Photo Blogging Challenge (October 2015): Closeup

Close up – Up Close

I ventured out this month to visit one of my very favourite parks to photograph.  Carburn Park in Southeast Calgary.  It is a quiet gem, normally overlooked by many park enthusiasts.  On a good day, I can see Pelicans, Cormorants, various ducks, woodpeckers, one or two owls and deer.   The Pelicans were late this year, sitting on the Bow in mid-September when their usual visit occurs in late spring or early summer.  I wasn’t able to capture them this time, but I do look forward to next years’ opportunities.

Carburn Park is a popular spot for local dog walkers who enjoy a bit of exercise with their fur babies. There is no off leash area here, due to the abundance of wild life and the way dogs do like a chase whatever runs.  Therefore it is a once or twice around the lagoon before moving onto Sue Higgens’ Dog Park across the river or back home. The dogs appear to be content to wag their tails, scratch the grass, sniff the brush, and the trees that line the pathway. Occasionally they will catch the scent of a deer, squirrel or other park dweller, bark excitedly and try to follow their instincts into the woods. All the time, irritating their walkers who are so encapsulated in their world of walking and raising their heart rates, they don’t even look about to notice the life moving around them.

Often they miss, nature at large, up close and personal, right next to the pathway.  This is the perspective I chose for this months’ Photo Blogging Challenge.

 Nature Up Close and Personal

Crow n Bones

duck up 2

duck down 6

These last two shots were taken on a day when I was without my Nikon. Lucky me,  I had my little Ricoh.

This fat gopher bodes a late and mild winter as she basks in the October sunshine.

Fat Gopher

A young Mule Deer walks so close to the pathway I could touch her, if only she would let me.

Deer 1

Cheryle   October 2015

ALBERTA THAI CANADIAN ASSN 2015 STAMPEDE FLOAT

This year marks the first float entry by the Alberta Thai-Canadian Association into the World Famous Calgary Stampede Parade.

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The parade kicks off the city’s 10 crazy days of its’ western heritage celebration.   During good years, businesses shut down, parties rage, bulls are ridden and Stampede Park hosts thousands of visitors each day.  During poor years, businesses slow down, parties pop, bull is spoken and Stampede Park hosts thousands of visitors each day.

Participation in the Parade is a triumph for the businesses and non-profits who are lucky enough to be approved entry.  It means millions of people will see your float live or broadcast on TV.  The possibility of increased business because of the exposure can be translated into additional clients, revenue or membership. Not to mention the bragging rights that come with the acceptance of entry and the anticipation of receiving the coveted Best Float designation given by the Parade Judges.

Final Meeting 1

The current President of the Alberta Thai Canadian Association (ATCA) is an intelligent, tour de force woman, who has a definite vision of what the Association can achieve and the road map to its success.  She is able to rally the membership to whole heartedly strive to execute new ideas in order to deftly move their organization into the diverse cultural arena that makes up Calgary’s multi-national population.

ATCA Entry on the way

The ATCA entry, conceived out of love for their homeland Thailand and their desire to share it with the world, brought together over 100 people to create. Visionaries, organizers, planners, designers, builders, choreographers and audio specialists spent months working to achieve their dream of the beautiful float following the 80 people representing different aspects of Thai culture.

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The Thailand Sign Bearer, a young Thai woman dressed in a gold Thai Chakkraphat, led the way gaily waving, smiling and enjoining the audience to visit Thailand, if just for a moment. Next came the ATAC Banner adorned by the Serpent of Thailand and carried by four ladies.  Dressed in traditional Nung long skirts and Sabai shawls, they walked in front of two young men also in traditional dress who carried the Canadian and Thai flags.

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Following the Banner and the Flag Bearers were Thai and Canadian ladies in traditional dress carrying gold and silver Pan Pum offering statues.

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Next in line were the talented Thai and Canadian dancers who like fluid colour flowed along the parade route.  Their colourful outfits sparkled and jingled in the hot Alberta sun as they moved through the intricate dance steps to the music booming from the speakers mounted in the float.

final preparations 9a

The last performers, the Muay Thai Boxers, like the protectors of Thailands honour, walked before the float.  Men, women and children throwing kicks, popping punches and entertaining the audience with their fighting antics.

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The last vision of Thailand on the parade route was the ATCA Float, drawn by a well camouflaged truck covered in fabric, ribbons and glitter.

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The float was adorned with a large triangular Golden Stupa, strategically placed amoung colourful exotic flowers and beautiful Thai ladies representing the 4 corners of Thailand. The lovely ladies, each outfitted in the traditional dress of their area waved and proudly exemplified the loving and generous nature of the Thai people.  A golden goddess waved from the centre of the float, representing a unified Thailand shining like a bright light out of the east.

final preparations 3

The passing of the float signaled the end of the ATCA entry, the audience members fondly waved and smiled as they watched a small piece of Thailand move further along the parade route.

final preparations 9r

The Alberta Thai Canadian Association entry may not have won any official awards from the Parade Judges, but the award of confidence and success they won in their hearts is untouchable and immeasurable.

