Photography

The Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque!

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It's been just right at a year since I moved to New Mexico.   We woke up early and went to the mall for the "Park and Ride" which is what I would recommend since it will save you the trouble of parking. Balloon_Fiesta_Albuquerque_2017-1

We arrived as dawn was beginning to peek over the Sandias.  

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What a beautiful morning in America.  

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I found a little history:

From a small gathering of 13 balloons in 1972, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has grown to become the largest balloon event in the world. Held each year during the first week in October, the Balloon Fiesta now attracts almost 600 balloons and 1000 pilots.

The first gathering of 13 balloons in 1972 was held in the parking lot of Coronado Center Mall in Albuquerque. The following year, 13 countries took part in the "First World Hot Air Balloon Championship", the world's largest ballooning event, held at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds. By 1978 Albuquerque was playing host to 273 entries. The number of balloons steadily increased, with 600 in 1988 and 903 balloons in 1999. The organizers of the Balloon Fiesta registered over 1000 balloons in the year 2000. Balloon Fiesta Background

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It was an amazing experience.  I also have had difficulty with my internet service at my current residence so updating this blog has been nearly impossible and extremely frustrating.  I live on a Navajo Reservation in western New Mexico and the digital divide is a real issue. 

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I really enjoy living in the west.  Albuquerque is a great town.

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I really don't need to write a lot here so I'll just share images from the event. 

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It was a "bucket list" kind of event.  I've always wanted to go to this event.  

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The first balloon festival that I attended was in Gainesville, Texas in 2013.  My lens broke that evening.  It was too windy for the balloons to fly.  

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The moon was out and it was a beautiful morning. 

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What a crowd!  

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This is the world's largest hot air balloon.  

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So many images.  

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Come to New Mexico!  

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Hiking at El Malpais

Things can only get better!  Yesterday we went on a little hike to El Malpais.  The last couple of weeks have been crazy with the beginning school and managing to get a bad cold on top of that not to mention two amazing weekends in my new home state of New Mexico.  

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El Malpais is a National Monument which has some great hiking trails and it is just outside of Grants.  Check out the NPS website here: El Malpais- National Park Service.  

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The wildflowers were blooming! I didn't realize that New Mexico would be so beautiful this time of the year. 

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It was a beautiful hike.  

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Caves caused by the lava flows.  

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So I don't have a lot to say. It was a wonderful day (and weekend) and here are some more images.  

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I'm not in the mood to rant about politics.  Humans are disappointing.   

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We hiked to the cinder cone.  Which was pretty cool! There aren't a lot of ancient volcanoes to see in Oklahoma.   

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I visited this hiking trail last fall and didn't complete the hike to the cinder cone.  

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It's never a waste of time when you're out in nature. 

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The Indian Paintbrush is beautiful to see because it reminds me of spring at home.  

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So, let's be still...  

 


Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument in New Mexico

It is finally time to start working on photography again.   I've been a terrible blogger for the last couple of years and I have so much content to post.  Some of this is because I've had not-so-wonderful internet service.  

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A little bit about the Tent Rocks from the National Monument website

The Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument is a remarkable outdoor laboratory, offering an opportunity to observe, study, and experience the geologic processes that shape natural landscapes. The National Monument, on the Pajarito Plateau in north-central New Mexico, includes a national recreation trail and ranges from 5,570 feet to 6,760 feet above sea level. It is for foot travel only, and contains two segments that provide opportunities for hiking, birdwatching, geologic observation, and plant identification.

The cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6 to 7 million years ago and left pumice, ash, and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. Tremendous explosions from the Jemez volcanic field spewed pyroclasts (rock fragments), while searing hot gases blasted down slopes in an incandescent avalanche called a “pyroclastic flow.”

Precariously perched on many of the tapering hoodoos are boulder caps that protect the softer pumice and tuff below. Some tents have lost their hard, resistant caprocks, and are disintegrating. While fairly uniform in shape, the tent rock formations vary in height from a few feet up to 90 feet.

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It was worth the drive.  The first hike was around the tent rocks, which apparently are also called "hoodoos" in geology.  

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A relatively short drive from Albuquerque or Santa Fe, it is worth hiking the slot canyon, which is pretty amazing.  

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This was one of my last May outings.  I didn't know about this place until my brother mentioned that he'd like to visit last fall and I've intended to drive up and see this place.   A national park is usually always worth your time.  

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This was a day trip that was definitely worth it.  

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I really enjoyed walking through the trail that led through the slot canyon. 

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I still take photographs like I used to. I still shoot fairly often, but perhaps not with the intensity or dedication that I did a few years back.  I need to spend time working on this page and my other pages and get back to where I enjoy the hobby of photography like I used to.  I'm sure calling it a "hobby" would set the passionate, absorbed, serious photographers in a furious rage.   It's just that it is my hobby.  

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It was a great day.  

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Take the time to go see your world, even if you don't stray too far from home. 

