Team Up Thursday - Unplugged

Lee chose today's theme, a timely one in today's "always connected", 24/7, status updating, twittering society. Truthfully, I find it very hard to "unplug" - I am one of those addicted to the Internet and the information (or is it entertainment) it provides.

Lee took some time to unplug, read a book, journal some and take pictures.
I unplugged my laptop for the entire weekend - something I haven't done in, like, ever! [And I didn't use the battery, either. The laptop was OFF. And I survived!]

Team Up Thursday - Unplugged

Have you successfully unplugged from the constant stream of electronics use? I still think it is one of the hardest things to do nowadays!

Each Thursday, Lee and I create a diptych based on a theme. You can view the other great diptychs at the Team Up Thursday Flickr group.


200/365 - Sammy and Erica

We let Sammy out tonight, under strict observation and control of Erica. He would like to spend more time wandering about, but since he doesn't have any claws, we get nervous about it.


As I am writing this well after July 21, and since the picture was snapped, Sammy has slipped outside on several occasions. He got out Friday morning (July 23) and managed to terrorize Ralphie, our neighbor's cat. High diligence is required at all doorways, since he quickly maneuvers around our legs.


199/365 - Research

The time is quickly approaching, so I checked out some travel books at the library. I only plan to browse through the books and print some highlights off the Internet (ie - not taking the books with us on the trip - too bulky).

10.07.20 - Quick Research

Next on the agenda - some packing and last minute details.


Soft Rain Falling

Soft Rain

There will come soft rain and the smell of the ground,
And swallows circling with their shimmering sound

We received much needed rain last night and we listened to the sounds of it falling lightly on the roof, a nice rhythmic pitter-patter.


198/365 - Zucchini Pizza

Or courgette, as they say in the UK.

Erica requested tonight's dinner, but I'm hoping it will be just a small glimpse of near-future culinary adventures.

10.07.19 - Zucchini Pizza


197/365 - New Pillows

As I stated yesterday, Erica is on a room redecorating kick. She wanted new throw pillows and found these cute, brown polka dotted ones on the internet, only to find out they weren't available for purchase.

So, plan two - find something locally in a store. Visits to the various stores yesterday didn't yield anything she liked. But I suggested she could pick out some fabric and I would make her the pillows.

We found the same brown polka dotted fabric at Hancock Fabrics, and I spent several house cutting, piecing, ironing, pinning, then sewing the pillows.

Brown with Polka Dots

The finished pillows in her room:
10.07.18 - Custom Pillows


196/365 - Sun Through the Clouds

I spent most of today running the kids around in the hot, humid weather - to Hobby Lobby, then to the Bed Bath and Beyond, then to the Hancock Fabrics, and Target.
Erica is on a room redecorating kick, spurned on by my request for her to clean out her closets. Out came all the kids' books, her American Girl Dolls and several big boxes of stuff I forgot existed. I still don't know how it all fit in her room, either.

After all this shopping, Erica had to do more at the mall with one of her friends. It was after I picked her up that we caught this spectacular view of the sun through the clouds.

10.07.17 - Sun in Clouds

Maybe this spell of hot, humid weather is on it's way out....


SOOC Saturday - Unlikely Rainbow

The sun hit my glass of iced tea just right, I guess.

Unlikely Rainbow

Oh, and the iced tea wasn't in any ordinary glass, but in a Tervis Tumbler. I love those things!

I hope you find something unexpected this Saturday.


195/365 - Book Club Night

Our monthly book club night, held at Lisa's beautiful home. This month's book - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a book I read on my iPhone, a first for me. I had downloaded the Barnes and Noble eReader a long time ago, but never actually read anything on it. I enjoyed having the book available at all times and read it while we were on vacation.

10.07.16 - Book Club Selection

I now have the sequel, The Girl Who Played With Fire on my phone, too. I'll read it over the next several weeks.


The View When Stopped in Traffic

Summertime, and the inevitable road construction.
What? No orange cones or road work signs? That's because they are off to the right, and I chose to look out to my left to take some pictures. Because I was completely stopped.