Cheryle July 2015

A DAY AT THE ZOO

A Day at the Zoo

Summer is here.  I know we haven’t yet reached the solstice, but the weather is summery and so are the outings coordinated by Ogden House 50+ Seniors Club.

What says summer better than a day at the Zoo?  On June 11th, a group of 50+ members journeyed through, the Canadian Wilds, Eurasia and Africa.

It was a sunny day.  A light breeze batted around the white seed packets of fluffy fuzz which fall from The Cottonwood and Poplar trees prodigiously growing around St. Georges Island.

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Upon arrival, our little group of 17 was dwarfed by the sheer number of school children, all walking in orderly lines holding hands while being directed by teachers and volunteer parents.  Their excitement was palpable, it propelled their tiny bodies forward so fast they appear blurred in some of the photos I took.

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Our first stop was the Penguin Plunge, where we enjoyed the antics of the Penguins playing in the outside pools while we waited in a short line to get inside the Penguin enclosure.   Lucky us.  Once inside we were treated to the overwhelming smell of fish and the chaos of feeding time. They don’t receive all the nutrients they need from the lifeless fish, so are given daily supplements to compensate for the lack of nutrition.

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The sleek black and yellow birds swam, jumped and vocalized as they enjoyed their lunch of dead fish.  .

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After the cool air of the Penguin Plunge the heat of the sun felt extra hot, as we trundled our way across the bridge to the picnic site.  Happily, we picked out two green tables shaded under the protection of the huge fully leafed trees.

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We sorted ourselves and took a few moments to decide where we wanted to visit first.  We had an hour and a half before lunch.  Everyone set out on their own adventures, some with buddies others on their own.  I was on the lookout for possible Calendar shoot spots. I had no preconceived plan of action, just to wander where my whim and the animals led.

The surprise of the day were the Peacocks.

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They were everywhere.  Each and every one was displaying their beautiful plumage fans. Everyone once in a while one would call, that eerie piercing caw of theirs, sending shivers down my back.

One in particular was a camera star.  He must be in love with the camera.  I observed that as long as a camera was focused in his direction, he flaunted his feathers. At one point, I put my camera down to change the lens, he brought in his fan and dropped the feathers into the beautiful trailing train.

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When I had finished the lens switch and brought the camera back up, he turned toward the camera, fluttered and fanned this tail out as wide as it would go.

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He was such a poser I had the best time snapping more shots of him than I should have.

As I travelled the African continent I encountered many of the favourite animals taking naps in the shade, walking about, relaxing with their babies or working on fixing their homes.

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0079      Resting Hippo

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0075   Red River Pig Mother with spotted baby

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0063       Sleeping Gorilla

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0086   Zebras strolling around their enclosure

Zoo w Ogden House_0035          A  Misty Waterfall in the Rain Forest

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0108       Yellow Bird tending to its’ home

Zoo Trip w Ogden House_0107          Turtle taking a stroll

It was hot on my journey through Africa, so I was happy for the break when lunch time came around.  Back at the picnic table, we were treated to Subway sandwiches, chips, cookies and Juice.

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It was a yummy meal and a welcome opportunity to sit in the shade, catch up on where the others visited and what they saw.

After lunch we had another hour and half to explore more of the micro world of the Zoo.  Since being out in the sun walking around is not my natural habitat, I chose to stay and chat with a few of the others who also enjoy a quiet visit in the shade.

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By the end of the day we were tired but satisfied with our adventures.  We piled into our vans for the short drive back to Ogden House.  Everyone had an exhilarating summer day at the Zoo. One I am sure we will want to repeat next year.

Cheryle Baker   June 2015

RUBBISH

POETRY REHAB 101

.

RUBBISH

.

Discarded

Put aside

No longer wanted, tossed

Alone

Across a pile of the broken

The outdated, the spoiled

.

Left to mingle and slide

Deep into the stench

Pawed over by claws

Food for the unbidden

The hidden hordes

Spiders, beetles, millipedes and roaches

.

Decay descends

Pieces split away

Slime grows white, green and black

Rain dissolves the remains

Washes away anything

To prove I existed

Cheryle

Poetry 101 Rehab         June 3, 2015

RECENT AWARDS

I would like to thank Aquileana, Julia and Rameesha for nominating me for several blogger awards:  The Premio Dardos Award, The Leibster Award and the Versatile Blogger Award.

I encourage you to pop in to each of these blogs and see what they have to offer.

Aquileana has an amazing history and mythology blog where I am learning so many interesting things.

Julia’s Red Page blog is a quirky collection of fashion, recipes, movie reviews, poetry and photography.  All excellently crafted to tantalize my visual and intellectual taste buds.

