Friday, May 31, 2013

151/365 Sunglasses


It's Friday, the last day of the work week and the day of the month of May.  It is also my last week off before starting summer school next week.  I could have done without that realization!  Oh well, it is only five weeks.  It will go quickly.

We had a fun evening with friends tonight - pizza, fireworks and ice cream.  Good, clean, adult fun.  

Carrollton, the city adjacent to us is turning 100.  To celebrate they had a fireworks display tonight.  We sat in the park and watched the ten minute display.  It wasn't the fourth of July, but it was fun to see.  It was really humid tonight so the smoke was hanging in the air.  That did not make for an ideal photography situation, but I got a dew respectable shots.  They will certainly serve to document our evening with friends.

Welcome, June!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

150/365 A Butterfly

"Not A Butterfly"

. . . but pretty nonetheless.  

I noticed today that first of our day lilies has bloomed.  These are my favorite!  I love the shape and I especially love their color.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

149/365 A Smile

"A Family That Smiles Together . . . ."

Today was a great day to capture smiles at our house.  Brooke is home with us to stay.  Yah!  We spent her first day back shopping and eating.  What better way to celebrate a homecoming?  Before Erin and Edgar headed off to work this evening, all three of the kids agreed to help me out with today's prompt.  It was even fairly easy to get Brooke in front of the camera.  

As usual, Erin, Miss Photogenic, was in charge of posing.  I like the above picture because, although everyone is not looking at the camera, they all have a genuine smile.  It took us a few shots to get there.  And, Erin had to employ some antics to get cooperation from her sister.

"Come on you guys, smile and look happy!"

"If you don't smile, I'll pinch your rear."

"Next time you'll take me seriously."

"So how's this for serious?"

In a few short minutes, we had a lot of fun.  Though the kids are all sporting big smiles, probably the biggest one is not seen here in any of the photos - mine.  I'm so lucky that they all get a long, enjoy being with each other and will even humor their mom with silly photos.  

In spite of all the silliness, I did manage to get a few decent shots of each of them.

"Offspring No. 1"

"Offspring No. 2"

"Edgar, the good sport who spent his day shopping with a bunch of girls."

And before all was said and done, I got a good picture of all three of them looking pretty darn good!

Thank you!  I love you guys!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

148/365 State the Obvious

"Warning, Warning, Warning!?

Who knew that making that morning cup of coffee could be so dangerous?  Not one, but two warnings alerting me to the presence of sharp needles.  I never would have guessed that it took something sharp to poke the holes in the otherwise sealed K-cup to allow the water to be forced through.  And, oh my gosh, I never would have expected that it would take very hot water to make my intentional very hot coffee.  Ya learn something new every day!  I guess that is why I need adult supervision to make my coffee.

Seriously, if you are really stupid enough to need all of those warnings, are you actually going to read them?

BONUS: Creepy shot with a macro lens.

I think the thing that makes this a little creepy is that I can see my reflection in the chamber where the sharp needle resides.  The creepy feeling has nothing to do with how many coffee grounds seem to be running around loose.  Really!

Monday, May 27, 2013

147/365 Catch Phrase

"Wisdom for Today"

I don't know that this is truly fitting for a catch phrase, but it is the quote that came in my daily email of meditations.  I like it a lot and find it to be true for so many people.  It also gave me an appropriate opportunity to photograph my new Lego clown.  My apologies to Erin and Weber; I know how you two feel about clowns.

How much different would our lives be if we all used our energy to embrace what we have instead of using it to mourn what we don't?  In striving so hard for what society tells us will make us rich or happy or successful, how many people really stop and look inward and ask themselves if indeed those things will make them happy.  And what is successful or rich anyway?  

