Sunday, February 28, 2010

Photo #59: Coming Home

The Daily Shoot for today -- Sunday challenge: Make a photo that invokes or communicates happiness to the viewer.

My daughter, Lisa and her boyfriend, Colin lead busy lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. They were here this weekend to visit. There isn't anything that makes me happier than that.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Photo #58: Lisa and Colin

My beautiful daughter, Lisa and her boyfriend, Colin came to visit this weekend. We had a great time. We watched some of the Olympics and then they cooked dinner for me. After dinner I took them to my favorite coffee shop, Caribou Coffee on Ingersol. This is sort of a busman's holiday for Colin, because he works in a coffee shop. He didn't seem to mind though, because he is a big coffee fan. It is just a comfortable setting to sit and visit. After that, it was early to bed, because they have to leave very early tomorrow morning. Colin has to work. It was a long drive from St. Paul for a one day visit, but I'm glad they did it, because I enjoyed spending time with them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Photo #57: Something New

The Daily Shoot for today was: Go somewhere today you've never been, even just a different street, and make a photo.

Of course mine would involve food and shopping. I ventured into Chocolaterie Stam at Valley West Mall. I had never been in there before. I looked, I photographed, I did not buy. I might go back though.

I walked on down the mall and saw a store called Egyptian Treasures. There were some pretty interesting things in there. They were definitely not your run of the mill knickknacks.

After that I stopped for dinner at Chipotle Mexican Grill.

It is unusual for me to do anything on a Friday night, except go home and collapse.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Photo #56: Cowboy Boot

I had dinner at Bandana's Barbecue tonight. I was looking around for something to photograph, since I hadn't taken my pic for the day, when I saw this boot. I really like the rich redish brown leather, the textures, and curve of the boot.

I hadn't origianally planned on eating out, but I had to drive out to Barnes and Noble to pick up two copies of Anne of Avonlea to read with a student. That didn't turn out very well, because the two books they were holding for me, turned out to be abridged versions. This is for a student who is reading several years above grade level. I was a little discouraged that the trip was a washout, when Banadana's caught my eye. This is southern barbeque, so meat is prepared with a dry rub and smoked. I only know this because the server told me so. The thing I do know is it was delicious!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photo #55: RIF

Today was RIF, Reading Is Fundamental. While the federal program only funds books for kindergartners and first grade, our P.T.A. provides funding so that three times a year every child, at every grade level, gets a brand new book. We are lucky to have this kind of parent support. This time all the books were non-fiction, which is a focus for our district this year. There is nothing like having a brand new book in your hand.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Photo #54: Turtle

Today's challenge: "Monochrome photos don't have to be the result of processing or desaturation. Find a monochrome composition and shoot it."

I am partial to turtles, so I set up one of my favorite turtles on a piece of beige paper. I have a few turtles that sit around the house. This one was given to me by my friend, Chris, and it sits next to the computer in my office. For me, the turtle is a symbol of patience and the tenacity necessary to survive life's challenges.

Most of my turtles live in my flower gardens during the growing season, where it is far from a monochrome setting. Right now they are stored in the garage. I miss them. I am looking forward to spring, when I can put them back out in the yard where they belong.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Photo #53: Coffee, Keys and a Droid

I left work early today to take care of some key issues. Now I'm hanging out at Caribou Coffee on Ingersol waiting for Jacci to join me. This is my favorite Caribou Coffee, and I spent many hours here in the summer, when I was taking my on-line technology class. I would bring my little netbook or laptop over and sit here for hours working on my website or webquest.

I'm really not a coffee drinker, but I love hanging out in coffee shops with free wifi. I like the smell, and I do like coffee drinks that are sweet and creamy and don't taste too much like coffee, but mostly it is the relaxed atmosphere. I get a kick out of seeing everyone with their laptops, studying, chatting, relaxing. Even though none of us are connecting with each other, we are all traveling the world of the internet. Somehow it feels less isolating than doing the same thing in my own living room.

