Wednesday, July 31, 2013

212/365 Inspire

Stairway to Heaven"

These are the steps leading to the Chapter Room at Wells Cathedral.  They are hundreds and hundreds of years old.  The countless feet that have traveled up and down have caused their unevenness.

The Chapter Room

Wells Cathedral

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

211/365 Intent

"The Quire at Bristol Cathedral"

Our intent was to sing a beautiful Evensong.

The acoustics at Bristol cathedral were stunning.  Every place we sang in this building made us sound just amazing  It was truly a gift to have the opportunity to sing in such a place.  And the verger in charge of us was great!  Not only was she an American, she had lived in Texas for five years!  When she came to get us in the cloister before Evensong, she had on her vestments and a black cowboy hat.  The hat itself didn't last long, but its impression did.

Im not sure where the day went.  We had two rehearsals and sang Evendong.  I also listened to another American choir sing a noontime concert in this space.  

I have a few more pictures, but I am losing the battery on my computer, so they will have to wait for another day.  The only place in this hotel where there is free wi-fi is in the bar and there is a lack of accessible plugs.

More later . . .

Monday, July 29, 2013

210/365 On A Bike

"Last Ride"

We had an "off" day today - no singing so we traveled to Bath.  Though I met the guy in the above picture just off the high street, this next picture better represents our day.

"Bath and a Shower"

It poured rain for most of the day.  By the time we returned to the bus, we were drenched despite the umbrella.

The morning began with a trip through the Roman Baths.  This was very interesting, but there were way too many people in way too small a space for me.  

Outside the entrance to the Roman Baths

The hot bath

The passage to the tepid area

The Bath Abbey Church

Abbey Church Main Aisle

Cross located in the side chapel

We returned to the hotel in Bristol in time for dinner and an evening of relaxation.  Tomorrow is a busy day of rehearsals, both morning and afternoon, and a sung Evensong at Bristol Cathedral.  The singing sounds great.  Unfortunately, all of our travels tomorrow are on foot and the weather report is predicting a 90 percent chance of rain.  Singing in the rain and/or singing in soggy vestments does not sound appealing at all!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

209/365 Honest

"St. Mary's Redcliffe"

Today we sang a Eicharist, Matins and Evensong at St. Mary's Redcliffe.  It was a busy day of singing but I did have some time this afternoon to take some photos.  Her is a very random set of pictures.

This was my view from my spot in the choir stalls.

The side aisles through which we processed.

This is the cross on the high altar taken from the Ambulatory behind the altar.  The background is created by the ceiling.

It has been a long day.  I have no more energy for coherent thought.  So, enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

208/365 Candid

"Treasured Time Together"

Today was moving Day for the choir.  We left Cheltenham where we have been based for four days and headed for Bristol, where we will be for the next five days.  Because we could not check into the hotel until 3:00 this afternoon, we had a bus tour of the city of Bristol this morning.  It is a beautiful city where past and present live side by side.  Medieval churches have as their neighbors modern office buildings.  Somehow, it seems to work.  

One of the iconic figures in Bristol is the Clifton suspension bridge.  We first drove up and viewed it from afar.  It was from a scenic overlook that I took the above picture of this older couple.  I watched as the gentleman pushed his wife in her wheelchair over to a spot that had just the view she wanted.  They then sat together and enjoyed their time together.  I like the black and white image because it sets them apart from the somewhat cluttered background, but there is something about the color photo that I like too.

I think it is that the woman's skirt and the man's blue and white argyle socks are so cheerful.  I also like that they are wearing matching straw hats.  To me, this is such a sweet scene.

I have a serious fear of heights so though we were at this particular point to view the bridge, it took me awhile to be willing to accept the fact I was up high, I focused on the flowers just at the edge of the gorge first.

Then I conquered my fear just long enough to take a picture of the bridge.

We then drove around to the bridge where we were able to walk across.

This bridge is a fascinating piece of engineering.  As we began to walk across, my fear of heights was again with me, but I was bound and determined to walk across.  As my photos from this experience confirm, I managed this by always looking up.

