Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Picture of Papa

I was thinking about this photograph the other day. I took it when I was out in UT this last summer. What with Dad's repeated mini-strokes (on top of the massive brain hemorrhage several years ago) and his continuing serious health problems, this picture sort of seems to symbolize how I feel about our relationship: he isn't quite gone, but he's about to be. But it's a beautiful picture.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Couple of Sketches From October

I'm still entranced by trees. Big surprise, I suppose.

This was in a field near my house, in the morning. I had the place to myself, and the sun was coming up, and the tree was backlit... and it was pretty much magical.

In person, I think I like the ink drawing better, but uploaded, the pencil is looking better. Interesting.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Tickles, Please

The four-year-old likes to be tickled. As is my policy, I always stop when he says "stop." It sometimes takes kids a while to get used to this-- they are used to tickling continuing, and most of them are fine with that-- but most catch on pretty quickly that if they really do want me to keep going, they just say "tickle me again!" and I will happily oblige. This boy has that one down pat.

One day as we were both standing in the kitchen, I asked if I could tickle him, and he said, "No!" Then he ran over to the dog's chair, laid on his back, and said, "NOW tickle me!" and I did.

A week ago Saturday, I walked in his house as his family was leaving for vacation (for which I have been house-and-dog-sitting). My young friend looked at me reprovingly and said, "'Neelya, when you come, you always tickle me."

I thought about how careful I had been about permission, and how, in fact, these days he usually asks first. I decided to point this out. "You usually ask to be tickled." He didn't really respond. Then the other shoe dropped. "Did you want me to tickle you now?"


(So I did.)

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Flowers

I took these earlier this year. The first is from the lake near(ish...) my home in Maryland; the other is within a couple of blocks of my sister's house in Utah.

Aren't the bumblebees cool?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Cement Truck Sandwich Recipe

[I was trying to encourage a young friend, S^2, to do his homework. One of his options was to write a sandwich recipe; I offered to write two* while he wrote one (he didn't take me up on it, but he did suppress a smile or two when I read him this one). His mother and I began brainstorming silly things you could put in a sandwich. She suggested a truck, which I liked, but then I was stumped on what kind of truck, and she suggested a cement truck-- and I was off and running.]

First, you have to get VERY big bread for your sandwich. You will have to ask a giant bakery for help. **Perhaps, if you cannot find one, you can use some cement from your cement truck to help build one. Next, cement does not have very much flavor, so you will have to get one ton of onions and one ton of pickles for flavoring. Finally, you have to find someone who is willing to eat the sandwich. You should ask someone very large, like the BFG or a tyrannasaurus rex or an entire school of children. Also, you should probably contact a news organization because they will probably be very interested in your cement truck sandwich.


*The other one was boring, which is why I didn't write it here.
** Don't ask me why I feel a need to tell you this, but I added this sentence today because S^2's mother asked me how one would find a giant bakery.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Spring Break day trip to the beach

It was so... dang... cold! I checked the weather before I left; it said it would be in the 50's and sunny. It was not sunny. It was cloudy. But it was very, very beautiful!

The bad weather made the waves quite large, for this neck of the woods, and you could feel the ground shake as they crashed only a few yards away. It was hard not to watch-- until I got too cold to notice; that was when I knew I had to go inside.

 My feet were there!

I don't think it is possible to convey the utter magic-- the awesome, indescribable wonder-- that I feel whenever I get to go to the beach. Even though my poor feet were freezing right off, even though I was only there for one hour before I was too cold to enjoy anything any more, I still felt glad I had made the effort to go.

Tulips and I-don't-know-what

I'm just having so much fun with this macro lens. I'll put up a couple from my trip to the beach, next.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Photographs from Elsewhere

Not my photographs, but photographs nonetheless. Here are the links:

Russians photographed by Russians I especially love the ones of the church on Trinity Sunday and of the Cossack standing on his horse.

13-year-old eagle huntress (in Mongolia) This is both cool and beautiful.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Daffodil Portrait and Other Stuff

 I discovered the macro lens setting on my camera! The first day I had a chance to go out and experiment with it-- just a couple of days ago-- was aMAZing. It was like getting a whole new camera!

The temple, in the rain, at sunset. I guess I could have cropped out more of the parking lot, but I still really love this photograph.

And, as always, a tree portrait.  This is from the day I walked to school in full hiking gear, because we weren't getting another snow day and the paths really weren't clear yet and I just didn't feel like driving in the snow. Also, I thought it would be fun. Which it was. The best comment I got was from a fellow teacher: "You look like you are dressed for somewhere FAR more interesting than here." (For the record, in my hiking backpack I had stowed some professional clothes, and I changed right after I got to work.)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

MORE snow...

My main job these days is that I work as a student aide at a school which is reasonably close to my home. We have now completely run out of snow days in our school district. I'm pretty sure we're not the only ones in Maryland to have done so.

No matter what havoc it plays with the school schedule, however, snow makes for a darn pretty walk to school. I'm usually in danger of being late and therefore in a hurry on the way there, but on the way back I take my time and take the longer, prettier way. These pictures are from the walk home.

I've taken to checking the temperature before I set out. I find that at 14 degrees, it's actually pretty nice; I don't get so overheated by the time I get there that I spend the first half hour at school sweating and then the rest of the day chilly, because my clothes are damp. 11 degrees, on the other hand, makes me wish I had a ski mask.

Coming home, of course, the temperature is warmer. This is nice because being as how I'm not worried about being late, I walk much slower.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Yellow River, Sunrise

I drove from Maryland to Utah just after Christmas. I stopped in Indiana to visit with cousins; more of this later (probably; that's the sort of promise I'm likely to break unless reminded). Suffice it to say, it was lovely and restful and peaceful, as I had expected it to be, but it's still always nice to have expectations like that fulfilled.

By the time I left Frank and Susie's at 6:30, I was already feeling a little worried that I was setting out later than really necessary. Not only was I attempting to get from the Northern- middle of Indiana to the middle of Nebraska in one day, but I was trying to outrun a storm. In this latter point, I did not succeed; I hit some of the worst winter driving conditions I've ever seen, in the middle of Iowa.

As I crossed the Yellow river, I thought to myself how incredibly beautiful it looked. I reminded myself that I was not long on time, but it only took me about three seconds to realize to myself that these sorts of situations are exactly why I carry my camera, so I turned the car around, crossed the road very carefully (two-lane, non-divided highway; speed limit 55 mph, as I recall), and took a few shots. The only thing that allowed me to do this was the fact that there were not, at that time of day, just too many vehicles on the road. I did make sure that I was only on the bridge when I was certain that I had enough time before the next vehicle got there to get off the bridge before it got on. Still, my sense of self- preservation quickly kicked in, and I was back to the car in under five minutes. Also, my fingers were beginning to be numb. When I got back in the car, its fancy-dancy thermometer said it was seventeen degrees. That was the point when I figured I had probably balanced practicality with my desires for artistic expression just about perfectly.