End of a Cold April

Monday morning's sunrise was a treat - with the fog along the little slough that flows through our neighborhood, I stopped to snap a photo. I only had my iPhone with me, but it was enough.

Good Morning #chambana

And some spring flowers!

White Carpet


I am still waiting for my Viburnum and Lilacs to bloom! This cold, wet April has caused them to take their sweet time, but I spotted my neighbor's Viburnum bush with blooms today, so I am hopeful mine will burst be the end of the week. The upside to the cool weather - the spring bloom has lasted much longer than in past years.

Hope you have a great Tuesday.

Sharing with Tuesday Muse and Communal Global.


Hello Monday | May Already

A Picture Perfect Start To a Race

Hello Soreness | In general, my legs feel pretty good, but they are slightly sore from Saturday's half marathon. I didn't have the best run, as the warmer temperatures caused me to experience cramping in my calves starting at mile 9. But I finished without having to stop, so I'll take it.

Hello Morning Runs | Now that race weekend has passed, it's time to incorporate another running day into my routine. I had stopped them because I was concerned about inflammation from my IT Band. As a bonus - it's now bright enough to really enjoy an early morning run.

Hello Soccer Rivalry | The big battle between city high schools will be played on Tuesday. Not sure who will prevail, but I know it will be an aggressive game.

Hello May | With all the rain we received in April, I'm expecting lots of May flowers! It's a month of birthdays and end of year activities. Wow, how the school year has flown by!

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun


All That Jazz

Our busy week ended Saturday evening with entertainment while attending the local high school's Jazz Festival. The Festival spans two days, and our son's middle school Jazz band played Saturday evening. The timing was perfect - well after the road races we ran early in the morning - and the venue was so relaxing. The high school gym was transformed into what felt like an old school Jazz Club - a brightly illuminated stage with a darkened audience. We sat at round tables with our food and drink and enjoyed the mix of swing, classic and modern jazz performed by several groups.

Cool Jazz Night #music

Around Midnight

Another Performance

All That Jazz

Linked to Mary and Mosaic Monday.


Blossom White

Slowly, the spring blooms are starting to emerge. I might even classify that they are tentatively emerging, with continued cooler temperatures we are experiencing, but spring is starting to reveal herself.


I'm disclosing that I took this photo while standing in a parking lot, behind a row of cars. I wish I took it while enjoying a peaceful walk in the woods, but I take what I can get. It just illustrates that beauty is all around us.

Same tree, different processing - a bit of a sepia, monotone effect:
Veil In the Woods

A couple days ago, I post photos of my neighbor's redbud tree. This one is the same species of tree, but it has white flowers, something I've never seen before.
Delicate White

Have you ever seen a white flowering redbud? I wonder if they are considered rare.

Sharing with Mary and her Thursday Inspiration where this week's theme is trees


Horse and More Wednesday - Getting to Know You

I realize that having a Horse themed link up is probably too specialized, so I've decided to re tool things to "Horse and More Wednesdays". I'll still post horse photos, and others might as well, but it won't be the only requirement.

Last week, the stable's foal got outside a bit for fresh air and sunshine. He is a super guy, so curious and so soft!
Getting to Know More About You
Can you tell that my daughter is pretty smitten with this little guy?

A couple minutes after I took the above photo, one of the stable trainers came out and placed the halter on Mom and led her in. No need to do anything special for baby, because he knows he needs to keep close to Mom.
Follow the Leader

The "More" part is wide open - so if you have "more" to share, or if you have a horse themed post, please link up below! I hope you have a great Wednesday.


Here For A Limited Time

So enjoy the delicate spray of purple and pink while you can.

Limited Engagement

Fortunately, this tree is in my neighbor's backyard and I can see them whenever I look out from the kitchen.


Sharing with Tuesday Muse and Communal Global.


Hello Monday - Busy Week Ahead

Small Signs
Small Signs of Spring

Hello Appliance Repair Man | there's something wrong with our clothes dryer - it is making a terrible noise, like a bearing has gone out on the rotating drum, or a balance / counter weight is loose. We're afraid to run the dryer now because it shut down once, probably on a motor fault. The kids are freaking out a bit as we have to prioritize what we wash, and of course, all their clothes are dirty.