146/365 In the Kitchen

"A Clean Kitchen:"

Today's prompt asked us to focus on what goes on in the kitchen - food being prepared, consumed or just displayed.  As you can see, nothing is going on in our kitchen today; that is the point of my photo.  At this moment, the kitchen is clean.  There is nothing being prepared, cooked or eaten.  This is definitely not its normal state.  Though it is usually clean with regard to sanitation standards (except for an occasional cat on the counter), it usually shows evidence of some interaction with food.

So why this picture?

After six years of being away at college and then culinary school, Offspring No. 1 is moving back home this week for good.  Yah!  She and her sister are going to try their hands at starting their own bakery business.  They are hoping to start small with farmer's markets and eventually move to a permanent structure.  At least that is the plan right now.  Offspring No. 2, the one with the number and business sense, has another year of college so they have a year to figure out a long term plan.  The girls should make a great working team - one of them likes to stay hunkered down in the kitchen baking for hours on end and the other has the people skills and organizational skills necessary to create a successful business.

Until the girls get all of their respective ducks in a row, my kitchen will serve as the test kitchen for potential recipes.  The good part of this is that we get to be the taste testers.  The downside is that the kitchen will most likely always be in use.  Or, waiting for me to clean it.

We will all adjust to a system that works for all of us.  As long as we can get to the coffee pot in the morning, most other obstacles can be overcome.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

145/365 Her


Harley is the only "her" around today.  The her children are out of town and the her cat wants nothing to do with us because we cleaned out "her" closet today which disrupted her napping routine.

Friday, May 24, 2013

144/365 Catch Lights

"When You Wish Upon A Star . . .Your Dreams Come True"

Because we had no snow days this year, Weber had today off as it would have been the snow make-up day.  We did clean out a closet, but also took time for a little fun.  Bubbles are an endless source of entertainment around our house.

Today;s prompt focused on eyes.  Weber has the most beautiful eyes so I am always happy to photograph them.  Here is another of my favorite photos of the day.

I am always fascinated by the way some photos look when converted to black and white.  I particularly like the subtlety of he bubble in this image.

This is quite the opposite concerning the bubble - not subtle at all.  I find this structure pretty amazing.   It almost looks like a magic wand the way the perspective has it sitting atop a branch.

Simple things for simple minds . . .

143/365 May Flowers


There is not much blooming  in our yard right now.  I have not planted any annuals yet, either in the ground or in pots.  We are in between the blooming of  the irises and the day lilies.  So, the best it gets is this anthurium that is living on the back patio.  Even it is a little faded.  I guess I need to go get some colorful annuals this weekend and do some planting.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What Can I Do?

Disasters, both natural and human, have plagued my area for the last month.  Cities, homes and hearts have been ripped apart in many places by different things.  This recent string of events began on April 17th with the fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant in the small town of West, TX, which is about an hour and a half south of Dallas.  Not quite a month later, powerful tornadoes ripped through Cleburne and Granbury, also small towns an hour or so away from DFW.  And then this week, only days after the Texas tornadoes, a few hours north of us, a life-taking tornado in Shawnee, OK was followed the next day by the massive EF-5 tornado that obliterated a substantial part of the community of Moore, Oklahoma.

While those whose lives are directly affected by these tragedies are busy trying to recover, rebuild and establish a new normal for themselves, their families and their communities, there are others, primarily those who exist outside of the vivid immediacy of these circumstances, who are trying to lay blame on someone or something for why these things happened.  All to often that blame is placed in the hands of a vengeful God.  That kind of rhetoric makes me angry right down to my innermost being.

We have all heard the proclamations by some that hurricane Katrina was sent by God to destroy the burgeoning gambling industry along the Gulf Coast and to prevent a very large GLBT gathering and celebration from taking place in New Orleans the following weekend.  Mind you this particular event that God was supposedly trying to stop had been going on for 33 years previous to 2006 when Katrina struck.  If God truly wanted to put an end to this gathering, wouldn't he/she have done so sooner?  "Southern Decadence" still convenes annually in New Orleans.  Is God so weak that he or she could not prevail and prevail against this perceived evil?  Is man truly stronger than God?

