Monday, May 30, 2011

Days 148,149, 150 Memorial day pics

More than 3 pics today because I actually got my camera out. 
Started out the morning by sleeping in.  I took some pain pills last night and my neck wasn't absolutely throbbing this morning, so I managed to stay in bed until about 8am.  That's pretty good for me!
Went and spent the day with my Mom and Dad.  They recently bought 2 ducks for their lake which they are affectionately calling Dumb and Dumber.  They've been living on my parents' deck for a while now and it was time for them to be released and they could finally swim.  So today was the big day.  After chasing them around the deck and getting them into the dog carrier, my dad took them down to the lake and we had to corral around them to get them to go in the lake.
The black duck {Dumber} loved the water and immediately went nuts.  The white one {Dumb} was a little slower to catch on and stuck close to the shore for a while, but eventually got the hang of it.
duck release



After that we ate lots and lots and lots of food and I managed to fall asleep on the couch while the TV was on.  I think  Richie and my Dad also fell asleep.  I managed to watch part of Star Wars III with Stephen and then we ate some more.
We drove home and I thought that this picture was kind of cool for Memorial Day.  This motorcyclist was driving close by us and I snapped a picture as he was going by. I'm not extremely patriotic and don't like to wave the flag and sing "Proud to be an American". So, this is my minor patriotic picture for Memorial Day.  You should be proud of me.


On the way home these cows were up close to the fence.  Sometimes they're close and sometimes they're too far away.  Usually when I have my camera they are far and vice-versa.  However, today  I had my camera and they were up close.  One of the calves was even having a snack.  I ♥ COWS!

calf standing

calf nursing


Friday, May 27, 2011

Day 147 Goodbye A226

I've been in A226 for the last 8 years.  I taught in there for 2 years before the room was "mine".  It's the room where I learned of my  friend Charnelle's death, it's the room where I was standing as the planes hit the World Trade Center in 2001, it has seen many good teaching moments, many moments of joy, many moments of tears, many of anger.
It's where friends have gathered to gossip, share, eat, plan.  It's where I changed from a "young" teacher into an "old" teacher.  It's where I have been confronted by someone over and over as I "challenged her authority".  It's where I made fun of said person.
I packed up and moved out of A226 today.  I had a lot of boxes, and that was after 8 years of staying in that room.  8 years of projects, cards, worksheets, notes, handouts, files.  I threw a lot of old stuff away.  I couldn't bear to throw other stuff away.  I didn't know that moving down the hall would be a little emotional for me.  I did tear up this morning as I was taking the pictures on this post.
226 pt 3
I'm looking forward to A225 (down the hall, not next to).  It's a little bigger, it's right by the restroom, it has 4 huge windows, it's closer to my close friends.  I know I'll enjoy A225.  It's probably where I will go from "old" teacher to "retired" teacher.  One day I may be packing up in there "for good".
226 pt 2
I am halfway through my teaching career.  This wrapped up year 17.  Another 17 to go.  It's gone by so fast.  I complain sometimes.  I get frustrated.  I can't imagine doing anything else.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Day 146 Oldie

This little cutie is from the first set of pictures I posted on Flickr back in 2008- Just a pic of the kids with a point and shoot camera.  I didn't have time to take one today.  I carried my camera around all day today, but just didn't take a picture.  Go figure.
Anyway, I'm happy I have pics of my kids from their years of growing up because it's hard to imagine them this little anymore.  Just tonight, Richie's voice has been cracking all over the place because it's getting ready to change.  Stephen stayed with Richie this afternoon because they were off of school early and Rich and I were not home yet.  They're growing up.
One day, I'd like Kat Von D to tattoo this picture on me.  I think they're simply beautiful and I know I'll never tire of looking at those faces, even when they have whiskers on them one day.

Editing skills have grown since 2008. I'm actually just as interested in the editing process as the photography process, so I guess this does count for tonight:
552647467_f43870b7eb_o copy

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Day 145 The Calm Before the Storm

the calm
This is while the storm is "a-brewin'".  I'm out in the driveway taking pictures, hoping to get a cool lightning shot, but it's too light out, so I can't just hold down the shutter release cable.  I hope there is lightning out while it's dark so I can get a good shot.  I also hope that it's not raining, so my camera doesn't get screwed up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 144 Chicago in Black and White

Some of my fave pictures from Chicago look the best in black and white. Here they are:



My absolute favorite from the trip:

Monday, May 23, 2011

Day 143 The best hot chocolate in the world!

