Category Archives: Photography

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Abecedarian Collection

This first one can also be seen on Writers digest in the forum https://www.writersdigest.com/prompts/abecedarian
Writing our Minds (A Poem in 27 Lines)
Abnormalities are the normal place for writers who
Began their path through experiences and stories.
Cars provide a private space to tell a story to yourself
Doing nothing but the composting of the writing process.
Eaters of experience we reach
Frankly for the reality of the world
Going inside our minds and stories to find the
Hero that can touch our heart and expand our world.
Indigo or blue we wonder as we debate our use of
Jargonistic phrases and obscure terms.
Kelp waves gently under the surface of the ocean like our stories.
Limbs on a tree reach for the sun and we see
Money and industry, life and lovers, history and future
Naively seeing the tree and all that happens under it like an
Orifice opening to show us glimpses of life with pains and
Paeans that ring out in our minds both loud and
Quiet in their passion.
Radicals and racists
Sadly showed their violence in those branches.
Tall in the night the tree remembers lovers sprawled
Under the sheltering canopy of leaves.
Vassals shared their meals under these branches.
Wind blew across teachers and students in the afternoon sun.
Xenophyles, we reach across the world through the leaves of a tree.
Yielding ourselves to the stories told in the wind and the bark we
Zone out of reality and into our pen.

The Bus to Work

Around 6 am I leave my room and catch a
Bus rattling and jerking its passengers to their jobs and homes.
Casual observers see people bored and irritated
Deep in their own spaces, phones, needs, and fears.
Examination shows otherwise.
Friendships are made on the bus.
Groups share space each day of their lives.
Haphazard groupings linked by shared routs.
Individuals that know the daily habits and patterns of the others.
Just as they know idiosyncrasies and dreams of their bus rout companions.
Kindness to strangers vies with the need for distance in confined space.
Languid tourists join the groups in passing and roll luggage down the aisle.
Mild mannered introverts read or watch the city pass.
Noisy extroverts converse across the aisle and over the seats.
Obvious homeless clutch their possession and warily watch
People passing too close for their comfort.
Quickly passing stops keep the flow of conversation new and fresh.
Respect for personal space varies by need as the bus fills.
Strangers stand shoulder to shoulder and smile awkwardly.
Tense individuals try for isolated seats and physical barriers.
Unnecessary anger surges when paranoia threatens.
Very patient strangers step in to sooth or eject ruffled emotions.
Wide gaps of experience and lives interact in a tourist city bus.
Xylocarp smells waft from lotions, lunches, drinks, and grocery bags.
Yes, the bus is a microcosm of society interacting and living together.
Zonal interactions confined to a movable space within society.
2019
Analysis
Becomes
Cultural
Dissonance.
Empty
Fabricated
Geoeconomics
Hurl
Intoxicating
Justifications.
Kneejerk
Lies
Manipulating
Nakedly
Opportunistic
People
Quickly
Retelling
Stories.
Tenuous
Unrelenting
Victimization
Worsens
Xenophobic
Yearning
Zealots.

Leaves of Peckerwood Garden

Over time I have done collections of images of various types from bark or magnolia blooms to pathways and the recent stairs collection. Today’s collection was inspired by the variegated maple I got a picture of the other day.

Often the best part about a plant isn’t the bloom, it may be the leaves, the bark, the form, the behavior, or the smell. This set is devoted to leaves in Peckerwood Garden and it could be massively larger than it is.

When I write I often do it on my phone at night and just past it into here when I am on a computer so going back through it sometimes I edit and review and sometimes I just post. This is a collection of mostly old images I have taken ranging as far back as 2014 and I have done little to the set to prepare it for here.

