Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chasing after happiness

I am extremely grateful for being able to live where I do. The old manor house on the hill sits on 20 partially wooded acres and its beauty gets driven home even more when people come to visit.

It was so wonderful to be able to get away, if only for a night and a day. Come Monday, I had no set plans for the day other than trying to get some more bluebird photos after noticing a pair who were scouting out one of the nesting boxes.

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After about two hours, I managed to get this shot. I had the shutter speed set to 6400 which is how I caught the wings.

I thought it was worth the wait.

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To appease my boredom, I took images from my seat in the yard. I think the barn in the woods in this photo looks dark and mysterious.

And it is, in real life too. ha ~

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Another favorite shot. Interesting little tufts sticking out of the feathers, too.

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While I’m waiting, George is often with me. It’s not good to be all moving around and playing fetch when you’re waiting for the elusive bluebirds to show up, but he’s such a sweet dog that sometimes it’s just too hard to resist.

I did resist, however, from tossing this huge branch.

Crazy pup.

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Waiting for me to throw it. He’s really expecting me to throw it at this point.

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I tell him no, and this is the look I got.

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Another boredom shot but one I like. Miss Blackie daintily walks through the clover.

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And later as she suns in the dining room window.

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You yawning yet?

This is why I have the disclaimer on the blog header.

{Don’t get too excited}.

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Taken a month ago ~

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A robin with a les brumes texture.

And another favorite shot, below.

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"People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be."

~ Abraham Lincoln



And now, because I’m crushing on new summer tunes, one from Alabama Shakes (although you may have already heard this one). Might not be able to play on Blogger, so click to listen on YouTube, if you wish.

It may be several days before another post due to the end of the school year crunch, which is partly why I included so many images here. Hope it made you smile, even for just a little bit.

Until next time, then . . .

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

If I hold on tight, is it true?

Apologies for my lengthy absence. Soon the school year will be over, and I may have a little more time to spend blogging but for now, it is what it is.

And all month long I’ve been looking forward to hosting a couple of my blogging friends, Daryl from NYC, and Reena, who lives in the Philadelphia area. I will admit to you that I was a little nervous to have them out to my house, which is utterly ridiculous because who in their right mind wouldn’t love it here? Still, I had all these plans but nothing set in stone.

They arrived Saturday around lunchtime.


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It was actually my husband’s idea to take them to lunch in Chesapeake City. We ate at the Bayard House, a long-time favorite of mine. Afterward, we browsed the shops in town, then took a drive down the road to show them the horse farm that we lived on for ten years.

We stopped the car along the road that runs through the horse farm and I shot the first photo in this post from the car window with my cell phone. They were absolutely enthralled with the mares and foals. My husband worked for Northview Stallion Station for ten years until his position was ‘downsized’ in 2008. I haven’t been there since, and although it wasn’t as beautiful as it used to be, to my friends it was wonderful.


Camera 360

Lunch was pretty darn good, too.

We had dinner reservations back at Reena’s place, so we headed up 95 towards Philadelphia. After a wonderful meal, much laughter on the patio until the wee hours of the morning, and a dreamless sleep, we began Sunday with coffee and photography.


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Reena’s daughter captured us taking photos of the wildlife on the back patio.


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Daryl, me, Reena in our pj’s as we took photos of birds.


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And this little chipmunk.

Then it was off to brunch in Manayunk at Bourbon Blue, a fantastic restaurant along the Schuylkill.


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Don’t let the empty tables fool you. The cuisine here is excellent.


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Our hosts ~ Reena and her professor husband who does not like posing for pictures, but graciously let me take this one.


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My meal, the Breakfast Quesadilla.

scrambled eggs cooked with bacon in a tortilla with
cheddar cheese and guacamole, served with sides of
lyonnaise potatoes, sour cream & salsa fresca



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Which is why I ended up having this salad for dinner tonight, after arriving home. The lettuce was freshly picked from my husband’s garden.

But back to my mini-trip away . . .


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After brunch, we drove to Chestnut Hill where we walked and enjoyed the beauty of the area and the stores along Germantown Avenue. Lots of lush gardens, lovely little shops, and interesting architecture.

More photos to come.


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But I’ll share this building that I found interesting, a bakery/bistro named Cake. I think we may have to go back here and have lunch some time.

: : :


Hope you’ve been enjoying the Memorial Day Weekend so far. Here’s another tune I stumbled upon. Love the soft vintage style in which the video was filmed, too.



Until later, my friends . . . thanks for visiting today.


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ps – to Beth, our waitress at Bourbon Blue: Hope you get that camera you want.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


After a grueling day at work, I pulled into the long driveway that leads to the manor house on the hill and after coming through the wooded section, I saw my husband and George who were hiking at the edge of the field.

Upon seeing my car, the dog took off running, trailing the vehicle all the way up the driveway. And when I opened the door, there he was with his tongue lolling out, so happy to see me. He always thinks I’ve brought him something, so he put his feet on the front seat, looking over to what was in my packages. It was nothing really, but he was very interested in the tied-up bouquet of pink flowers lying on the passenger seat. I felt bad that I didn’t have a little present for him, after all that effort of running to the car – uphill all the way.

But he was over it within seconds. I thought I would share a few photos with you today, all of which are pretty random. I’ll start with the pink flowers ~

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A gift from one of our parents today.

I love peonies.

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He brings me lettuce.

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The shade garden at the back of the house, taken two weekends ago.

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Silly squirrel.

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I heard this song on the way to work today. I didn’t write down the name of the group or the song, figuring I could just remember it.

Like that would have happened. Luckily, the radio station I listen to has a playlist I could check back on, which I just did tonight. It’s kind of a cool summer song, and I liked it.