So, sorry to be on the same thing yet again, but I'm still working on editing the pictures from Chicago and so I'm going to finish up with the pics for today's blog.

There were some people asking for money around the city of Chicago:

I always find them interesting.

Here is one of the little drummer boys doing his thing...

Here is another pic of the city from the drawbridge area where we spotted the homeless people and the drummer boys:

After all of that walking around, we did the Carnivale restaurant that night:



The next day, we checked out of the hotel and headed to Mindy's hot chocolate- This was the BEST hot chocolate I've ever had- in my life- I can't even explain the creamy goodness that the lady brought out. If I could only have one form of chocolate the rest of my life- it would be the hot chocolate that I had that morning:

After the special breakfast we headed over to Halstead Street to a store called the Brown Elephant. After we came out of that we started to get the picture that the area must be a popular spot for gay people. The rainbows were all over and then we ran into this store---LOVE IT!

The people inside were extremely nice and it was a fun little store with all kinds of little trinkets.
I took some pics of my friends "representing" their interests.
Joi- representing the shopping bags:

And Paige, trying to get a perfect shot:

After we left Halstead, we headed out and went to Ikea outside of Chicago. I'm officially hooked and hopefully one day I'll have my awesome lamp up and will get a picture up.
Chicago, Chicago, that toddling town, that marvelous town!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Day 142 Good food and the dirty naughty

After an absolutely amazing day doing touristy things, last night we went out for our big feast at Carnivale restaurant.  ♥Much love to JK for introducing this one to me♥- it is A*M*A*Z*I*N*G!!!
We started the night out with a raspberry mojito {delish} and then for an appetizer we had some Manchego cheese with house crackers, almonds and honey...{delish}.  Next, I had the Costilla de Res {braised short rib} with cheese polenta....O*M*G!!!!  Gosh darn it, I was in heaven!!!  Along with another mojito and wowsa! MMMMMMMM!  Joi never got to try churros y chocolate in Spain, so we ordered these and all shared some.  Pretty good.
I was so stuffed I couldn't move when we left there- it was pure craziness!

Joi managed to befriend every cabbie in Chicago that she came across.  This time, we found an Indian man who asked her what her husband called her as a nickname.  He said that his wife called him "sugar cane" when she was ready for "romance time" and come Monday morning she was calling him "dirty naughty".  This had us all cracking up in the cab, back at the hotel and several times today as we remembered it over and over.

Back at the hotel, aches and pains started setting in- the end of the 30s is quite rough on the old bod.  The neck and head and the left foot was just killing me.  We had originally planned to go out and take some night shots of Chicago and maybe hear a little music, but after all of the walking during the day, our meal that stuffed me to the brink of insanity, I was just ready to lay down and relax.  

 Hustley, bustley, Chicago:

Many more pics to come tomorrow.  I'm tired now and need to sleep!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Day 141 Chicago :)

I am having so much fun! Chicago is definitely the place for me! Just take a look at this soldier having fun with the street performer!

soldier kiss

Or this picture in Millenium Park of a Chicago citizen- too bad the water isn't on...I wanted to see her spit!
face spit

Paige is still carrying around her moustache...miss you Mendy!
paige moustache

We headed to the Navy Pier-took a boat cruise up and down the riverfront and the girls got me to go up in the big, scary ferris wheel....

Love, love the Navy pier!

We kept seeing brides everywhere! This was an especially sweet shot!

Here's that goofy ferris wheel!!!

navy pier

We are having so much fun! I ♥ US!

We had to take the typical touristy shot at Cloud Gate- otherwise known as the bean!
bean girls

Probably one of my favorite moments of the trip- these boys pulled up their buckets and started drumming! Awesome!!!

I managed to get some motion blur on Michigan Ave- beautiful!

Days 138,139, 140 Cheating on the blog in Chicago

So I'm using Chicago to play catch up.  Here are the pics for  the last 3 days- Wed, Thur and today.  These were all taken today.

A face carved in at Gino's

Joi, Paige and I went to Chicago this weekend for a little girl time.  So far tonight, we managed to drive here, find the hotel, find Gino's, eat some pizza and get back to the hotel.  Along the way, we learned a few new words {cooky-balls}{hicking-out}, turned the wrong way down a one way street, and "lost" the city in the fog.  We also relied on "Gladys" the GPS to get us through, although she got confused and was telling us directions about 5 minutes too late.

poetry garage
The Poetry Garage- each floor a different poet is reading his poetry by the elevator
My girlies!

