Visiting a Farm


I remember it was on a sunny day in September that I arrived at Pullman, Washington airport. Professor J and his wife picked me up and then we headed to Moscow, where I would attend graduate school at the University of Idaho. Sitting in their car and looking out of the window, I saw golden wheat crops sway in the wind bathing under the sun. “It’s beautiful here,” I said.

I stayed in Idaho for one semester. During that semester, Norma, my host family Mom, took me to her house many times. Once I, again, commented on how beautiful those wheat fields looked, Norma introduced me something called “dryland farming”. “You mean all I need to do is planting and harvesting and nothing else?” I asked. “Pretty much so. Mother Nature will take care of a lot of things,” she said. My conclusion of that conversation was: I wanted to be a farmer. After all, I am, sort of, one of them😉

I was in love with the farmland. And I still am. Every time we drove by a farmhouse on a country road, I wish we could stop by to say hi to the farmers and, maybe, have a cup of coffee with them.


Last Sat. my neighbor Paul and Kelly invited us to Paul’s uncle’s farm. Their house looks exactly like one of those houses that I wanted to stop by! As soon as I walked in the house, I had that “this is home” feeling, which I don’t usually get from modern houses.


In the farm, adults didn’t check their phones; kids didn’t play with tablets; No beers and no soft drinks (as far as we could tell.)

Watching kids play, I thought of Mark Twain. My appreciation for writers deepened.



I had a happy day in the farm. Thanks to Paul and Kelly. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo and thoughts, Writing | 17 Comments

Life is Good



Fall Color
Minnesota has beautiful fall color. Some years, like this one, maple leaves fell to the ground before turning red, but sumacs look great. Some years sumacs are so-so, but oak or aspen leaves are gorgeous. I never know what to expect, but I have never been disappointed.

The above photos were taken at the William O’brien State Park. When we were there, I heard myself asking my husband: “Are we in heaven?”

Kind People
Every time I met/saw/talked to a kind person, I felt intoxicated. Sometime I got this hang-over effect that would last for days.

My friend Sonia invited me to give a talk about my book to her AAUW group. It’s an opportunity that every author would have dreamed for. I do, too, even though I am not actively selling my book anymore.

It was a magically night! All of the women there are wise and kind. I instantly connected to each one and I didn’t want the meeting to end.

Kind people make me happy.😉

Writing a Book
A lot authors would tell you that writing a book is like giving birth. I agree.

Some authors consider their books are forever their babies. I don’t quite feel that way. I am more like a surrogate mother. After I am done writing and handing my book over to readers, I consider the book is theirs.

Right Brain, Left Brain


We all know that right brain is for creativity, and left is for logic. For many years, my left brain was heavily utilized (I was a computer programmer) and right brain was more or less idle. All these years my right brain kept sending me signals letting me know how unsatisfied it was, but I didn’t get it. Now that I’ve finally learned to pay attention to both sides of my brain, I am much happier with my life.

Life is good. Happy every day! Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts, random thoughts, Writing | 22 Comments


It seems that nowadays I can only do one thing at a time. I wanted to reblog this since the day Rommel posted it, and today, I finally get a chance to do so. Rommel is amazing! Talented, warm and caring. He is one of the reasons that I love this blogging community so much. Hope you enjoy his post too.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

The Sophomore Slump

Hi! My name is Rommel. You are viewing The Sophomore Slump, and this is my 400th post. Followers and alike, I hope you enjoy…

May I borrow your precious time as it took 1 year, 8 months and 27 days😀 for me to finish this 400th post. I beg of you to view each of the entries. Not just because I browsed and sifted through countless of blogposts to compose this, but mainly because these are great words and images by your fellow WordPress bloggers. It doesn’t take too much time to finish this post. I promise.😉

I cranked up a notch, just a hair, from what I did on my 300th post. I basically combined what I did on #300 and what I did on Epilogue 2, compiling the words and images and turning it into a video.

It wasn’t pain stalking at all to make. It only…

View original post 755 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

A Humble Experience


When I met Yan (From Hiding to Blogging), two months ago, she told me she had become a ShutterStock contributor, and she encouraged me to sign up. Later she sent me a couple of links: a link to her photo gallery and a link for signing up to become a contributor.

“Why not?” I thought. After all, what am I going to do with those flower or tree photos?

But I really enjoyed my life as it was… peaceful, no pressure, and I could do nothing whenever I liked to, so, I didn’t take any action, even though I told her I was interested.

A month ago, I suddenly had a desire of starting a new project. After pondering for a while and couldn’t come up with a brilliant one, I decided to give Shutterstock a try; So, I submitted a photo.

