Category Archives: Photography

2017 Favorites

The year flew by. I tried and failed at many things this year, but this last day of the year, I’m going to share the positive things, and my favorites.

The photo above is a dish I made trying out roasted purple cauliflower.  It’s hard to see but to the right of the salmon is purple cauliflower rice, which I made too. The fish is salmon sprinkled with fresh dill, paprika, garlic salt, black pepper, and topped with slices of limes.  I’ve never cooked with cauliflower before but I think this will be my new favorite thing because I really like the flavor and how easy it is to cook cauliflower.

I’m very proud to say that I accomplished two of my five goals this year.  One of them was to start school again…actually, to resume my master’s program from 2010.  So far, I’ve completed three classes and have four to go.  I’m going to try and load up on classes so that I finish by end of Spring 2018.  The other goal was to read 12 books.  I ended up reading 34 books.  A lot of it was due to freelancing as a book reviewer.  I was doing about three to four books a month starting in July.  I still read for leisure and still enjoy it

Here are my favorite books of the year:

1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber.  This was such a lovely and fun story with romance, magic, and suspense.

2. Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon.  This was a beautiful story told through the eyes of a young boy growing up in the 60’s.  The world building was fabulous.  I felt like I was right there with the boy.  The characters were well thought out and vivid.  McCammon really knows how to tug at your heart.

3. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.  This was a well written classic about a man upset about the way his cousin died.  He was determined to get to the bottom of the mystery but somehow he becomes completely mesmerized by Rachel.  I saw the movie after reading the book and didn’t think it was as good.  If anything, read the book.


Can’t live without music.  For a sci-fi story I’ve been writing, I’ve got a few songs that go along with certain scenes.  Initially, I was going to submit the story to an anthology but I missed the deadline.  Okay, I have to remember I’m not going to focus on my failures (lol).  Anyway, here’s the cover for the book, and yes, that’s my pen name because I write different genres.

If you want to know a little about the story (the background story), you can check out my writing blog at, The Writing Sparrow.  It’s a new blog and I don’t have much there yet, but come 2018, there will be.

These are the songs that go with a few scenes in my story, but they are also favorites:

1. Immortal by Missing in Action

2. Last Hope by Antoine Heid (it’s just coincidence that my title has these two words in it).

3. Love on the Brain by Rhianna.

4. Elastic Heart by Sia

5. Wings (acoustic) by Birdy


I’ve been somewhat of a movie junkie this year.  I could barely count how many movies I’ve watched at the theater and at home.  It feels great to be able to watch all these movies.  When I had my two kids, I went into a strange zone where I couldn’t watch movies or even TV shows and not think everyone was pretending.  For some reason that bothered me to no ends.  Now, I’m relieved to say that even if they were acting, it’s no problem.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.  My favorite movies this year are:

1. Passengers

2. King Arthur – Legend of the Sword

3. Blade Runner

4. Star Wars – The Last Jedi

I didn’t do as much drawing and painted as I had wanted.  There’s just isn’t enough time to do everything so I’ve had to just focus on what mattered to me.  And, what mattered this year was getting my stories out.  I submitted a fantasy to an anthology earlier in the year but they are backed up so they haven’t gotten to telling the submitters who made it or not.  I also sent the same fantasy story to my professor who enjoyed it and gave me an “A.”

Thanks for stopping by and see you in the new year!

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Blossoms of Light

The family went to the Botanic Garden over the weekend to see the Blossoms of Light for the first time.  I believe the display has been around for awhile.  It was beautiful but there were so many people.  We bought tickets in advance to be on the safe side and I’m glad we did because it was sold out.

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Nostalgic Snack

When I was a kid, Mom would make buttered tortillas for us (seven of us kids) for breakfast then send us on our way to grade school.  It has been a whirlwind raising my own kids.  They are super picky.  The older one doesn’t like tortilla with just butter.  She prefers quesadillas.  I’ve made a quesadilla for her once but I could never get the cheese amount exactly the way she likes it (but I think she likes it thick and gooey).  She didn’t complain but she hasn’t asked me to make it again.  As for my youngest, she doesn’t go near tortillas or cheese.

I like mine plain with butter just the way Mom made it.

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Hiking

This was my first hike this year. This was a really easy hike. The landscape was mainly flat so I did’t get much workout in, which is fine for now since it’s been awhile. The views were beautiful and very green.

We laid down a couple of rocks for Kat, the girl who passed away in May from suicide, who was the dance friend of my daughter.  We also scattered some wild flowers that was given at her memorial at the top of the hill we climbed to.  Maybe we’ll visit this place again in a couple of years and see if the flowers survived.

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Dance Performance Photos

Earlier this month my girls performed their last dance recital. They’ve moved on to other activities as mentioned in a previous post. This was a bittersweet performance not only because my daughters won’t be dancing anymore (my oldest just loves ballet and lyrical), but also because a girl at the dance studio committed suicide and it came as a shock to everyone. She was only fourteen years old. She was a beautiful girl with a kind heart. It’s heartbreaking that no one saw her internal pain.  My oldest daughter was a good friend to her and she is having a hard time dealing with the loss. The last group photo (the 9th photo) below of my oldest daughter and the other dancers was a tribute dance to the girl.

These are photos from rehearsal since we’re not allowed to take photos on the actual day of performance.

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Artifact Uprising And NaNoWriMo

Welcome November!  October felt a little long this year but it could be due to the steady weather we’ve had.  Just maybe a couple of days of rain during the night and zero snow.  Anyhow, in mid-September, Artifact Uprising offered free square prints and I thought I’d try it out to see what’s so special about them.  Well, I was surprised to find how beautiful they were.  The quality is superb and the packaging was clean and organized.  I can’t decide if I want to use them for my Christmas photo or go with who I normally do (Minted or Persnickety).  Who knew deciding the paper for a Christmas photo would be so stressful.  I am definitely leaning toward Artifact though.  It really depends on if I want to use templates or create my own design.  I am doing NaNoWriMo again this year.  Last year I got about 15,000 words in.  This time, I’m going for the finish: 50,000 words AND finish the novel.  So, if time permits, I’ll create my own Christmas card design, otherwise, Artifact it is, unless Minted has a really good discount or I’m completely drawn to one of their designs.  Yeah, I still can’t decide.

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