Sunday, September 30, 2012

September Summary - a month of photos

September was a jammed packed month. Mizzou football season began. Soccer games on Saturdays. The weather started cooling off. Fall is here! And the leaves are now starting to turn. It's my happiest time of the year. Good memories for September.

Here's a look back through photo a day... did it fly by fast for you too?

I wonder what October will bring? The photo a day prompts will be challenging, but that's also what makes it fun. Here's the list:

Some seem similar to recent prompts. Others are completely different. Emotion, weather, landscape, and shadow have already got me thinking. I look forward to sharing more of my life with you through pictures.

day 30. You, Then

Here I am as a child.

Remember when you couldn't wait to grow up? What the heck were we thinking?!?

Stay young for as long as you can.

day 29. Errand

I bought Eric Church concert tickets for myself and my sister a few months ago, and so today I had to run a very special errand... pick the tickets up at will call!  General Admission in the PIT!

We had to stand the whole time, but we were so close! I didn't mind it one bit. Kip Moore opened up the show and sang a few songs from his Up All Night CD. It's really good. I think he sounds a little like Bruce Springsteen, especially on the track "Hey Pretty Girl."

Next up was Justin Moore. I know a few of his songs. He asked everyone to shine their lighter or cell phone for "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away." The crowd also chanted USA, USA, USA, after he sang "Smalltown USA." Halfway through his set was my bathroom break because I wanted to be as close as possible for Eric Church.

Eric Church is a fantastic entertainer! WOW! He sang for a full 90 minutes... every song but one off of Chief, half of the songs from Carolina, and 3 or 4 from Sinners Like Me. He had pyrotechnics... a laser show... high energy... smoke... an acoustic set. Everything a concert should be. I loved every second of it. And I could tell he loved it too. He truly appreciates and loves his fans. 

All hail to the chief!

Friday, September 28, 2012

day 28. A Good Thing


It's a curious thing when all of those strange squiggly lines come together to create something beautiful. I love a good song that hits me right in the heart and makes me really feel. When the lyrics and music come together to fit the moment, nothing compares to that. 

Even though I love this quote, I have to disagree a little bit with Mr. Marley. I have felt pain with music. Music is like a time machine to me. It can transport me to another place and time. Songs have defined moments, relationships, and events in my life. And unfortunately, not all of those memories are pain free. 

Still, music can be very therapeutic. It can help me work through the pain and move on. When I can't find the right words to say, there is usually a good line from a song to help me out.

I couldn't imagine a world without music. I have music playing nearly all of the time. Think of Jaws without the "bah-dah bah-dah," or a silent ballet, the beginning of Star Wars without the orchestra, or the absence of the national anthem at a sporting event. How empty our lives would be.

Without music... the world would just be flat.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

day 27. Love / Hate

This photo a day topic was easy for me....and fun. As a Mizzou Tiger, I LOVE to HATE the kansas jayhawks!

Mizzou may not be in the same conference with kansas any longer, but that doesn't mean I can't still hate on the jayhawks. This is a rivalry that dates back to the Civil War, so I don't see it dying any time soon.

Let's enjoy a few jokes at their expense...

Q. How do you keep jayhawks out of your yard?
A. Put up a goal post.

A man walks into a store and says, "I would like a yellow hat, red pants, blue sweater, and white shoes." The clerk says, "Are you a Jayhawk fan?" "Yes," replies the man. "How did you guess? By the color combination?" "No," answers the clerk. "This is a hardware store."

Q. How do you get a jayhawk off your porch?
A. Pay him for the pizza.

A jayhawk, a Tiger, a Cornhusker, and a Longhorn are all climbing a mountain. They get to the top of the mountain and the Cornhusker says, "I do this for the University of Nebraska," and he jumps off the mountain. Then the Longhorn says, "I do this for the University of Texas," and he jumps off the mountain. Then the Mizzou fan says, "I do this for the world," and he pushes the jayhawk off the mountain.

Q. How many kU freshmen does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A. None. That's a sophomore class.

A Mizzou Grad and a kU grad are flying behind enemy lines when their plane gets shot down. They are captured by the enemy and are granted one last wish before their execution. The kU grad says, "I would like to hear Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, one last time." The Mizzou grad says "Shoot me first!!!"

