Thursday, July 30, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I have visited Oahu six times, the last being in 2005, and I can't wait to get back! I have also been to Maui, which is absolutely beautiful, but Oahu is where I truly love to be.
The list of things to do and see in Oahu are endless, but I will share a few. Visit the Rain Forest, North Shore, and hike to the top of Diamond Head! I never imagined that I could or would do that, but once I reached the summit I was overwhelmed by the beauty of what lie below, and felt a sense of personal accomplishment!
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Naturally, one cannot mention Aruba without mentioning Natalee Holloway; especially if you live in the state of Alabama. What happened to Natalee was nothing short of tragic and should never have happened. Natalee went to Aruba on her Senior class trip and was never seen or heard from again. To this day her disappearance has gone unsolved and the person or persons responsible have yet to be brought to justice.
There was a boycott against Aruba for a long time following Natalee's disappearance and that too is sad. Aruba was prosecuted for a crime that it did not commit and they suffered terribly. I have no doubt that Natalee's disappearance could have been solved and those responsible could have and should have been prosecuted and convicted. Unfortunately, as in many other countries, including the United States, sometimes it's who you know and your political status that will not only keep you free, but set you free. In the end, Aruba remains one of the safest places in the world. Their crime rate is extremely low, and when you consider the number of homicide's and disappearances in one U.S. city on a monthly basis, compared to the number Aruba has in any given decade, the chances that anything will happen to you in Aruba are virtually zero.
Now when I visit Aruba I make a point to look out across the water and remember Natalee. A young woman with her entire life ahead of her, now a memory to all that knew her and all that did not.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Unfortunately, Mexico is a very poor country and has suffered a major hit recently; the swine flu outbreak as well as U.S. officials warning citizens not to go to Mexico due to safety reasons. I truly hope that Mexico has the ability to recover and flourish; they survive on tourism and they're not the only one's suffering... those of us that love that country are anxious to visit once again!
Monday, July 20, 2009
However, Canada would not be near as special of a place if not for our Canadian neighbors! Canadians are honestly the friendliest group of people I have ever met in my life! And, what I have discovered is that they're not just friendly in the tourist area's. Canadians just seem to have a friendly nature. Those that I have encountered (at restaurants, downtown Toronto, in Wal Marts, and at casino's; just to name a few places) all have a seemingly genuine concern for how others are feeling. I found Canadians to be so friendly that I secretly wondered if they got paid by the Canadian government. I do have friends from Canada and I always thought they were just "nice" people, but after spending time in Canada I have come to the realization that being nice just runs through a Canadians blood!
So, should you ever want to go somewhere that will leave an imprint on your heart, head to Canada! Soak up the gorgeous surroundings, snack on some Moose Droppings, and take some time to chat with our neighbors! Oh, and did I mention the wineries?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 4
The Bahama's has so much to offer and if you're looking for beauty and tranquility, the Bahama's is the place to be!
I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Bahama's and went back at a later date on a cruise. Paradise Island was one of our ports of call and they rightfully earned that name! Breathtaking scenery, lively night life, and a sun lovers paradise!
The Bahama's has something for everyone! My fondest memory of time spent in the Bahama's is, without question, swimming with the dolphins! These creatures are incredible! They are gentle, playful and highly intelligent! I cannot imagine anyone being able to spend time with dolphins, in their natural habitat, and leaving without realizing just how fantastic nature is!
We really are very small ~
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
Thursday, July 9, 2009
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
What is art?
I have heard it said that art is anything that evokes emotion. Whether it brings back a memory of happiness or sadness, transports one to a different place or time, or simply fills one's soul with joy: That is art.
If that is true, then the photo's that I am posting today must be art, right? Because when I saw these writings posted on a historical monument, it definitely evoked emotion within me. I became angry.
I have great respect for talent, and I believe that there are countless talented individuals in our world that will never be recognized for their talent.
I will be the first one to admit that graffiti artists' leave me in awe. There are numerous graffiti artists' out there that are truly gifted and when you view their work there is no doubt that you are viewing talent.
However, as there is a blatant difference between Pornography and Fine Art, there is a difference between Graffiti Art and Profanity. This, I believe, is where most individuals cannot distinguish the difference. Having said that, who determines what is what? Or, like art, is that up to the individual that is viewing it?
There are some states across the U.S. that have designated area's to graffiti artists'. Granted, they are few and far between, but they do exist. Additionally, businesses across America are now commissioning artists' to paint their storefronts and walls. In some countries, such as Japan, they have designated area's where anyone can go and create giant murals. I am completely on board with this idea!
What I am not on board with is the idea that this is a free country and certain individuals feel the need to destroy Historical Landmarks. If someone feels the urge to write "fuck" on something, why don't they go home and write it on their parents dining room wall?
