Day Twenty-Three: Sunset

Hipstamatic: Bettie XL lens, Ina's 1969 film

Naturally, sunset came up on a night I had something that stuck me indoors for the entirety of the time the sun was setting. The above was taken as I was on my way to a 6:45 meeting last night. The "horizon" is actually the high school as we drove by. (No worries...hubby was driving.) I played with it a while in SwankoLab to try to bring out more color but...you know...this will do. I even looked back to see if I had any sunset pictures on my phone already. Nope. Lots of sunrises, but no sunsets. I guess that might say something about me, but I'm not sure what.

Now that I think about it, one thing it says is that I went to a beach where the sun doesn't set in the right place this summer. (What's up with that, Myrtle Beach?)


Day Twenty-Two: Trees

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, Kodot XGrizzled film

These gorgeous trees stand in the fountain courtyard at my office (I think they are some type of birch tree). Even during the winter when they have no leaves, they are so pretty with their peeling bark. The courtyard is really a lovely place and I would probably eat lunch out there if it werent' for the fact that it's in the center of two buildings whose entire exterior is glass (as you can see above). That means that you sit in a fishbowl where anyone walking along the four floors of hallways that look into the courtyard could be watching you. Not exactly a relaxing thought. It's a shame...but it is a nice view as I am walking those halls! Another shame is the fact that a few of these trees have been marked to be taken down because some of them are leaning precariously close to the windows near the top. They look like another good storm could lead to broken glass and other damage. The company already had that happen a few weeks ago on the other side of the building, so I'm sure they'd rather practice some prevention this time around.


Day Twenty-One: Pretty Pattern

SwankoLab: Vinny BL94 (twice)

Wow. Here's one that was hard for me. First, I'm not really a "pretty pattern" person. At all. Second, the one type of pattern I do really love, a good art deco one, I don't own anything of! What's up with that? The above is a pic of a Frank Lloyd Wright Saguaro artglass panel I pulled up on the internet. I credit my love of Frank Lloyd Wright patterns to my architect father, who is a fan. I remember buying him ties, coasters, and just about everything else the Museum Store had in a Frank Lloyd Wright pattern growing up. Clean. Bright. Organized. That's what I like about these patterns, I think. Especially the organized part.


Day Twenty: What I Read

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Kodot XGrizzled film
SwankoLabs: Vinny's BL04, SwankoDev H1N, and Grizzle Fix

Yeah. I knew when I posted pics of books on my shelf that I would probably have a day later when it specifically asked me to post books. I love to talk about books, so I don't care. Today's shot is of my Kindle's "novels I've read" page. What's listed...

The Help-by Kathryn Stockett. Steve is reading this one now, so it's listed at the top of the page even though it wasn't the last book I read. At risk of being the umpteenth thousandth person you've heard "this is a great book" from on this one, I put that out there. Looking forward to seeing the movie, too. Octavia Spencer is from my hometown...graduated from my high school (and my college) a few years after I did, in fact. Have read that the author met her and put a bit of her spitfire personality right into the character she plays, Minny Jackson.

Midnighters-by Scott Westerfeld. I LOVE Westerfeld's Uglies series (it's a trilogy plus one) and so I read the Mignighters trilogy hoping to enjoy it as much. I didn't, but it was good. Uglies is a hard trilogy to beat. Both are young adult fiction, by the way.

The Trylle series-by Amanda Hocking. This is a young adult fantasy trilogy that I FLEW through. The really interesting thing about this author is that she self-published on Amazon. The first book in the series used to sell for 99 cents and then the next two were just $3.99 or something ridiculous like that. She was always near the top of the Amazon charts. The books have now been optioned for a film and are being formally edited...so you can't buy them right now on Amazon except for pre-order. As someone who is writing a book, it's fascinating to me to see how this young woman has made a success of herself in a totally new way of publishing.

OK...enough young adult fiction...how about some adults acting juvenile?

Smokin' Seventeen-by Janet Evanovich. Oh my gosh are these books funny. Stephanie Plum is a bounty hunter surrounded by a cast of completely crazy characters (not to mention two hot men). This entire series has been screaming to be made into a movie and finally book one is. Sadly, Katherine Heigl will play Stephanie. Not. A. Fan. But, I'll still go see it because it should be hysterical. (Please, let it be hysterical.) And, by the way, can I just say how much I love that it is super easy to tell which book comes in what order in this series?

