Friday, September 30, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 30 - Me a Month Later

It's me, 30 days later. Same spot in are yarden and H snapped this one as he headed back to work. He flew home from Detroit last night, to help our babysitter with the kids, so I could go to a concert. What can I say, he loves his job and he loves me and sometimes it takes alot of juggling to make all the parts fit.

I have loved this challenge. It was fun, inspiring and it sometimes made me work hard.

While I am not going to try and repeat this challenge in October, I am toying with the idea of doing a picture a week or something... it gives the day focus, something to point my creativity towards.

I need to look back through my photos - I am not sure I have a favorite. How about you? Which photo is your favorite?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

30 Day Photo Challage - Day 29 Clouds

I tried to get cloud pictures today. They either did not come out well or were full on overcast and wait, pouring down rain!

So for those of you who have been waiting for Iceland pictures. I am going with a fantastic picture of Gullfoss. The approach and the parking area are underwhelming but then, then you hear the rush of water and feel the mist and then you see views like this...

Th clouds are amazing. You can view the falls from three levels and this is mid range. I remember thinking the clouds were very low, but they weren't, we were just climbing higher and higher.

I love these kinds of clouds, followed by the angry gray violet ones you see in the spring. When I was younger I used to lay in the grass and watch the clouds and think about what they looked like. Or I would swing on the swings trying to go as high as possible, hoping to touch the clouds. One of the best things about H learning to fly a small plane, when we were first married, is the clouds. I finally got to be up close and personal with the clouds.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

While everything might seem legit...

H and I were busy today, minding our business and tackling house projects, planning a nice lunch out, when bang, bang, bang - this horrible noise shook the pipes in the basement.

I was downstairs hanging laundry and yelled up at him to go see what was causing that banging outside. It was a random guy. This random guy told H he was surveying the gas lines.

H came in to call the gas company.

I marched outside and told the guy he cannot be on my property without first knocking on the door and introducing himself and telling he plans to bang the shit out of my gas meter.

He informed me if he had to knock on everyone's door he wouldn't get anything done.

I told him he had no right to be assaulting my property with my permission and he needed to move it along.

At no point in time did he offer to show either H or I his ID or his work orders. His truck is basically a beater with stick on signs.

No PUCO permit numbers, no phone number... not helpful in the verification process at all.

H held with Columbia I am a Pain in the Ass, oops I mean Gas Company for a bit but when he found out it was going to be a 30 minute wait and the guy had left, he hung up. I posted the above photo to the Homeowner's Association Facebook page and tried to google his company. I contacted a company from Fairfield, Ohio who while they have the same name ARE a different company, as they sent a guy out to check on us. He also saw this truck in the neighborhood and assured me my random guy was not with them. This is a good company folks - they were genuinely worried one of their employees had gone rogue... They get an A+ in customer service from me, and let's face it, I seldom hand those out.

This made me feel worse NOT better.

I tried again to find a number for the "Premier Utility Services", who visited my house today. No luck. I nosed around the BBB, PUCO and Columbia Gas's website. Nothing. No mention of a project in this area, nothing.

As I left the development to run errands, I spot the truck and I stop and take more photos. (I love my iPhone. It's camera is powerful.)

Then at my mom's, I try yet again to locate a phone number for this company. Nada.

I then called the police and file a report. What other resources did I have. He was behaving in a suspicious manner. He offered no ID, no work orders and no project specs and fled when I ordered him off my property. You hear about these scams all the time. People posing as utility workers, who aren't. The PUCO did a public service campaign urging people to only allow people with IDs into their homes and onto their properties.

Just tonight a Facebook friend posted that her neighbor's A/C unit was ripped off their house, leaving all sorts of exposed and live wires. Who is to say this guy was not casing my gas meter, with designs on stealing it for its metal content.

It really would have been so much easier had this guy been polite, knocked on our door, warned us he was going to be making some noise as he surveyed the gas lines. (Maybe he could have explained why and how one surveys gas lines. Please if you know, the comments are open.)

