Friday, April 30, 2010

Two gifts are better than one

I’m so glad it’s Friday. It’s not that it’s been a bad week but it brings me closer to the weekend and closer to being able to see my brother again in the hospital.

I bought these tulips for myself at the grocery store today and took photos of them in the dining room window after the sun had gone down tonight. I liked the light.

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I have them in my new vase. I went into a florist shop in town about 3 weeks ago to buy flowers for my co-worker, Bonnie. There was this beautiful little green vase with white flowers and birds on it in the florists window and I decided to buy it when I saw the price. And then I went back and bought the other 2 vases that were in the shop, keeping one for myself and giving the other as a gift.

And speaking of gifts . . .

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Back in the days when I began blogging and publishing my photos, I thought that maybe some day I could sell them.

But I was pretty sure they weren’t good enough. So instead, I began giving them away. About once a month, I’d give a print or two to one of my readers . . . if they seemed like they were having a bad day, or said something exceptionally kind, or well, just because.

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I still do this, but not as often as I used to. (I have giveaways now instead). But the other week, I asked a reader for her address after a comment she’d written touched my heart. She’s been a regular visitor to this blog for quite some time now.

You can read about it [here] on her blog.

When I asked for her address, she asked me for mine which sort of threw me for a loop. (I don’t give gifts to get gifts). And yesterday at school, a little box came for me, and in it was this little handmade heart from Donna at Brynwood Needleworks.

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To see much better photos of it, please visit [here].

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The little ribbons are the color of lilacs and the little tiny beads all over it are as well. What a sweet thing to do. Thank you so much, Donna.

And with that, I bid you farewell. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Early morning sparrow

This is what my world looked like out my bedroom window early Sunday morning. I woke to the rain gently falling. It’s such a nice sound to wake up to sometimes.

It was warm enough to have had the windows open through the night and I walked over and looked out. There were birds all over the dogwood tree and at the feeder. I had an idea and raised the screen all the way up which, of course, made the birds all fly away. But I knew they’d be back.

Then I went downstairs to get coffee. I love coffee. Love how it smells, how it tastes with a bit of half & half, love the warmth of the mug in my hands . . . love.

And by the time I headed back upstairs, over 10 minutes had gone by and I was prepared with my camera and a couple of lenses.

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The birds had begun to come back to the tree.

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However, the only clear shot I could get was this little white-throated sparrow who was waiting his turn at the feeder.

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Oh, why hello there.

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I love Sunday mornings.


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Let the rain kiss you.  Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops.  Let the rain sing you a lullaby.  ~Langston Hughes


The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain.  ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Weather is a great metaphor for life - sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad, and there's nothing much you can do about it but carry an umbrella.  ~Terri Guillemets


Weather forecast for tonight:  dark.  ~George Carlin


Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Only love matters

I spent Sunday afternoon at my brother’s place in New Jersey where my son and I were met by my sister Char, who’s been in town a lot lately due to our other brother being in the hospital. The best thing was getting to see my niece Alexa and my nephew Joshua.

The kids wiped down the swings from the earlier rain and while my brother barbecued on the grill, I braved the chilly weather to get a few photos. Ok, it really wasn’t THAT cold.

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My niece, Alexa. She’s sugar and spice and everything nice.

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The irrepressible Josh. He’s six.I can't remember the last time my arrival was so greatly anticipated. When my son and I got there, the kids were at the door jumping up and down.

Before I forget, I want to mention how much I love the bokeh from my 50mm lens.

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My sister and I each had a hand in doing Alexa’s hair. I did the top portion and Char did the fish scale braid.

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Josh was excited to show us how well he does on the monkey bars. And he’s full of snips and snails and puppy dog tails.

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Just like his dad was when he was that age.

This is Pete, Steve’s twin brother. He’s the one who’s way too cool to giggle.

Thanks for coming by today. Until tomorrow, then . . .

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cosmopolitan day

I’ve been working my fingers to the bone on a photo book project that I’m making for a friend. The first thing I do is to choose the photos I want to go into it. Next, I work on each of the pictures, cropping and processing. When I’m done that, I’ll upload all of them to my account at, my favorite online photo album company.