Curse of the Spellmans-by Lisa Lutz. I think this is book two in the series and I don't think there are a lot of books in the series, so I've been reading them slowly. Laugh out loud funny stories about Izzy Spellman and her family who runs a private investigation business.

Not shown, but I want to mention...

The Hangman's Daughter-by Oliver Potzsch, translated by Lee Chadeayne. This one is neither young adult nor comic. A mystery story revolving around a hangman in a Bavarian town in the 1600's, the book is fascinating and unlike anything else I've ever read. The author actually is descended from a line of executioners, a job which was passed down from generation to generation. The story begins brutally, but I thoroughly enjoyed it after the prologue. It was a bit of an odd reading choice for our trip to Myrtle Beach this summer though, I will admit.


Day Nineteen: Where I Slept

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, Ina's 1935 film
Instagram: Sutro filter

Our bed is one of the first big purchases we made as a married couple and it represents compromises I think we both wish we hadn't made. The bed is a big four poster bed. That's a compromise I made. I wanted a sleigh bed but Steve is too tall for a bed with a footboard like that. I think I could find something more my style to fit his need to not have his feet constrained, though. This is not my style at all. Much too girly. The bed is queen size. That's a compromise he made because I said the room was too small for a king. After having two kids, every Saturday morning when they came piling in with us and every night one had a nightmare and wanted to sleep with us, I wished that I had just gone ahead and gotten the king.


Day Eighteen: In My Bag

Camera+: Cross Process and HDR filters

The purse that I carry during the work week isn't very big, which keeps me from carrying as much in it as I otherwise would. On the weekends, I usually switch to a bigger purse so I can throw a small camera in with all the other stuff that I don't feel like I have to have during the week. (Reminds me of the George Carlin routine "A Place for My Stuff".)

Here you see: a compact I don't know why I carry because the puff in it is trashed (which I also don't understand because I hardly ever used it), my green credit card thingy that holds those cards I have to have (I have many more in another wallet somewhere around here), a loose check book and check register, undeposited checks (I loathe going to the bank...although the new ATM's that just scan your checks without needing a deposit slip rock), my 30 day photo challenge list, my sunglasses (which become my headband five seconds after I leave work...I need a haircut), a lipstick and a lip gloss (which brings this song to mind), my keys (with a Twilight key chain...don't judge), Steve's car key and my ID badge for work. Oh, and there's my Blackberry that I only have for work e-mail and which I hate (precisely because it's for work e-mail). My iPhone would be there but it's my camera for this project.


Day Seventeen: On the Shelf

Hipstamatic: Helga Viking lens, Ina's 1935 film
SwankoLab: SwankoDev H1N, Vinny's BL94, Fantabra Magic Cool, and Vinny's BL94

The thought process for today was quick: shelf...bedside table shelf...books. I got a Kindle for Christmas and have done most of my reading this year on it, but I also have a backlog of paper books here at home, too. Shown on my shelf are:

Magyk (Septimus Heap)-by Angie Sage. This was the last book I finished. It's a young adult fantasy novel and the first in a series I will definitely finish. If you liked Harry Potter, you'll like this I'm almost sure. I read a lot of young adult fiction, by the way. Steve is certified to teach secondary English and he always knows what the great books for kids and teens are. There are some fabulous authors out there writing for young adults. If you don't read them just because you think you're too old, I think you're missing out.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: A Novel-by John le Carre. I saw this somewhere a while back on a list of someone's favorite books and added it to my Amazon list. Steve picked this copy up for me at a great used bookstore he was at for much cheaper than I could get it on the Kindle. There is a movie coming out in November based on the book.

On the Road-by Jack Kerouac. Speaking of movies...I'm going to be ready to see this movie whenever it gets a release date and since it's supposed to one of the great books of all time, I thought I'd read it first.

The Color of Magic-by Terry Pratchett. I got off to a terrible start with this book (which is the one I'm currently reading). I had to reread pages 4 and 5 five or six times. I am not at all exaggerating. I couldn't make sense of who was speaking and about whom they were speaking on those pages. I put the book down that night furious with it and read a few pages of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (which looks like it's going to be really good). But Steve really wanted me to read it and seemed frustrated with me when I told him I put it down. So I tried again the next night and fumbled through a few more pages. The following night, the night of our Artist's Way retreat, I didn't get it at all. I was ready to throw the book in the lake. The next night (a margarita and Corona free night) I did fine and I'm actually enjoying the book now. By the way, this is the first in a long series of books. I am not promising I'll read more of them, but I see why Steve likes them. They are very Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy) like.