I am not holding my breath, that I will ever really know if this guy was legit or not. I have alerted the authorities. I am sharing my story in order to alert other people near and dear to me, I have photos. Should the PUCO, Columbia Gas, or the police contact me, I will gladly share my photos.

If my gas meter malfunctions, I have proof that it was not H or I who messed with it, I can prove that I attempted to verify with the proper people, who was messing with my meter. Columbia, I am a Pain in the Ass, I mean Gas Company cannot pin this on us.

It just isn't good business to enter someone's property and then do stuff with their gas meter - without telling them first. On so many levels this guy was raising suspicions and making it appear that he was not legit. So it is one of two things - he is legit but very poorly trained, employed by a company with zero interest in customer care OR he is not legit and I hope he gets caught, before he hurts himself or someone else.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 28 - Incorporate Motion

L has been chomping at the bit for this one.
Her BFF has a trampoline. They bounce endlessly. Sometimes they include E.

I told L, we would use the trampoline as part of today's picture. It took some doing, as I had to get them to line up and then start jumping at the same time. After taking a number of shots, I called time. L's BFF is still confused as to what exactly we were up to, E was upset, his feet were cold and together L and her BFF selected today's picture. Notice they are the ones in motion.

A fun, if not soggy and slightly maddening exercise.

Again, both kids were excited to be part of the challenge and fun. I cannot believe we only have 2 more pictures to go... time flies...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 27 - Natural Light

This is one of those once in a lifetime photos! I saw a Monarch butterfly while watching the kids play in the Kinderplatz at Oktoberfest and followed it. Then I watched and waited. I got lucky!

Full on midday sun doesn't get more natural than that.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bonus Music Monday: Shiny Toy Guns - Rainy Monday

a bonus track - for this rainy, rainy Monday!

Music Monday: California Dreaming, The Mama's & The Papa's

The Autumnal Equinox was Friday. I happen to love fall. I love the crisp mornings, beautiful changing leaves, apples, pumpkins, bonfires. You name it.

As we walked to school Thursday morning, E holding my hand and chattering, he says: "Man I just don't like fall."

I asked him why and told him how I loved fall.

"I don't like fall, because it just means we are a few months closer to winter. And I really don't like winter."

He pauses.

And adds - "You don't like winter either."

And he is right, I am not a fan of Old Man Winter.

But I sure do like fall.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 26 - Playing with Shadows

I took this shot the same day I took Day 4. It was early evening and the sun was too our backs. It makes us appear larger than life.

I tried to take our pictures yesterday, but it was middle of the day and the sun was right overhead, not a shadow to be found.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 25 - Anything I want

I didn't take a picture today, it was a rainy soccer game and then a long day of errands and cooking.  So I asked H - creepy or pretty and H went with creepy. Actually, this one is pretty to in its own way. I snapped this one a few weeks ago. This guy was busy building an amazing web. I like spiders. They don't bother me at all. They prey on other insects, which do bother me more.

H loves Halloween. Actually we all do! We are Halloween crazy here. H and I dress up for trick - r - treat! Not sure what I will do this year, but I am currently considering my options.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 24 - Color Scheme

L is the color queen of our house. She can mix patterns and colors and create amazing outfits that no one else would ever think of, me included.

So tonight, I mentioned I was stumped again. I really don't have a favorite or signature color and most of our house trends towards neutrals, as H is not at all into bold color.

When I was working, it was very conservative. I had a closet full of very nice, very tailored and very boring suits. Navy, black, brown, grey, navy, black, did I mention black? I could have moonlighted as an undertaker without a problem.

Now though, I can experiment with colors. I have gone a little crazy with colors lately too. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

All of these items were in my closet and while I can assure you, I would never wear them all together, I am equally confident that L would totally pull off the combination flawlessly.

Friday, September 23, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 23 - Childhood Memory

This one stumped me. Last week I thought about paying my hometown a visit. Surly I could find a memory or two there. Last week came and went and no trip.

