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So, I turned 43 a few days ago. Eleven, to be exact, which can only mean that April is almost a memory — and, if I chose to look at it this way, that we are one step closer to yet another unbearable winter.

But I’m a “glass half full”-kinda gal, which I was reminded of this morning whilst troddling to work when I looked toward the southern sky and saw a jet streaming its whitetail trail diagonally upward (and westward) from the half-full moon.

And, besides, how pessimistic can a girl be when she encounters a sight like this?

Poppy Burst 1

I found that poppy Sunday morning when I was on my way over to The Lovely’s for lunch (chicken casserole, corn, peas, grape tomatoes, bread and butter, courtesy of Margaret). I thought the flower would be fully emerged by now, but it isn’t. I will keep checking because I’d really like to get it on film. Which, of course, is not actually film, but I still like saying “film” because … well, I just do. I know I’ve ranted about this before, but I like that I grew up using “film cameras” and knowing the importance of getting good negatives (even though I’m a positive person!) and even that, at this very second, I can still recall the (probably toxic) smell of D-76 developer and Acufine and Dektol … and, honestly, I wish I still had one or two of the shirts that I completely ruined by splashing fixer on them!

But I digress. And that poppy picture was most definitely taken with a digital camera and resized in PhotoShop while I was sitting here in my living room rather than in any kind of darkroom.

And as I sit here, I really could be in a crappy mood. I just — as I typed — received a call from my mechanic, Jay, who has had my car at his shop for four days now (not his fault: I had the car towed there Saturday morning [his shop is closed on the weekend], and it’s not as if there weren’t several other people with sick or injured vehicles ahead of me). Turns out my car’s timing chain broke, which is what caused the Grand Am to quit running while I was driving through South Sandusky Campground on the aforementioned Saturday morning. There could be other issues as well involving words or parts I don’t really know anything about, such as “valves” and “gaskets” and what-not, although the fact the car was going just 10 to 15 miles per hour at the time is supposedly A Good Thing.

I am cautiously optimistic.

Meanwhile, I am thankful for the beautiful spring weather we have been having. Makes walking the 11 blocks or so to work a surprisingly refreshing way to start the day!

Well … except for my broken left pinkie toe. Which might actually be sprained. Or maybe just jammed. All I know is it hurt like a bleeping bleep when I ran my foot into the humidifier the day I was getting ready to go to the opening for the art, craft and photography exhibition. (No, I didn’t win anything, but I did get some helpful suggestions regarding my photos. And I gained some insight into myself and my interests and abilities. [Remember: It IS all about me!] And it was kinda cool to be a part of the show because there was some really good stuff on display — most of which didn’t win anything, either — and I haven’t competed, photo-wise, in anything for a very long time … and the last time I did, I really should have won [instead of placing second] because the picture I took was dramatic and full of great action and facial expressions, and the picture that did win was a photograph of a girl running the hurdles — which, as any sports photographer knows, is probably THE easiest action shot to get because all you really have to do is focus on the hurdle and wait for the runner to jump over it!)

But, again, I digress.

And as far as my toe is concerned: It’s mostly just a little swollen now. The upper third of my foot was bruised for a few days, but the bruises are long gone now. If I could go barefoot all the time, my toe wouldn’t hurt at all, really; mostly, it’s uncomfortable when I cram my foot into my Merrells and for a few minutes afterwards, but then I’m OK. My tennis shoes don’t cause me any pain; in fact, I’ve played tennis five or six times since The Injury. So far, though, my foot hasn’t been able to get comfy in any other shoes.

What else should I say about turning 43?

Oh, yeah: My birthday was the day of the big earthquake that I essentially slept through! Diane and I spent a wonderful — albeit rainy — day in St. Louie, (briefly) exploring the Missouri Botanical Garden before heading over to Maggiano’s for lunch (mostly courtesy of a birthday gift card from Delra!), followed by a dash into Crate and Barrel, a nap in our room at the Drury Inn and a trip to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play the San Francisco Giants.

