Dance on the prairie…sing to the skies.

Winter has finally succumbed to the ever persistent nudges of spring.  Dance on the prairie… sing to the skies.

Rejoice.

Prairie Dancer (Gary, SD Cemetary View)

Prairie Dancer (Gary, SD Cemetery View)

Canon 5D Mark 2 ~ ISO 200 ~ F 8.0 ~ 1/200 ~ 70-200 IS Canon L lens zoomed to 200

Advertisements

Dreams…

dreams timeline

Canon 5D Mark 2, available light, black and white ,
2.8 at 1/250, ISO 200

You may say I’m a dreamer,
But I’m not the only one. ~ John Lennon

I would venture to say that it’s healthy to dream and establish goals, but the practical side of me thinks that too much dreaming means you get nothing done. Too much time spent dreaming means you may be missing the enjoyment of everyday life in your search for utopia or grandiose achievements.

Traveling the globe, photographing the 7 wonders of the world and beyond is my wildest dream, but in reality I’d probably tire of that lifestyle rather quickly due to the constant days on the road with pressure to catch that once in a lifetime shot.  Truth is, I’m kind of an ordinary homebody.  I am also the queen of multitasking so why not combine my ordinary kind of dreaming with achieving?

Dream of improving fitness level:  ( I live in Minnesota) Notice the subtle changes of seasons while on a power walk and consider nature on an artistic level.  Watch a travel show or documentary while on the treadmill to expand knowledge of the world. (Currently following the Karl Pilkington British T.V. series An Idiot Abroad on Netflix.  Can’t imagine why this show draws me in!

Dream of simple pleasures:  Find enjoyment during the work day whether it be a funny joke told by a co-worker, an interesting conversation, or a pleasant drive to or from work.  Appreciate the beauty of sunrises and sunsets and you may find they have a calming effect.  Remember who created that beauty and be thankful with prayer.  Appreciate the little things in life such as a good, hot cup (or 2) of delicious coffee in the morning. ( Bonus points if I don’t have to make it myself.) What is your simple pleasure?

Dream of a productive day:  Make a checklist of tasks and feel the glow of satisfaction as you make each big, fat check…done.

Dream of writing a book:  While I do not have a book on the horizon, I will be working on photography and design of E-Book covers for a talented writer of historic fiction.  Kind of a dream in itself while helping another fulfill her dream.

Dream of a tidy, everything in its place, uncluttered type of organized home and life:  Ummm… I’ve got nothing for that one.  Any ideas?

Enough dreaming for one day… I’ve got things to do!

… more than just a game.

We think of school and extra curricular activities as being all about the kids and the lessons they learn.  Not always…  We recently witnessed a true lesson for all from a group of high school kids who are the epitome of class.

StateBBcollagedesat_2Earning a trip to the state tournament was not an easy task as they come from a section filled with tough competition. Nail biting, last-minute wins, illness requiring surgery thus ending the season of a player, all added up to a season filled with drama.   On top of that, a season dedicated to a memory…

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2014/03/12/after-63-years-and-a-tragedy-canby-boys-make-it-to-state/

Their first round game of the 2014 Minnesota State A Tournament was not meant to be easy and they knew it.  The opposing team had averaged 92 points per game this season and were an offensive powerhouse.  The moments seemed like hours as the plays unfolded and they found themselves down by 17.   They had become known as the “Come Back Kids” so the spectators were not surprised when they erased their opponents lead and inched ahead.  The scoreboard adjusted back and forth until time ran out.  Tied game.

One overtime….

Two overtimes…

Three overtimes…

Cheers of elation and anguish mixed amongst the fans as we watched these young men play their hearts out with tremendous sportsmanship. Nervous tension filled the air as the players and coaches accepted their fate.  They win as a team and lose as a team.  The sad thing about first round tournament play is that one of the teams has to lose and that means you are done for this year.  If you are a senior, it’s the end of the road for you.

http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/250244231.html

The Tribune link above missed the real story here.  Dignity and the true meaning of sportsmanship was demonstrated as the coach walked with his team over to the  stands and the exhausted, disappointed and emotionally drained team gave their fans and community a standing ovation before going back to the locker room.  They sure did us proud.  The players on the bench also deserve a standing “O” for making the players on the court what they are today.  The second string players have the thankless job of showing up at practice, ready to go full throttle to make the team a stronger unit.