Rameesha has created a blog that is both beautiful and filled with thoughtful inspirational insight.

The criteria for the awards include posting the Award Logo on your page, link to your nominator, answer the questions pose, nominate other bloggers and create your own questions for your nominees to answer.

I am humbled and so happy to be nominated.  I appreciate their support and the encouragement the nominations represent.  However, I no longer accept awards as I have difficulty nominating others.  Not that I cannot find bloggers who are deserving, but because I agonize over picking one over another.  I have difficulty making decisions.  I will respond to the questions asked as part of the award, but decline the nomination process.

All of the bloggers I follow are wonderful and are deserving of awards, each for their own unique approach to life and style.    If you wish to be nominated for one of these awards, please let me know. It would make be happy to nominate your blog.

Premio Dardos Award

Julia from  https://myredpage.wordpress.com/2015/05/12/premio-dardos-award/

liebster-award_zps9520425a

Rameesha at   https://rameeesha.wordpress.com/2015/05/10/yay-second-nomination/

The Versatile blogger Award

Aquileana at        https://aquileana.wordpress.com/

Here are two sets of questions posed by my nominators.

  1. Why do you blog?

I began blogging in January of this year (2015) in an attempt to give my day some structure, provide me with prompts and topics, a writing community and an opportunity to work on my discipline.

  1. What do you blog about?

I am an introvert, not one to blog about my daily activities.  I do blog about meditation in The Meditation Cushion.  Other than the prompts I enjoy writing poetry, posting photos and am still looking for my voice.

  1. What is your craziest passion?

I am addicted to chocolate. I’m not sure it can be called a passion, but I am passionate about it.  I can’t help it.  I can’t keep it in the house.  It’s crazy I know but that is the way it is.

  1. What inspired you into writing?

I began writing when I was a young girl, Poetry commemorating the death of my Great Grandfather is the first time I can recall writing, other than for school projects.

  1. What do you like to read in other blogs?

Inspirational topics, travel, other cultures, history, slices of life, poetry, photography and art.

  1. What is your favorite book and how did it change you?

I love Anne of Green Gables and all the sequels.  It opened my eyes to the possibilities of female equality,  feminism and of being independent in a time when women weren’t thought of as being capable of leading their own lives.

  1. What is your favorite quote?

Everything happens for a reason.  Not easy to accept sometimes, but in the end with hindsight it proves to be true.

  1. What do you love about writing?

The words, the language, the putting down on paper my ideas and thoughts, the beauty of how words can be visually stimulating.

  1. What are you most likely to think when you look up at the blue sky?

Wide open spaces, freedom.

  1. How do you define happiness?

As a meditator happiness is a stabilized mind, where I don’t experience extreme highs and lows of emotions.  Helping others always makes me happy in my heart, always has always will.

.

1.What is the thing you think about the moment you wake up?

My dreams and my day

  1. What is satisfaction to you?

Getting to the point in a project when I know it is done.  There is no more to add or subtract, maybe just a little editing.

  1. What is your surmise on sacrifice?

Sacrifice is essential for growth.  It is not always possible to take the step which sacrifices something you cherish, a belief, a relationship, the status quo in order to move forward to the unknown.

  1. Where is the line between insanity and creativity?

I believe that depends on who is defining it.  Many people think creative people are insane, they live their lives so differently than the norm.  A person can be insane and not creative and visa versa.  Insanity is a destructive, negative force or mind set.  Creativity is born of creation and hope.

  1. What defines you?

My soul, which represents all of my experiences from the beginning of existence until the present and the future.

  1. If you had to teach someone one thing, what would you teach?

To meditate.  It helps people become compassionate and loving.  There is no room for hate and intolerance when meditating.

  1. When you think of your home, what immediately comes to mind?

Sleeping in my own bed all comfy and cozy

  1. What is infinity?

The illusion of time

  1. If you dropped everything to pursue your dreams, what would you be risking?

Everything that represents stability, family, status quo, possibly sanity.

  1. If you spend a day watching movies when you should be working a day wasted or well spent?

Well spent if I enjoyed the movies. I can always use them for inspiration.

PHOTOBLOGGERS CHALLENGE – MAY 2015 – SPRING

The challenge this month is spring.  Here are my photo interpretations of the month of May.

To begin I will refer you to a previous post a poem:  The Sound of Spring Has Come to My Garden.

https://lightwalker1.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/the-sound-of-spring-has-come-to-my-garden/

Apple blossoms  1  Apple blossoms bloom bring about thoughts of fall fruit and pie

hardening off 2 Hardening off tender plants in preparation for their days in the garden sun

Rhubarb leaves Rhubarb leaves – poisonous, but the fruit is delicious

spring ready for tarts Rhubarb ready for tarts

spring baked fresh The taste of Spring, flavour ready to eat

However you enjoy it,  Spring wakes up our eyes, taste buds and imagination of good things to come.

Cheryle   May 2015