Saturday, May 31, 2008

78/365 Relocation effort

At least once a year, especially after a rain (and last night we got 4 inches!), we walk outside and find unwelcome visitors in the yard: snapping turtles.

They're unwelcome because when they end up in our pond, they eat our fish and frogs, and they pose a danger to Buster!

If you've never met a "snapper" in person, they're rather nasty -- interesting, but nasty -- creatures. Their legs don't move especially quickly on land, but their jaws are another story, hence the name. Their necks are long, snakelike and help them strike extremely quickly, and if they get ahold of you, or preferably the stick you're using instead of your hand, they will latch on and refuse to let go. The only way to safely move one and retain your fingers is by scooping it into a deep bucket.

Mom and I drove around the neighborhood this morning to survey the damage from last night's storms (nothing too major -- a few limbs down, but the main problem was flash flooding), and when we pulled back into the driveway, this snapper was in the yard.

So we went to get Dad (the almighty brave snapper relocation expert). He emptied one of our recycle tubs and grabbed a baseball bat, and he and I headed back to get the sucker. We scooped him into the tub, with all fingers and toes intact, and drove him a quarter of a mile down the road to a creek -- far enough for him to forget about trying to come back to disturb the serenity of our pond.

And there, he happily made his way off into the woods.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/400s, f/8 at ISO 100 in sunlight at about 10:30 a.m.

77/365 The return of Sex and the City

The moment we've all been waiting four years for has finally arrived -- new stories from our favorite New York gals!

My girlfriends and I decided this definitely needed to be a special Girls' Night Out occasion. We dressed up in honor of the movie and gathered beforehand at Kristina's house. She laid out quite an impressive spread:A perfect way to set the mood!

We bought our tickets on Thursday for a 10:10 showing Friday night. The theater was packed with fellow fans, and when the opening credits began to roll, applause and cheers rippled through the room.

And then the lights went out.

The strongest storms of the season thus far were raining on our high-heeled parade.

Tornado warnings had been issued all across the north and west portions of the state throughout the evening, and the line of storms had reached us. Not severe, thankfully, but strong enough.

After only a couple of minutes, the lights came back up and the movie picked up where it had left off. Yes!

But then, 30 minutes into the film, just as I was getting used to seeing new scenes of my favorite ladies, the power died again.

We all groaned, and a theater employee came in to let us know that this time the power was out in the entire mall, not just the theater. If they couldn't get it back up soon, security mandated that we would have to evacuate.

We were aghast! Hence this picture:
After a few more minutes of sitting tight, crossing our fingers that it would come back on and stay this time, they came back into the theater, asking us to calmly file out the exit, where we would get a pass to come back and see the film at another time.

NO! But optimism and friendship ruled the evening, so everyone cooperated and calmly filed out.
Only a few emergency lights lit our way through the silent mall. We collected our passes and gathered by a window, watching the rain and enjoying the unusual atmosphere and story we would have to tell.
I've been trying vehemently all day to avoid any media reviews, mentions, spoilers, anything that might give it away before I can get back to see it.

We're planning to try again tomorrow afternoon. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that this time all 2 hours and 15 minutes are uninterrupted!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000.

76/365 Purple clematis

This clematis has absolutely exploded this year. That seems to be a trend among all flora. Everything is incredibly green, the flowers have extra blooms, and the clematis is no exception.

We actually transplanted it this last year, so seeing it thrive is especially encouraging.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 200 in natural light at about 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

75/365 How does your garden grow?

Every year, my dad insists, "This year the garden will be smaller so I don't have to mess with it."

This year? It's being expanded.

Our usual produce consists of corn, green beans, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber, and green and red peppers. We freeze the corn and peas, can the beans and tomatoes, shred and freeze the zucchini, and just enjoy the cucumber and peppers as soon as they're ready.

We've eaten through our stores from previous years. So that, in addition to higher food prices and wanting to continue to eat more naturally, Dad's wish did not come true this year, and we indeed have a larger garden.

I love it.

So what should you expect in the coming weeks?

Vegetable pictures!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR, 1/60s, f/8 at ISO 200 in shade at about 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

74/365 The best beans

My weakness when it comes to cookies may be original no-fail chocolate chip. But my weakness when it comes to candy?

