Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heartfelt Thanks


I am weary tonight, but happy to have power and internet back after only a little over 24 hours without both.  Amazing really if you consider the devastation my county suffered at the hands of Irene.  Everywhere we went today, or couldn't go since we were unable to get out of our road until late today, you saw scenes just like this one.  Trees down in numbers that were quite staggering.




My photos don't really do the destruction justice, but you can see that where there were once lush landscapes, there is now open sky and some of these trees were hundreds of years old and had seen more than their fair share of storms throughout the years.  But Irene's killer combo of wind and saturated ground made for a bad combination.




I consider us to be some of the lucky ones, as we suffered no flooding, and no bad damage.  The photo above was taken at my parent's home...yes the one that is due to close next month...sigh!  There were several large oaks (that is a full sized shed, so that is a huge tree) that came down, and one did hit their house, but it was as if my parents gently guided it as it fell and it landed rather softly onto their roof.  I have a photo of it, but I'm just too tired to find it at the moment.




There wasn't much sleeping going on last night as our little house kept us from feeling the damaging blows of the wind and sideways rain, though there were times when I wondered if Andersen windows truly were hurricane rated, like they claimed!  But we've been down this path before and know that it could have been so much worse.  

Our big dead tree finally gave up the ghost, well at least the upper half did.  We knew it was time to get this tree removed but we hated the idea of taking it down since the osprey have called it home for so many years.  Irene made our decision on the matter a little easier and brought it crashing down in the early evening hours, just after dark.  To get some idea of how big this tree really was, just know that the trees pictured around it are not small trees, this tree was huge, and thankfully no one, and nothing was near it when it fell.  We also lost most of a Bradford Pear tree in our front yard and had loads of debris, but as I said, we were lucky.  One of our neighbors can't even see the front of their home anymore after an equally huge live tree fell on their house.

I will share more photos tomorrow, but I had to come on and post to let you know that we are fine, and to thank you for your concern, the emails and text messages were truly appreciated.  And I would be remiss if I didn't thank the wonderful volunteer fire and rescue, our police force, the National Guard, our power and cable companies, friends (thank you Julie and Ken!), and perfect strangers who worked tirelessly to protect us and to get us back up and running so quickly.  

Our son spent 36 hours running with fire and rescue to help ensure our safety and others in our community, and he was one of many who put themselves in harm's way so that we can all sleep soundly tonight.  Next time your volunteer rescue and fire personnel ask for that donation, please remember all  that they do for you!

And to those still in the path of Irene, I hope she bids you farewell quickly and without leaving damage in her wake!

*In an effort to spend less time blogging, comments have been disabled on my blog, at least for now*

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Goodnight Irene


As Hurricane Irene whirls her way up the eastern seaboard of the US I've been busy gathering the necessary supplies to help us weather the storm.

A good book is a must, since TV and internet may be scarce for a few days.  I've been down this road before, and though we have a whole house generator for just such an occasion, invariably trees come down and service is disrupted.




Perfume is nice to have on hand, just in case you can't shower for a day or two.  My Lollia "Calm" should do the trick.




And you really need cake, we all know that cake makes everything better!




Along with a good book, it's important to have a few magazines on hand.




Ok, maybe more than just a few!




Bringing in all of the garden veggies is important too, so I've harvested the ripe tomatoes and peppers and I might whip up a yummy sauce or salsa.




And of course we need tea, lots of tea!  You may have noted that no alcohol is included in this "must have" hurricane ready list.  I'm not irresponsible my friends, you have to keep your wits about you in a storm!  I will bet donuts to dollars that someone on my street will host an impromptu hurricane party though! ;-)

If we don't lose internet due to Irene, I will also be taking the next few days to reply to the many wonderful emails I've received in the last few days...thank you to each and every one of you, many of whom brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my heart!

