Caught Sleeping

Every blog needs some fuzzy cuteness every now and then.

Nothing More Peaceful

Warm and Fuzzy

Two weeks ago, I accidentally shut the sliding glass door on Louie's tail. I shut it hard and didn't realized what had happened until I looked down and saw a big clump of cat hair on the ground, and one super freaked out cat who proceeded to run away each time I approached. Yes, there was blood and cat hair everywhere. We couldn't find the cat until the following day, and I brought him into the vet. We thought the tail was broken, which meant the possibility of a tail amputation. I felt so bad!

Everything worked out in the end - the tail is not broken, and the two inch gash has healed nicely. I gave Louie his antibiotics via portions of tuna fish, which he loved. He has resumed sleeping with me at night, so I think he forgives me. I take my time closing that door now - I never want to go through something like that again.

After the 2nd visit to the vet - he's feeling better enough to roam out of the cat carrier.



Scenes from the weekend:

Dramatic skies:
More Drama
Disclosure - taken Thursday evening, so not officially from the weekend, but close enough. One of my Facebook friends posted "Stop what you are doing and look outside at the sunset". I immediately got in my car and drove out to the park that overlooks the prairie. If I had walked, I would have missed the drama. This is the same Lone Tree I captured a couple weeks ago - it looks different today and has a friend...

The horses moved to new stable - this one is a lot closer and easier to get to.
Knee Deep
Caesar and Cody are checking out the new pasture by eating their way through it.

The new stable is owned by my daughter's trainer, and she has a wide assortment of horses, including two large draft horses - this one showed interest in my camera:
Hello Big Guy

Friend Heather came back to town for a weekend visit - that prompted an impromptu Sunday night cook out under starry skies and warm breezes. Great friends, food, wine, coupled with great conversations - life doesn't get any better.
Idyllic Weekend with Friends.

We followed up Sunday night with a Memorial day lunch cookout. I also turned 47 on Monday, surrounded by friends, both in real life and virtually via birthday wishes via email and facebook.
Love My #Friends #memorialday #happybirthday

Hope your weekend was as full as mine.


Along My Run | 2

I love running in the Spring - the weather is warmer, but not too hot, my early morning runs are no longer in the dark and the sunrises are breathtaking. Here's what I captured during this week's runs.

This secret path connects the far west side to the rest of our town.
Idyllic #shirleyruns #seenonmyrun
It was cold this morning (around 40 degF), but so sunny it didn't matter. I consider temperatures between 45 and 55 degF to be ideal for running.

A run in the country:
Potential #shirleyruns #prairie #farming #seenonmyrun
We saw two great herons, misty waterways and the emergence of green in the fields. A quintessential sign of spring on the prairie.

The sky turned a flame red right before the sunrise:
Always better in Real Life #shirleyruns #sunrise #seenonmyrun
I've noticed the "real drama" in the sky has been before the sun emerges - once the sun comes out, all the brilliant colors are washed away.

Moody Skies, a departure from my normal color filled captures.
Moody Skies This Morning #shirleyruns #seenonmyrun #clouds
This morning's breezes brought the heady scent of lilacs to greet me along the road.

Two photos, one perfect run:
Some Things Never Cease to Amaze Me #shirleyruns #sunrise #chambana #seenonmyrun
Based on what I could see from the house, I headed out a little early and reversed my normal route in order to have my breath taken away. You can't tell by the photo, but the waterway in the far distance was filled with mist.

Running my route in reverse allowed me to "see" this. One tiny little change, completely different perspective:
Morning Calm #shirleyruns #mist #water #seenonmyrun
A windless morning, a rare reflection. The best way to start your day.

I hope you see something amazing along your daily path.

Captured While Running Album on Flickr


Every Time It Rains

Every Time It Rains
It has to rain every now and then.

The light feels different.

More diffuse.

Every Time It Rains.


Spring Flowers and a Blog Tour

This weekend we were blessed with ample sunshine and most importantly, very little wind. When it's still outside, I grab my camera and capture those spring blooms before they fade away.




My blogger friend Susan Licht, recently invited me to take part in a virtual blog tour. I connected with Susan through a mutual blogger friend, Kyla Hunzinger via Flickr. Upon viewing her fantastic photos, I realized I recognized many of the places she frequented. We exchanged emails, and it turns out Susan lives in the town I grew up in - in Massachusetts. Her children attended the same High School I attended, and her son played in the same youth orchestra I played in. It still amazes me how small the world really is - we're all connected, if not by similar pasts, then at least by similar life experiences and passions.

For this blog tour we were asked to answer the following questions about our creative process.