Jelly beans.

These are Jelly Belly beans, which are fantastic, but my favorites are actually the Brach's bird egg jelly beans that you can only find in stores around Easter. I have simple taste, as you can probably discern from my chocolate chip cookie love in the previous post.

When Chase and I were kids, we drove to my grandparents' house in Michigan to celebrate Easter each year. My grandmother used the same baskets every year, and she took great pride in filling the baskets with the special candy. She insisted on chocolate from a chocolatier near Detroit, because nothing else was good enough or worth it.

Mom told her every year, "Just get the kids Nestle or Hershey's candy, that's all they want! There's no need to go to this trouble." But she never relented.

I can't tell you how many big, solid, expensive chocolate bunnies ended up getting stale in the pantry before being thrown out at Halloween. Yet those cheap Brach's jelly beans disappeared before you could turn around to see if they were even there.

Nothing has changed.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR with 60mm macro lens, 1/60s, f/2.8 at ISO 800 under fluorescent and incandescent overhead light.

Monday, May 26, 2008

73/365 Happy Memorial Day

Some people may have spent their Memorial Days grilling, having picnics (in other geographies, since it rained nearly all day here), going to see Indiana Jones, driving home from the Indy 500... but what did I do?

Baked chocolate chip cookies!

Plain old, original, run-of-the-mill chocolate chip cookies are my favorite. Call me simple or boring, but when faced with piles of fancy cookies with oodles of icing or complex ingredients, I have no trouble saying, "No, thanks."

Sugar cookies? Nope.
Macaroons? Ew.
White chocolate macadamia nut? Not even remotely tempting.

But wave a warm, gooey, home-made, no-surprises chocolate chip cookie under my nose, and all my good intentions go out the window.

So it doesn't take much arm-twisting to get me to bake some. And I follow the original recipe from the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag. Why stray?

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/60s, f/4.5 at ISO 800 in natural light at approximately 2:00 p.m.

72/365 Poppies

Poppies make me think not of falling asleep in a field (i.e. The Wizard of Oz), but of our old dog.

I'm credited for naming her. We got her as a puppy, and, at 2 years old, I had trouble saying "puppy." Instead it came out "poppy." And the name stuck.

She was a mutt that we got from my grandmother, but she looked like a Golden mix. Poppy was the sweetest, gentlest dog when it came to people, animals, you name it. We got her fixed when she was young, so she never had puppies of her own, but she definitely had a maternal instinct.

Chase and I found a nest of baby rabbits one time and startled them into fleeing. One ran through the fence into the backyard where both of our dogs were. Poppy ran over, snatched it up, and walked off with it before our other dog, Sable got there.

Sable was the protector. She tangled with every animal that got in the yard, whether it be rabbit, groundhog, or raccoon. But Poppy was different.

We thought for sure this baby rabbit would be toast by the time we got to it. But when we reached Poppy and picked it up, it was completely unscathed. It's heart was beating a little fast, and it was covered in slobber but was none the worse for wear. It only survived because Poppy got to it first.

She passed away at 15, and losing her was the hardest thing I've ever been through. I grew up with her and had not known life without her.

So when I see our poppies blooming, I think of her.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 in natural light at about 6:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

71/365 A picture of happiness

This picture of Buster cracks me up. He looks like a picture of happiness, for one thing. But beyond that, you could come up with dozens of captions for it.
"If I pick up my legs just a little higher, my stomach may actually clear the grass!"

"I don't know what that was, but I'm getting away from it as fast as I can!"

"Wait, Mommy, wait!"

I love that little guy.

We have a new round of flowers blooming in the yard right now, so of course I have to include a new photo of one. This is an alium. They grow on long, skinny, straight stalks with no leaves, then the blossom itself is a perfectly round snowball made up of lots of little blooms. They're 2-3 feet tall, too, so they stand up above everything around them.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/125s, f/5.6 at ISO 100 in natural light at approximately 6:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

70/365 After the rain has fallen

My favorite time to photograph flowers, after sunset, is after it rains. I love seeing how the droplets cling to the petals and give them an even more three-dimensional quality. The light is great, too, because it's generally still muted.