Tonight on the way to dance lessons I was talking to L about tomorrow's challenge and how I thought I might have to sit it out. She says, "Oh come on Mom, you have lots of stuff from your childhood. Wait, remember that strange pink doll, I have that. See even I have a piece of your childhood."

Later I was cleaning up the kitchen and the kids were snacking and L says, "So how you gonna stage today's picture?" (Stage? my 9 year old used the word stage...)

I said I hadn't decided. E volunteers, "I think it would be cool if you did it like an I Spy picture."


So after bed time, I rounded up some items and staged and I Spy type photo. Can you guess which items are which???

Recycled quilt, a new life to something old before even recycle was a hot shot buzz word.
Souvenir from my 1st trip to Germany
Statue from the site of a bit of France, right here in Ohio.
A high school honor
L's bit of my childhood
A weird memento with an even weirder tag
A knotty endeavour
Something made by my great-grandfather
Pink memories - Snaps before digital

I bet if I was willing to hunt and dig out more, I have more items I could have put in this picture but I think this is a good sampling and representative of a number of years of my childhood.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 22 Somebunny I love...

I tweeted a few days ago:

I must confess, I am in love with His Royal Hoppiness. 

That is what I call Truffles. Well among other terms of endearment anyway. He really is a great little guy. Good company, relatively easy to get along with. L does a great job of caring for him. She reads to him, carefully picking "good fit books" for him. Nothing scary, no books with dogs or attack cats. She brought home a book about rabbits from the library just for him.

When Miss T gave him up, she sent all his stuff. His brushes, blankets, treats, house, play structure and his sweaters. Yes, His Royal Hoppiness's has sweaters. It has been too warm for him to get all decked out, but as the air gets chillier, L has been dying to play dress up.

This morning, she dressed him in the better fitting sweater. While Truffles will sit still as a stone and let her dress him, between you and me, he is not a fan of his sweater. I think he thinks it is old fashioned and not nearly trendy enough for him. He is a metro kind of guy. Furthermore, his coat, is exceptionally soft and plush. He already has the pimp daddy of coats, so is a knit sweater really what he needs, probably not.

But around here, the rule is, if you have it, you need to wear it. I make L wear a dress and a skirt once a week and I guess that means His Royal Hoppiness better get used to his sweater sessions.

He is handsome, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 21 Sunset

Last week there was a lovely sunset, did I take a photo, oh no, I was committed to shooting my photos in the 24 hour period. (Sometimes I have the best the ideas...)

So tonight, as we finished up dinner on the deck, I shot some pictures. It isn't sunset in the classic sense - but it will have to do. We are down hill and behind trees and it was as close to sunset as I was going to get on this partly to mostly cloudy day.

I like the effect, but I would have liked a real sunset, rich with pinks and oranges, but this challenge is about being in the moment. Here is my moment from last night.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 20 Anything I want

Having given myself permission to break my own rules, today I am featuring a picture I took last week at the farmers market. I drive by the cemetery and I see this riot of beautiful yellow flowers. It was rainy and overcast and this burst of color was unexpected.

I often wonder why do we associate flowers with death? Or is it that flowers at funerals or in cemeteries are there to remind us of life?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Monday: Porno for Pyros

In college I did not like this song at all.

Last week when it came on the radio I listened all the way through.

I am not sure this has any great meaning or was a cosmic sign, I did however catch myself thinking: "back in the day, you would have switched the station right away." I guess maybe it made me think of the summer, I spent sitting night time bell desk, the long days with the kids I adored, lazy, hazy Sundays spent in the library or coffee house to get some relief from sultry summer.

Maybe it is because we have two incredible pets, which make us all very happy.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 19 Landscape

One would think on a road trip I might have been able to capture a decent landscape shot, but in my defense it was a road trip with friends, all together we were 3 adults, 4 kids under the age of 10 and two vehicles. Work in a power shopping trip to IKEA. So you know, it is what it is. I have a great shot of some pillows and one slobbery baby. Landscapes, not so much.

I took a few shots when we stopped at a rest area, but they are not post worthy.

