Friday, April 29, 2011

A Promise Is A Promise

When I transferred all my posts on the main blog, Coactive Dreams blogspot, over to my website I promised that you would "see" more of me because I would begin to do more videos and interviews. As the title says, a promise is a promise and I have finally gotten around to uploading several videos to establish my You Tube channel.

I am registered there under "aussiebat1" and thought I would preview my welcome video here on the gallery. I will continue to display photos but also get a chance to take you along with me in a more active sense through the use of video.

And so... lights, camera, action!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Know Them By Their Fruit

Life, I've found, involves continual learning. And, there is no knowing where that learning will occur. I recently attended the funeral of a very dynamic woman, Dr. Jean Temple, and was amazed by both her achievements and the people she chose to surround herself. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Dr. Temple was an educator and a scholar who received her Masters at the Medical College of Georgia, her Doctorate at Louisiana State University, was known internationally for the publication of eight editions of the Clinical Nursing Guide, and went on to become the Associate Dean at The School of Nursing Valdosta State University, Valdosta, Georgia. Breast cancer was the only battle she could not win.

I found myself sitting during the small church service and marveling at the accomplishments of this very amazing woman. And, I had to ask myself, in this age of mega churches what was the draw for her membership in this small congregation at St. Paul A.M.E. Church. No answers came. There was another service planned at a larger church later in the day closer to Atlanta but we had paid our respects and decided to return home.

And then out of the blue the learning began. A member of the church asked, before we began the long ride home, if we would have a little something to eat at their Afternoon Tea Meeting? One often has to question eating with strangers but the offer was made with such grace that we could not refuse.

We were treated to a feast and some of the best company you could ever encounter. In short order we felt right at home and found ourselves laughing and having a great time playing word games. Janice, in the middle, was the leader of our group. She had a smile that could light up a room and a way about her that forced you to enjoy that ready smile and friendly nature. We became a force to be reckoned with in locating the words needed to win a prize.

And then, the treat of the Afternoon Tea Meeting: the display of hats. Any lady who wished to display her hat went into this little room to set it right. Here one of the designated escorts awaits a model. And finally someone would emerge.

There were some who would do well on anyone's red carpet.This particular model stole the show with her air of confidence and unique flair.

Everyone was given the royal treatment, like this lady who ended up with two escorts to display her hat.

And even if you did not display your hat there was still a sense of joy to watch the ones that did.

And then I understood what Dr. Temple had probably long ago recognized: Here was a place where you could be taken into the bosom of people who did not care who you were or where you were from but simply wanted to share their joy of life with you for the moment.

I told you life involves continual learning...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

There is Always a Way Back...

I ran into this video and had to post it. Yes, it is about Yoga but also about the human spirit. That no matter how trapped we may feel from time to time... there is a way back. We simply have to hold on in order to find it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Constant Gardner Returns: The Tortoise And The Hare

The race is on in the garden competition but pleased as I am with my results so far, it also feels somewhat like the "Tortoise and the Hare." I have gotten off to a blazing start and yet Daddy seems strangely unconcerned. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

True, I am still somewhat a novice but I learned a good deal last year so you would think he would at least consider me a threat this year. But he is very slowly beginning to think about what he wants to plant this year and plowing under his winter greens.

Oh well, I have gotten a fast start and plan to enjoy it. As this current shot shows, despite the early heat my crop has really taken off.

A back view illustrates that my greens are already a good size. Twice a week now I go out to break off leaves to use for a meal.

I love this time of year and Squash. Their blooms are like magic as they appear in all their glory and just as quickly disappear.

The photo below was taken a few hours later and the flower has begun to fade. I guess that is what makes the first one even more precious.

The cucumbers too have taken off. I'm looking forward to the little game I played last year of lifting a leaf and finding a hiding cucumber ready for a salad. They were a favorite because there was always the element of surprise followed by a juicy treat.

Tomatoes are my largest crop this year as I doubled the number of plants. Unlike the cucumbers I can't pick them just yet but there is a wave of Early Girl tomatoes that has begun to build.