Oh, and did you know that hurricane Sandy was divine justice for the state of New York's 2011 legislation legalizing same-sex marriage?  If this is true, God needs to be put on some kind of performance improvement plan; his work is kind of sloppy.  If God was intending to punish New York, the actions taken sure impacted a lot of other states along the east coast.  

And, I hope none of you has been praying in the last week.  God has been rather myopic in his/her consideration of incoming prayers.   Attention has been turned on figuring out how to punish Oklahoma Thunder basketball player Kevin Durant for supporting Jason Collins with regard to his coming out and as gay.   I can see that.  Doesn't it seem reasonable that the God of love would punish one or two people by destroying homes and causing absolute mayhem in the lives of thousands of people and would kill innocent children?  Seems like a perfectly reasonable figure in whom to place our faith - a vengeful, retaliatory, self-serving, weak, sloppy God - right?
Lets get real.  God, the one who calls each one of by name us a child of his/her own, does not work like that.  If God does behave in such a way, CPS has a massive job to do.  I believe my God to be a God of creation, not destruction.

So, why then do these terrible things happen?  The answer does not lie in placing blame, but in taking responsibility.  (Please note, we are not responsible for, nor can we be blamed for, our sexuality; God is responsible for that.). Bad things do happen on earth because human beings make poor choices.  We, humankind, are responsible for most things that go wrong in our lives; not God.

The explosion in West hopefully was caused by some kind of accident.  The weather disasters are the result of our irresponsibility toward the care of our shared home, Mother Earth.  As the measurable effects of global warming have become more visible, so have the frequency and the intensity of our weather phenomena.  This is not coincidental.  We all share in this responsibility- not just the gamblers, the drinkers, the homosexuals, and the friends of homosexuals - every single one of us who occupies space on the earth must accept that we are in part responsible for what happened in Cleburne, in Granbury, in Shawnee, in Moore.

What can we do to turn things around, to have a positive impact on our world?  Here are a few simple actions that each of us can easily implement into our daily lives that will help stop global warming.

1, Replace all of your lightbulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs.
2. Only run your dishwasher when it is full.
3. Use recycled paper products.
4. Adjust your thermostat by 2 degrees - 2 degrees warmer during the summer and cooler during the winter.
5. Take shorter showers.
6. Carpool and use public transit.
7. Recycle.
8. Plant a tree.
9. Turn electronics off when they are not in use.
10. Avoid plastics.

These simple suggestions will help diminish the potential for weather disasters that result from the effects of global warming.  What can we do about incidents like the horror of the Boston marathon bombing or the explosion in West?  I know that we can not stop these kinds of things altogether, but perhaps, as with our steps toward slowing the progress of global warming, we can nudge such occurrences in the direction of being less frequent and less violent by faithfully following our loving God who bids us to love our God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

142/365 Clouds

"Imaginary Clouds"

After several days of threatening storm clouds, there was not even a hint of a cloud in today's sky.  With the prompt of the day being "clouds", I had two choices; I could either dig a cloud photo out of the archives or I could make some clouds.  As tempting as it was to use a photo of clouds that I took exactly a year ago, with the help of my friend Claude, we created our own clouds.

Where there is a will, there is a way!

141/365 A Perfect Gift

"A Second Chance"

Nothing in life is guaranteed; certainly not second chances.  But every now and then, we are surprised.  The best gift that I have received is a second chance to find love.  

I pray that all of those who lost their homes and loved ones in Oklahoma on Monday will find the strength and courage to believe in second chances   I think my inclination to photograph this as a silhouette may have to do with the deep sadness I feel for those who will never again feel the touch of their child, sister, brother, mother, father, husband, or wife.  

