Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuscaloosa Tornado

I have scarcely been able to tear myself away from the computer since the powerful tornado struck my beloved hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama. My family was in the direct path of the tornado.

This is an aerial view of their neighborhood that I found on the Internet. My dad's house is on the lower left. After my mother died last year, he moved into the in-law apartment on the back of the house. My brother and his family moved into the main house. The apartment is completely gone, so my dad lost his home. The main house is also totaled and not structurally sound. He said the windows exploded and the doors were blown off.

My sister's house is on the lower right corner. While the house looks fairly sound, it isn't. She said that they could feel the tornado lift the house completely off the foundation. She said the walls are cracked and the house is not livable.

Their cars and their homes were totaled.

This is a picture my sister-in-law took of the back yard. My dad's beloved little dog is missing and he has been searching through the rubble trying to find her.

Here is another picture of my sister's house in the lower left. Her carport has significant damage. Notice that both neighbors on either side of her has their entire roof missing.

After the storm they immediately began helping their neighbors who were trapped in the rubble. My brother-in-law's aunt and uncle live right across the street from him, their home was completely destroyed and they were trapped in their bathroom. Another neighbor was trapped under a brick wall. They have quite a few stories to tell about their experience, especially since it was hours before emergency personnel was able to get to them. Their home was basically a triage center for those needing assistance. So many people were in shock and had injuries.

This is what it looks like just a few houses down at the end of the block.

Another view of the end of the block.

I am so thankful that my loved ones are all safe and without injury. Others were not as fortunate; there were several fatalities in their neighborhood and all across the city. So many people are homeless. I am thankful that my family has other family members to stay with. While we are counting our blessings, we grieve and are heart broken for the loss of life and the utter devastation of our beloved hometown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Picture Purr-fect

After a long and difficult winter, we now have had the wettest April in 139 years! I wish we could share some of the rain with our friends in Texas! Day after day of rain and gloomy weather makes me want to look at pretty things.

Usually I am hesitant to cut so many of my spring flowers to bring inside, but with the rain, high winds, and the occasional threat of hail,  I knew they wouldn't last very long outside. I have thoroughly enjoyed the tulip and daffodil bouquets in the house!

I am still trying to learn more about photography and my camera. It seems that there is always more to learn. During these past few gloomy days, I've been  experimenting with indoor photography, (with no natural sunlight). The bouquets of flowers make the perfect models!

Speaking of purr-fect models, here is my sweet kitty enjoying our cozy spot. Cats always make things look even cozier!

More beautiful tulips!

I thought I would include a shot of the night stand I bought at a garage sale last year and painted turquoise.

I don't usually follow color trends, but I am loving all things turquoise, especially the robin's eggs and my sweet collection of blue Ball jars. (The peony picture is from last year. I can't wait to have them again!)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Nesting Robins

A few days ago my neighbor and dear friend called me and told me to come to her house that she had something to show me.

She knows me well, and knew that I would want to get a few pictures of the robin that had built a nest on her front porch!

Originally the robin had laid four eggs, but her nest is tilted and one of the eggs had rolled out. (I was there again today and now two of the eggs have fallen out.)

Mama robin was not at all happy about the interruption and was making in known.

Hopefully the two remaining eggs will hatch and I can get a few shots later of baby robins.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring is Finally Here

Even though there was frost on the ground this morning, and it has been cool and rainy for the last few days, I have thoroughly enjoyed the few warm days we have had so far! The tulips and daffodils are blooming! We had some threatening weather with an expectation of hail and damaging winds. I couldn't bear the thought of my tulips being ripped to shreds by hail so I went out, in the rain, and cut a bouquet to enjoy inside.

I set up a little photography "studio" and played with my camera. It had been a long time since I had done that. It was kind of difficult to take pictures of anything this past winter except snow and birds. Unfortunately my blogging has suffered for several reasons.

My computer is almost five years old and for some reason it had become vulnerable to vicious trojan and malware viruses. Several times we have had to completely reformat the computer and each time I had to reload my software and programs on the computer. I still don't have everything I need back on, (like the printer). It has been quite a hassle and has kept me from blogging. The thought of finding and organizing all of my pictures and loading the editing software again was quite daunting and honestly not a priority.

In the past, I would have just purchased a new computer, but these days that isn't possible.This one is still under the extended warranty for a few more months and I am hoping it will crash before that time is up. I have never had a computer to last this long! Knowing how things have been going for us this past year, this one will last five years and one day!

It is so hard to believe that we are nearing the end of our homeschooling experience. For the last fifteen years we have homeschooled our two children. Only one month before graduation and that chapter of our life is finished. It has been such a blessing for our family and if I had it to do all over again, I would do it without a second thought!

My husband is beginning a new endeavor to start his own business. After being laid off several times due to corporate layoffs, he is taking his future in his own hands. It is frightening but exciting at the same time.

I have been so blessed to be able to stay at home with my children for the last twenty-three years. They have been my primary focus. Now that they are both grown with full-time jobs, I am at the cross-roads in my own life. I need to find a new purpose and way to be productive. I am babysitting part-time and I love the children, but it is a temporary situation.

I would really love to do something photography related and am contemplating the possibilities.

Thank you all for sticking with me through the tumultuous year and the sporadic posts. I hope things will settle down after graduation and I really hope the computer issues have been resolved now.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.