Saturday, June 29, 2013

180/365 Dark Background

"Franciscan Spirit"

I have been at a gathering of Franciscans all week.  There is been much serious discussion, most of which about the Doctrine of Discovery.  But tonight, we had an evening of Franciscan fun.  Three of our former Minister Provincials went head to head in a game of Jeopardy in which all of the questions pertained to St. Francis.  The categories were Francis' Biography, The Principles (of the Order), The Devotional Companion, The Franciscan Calendar and Cast of Characters.

The Final Jeopardy question was, "What would Francis do with the money won tonight?"  Here you see the wager (all the money he had won during the game) and the correct answer - "Give it away!"

Friday, June 28, 2013

179/365 From the Garden

"Liturgical Dancer"

This beautiful woman was a member of a group that took part in a little almost spontaneous liturgical dance.  She was portraying Brother Sun.  I love the yellow wrap on her as well as the sparkle of her jewelry.

I'm going for fruit of the spirit here because there was nothing fresh from any garden in my world today.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

178/365 One

"All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission Altar"

This evening I had the opportunity to visit the All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission and share a meal at their First Nations Kitchen.  All of the food was locally grown and organic.  We had buffalo stew (a first for me and it was a little "chewy"), cornbread made with pumpkin, wheat rolls, salad, and a berry cobbler.  Feeding people is a mission of this community.

What a blessing it was to share a small part of the culture of these indigenous people.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

177/365 Footwear

"Extra Sturdy"

With each of the daily Capture Your 365 Daily prompts also comes a photo that either inspired or represents the day's photo task.  Today's image was that of two obviously strong boys' feet on a trail in hiking boots.  So, the subtitle to the "footwear" prompt was "sturdy."  I am at a conference with a bunch of Franciscans.  Nobody is wearing anything that resembles a sturdy shoe; we are all wearing Birkenstocks or something similar.

When I saw this man standing with his cane, it reminded me that sometimes we all need a little extra help to stand tall and feel sturdy.  I did crop this image.  I thought about leaving it from the waist down so that his hand was visible holding the cane, but I kind of like the minimalistic perspective here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

176/365 Dinner/On A Plate

I am out of town and posting from my iPad so things will look weird here for a few days.

"Food With Friends"

Monday, June 24, 2013

175/365 A Dramatic Scene

"Sitting At Sunset"

I had hoped for a dramatic sunset tonight, but was disappointed.  (I could have opted for a dramatic sunrise, but my schedule is kind of weird right now and I'm staying up way too late to get up for the sunrise.)  There were some clouds early in the evening that gave me hope that the sunset might be colorful, but the clouds dissipated before sunset.

So that the evening's shots weren't a complete loss, I decided to play with silhouettes, a technique that creates images that I love, but one that I am not very good with.  I was happy with the above shot.  I particularly like the shape of the trees around Weber's back.  I also like the reflection of the sun above his head.  The colors are much more dramatic reflected in the water than they appeared in the sky.

This is my one true sunset picture with which I am somewhat happy.  The colors are pretty, especially to me who loves blue and orange, but the composition is kind of "meh" as my girls would say.

And then there is my ongoing fascination with ducks . . .I photograph them every time we go to the park.  I find them to be beautiful creatures.  It has been fun to watch all the ducklings grow throughout the spring.

This duck spent the evening diving for dinner.  She managed to get more grass wrapped around her body than she seemed to get in her mouth.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

174/365 Path

"Path to . . ."

I'm not sure how it happened, but today turned out to be a busy day.  I sand for the early service this morning and then we went to our favorite local cafe for breakfast after church.  That should have been a quick meal but we found ourselves in a conversation with the owner about church, the mysteries of the church and personal spiritual experiences.  Another woman, whom we had never met, then joined us and we continued our discussion with tales of pilgrimages taken and those we all would still like to take.  Two hours later, we headed home.  

I had some papers to grade and a test to write for tomorrow.  I did that and then was called to a much needed nap because tonight was another concert.

Our church choir is leaving in a month for a two week tour singing in some of the great cathedrals in England.  Due to many scheduling issues, we did our "Bon Voyage" concert tonight.  It was nice to be able to perform the music in public a month before we are set to leave; just a little fine tuning and we should be good to go.