On a somewhat lighter note, I like the way that there is almost a heart shape between our chins and shoulders.  If I had a beard, it would be even closer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

140/365 Where I Live

"Home IS Where My Heart Is"

Just as I finished taking this photo yesterday, the news of the terrible devastation in Oklahoma started pouring in.  It felt wrong to post a picture of my home when so many people had lost not only their homes but their children and loved ones.  My prayers are with all those whose lives have been torn apart by Brother Wind.  May God give them strength, courage, love and a sense of community as they begin to rebuild not only their homes, but their loves.

As I post this now, I do so with much thanksgiving for what I have but knowing that it could all be gone in only minutes.  This place holds many, many memories from many, many years - some good and others not so good.  We are doing our best now to create more of the good ones.  Still, this is only a material place; the true home of our memories is in our hearts and souls.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

139/365 Black

"Tiger In My Tank"

I like my coffee black - no sugar, no cream, no nothing!!  The darker and bolder it is, the better!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

137/365 A Walk

"A Path of Prayer"

One of the things that I have come to love about the Capture Your 365 Project is that it has caused me to learn many things about my own city.  It was late this afternoon before I considered what to do for today's prompt.  I have photographed our many parks lots of times and as I ran their paths through my head, nothing struck me as a possible subject for today.  This may be because I actually took a picture of one of my favorite park paths here for another prompt not too long ago.

Weber suggested that I take a picture of our labyrinth at church.  That was a great idea that, sadly, had not crossed my mind despite the fact that walking the labyrinth is an important prayer form for me.  Our church has a very beautiful indoor labyrinth.  Unfortunately, its surroundings are not so attractive after some building additions took away its view of the outdoors.  On a whim, I decided to check the Internet to see if there was an outdoor labyrinth close to us.

I thought that I was "up" on the labyrinths in the Dallas area.  As is the case with many things, I was proven wrong.  A smallish Methodist church not far from us at all has a beautiful outdoor labyrinth that is enveloped  by a lush garden.  

It was a gift to discover this so close to home.  

In the first picture of this post, it looks like Weber is walking on the labyrinth "wall" rather than the path.  Many of the labyrinths modeled on the Chartres labyrinth, as this one is, have "lunation's" around its perimeter.  Instead, this one has stones offered in memory and thanksgiving.  Walking along that outside walls allows you to read the names and offer prayers for each of those persons as you move around the labyrinth.

Another thing that we discovered today is that our city'c community garden is on this same property just beyond the privacy hedge that surrounds the labyrinth.  It was fun to walk through and see what everyone has growing in their plots.  We saw herbs, and vegetables, and various fruits and berries, flowers, and everything in between.

I couldn't help but stop to take a few photos of some gorgeous sunflowers for my baby who loves them.

This was all a nice way to end my last day of the semester!  I turned my grades in this morning.  I am done . . .until summer school starts June 5.  I'm trying to ignore that fact for just a little while.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my job, but I am super tired right now.  With a couple days of being at home, I'll feel better in no time and be ready to start it all over again.

For now, TGITEOTS - Thank God It's The End Of The Semester! 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

136/365 Peaceful Moment/Relaxation

"The Rhythm of Relaxation"

A little music listened to through noise reduction headphones will almost always beat the day's stress out of me.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

135/365 Be Active

Start Where  You Are"

Now that the semester is nearly over(I still have grades to do.), I have vowed to get serious about getting some exercise.  Though I walk quite a bit, I need a little more.  I downloaded an app for my phone that has a graduated jogging/running routine.  I am going to give it a try.
I like this photo because the "beginning", where I am right now is in focus.  The blur and unfocused parts represent both the future and how I feel about starting a new discipline. Hopefully I'll have a good habit established before the hellacious summer temperatures hit.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

134/365 Healthy Habit

"Be Still and Know"

There is no doubt that we have a fairly big collection of bad habits, but we also have a few good ones.  Taking some time out of every day to be still and quiet is one of the good ones.

