Thursday, January 31, 2013

January Photo a Day Summary

January is done. I have now completed seven full months of the photo a day challenge.

Ah. Ma. Zing!  Here's how it went...

I must say I have a lot of favorites in here. New... water... shadow... what I saw... landscape... down! I love this challenge. I always have my phone with me, so therefore I always have a camera! But now I start looking for things that I wouldn't normally photograph. I love having the daily prompt to encourage me to see the world in a whole new way. Want to join along? Here's the list for February....

This month I'm going to challenge myself a little further. The idea I have is to have something red or pink in every photo for February. I hope I can make it all the way through the month. Won't the collage look cool when EVERY photo has a pink or red tone in it?

Stay tuned....

Day 31. Yourself

How do you see yourself?

Many profess not to care what others think of them, but we are, in the end, human. We want and need to fit into a social universe. We want others to like us. We need to be around other people. We must fit in to some sort of social circle. But what it all comes down to is this... your ideas about what others think of you depends on your own self-concept.

Ah... really? 

Really. So are you critical of yourself or are you striving to improve? Do you see yourself as worthy or worthless? How's your relationship with yourself? You must first learn to love yourself before you can truly love anyone else.

So how do you view you?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Day 30. Down

Probably one of my favorite photos that I've taken. Lines, perspective, coloring... I love everything about it.

I hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Randy Houser

Randy has a message for city folks raised on "asphalt farms:" "Let your hair down, hair down / Getcha some this laid-on back / Kick your shoes off, kick 'em off / Getcha some of this slow down fast / I'll take you up and down these hollers and hills / Let me show you how country feels." It's easy to see how this song has reached #1 on the country charts. And that's just the beginning. There are plenty of potential hits on How Country Feels. Every song Randy sings brings you to that place of how country feels.

The album blends contemporary "ready-for-radio" country with stunning rockers. I love the intro and feel to "Growing Younger." Definitely a favorite track! You'll tap along to "Absolutely Nothing" which is a conversational song about... you guessed it; though the chorus is bound to get stuck in your head. And his next single, "Runnin' Outta Moonlight," might be my favorite on the album. "Come on baby let me take you on a night ride / Windows down, sittin' on my side / Tick tock now were knocking on midnight / Me and you girl runnin' outta moonlight."

Randy's soulful and powerful voice really shines through on the ballads. "The Singer" is the cautionary tale of a woman who falls in love with the idea of being married to a singer, not the lifestyle. "Power of a Song" describes the emotional connections and memory hooks (oh, those memories...) that all songs, good or bad, have on us. "Along for the Ride" was co-written by Zac Brown and Levi Lowrey. A bluesy song about letting life happen with no worries.

It's a packed album in which he co-wrote seven of the fifteen songs. I highly recommend it for any fan of country music. It combines a down-home southern heart with a powerful rock element. It's a solid album with no hiccups and a few moments that will take your breath away.

Day 29. Grow

Since it is the middle of winter here with not much growing going on... and honestly, I have a black thumb. The only thing I am really good at growing are children. So, my daughter is today's subject for my Photo a Day.

And boy, do kids ever grow quickly... just last week, I was bringing her home from the hospital. Three days ago she started walking... and just yesterday, she started Kindergarten!

Not really. But it sure seems that quick. And before I know it, she'll be having children of her own.

At times you wish time would hurry up... but most of the time, yes... most of the time... I am trying to make it slow down. Because it seems to speed up the older I become. I have to keep reminding myself to stop, enjoy the moment, and appreciate this time before it becomes a memory.

Take more pictures.
Cuddle more.
Tell stories.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day 27. Sun

The sunshine shining down on me
through the branches of this tree.
Your warming glow casts shadows below
on the ground and all around me.

The sunshine shining in the sky so blue
makes me smile as I think of you.
Your warm embrace, your glowing face,
you brighten each day anew.

The sunshine hides behind clouds today,
No more shadows, the skies are gray.
But you're still with me even though I can't see
Have faith in the unseen, I pray.

By Cheri Marks

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Day 26. Together

Salt and Pepper. Always together. Always.

Did you know it is proper dining etiquette to pass them together even if the request is only for one? These two are essentially married to each other and should always be passed together. 

Additionally, you may want to taste your food first before asking for the salt or pepper. The chef could feel insulted that you assumed the dish wasn't seasoned to perfection. Honestly, this bothers me quite a bit. Please taste my dish before you reach for the spices. 

And here's a tip... keep this in mind during a business luncheon or interview as well. If you taste your meal before seasoning, this act gives a person insight into your decision making. You appear to gather information before making a final decision. Never assume.