I found these new azaleias in the yard as soon as I got home from work last night. Our poppies are starting to bloom, too, but they're not quite at their peak yet, so I'll wait to post a photo of them for a few days.

I love spring!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/60s, f/5.6 at ISO 200 in natural light at approximately 5:45 p.m.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

69/365 The greatest month in Indy

I got a Get Out of Work Free Card today in the form of a pass to go to the track for a couple hours at lunch.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Month of May is an amazing place to be. You not only have the spectacle itself, but drivers are walking around, you can go right up to (or in) the pits to see how everything really works, and the people-watching is entertainment in itself.

The people range from groups of elementary school students following flag-bearing volunteers, to business people entertaining clients, to die-hard race fans wearing their favorite tshirts covered in autographs, with of course the occasional Princess thrown in.

And when the day is sunny, dry, and in the upper 60s, it's just icing on the cake.

You couldn't ask for a better day to get away from work for a while!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR, 1/60s, f/16 at ISO 100 in natural light at approximately 1:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

68/365 Tortellini soup

I like soups that have lots of stuff in them and not so much broth. Tonight we had tortellini soup for dinner and it had oodles of stuff in it.

My favorite feature of this photo is the cluster of tiny bubbles that stretches from the peas to the corn.

Actually, the more I look at this photo, I think it actually reminds me of something you'd see on Grey's Anatomy. The tortellini could be the flesh, and the peas and carrots could be... extra undeveloped organs?

I'm glad I thought of this after I'd already eaten.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR with 60mm macro lens, 1/30s, f/2.8 at ISO 400 under a single incandescent bulb.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

67/365 Sky high

Gas prices, gas prices, gas prices. You can't turn on the TV, open the newspaper or surf the Internet without running across the discussion.

So I thought it would be timely if I were to include at least one photo on the subject here. Hopefully I'll look back a year from now and be able to say, "Wow, I can't believe how high those prices were! It's so great to have them back down to $1.50/gallon."

Yeah, right.

Well, a girl can dream.

The prices aren't hitting me as hard as they're hitting my pickup truck-driving friends and family. My brother, for instance, drives a full-size Ford pickup that has TWO fuel tanks that together carry about 45 gallons of diesel. So take the price on the sign in the picture... multiply that by 45... and figure in a broke college student's budget, and see how that makes the pit of your stomach feel. Yikes!

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 in natural light at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Monday, May 19, 2008

66/365 New thread

When I got home from work this evening, my mom and my aunt were in Mom's quilt shop opening their new box of serger thread.

The people in the thread industry love customers like these two women. They each have a serger -- and one takes four spools of thread at a time, and the other takes five or six spools at once. So when they order thread, they order thread.

The colors are beautiful. I love when Mom is making something new and I need to go find a thread in her stash that matches perfectly.

This photo shows them comparing reds. I love seeing the difference in their skin tones, their textures, and character showing on their hands.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/60s, f/5.6 at ISO 400 under fluorescent lighting.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

65/365 At a turning point

I didn't grow up in a family that had professional portraits done for every milestone, every year, every event in our lives. (Funny then, isn't it, that I ended up developing an interest in photography?)

A couple examples:

I believe we have one -- only one -- in-studio portrait of the four of us. And why did we get it? The township fire department offered a free sitting in exchange for a donation. Our best family photo was actually a spontaneous one when my brother had his senior photos done. We were all outside watching, then the photographer grouped us all together -- all of us in t-shirts, me with damp hair after a recent haircut, in the field -- and it's great. It looks like us.

Case #2: Chase and I had photos done of the two of us for my parents for Christmas when I was a freshman in college. It was the first professional photos we'd had of the two of us since we were probably 5 and 2 years old.

So when one of my girlfriends suggested ages ago that we have photos done of our group together, I wasn't overly excited. But I knew I needed to play along.

She arranged it for today. And the more I thought about it, the more I hopped on board with the idea. There are eight of us that regularly get together. We met when we were 500 Festival Princesses in 2005 and are now an eclectic group of young women, each with a different career and set of ambitions.

And now we're at a turning point. Kristina just earned her Master's and is hoping to land a job in the D.C. area. Courtney got a new job and is moving out of state in the next few weeks. And Kristin will be moving to NYC to earn her Master's from NYU in August. So who knows when we'll all be here, together, again?

