Mosaic Monday - Old Tyme Candy Shoppe

From last Thursday's lunch at the old fashioned soda shop.

Candy Kitchen Mosaic.jpg

In addition to sodas, shakes, sandwiches and home cooked meals, they make their own candy on the premises. Hence the name, The Candy Kitchen. The shoppe was renovated about four years ago, but the original soda fountain remains, as well as the tile floor. It's a very nostalgic place with great candy.

I'm linking up to Mosaic Monday. Mary has a great collection of garden pictures to share.


Book In Hand

It only seems appropriate that my finished Italy Photobook should arrive exactly one year after our trip. The folks at Blurb, as usual, did a fabulous job printing and binding this thing - and even shipped it out three days earlier than estimated.

I upgraded the paper to their ProLine Pearl Photo papers and I am glad I did - the thickness and weight is heavier and more durable than their Premium paper. The finished book, with 124 pages, looks and feels like a commercially printed coffee table book.

Quite Thick
The book is almost an inch thick!

I've been re-living all the beautiful scenery and fun times we had on our trip. If I had only one regret about the book, is that I didn't include more full page photos - because they look amazing in this book.

Open Book

In addition to the Italy book, I've made two other Blurb Books - My trip to London in May, 2010 and my son's 5th grade Rube Goldberg Competition. I've included the link to the London Book here.

So, get those pictures off your hard drive and printed into a book. That's my next challenge / project - start with 2009's P365 photos and get them into a book. The end result is so very satisfying.


Lesson Day

Whew, we've been to the horse stable for the third straight day in a row. As much as we love Caesar, we normally see him every other day. With the hot weather, it's been too hot to ride

Thursday - for a short trail ride and then some time in the arena.

Friday - we received a call that Caesar's left eye was irritated and swollen shut. A call to the local large animal vet and we were out there, attending to his inflamed eye. We learned that Appaloosas are prone to an eye disorder, uveitis. Caesar was treated with a steroid and some antibiotics. He is wearing a fly mask to keep the irritants out of his eyes. He looks like the masked bandit horse.

Today - in addition to giving Caesar some eye drops and oral medication, it's lesson day. He was given the go ahead by the vet to ride, so we met up with Jordan and Cody for riding lessons.
Ready for Lessons

It was hot and dusty, but I don't think the girls really mind that much. This picture taken with my iPhone:
Riding Lessons

Jordan's mom and I enjoyed the company of Meg's dog, Colfax. He kept us on our toes while the girls rode.

We'll be back out to see Caesar tomorrow - to continue checking on his eye. I'm going to take a picture of him in his mask.


Green Flames

I took this picture because of the light in the background, shimmering in the water. I knew it would result in some nice bokeh.

Don't you think the green leaves look like flames?

Once again, we're trying to stay cool today - it's not so much the high temperatures, but the humidity. You know it's bad when there's condensation on the outside windows - we only keep the A/C set at 78degF (I'd set it at 80, but I'd hear complaints from all my family members).

Condensation on the Window

Hope you're staying comfortable today!


Around and Around

The end of the hot day and my daughter takes her horse for one last lap around the arena.

The Last Lap

Shot with my iPhone, using the Instagram App.
Linked up to Wordful Wednesday, even though there aren't so many words today.


Texture Tuesday - These Dreams

We're dreaming over at Kim Klassen's Texture Tuesday. For today's photo, I added her Dream Texture, Soft Light blending mode at 100% and added the text as a separate layer. The text font is Scriptina. The water lily is from our fish pond in the backyard - we have lots of pink flowers, but only a few yellow ones, and they are my favorite.

These Dreams

The original photo:

I hope you have a wonderful day!



Seeing Purple

As in purple potatoes.

My friend, Jill, has these growing in her garden and she gave me several last week. I didn't think much about them until I scrubbed them clean to reveal the most gorgeous colored tubers.


Aren't they beautiful? The color reminds me of the eggplant, or aubergine, one of my favorite vegetables.

But these are beautiful on the inside, too:
Purple Star

So many patterns of what I'm calling "purple marble".
Potato Prints

They cook up like regular new potatoes and I used them in a potato salad. Sorry, no pictures of the finished product, but the purple potatoes add a fun punch of color.


I'm sure you can find these at any specialty produce shop. Or grow your own (or be fortunate enough to have friends who share their bounty).


Mosaic Monday - Summer Flowers

It's been a while since I participated in Mosaic Monday, a photo get together hosted by Mary at Little Red House.

