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Wordy Wednesday Thursday Testers’ Bonus Pack

I am experimenting with various options for Wordy Wednesday that will, I hope, enable more people to join in the fun. I hope you don't mind helping me to test them out before next Wednesday! Remember, these quizzes are meant to be devilishly difficult. Do not "cheat" yourself by consulting Google or a dictionary before attempting the quiz; DO look up the words you missed, later, for fun and learning. Now, o read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 4)

Today’s B&W Challenge post is a study in glass, water, light, and shadow. While it’s not a great image, it was an interesting exercise. Literally. I lay down under the glass top table in the dining room and, unsure of whether I’d manage to get back up on my own again, contemplated what it must be like to be a turtle. Or a pheasant. Under glass. I don’t think I’ve ever... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 3)

Today’s black and white photo is stolen from white and pink. I’m calling it “Mineral for Animal and Vegetable,” which gives you a huge clue as to what this close-up is all about. Think you know? Leave your guess in the comments. Its grainy look has nothing to do with my photographic skill; it’s naturally grainy, powdery, irregular, and you’re seeing it through a layer of... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 2)

A few years ago, we explored the Art Institute of Chicago. They have an amazing collection – Trip Advisor claims they’re the #1 Museum in the World. I’d quibble, unless they were hosting that delicious Chocolate Exhibit again. But that’s tantamount to bribery! I’ve always been partial to the Museum of Science and Industry – also in Chicago. I love art, but I can’t... read more

5 Day Black & White Challenge (Day 1)

Cheryle of Lightwalker’s Blog has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged me to the 5 Day Black & White Photo Challenge. It is a lovely white gauntlet, by the way – I pick it up off the dusty, gray earth, brush it off, and hand it back to her. “You had only to ask…” It’s late, but I’m eager to play. I think about the word “challenge” and feel drawn... read more

Happy Nowruz 1394!

Two years ago I decided to celebrate New Year’s Day quarterly – none of this waiting 365 days to reset the resolutions and refresh the commitments. No reason to wait a year for a clean slate! No, it makes much more sense to celebrate it seasonally. The first day of spring – or the exact moment of the vernal equinox – marks the start of the Persian New Year – Nowruz –... read more

Weird Wednesday Metrics

According to Alexa, nearly 30% of my blog’s search traffic comes from the query, “amoeba music.” A friend said that sounded like a so-so name for a band (as it turns out, it’s the name of an indie record store in Berkeley – which doesn’t begin to explain how anyone got here that way). I thought Paramecium was a catchier band name, although I wouldn’t rule out... read more

Spring! 1000 Words + a Picture

Friday marks the official start of spring. What better time to restart the 1000 Words + a Picture event? They say that a picture is worth 1000 words; to a writer, those are fighting words! But to a writer with a new camera – well, surely some compromise is possible? Surely a picture plus 1000 words is even better? I just learned about WordPress.com’s blogging events – so I’m going... read more

Writing Prompts: Making Them Your Own

I used to think that writing prompts were stupid and useless. “Write a story about a ball of string, an inquisitive fish, and a shovel.” But even mocking a prompt – or writing prompts, in general – can prove useful when the flow of inspiration is backed up. There are no rules but this: Use the prompt as a springboard for your own ideas and writing. The boy tied the twine around the... read more

Sunny Pi Day Nature Walk

I woke up in darkness, well before dawn, and felt giddy at the sight of clear, white light streaming through the slats in the blinds. I pulled them apart, just to be sure it wasn’t the next door neighbor’s floodlight, or the searchlight on some rogue drone – both more likely than clear skies, stars, and moonlight after two solid weeks of rain – and there it was. The moon. I still... read more

Rain, Rain, Go Away…

It’s been two weeks of unrelenting gray drizzle and drip out there; I’ve forgotten what the sun looks like, but I think it may blind me if it ever peeks out from behind the clouds, again. The world is damp and it feels like brain rot’s about to set in. In fact, the past week has brought nothing but vertigo, nausea, and an irritating escalation of tinnitus – even the silent moments... read more

