Tag Archives: Music

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

Xenia at Tranature is the guest host for Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge this week. She invited us to look at the theme of Sanctuary.

We have been in lock down because of Covid-19 since March 11. The initial projection was to close schools and stores for several weeks. Five months have gone by, we see new surge of cases in many countries. This is an unsettling time of the history.

Xenia’s theme is timely for us to think about and find sanctuary among the chaos.

 

Sanctuary is the tranquility where the mind and soul find serenity and peace. It could be in the ocean, a park, or your garden.

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It seems to be miles away but Laguna Lake is in the midst of the residential homes.

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My garden

Sanctuary is the harmony where the chaos, strife, and discords dissipate. It could be somewhere in the forest or the perception through our filtered lenses.

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Trees find their way toward the sun at Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is the quietness where the demands, interruption, and disturbance fade away. It could be a bench under a tree or in the depth of your heart.

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Benches like this one are facing the water around Laguna Lake.

Sanctuary is a resting place where the struggles, conflicts, and confusion subside. A nap can be a pleasant luxury, a mini-vacation. It can provide an easy way to get some relaxation and rejuvenation.

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Tucking the head under the wings is a perfect way of napping for the ducks.

Sanctuary is a hobby you emerge yourself in for leisure and pleasure. You may find it in reading, hiking, or fishing. I find mine in singing and painting.

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This family enjoyed fishing at Laguna Lake

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My watercolor painting

Sanctuary is a haven where one finds security, love, and care for the young.

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A content mama duck with eight fuzzy ducklings

Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge #108: Sanctuary

 

I love to hear where you find your sanctuary. Please share with us in the comment. Thank you!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107, Ann-Christine invited us to look at the difference in the winter when we compare the Northern Hemisphere with the Southern Hemisphere. 

The first time I saw snow was my first year in Portland, Oregon. It was in November. I walked along the hallway from one classroom to the next. My eyes glanced through the floor to ceiling window. A thin layer of white stuff drifting down in the air. I stopped and observed. Each layer above seemed to get thicker and whiter. I realized what happened and called out while jumping up and down, “It’s snowing. It’s snowing!” Some male students walked by and looked at me. Probably the last time they saw and heard of it was from their little kids.

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When I finished school in Portland, I went on to Seattle Pacific University for my second graduate study. The city welcomed me with seven inches of snow. When the snow came to a pause, I put on my knee high, custom made leather boots and my leather gloves to make the first snowman. The leather gloves got hard and stiff after they were dry. My boots were fine, probably they were made differently.

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Is winter warm or cold? I think winter is warm because it’s the time for events such as Christmas concert, Christmas light cruise, Christmas parties with family and friends, and my daughter’s birthday the day after Christmas.

One New Year, we visited my sister’s family in Vancouver B.C. We couldn’t go skiing in Whistler B.C. because the heavy fog came in. We managed going to a nearby mountain for my husband, niece, and nephew to do snowboarding.

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Back home in southern California, our chorale started rehearsing for the Messiah concert first week of November, leading to the two performances before Christmas. This is the highlight of the year for me.

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The adult fellowship group at church has many Christmas parties. One year we had a catering dinner at a deluxe retirement home. The chef built a gingerbread village every year. He made one gingerbread house at a time throughout the year and froze them. By early December, he assembled the village with a train track and an electrical train going around it.

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The last two years, we went on the Christmas Light Cruise and watched the Christmas Boat Parade.

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Two years ago was the first-time snow and Christmas met. My husband and I went to Portland, Oregon to spend the holiday with my daughter’s family. I saw snow before the plane landed and was so excited to have a white Christmas.

Most exciting of all during Christmas time is my daughter’s birthday on the day after Christmas. Here, Mercy opened the birthday card from her daughter Autumn.

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Is winter warm or cold in your part of the world? I would like to hear from you.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #107 – Winter

 

 

SoCS 2020.07.18: You Raise Me Up

Linda G. Hill’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SoCS for July 18, 2020 is “link.” I love to play this week. 

