About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Leavin' on a Jet Plane - Louisville to Stockholm

Early this morning I'm starting the first leg of a rather long flight. It's Louisville to Chicago O'Hare. Late tomorrow afternoon get on a Scandinavian Air flight to Stockholm. If all goes well will land at Stockholm Arlanda Airport early Sunday morning. Let's hope I'm not too jet-lagged to figure out the right taxi to get to my hotel. If that's successful, I'll put myself in the hands of a Tauck tour director for the next 2+ weeks.

I'll be off the grid during that time, but will look forward to catching up with everyone when I return on Labor Day weekend.

"Vill du dansa med mig?" Swedish for "Will you dance with me?" I know, I know--should have figure out how to ask "Where is the toilet?", but not as much fun.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Perfect Summer Morning - Nanny & Rose

This morning the thunder is rolling overhead, temps are cool enough to turn the AC off and open the windows. It reminds me of this much loved painting, Nanny and Rose. The oil was done by American painter Scott Prior in the mid-80s. "Nanny" is the artist Nanny Vonnegut and Prior's wife. She is also the daughter of novelist Kurt Vonnegut. "Rose" is the golden of course, named for her gorgeous color perhaps? I always thought it was the other way around.

What makes this a perfect summer morning? Well, there's the screened in porch, hot beverage, weather cool enough to enjoy that plaid flannel robe. And, of course, a great companion at her feet. Many years ago I had a wonderful golden, Dan, who had the same beautiful red coat as Rose. No better companion could be wanted.

Back in the late 80s, my friend and officemate Kittyhawk had this painting up in our office. When I retired a few years ago she e-mailed me this picture as a reminder of what retirement would be like. How accurate she was!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Watery Wednesday - In the Middle of a Dry Spell

It had been a long, dry summer in Kentucky. In the little creek that runs through the park there is just enough water to reflect blue skies and foliage.

Want to see some more dramatic "watery" photography? Click here for the players.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What to Pack for Scandinavia Tour?

In just a few days I'm leaving on a jet plane for a Scandinavian tour. Have made most of my what to pack decisions--four pairs of black pants, comfortable--I hope--walking shoes, and a new raincoat with generous hood for shelter against all the rain I see in the long range weather forecasts for Sweden, Norway, and Denmark. Now I can concentrate on the most important items, other than my camera and plenty of batteries. That's reading material:

Legacy --the inside scoop on Elizabeth Tudor, girl to woman

The Leopard --last of a series of Det. Harry Hole mysteries set in Oslo. I'll be able to walk Harry's city beat.

Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark--travel memoir of Scandinavia written by Mary Wollstonecraft, England's Gloria Steinham, in late 1700s.

The Voyager --must always take an old friend with you on a trip for when homesickness hits. For me, it's Jamie and Claire's adventures.

Planning a trip and learning about where you'll visit is a big part of the pleasure of traveling. Packing is not! Well, except for deciding what books will take up a good portion of your 50 lb. baggage limit.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Bonus Shot - Avatar

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Bonus Shot - Avatar

After finishing the 30 day good photos challenge yesterday it seems strange to not be posting a daily photo here. So, thought I'd sneak in one bonus shot. One photography trick that I wanted to learn this past month was how to create a personal avatar--no luck. I found tutorials for turning my pic into a character from the movie Avatar or the wildly popular Japanese anime. Not what I was looking for. My avatar would be a variation of the Russian/Ukrainian folk art nesting dolls. To me, they represent a life or personality that is multi-layered and always having something new to uncover. What would your avatar be?

These dolls belong to my sister. I bought them for her at a street market in Kiev, Ukraine when I was there working with the country's farm women's councils in 2001. The market was just across the street from this wedding cake of church - St. Andrews Orthodox.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 30 - Night Sky

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 30 Subject - Night Sky

Around dark this evening a fierce rainstorm blew through the area. After things calmed down, I happened to look out and saw this lovely full moon that was shaded for a few minutes by dark clouds. Here are two of my best shots of the night sky.

The 30 days of this photos challenge have flown by. I have enjoyed looking at my world each day to find the daily subject and, along the way, learn some new photography techniques. I'm anxious to get back to writing posts here, but will do some more photo challenges in September.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 29 - Shoes

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 29 Subject - Shoes

My shoes are boring black. Willie's, however, are much more interesting like these genuine Alaskan Iditarod booties, a gift from his Aunt Jane and Uncle Robert. They enjoy traveling in Alaska during the dog racing season. They've been volunteer workers at different points in the races, helping with recordkeeping, feeding the dogs and mushers. Here they're at an Iditarod training camp.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 28 - Flowers

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 28 Subject - Flowers

In the middle of August most flowers, like us, are showing the effects of heat, humidity and drought. But not the sturdy old-fashioned Rose of Sharon blooms, like this lovely one I saw in the park.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 27 - Black & White