All this to say that I did not get outside to photograph a path today.  As we were leaving church at 8:45 tonight, I realized that I hadn't done anything about a picture today.  I grabbed my phone and took a picture of the path that I walked several times today and countless times over many years.  This is also the path at whose end Weber and I began our married life together.  Though it was a spur of the moment picture, it is a fitting representation of today.

Here is my second attempt at a photograph of the super moon. 

 I used the same settings as last night, but the color is totally different.  This shot was taken a few hours later in the night.  I guess that accounts for the difference.  Again, there is nothing that places its size in context.  So, a decent moon shot will remain on my yet-to-be-accomplished list.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

173/365 Purple

Patience in Purple"

Weber got a new computer today.  He and the cat waited somewhat patiently as data migrated from the old one to the new one.

And here is a shot of tonight's "super moon."  Unfortunately, I waited until it was dark so there is no context within which to see just how big the moon really is.  I may have to try again tomorrow.

Friday, June 21, 2013

172/365 Vines

"Growing Hearts"

This vine is growing ALL OVER the backyard.  We have to pull it out of the trees and off of other plants.  It has a resilience much like that of the cockroach.  Its only redeeming quality is that it provides privacy for "natural" nights in the hot tub.  

This evening as I was photographing it, I noticed that many of its leaves are heart-shaped.  It is hard to despise something with little hearts all over it.  I have a little more appreciation for it now.  I'll try to see it as something more than a perpetual nuisance.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

171/365 Sparkle

"Afternoon Sparkle"

Bokeh is just one of the magical things about photography.  It is an awesome effect that can transform an ordinary photo into a stunning image.  This photo is purely a technical one.  The composition, our newly blooming crepe myrtle, is nothing spectacular, but the bokeh does make the background kind of sparkle.

While I was outside "playing" this afternoon, the sparkle in my rings caught my attention.  I decided to photograph this sparkle as well.  

My mom passed away four years before Weber and I got married.  My dad gave us my mom's engagement ring, whose stone we had reset.  It is very special to me to have this piece of family history as we create our own history.
The starburst in this image was an added bonus.  A few days ago, photographing to achieve a starburst was one of the technical lessons.  I did not accomplish it.  Now I can cross that one off of the to-do list.  I have to admit though that I put no intentional effort into creating this starburst.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

170/365 Lighter Than Air

"Living By Bread Alone"

Without a doubt, I know that I can survive on bread alone.  I love it.  I might even be addicted to it.  It doesn't matter what kind of bread.  I love everything from basic white bread to seed breads to cinnamon raisin bread.  And when it's homemade, I don't even need any kind of spread on it, though homemade butter or peanut butter just makes the eating experience that much better!

Since Brooke has been home, we have been spoiled by almost daily loaves of freshly made bread.  I have become a real fan of an oatmeal bread that she has been making.  Today's loaf, however, is a simple sandwich loaf that is not nearly as dense as the oatmeal bread or some of the other grain and seed breads we have had.

I had to work hard to connect this picture to today's prompt, which is Wings / Lighter Than Air / Glide. So here it goes: it terms of texture, this is a very light bread.  It glides right down.  And, it tastes heavenly.  

If you think those are weird connections, you should see how I do with the Rorschach test!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

169/365 Pastoral

"Object Lesson"

Pastoral is not a word that describes life in the suburbs.  With no time to head out in search of "pastoral" I amended the prompt and decided that I might be more successful if I looked for serene as we walked around our neighborhood.

I suspect that you are looking at this picture thinking that it is neither pastoral or serene.  In fact, it isn't even a good picture.  All of those things would be true.  So why did I include as my picture of the day? For me, it represents an object lesson, hence its title.

I was photographing the flower.  (I did actually take several images of it that are technically pretty good.)  With this one, I think the wind blew the flower a bit and obviously my focus shifted.  It wasn't until I was looking at the day's images on the computer that I noticed first the moon and then the bird in this shot.  No, this is not a good shot of either, but perhaps it could have been had I realized that they were even in the frame.  That is the lesson.

