Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Celebrate good times, come on!"

Only seems fitting to leave the theme celebration for the last day of the year. Many of us will celebrate the beginning of 2010 by sharing a toast with friends and family. Others of us will celebrate finishing the 365 photos in 2009 challenge! This was indeed a I'm proud to have completed. I've made some great cyber friends along the way and learned a lot about my camera. Time to begin next year's journey. Thanks to EVERYONE who stopped by for a peek or left a comment. See you in 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

MOT: Miniature

I am loving my new camera! The stabilized zoom allows me to take photos of even miniature subjects, like this hummingbird captured at the Sonoran Desert Museum in Tucson.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

We all came from somewhere else

Originally, the Snow Bengal breed of house cat was imported from India. When Pluto joined my stepdad's Arizona household, he was imported from California. Just 8 months old, he is playful and energetic. I included 2 images so you can see the lovely pattern in his fur.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Is there anything as sentimental as those goofy Christmas ornaments you made as a kid?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

All aboard!

The blur in this night photo of the monorail in downtown Las Vegas gives it a sense of motion.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Warning: Stretched theme ahead

Before our Christmas trip to Phoenix, we spent a couple of days exploring northern Arizona. Just our luck to be there on a foggy, cloudy, snowy day. We did get some glimpses of the lovely marina near Glen Canyon in Page, however. Some summer, I want to return to Lake Powell and rent one of these cool houseboats, and explore the area by water. Something rented is almost something borrowed, and either way, you don't have to figure out how to store one of these in your garage!

Friday, December 25, 2009

HO HO HO ho ho ho

Mrs. and Baby Claus pose for a portrait as we wait in the airport for our flight. Happy holidays, everyone!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Interesting architecture

At first glance, this old, neglected home along the Colorado River near Page, Arizona looks as though a boulder fell on it. A closer look reveals that the house was actually built around the boulder. There are several such structures on this piece of property. They were built by a woman who settled in the area in the 1930s.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

It's all in the eye of the beholder

I love to travel, and we are on the road again. There's something about pulling into your own driveway, though, that makes you think, "There's no place like home!"

(Taken at a Page, Arizona Walmart, where we stopped to pick up an extra memory card).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

'Twas the week before Christmas

and all through the stores
discounts were offered
50 percent, and more!

Monday, December 21, 2009

A lost art?

When my grandmother passed away several years ago, my aunt sent me a pile of letters that I had written to my grandparents over the years. In this treasure trove of history was a letter my own mother had written to them when I was about 4 years old. It contained a brief note from me. The contrast between my handwriting and hers is (understandably) quite dramatic. Most of the letters I received back from my aunt were word-processed. I think it's a shame...there's something very special about a handwritten letter. Maybe I'll have to rethink all the email correspondence I do.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Eat 'em up!

A small stash of groceries becomes a snack tray. Love those grape sweet!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

My old friend

This is my trusty Olympus 570 UZ that has traveled the country with me, and taken most of the shots on this blog to date. The image is one of the first taken with my new Canon xsi. This hobby is about to get more pricey...

Friday, December 18, 2009

Pipe dreams

The exposed ductwork and tin ceiling of this cozy restaurant lend it a decidedly industrial feel.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Little bird, little bird"

These lyrics from the musical "Don Quixote" come to mind as I see these gentle creatures stopping by my backyard for a little lunch on a snowy day.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"Baby, break the chains of love..."

(I just have old songs in my head this week....)

Here's the backstory...back in the settler's days of the old west (Utah), cattle had to be retained on the rancher's land. They couldn't afford to chain up the cattle, nor could they string chain as a fence. Instead, they used barbed wire. With me??

I took this shot this summer. I then used a texture on top of the original image and set the blend mode to Overlay. For those of you who recall Ghostbones' stash of great textures on Flickr, he's resurfaced at this blog. Scroll down a few days to find the tutorial on applying textures. The one I used for this image is contained in the zipped folder you can download. Thanks to Jerry Jones for sharing his texture!