Hello Sump Pump Hum | We received over 6" of rain last week, and the sump pump still kicks on every now and then. During the heaviest rain, it ran every 30 seconds or so. But that motor humming is a nice sound - it keeps our basement dry!

Hello Sara Bareilles | It's been three years since her last full length album, and she's releasing the first single off "The Blessed Unrest" on Tuesday. It is called "Brave" and you can hear it today:

Of course, I can't wait for the full album's release in July, but for now, I'll have to buy the single....

Hello Illinois Marathon | I'll be running the half marathon Saturday morning. Scott is running the 10K. I'm hoping for not-too-hot weather - 40 degrees F would be perfect, but I like things on the cool side. In the wake of last week's bombing of the Boston Marathon, there will be many tributes to those who lost their lives, who were injured, who were indelibly changed. I'm sure it will be a great event.

Hello Jazz Band Performances | Our middle school's second performance in two weeks - the jazz bands are performing at the high school band fundraiser events. We get to hear the high school groups, too, always a treat.

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun


Copley Square - Boston

Very close to the original siting of MIT, Harvard Medical School, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Natural History, Copley Square reflects old and new and is an essential part of Boston's cultural history. When I'm in Boston, I make sure to visit.

A mix of old and new - Trinity Church is reflected in the John Hancock Tower.
Old and New

The Hancock Tower stands as the tallest structure in Boston:
Glass Tower

I had the privilege of staying in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel during one of my visits and from the room, I shot this night view of The Old South Church and the Boston Public Library:

Here's the view from the street. It was early March and the city had just been hit by a large snow storm. But once that storm blew through, a high pressure system followed - resulting in clear blue skies - a perfect March day.

Down Boylston Street


Boston Skyline

I thought I'd go through my collection of Boston / Cambridge photos and post them through the rest of the week.

The Boston skyline, as viewed from the Cambridge side of the Charles River, by MIT's Killian Court. This is was the view I enjoyed through my college years.


Another view - this one taken from the Museum of Science. We were there in 2005 during a business celebration.

View from The Science Museum


Horse Wednesday - Within The Fence

Ranch Bounds

Just another peaceful evening at the stable, watching the sun go down. Life is good.

It's Horse Wednesday - so if you want to share a horse themed photo, please link up below.


Finding Peace

Trying to find peace today, amidst a chaotic world.

Fall Blossoms

Created using textures from Nancy Claeys

I thought I'd share some song lyrics - the song came up on my iPod this weekend, they resonated with me and reminded me to be grateful for this beautiful life.

So swim to the end of the river
Until there's no shiver
Left in your spine
Live like there won't be tomorrow
See through your sorrow
See through your own eyes

Try to remember these days down the road and
Try to remember this time

The sun may come up and go down again
I'll still swear it's a beautiful life

Charlotte Martin's "Beautiful Life" from the album, On Your Shore.

Sharing with Tuesday Muse and Communal Global.


Thoughts on Running, Perseverance and Courage

My head and heart is heavy as I write this, thinking and praying for those impacted by the explosions during the Boston Marathon. Growing up in Massachusetts, the running of Boston Marathon was always met with tremendous fanfare and pride. Run on Patriots Day, the race starts in the suburb of Framingham, where my family ran a small automotive business and on occasion we would go out to cheer on the runners.

Back then, non official runners would run the course - a couple people in college attempted this with varying degrees of success. At the time, I was not a runner - I was always amazed at a person's ability to tackle such an undertaking. After all, I knew how long it took just to drive from Framingham to Boston, let alone RUN that distance.

Of course, I am still amazed at a person's ability to run a marathon - the amount of time one requires to train for one is tremendous. It requires discipline, hard work, pain, and, at times, misery. Last year, as I was recovering from my knee surgery, I read Haruki Murakami's book, "What I Talk About When I Talk About Running" (because when you can't run, you have lots of extra time to read about running). It is filled with his thoughts on running, like this one: “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”. Yup, I can relate. After many years of running, my head runs through thoughts like, "The first three miles of a run pretty much suck, so you may as well run six".

