Saturday, May 31, 2014

151/365-2 A Vision of Quiet

 "In the Garden"

We had a very quiet day today.  Brooke is our of town at the wedding of one of her college roommates and we had a relatively free calendar, which turned out to be a good thing because Weber has been sick all week and he slept for almost five hours this afternoon.   Th dogs were perfectly happy to keep him company while he napped, though they did feel compelled to get up a few times to bark at the squirrels in the back yard.

I knit most of the afternoon.  I haven't done that in a long time.

When Weber woke up, we decided to go out to get a simple dinner.  In the process of our decision making, we invited a friend, whose partner is out of town,  to join us.  We had a adequate  dinner and some good conversation.  As we were getting out of the car to head into the restaurant, this is what I saw.

I wish that the light post and power lines were not in the picture.  If I were more skilled (and more patient) with Photoshop I could erase them, but that is the kind of editing that I'm not convinced that  I agree with.  This is the image I saw.  Power lines, unfortunately, are a real part of our world.  I'm not sure it is right, reasonable or valid to deny their existence.

After dinner, we went by the outdoor labyrinth at a nearby church.  It sits in a beautiful garden that is always a good place for peace and quiet.

Friday, May 30, 2014

150/365-2 A Vision of the Present

"Why Be Normal?"

No explanation necessary...

Thursday, May 29, 2014

149/365-2 A Vision of Safety

"A Man, A Plan, A Hat"

We are wrapping up May and Healthy Vision Month.  Today's reference to safety was directed towards eye safety and the importance of wearing sunglasses.  Weber is very good about wearing his sunglasses.  He also is good about wearing his hat in the winter to keep his bald head warm and in the summer to keep it from getting sunburned.  I, on the other hand, should wear a hat and sunglasses all the time, but don't.  I never have.  It is not a vanity thing.  After fifty years I finally figured out what my aversion to hats and sunglasses really is.

Claustrophobia...that is why I don't like sunglasses.  They make me feel boxed in, a feeling I can't stand.  Just ask the tech who tried to strap my head down and shove me in a tube to do a CT scan.  Or the dentist who tried to put an oxygen mask over my face when prepping to take my wisdom teeth out.  I learned that I was claustrophobic the hard way and lots of people learned right along with me.  It was nice of that CT scan person to pull me quickly out of that tube and give me those nice little white pills. They cure claustrophobia and lots of other things with one little swallow.

When I was a teenager my mother would always gripe at me because I wore my clothes too big.  Actually I think she was still nagging me about that up until the point that she died eight years ago.  I have always been, and still am, a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl.  As Brooke say, "That's how I roll."  I could never quite figure out what her objection was to my comfortable attire.  At least I wasn't wearing clothes that were too tight.  My requisite body parts were always appropriately covered.

It wasn't until fairly recently that I realized that my personal style of oversized clothing is also the result of my serious disdain of feeling closed in.  I don't like anything tight or binding - not jeans, or shoes, or shirts, or even socks.  I don't care what others think about the way I dress.  The fact that this also included my mom when she was alive was the point of departure for many arguments.  

I am so lucky that I have a career that doesn't require me to wear tight clothes to get the job done.  You know what I'm talking about - primarily women in sales who are not appealing to a customer's intellect but rather to know.  Or the news anchors who are hired so that audiences will watch the news rather than listen to it.  Academia is OK with personal style.  Jeans and tennis shoes are acceptable.  It is one of the few places where how you do your job is more important than what you dress like when you are teaching. 

So I will continue to dress in such a way as to keep me free of claustrophobia.  Trust me, that is better for everyone around me...unless you happen to carry those little white pills around with you and then I'll put on anything you want, wear sunglasses and let you shove my head in that tube!

All that to say that because Weber is a better sport with his sunglasses than I am, he got tagged for today's picture.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

148/365-2 Soul

'Soulful Squirrel"

Today's photo was an object lesson in sometimes you do the best you can with what you have at the moment.  