I’m less than half way done the first stage, so I’ve got a long way to go yet.

Like I said, I was sitting here working my fingers to the bone, when I suddenly realized that it was late, and I had no post for today. And I was really ready for a break. So tonight I’m posting a couple of photos that I took two years ago this week, back when we were living on the horse farm outside of Chesapeake City, Maryland.

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I lived right at the end of that fence line on the right there. I’ve always liked this photo of the thoroughbred broodmare who looks as if she’s posing for me here. She is just so beautiful. If you look closely, you can see her foal next to her, sort of hiding behind the fence post.

I processed this photo and the one below with one of the actions Florabella collection called Cosmopolitan.

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George looks like he’s trying to pose the same way, doesn’t he?

He was just a wee pup back then, not even a year old, posing for me in a field full of buttercups.

Thanks for stopping by and I hope today is full of buttercups for you.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A step back in time at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia

It’s Sunday night as I write this and I’ve just gotten home. George is nearly on my lap due to a thunder and lightning storm that’s going on and I am beat from the weekend.

On Saturday morning, I left to see my brother who is still in the hospital in Philadelphia. I took the photos I had done for him and hung them up in his room. He especially liked the lilacs. And I read him the well wishes that you all sent him, which made him smile. “They don’t even know me,” he said. “But they know you’re my brother,” I told him. He closed his eyes and smiled.

After several hours, I had to leave to pick up my son who was coming in on the bus from New York City. He texted me to say he’d be there soon, so I headed up to 30th Street Station, which is a short drive from the hospital.

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I have never been inside this beautiful building before and was completely amazed. Unfortunately, I had the ISO set to 1250 on the camera, which gave these photos more noise (grain) than I expected, so please bear with me.

This is the war memorial at the station, commissioned from renowned sculptor Walker Hancock. The “Angel of Resurrection” was dedicated to the Pennsylvania Railroad employees who died during World War II. The giant bronze statue of an angel lifting a fallen soldier is located on the eastern end of the concourse.

This is the statue from the classic film, “Witness”. Here’s a clip from YouTube that includes it. The angel is in the very beginning of the scene which is over 5 minutes long and includes the murder scene, which you probably do not want to see. Just a warning.

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This is a beautiful station with its art deco decor and old time elegance.

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You can really see the grain here. Sorry.

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The station is nearly the size of a football field. The beautiful marble floors, the soaring 95-foot high coffered ceiling and the long pendant light fixtures all add to the elegance.

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There were birds flying about and some had landed on the floor.

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I liked the ample seating the station offers, making it comfortable while you’re waiting for your train or bus or just waiting to pick someone up. There was a college student sitting across from me, working hard on her studies.

My sister surprised me with a piece of information on our mother’s past that I hadn’t known until this week. I always knew that my mother worked as a telephone operator for the Pennsylvania Railroad before she met and married our father. But what I never put together was the fact that she actually worked here, at the 30th Street Station.

Built by the Pennsylvania Railroad beginning in 1930, it is one of the largest rail stations in the country.

And that concludes our lesson for today. Hope you’re ready for the test tomorrow.

(I’m kidding).

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Gulf Islands National Seashore, Davis Bayou

My husband and I were really surprised when our Gulf Coast friends took us to what they called ‘this little walking park’. We were surprised because it’s actually a national park located in Florida, Mississippi.

We were at the Davis Bayou branch of Gulf Islands National Seashore.

There’s a nice little paved walking path, as well as piers to fish off of, or just to sit and gaze.

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The wildflowers are so different here.

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I’ve never seen these before.

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Luckily, I’d brought my little camera bag with me and in it I had my 60mm macro lens.

I love my macro lens.

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It was a beautiful day when I took these over the spring break earlier this month. In fact, it was a perfect day.

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And I’ll always remember it.

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The different trees.

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With their Spanish moss.

It was all just so beautiful.

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I want to thank you for sharing your cleaning stories with me (previous post). It makes me feel less alone in my feelings towards it. And today I did not just one half hour, but two. And in between, I took a half hour break and worked on photos each time. So maybe I can do this.

A reader told me:  As my Mother once said..."you'll never look back and wish you cleaned more".

