Monday, August 31, 2009

Where I Live

I live mostly in my head. I'm a dreamer, a thinker. I ponder. My mind wanders.

I joined 27 other people in committing to a shot-a-week photography blog. There will be a weekly challenge and each member will post a photo. The theme for this first week is Where I Live. As always I had more than one idea running through my head. So I'm posting this picture here and another there. Check out Lens Us Together for more pictures from where we all live. If you are interested in joining email Char from ramblins.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Birds of a Feather

After 7 years of working 12 minutes from Oak Mountain State Park, I decided last week to take my camera and go exploring over there on my lunch hour. (this was not my first time to go to the park, just the first time I thought of going during lunch)

My first stop was at the Petting/Exhibit Farm.

The only prior experience I had at this farm involved my kindergarten son, a baby pig and me with a big stinky wet spot on my shirt. So, I kept my distance from the larger animals and spent many minutes stalking Mr. Peacock.

Aren't his feathers the most heavenly color of blue?

After 10 minutes of following him around, I was surprised to see he has a Mrs.

She was proud to pose atop the fence and let me shoot away.

I think she knows this is her most photogenic side.

I drove on up the road and took more pictures which I'll save for another day. I don't know why this is the first time I've done this....but I'm sure I'll go back once the leaves begin to change.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday

Hooray, Marie is back at Cpaphil Vintage Postcards and that means PFF is back!

You might remember that I recently took a week of vacation to help babysit for my granddaughters, while their parents took a 10th wedding anniversary trip. My son managed to keep the destination secret until they were at the airport. My daughter-in-law thought they were going on a getaway to Chattanooga, a nice place to visit, but a city they had seen many times before.

Instead, the Canadian Rockies were the place he had in mind. They flew into Calgary, spent the night, had Sunday Brunch in the 360 degree restaurant atop the Calgary Tower and then traveled on to Lake Moraine in Banff National Park.

Thanks guys for sending me a postcard from know that's just the souvenir I wanted.....(cause I asked you for it. *grin*)

See the Calgary Tower in the center of the card.

My son and daughter-in-law are natural photographers. They both have an unfailing eye for detail and beauty. I asked if I could share a few pictures from their trip with you. I think all of these were shot at Lake Moraine.

My DIL said he took the long shots.

And she took the close ups.

Don't you love the texture and pattern in this photo?

Can you believe how clear and blue the water is?

I hope you liked taking this Friday mini vacation with me. It's the reason I enjoy PFF so much....seeing the world postcard by postcard with you. Happy PFF!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Okay....I'm a Dope!

I wanted to show you what I saw earlier this week, so I stopped on my way home to shoot this video. My subjects were there just as I thought they would be. You'll notice that it is shot holding the camera the wrong way.....ONCE AGAIN! I make this mistake all the time. You think I would learn. I'm posting it anyway, because I think you might like it even though I'm a dope!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ficus carica

Fig facts:
  • native of Southwest Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean
  • one of the first plants cultivated by man, pre-dating the cultivation of legumes, wheat and barley
  • one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber
  • a natural laxative
  • what is referred to as the fruit is actually the flower of the tree
  • the hole in the middle of the fruit is a narrow passage which allows the fig wasp to enter and pollinate the flower
  • figs do not keep well and can be stored in the refrigerator for only 2 to 3 days
We had a fig tree in our backyard when I was growing up. My parents didn't plant it. Rather, it came up voluntarily right over the spot where coal, for our ancient coal furnace, had been dumped for years before we bought the home.

We lived in our old house for one winter before modern forced air heating was installed. This was due to the fact that a coal furnace must be taken care of continually or the fire will go out. It has to be stoked at night and started up again in the morning before the house gets you get the picture. After one winter of that....modern heating was installed. Shortly thereafter the fig tree sprung up.

It was a favorite of both my parents and the envy of most of our neighbors. And it faithfully produced plump, juicy figs summer after summer. But if the truth must be told, I never liked figs very much. They are too sweet for me. (see the big blob of green behind teenage me? It's our famous fig tree in its fruity glory)

My son TJ has a couple of small fig trees growing in the yard of his little rented home. He enjoys the fruit and shares it with my parents. I asked him to bring a few over so that I could photograph them. We placed them on my frosted glass cutting board and snapped away. When I uploaded the pictures to my computer I noticed the strange floating fig phenomenon.

taken in TJ's yard last spring

If I had known how good figs are for your health, I would have eaten a few more this year.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Random Photo Day

Through my eyes:

cracked walls and open windows

ready for canvases and paint

one photo with 3 images of the same 2 cars

floating figs

watch out!

wing chairs and 8 mailboxes

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Happy Birthday my Lovelies!

Yesterday we celebrated my 3rd granddaughter's 8th birthday as well as my oldest son's (her daddy) birthday. She was born on the 22nd and he on the 23rd.

I was 20 when he was born. I remember looking at his tiny little face and thinking, "I'm going to be responsible for this person for the next 20 years" and thinking that was a lifetime away. And now it is moving closer to 2 lifetimes away from that moment 35 years ago. My, how my family has grown. I've loved every addition.