My simple mosaic of Summer Flowers
Summer Scenes

After nine straight days of searing heat, the weather broke today and even dumped a couple inches of rain on our dried up lawn. It felt so good to feel the cool, damp breeze outside.

I hope the weather has cooled off where you are.


Morning's Treasures Along the Road

I didn't feel like running yesterday morning in the heat and humidity, so instead I went for a little walk / jog with my camera. I covered over two miles by jogging and walking but stopped whenever something caught my eye.


Pink Eyes


Amazing what you find you take time to look and stop.


SOOC Saturday - Coneflowers Two Ways

Five days passed without the click of the shutter release. I don't remember the last time time I went for that long without taking a picture. Perhaps it was the heat, the constant haze in the air.

I was in a bit of a rut, so I put my macro lens on the camera and ventured outside as the sun was setting.

Evening Delight

I smiled. My spirits lifted. I was reminded why I like taking pictures.

Then I captured the same scene on my iPhone.
Cones of Sun

Just as satisfying.

What will you capture today?

Posted on SOOC Saturday. The first photo is SOOC (Straight out of the Camera). I consider the 2nd one SOOC since I took it with my iPhone, but I did use the Instagram App and applied the Lomo-Fi Effect available in the app. No other processing.

SOOC Saturday


The Boys at Camp

It's the hottest week of the year - really, the longest, hottest stretch we've experienced since moving here nine years ago (wow, has it really been that long?). When we lived in Southern Indiana, it wasn't too uncommon to have these really hot, humid days for extended periods - living by the Ohio River in a valley, you get used to that.

Of course, it would be the week we send our son and his gaggle friends (aka, "The Posse") to camp where there's no air conditioning.

We dropped them off on Sunday afternoon and we were pleasantly surprised when we walked into their cabin - it felt nice and cool. Brian claimed his bed, taking the top bunk and immediately started to set up his "personal fan".
Setting Up on the Upper Bunk

The rest of his friends started to arrive and with their animated behavior, we knew they would have a great time, in spite of the heat.
Checking Out the Top Bunk

Sily Face

We asked the boys to pose in front of their cabin. Since I wasn't the only mom with a camera, they only rolled their eyes once - and they gave us this pose:
Face Which Way?

Then a more appropriate pose:
7 out of 10

We picked them up Thursday afternoon and they were all sweaty, dusty, and a bit worn out, but I gather from the conversation on the way home, they had a great time. They spent lots of time swimming, playing in the water, fishing, hiking through the woods and hanging out in the cabin (aka "social hour" that my son really enjoys).

Their clothes, on the other hand..... whew! Washed several times - the combination of lake water, high humidity and hot temperatures results in a not so pleasant smell. Thank goodness for Oxi-clean!

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli


A Year Later - My Italy Blurb Photobook

Last July, Scott and I had the opportunity to travel around Northern Italy with another couple - friends of ours since the just-out-of-college years (ie - our first "Real World" jobs).

I took hundreds of photos, processed them, uploaded to Flickr and posted many here. I started a photobook. I worked on it. Then other stuff (like life) got in the way. I worked on it sporadically.

Well, a year later, I finally finished it! A 124 page, 13x11 book, with almost 400 photos featured. I feel like I gave birth to another child!

There was an upside to my procrastination - I use Blurb and in the last year, they upgraded several of the papers, end sheets and book cover options. I opted to use these upgrades in the copy I ordered and even received a little discount.

If you wish to check out my book, I've included the link below. I've made several books through Blurb and have always been pleased by the quality of the printed books.

The next project - taking the photos I take on a regular basis and getting them into a book..... I guess I should get started ASAP!


Trail Riding

We've added a new element to our visits to the stable - trail riding.

The stable owner pointed us down the county road, where the grass grows between the rows of corn and beans. These grassy areas are where the field drainage tiles are laid, providing a path for water overrun during heavy rains. This prevents the planting areas from being flooded. I think the farmers use these paths during planting and harvest time - a way to get their combines in and out of the fields.

In the spring, these areas are swollen with water from the rains, but in the summer and fall, the grass grows lush and green:
River of Grass
A picture from my archives, September 2010

We walked the horses down to the entrance to the grassy path and then the girls took off with their horses, through the corn:
Heading Through the Fields

We couldn't keep up with the horses, so we let them go ahead around the bend.
Evening Stroll

The trail only goes for about a mile and a half before dead ending in a field. The girls know better than to go riding through a farmer's field, so they turned around and came cantering back.
Feeling Free

You know those scenes in the movies where the horse and its rider gallop along the beach, the wind blowing the girl's hair like a flowing mane? Picture that scene, except with corn instead of the beach. The girls and the horses looked so free and happy.