So true. And it’s partly why I let it go sometimes.

Oh, and just one more thing. When I began this blog in December 2007, I had an idea of what I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be a place where I could share my photography, and maybe connect with others. I imagined visitors who were looking for a peaceful respite in their day. And I think I’ve done that. Thanks so much for stopping by today and every day, for your kind comments, and for your friendship.

Until tomorrow then. . .

Friday, April 23, 2010

An even exchange

We are having company this weekend and I have been putting off cleaning my house all week. I’ve always had a good excuse and never seem to have the time. It’s really only one of our sons who’s coming, but I can’t risk having him see what a sloth his formerly neat mother has become.

I have serious dust bunnies. They lie in wait for me on the wood floors and as I walk by while they try to snatch at my ankles.

I won’t go into what other messiness lives in my house but I think you get the picture.

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And so, I decided today that in exchange for the half hour’s time it took me to take these photos and then work on them in Photoshop, I would spend half an hour’s time cleaning.

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I know you’re proud of me.

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Cleaning has always pissed me off, especially when there are people in the house and they aren’t helping. For me, cleaning has always been something to get through as quickly as possible so I can enjoy the real things in life.

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But you know what?

Cleaning is one of the real things in life. It’s a necessary thing. And when it’s done and everything gleams and the scent of pine and wood polish is in the air, it just feels like all is well. So I am thinking of taking a half hour every day, choosing a spot to clean, and just doing it.

I can find a half hour in a day. Or even 20 minutes. And if it takes me four hours to clean on a Saturday, I can do it in half hour increments during the week and actually have Saturday free to do as I please.

So, what do you think? Do you think this is a good intention only and that it will never come to fruition?

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Because that’s what Blackie thinks.

Wish me luck, k?

Love ya,

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Beauty is subjective, isn’t it?

While we were visiting our friends over spring break, there was a point during the week when our host was at work for the afternoon and our hostess was out running an errand. My husband and Jeff were off doing something, and I was left to my own devices.

After reading for awhile, I became bored.

So I opened the pantry doors in the kitchen. The pantry doubles as a liquor cabinet but I wasn’t looking for anything to drink. I was just looking. And call me crazy, but I found a couple of bottles that were so esoterically beautiful that I had to get the camera.

Hi, my name is Kate. I’m here in your house taking photos of your liquor bottles.

Go ahead, call me a nut. But I know a pretty bottle when I see it.

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I have never seen a topping like this one and fell in love instantly with the color.

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I’ve also never seen this type of liquor before, but the bottle it comes in is beautiful.

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Here’s a close-up of the little wallpaper insert on the inside back of the bottle.

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I found out that this is a bottle of St-Germain, a French liqueur created from freshly handpicked elderflower blossoms, of all things.

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This little pamphlet describes the artisanal manner used to create the liqueur. And now that I’ve found the website, I’m upset that I didn’t at least make myself a cocktail while I had the opportunity.

Moving along in the well-stocked cabinet, I found a beautiful bottle of bourbon that is the manly opposite of the bottle pictured above.

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This is Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.

It’s a product from the Jim Beam Distillery.

I know that for some bourbon drinkers, Basil Hayden is the epitome. But I wouldn’t know that. This bottle was unopened, and although I’m fairly certain our host would not mind in the least, I didn’t want to open it and do a taste test.

Besides, my heart belongs to Maker’s Mark.

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But that’s another story for another day.

Today, I just wanted to take a photo of the label. That’s a strip of wood you see there, topped by a strip of copper stamped with the name, followed by the steel letters that are riveted into the wood & copper strip. What can I say other than I think it’s perfect.

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I even like the signature tape at the top.

I am not condoning the use of alcohol in this post, nor encouraging you to do so. I’m merely posting photos of bottles that I found interesting.

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I’m nearly finished the book I've had my nose in for days and when I’m done, I promise I will be back leaving comments on my favorite blogs and reading my e-mail.

Tonight I had to walk away from the book. I had come to a disturbing place, you see. But I couldn’t stay away for long. I had to see what had happened.

And so, shall we meet again tomorrow, then? Until then . . .