Thursday, June 30, 2011

Change of pace

Raise your hand if you’re getting tired of bird photos here, because I sure am. In the interest of changing things up, I went back into my files and chose a few of my favorite Philadelphia pics to share with you today. I just wanted to see something different today.

My niece lives in Philly, and it’s always fun to visit her, especially when my sister comes along.

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Where do all the hippies meet?

Bet you haven’t heard that song in ages.

The Orlons – South Street

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Reading Market.

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This place is full of all kinds of wonderful foods.

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Lunch counter in Reading Market.

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Good old Ben Franklin. Three words for you . . .

Naked. Air. Baths.

My kinda guy.

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Along Spruce Street in University City.

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Taken from the car window. I just love these murals.

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30th Street Station.

My mother was working here as a young woman when the Resurrection Angel Statue was put into place.

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The station is one of the largest in the country.

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Rooftop view.

Hope your weekend is going to be great. Anyone doing anything fun for Independence Day? Wish I was . . .
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Every which way but loose

I’m sitting in my favorite chair, checking my mail and pricing calibration software. I’m going to end up buying it because it’s the right thing to do if I’m going to take my photography seriously.

Oh, geez. I never wanted to take my photography seriously.  But so many friends and family members are telling me that I should. I have no grandiose notions, and mainly just want to offer nature photography for sale on a decent site other than etsy. I may even do a couple of photo shoots and actually have one scheduled for Friday afternoon. I’m going to be photographing guitars.

I hope the light will be good.

First time visitors aren’t going to be very impressed with the photographic offerings in this post, however. But they weren’t meant to impress.

They’re just random shots from the past few days.


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I took this picture on Saturday. I can’t believe how many comments I got from people who were considering getting one of these.

Pool: WalMart, $25.

Float: BJ’s. $15.

The only problem, besides the float being too long, is having to take it down and set it up again. It’s worth it when it’s supposed to get really hot, though.


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Yesterday evening, my husband told me to come to the back door to look at the sky.



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A bad hair day for a lady cardinal.

Look closer (you can click to embiggen).


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A good hair day for this red-bellied woodpecker.

Total rock star look here.

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Oh, and as long as we’re on the subject of hair - after weeks of scaring myself every time I looked in the mirror, I finally broke down and made an appointment at the beauty salon. I had tried convincing myself that the streaks of gray were very becoming but it wasn’t until I shared my thoughts with my sister that I changed my mind. She just seemed so surprised.

And that was that.

I know I rarely do this, and after I took it, I thought that maybe I should have dressed appropriately, or put on makeup for Pete’s sake, but I yam what I yam. And my hair isn’t so scary anymore.



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And I have giant man hands.

Until tomorrow, then . . .

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Today I don’t feel like doing anything

I feel a little disjointed at the moment, and am thinking that this post is going to reflect that fact, so bear with me, please.

1. Tonight for dinner, I made myself a tomato sandwich on toast. It was get-your-own dinner night and the tomato was from the garden.

2. I don’t care if I look ridiculous lying on a float in a wading pool. The water feels really nice.
3. It would be so nice to have a little money. I could take a long weekend, and jump on a plane and visit friends and family.

4. I haven’t taken a real walk for 5 days. I could use the heat as an excuse, but that’s not the real reason why.

5. The real reason why is that I’m lazy sometimes.

6. Miss Blackie is getting old. I don’t want to think about it.

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7. This is George’s position most days lately.

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8. This is the reason.

9. I signed on with a professional imaging service and discovered that my monitor needs calibration. Photographers out there – do you calibrate your monitors? What program do you use?

10. Tomorrow I have a hair appointment in Hoitytoityville. I should save the money for vacation but I’m tired of scaring myself when I look in the mirror.

11. Speaking of being lazy, Leonard Nimoy was shooting a Bruno Mars video across the street from my sister’s house in California. She met him and got his autograph and said it’s weird seeing the inside of her friend’s house in a video. This is the Official Alternate Version of The Lazy Song, with Leonard Nimoy below.

12. Some days are just like this, is all I'm sayin'.

Until tomorrow, then . . .
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Early Saturday morning

While my sister visited this weekend, I treated her to some of the excitement that goes on around here in the early morning.

We sat under the dogwood tree by the side patio, sipping our coffee while watching and listening to all the bird action here on the hill. We saw birds chasing and capturing flying bugs, the elusive bluebirds graced us with an appearance, and we got to observe a Hairy woodpecker being challenged at his perch by the smaller Downy.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

I mean, if you like birds and all. And good coffee.


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This Hairy woodpecker seems to think he is King of the World.


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The smaller Downy woodpecker flies in out of nowhere.


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And challenges him for the perch.


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This is a showdown.


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The little Downy is not giving up.


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But it’s the Hairy who remains King of the World.


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The beautiful bluebird seems to pose for me.


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And the red-bellied woodpecker brought his youngster over to the suet block.


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At first, I thought it was a female but my husband told me it was a juvenile. He’s been watching them for a couple of weeks, he says, as the adults take them out to teach them about their world.

