Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Changing #1 or #2

"Changing #1"
Cotton field in winter
Near Stanton, Texas

"Changing #2"
Cotton field in winter
Near Stanton, Texas

A few weekends ago my friend Nelda and I went to Big Spring to browse around the old town. On the way home, we stopped near Stanton to get a closer look at this newly erected wind turbine field. Nelda especially wanted a picture of her standing by one as proof of their enormous size. Can you see her?

I'm glad for these cleaner energy sources. Even though they are unimaginably huge and are yet again more man-made verticals disrupting the natural landscape. Still, they are a welcomed change away from the ecological disaster of oil, and are slightly prettier to boot. Funny how we are once again harnessing the nearly-constant West Texas wind, the wind that was a godsend in the pioneer days when its power was used by windmills to bring up potable water from the aquifers. Here we are in the 21st century using it to create electricity to feed our enjoyable, modern way of life. I'm not sure what the figures are for the installation of these in this area, but it apparently is a new and booming business based on the number we saw.

Today's Have Camera Will Shoot suggestion was provided by artist Diane Clancy who had a recent post titled "The Universe Wrote Me" that I found inspirational and timely.

P.S. For those of you that have been a bit worried about my absence from the online community, all is well. Baby Carson -- he has a name now :) -- is healthy and at home. Home, at last. And Granny Debi is coping with the various curve balls of life as best she can, vowing to post a photo a day as the title of this blog states so clearly.

Photo info --
Picture # 1 D'oh! I keep meaning to learn more about how to avoid barrel distortion on my camera. See how the horizon edges are curling up slightly at the sides?

Picture # 2 D'oh! I forgot to look at the grid on my camera view finder to make sure I was getting a level horizon line. I have the grid on always. I also use it to frequently to divide up the potential composition into the "Rule of Thirds".

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Something New

My granddaughter meeting her new baby brother, born just tonight!
7 lbs 4 oz, 20 inches. Name undecided. Born a few weeks early,
and currently in ICU hopefully just for monitoring for a couple of days.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Oilfield #1 or #2

"Oilfield #1"
Pumpjack, West Odessa, Texas

"Oilfield #2"
Pumpjack, West Odessa, Texas

What a week! I'm sorry to have worried anyone. All's well here, just lots and lots of work that I'm trying to catch up on.

I've not even had time to get out to take pictures. But I did make time yesterday to fulfill my mom's request of "Oilfield" -- easy enough to do, just a couple of miles from home. (Not inspiring, but easy.)

I am, however, getting out tomorrow by going on a photo safari to Big Spring with my dear friend Nelda. And then hope -- yet again -- to catch up with y'all on Sunday.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Portrait in a Doorway #1 or #2

"Portrait in a Doorway #1"
Bula School, Texas

"Portrait in a Doorway #2"
Bula School, Texas

My best friend and photo pal Donna gave me the Have Camera Will Shoot assignment of "Portrait in a Doorway." So who better to be my model than Donna herself?

These pictures were taken at at the old Bula School near Bula, Texas. Built in 1925 and closed in 1975, the school later burned down. The red brick shell remains, including the wonderfully evocative doorway. (You can see a color, non-cropped version of the school at TexasEscapes, one of the handy sites I use when researching old places around Texas.)

These are the kind of pictures that someone, say Donna's Mama, wouldn't like much. They don't do her outer beauty justice, it's true. But I hope they have captured something about the part of her spirit that is rugged and tenacious. My girl's got hutzpah.

Photo info --
Picture 1: Cropped to get in closer on Donna, although the lovely school arch went the wayside. Changed from RGB to Grayscale. Adjusted curves for better contrast. Did a full 100% sharpen because I liked the way it brought out all the textures and elements, like the the trees in the back and the broken glass. Something about this picture reminds me of portraits I've seen of Georgia O'Keefe.

Picture 2: Not cropped. Changed from RGB to Grayscale. Adjust curves. Then made a new layer copy of the image, reduced layer's opacity to 50% and put a 4.9 radius Guassian blur on it. Gives it that soft, moody look.

Eve: Bad Girl or Wonderfully Inquisitive?

"Eve: Bad Girl or Wonderfully Inquisitive?"

No reader of my blog these days will be surprised that for the 4th Digital Makeover by Rima at Marazine I would start with Adobe's Apply Image, Multiply, right? Right.