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 27 Subject - Black & White

Is it just me, or is Mother Nature indulging in a little soft porn? All I can say people is that this is what I saw growing on a log in the park. You decide if I'm right or wrong.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 26 - Bokeh

When I saw that the challenge for today was "bokeh", first impression was easy peasy since I thought we were talking slang for "bouquet" as in this vase full of pink dogwood, lilacs, and japanese maple leaves:

Not so fast, photographer! Bokeh is Japanese for blurring, out of focus. In photography it takes a much more powerful lens than my point and shoot camera has, plus some skilled manipulation of light to achieve that perfectly blurred background around a clearly defined focal image. Here's my accidental bokeh of a japanese maple whirligig:

And then this photo of a falling autumn leaf is true bokeh. The photographer was Jesse Kruger, not me!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 25 - From a Distance

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 25 Subject - From a Distance

One of Kentucky's many fine thoroughbred horse barns. This photo was taken from one of Kentucky's scenic byways through the Bluegrass Region--between Frankfort and Versailles.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 24 - Closeup

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 24 Subject - Closeup

This is a closeup of dry stone fence construction. Notice that no mortar is used to join the stones. Instead the stones are stacked so that each course supports the weight of the next layer. Most of the stone fences in Kentucky's Bluegrass Region are over 100 years old, built by Scots-Irish immigrants using old country stone working techniques. This fence, like many others, is on a thoroughbred horse farm near Versailles.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 23 - Animal

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 23 Subject - Animal

Meet Bear Decatur, owner and chief instructor at the Core Pilates Studio in Norton Commons, Louisville. He's smarter than the average bear, in my opinion, for offering pilates lessons to young and old. I've been taking weekly classes at Core Pilates for over five years and appreciate the benefits in strength, balance and coordination as I age. Some day I hope to be able to do a downward dog (pilate's cousin yoga) as well as Willie!

I didn't zoom in on Bear in this photo out of respect for his client's privacy. Almost no one looks good lying on her back on a reformer with legs up in the air. Nice ankle tattoos, though!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 22 - Hands

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 22 Subject - Hands

Back at Sister's Tea Room in Buckner getting a lesson in tea drinking etiquette from my two little pals. On the right, how to pour. On the left, how to stir. Previously, they had a manners class at the tea room.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 21 - Faceless Self Portrait

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 21 Subject - Faceless Self Portrait

Remember the "Where's Waldo?" kid's game? If you look closely you may be able to find the photographer--where's Faye?--in this photo.

This painting by Jeanne Filler Scott, a Kentucky animal artist, is called "The Veteran". She saw this working Eskimo husky in Canada on the shores of Hudson Bay. Said it was obvious that he had survived some rough times and harsh winters.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 20 - Something Orange

30 Day Good Photos Challenge Day 20 Subject - Something Orange

How about a Dairy Queen vanilla orange bar? Has only 60 calories and you can burn that off in a 15-minute walk. That's what DQ promises on the box. Very good in a dreamsicle kind of way.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 19 - Little People

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 19 Subject - Little People

Meet Walter. He hardly had time to stop for this photo. He was in charge of Cheetos quality testing and general networking at his Big Mom's 76th birthday bash this past Sunday.

Walter asked me to tell you that he has very nice hair and that he wishes the photographer had gotten his entire head so you could see for yourself. He thinks it's kind of Cheetos colored, which is a good thing in his opinion.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First of the Month & Good Photos Challenge Day 18 - Sun Flare

30 Day Good Photos Challenge, Day 18 Subject - Sun Flare

I achieved this sun flare effect by shooting directly into the sun (not recommended by your opthomologist-seriously!) at 8:30 a.m. on August 1 when the temperature climbed to 96 degrees. It has been a long time since we've had any rain so the camera was able to pick up those lovely magenta colors in addition to the starbust. I saw nothing but the blazing sun through the trees. All this color was just waiting for the lens to pick up--magic!

First of the Month Photography Meme - Kentucky Skies

Decided that this photo could do double work for the good photos challenge and first of the month meme. All year long I've been scanning Kentucky skies, camera in hand, in order to participate in a monthly photography meme that attracts aspiring photographers from all over. The idea is that we look at our surroundings and record the changes from month to month. The host for this meme is Jan at Murrieta 365 . Here's how it works: "The goal is to capture one thing repeatedly on the first day of each month. It can be a landscape, a person, an animal, a project; whatever your focus is fine. It can be a record of where you are each first day of the month." I decided to photograph Kentucky skies.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Good Photos Challenge Day 17 - Technology

Not only am I a novice photographer, I also know very little about improving original shots using Photoshop Elements. Sure, I can do an "auto fix" or crop a photo for better composition, but that's about it. However, this weekend I played around with the "special effects" function in Photoshop, mostly "watercolor". Here are two different results:

Bold berries-

Subtle lichen-covered stick-