So that makes me happy, too.


The Final Stop Before Home - Beale Street

Then I'm walking in Memphis
Walking with my feet ten feet off of Beale
Walking in Memphis
But do I really feel the way I feel

Walking in Memphis by Marc Cohn
No Doubt

Memphis is the mid point between New Orleans and home - a logical stopping point, especially when you enjoy music and food. We stayed at the Hampton Inn right off Beale Street, giving us easy access to the food, sights and music that makes Memphis, well, Memphis.

We learned from our experience in New Orleans and bought the kids a pizza and let them stay in the comfort of the air conditioned hotel room while Scott and I walked around Memphis in the heat.

First, dinner at King's Palace Cafe. The great thing about Memphis - it's known for its barbeque, but it's far enough south to have great Cajun food, too.
Get a load of the bar - fit for Elvis himself:
King's Bar

Then a walk up and down Beale Street, where music was playing in the alley next to King's Palace:
Live Music on the Patio

The rich history of music and the blues abounded in the souvenir shops.
Take Your Pick

A great evening of the hot Blues.
Looking Up Beale


Post Cruise - New Orleans

I realize now that no sane person visits New Orleans in the middle of summer, especially in the middle of a heat wave. But beggars can't be choosers, and my motto is to take advantage of your location, regardless of the conditions. You never know when you'll have the opportunity again. Judging from the crowds, there were a lot of "crazy" people like me hanging out in the French Quarter, even with the oppressive heat and humidity.

Like 96 degrees F and heat indices in the 100s.

After our cruise, we booked a night's stay in New Orleans. I had visions of a nice dinner, maybe even in a celebrity chef's restaurant, some beignets with coffee and lovely sightseeing of the Big Easy.

Well, we had a nice lunch in Mulate's a Cajun restaurant by the riverfront:
Canjun Restaurant

Mulate's Bar

The kids had their first taste of fried crawfish tails and alligator meat. I enjoyed the oysters and we all love the Cajun seasoning on everything.

We made it to Cafe du Monde, although the kids weren't happy about walking in the heat and humidity. We sat outside and ordered our first round before moving inside where there is air conditioning. This made things more bearable for Erica.
Cafe Du Monde


Even with our bellies full, the next hour or so of walking around the French Quarter was too much for the kids to tolerate. They shuffled their feet, complained about the heat and didn't really see the point of us being there. They didn't see the architecture around them:
Entering the French Quarter

Or the wonderful Saint Louis Cathedral overlooking Jackson Square:
The Church

Then it started to rain. Hard.
Sun Shower

The rain wasn't going to let up, so we hailed a cab back to the hotel and called it a day. Dinner never happened, but after a week of endless food on the cruise, that was probably a good thing. Sometimes, best laid plans don't pan out 100%, but I'm OK with 1 out of 3.


Cruising Day 6 - Swimming with the Dolphins

Our last adventure in Cozumel, Mexico - the Royal Dolphin Swim at the Chankanaab park.
The dolphins are only one area in the park - there's a sandy beach, botanical forest and snorkeling available, making this park a popular destination for vacationers.

But we were there for the dolphins.

This was our second time interacting with dolphins - our first time was a dolphin encounter in the Bahamas, where we petted the dolphin and gave them a kiss while standing in waist deep water. It was an excellent program, but left us wanting more. So, if you ever have the opportunity to interact with dolphins, I highly recommend paying the extra money for deep water swim program - you really feel how strong and magnificent these mammals are.

We started out with the tamer dolphin interactions - like dancing with them:

And the cheek kiss:

Holding them in your arms - and they are really long!
Dolphins are Long

Then we moved on to the more exciting portion - going for a swim while holding on to their dorsal fin:
Fast Ride
Wow, they can swim really fast and you feel all that power when you are hanging on.

The foot push. Truly, I had no idea what this would feel like. We were instructed to float in a prone position, with our feet flexed, toes down, legs locked straight and arms reaching forward. The dolphins come from behind and place their noses in your feet and propel you forward. Sounded really tame until we watched...
Dolphins Approach
The dolphins approach....

As they propel you forward, they end up pushing you up out of the water:
Scott starts to emerge out of the water....

Here's a picture of Erica coming out of the water:
Standing on the Nose of Dolphins

Brian out of the water before crashing back in:
Riding on the Nose

Me, coming up out of the water:

A totally amazing encounter with amazing animals.
Tail Tricks



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