(It seems every other day is someone's birthday though! My daddy's is this coming week and another grandson's birthday is the week after....I call this the birthday season!)

The birthday girl enjoying a swim.

Her older sister takes care of their brother in the pool.
He is telling me not to take his picture, although
I don't know why.

Most of her pictures last night sport this look. What a camera ham.

Me with my oldest and youngest sons.
Happy Birthday Daniel!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

We Tick, We Chime, We Strike The Hour

There is something about the human face that draws me back again and again. I find myself watching people. Instead of listening to what they are saying I am busy trying to analysis their features...long nose, deep set eyes, plump lips, etc. We are attracted to beautiful people. We can recognize intelligence or foolishness just by looking into a person's face. We intuit feelings by watching facial expressions and adjust our responses accordingly. A baby comes into the world intensely interested in his mother's face.

Obviously facial fascination is not exclusive to me. Think about all the ways we use the word in language.

baby face
face in the crowd
face like thunder
face that could stop a clock
face that only a mother could love
long face
poker face
about face
as plain as the nose on your face
at face value
blue in the face
cut off your nose to spite your face
get your face on
egg on your face
face facts
face the music
face up to
fly in the face of the evidence
in your face
it's written all over your face
keep a straight face
kick sand in his face
laugh in your face
face it
face the music
lose face
on the face of it
plain as the nose on your face
put a brave face on
save face
set your face against something
shut your face
slap in the face
face that launched a thousand ships

I cannot sit down with my sketchbook without looking for a face to draw. I know, I've tried. I am inextricably drawn to draw the human face.

I loathe the expression "What makes him tick." It is the American mind, looking for simple and singular solution, that uses the foolish expression. A person not only ticks, he also chimes and strikes the hour, falls and breaks and has to be put together again, and sometimes stops like an electric clock in a thunderstorm. - James Thurber

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Eternal Imperatives

My mother said:
Brush your teeth.
Make up your bed.
Eat your eggs.
Put your dishes in the sink.
Pick up your clothes.
Turn the TV off.
Go outside and play.
Stop being mean to your brother.
Take your feet off the furniture.
Don't butt in.
Say yes ma'am and no sir.
Be sweet.
Sit up straight.
Eat your okra.
Clean up these toys.
Do your homework.
Don't talk back.
Mind your manners.
Go take a bath...use soap.
Time for bed.
My mother said she wished she had made a recording that she could play for us everyday instead of having to repeat the same things over and over.

I said all the same things to my kids with the additions of these:
Stop jumping on the furniture. (to my ADHD son)
BOYS, stop fighting.
Come pick this trash up.
If you can't play that video game without a fit you will have to turn it off.
Stop rolling on the floor. Sit in the chair and finish your homework. (same ADHD son)

Motherhood never changes does it? Gosh I miss those days.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer

I close my eyes and think of summer's long ago:

I wake early and go outside to find my mother pulling weeds in the flower bed.
Barefooted in the grass, I feel the dew on my feet.
When the milkman delivers the milk we run out to his truck hoping that he will give us a piece of ice to chew.
I lay on my back in the yard watching clouds pass overhead.
My sister, brother and I run up and down the sidewalk.
We join the neighborhood children playing cops and robbers.
I make a skateboard by putting a book on top of my metal skate, because I can sit and ride down the sidewalk that I am too scared to stand and skate down.
I make miniature houses under the apple tree in the backyard. I pretend fairies live there when I leave.
I love to feel the air in my face as I ride my bike down the hill.
We put on our swimsuits and squirt each other with the hosepipe.
I try to avoid stepping on the bumblebees buzzing in the clover that dots the backyard.
I run inside and lay in front of the fan whenever I get too hot outside.
I walk to the library to check out the three books their rules allow. (stupid rule)
I read a lot.
I hang upside down on the swing set pretending I am Tarzan. I try out my yell. It's not very good.
I play games of jacks with neighborhood children.
At dusk we play hide and seek.
My mother calls me home.
I sit on the porch with my parents and siblings after supper. We talk and listen to the night sounds. Sometimes we take a walk through the neighborhood in the cool night air. I love to look in the open windows or doors and see how others live.
I'm sent inside to take my bath. I whistle loudly the whole time. I'm scared to be inside alone. I imagine that if something gets me my parents will notice that I've stopped whistling and will come rescue me. I hurry and finish. Put on my pajamas and run back out onto the porch.
We sleep with the windows open. I can hear the crickets sing. I sleep under the sheet no matter how hot it is. That way I am safe from whatever may live under my bed.
I wake up and start another day.