Need and the Balance of Life

Why do people consider suffering a competition? Why when someone says they are stressed and tired do people feel they should deride them and tell them how much worse of others are? Why when someone is tired and sick do people feel the need to tell them they don’t deserve to complain because others are worse? Why is someone is having trouble paying rent or buying food do people tell them to get over it others have less? There seems to be a delicate balance point of acceptable suffering that places people in the place to deserve help and comfort but not be looked down on as being less of a person. there is also a level of ideal suffering that makes a person better in the eyes of others and makes them good. Phrases like suffer for their faith or suffering is the price of success are common and reinforce this idea. But also ideas like god rewards the faithful and the the difference between success and failure is a lack of will indicate that people believe the better people do better and have more and that poverty and illness is a sign of weakness and god’s disfavor. The very idea is rather appalling to evaluate in depth.
In the microcosm of my acquaintances I know people on every spectrum of this thought pattern and physical circumstances. When someone in their 40s says they are not bouncing back as quickly as they once did the response is for others to tell them how much more they work and how old they are to show the person is just weak and should “man up.” When a chronically ill friend mentions how hard basic activities are someone will invariably tell them they should lose weight or eat better or exercise more and their disease would disappear. When someone is afraid of the guns showing up in their neighborhood and children’s school someone will tell them the strong own guns and protect themselves whatever the cost to others and to fear that is to be weak and want to be dominated. When someone is stressed from everything in life someone will tell them how much worse someone else’s life is and that they are just being weak. When a marriage falls apart and someone can’t handle it someone will tell them they should have done better or that they should just get over it. When someone with social anxiety has trouble with general tasks someone will tell them it is just an excuse and they need to just do it or don’t complain. When someone is broke and desperate someone will tell them they should have a degree or a better job or work harder or work more hours. When someone is discriminated against someone will tell them not to infringe other peoples rights or expect to be handed everything. When someone can’t afford the medical care they need someone will tell them why society doesn’t owe people things they can’t afford on their own. When someone needs a handicapped spot and auto cart but doesn’t look ill enough they are judged and attacked.
Accepting someone’s suffering for what it is and where it is coming from seems a rare skill. We don’t know what is in each persons whole life or mind. We don’t know their past. We don’t know their health. We don’t know their family. We don’t know if that house they live in is in foreclosure and falling apart but they hide it. We don’t know if their refrigerator is empty and their clothes are old and from a thrift store. We don’t know if that shiny phone came from Craigslist and required work to repair to workable. We don’t know if their shoes don’t fit or have holes we can’t see. We don’t know that person walking to the automatic cart has a chronic illness or back injury we cant see. We don’t know if their social anxiety makes a shopping trip an ordeal. We don’t know if they are hiding a chronic illness that makes a basic workday a huge trial every day. We don’t know if their marriage that looks so nice is falling apart or violent. We don’t know that smiling man just lost his wife to cancer. We don’t know that smiling woman just left the hospital where her husband injured and car totaled. We don’t know the woman calmly running the office is trying not to show how worried she is that she left water pouring through the house from flooding. We don’t know if that small cough is allergies, a cold, cancer, flood damage, or measles.
All over the world people are suffering. People in some countries are in large numbers sleeping on the streets and starving. But here in our own country people starving may be doing it in a house they can’t afford and they may be working every day to pay for it. People here may be unable to afford to run the heater or air conditioner or water and can’t cook because the power is out. Being in a house may be better than being on the street but here they must also keep up appearances or be shunned and shamed for being a lesser person. If they slip they could lose the job that doesn’t pay the bills, their friends, their family, their homes, their car. It only takes a little to knock a lot of people of the precarious balance that is life for many. Working 2 jobs and struggling to survive means they don’t have the energy to do more and if that balance is disturbed they could drop all the plates.
It isn’t a competition. Everyone needs help. Everyone deserves a chance and to have basic needs met. Life shouldn’t be a constant struggle for so many. Society is broken. The economy is broken. Politics is broken. This does not make those caught in the wrong side of it lesser people, it means they are caught in a web they can’t escape from. Maybe they went into debt trying to further their degree and now they can’t get out of the hole. Maybe they had an injury or illness that put them in the hole. Maybe they were hit by a natural disaster. Maybe politics killed their chances. Maybe violence and murder hit their lives. Maybe drugs hit their family. Maybe age simply caught up to them.
Wherever they are that is not to be looked down on. They can move forward and do better but not without something to tip the balance. There is a part of the equation that is money and family, part that is raw luck and timing, part that is skill and education, part that is connections and placement, part that is societal acceptance and privilege, part that is work and endurance. But all of these things are a part and lacking enough of them to tip a balance all the work in the world will not change. My friend cannot work her disease away. My coworker cannot work his wife alive. None of us can work ourselves younger. I cannot work away my debt that is more than several years pay.
People are not less for struggling, they are working and you are working. Accept that you can both be working and have different strengths to draw on. Each of us has areas we are better in and areas we are not so good in. Accept that we are all in our own place and society has not dealt the same hand to everyone. Many start with half the deck of others and some start with extra cards. Accept that many people can need help in many ways. The desperate nature of one does not remove the need from the other it just means they need different things. Sometimes a supporting word can fill small needs and other times food or a job to buy food is the desperate need. Both are still needs and both are valid. Don’t refuse the one because the other hat you won’t provide also exists, especially for a friend.

