This video is for those of you who are having a bad day or just contemplating what to do next. Change is hard yet we get through them. Just take a moment to assess things and move forward. If I can do it, I know for sure you can too.
*This blog entry is more of a self analysis of how far I’ve come and how I deal with things. This is why I write so that I can look back and learn how I handled things. ALL comments welcomed, especially from my subscribers who have followed me for years.*
It’s been a while since I’ve written. The past six months have been such a learning experience. I’ve learned that I’m a lot stronger than I’ve ever thought I was. I’ve learned that I have immense patience and can perform under pressure. I’ve also learned that the truth always comes out at the end no matter how hard or sneeky my
coworkers people may think they are.
Taking time off from blogging to enjoy the many adventures life offers here in Colorado has been much needed. Things are great in all areas of my life and I’m happy and content. I have great friends who are there to support me and a precious 15 year old son who brightens my day and who teaches me new things like the Pokemon Go game that has taken over the world. I’m a freakin’ dinosaur and 100 years old, so I had no clue this game was coming out and now I want to drive everywhere so he can catch some at the park. I think the game is great because it’s getting kids out to explore the parks and not be inside all day. Exploring and being outside is normal for my son and I. I love nature and I think I’ve instilled that in him because he loves taking pictures of flowers and little bugs he finds on our hikes. Watching his fascination with the smallest things in nature is marveling and inspiring.
I met this fascinating woman when I first started my new job. Cicily is one of those people who is pure sunshine when she walks into a room. We got along immediately and we bonded by discussing books (she’s an author), life in general, ping ponged sarcasm back and forth to each other and of course, our love for music. We worked side by side for a few months before her cancer returned and she had to stop working. I’ve had to deal with my own grief watching my own mom go through remission off and on in a period of ten years. That journey was long, yet it gave me time to get prepared in some way. However, when my mom passed away, it was somewhat sudden within 72 hours. With Cicily, it’s been over a course of 4 months. At first, I wasn’t sure how I was handling this the past few months. I kept thinking, “I want to help her, but am I emotionally strong? Can I do this? This is bringing me a few steps backwards from what I’m trying to do in dealing with my own grief.” I had mixed emotions. There were moments I would be driving and I would burst into tears knowing I was losing a friend. A dear friend. A single mom leaving behind 3 children. The cancer stopped, but then it came back with a vengeance that I had never seen before, even with my own mom. It was startling. My friend was so tired of all the treatments. She knew she had only a few months left. Her doctors said she would be lucky to see her birthday and this was back in late May. I was truly scared for her. Guess what? Her birthday is today. July 12th. Today we’re having a party for her at her house, but her organs are shutting down and all the signs of death is looming over her and this appears to be the right time when she has some energy left to share this day with all her loved ones. Death is so near. She knows it. We all know it. I’m so happy she’s come this far and is able to celebrate her last birthday. Over the course of the past months, I’ve sent her text messages and have visited her. Recently we discussed her funeral arrangements and about packing up her house. She knew I was familiar with this and wanted my opinion. Over the course of these months, I’ve had to mentally be strong. Not just for her, but for myself. If I was feeling emotionally fragile, I would not visit her that day. I needed to recharge and get it together. This whole situation has been tough. So recently when I was feeling great and felt like I could see her, I did fine. We talked about things, laughed and got down to business. Anyways, as my friend will say goodbye for the final time to her kids today at noon (they have to catch a plane), my heart can only imagine what she will be going through. Forever goodbyes are painful. After her party today and the days following, I am one of the people to help her with hospice and being with her for a few hours as others will be helping around the clock. I’ve never done hospice before. It’s all new to me.
People are brought into our lives for a reason. Even if it’s less than 8 months or so. What has Cicily taught me in knowing her for such a short time? I’ve come to realize that she has shown me that I am strong. Emotionally. More than I have given myself credit for. She has taught me to never settle for less and always remember I deserve better in anything and everything. She’s taught me the ability to ask myself tough questions even if I already know the answer to them.
She also wanted yellow roses for her funeral as they are her favorite flowers.
