Dear Journal: July 12, 2016 A dying yellow rose

*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.*

Dear Journal,

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.

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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.

Xoxoxo!

Weekly Photo Challenge: State of Mind

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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!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Vibrant

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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.

Hiking & Exploring

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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.

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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!

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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.

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What can I say. I just love wooden fences.

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There was still some snow on the ground, but the lighting caught my attention here.

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Stumbled across this cute and cozy picnic table.

Weekly Photo Challenge: My happy place

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Our weekly photo challenge this week is to showcase a place we are happy at or happiest at. I chose this photo from the waterfalls we went to a few weeks ago. It is here by a waterfall that I feel a piece of home come alive. I could go on an analogy explanation about how it relates to life, but I won’t. It just gives me wonderful memories of my childhood and also of my precious time spent with my mother. Let me explain.

When I was a child my mom would take me to waterfalls deep in the Amazon jungle. It was there that I would play with my friends under the falls and swim about. Sometimes we’d even take a picnic and fry fish over an open fire on a sand dune island. What others may think as a piece of paradise to be swimming in fresh water surrounded by jungle trees, blue butterflies and an abundant amount of sunshine to dry you off, was normal for me growing up. As I grew older and got into my teens, my friends and I would visit our other friend who would then take us to a secret location where another waterfall was.

By the time I was in High School and in my Senior year, we took a 2 week Senior trip all across Brazil, from the tip of the Amazon to Argentina where we saw the amazing “Foz do Iguacu”. If you haven’t been to a World Wonder, you have to go there. I’ve been there twice. Imagine the scene where all the elves lived in the Lord of the Rings trilogy and that is what it’s like when you first see Foz do Iguacu. I was blown away. These waterfalls are not to be messed with, they are hardcore. They are rough! One of the craziest things I’ve ever done in my life and to this day I can’t believe I did it, was to go on a little motor boat with 8 other people and go to the edge of the “Devil’s Throat” waterfall. I suppose I was feeling like a dare devil that day because I didn’t blink an eye when asked to go on the boat. We all wore life jackets, but now that I think about it, if that little motor on that boat gave out we all would’ve gone over the waterfall; I wouldn’t be sitting here writing on this blog to live to tell about it. Here’s a video to show you exactly how magnificent these waterfalls are.

When I came to the USA, my mom and I went to the Canadian side to see Niagara Falls and it was pretty nice, not the prettiest, but definitely massive in the amount of water you witness causing a thunderous sound as it pounds the rocks below.

So you can imagine my delight when I’ve been able to visit two waterfalls here in Colorado Springs (both within half an hour away from where I live), Helen Hunt Falls and this one, Seven Falls that is pictured above. I was so excited to be there at those waterfalls and to just bask in the sun and listening to the water. These falls are in the mountains and this Brazilian girl never experienced hiking and seeing such beauty before, that’s why I enjoyed myself so much that day. Waterfalls in the mountains…. truly a gorgeous experience and one I can see over and over again since I live so close to them.

It’s a piece of home away from home where I grew up. And it’s a great thing. Oh. I found some old pictures from when I visited Iguacu Foz. Check them out below.

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This was taken at the edge of one of the waterfalls, “Devil’s Throat”. The thundering sound of the water was immense. The mist from the falls also caused one to get immediately soaked within minutes! This ledge was pretty cool and one I’ll never forget.

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This was my High School boyfriend (now ex of course, but he was my first serious boyfriend) and I posing next to the falls. I look at this picture and think how long ago this was, almost twilight years when I was just a wee thing and naïve to what the world would present to me once I graduated from my senior year in a few months back then. Anyways, yes, it looks dangerous but in actuality we were never in danger. There were plenty of rocks near us, but they don’t show up in the picture. This is also the days before I colored my hair brown, haha. I definitely want to return back some day, it’s truly a spectacular place to walk around.


