Sunday, May 31, 2009

Heading back downtown...

On Memorial Day Saturday, we hopped on the train to Chicago, to see a touring production of "Mary Poppins". (It was OUTSTANDING!! Even if you don't have kids - well worth the ticket price if it comes to your town!)

As we waited for the train to leave the station, I snapped a photo of this grain elevator, no doubt loaded up with some past season's harvest.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Highly impractical, but....

...I know, I know... I live in northern Illinois. It's either freezing cold, snowing, raining, or blazing hot with high humidity. Still, during those few, perfect weeks in spring and fall, owning a convertible a guilty, but incredible, pleasure!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Where do old papers go to die?

Why, they are recycled, of course! They live for a week in this basket in my living room, then go into the recycle bin on the curb. This temporary resting place gives us a chance to retrieve the paper if we need it for some reason.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The morning an end

At long last, Ellen...the last thing I do with the morning paper is tackle the crossword. In ink!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The morning routine....part 4

Yes, I really do read the actual paper...but by the time I get there, I've seen most of the news online the night before. This means the morning news feels second-hand, as in used, pre-read, already known... In this case, I was reading the paper about a woman reading the paper....hmmmm

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The morning routine...part 3

Grudgingly, on to the numbers...

Monday, May 25, 2009

The morning routine...part 2

Then come the letters...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The morning routine...part 1

Humor comes first...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The green, green grass of home

We do a lot of hiking in a big state park near our home. Cutbacks in the budget have led to reduced park maintenance. As a result, on this trail, which is usually fairly wide, the grass has been allowed to grow. What's left is a single-track, probably carved out by the mountain bikers who use this trail. This time of year, it just looks lush, rich and green, but later in the summer, hopefully it won't get too overgrown for hikers to enjoy.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Only 15 miles to go!

Our town recently hosted a marathon...26.2 miles of gut-check, dig-deep exercise! This group of runners mostly looks in good spirits as they reach the 11-mile mark. The red numbers indicate those competing in a half-marathon (they were nearly finished at this point!), those with green numbers were part of a relay team, and those in blue still had a loooong way to go. Bravo to all of them!!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Not something you want to worry about as you burn up the calories trotting along this lovely bike trail in our town...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Learning from other cultures

My DBF spent a few days in New Mexico and northern Arizona over his spring break, and he stopped at a table run by a Native American woman just outside the Canyon De Chelly National Monument. She was displaying various works of art, including this painting on what I believe is shale or limestone. He was drawn to the bright colors, and brought it home for me, since I was unable to accompany him. We can certainly identify the pots, and the maize. The bright blue figure is Kokopelli, whom many say is a fertility god. I told DBF not to get ANY ideas!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Blatant blog-lifting...Thanks, Julie!

I loved Julie's photos of closed tulips. It had never occurred to me to shoot them this way before. Here's my try at it. I wish it had a leaf in there, but at least I'm happy with the selective focus.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thank goodness THIS is over!

Several summers ago, I broke my elbow. During one of the checkups between surgeries, I asked for a copy of the x-ray they produced. The nurse gave me a photocopy of my x-ray film, showing the hardware that held my bones together while they healed. Not knowing what else to do with it, I stuck it up on my cork board. This is a photo of a photocopy of a piece of x-ray film. (How many steps do I have to go back to reach Kevin Bacon??)

Today, my arm is mostly back to rights, except I can't straighten it all the way out. Has put an interesting twist on my rare golf games...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Time to reflect

My dear mom passed away just about two years ago from cancer. I miss her every day. My stepdad gave me some of her very nice jewelry, but I think my favorite piece is her "everyday" watch, which she probably picked up some place like Nordstrom's. It sat on her bedside during her last few days in hospice, and wearing it is like having a little piece of her with me every day.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

One of life's biggest moments . . .

Last night was graduation...a big event in any student's life! A gym full of newly-minted college graduates attended the commencement ceremonies. It's always fun to see the excited faces of students young and old, and the proud, beaming faces of family members who have helped them through their education journey.

Friday, May 15, 2009

You'd think I could find one that was nailed down...

With all the theater DBF and I attend, I have yet to snap a suitable photo of a box office. Driving home from work, I came upon this one for yet another traveling fair. Fellow bloggers can relate to the scene that followed.

  • Think..."Box Office! That's a theme!".

  • Rummage around in purse for small P&S camera.

  • Fumble it out of case while maintaining safe driving speed and distance from target.

  • Switch to "sports" mode and hope for the best.

  • Balance camera on steering wheel; fire off a shot or two.

