Saturday, May 31, 2008

More From The Clouds...

Per request, I've decided to share a few more photos from the New England Photo Expeditions Meetup trip to Castle in the Clouds.

Thank you to Gina from Gina'sSpace, for thinking my photos worthy of sharing ~ and for telling me so.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Castle in the Clouds



Betty from My Day, My Interests Photo Blog and I are part of an online photo club called New England Photo Expeditions.  It's a group made up of over 200 members (some more active than others) and once or twice a month the group organizer plans a meetup place and time.  This month, one of the meetups was at Castle in the Clouds in Moultonburough, NH. 

So Betty and I decided to join in and meet up with the group as well as each other for the first time!  We had a really nice time (with the acception of the restaurant service, which was atrocious!) and took loads of pictures.  I'd never before tried to photograph a waterfall (and my camera just cannot capture one as nicely as I'd like), but this was by far my favorite photo moment of the trip.  The scenic views from the castle were magnificent, but there's just something about being in the woods that appeals to me like nothing else. 

Of course, meeting Betty and her husband Bob was the biggest highlight of the day.  To me, it felt as if we were old friends meeting up again after some time apart.  The group itself was also very welcoming and friendly, and I'm looking forward to the upcoming meetups currently scheduled on the calender. 

View from the castle grounds:


Thursday, May 22, 2008


There were many children, all living together in one room with one adult.  One room.  Only the lucky ones were fortunate enough to snag a mattress, tattered and torn.  The others gathered around and spread themselves out on the floor for the night..... Night after night.

When the adults in the orphanage would fight, the children, scared and alone, would run and hide and lock themselves in one of the rooms till it was over.  More often than not, a fight would end in bloodshed. 

And there was no water...  In temperatures often reaching over 100 degrees, they would bathe and drink from the polluted river nearby.  This lead to disease and malnutrition.  The children were fed twice daily, if they were lucky.  Oftentimes, they would go a day ~ maybe two, without any food at all. 

There were no toys.  No television.  Only music, and when permitted, the children would dance all through the night.  They played soccer, using whatever they could find to use as a ball.  Sometimes even a real one!  But mostly, they would run...  They would run and run, morning till night when there was no school, chasing each other around the dirt roads and dry lands till they could run no more. 

And they would walk....  For a while, his daily journey to school took an hour one way.  If he was late (and he admits, with a sly grin, that he often was), the doors were closed and he would have to walk all the way back home. 

One small voices asks, "Did you ever get sick from drinking the polluted water?"

"Oh, yes...."  He answers...  "Before my mom and dad came to adopt me, I wasvery, very sick and almost dying......They saved me."

Unexpected tears filled my eyes and I had to turn away.  I have never felt so much love for a student, or for someone else's child.  On the first day of school, this little one proudly walked into the room (I met him at the door and knew immediately who he was) with the biggest, brightest smile you could ever imagine, and within a moment, he held my heart.

This year has not been easy for J.  His frustrations with learning the English language and his struggle to belong in a foreign world nothing at all like his own overwhelms him daily.  He's made friends, but he becomes very angry and takes it out on them, and on us.  He often refuses to work and calls everything and everyone "stupid". 

He is a mathematician, when he puts his mind to it.  He has gone from being a beginning first grade reader to a beginning third grade reader in a matter of months.  His English is as good as any other child's.  His wide smile still lights up a room, and when he isn't putting himself and his efforts down, he is very, very proud.

And so am I.  I'm proud of you, J.  I've learned more from you than you will ever know.  You will go far, and I will celebrate for you, simply knowing....

I will miss you, but I will NEVER forget you. 


Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've been reading, "Change of Heart", the newest Jodi Picoult book (avid readers take note:  this book may keep you up at night..) and while I'm now finally nearing the end (I like to read slowly, taking characters to heart and memory), I came across something earlier on that I thought was interesting enough to share.