To everyone in Irene's path, let's hope she bids us goodnight and veers off to sea.  But if she insists on stopping by, I hope each of you will be safe and sound!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Dear Earthquake


Dear Earthquake, just moments before you visited I was doing this.  I was also outside trying out the video feature on my camera, but had just come in when you made your presence known.  Apparently I was never meant to be an ireporter, and I'm ok with that.


We thought you were a helicopter, they fly low and loud over us often, but when things began to fall and the windows started to shake we knew you were just pretending to be a helicopter.  

We appreciate that you left so quickly, and we knew who you were because we had lived through your wrath once while living in California years ago.  Thank you also for causing so little damage and as of now, no injuries.

I don't, however, appreciate you shutting down Metro, bridges, and making life otherwise difficult for all of the people who have to commute home.  But I will overlook things like that since my family and friends are all safe.

I sincerely hope that you and your siblings, who have done far worse throughout the world, will behave yourselves...I for one am not ready to have the world come to an end...if you'll reference my last post you'll clearly see that I just purchased a plane ticket to Europe next month, and I have lots of other things on my to do list!

If you want to make much of the East Coast into an island, I would be open to that, but please give me a little more advance warning next time, since I will need something much larger than a kayak to get around.

Oh, and one more thing, since you have already visited, would you mind speaking to your cousin Hurricane Irene?  Although we are more accustomed to visits from that side of the weather family, we really don't have room for any more drama...thanks!

Sincerely,

Kat



Monday, August 22, 2011

The Calm After the Storm


Life is funny sometimes, just when you are ready to throw in the towel, something wonderful happens that turns things upside down, or maybe right side up!

For the last week or so, I've been in the midst of a personal storm, sometimes it was just building with low rumblings and flashes of lightning off in the distance.  And other days it was the full on fury of a storm with hurricane force winds and rain blowing sideways.

It wasn't a storm which involved anyone else, it was all internal, deep down the way some storms have to brew before they can gather and rain down on you.  I was bummed that this little haven I call my blog wasn't living up to my expectations.  It all hit me when I decided to enter the Country Living Blog contest and for the first time in a long time I looked at my actual stats on here.




After a little digging, it seemed that my stats were pretty much abysmal for lack of a better word, and I have to say that it bummed me out to the point of not wanting to keep going.  Now I know on a logical level, and for much of the time, that those stats don't amount to a hill of beans, but for whatever reason it hit me like a ton of bricks.

My inner monologue went something like this, "why are you doing this, no one really likes your photos, no one will buy them from this blog of yours, so what the heck are you wasting so much time on anyway?!"  I hate when my usually cheerful inner monologue becomes sullen and pessimistic, but it happens folks, I can't deny it.

At first I thought, hey look, this is a rough time of year for me, it is after all the anniversary of the deaths of two very dear people to me this month.  My mom passed away 7 years ago on the 26th of this month, and just a few days later it is the 1st anniversary of my dear friend Dan's death.  So I wondered if that was weighing on me and making me feel down.

I also haven't been stopping to smell the roses like I should, and the guilt of getting so far behind on correspondence with people I "really" want to reply to has been weighing heavily on my heart too.




I've felt a little like the house pictured above...neglected, overgrown, lost among the vines and weeds.  So Mr. Tide and I had a long talk about this whole blogging thing, and I also sought the advice of some trusted blog friends...you know who you are, thank you!  And it was Mr. Tide who posed several questions that let me really evaluate the situation and put it into perspective, like only someone looking from the outside can.  He said, "Is it the numbers, or lack thereof, that bothers you, or is it something else? What do you enjoy about blogging, and what do you hate?"

Ahh, wise questions, kind of like Yoda only cuter I'd say.  It turns out my answers were fairly simple.  Yes, I do sort of care about the numbers, I feel like if I put something out there, I want it to be well received or why have a public blog to begin with?  This kind of rocked my world a little since I've always thought that I blog for me, when in fact if that was the case I would simply have a private blog.  I blog for those who take the time out of their day to stop by "my" blog when there are a sea to chose from.  So if no one comes, well that means I'm not producing what makes them want to stop, right?

