Monday, August 30, 2010

Morning glory du jour

I was up at the crack of dawn today as I had lots planned to do. I was rewarded with a profusion of morning glory blooms which I snapped up after having some coffee. The light was perfect and the morning air was sweet.

I am so happy with the first morning glory here. It’s my favorite so far.

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I had lots to do because we were gone most of the day yesterday. School begins Monday and that means dressing accordingly. Gone is the summer office attire and the easy mornings of just slipping into a t-shirt, capri slacks and flip flops before heading to the office.

Over the years, I’ve had a tradition of going through my wardrobe the weekend before school starts, sorting out the things I’ll be wearing, and just generally getting it all ready. There was laundry to do, slacks, skirts, and tops to press, and some hemming that needed addressed. All that and a quick trip to the mall in DE – home of tax free shopping – where I got nearly everything I needed at Macy’s, as the sales were pretty darn good (and I had coupons, so they were even better).

I even picked up a couple of things to wear through the fall and into the winter. I love getting a good bargain and today I hit the jackpot.

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And then I came home and looked at the morning glory photos I’d taken this morning and was even happier.

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It’s doesn’t take much, does it?!

Because I’ve been so busy, I still haven’t yet read all of your answers to yesterday’s Q&A, so if you haven’t heard from me, that’s why. Well, it’s either that or I’m unable to respond because your e-mail isn’t visible to me. In that case, you can do this (if you desire).

Hope you all have a good start to the week. And, as ever, thanks so much for stopping by. It’s always a pleasure having you visit.

Oh, and speaking of visiting, if you’d like to see some absolutely gorgeous photos of dragonflies, visit my friend Sharon at A New England Life. Her dragonfly captures are simply wonderful. (And I stole my post title from her).

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Saturday morning hike

Last night, my husband announced plans for our Saturday, telling me that when we got up this morning, we were packing up the car and going somewhere.

He wouldn’t say where, and I didn’t believe him in the first place. So when I got up this morning, it was anyone’s guess as to what the day held in store for me. I had some plans of my own, which I accomplished in the end, but the world was our oyster on Saturday morning.

Last night, he told me that he didn’t understand how I could continue to sleep past the time he gets up (which is 5:30 am), when he talks to the dog in the bedroom, goes to put coffee on, takes a shower and returns to turn on the light and make noise, all while I continue to sleep.

“I don’t understand how you can do that,” he told me.

“It’s a gift,” I answered.

“So wake me, okay?” I said.

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Personally, I think it IS a gift to continue sleeping while someone else is making noise.

Come the morning, we had sandwiches and drinks packed and were out the driveway by 7:30 am, heading for places unknown. I’ve learned not to even ask anymore, because I like being surprised and I’m usually never disappointed.

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Today we ended up at the edge of the next county over (Harford County), at Conowingo Dam, where there is a nice nature/biking trail. It was a beautiful morning here in Maryland and these are just some glimpses of what I noticed along the trail.

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We walked just over 2 miles in one direction and then turned around and walked back.

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It was a good walk and the trail was busy with hikers and bikers and birders and nature lovers.

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My feet started hurting on the way back, so I began to go slower, taking photos of things along the way that I found interesting.

(And dreaming of the pedicure I had planned for after we returned home. This was one of my goals for the weekend.

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It was a beautiful morning hike and the weather continues to remain pleasant here in my neck of the woods. However, the tables are turning come the beginning of the week when hot and humid temps are predicted.

And now, if you are so inclined, here are some weekend questions for you:

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1.  The strangest thing I've ever eaten was _______________________________ .

2.  My best friend is _______________________________________ .

3.  If I could live in a different era it would be ____________________________ .

4.  I like ___________________________ .

5.  If you only know one thing about me it should be  ______________________.

6.  The one beauty product I couldn't live without is  _______________________ .

7.  If I could star in a movie with any actor/actress I would want to work with _____________________ .

8.  One of the best feelings in the world is ________________________________ .

See you in the comment section, my friends . . .

Friday, August 27, 2010

The kindness of others

The other day, I wrote that I missed my macro lens terribly but would learn to live without it until the folks at Nikon mailed it back all fixed. I’m sure you’re all getting quite tired of it all.

Well, a friend wrote me that day, telling me that she wasn’t using her macro lens very much and I was welcome to borrow it. I was stunned, but politely declined, thanking her all the same.

And then a co-worker from school e-mailed me the same day, asking if I wanted to borrow her lens over a weekend. I thanked her and told her maybe I would do that but I was fine for now.

And then the first friend wrote back and insisted that she really was not using the lens all that much, and she’d be glad to lend it to me. Then she packed it up and shipped it FedEx.

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And it came today!