Along the Highway

What to Capture When Stuck in Traffic

I might have to take the local highway instead of the Interstate Highway tomorrow. Then again, I might get caught behind a big combine then....


194/365 - 3 in 1 Creator Lego Set

We went to the store in search of two of those "saucer" type chairs for the kids. This is the perfect time to find them, with the "Back to School" sales starting to ramp up. We found several on-line, but the specific color / fabric combos were not available at the Bed Bath and Beyond or the Wal-Mart on the north side of town.

Instead, we ended up with another Lego set for Brian - I'm finding it a little hard to grumble about this one, though, as you get 3 possible Lego creations in one set of bricks - the sports car (Brian says it's a Ferrari - I'll have to take his word on it), an armored car (Brian calls it the Jeep) and a go-cart.

10.07.15 - 3 in 1 Lego Set

The sports car is finished, and the car is nice, with articulating doors, trunk and hood, along with V-8 engine. Pretty cool.


Team Up Thursday - Staying Cool

What do you turn to when the heat is on? Fortunately, we have air conditioning, but I remember growing up with fans. And plenty of cool, iced tea.

Team Up Thursday - Staying Cool

Every Thursday I team up with my friend, Lee. One of us picks a theme and we create a diptych.

You can view the other great diptychs at the Team Up Thursday Flickr group.


Watching the Waves Come In

This seagull was very protective of his driftwood perch - any time another bird flew by, he started to squawk.

Watching the Waves Come In

A cold front was whipping through the area, giving the normally calm lake some waves.


193/365 - Time to Water the Lawn

Even with a downpour yesterday, the lawn is still looking and feeling crispy. So out comes the sprinkler:

10.07.14 - Time to Water the Lawn


192/365 - Flower Blooms

The summer flowers are in full bloom, in fact, some of the flowers are suffering from heat stress due to the heat. Not the coneflowers, though.

Vintage Treatment


A Nice Fish For Dinner

I could see the ripples of fish surrounding this beautiful Egret in Lake Erie. He finally caught a bigger one, ate and shortly after, flew away.

Dinner Caught

I wish preparing dinner for me and my family was as easy. But then again, I can go to the supermarket if there isn't any food around.


191/365 - Home Sweet Home

I love coming home, even after a relaxing time away. The cats were happy to see us, and we were happy to see them.

10.07.12 - Good to Be Home

OK, I wish it had rained while we were away, the lawn is brown and crisp in parts, but I'm sure it will survive.


Silver Spatters

I meant to post this last week, but you know, vacation got in the way. Turns out it fits today's Daily Shoot Assignment - Focus on a fragment of an object today. Make a photograph that only shows part of an object, not the whole thing.

Silver Spatters

And here is the "whole thing":
Sliver Spray

Jordan, one of the summer students hired to paint at the factory. They were painting the fence with silver paint and getting it all over themselves. I walked by as they were going about their painting and had to get my camera out of my office.

And now I know why painters wear coveralls. Even as a bystander, I found myself spattered a bit with silver paint after the impromptu photo shoot.


Grandma's Collections

Some of Grandma Fay's collection of china and other glassware in her china cabinet. In previous years, I never would have thought to capture items like this, now I think differently.


Blue and White


190/365 - Jump In The Pool

The prerequisite for any hotel stay - the swimming pool! Better yet, a swimming pool they have all to themselves, the case here.


I seriously snapped 200 photos of the kids jumping in the pool. This one was my favorite.


189/365 - Monopoly Time

Uncle Jeff came over today and we played what must have been the longest Monopoly game in our family's history. Over 4 hours, with five players, two final winners (team of Scott and Grandma Fay) and two very stubborn runners up. We knew that Grandma had it wrapped up, but we still played on until the very bitter end. At one point, Grandma had to go out to retrieve dinner, so Scott filled in, creating a whole new dynamic to the game.

By the end, all the hotels were in use, with Scott / Grandma covering 5 monopolies. Brian hung on until the bitter end.

