And so it continues …

September 2020: Six months into COVID-19 Pandemic Isolation / Social Distancing

I am now the very proud grandmother of seven youngsters: six girls and one boy, who, at three years has a personality large enough to dominate all six girls, who range in age from 3 months to 10 years.

I just finished a long-term substitute online teaching job. It seemed as if I lived at my kitchen table with the nearly insurmountable amount of work required to learn the technology along with planning and grading. It felt uncomfortable to not get the facial and body language feedback from the kids and I frequently felt as if I were speaking into a void. I have a deeper empathy for all of the teachers, students, and parents who are struggling through these strange times.

In less than two months, I will celebrate my 70th birthday. Last year, I stared death in the face and decided that I want to LIVE during whatever years I have left on this earth. Because I come alive when I’m out in nature, I’ve decided to solo camp.

I rescued a 7 year-old cockapoo last Thanksgiving; my little girl Maddie has been my navigator and camping buddy on three solo camping trips and we are making plans for an extended camping trip soon.

August 2017:

I had not read my “about me” page in a while…actually, a long while. When I wrote the piece below, I had two grandchildren; now I have six (five girls and one boy). I have been retired from teaching for quite a few years, I have taken a gazillion pictures, returned to China to teach high school students, bought a house, dreamed, planned, and rambled.

Today, I continue to evolve. Sophie is still my constant companion, my family is still my center, and I am blessed.

Many years ago:

Who am I? When I started this blog in January 2012, I hid my identity and took my childhood name of Mona. Since that time, I’ve become more comfortable and have talked about my life in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ve shown pictures of my family, especially of my granddaughter Elle (also known as my favorite model). Recently, Elle became Big Sister and I am now snapping pictures of both of my granddaughters.

Family is my center. I share my home with Sophie, my black and white Cocker Spaniel, and I share my heart with my sons, my daughters-in-law, and my granddaughters. I am blessed beyond measure to have them near me.

I picked up a Nikon DSLR three summers ago and immediately felt complete. I am more comfortable with the camera in my hands than without. When I’m at a party or event and my camera is not with me, I feel naked. At other times, if I feel that the “tyranny of the urgent” is pressing in on me, I pick up the camera and practice lighting or DOF or focus, and I eventually clear my mind and can return to the necessary task.

Last summer I sold the Nikon and picked up my Canon, partially because my son, the pro-photog, shoots Canon. When I assist him on jobs, I can now navigate my way around his camera, and (this is the bonus) I can borrow his super-cool lenses and cameras. I was sad to sell the Nikon 85 mm, however. That sweet lens took some nice images.

I have taught for nearly 25 years and am now looking forward to my next adventure: retirement. I will never quit working and I will never be bored; this I know. I will take my Canon, explore the ordinary and extraordinary in the streets and mountains and waters near me and far away.

By the way: Who am I? I’ve gone by three different names throughout my life. I was named Ramona (I thank my parents for that name as I’ve always liked it). As a child, I was called Mona. When I went to high school, I was given the moniker Ramie; that name stayed with me for two decades until I turned 30 and decided that Ramona was a more “professional” sounding name. Since then, I’ve been all three: Ramona, Mona, and Ramie; several years ago, my oldest granddaughter gave me another name, perhaps the best one of all: Grandma Mona.

I welcome you into my ordinary, and at times extraordinary, world.

May you be blessed with peace and joy.

Mona Camera Bridge

74 thoughts on “Ramblings

    • Jasper loves agility … and so do I. I view it as my workout of the day. It’s best when there are just a few of us, which means dog & I spend more time running than sitting. When the class if full we spend more time on the sidelines. I saw a video last night of a championship competition … ah, if only! Those dogs (and their trainers) were fantastic!

  1. Hi Mona
    Thanks for visitng my blog and liking my post about the Bonnet macaques.

    I find your blog inspiring, paticularly your recent post about your neighbour. We should all stop and think about how we interact with others as we never know how long they will be with us or before it is too late to say a simple ‘Hi’. Sometimes we plan to ‘get in touch maybe next month or year’ – that happened to me once, we lost the person and I’ve regretted it for ever.