Right away, I was rejected with the reason: “Unnecessary release”! It took me a while to figure out that while I thought I was releasing my photo to them, I was, actually, tried to submit a model release form. Okay, my fault. I didn’t read the instruction carefully! That’s easy to fix.

Next rejection: “not focused”. Why? I had followed the instruction zooming in my photo 100% to make sure it was focused. Could it be their standard is higher?

Found a better photo and tried again, and soon received another rejection: “not focused”. Slight hand shake? I started practicing every day, holding camera this way, that way and reading my camera manual page by page (embarrassedly, first time😉

When I was finally satisfied with my photo, I submitted again. And, again, I was rejected with “not focused”. What do they want? I got totally confused, and even started having some self-doubt… maybe I can never be a good photographer… maybe I should give up…

Seeing “someone” frustrated his wife, my husband got upset. “That’s ridiculous! Your camera wouldn’t even allow you to shoot if it is not focused.”

My husband was right. I’ve set my camera that way. But was he totally right?

After taking a two-day break, I gave a lot of thoughts on this whole situation and came up with some possibilities: hands shake after focusing, the spot I focused on was not the ideal spot, or the size of the area that I focused on was not quite right.

That did it. Things became easier after I figured out the real problem. I was finally accepted as a contributor.😉 It didn’t take me long to find out that even as a contributor, your photo might still get rejected. But I, actually, like rejection now, because, so far, every rejection had taught me something.😉

I am grateful to ShutterStock reviewers; I have grown a lot as a photographer from my experience. I’ve also learned something about stock photographing. There are people who make good money in selling stock photos or referring people to join, but it is not easy for sure.

So far, I only have 32 photos in ShutterStock. In case you are curious… here is the link for my photo gallery. (Sometime, ShutterStock will direct you to their home page and you have to refresh to see my photos.)

And… Yan’s photo gallery (She has 1000+😉
(Hope you don’t mind, Yan.)

P.S. This light house photo was rejected because I don’t have a model release. Since I don’t know the lady (she happened to be there when I took the photo), I ended up cropping her out.)

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo, photo and thoughts | 35 Comments

CFFC: Smiles

CFFC: Smiles

This week Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge’s subject is smiles. I have posted so many of my grandniece and grandnephew’s smiles, so I thought I would put myself in the spotlight this time to make them feel better😉

Cee encouraged us to use our imagination, so I tried to smile half way, smile sideway, and smile after having a glass of wine… I think I like the upside-down the best, but would that still be a smile? (Hmm… I like it so much that I may take all selfie upside-down from now on.)


I know, I know. Smiles, with an “s” at the end, I should post more than one photo. Well, I am hoping you are smiling now and I definitely count that one.😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, photo | 24 Comments

One Word Photo Challenge: Child

One Word Photo Challenge (hosted by Jennifer Nichole Wells) : Child

We came back from D.C. three days ago, and I noticed this photo challenge. I have never participated Jennifer’s challenge before, but the theme of child brings a smile to my face.




The last photo was just for fun. K drools a lot. First, it wasn’t easy for me to chase him around and focus on one tiny drop of drool. Then, in order to get the light effect that I wanted, I had to shoot from a certain angle (before he moved). So I chased him; I circled around him… I am pleased with how it turned out (and I was exhausted).😉


Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo | Tagged | 33 Comments

Developing Your Eye Day Ten

It’s the last day of the course ;-(

I want to thank The Daily Post Blogging University for offering these great courses; I want to thank all my wonderful readers for visiting my blog and leaving encouraging words. Now that courses are over, I am taking a week off for a short family gathering. I think I will be able to read your blog, but posting one will be difficult. Wish all of you have a happy week.

Developing Your Eye I, Day Ten: “Architecture” – Go Monochrome




I took the photo of that white church on a rainy day. It rained hard; we had to wait inside of a hotel for rain to die down. Usually, I wouldn’t bother to take photos in that situation, but I was attracted by that church.

Developing Your Eye II, Day Ten: “Triumph” – Turn Up the Contrast

“What does triumph mean to you?” – we were asked.

At this stage of my life, triumph means I have accomplished something, no matter how small the thing is. For example: when I woke up from a good night sleep, when I managed to park my car perfectly, when I took a picture I really like… Life is good when you are able to appreciate small things.

I like this following photo a lot. I am not even sure I can explain why. All I know is that every time I see it, I have a hard time to click it away.


I learned something interesting about contrast. For a long time, I relied on “contrast” tool to help me do the job and I was ok with the result. While working on my assignments this week, I found out that, sometime, no matter how hard I tried it just couldn’t deliver the result I really wanted. I learned to use “Dodge/Burn” to achieve the effect I was looking for. Closer to what I was looking for, I mean.😉

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Posted in photo | Tagged | 18 Comments