Distracted by a Dandelion

Saturday morning I woke up and decided to go see what autumn colors I could find. I had things to do later that day so I wanted to stay close to home. I grabbed G2 (my camera) and went to a local park. The crisp cool air and golden sunlight of early morning greeted me. Yes, some trees were turning but we’re not quite at ‘peak’ color yet. I walked through the grass, wet with dew, up to the lake to find the colors of autumn reflecting in the clear calm lake I took a few shots .

As I was walking around the lake to get a better perspective, I was pulled in another direction. Across a small stretch of grassy ground, up on a slight hill I saw a dandelion caught in a beam of morning sunlight. I ask you, who, but me, could be distracted by a frigging dandelion? Well, if you’ve read this you’ll remember that occasionally I can be easily distracted. Or this you also know I’m easily entertained. But then again, this was Saturday, I wasn’t working so I have every right to let anything I want distract me and trust me, I often do.

So I walked over for a closer look.

 

And then I sat, on the dewy ground, not caring that my pants were going to get soaked, and I took an even closer look.

Then why not lay down in the wet grass & go in even closer?

There is beauty all around us. Sometimes it’s so small and intricate we pass it by. Sometimes its good for the soul to stop, get a little dirty, and take a close look.

After I looked ever so close, I sat up and looked around. Imagine sitting in the middle of a park on the wet grass, in the morning sun, just soaking it all in. Breathing. Seeing. Feeling… thanking. I really didn’t care too much what passer by’s thought. At that moment I was just living, fully aware of the beauty around.

 Oh and about those autumn colors, I’ll give you some peeks soon.

Just a Big Drip…

This is starting my busiest time of the year. And so far my schedule is chock full of stuff to do! Between birthday’s of little ones, one of my BFF’s moving back ‘to the area’ from too far away, taking photos of the gorgeous autumn colors, taking people photos, art & craft shows, oh and that thing called my 40 + hour a week job, things are crazy busy…and I love it.

BUT did that stop me from goofing off about a two weeks ago? No! It’s hard to believe I know, ME goofing off, the embodiment of all things serious. BAWAHAHAHAHa…

Ok, enough of that.

I had been mentioning during my White Chicken Chili recipe how I don’t like to use flash as it can cause shadows, and just isn’t as natural looking as (duh) nautural light, yadda yadda yadda. THEN while making my Grape Salad recipe I announced that in having to use my flash in my kitchen due to the lack of natural light, I found that flash could be fun!?

 Ok, stay with me here folks, I have a point coming soon.

Well this is the result of my fun. Yes I’m entertained VERY easily. This is a good quality though I assure you.

It ends up when using the flash to take pictures of water it freezes that nano second in time and you see what is really coming out of your faucet.

Elegant simplicity….

Sparkling jewels…. 

 And on this one, after a little photo processing magic with the colors, something interesting…

And Bubbles, you can see the air bubbles in the water. Is it just me, or is this actually pretty?

With this post I hope to make a point, besides the fact that I can be entertained by dripping water. 

First, that beauty can be found in the most ordinary things. Things that we never even really see in our everyday lives. Partly because its so mundane, so, well, ordinary that we don’t really ‘see’ it. Its there, to wash our dishes, to wash our hands, to fill that glass of water & quench our thirst, or in my case, to wash the grapes that I later ate to nourish myself (and immerse myself in yummyness)!

Also to remind those of us with running water that in some parts of this gorgeous world we live in, running water is a luxury. I don’t think it was until the disaster in Haiti that I ever even thought of that. We get so busy with our computers, our kids, our jobs, the TV, the Iphones, Blackberries and our everyday busy-ness, we forget how lucky we are and how beautiful IT really is.

Today, take a moment to appreciate the ordinary things in your life.

Help! My Melanin is Missing!

 

Ok, so I’ve never had much melanin, but.. 

 Its time to stand up and say something, for all of us Melanin lacking people!! I’m tired of being quiet!

To all of You who were blessed with a thing called Melanin, please read this….

From Dictionary.com

melanin  [( mel -uh-nin)]

A dark brown coloring found in the body, especially in the skin and hair. Produced by special skin cells that are sensitive to sunlight, melanin protects the body by absorbing ultraviolet radiation from the sun.

