Share Your World – January 29, 2018

Share Your World – January 29, 2018

041514-sywbannerShare Your World (SYW) is a weekly series of four random questions created by  Cee’s Photography. In answering the questions, the reader shares things about ourselves, our home, and our traditions. In this way, we get to know each other more. Feel free to join in and share your world.


If you had an unlimited shopping spree at only one store, which one would you choose? Why?

This one is hard because I really hate shopping, plus I am trying to be more of a minimalist, at least with certain things. However, our house needs a lot of repairs, so maybe Home Depot so I could get everything we need to renovate. I would need to bring a handy-man home too, but that’s another story.

What is the worst thing you ate recently?

I am taking an 8-week Total Wellness course to learn to eat better (and lose some weight). Our assignment this week is to eat vegetables at every meal. That is right…breakfast too. Since there are not any vegetables that I want to eat that early in the morning, I decided to try the Naked Juice’s Kale Blazer. I like Naked Juice and I didn’t think a veggie version would be bad, but I have to say that it was the worst thing I have tasted maybe ever. There was a peppery flavor that was awful. It was worse than the V-8 I tried the day before.

Name five things you like watching…

Birds that feed in my backyard (or anywhere for that matter)



The ocean, especially from my balcony on a cruise ship

Photo credit: Susan Spaulding

Sunrise and Sunset

Galveston Bay at Sunset
Photo Credit Susan Spaulding

4)  Netflix (binges)

5)  Deer Crossing in my yard

What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?

This little guy became part of our family a week ago. He has been a delight.

Photo Credit: Shelley Spaulding
Oddball Animals – COB January 28, 2018

Oddball Animals – COB January 28, 2018

cob-bannerCee’s Oddball Challenge is for those photographs that don’t really fit into a common category. There is no theme to this challenge; what is odd ball is up to you. For this weeks challenge, I pulled out some old photos with an Animal Theme. More vacation photos. 


What an inviting place to sit!

Alligator Jaws. Belize
Alligator Jaws. Belize


But then again, this guy is not too inviting either.

shark (1 of 1)
Shark mouth entrance. Padre Island

A pair of pink flamingos

Flamingos (1 of 1)
Pink Flamingos. Roatan

I think this one came off my husband’s camera.

Deer Head (1 of 1)
Deer Head

To end it all, a cuddly towel elephant

Towel Elephant (1 of 1)
Carnival Towel Elephant


The Ostrich Effect (Friday Fictioneers)

The Ostrich Effect (Friday Fictioneers)

The Ostrich Effect – a refusal to see unpleasant realities. This photo reminded me of my first cruise that included a stop at Montego Bay, Jamaica. As our tour bus drove through town, I saw many houses like this one, devastated Hurricane Matthew. Families still resided in these homes because the government continued to collect taxes on the property, even though the houses were uninhabitable. Repairs were made as time and money allowed. Its unfortunate that there are many people, like my two characters, who feel their vacation is ruined when faced with the reality of poverty that prevails in many of the Caribbean’s most popular tourist spots. Just read Cruise Critic Reviews from people who feel harassed by aggressive vendors. I could have just have easily named this piece, The Ugly American. 

Photo Credit: Sandra Crook



The old woman stared straight ahead as the tour bus drove through the indecorous side of town. Jamaica was not her favorite port-of-call, and if she had her way, they would have stayed on the ship.

“You would think there was a nicer route to the beaches.” She said. “I didn’t pay all that money to see….” 

Her sentence unfinished, but her husband understood. The houses they passed were unlivable, with missing walls and half-a-roof. He knew the owners had no choice but to stay. He just wished he and his wife didn’t have to see it.  

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Sandra Crook for this week’s prompt.

Thoughts on Growing Old (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Thoughts on Growing Old (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Photo Credit: C.E.Ayr

She had forgotten it was her birthday. It was early morning; not much sleep the night before but her internal alarm clock was set for the hour and not the on her need for sleep. She opened her iPad as she did every morning; a bad habit from a productivity point-of-view but one that she had yet to break. That is when she realized it was her birthday; the notifications popping up from Facebook. Someone had written on her timeline.