And no, I do not capitalize kansas because it is neither a proper name nor a proper place.

M I Z!!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

day 26. Near

If the days won't allow us to see each other,
the memories will.

Even if our eyes never meet again,
my heart will never forget you.

You will always be near.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

day 25. Frame

door frame

I took this picture along the Katy Trail which is the old route of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas rail line (MKT or Katy for short). It's been more than two decades since the MKT trains ran along the route, but you can still experience the history. This is a picture of an explosive bunker along the trail. Further down the trail where we we took our ride in Rocheport, MO is an old depot, the tunnel, and an old train signal. Most of the trailheads have extensive historical information posted. The trail is over 230 miles of wonderful biking trails. Perfect activity for a nice fall day.

New Tunes Tuesday - No Doubt

The wait is over! Has it really been 11 years since their last album release... and 17 years since I overplayed "Don't Speak?" Where has the time gone?!

Well after listening to Push and Shove, it seems as if time has stood still because this album doesn't sound a day over 1995. But that doesn't mean it sounds dated either. No Doubt stays true to their roots and sounds with plenty of dance tracks and well executed ballads.

No matter how the tune misleads you at the start, like the title track "Push and Shove," it evolves into their signature sound. The first track, "Settle Down," is a classic No Doubt song. Don't get me started / I'm trying to get a hold on this / Get in line and settle down. It's a reggae influenced tune reminding us that after all this time they have not changed. Same goes for "Looking Hot," a dancehall pop tune that morphs into a reggae beat.

"One more summer / One more weekend / I'm your lover / You're my weakness," Stefani pleads in "One More Summer." It's a new wave track with a nostalgic feel and one of my favorites. "Easy" is a great 80's sounding ballad that sounds like it jumped right out of a John Hughes film. "Undone" is an emotional ballad and strong addition to the album. Don't leave me behind / This time I need you nothing's feeling right / 'Cause I'm in trouble help me / No one needs you more than me

There really isn't one track on this album that isn't hummable or danceable. Welcome back, No Doubt! This album was well worth the wait.

Monday, September 24, 2012

day 24. Three Things

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are 
Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Sunday, September 23, 2012

day 23. Before Bedtime


I thrive on routine. I must have routine. If I don't have a routine, I wouldn't get anything done. I don't plan out every hour of every day, but there are certain schedules that I must keep.

The morning routine, for instance, is very important in order to get everyone out the door on time.... including myself. After I wake up, I hit the snooze, lie there for 15 minutes, and then get up. It's part of the routine. I get my coffee, eat breakfast, then I shower. I put on my make-up (the same way every day) before I get dressed, then I fix my hair. It takes me a total of 55 minutes from "get up" to "fix my hair." I know how long I can snooze, enjoy my coffee, and stare at my closet trying to figure out what to wear.

But kids can throw a huge curve ball in routines you have established. I tried to get my babies on a schedule the moment I brought them home from the hospital. And to this day, they still like routine. They like to know what comes next in their lives. Before bedtime is no exception. They put on their pajamas, brush their teeth, read a book (sometimes I'm the one doing the reading), then lights out. It's a conditioned response. After the routine, they know it's time to rest.

So after the kids (and my dog) are in bed, I have too have a routine before bedtime. I clean the kitchen and then straighten up the living room. I don't like to go to bed with a mess on the floor. I put on my pajamas, wash my face, then brush and floss my teeth. I take out my contacts and put on my glasses. And the last thing I do before turning in is go get a glass of water that I keep by my bed.

Every. Single. Night.  That's my routine.

Do you have a bed time routine?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

day 22. Up

First day of fall. Gorgeous day! Not a cloud in the sky. Took little Skyler for a walk. Here she is going back up the stairs....she's still motoring around quite well for her old age of 14 years.

