Friday, April 11, 2014

Lesson 296: Eye Openers

Happy weekend, Readers!
The sun is out, Erieites!
Don't blink, or you might miss it.

After the long, cold winter, all most people do is wish for summer.
We want baseball games,
and ice cream cones,
and crickets,
and fireflies,
and beach glass,
and the sun 

I'm guilty of that myself.
Eloise is reminding you to keep your eyes open,
otherwise you'll miss all the surprises spring brings.

Cool picture, above, huh?

I swiped it. 
It's not mine.
It's Melissa's.  
She told me she Eloised it---
a term I dubbed myself.
It refers to the process of tweaking a photograph to make it better.

Here is an example of one of my raw vineyard shots.

Here it is Eloised.

It just needed a touch of a fade and a few words to make it better.

The ice was melting this week.
Now that's a real eye opener!
My husband is trout fishing this weekend and can't remember a time 
when he headed to the creeks while ice still covered the lake.

I spied with my little eye some birdies atop a tree this week.
These are European Starlings as identified by Kristen, 
my Enviro-Nerd friend.

I caught this fox on the Clark School playground.

The kids and I watched him eat a rodent.
He flipped it up in the air like a piece of popcorn
and swallowed it in one gulp.

The fruitless vineyards looked pretty in the morning light.

So did the cemetery.  
I love old graves.  
The older and more tilted, the better.

I spent the week reading this book on and off.
This one can only be handled in small doses.  
It's got some powerful information relayed by a peacefully powerful man.
Jimmy Carter writes about the worldwide abuses of women in girls.
We can't turn a blind eye to such atrocities, some even in our own country.
Let me know if you'd like to borrow my copy.  
It is a real eye opener, and I realized I've been living in a bubble for far too long.

Speaking of books, I'm steadily receiving notes from people who read and enjoyed
my children's novel, The Key.

To the people sending me keys and cards and special little notes of encouragement:


I can never have enough keys.  
They are one of my favorite things.

If you let me know you've read the book--
either by word of mouth,
or smoke signal
(Grandma--I don't mean with cigarettes),
I have a key waiting for you.
I select one from my collection based on the unique qualities of the recipient.

Above is my key collection.  It is very old and three quarters of them came from my dad, and I've been adding to the collection for years.  I find most of them.  In fact, now that I type this, if you did lose a set somewhere, you better call the Lamp Post.  I probably have yours.  Keys are one thing I never advertise in the newspaper if I find them.

All the keys are different.
Some are spray painted black.  
Others are gold.  
Most are rusted.
Those are my favorites.
The older and more beat up, the better.

The gold ones are old Harbor Creek High School National Honor Society keys that came in damaged. They were going to pitch a box of perfectly good keys, thinking they weren't honorable enough for the honorees--- and I rescued them.  

If you were a hellion in high school ........(Heather, CJ......) and missed your opportunity at getting one, prove your old teachers wrong and read my book.  It's only a fourth grade reading level so I am sure you can handle it.  I'll send you one of the National Honor Society keys and you can wear it to our 25th year class reunion this summer.  Compliments Eloise.  I'm all for the late bloomer.

Of the responses I've received so far, my favorite is this one that I received on Thursday:

I couldn't show the letter in it's entirety because it would give away the book's ending if you haven't had the chance to finish it.  This letter is from Eileen, who happens to be Farmer Richter's wife.  This should answer my most frequently asked question--are the characters real?

Most of the characters are based on real people.  I'll give you nuggets of information regarding The Key for the next few blog posts.  I won't reveal everything though.  What fun is there in that?  It's good to have things to wonder about.  

The easiest to answer question is about Fangs/Bandit.  Is he real?  

Here he is, alive and well.
He was barking at me as I stopped to take his picture.

"Pipe down, Bandit!"  I yelled at him.
I just made you Harborcreek's most famous dog.

It's a funny thing when you are a creative writer--how your mind works.  I see the story so clearly in my head, that when I look out my window, I can see the places that I've envisioned, but most aren't really there.