I love this picture that I took. These kids were my school friends ranging from grades 9-12th grade. Some of them came from Japan, Switzerland, USA and Brazil. My school was next to a German/Swiss school, so many of their students came with us on this 2 week trip. It was a lot of fun!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Today was a Good Day

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It was a good day because I found this app and I could frame these flowers! I love taking pictures, but I also enjoy framing my photos too. This elegant frame seemed appropriate for these flowers. What is the app? It’s called “Photo Studio” and you can find this exact frame for your photos on there. I’m still discovering all it has, so that’s always fun. I did use Picasa to do a quick green border around the frame.

This picture suggests romance, elegance and perhaps a little wish for the future in my humble opinion. I like to interpret things I see and photograph them, but I also like to see if my viewers also see what I see. Maybe if I take a dreamy picture, does it mean I’m in a dreamy state of mood? Yes! Very much so. I show my emotions through my photography.

So do you have plans this weekend? If you know me well by now, you will probably know that I love theater! In saying that, I’m going to a theatrical dance play called The Warriors: A Love Story. The main characters of said play is about a philosopher and a dancer who were truly in love and survived the war. My kind of play! Those are my plans for Friday night this week, just another excuse to dress up; besides the play is free. Then this weekend it’s off to see the Hot Air Balloon festival here in Colorado Springs!

It’s September already, can you believe it? I hope this month treats everyone of you very kindly.

Until next time my darlings. xoxo

Amanda’s Journal: Getting great news

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Dear Journal,

I’ve been riding a wave of euphoria since Sunday night at 8 PM. I can’t stop smiling, I am filled with happiness. I received news from a woman who knows my biological mom down in Brazil. She said my mom is doing well despite having had a stroke and is currently living with my older sister. She sent me a recent picture of my mother and as I stared at her lovely face, I was filled with love and pure joy. In the picture, my mom has the biggest smile and looks like she is about to break out in a huge laugh-it’s fantastic! She has more grey hair since I last saw her, but still retains that very youthful look. My mom (my adoptive mom who raised me) said out of all my sisters, I look the most like my biological mom. So, now that we have a middle woman between us, I can get her address and be more in contact with her. I had lost contact with her, so I wasn’t sure if she was still alive or not. I’m happy as a clam right now! Knowing she is alive and well makes me want to do the best in everything I do; I want her to be proud of me.

So that’s my great news!

As a way to show how news can affect how great news like this affects a blogger as myself, I thought it was the perfect time to change my blog name from JavaGirl’s Life to Amanda’s Camelot. I have my google alerts set for my own blog name and there are some other JavaGirl(s) with questionable intentions that I didn’t want to be associated with. I had wanted to change my blog name since last year anyways, I just didn’t know to what or when. Amanda is my middle name which I love very much. I chose using my middle name because I have a very unique first name and as far as I know I am the only one in the State of Colorado who has this name and one of 6 people in the entire USA who shares this name. So, for privacy reasons, I wanted to use my middle name. Camelot comes from the second definition of the word in the Webster dictionary: a time, place, or atmosphere of idyllic happiness. I like the name camelot because I have a romantic view of life. I love all things royal, castles, old world love and art. Colorado is my camelot. I love this place! I love the mountains, the wild flowers, the air and it truly represents where I live right now. It’s my camelot; where my dreams will come true whatever they may be. Everyday will not be perfect, but they will be better and easier.

Oh and I just got myself a new business partner or is it the other way around? We’re at the beginning phase, but things will move along fast because most of the research and bare bones of the website/store is already laid out.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Intricate

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I got this Mayan calendar at Old Colorado City. Remember how I wrote the first one crashed the first night I brought it home? Well, this is the second one I bought and it’s been behaving on the wall and not broken into pieces. I like decorating my home with small eclectic things and I found this piece to be one that starts conversations. Or so I hope because the dude sticking out his tongue is just too funny to me because that’s pretty much what I do when I eat asparagus and lima beans!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

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Hello friends!

I felt like I stepped into an Avatar garden when I stumbled into this little spot whilst walking through the bamboo forest at the Grounds for Sculptures last year in New Jersey. I don’t think I’ve ever posted this picture before here on this blog, but it’s definitely one of my favorites. The wall is just amazing with the art and textured designs on it; it is only complimented by the sculptures out on front of it. If you’ve ever been in a bamboo forest with the wind blowing, it’s one of the most amazing and peaceful sounds you’ll ever hear.

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