In other news, I had a detective call me a few weeks ago about something that happened 15 years ago. It was crazy because I had forgotten about this event to a certain extent, but here he was calling me on the phone discussing a past event. Without giving out too much detail, there was a perpetrator who got away with something and the detective was calling me to say they were on the hunt for him (he got out of jail for something else and with the help of technology of DNA the case was reopened) and once he was caught, they would be charging him as an adult and he would be back in the slammer again. Let’s put it this way, it was a case of obsession and stalking. Strange how justice can come around 15 years later and karma is the driver for it.
Yes, that’s me after waking up. My brain is slowly turning it’s squeaky wheels after a foggy realization that I’m taking a selfie. Probably one of my favorite selfies because I’m in a vulnerable (this what you get seeing me in the morning lmao) and natural state. My hair is messy, I’m not wearing makeup and my eyeliner from last night remains reminding me that I can still stay awake out late at 3 am. My red bed sheets keep me warm as they appear to swallow me back into dreamland. My son said I look 12. My friends say 19 or 20. Lmao. This was taken July 1, 2016.
I think this is why I’ve been single the past 17 months. It’s not so much as guarding my heart, it’s more about finding someone who will treat you with respect. The way someone treats me gives me an enormous overview of how they see themselves. I have massive respect for myself and I do my best to value and gently hold someone else’s heart. However, in return, they may just take a quick look at my heart and toss it aside like it was nothing because there’s always someone else, like we’re all on some kind of conveyer belt of dating. Picking up my heart off the ground, because these years it’s gotten harder to break my heart (maybe a scuff here and there), I think, “Are you serious? My heart is not a football.” Sure, my heart may be bionic with self respect, but it deserves to be handled gently at the same time. Be rest assured, I have hope there’s still guys out there that will take a much longer look at my heart like an art piece that is complex with beauty and value it to protect it with all his might.
This may or may not have been inspired by true events. The characters or events in this story may be pure, uh, coincidence.
I came across a very angry orchid flower. It was screaming! Beautiful, but sassy orchids in the tropical room.
Gorg plant, but I’m not sure the name of it. I love the tones in this particular plant.
This stretches a long way and I just thought this angle was just so pretty. When I edited my name at the bottom of this picture, it came out huge here on WordPress. Sorry about that. But let’s take a moment and notice how all the little blue flowers look like they are yelling. Nature has a sense of humor and I’m bound to find it!
If pink is your favorite color you would be in your glory walking around here.
I like to find ugly or things that would normally be overlooked and make it spectacular. Here we have reeds sticking out of the water. They have nothing to offer. However, I loved how the sky reflected on the water. I was mesmerized.
Blue flowers melt my heart-just like I fell in love with these flowers when I saw them.
This reminded me of my childhood growing up in the Amazon jungle. Be still my beating heart.
Growing up seeing these plants all your life isn’t too shabby. I felt right at home when I saw these.
I might blow up this photo in size and hang it in my bathroom. It’s got that organic, fresh and zen feel to it. I was literally standing over this plant to get this shot.
My mom would have loved these flowers.
I love sculptures and this certainly caught my eyes!
One of my favorite spots at the Denver Botanic Gardens! You can walk around the pond or sit on one of the benches facing the gazebo. To the far left is where we sat at the restaurant (not seen in the photo) where the service is friendly, the views are amazing and the food is delicious! I was raving about their fries and their pulled pork sandwich for days!
This bridal gown was up on the second floor of one of the plant rooms showcasing local artists work. Actually, it was in the same level as the tropical plant room. I love the skirt!
If I lived closer to Denver (I live an hour away) I’d become a member to come sit here everyday. It’s amazing how so many plants can replenish your inner soul. This woman was just sitting there enjoying the atmosphere and I don’t blame her. This particular walkway reminded me of a park by my house down in Brazil called “The Bosque”. It was here that I’d go there and run around with my friends or have picnics with my mom, exploring and hiking around the trails. Here is a short video of what the park looks like. It literally is one of my favorite places in my hometown, I have so many great memories from there. One day I’d love to show my teen Adventure Boy this park, so he can get a feel (other than the humid air) of what kind of things I did as a teen. The video is here. Check it out!
Behold a tree house! We were heading up to the top, but there were cones in the way in one of the stairs. By then, I had looked at the time and realized they were going to be closing soon so we forgot to head up the other way to go up. Maybe this coming Saturday we’ll head up to the top. Anyways, this tree house was epic! If you live near Denver, definitely check out the tree house in the tropical plant room. This is one of my favorite pictures even though it seems like any other picture. I like it!