1) what am i working on?
2) how does my work differ from others of its genre?
3) why do I write/create what i do?
4) how does my creative process work?

1) What am I working on?
What a loaded question.... The short answer - I am working on ME - to be a better person, a better friend, encourager, wife, mother, artist, runner, and contributor to this thing called life. Photography is but one avenue of many I employ for self improvement. The process of taking a photo forces me to slow down, observe and marvel even before clicking that shutter. Once the shutter is depressed, I've preserved a finite moment in time - one that won't repeat itself, and that is so satisfying, whether that moment exudes happiness or pain, serenity or discord. I am working on capturing emotions and memories - in order to grow and improve.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I attempt to capture the simple beauty I see and feel - I'm not sure if that sets my work apart! I am blessed to live on the flat prairie, where the sunrises and sunsets seem to go on forever, often with the most amazing cloud formations in the sky. There is an austere simplicity to it all that I am drawn to. Recently, I have been capturing what I see while I am out running - maybe that makes some of my work different.

3) Why do I write / create what I do?
Sometimes I write so I won't forget - I can be hopelessly sentimental, but looking back sheds perspective on my personal and creative journey. Other times I create because it makes me feel good, and hopefully in turn, makes others feel good.

4) How does my creative process work?
My philosophy - always live in the present, be observant, and be aware of the light around you. Always carry a camera and don't be afraid to use it. There may be times when you can't use your camera and that's OK - those times are for simply enjoying the moment.

As part of the blog tour, I get to introduce you to other artists I admire, and hopefully they will have time to answer the same questions posed to me.

Puna at Lifesignatures blogs about life, photography, food and family. We have a lot in common, including daughters obsessed (in a good way) with horses.

Tina at Tinajo at Home, lives in Sweden and I've had the privilege of meeting her in real life. She blogs about her little rascals and things that strike her fancy.

My blog's sidebar lists numerous blogs filled with inspiration and photographic beauty - places I routinely visit. I hope you will take time to visit them, too.


Along My Run | 1

I often take photos with my iPhone when I'm out running – running serves not only as means to stay fit, but a way for me to commune with my surroundings. I’m always looking, listening, observing. Sometimes I do this to keep my mind off the monotony that might accompany the run, but mostly these observations serve as acts of gratitude - to acknowledge the wonderful things around me. I then attach the photo to my RunKeeper's record of the activity, which serves as a great reminder of that run.

I have almost three years of running records on RunKeeper. I started tracking my runs via their GPS app in October, 2011 when I upgraded to the iPhone 4s, and I find it interesting to see the accumulation of that information over time (I am an engineering geek afterall). I can see the gaps when I was injured, I can see the progression of mileage increases as I ramped up. Data can be a positive motivator.

With the purchase of a Garmin Forerunner GPS watch in February, I no longer use RunKeeper's real time GPS tracking functionality. However, I still upload my Garmin data to Run Keeper. It's an extra step in the overall process, but for now, I think it is worth having all my data in one database.

Onto the real reason for this post – what I’ve captured during my recent runs, taken over the past 4 weeks:
Scenes from the Run - April-May, 2014

1. Along the Edge. It was my 2nd run today. I'm taking tomorrow off., 2. A Run in the Rain, 3. Mother's Day Gift, 4. Wind and Wisp , 5. Love never stops, it never gives up, it never runs out on me, 6. Spring Dream - Sorry for the numerous photos this morning - it's a perfect day for a run and I had to share it., 7. Wander and Wonder, 8. Heavenly Fragrant , 9. Blessed Assurance , 10. Grant Me Solace Today , 11. Good Morning! , 12. Off Roading - Not taken by me but I was there, 13. Shimmer , 14. Blood Moon Setting , 15. From The High Point of the Bridge

I'll close with a group photo from work - all the people who participated in the local marathon race events. Everyone at work knows I'm a rabid photographer, so I get to coordinate these photo shoots, pick the locale and tell everyone where to stand. Hey, it works for me!
2014 Illinois Marathon Participants

Hope you get to enjoy the great outdoors this weekend!


Tulips Galore

I can officially state I've been spoiled by the abundance of tulips in the house this year. I received not one, but two bouquets for Mother's Day - one from hubby (a nice surprise - he doesn't often buy me flowers, probably because in the past I've stated I didn't want them, but this year I secretly did), and one from sweet friend, Kellie (she must have sensed I needed them).

Today's photos are from Kellie's gift.

Mother's Day Bouquet
In addition to the flowers, you get a bonus - to see my kitchen sink and surrounding counters free of dirty dishes, glasses, water bottles and other "stuff". It's certainly not that clean right now...