  • Get home....not my best work, but so much time and energy invested, decide to see what can be made of said photo.

Topaz Simplify to the rescue! Used the "Cartoon" filter as a Soft Light overlay over a Simplified image.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lest we forget . . .

I drive past this little Veteran's Memorial Park on my way to and from work, and finally decided to stop and check it out. There's an active National Guard unit near my school and it's not unusual for students - or even some of our staff - to be called up. This memorial has a wall for each branch of the service, plaques remembering fallen soldiers from the area, and full-size military equipment, such as this tank. While I was there, a couple of other people stopped to pay their respects, admire the display, and reflect.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

...come again some other day...

We've had an unusually wet, rainy spring this year. A few days ago, I was playing around taking shots through my living room window. It was POURING rain, but the sun was out, providing some interesting backlighting. Playing with the Topaz "Spicify" filter gave me second thoughts about wanting the rain to go away. Click to really see the raindrops.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Spring hath sprung

The Village 365 blogs have been full of gorgeous spring flowers. Here in northern Illinois, my flowers and trees are finally coming to life! In my front yard, this flowering crab apple provides a bright pink display for about a week. Just ponied up for a suite of Topaz Lab filters and enjoyed playing with Topaz Adjust on this image.

Monday, May 11, 2009

And you thought this was the post for "Baby"...

...fooled ya! One nice thing about a hike along a river is the chance to see wildlife. Of course, we can see Canadian Geese in the Walmart parking lot, but they are much more charming on the water.

I liked how this small family of geese was paddling along in perfect alignment. Those fluffy babies didn't need any coaching from mom!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lots of character...but would YOU climb it?

Further down the trail, we come upon this crumbling concrete and limestone staircase. From this vantage point, it looks rickety and past its prime. We hiked up the hill another way, and then dared ourselves to climb down these steps. We were surprised to find the staircase very sturdy and serviceable.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Same park as yesterday's post. I was drawn to these trees, reflected in water that shouldn't have been there...the path we were on follows a river, and with all the heavy spring rains, the water had found its way where shouldn't be. The multiple trees, reflected multiple times, just begged for a photo.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Oxidation, anyone?

Walking across a park district bridge on a recent Sunday afternoon, I was originally drawn to the splash of yellow flowers beyond the railing. What eventually caught my eye, however, were these rusted bolts holding the railing of the bridge together. The biggest challenge in this photo was including the bolts and the out-of-focus background, while keeping my own shadow out of the shot.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Call the fashion police?

DBF Jon is a high school technical theater teacher, and this year's musical was "Grease". I took this photo of the costume rack shortly after the garments had been delivered from the rental shop. The roller skates and party dress seemed a strange pairing! Turns out these were for two different scenes, but for the same actress, so they were stored together.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

They can't spell in Illinois OR Wisconsin

When the list of themes came out in December, I immediately thought of this tattoo parlor sign for the "spelling errors" theme. This shop is on the way to my health club, and whenever I get stuck at the traffic light there, I stare at this and wonder why they didn't argue with the neon-sign company to get a replacement for the word [sic] "peircing".

The window was pretty dirty, and there was a lot of reflection from passing cars, so I messed around with a series of filters to arrive at this result. The photo mask is from

On Easter Sunday, we went to my DBF's parents' home in Wisconsin for brunch. They live very near the Kettle Morraine State Forest, so after we ate, we took a hike. This sign greeted us at the trailhead:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Need I say more?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Is there anything tastier than melted cheese??

I was in the mood for baked ziti, so I threw this together for our evening meal. Bubbly, melty,'s a great answer to "What's for dinner?"

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Springtime means traveling fairs!

In the parking lot of a nearby shopping megamall, a company came in and set up a traveling fair, full of rides, games of chance, and yummy, so-bad-for-you fair food. I thought each of the following photos represented the theme, so I'm posting them all!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Reflecting on street scenes

Before we headed off to see "Rent", we got to wander around Chicago's Millenium Park. These street scenes were shot along Michigan Avenue. Near the Bean is the Crown fountain that creates the pool of water you see below.

No trip downtown is complete without yet another photo of Cloud Gate (the Bean)!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Hands down, one of Chicago's most beloved sports figures

Still waiting for our matinee performance of "Rent" to begin, we wander into the Sports Authority (sporting goods store) on Ontario in Chicago. On display were a series of handprints from famous Chicago sports figures. Since I am a HUGE Bears fan, and was thrilled when the Bears won the Super Bowl back in ... er ... the last century (!! 1986), I elected to snap this shot for the theme of hands.