I love this house! Nothing brings out the romantic in me to see vines climbing up an old house with so much character. I could have sat there and come up with a short love story just by looking at this house. Yes, this is in the Denver Botanic Gardens park.
So there ya go. Just a few pictures that I took whilst visiting Denver Botanic Gardens. This probably is thee longest post I’ve ever done in the past 5 years I’ve been blogging here on WordPress.
VIDEO COMING SOON! STAY TUNED!
This week’s photo challenge is to choose a picture that represents our “state of mind”. What you see outwardly is not often reflected in what is going on inside, therefore, I thought this picture was a prime example of my state of mind. What is it you ask? How can I explain this? Ok. The shadow depicting wings from the man (in relation to myself) represents my goals and dreams that I’m currently working on. No one can see that unless I either tell them or they get to know me. My mind is always planning as I’m looking at the bigger picture. But on the outside I’m just another person you walk by or stand beside in the elevator. Everyone has different sizes of wings (goals), some are prime and ready for take off…others have just returned and they have teathered wings to show it so they need rest. Everyone is traveling on their own journeys in life. I don’t know if that made absolutely any sense.
This picture that I took was taken at The Fine Arts Museum here in Colorado Springs. This piece is by the Cuban artists Ron and Una Brasch. Their “Spreading Its Wings” artwork is only here until March 20th, so if you live here in Colorado Springs, make sure to stop by and check this out in person!
This weekend we decided to check out Bishop Castle high up 9,000 feet above sea level in the mountains of Southern Colorado. The drive down there was long, but once we turned into the National Park, the drive up was gorgeous and everything you’d expect from Colorado in scenery. Each curve allowed you to peek for a few seconds how high you were going up. Even my car was running out of air it seemed as the oxygen got less and less. Once we got there, there were several other cars parked on the side of the road and then suddenly through the trees, you finally see it. The castle. A man made castle still being built by one man named Jim Bishop. If you don’t know me by now, you should know that I love castles. I just do. I love exploring them and I just love the raw and rustic feel they bring. The photographer in me just explodes with possibilities of what I can capture and my artistic side tries to find every nook and cranny that is quietly hiding its beauty. To stand there and take the time to appreciate how each stone is laid out and the endless hours it has taken and is taking to build every inch of this growing castle. One must do that. Recently I saw a video of a man on YouTube who took a very nice video of the castle, but he was practically running through it. He didn’t even take the time to just stand and admire the work. He was too busy filming and running through the castle-it was unnerving to me to watch. Here are some pictures and a short video I took during it.
We were sitting on top of one of the towers here. Below you can see where the cars park on the side. It was pretty nice from up here, but the tight squeeze to get up there was nothing short of claustrophobic.
I just like this view of the people walking up the stairs to go up into the castle. I didn’t have the nerve to do it myself.
You can’t have a castle without a dragon, of course! This one even blows fire from its mouth during the summers. I’ll have to come back for that.
The castle in all its glory. Can you believe one man has been working on this all these years? It’s amazing!
This was slightly spooky yet so surreal at the same time. There was a sense of peace and tranquility in this room, yet at the same time another feeling of reflection. I enjoyed walking around this room as you can tell by the video below.
I love these glass windows. Sometime this year, I’m going to dedicate a window panel in honor of my mom. If you ever come to Colorado and come visit Bishop Castle this year, you’ll see my real name up there too. Forever immortalized in a castle high up in the mountains, my mom, eternal Queen of my heart. I’m going to choose my mom’s favorite flower on the panel. There’s more information about how you can add your name on these window panels on their website. Visit me at the castle high up in the mountains why don’t you? Wink.
This was the cathedral area and it was gorgeous! I wasn’t able to show this part in the video because I kept getting an “error” whenever I tried uploading it. It was so beautiful!
Adventure Boy looking out from the cathedral room. We love our adventures together here in Colorado. Can you believe he’s 14 now? He’ll be taking some Honor classes next year as he’s doing very well in his studies in High School.
Even before seeing this wizard, I told Adventure Boy that I could picture Gandalf living here. He agreed and we both gave each other a knowing look when we gazed up to see this wizard on the window panel.
This is the front of the castle when you first walk up to it. It just looms over you, it’s pretty grand.
