Thursday, May 31, 2012

7 Super Shots

Fellow blogger, Nisha from LeMonde, didn't exactly tag me in a meme, but she did say in her post that anyone was welcome to join in, and then she reiterated it in her comment back to me.  So after looking through some of my photos from the past 4 years, I decided that I had some decent enough ones to play along. Let me interject, all of my photos on my blog are copyrighted by myself and no, you may not take them without my permission. That being said... on with the post. I haven't done a meme in about 4 years, but this one is cool. The meme is 7 Super Shots and it originated from a blog called HostelBookers.  All you have to do is find a photo that you took that satisfies the 7 listed specifications below and tell a little blurb about it. So here we go. I'll leave this meme open to anyone who reads this and wants to join. But specifically, I'd love to tag Sid the Wanderer and Quiet Paths. If anyone does participate, please come back and let me know here, so I can come check out your 7 Super Shots! 

#1: Takes My Breath Away - Windy Point 

This not only figuratively takes my breath away because it is such a gorgeous view, with the turquoise Abraham Lake off to the left and awesome mountains to the right, but it literally takes your breath away as well. Standing on Windy Point will suck the air right out of you and leave you gasping if you stand a certain way. It's ALWAYS windy, never calm; so windy that it's a challenge to even stand there. The wind makes the water dance, sparkle and glisten in the sun. It definitely takes my breath away.

#2: Makes Me Laugh or Smile - Mountain Goat

It really was so wonderful to experience Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana in 2010. This was the first time I'd had any personal encounters with mountain goats. I thought their calm and slightly timid demeanor was cool and every time I saw another one, I couldn't help but smile. This one was one of the last we saw this day. Perched up above us, about 8 feet up from the trail, poking out with a toothy little smile as the wind swept his hair and cooled him in the heat of the day. I can't look at it without remembering the greatness of that whole day and smiling.

#3: Makes Me Dream - Delicate Moments

After climbing up to the top of Wildhorse Island, with Thor for the 3rd time and Thanan for the first time, the two of them sat there from the best vantage point and looked down to see what they'd accomplished, and to take in the perfection around them. For about the hundredth time that weekend, I had thought how much I loved the idea of Thor being Thanan's step-dad. I thought it would be a wonderful dream come true if that ever happened. I'm still dreaming.. hoping it will come true one day.

#4: Makes Me Think - 30,000 Feet High

Being in a plane does nothing but make you think these days. I never worry when I'm on one, however. I just can't stop thinking about the destination, how much fun I'll have, what new adventures await, what new people will I meet, etc. I also think, when I was a child, my parents told me that when a body passed away, the soul went to Heaven and that Heaven is above the clouds. Having seen "above the clouds", I wonder how much higher up Heaven must be.

#5: Makes My Mouth Water - Harvest

I used to have a couple of garden boxes in my back yard. I've had one in every house I've owned. Sadly, I built a garage in my back yard last year, and no longer have the room for a vegetable garden. But I loved producing my own food... getting in there with my own hands to feel and clean the dirt, to nurse the plants to vitality with water and careful nurturing. Then to do a harvest was amazing. My favorite things from a fresh vegetable garden are baby potatoes and peas. So delicious. And growing it yourself gives you a great deal of satisfaction. Even if it means having to grow it all season and just get a few meals out of it in the fall.

#6: Tells A Story - Canadian Northern Railway Roundhouse Remains

You board a steam engine train from Stettler on a hot summer's day and you slowly chug your way to your destination of Big Valley, Alberta. Big Valley is a tiny village still today, with remnants and history stemming back to 1910 when it was a pioneer settlement and became an integral part of four eras: the ranching era, the rail era, the coal era and the oil boom era. Much of it is a protected ecological site today. When you go tour the village, you get a real sense of history and can't help but adore the quaintness of the whole experience. This door was part of the Roundhouse for the Railway, way back when.

#7: Most Proud Of (aka National Graphic Shot) - Sunflower Fields 

We have two attractions in central Alberta that are known for being natural mazes. One is a corn maze in Lacombe, the other is the Bowden Sun Maze. I'm not sure one has seen beauty until you've walked through and seen sunlight reach down and take presence in the form of a million flowers standing bright and tall before you, each one a representation of the sun itself. You can not help but be happy here. I think that I did a great job capturing the essence of the sun itself by capturing this macro of this perfect sunflower. I'm always doing close ups of flowers, but this one, I think it exceptional.

Hope you've enjoyed the first meme I've done in 4 years. Let me know if you decide to do your own!!

Jules :O)

Sunday, May 27, 2012

I've been meaning to say this for a while...