It has been a life lesson to all of the family, friends and fans of this team: Life is fickle and you never know what’s in the cards at any point in your life.  Work hard, never give up, it’s not over ’til it’s over, perseverance, patience and faith that it will be O.K.  Hats off to the parents, coaches and teachers for instilling these values so that they could be demonstrated out on the court.

Upon reflection of the season, my husband turned to me and said, “If this is a glimpse of who will be running our world… it’s going to be O.K.”  I think he’s right.

Swoosh… the sweetest sound.

End of February brings March Madness as high school basketball tournament games ultimately determine the state champion.  It truly screams, “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”  Every team loses, at some point, except for one.

A loss ceases the opportunity for advancement and thus ends the season for some and an era for others.  Juniors on down have next year to look forward to and work towards.

Seniors, on the other hand… well, this is the end of the road for most of you.  I have a tender spot in my heart for those hard working seniors that would love  these moments in life to just keep on going.  It’s tough to be done…

As a spectator, the excitement of a close game is nerve wracking, at best, but always adds a deeper layer of empathy, encouragement and community pride.  You love ’em when they’re up and you love ’em when they’re down.  This is the beauty of a small town high school…

Click on collages for a larger viewing window

Album template

Album templateCanon 5D Mark 2 ~ 70-200 L lens ~ Collage in Photoshop/Albums DS

Am I a pyromaniac?

Foxsports-9357firegr

5D Mark 2 ~ 5.6 at 1/160 ~ 70-200 lens ~ 160 ISO ~ Alien Bee Lights

A pyromaniac is the term used for an arsonist who plays with fire.  What do you call a person that plays with fire in Photoshop?

Hmmm…  A phoromaniac?  Sounds like a word you’d hear coming out of Astro’s mouth.  (the Jetson’s dog.)

The Frugal Grandma

I have a weakness for Christmas items on clearance, so the adrenaline rush hit when I discovered a mid-January 90% price reduction sale recently.  Whoa… a gingerbread tree kit for less than $2.  This would be fun to do with my two-year old granddaughter! Oh, no…Christmas is 11 months away.
So what.  She is two and we can call it a winter tree. 

racheltreeblendbwsnow2r

Rachel2-8865plCurious fingers open the box and pull out the contents.

Rachel2-8887hfm20plHmmm…pretty, but what do I do with them?

Rachel2-8903It wasn’t too hard to stack the cookies, but the kit frosting wasn’t quite as plentiful as the box portrayed.  Cream cheese frosting would have been easier.

Rachel2-8900dmvOops!  Someone took a bite…

Rachel2-8914Add the pretty candy balls.

Rachel2-8923hfm20dmvEven winter trees need a (broken) star.

Rachel2-8925Tah-dahhhh!!
Considering that a two-year old tends to have the attention span of a gnat, I’d say lasting one full hour on a project is impressive. On top of that, it held MY full attention for an hour. I did rush the decorative frosting part and pretty much globbed it on. Martha Stewart would have rolled her eyes and tisked

Rachel2-8944Even though the results weren’t as perfect as pictured on the box, it looked just fine to me.  In this case, I declared the process  more important than the results.  I doubt that I will be asked to be a contestant on any of the cake decorating reality shows, anyway.  That’s O.K., I have enough to do already!

“Create with the heart; build with the mind.”

~Criss Jami

Picture Perfect? Nope.

Traditional, eye pleasing, balanced family portraits with each individual  arranged perfectly have always been a challenge for me. I would not last long as a church directory photographer. While it is good to document a period in time for a family unit, we adults don’t seem to like how we look in portraits.  (Oh, I look so old, fat, my ankles appear too thick, can you give my husband 6-pack abs and a smile?  While you are at it, thin my thighs and waist…)   Then to find a background in the midst of Christmas chaos.  Oh, my.

2013xmascard inside1dBWFB

So, for the annual holiday card, rather than striving for the “perfect” portrait I decided to celebrate our imperfect, unique, quirky lives with a photo that embraces reality.  We are all leading lives that cover quite a wide spectrum of vocations, educations, interests and then you add a two-year-old.  It is what it is.

Thank you to my mother-in-law for crawling up onto a step ladder to capture this chaos.

Canon 5D Mark 2, Canon 24-70 L lens, ISO 3000, Gary Fong flash diffuser on a Canon 580 speedlight

I leave you with a toast for 2014:  Here’s to another year of experience.

CHEERS!