I’ve heard the song You Raise Me Up and loved it, but it brought more attention to me when my sister sent me a YouTube link with Chinese subtitle. I felt in love with song all over again and looked into the background of the song as well as the performer who sang this in the center of Maastricht, Netherlands. Here are the info and the links.

You Raise Me Up

You Raise Me Up” was originally composed by Rolf Undsæt Løvland as an instrumental piece and titled “Silent Story” in 2001.  Løvland is a Norwegian composer, lyricist, arranger, and pianist. Together with Fionnuala Sherry, he formed the Celtic-Nordic group Secret Garden. Løvland later approached Irish novelist and songwriter Brendan Graham to write the lyrics to his melody. The song was made by and for Løvland himself and performed for the very first time at the funeral of Løvland’s mother

The song was performed early in 2002 by the Secret Garden and became a minor UK hit. By 2005, the song reached a massive world-wide success.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You_Raise_Me_Up

Martin Hurkens

In his biography, the unemployed baker Martin Hurkens credited her youngest daughter for signing him up for the RTL program “Holland Got Talent” behind his back. He hesitated a little, then decided to participate in this great program. To his surprise, he reached the finale. Singing was always his hobby and he turned his hobby into a profession.  He “seized the opportunity with both hands.”

After winning the finale, he received more and more requests for performances. In addition to these performances he also recorded a video clip in the center of Maastricht of the song: “You Raise Me Up.” This video became popular on YouTube and Social Media and has been watched all over the world. He received many requests for performances in China, Taiwan, and Japan.

http://www.martinhurkens.nl/biografie

I chose the YouTube link with English subtitle.

 

Lyrics

When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be

You raise me up to more than I can be

 

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Brendan Graham / Rolf Løvland

You Raise Me Up lyrics © Peermusic Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group

 

 

SoCS 2020.07.18: You Raise Me Up

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87 – Reflections

Welcome to my blog! I’m honored to be the guest host for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87 – Reflections.

“Reflection photography, also referred to as mirror photography, is when you use reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene. This type of photography can add an interesting spin to locations that are hot spots for photographers such as oceans, lakes, puddles, and even rain drops.” – befunky

I am fascinated by the reflection photographs in the lakes, the rivers, the building windows, the sunglasses, the mirrors, and the puddles. This week, you may find the photographs from your archives or take new photographs using reflective surfaces to create mirror images. Here are my examples:

 

“A lake is a landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” – Henry David Thoreau

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The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, Los Angeles, CA

We live about twenty-five miles from The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles, California. This is our favorite spot for a day trip. The Chinese Garden was recently reconstructed and new features were added to the beauty.

 

“Like water which can clearly mirror the sky and the trees only so long as its surface is undisturbed, the mind can only reflect the true image of the Self when it is tranquil and wholly relaxed.” Indra Devi

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The Tagus River in Toledo, Spain

We went to Spain in the summer during a local holiday. It was hot but tourists had the roads by themselves because the local people headed to the beaches. While in Toledo, I caught this scene in the calm river.

 

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience which is bitterest.” – Confucius

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Whale Watching Cruise, Newport Landing, California

Our family was on a whale watching cruise from Newport Beach, California. We didn’t catch any sight of the whales but we saw some dolphins. The above shot was not really planned. I did it just for fun.

 

“Self-reflection entail asking yourself questions about your value, assessing your strength and failures, thinking about your perceptions and interactions with others, and imagining where you want to take your life in the future.” Robert L. Rosen

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Gym at La Habra, California

After the Yoga class several Saturdays ago, I stayed behind to take photos of the mirrors. This is the aerobic room with mirrors on four walls. The mirrors created infinite reflections. There was only one other member in the room, yet the mirrors reflected endless images of this person.