This furry little guy was sitting on his branch looking in the back door at the dogs.  I know most people consider squirrels to be a nuisance, but I think they are cute.  We constantly fill the bird feeders only to see squirrels swinging from them like trapeze artists.  That's OK.  Plenty of seeds end up on the ground and the birds happily clean up the mess left behind by the squirrels.

Back to today...I grabbed my camera, which had the wrong lens on it for this, and starting shooting.  I had no idea what my settings were.  I figured I would miss the shot for sure if I took the time to change lenses and settings so I took my chances.  I was also shooting through the glass on the back door.  Fortunately I was high enough that the photo was not made any worse by dog nose smudges on the glass.  I also had to do some serious cropping to get any kind of composition here.

It is what it is.  I think he's a soulful squirrel!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

147/365-2 Monochromatic

"Spilled Milk"

I have always loved black and white images.  I have learned recently that what I really like is mono -chromaticism.  Black and white just happens to be the most common manifestation of that.  This one was a lot of fun to play with.

I could have inserted "beer" for "coffee" and the text would have been equally meaningful, but I took this shot early in the day and was still drinking coffee.  I also had a debate with myself over "spilt" or "spilled."  I think that the former is more archaic and in modern language has been replaced by the latter.

146/365-2 A Vision of Freedom


"America will never be destroyed from the outside. 
If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves. " 
Abraham Lincoln

The greatest number of American lives lost in a single war, 650,000, were lost in the Civil war, a war fought on our own soil 
Today I am thankful for all the freedom that I have - that which I am given because of the sacrifices of others and which I have because I had nothing scheduled for the day.  We slept late.  Boy did that feel good!  The sky was overcast and there were light showers.  It was a perfect morning to sleep in!  Once we got up and I managed to get all of the animals off the bed,  I  decided that today was a good day to wash all of the bed linens, which reminds me that I still need to remake the bed.

Weber and I went to one of our city's parks to take photos.  On past Memorial Days they have had a field of flags, but not this year.  I had to settle for a photo of the flag on the tall pole.  This gave me an opportunity to play with my new lens.  I was hoping for some pretty birds or something, but no such luck.  There were a few grackles around, but that was it.

The park, Liberty Park, also has some very cool statues honoring those who have sacrificed for our freedom.  I also had time to work my Lensbaby as well.  I haven't used it much out in public.  I feel like I am getting a little better with it.  It was fun to use it to photograph something other than flowers.  I am getting close to trying it for some portraits...maybe.

Statues are certainly good subjects on which to practice!

This one was taken with my regular Nifty Fifty lens.

This statue really speaks to me.  Sometimes we forget just how many lives are impacted by the time given and sacrifices made by those who serve in our armed forces.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

145/365-2 A Vision of Twilight

"Twilight Showers"

Today's photo prompt asked us to photograph twilight with a phone camera.  Once a month, we are asked to use our phone cameras to achieve the daily prompt.  I have not fully embraced this yet because I usually get terrible pictures with my phone.  Most of the time they are blurry and grainy.  I don't know what I do wrong, but it annoys me!  I did, however, follow the guidelines of the day and took these with my phone.

It was an evening marked by rain showers so the twilight sky was not not terribly spectacular.  I did do the best I could in, what I consider to be, less than optimal circumstances.

I kind of like the abstract nature of the image below of raindrops in a puddle.  This too was shot with my phone and then I upped the saturation of blue 

"Blue Raindrops"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

144/365-2 A Vision of Finished

"Moving On Up"

Though she turned twenty-one in December and legally became an adult then, today Erin really "finished" her childhood.  She moved into her first apartment where she signed the lease and is responsible for all of her own bills.  The move is because she has a "real" job with a real salary as a spatial analyst.  