  2. Hi Mona… thanks for stopping by my blog! I just read your latest entry, I am sorry about your neighbor… this is, sadly, the typical situation for most of us. I’m in China… but I think I’ll get my assistant to help me say hello to the 2 neighbors I have on my floor here.
    Looking forward to reading more of your blogs!

    • Sandi, I worked in China last summer and will return this summer; therefore, I’m extremely interested in your blog. Last year was my first experience out of the US and I was in a state of confusion much of the time. During the past 6 months, I’ve tried to learn as much as possible about the province (Shandong) and the country. Sadly, I’ve failed miserably at learning Mandarin via CD, DVD, or online. Keep blogging. Your writing is GOOD; I love your voice in your writing and I believe that you could make money by selling your pieces.

      • My Mandarin is limited to about 10 words/phrases. I have a personal assistant and that spoils me!

        It’s a fascinating place, full of lots of places to see… the winter was AWFUL and almost did me in, but the sun came out a few days ago and the flowers are blooming and life is semi back to normal 🙂

  3. Mona, thank you so much for being so amazing! I finally figured out what I was doing with the Sunshine award and felt really silly for not knowing what to do! HAHA! i posted it today and I just want to send you a personal thank you as well ! You have made me feel like I might actually be good at something and just you being sweet enough to nominate me, with being so new to all this, just really made me happy! Thanks again and you’re amazing!! 🙂

    • Sara, I did not realize the Arabic connection, but I would be honored. Actually, my mother is German (but born in U.S) and my father is English. My name is Ramona, but my family called me Mona when I was a child, and some still do. When I created this blog, I initially called it Ramblings by Ramona, but something took me back to the simpler times as Mona, and I like it. Thank you for your comment that my blog sounds inspiring. I use it as a place to practice writing and photographing, and had not intended that it inspire anyone, but that is the highest compliment that you might think so. Thank you for visiting.

  4. Hi Mona, I’m happy I found your blog. Interesting and lovely photos. I once wanted to move to Arizona because I fell in love with Tucson the first time I visited. I haven’t been back to Arizona in over 10 years but it’s still a part of my heart. Look forward to more of your posts.

      • Mona, thank you so much. I was just awarded that last week so I want to ask you to please award it to someone else so that the award is shared. I so appreciate you thinking of me for this award. Thank you again..I feel truly honored that you think my blog is that good. But, like to make sure others get to share in these awards too when I have already received it. Thank you.

  5. It is so wonderful to be connected here. Coming over here to read your “About Me” helps me to understand you better. I read some of your posts and I must admit that you are a wonderful blogger who knows what to share and how much to share/reveal. As for me, I tend to go a bit overboard, and I think I shared to much details, that too intimately and emotionally. I wish I could draw a boundary…
    Hope to read more of your posts and reach out to you more often… Happy blogging and much blessings!

  6. Pingback: Very Inspiring Blogger Award « Picture Perfect Memories for life

  7. Hi, Mona. I like this nickname better. Thank you for dropping by my blog and the follow. You are inspiring me with your posts and words. Cheers! 🙂

  8. H’lo Mona,
    Thanks for taking notice of the post on Historical Novels about China over at the OCB weblog. Browsing through your Ramblings here, I find we have had some similar experience (China, teaching, Arizona, photography) so I’ve signed up to Follow along, and am looking forward to reading more from you.

    • AH! That is yours, James! I found your article through a comment Lisa See made on her Facebook page. I bought Pearl of China based on your review, and I bookmarked this page for future reference. Now I will read more of your blog. THANK YOU for finding me. ~Mona

  9. HI Mona. Stumbled across your blog via a comment on another blog. That’s usually how I find interesting blogs. I’m always looking to follow blogs with extraordinary photography and it looks like yours certainly falls within that realm. Specifically since you are in Arizona. I love that part of the country and have visited a few times. I once went to Sedona strictly to take pictures for a few days. I had them on a display wall for years, but since we have moved here 1 1/2 years ago, I haven’t found the right place for them. I also subscribed to Arizona Highways magazine for many years.

    Anyway, speaking of ramblings, I’ll shut up now. Look forward to following and more inspiring pictures and posts.

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