Thursday, October 31, 2013

304/365 Frightful

"Second Generation Trick or Treater"

This beautiful little girl is certainly not frightful.  What is frightening is that she is the daughter of one of Weber's former middle school students.  You know you have been teaching a long time when you have "grand-students" who come trick-or-treating at your house.

It was dark outside and she is a wiggly two-year old excited by Halloween so this is not a great photo.  I do kind of like the softness on her face.  To me it speaks to every little girl's dream to be a princess. Tonight her dream came true.

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I have to admit, I am ready to move beyond the ghosts and goblins to turkeys and reindeer.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

303/365 Mask

"My What Big Teeth You Have!"

I don't like masks. One, because I am claustrophobic and can't stand anything over my face.  (Just ask the OR nurse that tried to put an oxygen mask on me before the good drugs had kicked in.)  And two, hiding behind a mask is just kind of creepy.  I am a "what you see is what you get" kind of person.  

I am also a very, very tired person.  Truthfully, I am an exhausted person who can't think straight right now about anything.  I could not mask my state of being with a creative take on a mask.  What you see is what you get - a desperate attempt to not miss a day.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

302/365 Ghostly


I had zero creativity working today, well at least as far as photography was concerned.  I think I used it all up in other places before I had a chance to take a photo for today.  For the first time in 302 days, I hid to used an archived picture to accomplish a photo for today.  

I did have a few ideas for techniques I would have liked to try, but I just couldn't muster the energy for it.  I gave it a few mediocre attempts and then I gave up.  I did do the post processing on this one today.  Hopefully that counts for something.

This image is of a window in an office building not too far from our house.  Im not at all sure what it is that can be seen in the window.  It could be some kind of curtains, or an odd reflection from somewhere or, it might really be a ghost:-)

Monday, October 28, 2013

301/365 Wide Open

"A Slice of Bread"

I needed a little whimsy in my world today.

Though this loaf of bread has indeed been sliced wide open, the wide open here really refers to aperture.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

300/365 Spectacular

'Watching the Trains"

For some reason, we are both exhausted and stressed out these days.  I can't put my finger on exactly why that is.  All I know is that no matter how much work I do I still have a ton more things that need to be done.  It is a terrible feeling.  I would just like to experience 48 hours where I don't feel that no matter what I am doing I should be doing something else, something more important.  Maybe 48 hours is being a little greedy; I'd settle for just 24.  I don't see that happening anytime soon so I guess that I had better get a grip and soldier on.

We did take about an hour this afternoon before Resounding Harmony rehearsal to go see a model train exhibit at a local recreation center.  I felt guilty for just a few minutes and then ignored those feelings.  It was very cool to see all these men (and yes, all of the train operators were men)  who were so creative and passionate about their trains.  The layouts were both beautiful and whimsical.  Who knew that one should become so mesmerized by trains going round and round.  I didn't realize how much I would enjoy this.  And there is no doubt in my mind that Weber enjoyed the trains even more than I did.

We both had fun taking pictures (and video) of the trains as well.

If we had time and space (and money to buy them), I suspect we would have a train set-up like this at our house.  I bet the cat would love that...maybe even more than Weber!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

299/365 Beside

"Do I Look Like I Care About Halloween?

Friday, October 25, 2013

298/365 From Behind

"On the Right Track"

I hit the jackpot today as far as photography goes - my favorite subject, wearing his awesome hat, on the railroad tracks and from behind.  As I read that last sentence the description starts to sound like an "adult" version of the game Clue.  I had a whole lot more fun taking pictures than I would have playing a game of Clue, trust me!  And no matter how much Weber may dislike being my subject yet again, I am fairly sure that he too would have rather been doing this than playing Clue since he despises board games.

Today was one of those days where there were several photos that I really liked.  One of the things that I like about the Capture Your 365 project is that it forces me to choose the picture of the day.  For those of us that have trouble making decisions, having to choose one photo takes more discipline than actually taking a photo every day!  The good thing about blogging, however, is that I can include all of my favorites here.  You can stop reading here if you are not interested in seeing more of the same.