I normally run by myself, and I don't run with headphones, but I like the solitude - I can watch the sun rise and the clouds in the sky. I can smell the lilacs, then the peonies of spring, followed by the sweet honeysuckle of early summer. I watch the leaves change in the fall and in the winter, there is nothing more peaceful than running in the softly falling snow. Of course, there is the driving rain and wind, making each step a struggle, and you want to just stop dead in your tracks - but then you think "just suck it up - only another 1/2 mile and you get to turn away from the wind". And you persevere.

The elusive marathon - it's still a goal of mine, God willing. And it won't be the end of the world if I don't ever get it done - I'm just happy to be able to run at all. Because in the solitude, it's the beauty around me that keeps me going while running:

Along The Run

There's already buzz around town concerning our race in two weeks - Will it be safe? How good are the emergency provisions? Will there be added police presence? I'm sure there will be heightened security and probably bag checks, like those at sporting events. I also know today's events will only strengthen the resolve of those who have trained long and hard to achieve their race goals, whether it be the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon or Full Marathon. Because for a runner, the courage is in just starting the run. It's the same Courage and Perseverance that will help the folks in Boston get through today's horrible events.


Hello Monday | 15

The Burning Fire
Spring Sunset

Hello Tax Day | Where's the Dislike Button? We've already sent in our return and that's all I'm going to say about that.

Hello Last Day to Register for the Illinois Marathon | I'm registered for the full marathon, but won't be able to run it, so I need to get things changed to the Half instead. I ran 12 miles this past Saturday, so I'm good to go, barring any major catastrophes (heaven forbid).

Hello Track Meet | This will be our first experience at one of these. Not sure what to expect, but I'm sure it will be interesting.

Hello Book Club | We are getting together this Friday at a local Wine bar. Even though most of these ladies are my neighbors, I don't think I've seen many of them in the past month - we've all been super busy.

Hello Flowers? | Why won't you bloom already? I see all these beautiful photos from other part of the US - beautiful cherry blossoms, lilacs and flowering pears. I'm waiting for you!

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun


Soccer Days

After a slow start, spring soccer season kicked into high gear last week with three games and (unfortunately) three losses.

Our girls don't let those losses bring them down, though. They head back to practice, working harder than ever.

JV vs Charleston
From Saturday's game - the wind was blowing hard from the south. It was exhausting just to watch the game and I know it was harder to play, especially into the wind.

This attempt at goal didn't make it in, unfortunately.
JV vs Charleston

I've been using my new 70-200mm f/4 lens and I've been very pleased by the number of "keepers". My camera also has a User Defined mode and I've configured it with the following settings: Continuous Auto focus with 3-D tracking, Auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500 seconds (to freeze the action), center weighted exposure metering and an aperture of f/4. So I switch the dial over to the User Defined Mode and I'm all set to capture the action on the pitch - no fumbling with menus or dials.

JV vs Charleston

There's another game tonight - here's to hoping they end their losing streak.


Horse Wednesday - Sleepy Foal

Last week, a new foal was born at the barn where we board our horse. It is amazing to see these young babies and we are blessed by his arrival.

He was sleeping, then his mom nudged him in the tush and he sat up for a bit.
Too Sleepy to Stand

I think he was just too tired, because a few moments later, he went back to sleep.
Sweet Dreams
Maybe he's also a little hungry? Or dreaming.....

My daughter told his name, but of course I've forgotten already. Each horse is given a long official name, but that's not what they are called. For example, our horse's official name is "Loves Fortune Cookie", but of course, we call him Caesar. I have no idea why this is, but I'm sure it has to do with their blood lines and sires / mares. When a horse is registered, the official name is used.

If you wish to participate in Horse Wednesday, please use the linky tool. Have a great Wednesday!


Hello Monday - Is Spring Really Here?

First Grilled Hamburger Of The Year #feelslikespring
The Season's First Grilled Hamburger - See the Story Below

Hello April Showers | After a most glorious spring weekend, the rains are coming. Even with the impending rains, I persuaded Scott to move the grill from the garage to the patio - I planned to grill hamburgers. Then he discovered we were out of propane. Yes, we have two propane tanks - two empty tanks, to be more specific. So back to the grocery store I went, because I didn't want to miss this window of opportunity to use the grill. It was worth it - that burger was fantastic.

Hello Event Conflicts | The boy's first Track Meet conflicts directly with the girl's and Soccer Game and we are signed up to work the concession stand. I guess we will be attending a future Track Meet instead. Our son will be competing in the hurdles - he might be at an advantage because of his height.