I love how the morning light through the window creates a magical halo effect - layering beauty on beauty, if that could even be possible.

And a different perspective here - one that wants to stand out from the crowd.
Apart from the Crowd

I hope you see the simple beauty that surrounds you today.


The Prom

I'm still recovering from last weekend. It was filled with fun gatherings, friends, running, horse clinics, Mother's Day celebrations, capped by the most perfect Spring weather.

And my daughter's first Prom.

Two weeks ago, she was asked by a friend of a friend - a senior boy (gasp!), who I didn't know (double gasp!). The process of asking someone to prom is quite the production nowadays - in her case, a large poster board with a little poem asking if she would go to prom with him. And a bouquet of flowers. When I was in high school things were quite different - no flowers, no public declarations, no neon lights spelling out the words "PROM-WITH ME?" emblazoned from a car - you were simply asked (in my case, I asked a boy from another school, so I called him up on the phone to ask - thank goodness he agreed to it all!).

Let me tell you - two weeks is not a very long time to get ready for Prom. She ordered a dress on-line and probably had it express shipped to the house, as it arrived a week before the date. It needed to be hemmed, so we got it to a tailor "just in time". Shoes - she ordered three pairs on-line, didn't like the first pair, and we determined too late that the other two pairs wouldn't arrive until Monday - oops. So I was sent to the shoe store 4 hours before Prom Date Pick Up Time to buy a pair of 3.5" heeled nude pumps.

I brought home 4 pairs of shoes (disclosure - two pairs were for me - that's my commission), as my cell phone died while I was trying on shoes, taking photos and texting them to my daughter who was busy getting back from a horse riding clinic. I was then sent to pick up the boutonniere and observed how busy the floral departments are the afternoon of Prom and the day before Mother's Day.

My last big task in helping my darling daughter get ready for prom - braiding her hair into a "Dutch Crown Braid" - something I had learned how to execute less than 24 hours prior, thanks to the infinite resources of the Internet and YouTube. Here was the end result:
Prom Crown Braid #braidedbyme #hair #braid
Yes, my daughter was pleased how it turned out. I felt good because it was such a mother - daughter bonding afternoon.

The seniors gather with their prom dates at the local country club for pre-prom photos:

Unfortunately, the juniors gather at a different place, so I didn't get to take photos of her friends, except for Erin here, who is also a junior attending with a senior:
Long Time Friends

The light was perfect at the golf course - it was the nicest day of the year so far. All the young women were beautiful in their gowns (I wish I would have worn something so elegant to my prom).

The young men were so dashing and handsome.
The Group

My daughter has gone and grown up on me (*sniff*)

My favorite capture for the evening:
Sun Shines Down Upon You

They had the most wonderful time - a teen age rite of passage that won't be forgotten....


A Prayer in Spring

A Prayer in Spring - Robert Frost

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
Snow White

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill


Sun Setting on the Lone Tree

I went for a long walk Wednesday evening - to clear my mind. I found beauty in the Lone Tree as I watched the sun set.

Golden Days
See the shimmers on the very bottom of the photo? The sun is glinting off dandelion puffs - the only time I appreciate those dandelion seeds.

They reminded me of this photo I shot four (wow!) years ago - at the end of April, during sunset:
Out for an Evening Stroll
So surreal....

Back to the Lone Tree... which started to burn like tears in my eyes...
On Fire

Until the fire ebbed, the sun dipped ....

Gone, The Lone Tree left in the ashes of the day ...
Gone and Faded


Make Me Happy



I don't have much to say, so no words today


Horse Show - Jump for Joy

I spent all Sunday at the daughter's second horse show. I was well prepared to wait, and the weather was nice, the grounds were beautiful and there were so many pretty horses to watch.

But I only took photos of my girl and her horse.

Warming Up

Number 374


My absolute favorite shot of the day - they look like they are riding on some expansive horse farm in Kentucky - every equestrian's dream, right?
The Equestrian

And my least favorite - she's holding on for dear life. As I was capturing this, I was thinking "holy crap, she's about to fall off". Afterwards, I said a silent prayer that there wouldn't be any more close calls.
Mother's Nightmare

This jump, during the competition was better:
Takes Off

She competed in two jumping events. The first one was rough - you know those flower boxes in front of the jumps? I learned they are not there just to make things pretty - they are there to psych out the horses. And Caesar did not like them at all. During his first run, she had to hit him with the crop and yell to get him to go over. That's all it took - after Caesar realized it was all in his head, the subsequent jumps went just fine.


She took home a few ribbons - another great but tiring day. More to come in a few weeks!



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