The hat get me every time!

I really like this one.  I'm not even sure why.  Perhaps it is the mystery in not being able to see his face or what he is looking at.

Because this was such a cool location for photos, we tried a few of the two of us together.  Weber and I decided unanimously that there were not worthy of being posted.  We are going to go back and try again sometime.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

297/365 With Stripes

"Good for the Sole"

My funky striped hand-knit socks are the first things that come to my mind when I think about stripes.   I don't have much of a personal style except for my socks. They are like a smile on my feet.  How can you not be happy when you are wearing brightly colored hand-knit socks?   I am always surprised by the fact that my students notice my socks and ask about them.  Over the years, I have even made a pair of socks for a couple of them.  

It was kind of cool seeing them all together like this.  It is much more impressive than looking at them balled up in my sock basket.

The two socks in the middle are a public confession of sorts.  They are both for Weber and I have not managed to knit their mates (in two years) ….yet.  I have two months until Christmas.  He will be so surprised to find two pairs of socks amongst his Christmas gifts:-)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

296/365 Mysterious

"The Hand"

This is not at all the picture I had in mind for today.  I snapped several random shots this evening hoping for something that was even remotely on the mysterious side.  When I saw this image, the Emerson quote came to mind.  There is nothing really mysterious about this.  Truthfully, there was nothing mysterious about any of the photos I took tonight.   I had to abandon the daily prompt and go with the muse.  Emerson is right up there next to Thoreau on my list of my all-time heroes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

295/365 Dark

"Weber's Black Hat"

The hat definitely looks best atop Weber's head but he gets stuck so many days being the subject of the daily photo that I felt like I needed to accomplish this one all by myself.  This almost looks like a silhouette, but it is just the hat hanging on one of our black dining room chairs.  The image was taken in very low light to further address the "dark" prompt.

All that said, below is probably my all-time favorite photo of Weber in his hat.  I took this one back in January.

Monday, October 21, 2013

294/365 Blades and Bokeh

"Blade of Grass"

I had a hard time with today's prompt.  The idea was to get those dancing bokeh circles atop blades of grass.  That really needs to be photographed first thing in the morning when there is dew on the grass and beautiful morning light.  That was not happening around here today.

Let me tell you about our morning.  First of all, the alarm went off way too early.  All I could think of when it started beeping at 6am was, "You have got to be kidding!"  It wasn't kidding.  We had to get up.  Every now and then we can hit the snooze and get an extra 10 maybe even 20 minutes of rest, but not today; we had to deliver ten dozen cupcakes this morning before school so we had to get up with  the first alarm.  The good news is that the cupcakes were going to school with Weber.  His principal ordered them from Brooke to distribute as a "gift" to all the teachers. Rather than make Weber totally responsible for getting them to school and in by himself, I went with him, helped carry them in and then Weber took me to school.  That all required being a little more together in the morning than I usually am.  We did get it done with no glitches.  Maybe I could become a morning person.  On second thought, why would I want to do that?

All that to say that I did not attempt my picture until late this afternoon.  By that time, there was no sun, only gray skies and no dew.  Without good light, bokeh was going to be difficult.   I shot a few pictures of grass and then turned my attention to the tree out front.  

Today's POTD was a surprise that I discovered when I looked at the day's photos on the computer.  Im not sure what I was thinking when I took it and I'm not sure where that single drop of water came from.   It doesn't really matter.  I love the simplicity and the bit of abstractness in this photo.  The quote helps to bring the image alive for me.

I did manage a little bokeh when shooting acorns in the tree.

"Colors and Shapes of Fall"

I know our neighbors must think that I'm a little crazy - taking pictures of debris in the gutters along the street, plain old grass and leaves on the tree.  Oh well, I proudly admit that I do indeed do those things.  While I was taking pictures of the leaves, our next door neighbor came out with her dog.  We chatted for a bit and then the dog wanted some attention.  I gave him a scratch behind the ear and then turned my camera toward him.  He wasn't too sure about the clicks of the shutter at first, but then he became fascinated.  This gave me an opportunity for a few good shots.  I love photographing pets.