Monday, July 6, 2009
Life... they say it's what you make of it. But, is it really? Don't bad things happen to good people? Are we really in control of our fate? Or, are some of us just luckier than others?
I spent half of the day yesterday visiting a few covered bridges in northern Alabama. It was pouring down rain and I wasn't even sure I would be able to get any photo's, but after being in the car for a couple of hours I wasn't about to turn back. If anything, I'm determined!
I had just arrived at my third stop of the day; a covered bridge in Oneonta Alabama. It was raining so hard you could barely see out the car window, and there was no where to park. This covered bridge is no longer operational, and it was pretty much like coming to a dead end country road. No where to park, no where to turn around, no where to go.
As I sat there I looked out the drivers side window and thought I saw a body lying in the middle of the bridge. My husband, who was driving the car, kept trying to see what I was seeing, but he was positive I was mistaken. He exited the car, came around to my side with an umbrella, and with camera in hand, we walked towards the covered bridge. We immediately realized that there, indeed, was a body lying across the middle of the bridge. My husband thought we should leave, but I knew I couldn't just walk away not knowing if this person was dead or alive. So, as quietly and as slowly as I could move, I made my way towards the lifeless body.
As I approached the gentleman lying on that bridge I stopped and held my sight on his back. I waited to see it rise as he breathed, but he was as still as a rock. I then moved my eyes toward his shoulders; no rise there either. I was quickly becoming panicked. I realized that I would have to walk past him and view him from the other side. I was worried that I would find his face missing; what if he was dead? What if he had been here for days? What if he had been shot?
Once again my husband suggested we just leave, but I wasn't willing to do that. He did however remind me that if we startle this person he may have a gun and begin shooting. I was a nervous wreck, but slowly eased past the body lying still.
Once we were past him we turned to see the condition of his body. I felt relieved. He appeared fine. Dead still, but fine. His eyes were closed and although he still didn't appear to be breathing, he seemed peaceful.
I went about my business, photographing my third covered bridge of the day and when I turned back towards the car I saw flashing red lights. Two rescue workers began walking in our direction. Without saying a word to us they approached the lifeless body lying on the bridge. I'm not sure why, but instead of continuing my walk toward the car I stopped dead in my tracks and begin photographing the rescue workers as well as the gentleman lying there. I sighed a breath of relief as the resuce workers shook the man and he awoke. He seemed confused and perhaps irritated that they woke him from his sleep, but he was alive, and I turned back to leave.
As my husband maneuvered the car away from the bridge I silently wondered what happened to bring that man to the bridge. Was it bad luck? Life circumstances? Did he recently lose everything, as so many Americans have over the course of the past year? Or, did he end up sleeping on that bridge because of decisions that he made? Alcohol? Drugs? I'll never know what brought him there, but I do know that this is a common sight across the United States. What I don't know, and what I don't understand is, why do the rest of us see another human being at their lowest moment, and somehow view them as less than human? Don't we all deserve the same amount of respect?
Saturday, July 4, 2009
I have been fortunate enough to travel across this great country of ours. I have seen the best that the United States has to offer, but I have also seen the other side. There are countless communities within this Land of the Free that we choose to hide from public view. We, as Americans, know they're out there, but we feel better if we hide it; even from ourselves.
America is, without question, the greatest country in the world. We, as Americans, are always the first to lend a helping hand. We believe in freedom and we are willing to fight for that freedom. No cost is ever too high. Americans understand sacrifice and we understand the importance of hard work. We are proud to be Americans, and at times, that pride has caused other nations to hate us. We are all to often viewed as a nation of individuals who are self centered and ignorant of the world around us. We have been attacked time and time again. Yet, as Americans, we tend to believe that time will heal all wounds and we slowly forget the sacrifices that have been made to keep our country safe.
Today, July 4th, is the birthdate of our great nation. The majority of us will celebrate. We will enjoy bbq's and fireworks. We will spend today with family and friends. Many Americans will be traveling across our countries highways and the majority will photograph today's events. It would be my hope that all of us would take a moment today and remember the sacrifices that have been made so that we may enjoy our freedoms. Let's remember the military that fought in both World Wars. Let's remember the brave citizens that lost their lives on 9/11 and let's remember all of those that are still fighting the fight.
It is also my hope that we open our eyes and take a good hard look at what's around us. We need to remember that not all Americans are living the American dream. Millions of Americans will not have BBQ today; they will go to bed hungry. Our country is in real trouble right now and many Americans are quickly losing everything. They may have been middle class or even upper class this time last year, but now they are living day to day. Homes are being foreclosed every minute. Americans are losing their jobs. Health Insurance is now a luxury. And, for the millions of Americans that have always lived in poverty, this July 4th is no different than last years. It's when we learn to appreciate what we have and work together to help those less fortunate, that we will truly know what "Freedom" is.
Be safe and take care of each other!