Different Perspectives - September Selfies

September's {in the picture} challenge was to gain a New Perspective when approaching our self portraits.

For me, a New Perspective meant shooting from a different vantage point -
8.3 Miles

Trying something different on my post processing -
edited with Snapseed and PicFx

And something completely different for me - a naked shoulder - coupled with some serious post processing - (I was going for that "300 Movie", gritty, look)

I haven't been as consistent with my selfies (or photography in general) this month. I am looking to refocus in the new month.

Of course, it's never too late to start your own selfie project. Last October, I managed to take 30 or so selfies - almost one per day. To get the info on this project, check out Christy's website.


Mobile Monday - Harvest Time

It's that time of year again - the combines are in the field, grain trucks line up at the elevator, bringing in the harvest. Unfortunately, with this summer's drought, the harvest started early - I started seeing the farmers in the field in August.

In the Fields #squaready #snapseed #johndeere #tractor #harvest #perfectfallday
The above was edited using Snapseed - not normally what I do, but I like the vintage look here.

Harvest Time #barn #centralil #illinois #squaready #instamuse

Fog Burning Off #barn #prairie #fall

While driving on the country roads, you have to be careful when those massive combines hit the road. Slow down and share - you could get squashed!

Objects In Mirror Are Larger Than They Appear #rearview #perfectfallday #harvest #johndeere

Sharing on Barn Charm. Happy Monday!


The Soundtrack of My Life - High School Anthems

To say I’m a product of the 80’s is an understatement – afterall, I attended both high school and college between 1981 and 1989 – it doesn’t get any more 80’s than that!

In High school, there's so much angst, drama and emotion - this is the time you start to grow an identity and there's so much pressure to conform to the social norms of the micro-society that is high school. The music brings back the highs and lows of that time - I consider them to be the Anthems of High School.

My best friend in high school was Cathy - [I still consider her a dear friend, even though we live far apart - the benefits of social media!] She introduced me to Journey and the first anthem on my list - Don’t Stop Believing, off their Escape Album, This was one of the first albums I remember purchasing for myself (Columbia Record club anyone?).

And as much as I like Don’t Stop Believing, I LOVE the song Stone in Love off that same album. Just two weeks ago, I was riding in the convertible and that song, which I haven’t heard in years, came on the radio. The top was down, we were stopped at a red light and by instinct, I started singing - the lyrics, in the far recesses of my brain, came without a struggle, like I was transported back to 1981.

Those crazy nights, I do remember in my youth
I do recall, those were the best times, most of all
In the heat with a blue jean girl
Burnin' love comes once in a lifetime
She found me singing by the rail road track
Took me home, we danced by moonlight

Those summer nights are callin',
Stone in love
Can't help myself I'm fallin'
Stone in love

In High School, I attended my first real rock concert. The artist? Bob Seger. The Anthem - Turn The Page.

What High School experience is without love and heartbreak? My personal anthem after a break up is Toto's I Won’t Hold You Back Now (1983)

This recording is filled with emotion and sadness - just like I remember it.

And the Police's Every Breath You Take - you know the feeling of watching what you can't have from afar....

Then, when you are angry, there is nothing more therapeutic than a little Shout by Tears for Fears (1984).

Whew, enough of the angst - High School was filled with fun, especially when school was out for summer. My favorite summer anthem - The Boys of Summer (1984) brings me back to the summer between my junior and senior year - the first summer I had my license and more freedom (enough said, right?).

Finally, as those high school days wound down, we graduated and moved on. Did anyone sing Cool Change by The Little River Band at your high school graduation?

So, maybe you are wondering why isn't Madonna or Michael Jackson on my list... Simply because I don't associate their music with a specific memory or emotion - probably because their pop style was just in the background for me.

The previous entries in my Soundtrack of My Life series can be found HERE. My next installment - now for something completely different - Classical, Jazz and Show Tunes faves from High School - because in my heart, I am a music geek.


Don't Go Far

I didn't go far to capture something I found interesting. My neighbor (and good friend) is used to me poking my camera at various things in her yard.