Note : The amount of melanin present in the skin determines the color of a person’s complexion: people with a large amount have dark skin, whereas those with very little have fair skin. Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

So basically when I was created, someone forgot to dump in a generous helping of melanin to my genetic makeup. My mother, God love the melanin hogging woman, can be outside for 5 minutes and her skin glows with her melanin doused genes. My father however, passed on every single bit of his melanin lacking genes to my sister and I.  I don’t fault him, he didn’t have it to begin with. I blame mom for keeping so much for herself.   (Don’t worry mom, I’ve since forgiven you!)

 And before I begin the “awareness” part of this post, let me preface it by saying I’m not a terribly vain person. Yes I do bathe, and I do like to look nice, but thankfully, I don’t obsess over it, I am who I am, and I’m good with me.  

Having said that, I must now venture on to the awareness part:

For some reason, people think its ok, when you’re pale, to make public statements about it. Its usually when in the company of more than one person, better yet, a group of people, when someone decides its ok to exclaim, “Dang, you’re pale, why don’t you tan more?” For some reason  people don’t consider the rudeness of this type of statement before they speak. My theory is when they go in the sun Wha-la, they no longer look like the walking dead,  so they ASS-U-ME I can do the same thing. Well guess what Einstein, I can’t.

 Let me explain. First I’m going to repeat something from above:

 Melanin is also responsible for tanning.

 Its simple science, Melanin, or lack thereof, is responsible for my paleness.

 When you make your ‘pale’ comments or ask things like, “Are you a recluse? Don’t you ever leave the house?” you are, possibly unknowingly, bringing back all of the teasing in grade school, all of the self conscious memories of youth like a speeding freight train, to the present. Just because you can go from pale, to a more tanned state with a little exposure to the sun, does not automatically mean all of us can.

Think for a minute about your most self conscious issue with your body. What is it? NOW imagine if I point out your most self conconsious issue in a group of people and go on and on about it. Get the idea? It is very hurtful. I am surprised almost daily, by the amount of people who don’t consider this.

 Usually we all have something about ourselves we wish we could change and even if we’ve moved on, and in our wisdom & age accepted ourselves the way we are, whatever that issue was, that “thing” can still have stabbing effects on your psyche if someone points it out in a rude tone. So please remember this: Just because I’m pale as the moon does not mean I can help it.

Let me give you an example. I once joined a tanning salon, I would burn after 10 minutes, so I would go 8  minutes at a time, increasing the minutes a little at a time, 3 times a week, FOR 3 MONTHS. Oh I could tell a difference, every extremely pale person can tell when their skin shows an ever so slight, almost imperceptible glow! But after 3 months, and who knows how many minutes of my life, I would still be asked the same rude, pale questions.

Heres one more thought, if melanin protects you from the harmful effects of UV rays and a person has only a smidge of melanin, it not only means it would take  10 times as long to tan, but in the meantime, said person is 100 times more likely to get skin cancer than melanin blessed people. I have to say, in the long run, I think I’ll be glad I didn’t give in too  many times to the pressure of others saying “why don’t you tan more?” Why expose myself to those dangers if, in the end, I’m the only one who could tell? I gave up fake baking to hopefully save my future self from suffering from skin cancer, call me silly!

So the next rude question is, why don’t you go spend your hard earned money on the tanning sprays? Let me tell you, I tried it once, before a trip to Florida where I was afraid people would really gawk. Once in the tube, I HATED to not be able to breathe. Yep, that’s right, You’re enclosed in a space age tube and you can’t breathe lest you inhale tanning chemicals. When the gusts of paint stop, you turn around, and still enclosed in an airtight tube, you can “breathe” for a few seconds before the next gust of paint starts, only, you still have these paint particles floating everywhere so you’re still inhaling them. Not my idea of a good time. Oh and the result of this paint torture? One of the sprayers was clogged! I kid you not. I had streaks down the back of my leg! Being the positive person I normally am, I am truely thankful it wasn’t the sprayer that covered the face! 

Still, STREAKS….

down

my leg. 

Yep. That looked really nice!

 I can definitely accept my situation & I see the humorous side. 

Once, after watching the movie “Dances with Wolves” with my melanin blessed husband, G1, I decided to give us both American Indian names. I dubbed myself, “Glows in the Dark” and we laughed hysterically for a while. He still lovingly calls me by the name at times. I also volunteer myself  as a guage for my friends to compare their tans to, because like I said earlier, I’m me, this is who I am. 

It’s only when people ask previous stated pale questions with a tone in their voice that conveys they think you actually have a choice in the matter that it can come across as insulting. I find myself wanting to proclaim,

 “I’m not an animal!!!” 