Day Sixteen: What I Ate

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Ina's 1969 film
Instagram: X-Pro II filter

What I ate: Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal with Raisins and Walnuts added (in my awesome RED Fiesta bowl)
What this means: I'm on a diet again
Why this means that: I don't eat like this when I'm not on a diet
What the prior means: If I lose this 20 pounds (again), I'll eventually have to lose it again


Day Fifteen: My Shoes

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Claunch 72 Monochrome film
SwankoLab: Noir Fixer, Grizzle Fix, and Vinny's BL04

My dance shoes live in my car so that I can't ever get to dance class without them. Underneath them are my worn out black ballet flats that I change into when I go to the botanical gardens in the middle of a work day.

I am proud to say that I made it halfway through this challenge before it became obvious that I haven't read the entire list of photos yet. I probably wouldn't have posted a picture of my shoes on Day Two for "What I Wore" if I had seen "My Shoes" here on Day Fifteen. I haven't read the list because I want to think this through one day at a time. I have a tendency to think too far ahead so not reading the list is the only way I can do this the way I want to.

I want it on the record, however, that I have only read ahead once in a book. I had to know if Harry Potter lived, so I peeked at the end of the last book before I even read the first page. Steve caught me and hasn't let me live it down yet.


Day Fourteen: Flowers

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Blanko film

You KNOW I went to the Birmingham Botanical Gardens for this assignment, right? I mean...it's hot...but it said "flowers". I had to go. I love that place.

Below are a couple of other shots I got today that I liked...but the one above was the most crisp. I had great hopes for the black-eyed Susan shot when I saw it, but in full size, it's blurry right in the middle. And, the shot of the rose garden...well, it's crooked. But, isn't that interesting with the infrared film?


Day Thirteen: From a Distance

Hipstamatic: Lucifer VI lens, Pistil film

That's Lizzie, playing with the birthday presents her Nana and Papa gave her yesterday. Her birthday was the 10th, but her Papa was in the hospital for a while and is now at home slowly recovering. By the time he got home from the hospital, it was well past Maury's birthday so we weren't able to celebrate that with them until the weekend before Lizzie's birthday. This weekend it was a good time to celebrate hers. Papa is doing much better now and Lizzie didn't mind one bit that her birthday celebration went on a little bit longer than usual.


Day Twelve: Close Up

Hipstamatic: Roboto Glitter lens, Float film

Last night, some of my Artist's Way group went on an overnight trip to a very peaceful lake house. Mollie brought along watercolors and some great activities for us to do with them. The exercise we worked on this morning was very close up and personal, so I thought this photo was doubly appropriate for today. It made me think about my life and what I want from it and not all of what it made me think about was stuff I want to delve into. It kind of made me want to nap. Yes, Mollie, nap! As always, my time with Artist's Way friends makes me smile, laugh, and think (even if I don't really want to).

And, please excuse the (extra) blurry photo today, but I am dedicated to this entire challenge being done with the iPhone camera and even this amount of close up was a stretch for the poor thing.


Day Eleven: Something Fun

Hipstamatic: Jimmy lens, Kodot XGrizzled film
Instagram: Tilt Shift

Two Friday nights ago, after having a nice pancake dinner, we all stayed at the kitchen table and played Phase 10. We had such a good time together that we decided that maybe every Friday night would be family game night. Of course, you notice that I said we did that two Fridays ago meaning we missed one already and I know tonight is out, too, because I won't be here. But you get the point...we want this to be a regular thing the four of us can do.

I grew up playing games and I just love them all. I have a lot of fond game playing memories.

I learned to play cribbage and euchre when I was pretty young and my family and extended family would play alot. My dad learned to gripe and moan comically while playing cards from his Uncle Dick, who he probably learned to play cards from when he was a kid. To this day, my father will sit at the table and exclaim that my mother doesn't seem to know what a card is when she's his partner but it's a whole different story when she plays against him. She pays not a bit of attention to it. It's part of the fun of playing with them.

When I was growing up, we spent a good bit of time with my mom's mom during the summers. She was a big fan of Shanghai rum, which isn't all that different from Phase 10, really...it's just epically long and can be more complicated. She, my sister and I would spend hours playing that game. Precious hours.