After that, applied some color enhancements and smudged. The smudging was crappy today -- feeling a little tired after our big adventure yesterday. But also yesterday I was given a wonderful gift: a pen tablet. Not yet hooked up, but when I do, watch out, World! Thank you Donna dear.


Plain / Peanut

Harvested grain field
near Bula, Texas

Birdsong Peanuts plant
Brownfield, Texas

These are my entries for this week's Two Things Challenge for "Plain / Peanut."

I guess you can imagine my excitement when, on our safari in Bailey County yesterday, we passed by this peanut processing plant. Not only is it perfect for the challenge, but it also is informational. 13 vitamins and 26 minerals. Crunch, crunch, who -- crunch -- knew?

And lucky for me, we were also in the big middle of the Llano Estacado yesterday, the "staked plains." The written history of these plains go back to 1541 when Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who gave the area its name, described it this way in a letter to the king of Spain,
"I reached some plains so vast, that I did not find their limit anywhere I went, although I traveled over them for more than 300 leagues . . . with no more land marks than if we had been swallowed up by the sea . . . . there was not a stone, nor bit of rising ground, nor a tree, nor a shrub, nor anything to go by."
Nearing 500 years later, things are a little different now. Water is drawn up from underground aquifers, electric lines and a few planted trees jut up from the horizon, the danger of Apaches and Comanches is all gone, and and the native grass has been crowded out by cotton, grain, and peanuts. Still, every now and then, like in this picture maybe, you get a sensation of what it might have been like for Coronado and his men.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Energy #1 or #2

"Energy #1"
West Odessa, Texas

"Energy #2"
West Odessa, Texas

A quick post this morning before heading for a day trip, back up to Bailey County for photos, with Donna and a couple of 15 year old girls -- my niece and her granddaughter. Should be interesting!

Actually, these two pictures were taken on a very pleasant mini photo safari yesterday with that same niece, who recently bought a digital camera with her own hard-earned money so she could take her very own pictures of West Texas. That makes this Aunt really proud.

Today's suggestion "Energy" is from John, of typos.daylight.fate. His suggestions were all ideas, which seem to lend themselves nicely to taking pictures of whatever my heart desires. Nice guy! While gathering up the link to his blog, I quickly noted a really beautiful recent piece of his, something about 112 moons? Another proud moment. :) And if it makes his Yankee heart feel any better, I've gotten a few of my own speeding tickets as well -- even while using my best drawl. "But, sir, I was just fixin' to slow down when I noticed that speedometer thingie was way on up there." Pre-addressed envelope for me, too.

Photo info --
Standard post-production to make these images blog-ready (reduce and 50% sharpen). No need to do Multiply Image on these. That blue is the blue that we live under most days.

Friday, January 11, 2008


The Messengers, West Odessa, Texas

I wrote yesterday about the group "The Messengers" that were so important to J.D. If you saw them on the street, you might cross to the other side. But you'd miss meeting some of the most loving and real people you'd ever want to meet. I am glad for the experience of getting to know them a little.

All of them have their sobriety date and even remembered J.D.'s. Some were pallbearers. Some got up in front of a crowded church and through tears told stories about J.D. that made us cry, laugh, and be proud of him. One gave a very special gift to J.D.'s little sister. Another gave her her phone number. They invited her to come visit them at their cottage to hang out, to make friends. And every one of them knew how to give those sincere, hold-nothing-back hugs.

In spite of how they might look, they are the epitome of hope.

There is another person that is the epitome of hope -- and strength -- to me. The young woman, just 20, who accidentally hit J.D. She had the strength to attend J.D.'s funeral, to seek out J.D.'s mother, to apologize to her, to explain she just didn't see him, and to accept a hug from a grieving mother. I have a fervent hope that time heals her also.

Today's suggestion "Hope" for Have Camera Will Shoot is from one of my dearest friends, Nelda. Nelda, like many, has not always had it easy. She has endured some great sorrow in her life. Yet, her suggestion was that of "hope" and if you knew her, you'd know that was in keeping with everything about her. She is generous of her time for others, she is giving of her love and encouragements, she has an awesome sense of humor, and on top of all that she has the most beautiful pale blue eyes. She and I share a very long friendship that all started with one of my bumbling verbal missteps for which I'm forever happy to have made.