Hello Flower Buds | The spring bushes have started to bud out - the lilac and viburnum shrubs may bloom this week and we are hopeful the dogwood tree in the front will finally grace us with some flowers this year.

Hello Early Mornings | it appears that I will be waking up extra early 4 out of 5 days this week due to work and exercise commitments. Thank goodness the mornings are lighter earlier - it makes getting up at dark o-thirty a bit easier. And maybe I'll catch a good sunrise.

Hello Yard Work | Scott trimmed the boxwoods and I need to follow up with clean up duty. Spring waste collection starts this coming week and it will be good to get the overgrown stuff trimmed back and cleaned up.

Hello Spring | it appears that you finally arrived! We are glad to see you!

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun


Band Competitions

Our son plays saxophone in his middle school band and jazz band. The concert band counts as a class during school - the group meets every day and the kids are graded on their participation and effort. The jazz band is completely voluntary - the group practices before school at 7am three times a week. You know these kids really value their sleep, so the musicians in the jazz band are pretty dedicated to the group, because I know getting up extra early isn't the easiest thing.

The bands participated in a competition this past weekend where their performance was judged. The concert band was a little "off" at times, but in general, performed well.

The jazz band sounded fantastic and received top results from the judges. It was really great to hear them do so well. I happened to miss their last performance because I was in the Bahamas (I didn't even realize I would be missing the event until the week before).

And some photos to highlight the event. The venue was very nice and I'm sure it was a treat for the kids to perform on a good stage.

Band Competition

We're very proud of our kids and the music program at the schools.

Linked to Mosaic Monday.


Spring Sunset

Sunset At the Barn

We've been fortunate these past few days - things appear to be warming up ever so slightly each day, with ample sun and pretty sunsets. Tuesday night was no exception. Image captured with my iPhone.

Wishing you a peaceful Thursday.


Horse Wednesday - Playing In The Snow

Taken last week, when we still had snow (and now it's all gone!!)

Along the Fence

Cody tried to make a Snow Angel, I think...
Making a Snow Angel?

My daughter is at her happiest when she's around the horses.
All Smiles

And finally, some late breaking events at the barn - a new foal was born on Monday. This photo was snapped by my daughter's friend, who owns Cody the Quarter Horse.

New Arrival #horse #foal


On Golden Pond

The Call
The Crow perched, Calling
Listening for a Warble
A Distant Echo

On the Perch
From the other side
Another responds, trilling
As the sun sets low

Enjoy your Tuesday!
Sharing with Tuesday Muse, Sweet Shot Tuesday and Communal Global.


Hello Monday - Reboot?

Lincoln Game
The Almost Goal from a Week Ago. Soccer Resumes This Week.

hello normal routine, again | after last week's huge snowstorm, snow day, back to school, cancelled games, three day school week and Easter holiday, this coming week will be the real return to the normal routine - including soccer games, track practice, early jazz band and school work.

hello real spring weather | yes, it appears that warmer days are upon us - the past few warm days made quick work of erasing that white stuff that fell just last week. Like the storm was a dream....

hello Final Four | Scott's team (Syracuse) persevered to advance farther than any of us expected. And my NCAA bracket? Well, let's just say if I was trying to come in last place, I would be winning.

hello green smoothies | I just started making these in the morning, along with my daughter's non-green smoothie. It's a combination of greek yogurt, pineapple, banana (if available), frozen mango, mango juice and spinach. I have baby kale to use this week. I find that if I take this to work, I'm less apt to buy a snack from the vending machine or eat the treats people leave out.

hello band competitions | on tap for this coming weekend, I'm excited to hear how the concert band and jazz bands sound, especially since I missed their last performance.

hello long miles | I didn't think I could manage a double digit run last Saturday, but I did it and my IT band pain has been held at bay by stretching and ice. It's four weeks until the marathon / half marathon festivities, and while I know I won't be able to run the full, I am certain to get the half done. That's something to be thankful for.

hello monday | looking forward to what the week has in store for us.

Inspired by my friend, Lee at Embrace Life, Hello Monday provides a peek into the coming week - in all its glory. Join us and Lisa for the Hello Monday fun



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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 (© 2005-2020). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

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