Nothing seemed different from yesterday.

Birthdays are for reflecting your life so far, she thought to herself.


She had a good life, if not the life she imagined 40 years ago. She had all the things that anyone could want. She was living the American Dream.


There are dreams yet to be realized.

I am not that old, she thought. I still have time. I’ll create a bucket list and start checking off all the things I want to do….

Before it is too late.

She sipped her hot coffee and listened to the crows cawing in the woods behind her house.

Life was good.

She would start on the bucket list tomorrow.


I am not sure there is much connection with the photo, except that we all have our personal battles to be fought, if only in our minds.

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to C.E. Ayr for providing this week’s challenging photo.


Cee’s Odd-ball Challenge – Vacation Oddities

Cee’s Odd-ball Challenge – Vacation Oddities

Cee’s Oddball Challenge is for those photographs that don’t really fit into a common category. There is no theme to this challenge; what is odd ball is up to you.  


For this week, I have chose some odd vacation photos. The  “Kokopelli” below was discovered in Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

“Scrappy” is an unusual elk to be sure. Taken when we stopped for gas, somewhere in South Dakota.

Metal Elk
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

 Many towns have taken to painting murals on the sides of old buildings to commemorate the town’s history and culture. I can’t remember the town, but the two below were taken in Colorado.

Colorado Mural
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding
Colorado Mural
Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding

Of course, if you are looking for oddities, there is always Branson, Missouri

Photo Credit: Susan Spaulding




Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Dubious Allies (Sunday Photo Fiction)

The scene below was taken from my NanoWriMo novel Deadly Heirlooms, still in bad need of editing. The original scene was approximately 530 words, now cut down to 200. It goes without saying a lot of background story has been cut away, which leaves an entirely different story.  Writing for Nano is an explosion of words; flash fiction is what is left after the dust settles.

Photo Prompt: Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag)

The Chevy pulled into town just as the shops were closing for the day. The driver, Connor Riley, halted at the corner. Up ahead, stood the police chief. He looked to be waiting for someone.

“Mind walking from here, Mattie?” Connor asked. “Kauffman hates me, and I’m in no mood to be grilled.” Neither am I, thought Mattie. She had barely shut the door before Connor swung the car around, leaving her to face Kauffman alone.

“Your car has been parked here all day. I thought you were working.”  Behind the accusation, Mattie caught a hint of concern in Kauffman’s voice.

“Change of plans.” Mattie noticed the sign in front of her car. 2-hour parking only. “Do I get a ticket for overstaying my welcome?”

“Just a warning.” Kauffman paused, then added, “this time.”

Wanting to avoid questions about her afternoon, Mattie changed the subject. “Any news on the hit-and-run?”

“A witness saw a blue sports car.” Kauffman glanced down the street to where Connor had stopped moments before. “Ring any bells?”

Lots of bells. Mattie had seen Connor driving a blue Fiat earlier that week. A troubling question popped into her head.

What exactly did she know about Conner?

word count = 200

Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Al Forbes (A Mixed Bag) for providing this week’s challenging photo. 


Ghost Gallery (Friday Fictioneers)

Ghost Gallery (Friday Fictioneers)


“Let’s start with the dream.”

Lily’s therapist, David, fixed his eyes on her and tapped his pen against his notebook.

Lily nodded, once. The tapping pounded in her ears. Maybe talking would make it stop.

“I am at the ghost gallery.”

“The art exhibits?”

“The floating white shapes remind me of ghosts.”

“And the ghosts talk to you.”

“I hear their voices. They tell me things.” A pause. “Future things.”

“Like someone is going to kill you.”


David’s frustration builds. “The men watching you, Lily, who are they?”

Silence. Except….

David noticed her pupils widen.

Game Over. She knows.

Friday Fictioneers is a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 100 words or less based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this challenge and Roger Bultot for this week’s prompt. Go Here to read more stories.