Maybe I'll end up being the only person who will publicly admit to this and somehow it will come back to royally bite me in my rosy pink pucker, but... I think Facebook and Twitter sort of are useless and suck, and I hate that the world has adopted a dependence on them. Twitter is not much more than saying to people "I only have 30 seconds to communicate with you" and Facebook has become not much more than a gaming site, with little tiny bits of useless profile status updates. Rarely is there anything worthwhile to read on there anymore.

I have an account in both, and I feel it's used more for spite than it is for any good. Twitter is a stronger social networking medium than Facebook, in my opinion, but only if you're smart enough to add plenty of local people to your account.

But you want to know something? I'd rather not have either account, but now that I have followers and friends in both, I feel like I'd be letting them down somehow or fear losing contact with them (mostly I'm afraid of losing contact with family members I never get to see from Facebook) should I choose to delete my accounts. Or worse yet... if I suddenly disappear from those sites, all those people will be somehow *insulted* that I no longer am their "friend". Let me tell you something, World. Just because I decide to delete you off my account doesn't mean there isn't a friendship of some sort still there. It just means facebook and twitter no longer hold my interest and I think it's waste of time, and we should get back to doing things "old school" like through a phone or email. I seriously think I'll delete all of my followers that aren't actually family and solely use it just to keep in contact with my parents, cousins, aunts and uncles before too long.

It's sad to me, how social media is so tied into the world that you can now publicly buy stocks in some of it. I also think it's a bit ironic how the day after Facebook stocks were released they fell in value. Why are we putting so much of ourselves into silly little gimmicks? I've known far too many misinterpretations and mis-communications that have happened because of a single status update in Facebook than I can even fathom. Far too many people get hurt or insulted, and far too many people are afraid to write anything worthwhile in them for fear it will be taken the wrong way, over-read, or be used to spread rumors with. I know I censor myself daily in both sites. But what is good in that? Why are we buying stocks in that? Do we really need a medium to brag about ourselves? It's making us less genuine people and while we are told it will bring us closer, I really feel like it's dividing us.

It started with MySpace, then Facebook, LinkdIn, Twitter, Pinterest... and whatever other sites are out there.. that type of social media is consuming people beyond the point of no return. The really shitty thing is, I feel like I sort of have no choice but to keep up with it all and understand it all so that one day when my 10 year old comes home asking for a Twitter account so he can announce the Lemonade Stand he'll be having on such-and-such a date and attract customers, I'll be able to know what the heck he's talking about. If I'm out of touch, who knows what he will get up to online when he's of an age where I'll actually allow him unsupervised computer use. I'm not naive. I know what can happen online when you're too immature to know better.

Am I a business associate? Do you really need to invite me to LinkedIn? No. So don't.

Ugh. The whole thing just irks me to some degree. I just don't know to what degree yet. What is boiling point? If I ever reach that, don't be surprised if I vanish from everywhere other than my beloved 6 year relationship with blogger.

..... you won't ever hear me say anything negative about blogging. I love it. I guess all social media doesn't suck. Maybe I'll check out Pinterest tomorrow. Have to be in the know.

I don't want to be a part of a world where everybody is friends with everybody, yet nobody knows anyone. I think that's gross.

Jules :O?!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

a bit of hope for me, please?

Well, tonight all I have to say is if you care about me, now is the time to pray for me. From now until June 12th. I'll let you know after that if I require more prayers.

Thank you..
Jules :O[

Monday, May 21, 2012


Some people are so glorious that even just watching them breathe in your presence makes you feel like you're a better person somehow. Those are the people to keep around you forever. That's how I feel about Thor.

Remember to count your blessings, and keep them close.. always.

That's all for tonight.

Jules :Oj

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Escape from Camp 14, CBC Radio One by Anna Maria Tremonti

I've been increasingly a fan of listening to CBC Radio One. It seems like more often than not anymore, my car radio is turned into it. In the mornings I drive my morning route to take the kids to their daytime goings-on, and I listen to "The Current" with Anna Maria Tremonti. Her journalism is serious and to the point, and it really illustrates any topic she chooses to report on. I listen to CBC throughout the day, and enjoy quite a few programs such as Q with Jian Ghomeshi, D.N.T.O. (Definitely Not The Opera), The Debaters, Spark... those are a few that I've come to really enjoy.

The other day I was in the car and The Current came on. Anna Maria was reporting about a man who managed to escape from Camp 14 in North Korea. I hadn't heard anything about the camps in North Korea before, but in the introduction, she described the report as being a heroing escape, so it piqued my interest. Little did I know that I would end up being completely enthralled, disgusted, nauseous, amazed, scared and in such disbelief by listening to the show. 

Basically, in North Korea, there are prison camps (political labor camps) where both men and women are kept and brutally worked and tortured. They are supposed to neutralize people who are known to be a threat to the state and are literally used to scare the living crap out of the regular population and thereby keep people in line. The camps are described in the report as being "hideously cruel", and after hearing the story, I can say that is an understatement. 