How can you not want to photograph that cute little face?

I didn't ask his mom before I started taking pictures, though she didn't object.  Still, I decided that I would print a couple photos this evening and take them over to her.  I may have to watch for this four-legged model outside again!

Oh, and despite the fact that Weber's principal ordered the cupcakes for all of the faculty and staff, Weber didn't get one.  Not sure why.  This is sad…and funny.  Last night while Brooke was working on them, she offered one to Weber.  He declined saying that he would get one at school today.  Wrong!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

293/365 Begins With "P"

"Playing With Mrs. Pota….Pumpkin Head"

I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.
- Henry David Thoreau -
I love this man!  How can you not when he speaks such wisdom?  I guess this means that he would not have been interested in sharing that 10x10 cabin in the woods with me.  

Saturday, October 19, 2013

292/365 Golden

'A Golden Day at the Fair"

It was a beautiful fall day (finally!) and we went to the state fair.  I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked and very few of the ones I did take had anything golden in them.  The truth is, most of the things at the State Fair of Texas that come anywhere near being golden are that way as the result of being deep fried.  I am happy to say that we consumed no deep fried, or any other, food at the fair.  If we had, today's photo may well have been of a funnel cake!

I did spot this one tree that had bought into the notion that it really is fall.  The building with the golden cap was a nice bonus.  I didn't notice the Texas flag when I was shooting tho photos, but I like it in the frame because, well, we were at the Texas state fair.

I took a few more pictures that may be worth posting, but we went to a party tonight as well and I haven't had time to even look at all of the day's photos.

Friday, October 18, 2013

291/365 Patience

"Technical Patience"

I have patience with a lot of things, but technology is not one of them.  I want my phone, the technology at school and my computer at home to work how I want it all how I want it to work and when I need it to work.  When technology does not perform as I expect it should, I become frustrated very quickly.  Weber is just the opposite.  He will spend hours trying to find out exactly what is wrong and what to do to fix it.

Lately my computer at home is either suffering from severe emotional trauma, probably because of the expectations I have placed upon it, or it is just plain possessed.  Before we tried an exorcism, Weber ran some diagnostics and repairs to see if he could get it to behave properly.  I am happy to say that so far, after thirty minutes or so of use tonight, there ain't no misbehaving'.  I am keeping my fingers crossed!

I am so thankful for Weber's patience with this kind of stuff!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

290/365 Different Angle

"Ode to the Laundry Basket"

My brain is fried - I've had way too many things pulling me in way too many different directions lately. You know you are in trouble when you wonder what it would be like to live at the bottom of the laundry basket, where people are constantly tossing their dirty clothes at you.  You know its time to call a professional when you are determined to figure it out!  

You know you are curious too!

If you live with someone who wears colorful socks (and does their laundry regularly), living in the laundry basket could be kind of cool!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

289/365 Forgotten

"Corner Store"

As is always the case on Wednesdays, my time for accomplishing the daily photo is very limited.  The thing that came to mind (and that was convenient because it is on the way to choir rehearsal) was this empty corner store.  It sits on a fairly busy corner, but it houses no businesses.  The more I thought about the notion of the building being forgotten, I realized that this corner store is symbolic of something much bigger that has truly been forgotten - the small, mom and pop, independent and locally owned shops and stores that used to be the mainstay of every town in this country.  Most of them are gone now because they can't compete with the big box stores and Internet commerce.  If the United States still relied on these kinds of businesses, nearly ten times more people would be employed than are now because so much of the work in the big stores is automated thus displacing the human worker.  It all comes down to how cheaply can the big guys get things done so that more money ends up in the pockets of CEO's.  I think what we have really forgotten is the value of human beings.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

288/365 Creepy

"Not So Creepy"

I learned today that photographing creepy is definitely not my forte.  I always consider it a good day when I learn something new.