I may not have been completely sold on the notion at the beginning, but they won me over in the end.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR on Program setting; 1/125s, f/8.0 at ISO 100 in natural sunlight at approximately 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

64/365 New irises

The meteorologists fibbed today and encouraged me to reschedule a friend's portrait shoot this evening. They said it would be windy, cloudy and rainy -- and it turned into breezy, sunny and beautiful! Darn those forecasters.

But it turned into a great day. I got to enjoy some of the sunshine and found these new irises blooming. And, as I warned before, I have and will continue to photograph every flower in our yard, so I'm glad I was able to catch these in their prime.

Just wait for lily season. Those are my big guns.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/250s, f/8 at ISO 100 in natural sunlight at approximately 7:00 p.m.

Fantastic photos -- volcano in Chile

These pictures of the volcano erupting in Chile struck me so much that I had to share them here.

I've mentioned my fascination with meteorology before, but that fascination also extends to all other facets of our wild Mother Nature. And that includes volcanoes.

The first photo of the lightning in what may be a "dirty thunderstorm" is what amazes me most. I've studied it several times since I ran across it. Unbelievable.

Friday, May 16, 2008

63/365 Interesting shadows

While I was out on the deck this afternoon enjoying the sunshine, I looked over at our table and chairs and noticed this interesting shadow on the underside of one of the chairs.

It's coming from the sun shining through the table onto the chair underneath -- the glass on the table has this leaf pattern in it.

I love finding unexpected things like this, things that I've probably passed by a hundred times and never noticed.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/400s, f/8 at ISO 100 in natural sunlight at approximately 4:00 p.m.

62/365 Wii would like to play

I had my first Wii experience last night.

I've never been much of a video gamer. Chase and I weren't allowed to have video games as kids, so I've never really gotten into it. But I was curious to give Wii a chance, because it is so different than the standard zombie gaming.

So after watching talking through Grey's Anatomy with two girlfriends, we bowled, played tennis, and jammed on Guitar Hero. I think I had more fun watching the two of them play (and taking their pictures) than I did actually playing.

Does that make me odd?

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/30s, f/4.0 at ISO 1600.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

61/365 New corn and spring mud

Today's shot is another one that I've been thinking about for a long time.

It's planting season for the farmers, and yesterday I saw the first little corn stalks starting to sprout.

I've had this image in my mind for a while -- baby corn plants, lined up in a perfect row, lit by the setting sun... It's really striking in my head.

So last night after dinner, I put on my snow boots (because I don't have any rubber boots) and set out for the field across the road. The plants are only about an inch tall, so I think it will be better when they've matured a bit more. I planned for the mud (hence the snow boots) but not for the MUD. I didn't think about the fact that loose, fluffy, freshly tilled dirt when soaked with an inch of rain means DEEP MUD.

I took that first step into the edge of the field (careful to avoid the plants) and sank into mud that reached past my ankles!

I let out a verbal "Oh my gosh!" and thought about what I must look like if anyone were to drive by (they didn't, alleluia for living in the country): Young woman, camera in hand, wearing a worn, red, oversized sorority sweatshirt, black yoga pants, and snow boots is STUCK in the mud in someone else's field.

When I tried to remove my foot from the mud, it wanted to keep the boot and let my foot run free. The sucking sound it made could have been recorded and used for a movie.

I got a few photos, then turned around to carefully squelch myself out of the field.

This is what I looked like:
And I didn't realize until I was already in the yard that I was leaving MAJOR footprints:
See where I exited the field?

Note to self: next time, be more conscious about eliminating the evidence. Walk out toward the neighbor's house first, and THEN trek back home.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR, 1/60s, f/8.0 and f/5.6 at ISO 100.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

60/365 Azalea Pink

The color of these azalea blooms seems almost unnatural. And the entire bush is absolutely full of them -- the few little bright green leaves are trying desperately to get some face time, but they're losing the battle.

I've always been drawn to this color. When I go shopping, even today, if I see this color on a rack, it doesn't matter what it is -- my hand reaches out, driven by a subconscious force, to touch it. My first prom dress, junior year of high school, was this color.