So, please don't orphan your shakers. Pass them together!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 25. Landscape

We all have that place, that iconic spot, that landmark in our lives that when we see this place it transports us back in time. When you see it, you are there again. Reliving every moment, every memory, every sound, smell and sight experienced at that place.

Today I went back to one of those places from my college days. A well known spot in Columbia that is simply known as The Big Tree. That's right, folks. I spent my lunch hour at McBaine.

All roads lead to...

As soon as arrived I remembered late nights, laughter and beer. Lots and lots of beer. This tree holds so many memories for so many people.

It's majestic, isn't it? The might Bur Oak is over 350 years old. Think of all of the memories this tree has! All of the history surrounding this tree. It is truly an area treasure.

This tree is also near a trail head to the Katy Trail - another historic landmark of this area.This is the Perche Creek bridge on the trail.

I really enjoyed my walk down memory lane. I will be back.

More Photo a Day Catch Up

I have been crazy, insanely BUSY! Just got back from an overnight trip to Washington, DC. So it's time for another photo a day catch up...

January 23. "Electric" - the first thing that came to mind (besides all of my electronic equipment) was this guitar. And The Electric Company. I could have posted a picture of Morgan Freeman, but I went for this...

January 24. "Stripes" - my Mizzou scarf with black and gold stripes. What else?

And a bonus photo for you... I went looking for that crappy coffee maker in my hotel room and found THIS!

That was a nice surprise! It makes total sense though, doesn't it? All hotels should move to the pod machines for coffee. Less mess and much easier. I never make a comment to the hotel staff, but I did on this. Well done!!

I think my life will get back to the normal routine for a while. I shall enjoy it while it lasts.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Day 22. Corner

Here is the corner of my desk.... which is in a corner... and behind that is the corner of a window in my office.

I actually have 10 corners in my office (I counted them) because of this... pillar? I guess that's what you would call it. It sticks out of the wall. I'm sure behind the wall is a duct or brace or something very important to the integrity of the building; however, it is a PAIN to maneuver around! Because of it, my desk can only face one direction (into a corner, incidentally). My back is always to the door. But here is the best part.... three windows! That's right. Plenty of natural light in here. If I have to sacrifice a pillar in my office for light... let there be light.

And that dictionary is a total relic! Who looks at a book dictionary any longer?!? But on my desk it shall remain. The copyright is 1968. Wow...

Monday, January 21, 2013

Day 21. What You Do

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

It's a question we hear throughout childhood, and at times, it extends into adulthood. Where are you going? What do you want to do? How will you make a living? You go to school. You earn your degree. And then you are on your own. I never really understood the significance of that progression until I became a parent. I love my children, but one day, I want them to leave home! That's one of the main responsibilities as a parent, isn't it? We are to raise responsible adults who will one day contribute to society.

And that's an important point to note when raising your kids. They may be the nicest, kindest, smartest people you'll ever meet. And those are all commendable and wonderful traits to have. But they are not skills. You must have a skill.

I decided to attend college after high school and went to the University of Missouri. My original intent was to become a Meteorologist. I wanted to be on television and report the weather. After learning that the Atmospheric Science degree required a LOT of math, I decided I would teach about the weather instead. Earth Science Education was major number 2, but I changed my mind again when I didn't agree with the curriculum and didn't feel comfortable after my aiding experience. But I needed to graduate and fast! I had changed my major my senior year and the loans were adding up. The Earth Science Education degree required many courses in Geology, so that was the next logical choice. I earned a Bachelor's of Arts in Geology.

What do I do now? Not Geology! I'm a Financial Aid Coordinator at the School of Medicine. You know, there isn't a major or a degree for financial aid. This is a profession that you just kind of fall into. It does require certain skills however. You must be detail oriented, able to interpret rules and regulations, problem-solver, critical thinker, and work well with others. I learned all of these skills in college but not just in the classroom. I learned them through the college experience. I obtained and fine-tuned these skills through my activities and offices held in my sorority, through the part-time jobs I had, and by living with a diverse group of people. It was the whole college experience that prepared me for adulthood.

I think instead of asking "what do you want to be," the proper question to ask is "what skills do you want to have?" Because the skills you learn are usually far more important than the degree you earn. I'm living proof of that.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, 
but I think I have ended up where I needed to be." - Douglas Adams

Mirror Pond Pale Ale

Yesterday was what I consider to be the best football day for the NFL. Championship Sunday - the best teams in the country fighting for a spot in the Super Bowl. That, my dear friends, is cause for a beer. But if I'm being totally honest, what occasion doesn't call for a beer?

I headed to the beer fridge to make my selection. Tough decision.....