Monday, October 14, 2013

287/365 Around the Corner


The intended goal for today was to focus on roads or paths and their leading lines.  I figured I would take a walk on my favorite walking path that is not far from home.  It has a lot of foliage and often nice reflections in the water.  I walked along a took a few photos from various spots, but nothing felt right.  I don't know if this was because the skies were gray and overcast, weather which I really do love, or just that I was just plain tired.  This particular park has a lovely seating area that overlooks the water.  In the middle is a huge tree with a circular bench around its trunk.  Today I was fascinated with the lines and curves in the bench.  And, that sort of fit the prompt.  It did!  Sort of…if you use your imagination!  The photo is kind of abstract but I like it.  

Then there is the path itself...

"Rounded Corners"

Sunday, October 13, 2013

286/365 Tradition

"Happy Dance"

After church and a nice brunch at our favorite local cafe, Weber and I went to the Santa Fe Days celebration in Carrollton.  Relatively speaking, this is a small festival, but one that is enjoyable and was manageable in the little bit of time we had before Resounding Harmony rehearsal this afternoon.

Artists of all kinds had booths filled with Native American paintings, jewelry, weavings, photographs, food and public service information the culture.  There were also drummers and dancers.  Though it was a little misty, the temperatures were cooler than they have been in a long time so we were able to fully enjoy being outside.

We can't seem to get away from this place without spending money.  Last year we got some gorgeous watercolors from a Taos artist.  When he wasn't on the list of vendors returning this year, we thought we might be able to save ourselves some money.  Wrong.  We did buy one piece of art that is really cool.  It is a small painting with am actual feather overlaid to look like a tree.  I suppose I could have photographed it; I'll put that on the list of things to do.  Weber also bought me a beautiful silver bracelet with lapis turquoise stones.  The one thing that I had hoped to buy as a souvenir while we were in England was some kind of bracelet.  I never found "the one."  The one I got today is "it"… exactly what I wanted.  I am so lucky to spend my life with someone who spoils me!

Despite all of those really neat things, the highlight of our day was meeting Chester Nez, the last survivor of the original 29 Navajo Code Talkers from WWII.  He was there with his grandson signing and selling his memoir .  What a privilege to meet and talk with him and his family!

"Chester Nez"

The things those eyes have seen and the stories that live within…

Then there was the hoop dancer...

We had a great day!  I wish the weekend wasn't over so soon.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

285/365 Close

"Saturday Morning"

It is the second Saturday of the month; that means that it is self portrait Saturday.  Woohoo! Not!  And, to make matters worse, I woke up with a horrible headache, the kind the makes morning look worse than shopping on Black Friday.  I wasn't the least bit hungry, but I was counting on a cup of coffee to at least help dull the pain.

"Caffeine: The Drug of Choice"

This is the look of someone who has not yet had enough caffeine or any other drug that might help kill a headache.  After another cup of coffee and the two Hershey's miniature dark chocolate bars that Weber brought me, I felt a little more human and facing the day looked a bit more possible.

Friday, October 11, 2013

284/365 Red Pull

"Red Pull"

It has been one of those weeks - full of the the normal stuff that drains my energy and a few extra things that drained all of my reserves as well.  All of this has left me exhausted and in a "not very good" mood.  

I went to school with Weber this morning because I am going to be serving as a mentor for kids at his school.  I am looking forward to the opportunity and the challenge.  I worked at home this afternoon trying to finish a piece for the choir at school.  I made a fair amount of progress but I am not quite done.  Another several hour stretch of time would probably get it finished, but I don't have that this weekend unless I pass on sleep which, considering my already bad mood, would be a seriously ill-advised plan.

Brooke is busy baking tonight - the normal business bread for the weekend plus the goodies for a baby shower that Erin is hosting on Sunday.  After assessing the situation in the kitchen, I came to the conclusion that dinner was not going to be prepared at our house tonight.  Weber and I went out for cheap Chinese and then when to Target.  Target is a fairly safe venue for retail therapy.  How pathetic are you when you are excited by super chunky colored pencils that are on clearance?