It can also be quite entertaining, and I've been rather surprised by some of the conversations that I've been privy to in this public setting: a couple doing premarital counseling with their minister, two people strategizing about a political run for office, friends gossiping. As long as I have my netbook or Droid to surf the internet, and something delicious to drink, I can spend hours here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Photo #52: Play Time

My sister and I went walking out at Jordan Creek Town Center again. The busiest place in the whole mall was this play area. We had a birds eye view as we looked down from the upper level. What you can't see from this still shot is the kids running full throttle all over the place. I love the color and action. If I only had that kind of energy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Photo #51: A Chilly Bench

This is the bench on my mother's patio. It looks like it will be a while before we can sit out there and enjoy the sunshine. I like the contrast between the black tulips on the bench back against the snow, which is now all the way up to the seat. We had more snow yesterday, and more is expected later on tonight. We have had 62 inches of snow so far this winter. Where are you spring?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Photo #50: My New House

This is a picture of my new house. It's located outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, and I plan to take possession on March 14th. I'm looking forward to living there on school vacations, and then a few years from now, moving there permanently......

OK, I admit it. I didn't actually take this photo myself, and it's not my house, yet. But I am planning to move in. I have been visualizing myself, sitting in the sunrise room, cooking in the kitchen, blogging in the office. There is a fantastic view from the patio, with a great fireplace. It's actually the HGTV Dream House for 2010, and I have been entering to win it, every day since the beginning of the year. My sister has been doing the same thing. We both have visualization boards posted in our homes, with pictures of our future home. Today is the last day to enter.

In January, I saw a news report about a woman in California who visualized herself winning $12,000,000. She waited until the lottery got to 12 million, and then she bought two tickets. She won!!! Now she is living in a nice home, and is producing movies.

Somebody is going to win the HGTV Dream House, and it might as well be me or my sister, because either way, I get to live there. It's one of those little carrots that has gotten me through the winter.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Photo #49: Icicles and Shadows

Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

It was a sunny morning, and as I was closing up the garage this morning, I noticed the shadows cast by the growing collection of icicles along the roofline of my house. I would enjoy the beauty of the ice more, if I wasn't concerned about the damage these ice dams might be doing to my roof and gutters.

Will spring ever come? We had another six inches of snow on Sunday and Monday. The sunshine of the past two days has melted only a little of the collected snow. The forecast is for a 70% chance of more snow tomorrow. I am winter weary!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Photo #48: Michael's Birthday

Michael's Birthday
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

My son, Michael, turned 22 today. To celebrate his birthday, we went out for dinner at Bella Italia Restaurant in Pleasant Hill. We had the Phillie Cheese Steak Pizza, which was delicious, and bread sticks which were outstanding. After that it was home for birthday cake, watching the olympics, and bed.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photo #47: Under Construction

The Daily Shoot for today was: Things are always a-changin'. Make a photo that offers a snapshot of something being built, fabricated, or assembled.

It was another inside recess today, and my kids love to build with the Legos, dominoes and K-Nex. I really enjoy watching them collaborate on these buildings and vehicles. These K-nex used to belong to my son, when he was small. Over the years, they have provided many hours of fun for a multitude of kids. Worth every penny!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Photo #46: The Iowa State Capital Building

I spent the day downtown at the annual Professional Development for Des Moines teachers. I took the bus downtown to avoid all the traffic and parking problems, and then, at the end of the day, I walked to my sister's office, so I could ride home with her. I took this shot of the capital building from one of the skywalks, when I was on the way to her office. I always like the way our forefathers (and foremothers) designed the city streets, so you can look all the way down Locust Street to see the golden dome. We truly have a beautiful state capital building.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Photo #45: Tea, Anyone?