I've seen pictures that show it's prom time yet again. It seems so long ago, yet I remember it like it just happened. I had a fantastic date (my gay ex-first-boyfriend) who picked me up in his convertible. He adored that car, even with the top that wouldn't completely latch and the passenger-side window that wouldn't close and slanted out of alignment into the door. I had to ride with my head practically on his shoulder so as not to mess up my first-ever professional updo.

I haven't talked to him in years. Last I knew, he was loving life in California, hoping to finally make it onto American Idol.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR with 60mm macro lens, 1/125s, f/2.8 at ISO 200. Natural light, in shade at about 7:00 p.m.

Monday, May 12, 2008

59/365 Wildlife

We've found this brave little squirrel running along the deck rail several times this spring.

When I think of brave squirrels I remember those that frolicked around campus when I was in college. They ran amongst hundreds of students on their way to and from class every day, so they'd become quite used to humans.

My favorite running path ran along a canal on the back side of campus. About a mile into the run, I'd have to slow down and look up into one particular walnut tree where the squirrels loved to hang out.

I started being cautious of that tree because one afternoon I nearly ended up with a concussion. Why? The squirrels were lobbing walnuts out of the tree onto the path. And when fresh walnuts the size of golf balls plummet toward the ground... they hit hard.

I'll give the squirrels the benefit of the doubt and assume they weren't throwing walnuts AT people... but after that I always made sure to look overhead before passing.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR on Program setting, 1/320s, f/7.1 at ISO 200.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

58/365 Lilacs

The south side of our property is actually an old abandoned railway. It's just a wooded tree line now.

It has proven especially useful in one particular way: Plant I.C.U.

When a bush, flower, or tree in our yard appears to be suffering (and is still a manageable size), it gets moved to the tree line.

The first few relocations were just done in a last ditch effort. But when each plant that had been on its last leg (root?) started thriving in its new location, we dubbed it I.C.U.

These lilacs came from a bush that lives in I.C.U. It still isn't chock full of blossoms, but it bloomed enough this year for me to clip a small bouquet. They smell heavenly!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR with a 60mm macro lens: 1/30s, f/2.8 at ISO 400. In natural light, by a window, at approximately 6:15 p.m.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

57/365 Buster and Mr. Bee

Buster loves using the stairs for manipulating his [victims] playmates.

This morning he combined that with another of his favorite games, which consists of stealing something small -- socks, rolls of toilet paper, stuffed animals, whatever he can grab -- and tearing around the house with it.

I have a teddy bear dressed in a bumble bee costume that lives on a bookshelf in my room. It's one I don't care about, so I make it accessible for him, always in the same spot, so he'll choose it over anything else at his level.

This morning Buster first ran upstairs and got Mr. Bee (that's his name, of course). But rather than run downstairs with it so we'd chase him, he instead brought it to the top of the stairs and dropped it.

Then he reached down to the step where poor Mr. Bee lay face down, suffering at the hand of his captor, and he pushed him farther down the stairs.
And then he invited us to try rescuing Mr. Bee.
So what did I do? Rescued Mr. Bee and took him back to his usual spot on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, ready to be kidnapped again tomorrow.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR on Program setting at ISO 200.

Friday, May 9, 2008

56/365 The joy of a hula hoop

When I was a kid I had a pink hula hoop that had a ball inside, so when you hulaed it made noise. I was a pro at working the hoop up to my neck, down to my waist, around my knees, but I never did get the hang of doing it Skip-It style.

A friend of mine at work has been belly dancing for years, and she uses hula hoops at practice. She had two in her car today and brought them into work. And who was the first to get conned into trying it?

The CEO.

So of course I had to take his picture.

Aside from being a really entertaining distraction, I had more fun after this picture was taken when everyone dispersed again. Our analyst is a young woman who moved here from India about two years ago, and she'd never seen a hula hoop before. So a couple of us taught her to do it -- and she was a complete natural! She picked it up on her first or second try. I was really impressed because a lot of people never can get the hang of it.

The joy on her face was priceless and made my day.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000

55/365 Reading and waiting

Last night, to celebrate Chase's final night before he drove off into the sunset (for the summer), we got out of the house and went to dinner. Mom and I were ready to go at 6:45, as planned... but then 7:15... and 7:45 rolled around with no sign of Chase.