We went over for dinner tonight.  It was funny to see all of the things that she has taken for granted while living at home - a shower curtain, kitchen sponges, spices for the hamburgers.  She, Edgar and Leo are living on the third floor.  This made moving in fun:-)  Leo thinks it is pretty exciting to get to go up and down the stairs to go outside, but his mom and dad didn't like hauling all of the grocery sacks up three flights of stairs.

"Booking It"

Brooke is also about to start a new full-time job.  She has been working part-time at the public library and has just been offered a full-time job with benefits!  She seems to enjoy what she is doing even though it involves interacting with the public all day long.

I am happy that both girls are settling in to new and exciting adventures!

Friday, May 23, 2014

143/365-2 Make Believe


I have several of these ceramic storyteller figures that were made by one of the art students and school.   Each one is unique and equally whimsical.  They just make me smile...and smiles are good!

142/365-2. A Vision of Beauty

"The Other Side of Beauty"

Somehow yesterday got away from me and it was 11 pm before I took the day's photo.  Needless to say, I was left photographing store-bought cut flowers rather than something growing outside in natural light.  That gave me the opportunity to engage the tiny bit of creative energy that I had left at the end of the day; or, would that be night?  

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

141/365-2 A Vision of 20


Keepin' it real today...this is a fairly common image of my everyday.  The number associated with the unread emails in my Inbox has a few more digits.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

140/365-2 Devotion

"Hopelessly Devoted"

It is hard to believe that Adidas is almost ten.  It seems like it was only yesterday that he was a phone stealing puppy.  He was intended to be the kids' dog, but he has been a mama's boy from the beginning.  He and I have been through a lot together.  I know he would go to extremes to protect me.

When Weber and I got married, Adidas was not sure that he wanted to share.  Whenever Weber got close to me, Adidas would insert himself between us.  And he really didn't want Weber to touch me.  Taking on step children is nothing compared to taking on a step-dog!  Weber and Adidas get along great now, probably because Weber feeds him his breakfast and is always willing to share watermelon!

Though I have lots of photos of Adidas, I couldn't find any of the two of us together.  I had to remedy that today.

Monday, May 19, 2014

139/365-2 Where I Stand - May


Today was my first day of my summer break.  I turned all of my grades in Friday afternoon, but today was the first day that I should have gone to work that I didn't.  It was a pretty awesome day!

I got up with Weber and for a change, I made breakfast and his lunch.  When we both leave in the morning, he does both of these chores because I am much slower with my morning routine.  After he left, I sat on the patio with dogs, drank another cup of coffee and wrote my morning pages.  I promised myself a sabbath day today; for the most part, I had that.  I did have to do a few work-type things this morning, but they only took a couple of hours.

Weber had a training meeting today, so, as it turned out, he was able to come home for lunch.  That was a nice and unexpected treat!  And after lunch?  A nap!  It was awesome!  I haven't had an afternoon nap in a long time.  I am fairly sure that it would not take twenty-eight days for that to become a habit.

This evening I took some photos; we went out for Thai food to celebrate Brooke's new job; we went to Target and then came home and watched my all-time favorite movie, 84 Charing Cross Road.

My calm day has given me the opportunity to think about those things that I need to do and want to do during my time off.  I have a list.  I don't know that I will accomplish it all, but I am looking forward to trying!

Summer break is off to a good start.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

138/365-2 A Vision of Hope

"Music for Hope"

Today was a busy day, but a "good" busy day.  It was one filled with friends, food, family, a little shopping and music.  What it was not filled with was time for today's photo.  In the few minutes that I was home in between shopping and leaving for the concert at church, I did think to put a generic lens on my camera and put it in my bag "just in case" there was something that would work for today's prompt.  When we walked in for the concert and were handed the program, I just chuckled at the subtitle across the top.  Voila!  There was my photo.  This is just proof positive that God is 100% with me on my CY 365 journey:-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

137/365 Growth

"Growing Pains"

Technically this is not a good photo, but it is a perfect photo for me today.