I'm beginning to see some recurring themes in these photos, and one of them is about tea. I believe this is the third picture so far that features tea. After day after day of snow and ice, Jacci and I went out to Jordan Creek Mall to walk. I'm not sure how many calories we actually burned, because I kept detouring into shops that had enticing window displays. I love tea and I love tea sets, so I was drawn into Teavana, where I saw this beautiful display. I love the taste of tea, but my love for tea goes beyond that. I love the warmth, and the nurturing comfort of sipping and savoring a delicious cup of hot tea. I also like all the tea paraphernalia that goes with it. I love the line and curve of the tea pots. My favorite set here is the sea green pot and cups with the cranes. Not in my budget this month, though.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Photo #44: My New TV

I told myself that when I got my income tax refund, I would buy a new television to replace the one that died several months ago. So I've been looking at and dreaming about a new TV for some time now. The size of the new set is limited not only by finances, but it also had to fit into my entertainment center, which I love. I measured carefully, and there is not even a half inch to spare, but it fits.

After reading about the new HD TVs in Consumer Reports, I ended up buying a Samsung. I am amazed how much lighter the new TVs are, compared to the old antiques I've had. I could carry this 32 inch set using one hand, and the box even has a handle. I did have to install the swivel stand, but I read and followed directions without a problem. The picture is incredible, particularly in comparison to the set I've been using. That one had a broken cable attachment, so there were always lines across the picture, and if you walked too hard across the floor, it would vibrate the cable out of the back of the set. As I'm writing this I'm watching someone eat barbecue chicken on the food network. It looks so good! I think I better go get something to eat!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Photo #43: Valentine Mailboxes

Valentine Mailboxes
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

We had our class Valentine Party today. Here we are ready to pass out all the treats, and begin playing games. We have two class parties each school year; a fall party and a Valentine's Day Party. I like the Valentine's Party. It's a holiday focused on caring about each other and feeling good. It's fun to see how excited the kids get about those little cards. Everyone made their mailboxes at home. They are both colorful and beautiful.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Photo #42: TV Shopping at Costco

TV Shopping at Costco
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

I just love shopping at Costco! It's like a wonderland with it's great expanse of alluring merchandise. I always look forward to going there, even though I must go with a list, because I am always on a tight budget. The very first thing that you see when you walk into Costco, is all these great TVs. Usually I have to walk right on by, even though my television in the living room flat lined a couple months ago. I promised myself then, that when I got my income tax refund, I could buy a new television set.

Now that time has finally arrived. I started shopping this week. Unfortunately, I still have to walk past these big screen TVs, to something that is a little more modest in both size and price. But it will be new, and I'm very excited about that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Photo #41: Scrapbooking

The Daily Shoot idea for today: We all have some sort of hobby or favorite activity. Make a photo that shows something you enjoy doing.

I have several hobbies. Sometimes I sew, quilt, crochet, or garden, but I particularly enjoy paper crafts. I have a craft room jam packed with supplies for scrapbooking, stamping, and card making. Making scrapbooks is my favorite. Not only is it a creative outlet, but it is nostalgic as well. Along with the family albums that I have made, I have also created albums for both of my kids, my brother, Dan, and my sister, Jacci. I also made one for my mother's companion after his daughter died. After working on all these albums for other people, I am now working on one for myself, starting with my parents and their childhoods, and then my own childhood and growing up years. Going through photos, and putting some order to them, has brought back a lot of wonderful memories.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Photo #40: Snowy Me

Snowy Me
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

This is snowy me after snow blowing the driveway and walks, yet AGAIN, this winter. We have had more than 50 inches of snow since the beginning of December. We added about 8 inches to our snow cover during the past two days. I am ready for spring!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Photo #39: Bailey

The Daily Shoot for today was to take a picture of a pet. This is cute Bailey. He is a Bichon Frise, even though he doesn't look like one with his current haircut. He has quite the personality. I often call him Whiney Boy, because he fusses a lot. I tried to persuade both of my dogs to get in a picture together, but they weren't going for it. Of course, they are laying down next to each other right now, as I write this post. As any of my students can tell you, I am a dog person. I can't imagine life without them.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Photo #38: Book Heaven

Award Winning Books
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

My sister and I spent the afternoon hanging out a Barnes and Noble. It's one of our favorite places to go. First, we shop. I always start out in the bargain books section, then I check out all the sale tables. Next it's magazines. Lately we have been frequenting the tech books, because we are both learning about blogging and building wikis and websites. Of course, I have to check out the kids books. I was checking out all the Newberry Award winners here. I'm trying to figure out how to keep my advanced readers engaged and challenged. Then it's to the cookbooks.