Sometimes we get so fixated on what is right in front of us that we miss things that exist just beyond, things that may be equally or even more interesting or more beautiful.  So, I chose this photo rather than any of these others from today's walk because of its reminder to me to look and then look a little more.

This is the in-focus version of the above flower.

I'm sure there are those who consider the golf course pastoral.  I am not one of them, but I do love this tree.

I like the symmetry created by the reflection.

And, another flower.

Like I said, nothing even remotely pastoral, but all of this pictures are images of today.

168/365 Splash

"Uncontained Passion"

Today's prompt was intended to be a splash at the beach or pool, a picture of summer water fun.  That wasn't happening around here.  We did, however, have a brief afternoon downpour.  I grabbed a clear bowl and set it out to collect the rain.  I managed a few splashes as the bowl filled.

And yes, I'm obviously still on my quote kick.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

167/365 Something Masculine

"Lookin' Macho"

Here are the two most important guys in my life giving me their best macho looks.

I'm not so sure about macho, but they sure are sweet!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

166/365 From the Side

'Close Your Eyes, Mom!"

I am definitely not skilled at applying make-up, especially the overdone make-up that is necessary when one is on stage under bright stage lights.  I had to enlist the girls as both consultants as to what to do and then have the do the application as well.  It took both of them working their magic to get it done.

Today's prompt's title is a little misleading.  Though it only says from the side, the additional instructions are for a self portrait from the side.  Yes, it is that time of the month again.  I have to admit that I actually did not take this photo; Erin took it with my camera.  Putting on my own make-up and taking my own picture were way more than I could handle today - or on most days, for that matter.  I'm glad the girls were around to help me with this.  We'll just consider it payback for all of those diapers that I changed!

Note: It is not that we were intentionally trying to keep Brooke out of the picture.  She had an allergic reaction to hair dye and because her scalp and face are broken out, she did not want to be in the picture.  I wanted at least some of her visible to put the photo in context.

Friday, June 14, 2013

165/365 Stars and Stripes

"Tower of Solar Power"

Happy Flag Day, everyone.  

As you can see, this is not a picture of stars and stripes.  Despite the fact that I had a dress rehearsal tonight for a concert that consists entirely of patriotic music, I failed to get a photo containing stars and stripes.

This is a photo of Museum Tower taken from inside the Dallas City Performance Hall in the arts district of downtown Dallas.  This tower is at the center of a heated (both literally and figuratively) debate between its developers and the adjacent Nasher Sculpture Center.  Museum Tower is a forty story mirrored building.  It reflects massive amounts of damaging sunlight onto the artwork at the Nasher.  This is causing irreparable damage to sculptures both outside and inside the museum.  City leaders, representatives of the sculpture center and developers of the tower have been trying to come up with a mutually acceptable solution to this problem.  As of yet, they have been unsuccessful with this.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

164/365 Sand

"Reach for the Stars"

North Texas is not exactly known for its sandy beaches.  And, today started with a 5:45 am call for Resounding Harmony as we were lucky to have a spot to sing on a local morning TV show to help promote our concert this weekend.  Then I had to teach and then go to the dermatologist.  With the way today played out, there was no time or energy to go hunting for sand.  This little cactus pictured above did, however, catch my attention.  Cacti grow in the desert.  The desert has sand.  Voila!  Connection made.

As you have probably noticed with several of my recent pictures, I am on a quote kick right now.  I like the challenge of trying to take a photo to represent a particular quote or vice versa, trying to find a quote to accompany an image.  With this one, I took the photo first; I love this quote.  It really speaks to me and I think it is appropriate for this image of the pink bud sitting atop the prickly little cactus.

We all have dreams - some of them small, some big, and some at every point in between.  Yet, so many people live an entire life and never even lift a finger in the direction of their dreams let alone lift their arms to reach for and fully embrace those dreams.  What keeps us from pursuing our dreams?  Time? Money? Other people?

None of the above.

The only thing that ever really stands in our way is fear.  It may be fear of trying and the risk, commitment or amount of work that requires.  It may be fear of failure.  It may even be fear of success.  However you look at it, it boils down to fear of something.  Time, money and other people are excuses, a way to keep us from taking responsibility for our own actions or lack of action.    To say that we don't "have" time  is more accurately stated as we don't "make" time.  If something is important, we will make the time to do it.  And if we truly have a passion for something, the resources to nourish that passion will come.  If we believe in what we are doing, so will other people.  When all of these things come together, dreams will come true.  I honestly believe that where there is a will or a passion, there is always a way.

