Park Bench Series — II


As some of my readers already know, I have an eye for park benches.  I just love seeing pictures with benches.  Here are some of the ones that I took in the past.

To me, photography is an art of observation.  It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.  ~Elliott Erwitt.

 

The camera can photograph thought.  ~Dirk Bogarde

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think.  ~Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

“To transform the emptiness of loneliness to the fullness of aloneness.  Ah, that is the secret of life.”  ~Sunita Khosla.

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.  ~Aaron Rose

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The End


The challenge from Saturday Centus this week is to write no more than 25 words describing myself, and using the prompt “The End.” Actually, I’m allowed 27 words with the inclusion of the two prompted words. So, I can’t help myself. I have to take this challenge. I’m salivating here, trying hard to control myself.  Ready?

**********************

As I am nearing the end of this chapter, I will close it with heart, dignity, family, friends, love and forgiveness. And new chapter, here I come.

 

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Friday’s Fave Five # 2


Here we go again, time for FFF. Unlike last week, however, this time my heart was not really into doing this but I forced myself anyway because it might be good to reflect on some positive things. It has been another difficult week with most downs and very little ups. At the beginning of this writing, I couldn’t even think of five things, but continued with the writing anyway to hopefully make it to five. Here we go:

1. I spent an evening on Tuesday with my two girlfriends, Laura and Sheila, separately. It would have been nice to meet them both together, all three of us chatting, but because of time restrictions for the two ladies I could only meet one at a time. I had a wonderful time chatting with them. I saw Laura at the Autism Walk the week before, but the last time I saw Sheila was about a month ago and we had plenty to catch up. I had a lovely time. I know I can always count on some meaningful conversations with them, and I will miss them tremendously.

2. I have been avoiding alcohol for over a month now because I was afraid that alcohol would make me more depressed. These past several months have been difficult and I believe avoiding alcohol has helped me a little. I used to at least have a glass or two once a week whenever I spent time with Sheila on our Tuesday-night hang out time. We’d meet up on Tuesday nights to talk and have a drink or two, but because of financial restriction on my part, we had moved our meeting place from a bar/restaurant to a coffee shop and had tea instead. Well, on Tuesday this week, we made a last minute decision to go back to our favorite Tuesday hang out place where they have the $5 dollar martini special every Tuesday night. I had one martini and she had…two! And she’s smaller than me too. I wish I took a picture of her martinis because they didn’t look like a martini at all, more like a dessert: chocolate something martini with whipped cream about 2-3 inches tall in the middle. I felt full just looking at it. I had a Chicago cosmo. I know, it sounds boring compared to hers, but left me still feeling under-control afterward. I shared this here as one of my faves because it was not the drink that I enjoyed the most, but the moment. I am most thankful for having the time to spend with this special lady. There were times in the past when no more words were shared; just silence and tears. It was the companionship, the understanding, and the emotional bond that made those moments unforgettable. I will miss this one too.

3. My blog again. As always, I can escape into my blog and express myself away. Into my words I disappear…. My blog is my refuge.

4. My facebook friends. i say facebook friends because other than the two ladies I mentioned above, the rest of my friends live inside my laptop.  I am thankful for having them. I am thankful for those who stick with me through these difficult times, who show interest that they want to be part of my life, who ask questions. You know who you are and I appreciate you. For those who have deleted me, rejected or ignored me for one reason or another, showed no interest, that’s okay too. I become stronger because of them. The next few months are crucial because I will find out who I can truly consider as true friends. If they still accept me and stick around even after finding out the decision I recently made, then I know I can rely on them for friendship and support. Oprah Winfrey says it best, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” Let’s see who still wants to stick around when I have nothing left, none whatsoever.  Empty, broke, broken, in pieces, maybe even bitter. For now, though, I am thankful for the ones who are still around. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I don’t think I could survive this long without you all.

5. Shoot, I don’t know what else to put here. Oh, I guess I can say that I have the D-day. D is for departure. Ticket bought, just need to pack, throw/sell/give away some things, clean up stuff, buy some vitamins to bring home for parents, and calm my nerves in the mean time because I’m scared shit! (I mean, who in their right mind would want to start over at a new place, at another country, when nearing 40, all alone?). To say I’m scared is actually an understatement. I’m terrified to the point that sometimes I feel like I can’t move. “Am I crazy?” is the question that I’ve been asking myself over and over. To a certain degree I think I am, I must be.

Life sure is a journey.  I understand it now.  As hard and scary as it is for me to think about the future, I do look forward to a seeing a light of hope however dim the light may look from my point of view at this point.  This is where I rely on my faith to help me gain strength to keep going.

 

P.S.  I’d like to make a clarification here that I will be going back to my country, the place where I was born and raised.  However, I’ve lived in the U.S. for over 20 years and slightly longer than the time I spent in Indonesia, my home country.  In a way, it is like going to a new place, starting over fresh from ground zero, the part that frightens me.  I do have about 90% of my family members there, and many of the facebook friends will hopefully become face-to-face friends.  I just want to clarify it here after reading some comments from some of my readers.  I am coming home, dear friends, which actually doesn’t sound that bad at all, but nonetheless terrifying for me.