Wish I could say the Tigers were moving up in the ranks. We played a very tough South Carolina team today. Our defense held their own. Had a few shining moments. But the offense was severely lacking. The most impressive drive was in the fourth quarter when our second string quarterback, Corbin Berkstresser, was in the game. I don't claim to know a whole lot about football, but I do watch the game quite a bit. He looked a WHOLE lot more impressive than James Franklin. The play calling is different when Berkstresser is in the game. He could hang with the SEC. Not so sure about Franklin.

And that's my soapbox on that issue. We'll see how it goes.

Nevertheless.... the sun was bright and warm today. Beautiful fall day. 

Can we just hit pause on this weather?

Nutella Rolls

I don't normally blog about food. So when I decide to post about the food I've been eating, it's gotta be good, right?

You betcha.

Nutella could quite possibly be the best food ever invented.... hazelnut spread with skim milk and cocoa. Pure awesome sauce. We all love to spread it on toast in the morning. I have also been known to put a little in my coffee (oh yeah, that's really tasty).

I also love cinnamon rolls. I tried a short cut cinnamon roll not too long ago with crescent rolls. They turned out pretty tasty, but the filling was lacking substance. This morning I found the answer... Nutella!

These were so easy and taste so good. I bought the giant crescent rolls - it said "big and flaky" on the package. I'm sure you could use the smaller size also, but why not go large? Spread the Nutella in a thick layer on the roll and then roll it up. Bake them in the oven according to the package. Seriously, that's it! Incredibly easy.

I then drizzled a powdered sugar/milk/vanilla icing over the top. Don't ask me the measurements because I always just eyeball it until it looks and tastes right... just how Grandma taught me. I may use cream cheese instead of milk next time in the icing.

With a side of bacon and an egg.... that will get your day off to the right start.

Please pass the coffee.

Friday, September 21, 2012

day 21. Sometimes

Life is....
Sometimes speaking sometimes dumb
Sometimes sensitive sometimes numb
Sometimes shallow sometimes deep
Sometimes awake sometimes sleep
Sometimes wet sometimes dry
Sometimes laughing sometimes cry
Sometimes messy sometimes neat
Sometimes bitter sometimes sweet
Whatever life is...
Stand up straight, don't bend or bow
Live each day in the here and now

By Cheri Marks

Thursday, September 20, 2012

day 20. Man-Made

One of my favorite trails near Columbia is one of the shortest. The Devil's Icebox Trail at Rock Bridge State Park is a short half mile hike but has wonderful geologic features. The trail leads visitors over a 63 foot natural tunnel known as the Rock Bridge and a double sinkhole entrance to Devil's Icebox and Connor's Cave. The steep hills would be very difficult to hike if not for this man-made boardwalk.

 The next time I'm here... I'm going to count the stairs. Because there are a LOT of them.

And I'm so glad they are here. The man-made walkway protects what's not man-made so we can enjoy the trail for years to come.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

day 19. Underneath

The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
~Nelson Henderson

Planting a tree takes time and effort. Most people do not plant a tree with the intention of sitting under its shade immediately. Trees take years to grow before they will provide shade. In fact, most people won't be around to enjoy the shade of a tree they have planted. 

The true meaning of life is to do something positive, like planting a tree, but not to expect to gain anything from it. The reward is the knowledge that someday someone will be able to sit in its shade.

Have you planted a tree lately?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - The Avett Brothers

The Carpenter was actually released last week, but I reviewed Dave Matthews Band instead (it was a great music week). I have to admit I haven't listened to this band much. Then I began to hear great things about this album, so I decided to give it a listen. I'm very glad I did.

The songs weave together serious stories about life and death. The very spiritual "The Once and Future Carpenter" tells us If I live the life I'm given / I won't be scared to die. After hearing this, I'm left contemplating the choices I've made in my own life. "Live and Die" is an upbeat banjo tune (you can never have too much banjo) proclaiming we're all the same, eventually we all die. They also sing about death from heartache in "Winter In My Heart." The seasons change but he's stuck in perpetual winter and unable to move on. It must be winter in my heart / There’s nothing warm in there at all / I miss the summer and the spring / The floating yellow leaves of fall.