For example, this is the back yard of the Lamp Post.  Ellen really does have a tree house, which is a big part of the story.  I pictured Emily's and Rocky's houses where I indicated on the picture below, but really nothing stands there but trees.  But to me, even as I turn my head to look out of the Lamp Post window, I see Rocky's dog house as if it was really there--with it's faded red paint and mud worn path around it.

I do have a bedside table stacked with books.
I also have a box on it, but it is not hand carved and wooden as the novel suggests.

It's a LOST box, based on my favorite TV series ever in life--LOST.
I put in it things I find on my travels or things that have special meaning.
Here is a peek inside.

Take a close look.
What do you see?

If you noticed turtles, good for you.  For some strange reason, turtles kept finding their way into my life.  It happened so often, coming across turtle items, that I began to think it was some sort of message I was to be receiving.  I found both of the ones you can spot in the box, and several more I have sitting around in other places in the Lamp Post.  I looked them up and started to like turtles.  In fact,  began to identify with them.

They live long lives, which is a personal goal of mine.
They are slow, but steady.  If you've ever run with me, you know that's my style.
When storms roll through or enemies attack, 
they just tuck in their heads and hole up in their shells for awhile until the danger passes. 
That is kind of like me, too.
This, too, shall pass. 


My friend Heather, former high school hellion, passed this article along to me this week,
just as I was preparing to write this blog post.  
Check it out, especially if you see yourself as a bit of an introvert.
This is me, and I am proud of my inner tortoise.
I spotted a connection.
Can you?

These people sure as heck weren't moving like tortoises this week.
My workout group enjoyed a snow less track,

despite working out in tornadic winds
(fly away hair had a whole new meaning that night).

We all get together two or three times a week to improve our health.

Or not.

We did a bleacher workout on Thursday.  
There were so many of us, we had to split up to different sides of the field.

My peeps on the North Side were hard core. 
We pushed it to the maxx (double x intended).

Those on the South Side....
everyone has a down day.

Or week.

I will pray for you, South Siders.

Speaking of prayers needed,
shoot some my way.

Sam and his dad are headed to see a Live WWE event coming to my city.

The wrestlers are coming to town on Father's Day!

I even sprung for the more expensive seats because and event of this magnitude 
only comes around once in a blue moon.

Another once-in-blue-moon-kind-of-thing came about last week, too.
That big gold thing isn't a replica of a moon.  
It's a bowling ball.
My hubby went to Reno, Nevada to see the National Bowling Stadium
and bowl in a nationwide tournament.

It was quite a swanky place by bowler's standards.

The backdrop sure was pretty, too.

 With facetime on the iPhone,
 I was able to take a walk through the city with him for a couple of mornings.

I was glad hubby got his first get-away in 20 years.

But for Mother Eloise,
there was 

I'm a Tough Mudder, but I take more pride in being a Tough Mother.
I ran the Lamp Post solo for a few days, and boy, was it hard.
My fatigue shows here in this selfie.

I have to hand it to you parents who have a spouse that travels all of the time.
That would not be a good life for me.

Mostly because I had to put together my first K-Nex project with my son.
Mechanics aren't my strong suit.
But with patience,
and about 90 minutes,
I was able to build this digger thingy with Sam.
To the Ages 5 to 8 Beginner Kit:
---eat my dust!

Sam was so happy to see his daddy return home.
We all had to fight for space on his lap.

But in the end, we let the littlest one have it, 
and finally Sam's eyes closed all the way for the first time in four days.  
He took the business of being the Man of the House a little too seriously,
and was up several times a night "checking on things."

Eloise has the twinkle back in her eye.

My eyes are wide open, 
looking through my lens for new ways to capture life.
If you are in my line of sight this week,

I chose the song Pompeii by Bastille for the pictures this week.  You can find some of my best closed eyes pictures (all planned).  Thanks for being such good sports.

Keep your eyes open this weekend, Readers.  Don't turn a blind eye to those in need.  Make change happen and let it begin with you.

And most of all--Don't Blink!  It really ruins a group shot.


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