Steps in the Garden

I have 2 pictures this week of steps in Peckerwood Garden and decided to pull in some older images of other steps to make a collection. This highlights the point that although this is an amazing garden, well worth visiting and learning about, it is not accessible.

Although they are now beginning to address this issue, it will be an ongoing issue and will not be addressed on a large scale for quite some time. Many of the issues lie in areas that are protected from changes so addressing the issue is not a simple one. But the current plan is to develop alternate paths that address the issues and progress is slow but they are working on it.

A Time of Transition

Changes happen all the time. Sometimes they are small or small in comparison to other things. Other times they seem huge and consuming but may or may not actually be. Right now is one of those times for me. After 5 years here at one of the most amazing gardens I have ever seen I am moving forward and helping them prepare for their next steps forward. This has been a long process as I gave notice in February to allow plenty of time for a transition. We negotiated the original move date to allow them more time to find someone and me more time to transition meaning I am now moving at the end of this month. Several stages of planning, applications, and direction have passed with varying degrees of certainty and levels of adjustment to change they would bring.

Many hours at work have been spent in meetings coordinating work and tasks to prepare them for a new structure and person. Many hours have gone into documenting every task in the job and organizing the office and supplies with the new funding that finally allows a proper set of storage supplies and equipment.

I have been here through a lot of changes at the garden and at home. When I started we were desperately broke, went rapidly down to 2 staff, and I worked closely with the founder most days, the property was private property, and our guest count was around 2000 a year. In these 5 years we have developed a real budget that includes major refurbishment projects, we have tackled the deferred maintenance from a couple decades, we have added a director of horticulture and a nursery manager, we have gone fully public garden, and we had more than 2000 guests in March alone this year. Where this garden can go from here is open to the imagination and it will remain a critical time of history that I was able to be a part of.

Leaving is a professional choice and a personal one that is allowing me to return to Hawaii and pursue a life I choose. But the changes will be massive in many ways. I am leaving my home, my life, my job, most possessions, my online business, my husband, and many friends behind. On the other hand, I will be working every day and returning to a place I previously lived, I will still be me, I will still eat and play and live, I will still love the things I do now, I will still be married, and I will still connect to my friends mostly online. So, maybe it isn’t as much a change as it first seems.

As I talk to each person in my life and communicate these happenings I see many responses and it often amuses me how people react and how the reactions change when they know where I am going. It is interesting those that you seem to feel an emotional disconnect the moment they learn you are leaving the state as opposed to those that immediately want to be sure you know how important you are and have been to them or the company. It is interesting those that wish you well and are sad for the loss until they hear Hawaii and then they are dismissive or jealous as opposed to those that grow more concerned for the distance and costs involved. Friends that step out and support or those that smile and nod are neither one a surprise since I have done this before. But this is the longest time I have had to prepare and communicate and to see the developments as they happen and not from the distance of one that has already done the unexpected.

A Question of Support

One thing after another recently raises the question of what do we support and how, along with the question of are we giving tacit consent to things we claim to disagree with. This is part of the can we separate the art from the artist question. The obvious ones are companies acting in ways we disapprove of and illegally, and artists of all types that have done things contrary to a civilized culture. But the question runs into every area of life at this point. I have read numerous articles, discussions, comment threads, and had conversations about the topic and noticed several good points and bad points.

