Friday, July 31, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 3 - the retrieved photos

Having successfully retrieved my photos from my re-formatted SD card, I have these to add to my Scavenger Hunt finds:

# 5 Architectural Columns

Taken from the underside of the 14th Street fishing pier.  I've shot this before, but always facing the ocean. From a strictly composition perspective, it is a lot more interesting facing toward town.

#9 A tent:
 The tents where the umbrellas for beach rental are stored. And the big locked box to the left is where the beach chairs are stored.

Bring your own shade...

#17 Matching Uniforms:
It is always nice to see that our beach tag fees are being put to good use! Not sure if these are paid employees or folks doing community service.  Either way, I love how clean Ocean City beaches are.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Fish Tale

Public Service Announcement:  I reformat my SD card every time I download photos to my computer. After our trip to Ocean City, I accidentally did the reformat before I had downloaded the photos. I was so angry with myself. All those precious photos gone! Today I decided to google it to see if there was any way to retrieve them - a $39.95 software download from a company called Card Recovery and a few quick steps later - all those precious photos are back!  Just in case any of you ever accidentally reformat your SD card...

And now, on to my Fish Tale...

On the first morning at Ocean City, Deanna and I were up and out the door by 6:30 a.m., expensive cameras in hand (my Canon 60D, her Nikon), to walk the beach and take photos.  We didn't make it far when a woman called out that if we wanted a good photo opp there was a stingray stranded by the jetty.

First you have to understand that Deanna will tell you she likes animals more than people.  And she's a nurse, so she has a lot of sympathy for injured creatures.  And she's a scuba diver - she has been swimming with sharks and stingrays before. So she was a bit incensed that this woman was suggesting that a stranded fish was a good photo opp.

We walked over to the jetty where 3 or 4 people were milling around getting photos of the stingray and chasing it into even further shallows than it was already in. Nobody was making any attempt to save the poor thing.  We could immediately see that it had been scraped up quite a bit from being buffeted against the rocks. And it had no way to get back to the ocean as the tide had gone out, leaving bits of sand bars where there wasn't enough water for it to get over.

Deanna suggested we start from the other direction and walk behind it to force it back toward the ocean. So Deanna and I started shuffling through shin deep water and the stingray started moving back in the proper direction. Until we hit the first sand bar and the stingray wanted to turn around. The only way to keep it moving in the right direction was to literally push its fins over the sand bar. Deanna was holding the tail so it wouldn't sting.

This was at about the half-way point of the jetty and the first area where the water was too shallow to allow forward movement.  After the first few pushes, pink shirt lady jumped in to help (up til then she had just been taking photos).

I was juggling two expensive cameras and carrying my flip flops and Deanna's shoes, so I stepped back for a minute to get these shots.

 It was at this point that older guy on a bike stops by and says "Are you herding a stingray?"  Well yes, if we don't get it out of these shallows it will die.  And someone behind us says "Aren't you worried about getting stung?"  Um YES, but that is why every time we have to touch it Deanna is holding the tail!

And then bike guy wants to know aren't we worried about the cameras?  Well yes.  But we still want to help this poor creature. You know, priorities.  Once we got past this jutting out rock, pink shirt and bike guy stepped back and Deanna and I continued to herd and lift.  See how far up the next group of sticking out rocks is???

Well, it was when we finally got the sting ray that far that the water was deep enough for it to swim around the end of the jetty and out into the open ocean.  It took awhile before the poor thing was able to swim past the breaking waves. I imagine it was exhausted from being chased around the shallows of the jetty by camera wielding humans.  (I think the blobs in the foreground of several of these photos are my flip flops... too much stuff in my hands!!)

So that is how we began an amazing day at the shore. I actually touched a wild stingray! More than once!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 2

I had a really wonderful visit with my sister Deanna July 20-24.  I flew her out here to celebrate her 50th birthday (which was in June but we had to work around her work and kid schedules).  The only thing she asked for was to see the ocean. You don't get much of that living in Tennesee. Needless to say, I was happy to oblige! And Ocean City was a wonderful spot for Scavenger Hunt photos!

We arrived and checked into our bed and breakfast around 3:00 in the afternoon on the 21st.  With only 45 hours for our total visit, we wanted to fit everything in!  As soon as the rain cleared, we headed up to the boardwalk and visited the shops. Stopping in my favorite shop, the first thing we noticed was:

#7 - a turtle:

Then this one:

And these:

And I thought finding a turtle was going to be hard!

We had dinner at Manco and Manco - the best pizza anywhere! And dessert at Kohr Bros - frozen custard - orange and vanilla twist (think the flavor of the creamsicles you used to get from the ice cream truck as a kid!).  Then we walked down to Wonderland Pier which is one of the small amusement parks on the boardwalk. On the way there we found:

#17 - matching uniforms - a string band from Philadelphia. And by the uniforms, I would guess they are part of the Mummers Parade.