That way may involve standing on a cactus to reach that star;  we may get poked by a few cactus needles in the process.  But once we are swinging on that star, the pain and scars from those cactus needles fade away.  We can say with confidence that dreams do come true if you believe in them and believe in yourself.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

163/365 Relax

"Oh to Have the Life of the Cat"

The cat is the only one around here right now who seems to have time to relax.  Between summer school and several concerts in the next two weeks, I barely have time to check my calendar to figure out where I am supposed to be next let alone to have even a minute to relax.

This spot on the back of the arm chair in our bedroom is the cat's favorite spot.  There is now n indentation in the back cushion that is perfectly molded to her body.  As you can see by the amount of cat hair on her blanket, she spends a lot of time here.

Some day I might have time to relax.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

162/365 Two


For whatever reason, I had a hard time with today's photo.  You would think that photographing "two" would be a simple task; our lives are filled with things that come in twos.  I just was not thrilled with anything that crossed my mind.  When I thought about photographing two pennies as my two cents worth, I realized that I had better just be happy with something before sarcasm completely took over.  

I resorted to quotes for a little inspiration.  I like this Billy Graham quote.  I took lots of shots trying to create an image that reflected the words; none that I was happy with.  Big surprise.  This photo is the most likable, at least in my opinion, of all the bad shots that I took.  

So, for now I am trying to accept this apparent creative slump within which I find myself.  I've been here before.  I'll be here again.  And in between, glorious things will happen.  Until then . . ."'The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."  - Marcel Proust

Monday, June 10, 2013

161/365 Something Found

"Birthday Boy and His Book"

Though today was Weber's birthday, there wasn't much celebrating around here.  He is not much of a party guy.  Brooke made a small cake - orange spice with fig jam between the layers and we went out to our favorite Italian dive restaurant for dinner.  The birthday gifts were equally as low key.  I did find a copy of The Gospel According to Peanuts, a book that he had had previously that went missing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

160/365 Remote Control

'Still Playing!"

I credit Pac-Man with my success as an undergraduate student.  It was my stress release, my therapy, my exercise, my entertainment.  I was addicted and this addiction served me well.  Almost every night after practicing clarinet and piano for four hours, I would head to the Mr. Gatti's Pizza across the street from the music building and play a quarter's worth of Pac-Man.  That sounds reasonable, right?  Well, it really wasn't.  I could play for several hours on one quarter.  In fact , there were many evenings where I had to just walk away from the game and let someone else continue where I was.  

I still remember all the patterns for the various levels, though I don't have many opportunities to play anymore.  Yes, there are computer and iPad versions of both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, but they just aren't the same.  Any of you who are first generation Pac-Man players know what I mean.

I'm not really sure why today summoned up this piece of nostalgia.  Maybe because tomorrow is Weber's birthday; sadly though, he was not a Pac-Man player.  Poor guy!

159/365 Starburst

"Nuns on the Bus"

I thought everyone knew about the nuns on the bus, but apparently I was wrong.  Weber and I had dinner with the rest of our family last night and shared that we had been to see the nuns on the bus as they travelled through Dallas yesterday afternoon.  They all looked at us and said "Who?"  That is when I realized that we watched way too much liberal TV during the last election.  MSNBC was all about following the mission of these courageous women.

I am having a hard time following the daily photo prompts right now.  The important thing to me is that I take a picture, a relevant picture, to my day and life.  That, I am doing.  I will continue to post the actual prompts in the titles of each daily post just so that it is clear what was suggested for the day.

Friday, June 7, 2013

158/365 Three of a Kind

"Hope, Peace and Love"

This is the bell tower at the Cathedral of Hope taken through a window from the Dallas Peace Chapel.  