Tacit consent is a touchy subject for many people. Are we consenting when we fail to speak up? What about when we purchase something created by someone that has done the questionable thing? What about when we make excuses? At what point do our words of dissent become lies or manipulation when we refuse to put our money and our actions behind them? At what point are we becoming hypocrites when we chose to prioritize our immediate gratification over our principles? At what point are we proving yourself untrustworthy when we manipulate our religion or political stance to support one thing at the expense of so many others. At what point do we become the monster we can’t see when we refuse to support what is right and what supports a just, equal, peaceful, and healthy society in favor of an ideal or convenience that have overridden our judgment?

Many acts have no place in a civilized society and in a developed nation. these acts have no place in any society, but we have recourse in a society based on laws and culture to stop them when we may not have previously. It is not that the acts have become wrong and were not before, it is that we as a society have grown and learned to have the conversations about consent and equality, about communication and justice. We have opened the discussion to include more peoples and groups and have been forced to face the reality of inappropriate behaviors that we allowed previously. We have expanded the space of equality enough to show the distance we need to go. Science has developed to the point to show the inaccuracy of statements and beliefs previously held as true. Technology has developed to allow greater connectivity and equality. We cannot go backward and close our minds and eyes to what we know.

Future generations will address these and other issues and they will be rooted in the disputes of today. When I learn a better way of thinking and communicating I embrace it and open my mind, I move forward in a new path and let go of the misconceptions that I had. In this same way, when I learn that a person has done things I can not condone then when I move forward I have a choice to either accept those actions as less important that the item the person creates or to forgo that entertainment or need in favor of an alternative that I am willing to support.

Yes, when we put our money toward a name, be it a person or a company, we are supporting their actions and their words. When we buy the ticket to the movies made by a pedophile or known rapist we provide our statement that we are more interested in that 2 hour entertainment than we are in justice and right behavior. When we vote for a political candidate that lies, cheats, and holds other ideals than the laws and constitution of our nation then we are stating that our moral sense is flexible and we will support what is selfish and easy above what is right.

Acceptance of wrong actions such as discrimination, sexual assault, fraud, and violence is counter to living in a society. The questions and answers may not be clear cut and simple but each time we decide we are making a statement of support or dissent. It is up to us which we chose but we must know that others will choose to hold us to that and we must accept the responsibility of our actions.

The population of the world is vast and the popular names of celebrities, artists, and politicians are limited and heavily manipulated by corporations and media so we see these few people as amazing and rare talents, forgetting that millions of others would stand in those shoes if given the chance. Others with talent are not seen or not upheld. We have limited ourselves not been limited by the available sources. Their actions or publicity neither improves nor negates their qualities and skills. However, it does negate their acceptability as a spokesperson and example for future generations.

Should the error of a man that assaults a woman erase his future as a public figure? Let’s rephrase that though. The rape of a person is grounds for baring the rapist from public positions and honor as an example to society. We must be aware that our words can also give tacit consent. When the woman in a coma was raped and gave birth, I saw many people arguing that it was wrong to call it rape because that implies we know what happened. No! If there is no ongoing and clear consent that has not been in any way coerced, then it is rape. Saying otherwise is consenting to allow it to continue.

I buy most of my video games used so the producers rarely see money from me and I rarely have a game anytime near when it is released. However, when I find a game and company I support and want to see supported, I will go out of my way to purchase it new and to support the team I want my money to give consent to. I am not going to discard my old movies and games that have people involved in that have been proven to be rapists unless I find that I can’t watch those movies and enjoy them without thinking about that. However, I will not go to a theater for those people. I will not buy new videos they are in. I will not give my money to their name in future and I will not forget.

Art is part of a person. When I paint, I paint from within me and my life. I paint a person as they are not as the photograph shows them to an extent. I drew someone the other day and they looked very angry. The view was angrier than the picture that was calm. However, the character is an angry and violent character and I subconsciously reflected that. My colors reflect me and what I am seeing in the art I am creating. When I sew a sleep mask it came from a place of need on my part and a desire to share what I saw as a need. The wood burning, I do represents the world around me and how I interact with it. All of art is part of a person. It is an expression of something within and of the artist’s view of what is around them.