P.S. I am sorry I haven't made comments on your blogs recently. I miss them and miss seeing all the things y'all are up to. On Sunday, I hope to spend some time catching up with my bloggin' buddies. Thank you for the comments you've made here. I've appreciated every one.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Deborah, J.D., McKayla, and Casey
Visiting Grannie in East Texas,
on their way to Missouri,
March 1996

Today we attend the funeral for J.D., my 18 year old nephew. He was killed in an accident while on his bicycle, hit by a vehicle on a busy main street.

I'd like to share a little about him with you.

My memories of J.D. go back to when he was just under 3 years old. J.D. was adorable. He had very blond hair and blue eyes and I chuckle to myself now remembering the funny faces he made that made us laugh. He was a husky little guy, as energetic and physical as most boys are, but inside that energy was a very sensitive heart, one that sometimes got hurt. Today my daughter and I laughed through our tears when we saw a picture of him at that age, bottom lip out, arms folded on his chest, and big tears rolling down his cheeks. Whatever made him cry in that picture, we hoped was mended with a hug soon after.

J.D. loved boy things, especially enjoying them with his dad and step-dad, but even Moms could be pretty good company in a pinch. He loved cars, video games, playing football, watching football, Nascar races (Dale Earnhart Jr. #8 best of all), pretty much all sports, jamming out to hard rock music, and science fiction movies and books, Lord of the Rings being one of his absolute favorites. J.D. never wanted for something fun to do, to watch, to play, or to read. I don't recall ever hearing him say, "I'm bored."

J.D. loved his little sister at his Mom's and his little brother at his Dad's, even through his, ahem, "gentle" reminders of "Stay out of my room!" Those two younger ones, the ones that called him big brother, will miss him in ways that I can't imagine. J.D. was their protector, their guide, their playmate, their comrade in goofiness.

J.D. had a progressive hearing disease. He would eventually lose his hearing, but for now hearing aids mostly worked. I never knew him to get irritated if he couldn't understand us the first time around. He dealt with it as an inconvenience, nothing more. It never stopped him from doing a single thing that I was aware of.

J.D. loved family get-togethers. Life for J.D. just couldn't have too many backyard barbecues with food, family, and friends. Oh, and how he loved onions! If you wanted to make him happy -- and who wouldn't? -- make a homemade hamburger, and serve with plenty of thickly sliced raw onions. I'm not saying necessarily it made us happy, but we would be rewarded with the signature J.D. full face smile, one best viewed -- for a while -- from a distance.

As he grew up that tender heart didn't disappear. Even up through his teen years he still gave one of the best hugs you'll ever receive. The thing that made them remarkable to me was their sincerity, even when given to a middle-aged aunt, who must be the most boring human species to infringe upon the life of a boy. Frankly, I wish I could share just one more of those, right now.

After he graduated high school last summer, he almost faltered. "Free, free at last!" would describe a common post-graduate attitude. But free to do what was an awaiting pitfall.

By some beautifully timed coincidences, J.D. attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting with a friend. This particular group has a sub-group called The Messengers, a motorcycle once-hard-living group who now put family first, and host drug-and-alcohol-free activities regularly. They welcomed young J.D. with open arms and have made him an honorary Messenger. I know that had J.D. lived this group of loving individuals would have continued to be an important, guiding part of his life. Through them, we get a glimpse of the kind of man he was becoming.

We inter J.D. today with a heavy heart, full of missing and full of love. We were blessed to have known him, to have loved him, and to have been loved by him. I've enjoyed remembering him with you and appreciate this chance to do so here. If you'd like to remember J.D. today too, hug someone. A sincere, hold-nothing back, hug.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Texas Icon

"Icon #1"
Odessa, Texas

"Icon #2"
Odessa, Texas

These are a couple of murals in downtown Odessa, paying homage to the romantic memory of the cowboy.

There's probably not an icon more associated with Texas than the cowboy. Not that the cowboy is only in Texas, but somehow Texas and the cowboy seem to go together most frequently in the same breath.

But the cowboy isn't just a memory. (Nor was -- nor is -- his life entirely romantic.) In the grocery store just the other night, I was behind a cowboy in line. He had on his hat, his boots, his dusty Wrangler jeans, and looked more than a little tired. But he was cowboy, through and through.

The real cowboy these days is likely to be a rancher/farmer. There remains big family spreads, but not so many any more. Mostly the real cowboy of the 21st century will be a man with a family, living on a small place, raising horses possibly, tending to a small herd of free-range cattle, and maybe even a raising a good sized plot of some alfalfa. He will likely have a day job, too. But he keeps the place because he loves it. Or maybe just because his daddy did. And his daddy before him.

(Another thing: in Texas, your father is "Daddy." Even if you are 80.)

As I write this, I realize I would like to interview a "real" cowboy. One just like I described above. Maybe the next time I see one in the grocery store, I'll ask.

Today's suggestion "More Iconic images of Texas" was from Bev, semi-retired, semi-on-sabbatical blogger of Heavenly Body. She once told me she had never talked to any one from Texas before. That, I promise you, is only because she had never met any one from Texas. Texans -- again, tell me if you've heard this before -- are notorious for being friendly. (Sometimes they are even known for being a little bit of braggarts. Imagine that!)

Photo info --
Really lazy photos today. Literally taken from my truck window. Electric window, even. I should be ashamed of myself. Standard post-production to make these images blog-ready (reduce and 50% sharpen).

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Heart of (West) Texas

I don't think I did justice to these shots, but perhaps they will convey one of the important features of West Texas: the famous West Texas sunset. I don't know why we have such spectacular ones here -- is it just the flat horizons that allows us to see them? Or is there something special in the atmosphere here?

This series -- taken within five minutes of one another -- has given me the idea that I need to stake out a single place for a future sunset and maybe see if I could do a video or time-lapse photo sometime. Our colorful sunsets may not be entirely predictable, but they are entirely common. In the meantime, I post this series. Photos untouched, except for downsizing. Can you imagine standing in that last shot? Being surround by so much emotional red? It was a fabulous sensation and probably why I was slightly out of focus.

I don't know that I can convey the "heart of Texas" because -- tell me if you have you heard this before -- Texas is a big place. According to most maps, Texas can be divided into 7 distinct regions. You might not believe this, but East where my mom lives, it is woods and forests. Further south from her, you can find swamps and lots of humidity. So you can see my dilemma in showing you "the heart of Texas."

Instead I give you the heart of West Texas, where the desert and plains meet, and where pulsing, energetic sunsets are taken for granted.

Today's suggestion of "Heart of Texas" was provided by Lisa of Three Hundred & Sixty Five, her photo blog, and she also does an Art blog. Lisa is an energetic mother of three, sharing with us her amazing eye for the joys of life in her native New Zealand. She is a chick after my own heart. Her photos are joyful wonders that delight readers with things so different from the rest of our worlds that we are amazed day after day. Her art -- both photographic and otherwise -- is organic, edgy, and conveys a strong heart that is respectful to the natural cycle of life. You owe it to yourself to take a side trip to Lisa's NZ, where it is, right now, the glorious middle of Summer.

Photo info --
I just stood there and took one shot after another around me while the sky put on a show. I was like a tourist. A tourist on Planet Earth.

P.S. That is a "pump jack," sucking up oil from the ground. They don't run all the time, such things are regulated heavily, but it just so happens this one was engaged at the time I was taking pictures so you can see different phases of its rocking.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Strength # 1 or #2

"Strength #1"
2nd Street
Odessa, Texas

"Strength #2"
2nd Street
Odessa, Texas

Which photo gives you the sense of strength and scale?

I can't imagine what it must be like to have this job, working on cell towers. Besides the obvious danger, last Thursday when this was taken, it was also near freezing. Upon seeing something like this I snap out of my complacency to take a sincere minute to appreciate the contributions made by men and women working outdoors. For a mere paycheck, these workers brave the weather and daily dangers, providing services we've come to depend upon 24/7. I applaud and appreciate their many kinds of strength.

(To give you an idea of the immense scale, you can see in the photo on the left an electric pole. A pole that next to this tower looks downright puny.)

Today's post is dedicated to J.D., 1989-2008, who would have thought these shots were cool.

Photo info --
Aren't digital cameras amazing? Built right in to mine I have a 12X optical zoom. No clunky changing out of lenses like back in the old days. Standard post-production to make these images blog-ready (reduce and 50% sharpen).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Faith #1 or #2

"Faith #1"
Sandy's Place
West Odessa, Texas

"Faith #2"
Sandy's Place
West Odessa, Texas

While out driving and taking pictures of homes yesterday, I spied this pomegranate tree. I pulled over and just one second before hanging my head and camera out the window to take a picture of it, I spied also the homeowners outside on the porch. Whew. Now that would have been embarrassing. And rude.

