In the Graveyard

In Season

At first cock-crow the ghosts must go
Back to their quiet graves below. -Theodosia Garrison


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Halloween Milestone

Ten years ago, we moved from Indiana to Illinois. It was a move we never saw coming, but ten years later, we can't imagine being anywhere else.

Funny how things tend to work out.

Ten years ago, we were housed in an apartment on Halloween, but had placed an offer on our current house. We opted to trick or treat in our soon-to-be neighborhood, meeting our soon-to-be neighbors, many of which are now our best friends. I love how that happens.

Our daughter dressed up as Belle from Beauty and the Beast. It was cold and we had to force her to wear a sweat shirt under the sheer top - to this day, I remember the drama and struggle that ensued, but as we trick-or-treated, she soon forgot about it all. Our son was a cute Scooby Doo and he claimed "Err-ta pulled my tail" all night long.

See, I even have proof of that night's adventure....
Halloween 2002

Ten years later, the kids no longer trick or treat, opting instead to head out to haunted houses with their friends. Scott and I, along with the cats, will answer the door and comment how cute the little kids are in their costumes. Maybe we'll have leftover candy to enjoy (hopefully not too much!).

I wish you a safe Halloween, full of memories.

Edited to add - and make sure you take photos of your little ones in costume. Because 10 years from now, you'll want to look back on them....

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Barns Off the Beaten Path

We were treated to a quintessential fall day last Saturday - bright sun, a bit of wind and downright crisp temperatures. It is Fall, after all [I know, after 80degF on Thursday, 50 degF feels a bit chilly, especially with that northerly wind].

I dropped off my daughter at the horse barn, was listening to the college football game on the radio and decided to venture off my normal route, onto the untraveled (by me, anyways) country roads.

The country roads here are numbered - County Road 1400 North, County Road 1250 East, for example. When these roads cross into the city limits, they are renamed to something more "personable", like Main Street or Washington Ave. Since we live in the city limits, we know the roads from their city names, not their generic county road designation. Not that it really matters - everything is arranged in a grid heading north-south or east-west. So I knew I wouldn't get lost in a cornfield in the middle of nowhere as I turned off my normal route...

And what did I pass by? Some cool barns - barns I've admired from a distance ('cause on the prairie, you can see forever) and barns I'd never seen before. I even ran across a cemetery, but I'm saving that for Halloween....

This barn had a Historic Farm sign at the foot of the driveway. I didn't stop long enough to read it thoroughly, but I think this farm has been in operation for over 100 years.

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Heritage

Growing up, I thought all barns were red. Now I know better - white seems to be the most common around here.
Little and Big

Of course, there is that classic white and red, too:
Trimmed

I'm glad I took that little diversion - a mere 10 minutes on a perfect fall day.

Linked to Barn Charm, of course!


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Orange and White

Kind of like a Creamsicle...

Fall Gerbera

But prettier .....
Nodding

And not as fattening...
Orange Burst

Wait, I think this color is more creamsicle than pure orange or white....
On Display

Have a great Sunday evening!

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My Favorite Fall Wrap - October Selfies

For this month's {in the picture} selfie photos, I chose to keep a common thread (literally) by wearing my favorite Fall sweater / coat in all my photos. Thank goodness I already had four selfies taken before this week as I haven't needed that sweater coat - it's been super warm - like late Spring warm - in the 70's and 80's!

This month's optional theme was to show off your favorite place. I guess my favorite place is wearing that sweater coat. It's cozy and perfect for this time of year.

I've owned this sweater coat for a couple years - here's a detailed shot of it when I first bought it - it looks so new! Now, it's a little more "worn in"
Sweater Weather

I don't even have to be outside to wear it -
Back On My Lap #siamese #perfectfallday #cozy #comfort #instamuse #cat #selfie

It keeps me warm at work (because my office is freezing all.the.time) -
Staying Warm #work #muse_theme #comfy #selfie

Is it a sweater? Is it a coat? Do I need longer pants? (Wait, don't answer that question - I know...)
Bundle Up #selfie

The longer length comes in handy at the horse stable, especially with the cold rains.
Push #selfie #silhouette

Check out the other great selfies at Christy's link up.

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What's Going On - For Today

Outside my window...it looks like Fall, with colorful leaves falling gently from the trees, but it feels like Spring! This may be the last of the warm, tropical weather we've been fortunate to experience.

I am thinking
...I've irritated my knee somehow (probably too much running) - the lateral side hurts again, much like it did back in March / April. Back to more swimming, less running - not ideal, but I have faith that the knee will be fine after it gets some rest.