Given that, we have yet another reason that our support is consent. If I am an environmentalist but continue to support destructive companies or buy many individually packaged disposable items how can I continue to say I am an environmentalist. Until our money supports the reality that is right there will not be change. Until we insist those around us behave in accordance to equality, justice, peace, environmental support, and social development we are consenting to the opposing actions and beliefs of those around us.

The recent uproar about a Gillette commercial is an excellent example of this part. They simply said to be a better man and stand for what is right, be strong and stand for justice. People that are upset with that have chosen to support a society of discrimination, assault, violence, and bullying because that is, according to their words now what makes a man a man.

The many directors and actors accused of sexual assault, rape, harassment, and manipulation are another example of what we are discussing. When people choose to go to those movies made by these people, they are choosing to put their consent on those people and to say that they do not insist on right behavior only on immediate gratification.

The companies that destroy our waters, violate the laws, abuse their workers, and waste materials are an example of another aspect. When we buy their products we support their choice to destroy the planet, cheat the economy, break the law, exploit the people.

Our money is our first form of consent in most of society today. Our spending habits is where we most directly how what we support and accept. We need to be vocal and active to support the things we believe in but we must also put our actions and money to support the same things.

 

A Walk in the Garden

I had a walk in the garden today and the air was chill, the sun bright, and the bees busy and happy. Having not been out for photography much recently it was really refreshing to walk in the woods.  A morning of spreadsheets left me ready for walking and fresh air, even if cooler than I like. these pictures are from today not from the trip detailed here.

The past couple of weeks have been an interesting mix. A trip to New Braunfels did not go quite as planned. It was relaxing, frustrating, painful, and quiet.

Typically, I go to New Braunfels to go to Schlitterbahn. this time, however I just wanted quiet. I took a friend for 2 quiet nights hiding from New Years which has historically not gone well. Staying at the Howard Johnson was quiet and comfortable. They were well priced, clean, and friendly. I was annoyed to find on the second night that the drain plug cannot be closed for a bath, you can only do a shower, but it wasn’t the end of the world. Staff will tell you if you chat with them that they can be somewhat inconsistent in cleaning and maintenance and I found that was true. The refrigerator was unplugged, but as long as you are nice to them they take care of anything.

My friend had to leave early so I was alone the second afternoon and night which led to the later adventures and doctor’s visit. Having purchased a new sketchbook for the trip I spent lunch sketching in Alpine Haus restaurant enjoying a quiet German lunch. It made a nice followup to the Huisache restaurant from the night before which serves American food that is well done and pretty. Although my friend was unhappy to learn quail is served mostly whole. The appetizer plate was fun. The only issue arose after returning to the hotel. that is when I learned I left my phone somewhere. Eventually I found it…it had been run over by a car.

Antique shops and thrift shops in the area filled my time after my friend was home and on the way to her doctor. A pleasant time exploring a friendly town. Near dinnertime I was debating either a poke bowl or the free apetizer at the steakhouse that the restaraunt provided when things went another direction.

My car, who I haven’t owned long but have had no problems from, overheated. I stopped to wait it out and explored Target and a couple other places in the shopping center. However, I was only just recovering from being sick and was tired so I went back to the car hoping to get to bed. this led to a hand full of 2nd degree burns and eventually a doctor visit. I saw the doctor several times and the nurse, and an assistant as my hand was checked, cleaned, treated, then wrapped. I had a prescription and instructions for care and left unsure how I would drive several hours home with my right hand bandaged like a club and hurting like hell. I am right handed and although I use my left hand often, I found it really challenging to do so when I had to.

I returned to my hotel to rest and found by morning that my hand was healing but I was getting sick again. Once I got home, after a detour to return my friend’s keys, I spent several days in bed sick. Still congested today, I can hardly hear out of my right ear.

All of this did not ruin my trip however. New Braunfels was friendly, quiet, and pleasant. May painful new years is not really a new thing and getting sick is not the fault of the trip. Pleasant weather and good food was a soothing side note to the chaos wending it’s way through my peaceful trip that remained peaceful other than moments of screaming pain and rain clouds chasing me home after.