I got a new super zoom lens.  It is HUGE!  So huge, in fact, that the camera store did not have a UV filter large enough in stock.  It is now on order.  I was hesitant to do too much with the lens until the filter comes in, but I couldn't resist a few shots.

The lens weighs a little over four pounds.  That is a lot to deal with handheld.  It will be possible, but, as you can see in this shot, it is certainly going to take some practice on my part to hold it steady to get sharp images.  Using the tripod is going to be the better bet I think, but that just is not always convenient.  Once the filter comes in, I will spend more time practicing and figuring out the quirks of this particular lens.

As far as growth, the natural references are clear.  The moth (butterfly?) has grown from a caterpillar and the dandelion has grown from a flower with its bright yellow petals to this fluff of seeds.  Also, my lens collection has grown as has this month's credit card bill:-)  These things, however, really aren't the most significant aspects of growth in this image.

Not only does this photo have technical issues, it isn't very creative or interesting.  It is, though, the first image that I took with this new lens. That is worth documenting.  It shows that growth that I need as a photographer.  Posting it here also is evidence of personal growth.  The perfectionist in me is OK with posting this less than perfect image because it is important to today.  A year ago I probably would not have done that; I would have rather missed a day than post a "bad" picture.  I know that I have posted many inferior pictures, but often it has been in retrospect that I have noticed their problems.

Anyway, accepting what I know could be better is a huge point of growth for me.

Friday, May 16, 2014

136/365-2 Discipline

"Morning Pages"

I call it disciplined; many members of my family call it anal retentive or OCD.  With many aspects of my life, mostly the creative ones, I am incredibly disciplined.  With things like keeping my email inbox cleared out, not so much.  With the things I choose to be disciplined about, I am ever faithful to the practice.  

In thinking today about how to photograph the discipline in my life, I decided to focus on the one thing that binds it all together - the practice of morning pages as put forth by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist's Way.  Morning pages involve writing for thirty minutes first thing in the morning -  before our left brains become fully engaged in the day, while our subconscious thoughts experienced during sleep are still close to the surface and before there have been day's events to color our every thought.  I have engaged in this practice faithfully for nearly five years.  Many decisions have been made, problems solved, emotions unpacked, and creative endeavors begun as the result of the writings in my morning pages.  Good old fashioned composition books, which is all that I write in, and pens are much cheaper and just as effective for me as therapy.  Not only do I need this process, but I do enjoy it.  There is something magical about taking pen in hand and expressing my deepest feelings, opinions, worries, and joys without being concerned about how they will be received by another person.  Mostly I find that it is the process of choosing the "best" words to express myself that is important for me.

I need structure.  I need discipline in my life or I will get nothing done.  I don't do well with "free" time.  Even when my schedule is not mandated by external forces, like now between school terms, I have to write things on my calendar or they won't get accomplished, even with all day to do them.  So Monday is sabbath day; Tuesday is sort last semester's school materials day; Wednesday is begin housecleaning and go to the library day; Thursday is lunch with friends day; and so on.  Most people probably don't have to schedule such things.  I do.

As long as I can keep the discipline of writing morning pages in my life, I am able to maintain a reasonable sense of clarity and balance.  With that I can accomplish a lot!

135/365-2 Relax


Obviously I forgot to post this last night.

Commencement itself was not necessarily relaxing, but it signifies the end of the semester and the end of this school year, which means it also marks the beginning of a period of relaxation for me.  Yay!

Though I can't stand  Pomp and Circumstance because I have played it SO many times (and that was just last night, not all the many years previously),  I do enjoy playing for graduation.  It is a time for all of us in the music department to play side by side, faculty and students.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

133/365-2 Activity


I'm not much on exercise for exercise sake, but I do enjoy walking as my primary mode of transportation.  Harley likes to go for walks too.  She is much better behaved on her leash than Adidas so she got the honor of being in today's photo because I knew I could deal with her and my camera at the same time.  The same could not be said of Adidas and the camera!

