Category Archives: Photography

path: a photo challenge

Thursday – December 29, 2016. Counting today, there are three more days in 2016. Then a new year, of sorts. Last year, I had three hundred sixty-six to count, the coming year brings three hundred sixty-five. For educators, like myself, the year is defined by the school calendar mid-August to June or early May with a break in June, July and early August. Which means new year marks the beginning of second half and new birth of sorts for my eighth graders.

Christmas dessert – B’s homemade old-fashioned creampie

At the moment, I am on winter break – Day 7. I wish I could report I had accomplished more than catching up on sleep, but I can’t. I prepared an amazing Christmas Dinner – roasted bone-in prime rib, au gratin potatoes, and Brussel sprouts with bacon. Ivy got the bones. B made the old-fashioned cream pie for dessert.

Today marks the beginning of a new path – thank you notes, cleaning off my office desk, a workout (this would be three days in a row), and maybe some school work –  maybe.

We had snow in early December, the first Sunday of the month. The storm left several inches of snow covering the ground. A week later, we had another storm blanketing the area with a fresh layer if snow. The following week, we had bitter cold and last weekend we had rain and the most of the snow melted. The Monday after Christmas, I was outside raking leaves from the deck and cleaning up the yard a bit. Except for a few patches where the sun doesn’t shine, the snow is gone, it’s history. This afternoon’s forecast calls for a dusting of snow, but at the moment it is clear and sunny – a bonus for this time of the year.

Same path, different days….

Continue reading path: a photo challenge

shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

Sunday was a beautiful day in the Midwest. Actually, Saturday was a beautiful day, too and I am not referring to the Chicago Cubs.

We’ve had a run of beautiful days. Warm sunny afternoons followed by cool nights. Tonight, the sky was clear again when I took Ivy outside. Since she and Mr. Skunk met in August, she gets an escort out in the evening. I looked up and I could see several stars. Living so close to a major city, my stargazing is limited by the light pollution. I am thankful for the stars that shine bright enough for me to see.

ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange
ivy leaves shine a brilliant red-orange

I spent most of my day hunkered down in the basement working on school and other things. I popped out of my cave to enjoy a slice of O’s birthday cake. It was O’s birthday and W was over to help celebrate.

It was that time in the afternoon when the sun’s angle illuminates and shines across the landscape in a special way. It makes the grass greener and the fall leaves redder, oranger, and yellower than they are in the midday sun or morning sun.

the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun
the leaves of the maple tree peak through the other trees lit by the sun

The backside of our home faces west and is surrounded by mature maple trees and a lonely ash tree. Among the maples is a maple tree that turns the brightest orange-yellow in early fall. It is so bright it appears to be afire. The other maple trees turn a pale yellow and drop almost simultaneously after the first heavy frost in mid-November. One of the maple trees has a vine that climbs the trunk and had turned a brilliant red-orange. Continue reading shine/sunshine: a photo challenge

water – a photo challenge

I’ve had this weekend circled on my calendar since Labor Day. It’s been awhile since we’ve been up here, by the lake, in the early fall. The past few years, we’ve been able to come up only after football season was finished and even then it was for a short two-day weekend, not the longer three-day weekend that Columbus Day brings.

the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we're here... by the lake, Up North.
the sun lights up South Bay, the wind whips the lake, and we’re here… by the lake, Up North.

Last year, it was W, O, Ivy, and I for fall cleanup, the year before in ’14 we all of us left on early Saturday afternoon (after football practice) and only had Sunday to work, and in 13’ I came by myself.

I’ve been searching back in my memory and the cottage guest book and it’s been a long time since we’ve been Up North at this time in the year.

B and I reminisced on our way out of town Friday evening as the sunset in the rearview mirror about our trip in ’96. It was BK – before kids – her parents met us and we had a great time. We drove through the countryside looking at the fall color and we did some yard work, but I remember the deep breaths I was able take by the lake. It does that for me, the lake helps me relax and refocus. Continue reading water – a photo challenge

rare: a photo challenge

It is Sunday evening. It rained most of Saturday, so my Saturday chores – mowing the lawn and caring for the yard were postponed until today.

Yesterday’s rain brought with it cooler weather, and it was welcome. It was nice to be able to sleep with the windows open overnight, sleeping with windows open at night is usually a Late-September early fall treat. Mowing the lawn was much more comfortable than the typical late August Midwestern summer afternoon. It’s rare for August, but very welcome.

I was sitting outside contemplating all that I had left to do when I caught the sun streaming through the trees at exactly the right moment.

catching the sun at the right moment, rare
catching the sun at the right moment, rare

Sunsets at home are enjoyable, but not nearly as spectacular as they are at the lake. So when I can catch the sun in a rare moment, I do.