After Steve and I were married but before kids, we would get together with his cousin, Scott, and his wife, Kerrie, to play Michigan rum about every other week it seems like. In my mind, the other weeks were spent at Birmingham Bulls' games. But, you know how memory is...surely we weren't really together that often, were we? Anyway, we would consume Oreos by the entire package and just have the best time. The sort of quiet night in kind of time that we never thought having kids would keep us from having. But, it did somehow.

My family and my mom's brother and sister-in-law would go to the beach almost annually there for a stretch. There would always be a night of charades playing and, after Trivial Pursuit was created, that. I can remember sitting in a bedroom with my uncle and sister, sequestered from the other team, making up charades. With a few drinks in him, my uncle found one of our makeup bags to be very much more interesting than coming up with things for the other team to act out. I can still see him trying to curl his eyelashes. There are many, many other things I remember from those charades games. Gloriously funny things that turned into numerous inside jokes with our family. "It's a palm tree!" "Mary Lou Retton!"

Not that long ago, the kids conned us into playing Disney Scene It with them. This may be the only game I'm not really gung ho on (and, listen, I love Clue which no one else in the world seems to enjoy but me). At one point, the kids had to do a tie breaker. When I saw it on the TV screen, I knew it was going to be comical. It said, "the first one to say what time it is, is the winner of the tiebreaker". Maury, God love him, tried the old Gracie Allen and screamed, "what time is it???" We would have given it to him if he had said, "What time it is" because we're literal like that. Lizzie, in the meantime, is staring at the clock on the mantle with her little brain smoking trying to read the time. (School really did fail us on this one.) After shouting out two wrong times, only one of which was correct if she had the second and minute hand backwards, we motioned to her to try the digital clock on the stove. We were crying we were laughing so hard.

Many more games...Parcheesi (makes me think of On Golden Pond, not just my family)...Tripoley (my parents even found a kids version recently)...Rack-O (my mother-in-law is a fan of this one and plays with the kids alot)...Mastermind (lots of versions, good brain food)...Canasta (Steve and his friends played this one like it was a blood sport)...Monopoly(which my mother calls Monotony and refuses to play)...many more fond memories.


Day Ten: Something I Made

Hipstamatic: John S lens, Blanko film
SwankoLab: Noir Fixer, SwankoDev A19, and Vinny's BL94

Above are my paper and digital scrapbooks, but I thought I would just share with you some things that came to mind as I thought about this challenge yesterday in prep for today's posting.

My list of things I've made (from the great to the mundane to the utterly ridiculous):

Two beautiful kids (Awwww....)

A pretty great marriage (OK, enough of that.)

My college and high school yearbooks (Yearbook was my life. I met my husband there so, well, you know...it's special.)

A big mess of stuff in my office, my bedroom, the end table on my side of the couch, and around my home computer (In other words, wherever I spend any amount of time.)

Three or four Sips n' Strokes paintings (It's like grown up paint-by-number.)

A collage or two (After The Artist's Way, I can't read a magazine without tearing it up.)

Several chapters in a novel (I don't know if I'll ever finish, but at least I started.)

Neural pathways that are wholly devoted to celebrity trivia (My husband only finds this useful when he was wondering where he has seen that actor playing the bad guy in this episode of CSI before. That isn't as often as I just go ahead and tell him that he knows that actor that is playing the bad guy in this episode of CSI.)

A spectacle of myself at the Black Eyed Peas concert (40+ somethings, when let out, really don't know how to act anymore. Well. Maybe it's just me.)


Day Nine: Faceless Self Portrait

Hipstamatic: Kaimal Mark II lens, Blanko film
SwankoLab: Jerry's Developer, Grizzle Fix, and Vinny's BL04

I run twice a week on a trail near my office. I love that trail. My goodness...how I love it! For a period during the spring and early summer, in fact, I stopped running and just enjoyed walking the trail. I was really able to see all of the things blooming, notice how many trees fell after each storm and watch for the wildlife like the heron and the owl that live there. I'm running again, but a little slower than I used to because I'm still trying to enjoy the sights. The above is a picture taken as I crossed the creek yesterday using concrete pilings they have for foot traffic.


Day Eight: Technology

Hipstamatic: Jimmy lens, Kodot XGrizzled film

I was always one to get a new car as soon as the car I was driving was paid off. But, that seemed very irresponsible when the minivan I was driving was paid in full three years ago. So, it was only after the second car was paid for and the minivan was becoming more and more unreliable that we got a new car a few weeks ago.