In answer to his other question, what I like and dislike about blogging it was simply...I love taking pictures, seeing the world in a way that I hope translates to my blog.  I find I wander around and look at things and think, wow, I want to share that with others.  This, I feel, is the gift of blogging, the need to share, to connect, to find oneself through the giving of a little piece of me.  What I hate...replying to comments!  Oh I love them dearly, they touch me and make my days bright when someone takes the time to reply.  But there are times when I feel like people are replying not because they really want to, but because they feel they need to.  I know, I know, you are all confused now because on one hand I said I don't care about validation, but on the other hand I said I care about numbers...it's a complicated emotion my friends!



I think that it's like having your play make it to Broadway.  If you create the work and the theater is packed opening night of the show, it means people are curious.  If they keep packing the theater night after night, even if the critics say it's not good, it means you are touching someone, giving them something that brings them back and makes them want their friends to share in the experience.  That's the best analogy I can use to describe the mixed signals I feel on this topic.

I know this all sounds wishy washy and as though I'm down in the dumps, but trust me I'm not, really nothing could be further from the truth.  I've now entered what I like to call the calm "after" the storm.  Sometimes you have to have that storm, the one that tosses you around and rocks the blue skies of everyday life to get you to the other blue skies on the other side.

I have some amazing opportunities coming my way with art and with life.  I have a very bright future as a photographer right now, and I feel so blessed to be very close to having some of my dreams come true!  And I booked a ticket to Germany (reason for the Beck's Beer Pic, the only German thing I had in my house...for shame!) and France just a few days ago, where Mr. Tide and I will spend 8 glorious days drinking in all that those 2 countries have to offer us!  So life is good my friends, very good, but there needs to be some changes around this place...things I realized a long time ago but ignored.




This blog will no longer focus on home stuff.  Now I'm not saying there won't be home stuff on here from time to time, I love my home, but it won't be the focus.  So sadly, if you started reading my blog for my kitchen reno (still my #1 post of all time), or some other home stuff, well you might need to pack your bags and move on down the line to the hundreds and thousands of other wonderful home design blogs...take a look at my sidebar for a few of the best out there!

And I will no long have comments enabled.  I want this blog to be a place where you pop in and read if you want and then move on without feeling the obligation to comment.  I still welcome emails, especially if you have a question or just want to say hi...I love hellos!  But this will eliminate the guilt that plagues me, and that I tried to ignore, but simply could not...it's in my genes!

I want you to feel like you are picking up a magazine...not a very consistent or focused one, or one that features beautiful houses or pretty things, but one that gives you respite, if only for a moment from the daily grind.  Like with a magazine, you take what you want from it and then turn the page...no guilt, no obligation, just something to look at!

And if some of you think I'm unappreciative in doing this, I apologize, but only a little.  Those who know me, know that it's because of my appreciation for you my readers, and also for myself that I'm doing this, so I hope you'll understand.  And I hope that I will never look at my numbers again, but simply create and enjoy the act of creating and sharing even if just 1 of you visits each day!

And if you don't believe that a picture can touch you in ways unimaginable, check out THIS website my daughter sent me a link to today...it made laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to do this!  Now that is what photography is all about!

xoxo Kat


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bad Start, Happy Ending


Today started out on a rough note.  I wasn't feeling well at all...

But by the time Mr. Tide got home this evening, I was feeling better and asked him if he would take me out in the kayak.




We took the tandem out for a spin and while he paddled, I got to ride along like the Queen of the Nile and snap pictures.  It's quite a treat to just glide along while someone else paddles, of course we all know I have the hard job of trying to capture the wildlife *rolls eyes*.

If you are wondering why I'm doing so many textured pictures this month, well I have a little project underway and so I'm working on a portfolio.  I promise, realism will be back soon, but for now I'm having fun creating.

So after a bad start, the day ended happily...thanks to some salt water, fresh air, and a handsome husband I can always count on!!   I hope you each had a good day, even if it started out upside down!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

If You Were a Boat


If you were a boat, my darling
A boat, my darling
I'd be the wind at your back...