Playing For the Trophy

See, the race car wins!
The Race Car Won


SOOC Saturday - Daisies on the Counter


I'm off to enjoy a cool Saturday with family. I hope you enjoy yours, too.


188/365 - Beach Amusements

After our nice dinner in air conditioned coolness, a cold front whipped through the beach area, leaving behind the coolest temperatures we've seen in over a week.

We wandered along the beach amusement park, the kids rode some of those rickety rides and we went to play "Fascination", a cross between bingo and skee ball - roll the little rubber ball across the 5x5 game board. The ball will eventually drop into a hole and you need to get 5 across to win. Sounds easy, right? We didn't win a single game and we played 20 of them!

I love the game hall because of the old, worn wood, the old games and the overall antique feel. Like something out of the 70s.

Roll The Ball

Fascination Boards


Lots of White with Some Black

These caught my eye as we were pulling off the highway to get gas, and luckily, the truck pulling this flatbed of white shoes pulled into the same gas station.


I wasn't the only one taking pictures, either. The gas station attendant snapped a few pictures on his cell phone. The restaurant owner next door came over to do the same.

I guess a dozen life size white sneakers will do that to you.

And yesterday, I couldn't resist the optical illusion in the Mall restroom mirrors.

Mirrored Illusion


Late Fireworks

A little bit late, but a composite of two fireworks pictures I took on Sunday.

Red White and Blue Fireworks

I used a tripod, engaged the auto focus once, then switched to manual focus.
ISO 200
Aperture f10
Shutter Speed 4 seconds

I created the composite in PSE, using layers and layer masks. With the black background, it was rather easy to accomplish.

I hope your 4th of July holiday was a fun one.


187/365 - Clams

One our favorite "Grandma Dishes" - steaming hot mahogany clams with Italian sausage and tomatoes.

10.07.08 - Steamy Clams

Brian insisted I cook something similar last week, but we can't get good clams in Illinois, so I improvised with mussels instead. But today, we get the real thing.

And since it was so hot here, we went to the mall, where we helped Grandma NaiNai pick out a laptop, router and printer. Scott, Brian and NaiNai went to see Eclipse while Erica and I shopped. Or I should correct myself - Erica shopped. I hung out in her favorite store.

Doing Time in the Aeropostale


186/365 - Road Entertainment

On the road again, and the days of reading in the car, playing card games, or "I Spy" games are over. The electronic gadgets we can't do without (me included).

10.07.07 - Road Entertainment

Brian is playing pac-man on my iPhone. I had to pry it out of his hands so I could continue reading my e-book. Which was a favorable experience (reading the e-book, not prying the phone out of my son's hands...).


For Today - July 7, 2010

Outside my window….slow moving traffic on I-90 as we drive through Cleveland
I am thinking…maybe we shouldn't have left Cedar Point so early this morning
I am thankful for…a big truck that no one wants to hit as we weave through this traffic
From the kitchen…I think Grandma Fay is going to spoil us with ribs tonight
I am wearing…tan shorts and a light purple top.
I am creating … composite photos from Sunday night's fireworks ... They'll be uploaded as soon as I find Internet service for my computer
I am going…to enjoy our car ride to NY.
I am reading… “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, on my iPhone, using the Barnes and Noble e-Reader app.
I am hoping…that was the end of the congested traffic - we seem to be in the clear again, now that we're on the East side of Cleveland
I am hearing…the dim hum of the tires on the road, and the faint beating of Poker Face, from Erica's iPod.
Around the house…my 16x24 wrapped canvas from Hello Canvas arrived!
One of my favorite things…reminiscing as we drive through Cleveland - it's where Scott and I met
A few plans for the rest of the week…fun times visiting Grandma Fay, some golf and laptop shopping (for Grandma)

And here is a picture I am sharing today - a classic Cleveland fixture - Dead Man's Curve along I-90.


Day 185/365 - Thrill Rides

We are a family of thrill junkies. That's why we come here every year.