Imitation in Photography

Imitation in Photography

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to be more forgiving, starting with myself. Here is my first opportunity. Each week, Lost in Translation creates a photography challenge based on a theme. I thought this week’s theme was Imitation but apparently that was a theme from September! Since I went to all the work of putting this post together (and sort of like it, if I say so myself), I decided to post it, even if I can’t link it back to the original. BTW, if you are interested in this weeks challenge (which ends tomorrow) visit Thursday’s Special photography challenge.

Imitation – A thing intended to simulate or copy something else

In deference to the old saying, imitation is not just flattery. Imitation takes many forms, from the foods we eat to the clothes we wear (or don’t wear). Imitation is found in art, movies, even nature.  Isn’t it ironic that the medium of this challenge is the photograph, which is nothing more than an imitation of the real subject?

Below are my contributions to the photo theme ‘Imitation’

To imitate is to pretend. In the photo below, a beautiful woman poses for photographs wearing tight jeans and a vest. But she is only pretending to wear clothes; in reality she is wearing nothing but body art. Photo taken at the 2016 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, Sturgis, South Dakota 


Film often imitates life and life imitates film. The photo below of King Kong climbing a skyscraper was taken in Branson Missouri. Here, a replica of King Kong imitates the movie King Kong, which is an imitation of …not sure I really want to find out

King Kong climbing skyscraper Branson Missouri

Nature is the great imitator (sorry Charlie Chaplin) and uses camouflage to blend into with their surroundings. In this photo, a small insect mimics the green leaves of a plant, barely seen unless you look closely


Is this a woman imitating a fish, or a fish imitating a woman?  Taken at Mermaid’s Gardens in Skagway, Alaska


Finally, imitation finds its way into our life through art as few of us can afford originals. my last photo is a replica of Van Gogh’s 3 Sunflowers in a Vase. This massive painting can be found in Goodland Kansas and was part of the Big Easel project 


I hope you enjoyed by interpretation of ‘Imitation’. Feel free to let me know what you think.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photographs and texts on this blog are copyrighted by me, Susan Spaulding and may not be used without permission..







Multi-Colored (One Word Photo Challenge)

Multi-Colored (One Word Photo Challenge)

Welcome All to 2018. I came across a new photo challenge quite by accident  and I this would be a great way to start of a new year of blogging. The theme is ‘Multi-Colored’.  I hope you enjoy these, and feel free to leave me a message letting me know what you think.

Thanks to Travel with Intent for hosting the challenge.

This first one is one of our trees seen through the colored glass of my hummingbird feeder

©Susan Spaulding

Autumn  Leaves

Colorful Trees
©Susan Spaulding

Early morning on the Lido Deck of a cruise ship

Breeze (5 of 7)
©Susan Spaulding

New York City (Time Square)



The Power of Eight (Sunday Photo Fiction)

The Power of Eight (Sunday Photo Fiction)

Photo credit: Jules Paige

We call him the Hawk because he can see beyond the impossible.

The Hawk came up with the idea of transmitting a message to other worlds. We built crude transmitters from the crumbs of our former civilization. Hawk thought it important to create them in the image of our destruction.

When the others come, they must see for themselves what we gave up.

I am third-generation, too young to know a world before The Invaders abolished the number eight. Hawk is first-generation; he is the keeper of the stories. We call him Hawk because he is wise.

We were fools, he tells us. We had forgotten the ancient powers of knowledge and put our faith only in the physical world.

Why is eight so important, I ask.

Eight is a powerful number. It signifies perfection, prosperity, balance, and eternity. Without it, our people became lazy and apathetic. We no longer strived for excellence. Our cities became slums. Mathematics no longer made sense and our world became illogical. Without permanency, we spiraled into chaos and decay.

It is time. Hawk begins the transmission and signs our death sentence.

To all civilizations bent on war and destruction. We are The Invaders.

 Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge to write a 200-word story based on a photo prompt. Thanks to Jules Paige for providing this week’s challenging photo.

I had to mull over this week’s prompt quite a bit. Several ideas, but nothing that seemed to really work.  However, I continued to be drawn to the infinity symbol and imagined a life where there was no number eight. This may be my first dystopian society.

Symbolism of Eight

I wish you all a happy new year and remember, without the number ‘8’ there would be no 2018.