I’ll not forget you

This week’s photo challenge is “blue.” And although I haven’t been participating lately, I decided I couldn’t pass this one up when I went outside and saw these little blue wildflowers peeking at me from our woods.

I’m not sure what they are, but they remind me of Forget-Me-Nots, which would be very appropriate. Today is my sister Annie‘s birthday. She would have been 54 years old. She loved it when we lit the birthday candles on a cake and sang to her, or anyone else for that matter. I’ll not forget her.

In honor of Annie’s birthday, I’m doing a little book giveaway. If you would like to enter to win a signed copy of Dancing in Heaven, just visit my Facebook author page Christine M. Grote. There is a “like” button at the top. If you click it I will enter you in the Giveaway. If you have already liked my page, just leave me a message over there and I will add your name to the hat. I’ll be drawing a winner at the end of the month.

Happy birthday little sister angel.

Weekly photo challenge: Regret

Honey was our first family dog and only dog besides Arthur, if you can fully consider Arthur a dog. Honey was beautiful. People complimented her everywhere we took her.

In the spring of 2001 we finally broke down and decided to get a dog when the kids were getting older, I was busy running them around, and our youngest son was going to be left home alone more and more. We thought a dog would add a sense of security and companionship to our home.

When I called a local vet about dog breeds, the receptionist said, “You might want to come in and look at a rescue puppy we have here.”  So we went. Anna had always been intimidated by dogs since she had an unfortunate incident when she was young. But we thought a puppy wouldn’t be threatening. When we got to the vet’s and they took us to the outdoor run to show us Honey, Anna took a step back. And I was surprised myself. I was expecting a puppy. Honey, the name the staff had given her, looked like a full-grown dog to me. And she really was full-grown in size by then, but the vet estimated she was only about nine months old. One of their clients had found her lurking around the back of their yard by their shed. Later we found a couple of beebees imbedded in her back legs.

We were told Honey was given the name not only because of her color, but because of her disposition. With that kind of recommendation from experts, we knew we would be getting a sweet dog. We were right.

When she died eight years later, in the spring of 2009, from a spinal disc problem we were trying to treat, we were all devastated.

I regret she wasn’t able to be here with us in our new home where she would have had a large yard to roam, deer to watch, and plenty of squirrels to chase.

Weekly Photo Challenge — Waiting

Niagra Falls wax museum, summer of 1998.

Yesterday was a day of waiting for me, although it had nothing to do with this picture. I waited to be able to take a drink of water in the morning as I waited to leave for the hospital. Then I waited to be called back to register for surgery. Then I waited to be called back for surgery prep. Then I waited for surgery. I think waiting for surgery is the worse part. I had laproscopic surgery to remove my gall bladder. It was a bit more complicated than normal and so Mark had to wait 2-1/2 hours instead of the expected 1 hour to hear I survived. 🙂

Now I’m waiting to get the drugs out of my system and become clear-headed again. If you don’t hear from me for a few days, you’ll know why.

Weekly photo challenge: Wonder

This challenge was very challenging for me. I have seen so many things in my 54 years that have filled me with wonder.

I thought about posting one of the awesome natural features I’ve seen at the parks in this country, or across the ocean.

Grand Canyon Coast of Hawaii

I thought about posting one of the incredible man or woman-made creations on display here or there.

I thought about the wonder of something incomprehensibly large like the universe, or amazingly tiny yet complex like an insect or a newborn fawn.

But when I remember the moment in my life when I was filled with the most wonder, it was the moment I held in my arms my first child.

Weekly photo challenge: Windows

I was on the WWII tour of Europe with some of my daughter’s high school classmates, and a good friend of mine, Jan. Jan was making a point of visiting every cathedral we were near for a project she was doing. Otherwise I would have missed it.

We were in Paris, and had just visited, and been awestruck by the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, rose window.

Then Jan said, “My sister told me there is another cathedral close by that she loved and that we shouldn’t missed.” So Jan led the way, and sure enough, a few blocks from Notre Dame, we came across the Sainte-Chapelle. When we stepped into the upper chappel I thought I had been transported to a magical, spirital place.

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

I sat in one of the chairs that lined the walls, listened to very tinkling soft music that filled the space, and soaked in the light that shone through the colorful windows that gave the illusion of supporting the structure. “Supported by slender piers, the vaulted ceiling seems to float above magnificent stained-glass windows.” (http://www.discoverfrance.net/France/Cathedrals/Paris/Sainte-Chapelle.shtml)

Sainte-Chapelle, Paris, France

I’ve never since experienced anything like it.

Rose window at Sainte-Chapelle

Weekly photo challenge—Opportunity

I’d like to take this opportunity to catch up on a couple of things meriting mention.

First, I’d very much like to thank everyone who has bought Dancing in Heaven, and those who have read it and given me feedback. In particular, I’d like to thank Nancy who blogs as dogear6 at My Life in Photos. Nancy was kind enough to write a review of Dancing in Heaven for me that I have linked on my Dancing in Heaven page and that you can read here.

Second, I’d like to thank Sue who blogs at Dreamwalker Sanctuary for the Versatile Blogger Award. You can read interesting facts about Sue and the Versatile Blogger Award at her Versatile Blogger post. As I told Sue, it was kind of her to nominate me, but I would not be officially accepting the award as I have already done so in the past. You can read about my seven fascinating facts, and who I nominated for the award, at my post, Rapunzel Speaks and Gives out Awards.

Now, on to the entertainment portion of today’s program.

In the fall of 2006, I was taking a photography class at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. One of our requirements was to prepare a slide show. I decided to do one about the Ohio River, set to the song Old Man River performed by Bee Adair. Which is all rather insignificant. But I spent a lot of days journeying along the river, looking for photo opportunities.

The other thing you need to know is that every two or three years, Cincinnati hosts a Tall Stacks event on the riverfront where riverboats gather and a big festival is celebrated. Tall Stacks was being held in 2006.

One day I was driving east along the river and I pulled over into a park to see if there was anything photo worthy, when a couple of red and blue flags caught my eye. Being curious, I wandered over and much to my delight, found the Mississippi Queen and the Delta Queen moored side-by-side. The river was low and they were waiting until it rose to continue their journey to Cincinnati.

I got there just in time to see them pulling in their landing ramp, untying the large ropes strung to sturdy trees, and casting off up (or maybe it’s down) the river to Cincinnati.

I entered the photograph in a contest and received an Honorable Mention for it. The photograph appeared (in a very small version) in the 2007 Best of College Photography Annual.

The Delta Queen and Mississippi Queen on the Ohio River east of Cincinnati