I think she got tired of hearing me say how much I missed it. I don’t want to embarrass her by revealing her super hero identity, so that will be kept my secret for now.  She knows who she is, and I thank you, my friend.

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I had some tiny little Queen Anne’s Lace that I’d put in a little blue vase, so I tried out the lens on that this afternoon. The light was low but still, I am happy.

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I was happy all day, in fact. There must be something in the air, or perhaps it’s the wonderful weather that we’ve been enjoying. I was even glad while paying all my bills tonight.

And that’s highly unusual.

My husband is laughing at the TV and George is getting upset that I don’t keep tossing Scary Bird. I’ve thrown it at least sixteen times. Enough already! The odd thing is that he’s fetching it when it’s called either Scary Bird or Paraguay Falcon. I guess my husband has been working on him. Either way, it’s been a month now and it’s still his most favorite toy in the world.

Besides frisbees and sticks, that is.

Hope your day is a good one. See you tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And the seasons they go round and round

For the past week, I’ve been using the 50mm lens more and more often. I miss the macro but it’s good to miss something now and then, don’t you think?

I sat in front of this screen, blank except for the three photos you see here, wondering what it was that I wanted to say, when I realized that all I wanted to do was to share the photos.

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There is a whisper of fall in the air and I’m ready to be through with this summer.

I like spring, but it is too young. I like summer, but it is too proud. So I like best of all autumn, because its tone is mellower, its colours are richer, and it is tinged with a little sorrow. Its golden richness speaks not of the innocence of spring, nor the power of summer, but of the mellowness and kindly wisdom of approaching age. It knows the limitations of life and its content. ~ Lin Yutang

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We are so blessed to live where we do, in this old manor house on historic ground. Sometimes, if I let myself, I can almost picture how it used to be and how beautiful it could be again with some tender loving care.

And plenty of money.

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And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We're captive on the carousel of time
We can't return we can only look
Behind from where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game.

~ Joni Mitchell

Have a beautiful day, all. And as ever, thanks for stopping by.

Until tomorrow, then . . .

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Talking pets, cooler temps, and a quiet evening

Outside my window it’s dark and cool and I can hear the crickets chirping as I write this post tonight. I’m sitting in my favorite seat in the living room, Blackie is asleep on the bookcase, and George is at my feet. My husband’s watching Wipe Out and eating Cherry Garcia Fro Yo and he never gains an ounce.

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I heard from Nikon today. They can fix my lens and it will cost just under half of what a new macro lens would cost. I said yes.

The students return to school next Monday and the faculty comes back tomorrow. This year’s senior class was in kindergarten when I came to work there and it all seems like a lifetime ago.

It’s been delightfully cool here in Maryland for the past few days and the forecast for the week and the weekend is beautiful. After the sweltering summer that most of us in the States have had, this is an absolute gift.

And now, George would like to say hello.

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Take it away, George.

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“Hi. It’s George here. I just want you to know that my dad never feeds me too much cheese. It’s really only a little bit and not even every night. My stomach never hurts, so please don’t worry.”

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“Hi. Blackie here. I don’t get anything special on top of my food and they leave me home and take the dog when they go on vacation.”

Ok, that’s enough, Blackie.

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Mommy loves you.

So how are things in your neck of the woods?

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hang on, little tomatoes

This evening here in Maryland was delightfully cool and after dinner I took a walk around the property.

It’s wonderful to be able to do that again. I missed walking when it was so terribly hot and humid. I know, I know – I should have bitten the bullet and Just Did It, like the Nike ad suggests. But me no likey the sticky heat.

Afterward, I came inside and saw the tomatoes my husband has on the kitchen counter. I thought they looked artistically arranged.

So I got the camera and put on the 50mm lens.

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This lens lets in a lot of light.

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My husband had the tomatoes arranged like this, which is what caught my eye in the first place.

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The cherry tomatoes from our garden taste as sweet as candy. And when I say our garden, I’m using the term loosely. It’s my husband’s garden and I get to enjoy the bounty of it without the work involved.

It’s the best.

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I will tell you something else about my husband.

Before my walk tonight, I saw him grating asiago cheese over George’s dinner. He had the dog bowl on the counter and had prepared him a lovely feast of kibble mixed with some odds and ends and was using the cheese grater to finish it off.

I stood there staring at him until he looked up and said, “What?”

I just smiled and walked away. But the mental picture will stay with me forever, of a man who adores his dog. It’s sweet.

And speaking of sweet ~

A friend turned me on to this tune. And then she sent me the CD! It’s old-fashioned goodness and I love it.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

PS ~ Ellen, I cannot believe you have the exact same sunflower print(from yesterday’s post) in your home! I tried to write you back, but I got the blues.