Kameron and Kendra helped me blow out the eight candles on my birthday cake the following day. The day after that, I got sunburned on my forearms, face and ears whilst watching Diane’s tennis team play their final two matches of the season. She’s retiring from coaching at the end of June, so it was bittersweet to see her team go out with a victory in the last match.

I spent the next two days recovering — and, naturally, playing Fetch with Kiddle (a.k.a. Bits)! — before having to return to work last Wednesday, just in time for Sheila’s birthday.

Other than all that, what can I say? The sun is shining as I write. Believe it or not, I even took my bicycle to Mr. Wiggs’ shop for new tires and tubes!

So, a couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to enter the Spring Art, Craft and Photography Competition and Exhibit at the Cedarhurst Creative Art Center. Mostly because I just so happened to receive an e-mail at work about the upcoming event and thought it sounded kinda cool.

I called the director and had her send me an entry form, and then I went about deciding which two pictures I wanted to enter. Which wasn’t easy because I have approximately three years’ worth of photos on my hard drive, along with countless CD’s from past years, and I really didn’t feel like going through all any of them, so I took a cursory glance at the various folders on my PC and came up with a couple that I liked. (Actually, I had the Smiling Dragonfly in mind and then picked the Poppies shot because … well, let’s face it, I’m a bit obsessed with poppies, but mostly I just liked the colors and the contrast.)

Smiling Dragonfly

Smiling Dragonfly

Poppies

Poppies

I also considered a couple of portraits of Kendra and a shot of Diane reading to the grandkids (despite all the nature-type stuff I generally post online, I actually prefer “people” shots, but I’m ultra-leery of posting pictures of kids), as well as these two photos:

Wet Poppy Bud

Wet Poppy Bud

(This shot would be just about perfect, in my opinion, if there were just a little bit of orange splitting through the bud.)

Ducklings

Ducklings

I have no idea what to expect at the competition/exhibit. I’ve never attended it, and I’ve certainly never entered anything. In fact, the only time I can ever remember entering anything in any kind of art competition was the junior high art show, in which I submitted a sort of miniature general store diarama (is that spellt right?) that I put together from a kit and a string art sailboat (remember when string art was popular?). I got a ribbon for the string art, which didn’t take me nearly as long to do as the diarama.

Anyway, the exhibit starts April 12. I’m anxious to see what everyone else has submitted.

From the past couple of days:

Yellow (California) poppies … in Illinoize!

Yellow Poppy 2

Yellow Poppy 1

Hummingbirds … and more hummingbirds …

Hummingbird 1

Hummingbird 2

Hummingbird Magnolia

Hummingbird 3

Hummingbird 4

Blue dragonfly — this one tried to land on my head!

Blue Dragonfly 2

Blue Dragonfly 1

Yellow Poppy

Napping Patches

Hummingbird at Feeder

Green Dragonfly

Chicory

Angled Poppy

Coneflower with Bee

California Poppy as Yellow Rose:

Poppy with Raindrops

Poppy Solo

Poppy Top

Poppy Side

Poppy Sunset Mix

Earlier this spring, I talked Virginia into planting some poppies in her garden. Mostly because she is good at growing stuff, and I’m … not.

I didn’t expect them to bloom this year, but guess what: They did!

These are just like the ones I saw last year in Arizona. California poppies, or maybe they’re also called Mexican Gold, I don’t know. I just like them.

California Poppy 2

California Poppy 3

California Poppy 1

I might have to take some more pictures of these once they open, who knows. (I do tend to obsess a little.)

Bunch of Poppies

1 Poppy

5 Poppies

Poppy Profile

Another Solo Poppy

Poppy Burst

I have a lot to write about from the past couple of days, but right now, it’s (past) bedtime. So, for now: Enjoy the photo.

(It’s a little like me … or, at least, how I feel at the moment.)

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