 As always, thank you for your wonderful comments, and although I don't always reply back, I do read and enjoy each and every one of them!!! xoxo

*** And go toot your own horn, I did (something we all need to learn to do more of, heck, we work hard on these blogs of ours!), and enter your blog in the Country Living Blue Ribbon Blogger Award Contest!  Click HERE for more info...hurry it ends on Monday!! ***

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dismal


Misty Belle's face kind of says it all.  Although it was supposed to be a bright sunny day with lower humidity, instead it is gray and overcast.  Not because the weathermen and women were wrong (don't even get me started on their accuracy these days!), but because there is a a thick cloud of gray smoke which has enveloped the lower Chesapeake Bay and it's tributaries. 

You see, tragically there is a large fire burning south of here in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia, some 200 miles from where we live.  So although it means no running around outside for puppies and no yard work that desperately needs to be done, my heart breaks for the animals that live there and now have no home as nearly 6000 acres have burned.  And there is no end in site to this fire that was started by a lightning strike over a week ago, so if you know how to do a rain dance, please dance away before more people and animals are affected!  Click here to see pictures.

It truly makes me appreciate the folks in other parts of the country, and the world, who have endured even greater fires, and much more often!

I thought this haunting blue grass song entitled Return to Dismal Swamp was fitting.  And yes I like bluegrass!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sing for Your Supper


Today, I thought we'd take a peek inside my cupboards and around the kitchen.




I love my glass fronted cupboards.




And my napkin rings given to me by my sweet daughter!




You can't live in Maryland and not have a set of crab glasses.




And this blueberry creamer and sugar came from my parents who raised blueberries, yum!




This beautiful white platter was a gift from my neighbor last Christmas, I think she knows me pretty well!




The plate above the range came from Giant, the etched bottle was found at a local gift store, and the green bottle is from my dear friend Celia, she gave it to me in high school and I added the slate tag years ago.




On the hutch are some treasured kitchen items from my mother and grandmother, and that wooden block with the beach babe is from the talented and oh so sweet Linda at Itsy Bits and Pieces!  Thank you Linda, I love it!




As you can tell, I don't worry too much about jamming things into my glass fronted cupboards.  Storage is at a premium in this little house of ours so everything has it's place and there is a place for everything.




Gravy boats, milk glass salt and pepper shakers, and even chickens find themselves at home here.




I love my fishy chowder bowls.




The strawberry topped sugar bowl and butter dish peeking out behind the blue vase belonged to my grandmother.




Above the hidden microwave are my fancy smanchy glasswares.




And a few pretties too.




And because no kitchen would be complete without one, here is my cookie jar.  To see more kitchen pictures click here.

Now, go sing for your supper! ;-)






I'm linking to

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words


As I munched on my breakfast of organic strawberries, sourdough bread with butter and raspberry jam, and walnuts this morning, I couldn't help but think of all the strife around our planet.




I thought of the people without a bite to eat, of the people who have lost their homes and businesses to senseless violence, and of the families of the fallen who will never again share breakfast with their loved ones.




The truth is that I love pretty pictures just as much as the next person, but I can also appreciate those which capture the pain and suffering in a way that words cannot.  HERE is a link to several pictures that are worth more than a thousand words, for surely anything that touches our souls and makes us strive to do better and be better must be priceless!


 
 
 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Across the Universe


Fountains Abbey I miss you...




England I miss you!

Usually I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to the Beatles, but for Fiona I'll make an exception!


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Water is Wide


This lovely Mute Swan graced us with his or her presence on a walk this evening.



Sunday, August 7, 2011

Don't Let The Sun


Don't let the sun, go down on me...



Saturday, August 6, 2011

Just Desserts


It helps to dance, with the music blaring, while you bake...trust me on this one! ;-)


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Morning Has Broken


 Morning has broken, like the first morning.




Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning.