Monday, June 16, 2014

Viva Italia!!!

So many things have happened since my last post!!! I just haven't had time to write much a few Facebook posts here and there are all I've gotten to.
A quick recap: Nic graduated as Solutatorian from high school, went to visit his new college and we went to Italy! Yes - we went to Italy!!! Soon I will post a summary of graduation and college events, but for now, here are a few Italy memories that I have been excited to share!
Ever since we found our relatives in southern Italy, I have been fascinated with finding a link to them. Many people have told my mother that this name is really Spanish - but we were able to verify that we are true Italians!
St. Peter's was amazing a! The crowds were ridiculous that day at the Vatican, and it was quite hot - but is was so worth it! Such a beautiful and sacred place.
The the churches in Italy are beautiful...such amazing artwork and history.
The architecture in Rome is a mix of old....and older...mixed with the modern.
The Vatican - amazing experience!
My favorite! Assisi - what a gem of a town. I immediately felt at ease and comfortable here. Such a beautiful spot.
I'm so glad we we went. It was a wonderful experience, even if the customs guy in Italy neglected to stamp my least I have the photos!!!
Working backwards through my summer, I will write a post about Nic's graduation soon, and include the video of his Solutatorian speech soon....
Ciao for now!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Why is it Wrong to be an Only Child?

Nic and I had a wonderful weekend. For the most part.

Saturday night proved challenging though - for both of us. I had a feeling it would, as it was the last fundraiser event for high school. My last time attending, and Nic's first and only - thank goodness!

People behave so poorly at these events, and I had really hoped he wouldn't have to experience some of what goes on at those things. But, in retrospect, he needed to see and know and all these things make him stronger, and he is an adult after all!

Nic is an only child. I am a single mother. Neither of these things is "bad" and we are both sick of people telling us how sorry they are to hear that or that it's "too bad." Why is there such a stigma with these so called "Catholic" families around only having one child? Apparently it is amazing that he is graduating, let alone at the top of his class and preparing to attend Creighton University this fall on academic scholarship.

I have a great job and supportive family. I am not, and never have been on food stamps or welfare, and above all I am happy, and faithful with God in my heart. I truely know that Nic and I have a clearer understating of the Catholic faith than most, and we live in harmony with it given our "unusual" circumstances. I want to be clear here as well - none of our priests, sisters or brothers have ever treated us in the manner that many families have. I think this is why it's important to understand that this post in no way criticizes my religion - I only wish to point out that people can be cruel in the name of that religion, and that is quite the opposit of what we are taught at Christians.

I am venting, and this was not the original intention of this I will move on now to some facts I have acquired over the years about the only child (as many of you know, I am also am only...) as well as some facts about some amazing men raised by single mothers:

Most only children:

1. Love to share - toys, food, you name it, we love to share it!

2. See friends as family, and are extremely loyal - forever, no matter what.

3. Have parents that depend on them greatly, and they take on a lot of responsibility from an early age.

4. Are high achievers and often very successful.

5. Are ok with being alone - in fact we quite like it and don't need to depend on others to fill our time or constantly make us happy.

Many men raised by single mothers:

1. Know how to change a lightbulb, fix a broken toilet, change out locks and use tools - Nic is great at all of these things.

2. Communicate well with women and are good listeners.

3. Treat their wives, daughters and female coworkers with tremendous respect.

4. Tend to be clean and tidy.

5. Understand the value of money and are responsible with it from an early age.

Lastly, here are some fun examples of successful men raised by single moms:

No matter how you feel about him - President Obama is pretty successful!

George Washington

Bill Clinton


Matt Damon

Ryan Gosling

Michael Phelps

Orlando Bloom

LL Cool J

Clive Owen

Both lists could go on and on really. Incidentally, many of the people on last list are also only children. Hmmmm.

My main point is, people have ups and owns - with or without siblings, and whether or not they are in a single parent family. I just wish we could all support each other as good, faithful people instead of letting the ugliness of judgement and fear rule the way we treat others.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Alone - Not Lonely

Recently, Nic went on an 8 day hike through Southern Colorado and into New Mexico. He goes on lots of multi day trips, and I am definitely learning to like the new way our lives have morphed. He is grown up after all, and soon he will be in Nebraska for college. I still struggle with loneliness sometimes, and I actually think that's ok. Even people in relationships, or with a house full of people, feel lonely sometimes.
For the most part over that eight days, I didn't feel lonely. Of course, I missed Nic, but as I looked back on each day, I realized I was enjoying myself. I spent time with my parents and friends, did a lot of things around the house, sorted through my photos and created some new collages, and got a lot of things for work done and organized. I was very productive over those eight days!
Loneliness may have crept in one or two times, and when it did, I refused to let it take over. I got up and went for long walks,watched some movies that I might never have seen otherwise, and kept myself busy.
I also happened upon a couple of posts on other blogs I follow about loneliness and how others deal with it. While reading, I noticed something I had in common with the other bloggers. In the past, I was very dependent on others to keep me from feeling lonely. I have great friends who are always there for me, and my parents are always welcoming too - but we all have busy lives, and inevitably we are all alone from time to time. I have started to appreciate being alone in those moments. I appreciate silence and a good book. I like to listen to the music, take a bath, and have a glass of wine - and look within myself to enjoy the moment I am in.

So I'm curious friends, what do you do when loneliness pokes its nose into your life?

Saturday, March 22, 2014

See Through My Eyes - Photography Post 1

I love taking photos, and I'm fortunate to have opportunities to shoot really awesome landscapes. The last few years have really afforded me the opportunities to concentrate on getting good shots and capture some awesome memories. I realized coming into this year that my photo libraries are a bit of a mess, so I am beginning the process of cleaning things up and getting the picture organized. I also realized, if I don't do this now, I will forget where some of these great pics were taken! I have so many memories from each place I have been, I need to write a memoir as well.

But, since I don't have much time to write a book - I can start recalling and at least sharing some of my favorite photos here. Along the way, I have learned quite a bit about photography and acquired some tricks of the trade to make photos more artistic and unique. The hard part today was deciding on where to I just chose a few of my favorites going back to the beginning of my adventures with the US National Park Service - 8 years ago. I hope you enjoy!

Salinas Pueblos, NM - no editing

Rocky Mountain National Park - West Entrance.  Slight enhancement of water reflections.

Lake Clark, Alaska - Instagram

San Antonio Missions - Instagram

Stanford University - Instagram

Saguaro National Park - High Def enhancements

The Great Salt Lake - Color enhancements and sharpening needed (the lake is really kinda yellow).

Somewhere in Southern Colorado - not telling secrets on this one:-)

Grand Teton National Park - Instagram

Golden Gate State Park - fading enhancements

Denali National Park - great angles!  Instagram and some added enhancements

Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, AK

Alcatraz Island - California.  Color enhancements

Alcatraz - Color enhancements

Capitol Reef National Park - HiDef

That was tougher than I thought it would be!  I have A LOT of photos!  Maybe I'll focus on a regional post for next time....

What do you think - do you like my choices?  Do you have a favorite?

Please see photos are not to be copied or redistributed from this website,