Taking a few minutes to imagine walking through a medieval walkway. This was a fun entry way into one of many stairways into the castle.
These skinny wrought iron stairways that clung to the side of the building scared me to death. People walked on them like they did all their lives, but I was to scared to do it. First of all, since this is an active construction site you do have to sign a liability form just in case there is an accident. Maybe next time I’ll attempt to walk on them, but seeing how high I am, it only brings out the fear of heights in me.
Upon walking up to the little gift shop on the premises, we came along this cute sign.
Until next time!
Let’s talk about my video. Yes, there was the shaky cam going on, but I was either trying to side step eager castle explorers or forgetting to aim the camera up further. At the end of the video when I reach one of the outside stairs, you can see the camera move closer to the wall; yes that was me wanting to stay as close to the wall as possible without looking down. Do you know what’s funny? Jim Bishop is also afraid of heights. He said in an interview that even though he’s scared of heights by working on the building for so long, it has helped him overcome his fear of heights in slow doses. In one of the many stairs, there were no guard rails and only small hooks. I was literally plastering myself to the wall and saying I was not walking up any further. It was scary! Visiting Bishop Castle was fun and we’re are going back sometime this year again, probably to see the window pane we plan to dedicate to my mom. There will be 3 names up there, my mom’s, mine and Adventure Boy. I know my mom would have loved this place and it’s my way to honor her memory here in Colorado. Future generations of mine can go visit and enjoy the castle like we did. Leaving our legacy up in the mountains of Colorado!
Manitou Springs, Colorado is a cool and funky little mountain town I often go to. There’s a bench with artsy designs that I pass all the time and I always love taking close up pictures of all the fun things I see on there. This photo above is just a little part of the long bench which holds art on it and I thought I’d share it with you and be part of the Weekly Photo Challenge.
There’s a Super Bowl game happening next Sunday. Make sure to cheer for the Broncos to win! See? There’s even a HORSE in the picture! It all ties in together, hehe.
Welcome to my warped world here in Colorado. I had some fun twisting some of my photos that you may have already seen in past blog posts. I’ve been wanting to twist my photos for several months now and I finally got the chance! So here they are, tah-dah! Yeah. About the title. Alice in Wonderland is one of my all time favorite childhood stories. When my mom would read me the book as a young child living in Brazil, I could relate to Alice in always wanting to explore places. I never had the fear of the unknown and to this day, I am still very adventurous. So this blog is dedicated to all my friends and subscribers who think “outside the box” and for those like me who still see the world with wonder and magic.
Driving through Garden of the Gods…love the road here. Even the sky is pretty rad here.
If Garden of the Gods was an island in the sky…this is how it might look like.
The Great Sand Dunes. This is like Star Wars meets Alice in Wonderland with a lot of sand! Very magical if I say so myself.
I love this one (I love them all) because it’s basically how I see the world. I still see it with wonder and magic. I think this one reflects it the best.
Who says Aspen, Colorado is boring? Not only is it beautiful when it’s completely twisted, but it looks rather artsy too. Love the brick colors here. And the never ending road around the buildings.
The fact that the guy on the far right is looking to his right makes this picture awesome! It’s like he’s thinking, “Where am I?! What planet is this?” Haha. You can see the original picture in the few blogs back. We were hiking around Palmer Park by my home. This looks like flat land and it is, but we are actually pretty high because you can see below at the city. This park is smack dab in the middle of town, but you’d never know it by hiking up there. It’s like Central Park in NYC…you’d never know it with all the highways and roads all around you if you look down from where you are hiking, it’s total crazy cool to hike there. I obviously had fun with this one!
Uhhh. I hate this white hat. It makes me look like a construction worker! We were hiking up to Helen Hunt Falls back in late September or early October of last year and I decided to wear that dumb white hat. It’s too big on me anyways. But can I just say that I look like I’m doing a David Blaine stunt? Remember the one where he stood on top of a pole thing for days? Yeah. That’s what I look like here. I love that flannel shirt. Never owned one until I came to Colorado (got it from Charlottes at the Mall-woo!). Anyways, I twisted this picture so much it looks like I am standing! Ha! Little do you know that I am actually sitting on a stone fence overlooking the trees below. From the camera’s perspective (normal picture), it looks like I am sitting on a very, very high stone wall that drops several hundred feet below me, but there is actually a slow slope beneath me, so I am somewhat safe. If I slip and lose my balance, then yes, I would tumble all the way down to the forest below. I love how the twisted effect made my body look like a seahorse…see that little tail at the bottom? Fo shizzle mah dizzle.