Instead, I shout a friendly howdy and say, "I know this is a weird request, but may I please take a picture of your pomegranate tree?"

In no time at all I was in the yard, chatting it up with Sandy, her grown son, and tickling under the chin of her red-headed, blue-eyed one year old grandson. I guess, like John said here in a comment, I am indeed a "people person." I could probably even carry on a delightful little conversation with a fence post.

One of the benefits about being willing to talk to strangers is that you frequently have your faith in humanity restored, or at least bolstered. Isn't there a quote, I'm thinking by Will Rogers, that goes "Some of the nicest people I've ever met have been people," or something like that.

And while I'll not go so far as to say this restored my faith in the feline community, even her three cats were as friendly to me as she was. She has a "kitler" that she named Ava, as in Ava Braun. She said she chose Ava because just couldn't bring herself to go around saying, "Here Hitler, Hitler, Hitler."

The light disappeared quickly and Sandy told me I could come back any time, that she had a windmill in the back that I could take a picture of, too. She said that I should especially come back in the fall when the pomegranates are ripe and could have as many as I want. Because of that last offer I almost used this picture for the Have Camera Will Shoot installment for "joy."

Today's suggestion, "Faith," was provided by a relatively new blogger friend John, of typos.daylight.fate. Now my word-smithing skills are going to be put to the test, because John's work is unlike any I've seen. So really, it's best if you simply go see it for yourself. I don't know all that much about what else he does in his life (I think he also does other "traditional" art), but on his blog he shares his digital works and his typos. Not only is his work amazing, but his fortitude is as well. He blogged to an audience of one, himself, for almost a year. Then, one day last month, he ventured out and posted the first (of now many) astute comments on a blog. The rest is history. You will one day say you were part of the blogging community that followed his work when he was an unknown.

Photo info --
The light was terrible! The sun was going down fast. And I always get a little nervous taking pictures with an audience. Those are my excuses as to why I didn't get the quality of pictures that I dreamed of (like Fawzan's Forgotten Harvest). The first picture is my standard post-production -- downsize, sharpen, multiply image at 50%, but then changed my mind and went to just 30%. The close up was even less satisfactory, but was the best of the close up of the bunch. Same post-production techniques, then lassoed the pom, inverted the selection, and put even more of a blur on the background with gaussian blur. I wonder if Sandy's hospitality would be tested to see me again soon, like today?

Saturday, January 05, 2008

2 Things Challenge for 2008-01-06, Home

I've gone overboard for the "Home" part of this week's 2 Thing Challenge, but I thought it would be fun especially for those that live far, far away from here.

Where I live, West Odessa is not a town. It's a hodge-podge community outside the city of Odessa. I myself live 6 miles from the city limits. Where Odessa has a population of about 100,000, we -- Out West, we call it -- have about 16,000.

Since we aren't officially a town, we are not governed by city ordinances, including ordinances that make you get a permit before building any structure, which typically keep homes in neighborhoods not too wildly different from one another and thus keeps property values steady with one another.

Not so in West Odessa. We have no laws governing us except county laws and, well, I don't know what the county laws are, but there seems very few. None about what you can and can't build, or grow (with certain exceptions you realize), or raise. (Today I noticed a new pig farm, thankfully small.) That is part of the appeal of West Odessa. And its, um, well, its unappealing aspect, too.

Now that you know all that, I can tell you about today's entry for "Home." Actually, homes with an "s." These pictures are of twenty homes near me, roughly within a mile's radius. Although you've probably seen plenty of American homes in movies, I thought it might be fun to see real American, western-style homes. And a great variety of them, too!

For those of you with little ones at home, you could even play I Spy with these pictures. Click to make the pictures bigger and play. I spy:

a wishing well, hubcaps, kittens, a white dog, wash drying on the line, a horse trailer, a tractor, a monster (yes, a Frankenstein monster), a wagon wheel, a "swamp" cooler, a red roof, a rocking horse, several bird baths, a swing set, a windmill (a real one and a little decoration one), a star, rocking chairs on porches, benches on porches, a pumpkin on a porch, TV antennas, direct TV satellite, a palm tree, big windows, little windows, empty yards, cute yards, junky yards, a steer head, several chain link fences, a cement block fence, a picket fence, a hummingbird feeder, a couple of houses with more than one story, a lot of houses with just one story, very new houses, very old houses, big houses, little houses, and even a little house that is not lived in any more. And lots (I didn't count but wonder how many) mailboxes.

Oh yes, I spy my home. Do you?

2 Things Challenge for 2008-01-06, Health

Healthy Photographer Food
Stars Drive Inn
West Odessa, Texas

This is my tongue-in-cheek entry for this week's 2 Thing Challenge. I took this quick shot for the "Health" entry after spending several hours this evening taking pictures for the other half of the challenge, "Home."

Yes, that is a large (they call it "regular") sized ice cream, an "Avalanche." It's loaded with chunks of Butterfinger candy bar in it. What's your point?

This waitress was very sweet and looked like the picture of health to me. She told me she hoped I'd "win" the challenge. ;)


Purple post
West Odessa, Texas

One of the suggestions for the Have Camera Will Shoot that gave me some cause for concern was this one, "purple," especially this time of year. Brown, everywhere. Blue, plenty. Red, I could probably do that. But PURPLE? In January? Where?

Lo and behold I remembered the location of this unmistakable splash of year-round purple. Not only is it a purple that couldn't be much purple-r, but this image also includes many elements of my part of the world, in particular West Odessa. Here we have the ubiquitous wild weeds, barb wire, junk (out of focus, thankfully), telephone poles, an American and Texas flag, and a warning. The only things missing to complete this hodge-podge epitome would be a horse, a dog, and a pump jack.

Wait. Where's the warning? In Texas, and other states, when a post is painted purple it means "No Trespassing" as per Texas Penal Code Section 30.05. And which I realize, upon reading carefully this morning, I have come precariously close to, if not actually, committing on numerous occasions! Not here, though. I took this picture safely from the public side of the fence.

Today's photo suggestion is courtesy of Diane, of Diane Clancy's Art Blog. Her tag line is "Enhance Your Spirit." Her vibrant art could charm even the cranky spirit of Bob Marley. She currently creates work along several digital art themes, including "bubblescapes" where feather-light bubbles arrange themselves in an amazing array of emotions, and "fanciful animals" where Diane places pets in fields of flowers and butterflies visually portraying their adored place in our hearts. And you won't believe your good luck -- you can easily afford her work to enhance your spirit on any number of products. Imagine sipping your first morning coffee in a mug with your own four-legged Lady surrounded by larkspurs, daisies, and monarchs. If that doesn't enhance your spirit, well, my dear, you must be a bona fide curmudgeon. And you probably hate purple, to boot.

Photo info --
Post-production on this photo was a simple downsize for the blog and 50% sharpen. I'm mostly a point-and-shoot gal not messing much with f stops and aperture settings, even though I plan to get more knowledgable about that in the future. For today, though, to get the background out of focus, I set my camera to "macro," and positioned myself a couple of feet away, then focused on the post.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Mundane #1 or #2

"Mundane #1"
Clements Street
Odessa, Texas

"Mundane # 2"
North of Lenorah
Martin County, Texas

Which photo do you think is the best illustration of "making the mundane and ordinary beautiful?"

Today's subject is courtesy of Bev from Hull in the UK. I provide no link because effective today she has gone on a blog sabbatical.

I could get really mushy and sad here because I will miss her. We all will miss her quirky insights and her way of seeing the world that was unlike anyone I've known. Those who read her blog will agree with me. I will miss her happy cartoons and slice of life accounts. I will miss her dog-walking adventures with Scamp. I will miss the thought of her as an English lass with her hair flowing behind her -- or at least that's how I envisioned it -- while riding her bike looking for pictures for us, and her tales of people like Vicars and Blokes in the Pub that she met along the way. I will miss her decoding the mysterious British culture for us, "uncivilized" as it may be (as per Bev).

But, her reasons are unarguable: to spend more time with her young family.

It's funny how in certain contexts things can take on metaphoric significance. The mundane becomes meaningful. Like an empty mail box on an vacant house. Like a door left open inside an abandoned home. Like the heart-achingly beauty of age, even through the ravages of sun, wind, and rain. (Bev appreciated old things, too.)

So, here's to jolly good fellow Bev. Wishing her God's speed, lots of her requests being fulfilled, and hoping we see her again.

Sniff. Grab me another pint, will ya, mate?

Photo info --
The standard stuff: reduce for blog, sharpen and apply image (multiply), both at 50%. And deal with the slight pain that #2 wasn't in good focus and that #1 had more distracting background reflections than I would have cared for.