Other songs are deeply rooted and tug at your heartstrings. "A Fathers First Spring" is a sweet detail of fatherhood and how hard it is to be apart from his daughter. I haven't seen you in days / And my how that feeling has changed / Oh I have been homesick for you since we met / I have been homesick for you. If you've ever lost someone with so much left to say, you can't help but be affected by "Through My Prayers." It's a true "live in the moment" kind of song. Down in my mind where I don't care to go / The pain of a lesson is letting me know / If you have love in your heart let it show... while you can. 

It's not all seriousness on the album. There is plenty of balance with pop pleasures like the doo-wop "Pretty Girl From Michigan" and the bubble-gum harmonies of "I Never Knew You." "Geraldine" is also very catchy. The love songs keep the album light.

The Avett Brothers sit securely in the folk and country genre, but also access rock and pop with ease. The poetic lyrics shine with the catchy melodies and beautiful harmonies. The only thing lacking is that extra punch to surprise and grab the listener. Still a very solid album focusing on the joys and sorrows of life.

day 18. Price

From pumpkin ales to pumpkin lattes....

I'm just now enjoying my first pumpkin spice latte of the season. And I love these. Why haven't I had one before now? Well... every time I have gone to Starbucks, they have been OUT of pumpkin spice syrup! Seriously. They are in high demand around here apparently. So today's photo prompt inspired me to walk over to Lakota in the University Hospital. I paid my $3.86 (cheaper than Starbucks) and am now savoring my pumpkin spice latte.

Life is good. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

day 17. In Your Fridge

Today's photo a day prompt is "in your fridge." As I said a couple of days ago, my favorite time of year is fall. I love everything about fall... nature's color show, the warm days and cool nights, football and of course... Pumpkin Ale!

And as it turns out, I have some in my fridge...

If you like pumpkin pie and beer, then Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is one to try. You can really taste the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in every sip without it being overdone. The sweetness and maltiness of this beer is balanced very well. I have noticed there are quite a few pumpkin ales on the market today, and I haven't tried them all, but Schlafly Pumpkin Ale is my favorite of those I have tried. A friend of mine suggested a pumpkin ale tasting party. I'm really liking that idea more and more. I'll let you know if it happens.

I received a tip from one of my followers on Untappd when I "checked-in" to this beer. Untappd is a very cool app that allows you to socially share the beers you are enjoying, as well as where you are enjoying them, with your friends. The tip was to rim the glass with cinnamon and sugar. Fabulous tip! I highly recommend you give it a try. It offers a little extra sweetness. And download Untappd! Great app for discovering new beers to enjoy... and helpful tips.

Oh, and one final tip from me, pumpkin ales are better enjoyed at room temperature. Cold is the enemy of sweetness in a beer. The spices really blossom as a beer like this warms.

Cheers, everyone! Here's to fall and pumpkin ale in my glass!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

day 16. Strange

This morning I ran the Komen Mid-Missouri Race for the Cure 5K. This was the third year the race has been held in Columbia, and I have been there every year.

So what does this have to do with the photo a day prompt "strange?" Breast cancer unfortunately touches many lives, and as a result, there were some very passionate people there today. And a few in strange yet very festive costumes!

The race began at 8:30 am, so I arrived at around 8:10 am. The course began right outside Faurot Field. Funny thing... a few tailgaters from the night before were just leaving as I was getting there this morning. Yeah, it was a short night for me too.

I found my co-worker, Michael, who was also a timed runner. We chatted for a while at the starting line. He's much faster than me, so I let him go on ahead.... The course took us through campus and part of downtown. It was actually not a bad course at all. There was a fairly steep hill that I walked near the end, but other than that I did pretty well. The finish line was on Faurot Field. I gave Truman a high five when I crossed. My iPod said my time was 32.35. The official results were not made available yet at the time of this post.

finish line
It was a great day to honor our friends and remember those no longer with us. I ran in honor of my friend and co-worker, Alison, and in memory of my long-time hairdresser, Laura, who died last December. Running today was an extremely small sacrifice considering what these ladies went through. I was proud to be a part of it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

day 15. First Thing You See

I took this photo prompt literally and thought about what I usually see first thing in the morning. As I have written before, I have really terrible eyesight. I have worn corrective lenses since I was about nine years old. I prefer to wear contacts during the day, but first thing in the morning... I'm hunting for my glasses. I don't see much of anything until they go on my face. 