So I am breaking my rule and posting something I shot this summer, when I first had the iPhone. I love this shot. I took this picture after a meeting in German Village. I took it just because. I saw something and I took a picture. I do this alot.

As much as I love a good field, a rural landscape or even a forested one, I am always drawn to the urban green space, the edge where man made messes with natural world.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Saturday, September 17, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 16 Street Lights

This one was a challenge. All the power lines are buried here in the burb. Our neighborhood relies on porch lights instead of street lights. If I had planned this one a little better, I could have taken a walk downtown or something but I didn't.

I was pondering my choices when as I walked home from taking the kids to school, I noticed the lights in the under the road bike tunnel. They are kinda cool. They have a cage around them and I think they are on most of the day.

Friday, September 16, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 16 Experimenting with light

Unlike some of the challenge days, when it turned out to be a sunny day, I knew exactly where I wanted to take today's picture. We have a large ash tree in our side yard. The kids and I sit under it alot. For picnics, to read, to rest after a long bike ride.

I knew this afternoon the light would be interesting. I was right. The sky is so blue, the leaves so green to green black and the late afternoon sun making rainbow halos.

(for those wondering, I lay down in the cool grass to get the shot I wanted.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 15 Anything I want

Let me start by saying these seem to be the hardest days. Anything I want. It is so daunting.

This is a dahlia from my yarden. I planted these bulbs this spring when I planted the glads. I planted them in a part of the yarden, where nothing and I mean nothing will grow. The bulbs weren't that expensive and I would like something to grow there, really I would. It took some time and I had the greens, but no buds. Then just this week - boom! We have buds and blossoms. Yeah! One last splash of summer color before fall.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 14 Focusing on eyes

(I took this picture using PhotoBooth on my MacAir - I did not photoshop this one at all...)

Today I have tired eyes and I took a rather long afternoon nap and now it is bed time, which is always a hectic time. I had thought about having H take some pictures of me, focusing on my eyes, but it didn't happen.

Then E reminded me I have a camera on my laptop. We took some photos of his eyes and then I decided to take some of my own.

H has dark brown eyes, as does my mother, and L and E. E's are the lightest of the brown eyes, with maybe a hint of hazel, which he gets from me. It is funny sometimes, my kids and H starring at me and it is spooky, the same brown eyes. My kiddos really do look like their father.

My eyes are well, colorful. Sometimes a grey blue, sometimes more greenish, sometimes hazel and sometimes an amazing variety of colors. They change with my mood.

Today my mood has been somber with a touch of sleepy.

I also like how this picture captures my nose ring. I love my nose ring. This picture also indicates that it is time for me to once again go have my eyebrows threaded.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 13 Photo Edit I Like

Unlike many of the folks in the challenge, I am not a photographer. I do not own a camera with changeable lens or one that requires film. Nor do I claim to have any photoshop skills whatsoever. None.

That said I do have an ascetic. I actually love photography as a medium. At the museum, I might well skip some classical painting in favor of some solid and artistic photography.

This is a squash/pumpkin blossom from my yarden. I just fired up the photoshop features on my new MacAir and played with it, until I liked it. Earlier to day I did the same on Instigram. I went with my photoshop picture.

I think, perhaps when the kids are older, I might well invest in a fancier camera and some photography classes. For now, I will stick with my digital point and shoot!

I love how the blue tone sets off the water and the edges and tips of the blossoms. (I must like blue, because for a time my Twitter Avatar was a picture of me with a blue wash to it. I had likewise manipulated the photo with photoshop to create an effect, which pleased me.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Music Monday AC/DC - Highway to Hell (bonus track - Muppets, Movin' Right Along)

My weekend was busy. Friday was the beginning of some fantastic running around in circles. On paper anyway. Friday morning I go out to my car and um, well, nothing doing. Just this clicking noise.

Thankfully, my mom was feeling up to a short drive and drove over in her car to my house. We hung out and then took the long way back to her house in her car.

H was out of town, so after a few voice-mails, we connected and decided I should try to jump the car.

Right, me, I should jump the car. Now I am not unable to do these tasks and I have jumped a car, years ago and I should also mention my current car is the first automatic I have driven. When one has a manual transmission, these issues are easier to deal with, I would have rolled down the driveway and bam - I would be off to the races.

So I did what I normally do - I did some research. I have long maintained that there is nothing you can't find on You Tube. I have learned to make a french seam, give myself weekly sub Q injections, make a Gnatt Chart, can and now jump a car, all by watching a variety of You Tube videos.

Then I googled, hoping for a nice blog post. Sometimes I do well watching how-to videos and sometimes it is more helpful to read through some well written instructions.

Lucky for me I found a decent blog post and then I went out to tackle the task.

First of all, the car is in the garage. I had to get it out of the garage. So I put her in neutral and pushed backwards gently. I also thankfully remembered to shut the door as we rolled back slowly, then less slowly and then I tapped the brakes as I eased us in to the grass.

Pulled my mom's car into position and followed the directions.

It didn't work.

I think the starter is kaput.

I was also done. I had already lost a huge chunk of my day to this process and I had other things to accomplish, during the precious hours the kids are in school. My mom was cool with me keeping her car for the weekend and I had exhausted my car maintenance skills.

On Friday afternoon, there is no point in rushing to a garage, no one can help, or it would have to wait until the next day. Plus I have no idea what is wrong and I know H will have some plan or idea what he wants to do. It can wait.

H called back and I told him what I was up to and that the car could stay where it was until he was back on Tuesday.

"The car is in the grass? You are going to leave the car in the grass for the whole weekend?"

Yes, yes I am. (And truly that is where the car sits as I type this.)

"H, grass is a weed, it will grow back. I am not worried."

Well H was worried.

"What will the neighbors think? I don't think they will be ok with this plan."

"Which neighbors Sweetie? The one who has the endless parade of bagsters in their driveway or the ones currently building an outdoor hockey rink in their back yard??"

Curiously he couldn't come back with much after this. This fact however did not stop him from trying!

Later in the day he calls back, he had a plan. I should enlisted my neighbors to help me push the car back into the garage.


Then it got really crazy.

"When the babysitter comes over, you should have him sit in your car, put it in neutral, and then you should pull your mom's car behind your car and push it into the garage."

Um, hell no.

So I replied, "Sweetie, the car stays in the grass until your ass is back in town."

So for now, I am happily on the road in my mom's car and I am confident, that in a day or so I will be once again, happily moving right along in my car.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 12 Same picture different light

It was an overcast day and this is Mr. Owlie in the late afternoon. He was cranky, cuz I woke him up but that is just the way it is.

And here he is after hours and ready to party. He was not pleased he had to wait for the evening photo opt. But again, that is just the way it is buddy.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 10 Anything I want

We are gearing up for a very busy weekend. I was thinking about what I could photograph today. More pictures of my volunteer squash, gourds and pumpkins? Maybe something else still blooming in the yarden.

I had thought about trying to sneak a picture of my mom today. She and I had planned to run some errands. She hates having her picture taken.

Long story short, I got back from walking the kids to school and took care of some tidying and jumped in the car. Nada! Nothing. Wouldn't start more correctly it wouldn't turn over, there was power - cuz the radio came on.  So I called my mom and she drove over. She isn't driving much these days and the drive over was taxing, so we were relaxing in the morning room, because I still don't have new family room furniture, when I looked out the window and saw this.

All this chaos this morning and here, sunning his wings on my deck is a beautiful butterfly.

I had to wait a bit, to catch him with his wings open. Even through the window, we can see how pretty he is. To think he is migrating south. Such a long distance those beautifully fragile wing are about to fly.

Friday, September 9, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 7 From a Distance

This was harder with my iPhone. In case I haven't mentioned it, I am taking all my photos with my iPhone. (Unless I say differently. Later in the challenge I may try photo booth on my new Mac! But for now I am using my iPhone.) I have a great little Cannon Sure Shot, which I love  - but I decided this month, I would shoot my challenge pictures with my iPhone.

While I got a couple really interesting shots today, I am going with the one I set out to do... I think the effect is kinda cool and it is a place I go often.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 7 Close Up

I had a meeting in German Village yesterday and snapped this picture. Amazing the bright colors that lead us into fall.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 7 Silhouette

This one was hard. The kids wanted to help and they really want their pictures on my blog. In general, I am very careful about posting their pictures anywhere, I cannot control who sees it. Call me crazy or worse but that is how I roll.

My little people however are big hams. They love - LOVE - LOVE to have their pictures taken.  L routinely poses and E will sometimes coyly pose for snapshots.

I told them tonight before bed they had to help me with this. Finding a good spot, with the correct back lighting was challenging. This picture was their idea, I have a few others which are ok, but this one is the cutest and the tightest shot I got. They decided to link arms and make a "W" or a "M" or as E put it, pretend to be a spider, see, he explained, we have eight legs...

This is a time where I think I needed more time to plan and experiment and perhaps have another adult on hand to help with the staging of my photo, but on the other hand this challenge is about capturing the here and now and here today, right now, it is bed time and it is the little people, me and my iPhone.

I give you the Silhouette Spider.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 6 from a low angle

This has intrigued me since they built it this summer. I missed the dedication, so I have no idea exactly what it is or what is going on.

Any guesses where or what it is? I will let everyone know tonight, via comment!

(also for any doubters out there, I laid on the ground for this one! Have the leaves in my hair to prove it. And I had hoped for some better light, but just like I tell the kids - you get what you get and you don't throw a fit.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Music Monday: Vampire Weekend Oxford Comma

I think commas get the short end of the grammatical stick.

Case in point the Oxford Comma, also known as the serial comma, is a topic of much debate among writers, editors and the like. As a typist, I tend to skip the Oxford Comma in favor of less key strokes, but when I write long hand, I include it, it is more elegant.

I think it is useful when making a long list, let's face readers are not superheros and they do need a breath from time to time. Our story, its essence, its substance should leave them breathless, not our grammatical choices or omissions.

I had to laugh the other night as L's teacher spoke to us at the open house. The school distract has adopted a new word study program and one of its chief goals and to teach parts of speach and word usage.


L struggles with Mad Libs, because they teach writing and reading and spelling in an "organic" way that things like grammar and language arts gets lost somewhere. This makes me sad. As a poet I enjoy knowing the rules - SO I CAN BREAK THEM. Furthermore, I am a lousy editor, but I do know the rules. I spent much of my school years diagramming sentences in more than one language. I enjoyed that practice.

Never mind that as my junior year English teacher blabbered on about "comma splices" and and the "eternal run on" it went over me head, I do hear him still today. Knowing the rules has value. Language is often just a set of generally adhered to conventions. It changes over time, commas come and commas go.

Last night I was looking at the old typesets in a vintage store and marveling, that used to be someone's job - to look at a text and painstakingly prepare a mirror image. Can you imagine? Now I often don't even bother with a paper draft, I just take it from my head to the screen. No editor, typesetter, copy editor, nothing.

On one hand that ups the intimacy, there are less filters. It also increases the chances for misplaced or omitted commas.

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 5, anything I want

I thought about using something I already had but then decided, no, this challenge is about the here and now. I will only use, pictures I have taken within the 24 hours prior to posting.

This personal limitation made it a bit challenging, but it forced me to think outside the box and take some pictures and be creative while wandering Gallery Hop.

Friday, September 2, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 2 What I wore today

Olive capris, black French Connection Blouse (one of my summer favs), new chinese Zodiac bracelet (L has a matching one), earrings from Iceland, the necklace I made with my book club and my wedding ring.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

30 Day Photo Challenge: Day 1 Me

This is the first of 30! If you want to play along, go visit Allie's blog.

I took some poetic license. H and I had just biked back from a meeting at the kids school, the early evening light seemed perfect and he was here, which is rare. It is rare to have him available to take a picture of me.  As we got started Snicker's showed up. She really wanted in on the game, so I included her.

For Day 1, I give you Me, with Snickers.