Friday, March 20, 2015


 My Friday Reflection

I haven't been blogging for a long time but this week felt the desire for the first time to get out and wield my pen. The problem was where to start. I had some old posts written but not uploaded as I hadn't added my photographs to them but after that where would I go. I decided to joined Friday Reflections the brain child of Janine Riper and Mackenzie Glanville. I am not always good at meeting deadlines but this seems like the ideal starting point to get me writing again.

This week I chose the prompt: 5 things I am grateful for this week.

1. Singalong .

 I belong to a Singalong group. We  are an international group who meet once a fortnight to sing, usually, but not always. harmoniously.
H3A Singalong Group.
It is very relaxed and no matter in what humour I arrive I invariably come out smiling. Singing is good for the soul. But not only do we sing, we laugh, swap stories, we share memories and bits of ourselves as we share our music. What fun it is to sing in our native languages and help others to get their tongue around our particular one, be it  English, Turkish, French, Dutch, Irish, Hungarian to name a few. You would think “having an ear” this should be easy but things aren’t always as you imagine. In addition to the singing, what warms me is the inclusivity of the group. Each one of us can bring a new song, take turns to choose which song we will sing next and of course to bring goodies which we enjoy during the tea break.

2. Spring.

Yesterday at Singalong, we sang ”The Rose  One of my favourite lines in this song is  near the end It says “Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows, lies the seed, that with the sun’s love, in the Spring becomes the rose”
I am just emerging into my Spring, all around me are signs of Spring. My plum tree is in bloom as is the almond tree across from my house. The sun shines more often than it rains now and I wake up to bright sunshine most mornings.

 More to the point, I am emerging from my own particular winter, what has been a  difficult period in my life, a time I filled with lots of or perhaps one could say frantic  activity to “keep me warm” during the cold days, This lately was followed by a period of  "hibernation" to rest up and recover.
I woke up this week to feel that surge of creativity which has been dormant, an awakening of what I thought might be lost.  So I have resurrected my blog, blown the dust off my camera, I am experimenting with new recipes and have settled  down to finish a large knitting project I  had undertaken instead of flitting from one project to another without finishing any.
This will eventually be a bedspread made up of just over 700  individual hexipuffs, knitted stuffed and then joined together.

3. My Camera.

This, more than anything else at the moment, is my creative outlet. I need one without planning a project or doing something with my hands I become stultified.
I have joined a photography workshop, it also meets once a fortnight. We all have different cameras ranging from serious DSLR’s to Point and Shoot to  the camera on our phones. We have been looking at the area of composition. I enjoy challenging myself. Sometimes it seems easy. For example, a recent topic was texture, pattern, shape and a frame within a frame. It should be easy to capture a shot but the challenge is how to make that image interesting, to capture the viewers attention. We have to submit "homework" This is wonderful because we are learning from each other, looking at each other's photos.

Our latest topic will be my biggest challenge. It is portraits, not my cup of tea at all. I am known for telling people to move out of my shots they are spoiling the view. One night this week I was talking to my daughter on Skype. Our cameras were open. I don’t usually like looking at a close up of myself, but I noticed the way the light from the reading lamp was falling on my face. It immediately got me thinking ….ooooh now there is a portrait, just not me, not a selfie!  I just have to find a willing victim to sit in the same position while I play with my camera, and the lighting.

Sorry daughter for being distracted!


Like many Irish families, we are scattered. We live in five different countries, on three different continents. We were lucky this year to be all able to get together at Christmas. I am so grateful to Viber. We Skype each other but those conversations are more often than not one- to-one. What I miss most is our times around the dinner table when the conversation was often a free-for-all and you would find waht you said picked up before you could even put it down. Viber is the closest I can get to this, now we are apart. We have a group messaging system. So the conversation may begin in Edmonton Canada, gets an immediate reply from Germany followed by England, Ireland and Turkey. Not in any particular order. It can happen at any time of day once you are connected to the internet. I am immediately taken back to the family dinner table. Viber has made it  clear that my daughters suffer from a genetic disorder inherited from me. I was accused for years of having a “ smilie or sticker addiction,” It seems to have been passed on. One daughter says we have regressed to communicating in pictures, cave art. Well what can I say. If a  picture paints a thousand words……


 The downside with Viber is if you happen to sleep - we are in different time zones - or if you lose your wifi connection, you could  have over thirty messages to scroll back through to see what you have missed.
But then of course, you haven’t missed it. The conversation is there waiting for you…and you have time to come up with a suitable reply! So not a downside after all!