I am thankful
...for what we have. We have a work colleague from China visiting us and after I gave her a tour of our house, I knew that we have so much abundance compared to what they have. In many ways, it's excessive.

In the kitchen
...I will be making Beef and Broccoli, Chinese style Tofu and Chicken with Wine tonight. Our colleague, Yan Rong, will be sharing dinner with us. I hope my cooking is "Chinese" enough!

I am wearing...Dark Blue pants, a steel gray tank top (because it's so warm outside) and a light sweater from the Banana Republic (new favorite store).

I am going...to all the normal places today - I went to the YMCA earlier to swim, school, work, back to school and finally, the grocery store.

I am reading...the book Pitch Perfect by Mickey Rapkin. This book inspired the movie of the same name. So far, it's hilarious, especially since I can totally relate to the subculture of college a cappella.

I am hoping...for a favorable assessment of the camera gear I sent into Adorama. Yes, I am upgrading again, but this time I am getting rid of my older gear.

I am looking forward to
...a visit to Florida next month - my sister and her family will be there!

I am learning... the Hungarian Dance Number 1 by Brahms on my violin. The double stops are getting easier and hopefully don't sound like a wailing cat (the cats no longer run away when I play, so I guess that's positive).

I am listening to... Everything Comes and Goes by Michelle Branch. It's and older and lesser known song, but I like the lyrics:

Time is going by so fast
And I can't do anything about it
I've been holding on so long
It's time that I can do without it

Everything comes and goes
I'm always the last to know
And I can see the sun come up
Another day

Around the house...we have our Halloween decorations up - new this year - Scott bought and suspended several bats around the house. They entertain the cats and freaked out our daughter (yeah, she's watched too many scary movies recently).
Bonus photo: Louie "going Batty" (ha, ha)
Going Batty

A few plans for the rest of the week: Violin Lessons tomorrow, followed by Parent Teacher Conferences. We don't have anything specific planned for the weekend, but I know it will include visits to the horse stable!

Finally, a photo to share - the clouds from this morning's commute to work. I feel fortunate to be surrounded by such beauty:
Cloud Fan

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Fall Photos

Fall is in its full glory.
Mosaic #perfectfallday #squaready #prairie
From the Quiet sunrises
Be Still. #morning #instamuse #sunrise #prairie

To the Perfect Sunsets
Another Perfect Sunset #sky #squaready #prairie #perfectfallday

Previously hidden gems are revealed with the golden show
Abandoned #oldbuilding #fall

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Instagram Monday - All Thing Comfy

As the weather turns chilly, I've turned to things that are comfortable

Like warm chili:
It's a Chilli Night #muse_theme #comfort #food

A warm cat on my lap:
Back On My Lap #siamese #perfectfallday #cozy #comfort #instamuse #cat #selfie

You can't run without comfy shoes!
Those Endorphins Really Kicked in After This Morning's #Run. #fromwhereistand
This is my favorite time of year to run. I'll run in shorts as long as the thermometer reads north of 45 degF. 45 with sun is actually ideal for me.

Game night with good friends.
Game Night #dominos #mexicantrain

Another glorious sunset.
Cotton Candy #sunset #sky #instamuse

Side note - Last week was a little stressful at work - we executed our yearly maintenance outage and my department upgraded our computer systems and performed our mandatory software safety checks. It makes for a long week, but it's done and behind us now.

I hope your last week was full of comfort and bliss.

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The Soundtrack of My Life - the a Cappella Songs

I know in my last Soundtrack of My Life post I said I would write about Jazz, Classical and Show Tunes next, but after getting home from seeing the movie, Pitch Perfect, I feel the urge to reminisce about the a cappella songs from my college years.

PitchPerfect
In the movie, Becca (Anna Kendrick) joins an all female a cappella group who competes against a rival male a cappella group in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA) - [yes, this is bonafide event with the final competition performances in Lincoln Center - just as portrayed in the movie]. The whole premise of a cappella in a movie is what attracted me to see it, but the movie is hilarious, too. Oh yeah, the singing is fabulous!



Twenty five years ago, college a cappella wasn't nearly as popular as it is now (which means it was probably REALLY low on the activity food chain), but it was a fun, creative outlet for me.

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A small sampling of a cappella albums I've collected over the years - the top one was recorded when I was in the group in 1989

So, some of my favorite a cappella songs:
One Tin Soldier - a song about about peace, not war - was one of the first songs I learned. The chord at the very end of the song is just so nice.