So this is what I see in the morning... my bedroom windows coming into focus as I'm putting on my glasses.

What's the first thing you see?

Friday, September 14, 2012

day 14. Favorite

Cool, crisp weather...
     Falling leaves...
          Sweaters and boots...

Harvest moon...
     Corn maze...
          Brown, yellow, and orange...

     Hot Cocoa...
          Pumpkin Spice...


Autumn is my favorite time of year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

day 13. Table

Bring the dog and Frisbee.
Our lunch is in a box.
Pack the car, it's not that far,
Kick off your shoes and socks.

We'll watch the clouds roll by
And stay until it's dark.
It's a perfect day, wouldn't you say?
for a picnic in the park.

by Cheri Marks

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

day 12. Together

There are three things in this life in which I love to indulge...
  1. Chocolate
  2. Coffee
  3. Beer
So when I find it all rolled into one? You know... together? My friends, that's cause for celebration! Behold, Founder's Breakfast Stout!

First, I must say you have to love coffee to love this beer.... and if you've been reading for a while, you know that I do! You can smell the aroma immediately upon opening the bottle. It's brewed with Sumatra and Kona coffee and imported bitter chocolate. The addition of oatmeal gives it a smooth and velvety mouthfeel. It is simply exceptional. But do NOT drink it right out of the fridge. For maximum enjoyment, let it warm up to cellar temperature. Just trust me on this one.

So to sum it all up... coffee up front and on the finish, just the right amount of bitter, and velvety smooth.

If we ever have an early football game this year and it's a breakfast-style tailgate, I am totally bringing this beer!

Happy Birthday, Truman!

Happy birthday to the best looking Tiger in all college sports! 

We love your tail-spins, your push-ups with the ROTC after Tiger scores, and your black and gold fire truck (otherwise known as Truman's Taxi). 

Named after U. S. President and Missouri-native Harry S. Truman, he's been voted the best mascot in the nation several times. 

So why not show your support today... on his BIRTHDAY... by voting for Truman the Tiger in the Capital One Mascot Challenge? Help him move on to the next round! 


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Tunes Tuesday - Dave Matthews Band

I find that I am very productive during the day when listening to Dave Matthews Band. There is something soothing yet energizing about his music for me. I give him a listen while cleaning around the house, cooking in the kitchen, or balancing spreadsheets at work (which was what I was doing today).

So I declared today a Dave Matthews Band day.

Lucky for me their new album, Away From The World, was released today. Satisfied after the first listen, I went back to some of my favorites for a more in-depth review. First, I should let you know that Crash is my favorite DMB album just to give you some context.

The first of my favorite tracks is "Mercy" which sounds a lot like 90's DMB to me. This is also his first single from the album. Singing mercy will we overcome this / Oh one by one could we turn it around / Maybe carry on just a little bit longer / And I try to give you what you need. I was as equally entertained with his want-you-back-bad song "If Only." If only I could love you / just the way I want to / oh, to have you back again. I am also loving the backyard jam "Rooftop." The chorus is so unexpectedly cool.

The song I have voted "most likely to succeed in a live concert jam" is "Snow Outside." It's just begging to be added to the set list. Having never been to a DMB concert (I know, right?), I would love to hear this one live. It is over six minutes of musical candy to your ears.  An extended version would be that much sweeter.

The album zigs and zags around shifting tempos, acoustic dips and swelling peaks. I think fans of DMB will be very pleased with this masterpiece. There's not a dud track to be found.

Thank you, DMB, for another productive day.

day 11. Hero

The heroes in my life were my teachers. I was fortunate enough to have wonderful teachers that left a lasting impression on me. I specifically remember my 6th grade teacher for helping me believe I could be anything I wanted to be, and also my high school science teacher for encouraging my love for science.

Today is also Patriot Day. Perfect topic for September 11. It's a day to remember those killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when it happened. I was coming back from a meeting and the office was frantically talking about the plane crashes. We were glued to the internet all day long.