Spirea that is starting to turn color.
Dare I say these leaves reminded me of Christmas?

More of the cucumber plant - this time, the cucumber flower. I though it was a squash, but my friend informed me that there weren't any squash in her garden - just cucumbers.

And something from my garden - the Sedum that is just starting to show off its Fall colors.
In the Pink

I bet if you look in your backyard, there will be something pretty to capture! If not, just go next door.... but you should probably ask first.

Linked to This or That Thursday


The Green Web

I thought this cucumber leaf looked like a spider's web, in reverse - the the way the veins spread from its center.


Or maybe it looks like a 5 legged spider ....

I pulled out the macro lens for the first time in a while. For me, it's always a rush to see the intricate details it can capture.

I hope you can see the beautiful details in your life today.


Random September Thoughts - Instagram Style

I have to say that September is my favorite month. Days are cooler. School has started, full of fresh starts. The light starts to change and the air smells crisp. And of course, there's that football thing.....

These last two weeks have been filled with perfect September days.

Another Cottonball Cloud Day #sky #clouds #prairie

Grazing in the Distance #horse

Vanishing #field_aliens #prairie #perfectfallday

My hubby and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary last week:
20th Anniversary Dinner

A friend of mine put the idea of S'mores in my head last week and I started craving them! So this is what I did:
Before, During and After

The only issue with September? It's so busy! I guess we'll take it all.

Linked to Mosaic Monday.


Green Snowballs

I wonder why my neighbor's hydrangea blooms turn green. Mine start cream with a hint of pink. I know you can get blue blooms by altering the soil (I forget if it is acid or alkaline that makes them blue), but green?

Green Snowballs

A mystery for now. I'm too tired to research it.


The Soundtrack of My Life - The Love Edition

We interrupt my normal chronological tendencies to bring you this special edition of The Soundtrack of My Life - The Love Edition. You're just going to have to come back for the High School edition.

All because today is a special day - twenty years ago, Scott and I got married in a typical New England church, on a perfect New England Fall day, surrounded by friends and family. Of course, music was a big part of the ceremony (brass quintet) and reception. We had a live band during our reception - fairly typical for that time - and all the traditional dances for wedding receptions (more on that in a bit).

But what songs do Scott and I cherish from those days? We were certainly influenced by the transition of the 80's to the 90's, and here are some of the songs that are special to us:

Just Between You and Me by Lou Gramm, fall of 1989

Not quite officially dating (just hanging around together - a lot), this song was played on the radio constantly we drove around the streets of Cleveland in Scott's Chevy Cavalier hatchback (technically not his car - it was his parents - we were freshly minted college graduates on our first jobs, afterall). I distinctly recall it snowed a lot that December and the streets were always covered in white at night. This was our "secretly dating" song.

I'll Be Your Shelter by Taylor Dayne, summer of 1990

This is Scott's pick - after we had been dating a while, he told me that this song reminded him of me. Awww, I think I'll keep him.

Now for the all important first dance wedding song.... I chose Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers, aka the song from Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. I know, not very unique, in fact I consider the song to be a bit cliche  (apologies to any reader who loves this song - it just wasn't "our song"). This song was chosen because the band knew it and couldn't learn the song we really wanted them to play in time.

Which was ......
Love of a Lifetime by Firehouse

I guess the time was right for us to say  
We'd take our time and live our lives together day by day  
We'll make a wish and send it on a prayer  
We know our dreams can all come true with love that we can share
With you I never wonder - will you be there for me  

With you I never wonder - you're the right one for me
I finally found the love of a lifetime 

A love to last my whole life through 
I finally found the love of a lifetime 
Forever in my heart, 
I finally found the love of a lifetime
Just close your eyes and a picture a stadium lit up with flickering Bic lighters, arms swaying with music .....

Yes, I never thought I would want a big hair band's song for my wedding, every time I think about this song, it brings me back to 1992.
We had the opportunity to see Firehouse in concert a couple weeks ago, at a local street festival. Scott and I made a point to get out to this street fest, fighting crowds on a Saturday night, just because of the band and that song.

