Saturday, August 31, 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

242/365 Smack

"Puppy Love"

Today's prompt was "bump."  Elaboration on that was given as jolt, crash or smack.  Thankfully I did not have anything in my day that could be described by any of those words.  I had a day at home.  I did do some work, but it was at a leisurely pace and did not require that I be dressed by 7 am.  

We spent this evening with friends.  It was a wonderful evening during which we shared a meal and good conversation.  I also managed to take a few pictures.  They were not taken under ideal circumstances, but hey, not everything in life happens under perfect circumstances.

At the point we left for dinner, I had not taken a picture for today and had no idea what I was going to do.  As is often the case, however, luck and a little creativity jumped in and saved me.  I had to go with a loose interpretation of the prompt, but it works for me.  Smack is a kiss, right?  I love the way Tyler, the dog, is looking into his dad's eyes.  And as a bonus, I got a picture of my friend as well.  Thanks guys for helping me out today!

And not to be left out, here is Tyler's brother, Trevor.

"Party Animal"

These guys are fun to photograph!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

241/365 Fashion Statement

"Hell on Heels"

We have already established here that I have no fashion sense.  Clothes at best are a necessity and are at worst an encumbrance.  Therefore, I knew that I was going to be searching for a willing participant to help me with today's photo.  Brooke is definitely the one in our family who uses clothing to make a statement.

We always kid her about her shoes.  She already towers over all of us by a couple of inches naturally.  Add to that the five inch heels that most of her shoes have and we all become midgets.  Self expression through clothing has been her thing for a long time so she actually volunteered to help me today.  

These particular shoes definitely make a statement - I'm not exactly sure what they are saying, but I do know they are saying something.  Come to think of it, it may be better that I don't know what they are saying. 

I was OK when the "spikes" on her shoes came in the form of soccer cleats.  

After we were done taking pictures, we noticed this critter climbing along the wall.  As we got a better look, we noticed that he/she too is making a fashion statement by shedding old skin.  I have seen snakes shed their skin, but I have never seen a lizard do it.  This one didn't seem to be camera shy at all.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

240/365 Rust

"Handle on the Past"

This shovel has been around here for a long time.  It has dug many holes and shoveled many piles.  Though it is a bit weathered and rusted, it is sturdy and has many more chores left in its lifetime.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

239/365 With Seeds

"Chance and Necessity"

It is hatch chili season and we have about ten pounds of them.  As I write this, Brooke is roasting them so that they can soon become sauce for enchiladas or some other such goodness.  

Monday, August 26, 2013

238/365 Green

"First Day 47"

Today was my 47th first day of school.  Every year since beginning kindergarten at age 4, I have had a first day of school.  Some were as a student, some have been as a faculty member and then there were those as a graduate teaching fellow where I had one foot in each camp.

Since our school color is green and the campus map shown here was a big part of life on campus today as our new students found their way to the correct classrooms, this perfectly represents my day and contains a little green to address the prompt.

In case you are wondering,  there are no students in this picture because I got to school much earlier than most of them.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

237/365 The Extraordinary in the Ordinary

"A Tisket, A Tasket …

…  a shadow and a basket"

I wish that I had had more time to look for things for this prompt.  It is a great mental challenge to try and find interesting perspectives and parts of seemingly uninteresting things to photograph.  This is a laundry basket casting its shadow in the afternoon sun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

236/365 Steps

"Saturday Sunset"

What does this have to do with steps? Umm … they both start with "S"? 

Finding an opportunity of a photo that included steps wasn't happening today.  This is what was happening and thus is the picture of the day.

I learned that sunsets are hard, at least for me, to photograph such that they are as beautiful in the photo as they are firsthand.

Friday, August 23, 2013

235/365 Landscape

'Summer Parked"

There are lots of great things about Dallas, but its beautiful landscape is not one of them.  Cityscape?  Maybe, but definitely not landscape.  With today's prompt being a local landscape, I was at a loss.  I finally decided, almost too late in the day,  that we do have lots of parks that provide a nice respite from the concrete and glass that covers most of the city.