Dinner had passed and I had done nothing about taking today's picture; I didn't even have any ideas for the prompt "pull."  I told Weber that perhaps the best option would be to pull the cork out of a bottle of wine.  He alerted me to the fact that if I decided on this, it would literally be a one shot deal.  Hmm.  I can only have one bottle of wine?  Being the voice of reason, he said that if I couldn't get a good picture on one shot having had no wine, the chances of getting one after finishing the first bottle were slim to none.  He had a point.  

As you can see, I took the low road and photographed him pulling the cart from the cart return in the parking lot at Target.  I'm not sure which is the most pathetic - that we spent our Friday night eating cheap Chinese food and wandering aimlessly around Target or that taking a photo of said experience is the best idea I had for a photo today.

Looking at it now this photo just makes me laugh and I really need to laugh right now so I guess it all worked out.

Oh, my fortune cookie at dinner said, "My most memorable dream will soon come true."  Would that be the one where I drive a fast car through the streets of Dallas or the one where all the mean people in the world disappear?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

283/365 Spider Web

"More Spider Than Web"

This is not the photo that I was hoping for today.  I had images in my mind of a beautifully symmetrical web coated with dew glistening in the morning sun - preferably one where the spider was not at home.  As you can clearly see, I did not get that picture.  As the saying goes, "Life is what happens while we are busy making plans."  This is what life had planned for me today.

As I debated whether or not to keep searching for a spider web, it dawned on me that I encountered this spider because she has a message for me.  Spider webs are indeed beautiful, but it is this creature that makes those awesome webs.  It is not right or wise to ignore the one that does the creating.  Sometimes we need to encounter and acknowledge the "not so pretty" in our world to fully appreciate the beauty beyond.  So, I owe this eight-legged creature a big "thank-you" for today's lesson, for reminding me that I ned to look at the whole picture, the foreground, middle ground and background.

For those of you who have a bizarre nerdiness streak in you, check this out.

Do you think maybe caffeine?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

282/365 Practice

"Forty-seven Years of Practice"

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

281/365 Reflection


I guess this is officially my picture of the day because it is the one that is a more accurate response to the day's prompt - photograph a reflection in water.  I do like the symmetry of this; I think I might like it even better in black and white.  Hmmm, something to try.  I did not see the heron when I was taking the photo so he/she is a little obscured.  Oh well…

I really like photo below. 

"Reflective Duck"

 I'm not exactly sure why.  The silhouetted trees are reflected in the pond so I guess technically it does fit the prompt.  But, what draws me to it is the "reflective" duck - not that he is reflected in the water but that he seems to be reflecting over his day that is about over.  Call me weird.  Maybe I just kind of feel like that duck right now.

Monday, October 7, 2013

280/365 Repetition

"Belly of the Bridge"

This is the underside of a bridge that we cross regularly going from one side of town to the other.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

279/365 Harvest

"Making Applesauce"

I wish that I could say that I had harvested these apples from my orchard to make applesauce.  Sadly, I did not.  I had to settle for the apples at the grocery store, which are good right now since wee are in the midst of apple season.  I decided to make a small batch of applesauce this afternoon.  Applesauce is one of my favorite things.  It fills the bill when I want something sweet and it is good for me as well.  Win-win!

I have had this food mill for a long time.  It is the one that I used to rice countless sweet potatoes, squash, peas, bananas, pears, and yes, apples, when the girls were babies.  It has definitely served me well for all these years!

"Simple and Pure"

Saturday, October 5, 2013

278/365 Storm Clouds

"Rain and Bales"

It finally feels like fall today!  The temperatures didn't make it above 70; the skies were gray; there was a breeze; and tonight, it finally rained.  To me, the weather today was just perfect.