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Tent Rocks National Monument is worth  your time if you're visiting New Mexico. 

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I Haven't Felt Like

Blogging... despite the incredible amount of content that I have.  I've got an amazing archive of all of these places I've visited.  Yet, I have writers blog.  I just don't care about sharing myself on this format as much.  I don't worry about my images and content.  I don't need the following and I'm just no longer interested or truly engaged in maintaining this blog.  

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Last Saturday morning I was in Oklahoma. I got my wildflower shooting in.  I'm glad I was home, but at the same time it was a trip where I experienced the most pride in my son and it was the worst trip that I've made home.   

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I was so homesick the week before. I am so tired of the snow every week that we get here on the Colorado Plateau.   I just wanted to go home and feel like I was at home.   

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But sometimes home isn't a place. Home is a person.  

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And I didn't have that person last weekend.   

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2017 has been an incredibly difficult year.   

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I just want everything to be okay.   


National Radio Astronomy Observatory - A Very Large Array

On the Plains of San Agustin lies the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the home of " Karl G. Jansky A Very Large Array."

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This basin in Catron and Socorro counties in New Mexico is around 55 miles in length and 15 miles in width.   The plains are a remnant of a Pleistocene era lake.  After driving from where I'm living in Cibola county to the town of Fence Lake we continued to Quemado and across the mountains to the Plains of Agustin.  

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I think driving into these vast plains between the mountains is as impressive as the dishes.   I love landscapes like this, these basins that were carved out millions of years ago by natural geologic forces.  

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We stopped to take some photos before we arrived and read these signs...

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These signs should be when you enter the Plains of Agustin.  

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Now for the fun stuff....   

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My sister said I need to change my blog page name to "Expedition Oklahoman"   -  Not bad.  

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How they move them further away from each other or closer depending on what part of space they are hearing...

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This is how they move them around the rail around the Plains of Agustin 

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This is amazing, the technology of what it can do.  Seeing something that you've only ever seen in the movies.  Amazing.  

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Showing us that there is more out there than our little planet...

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So if you happen to be in New Mexico, I suggest stopping by and visiting A Very Large Array 

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We think our presidential election is so significant... 

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But if you look at the Milky Way we are nothing in comparison to the big picture.  


 


El Morro

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Just down the road from my new home is El Morro National Monument .  My last visit was in 2010 when I went to a workshop at Crow Canyon sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

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This natural pool provided the run off water so people could stop and rest on their travels and have a drink...and autograph the rock.  

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So, natural resources are important.  Water is extremely important in the American west, which made this a great place to stop and have a drink before getting back on the trail.  

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Of course it was an inscription rock long before the colonists arrived.   The Ancestral Pueblo people were busy inscribing on this rock. 

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Telling their stories in stone a thousand years ago.  

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I love the petroglyphs.  

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If you take the half mile hike to the top of El Morro you can arrive at the ancient village of the Shiwi people.  Atsinna.  

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The Kiva is the church of the pueblo people.  A house of prayer.   

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I've hiked El Morro every week since I've been in New Mexico.  This Saturday was particularly pretty.  

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Of all the things I missed about New Mexico, I missed the sky the most.  I am in love with the sky on these days where the clouds dot the dark azure sky.   

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The passed through here in 1709, the year the little ice age struck Europe.  

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They came in the 19th century and wrote their names besides the ancient ones, beside the Spaniards and marked their journeys west.  

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The oldest inscription from Onate, is dated prior to the Mayflower.   This history in North America that we often miss in our history books,   we forget about the Spanish and the French in North America.   We need to remember they were here too.   

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I like the hike up El Morro, the views are spectacular.   

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It was a beautiful day. 

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There is the volcano that I can see from my back yard.  This landscape is amazing.   

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and you can look down on the other side of the mesa.  

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You can look out and see Highway 53 and in an hour you can be in Arizona.   

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These stairs carved in the rock to make your hike easier.   

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Highway 53 and El Morro is kind of out of the way but it is well worth your time if you are in the area.  

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Inscription Rock, a little place in western New Mexico that documents centuries of travelers who were seeking a new life, or were just continuing to live their lives out on the Colorado Plateau.    








 

 

 

 


Back to New Mexico

I have returned to New Mexico.  I had an opportunity presented to me that I couldn't turn down.  I've been here nearly a month now and am slightly settled in.  Here are some images from my initial drive out on September, 24th. I lived in New Mexico in 2003-04. I took my first teaching position in The Pueblo of Zuni.   That year had an incredible impact of my understanding of the world and people. It was the impetus for my fascination with Native culture and heritage and it's importance..  

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I probably should have stayed home a few more days and got over my cold.  But I left the day after I finished my last day of notice on my Oklahoma job.   I made it to New Mexico fairly early but New Mexico is a large state (the sixth largest), I had a few more hours to go.  I was doubting my decision but I know that I can do anything for a year (or two).  I also know there are a lot of places I want to see in the Southwest and work on my photography portfolio and this is an excellent time in my life to do it.   