320 feet up the first hill.
320 feet up
I remember the first time I rode this one. I couldn't watch as we traveled up that first incline. I looked down into my lap. The ride up doesn't take long (thank goodness), because you are traveling up at something like 40mph!
Then the sensation of flying. Really.
The Millennium Force turns 10 years old this year. It's still a great ride.

Then this one. 410 feet high. 0-120mph in 4 seconds.
Future thrills
It will take your breath away. But the view from the top is beautiful, but too short. This year, Brian experienced the Top Thrill Dragster for the first time. I think he was shaky afterwards.

We also rode the Maverick twice and then the kids decided to go on a swinging rotating ride, MaxAir.
Kick The Sky
I think their feet are up there somewhere.
And I'll ride roller coaster after roller coaster, but I can't stomach the spinning, back and forth rides.


184/365 - Change of Scenery

Nothing like a nice change of scenery to refresh your mind and soul.

10.07.05 - Along the Beach


Grass and Sand

I don't care that the sand is imported in. It's smooth, soft and cool as I walked along the shore line this evening.

Grass Along the Sand

I hope you are having a wonderful evening, too.


183/365 - 4th of July Fireworks

We haven't been in town the last several years during the 4th of July. Last year, we spent the entire day at Cedar Point, from 9am until 1am the following day.

This year, we took things a little easier, hanging out at home and going out in the evening to view the local fireworks.

The city moved the fireworks display to the community college on the west side of town several years ago, where access to the venue is limited, resulting in horrible traffic at the end of the show. As a result, many of us set up camp a little bit away from the venue where the view was still decent, without the hassle of traffic congestion.

We were in the Schnuck’s parking lot.

Really, there’s a nice grassy area, so it was a nice way to view the fireworks. In fact, the place was packed with other spectators, so word had gotten out to the masses.

Jill brought sparklers that the kids ran around with.
Lit from One Another

These bad boys shoot out sparks. Always living on the edge, that Jill!
Sparks Fly Out

And we enjoyed the fireworks show. [although the kids became distracted by some videos Erica had saved on her cell phone - next year, no cell phone]

I lugged my tripod along.
And was glad I did.


I Pledge Allegiance

Old Glory


182/365 - Eclipse

It's another hot day today, which means we all hang out inside, lazing about.
I ran early this morning, and even the coolest part of the day felt so hot and humid. Thankfully, due to the lack of recent rain, I found many lawn sprinklers along my route, which cooled me down.

But all that early morning running left me tired in the afternoon and I did something I rarely do - I took a long (2 hour) nap, only to be woken up to go to see the movie of the weekend - Eclipse.

10.07.03 - Eclipse

The movie was decent, although Eclipse was my favorite book out of the Twilight Series, due to the cooperation between the "clans". A nice way to spend a hot summer's afternoon.


Blurb Book, Nikon Lens Repair

The Blurb book I ordered last week arrived today, and I absolutely love it.

The front / back book wrap is printed on thick, glossy paper, just like you find in the store.
Book Cover Wrap

I chose the heavy paper option, again on par with any "coffee table" book, but still thinner than photo paper. The pages are bound together, not glued, a nice upgrade.

London Book

The full bleed spreads are very impressive and I wish I had incorporated more of them in the book.

Open Pages

I will definitely use Blurb again. I have started to organize my photos from 2009 with the goal of getting them into a similar book.

And I received another photography goodie today - my 70-300mm lens, back from the Nikon Service Center. I had dropped it back in December and the Auto-focus stopped working. I waited until two weeks ago to send it in. It was still covered under warranty, so Nikon fixed it free of charge. One good reason to buy NikonUSA products (vs gray market equipment). And I had lost my original receipt from B&H Photo, but I wrote to them and they sent me a copy of my purchase receipt. One of many good reasons to buy from B&H!

Working Again

I immediately tried out the lens on my neighbor's porch flowers. Works great again!
The Neighbor's Flowers

Next time I have an issue with my equipment, I won't wait 6+ months to send it in for repair. Most NikonUSA lenses are covered for 5 years.



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The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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