Monday, May 12, 2014

132/365-2 Make An Appointment

"Scheduled Sabbath"

Right now there are way too many things going on in my world.  I am counting the minutes (actually the number of exams) until this semester is over.  To put it simply, I am exhausted.  I have learned to say "no" to a few things, but I still don't seem to get enough rest.  In the past I have been advised to put sabbath time on my calendar and treat it like any other appointment.  I need to adopt that practice again!

Monday the 18th it is!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

131/365-2 Motherly Love

"Silent Love"

After our big graduation celebration yesterday, we all needed a quiet day today.  

This morning in church the pastor called all of the mothers forward and gave us each a rose.  He offered a prayer for all of us, but did not stop there.  Prayers were then offered for those who have lost their mothers, for those who want to be mothers, and for those who have or had a broken relationship with their mothers.  By the time he was done there were very few dry eyes in the congregation.

Though we had no big family deal today, Brooke did make me a delicious dinner - peach and raspberry stuffed french toast and baked eggs with spinach.  It was perfect!

Truthfully, I don't really need a special "mother's day" celebration because my girls are pretty good to me every day!

I am proud and happy to be the mother to these two!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

130/365-2 A Vision of Play


Erin began her day as a twenty-one year old college student and finished it as a college graduate with a degree in mathematics and about to begin her life in the working world as a spatial analyst.  It some ways it is hard to believe that she is already out of college and about to be independent and in the same breath I can say that I can't believe that she is only twenty-one is beginning her professional career.  However I look at it, I am incredibly proud of her.

Edgar, her boyfriend, also graduated today.  He earned a degree in mechanical engineering.  The two of them decided that they wanted to celebrate their accomplishments by having a picnic at the park with lots of food, family, and friends.

I took LOTS of photos that I have yet to sort through.  In choosing today's POTD, I wanted to honor the daily prompt but also document our day.  Though the photo that I chose has some technical issues, I think it illustrates the joy that we all felt today as well as a spirit of play.  The kids played volleyball for awhile after lunch.  Seeing Erin reach to the sky to hit the volleyball reminds me of all the reaching she has done thus far and all that is still out there for her to grasp.

Among other things, I did take the requisite cap and gown photos.

Because the University of North Texas had so many students graduating, the commencement exercises were broken up over several days.  Erin graduated at 9am this morning.  The graduation exercise for the engineering majors was not until 5pm this afternoon.  So, Erin and Edgar shared a cap and gown.  They saved themselves some money, but that means no pictures of the two of them together in their graduation regalia.

Congratulations to the two of you!

Friday, May 9, 2014

129/365-2 A Vision of Resourcefulness

" A Resourceful Perch"

Today's photo might better be titled 'Grasping At Straws."  I had no ideas and no inspiration today.  In a moment of desperation, the cat became my subject.  I hoped that I would figure out some way to tie a photo of her to the day's prompt.

She is on her "resourceful;" perch atop one of the stools at the kitchen island.  From this vantage point she can keep an eye on all of the goings on in the kitchen, the den, and the backyard.  She is also just high enough up that she can reach out and swat the unsuspecting dogs as they walk by.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

128/365-2 A Vision of Trust


Trust is both a scary and wonderful thing whether you are on the giving end or the receiving end.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

127/365-2 A Vision of Poise

"Read, Pray, Love"

Come, pensive nun, devout and pure, 
sober steadfast, and demure, 
all in a robe of darkest grain, 
flowing with majestic train.
- John Milton -

Today was the student art sale at school.  I love these ceramic nuns!  These are the only kind of habits I am allowed to have!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

126/365-2 A Vision of Innocence

"Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience"

Innocence is not exactly a word that I would associate with Brooke.  I am not being judgmental, just realistic.  She played college rugby.  They drank beer out of cleats.  That right there says it all, don't you think?  