Weber and I went to see Robert Reich's movie Inequality for All this afternoon.  It attempts to explain how this country has ended up in the economic mess in which we find ourselves.  The movie is exceptionally well done.  It looks at many factors that, over the past 30-40 years, have lead to the earning inequalities in this country.  In a nutshell, he says that for there to be economic health, we need to take care of our middle class.  

Friday, October 4, 2013

277/365 Two Become One

"A Duet"

Today's prompt is a little misleading taken out of the context of the monthly list.  It sounds romantic, but in reality, it's technical.  The task was to combine two images into one.  The two photos here are a bagpiper that I saw on the street when we were in London over the summer and a photo taken today of the newest addition to my mini figure collection.  

Creating this stretched my post-processing abilities.  I definitely learned a great deal along the way.  For a first attempt at this technique, Im fairly satisfied with the result.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

276/365 Everyday

"Where I Spend My Weekdays"

MOst of my weekdays are spent at school.  Sometimes it really does feel like a home away from home. I work with wonderful people and have the privilege of teaching great students.  In both respects, I am very lucky and I try never to take that for granted.

I am grateful for today's prompt because it encouraged me to document this place where I spend so much time.  I walk this hall a hundred times a day, it seems.  And, I am fortunate to teach all my classes in the same classroom.  The smaller images show my passkey that is used many times a day, the "decor" in the wall in my room,  the CD player with a friendly reminder from our departmental assistant, my classroom door and my good ol' blackboard.

I'm not sure how we ended up here, but yesterday I had a discussion with one of my classes about how they felt about technology in the classroom, specifically smart boards and lectures that are presented primarily through Power Point-type slides.  I was surprised when they all said that they preferred traditional instructor lectures and notes and examples on the chalkboard.  Yesterday's class had students whose ages spanned from traditional college age to retirement.  I thought perhaps their response had to do with the fact that there were quite a few older students in the class.  To check this hunch, I asked another class today the same question.  This class is made up of traditional aged college freshman and sophomores.  They too said that they prefer the old-fashioned way of teaching.  Wow!

Here are some of their reasons:
  • traditional lectures are more personal
  • traditional lectures are more interactive
  • I feel like it is OK to ask questions 
  • I don't fall asleep
  • There is opportunity to digress - in a good way
  • We all have to think more
  • I don't just copy stuff.  I have to put it in my own words.
  • chalk and chalkboards don't fail like technology
I thought their reasons here were spot on. 

I wonder who decided that every classroom is better if it is a "smart" classroom?  Is this just a case of we are doing this because we can?  Did anyone ever ask the students what works best for them?  I suppose that the problem could be that we as teachers are not using technology effectively, but as I listened to my students' comments, that doesn't really seem like the root of the problem.

We also talked about the trend of "flipped classrooms" - where students are presented a lecture via video or slide presentations viewed on their computers as homework and then come to class to discuss the material and do their assignments.  This process is touted as "new."  The term "flipped classroom" is new, but the process seems to me like what I grew up with only instead of watching some kind of media presentation, we were assigned to read a chapter in the textbook.  Hmmm…..

This whole issue has been mind opening for me.  We'll see what new trends develop - or which old ones return.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

275/365 Seasonal Color

"What Season Is It?

I had very little time and very little inspiration for today's photo.  The temperatures are still in the nineties and none of the trees are looking like fall yet.  In a quick thirty minute trip to the park between school and dinner and before choir rehearsal (when the light was all wrong for taking pictures), the best I could find was this still blooming rosebush surrounded by some bright orange leaves.

Looks like seasonal color to me!  The question is, what season?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

274/365 Hats Off

"Hats Off"

I'm all for any prompt that affords me the opportunity to photograph Weber and his hat.  

I think that I should be tipping my hat to him for all that he puts up with in my attempts not to miss a day of photographs.  Every night involves time spent going through the day's pictures and selecting "the one."  Then there is post processing.  I try to do minimal post processing but I always have to resize in order to post to the web and it all takes time.  Then there is posting here...

The good news for him is that there are only 91 more photos to be taken this year.  The bad news, I'll probably do this again next year:-)