It's been a while since I've reviewed a beer here, so I'm thinking now would be a good day to do so again. Let's talk about Deschutes Mirror Pond Ale. Deschutes is located in Bend, Oregon and just came to Missouri this past year. They are expanding further east which should make any beer drinker very happy. I had heard a lot of good things about them and was eager to try their flagship beer, Mirror Pond. When you consider the different types of beer, I am a big fan of the "Ales," especially the American Pale Ales. They usually have medium maltiness, higher hop bitterness, and a medium flavor/aroma from the hops.

Mirror Pond is brewed with Cascade hops, which is popular for that region. It has a piney citrus aroma. The malts make it sweet but not overly so. It's nicely balanced like a good APA should be. You get a little hop bite at first sip, and then there is a malt backbone that lingers. It's hop forward and drinks almost like an IPA. I have had this beer several times, and it never disappoints.

The pale ales from the Northwest have a distinct flavor, in my opinion, based on the hops and malts from that region. If you like Boulevard Pale Ale, Green Flash West Coast IPA, or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, then you'll love Mirror Pond Pale Ale.


Day 20. Something You Saw

I saw the sunrise....

I saw the sunset....

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Photo a Day Catch Up

I was in Phoenix, Arizona this week on a business trip and extremely busy! And it's not easy to blog on my tablet. In fact, I found out it was darn near impossible.... So this post is full of catch-up moments with Photo a Day.

January 16. Two Things - grilled cheese and tomato soup - favorite lunch evah! We ate at Del Frisco's Grill which was right next door to my hotel. It was fabulous! I ate there more than once.

January 17. Ready - at the end of the long day... I was READY for dinner and this yummy Dogfish Head IPA. First time trying their beer. It was DEELISH!

January 18. Shadow - I literally did not have time to snap a photo today. It was non-stop all day long, so this is a filler shot of the Old Barn and a pretty darn cool shadow.

January 19. Delicious - I found a nice Deli at the Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix. I had a veggie sandwich, which was surprisingly very good, and this delicious chocolate chip cookie. I remembered to take a photo of it before it was all gone.

Now I'm happy to be home with two days to relax before back to work on Tuesday!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Day 15. Ordinary Moment

I have to be honest. I wasn't really excited about today's photo prompt. Ordinary? Who wants to be ordinary? I sure don't.

Then I started thinking of all of life's "ordinary" moments. There are a lot of them. Could I capture these moments to make them more interesting? Sounds like a good photography challenge. So today, I give you "A Day in the Life of Me." The challenge I gave myself was to spot photo opportunities, discover new angles, and find beauty in the ordinary moments of life. I set a rule. I told myself I would take a photo every 2 to 3 hours to document my day.

One thing I should note, today isn't a typical day for me. I am traveling on a business trip, so some of these ordinary moments aren't every day moments (but that's what makes it fun, right?). OK, here's how it went....

6:45 A.M. Breakfast - coffee is a given, but today I had a little extra time and made an egg sandwich. Yummy.

8:45 A.M. Dropped off my daughter at school. Don't always get to do this, so this was a special moment for us this morning.

10:35 A.M. Checked the weather for Phoenix (upper 60's! Nice!) and packed my suitcase.

12:15 P.M. Took the dog for a walk (she was not impressed), and then I left for the airport.

2:45 P.M. Arrived at the airport. And waited....

4:45ish In flight I went over my presentations and read my book "And She Was." It's going to be a good one.

6:45 P.M. Checked into my hotel and relaxed a bit before meeting my friends for dinner.

And that's where the picture taking stopped. I got really wrapped up in conversation with my friends whom I don't see but maybe once a year.... But I was happy to be living in those moments and not distracted. 

I found that documenting your life for a day is kind of difficult! I will definitely give it a go on another day when I'm not traveling. And today's a brand new day full of wonderful moments in lovely Arizona. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Florida Georgia Line

There's a new country duo in town... Florida Georgia Line. The first release, "Cruise," off their album hit #1 on the charts recently. It was the perfect debut song because it truly represents their whole sound. So if you love that song, give "Here's To The Good Times" a listen, which is exactly what you'll get when you do.

Their other release is "Get Your Shine On." Heavy on the twang and banjo, this song will get stuck in your head like any catchy song will do. Best line on the album right here: Slide that little sugar shaker over here and get your shine on. And one party song just rolls right into another. The title track "Here's To The Good Times" will have you swaying and toasting to your friends while sitting on your dropped tailgate. 

The party keeps on going with "Tip It Back." Nothing subtle here. It's a catchy song about relaxing and having a drink. If you had a long day or a long week / grab a longneck if you’re with me / C’mon, now, holler hell yeah ’cause tonight we’re here to party / And don’t worry about anything except what’s in your glass / Whether it’s a cold beer, tequila or a double shot of Jack / Yeah all you need to do tonight is tip it back. Oh yeah. This is definitely my favorite song on the album. It's going on the summer playlist for sure!