Yummy Gino's...{but I still like Pi better!}

I'm having a great time so far and I'm excited for tomorrow!  I love being a tourist!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Days 135,136, 137 Catch up, again???

Life is so insane all the time.  Here I am again with another catch up post! >:(  I'm mad at myself for letting life get in the way of the stuff I actually like to do {photography}!  I've got to get myself back on the wagon and take some interesting pictures!!!
OK, I did like the Mt. Dew picture.  But then I got behind again.
So here are my pictures and a little post with each of them.
The first one is a picture of a picture that is very dear to me.  I have this picture of me, my Mom and my Grandma from when I was in the very bushy hair?  It's near and dear to me because it is of the three of us on my Grandma's porch, just hanging around.  Not a special day, just hanging out.  I hung this picture up on my bed when my Grandma passed away.  I held on to it for a while and kept it with me, and I kept it on my headboard like Frida Kahlo used to keep her special pictures on her headboard.  I just needed to have my Grandma's face by me during that period.  Then my Mom got cancer, and I would look at her in the picture and talk to my Grandma and beg her to help out my Mom if she possibly could.  I think she did.
When we recently got our king sized bed that raises like a hospital bed, we didn't have a headboard any longer and I put the picture on my lamp.  It's been 5 years that that picture has been looking at me and I'm not ready to part with it yet.
My friend Sarah's father recently passed away.  I didn't really know him, but I think any sort of death reminds us to pay a little more attention to those we love while we still can.  I understand that he was a great man.  I know the few times I was over at her parents' house while he was there, he seemed to be a special person.  I hope that she has special pictures of him with her that she can cherish for the years to come.
family pic
Picture number 2:

This picture is a recent memory.  The other night we had our Student Council banquet for the year.  It was a very emotional event.  These kids are very special to me!  There were moments of tears at various parts of the ceremony, but at the end my seniors gave me a special gift.  They gave me a picture frame with their signatures on the matte board on the inside and then a 4 drawer cart with various things inside the drawers.  In the bottom drawer was an envelope with letters that all of the seniors had written to me.  I waited until I got home that evening to open the letters and read them.  I ended up in tears on the couch.  They were each so moving and emotional.  I'm so happy that they feel connected to me and it seems like I've been influential to them in a positive way.

letters to mama

Picture number 3:
This one is just a crappy old picture of the dying plants on my counter.  They have been very neglected and I haven't paid any attention to them at all because I'm busy and off doing other things.
I think that I need to catch up on a lot of things.  I hope that I can get everything back on track next week when school is over.  I have relationships that I need to pay attention to, things around the house that need done, and I need to get back into working seriously on photography.  I don't want the people I love, my house and my pictures to keep looking like these plants:

plant life

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 134/365 Magical Mountain Dew

Here is my favorite drink {at the moment- this changes over time} pouring itself...This is Saturday's picture:

pouring mt dew
EXIF: 1/40 sec, f3.5, ISO 400, 50mm lens.  2 pictures layered in Photoshop- 1 of just the stove(bottom) and the other with me pouring the mt. dew(on top). I erased my hand out of the top layer and merged the layers.  And there ya go...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Days 132, 133 Catch up.

This week has been yet another crazy week!  I'm so excited for school to end- can I get an amen???
Monday I had the StuCo banquet, Tuesday was the soccer game and every night after school W,H, F, I've had StuCo interviews for the new council that will start on Tuesday.  We were at school last night until about 5:50 or so, and it's a grueling process.  So many awesome kids apply to get in, but we only have 24 spots (+ 6 officers).  We had about 60 apply and actually stick around for the interviews.  They have to stay until about 4:45 or so, waiting to go in to a 5 minute interview.
I hope we ended up with a good group for this next round- this is the big one with homecoming events!
In addition to all of the stuff I've been doing, I've had straight up migraines every day this week. I wish I could get a different body.
Anyway, when I got home, I've been working on editing pictures so that I can give them to my Mom.  I'm finally done editing this round and I'm going to post these 2 pics of Richie and Stephen because I love them so much and I like the way these came out.
I'll try to actually take a picture today so I'm being "legit".
These are both with my 50mm f1.8 lens- I love it!  I wish that I could have that wide of an aperture on all of my lenses!!!  It's a prime lens, so it's super sharp, and believe it or not, these are straight out of camera with only a little cropping!  Yahoo!

EXIF info:  1/125 sec, f4, ISO 200, 50mm lens, no flash
EXIF : 1/100 sec, f4, ISO 100, 50mm lens, flash on, fired