a fairy or friendly ghost was leaving them for me. As I got older, I wondered if these little toys belonged to Victor’s son and if he had lost them while playing. Daddy always let me keep them, and as an adult, I wondered if perhaps he had hidden them in his pocket and dropped them for me to find. I never asked him about it, so it will always remain a mystery.

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Apart from that little adventure, nothing brought more joy than seeing the roof of that little red cabin appear over the hill. Then I knew that beautiful pond was almost in sight. That little red cabin is still a beautiful and welcome sight.

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As I came up on it on this particular day, I took a few photos to remind me of that childhood joy. But I get ahead of myself…

Before you reach the cabin, there is a small holding pond (or overflow pond…I’m not sure which). When I was little, we were always followed over by a passel of dogs. I remember when Black Boy and Butterball, our Rottweiler mixes, were still alive, the first thing they would do was dive into the water. They would swim and swim. Sometimes all you would see was their noses above the water. I often wished I could jump out and swim with them, especially on those hot summer days, but I didn’t know how to swim back then. On this trip, I took a few photos of that still, quiet water. Only memories remain of my long-ago canine friends.

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After passing that holding pond, the little red cabin comes into plain view. When I was young, the little yard leading down to the pond was always well manicured and fresh annuals were always planted and in bloom. Whenever Victor and his wife, Charlotte, were there, she would always be weeding and pruning her prize blooms. It was always fun to sit and talk with them a bit. Now there are no blooms. Victor has passed on, and Charlotte doesn’t get out there much anymore. You can still see where the blooms would be planted amidst the planters and garden trinkets.

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On this particular afternoon, the pond was alive as usual with various little insects. There were dozens of dragonflies flitting about, and I watched them dart here and there a bit. I managed a few photos of these amazing creatures in flight, and they never cease to mesmerize me as they balance atop water grasses and the twigs of logs near the shore.

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Aside from the dragon flies, I also discovered a few spiders and water bugs.

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I ventured around the pond and admired the beautiful water and shoreline. There are a few more trees fallen over into the pond these days.

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When I was young, the pond was fairly clear of logs and such, and Victor had a little green row boat by the cabin that Daddy would take us out in on rare occasion. The boat isn’t there anymore, and the fallen trees dot the shoreline. I waited patiently hoping to see a turtle crawl up on one of the logs. But alas, the one I did see decided it was best to stay in the water.

Later in the day, towards evening, my husband and I decided to take my niece and our dog, Dixie, out to see the pond. They both had a blast, running and playing and making memories of their own.

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My niece and husband decided to do a little photography of their own while Dixie ran about.

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Dixie never braved jumping into the water, though she seemed to want to. My niece ran around everywhere, and she discovered a few bones on the opposite shore. One set, I’m sure, belonged to one of the water birds that frequent the area…perhaps an egret or a great blue heron. We would often hear those birds call out in the early mornings and late evenings as they settled near the water.

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She also found a little mammal skull which, much to her delight and her mother’s chagrin, she decided to take home with her (Aunt Athenia lets her do these things).

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This little trip on this mid-summer day was full of memories of the past and the still-present beauty of today. And I can honestly say, Victor’s Pond is still one of my favorite places to visit.

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Independence Day 2015

This past Saturday our little city joined with the rest of the country in celebrating our nation’s 239th birthday. The city square was decorated in red, white and blue, and the streets were closed to automobile traffic so citizens could play and celebrate in safety. Like every outdoor event, however, the weather could not be planned. Mother Nature threatened to ruin our festivities with torrents of rain. Around lunchtime, she finally relented and our day of celebration began. Before long, the historic downtown square was filled with residents, young and old…

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…and even a few furry ones. And our furry residents can attest to the fact that the dog days of summer have truly begun. They trotted around the park, tongues hanging out and panting, eagerly awaiting affection from everyone they met.

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Except for maybe this little lady. She was a bit frightened of all the strangers, but her daddy held her close and introduced her to a few of the girls.

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The celebration officially began with a golf cart parade. Some of our residents entered their patriotic carts in the parade and circled the downtown square showing off their creations, waving at the crowds, and throwing candy out for the kids.

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After the parade, the day was filled with all sorts of festivities. There was…
…dancing

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…a couple of princesses wandering about

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…ice cream

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…snow cones

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…a spider jump

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…a water slide

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…a petting zoo

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…balloons

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…and much, much more!
Fun was to be had by all. Everywhere you went you were surrounded by happy smiling faces

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And there was never a reason to fear with our faithful police officers and explorers out there keeping us safe….

