Showing posts with label Pictures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pictures. Show all posts

Friday, June 26, 2015

I've Been Away...

It's been several weeks since I've posted, and no I didn't fall off the planet, get abducted by aliens or even swallowed up by a whale. I just took some time off to recharge my batteries, and in doing so, gathered lots of pictures and videos for blog fodder. I hope you will check back to see what I've been up to.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

On Photography

The negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance. - Ansel Adams

While many of our pictures are in digital format today, there is still the relation between composer and the performer. Our cameras are the instrument, we are the composer and the images are the collaboration and the star of the show.

There are many different reasons for taking pictures. Some photographers spent thousands of dollars and as many hours looking for just the right shot, catching the light and trying to capture what their eyes behold.

I like to capture moments to relive them later. Memories of what we saw can fade with time, but when we see the pictures, they come alive again. It matters not whether it was the perfect shot or the highest quality, it triggers the senses.

Sometimes it is not what you are photographing as much as it is the feeling you get from looking at it. Something as simple as the way the light hits a tree, or plays with the shadows. I've been taking pictures since I was a kid, and this is only something I've learned in the last few years. 

There are many wonderful photographers who share their work online, and the one who has inspired me the most is the talented lady at The Smitten Image. I used to try and get as much into a picture as possible and now I know that sometimes less is more. Thanks Hilary!

These were all taken with my Canon Powershot SD1200.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

That's Our Girl

Is she looking for a little quiet time, or is she saying "Aha, the closet door is open...finally".  I wish I had a video of her approach.  You see even though the door was open there were a few obstacles in her way. 

This is just the spot for me!

While she was trying to figure out how to reach the shelf, she looked like a cat on a Pogo stick, bouncing up and down on her back feet as if trying to calculate the distance and thrust required to elevate her 12-pound self to her goal.  After a half dozen or so bounces she paused and tried to get in past the hamper. Nope, can't squeeze through the gap...more bounces. We were cracking up, trying to stifle our laughter so as not to scare her out of her mission.

She finally rethought her strategy and took the more circuitous route via a stool and a suitcase, then balancing on the hamper, stepped coolly onto the shelf.

"Well," I said "she's smarter than we thought."  Sometimes she gives the impression of being somewhat of a ditz.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Got Boots?

This is day eight of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery. Today's topic is Favorite article of clothing for winter.

In many areas winter means frigid temperatures, shivering, cold feet, wind-blown watery eyes and runny noses. In other places the seasons meld one into the other with barely a flicker of the thermometer. Whether it's parkas or bikinis, there is a staple in your wardrobe without which the season would be incomplete.

Here in North Carolina our winters vary broadly from year to year. Some are mild with only the merest dusting of snow, gone before lunch time. Every so often, however, we get a good (or bad) one, depending on your point of view.

That is when I pull out my favorite article of winter clothing, my snow boots. Not just any snow boots, but the same pair that have kept my feet warm and dry through several decades. I've even featured my old faithful boots here before.

Now I have coats and jackets, hoodies, and scarves and a multitude of gloves, but going out in anything except my trusty snow boots, would be like going out in bunny slippers.

What keeps you warm in the chill of winter?

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Small Town Travel

This is day four of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery.  Today's topic is Travel.

Take a trip with me through Amish Country in Lancaster County.  It seems there are cornfields everywhere. One moment you are in town and you turn right, and left and you are in the middle of someone's farm. Some would say it's the best of both worlds.

Amish cornfield

Small towns often have interesting names, as seen on this sign. Thank you for calling Bank of Bird-in-Hand. My name is Robin.  How may I help you?

Are there two in the bush?
We spent the afternoon in Strasburg, and I got my first ever ride on a honest-to-goodness steam-powered train. It was a short 45-minute tour through Amish Country, and yes, more cornfields.

Here we have some local artwork on display on an old railroad car.  Beauty takes many forms.

Local art
 On another day we visited the Town of Lititz. The heart of Lititz consists of two intersecting streets.  There are many restaurants and shops, including their very own chocolate factory (move over Willy Wonka). They also have a Wall of Remembrance to honor those who paid the supreme price for freedom.

Honoring their heroes
One thing you can always be sure of seeing in Lititz is ducks.  Below we have Duck Island. This is in beautiful Lititz Springs Park, which is over 200 years old.  Can you imagine how many ducks have lived here over the years?

Duck Island in Lititz Springs Park

This beautiful old building is located in Ambler, PA.  We were on our way from Ephrata to Horsham, Actually we were on our way to Philly, but reasonably-priced accommodations were not to be found, so we settled on the little town of Horsham, about a half hour outside the city and took the train.

Beautiful patterns in architecture
A newer building houses CVS, but I give them credit for styling the store to fit in with the small town surroundings, rather than the standard red brick of the ones in larger cities.

New fitting in with the old
Back in Ephrata, we visit the Green Dragon.  There is something there for everyone from fresh foods from local vendors, many of whom are Amish or Mennonite, to beautiful beeswax candles. Pretty and healthy too.