Our first stop at Wonderland Pier was # 19 - a ticket booth:

Across from the ticket booth is #13 - a carousel:

But we didn't go on the carousel. We bought tickets for the ferris wheel ($6 each, sheesh!) just so I could get this photo:
#16 a panoramic view from high up
This is a view of the town (island) of Ocean City NJ, facing toward the bay.  You can see the bridge that you cross to come into Ocean City.  The large building to the far right of the photo is the high school grounds. Yes, kids apparently live here year round!  It was just before sunset when we took our ride and the sky was gorgeous.

And facing to the other side of the ferris wheel is a view of the boardwalk and the Atlantic Ocean. Also qualifies for #20 - a natural body of water... a very big one!

On our second day, we got up early and walked the beach.  A stingray had gotten stranded on the beach side of a rock jetty when the tide went out and we helped guide it (pushing its wings over the sand bars in the shallows) back out to the ocean.  I had a few really good photos of our rescue, along with shots of architectural columns under the 14th St. fishing pier and a tent on the beach (and waves, and pink toes, and the sunrise).  But when I got home... I accidentally formatted my SD card before downloading my pictures. UGH!!!  At least most of my Scavenger Hunt shots were cell phone shots and not deleted.

Up on the boardwalk again, we captured Alternative B - someone holding an umbrella:

Truthfully, this was two artists setting up to paint and the umbrellas would eventually be fixed on a pole to shade their work.  I was lucky to catch the lady in the white shirt while she had the umbrella in her hands!

Later in the day, we went shopping in town and stumbled upon this:
#15 - a flag pole with at least 3 flags:

I have Deanna to thank for noticing this. We were on our way to lunch, came to an intersection, and I said "we need to turn left here."  Her response was "We can't" and she physically turned me around to see this.  I could have walked one end of Ocean City to the other and never seen this particular house!

I consider this the find of the trip as I never thought I'd find this one!

We capped off this trip with massages and movies - saw Magic Mike XXL.  Channing Tatum makes for very nice eye candy!

Our family vacation to Ocean City is in mid-August and I hope to capture some of the photos I lost then.  Unfortunately, our sting ray rescue mission has been relegated to a sweet memory with no proof.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Scavenger Hunt 1

Between illness and travel, I haven't been around much.  But I'm finally feeling better, catching up with my life, and I have my first set of photos for the Scavenger Hunt!

We traveled to Lexington, KY July 7 - 11 to visit Jay's family.  I was sick the entire time.  In fact, this summer cold had me down for two solid weeks. As in zero-energy-can't-breathe-sore-throat-want-to-curl-up-in-bed-for-a-week sick. Not being up to snuff, I didn't have the energy to get photographs and missed several opportunities for a college and structural columns, among other things.  But I did get a few shots in Kentucky.

#2 - an ornate door knocker

Okay, I suppose technically it might be a gate pull? But it looks like a door knocker to me. And what is really cool is that this knocker belongs to this:

The Castle Post in Versailles KY, just outside of Lexington. It was built in 1969 by the Martin family, so it isn't really old, but designed after old castles in Europe. It is now operated as a luxury bed and breakfast. You can't tell from this photo, but the 4 towers at the corners are just part of the outer fence. The castle really only takes up the very middle of the photo.

#12 - a public restroom
Taken via the mirror inside the ladies room at Hanger's Restaurant in Richmond KY (and carefully angled so as not to be a selfie).  I liked the art work on the walls.

#20 - a natural body of water:

This is the Kentucky River as seen from inside the in-laws Jeep Wrangler while crossing on the Valley View Ferry.  The ferry only fits two cars at once.  It was a rainy day when we were out, so we didn't leave the vehicle for photos on either side.  The ferry was founded in 1780 and is believed to be the oldest continually operating business in Kentucky.

The few other photos I have from Kentucky are of horse farms and don't fit any of the scavenger hunt requirements.  And honestly, I didn't really get anything good.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer of Color - Weeks 3 & 4

I'm participating in Kristin's Summer of Color Challenge for my third year.

I decided this year to do some 3D style mixed-media projects - specifically - altered bottle art.  These were finished timely, but I've been sick (yes, head cold round 2) so I'm very late posting.  And to my regular readers... I'll be offline the rest of this week - traveling to visit the inlaws.

Week 3 - lavender plus violet plus yellow:

Week 4 - burgundy plus red-orange plus metallic (gold):
The "lid" is actually a filigree drawer knob, held in place with several rounds of packing tape!  This was originally a vintage cough syrup bottle.  Have to say that this one currently holds second place behind the sea glass one in my heart!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer of Color - Weeks 1 & 2

I'm participating in Kristin's Summer of Color Challenge for my third year.

I decided this year to do some 3D style mixed-media projects - specifically - altered bottle art.

I saw my first altered bottle at the Frisco Mercantile in April with Melissa. I was quite taken with the concept.  Since then I've been collecting bottles at flea markets for between 25 cents and about $3 a piece. I won't pay more than the $3 for a base for a project.  Anyway....

Week 1 - 2 blues + 1 green.  I chose a sapphire blue, a turquoise blue, and a lime green:

This took me awhile and I got side-tracked with a nasty summer head cold that's had me out of commission for about four days.  But I finally finished!