I find the lines in this image interesting.

We left the bridge to have lunch in the city before finally checking into the hotel.  With a few minutes to spare after lunch we stopped in for a quick cup of coffee.  Somehow I managed to slosh a goodly amount of my cup down my leg. This was not a good move when you plan to wear the same jeans for a couple of days!

Because we are going to be in Bristol for five days, we decided that this would be a good day to hand wash some of our laundry - and because I spilled coffee all over myself.  So, we hand washed our clothes in the bathtub.  Now, as we wait for everything to dry, our room looks like we are serious losers at a game of strip poker; there are drying clothes everywhere.

But, at least we will have clean underwear for the next five days!  Dry shirts and jeans, maybe not.

207/365 Science

Bee in Burford"

This is a quick post before we get on the bus to move hotels.

These are pictures from Burford Church.

"The High Altar"

"The Cross on the Low Altar"

This town once thrived as a center for the wool trade.  Those who worked in the industry have headstones that are marked by the rounded wool bales on the top.

The entire graveyard was covered with lavender and other flowers.  It really was a peaceful place.  The bees and the butterflies seemed happy there as well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

206/365 Progress

"Camera Progress"

This is the Radcliffe Camera, which houses the Radcliffe Science Library at Oxford University.  The building was constructed in the early 18th century and as you can see is currently undergoing renovations - progress.  As a knitter, I particularly like the "yarn bombing" of the surrounding fence.

We spent a lovely day in Oxford.  It was a bit crowded and by the end of the day had gotten warm, but that did not spoil a great day in Oxford.  Before lunch we had a guided tour of the campus, seeing the buildings that at one time served as residences for many notable people as well as buildings that provided the back drop for the Harry Potter movies.  Several of us had lunch at the Eagle and Child Pub where C. S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien hung out.  After lunch we wandered the streets with many other people from all over the world.  We visited several of the college chapels, a few bookstores and stopped at yet another pub for some afternoon liquid refreshment before returning to Cheltenham for the evening.

I took several pictures but none of them seem to do justice to this place.  Perhaps I'll feel better about them later.

Several of us went out for Indian food tonight.  It was probably the best Indian food that I have ever had and the service was impeccable.  Add to that the opportunity to get to know people whom I have sung with for years but have never really known outside of choir, it was a great evening.  We finished off the evening with a little laughter in the hotel lounge.  

Our days are packed and I am exhausted by the day's end, but we are having a great time.  It is worth every bit of sleep deprivation that I am suffering!

To see more pictures and to follow the Transfiguration choir, check out the Transfiguration Choir Tour page on Facebook.  I have posted a few more pictures there.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

205/365 Action

"Action, we wish!"

We did arrive safely in England and today, our second day here, I feel like a human again.  We sang the first service of our tour this evening, Evensong at Exeter Cathedral.

Free wi-fi seemingly is not very popular in public places in England.  Without an international data plan on my phone and iPad, my options for posting are limited.  I did post, I thought, yesterday's picture of the day from the hotel via my iPad last night, but it doesn't seem to be here.  Not sure what happened there, but I will figure it out.

I will also post some pictures of the places we have visited thus far.  Right now I just haven't figured out an efficient workflow given the technological limitations.  I will conquer this tomorrow!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Meet Bob B.

If you visit me here with any regularity, you know that I am fond of photographing Lego mini figures.  I decided that on our trip to London, I would take "Bob B."   My plan is to photograph him throughout our travels.  I wonder how many people I can get to have their picture taken with him?

"Business Class?"

Right now he is wondering based, on his current flight accommodations (in my camera bag) why, if this is business class, anyone would pay extra to fly this way!!

Sorry Bob!  We'll get you out of there as soon as possible.  And I'm sorry you had to leave your rifle behind.  We don't want any problems going through security!

203/365 Framed

'A Plan and A Plane"

This is a very quick photo before we head out the door to the airport.  Stay tuned for pictures from England over the next two weeks!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

202/365 Urban Art

"Urban Art Texas Style"

Nothing says Texas better than a big ol' armadillo.