It’s just a silly phase I’m going through

Sometimes I really enjoy boring weekends and this one was no exception. We had some needed rain and I did some needed cleaning, but aside from that, not too much else was happening here at the Casa de George.

I’m only just beginning to miss my macro lens but will have to be content with my other lenses until I hear whether or not it’s even repairable.

I shot these photographs using my 50mm lens and wanted to share them with you.

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This is one of a pair of urn planters that I have on the little back porch. I used one of Florabella’s vintage luxe actions on it, and then layered on this texture from les brumes on Flickr.

I love pink geraniums.

DSC_0158 copy 2 Our cat, Blackie, in her favorite seat in the house. She’s a pretty girl.

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Our boy George napping in one of his regular spots. I love the bokeh in the background and the softness of this one.

Today I saw a hummingbird swoop out of the dogwood tree right past where I stood with my 70-300mm lens on the camera but I wasn’t quick enough to capture it.

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I did manage to get this silhouette photo of the little fella after he flew back to the same tree to have a little rest before continuing his foray.

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I keep this picture upon my wall. It hides a nasty stain that’s lying there.

(My undying admiration if you know the song and the group who sang the lyrics above and in the post title).

For some reason, a reader (hi, Andi) asked me to post the sunflower that was on my wall after reading my answers to my most recent Q&A. For what it’s worth, my sunflower is just a print I bought through Martha Stewart Living magazine when it was in its infancy. The magazine, not the poster. I’ve had it for years. The photographer is Christopher Baker and I had it framed in light colored oak.

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I watched another Netflix ‘watch instantly’ movie over the weekend that I think you may enjoy. It was billed as a light comedy, but I thought it was a little dark.

Easy Virtue was originally written by Noel Coward in 1924, then adapted by Alfred Hitchcock as a dark thriller in 1928 and later made into this little comedy in 2008. It stars Kristen Scott Thomas as the delightfully toxic matriarch of an aristocratic family living in a country estate in post-WWI England. Colin Firth, my main reason for even considering this offering, gives a nuanced performance as her melancholy husband. The storyline has their young playboy son (Ben Barnes) surprising his family by bringing home a new bride – a beautiful platinum-blonde American widow (Jessica Biel), and a racecar driver at that. We find out quickly that mother is not pleased in the least. Jessica Biel holds her own, for the most part, in some excellent sparring scenes with Kristin Scott Thomas. The cast of characters is a fine one and I laughed out loud in spots (keep your eye on the butler) but it was the beautiful period wardrobes, especially those of Ms. Biel, and the phenomenal views of the English countryside that left me in awe. The film was shot entirely in the UK.

Although the ending is contrived (hey, it’s a comedy!) and the score is absolutely ghastly (my husband left the room!), I’d see this one again.

Respectfully submitted,

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Archives from another August

I guess you’ve noticed that I’ve been going through my photo archives lately. I don’t know, maybe you haven’t. Or maybe you’ve just stumbled upon this blog and we’ve never even met. In that case, hi. My name is Kate. Some people call me Country Girl.

I’ve been in sort of a photography rut lately, but I plan on snapping out of it soon. Good news, though -- the knee is doing well! It’s a lovely shade of aubergine but it’s healing nicely. And my beloved macro lens is on its way to Nikon to see if it can be fixed. I’m really hoping for a happy ending to that story.

In the meantime, I opened my photo files and went back to August of 2008 tonight -- back to a day spent in New York City with my husband’s parents and my younger son, Shaun. We went to visit my older son, Matt, who was living on John Street at the time.

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Maybe you know where I took this shot. If you don’t, that’s a huge hint with the link.

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I shot this out of a moving car window. I was in the front, navigating for dad. I like reading maps. And taking pictures at the same time.

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We ate lunch in my son’s old neighborhood, on Stone Street. The street is blocked off and there’s a row of restaurants down either side with picnic tables in the street. We had pizza at Adrienne’s Pizza Bar.

DSC_0046 copy 2xI’ve posted this photo before. They’re the steps we took to get to the rooftop view at my son’s apartment. We took the elevator all the way and only had to walk up the one flight. Can you imagine walking up all these stairs every day?

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And now, because it’s Friday and because I’m gearing up for a day full of housekeeping chores tomorrow, and because I am just plain inquisitive, here’s some nosey questions I found over at Donna Boucher’s Quiet Life. She’s Miz Booshay, for those of you who read Pioneer Woman’s photography site.

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Snoop patrol.

1. One thing on your nightstand?
2. One thing on a wall in your living room?
3. Three things we would find in your medicine cabinet?
4. Do your dirty dishes go in the sink or dishwasher?
5. Maker of your everyday dinnerware?
6. Maker of your fine china?
7. If you had to save one “thing” from your home, what would it be?
8. Color of your living room sofa?
9. What reading material would we find in your bathroom?
10. Most embarrassing thing in your home that you hide when guests come over?