 

“Anybody who has gone through a life-changing experience will tell you there is a different understanding of what is real and what is important, and when you are going through different moments, you can reflect and go, ‘I have been through worse.’” – Delta Goodrem

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Kyoto, Japan

On this sunny day in Kyoto, Japan, our family took a train to Nara Park to see the deer. This photo was taken before we went down to the subway station.

 

“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” – Søren Kierkegaard

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Fullerton, California

In southern California, we learned to appreciate rainstorms. The winter of 2018-2019, there was two and a half months of on and off rainstorms, in fact, it was on more often than off. It brought us a good amount of rain to lift the drought. So far, we only had 5 days of rain in the winter of 2019-2020. The cities may reinforce the water rationing this year.

 

 “A day is not always bright, and nights are not always dark. All that matters is what’s inside, because day and night are a reflection of you.” – Avantika

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Guilin, China

Seven people in our family took a trip to China. This photo was at a light show at Guilin, China.

 

For Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #86 this week, we invite you to be creative to find any reflective surfaces to show us your reflection photographs.

 

We appreciated Patti’s challenge last week to invite us looking at the subjects from different perspectives.

Have You Seen These Great Posts from Last Week?

John at John’s Space gave us different perspectives of white Aspen trees from the distance and closeup.

Ana atAnvica’s Gallery showed the interesting perspectives of Eiffel Tower both in the day and at night

Sue at The Nature of Things took us on a tour of the orchids from different perspectives at the Chicago Botanic Garden Annual Orchid Show.

If you’re new to the challenges, click here to learn how to join us.  Remember to link your post to the comment below and use the Lens-Artists tag to help us find your post in the WP Reader.

 

For the rest of March, please follow the usual weekly schedule:

I look forward to seeing your creative and artistic reflection photography. Thank you for your participation and support. Please have an enjoyable week ahead of you!

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

For this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Patti invited us to a photo scavenger hunt to find things that are red.

This scavenger hunt was harder than I thought. I found out that most of my photos don’t have too many red things. I’m glad to find some to share with you.

In early 2019 we went to my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. This is my granddaughter at the wedding cake cutting area outside of the banquet room.

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I captured this photo with the Royal Guard standing at the Tower of London.

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Mozarts Geburtshaus was the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria. Mozart was born here on 27 January 1756. The Mozart family resided on the third floor from 1747 to 1773.

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This is the art exhibit at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, a science and technology museum in Portland, Oregon. The artist collected insects and small birds around the world and used them to create amazing art displays.

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This piece of artwork is by the same artist. Every tiny dot in this artwork is a real insect.

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #81: Find Something Red

 

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

This week, Amy invites us to explore “A Window With A View” and asks us to share some photos we’ve captured through windows.

“Throw open your window and let the scenery of clouds and sky enter your room!” – Yosa Buson

Summer Palace, Beijing

Summer Palace, Beijing, China

Several years ago, nine people from our extended family traveled to China and Hong Kong. While in China, we visited Beijing, Xi’an and Guilin. This photo was the view from looking out the window of the Summer Palace.

 

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Great Wall, China

The tour guide took us to one entrance where some of us went to a steep side of the Great Wall and some went on the other side for a leisure walk. The Wall seems to go on forever from the view of the Wall window. As of Jul 31, 2019, the length of the Great Wall is 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers).

 

“I feel that it is healthier to look out at the world through a window than through a mirror. Otherwise, all you see is yourself and whatever is behind you.” – Bill Withers

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I saw this beautiful design of a mirror at Laguna Beach, California where we visit often. After positioning myself several times, I found an angle to take this photo without seeing my reflection in the mirror.

 

“The window of opportunity opens and closes as fast as a camera’s shutter.” – Warren Criswell

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Alhambra, Granada, Spain

Hubby and I went to Spain three years ago for our anniversary. We visited Madrid, Toledo, Seville, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona in that order of our itinerary. I love the architecture in Spain.

Alhambra is the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada. The name Alhambra, signifying in Arabic “the red,” is probably derived from the reddish color of the tapia (rammed earth) of which the outer walls were built.