The biggest change for me has been the improvements in the sound system in the car. I have a relatively long commute and I use either my iPod or my iPhone (Pandora, iHeart Radio or just the iPod on it) during the entire drive. In the van, I had to plug them into a transmitter because the van wasn't equipped with an iPod jack. The sound quality was iffy at best and getting worse as time went on. The new car does have a jack for the iPod which charges it and hooks it up to the sound system so I can choose what I want using the knobs on the stereo instead of dialing the iPod dial. Even better, the iPhone bluetooth connects to the car. This is great not only for music, but also so that I don't miss phone calls anymore. I play my music pretty loud so I was all the time missing calls because I either never heard the phone or I heard it and couldn't get to it before it went to voice mail.

I know none of these things are on the cutting edge of technology, but good grief they are making me happy!


Day Seven: Something New

SwankoLab: Vinny's BL04, SwankoDev H1N, and Grizzle Fix

The 2011-2012 school year got off to a horrible start last Thursday because the above pictured 10 year old had "nothing to wear". Please note that in the above picture she is in a dressing room happy as can be with one of several new outfits I bought her on the hot Saturday before school started. (I put in there "hot" because the only thing I hate more than shopping is shopping in the heat of summer.) I was angry because she didn't find any of the new things she had gotten good enough and felt sure she had let me buy her things she never intended to wear (been there, done that...many times before). But, at the same time, I felt like I failed her by not making sure she had the perfect new outfit for the first day of fifth grade. I remember how important it was to be dressed just right the first day of school. I remember it very well. So, there were a lot of tears that morning...including some of mine.

Now, the 12 year old boy? We just pulled a pair of shorts and a shirt out of the closet, handed it to him and that was that. When I told a friend last week in response to the news that she was having a girl, "Girls rule and boys drool (but aren't nearly as difficult to dress)," it was this kind of experience that made me say it.


Day Six: Childhood Memory

Hipstamatic: Buckhorst H1 lens, Ina's 1969 film
Instagram: 1977 filter

This gray poodle was my favorite stuffed animal growing up...evidenced by the fact that I still have him. He has these really fluffy ears that I would brush until the individual strands separated and became more airy and soft. I would stick my nose into one of the ears and dose off at night, smelling the inside part of the ear which was leathery and had a smell I loved. All of the attention I gave to those ears made it necessary for them to be sewn back on several times by my mother and eventually by me when I was old enough to use the needle and thread. Worn by love and patched with love.

*Please don't miss what gave me great joy-picking a film and a filter that had years in them that were years of my childhood. I'm a real nerd like that.


Day Five: Someone I Love

Hipstamatic: Jimmy lens, Blanko film
SwankoLab: Jerry's Developer, Grizzle Fix, and Vinny's BL04
Instagram: Sutro filter

That man right there? He's the best. He's my partner in this crazy life we've made for ourselves. He gets me and I get him. (OK, well, maybe I don't get his Auburn board fascination, but he probably doesn't get my Twilight problem, either, so we'll call it even.)


Day Four: Favorite Color

Hipstamatic: John S lens, Blanko film
Instagram: Poprocket filter

My favorite color is red...much to the chagrin of my husband. This is an Auburn house and he sees no good reason for bringing red into it.

The above beauty is my beloved Beijo purse which my sister gave me. She knows and respects my love for red and she sells these purses, so if you want me to hook you up...I can. I promise they have one in YOUR favorite color.


Day Three: Clouds

Hipstamatic: John S lens, Blanko film
SwankoLab: Jerry's Developer, Vinny's BL04

One of my favorite movies is The Four Seasons, with Alan Alda and Carol Burnett. The movie is about four couples and their vacations together over the course of a year. Early in the movie, one man complains to another that his wife spent over a year photographing nothing but vegetables. She tells her women friends separately that he accused her of being constipated.

I don't know about vegetables, but I could photograph clouds every day for the rest of my life. Does that make me a stationary front?


Day Two: What I Wore

Hipstamatic: John S lens, Blanko film
Instagram: Brannan filter

I am always in a uniform of black and white and today is no different. These shoes always make me feel like I have a little extra spring in my step...kind of like Laura Petrie or Ann Marie.


Day One: Self Portrait

Hipstamatic: Jimmy Lens, Blanko Film
Instagram: Nashville filter

**I'm participating in a 30 Day Photo Challenge that my friend Mollie asked a bunch of us to participate in. I've seen these around Facebook and now seemed the right time. I recently found and fell in love with a few photo apps on my iPhone and wanted to do something with them and this is the ticket! Here's the list and here's Mollie's blog.