201/365 Shades of Blue

"Packing Shades of Blue"

Sorry, I forgot to post this yesterday.

Shades of blue should have been a no-brainer for me.  Everything in my physical world is blue because blue makes me happy.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a whole lot of time to give to this today.  We are leaving Monday for two weeks in England and so were busy getting stuff gathered and packed.  As I separated my clothes into the stacks of requisite concert black and the other stuff, I realized I had a huge stack of blue clothing.  Big surprise:-)  So here is today's photo - my shades of blue wardrobe.  Nothing special, but it is me.  I once heard someone say, "I don't wear outfits; I wear clothes."  Yep, that's me.  I  grabbed a bunch of my favorite stuff.  I hope when we get to England, I have something that I something to wear that doesn't make me look like a poorly dressed gypsy.

Friday, July 19, 2013

200/365 Two Scoops

"Frozen Family Fun"

Today was one of those days when everyone was a willing participant in the daily photo.  After a nice vegetarian dinner at home, prepared by Brooke, we headed to our local frozen yogurt shop for two scoops - each.  Mine is the one in the front - cake batter and cappuccino yogurt topped with reese's peanut butter cups and graham cracker crumbs.  Yum!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

199/385 A Source of Happiness

"Eat, Drink and Be Happy"

I am blessed that there are so many, many things in my life that not only make me happy but bring me great joy.  Most of those things I photograph often.  I decided today to head toward the silly rather than the serious side of things that bring me happiness.  This is not to belittle the prompt but to attempt to document all the little quirky things that make me, me.

For the most part, we eat fairly healthily.  We buy organic and make and prepare most of what we consume.  I, however, do have a weakness for animal crackers, not just these iced ones, the plain ones too.  These just happen to photograph better.  As a child, my mom would give a box of the Barnum and Bailey animal crackers, you know the ones in the red and yellow box with the four animal pictures on each side and a shoelace-like handle, to snack on as I sat in the grocery cart.  They also took me to my happy place through all of the stresses of college and graduate school.  And diet coke . . .all I can say is that there is something about those bubbles.

We all have our weaknesses.  I feel so much better now that I have shared one of mine with all of you.  And in case you are wondering, there are plenty more where this one came from.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

198/365 Begins With "S"

"S is for Strawberry"

I waited way to late in the day for this one - after choir rehearsal and a few beers at a local night spot with choir members as we celebrated our last rehearsal before leaving on Monday for our two week tour in England.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

197/365 I Spy

"I Spy, You Spy"

I'm not sure whether this picture is I spy a cat in a box or the cat spies me with the #*@$ camera.

Monday, July 15, 2013

196/365 Old and New

"Old and New"

Last night we met some friends for dinner down in the Bishop Arts district in Oak Cliff.  This is a funky neighborhood that has been totally revitalized over the past several years.  It has gone from a run down section of town to a lively hot spot for specialty shops and dining.  For those of you not from Texas, Oak Cliff is home to the Texas Theater, famous for being the location where Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended after the shooting of President John F. Kennedy.

Last night there was a huge street fair going on to celebrate Bastille Day.  The streets were lined with weldors selling French cuisine, various beverages, craftsmen and there was also a variety of entertainment - everything from musicians to jugglers.

One of the assignments I am working on this month for my photography class is street photography.  I don't feel very comfortable photographing strangers and I feel even less comfortable asking them if they would mind of they take their picture.  But, I knew this would be a great opportunity to give it a try.  I opted for the paparazzi style of photography - shoot quickly and hope that you get something good without being noticed.  Generally this involves literally "shooting from the hip."

I thought the woman above was interesting for several reasons.  I liked her eyes.  I also liked all the shapes here - the stripes in her hat and shirt with the circles on her umbrella.  The "baby bump" provided a nice contrast of mom as older life and baby as the new.  Because this image was taken on the sly, it is not as sharp as I would like it.  I added the sepia tones in post processing to further play on the old look of a new photo.

The next image right now is the best one I have thus far for the photo assignment for the class.