Today, I type this with no bandages and no medication for sick, and my car shows no sign of any problem. No evidence of overheating or what caused it shows itself but she obviously felt I should have gone back to the room and rested a bit sooner…when I first thought about it.

69 bug ongoing project

My weekend from work is Sunday Monday so I spent both days on my bug. I sanded the body, cleaned rust, did a deep inspection, primed it, sanded again, did a base coat of paint to prevent further damage until I am done with the rest and can get back to it, soaked bolts and small parts in oil, brought every removable part inside for cleaning, drained the oil, disconnected everything left and started dismantling the engine pieces that must come off for removal. I need to change the flywheel and valves. I need new wiring harness. I need a few random bits. I will need to redo the liner and fabric bits. I may need see mount brackets when I do the floorplans.

I can’t get the payment plan for parts 😦 bad credit. But I will find floor pans this week and hopefully get the engine out… expecting rain a lot so I may do interior prep.

I put a tent up to protect it and it is happening.
The paint job isn’t great but I expect to need a few more coats anyway and will sand it smooth when I am ready.

No, I Will Not Debate You

via No, I Will Not Debate You

…exerpts…read all of it, it is worth it….

“There’s a term for this sort of bad-faith argument: it’s called the justification-suppression model. The theory is that bigots refrain from directly defending their own bigotry but get hugely riled up justifying the abstract right to express bigotry

The problem is that it relies on two pieces of magical thinking: number one, that intellectual ideas are the same as moral ones, and number two, that the sucking ethical vacuum at the center of public life can be replaced with a commitment to the polite forms of a free society.

… betray their stated principles (free, open debate) or dignify fascism and white supremacy. This weaponizes tolerance to legitimize intolerance. … They have no interest in winning on the issues.

Mere weeks ago he told a gathering of the far-right National Front in France to be proud “when people call you racist, when people call you xenophobic… wear it as a badge of honor.”

…But academic research and investigative journalism are very different from formal public debate. Public debate — at least the way I was taught to do it at my posh school — is not about the free exchange of ideas at all.

…What matters is not who wins on the merits. What matters are the terms: who gets to speak, and who must be silent.

The far right are not themselves committed to the principle of free speech. Far from it. In my encounters with neo-nationalists and professional alt-right trolls I have found them remarkably litigious — more than willing to use money and legal threats to silence their more serious critics. I’ve been legally prohibited from describing racists as racists. That’s why you’ll see so many news outlets use phrases like “alleged white supremacist” or “the deportation policy, which critics have described as xenophobic.” It’s not because there’s serious doubt over where these people stand, it’s because journalists are silenced by threats from speech “defenders” who have the money and spite to shut down their critics. I will not be bullied by bad-faith actors trying to rules-lawyer my own principles against me into treating neo-Nazis with respect they don’t deserve.”

Imagination

Growing up we did stories and limericks and word games a lot. One of my favorites was when we were in the car, mom would have me make a story using the names of the street signs in the order we passed them. The names could be anything, they just had to be those names in that order. Think about the names of streets you see. They are people’s names, cities, things, landmarks, historical references, colors, anything someone thought of. I still do it in my head sometimes and it is still amusing.

I was the kin of kid that saw a large puddle with a big rock and a leaf and for a moment, sometimes more, it was much more. In my imagination the image was me looking down on a sea with a large rock and a boat or a turtle or something floating in it. Often it was the world of tiny people rather than an image of what it would be larger. My imagination would carry me, ever so briefly, away to another place, somewhere I would rather be.

Today, walking in to work, I realized that I still do it. Just for the briefest of moments. It is something easily ignored or not noticed in the many thoughts and images that fleet through my mind. But I work hard at being in the moment and present, at being aware of my thoughts and responses. It surprised me a little to see that I hadn’t really noticed that I still do that brief escape and image. Those small things still make me happy and give me a brief moment of beauty because I still see the magic in them that I did as a child. I hope I never lose that wonder in the world around me, because it is beautiful and it is amazing. Even those little things, like how a leaf lands or where the water pooled.