In high school, I sang in the Jazz choir, so I love that genre. Add in the premise of heartbreak and you have the torch song. Scotch and Soda is one of those smoky, old fashioned songs that is a perfect torch song. It doesn't hurt that the soloist here has the smoothest voice ever.

The arrangement is from the late 70s, but I pulled out the song for our group to perform because I wanted a chance to sing the solo during rehearsal.

A Nightingale Sang in Berkley Square
I discovered The Manhattan Transfer in High school (again, in jazz choir). I thought it was cool for a quartet of voices to sing old songs like Tuxedo Junction, Birdland and Route 66. We sang this song when I was a senior and it felt like an old friend.


Finally, the song I remember the most - you tend to remember your first featured solo. I wish the recording was a little "tighter", but hey, we had limited time in the recording studio - things were a little harder to mix back in the analog days.


If I had more time, I would love to sing in an a cappella group again - there are so many cool arrangements now and the addition of beat boxing (my friend and fellow song mate, Wes Carroll was a pioneer in the use of vocal percussion in a cappella music) adds another dimension to the art of the vocal rock band. I highly recommend any singer with musical aptitude to audition at their local high school or college - there are so many groups now and it is such a great activity. I remember being persuaded to audition (Phil Budne - you were the convincing one) and it was the best things I ever did in college.

The previous entries in my Soundtrack of My Life series can be found HERE. The next entry will be Classical, Jazz and Show Tunes faves from High School - yes, I am a music geek, but you've probably noticed that already.


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What We're Up to Nowadays

I am officially the mom of two teenagers. Heaven help me and grant me patience!

Both Teens Now

The boy has finished baseball and cross country season.
Against the Wind

Band and Jazz band are gearing up.
In the Seventh Grade Band Now

The girl won't let me take photos of her anymore, unless I'm in stealth mode.

Oh, here's one right after she cut off 9" of her hair to donate to Locks of Love.
Short and Cute
That was back in July, but I have to give equal time to my kids. Otherwise they start to accuse you of favoritism....

Proof that she had all that hair cut off:
192/365+1 The Cut - For Locks of Love

Note to self - take more photos of the girl!

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Exploring Close to Home

I didn't realize the horse stable was close to a large lake and forest preserve. Last Saturday, I performed a search on my iPhone Maps (no, I haven't upgraded to the newest version, so my iPhone is still using Google maps!) and set out after dropping off the girl.

Who knew, in the middle of the prairie, there would be a large lake surrounded by all these trees?

The Lake

It was a beautiful Indian summer day - not too warm, not cool at all, with a bit of a breeze, and plenty of sunshine. Walking down one of the paths instantly calmed my frazzled mind.

Wandering

Dappled

Discovered Along the Way
1. Secluded, 2. At My Feet, 3. Wandering, 4. For the Birds

I must come back when I have more time to explore. And if you live close to a forest preserve or nature area, be sure to check out the hidden treasures close to home.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

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Camera Phone Friday - The Change of Seasons

You can feel it inexplicably in the air - the change of seasons, yet somehow I am surprised Autumn has arrived.

Burnished #leaves #shuttersisters #instamuse #perfectfallday

Fall Morning #perfectfallday #instamuse

The Birds #thinkCreepy #sky #clouds #squaready

Scattered #perfectfallday #fromwhereistand #leaves

Here's the culprit - yesterday's 80 degF high - it felt like summer again. Like summer's last hurrah, topped off by an all-too-early sunset (seriously - at 6:30!).

Tequila Sunset #perfectfallday #clouds #sky #instamuse #sunset

Time to get out those fuzzy slippers and sweatpants - this weekend is going to be on the chilly side....

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Equal Time

Little Miss M has a brother, so I have to showcase some of his fun photos too - it's called getting equal time.

He was a bundle of energy!
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But slowed down so I could catch his "cool dude" side.
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Thanks again, Kellie and Ian for letting me capture your adorable kids!

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Princess In the Garden

I had a wonderful time shooting my friends, Kellie and Ian and their adorable children yesterday. I've been in a bit of a photography "funk" (ie, not wanting to shoot anything), and my time with them made me realize how much I love capturing images on my camera.

It definitely helps when you are shooting a subject as adorable as Miss M:

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She makes me smile all the time!

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Free Download - October 2012 Calendar

It's October and my husband bought and suspended three scary bats in the house for our cats to gape at. This month's calendar image is tamer than fake bats, but a little reminder of what you might find outside your door.




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

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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2014). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

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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