"Bastille, Bands and Beer"

The expression on this woman's face is much more serious than the situation deserved.  The gentleman is putting a wristband on for her that says that she is of age to buy and consume alcohol so that she doesn't have to continually show her "credentials" each time she purchases a drink.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

195/365 Cropped


This month's self portrait was to be a cropped photo.  I'm good with that; no pictures of my face!

You get my feet on my Krazy Kruiser.  And when the shot is taken from behind, you can't tell how big my feet really are!  Krazy Kruisers are very cool three-wheeled scooters that are powered by shifting your weight from side to side at the hips.  Since I don't have much hip action to speak of, it took me a little while to get going, but I've got it now.  Kruisin' is fun and I probably get a little bit of exercise too!

I also like this photo in black and white.

Below is today's runner-up.  I like the varied foot positions, but I wish the action wasn't quite so far to the left of the frame.

Thank you Erin for your help with today's pictures!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

194/365 Stacked

Rather than today's picture of the day being the first in the series as is usually the case here, today it will be the last one.  You'll have to make it through this series of pictures, imagining some missing parts, to fully appreciate the ending.

Once upon a time there was a panicked bride.  On the Wednesday before the Saturday she was getting married, the source for her wedding cake informed her that she would not be able to make her cake. (Something about just having had a baby.)   With only three days until the wedding, what was the bride to do?

She remembered that she had a colleague with a young, trying to get experience, daughter who had recently graduated from culinary school and moved back to Texas.  She sought out her colleague who in turn phoned said daughter with the bride's dilemma.  In a moment of weakness (and poverty), the young baker said yes to making the cake.

Soon more pounds of butter, flour, and sugar than one normally consumes in a year appeared.  Eggs were cracking.

NOTE: The band-aids have to do with sharp edges on cake pans and plastic wrap boxes.

Soon , the last lonely egg joined the others from its dozen in a scrumptious cake batter.

Being that the bride's dream was a four tier cake that would feed two hundred people, there was A LOT of batter.  A lot of batter means a lot of baking.  Here we go with pan number one.

Fast forward . . . all four tiers, which were each two layers, are done and headed to the freezer.

During the baking process, the gum paste flowers were being made - each one by hand.

Once the layers were done and the first layer of flowers were busy drying (see yesterday's post), it was time to make the butter cream frosting to go between the layers and that would also be used to mask the tiers so that the fondant would stick.

The young baker decided that she would also make all of the fondant from scratch.

Tier three successfully covered.

Tier two successfully covered.

Tiers one and four were also successfully covered.  This cake process was nearly non-stop for three days.  Obviously I missed photographing many steps.

Then came the scary part.  The tiers of cake and all of its parts had to be moved to the reception venue unassembled.  Once there, the tiers were stacked, the fondant trim and finally the flowers would be added.  The transporting of this sugar monster nearly thirty miles was a little crazy making for all of us.  So many things could have gone wrong that would have been disastrous; the biggest thing that we knew we were fighting was the heat - it was  103 degrees.

All of the decorative flowers were packed in the empty egg cartons.  Surely if these masterpieces of cardboard can protect eggs in their travels, they will protect these delicate flowers.

There are zero pictures of the cake assembly process. We were all too busy praying.  Okay, I was praying; the young baker was frantically working to the mantra, "I will never do this again.  I will never do this again. I will never do this again." I tried to be the picture of calm.  That did not work to calm the young baker.  She said that the only reason that I was calm is because I had low standards and therefore did not stress out.  Yeah, whatever.

The young baker worked for an hour and half sticking dowels on the tiers of the cake so that they could be stacked.  She added the trim to each tier and then added the flowers, none of which broke in transit!  The florist came by and offered a few left over rose petals if they could be used to add a final touch.

The young baker added the final touches . . .

 . . .and the cake was done.  It was done in three days, by one young baker who had never made a four tier fondant covered wedding cake before (and may never again).

The young baker has come a long way. from this in 1993 . . .

 . . .to this in 2013.

"Stacked Tiers"

And they all ate happily ever after.  The end.

. . . except for the beer that happened at the Mexican restaurant on the way home.