On Future


“The future is an opaque mirror.  Anyone who tries to look into it sees nothing but the dim outlines of an old and worried face.”  ~Jim Bishop

Image credit to lysflies @ DeviantArt, titled Brave yourself for tomorrow

a test in trusting

teetered, tainted by darkness

deeply Terrified

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

from four spells to one

the passage is never light

heart trembling with fear

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

on my path You hold

the lantern to happiness

thus, i surrender

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

a new page breathing

music starts, pen dancing to

the tune of life, fresh

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

one need not be blind

with faith and hope as weapons

when facing unknown

Image credit to Virgard @ DeViantArt, titled Blind Hope

“Every tomorrow has two candles, We can take hold of it with the handle of anxiety or the handle of faith.”  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

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Watching, Wondering, What?


Colorful sun dresses
lightly blown by the warm breeze
A couple kissing in the corner
while their kids playing nearby
A young girl busy blowing bubbles
tempting the other kids to chase them
A jerk jabbering on a cell phone
what an eye sore
A cop on a horse
now that’s a sight
A boy peacefully napping in a stroller
completely trusting his surroundings
Birds scooping low
cleaning the leftovers of humans
A little Asian toddler, insisting
on pushing her own stroller

I love what I do best
watching the world’s actors
playing their parts so well
without instructions
while I smell like the sun
hiding safely behind
a pair of dark glasses
still wondering about
my own part

Dog Bless You…Woof!


It’s Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S. A long weekend, a three-day holiday. I don’t have much to say about Memorial Day other than the fact that I appreciate what the military has done to this country, to the regular folk like most of my readers and me, and to freedom. Having said that, I also want to declare here that I do not agree with war. This post, however, is not a forum for political debate (or should I say an economy/business debate about how financially benefiting a war can be to certain businesses? Nah, let’s move on).

There is something worth to point out, though. It is about how this country has treated their veterans. Now, for this issue, I can be passionate. From personal stories I heard directly from friends, ex-clients, and other people I met in the past to stories that can be gathered through online media, it is really an embarrassment how little treatment and support many veterans get after they came back from duty.

I found this article below from a facebook friend. It is about using pet therapy to help veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is a facebook page called Dog Bless You that for 5000 likes, a pet is being donated.  They have 100 dogs ready for this.  The dogs are donated by explore.org, which is part of the Annenberg Foundation.  This Dog Bless USA Challenge runs until July 4th. If you have a facebook account, please LIKE the website and then pass the information around to your family and friends. If you don’t have a facebook account, then you can join me by passing this information around either through your blog or word of mouth.

For more information about this challenge, you can read more here.  Dog Bless You is very grateful, the veterans of the U.S. I’m sure are also grateful, and the dogs are grateful too. There are so many dogs in shelters around the U.S. that will be put to death if they’re not adopted, and so what would be a better way to help them than this. To train a dog, however, is costly (in the thousands of dollars).

Both photos are courtesy of Dog Bless You Challenge campaign.  Again, you can click here to take you directly to the facebook website: Dog Bless You.

This post is part of:

Catching Shadows in Downtown Chicago


Hey Harriet at Hey Harriet Photography has this wonderful meme called Shadow Shot Sunday, which is what this post is participating in. To see more wonderful photos, you can click Mr. Linky link at the bottom of her post about this week’s Shadow Shot Sunday. These pictures were taken at downtown Chicago last week with my small, automatic camera and my amateur photography skills.

“An optimist is a person who sees only the lights in the picture, whereas a pessimist sees only the shadows. An idealist, however, is one who sees the light and the shadows, but in addition sees something else: the possibility of changing the picture, of making the lights prevail over the shadows.”

The view of part of the Chicago River and the boardwalk. Taken from the Michiigan Avenue bridge.

The view of Chicago River taken from the same location, but I had to cross to the other side of Michigan Avenue to take this shot.

The plaque on Michigan Avenue bridge. This bridge will go up every time tall boats pass by. The new Transformer movie that is coming out this summer was filmed in this area and on this bridge.

Michigan Avenue bridge.

An unfair sun sure causes a perfect shadow.

Skyscraping, anyone?

My entertainer for the day.

A shadow casting over the Tribune Store. Please, no literal interpretation here ;)

This post is part of:

“He’s My Hero”


they come in many forms,
some wear uniforms,
some wear skirts,
some ride a bicycle to work,
some have bodyguards in their car,
some have shed decades of bitter tears,
some still have to do homework everyday,
some live in a shelter,
some call a refugee camp as their home,
some wear glasses,
some have four legs,
to her, however,
her hero was someone she shared a dream with,
a regular guy,
a brave and loyal man,
who took his vow to the highest test,
and left the rest of us with
a new meaning to
the legacy of heroes.

“Each man is a hero and an oracle to somebody.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson


***Inspired by and dedicated to this amazing, heartbreaking, and sad story I heard this week: He\’s My Hero.  Let’s pray for her and everyone in areas affected by the recent series of tornadoes, not just for Joplin and not just from tornadoes this week. Tornadoes affect the whole community, not just a few families or houses. Click this map picture to the right to take you to a blog with more information on how to help.

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