I love this radio station, It’s based in Philadelphia and I’ve been listening to it for years.

WXPN 88.5

: : :

I saw this today and had to laugh.

someecards.com - Summer has snuck up once again on me and my giant ass

Damn. I hate when that happens . . .

: : :

Finished the book (11/22/63) and lent it to a co-worker. I can’t believe I read such a thick book in only a matter of days. I did like it, though. Oh, and this is one of my husband’s new favorite cam sites on the internet:

EarthCam - Statue of Liberty

I think we can see our son’s office building . . .

Until next time, my friends ~

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Sunday, May 20, 2012

A job well done

Busy weekend – with the promise of a busy week to come. Anyone that works in a school will tell you that the crazy crunch times are the beginning of the school year, and then again at the end. Graduation at our school is always the first Sunday in June and there’s much to do.

This weekend I wanted to get some cleaning done, but I also wanted to finally get some flower baskets put together. No matter where we’ve lived, I always seem to have flower baskets and a sweet little spot to sit on a porch. This little porch on the back side of the house is just that, although it gets a little too warm in the late afternoon sun.


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I worked hard all day and then rewarded myself with a cocktail and a sit-down to read some more of a book I can’t seem to put down after picking it up.


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I’m reading 11/22/63.

Then I had a little guacamole with my Stephen King.



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I bought a pair of director’s chairs at Pier One Imports this weekend. Our old ones are weathered to the point of falling apart, so I bit the bullet and was happy to find that there there was a sale going on.


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The geraniums that have been wintering in my window sills are back in the planters again. I probably should have cut them back . . . they really are way too little leggy.


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But the blooms were just too pretty ~

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Not sure when I’ll resurface to say hello, and getting around to visiting my favorite blogs this week is going to be a little sketchy too. I hope your week is a good one. The weather here this weekend has been nothing short of glorious ~ and in the breeze this evening, I can smell the wild roses wafting through the open windows. I love this time of year!

Well, except for the craziness going on at work right now . . .

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Riches I hold in light esteem

I know, I know. It’s been days since I’ve posted. When I begin a post, it’s the images that always seem to come easily to me. The words are another story.

And although a lot has been happening lately, I have very little to say. When I get home, I often feel so exhausted and the only thing I want to do is just sit and read a book or something, maybe take a small walk. May and early June are one of the busiest times of the school year and sometimes I can’t believe all that I can accomplish from the hours between 7:30 and 4:00.

Today’s images are of the flowers my sons sent me for Mother’s Day.

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They arrived at school on Friday, and my boys know how much I love tulips. I’d been meaning to take some macro shots of the beautiful bouquet I was sent, but kept putting it off. Finally I could wait no longer, as the blooms were just at the edge of getting a little too long in the tooth.

To keep my tulips fresh, I slice the bottoms of the stems daily, and then plunge them into ice cubes and ice water to which I add a little bit of sugar.

It actually seems to work.

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I took these shots yesterday evening, and the light was low but I’m glad I took them  then because when I came home today, the blooms were at their end.

There were petals everywhere ~

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I love how the pink blooms opened up and just stayed like that.

Very pretty.

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Riches I hold in light esteem
And Love I laugh to scorn
And lust of Fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn– 

And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is–"Leave the heart that now I bear
And give me liberty."

Yes, as my swift days near their goal
'Tis all that I implore
Through life and death, a chainless soul
With courage to endure! 

~ THE OLD STOIC by Emily Bronte, 1841 

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And finally, I give you this sweet mourning dove. She has her eyes shut and they’re such a pretty blue. Also note her pink feet, as well as that gorgeous bokeh behind her that comes from a mixture of the lens (the Nikon 70-300mm VR) and the light between the leaves of the trees.

I’ll try not to wait so long between posts ~ so until then, my friends . . .

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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Birds and bokeh

It was a glorious weekend here in Maryland, and I accomplished my single goal of tidying up and planting a few things in the yard. I took it easy with the darn knee, and transformed the garden area under the dogwood tree into something very eye-pleasing.

And in my leisure time, I photographed the birds. I do hope you’re not getting too tired of them. Most of these were taken in the early morning while having my coffee on the back patio.


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The least shy of all the birds who visit our feeders seem to be the house finches.


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And maybe it was because it was Mother’s Day weekend, but I ended up taking images only of the females.

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And some young babies.

They chirp a lot.

Especially when they’re learning to fly.


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Although I added some textures to these photos, the bokeh is completely natural; above it was a combination of the leaves, the sky, and the lens.


    noun /bōˈkā/

    1. The visual quality of the out-of-focus areas of a photographic image, esp. as rendered by a particular lens
      • - a quick, visual survey of the foreground and background bokeh of a variety of lenses


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A robin takes a drink.


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While a tufted titmouse looks for enlightenment.

Or she’s just looking at another bird.


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I watched two movies this weekend – one a beautiful Swedish film that starred Michael Nyqvist as a famous conductor who returns to his hometown after a tragic illness. He eventually ends up leading the church choir where he comes to find joy again through music.  This was a very touching film and I recommend it.

As It Is in Heaven was nominated in the 2005 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film. It’s available for streaming on Netflix.

The other movie was just for fun. Cold Comfort Farm stars Kate Beckinsale as a young society woman in 1930’s London who suddenly becomes orphaned. She takes up residence with her oddball relatives at a farm where all is chaos until she brings some order and a little class into their lives. Ian McKellen gives a great performance as a fire and brimstone preacher. There are some hilarious lines in this movie. Good and campy, and available for streaming on Netflix.


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I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I did end up making that strawberry rhubarb crumble, and it was delicious.

Gluten-free Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp Crumble

Hope the coming week holds some joy for you. Until tomorrow, my friends . . .

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