In fact, the whole album belongs there. If it had been released in May, it probably would have flown off the shelves. It's a perfect summer album. A December release right before Christmas was kinda odd, but it did coincide with their number 1 song. I could see them releasing another song this spring to revitalize the album. My call is "It'z Just What We Do." Now it's late night underneath the moonlight / Everybody's feelin' right / sippin' on a bud light... / it's our backwoods, boondocks brew / it's just what we do. Sounds good to me.

Until that time... keep Florida Georgia Line in mind as your building your playlists for your beach trips and lake getaways. Here's to the good times!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14. Something Yellow

Raise your hand if you know this song!

Bananas unite (place arms over head) 
Bananas split (open arms and place at sides) 
Peel banana, peel, peel banana (move to left) 
Peel banana, peel, peel banana (move to the right) 
Bananas to the left (circle arms to the left) 
Bananas to the right (circle arms to the right) 
Peel it down the middle and (UH!) take a bite (grab and pull from out in front of you)
Go bananas, go, go bananas (do a sort of dance in a small circle, look like a fool)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Old Barn


It was SO cold today. But I went out and took some pictures today anyway. I'm glad I did...

I found this old barn among some trees that looks great in black and white. Click on the photos to enlarge them.

Just a touch of color on this one....

Love the shadows here...

And check out this treatment! Looks like a photo from my Grandma's basement.

Yep, really glad I went out and took pictures today.

Day 13. Circle

I had some fun with glass pebbles and a vase today...

I can see endless possibilities with these. I'm sure you will see them again...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Day 12. Surprise

Wake up! Time to feed me! You can't sleep in on a Saturday... I won't let you.

And how could you resist that face??? 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 11. Water

I'm so over winter right now.

After the holidays are finished, I start thinking about spring. I want green grass, more sunlight, and warmer temperatures. Winter makes me want to hibernate and be lazy. I don't like to be lazy.

So I dug in the archives for the photo of the day today.

Droplets on a Rose

Hurry up, Spring!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Day 10. One O'clock

Totally missed it...

I'm working against a deadline at work, and totally forgot to take a photo at 1:00.

Sometimes I just wish I had more time. More time to perfect my slides, understand my data, and polish my presentation. I need more time.

I admit. I procrastinated and am now rushing at the last minute (I'm presenting on Wednesday next week). When I have a deadline, I will fill the time. I will find other things more interesting to do to put off the things that are less desirable... So do I need more time or fewer excuses?

However, there is one clock in my home that gives me all the time I need. It would literally eat batteries so I just removed them. This clock is always set to "wine o'clock" which is my kinda time.

Now I just need more wine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Day 9. Paper

An expensive piece of paper... However, I think Ben Franklin said it best:

"If a man empties his purse into his head, no one can take it from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the highest return."


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Tunes Tuesday - Running Playlist

It's that time of year where people are hitting the gym more often to fulfill those new year resolutions. And I'm among them. One of my goals this year is to improve my 5K time. So for me, that means it's time for a new playlist.

Do you run to music? I certainly do. It's the best motivational tool for me. When I think I just can't go any further, that pump-up song comes on and I get my second-wind. It's also a great distraction from fatigue. When the song matches perfectly to my pace and my feet are keeping time to the music, I feel like I'm not even exercising. Really!

But there is some work involved in finding that mathematically perfect playlist. First analyze your music by tapping and counting to find the beats per minute, or BPM. Then organize a few playlists and do a test run to see which list best matches your pace. I've done a LOT of the work here for you, and the result is the Spotify playlist that I am sharing with you today. 

You're welcome. 

My playlist is a good mix of different genres lasting for about an hour. I switch up the pace between 160 - 170 BPM, which is the pace that I prefer. Experts say the perfect pace is somewhere between 170 - 190 BPM, but your stride may vary. If this list is too slow for you, try increasing your incline on the treadmill.

Some of the songs on my list are half-time (2 steps per beat) like Wide Awake (80 BPM) and She's Country (86 BPM). I love running to these songs because it feels like I am gliding along.Other songs are right on the beat and keep you moving like Runnin' Down A Dream (170 BPM) or Hey Ya! (160 BPM). These songs will get you in a rhythm so that a single footfall strikes on each beat. And one more tip... I set the audio crossfade on my iPod Shuffle to "on" so the playlist is a continuous mix with one song fading into the next.

So grab your shoes and the songs you want or subscribe to the list on Spotify. Whether you fly away or breakaway, just lose yourself in the music 'till you collapse and start runnin' down a dream. Hey ya!

Day 8. Something Beginning with "T"

The first thing that came to mind...

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 7. Street

The historic avenue of the columns on the University of Missouri campus.


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