 So all I ask of you is to think before you speak when talking to us Melanin challenged people of this world.

We have feelings too.

 

Time Flies

Where did these precious little girls go?

 Sometimes I miss them so much.

 Sometimes I see glimpses of them, they are the same…..yet different.

Then I remember, they are right here and pride fills my heart at the young ladies they’ve become.

As I look at these two pictures, tears form in my eyes.

They are happy tears, proud tears.

My how time flies.

Barns and Clouds

Well, its just one of those days where I’m just too busy to know what to say.

Although I wouldn’t exactly call myself at a loss for words, even if I’m talking to myself I usually have SOMETHING to say.

Never mind that….

A recent storm front to move in. I love watching the clouds churn and creep in.

Believe it or not, this is right smack dab in the middle of the town I live in. Across the street is a major strip mall, and it is surrounded on all sides by commercial or residential. I’ve asked a few people around here if they know “that old barn” and they have no idea its even there. I think we just get in that mode of go-go-go, we forget to stop & look sometimes.

Have a great day and remember to slow down and look for the beauty in our world.

That Old Diner Took Me Back in Time

 On our way home from the farmers market, my husband suggested we stop at this small diner-type restaurant for breakfast. I had been curious about it for a long time so thought it was a great idea. Just from the outside I got the feeling of nostalgia, it was a small town diner from yester-year.

You see, the town I live in is the town I grew up in. I’m nearing the big 4-0 but when I was a child, this town was “out in the stix”. It was country. I lived in one of the ‘new subdivisions’ that started popping up here in the mid 70’s. Our main highway was a winding 2 lane country road. We had to drive ‘into town’ a whole 5 to 8 miles to get to the store, unless the “Hucks” gas station just down the road had what we needed.

 Yes, a subdivision surrounded by corn fields & country roads is pretty much where I grew up.

Only, as I was growing up, so was the area around me.

One by one the corn fields became subdivisions. The fields for grazing cattle became bigger highways or shopping malls or strip malls. More land was dozed to create schools to handle all of the people moving to the burbs. I guess since it happens so slowly, yet in retrospect, so quickly, you dont notice as much the little things that you miss about ‘small town’.

The abscence of traffic.

The abscense of stop lights & stop signs at every intersection.

The hustle & bustle replaces the slow & steady.

 Rooftops now fill my views where once you felt like you had elbow room.

Gone are the lines made by the rows of corn that now seem almost theraputic to the eyes.

Maybe its just the simplicity of it all that I miss so much. Maybe its the quiet.

 

This is what going into that diner this weekend reminded me of. It was so ‘retro’ in that small town, country way. License plates, old & new hung on the walls along with signs from the old diner days. The seats were the old formica type of booths, room for 4. It amazed me that places like this still existed in the middle of a thriving, overpopulated suburbia. The waitresses called people by their names and as some of the customers left, they said “Bye, see you next Saturday!” Yep. it was a cozy, familiar, time warp that made me long again for the country way of life.

 I’m a country girl at heart, surrounded by a suburbia that came in and took over like a rash. Oh there are positive sides, like the fact that before the economic downturn, more jobs were created closer to home. It used to be you’d have to drive into the city of St. Louis (about 30 miles) to get a decent job. Now there are more out here, in fact , I work only 8 miles & 21 stop lights away from home. (I’m not kidding about the stop lights, I’ve counted). 

The people here, even though there are literally tens of thousands more than when I was young, they are mostly good. Its still a freindly, clean, safe place to live.

There are still places within driving distance that have not been taken over by suburbia, but now, since acrage is more scarce its also much more expensive. Usually the only homes built with any acrage now are beyond my price range by far.

Even my old High School is no longer recognizable. It used to sit on an old army base. Where the old army barracks used to house the offices for the school, now have long been torn down and a huge new state of the art gymnasium now stands. The school used to be an interesting mix of farm kids and the first suburbia subdivision kids (like me) to inhabit the area. Now the kids are all suburbia kids with possibly a few farm kids but I doubt there are more than a handful of those.

A big new super highway is under construction that replaces the four lane highway that replaced the 2 lane highway. I shake my head everytime I pass the construction because it is most definately a monumental task. Earth movers, pavers, buildings being moved, the landscape has definately changed, its almost unrecognizable.

 Life is change, I get that. I accept that even.

I love my town, in fact, I’ve never lived anywhere else.

Sometimes though I can’t help but miss the way it used to be.