Mom and Buster made a nice picture in the chair by the window while they were waiting, so I snatched it when she wasn't paying attention. It's a little dark because it was approaching 8:00.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/30s, f/4.0 at ISO 1600.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

54/365 A little laughter to break up the day

What do you get when you combine the goofy "sunglasses" you get at the optometrist after you get your eyes dilated, safety goggles, and the relief of ending a long meeting talking about statistics and data?


It's not one of my more technically challenging or thoughtfully composed photographs, but it made me laugh! We haven't had much laughter at work recently, so a little silliness was much appreciated this afternoon.

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD1000 under fluorescent lighting.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

53/365 Ice, Ibuprofen and new helmets

I've been talking about our preparation for next week's trail ride for a while now. After a successful ride on Sunday, Tina invited us to come over to her house as much as possible this week to practice practice practice and work with the girls, whether she was home or not. So Mom and I checked the weather forecast and decided that Monday evening would be one of two nights at Tina's this week.

We loaded the girls right after I got home from work and headed to Tina's. We rode them in her round pen for a while, and since they were doing SO well, we decided it was time to step up the challenge and take them out into the open to ride.

This area that Tina has is great because it's soft dirt and there is plenty of room for several people to ride at a time. On one side is a fence, one is a barn and driveway, one is the round pen and the fourth side drops off down a hill to a valley where she keeps her horses.

And it's a steep hill.

I got off Oprah to open the gate and let us out of the round pen, and Mom stayed on Shep and rode her out to the pad. She could tell Shep was a little anxious being out in the open because every time she cued her with her heel to turn, Shep broke into a trot instead.

I got Oprah to the pad and was working on getting her to stand still so I could get back on when I heard Mom saying, "Whoa... Whoa... Whoa!" I looked over and Shep was doing a fast trot down into the grass and was heading straight for the drop off, with Mom sliding off of her sideways.

I saw Mom hit the ground on her side and hit her head, and I started to run to her, but I realized I needed to put Oprah somewhere so I could focus on Mom.

So I put Oprah by herself in the round pen, then by the time I got back to Mom she was up on her feet. I made sure she was okay, then I ran after Shep, who was down the hill with her head over the fence meeting Tina's horses nose-to-nose.

Every time I got within four feet of Shep, she kicked up her heels and took off again. I tried to get to her before she got her feet tangled in the reins, but I didn't make it. She didn't trip or injure herself, but she did get caught and broke through the reins.

She ran back up the hill, I ran after her, and the only way I caught her was after I cornered her and was finally able to clip a lead rope to her bridle and lead her back to the round pen.

By that time, Tina had returned home, walked over to us and said, "What happened?!" She said she knew something was up when she saw Oprah in the round pen by herself, Mom standing outside of it, and Shep and I nowhere in sight.

Mom could hardly walk by the time we got home. She said she knew Shep was anxious, but it wasn't until Shep completely stopped listening to her and started heading for the hill, and no correction was working, that she knew she had to think quickly. She knew that trying to ride Shep down the hill could be incredibly dangerous for both of them, so she bailed as fast as she could.

Mom went to the chiropractor this morning to get checked out. Thankfully nothing is broken, but she did jar her tailbone over into her right hip. The chiropractor was able to realign everything, told her to ice it on and off continually all day, and she'll be going back tomorrow and Friday.

It could have been much much worse. We decided that Shep, at the very least, isn't ready for a week-long trip, so we'll be postponing our maiden voyage. We think the only reason Oprah behaved, because she usually takes her cues from Shep, was because I wasn't riding her but was on the ground at her head and didn't give her time to think about freaking out when Shep took off.

So today's picture: ice, Ibuprofen, and my new helmet. We actually already had Mom's helmet here and ready for next week's ride, but we thought we'd be fine at Tina's without it. We ordered mine last week but it just arrived today. We'll be wearing them from now on!

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/125s, f/4.0 at ISO 200 in natural light at about 7:45 p.m.

52/365 Occasionally a lap dog

Well, we had quite an adventure with the horses last night. I'll tell you the story in my next post, because it works better with that photo.

