July 2015 Desktop Calendar - Dragonfly

The lovely and harmless dragonfly of summer, very prevalent by our little fish pond. You can read more about this twelve spotted skimmer here. And enjoy him all the month of July if you wish!



Here is the link to Download July's free desktop calendar, hosted by Box.com:
Free July 2015 Calendar - Dragonfly

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Lego Brickworld

I got a chance to attend the Lego Brickworld Exposition in Chicago Land with my friend Jill, her boys, a bunch of the boys' friends, and my son. The event was part of a birthday celebration for one of Jill's boys.

What is Lego Brickworld? Imagine a large convention center with over 60,000 square feet dedicated to Lego creations - some small, many big, all very creative and amazing. Here are some of my favorite photos from our visit.

Numerous street scenes
Somewhere in France

Gelateria

Trains galore
Yard Work

The Pacific Northwest

The Heartland

Medieval Scenes:
The King and Queen

Nordic Scene

Even an Amusement park with moving rides.
Ferris Wheel Ride
The ferris wheel not only went around and around, but it would occasionally pause with a car at the bottom, as if new passengers were coming aboard. Very clever!

The Haunted Mansion

The Smurfs were right at home.
A Perfect day, Right Smurfette?
I overheard the creator of this scene - the Smurf figurines were custom produced!

The Lego figurines lead such interesting lives!
Head Banging Time

Of course, the visit isn't complete without a group picture of the boys with Batman!
Posers

If you ever get the chance to attend one of these expositions, they are totally worth it - admission was a mere $10.

Here is the entire collection of photos, in a (flash) slide show:


Or, click on the link: Lego Brickworld Photos by Shirley LeMay

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Friday Five Randomness

It's Friday and this Friday's Five contains random snippets from our lives.

  1. I encountered a fellow runner Thursday morning while I was out walking. We only know each other very casually through some mutual friends, but we pass each other frequently while running. She came upon me and slowed down enough to inquire “Not running?”, to which I replied “No - injury”. She threw up her hands and declared “Oh, I HATE injuries” and proceeded to provide encouragement like “Oh, you’ll be back before you know it…. Take your time to get healed up properly“. And that is what I love about the running community.
  2. The Girl turned 18 this week. Eighteen. Which means (in Illinois), she can legally purchase cigarettes and lottery tickets! She is no longer bound to the various driver’s restrictions (number of people in the car and curfew). But she still struggles with reading a map and navigating unfamiliar areas.
  3. Her Senior Year
  4. Our cat, Louie gave us a scare Wednesday evening, when we thought he had been let outside and was nowhere to be found. We searched high and low, even enlisting the help of neighbor friends. At 9pm, I figured he was going to be out all night long (and I was not going to get any sleep worrying about him) when he sauntered up from the basement, looking groggy. We had searched the basement previously, so who know where he goes and hides himself! I swear, his stealth mojo is super strong.
  5. Trouble Maker #cat #siamese #catsofinstagram #blueeyes
    So Cute, Such a Troublemaker
  6. I had an unexpected trip to Chicago - I had to drive to O’Hare early Tuesday morning to pick up Scott and the Boy after their flight home was canceled Monday night. What craziness - there were storms in the area that impacted flights leaving O'Hare for a couple hours, but the little puddle jumper from here to ORD simply goes back and forth, so I'm not sure why it got canceled. With their flight canceled they were left stranded - there were no available hotel rooms, no rental cars and not even a guarantee of getting on a Tuesday flight.
  7. I don't like celery, but my friend, Jill, left me with a bunch of celery sticks. I don't like throwing perfectly good food away, so I did some research and learned that celery can be used in fruit smoothies. The best part - you can't even tell it's there.
Fresh and Frosty #smoothie
Can't Taste The Celery in the Final Product

I'm looking forward to the weekend! I will probably drive back up to Chicagoland with my friend and our boys to celebrate one of her boy's birthdays. Hope you have a great Friday and weekend!

Shared with Five on Friday

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Black and White Wednesday - Skeletal

It's time for a photography challenge - to exercise my creativity. Fellow blogger, Nicki at Bended Road Photography, posts a black and white photo on Wednesdays and I'm a member of a Black and White photography group on Facebook, which is hosted by Susan Licht. So black and white challenge on Wednesdays it is.

I personally find it hard to visualize in black and white. One can't simply convert any photo to monotone and call it done. Some scenes don't work in black and white, while others are completely transformed. Therein lies the challenge.

When I shot this, I knew the final image would be black and white.

A Skeleton of My Former Self #blackandwhite
A Skeleton of My Former Self

Shared with Black and White Wednesday

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Five Favorite Things - Pitch Perfect 2

This post is like, 3 weeks late! I saw the movie the weekend it premiered, wrote part of this post, then "life" (birthdays, graduation activities, parties, out of town visitors, end of school, etc) got in the way.... I also wanted to include little YouTube snippets, but found nothing (probably due to copyright issues). I'm hitting the Publish button now, before even more time passes....

