I've been enjoying the fragrance of the lilacs that took forever to bloom this year.
Growing up in Massachusetts, the lilacs normally didn't bloom until late May, around my birthday, so I always thought of them as my birthday flower. Back then, the standard, "old fashioned" lilacs were widely planted - you know, those tall, towering bushes on the side of the house, laden heavy with clusters of lavender flowers. Often though, the bushes would mature and rendered themselves too large for the space they were planted in - after all, a fully grown standard lilac spans 12 feet tall with a 10 feet spread. So many a mature lilac bush ended up being replaced with something smaller.
For our current home, I knew we didn't have space for such a large bush, so I opted for a more petite, dwarf Japanese variety, Miss Kim. Their only drawback is the small size of the florets.
But they give off that same wonderful, lush fragrance. Maybe one day, I'll have a proper spot for a standard lilac. For now, I'll enjoy the delicate blooms and fragrance that says "Spring is Here".
Wishing those in the US a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
I've been enjoying the fragrance of the lilacs that took forever to bloom this year.
My daughter calls this Caesar's dirty side because of the dirt on on his side. As a non-horsey person, I didn't notice. I did notice the tongue sticking out, but I guess that's not hard to miss!
And apparently, this is his clean side.
Even though Caesar is officially half Appaloosa and half Quarter Horse, the Appaloosa is certainly dominant, from the white "blanket" on his hind quarters, to his stubby tail and non existent mane. It's time for him to get a mane buzz.
Last week, Sherry at From All Directions posted a photo of a new filly born at the barn.
And Denise at Autumn Sky Ranch posted photos of her life long love of horseback riding.
I wish you a wonderful Wednesday. Please continue to keep the folks in Oklahoma in your thoughts and prayers as they deal with the aftermath of the tornado from Monday.
While the spotlight is on the band on stage, people behind the scenes allow their music to be enjoyed to its fullest.
During Saturday's performance, the stage lost power twice, reducing the show to a dim whisper. The sound / tech guy above restored things within a minute and got the band rocking again.
Likewise, Lightroom is my behind the scenes partner who helps me adjust my images to reflect what I saw as I depressed the shutter. It is an invaluable tool.
Because I don't always get it right in the camera - as you can see in the image below.
Yeah, under exposed. Auto White Balance didn't quite "get it right". It's especially tricky when shooting at night.
Fortunately, it didn't take much to fix it. Here are my simple edits in Lightroom's Develop Module:
Basically, a significant exposure increase, a highlights decrease (because the exposure increase caused the whites to be too bright) and a shadows increase.
I set a custom White Balance by using the eye dropper and clicking on a spot that should be mid gray / white. I chose the computer screen in the picture and was happy with the result.
In addition to Lightroom 4, I also use an old-old version of PhotoShop Elements (version 6, from 2008) when I want to work with adjustment layers. I find between the two programs, I have all I need. With Adobe moving some of their software offerings to a subscription basis, I am thinking about buying the latest boxed version of PSE so I'll be current. So far, Adobe has stated that their Lightroom product will remain as a standalone purchase.
What editing tools do you use?
Shared with Tuesday Muse at A Rural Journal.
|The New Flickr - Hot Off the Press|
Hello Heat Wave and A/C | yup, we skipped spring and went straight to summer. It's been over 90 these last few days and the air conditioning is on. A few of my neighbors haven't succumbed to the heat - I see their windows wide open and wonder how they can stand it.
Hello Lilacs | You've finally bloomed and fill the air with your heady fragrance
Hello New Flickr | Wow - new look - I think I like it!
Hello Baby birds | A bird built a nest in our front door's hanging basket. This happened three years ago and the nest was abandoned. I surmised there was a new nest this season, as each time I opened the door, a bird would appear and fly away, but didn't dare peek in until last week. I saw three hungry mouths wanting to be fed. Since then, we have stopped using the front door. I still see momma and dad (the bird in the branches above) hanging around and flying around the door, so I'm hoping the babies are doing OK.
Hello Long Weekend | Memorial Day signifies the start of summer around here - the pools open and school is wrapping up.
Hello 46 | Yup, another year older for me. As I was telling my bloggy friend and fellow runner, Kyla, my mind certainly doesn't feel over forty, but my ligaments and tendons are starting to reveal that they are. I'm still nursing my right ankle, but hoping to getting back to running later on this week or next. Could it be that in my older age, I'm becoming more patient? I doubt it.
hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.
Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun
After my last post, I thought I'd post more photos of people dancing again to 80's music!