I collect cookbooks. I love cookbooks! I read them, and use sticky notes to mark all the interesting recipes. By the time I've done all that, I'm often too tired to actually cook.

Then with an armload of books and magazines, we head to the cafe, where we pare down our purchase piles to something we can actually afford. Before our families send out a search party, we eventually gather up our goodies and head for home. A perfect snowy Iowa afternoon!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Photo #37: Tea

Today was my day to replenish my tea supply, so I made a trip to my favorite tea shop, Gong Fu Tea. I have been having trouble sleeping lately, so my sister recommended that I try Chamomile Tea, this one is called Starry Night. Another one she recommended is called Cranberry Lover's Tea. This one is an herbal tea that is a blend of honeybush and rooibos. It's been working for her, and I'm willing to give it a try.

I don't have trouble getting to sleep, but I do have trouble staying asleep. This morning, for example, I woke up at 4:20. I've been doing that a lot lately. It's bad enough during the week, when I could be sleeping for another hour. My alarm goes off at 5:15. But today is Saturday, and I really longed to sleep in. Unfortunately my internal alarm clock had other ideas, and just as soon as I was awake, I began contemplating all the things I had to do today. I even tried getting up and writing, and then going back to bed, but to no avail. I was wide awake. This probably means I will be out like a light by 9:00 tonight. So I'm going to give the new teas a chance, and hope they will help me to sleep like a baby.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Photo #36: The Color Purple

The Color Purple
Originally uploaded by BarbaraLN

Today's Daily Shoot was to make a photo that goes with the title of a movie you've seen, interpreted any way you like! At first my mind was a complete blank, so I went on Netflix and started looking at movie titles.This is the first time that I've done the topic on the Daily Shoot, but it was kind of fun. I'll have to try it again sometime. By the way, I love my new camera. I never could have gotten a shot like this with my old Pentax.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Photo #35: Milk Jug Igloo

Have you ever wondered what to do with all those empty gallon milk jugs? Our preschool class built an igloo from them. I think it is very cool! I am always amazed at the creative things that teachers think of to engage and thrill students.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Photo #34: Apples

I was on my way to the grocery store after school, before I realized I hadn't taken today's photo. Since I love color, the produce department was the natural place to go. I know there was at least one lady who was wondering what I was up to, as I rearranged the apples to fill in the empty spots. Then I whipped out my camera and started snapping photos. If I'm not careful, I'm going to develop a reputation in my neighborhood for being a trifle eccentric.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Photo #33: Bread at Jimmy John's

I love Jimmy John's! They have the best subs and definitely the best bread of any sub shop I've ever been to. I always order exactly the same thing; a #12 -- The Beach Club. Made with turkey, provolone cheese, alfalfa sprouts, lots of veggies, and the best part of all, avocado spread. The minute you step through door, you can breathe in the comforting armoma of fresh baked bread. I really needed Jimmy John's tonight. It was a very difficult day, and there is no way, I could cook tonight. So off to Jimmy John's where the service is so fast, you'll freak.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Photo #32: Lego Club

My principal runs a Lego Club for 4th and 5th graders, every Monday after school. It is so popular that she has to do a lottery to select the participants, and she runs additional sessions throughout the school year. Not only do they build magnificent structures, they also motorize them. The multitude of wheels and colorful parts entice you to grab a handful and start building. Every now and then I stop by so the kids can show me their creations.