Hello out there and good morning! It is the last day of August 2021 and so much is happening in the world. Yesterday, Louisiana was hit by hurricane Ida. The pictures and video look like replays from hurricane Katrina 16 years ago. During that time I was 34 and had just started working at the restaurant in Monrovia, CA. My life back then was one catastrophe after another and I remember having to stay home and resting after a surgery that I had during the time. However, all my co-workers and patrons of that restaurant organized and held a 24 hour donation drive for the people affected by that hurricane. I know that I talk about volunteering and donating to local charities frequently and here I go again. If you have extra supplies, like batteries, toiletries (I am thinking feminine products, diapers, soap), new socks you have not worn or underwear that you bought but are still in the package people need these items as well as non-perishable food items. Right now there are places in your communities setting up donation drives. The best thing though in any disaster situation to donate is money. Personally, I recommend donating in this fashion and directly to the United Way or Red Cross as they can put any money that is donated to them to good use. Here is a news story that gives you examples of things they are needing in the disaster area. Every little bit helps.
Hurricane Ida: How to Help – This story also lists several local organizations in the hurricane hit areas that have links to donate or how to help.
Also, the US Military is no longer in Afghanistan and it seems that the past twenty years has not changed anything. It was hard watching the news after the suicide blast that killed hundreds of innocent civilians and 13 US service members. I remember in 1990-91 and hanging out with a friend at the base in Camp Pendleton. A few times we had taken my daughter who was around four at the time with us on one of those missions. I fondly remember one night we had snuck into the barracks and my daughter was the star of the night. All those young Marines made sure that she had fun and they answered all her questions. There was also a time when my daughter was not with us and we had been partying in the barracks (when we shouldn’t have been) and one of the guys would say sternly “O.D.!!!” and then they would scurry around hiding evidence of the party. I remember having to hide under a bed one time. It was scary and exciting all at the same time. It was hard getting the news that most of those guys that we had been hanging out with were being deployed for Operation Desert Storm, and I remember I did keep in contact with one of those guys, who had two first names and promised to write as much as I could. Well, sadly, I did not keep up on my end of the bargain as I had stroke during that time and I had forgotten about him and many things in my life. One of my girlfriends did marry one of those boys and they have been happily married for over twenty years. To any service person, active duty or veteran, THANK YOU for all that you have done and sacrificed for our country and for other countries.
Not much else has been happening in my world. Regular, seasonal, aches and pains have kept me from working on things as I have been spending more time with my feet up in the last few weeks. Although I can’t prove it, the weather effects my pain and the heat and high pressure that has been over the Valley has made my spinal nerves feel like they are on fire and sometimes it is too difficult to ignore it. Since it hurts to sit with my feet hanging or sitting upright, I have been spending time in an easy chair with my feet resting on the ottoman reviewing old SD cards. I have been posting some of the things I have found on them. Sunday, I pulled a card that I popped into the Nikon a few weeks before my surgery and then it has the first photo shoot I tried, four months after that surgery for Cauda Equina Syndrome. Here is sample of the video that I posted to my IG account.
The photo below was taken just after we arrived in Long Beach after a two and half hour car ride from the CV.
The effects of Cauda Equina Syndrome is different for everyone. The pain that I was in during that January was unbearable, well, almost unbearable. I was able to keep working and showing up for things, trying to keep a smile on my face even though I probably cried more in those last weeks prior to surgery than I had in my whole life. At that time, my Primary care physician was sure that I was lying and sent me to see a psychiatrist. Hubby and I had several heated arguments as I don’t think he had quite understood the pain that I was going through. Heck, I probably would have thought I was making it all up, if I had heard my story. Anyhow, we got through it. My surgery was on January 31, 2019 and although I am far from that day, the effects will remain till my end. It was hard looking at the contents of that card but it was also a great reminder of how far I have come in my recovery. For me, I have always had to fight through something or another during my adult life and that card represents my spirit and drive. It shows me that I fought for me during that time and most importantly, it shows that I did not quit myself or give up. Thank you Universe for putting that card in the spot that it was in so that I chose it to review. Here are some more of the shots from that day.
It was a fun time, really. I love having the chance to shoot photos with good lighting and the sun provided good lighting that day. We drove back that day after he played and the ride luckily, I do not remember but I know that I must have been in pain as I did not shoot one photo after we left there. I usually snap a few photos on every drive. The next shots recorded on that card were the following day, January 20, 2019. A friend had invited me to hang out at the Empire Polo Fields to watch the polo matches they have during that time of year. I was in pain but jumped at the chance as I liked hanging out with that friend and I had never been to a polo match. We stayed for a few hours and I remember thinking that I would like to do that again. Here are a few photos from that day.
The next entry on that card came in April 2019. In that month, I had reached out to Sarah Winchester and asked if she could model as I needed practice and to see if I could still shoot as I had prior to the surgery. It was hot that day that we met in the city of Coachella and just across from the Augustine Casino. There is a huge white cross and the picturesque landscape behind it. This excited me as I knew that this was a great spot for photos. Even though I was not ready as I was still getting used to the new me and all the changes after that surgery. Usually during a photo shoot, I may crawl on the floor or get on a ladder or have to bend to capture the light, the way I want it. That day, I wasn’t ready but the model sure was!
I have re-edited these as I have a better understanding and a better computer now.
Later that evening, after that photo shoot, we visited the Lit Lounge to see Sarah perform that night with Country Nation. I was wiped out and only stayed around a half hour. I did snap a few photos and I am currently reviewing and editing a few from that night.
Another thing I have been doing comfortably from my easy chair is learning to sketch. Well, not really learning but practicing, like my photography and painting. For years, I thought I couldn’t draw. I knew that my Dad had mentioned that he was good at drawing and my sister Denise was also gifted and worked as drafter. Me, I never had that confidence and never really put any effort into it. I started sketching photos before I tried painting them and noticed that my drawing skills are not that bad and I have been enjoying working on new drawings. Here are a few from the last few days.
Well, time to do something, just not sure what, but know that I have plenty to keep me busy. One last thing to this post. I hurriedly snapped a photo of a pizza I had made so I could send it to my friend Terrie. Her and I met through our blogs and she posts some of the best recipes and they always include a great story. On Friday’s, most Fridays, is her and husbands pizza day and she makes homemade pizza dough. I love looking at the photos and reading the post that goes along with her stories and sometimes I can almost smell the baking crust and taste the gooey toppings. Ummmm. Anyhow, I finally made a pizza worth taking a photo of this weekend and the first thing that I did was snap a photo and start a text to her. Sadly, I didn’t hit send as I didn’t want to disturb her. I finally did share my victory pizza with her and I was so proud as I used her crust recipe. Oh my, tasty!
Thank you dear reader for visiting! Where ever you are and what ever you may be going through, I am cheering for you to make it through and get to your destination safely. Hugs.