This report is painful to listen to, but something made me not only listen to it all, but listen to it again and then want to post about it. This is the story of the one known escapee from Camp 14, Shin Dong-hyuk. I guess what I have the biggest problem with, besides the fact that this sort of cruelty even exists anywhere in the world, is the fact that Shin was a person who was not a political prisoner nor was he in prison for being a criminal. Shin was born in the prison. He knew only the prison life, and his parents were, as a result, nothing more than competition for food. He was raised as a slave child and brainwashed to the rules of the camp and lived his first 20+ years in total ignorance and fear... and there was no real reason for him to even be there.  He spent every moment of his life from birth being a victim, a slave and a prisoner for doing nothing wrong.. just for being born.  

How. Can. This. Kind. Of. Atrocity. Happen. On. This. Planet?! 

And not only happen, but continue to happen? Continue to happen and be hidden by government, denied and covered up, all the while, growing generations of slaves who are so afraid for their lives that they can't even think the word "escape" without fear of death. How can children be BORN into that scenario and be kept there to continue to be punished for things that their relatives from generations ago had done?  Since when is it okay to punish someone out of mere association?! He couldn't help that he was born. How can this type of inhumanity be justified on a daily basis in North Korea? 

Well I feel like I could rant about this barbaric heinousness till I was blue in the face, but you can listen to the podcast here and then part two here (click on the "listen" button below the pictures of Shin). You can buy the book here.  It will take a little less than an hour to listen to the podcast. But you know what? It's going to make you a better person. It will educate you, open your mind, make you a more compassionate person, and in some extreme cases it might even make you want to do something about it. At the very least, it will make you think about how to treat humanity... or moreso, how NOT to treat it, and by God almighty, that you should be very thankful for what you have in this western world. 

Jules :'O(

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A funny story from today

Everyone's heard the term "Muscle Car" before, but never before today had I ever seen the concept illustrated with so much humor. 

I was about to turn down 32 St, which is a main road here in this city. Traffic wasn't too heavy. I was waiting to turn right onto the street and as I did, along side me was this gorgeous old Mustang, just like this one, except for the color. It was painted a blue that almost matched my car, but perhaps a few shades lighter and it had white race stripes up the middle of it. 

The Mustang has always been the only muscle car that's ever really caught my attention. There's just something about them that I think looks really cool. 

Anyway, I didn't even take note of who was either driving or riding in the car, just that there were both a driver and passenger. I was just looking at the car itself. Then, as the car pulled up beside me at the first stop light, I glanced slightly to the right to keep admiring it, and the passenger rolled down the window, and very suggestively rested his elbow on the bottom of the window sill, while holding on to the top of the door frame with the normal right angle pose one takes as they drive with their arm in the window. Right. So no big deal. 

Until he looked at me, flashed me a ridiculous smile, then totally flexed his bicep as the light turned green and we drove down the road. The entire way from that intersection, to 30Ave where they turned off, he kept his arm tightly flexed. Lord almighty, how it must have been burning, because we got stuck at several red lights. He just kept it flexed though. He was hellbent on putting on a show.

Hence, the term "Muscle Car". Apparently riding in one makes a man feel the need to flex his muscles to passers-by. I wonder if he'd be gutted to know that I was giggling uncontrollably at him for the remainder of my drive. A giggle that was suggestive of the hilarity of the whole thing, rather than feeling impressed at his attempt to flirt and flash his muscles in his friend's Mustang. Bwahahaha. I mean.. honestly!! It was so hilarious, the whole scene! 

My boyf's muscles, by the way, are FAR more impressive than that guy's were, and maybe one day we'll spruce up his Mustang and he can flex his for me while we take it out for a spin. 

Jules :Ohaha! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

pink and blue

I've been far too busy to blog lately, and really, I don't feel like divulging all that much information. Life has been a bit stressful. Not really my life (well that too, but that's the part I don't want to talk about), but those of the lives around me who regularly confide in me (moreso). I am hoping that at the very least, my ability to be an ear for them is helpful. So for now, I'll just post a few more texture photos. 

This is a flower that was in a bouquet I saw recently. It was really cool looking. The color isn't adjusted here. Just the edge of the photo. It really was striking to see in real life. I long flower, about 6" in length and having a circumference of about 2.5". It was a giant beauty.

I once said to Thor when we parted, and it was raining, that the rain was Mother Nature's way of crying for us so that we didn't have to. Perhaps I don't look at the rain like most people do. This wasn't taken on that day, but a day a few days later when I was really missing him. Again, she came through for me.

I hope you're all doing well.

Jules :Oj