Posts Tagged ‘children’

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 20

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Image Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

Photo: Copyright Amanda R. Dollak 2013

My precious laptop is dying.  It is slowly fading off into that mystical faraway land where all obsolete and worn-out electronics go.  My x key is gone.  There are black blotches forming on the screen.  The speakers rattle and refuse to offer the crisp, loud sounds I once knew.  The hinges for the screen are so worn they can’t support the screen anymore at certain angles.  Oh, and I can no longer unplug my laptop from the wall or I have to spend an eternity unplugging, replugging, twisting, and wiggling the power cord until it finally starts charging again.  It has had a long and glorious reign as my first laptop and as the key to unlocking my muse no matter the location.  But it is slowly coming to a screeching hault.  It is a sad time, indeed!

My great grandfather bought the laptop a few years ago and almost never used it.  He eventually decided in 2010 that it would be the perfect gift for me as I had decided that I wanted to pursue my writing dreams more than ever.  He also realized that the mobility of a laptop would be perfect for a single mom of two young children and a fibromyalgia sufferer.  No longer would I have to be stuck behind a desk struggling with my pain or wondering what mischief my little ones were up to in the next room.  It was one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts anyone had ever given me.

I have started and worked on several novels behind my precious laptop.  I have created 50 or more poems using its beautiful keys.  I have edited thousands of photos on it over the years.  And I’ve shared many a happy movie night with my kids on it, too.  I have lived such amazing moments around my laptop during our touching friendship, which I even affectionately named Manny (a play off of a nickname I used to have and a joke I had with my kids).  So, when my beloved laptop finally kicks the bucket it’s going to be great loss.

A writer without her laptop is a sorry sight.  But we writers are pretty resilient.  We’ve been know to use scrap paper, napkins, and whatever surface we come across to record our ideas.  I know I’ll find ways to manage while I save up for another laptop.  It will definitely take some getting used to though.

I had forgotten how much of a blessing my laptop truly has been in my life.   My laptop has kept my ideas flowing, even when I’ve been too sick to get out of bed and my hands have hurt too much to use a pen.  My laptop has allowed me to write out my thoughts and emotions from my home, in my car, outside under the breathtaking sky, and even many thousands of miles away on a sandy beach.  My laptop has allowed me to keep my writing alive AND to keep living my life.  I will always cherish the freedom, fun, and creativity that my little Manny has blessed me with over the years…no matter how soon my laptop finally decides it has had enough and stops working completely.

Accidental Photo 002

The last accidental photo I shared was a prime example of the fun but mystifying photos tucked away in old rolls of film or dusty SD cards.  We accidentally come across them one day much to our surprise.  Often times we can identify the object or objects in the shot.  Sometimes, we can even pinpoint where the photo was taken.  However, we have little inkling about the when or the how or the why.

With this next accidental photo, though, I can answer every question.  What is it? This is a shot of a branch, obviously.  Where was it taken?  I remember vividly that this was in the backyard of my previous home.  When was it taken? That night I was enjoying a summer marshmallow roast with my kids.  How and why did this shot happen?  My son accidentally dropped my camera onto some melted marshmallow.  The lens cover got stuck partially closed, and I accidentally hit the button while attempting to clean the gooey goodness out of my camera.  Yum, what a delicious memory!

Do you have any accidental photographs that bring back wonderful memories?

Grass Closeup

I know I’m a little strange, but back before I switched to digital photography, I always looked forward to the little unexpected surprises when my photos came back.  The accidental snapshots, the strange orbs or streaks that sometimes appear, and the imperfections caused by an imperfect photographer.  They made taking photos fun and exciting.  You never knew exactly what you were going to get back.

Of course, this uncertainty was usually a bad thing.  There was always the chance you might blow capturing that priceless memory.  Or your thumb might get in the way.  Or you might accidentally cut someone’s head off in the shot.  There wasn’t much trial and error with basic film.

Still, I miss the mystery and the suspense of seeing what would develop from my laid-back photo shoots.  In a way, it felt like painting in the dark, and then waiting for the lights to come on to see the final product.  Even with the imperfections, it’s still a work of art.

That is why I get all excited when I’m cruising through my digital photos and stumble upon accidental photos–you know, the ones that are clearly on your memory card, but you have no clue how they got there.  They are visual proof of what goes on when you might be distracted or someone else is fiddling with your camera.

Today, I thought I’d share with you this accidental closeup of grass.  I’m guessing my daughter took it, but I can’t be certain since she has absolutely no recollection and we all were using my camera that day.  When I came across it tonight I couldn’t help but imagine that this is what our view would be if we were little pixies.  From that tiny perspective, even a nicely trimmed lawn would look like jungle.  Look out; it’s a jungle out there, my friends!

Honey Bear and her kitty best friend curling up with me on the couch

Honey Bear and her kitty best friend curling up with me on the couch

When I was a child my parents made sure that I knew how to behave. They taught me to be honest, hard working, fair, and loving. They also taught me the importance of being respectful to others, especially to my elders. If an adult came into the room and there wasn’t anywhere for him or her to sit, I was instructed to give up my seat. If I had a guest spend the night, I was supposed to offer them my bed, while I slept in a sleeping bag on the floor.

It was imperative for me to say please, thank you, your welcome, excuse me, bless you, and I’m sorry immediately when it was appropriate. I was never permitted to be rude to anyone. I was taught to always treat others how I would want to be treated. And most of all, I wasn’t allowed to talk back to or criticize my elders. If I broke any of these rules, my parents would spank me and ground me. In my parents’ eyes, respect should always be a top priority.

I suppose that is why I was shocked today when a kid (I’d estimate as about 12) came to my door to tell me my dog was loose. Apparently, when my mom came to visit and my kids answered the door my almost 8-year-old sheltie/cocker spaniel mix decided she wanted to sunbath on my front walk. I wasn’t aware that my dog had sneaked outside, so it was nice to have someone let me know she was loose. However, that boy’s attitude had a lot to be desired.

As soon as I opened the door, he started lecturing me about my duties and obligations as a dog owner. He proceeded to point out that it was against the law to not properly tie a dog out and that I was risking my dog running away or worse, getting hit by a car. When I tried to explain to him that my dog normally stays on my property and that this had been an accident (of less than 5 minutes, mind you!) he still didn’t relent. He continued lecturing me that I needed someone to look out for my dog, and he suggested that he was the person to that.

In utter shock, I thanked him for his concern but told him his further assistance wasn’t necessary. I quickly got my dog back in the house and closed the door. The kid had been yelling at me so loudly that my mother even asked me what the commotion had been about–and she had been on the other side of my home!

This whole incident is unsettling to me. Where is the respect anymore? This kid did the right thing by knocking on my door. But I have to wonder if he did it simply to try putting me in my place. If I had ever done anything remotely like this at his age, my parents would have killed me! They simply would NOT have tolerated it. I am certain of it.