He also saw a couple of cardinals mating right outside the window, but that’s a whole other story.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

I love watermelon. And my sister.

I have three sisters and I love them all. But one sister lives only 2 hours away and she’s the one I get to see most often. My sister, Charlotte, is here visiting for a night. She and my husband are watching the Phillies game this evening on the big flat screen tv while I work out in the exercise room.

If you know anything about me at all, you know that I’d never work out in the exercise room. Besides, we don’t even have an exercise room.

I’m actually sitting on the couch next to my sister, and we are having dueling laptops – she’s checking her mail and texting her husband back and forth – and I’m writing this post. She was all out of joint about some player being placed on a DL and thought it insanely funny that I thought someone was placed on the Down Low.

I’m so not a sports fan.


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While I have your attention, I’d like to share with you my favorite way to eat watermelon. I know that the combination sounds really odd, but believe me when I tell you, I’d never do you no wrong.

Try this if you’re feeling adventurous. And then write me and let me know how much you loved it.

Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad

2 cups watermelon, cut into small chunks
1 1/2 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (about 1/3 cup)
2 Tbsp. chopped, pitted kalamata olives
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs,
such as basil or oregano (optional)
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the watermelon, cheese, olives, oil, and if desired, herbs together in a bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

I used fresh oregano and basil from the garden. Yum.

: : : ~ : : :

I love having my sister here ~ hope your weekend is something to write home about.

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Here’s what we listened to while driving to town to pick up the sushi we’d ordered. You can’t listen to this and not sing along.

Charlotte Fun.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Today, as I was driving home from work, a fawn ran out right in front of my car at the top of our driveway. Then it skipped across the lawn before diving into the edge of the woods. It’s always such a sweet surprise to see a fawn. I guess the car startled the poor little thing and I’m hoping that its mother has caught up with it by now.

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We had some blessed rain again today and it cooled things off nicely.


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Late this afternoon, our Board of Trustees held a going-away party at a local restaurant for our Head of School who is retiring. The room we were in was quite full and getting a little loud when I saw one of the waiters looking for the person who ordered the lone drink left on his tray. I asked him if I could help him and he told me that he couldn’t recall who had ordered this margarita.

I make most of the announcements at school, so when I said, “May I have your attention, please” the entire room quieted. And then I said that the waiter here needs to know who ordered the margarita.

The whole room burst into laughter when our sweet, soft-spoken and demure librarian raised her hand and said in her quiet voice, “it was me”.

I tried apologizing to her for focusing all the attention her way but she was a good sport about it and actually thought it was pretty funny. I bet she’s a wild child at heart. And then she let me taste her drink and I ordered one for myself because it was so darn yummy.

Then I set it down to take some photos and couldn’t find it again.

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I took the sunflower photograph yesterday afternoon following a nice rain. The sun had just come out and was making all the little raindrops on the leaves sparkle in the light, making the perfect bokeh.

bokeh (pronounced /boʊ'kɛ/) is the blur, or the aesthetic quality of the blur, in out-of-focus areas of an image, or "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light."                                                ~ Wikipedia

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Hope your weekend is a good one. Thanks for visiting, my friends . . .

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Up on the roof

I found these images on the camera disk today. It appears that my husband has been up on the roof again. To get to the roof here at the manor house on the hill, you have to go up to the third floor and put a ladder up to a small entrance that’s in the hallway ceiling. From there, you’ll climb through the rafters straight up to an opening in the floor of the widow’s walk.

It’s not for the faint of heart.

I can tell that he had the zoom lens on the camera. For a wider angle of our view from the widow’s walk, you can visit here:

A rooftop view in Autumn


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The driveway as it turns into the woods.


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From the garden, we’re enjoying cucumbers and peppers. Soon the tomatoes will come and I’ll be making fresh Pico de Gallo, which I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

I love it on scrambled eggs.


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The seven black walnut trees in the yard. If you only see six, it’s because all that’s left of the seventh one is a stump full of poison ivy.

You can see it on the right of the trees. I dislike that poison ivy ‘tree’ a lot. And the path goes right under it, as you may be able to see.

The little circle that’s to the right of the center of the trees is Blue Girl’s grave. She was a beloved family pet that lived here for a long time.


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I took these last two photos late this afternoon. I can’t believe how high the corn is. My husband has different kinds of corn that he planted in phases. We have sweet corn to eat, and several ornamental types.


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My funky planter that I bought at church craft fair several years ago. I have it hanging from a limb under the dogwood tree.

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I feel as if I don’t thank you enough for your visits, your friendship, your comments and encouragement. So thank you from me to you. You know who you are.

Until tomorrow, then . . .

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Monday, June 20, 2011

We knew we were the missing links in each other’s lives

It’s no secret how big a fan I was of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band when I was growing up. I can’t even begin to tell you how many concerts I attended and some before they became really famous. Growing up in NJ, we were the first in the country to hear of the phenomenon who would later become The Boss. But it wasn’t until The Big Man joined the band in October 1972 that everything changed when that distinctive saxophone element was added. Clarence Clemons and Bruce Springsteen would become history.