Even Ivy recognizes the rare moment and has been stalking some critter under the deck. Ivy has been obsessed by some critter that has burrowed under the deck. It could be rabbits or worse, skunks. She’s been skunked twice.

Ivy begs for more 'outside' time..."Please, can I stay outside?", the expression on her face seems to say
Ivy begs for more ‘outside’ time…”Please, can I stay outside?”, the expression on her face seems to say

Sunday’s the quickest day of the week, especially Sunday’s during the school year, and it always comes before Monday, the first day of the school week. Tomorrow is the last day for me to prepare before my students start school Tuesday. I spent most of last week preparing my classroom for the coming year and I have a few final touches before it is ready and I spent part of yesterday working on school tasks.

Today has been a great day and tomorrow could be a million and six times better. So, I’d better put a wrap up today and get a good night’s rest before the first full week of school. I am counting on making it count. Making the Days Count, one rare moment at a time.

What rare moment did you catch today?

Today’s post is inspired by last week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare. For this week’s challenge, share a photo of something rare: a family heirloom. A cloudy day in a normally sunny desert. A sad frown on a cheerful kid’s face. Or anything else you think of as scarce and singular. I can’t wait to see what “rare” means to you!

By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

Last night, I grilled burgers and B and I enjoyed dinner together. Earlier, we’d planned to take the boat out and have fun boating, but storms rolled in and we covered the boat, put it on the lift, and came inside.

sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles
sunset. standing on the dock looking west in the sprinkles

Done for the day.

B read on the couch, Ivy curled up on her pad exhausted from being in the lake all day, and I started dinner. It was a cloudy stormy evening along the lake in northern Michigan. It rained a little and then stopped. All we got was a little rain and thunder the heavy rain went south. I pulled the grill out and grilled the burgers. We enjoyed our dinner and finished it with fresh Michigan strawberries and vanilla ice cream.

Perfect dinner. Continue reading By the lake, Friday morning thoughts

Impromptu – day 7

Summer is full of surprises. Always. Some surprises are good, others aren’t. Wednesday morning B, my wife, asked me if I wanted to go north for a couple of days. I had several things on my calendar and task list, but it wasn’t a request. Michigan. The lake, the boat, summer.

We loaded the car, or cars, and headed north to the cottage. We arrived late and the early summer night sky was ablaze with stars. At home we don’t see the stars as well because of the light pollution, but here it’s amazing.

Thursday evening's sunset
Thursday evening’s sunset
Continue reading Impromptu – day 7

future: a photo challenge

Saturday morning, again. It’s the best day of the week. Saturday gets the nod for the best day of the week because I get to pick the pace and choose how it begins. Sunday is a close second, Monday through Friday are tied for third place where the pace is dictated by getting to school and teaching.

daffodils in the morning light, cold and waiting for warmer days
daffodils in the morning light, cold and waiting for warmer days

Spring Break is over and we are home. My landscape is landlocked and the future is certain, Spring is here, though you wouldn’t recognize it from the weather we had yesterday or this morning. It’s cold this morning, but sunny and clear. Which makes a difference.

I got out of bed, made coffee and decided to visit the daffodil glade at the Morton Arboretum to see Spring’s progress. I’ve been visiting since Spring sprang and enjoying etching Earth return to life. Continue reading future: a photo challenge

Landscape: a photo challenge

It’s Saturday morning and like most Saturday mornings go, I find myself the only person awake in the family. That’ll change soon. O will be up before long, then B, and finally W. Once B wakes I’ll need to get busy and pack to go home.

Friday morning at Seven-Mile Bridge
Friday morning at Seven-Mile Bridge

We’ve been on vacation, spring break, in the Florida Keys. The break came at a perfect time for all of us especially B. She remembers coming down to the Keys on winter and spring vacations as a child with her family and the trip has helped her heal the wounds of her parent’s passing. The trip has given me time to slow down and catch my breath and think ahead. When we get home later tonight we’ll unpack our bags and memories, then get ready for the week ahead, but until then I can continue to breathe at a different pace.

Wednesday morning at sea - going diving
Wednesday morning at sea – going diving

This week, my landscape has been a seascape, Continue reading Landscape: a photo challenge

picture book

March 31. Today would have been my father-in-law’s 90th birthday. I remember celebrating his 70th and his 80th birthdays and several in between. We miss him.

We’re on spring vacation in the Keys. The Keys are a special place, it’s place he and his daughter introduced to me in 2002. B has fond memories of her time in the Keys – visiting with her folks. I had never been to Florida, outside of Miami International, until that trip. I fell in love with the Keys and we’ve been back several times – 2004, 2007, 2013, and this year. Each time I come here, I think of him and grandma and enjoy the sun.

The first time we came, they met us at the airport – it was B, W, and me. B was pregnant with O at the time, so I suppose you could say that O came along, too. Continue reading picture book