Local products
Look at all the colorful fashions. Want sunglasses, got 'em.  Need wind chimes, bird feeders, funny signs, just look around. You're sure to find something that strikes your fancy.

All the colors of the rainbow
Thanks for joining me on my journey through some quaint little towns. Every time I visit Ashley, I get to see another slice of the American pie - Pennsylvania style.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Winter Comfort Food

This is day two of the 20 Days of Chill writing challenge hosted by P. J. at A ‘lil HooHaa. Please join me as we share a month of reading, writing and discovery.  Today's topic is Favorite Winter Comfort Food.

Wow, who knew such a simple, straightforward topic would be so challenging?  There are a number of foods which fall into the category of "my favorites" and/or "comfort food", but they are not categorized by season. In fact, there are very few foods or dishes that I consider strictly seasonal.  It is not taboo for me to make soup in the summer or eat ice cream in the winter. 

When I think of comfort food, I think of dishes like mac and cheese, a plate of potato hash, a burger, pizza or anything with bacon, none of which I would relegate to the winter months.

That which comes closest to fulfilling both the winter and comfort requirements would be pecan pie. I only make this around Christmas and it is my favorite pie. While it is obviously food, and I only make it in the winter, it seems odd to call it my favorite winter comfort food.

What are some of your favorite winter and/or comfort dishes?

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Out With The Old

And In With The New
Image Source:

Another year has run it's course, and we struggled rolled with the punches.  Was it a bad year?  Not entirely, but it was difficult at times.

Here are a few highlights of 2014:

Winter and Spring passed with barely a nod since hubby spent much of the first half of the year traveling for his job.  We did have a good snow storm and a bad ice storm complete with power outage.

On the home front, I continued with the routine chores and looking after the cats.  Part of those chores included yard work, which resulted with me doing a face plant into the neighbors wooden fence.  Let me tell you that smarted and left me with an awesome shiner. Amazingly, other than the bruised face, there wasn't another scratch on me.

We helped a good friend celebrate her 80th birthday.  She was certainly surprised when she was escorted to a dinner with 15 of her closest friends.

We traveled to Pennsylvania to visit Ashley and her family.  That was a week filled with fun, laughter and shared friendship.  We went to an amusement park, took a steam train ride and found a lovely small town zoo in which to meander about.

Insert more business travel.  Sigh!

In October we made our nearly-annual trek to Madeira Beach (St. Petersburg, FL).  There we ate copious amounts of seafood, went fishing at Ft. DeSoto, and took a dolphin watch cruise. My favorite non-seafood meal was DeLosa's pizza eaten on our balcony at sunset.

November brought the devastating loss of Dood at age 14.  He was always the healthiest of our cats, so his brief illness and subsequent passing a little more than a year after Rosie really rocked our world.

There are always holiday memories, whether we want to remember them or not.  I choose to remember them...even when one of them is of my feet going out from under me on the dance floor at a Christmas party.  That it was our wine club Christmas party is irrelevant, right? Sorry, no pictures or video. 

Now we have a new year before us.  May it be filled with hope and joy, laughter and friendship, love and peace!  Welcome to 2015.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

A Christmas Puzzle

Christmas is a joyful time of year, but we put so much pressure on ourselves to find the perfect gift, or the right outfit for the party. So, let's all take a break from the hustle and bustle and stress of the holiday season and work a puzzle.  It's simple and colorful and will only take you about 5 minutes to complete. Just click on here Christmas Puzzle  to begin. (Note, the picture above is not the puzzle picture.)

A few tips - the pieces are not set in their final positions, they can be turned by degrees by right clicking on the piece.  In other words if it looks like it is the bottom right corner, it may actually be the top left corner. The same applies to all the pieces, otherwise it wouldn't be any challenge at all.

You can also view just the border or just the middle or all the pieces, and you can change the number of pieces to increase the difficulty, and you can preview the picture like looking at the box lid to a regular jigsaw puzzle.

It is timed, but just have fun with it, and if you enjoy it, feel free to share it.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sun on the Water

Sunlight resting on the calm glistening water
what a peaceful feeling.

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Summer Fun

Last month I had the long-awaited opportunity to visit Ashley and her family in the far-away place known as Ephrata, PA.  We lived next door to each other in our youth, and although youth is rapidly fading into our middle years, we are still close despite the miles between us.

So before I get maudlin, let's get on with the fun stuff.  Below is Sheba, a sweet, lovable Labradoodle who belongs to Scott, her oldest son. 

Not only is she adorable, she is smart too.  We were sitting outside with her and she was demonstrating her ability to come, sit, lay down, etc. when Ashley told Michael to have her l-a-y-d-o-w-n for a treat (spelling it out). Sheba responded by laying down.  We tried it again and she did it again.  We told Scott later that Sheba could spell.

While Ashley is born and bred a Southern gal, she has taken great pride in finding fun and interesting things to do in her own backyard. She truly does bloom where she is planted. And speaking of blooms, aren't these pretty?  This is a flower tree at Knoebels Amusement Park, about an hour or so from their house.

If you like groovin' to the oldies, the group singing here would be right up your alley, with such songs as Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Surfin' Safari and The Twist.