Monday, May 13, 2013

133/365 Laugh


As one who is not the best at sending text messages, I love reading unfortunate autocorrected text messages.  There are websites that are full of screen dumps of these hilarious messages.  It takes a lot to make me laugh until I cry.  Many of these will do it.

132/365 A Mother's Gift

"O" Joy

We got back into to town Sunday afternoon in time to stop by the house, unload the car from our weekend away and then head to Resounding Harmony rehearsal. So, our Mother's Day was more of an observation than a celebration. The girls stayed at the house and animal sat while we were gone. That is a huge gift - no boarding; that makes us and the animals very happy. They also cleaned out and organized both the refrigerator and freezer over the weekend. Erin had to head back for work before we got home. While I was at rehearsal, Brooke  made brunch for dinner, my favorite kind of meal. We had French toast made with homemade challah, sweet potato hash and yogurt pannacotta. For dessert she made apple honey doughnuts. Yes, we are all stuffed!!!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

131/365 A New Focus On Me

"Saturday Sunshine and Silence"

We are enjoying a day of sunshine and silence while on retreat. Today, being the second Saturday of the month, is self portrait day. I must say, that being away in solitude made me approach the task this month with a better attitude than I have had the previous four months. I am becoming slightly more at ease with the process and also a little less anxious about the product. Perhaps by the end of the year I won't dread the selfies quite as much!

Friday, May 10, 2013

130/365 Framed

"Friday Night Showers"

We are on retreat this weekend so I am posting from my iPad. This doesn't give me the formatting options that the "big" computer does so please forgive any strangeness in the way things look for the next few days.

We are having nice spring showers tonight. This shot was taken from beneath an umbrella looking toward a light so that the raindrops are visible through the umbrella. I'm not completely satisfied with this image, but I think the overall effect is kind of cool.

Just for fun, the second image is the same photo run through a filter called "Escher."

Thursday, May 9, 2013

129/365 Animals

"Watchin' TV"

Adidas loves to watch TV where animals are prominent.  He likes anything with four legs - including the Geico gecko.  Unfortunately he barks and carries on so getting a decent picture is next to impossible
This is not a good photo but it is definitely a glimpse of what life is like at our house.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

128/365 Snack

"Nacho Average Snack"

In Texas, nachos are always a great snack.

127/365 Candy

"Nibbles of Shortbread"

Obviously I failed to post this last night.

By some mis-alignment of the planets, we had no candy to speak of for me to use in this prompt.  The cacao nibs were the closest thing I could find.  Brooke used them to make shortbread, and several other amazing sweet things, for me to take to school for a student recital.  Her shortbread with these little nibs of chocolate are my new favorite cookie!



Monday, May 6, 2013

126/365 Crayons

'So Many Choices!"

Today's photo represents a lack of energy and a lack of creativity.  Some days are just that way.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

125/365 Freshly Cut Grass

"The Last of the Bluebonnets"

It's hard to believe that this year's bluebonnet season is nearly over and that we are a week into May.  And, there are only two weeks left in this semester.  Where has the time gone?  Oh yeah, it has gone to lesson plans and grading papers and attending rehearsals and recitals and taking pictures.  Though it has been a good semester, I am ready for a break.

The bluebonnets in this picture are just about gone too.  They were certainly much prettier a few weeks ago.  I took this picture as the opposite of today's prompt of freshly cut grass.  People who have bluebonnets in their yard have a few weeks more than the rest of us before they have to start their springtime mowing.  We've had to mow a few times already.  The folks with the dwindling wildflowers in their front yard are going to have to do the same very shortly!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

124/365 Wide Angle

"Peace in the Park"

I love the peacefulness of this path which meanders through our city's rose garden.  I really like the simplicity of this image.

Friday, May 3, 2013

123/365 Orange

"A Few Of My Favorite Things"

Because orange is my favorite color, I had lots of possibilities for today's picture.  It was hard to decide which direction to go.  I finally decided to go with an image of several of my favorite things - the color orange, oranges and yarn with which to knit.