Guys. I have a confession to make. I am. Actually. A seahorse. Just kidding.
I see Pikes Peak everyday! It’s really tough living here where you see one of the most beautiful mountains in the USA, but what can I say? It’s really, really tough seeing such beauty every single day! Anyways, who knew there was a road to heaven here in Colorado Springs? See? Here is the proof guys!
Believe it or not, this is the exact same picture as above! I made it so it looked like it’s own island in the sky…with a mirrored effect. Dreamy. It is Pikes Peak.
Amanda in her wonderland. Fun photo!
Love this picture! This was taken at Palmer Park as we hiked along a trail, but I made it look artsy. I might even blow this one up and frame it. I think I have a perfect spot for it too. Ok guys. That is all for now. Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. Life has been stressful the past 2 months, but hopefully February will be a lot better. A huge welcome to my latest subscribers!
Well hello there! My first picture for 2016! I’m not even finished with this blog, but I wanted to share with you this picture. I have no idea who those people were, but they framed my picture just right. This is Palmer Park. I’ve never been here before, but I pass it all the time with my new job. Palmer Park is huge to me. I mean, it looks all innocent with a playground when you enter it, but then it takes you on these long snake like roads that go up and down the hills with many picnic areas. It’s truly a maze and like a rabbit hole to explore because of the numerous hiking trails. We chose one scenic spot and parked my car. We walked a five minute hike to a clearing and came across this. What? Where am I? Suddenly I’m in a field, but I was just driving up…now it’s flat with loads of wheat. Am I on a farm? Where does this trail go? I see mountains, but all I see is this long road that leads to nowhere. Exciting yet so beautiful. I had to take some shots which you’ll see later today. This trail leads down and around somewhere, we didn’t take it. Instead we took a left and went down another long trail and hiked for a good 45 minutes.
I’m posting these pictures and I can hardly stay awake. Too bad because I had wanted to make warm, soft ginger bread cookies. Not those hard as a rock I’m-going-to-break-all-my-teeth-just-by-biting-into-one cookie, nope, the soft and chewy kind. Alas, my body is winning this time and my eyelids feel heavy. I fit in 2 hours of studying, made dinner, had gone to the bank, store and another store and finally gave my 30 day notice of leaving my apartment (going to be at another place just down the street) after work. I’m. Just. Tired. Anywho!
The view after we took our left turn. I would never guess some wheat land area would be up on the hilly areas of this park, but as you can see, there are many cliffs and drop offs in the distance. That day (Sunday to be exact), there was some forest fire out to the NorthEast. You could see the smoke billowing off from the mountains, not shown in the picture. There are so many trails to explore and it all depends on what level of a hiker you are. I take it the trail we were on was the beginners because it was mostly flat. Haha. I’m hoping to get to the more advanced ones where I have to hop over rocks and such because that’s what I’m used to coming from Brazil. I read somewhere there are foxes and even cougars at the park. What?! How do I protect myself against a cougar? Now I’m scared! Lol. I didn’t see anything when we went. All we saw were geese flying over and maybe a bird or two.
What can I say. I just love wooden fences.
There was still some snow on the ground, but the lighting caught my attention here.
Stumbled across this cute and cozy picnic table.
1. Was I happy?
Answer: Yes, but I believe I had more of a guarded happiness if that makes any sense. I moved to a new State on my own, which I’ve never done before by myself so that was a huge change. I’ve moved about 11 times in my life so I’m used to change, but moving cross country to a completely different place, was a big jump, but it was something I needed to do because I had wanted to do it for the last 10 years. Yes, I was happy this year, but I was also taking in new sights and taking in new experiences so during that moment I would say I was happy. There are still days I wake up and I can’t believe I live in Colorado-it’s so beautiful here! I am currently happy because I now realize what my purpose is now, now that I have moved here. I only discovered or was given that opportunity a few weeks ago. That is why I can not wait until 2016 starts because I am like a runner at the beginning of a race and just ready to burst out with so much energy for this coming year. I am so ready for this new year!