I wonder how the events of that day will be retold years from now. My son was only 5 months old at the time and my daughter wasn't even born yet. It's up to me as a parent to make sure they understand the timeline and what 9-11 means to our country. But the education doesn't stop with just the events of the day. This is also an opportunity to teach tolerance, freedom, patriotism, and respect.

But the most important lesson to learn is that life is short. There are no guarantees about tomorrow. Make each moment count because they are certainly numbered.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weep No More

Clear those aching thoughts
and weep no more, my sweetheart.
A new day begins.

day 10. Black and White

I adore black and white photography. Ansel Adams is one of my favorite photographers. So with this topic, I couldn't post only one photo.

I love the brilliant colors in flowers, but sometimes they are just as striking with their color removed.

hint of lavender

actual color is bright pink

this flower is actually red

I had a lot of fun experimenting with this topic. I found it very difficult to visualize a subject with the color removed. Lighting and texture were very important. I changed my camera setting to black and white so I could instantly see what it would look like. Isn't digital photography great? And once again, all of these photos were taken with my phone using an app called Camera 360. Amazing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

day 9. Something You Do Most Weekends

I have LOADS of fun on the weekends...

But like I say to my kids: word hard, play hard. I also like to kick a few back on the weekends after the work is done. I try to "eat the frog first" and then get on with my day. 

Eat the frog first. Ever heard that phrase before? I hadn't until I read the blog post by Fat Mum Slim. It's a list of 7 tips on finding balance in your life. I highly recommend you read her post even if you think you are the most balanced person on the planet. It's really great advice.

Speaking of balance... I believe I've earned some play time.


day 8. At Night

Faurot Field At Night

It was our SEC debut against the Georgia Bulldogs. Memorial Stadium was sold out with 71,004 fans in attendance. The atmosphere was electrified. The moment Mizzou fans had been waiting for since the announcement in November had finally arrived. Columbia was swarming with fans dressed in red. It was reminiscent of when Nebraska would come to town - just swap the N for a large G. I spoke with some tailgating Georgia fans prior to the game. The general consensus was "you guys will fit right in the SEC." I was really happy to hear this.

And I really wish I could say we won the game.

The points didn't come on the board until the second quarter. We were playing right with the number 7 team in the nation stride for stride. The stats were nearly identical. Scores were traded back and forth in the second quarter, and Mizzou was up 10-9 at the half. I had high hopes that the Tigers would come out with a win.

Early in the third quarter, Washington caught a beautiful 69-yard TD pass. The crowd went wild. But, the Bulldogs had an answer. With a score of their own and a two-point conversion, it was tied 17-17. We were back on the board with a field goal near the end of the third to bring the score to 20-17 Mizzou.

It was all Georgia after that. With some questionable play calls and mistakes by the Tigers, the fourth quarter belonged to the Bulldogs. Final score was 41-20.  

If you just look at the final score, it implies a domination by the Bulldogs, but that wasn't the case. We pushed them. We put up a good fight... for the first three quarters. We flirted with an upset, but in the end Missouri beat Missouri. Now that we have our SEC debut butterflies out, we can concentrate on getting better. Keep fighting, Tigers!

Friday, September 7, 2012

day 7. Natural

I love this topic. I have a Geology degree, so naturally (pun intended) I thought of the natural sciences when I read it. So, I headed out to Rock Bridge Memorial State Park to take some photos for today!

Natural Rock Bridge

around the park

natural beauty

In this hurried up world in an age of technology, I have to make a conscious effort to slow down... live in the moment. Enjoy life. See the beauty of nature that surrounds me. Not just look at it... really see it. Think about how it makes me feel and marvel in the wonder of it all. 

I really try hard to spend a few moments each day in complete silence. I'll admit it is difficult in my busy life, and those opportunities don't come around very often. So, when I went to the park to take these photos, I was thrilled - ecstatic! - to realize I was utterly and completely alone. I could hear the wind whistling through the trees and the squirrels scurrying about. My footsteps seemed really loud at times, and I almost felt like I was intruding. But it was so... peaceful. 

A real gift.

I hope these photos can transport you to my nature hike and encourage you to find some peace in your own life. You won't regret it.


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