I took several photos of this expansive park.  In the end, I was drawn to this image with the "beyond their prime" flowers in the foreground.  As I was looking at it on the computer, I realized that this is because, right now, I feel kind of like those flowers.  We have been easing into the school year.  Weber has been back at school this entire week for in-service and I had meetings today.  Students arrive for both of us on Monday.  That will be the true mark that summer is over for us - just like summer is over for those flowers

Thursday, August 22, 2013

234/365 Abundant

"Lots of Loaves"

The girls are trying to test their recipes in preparation for starting their own baking business.  For now they are taking orders from their friends.  Today Brooke made several kinds of mini loaves to offer as samples.  They look good and they smell really good but they don't see the need to add a taste tester to their staff so I have not had any of today's product.  Today's breads are oatmeal and cinnamon raisin.  The truth is that I can vouch for the awesomeness without tasting this batch because these are two of our family favorites and they are made around here quite regularly. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

232/365 The Other Side

"The Ears Have It"

Today's prompt was to look at something from "the other side."  You know, the grass is always greener on the other side…Harley has the sweetest little face, but it definitely her ears that give her "her look" no matter the side from which you view them.  I like how the light shines through her ears.

Below is a picture I took while photographing on the square in Carrollton.  It is not technically great, but it was fun.  I like practicing nighttime shots.  One of these days I may even figure it out.

Monday, August 19, 2013

231/365 Urban/Hidden/Neglected

"Black and White Movies"

This is the Plaza Theater in Carrollton, TX. It was built in 1949.  The door that is in the foreground, the one blocked by the bench, was the "Negros only" door.  It led straight to the balcony.  Some days it feels like we have come so far beyond that time and on others it feels as if time has stood still and we are still right there.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

230/365 Measure

"No Need to Measure"

There is really no need to say anything here other than it is late, school (at least for teachers) starts tomorrow and we went out for a superb French meal with some spectacular friends to keep from thinking about the reality that summer vacation is officially over.

I am fond of foods that I can eat as much of as I'd like without having to worry about measuring anything.  Hooray for fresh green beans!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

229/365 Pink

"Obvious Pink"

I have a button that reads, "The obvious escapes many."  It is hardcore evidence of my judgmental side.  I bet none of you knew I had one of those.  So, this morning as I was looking at the day's prompt on my iPad, I spoke aloud my concern about what I could photograph that was pink - and not a flower.  Between you and me, I am getting tired of photographing flowers.  Anyway, my beloved family asked if I had considered my iPad in its pink case or my phone, also in its pink case.  Ah yes, the obvious does escape many.  I hate it when one of them is me!!!

This photo was the runner up for the day.  In many ways, it better shows what I was thinking and feeling about being oblivious to the pink in my life.  It seems that I am never far from one or the other of these two devices - sad to admit, but true.

Because it was cool here today for August in Texas, we spent the afternoon and evening doing a little maintenance and then enjoying some time in the yard.  First we went on a search for new cushions for the patio chairs.  While we were in England, the local squirrels decided that they needed the stuffing in the chairs for their nests more than we needed it for our rears.  So they helped themselves.

In an effort to protect the new cushions from squirrels who have a penchant for vandalism, we have stationed a guard close by.  Surely she will deter any squirrels who might even think about helping themselves to anymore stuffing.  As a job perk, she also gets unlimited sunbathing time atop the hot tub.

Friday, August 16, 2013

228/365 Eye Catching

"Bowled Over"

It is hard to believe that the new school year is about to begin.  Weber goes back to school Monday; I am free until Thursday.  Either way, it seems too soon.  We spent our last day of weekday freedom accomplishing a couple of errands that are definitely no fun on the weekend.

Since Brooke is now home with us, we have had to do some re-arranging and re-organizing around here to make room for her and, more importantly, her books.  That meant the addition of a few bookshelves in what is now her room (formerly my craft room).  In keeping with the decor of that room, we made a trip to Ikea.  I knew the stock number of what we needed.  All we had to do was walk into the warehouse and pick it up.  We didn't even have to step foot into the shopping area.  But, we did.

Ikea is a fascinating place full of way too much stuff.  It is fun to look at, but truthfully, they do have a lot that no one really needs.  We staggered around for a little while, ultimately only buying the shelves we went for and a new bathmat for the guest bathroom.  Before becoming totally bleary-eyed, these yellow bowls caught my attention,  but not so much that I felt called to buy them.

The bookshelves are still in the boxes - unassembled.   This is a project for their unemployed recipient.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

227/365 Floating

"Two Balloons"

I like both the photo and the sentiment here but it does make me laugh because, although Weber was a good sport and helped with today's photo, I learned that he really doesn't like balloons.  