Buster is not usually a lap dog. He'll sit next to you for hours, pressed up against your side, but he seldom sits on your lap. The only occasions are traditionally when either he doesn't feel well or if either Mom or I don't feel well.

He's especially in tune with Mom. Last night called for some lap-sitting.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR on Program setting, 1/15s, f/4.0 at ISO 1600 lit with a single fluorescent bulb.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

51/365 One flower, two faces

If you were an unknowing person looking at dandelions for the first time, and one was in its yellow blooming stage and the second was in this seed stage, if you didn't know any better, there's no way you'd think it was the same flower. Don't you think?

One is a vibrant yellow, with lots of petals on a broad blossom. The other is perfectly round, fluffy, somewhat translucent, and in the slightest breeze disintegrates and floats away.

Who'd have thought that one flower could adapt in such a way? Mother Nature amazes me yet again.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR, 1/250s, f/4.5, ISO 100 in natural daylight at about 7:30 p.m.

50/365 DDML and other fun freebies

I'm a Clinique makeup devotee. I have been for years. Not only do they have excellent products, but they offer something that snags me every time they do it:


I love the little bags they come in, and I love seeing what new treat will pop up in the latest "free gift." And since I've been buying Clinique for years and years, I have a LOT of these little freebies still sitting, waiting for me to try them out. You can count on the old standby, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion (or DDML, if you will), and at least one lipstick.

All of these pictured lipsticks actually belong to my mom. Can you tell which color she's actually worn?
Mom and I were actually in Sephora one time, daring to investigate other moisturizers besides DDML. A couple of sales girls snagged us "just browsing" and suffering from sticker shock, and when they asked Mom what moisturizer she uses, I swear it was like we had stepped into one particular episode of Sex and the City.

Remember the one with the Face Girl?

It happens at about 2:10 in this clip. See that face? That's what these sales girls did to us when they said, "Oooh. DDML," and shook their heads like we were Carrie Bradshaw.

We walked out, turning down their $75 bottles of "the good stuff" and still laugh about it every time we get our new Clinique freebies.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR with macro lens. 1/30s, f/2.8 at ISO 400 in natural light at about 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

49/365 Crab apple tree

On Friday I actually had enough time to get outside and photograph this crab apple tree before I went to work. It, like the redbuds, is gorgeous right now. For the longest time it only had its green leaves and tiny red buds, but the buds burst open overnight one day this week and are beautiful.

I get up at the same time every day for work, no matter the season -- but in the spring and summer, I always have more time to get ready. I think the main reason is because in the spring and summer, you have fewer items of clothing to put on. My office is fairly casual, so my standard spring/summer outfit is a skirt, top, and sandals. But in the winter, I have to worry about hose or socks, long johns, a top, a sweater, coat, scarf, gloves, boots and extra shoes if it's snowing or icy... so I end up with 5-10 minutes less time and am hurrying out the door.

The reasonable thing to do would be to get up 5-10 minutes earlier to compensate for it. Do I? No way! Instead I just pine for these days when I can just slide on sandals and go -- and have enough time to step outside for a quick photo, too.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR, 1/60s, f/4.5 at ISO 400 in natural light under overcast skies at 7:00 a.m.

48/365 One of my least favorite chores

Hand-washing dishes is one activity that I have never enjoyed. When I buy new containers, water bottles, anything, the first thing I look for are those two glorious words: "dishwasher safe." And the one thing I dislike more than hand-washing dishes at home is hand-washing dishes at work. I make my lunch self-contained and take it in containers that I can eat right out of and take home (to be put in the dishwasher, of course).

It falls right up there at the top of the list with ironing and scrubbing the tub on my Least Favorite Chores list. I don't know why exactly I don't like it... maybe because I never feel like I can get it as clean as the dishwasher can, and that gives me the heebie-geebies.

What's on my Favorite Chores list? Laundry. I do everyone's each Sunday. I like sorting it beforehand into piles by color and type. I love having enough clothes to do a full load and not have to set them aside to wait until later in the week. And I like getting ALL of it done in one day.

Camera: Canon Rebel DSLR 1/60s, f/4 at ISO 800 under a single fluorescent light.