Grateful For .... [this month's selfies]

A stray gray hair here and there, and even some wrinkles.
Waiting Again
[you may not be able to spot that gray strand, but it's there and it catches my eye every now and then...]

The right to vote.
Get Out and Vote #selfie

A much needed break from the daily grind. My escape to warm Florida came at the perfect time.
Feeling a Bit Zen #selfie #scl_travel

Strength.
Feeling Strong
I've suffered a bit of a set back with my running - as a result, I've had to cut back and focus on building more strength in my left leg. At first, I was sad, but I realize that it will all come in good time.

The blessings of home and family. My kitchen rocks, especially during the holiday season when there's so much to do.
Thankful For My Kitchen
[Now, if only I could clone myself ..... wait, I don't think my kids would like the double nagging that certainly would ensue!]
double exposure created using the blender app for iPhone

I had fun with this month's selfie challenge - and for that I am truly grateful for the [in the picture] challenge headed by Christy. You can find out more about this challenge at her site.

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I Love the Night Life

There's something magical about going into the city on a chilly night - the bright lights of the skyline, the sting of cold air on the skin, warm breath creating wisps of steam with each exhale. With each inhale of cold air, you can't help but feel alive. Yet the warmth exuding from stores and restaurants beckons you inside for a break from the nip in the air.

I don't live in a big city with a spectacular skyline anymore, but the lights of our small downtown still give off that special spark at night.

Can Anybody Tell Me What Time It Is

Christmas in the Square

Looking In

We even have some neon....
Marquee

Small town or large city - I hope you take the time out to experience the night life where you live.

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Random Shots

Having a new toy shouldn't be the impetus for a sudden surge in photo taking, but that is what's happening.

A vertical shot, too....
Hooked

The day before Thanksgiving was so nice - sunny and 60 degF.
Hey Beautiful

We're shivering now that the winds are blowing the cold air around now.
Wind Blown

Taking a Break

So we've settled in tonight by the fire. Hoping you are staying warm wherever you are!

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Traditions

I take and post similar photos every year, but it's hard to mess with tradition. And it's so fun to see the changes year over year.

The pre-Thanksgiving Feast photo with the cats - I'm setting up the interval timer on the camera here:
The Set Up

And like magic, I've joined the photo:
Thanksgiving Tradition

Some differences this year - the boy has surpassed his sister and me in height and the Siamese cat is Louie instead of Sam (sniff).

Another holiday tradition - picking out the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving.
Annual Tree Hunt

Since this is Louie's first Christmas, he doesn't know what to think.
Enthralled

I guess instinct takes over in times like this.
Swat!

I hope he doesn't try to climb the real tree!

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Foggy Morning Outing with the D600

It's the evening before Thanksgiving and I have SO much to be thankful for - health, family, comfort, abundance, freedom, wealth and peace - just to name a few things that popped through my mind.

Sure, there are those minor annoyances in life (like the fact that it took us three tries before my daughter was able to get her driving permit - three trips to two different DMV's in less than five days), but we live such charmed, full lives.

I am charmed enough to be the proud owner of yet another new camera. Yes, I succumbed to the glowing reviews, the beautiful samples available on the web, got camera envy and just bought the newly released Nikon D600, my first full frame DSLR.

I did something different this time, though. I sold my old camera gear - my beloved D300 camera and three lenses - all gone. I still have my original D70 - I wasn't going to get much for it and it's always good to have a back up.

I've had the camera for two days, and finally got some time to work with it outside - in this morning's fog.

Thinly Veiled

Thistle and Web

I haven't used a DSLR for over a month and I've missed it.
Tall and Wide

The camera performs beautifully.
What's Brewing

I have no regrets buying it. Yeah, it's expensive, but I've come to the conclusion recently that some things are worth the cost (as long as they don't bring you into debt). So, in case you want to be enabled, there are several great deals available now with this and many other cameras - a $100 price drop, 2% rebates, free SD cards, batteries and camera bags. I bought mine through Amazon (another first for me - I normally purchase my camera gear through B&H) and had a great experience. [I don't have affiliate connections with any company - I'm just reporting on my personal buying experience.]

If you live in the US, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving Celebration - we'll be chowing down on turkey tomorrow around noon!

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At The Beach

I can't help but smile when I look at these pictures, taken a mere week ago, but a world away.

At least it feels that way.

Cousins

More!

We were fortunate to be able to visit while my sister and her family were on holiday from the UK. I finally met my niece Winnie, and my daughter and her cousins bonded for the first time. Being on the beach was icing on the cake.

A Small Touch

Beach Day

It was a perfect way to end our short trip.

Linked to Mosaic Monday

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InstaShare - This Morning's Sunrise

I just had to share the photo I snapped this morning around 6:15am, as I pulled into our subdivision after a morning swim. I stopped car, got out with wet hair, wearing flip flops on my feet because there was a guard rail blocking the view from the car.