More Ways to Share the Link Love

Want some link juice? Help yourself. The fridge is full of it. There’s a combination lock on the door – it’s pretty easy to figure out, if you’re not a spammer. Deviously difficult if you are one. But if you’re a fellow blogger who feels like being generous and sharing a little link love with other bloggers, this post in combination with Building a Better Blogroll and The... read more

Building a Better Blogroll

I’d like to tell you that “building a better blogroll” involved cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla icing. Blogrolls are certainly sweet – and a little quaint. Ever since people started worrying about what kind of “link juice” to pass with their blogrolls, it seems that blogrolls have fallen out of favor. That’s a shame, because blogrolls are friendly and fun and who... read more

Bees & Assassins in the Back Yard

This little red assassin bug (left) is considered “highly beneficial” despite its sinister name.  It eats other insects that are considered “pests.” Although its bite can be painful, it isn’t toxic or dangerous to humans. Bees, too, are important to our survival. That doesn’t stop me, normally, from doing a frenzied sort of dance-and-run-while-screaming routine when I... read more

Connect

Connections to the Past & Present Ancient Egyptians believed that a person whose name was recorded somewhere would not disappear after death. The cartouche, or oval surrounding the name, was meant to protect the individual from evil spirits in life and after death. The cartouche has become a symbol representing good luck and protection from evil. I wear these for luck, and in memory of my mother and... read more

Solitude

The tale of Riley the Rollerblade Bird is a true story with an unlikely happy ending. It is a cautionary tale of the dangers of “good intentions.” It is a sad little tale about the everyday tragedies and indifference of nature. And today, it provides the inspiration behind a poem to illustrate a photo. The theme of Photo 101 is “Solitude,” a state I crave like water when the... read more

Unintentionally Hilarious

Creepy, Automated Advertising I have a shockingly morbid sense of humor, so I laughed out loud at the advertisment Google Ads just happened to run with this Victorian-era death photo:   There’s always that danger when you’re just “phoning it... read more

Wishing You a Bright, Colorful Holi – Wherever You Are!

Yesterday, the day before the Hindu festival of Holi, wherein colors are tossed about like confetti to symbolize, some say, the power of faith over death, color photos of the Eos Chaos region of Mars were sent back to Earth by by Mangalyaan – India’s first spacecraft to Mars. I’ve always liked the idea of a frenzied, joyful, color-rich holiday that’s practically got my name stamped on... read more

Clearly, Water

Dihydrogen monoxide: essential, yet deadly. What other substance on earth has claimed so many lives and fueled so many bitter conflicts? We often take it for granted, but we can’t go a week without it. There are nefarious souls who would bottle it up at the natural source and sell it back to us at a profit, and we are eager to buy, as if replenishing ourselves from anything that might have touched... read more

Home is in the Imagination

When I think of “home,” I think of family. I think of the various places we’ve lived, the houses within whose walls we dwelled, the character of the communities we’ve been a part of, that have become a part of us – and yet, I know that when you try to go back home, it’s never the same. Home is where we are together, here and now. It isn’t a place or the four walls... read more

March Baby, Blog & Photo Project

March has a habit of sneaking up on me. Given that my birthday is in March, I should see it coming a mile – or a month – away. But February always seems to come up a week short, bringing March into what really ought to be the last week of the second month. I’d forget my birthday, if my husband didn’t always ask, “What do you want for your birthday?” “An extra week... read more

Beware Imposters – They’re on LinkedIN, Too!

They are good at creating the illusion of an appealing profile, most likely because they steal photos from successful professionals, make up names that sound dignified, and create credible résumés – cadged from the millions of samples available online. But they are still the same dodgy little spammers and lonely hearts scammers you know and despise from Facebook and other back alleys of the Web. I... read more

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