On the first Friday of each month, I play for a Taize service at the Peace Chapel.  It is a beautiful space in which to play as well as to just be.  I love playing for this service; even though I have to pay close attention because of my responsibilities as a musician, I am always moved spiritually.  Tonight was our last Taize service until September 6th.  I am going to miss them during the summer!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

157/365 Sunset Reflected in Water

"Reflecting On A Ducky Day"

Weber, Brooke and I went out for Greek food tonight.  It was delicious.  We then headed to the park so that I could take the day's picture - a sunset reflected in water.  We have had rain off and on today, but it was clear this evening.  Unfortunately, the sunset was nothing spectacular.  I was distracted by all of the cute ducklings strolling around the park.  This little guy captured not only my attention, but also my heart.  He is just so darn cute.  He looks like he reflecting on his own day in he park.

Brooke likes the following picture.  This is a slightly different take on "reflection."  These sibling ducks are a reflection of one another.

"Seeing Double"

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

156/354 Documented

"Lunchtime Wimp"

I am a wimp . . . and this is my lunch.

I am teaching Summer I this year and today was the first day of school.  I have classes from 9:40-11:40 and 11:50-1:50/  Last night I was whining about the fact that I have no time for lunch.   When I got up this morning, I found these "power" muffins that Brooks had made for me.  They are full of oatmeal, oat bran, flaxseed and blueberries all topped with a maple cinnamon crumble.  It was super tasty, required no utensils and could be eaten comfortably in ten minutes.  I think she may have taken pity on my class; my family seems to think I get grumpy when I'm hungry.  I have no idea what has given them  that impression.

This photo was taken with my iPad and edited with the BeFunky app.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

155/365 Negative Space

"The Daily Grind"

Weber's dad was an attorney for the Missouri Pacific Railroad.  This pencil sharpener, which is probably nearly as old as I am,  sat on his desk at work.  It now sits on ours at home.  This is a great pencil sharpener!  It's sturdy and its little knob on the handle is real wood!  There is no plastic or parts to burn out  on this.  And, its opening is big enough for Weber's "My First Ticonderoga" pencil -  big pencils for big hands???  Perhaps he likes this pencil because his handwriting has not evolved much beyond what it was when he first encountered one of these chubby pencils in the first grade:-)

Monday, June 3, 2013

154/365 Dandelion

"A is for Apricot"

 . . . and D is for dandelion as well as for my success with today's prompt.  There were no dandelions anywhere in our neighborhood today.  I remembered that I had taken a picture of a dandelion awhile back on a day when the prompt had something to do with flowers in the garden or something like that.  I looked back through my archives to find that picture.  It was taken on February 17th!  It doesn't seem like that much time has passed - nearly four months, a third of the year.

Though I had no dandelions to photograph, we do have lots of apricots.  Erin brought us twenty pounds of them.  Brooke has made apricot butter and apricot jam and I think there are plans for an apricot crisp . . .and we will probably still have apricots left.

Though I have clearly earned a "D" for my inability to follow the prompt today, can I at least have an "A" for effort?  At least I posted something relevant to my day.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

153/365 Converted

"Let Me Entertain You"

All the kids were here for dinner tonight.  I didn't have to cook a thing!  I did, however, have to clean the kitchen, but I would have had to do that if I had cooked so it worked out well.

In the process of the evening's discussion, Offspring No. 2, who works in childcare, was ranting about how kids these days can't entertain themselves for more than thirty seconds at a time.  The girls were remembering how they could keep themselves busy reading, drawing and doing puzzles for extended periods of time.  I was feeling good about at least a few of my parenting skills.  Then I noticed my youngest child entertaining herself by building structures with the asparagus remnants that she had just cut.  She was quite happy for a good fifteen minutes.  I'm not sure I want to take credit for a twenty year old who is happily entertained by using vegetable discards as building blocks.

You might be wondering what this photo has to do with converted.  The answer? A resounding, "nothing."  The idea was to take a photo that could be converted to black and white and that it would retain its integrity.  Somehow the asparagus here lost some of their appeal in black and white.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

152/365 Signs of Summer

"Do Pass and Go Directly to Summer Vacation!"

This week is Weber's last week of school.  They have finals all week long.  The kids are done on Thursday and the teachers on Friday.  Lucky them!  I have been off for two weeks but because I am teaching Summer I, I go back to school on Wednesday.  That is kind of a downer thought right t the moment.