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…and maybe taking a break to color a bit too. 🙂

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To beat the heat many of the townsfolk took a little run through the water. Our local firehouse was kind enough to put a regulator on the corner hydrant and let us play in the water every hour on the hour for a few minutes.

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The utility department brought out the big bucket truck and let people take rides to get a sky view of the town square. I took a little trip up and got a few bird’s eye shots of the festivities.

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I also took a few sky view shots of some city landmarks as well.

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And I was accompanied by this fine gentlemen who drove the bucket and made sure I didn’t fall out. I hope I didn’t scare him too much leaning over the side to get my photos.

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There were so many wonderful people out celebrating, and I just love getting candid shots of all the beautiful people.

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Uncle Sam was even there to say hello.

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And of course, we ended our wonderful birthday celebration with a fireworks extravaganza!

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I am so glad I have the privilege of calling this wonderful little city home.

Graduating in Style!

Steampunk style that is! This proud homeschool Mama just awarded her firstborn with a high school diploma. Of course, since we homeschool, there was no formal graduation with a cap and gown. My son didn’t want all of that hoopla. In fact, he didn’t even want a party, but since my niece was also graduating from high school, and her little sister was graduating from Kindergarten, it was decided that a party must be thrown. So throw one we did. My sister and I went shopping and managed to come up with a pretty good little party for our graduates, if I do say so myself. Pretty good for last minute anyway.

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Of course, being a photographer, I couldn’t let them have just any old regular party. We needed something with a little pizzazz that was photo worthy. So with a few things we already had and a few new things, we did this party up steampunk style!

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Now my son loves to frequent a local bar with his friends on karaoke night, so we headed over to Celtic Tavern to make arrangements for our little party. The people there are amazing, and they all know my Jonathan, so we had no trouble procuring a table reservation for the evening and setting up our little party. It was even live music night, so we were able to enjoy some guitar pickin’ and singin’ as well. (Live music night is Friday by the way, and karaoke is Saturday…just in case you’re ever in Old Towne Conyers, GA. Just tell the folks at Celtic Tavern that Jonathan’s mom sent ya. They’ll take care of ya.)

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(This is Jonathan with Kristen, the beautiful bartender.)

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(And this gentleman is Greg, the co-owner of this fine establishment.)

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After the grads arrived, I stole them away from the party for a photo session. Old Towne Conyers ended up being a great place for a few Steampunk cosplay shots.

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The kids were a little concerned that I was going to get them arrested for climbing up on the side of that building, but no one said anything…except for that guy that hollered something at us when we were on the railroad tracks, and there was that guy on the motorcycle who told my niece she dropped a feather (she was wearing a feather boa). All was well, and we didn’t get into any trouble.

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Old Towne Conyers made for a good place to find a few out-of-the-ordinary graduate gifts for our out-of-the-ordinary young adults as well. They film The Originals here, so the town has its share of New Orleans-style curio shops with a witchy, vampire flair. We found our treasures at The Black Cat Curio. The young lady running the shop was super sweet and had lots of stories to tell. And her fellow shopkeepers, Peanut the cat and…well, the other cat whose name I can’t remember…helped us find the perfect gifts for our graduates. The gifts we found had nothing to do with graduation, and they may have seemed a bit odd to most. Our graduates, however, thought they were perfect.

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And the rest of the family…well, they were just miffed that we went to the shop without them. My other sister headed out the door with the kiddos after we ate to see if the shop was open. It was closed, unfortunately, so they headed over to Creamberry’s for some yummy ice cream. Our beloved tavern doesn’t have much of a dessert selection, but I’m not too sure how they felt about those crazy people I call family bringing the ice cream in there to eat, and I know how I felt about the fact that they didn’t bother bringing me any! And it was cotton candy flavored! They did let me have a taste, so it was all good.

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Ah, but a great time was had by all, and we managed to leave early enough for the regulars to have their bar back for the evening.  I’m sure they were quite relieved when our crazy crowd left.

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And there was this one thing with wearing the mini-hat like a unicorn horn that I never quite understood.

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There are so many great people and places in this area we call home, and I am glad my son got to grow up and graduate here. Now he has the task of choosing what the next chapter of his life will be, and his sister…well, she had so much fun she started making plans for her graduation party which won’t happen for three more years yet.

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And before I sign off, I’d like to say:

Congratulations Class of 2015! May the road before you be filled with love and adventure!