 

“My favorite journey is looking out the window.” – Edward Gorey

Innsbruck, Austria

Our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria

Hubby enjoyed the view from our hotel room in Innsbruck, Austria.

When we travel, hubby likes to have a hotel room with a nice view. I argue that we don’t stay in the room long enough to enjoy the view. Eventually, I understand that we are not “on the go” all the time during the trip. A window with a nice view makes our stay pleasant.

 

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #79: A Window With A View

 

 

 

Flash Fiction 2019.09.19 – Interlude

September 19, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about an interlude. It can be a pause between two key moments, the pause between acts in a play, an intermission, or a temporary amusement. Go where the prompt leads you!

 

Related image

 

Key Change

 

“Choir, that’s beautiful. All the parts blend well. We’ll add something to our rehearsal.”

“What? I just got all the lyrics memorized.”

“Wonderful, Liz, you can look at me rather than the music score.”

“What else do we have to learn?”

“We change key for the last stanza. The lyrics are the same. Chris composed the interlude. Now listen once.”

 “It sounds heavenly, but I can’t catch the note for the key change.”

“There are sixteen bars. Listen to the last bar. Hum the last note that takes you to the first note of the next stanza.”

“Got it.”

~

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Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction 2019.09.19 – Interlude

 

 

 

SoCS 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

The Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday from Linda is “wrap/rap.” I used unwrapped.

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I gave two unwrapped gifts to myself when I graduated with the Doctor of Education in year 2000.

The first gift was two season tickets to six operas in 2001 as my husband would accompany to see the opera. When I was a kid, we didn’t have a radio but my neighbors did. I went to my neighbors to listen to the news, ghost stories and other broadcast. There was a theme music playing leading to the news. After thirty seconds, the music faded as a female announcer came in to report the news of the day. That was the beginning of my classical music appreciation and I later identified the theme music as the Overture of Bizet’s Carmen. I enjoyed singing and started taking voice lessons at nineteen years old and sang pieces of operatic music.

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I hoped to see operas such as Carmen, La Bohème and La Traviata, and learn about other less popular ones. Hubby likes mostly country western music, but he would go with me to see the operas. Part of the attraction to me was to dress up and be with other people who had the same interest. At the opera house, people could rent small binoculars at $7 each. We brought two binoculars with greater strength. I not only wanted to see the details of costumes but also the singers’ expressions.

Classical music was not Hubby’s taste, let alone opera. Many people enjoy classical music but have no interest in opera. The first opera we went, Hubby slept through the first half. I didn’t wake him even though his chin dropped to the chest. The only time I would interrupt was when he started snoring which didn’t happen. Snoring in a classical performance is rude to the performers and disrespect to the audience. People don’t cough or sneeze during the performance. They hold their breath and focused. When one movement is over, you’d hear people clearing their throats. The conductor waits until everybody quiets before he raises the baton. For the subsequent performances, I oriented him with the plots, so he watched the acts as if they were Broadway shows.

I stopped subscribing the tickets after three years when the popular operas repeated.

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The second gift was a new car. I had a Honda Civic for about eight years. It had enough scratches and mechanical problems. It was about time to get a new car. I had ideas of the features in a new car that I liked, so I made a spreadsheet, listing on each row the specifications such as 4-doors, sunroof, automatic, CD player, and other items. On the columns, I listed four makes of cars – Infinity, Audi, Lexus, and Acura. At the bottom of the spreadsheet listed the price of each car. After the comparison and considered the pros and cons, I decided on the Acura. There were two determining factors, one of them was the price. I had to be practical after paying for three years of a doctoral program. Another factor was Honda had a higher rate of returning customers. Acura is the luxury car of Honda. I like Honda, so I would be happy with Acura. I bought an Acura.