And so gang, I may not know what tricks Daddy has up his sleeves for this year's competition but this little hare is going to keep running as fast as she can. Don't look back he may be gaining on me!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Dog's Life !

I was going through some pictures and could not help but put a few on the blog. Whoever talks about a dog's life does not know about this little Dachshund. As usual click each photo for a better view.

Sunny-Girl loves to take a break on the patio just watching the world go by while she lazily patrols the back yard. Cats and squirrels have been put on notice.

When not on sit-down patrol, she has a special little corner where I keep the garden supplies for a nap in an Avocado Plant pot. After the nap she is usually up and eager for me play fetch, only she returns the ball just enough to make me chase her to get it back. I recently had this photo enlarged and added to my office. There is something quite sweet and "don't sweat the small stuff" that I like about it.

If this is a dog's life... where do I sign up!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Aaaaah... A Taste of St. Augustine

It's that time of year again! The Taste of St. Augustine has returned and if you are a foodie it was the place to be.

Mojo's above was really taking the event very seriously... well maybe, but the food was great . What always amazes me about these tastings is how each restaurant is able to maintain a high level of presentation despite all the obstacles that accompany setting up outside, but present they did. There were so many great offerings I decided to display the restaurant followed by a picture of some of the great food they developed. As usual, click each photo for a better view.

Pop-N-Off, a gourmet popcorn restaurant was a crowd favorite and won an award category. A very friendly pair I might add!

The restaurant "Gas" had only been open 6 weeks but also won recognition for it's tasty treats

Raintree restaurant had some particularly appealing dishes and was also recognized with an award.

And then there was The Fudge Lady with some of the most appealing comfort food you could ever find.

Talk about presentation and taste, Zhanras really hit the mark! Their fish literally melted in your mouth and the sauce only added to the heavenly taste.

If you are thinking of a backyard outing then Woody's is the place to go. A 30 year community favorite, they truly raise the bar for bar-b-Q while adding a down home sense of friendliness. Yum!

And, if you have ever wondered about hotel restaurant food... wonder no more. The Aviles at the Hilton provided two dishes that let you know they put a good bit of love into their dishes. I stopped by twice. It was just that good!

Antonio's Grill stole the show with their home made Italian sausages. Just watching one being put together made you want to not stray far from their booth.

St. Augustine is known for it's casual dining and Barnacle Bill's did not disappoint. Their smoked chicken Wings and Caribbean slaw was more than finger lick'n tasty. And, they were pretty good in terms of presentation too.

Adding a touch of the Continental, La Cocina's European offerings provided some flair to the event.

The South Beach Grill also provided some great local sea food served with their own aloha style.

I stumbled upon The Present Moment Cafe last year and was glad to see they returned this year. Having dropped by their little cafe I can personally attest that their spinach salad is to die for!

And finally, one of my favorite places (I've written about them on several occasions) The San Sebastian Winery. As usual they had friendly faces providing various winery offerings.

So there you have it gang. Some of the best St. Augustine has to offer. If you are ever in the area by all means give these places a try. You will find not only great food but some of the friendliest people in the area as well.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

My Gift To You...

Have you ever stumbled on to something that was so wonderful that you could not wait to share it with someone else? Well I did! Like all of us have done from time to time I clicked the "next blog" button and stumbled on to a photography blog I found amazing!

What was amazing is that the photos were not just the usual beautiful pictures, and they are beautiful, but possess the unusual quality of making the ordinary something strange and mystical. They caused me to want to use my camera above in more ways than I have tried before and to see things from a different perspective than I have in the past.

The blog is titled A Photographic Day, where the photographer has decided to take a picture a day and post them. On the face of it not a very difficult task, but what surprisingly arrives every day is something other worldly or thought provoking from the simplest of objects.

I asked Chris, the photographer, if I could feature her on my blog and she graciously consented. And so my gift to you is the highlighted link above. Look through several posts and not just the first few days to really get a sense of what I mean about her making the ordinary interesting. Go prepared to see pictures that can cause you to ponder for hours exactly what is the meaning of something you probably see everyday, and yet through her eyes now see in a totally different light.