Hopefully, following the link and snagging some great, free textures has distracted you from the fact that I strayed from the theme just a little...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

If only Tammy lived closer . . .

. . . my neighbors might actually be moving. Unfortunately, their home has not sold, so they are still here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

"Shake it, shake it, baby...c'mon now!"

Cleaning out a bookcase, we came across some old 45 RPM records. Out-of-date by today's music standards, they were all the rage back in middle school!

(Bonus points to anyone who can name this record...)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The "After"

Two days back, I posted an imperfect set during a rehearsal for a high school play. Today, here are Jon's shots of the finished set. More ornate, don't you think?

Just to amaze you more, the "imperfect" shot was taken on a Monday evening. Wednesday, school was cancelled (snowstorm), so only a handful of kids were on hand to help finish up before Thursday evening's opening. Amazing what an EXCELLENT tech theater teacher and some hard-working kids can produce in a few days...with little budget.

This is the side you saw in the "imperfect" shot.

Remember I said the entire set rotates 180 degrees? Here's what's on the backside. All the wall treatments are hand-painted (some stenciling), except the lower paneling in the photo below. That came from my family room...which is now newly drywalled (yay!).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Just a passing fad?

Whether or not the netbook fad is here for the long term remains to be seen, but it sure is fun to surf the web at the kitchen table, together, instead of separately, chained to our office desktop computers.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not quite there yet

During rehearsal for a high school production of "Pygmalion", the cast, and the set, are both imperfect. Come opening night, the entire production will be polished and ready for an audience.

Insider info: This is the backside of one half of the set. On production night, the walls will be complete. The ENTIRE SET spins around on 85 casters, revealing a completely different interior scene. Amazing!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Trying a new technique

In the midwest, we were hit with 8-12" of new snow. I decided to overlay this shot of my back deck with a silver and white metallic gradient map...a new technique. I kind of like the results.

(OK, I did this. The snow can melt now...)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kids these days...

...are pretty talented! Here, a high school student, playing the role of Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion", rehearses a scene.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Livin' la vida Green Life!

Living green means using reusable bags, which means sometimes you take the Lowe's bag into the grocery store. This time, it is to hold 75 hamburger buns. Live green!

Monday, December 7, 2009

MOT: Optical Illusion

As it's highly unlikely I'll stumble across anyone flying a kite in December, I'm swapping out that theme for this one. This building in downtown Chicago presents quite an optical illusion. Is this one building, or two? Does the center stack of windows point in, or out? You decide...

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Favorite things

Being outdoors and playing with my camera rank pretty high up my "favorite things" list. On this cold, gray December morning, I decided to post some shots from a day trip we took in late May to Starved Rock State Park. You may remember this waterfall from a February blog post. Back then, it was blue and frozen. On this day, it was running freely.

On the way back from the waterfall, we crossed a little bridge. Looking upstream, we get a view of the just-budding leaves. Seems like a long time ago.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Hats off to you!

(Insert witty caption here...)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Can you find seven?

Had to crop this photo from my summer stash to make seven. Woke up today to new snow and a dentist I don't think I'll be snapping a fresh photo for the day. Hopefully the bright colors of these unusual flowers will brighten your day - seven times over.

These are from a garden in a Bed and Breakfast we visited in Utah.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


Raindrops on the trunk of my car, with a nearby light post reflected in each droplet.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My inspiration

Today would have been my mom's birthday. This is an old photo, taken by my stepdad just a few weeks before she passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Her grace, good humor, and kindness served as an inspiration all of my life, but never more so than when she fell ill. I miss her daily, but a little more today, on her birthday.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A paradox?

Although I really don’t like winter, I have a passion for a certain winter sport…


Here’s one reason why:


This is from the top of Keystone in Colorado, from my March 2009 ski trip. I swapped out a nearly-white sky using my favorite sky replacement technique, courtesy of Karen (alibony).