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Hubby kept up with the oil change and maintenance year after year. We didn’t have any major problem with the car. Four years ago, fifteen years after I had the car, I started thinking about what I wanted to do. I would need to buy another car for my remaining life. When to buy it? The car needed new tires, and we bought four new tires. The tires were good for five years or 50,000 miles. I wanted to wait until close to the end of warranty to get a new car. A school principal told me he kept his Honda to 300,000 miles. My car should make it for several more years with the leisure driving after retirement.

In September 2018, we went to Las Vegas for a week. Upon our return, the car started to get overheated. Hubby tried to drive slower, but it made no difference. I didn’t want to leave Nevada and have the car die in the desert. Calling AAA was in order. The driver came in a tow truck. After his assessment, he confirmed that the radiator broke. The car needed to be towed. We were not near any exit to turn around. The tow truck went forward fourteen miles to an intersection, then turned around toward Las Vegas. The closest Acura dealer was seven miles passed Las Vegas. Well, my insurance covers certain miles of towing and I paid for the rest. The dealer couldn’t work on the car until the next day. We spent a night in that city where the dealer was and picked up the car the next day.

After replacing the radiator, I started to think of shopping for a car but didn’t feel the urgency. I was thinking about doing that within a year. I should have gotten a new car before September this year but I didn’t. Last Thursday, September 12, 2019 was the first week of classes at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), a program for the retirees. On my way to California State University, Fullerton, the car was not running smoothly. I found a place to park and called Hubby. He said the car had some traction issue but not a big problem. I went on to my classes. On my way home, the car had bigger traction problem. I pulled over by the curb, stopped and restarted the car, made it go for half a mile and restarted again. When I made a left turn at an intersection, it stopped in the middle of the road. I rolled down the window, signaled the car to bypass me. After great struggle to restart many times, I was like dragging a pouting dog to go for a couple more miles. Two miles before getting home, the car said, “That’s it, I refuse to go any further.”

Hubby came right away. We called AAA and the tow truck came, towed the car to the dealership which was five miles away. This time it was the transmission problem. The manufacture doesn’t make the transmission for that model anymore. Getting a refurbished or used transmission cost $4,500. It’s not worth spending that kind of money when I’m overdue for a new car.

I got 217,000 miles and 19 years out of my Acura anyway. I’ll be car hunting and get another unwrapped gift for myself.

(Note: I got another Acura in November 2019 – Acura RDX)

SoSC 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts

 

Flash Fiction Challenge – Rock Star

August 1, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rock star. You can feature a central character or write about the feeling like a rock star. Go where the prompt leads!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rock Star

 

John Livingston stood in the center stage. It was their first concert on the road.

Ringo started the percussion. John, Paul and George plucked the guitars for three beats. They sang on the fourth beat.

“Hey Jude…, don’t make it bad…”

The fans screamed. The girls reached out their hands.

“Take a sad song and make it bet…ter…”

The screaming got louder.

“…Na-na-na na… hey Jude.”

The four bowed to reach to their fans. One girl pulled John so hard, he fell off the stage and hit his head.

“Ouch!”

“John, wake up. You’re late to your camping trip.”

 

♪♫ ♪ ♫♪ ♪♫ ♪

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – Rock Star

 

 

 

School Days, Reminiscences of Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Norah Colvin’s blog sharing about my School Days Reminiscences. Please click the link below and head over to read the original post and read the archives of other bloggers’ posts.

School days reminiscences of Miriam Hurdle

Norah Colvin

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

Miriam Hurdle, poet

This week, I am pleased to introduce Miriam Hurdle, poet, blogger, flash fiction writer, photographer, ex-teacher and educator. She blogs at the Showers of Blessings and recently published a book of poems entitled Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude.

I first met Miriam at the Carrot Ranch when she rode up and joined in the flash fiction challenges. Since then, we’ve met up in many different places around the blogosphere. Considering she’s been blogging even longer than I; I’m surprised we hadn’t met earlier. We share our thoughts on education and grandchildren, and in fact on anything to do with making our journeys through life the…

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