2. Did I live in peace?
Answer: Yes, I actually took a year off from a lot of things (work, relationships, etc) most of this year to really take time for myself and get a grip at what I needed to do next in this new phase of my life here in Colorado. In doing that, I have more peace than I have had in a long time. Sanctuary amongst the mountains and foothills. It is here I love listening to the waterfall sounds and hearing nature. Peace. I’ve always had it, I just needed to lasso it back in being in a new place. Each place I have lived has had its own unique peace about it. You can find a certain peace at the beach. You can also find a particular peace high up in the mountains. You just have to adjust to your local surroundings and find the best place to find it. Every place on earth has it. I promise you. I think with finding balance in your life as well, you also find peace.
3. Did I extend kindness?
Answer: Silly question because I normally practice this everyday. No one is perfect and I do have those days I want to just pull my hair out because people are driving me nuts, but I do like being kind to people. We live in a very selfish world where people feel entitled to how they should be treated. You open the door and they just whiz by you like a princess without a care. You offer to sit down and talk to someone who looks like they are lonely only to be rebuffed and ignored. Or you come across people who just ask so much of you because they know you are a giver (typical ENFJ downfall). They take and take from you until you suddenly realize you’re being completely taken advantage of. Oh well. Those are far and few between. Despite that, I continue on being kind to people. When people are kind to me I think, “Aww, you’re so nice!” It’s the greatest feeling.
4. Did I live in the present moment?
Answer: Yes! Since moving here, I’ve lived more in the present moment that I have in a long time. Sure I’ve shot videos and have taken pictures, but I’ve also learned to just enjoy the moment fully with every fiber of my body. The last “in the moment” I felt was climbing a rock in Garden of the Gods near my home. This place is so beautiful and we always see tourists, not so much now because it’s cold. When the tourist season is mostly gone, it’s nice to appreciate it without all the fuss. After climbing this rock, which you’ll see in the coming video in a future blog, I turned off my camera and just sat on top of the rock and took in the beauty of what was in front of me. America’s Mountain, known as Pike’s Peak, was off in the distant like a familiar friend and below the mountain you could see from that high vantage point the little town of Manitou Springs. Cars were driving along a road that snaked its way through the park and people looked like ants. It was dusk, but there was still a quiet beauty of where I was. Sometimes those off the camera moments you can only store in your heart and mind forever. No one or anything can every destroy that. I’ve experienced a lot of “Ghost Cat” moments since moving here and I know I’ll experience more. All the pictures I’ve posted on this blog, I have had experienced off camera “in the moment” feels. Every single one of them. I take pictures and videos to share with you all, but I also do it to remember it and how it made me feel those few minutes taking my eyes off the camera. I’m a collector of memories and the emotions that go with them. This scene below explains it perfectly. If you are a photographer, you’ll totally understand this scene. This is from one of my favorite movies “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” and I wait the entire movie just for this scene-I love it so much because it means the world to to me on so many levels.
5. Did I take time for myself?
Answer: Yes, I would say so. A year for myself, abso freakin’ lutely.
6. Did I accomplish at least one goal?
Answer: Yes and it came within the last weeks of this year! My goal this year was to figure out my next step in life here as I started my new life in Colorado. Now that I am learning and training for my dream job (which I’m not sure I can say yet), I have accomplished my biggest goal of the year. This particular goal was going around my mind like crazy and I almost felt like I needed to hurry up and figure things out, but life as we know it, brings surprises and big opportunities when you least expect it. When it came to me, this opportunity, I ran with it and I plan to run with it until I achieve my next career goal with my dream job. I wake up now every morning knowing I am getting closer and closer to it (my dream job) and I get so excited about it. I have never been so excited about this new career change since I was in my early 20’s when I applied for a similar job to what I’m going to be doing in the future. This is my purpose. It’s not because I want to do it, it’s because I need to do it. And that my friends, is the biggest achievement I got this year in 2015.
Here’s to 2016! Let’s do this! Let’s begin a new year with new adventures, photographs and videos! Come with me and let’s live in the moment. Thanks for being part of MY 2015. Even if you subscribed today or even tomorrow, I’m so happy you’re part of my blogging life. I welcome you and I welcome my future subscribers in 2016. I can’t wait to meet you!
Much love from me to you. See you next year!