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This is El Morro... the closest National Monument  to my new home.  

As I returned to familiar scenery and a landscape of my past....  I was longing for Oklahoma and my family.   But I was also curious about this new school and new students, and schedule.  I also feel that I'm in a position where I'm treated as a professional which I never felt working for large school systems.   I am in a state that values the fact that I've valued my education and the pay represents that.  

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The grandeur of nature and the signatures of the people who traveled through in the past at El Morro.   This is an amazing landscape.  I understand the inspiration New Mexico provided for artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe. But I've got a lot more images and perhaps I'll  begin working on my blog more often now.  


Wood Lake, Nebraska

Since I do not know where to begin with the blogging of my experiences of the Summer of 2016 I guess I will start with this quaint abandoned church in Wood Lake, Nebraska.  

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Wood Lake is in Cherry County, Nebraska and is on highway 23.  

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It also has a historical marker.  Here is some historical information about Wood Lake which was originally called "Cottonwood Lake."  

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I caught a glimpse of this old church off of the highway and had to go find it.   

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It was a hot day and the drive across Nebraska seemed like an eternity because it was our last day of our great Northern adventure and I was tired of driving. 

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I'm afraid I'm a victim of wanderlust.  Our last trip was in July and I'm already wishing I could go somewhere else.  

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Looking at the abandoned churches, houses, settlements is realizing that someone spent their time and craftsmanship to build that building, home or place of worship. 

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And someone else chose to allow it to fall into a state of disrepair.   

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I think everything needs time, passion and attention for it to thrive.  When the time and attention leaves things fall into disrepair.  We no longer care.  I'm afraid that this blog is going the way of losing my time and attention.   Yet, I have so much material that I can pour into it, which could be useful for someone, somewhere.   

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One more shot before we left town to head towards I-80 to get on our way back to Oklahoma on that June day.  

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I Saw The Sign

I don't even know where to begin with this blog right now.  So I'll begin with a summary of the places I've been this year.   I won't include my New Mexico trip in March.   In May I had the wonderful experience of going to a wedding of a long time friend and meeting up with some of my other awesome friends of the past decade.   So I will begin there.  

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I don't have the Missouri welcome sign because we had tire trouble and had to switch vehicles!

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This was a four day trip - not a lot of time for play but we did get a day's sightseeing in!  I also finally visited Cahokia near St. Louis.  

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We stayed the night in Evansville, Indiana and stopped to see the Angel Mound site in the morning.  

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This is as we were coming into Louisville, Kentucky.  Saturday morning we did some sightseeing in Louisville!  This was on May 13th.   

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No Tennessee signs here either, but we drove through on that very long day home to Oklahoma so we could both go to work on Monday.  

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So fast forward just a few weeks later to June (not even a month later).  My Sister and I embarked on our Great Northern Journey.  Again, no signs from Kansas but we were there. 

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On this wonderful day we exited Northern South Dakota near Belle Fourche.   

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And cut across Wyoming on our way to Montana...

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Montana has been on my "list" for a long time! I've been to all the states in the continental west.    That day we visited The Little Bighorn Battlefield, The Devil's Tower in Wyoming and stayed the night in Spearfish South, Dakota before visiting The Badlands. 

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Just one more...After this vacation I returned home for a few weeks before my sister and I left to visit Colorado to attend the Sting/Peter Gabriel Rock, Paper, Scissors Tour at The Pepsi Center in Denver. 

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We had an adventure in Colorful Colorado and drove up Pikes Peak! So there are many photos to come but this was the easiest way to explain my absence from this blog.   


Inspirational Post With Flowers and Stuff

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Insert Inspirational Quote Here.... There might be a few that inspire me below...  

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I don't need inspiration transposed on my images.  I don't need peaceful nature when I share these images.   I have already found what I need when I create these images, during the moment I'm chasing the light.  

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I don't need anyones opinions. I don't need your approval or disapproval of my words or my images.   I don't need a business from my images.  I don't need to be bothered.  

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I don't need to go "viral"  - I don't need a 100,000 fans.   

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I do not need to educate others. I do not need to teach people about photography.  I do not feel obligated to photograph anything for anyone anymore.   I've tapered working for others down.  It will not continue. 

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I am taking my skill back.  That is also the thing about being an educated.  Just because I am educated it does not believe that I am obligated to share my knowledge with the world.  I like educating - that is why I do it.  But I do not owe my skills, abilities or talents to anyone.   I do not have to shoot and share or post these images.  I enjoy sharing them because I realize not everyone has the space to spend time outdoors like I do.   

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“We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.” -Ayn Rand 

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“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
― Ayn Rand

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“I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

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“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
― Ayn Rand

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“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”
― Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? 

Get tired of writing... find some Rand quotes.   It works.  Now back to housework, laundry, cleaning out the fridge and possibly a short nap before a walk at the farm.  A side note.. Trump and Clinton are terrible Presidential candidates.  What is wrong with you America?