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

226/365 Bonus

"Bonus Bunny"

The point of today's photo prompt was to look for "bonuses" in our shots - those things that you did not see when you were taking the photo but when you look at the image on the computer, they are a cool addition to the picture.  As someone who doesn't see well, I often find these bonuses in my shots.  Today, however, was not really one of those days.  

We spent the day taking animals to the vet for their annual checkups.  It was easier to make two trips than to take Adidas the dog and Frankie the cat at the same time.  I also went to school for a little bit this morning and we squeezed in lunch with a friend.  All this to say that today was a packed day.  I waited until this evening to even attempt the day's photo.

I took a walk out into the yard hoping that I might find an interesting insect or a spider web attached to a flower.  Or, maybe a bird flying by.  Something.  Growing frustrated with the lack of interesting things that I was finding, I decided to see what our neighbor's yard might have.  As I turned, I saw this little guy/gal sitting not too far from me.  Not expecting him/her to be there I was not prepared for the picture, but I shot anyway.  Though it is soft, I like the light in the ears and the white cottontail.

I stood around and watched for awhile.  The bunny didn't seem too concerned that I was there, but I also didn't try to invade her space either.  If only I'd had a long lens on my camera.

Sorry about the bunny pictures, Erin!  Just remember I did add a sunflower picture just for you a few days ago.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

225/365 Remember

"Remembering Grandmother"

Since Weber and I married late in life and both are only children, we have very little extended family.  My dad and his sister are it.  We have had to rely on stories and photos to share our families with one another.  (In some cases this may be safer than the real thing!)

Here Weber is holding a photo of himself and his grandmother taken many years ago.  He thinks that he looks a lot like her.

Monday, August 12, 2013

224/365 Play

"Serious Play"

It was way too hot here today for any outdoor play.  Even Adidas did not want to go outside and play with his frisbee.  I possibly could have bribed Harley and the cat to engage in a little rough housing, but to photograph just a moment of their antics looks a whole lot more serious than it really is.  I didn't want any calls from the SPCA about the cat abusing the dog.  So, Erin became the lucky target of my camera today.  Lucky for me, she is always photogenic!

The kids played around with Tiddlywinks that we brought back from England.  This is a game that we all associate with children; however, it was actually designed by a group of Cambridge University students as a competitive "sport" to be played between various colleges.  The serious look on Erin's face is a testament to the fact that it is actually harder than it looks.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

223/365 Helianthus Annuus

"Sun + Flower"

I love sunflowers both to just look at and to photograph.  Unfortunately, on my limited path today there were no sunflowers to be found.  I had to settle for a picture of a flower, a hibiscus on the patio, in the 100+ degree sun.  I'm not sure how it is managing to stay so fresh looking in these miserable temperatures.

Sorry about no sunflowers, Erin!  

Oh wait . . .here is one from the archives:-)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

222/365 Natural

"What You See Is What You Get"

Today is my least favorite day of the Capture Your 365 month - self portrait day.  Not only did the prompt call for a self portrait, but it was to be a self portrait au natural,  no make-up or fancy stuff.  Can this get much more miserable?  We also had friends in town this weekend so I did not have a whole lot of time to give to this.  That may have been a good thing; I couldn't stress to much about the outcome.  So here it is, the eighth one of these self portraits this year.  Four more to go.  2/3 of the way through.  I am trying to look on the bright side.  There is one, right?

Friday, August 9, 2013

221/365 Dress to Impress


I'm so glad that today's prompt of "dress to impress" was not this month's self portrait! Dressing to impress is definitely not my thing. My daughter, however, is always willing to dress or perhaps overdress. Today doing her daily bread baking chore, she was moI'mre "dressed" than I get most days - for anything. I have often said to my girls, "I don't wear outfits; I wear clothes." Dressing is purely functional. Bottom line: I want to be comfortable.

I Sense A Theme Here

On July 10th, exactly a month ago, Weber and I celebrated our third anniversary and I gave my final exam for first summer term.  While I was at school, my beloved husband was doing on his anniversary what most men do, frantically trying to wrap a gift for me.  This involved finding appropriate wrapping paper.  And so the story begins . . .

We don’t have much cause for gift wrapping throughout the year because a) the majority of our family birthday’s are in December b) I have a moral objection to gift wrap and c) we don’t give many wrapped gifts (see “b” above).  All this to say that the gift wrap we do have resides in the closet in our guest room, a room that is kept off limits by a baby gate because of a little dog who likes to leave gifts of her own in there.