 5. The Cat Brush,
Last but not least, this week I am grateful for a new purchase, a cat brush.  I am not the only one grateful for this  Buster, the cat, after initial doubts, is  even more grateful than I.

Now, every morning, Buster gets a good brushing. Is it the fact that it is Spring?  Boy can this cat shed hair! As I was ironing the other morning, I made a mental note to myself, either bring the cat with me on my next trip to the hairdressers and get him dyed black or buy a new wardrobe of blonde clothes. Ginger cats and dark trousers are not a good match.

My mind immediately began to ponder the possibility of  developing a spray on, brush out hair dye for cats. You know they are not fond of water. Therefore a  wash in, rinse out will not work. If I could or someone else for that matter could develop the product I could dye Buster to match my outfit on any given day so the cat hair would not show. With this was tossing  around in my brain, I spotted the brush on the shelf in the supermarket. Not quite as good as a fur dye nonetheless I quickly snapped it up and brought it home to Buster.

I was not sure how he would react, so first I told him of my plan to dye him black and mentioned as I had not come up with a spray formula it would involve water and washing. I then produced the brush as the alternative.  What can I say, after first trying his disdainful stare, he saw I wasn't caving!  He decided to give in with good grace flopped down rolled over and purred.
Later, having invited his friend  Zorro into play, they both collapsed exhausted onto the bed! Hmmmm...... I am going to have to introduce Zorro to the brush or tell her she could end up blonde...for the summer months anyway.

An couple of hours of chasing each other around the house, followed by a bedtime story it is time for a nap and hopefully not shed to much!


  1. Great to have another chance to see these fine photos.

    1. Thanks Annie, I hope I will be adding some new ones soon, but I don't hold out much hope for the portraits!

  2. Welcome back! You made me smile. The spray on cat die idea is genius! ha I just love how creative you are Mary :) #fridayreflections

    1. Thanks Janine, I am glad to be back and to have made you smile. Hopefully someone will come up with a formula for the cat dye. I can't afford a new wardrobe!

  3. So glad you are back blogging, and so lovely to meet you! I am Mackenzie and I thank you for linking up with Janine and I. That knitting project is amazing! I am also a camera lover so I understand your passion there. I can also relate to shutting yourself off, but so glad you are entering spring in your own life again xx

    1. Hi Mackenzie, nice to meet you. Thank you for adding me to the group.

  4. Really enjoyed this one. I feel like I got to know more about you and your lifestyle through your pictures and your stories - though I have been a follower for years. Have we regressed as a culture? Or are visuals much more compelling than words?

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Pennie, I enjoyed writing it. I am not sure we have regressed a s a society perhaps we have evolved. We can now put pictures and words together to make what we have to say even more compelling, pictures and words can complement each other.

  5. I love to sing so much! and Spring is my favourite season. Thank you for sharing your post with us. I enjoyed a good giggle with the cats too. I love cats!

  6. What I love most about this is that when you didn't know where to start, you turned to gratitude. What if we all did that? (And your portrait is lovely!)

  7. Thank you. I agree gratitude is a good place to start from. It colours how we see the rest of the day. I should make it my morning mantra. As for the portrait, well I debated over uploading that. Photos of myself, are a bit like watching a film after reading a book, they never quite live up to how I imagine it would be.

  8. What can I say Mary? You and I have so many things in common, and I love the idea of the singalong. I wish I was your neighbor!

    Loved the photos, and keep that camera shooting! I had a break in creativity too Mary, so understand the lapse and reason for it. After many lapses over the years, I knew it would return, just didn't know when the urge would hit again...

    Thanks for taking that pen and camera back up. And don't forget to post a photo of the finished knit project. I am looking at a sweater I started at least 2 years ago and thinking hmmm, maybe it's time now... :)

    1. Hi Cathy. I would just love it too if we were neighbours but I might have to force you to retire so we could have time for long rambles with our cameras and the discussions over tea/coffee afterwards.
      I am thankful that our creativity is always with us though sometimes less so than others...sleeping volcanoes? As for the knitting, if you have time, give it a go. I find it so relaxing. The Mayo clinic says it is good for keeping Alzheimer's at bay but my son -in-law to be says it causes severe credit card debt therefore it is detrimental to his mental health ( my daughter is a knitter, her wool stash is rather large)

  9. Great photos and well written yet again Mary! You would really do well at the H3a writing group!

  10. Thank you Noreen, but I don't think I could write on the spur of the moment. I need time to let things ferment!


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