Memories of my childhood.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


A while back, Betsy from My Five Men wrote this post about all the rain they've had in the Midwest this year. She ended her entry with a question that I've meant to research ever since then; "didn't they used to call them [umbrellas] bumbershoots?" I was familiar with the term but not with its origins.
Merriam Webster defines the word like this:
  • Main Entry: bum·ber·shoot
  • Pronunciation: \ˈbəm-bər-ˌshüt\
  • Function: noun
  • Etymology: bumber- (alteration of umbr- in umbrella) + -shoot (alteration of -chute in parachute)
  • Date: circa 1896

According to this article most people think bumbershoot is an British term for umbrella but the author makes a compelling argument that the origin of this curious word is American rather than British. He says that the word isn't British, since it isn't know in Britain at all. He speculates that people associate it with the English because it was used in a song lyric from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which was set in England. The song was written by two Americans for the Disney film.

But even before Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, L. Frank Baum used the word in 1912 in his book, Sky Island.

“This umbrella has been in our family years, an’ years, an’ years. But it was tucked away up in our attic an’ no one ever used it ’cause it wasn’t pretty.” “Don’t blame ’em much,” remarked Cap’n Bill, gazing at it curiously. “It’s a pretty old-lookin’ bumbershoot.”

So, now you know!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Games Kids Play

There are two things I remember specifically doing everyday during the summer when I was a adolescent. One was riding bikes with the other kids on the block. The other was playing games together on someone's front porch. The days were hot, but the floors of our cement porches were nice and cool. We played Jacks, Parcheesi, Life, and Monopoly. My favorite was Jacks. I recently bought a old fashioned set of metal jacks at Cracker Barrel. If only I could sit Indian style on the floor as easily as I did on those hot summer days. I bet I could still tear the game up.

Google Images

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Drawn That Way

I'm drawn to pun intended, honest!

Before the grandkids came to visit I was on a roll of creativeness.

Pen and ink with watercolor pencils.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Double Dog

Consider yourself challenged! Post a picture of your junk spot and explain why no matter how often you clean that spot it just keeps getting JUNKED up!

Believe it or not, this is relatively clean compared to how it usually looks.

The dump in my house is my night table. I always walk straight back to my room when I get home at night. Mail and anything that doesn't have a home gets added to the Jenga pile of detritus by my bed. The remote control, the birthday card from sis that plays Aquarius and makes me smile, the Christmas ribbon that appeared one day from who knows where, the magic eraser that I keep meaning to clean the bathroom with, a hairbrush, the crafty present my son gave me that I haven't fixed, tags torn from new t-shirts, bills waiting to be paid, postage stamps, a cute picture I ordered from Etsy, but not the address book that I keep looking for.....these are a few of my junky things....

I double dog dare you! Confession is good for the soul!

Today's Forecast is Rain

Watch the first part of this video with your eyes closed.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Week in Review

1. 064, 2. 070, 3. 166, 4. 119, 5. 102, 6. 091, 7. 022, 8. 100, 9. 089, 10. 042, 11. 026, 12. 113, 13. 006, 14. 043, 15. 110, 16. 016, 17. 031, 18. 007, 19. 101, 20. 017, 21. 030, 22. 033, 23. 074, 24. 069, 25. 036, 26. 046, 27. 065, 28. 068, 29. 057, 30. 126

The highlights of the past week include babysitting 4 children in various combinations, having a belated birthday party for Mk which 7 of my eight grandchildren were able to attend, meeting fellow blogger Diahn Ott and her beautiful family at the Botanical Gardens, going to the Zoo, the Museum of Art, watching doughnuts being made, making so many trips to the grocery story that I can't remember the exact number including one at bedtime in pajamas (not me), listening to a Nancy Drew book on CD, a manicure on the front porch, numerious trips out to their other grandmother's to trade kiddos, a trip to Wal-Mart, a few fast food dinners because it was either too late or I was too tired to cook, early morning cartoons so I could sleep a little longer, some art projects, telling dozens of stories about Anna Louise Spotty (a made up character who has red hair, loves the color blue and loves to hunt for dinosaur bones among her various other adventures), and having a wonderful time together!

Last night LC and I picked up Mommy and Daddy at the airport all refreshed from their 10th anniversary vacation. They left for home this morning. See you at Christmas time.

ps I left out the part about the virus!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I dont' think I could be any more tired

Being a full time Gramma is kicking my butt!

As you've probably guessed by now, I've been keeping a couple of my granddaughters while my son and his wife are away on a 10th anniversary trip to the Canadian Rockies. Their other grandmother and I have switched kiddos every couple of days. I'm Gramma and she is Mawmaw. Mawmaw is keeping the 2 year old full time. Another of her granddaughters is spending the summer with them as well so we have 5 girls between us.

On Tuesday, the oldest 3 girls came home with me. After lunch Wed. we went to the Museum as planned. EG was curious about everything and was happy to take her time looking at everything on display. The other two girls had fun dashing from room to room. I don't think they noticed much else besides the naked people. Rachel and Elijah meet us there. Thanks to her I was able to spend time with my young artist.

No flashes allowed!

Afterwards we did something fun for everyone. Doughnuts!!!!!

EG and MK watch doughnuts being made.

MK and her cousin MB enjoying some sugary goodness.

He didn't get a doughnut but he liked the hat!

The artist agrees that this was a good way to end the day.

Full of sugar and happy!