I used decoupage to adhere the lace and twine and used hot glue for the shells and beads. I actually bought a necklace at the flea market for $1 just so I could take it apart for the beads and charms!
 Here's a close up of the detail:
Week 2 - 2 pinks + 1 orange.  I chose baby pink, fuschia, and a bright coral-orange:

I'm not really sure about that fuschia ribbon at the top.  Help me decide!  Do you like it better with the ribbon....

Or without the ribbon???
Here's a close-up of the yummy detail.
Keep in mind, these bottles have been washed. But they are old and imperfect and I really like them that way!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

THRIVE - May Review

I'm trying to stay accountable to myself for the things I have set out to do. THRIVE is a big word. This is what thriving looked like in May...

1. Read A Book:  I read "The Silent Passage" by Gail Sheehy. It's an old book, probably somewhat out of date from a medical standpoint, but still an interesting read. And timely for me.  And just for fun, (thanks to a birthday gift from my sister Deanna) I snuck in "Looking For Alaska"  by John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars).  It was odd reading a book written from the point of view of a teenage boy, and I can't help but wonder if the author could have made the same point without the gratuitous teenage smoking and drinking to excess, but in the realm of Young Adult novels, this was  a decent read.

2.  Try A New Recipe: Well, let's say I created a new recipe - I really enjoy Panera Bread's Napa Almond Chicken Salad.  It's a basic chicken salad plus sliced almonds and halved red grapes.  So I consulted Google, read a dozen or so different recipes, and then made my own! Becca thought it was bland. I thought next time I'll skip the tarragon, which just wasn't the right flavor. But my family will eat chicken salad, so this is one I'll be tinkering with!

3.  Declutter:  There was no big easily defined project in May, but I did cull my Spring wardrobe down to about 1/2 of what I had owned and found it necessary to buy some new clothes. And I'm still working on the rest of the house. Bit by bit. Baby steps.

4.  Complete An Unfinished Project:  I'm counting finishing off three of the re-upholstered chair projects that had been started earlier in the year. I haven't made anymore progress on the School of Life albums because I haven't gotten back to digi scrapping yet.... maybe this month???

5. Improve Flexibility - No loss, no gain in May.  Just holding steady at 6" from the touching my toes.  I've lost the advantage I had gained from the therapeutic massage which my chiropractor is no longer willing to bill to my insurance.  Just means I'll have to try harder on my own!  

6. Scrapbooking - My Favorite Five - So what I indentified as a Favorite Five in this post back in March remain unscrapped at this point. Hey, I was busy painting and recovering chairs, remember? So they will remain on my list for June. 

7.  Photography - I'm slowly catching up with Kim Klassen's "Be Still" class.  The class is on Week 21. I'm on Week 19. I haven't done all the assignments, but I have read the information and watched the videos. And I've learned that in the future I need to avoid year-long classes with weekly assignments. I can manage monthly, but not weekly. So I'm learning. Classes with a shorter time commitment really work better for me. 

8.  Art Journaling - Truthfully, I still can't get anywhere near my craft table. So now, it hasn't happened and isn't likely to happen until we get this whole refinished furniture thing under control.

9.  On the Wellness front - During the month of May, I ate healthier and exercised more. And held steady on all the classic measurements of wellness - no loss, but no gain either.  

And here are the May pages from my One Little Word Planner:

 I thought it was quite appropriate that the pre-printed "don't forget" graphic pointed directly to my birthday!  And I was thrilled to be able to include the card I got from Karen! I was able to cut it down to fit without cutting out anything as all her writing inside was nicely centered!

 A couple of my best photos from May, along with a marvelous postcard from Miriam.
 The May assignment for One Little Word involved creating "I AM" statement cards. I decided to play with digital using the Studio Rosey Posey I AM kit. The timing of this kit coming out was perfect for this assignment and I really enjoyed creating the cards!

On tap for June:
  • I'll finish reading Thrive: The Third Metric by Arianna Huffington and participating in the companion online class through  I joined in on this because it seemed to be perfectly aligned to my word. So far there hasn't been anything really new, just a lot of validation that I'm on the right path and doing the right things to care for myself!
  • I've just joined a Beginner Fitness class. My first time inside a "gym" since my Fibromyalgia diagnosis in September of 2011.  I'm in a class with women in their 60's, 70's, even 80's some of whom can run circles around me (okay, but I can hula hoop better than the rest of them!). The first class totally kicked my butt. But I've paid for 24 classes and I'm definitely going back!
  • My Tai Chi classes start back up in the second half of June. I'm looking forward to that!
  • I'll be participating in The Summer of Color 5 run by Kristin Van Valkenburg  Kristin provides color prompts. You choose your own media and do whatever projects you like using the weekly prompts. This will be my third year participating and I'm so excited to get started!  I haven't chosen my medium yet, but I'm hoping this will be the impetus I need to get started on at least one of a number of mixed media projects floating about in my brain.  
             The class is free. Care to join me???