Good Morning #sunrise #thepicturedoesntdoitjustice#sky

The photo doesn't do the real thing justice - what is rendered as orange-yellow was, in reality a deep red. The sheen of hoar frost was visible on the grasses along the slough, but I didn't have a better camera to capture all of that too. I figured the sunrise was enough of a gift this cold morning.

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Butterflies, Lilies and Flames in the Naples Botanical Garden

A Trio of Butterflies:
Trio
I think they look like flying zebras....

Water lily:
Purple Burst

Huge Lily pads:
Reflection

My idea of flames:
Fire

All from the Naples Botanical Gardens. The facility is a mere three years old, but chock full of beautiful plants, stunning world themed gardens - Brazilian, Asian, Caribbean and an interactive Children's garden (interactive for both child and adult).

From the Brazilian Garden - the centerpiece waterfall:
Waterfall

If you are visiting southwest Florida, the gardens are a great place to visit.

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Not Your Normal Saturday

Why isn't it a normal Saturday?

A. It's almost the middle of November and it's 80 degF outside.
Well, if you're in Florida, that's probably normal, but not if you are from the cornfields of Illinois.
Oh, wait, it's 75degF in the cornfields of Illinois today.
[Darn, and I thought by escaping to Florida in November, we'd have something to brag about.]

B. I got a close up of a Queen butterfly
Queen Butterfly

C. We're having fun with family we haven't seen in over two years

In the Window

Onward! #family #perfectfallday #scl_travel

OK, ALL the above are true, but what makes it really special is hanging out with family - that's something to be thankful for this non-normal Saturday.

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Take to the Skies

Airline travel these days - with higher fares and all those fees - checked bags, seat assignments, boarding priority, snacks - can make your head spin. Not to mention airport security...

At least airports are becoming more pleasant spaces. I've been through some awful ones (Chicago Midway comes to mind immediately), but many of the newer terminals employ modern design elements to create a nicer atmosphere for travel - something I really have come to appreciate. 

We often fly out of Indianapolis - this facility opened in 2008, replacing the older airport. The modern design elements are prevalent throughout the facility - with glass, tile and custom art.
Move Along #muse_theme #blackandwhite #scl_travel #airport
The Red Room #window #airport #scl_travel

Indianapolis itself is pretty cool to see from up in the air:


I recently flew to Jacksonville, Florida and was impressed by the modern art touches there, too:

The Curve #latergram #airport #monochromatic #scl_travel


If you fly a lot, I hope the airports and terminals you encounter are aesthetically pleasing - it really adds positively to the sometimes stressful process of air travel.

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Instagram on the Web

Wow, I read through PetaPixel that Instagram has launched web-viewable photo streams. The interface is really simple and beautifully showcases your Instagram photos. Here's what mine looks like:



You can click on a photo to Like or Comment on it.


If you are on Instagram, your Web Profile is www.instagram.com/username. Super easy to find yourself and other users. Note - not all users have been set up yet - I guess I'm fortunate to be one of the early ones!

While I typically use the mobile interface (that's one of the things I love about IG), it is handy to have a web interface, too.

Here is the link to my profile if you want to see it in action and click around: Shirley319 on Instagram



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Free Download - November 2012 Calendar for Your Desktop



November kicks off a month of gratitude as we celebrate Thanksgiving in the US. And I am offering a free download - November's calendar, suitable as wallpaper for your computer.



Here is the corrected link for Calendar number one from Box.com: Free November 2012 Calendar - Flowers .

Edited to add:
Bonus - two for the price of none!
I created two versions of this month's calendar - so the original link was to calendar number two.

Here is calendar number two:



You can download Calendar number two from Box.com at this link: Free November 2012 Calendar - Leaves .

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Halloween Gangnam Style

My friend, Jill, has the best Halloween House in the neighborhood. I've taken pictures in the past, but each year, she adds more stuff (she's blaming it on the post-Halloween sales - 50% off Halloween decorations, starting today!).

For example - from 2010 (and compared to today, this looks sparse):
The Haunted House

One of this year's new additions - the large, suspended grim reaper, keeping an eye over the kids as they set up the coffin
Who's Looking Over Who?

In past years, the kids hid in the coffin and jumped out to scare unsuspecting trick or treaters. This year would be a little different - yes, they would jump out, but then explode into dance - to PSY's Gangnam Style.

See G in the coffin? He's PSY...
Halloween Hijinxs

We had a blast with the throngs of Trick or Treat seekers - many joined in to dance with the boys. I attempted a video, but it turned out really dark.... but believe me, it was a great Halloween. I can't wait for next year....

And so you don't go away without some "Gangnam Style", here's a video put together by some creative folks from my alma mater. It not only features some of the lecture halls, corridors, and places at MIT, but it includes some a cappella singing from MIT's oldest all male a cappella group, the Logarythms (their cameo starts at 2:13):


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