I know there's something in journals that goes around once in a while ~ a meme of sorts, asking us to grab the book we are currently reading, flip through to page 123 and record the first, second and third sentence in paragraph three.  I dunno... just 'cuz....

So when I reached page 123, I couldn't help but read with mild curiosity, the words found there:

"one two three, one two three.  There was a rhythm to fly-fishing, like a ballroom dance.  I waited until we had both unspooled the long tongue of line over the lake, until the flies that my grandfather laboriously tied in his basement had tightly come to rest on the surface."

Just coincidence... 1,2,3...   No big deal, but kinda cool.

Because who DOESN'T think about all the coincidences in their own life ~ and the "not coincidences"?  I've always been a firm believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason.  Of course, there are many problems in the world that make me question that as well:  Natural disasters, child abuse, disease, addiction, loss... quite a substantial list of things that makes anyone of us shudder to think about. 

Not believing in coincidence makes me nuts, really.  I am CONSTANTLY searching for reasons and answers.  Very rarely, do I just simply let things be ~ just because they ARE.  I need to be fully engrossed in something, not to let my mind wander to the how's and why's. 

I am so ready for summer. 

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pow WOW!

It isn't often, that I venture out on my own for an afternoon.  I find it ironic, that I would choose Mother's Day to "take off" so to speak, when it's usually my children's activities that make up the majority of my free time.  And rightly so, I might add.  My daughters are and have always been the highlight of my life. 

But lately, I've been considering the possibility that I might have interests of my own to explore as well. 

So I allowed myself that privilege today and went to the pow wow on my own.  It was very interesting, colorful and enlightening.  I sat alone, enjoying the festivities and the traditional Native American dancing, ate lunch alone (no buffalo tacos this year, thank you... :o) ) and walked among the crowd of people, fighting the urge not to spend all my money! 

I took lots of photos, and even though the sun was bright (I'm thankful for that) and I had to zoom in from afar to capture most of my images, I found a colorful few that I am happy with:







I do believe I'm going to try to do this sort of thing more often.  "Get a life" as the kids would say.  I not only enjoyed the pow wow, but also walked all around campus and down Main Street.  I spent some time in the Dartmouth Bookstore and even struck up conversation with strangers!  Somebody STOP ME!  hehehe...

Our custodian at school is an avid outdoorsman and hiker.  We've been talking, and I've decided that I shouldn't let my fear of being alone stop me from doing the things that I enjoy ~ even if it means I must enjoy them sans partner.  He's given me a couple of books on area hikes and trails.  I DO hope, that my girls will join me on these adventures, but if they decide they're not interested, I will not let that decision persuade me one way or the other.  There are groups in the upper valley that take hiking trips as well, and I haven't ruled out that possibility either.  I'd like to start fishing again, and someday, I might even buy myself a little fishing boat! 

There are simpler things, of course, to do on my own...  Go to a movie, visit a museum, see a play, etc...  And of course, the anytime, anywhere activities that I enjoy, like drawing, painting and reading.  The bottom line is, I need to start living my life again and stop letting my "aloneness" get the best of me.  Don't get me wrong ~ I'm happier now than I was a year ago in many ways.  But I've been letting the overall picture get me down. 

It's time to snap out of it.

I hope everyone enjoyed a peaceful, relaxing Sunday!




I apologize for having so little to say or share lately.  My creative muse is currently on Sabbatical, and the need to share the scattered pieces of my life has been less apparent.  Unfortunately, that has kept me away from other journals as well, and I haven't always been commenting the way i'd like.  To friends who are reading this:  please know I have thought of you.

Here's wishing every mother and child a Happy Mother's Day... I'll be heading out soon to enjoy the Pow Wow festivities on the green at Dartmouth college.  My children are not interested in going ~ they're doing their own thing.  (Might have something to do with the buffalo tacos they ate the last time we went....)  I, for one, am eager to do something that I am interested in today.  All I've been doing for the past two hours is housework.  Fun Fun.