April BrightSquares: Gardening

It is almost time to start planting my garden this year. My perennials are showing new growth and my irises should bloom within the next few weeks. Daffodils still abound. I love flowers but I also like to plant vegetables, because there is no tomato so good as one that is homegrown!

Last year, I had an abundance of cherry tomatoes (I bought too many tomato plants – I’ll have to cut back this year!) and also a couple of pepper plants, which were nearly buried by the tomato plants growing out of control! Even so, I did manage to get a few green peppers. For Becky’s Bright Squares, today I am posting a photo of my first harvest last year – the first tomatoes and the first peppers! They were so bright and cheery, and made me happy as I looked forward to warmer days and more home-grown vegetables!

A Photo a Week: Happiness Is…

Happiness is an attitude more than anything else. You can choose happiness, or not…

Happiness is a state of mind, not a destination. - Imgur

…which is why I find happiness in many things!

For Nancy Merrill’s A Photo a Week challenge, the theme is happiness is… so here are some things that happiness is to me.

Flowers…

…especially the ones I grow myself.

Fresh tomatoes in the summer (again, especially those I grow myself, although these aren’t mine).

Animals, especially cats…

my sweet tortie Hazel

…and my grandcats…

…but also dogs – we have one granddog!

Lydia, our new granddog

…and dogs I see everyday on campus.

One of my dog friends, “Iffi” (short for Iphigenia)

Happiness is animal families, near…

…and far.

Elephant family group, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Cheetah mom & cub, Serengeti, Tanzania

Happiness is traveling to fascinating lands…

Karnak, Egypt

…with my (crazy) husband!

“King” Dale in Abu Simbel, Egypt
In front of the kissing statue, Scharding, Austria

Happiness is our new home!

In back of our house – we now have a small garden here and we love to read and have our meals on our screened porch!

SYW: Stress Relievers, Strange Creatures, Creepy Russians, & Appreciating Life

It’s Monday and Melanie is ready with a new set of Share Your World questions.

QUESTIONS:
What do you do to get rid of stress?
Different things – coloring, drawing, reading, taking a walk – sometimes it just takes fresh air! Writing – either a journal, my blog, or whatever I can think of. It has to be something I am fairly good at, otherwise it would cause me MORE stress!

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Mandalas are one of my favorite things to color.

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I took this photo on one of my walks in my old neighborhood.

In the past people were buried with the items they would need in the afterlife, what would you want buried with you so you could use it in the afterlife?
art supplies, a notebook or journal, camera

What’s the opposite of a koala? (this is strictly for fun. I know what I came up with as an answer, but it was nonsensical. Alaok. See? It’s okay to pass on this one too if you want). An alaok is a meat-eating land dweller, fairly large, and it can be aggressive. Also, it isn’t at all cute!

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Maybe an alaok looks something like this! (early artwork by my son)

What’s the creepiest tech out there? (My interpretation of “tech” is app or program. If you know what “tech” is supposed to mean, hey! Great! Educate us. The Internet Resource Agency (IRA) – this is where young,  hip, techie Russians go to work. Their job is to learn all about the culture of another country (such as the United States), find out what the people of that culture value and what their weaknesses and conflicts are. With this information, they infiltrate social media in order to spread fake news, get people riled up, such as using white supremacist memes, and promote conflicts within that society. Some of them specialize in hacking. The IRA is what messed with our heads and our social media during the 2016 campaign season, disseminating lies, preying on people’s fears. It is especially creepy, because it was very effective and they are still doing it.

GRATITUDE IS AN ATTITUDE
What method are you using to find your smile right now? Please explain in detail so others might utilize the same ideas. Some bloggers have shared a daily (weekly sometimes) method that they are using to keep their spirits up right now. I’d love to hear from anyone who does and is successful at it! Have a great week and stay safe!
1. Noticing the miracles of nature – flowers opening, birds singing and making their nests, trees flowering or budding leaves. Looking at the sky to see the clouds – whatever that looks like, it will never be exactly the same again. Maintaining a garden and appreciating the fruits of my labor. 20190515_152403dDelighting in a sunset (or sunrise, for those who rise early). And for me, watching our community’s swans. Right now the female is in the process of laying her eggs – last I heard, she had five but there must be more by now. Her mate fluffs up his wings to make him look bigger and more threatening – he swims around the pond, scaring away geese and approaching the shore where he sees a human.

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Our female swan after laying her second egg.

2. Connecting with friends and family – Zoom and social media are at the center of our lives now. Last week, our family had a virtual birthday get-together for my nephew. Today I spent two hours with a group of friends – virtually, of course.  Also seeing friends during walks – we can talk if we stay 6 feet apart!
3. Engaging in my stress relievers (see my answer to the first question.)

I heard an interesting quote today: Think of this day as your first day and your last day on Earth. 

CFFC: Summer Scenes

Cee continues her season theme in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and this week is summer scenes.

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Swimming & sunbathing on a river beach on a hot day in the Netherlands

 

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Black-eyed Susans at Mt. Prospect Town Hall

 

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Swan family and ducks at The Moorings of Arlington Heights

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Evening at a Wynona Judd concert in August

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Summer garden

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Planting supplies

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Fountain at Ravinia’s summer concerts

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Flowering plant in downtown Highland Park, IL

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Pool party on a Des Plaines August evening

 

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Friends at the Chicago Botanic Gardens

I could include many more, because summer is my favorite season!
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