Clarence Clemons passed away on Sunday at the age of 69, a week after suffering a stroke. I love the story he tells of the night he met Bruce Springsteen:

"One night we were playing in Asbury Park. I'd heard The Bruce Springsteen Band was nearby at a club called The Student Prince and on a break between sets I walked over there. On-stage, Bruce used to tell different versions of this story but I'm a Baptist, remember, so this is the truth. A rainy, windy night it was, and when I opened the door the whole thing flew off its hinges and blew away down the street. The band were on-stage, but staring at me framed in the doorway. And maybe that did make Bruce a little nervous because I just said, 'I want to play with your band,' and he said, 'Sure, you do anything you want.'

"The first song we did was an early version of Spirit In The Night. Bruce and I looked at each other and didn't say anything, we just knew. We knew we were the missing links in each other's lives. He was what I'd been searching for. In one way he was just a scrawny little kid. But he was a visionary. He wanted to follow his dream. So from then on I was part of history."

~Clarence Clemons

from Wikipedia

The Jungleland solo from the Born To Run album (1980) is, for me, Clarence Clemons’ signature piece. I found this on YouTube, newly posted, but I thought it was interesting with the different camera angles. You can even see the name on the saxaphone. Don’t know when this video was made, 2009 maybe.

The last time I heard this solo, and the most memorable, occurred just over a year ago, driving east from New Orleans one night, along Route 10 in Mississippi. In the car were friends that my husband and I had known from the old concert going days of our youth. And for one magic moment, the music took us back.


Years ago, that would have been me, in the 3rd row there, waving my arms to the music. I can still hear it now.

Rest in Peace, Big Man.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wild ones

Sunday was a quiet day. No special dinner or anything; my husband hasn’t been feeling that great. No worries, though.

I spent the afternoon in the yard with friends I met under the trees and in the bushes.

Oh, yeah. I’m a wild one.


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And so are they. Yeah, you guessed it. Me and my bird friends.

This juvenile Eastern bluebird tries to get a grip just after landing on this vine.

Listen here

(scroll down to Identification and click on ‘typical voice’)


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The red-bellied woodpecker is a good-sized bird with a distinctive sound. I’m nearly getting to the point of identifying them just by their sounds. Especially this one.

Listen here


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A white-breasted nuthatch runs up and down the tree.

Listen here


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I believe this is a female juvenile downy woodpecker. She looks a little surprised.

Listen here


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This little Carolina wren was singing its heart out. And quite loudly at that.

Listen here


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And lastly, a tiny little moth who was sitting on my knee for quite awhile. I couldn’t get a shot until I shooed him away because I had the zoom lens on the camera. He’s pretty cool-looking with those chocolate chip eyes.

Listen here

Gotcha. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself. I just really like that tune.

Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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PS ~ Congratulations to Rory McIlroy, one of the youngest players ever to win the US Open. It was a pleasure to watch you this Father’s Day in my nice cool living room.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

While I was sleeping

It’s been quiet here on the hill and I’m sticking close to home this weekend. Without going into too much detail, there’s just been a lot of sadness lately. I’m not one to sink into a depression, but hell – it’s not like you can stand up to one when it comes pounding at your door in the middle of the night.

Not that this is what happened to me, mind you.

There’s just been a chain of events that culminated in an overall sense of melancholy that I’m positive will end by tomorrow. Today I went to the WalMart with no makeup on, and a headband around my unruly hair. I haven’t had a pedicure in I-don’t-know-how-long and I’d just been to the dump where I dropped off a bunch of recyclables and some household trash,  that was - shall we say, a tad ripe.

But still, I was at WalMart. So I fit in perfectly. And I prayed that I wouldn’t run into anyone I knew.

Which, by the grace of God and all the saints, I did not.


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I’m sorry because I’m usually much more upbeat here. I’d even bought a beautiful new top to wear to two graduation parties to which I was invited this weekend.

If you came to visit me, I promise I would have all the dishes washed and the floor swept and I would take that plastic sieve off that chair you see there, so you could sit down.

I took the photo above yesterday evening, while I was washing the dinner dishes.

My husband took all of the photos below.


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I thought he did a good job with the moon, with the camera being hand-held and all and I have no idea what settings he used.

The photos below were taken early this morning, while I was sleeping . . .


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It ended up being the best part of the day, actually. But at least it was beautiful. Unfortunately, I slept through it all.


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I wanted to get up and see it. He came up and told me it was pretty outside. But I was so tired. And I’m very thankful for all the pictures.

The festive lights you see around the breakfast nook window have been there since we moved in. They’re part chili pepper and part plain white lights. My husband put them there, and I like them too.

Reading the answers to the questions I posed the other day has been so wonderful. I love reading them and getting to know you all better. Thanks for that ~

Until tomorrow, then . . .

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From the archives – the first time my husband took photos while I was sleeping:

While I was sleeping . . .  (click on the photos to embiggen)