No, not more grainy, retro photos scanned from my college years but photos from our neighborhood's block party. The festivities last night didn't disappoint - the weather was perfect, we brought our lawn chairs and a couple of beers and the band provided the music, entertainment and memories from our high school and college years.
They are called The Brat Pack - they bring back all those killer songs from the 80s and sprinkle in some recent hits, too.
Case in point - the main singer is dressed up as Lady Gaga here:
That was early in their three hour set, full of energy, numerous costume changes and great music.
It wasn't until darkness settled in that the crowd started to dance in earnest, though. Why is that?
Each band member has an 80s "alter ego" - these two are Lynn D Lauper and Brendan Goes to Hollywood. Kitschy, right? Just like the 80s.
The bassist was my favorite - she was having a great time kicking it all night long.
They had a fabulous light show which is always fun (and a bit challenging) to photograph.
The Brat Pack plays all around Central Illinois and even our old stomping ground in Indiana. We hope the neighborhood gets them back next year!
|Dancing Out, The Night Before Graduation - 1989 - And That's Not Me in the Photo ....|
I admit it - my college years were lots of fun. And hard work. Lots of problem sets, long nights (I only pulled one all-nighter and that was towards the tail end of my senior year - I couldn't go through four years at MIT and not have pulled a least one all nighter - heck, they could refuse me my college diploma!), hard work and more hard work.
I know my parents read my blog (Hi Mom!), so of course I'm going to illiterate the long hours and hard work because I don't want them to feel all stressed our about my college years that were so long ago. I turned out OK regardless, so I guess it's OK for them to know now that I did have a good time at school, too.
In spite of the all the hard work, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize, party and DANCE. Things were quite loose back then - alcohol flowed freely and underage drinking was not frowned upon or policed. My perception of the situation - we were smart enough to get into MIT, we were probably responsible enough to have alcohol, regardless of the law. Remember, this was 1985 - the legal drinking age had just been raised from 18 to 21 in 1984, so there were old practices to change.
OK, this was not meant to be a blog post about drinking in college.... I did drink in college - there, I said it (sorry if I just blew anyone's perception of me). So I'm moving on to the music that defined my college party years, because that's really what differentiated those years.
Part One - The Classic Party Dance Music - stuff that's been out for years:
You Make Me Wanna (Shout) by the Isley Brothers
This classic dance song still delivers and brings people on to the dance floor. Even the moves have been passed down through the years (the hands up at "shout", shimmying down to the floor during the "a little bit softer now" bits, then back up on the "a little bit louder now" and general jumping all up and down).
Here's the Animal House version, performed by Otis Day and the Knights. I don't know what could scream College Party scene better. I know this makes you want to get up and dance.
The Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Did I see the Rocky Horror Picture Show in College? You bet - at the Harvard Square Theatre, where it played every Saturday at midnight. Yes, people dressed up and re-enacted the movie as it was happening on the screen. We threw toilet paper, brought squirt guns and danced in the aisles. Fun times.
Twist and Shout by the Beatles
This song was experiencing a bit of a renaissance after it was featured in the movie, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Does it still attract people to the dance floor now? Not sure, but it was always a crowd pleaser during my college years.
Part Two - Dance Music of the 80s:
Call it New Wave or pre-electronica, these songs defined the era:
Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood
Nothing transports me back faster to the dance floor than this pulsing electronica song.
Another similar electronica song, You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) by Dead or Alive
Of course, you have to spin around on the dance floor during the chorus.
New Sensation by INXS
This one is more rock than new wave, but it makes my list because I remember dancing to it - there's something about that opening guitar riff that gets people moving. And I'm pretty sure it's the song we're dancing to in the photo above.
I Want Your Sex by George Michael
Off his first solo album, Faith, this song's titillating subject and lyrics certainly raised eyebrows at the time. OK, it would raise eyebrows now, too. The risque subject coupled with electro pop made it fun to dance to.
What's On Your Mind (Pure Energy) - Information Society
More synth pop from the late 80s - you can't help but bop along with it - it's infectious!
I'm sure there are so many more great songs from that era - I'd love to hear what your college dance soundtrack sounded like - add yours in the comments and dance on!
Other Soundtrack of My Life Posts:
The Early Years
The Middle School Years,
High School Anthems
a Cappella Songs.
Classical, Jazz and Show Tunes
looking out from the inside
looking out from the branches
i see you, but what do you see?
does anything look "off" in this photo?
it was taken on Mother's Day,
yes, the branches are bare,
when all should be green....
while i'm certain the tree is dead,
i'm glad i at least got to see
the bird looking out,
not looking at me
and so we're going to pick out another tree
from the local nursery