As Weber was scaling the gate with wrapping paper in hand, he caught his foot on the gate causing an intimate encounter with the wall in the hall.  Again, I was not home at the time so I missed this daring choreography.  According to Weber, the “thud” elicited a half-conscious “Are you OK?” was his sleeping stepdaughter.  He managed to respond with,  “I think so.”  She went back to sleep and he assessed his various places of pain.

As it turns out, he must have smacked the wall on his way down because when all was said and done, the only real injury was to a finger - his ring finger on his left hand.  By the time I got home, it was swollen quite a bit.  He had not thought to take off his wedding band immediately so at this point it was pretty tight on his hand.  We managed, by slathering it with soap and holding it above his head, to finally get it off.  And, he gave me my still unwrapped anniversary gift.  Here’s to the irony of taking a fall like that and the only think you injure is your left hand ring finger, requiring you to remove and not wear for several weeks, your wedding band, on your anniversary.  So, Weber got to masquerade as an unattached guy for a few weeks.

As we were preparing for our trip to England, we searched to various websites for the hotels where we would be staying to check on the availability of free wi-fi.  We quickly learned that “free” and “wi-fi” are words that the English do not often use in combination.  Our first stay was in Cheltenham at a Holiday Inn Express.  Surely an American chain would offer free wi-fi.  Weber had an email exchange with them and was told that if he became a member of their rewards program, which was free tHeflin, he would then have access to free wi-fi.  That was easy enough.  He then received the following email:
Dear Mr. Baker,
Thank you for your email.  We can update your IHG number and you will be provided free wife.  Please advise us your IHG number
If you need anymore information please do contact me
Kind Regards,
Tugba Ilkbey
Duty Manager (Trainee) 
Holiday Inn Express Cheltenham Town Centre
Dunalley Street
GL50 4AP

Freudian slip or the wonders of spellcheck?  

Whatever the case, we have gotten many laughs from it.  I told him that it was probably a good thing that he was not wearing his wedding ring.  I wasn't sure how his free wife would feel about the fact that she was getting a “not new” husband.  I also wondered if having two wives was a blessing or a curse.  Oh well, we won’t go there.

As it turned out, the free wi-fi materialized, the free wife did not, at least as far as I know.

Just this week, the following cartoon was in the paper.

The synchronicity of things never ceases to amaze me!

Weber’s finger is no longer swollen so he put his wedding band back on.  He is at home with one wife and all the free wi-fi that he wants.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

220/365 Camera Love

"Anam Ca(me)ra"

Though I have a lot of stuff, particularly books, I really am not a materialistic person.  Most of the things that I have I could give away or do without very easily.  Over the past couple of years, however, my camera has become the big exception here.  If I had to give it up, it would be like losing a piece of my soul.  I am passionate about photography and, if I am to be honest, I have to admit that I love my camera.  Obviously this is not the same kind of love that one has for a person, but it is the kind of love that if its object  were gone, would leave a huge hole resident within me.

How many "non-essential" things do you do everyday?  We all have to eat and go to the bathroom each day, but what else do you do every single day?  There was a time when I could say that I practiced clarinet every day; those days are long gone.  I journal almost every day, but that almost every day is not every day.  And when I skip a day, I don't feel guilty about it neither do I find that my day has been lessened in any way.  What I do do every single day is tell my husband that I love him and take a photograph.  Actually these two things are like potato chips - "Nobody can eat just one."  I tell Weber that I love him  every chance I get and most days I take way more than one picture.  The point here ise that these two things happens every single day without fail.  Some people may call this an addiction.  I call it passion - in both instances.

It does feel odd to admit that I love an inanimate object.  As I think about that, I realize that it is not actually the camera itself that I love, but what and how it encourages me to look and see differently, more intentionally, more creatively.  On a very practical level, I see things through my camera lens that physically I cannot see otherwise.  That alone is a real gift.  But what sustains my love affair with my camera is how it helps me to see beauty in the simplest things, how it asks that I view the world from different perspectives, how it compels me to seek ways to create pictures of emotions that often defy words.  Simply stated, taking pictures brings me true joy.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

218/365 Personable


Meet Martin.  He was our bus driver for the two weeks that we were on tour in England.  Not only was he an amazing bus driver, he is an all-around good guy.  He was always cheerful and patient.  He also went way beyond the call of duty - retrieving items that people had left in previous places, using his personal time to scout out eating spots for us when we had tight schedules and risking a ticket to drop us off in a place that was off-limits to buses because traffic had been terrible in transit that we were running very late for a performance.  We could not have asked for a better person to be with us on our journey.