For a different kind of music, check out the old Wurlitzer Organ tapping out a lively beat.

What trip to an amusement park would be complete with a ride on good old wooden roller coaster? Well, it's not my cup of tea, but the boys enjoyed it. We all later enjoyed the Black Diamond ride through a haunted coal mine.

We capped off the adventure with a ride on the giant ferris wheel.  It had been a very long time since I had ridden one, but it was fun and afforded us a great view of the park, and the surrounding countryside.

The next day we traveled to Strasburg to ride the steam train.  It was a 45 minute journey through Amish country...literally through the cornfields.  The engine puffed black smoke from it's coal fire and chugged along at a leisurely pace.  Here you can see it at the station waiting to depart on it's next run.

As many exotic places as there are to explore, there are just as many here in our own corner of the world. With every trip I take I make new discoveries, whether it is a new destination or favorite vacation spot. Many thanks to Ashley and her family for hosting us!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Faces of Lititz

Lititz, PA, a small town in Lancaster County, is nestled in the heart of Amish Country. Lititz, population 9,385 (2012), boasts a beautiful park with a stone-wall lined pond that stretches from one end to the other with a fountain at the entrance and culminating with the emergence of the underground spring at the end.

Surrounding the spring-fed pool is a stone wall covered in plants, moss and amongst them - spider webs, resembling those made by a funnel spider.

These, however, looks like faces on the wall.

Can you see the faces looking back at you?

Look at the wide eyes on this one. I think we frightened it.

Spiders aren't the only ones making faces. Take a look at this tree. This tall fellow looks like he was sticking his tongue out at us.

Of course, a trip to Lititz Park wouldn't be complete without ducks...lots and lots of ducks.

Take a stroll along Main Street and pop into some of the shops. There are furniture shops, restaurants, specialty boutiques and even a wine shop. This one has some colorful mushrooms for your garden. In case you can't read the sign, it says: We are so excited about the garden we wet our plants.

How much is that doggie in the window?  Isn't he cute?

If you have a chance to visit this quaint little town, I don't think you'll be disappointed. Look here for more on Lititz from my last trip.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Night Falls

As night falls
And evening fades
Painted into subtle shades
Of purple, blue and gray

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Pretty Face

I took a picture of Sophie.
I'm so pretty!

Then I applied the brush stroke technique
in Paint Shop Pro.
I could be a painting.
This gives it an Impressionist look.
Isn't she lovely?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Friday, January 10, 2014

Webbed Feet and Feathers

The sunny South hasn't been so sunny lately.  This is the view from my front door this morning.  Not unlike many other days this winter.  There were 13 strategically placed rainy days in December.  

Note the 3 Saturdays and 4 Sundays!  Lovely!  Not too bad, though, considering there were 19 days with above normal daytime temps.  Now to be honest, not all of this rain fell during daylight hours, and we have no drought concerns for the moment, but seriously...every weekend?  

And then there's January with 4 rainy days already, and all but 2 days the low temps have been below average.  But do you think we got any snow?  All the moisture dries up before the cold air arrives.  We are either freezing or floating.

I won't complain (too much) because compared to other parts of the country, the winter is balmy and fairly typical for our area.  No sub-zero temperatures and no wind chills equal to my age.

But would it be too much to ask for a little snow?  I'd trade my webbed feet and feathers for some snow boots and mittens.

So how's your weather - too hot, too cold, too much snow (or not enough)? 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What is a Myrtle?

The Boardwalk at Myrtle Beach
Having just been to Myrtle Beach for a long-awaited getaway, we pondered this question as we strolled the new boardwalk which opened in May 2010.  Just what is a Myrtle, my hubby asked?  I thought maybe it was named after a woman.  If you ask people how Myrtle Beach got its name, you get a variety of answers from the Indians to someone's daughter.  All are good guesses.  The area has had many names over its history.  When the Waccamaw Indians inhabited the land, it was known as Long Bay.  You may recognize the name Waccamaw from the river and pottery named for it.  It was later known as Withers for a family who had had property there since the 1700s.  There was even a post office named for them.

In 1881 the Burroughs and Collins Company of Conway purchased much of the land long held by the Withers family and Withers was now called New Town.  As you can see there have been many changes and many names as is often the case with developing lands.

Getting to the story behind the current name, in 1900 a contest was held to choose an official name for their town.*   Credit is given to Addie Burroughs who suggested the name Myrtle Beach, named for the abundant growth of the Wax Myrtle bushes.  

Image Attribution: Mary Keim
The Wax Myrtle is a North American native, and is a small tree or large shrub depending on it's environment.  It is often found in landscaping, especially around the beaches but is also used in candle making, as well as having medicinal uses.

And that is how Myrtle Beach got it's name.
*Myrtle Beach officially became a town in 1938, then a city in 1957.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Colors of Fall

Each season has its own special beauty.  Here are some of the colors and textures of Fall.

Caught on a spider web, this leaf is swinging in the breeze.

A friend of his landed on this old stump.

 These two are sharing a little leaf love.


 Gold and Green

Colors explode in the late evening sun.

An early Fall sunset paints the sky.


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