I had to stretch things to make today's prompt work even a little.

Brooke has always loved reading.  When she was tiny and innocent, I read to her all the time.  In this photo she is sitting in the very rocking chair where I probably read her her first book.  Though she and I have very different literary preferences, we both have a passion for the work of William Blake.  William Blake wrote 'Songs of Innocence"  and "Songs of Experience."  Connection made...that is as good as it gets today!

Monday, May 5, 2014

125/365-2 A Vision of Small Details


Today was Macro Monday.  Despite the fact that it was terribly windy this afternoon, I had fun blowing bubbles after school.  It was a little less fun trying to hold the bubble wand with one hand and shoot photos with the other, but only a little less.

I had a difficult time choosing today's photo.  I took several that I like; unfortunately, they are all so different that it was like comparing apples and oranges when trying to choose one over the other.  I ultimately chose the one that I did because I think, maybe, it best illustrates the day's prompt of small details in that the swirls in the bubble solution are clearly visible.

All that said, I really like the colors and the "Monet-ness" of this photo.

Brooke likes this one best.

And, I think there is something a little mysterious about this one.

Leave a comment and let me know your favorite.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

124/365-2 A Vision Of What I'm Reading

"Good For A Laugh!"

They say that art mimics life.  Scott Hilburn, who draws the Argyle Sweater, must have been at my house and observed my life..  I have a shelf that looks just like this!  Well, not exactly like this.  Most of my heads are attached to bodies, but they can be shared at a moment's notice.  I feel vindicated!  Obviously if the obsessive collecting of Lego mini figures has made it to the comic strips I am not alone.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

123/365-2 A Vision Of My Eyes

"My Eyes"

My much can be said about them.  For many, the eyes I have have are their greatest fear; these eyes are legally blind.  There are many things that they prevent me from doing, and many other things that are just more challenging for me because of my eyes.  It would be easy to get stuck on all of the negatives associated with my eyes and their vision, but what would be the point in that?

These are the eyes with which I have been blessed.  They reveal my world to me.  I suspect that my world may look a little different than yours does to you.  I'm OK with that.  I have seen many wonderful things with these eyes.  For each of these experiences, I am grateful.

With my eyes, my camera, and a strong inner vision, I am able to see much beauty in this world.  There are many people with perfect eyes that sadly cannot say that.

Friday, May 2, 2014

122/365-2 Vision of May Flowers

"Circle Of Life"

I don't think that this image necessarily has a unique perspective, but what drew my attention to it is the ring of spent iris blooms encircling the one young and beautiful flower.  As I looked at this, I thought about how important it is for the wisdom and experience of age to wrap its arms around youth and innocence.  I also noticed the changing face of beauty.  Though most eyes are drawn immediately to the big colorful bloom, which is indeed beautiful, great beauty also resides in the small, tired, and unassuming blooms that are past their prime.  Their texture, their colors, their humility speak volumes.  If only our culture would recognize all that the aged have to offer to those on the path behind them.  Beauty does have a place, but wisdom and years of life experiences should occupy an equal place.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

121/365-2 Healthy Vision

"Seeing The Bright Side"

May is eye health month and being that healthy vision is important to photographers, many of the Capture Your 365 prompts this month relate to vision, eyes and seeing.  This could be a challenge to the blind kid here:-)

Actually, I like the prompts that challenge me to look carefully and intentionally at my inner world as well as my outer world.  For me, photography definitely has some challenges because of my vision, but working to overcome them is well worth the patience and energy.  Some days I know that my accomplishments are simply the result of hard work, patience and perseverance.  Others days, I have no doubt that it is through divine intervention that the images were created.  I'm OK with both.

I may never be good at photography, but that matters less and less to me.  I enjoy it.  It feeds my soul.   Photography is my spiritual discipline of choice right now.  Through it I am getting to know myself better and am strengthening my relationship with God and God's creation.