On our last evening in London, six of us took Martin out for dinner and a beer to express our gratitude for all that he had done for us.  Martin began as our bus driver and became our friend.

Monday, August 5, 2013

217/365 Dainty


We arrived home safely from England.  Though there seemed to be signs of heightened security in the airports, the process and the flight were fine.  I am tired, but it is a good tired, the kind of tired where you know you had fun, you are glad to be home, but would do it all again given the chance.

I was too tired to give too much thought or energy to today's picture.  I found these few things as I was doing some very minimal unpacking.  The royal baby was born while we were in the airport waiting to leave for London.  Because we did not start our trip by staying in London, we missed most of the hype, but we were given the box shown as we exited Heathrow on our arrival there.  The background in this photo is a tea towel.  I got one for each of the girls . . .kind of touristy, I know, but it was the least kitschy of all of the royal baby paraphernalia.  Who knows, maybe some day it will be worth something on ebay.

Though the clock here in Dallas now reads 10:32pm, my body knows that it is 4:32am in the timezone in which it awoke; this means that I have been awake for 22 1/2 hours, which is way too long.  I am going to bed now . . .in my own bed for the first time in two weeks.  Goodnight!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

216/365 At Eye Level

"Bob, Bokeh and Big Ben"

You may remember that my intention at the outset of this trip was to photograph Bob every place that we went.  As it turned out, that was a little unrealistic.  Every place was so crowded that taking the time to set up silly shots with him was not feasible so I had to let that idea go.  I am kind of sad about that, but it is what it is.  Tonight, on our last night of the trip, I decided to pull him out and have a little fun.

Today was a busy day - sung Eucharist this morning and Evensong this afternoon with a rehearsal in between.  When we returned to the hotel, we decided on one more quick trip to a pub for dinner and a final toast to our time in the UK.  We also needed to pack as breakfast is being served at 6:45 tomorrow morning with a scheduled 8am departure to the airport.  I did take just a few short minutes to take some photos of Bob late tonight.  I wish I had had more time; I do enjoy photographing the Lego mini figures.

I like the idea of this image but the execution leaves a little bit to be desired.  I just didn't have time (or energy) to think this through.  Part of the bokeh in the background is Big Ben.  For me, that is the hidden reminder of this trip.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

215/365 An Outline

"Bridge At Dark"

We had the entire day free in London . . .and so did a billion other people, it seems.  The city was wall to wall people and wall to wall bicycles.  London is hosting a two day bike rally this weekend so the streets, many of which are closed to motorists, are crawling with cyclists.  Im not sure I have ever seen this many people in one place.

We attempted to go the Westminster Abbey this morning but the lines were a mile long in two different directions.

O have already been to Westminster Abbey on our last visit and Weber did not want to stand in line, so this picture is as close as we got to the abbey.  The inside will have to wait for another visit.

"Quintessential London"

We did take an excursion on The Tube toTrafalgar Square, The Strand and Covent Garden.  Again, we met a solid wall of human beings on the sidewalks.  After a few hours of barreling though the crowds, we came back to the hotel to devise a Plan B. 

Plan B involved a sunset cruise down the Thames and then an Italian dinner.

"The Eye"

All of my pictures involving the eye are still being taken from the ground!

I cannot remember the name of tho Bridge.

"London Bridge and Tower Bridge"

"Tower Bridge"

"Tower of London"

It is late and I have to be up early in the morning.  We are singing for the Eucharist in the morning and then Evensong tomorrow afternoon.  I suppose after that, we'll have one more night together in the pubs before we pack everything up and head home on Monday.  Boy these two weeks have passed quickly!

214/365 A Sign

"A Sign"

I think that this is a sign that someone is ready to go!

We spent Friday in Canterbury.  The day had a stressful start in that we ran into a traffic snag between London and Canterbury that caused us to arrive at the cathedral with no time to rehearse or even warm-up much for our midday concert.  We did sing a few notes on the bus on the way.  The cathedral is the Mother Church of the Anglican communion and it was an honor to sing here, but the acoustics were very strange, probably having to do with carpet leading to the altar and an enclosed quire.  We sang well, but the singing highlight of this tour has definitely bee at Wells Cathedral a few days ago.

The Altar at Canterbury Cathedral

Saturday it's time to explore London.  We have a completely free day.  I'm not sure what we'll do.  I guess we'll see how the spirit moves us.