IG photos

Feel The Music

Here is the original 1991 music video. Amazing how much hair these guys once had...

What was your wedding song - official or not?


Getting Muddy at The 2012 CarX CrazyK

Yesterday, Scott and our son ran in the CarX CrazyK, aka the most fun you can have while running a 5K race. Like last year's race, they ran with a gaggle of our friends. Unlike last year, I chose not to run due to my knee and my-not-so-recent-ACL-surgery-but-not-far-out-enough-that-I'm-afraid-I-might-slip-and-re-injure-my-knee-situation. Because slipping and sliding in mud was going to be a high probability.

This year, the race organizers amped up the course and doubled the number of obstacles - that would be 20 muddy, watery, get on your hands and knees obstacles. Some of the new stuff - wading through a 75 yard stretch in the creek, two additional military crawl areas and a huge slide (which was deemed to be quite fun).

Instead of running the race, I participated by taking photos as my friends and family came through the Car Wash and slogged through the mud pit. I also provided "encouragement" by barking orders as they ran the last 50 yards to the finish line ("Kick it in!!", "Faster, Faster!!", "You got this!").

It was a perfect day for a nice run. Prior to the start of our team's wave, everyone looks so happy and clean....

The team makes "the walk" to the starting area:
Enter the Arena
Oh Yeah, our Team's Theme was "Team Bacon". That's what's up with the bacon themed t-shirts (you would have never guessed there were so many bacon themed t-shirts available on the Internet, right?).

We didn't wear tu-tu's like the team behind us.....
Tutu Team

The team is getting their final race instructions by the starting line crew:
Team Bacon Lines Up

And our wave takes off!
Starting Horn Blows

About 20 minutes later, Buck is the first one to appear from a muddy tunnel:
Out of the Tunnels

Followed by my son:
True Grit

And hubby:

The last obstacle is the Mud Pit. The easiest way to get through this is to submerge yourself!
Getting Muddy

They wanted to have fun and get muddy - Mission Accomplished!

Linked to Mosaic Monday.


Back to School - The Late Edition

Running behind seems to be the norm these days - case in point - the kids started school almost two weeks ago, I am now just getting their First Day of School pictures posted. I even considered not posting them, but then got a glimmer of inspiration last night at the school's open house.

The Hallway #shuttersisters #backtoschool
Ah, rows of lockers bathed in light - not what I normally recall from those days in school [the hallways always seemed so dim and depressing under unflattering fluorescent lights].

So here are the kids' first day of school photos:
Traditional First Day of School Photo
Most notable change this year - the boy clearly towers over his older sister! I say it every year - they are growing up so fast!

....Start geek section..... My daughter is taking Chemistry this year, and last night I helped her with her homework - I can't wait until she starts balancing those chemical equations! ...End geek section....


Fall Baseball

The boy is playing Fall Baseball on his middle school team. Last year he couldn't try out, as unbeknownst to me, tryouts are held the first week of August and we had scheduled vacation that week. [Seems normal to me that if school isn't scheduled to start until the third week of August, you should be able to schedule a vacation in early August - well, I was wrong. All the Fall sports start practicing in early August and for the more competitive sports, you need to be present for the try outs in order to make the team.]

This year, we cut our vacation out East short by a day or two, he participated in baseball tryouts and made the JV Team. The rest of August was filled with Cross Country practice in the morning and Baseball practice at night. It was a perfect combination to get his sleep scheduled transitioned back to getting up early.

Right now, his priority is to Baseball, but the season ends well before Cross Country, so he'll be able to run in some meets later in September and well into October.


Safe At Second

Making the Play

Being on the team has been a lot of fun - we know many of the other players from Little League and it has been nice to see the team perform and have fun while they are at it.

Photos taken with the D300 and Nikkor 70-300mm lens


Free Download - September 2012 Calendar For Your Desktop

I'm a little late getting this posted, but it's still early enough in the month that this calendar may be of some use for your computer's wallpaper. We can already feel a bit of the change of seasons here - football and cooler weather is on its way.

You can download September's Calendar from Box.com at this link: Free September 2012 Calendar.



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