Being a former collegiate a cappella singer (gosh, doesn’t that sound official and even slightly important, even though it’s not!), I’ve been anticipating the sequel to one of my favorite movies covering the a cappella “scene”, and caught Pitch Perfect 2 on its opening weekend. Even though the movie was predictable and borrowed many elements from the first movie (the Riff-Off, a singing competition), I still enjoyed it. The movie featured amazing vocal arrangements, instrument-free performances and funny jokes about the genre.

Here’s my list of Five Things I loved about Pitch Perfect 2:

1. Old School A cappella songs
– like Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. Yup, my college group (a mixed group), sang this classic. When the competition is “upping the game” by going bigger, badder and simply crazy, sometimes it’s best to return to what is simple.

2. Using a song as a metaphor for taking risk and breaking the rules.
In the movie, the Bellas decide to perform an Original Song, a departure from traditional a cappella. This feature song, Flashlight, wins over the crowd and judges. And here is a bit of a cappella trivial – Sara Bareilles’ original song Gravity was performed by her a cappella group, UCLA’s Awaken a Cappella back in 2004.

3. The performances at the World Championship of a cappella – proving that music breaks down barriers. These performances included diverse musicians – The Penn Masala, The Filharmonic, The Singboks and Pentatonix.

4. Seeing the Green Bay Packers sing an a cappella arrangement of Bootylicious during the Riff Off. Who knew Clay Matthews could sing?

5. The chorus of Flashlight, performed with Bella Alumni. This took me by surprise, but is a real tradition in the a cappella community. I still get invitations to sing with my college group (and did so a couple years back at a Graduation ceremony). We are all bound together by the music.

Present and Past
Chorallaries, Past and Present
College a cappella is a wonderful activity to get involved with. I make a point to attend local performances of the University of Illinois groups, like No Comment below
Drama

Shared with Five on Friday

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Feeling Like Summer

Warm breezes, ample sunshine and the flowers of summer.

Fresh, like a glass of lemonade....
Lemonade

Or cool and fragrant
In a Haze

Lazy, dreamy days approaching the summer solstice
Summer Dreams

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Along My Run |16 - Not Much Going On

Sadly, I spent most of my May in the pool or at the gym. I decided to give my calf a break from running, as recommended by the sports medicine doctor I saw mid-month. I miss the running, the scenery, the chirping of birds and all the stuff along the road that changes each day, but I know that the bigger picture is more important than the present.

Morning Stillness #shirleyruns #seenonmyrun
The Sole Photo I Took While Running in May

I’m swimming at least twice a week and have tacked on pool running after my normal routine of swimming a mile. I continue yoga, strength training and an occasional spin class. But I prefer to be outdoors, so I take walks, enjoy the slower pace of things and still enjoy the beauty around me.
Sunset Dance #enjoyillinois #explorechampaignparks #squaready #sculpture #flamenco
Sunset Dance

Half Time
Half Time

Raiment
Raiment
I also made a day trip to Chicago to drop my parents off for a weeklong Road Scholar program focused on the Windy City. I entered the city along Columbus Drive, through the heart of Grant Park. I realized the last time I visited Chicago was during the Chicago Marathon. We drove past the starting line, then into the bowels of the Randolph Street underpass. I recognized the intersection where I had chucked my long sleeve starting line shirt. Later, as I walked across the Michigan Avenue bridge (in the cold, 45 degF, windy, spitting rain weather), it felt so familiar, and immediately, I knew I had to run it again. I just don’t know if it will be this year. After three consecutive marathons, all spaced out in six month intervals, I’m kind of worn out. I guess if the calf is healed up by mid-July, I’ll give it a go as I have until September to defer my 2015 entry to next year.
Simply a Lovely Day in #chicago #sarcasm #enjoyillinois #trumptower
Crossing the Michigan Avenue Bridge on a Cold, Misty Day

May’s Stats:
13.1 miles running
6.7 miles swimming
Several hours of yoga
Impromptu #wildthing #yoga
Impromptu

Finally, this month's running quotes - because even if you can't run, you can still be inspired.
Running removes us briefly from the fragmentation and depersonalization of the digital world.
– Amby Burfoot
[The main reason why I run outside]

It's all those little battles with yourself that are the most satisfying to win.
– Mirinda Carfrae

Running is a kind of truth serum. It brutally strips away everything you put on and leaves you with only yourself.

– Marc Parent

When I run, I'm just a person among people. A runner among runners. And we all experience the same challenge of get up and go - regardless of ability.
– Sally Bergesen

To go the distance and keep going after that, the only sustainable place to start is from a place of gratitude and love.
– Kristin Armstrong

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May Flowers

I had time last week to take pictures of what's currently blooming in the backyard and around town. My parents were in town for the Girl's graduation festivities, so I brought them to several of the local parks and gardens. The weather was really nice all week long.

Searching

Water iris blooming in the backyard:
Take Flight

At the U of I Idea Garden:
Sea Spray

Spotted on the Path

White clematis - you remind me of the snow....
Star Bright

What's blooming in your area?

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June 2015 Desktop Calendar - Free Download

June brings flowers! And if it is too early for summer flowers where you are, hopefully this pink oriental poppy will brighten your day.


Here are the links to Download June's free desktop calendar, hosted by Box.com:
Free June 2015 Calendar - Poppy

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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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