See you in the comments, my friends . . .

Friday, August 20, 2010

Reflections on vacations past

Until only recently, nearly every summer vacation of my entire adult life was spent on the beaches of North Carolina. I first began going when I was 20 years old -- my boyfriend’s parents had rented an oceanfront house at Hatteras, just outside Hatteras Village. I fell madly in love with the wildness of the area, and I remember going to Ocracoke Island on a ferry and having this feeling . . . it felt like I was coming home.

I ended up marrying the boyfriend and family vacations continued on Hatteras every year until we decided to begin taking our own, just our little family, rather than going with the entire group. One year, we waited too long to choose a rental house and ended up staying on Ocracoke.

We never stayed in Hatteras again.

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I took these photos around Thanksgiving, 2006 with a little Sony Cybershot, my first digital camera. I love the reflection of the clouds on the harbor here. Ocracoke Village lies at the end of a 16-mile long island and there is not one house that was built on the beach. The homes are all around the village and the sound side. In the photo above, you can see the old coast guard station on the right and the inlet where the Swan Quarter and Cedar Island ferries come in.

The little house that you see on the left is one that we rented when our children were very young. It was one of my favorite memories on the island. It was fall, the crowds had gone home, and we had the beach all to ourselves.

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I have no idea how I found the house because back then, there was no internet. The house sits on Windmill Point and has been renovated since we stayed there in the late 80’s. It’s old-fashioned and I love it. Rental info: [Windmill Point Cottage].

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But that’s not where we stayed in 2006.

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In 2006 we stayed here, at [The Pirate’s Quay], on the 2nd floor. We didn’t have a dog at the time, so we won’t be going back there anytime soon. It has a wonderful view of the harbor and I highly recommend the place, if you’re not traveling with pets. It operates sort of like a hotel, with daily maid service.

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This was the view from our deck. If you look just to the left of the coast guard station, you can see a ferry coming in. Or maybe it’s going out.

In November, the weather is absolutely gorgeous on the Outer Banks. And every evening, just before sunset, we’d pack a bottle of wine, and maybe some cheese & crackers and head to our secret place. There’s a cottage right along Teach’s Hole that we’ve always loved for its simplicity. And often, when we were vacationing, it wasn’t rented. It didn’t have air conditioning, and I don’t think it had heat either. We were breaking the law by trespassing, but it only made it all the more thrilling.

We called it the sunset cottage and enjoyed just quietly sitting on the deck with our drinks while we watched the most beautiful sunsets.

For those who don’t know, Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, was killed here at Teach’s Hole on an early November morning in the year 1718. There’s a lot of pirate lore on the island and it’s quite fun for the children.

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This is the view from the deck of the little cottage that we so brazenly visited. Checking the realty company's website, I see it’s no longer for rent on the island.

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And you thought I only loved Maine, didn’t you?

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lots of good going on

Hi, all. Gimpy here. I want to thank everyone for their kindness in the comment section yesterday. I was embarrassed to tell you that it even happened at all, but ended up being overwhelmed with your honesty and support. I had no idea how many clumsy people like me there are out there!

Thanks for sharing your stories with me. It really did make me feel better.

There’s lots of good going on, and I’m sending the lens to Nikon tomorrow to see if it can be repaired. I’ve already had a friend offer to lend me her macro lens, and even though I don’t think it will come to that, I want to thank her for the offer. (Thanks, Daryl).

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Other good things today included the fact that the external hard drive issues have been solved. It was a faulty USB cable which I’ve replaced and all is working well now.

And my knee appears to just be badly bruised. Yay!

Today, I ordered lunch out, which is something I rarely do, and ended up having the most fantastic sandwich. I tried not to groan as I ate it at my desk and ended up thinking of the character of Joey Tribiani from Friends. If you were ever a fan of the show, you’ll remember that his favorite food was “sandwiches” and now I know why. That turkey club was nirvana.

Tonight (Wednesday) at 10 PM, I’m watching a show that was recommended by a friend. It’s on the TV Land station, channel 304 on DirecTV and it stars Betty White and three other actresses. It’s called Hot in Cleveland. I don’t know much else about it other than the fact that tonight is the season finale. The show stars Valerie Bertinelli, Jane Leeves (from Frasier) and Wendie Malick. I love Wendie Malick. You may remember her from Just Shoot Me where she played fashion editor and former model Nina Van Horn and was, in my opinion, the best thing about the show.

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Today my hair looks like this spent clematis head, which is an improvement over what it looked like yesterday.

The photos in this post are macros from my vault, all taken in August 2008. I thought I’d dig them up and play with them tonight.

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And you can never go wrong with mushrooms, as far as I’m concerned.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .