Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
. . .
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare –

Just felt like a little William Shakespeare today. Happy summer day!

The Portal Potty Files

potty9I googled portal potty for this post just to make sure I knew how to spell it – and as it turns out, it’s the official word for a portable bathroom is “porta’ potty and I always thought it was “portal” potty so apparently, like many song lyrics, I’ve been saying it wrong all these years.

However, portal potty seems the more appropriate term and more suited to this post – so portal potty it is.

potty2I was the team photographer for the Dragonboat festival my official station for 8 hours was in front of the portal potties. Because of that, I was able say hello to just about everyone at the festival. No one addresses their nature call except through me.

I had under estimated how much sun there was going to be – it was a hot, hot day. A nice man came by and gave me his umbrella but he didn’t come back to claim it at the end of the day so I couldn’t thank him for saving my life. It was brutal out there. Mayor Bruce’s wife came by and gave me some wine with ice and along with my borrowed umbrella, folding chair and Kelly Moore camera bag, I was all set.

I was shooting all day and someone came up and asked to take my photo. I was hesitant at first, after all, I’m the photographer. I relented and I’m glad I did. He captured my day exactly.

potty7I took a quick photo of Mr John as he walked by. Pun intended. The husband and I crashed a party at John’s house last weekend.  Neighbors Doug and Carrie were invited and since Neighbor Doug didn’t know many people there, so they suggested we go with them. You don’t have to ask us twice. The husband said no one would notice if we just showed up since we knew everyone there. The minute we walked in John yelled out, “Party crashers!” So much for being stealthy.

pottay8This is Yogi Joe and his girlfriend. Yogi Joe and I practiced yoga together for five years and I hadn’t seen him in a while. We commiserated on how much we missed the practice.

potty1I apparently caught Larry off guard.

potty3Here’s my friend DJ Dennis who walked by a dozen times and didn’t acknowledge me at all. He was singularly focused.

potty4I loved watching life happen in front of me. Like DJ Dennis, most people just ignored me.

potty5And took their own photos.

potty6I did get some cute shots of cute kids . . .

DSC_2665How cute is Asher baby? You just want to pinch his cheeks and his legs don’t you?

potta10I also had some photo bombers. This gentleman jumped in front of my camera and ruined a perfectly good shot of the Papa John’s delivery man:)

It was a great, great day and I’ll some more “serious” photos but in the meantime, you can get a idea of the fun that day but looking at photos by great photographers who’s job was the capture the flavor of the event and they did it perfectly. It was a blast!

Take a look at the photos HERE.

Waiting To Exhale

homeagainHave you ever done this?

Have you ever held your breath for multiple days and didn’t know it until you exhale again many days later?

I suppose I was doing this for the last five days or so.

The girl flew up to North Dakota last week and though I wasn’t worried per se, this would be the first time she’s flown stand-by on her own. The trip up was a nail biter, and somehow, in spite of all the odds of heavy loads and full flights, she was able to make her flights and connections on the very last seat.

So when she was safely gathered by her brother at the airport, we breathed a sigh of relief and then went on with our lives while they had their visit except for this one thing – we were holding our breath.

Here are some the things we were doing . . .

homeagain2While she was gone, I cleaned our pool. Our hydrangeas are beautiful this year – beautiful.

homeagain5I also became an amateur entomologist. This beetle was so interesting that I spent quite a few bytes photographing it.

homeagain6It was trying to hide from the camera . . . told you I was busy.

homeagain7I also spent some time at the bayside town down the street. I loved this cottage. Every time I go there, I get more and more enamored by beach living. So the husband and I have decided to purchase our own little cottage there so we can go and spend weekends fixing it up, and then walking to restaurants all the while breathing in the sea air. You heard it here first. I’ll let you know how it goes.

homeagain1The girl came home last night – and all of a sudden I’m breathing again.

Oxygen is good for the body . . . happy Tuesday!

The Dragon Awakes II

DSC_2459I have been going through all kinds of photos this week of the Dragonboat Festival last weekend and I can’t help but smile again and again.

DSC_2462You’re going to smile too. I dare you not to!

DSC_2483This pose is called Dragonboat Thinker.

I rented a 14-24 2.8 lens for this event from lensprotogo.com (fantastic people) and it was a serious piece of glass. Yes, a serious piece of glass. I was up close to these guys and you can see that the edges of the photo get a little wonky but it really enhances the fun in this photo. I’ve added the lens to my wishlist, one day . . .

DSC_2477This woman was a blast. She was really into her costume and she reminded me of a beautiful and ethereal mermaid – who is orange.

DSC_2561The animals were all out in full force – big ones, small ones . . .

DSC_2523some as big as your head . . .

We attempted to put a t-shirt on Ernie, but for a number of reasons, we had to take it off but it sure was  a lot of fun trying.

DSC_2754I didn’t have my long lens on me so I missed all the shots of the husband and the girls out on the water. The 14-24 is a great lens but didn’t do the job on this photo.

tom1My friend Photographer Tom got some good shots of the boat so I’ll show you some of his.

Photo courtesy of Tom Herritt.

tom2Photographer Tom got some great shots of the action from the boat. I like this one.

Photo courtesy of Tom Herritt.

DSC_2794I was able to photograph them on land when they took a lunch break. Sydney-girl got sunburned that day and I felt so badly. The girl kept saying it wasn’t our fault but for the record, I don’t like it when kids get burned when they are under our care. Kyle got sunburned after our Puerto Rico vacation last year and I worried about it for a month, thinking Rhonda, his mother, may never let us take him anywhere again.

The girl just rolled her eyes.

DSC_2784There were so many teams so it was hard for me to differentiate between them all, but this photo is of Mayor Bruce and his team. His wife came by and gave me a wine glass with peach wine and ice in it, and even though I don’t live in that town, I would gladly write his name on the ballot at the next election – wait, is that legal?

Just joshing – ha!

The peach wine was good though.

DSC_2835As far as I’m concerned, this team won the day. This is Miss Kathy’s team and of all the teams, they raised the most money for End Hunger. They are called the Thai Paddlers because they consisted of people who practice muay Thai, or Thai boxing. Don’t mess with them!

With the team is our local celebrity, Weatherman Doug. He was the MC that day. He was witty and did a great job. He has one of “those” voices, the kind that you don’t mind listening to all day.

DSC_2843I once did a television promo for him and one day, while eating breakfast at my kitchen counter, I looked up to see myself on television talking about why I watch Weatherman Doug’s weather forecast. It was quite surreal. I said I trusted his predictions and if he said it’s going to rain, then I can take that to the bank – or something silly like that.

I’m not good at speaking extemporaneously. Which is why I have this blog.

Looked like fun doesn’t it? It was!

Celebrity Sightings

celebrity2The girl spent a few days in New York City a while back and she sent some photos of celebrity sightings in the Big Apple.

celebrity3Some of whom are pretty recognizable – wow she got really close:)

celebrity6And there were some with whom I wasn’t familiar but I’m pretty sure this is a Kardashian – right?

celebrity7Not a clue who this is . . .

By now you know that she was at the wax museum though I wasn’t quite sure at first. I can be pretty gullible. It became quite a study of her character and personality to see photos of her favorites.

celebrity10She’s a huge Carrie Underwood fan – yes, she loves country music.

celebrity12She’s also a very patriotic girl.

celebrity14and she’s a huge hockey fan.

celebrity8She apparently loves this guy a lot . . .

celebrity9Aha! It’s Brad Pitt!

celebrity5And the beautiful Jennifer Aniston – though I think the girl is prettier:)

celebrity4Sydney girl looks like she’s almost made of wax herself.

celebrity1I wasn’t sure who this was – though his song Thinking Out Loud is actually “our” song. The boy said Ed Sheeran was actually in Grand Forks at the time, golfing and shopping. Not sure why he had to go to Grand Forks to shop, there’s not much there except Walmart . . . hmmm.

The girl’s not the only one who has had some celebrity sightings.

ravismallHere I am with Kyle’s parents and John’s mom. We ran into Ravi at the bar at the Hilton in Grand Forks. Pretty coincidental right? He actually gave the keynote speech at the boys’ aviation banquet and he was also staying at the Hilton. He rose to fame in the ’90s as the guitarist for the band, Hansen. He’s also a pilot of some sort, which explains why he was the keynote speaker at an aviation school.

Got all that?

celebrity11And finally, my favorite celebrity sighting – this was a thrill of a lifetime to hug Bobby Flay! Though this was over two years ago, I still love seeing it. I showed this photo to my culinary class and even though everyone else swooned over it, one of the guys said, “Who’s Bobby Flay?” – to which we all stared at him incredulously.

We all love the rich and famous though they are human just like we are. I know because I squeezed Bobbly Flay’s waist really hard – and yep – he’s real:)

The Dragon Awakes

DSC_2441Our third annual Dragonboat Festival was held last weekend and as always, on the week of, both the preparation and anticipation for race day reaches a fever pitch. Everyone is busy, everyone has a job and I was determined to surrender to the spirit of the event because left to my own devices, I would dwell on this – the one year anniversary of my friend Barb’s death which still seems a little unbelievable even now.

I thank God for the Dragonboat Festival!

So with the decision to live life as she would, I threw myself into my job of coordinating photography for the event. I love that job.

And I had a fantastic time!

The husband was once again recruited to provide transportation for the photographers but he also ended up helping to set up the race course. He really relished this – any time there is an opportunity to get out on the boat he will jump on it! So it was a two day event for us – what fun!

Once everyone was set up where they needed to be, I took up my station to (figuratively) shoot the race teams, but along the way, I captured a few other things.

DSC_2827Like this kid’s hair.

DSC_2600This event makes grown men act like ducks.

DSC_2458And flex – Neighbor Paul will take any opportunity to do so.

DSC_2457and Miss Debbie – oh my gosh. What a get up.

DSC_2455How cute and confusing is this lady?

DSC_2450I loved this group. I told them I would cheer for them and they actually did end up winning the whole thing but I think it was because of prayers.

DSC_2506-copyThere was a donkey there! His name was Ernie and he didn’t like the white lines on the cross walks. His owner and vet, Doc Linda said she needed help with getting him across the cross walk so I asked a total stranger to pull Ernie while Doc Linda pushed him and it turned out to be a hilarious endeavor. I could barely shoot I was laughing so hard.

DSC_2507He did it!

DSC_2463There’s Alicia girl – hamming it up as usual as she coordinated the team order for racing.

DSC_2509Ernie in the meantime took time to wander around greeting the teams.

DSC_2615Speaking of teams, I asked this lady and her dog, Muffin, to photo bomb the lifeline team’s photo. I saw this later and I literally almost fell out of my chair. These young folks are so cute and up for anything! Poor Muffin!

I am going through more of my photos and I will be showing them all this week because I just loved this entire two days.

The dragon awakes . . .

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’

bike5A few days ago I joined a group of nearly 60 cyclists for a 22.5 mile ride. I’m in this photo somewhere! This is my 3rd year with these great people and I am just now feeling comfortable with my cycling ability.

I had my doubts when I first started, and that’s an understatement. Our good friend and former neighbor, Neighbor Mike, was killed in a cycling accident shortly after he moved to Colorado. His death at the hands of a drunk driver shook both the husband and I to the core, which is why I am somewhat surprised to find myself doing what I’m doing five short years later.

It’s truly through the patience of my friends who have helped me and guided me through many, many miles of pavement that I can now say I’m truly enjoying myself. I even watch cycling on television!

bike4Even after three years, I don’t think I’ve ever ridden alone. The husband and I were on our first group ride of the season back in April. This was a 50 mile ride, yes – true, and though it looks calm in this photo, there was a head wind the entire 50 miles but we did it!

bike3This is my little core group of cyclists. Neighbor Gary was holding a packet of Vitamin-C above my head because we were just shooting a promo for it and he thought it had to be in every photo.

bike2This was our little group a few weeks ago – this was my second 50 mile ride this year. It was fantastic! Loved that day and love these people.

bike1This was just last weekend. We were riding in 95 degrees with 90% humidity. I was helping Miss Lauren because she’s just starting out – and I remember what it was like. I did however, have two margaritas at dinner after this hot, hot, hot ride.

Most people track their miles and their speed – me, I track the number of calories that I burn. I find that the pounds don’t melt off like they use to and since I have no intentions of eating less, this is the perfect way to fight the fat. Doing it with friends certainly makes it a lot of fun.

Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’, keep those doggies rollin’ – that song isn’t about cycling but I sometimes sing it in my head on the big hills so it’s my personal cycling song!

A Definitive Porch Decision

porch1After spending many brain bytes on how to proceed with my porch renovation, the question on what to do with the porch ceiling has finally been answered. We spent hours discussing it and we actually consulted with a renovation expert named Billy. Billy suggested we leave it like it is – and just stain it because it will preserve the rustic nature of the porch.

porch-apartmenttherapydotcomInitially we agreed but I couldn’t stop thinking of this photo and somewhere along the way it became my inspiration for the ceiling. We want to keep it rustic but decided that we would risk losing some of the rustic nature and paint the ceiling blue like the photo above.

porch2So I’ve started – and there was some doubt along the way. But it’s begun, so no turning back now. It’s taking a while but I’ll be sure to post a photo when it’s done!

It’s The Small Random Things

random2I’m sitting in air conditioned comfort as I type and I’m so grateful. It’s going to be a full day!

I love my roses this year.

random1I’m also grateful for candlelight and a clean porch.

random4I love covered bridges too and we found this one which took us back and forth to the hotel as my mother and brother were undergoing surgery.

It really is the small things.

restaurant5I’m grateful for this restaurant which was so wonderful because it had great food, great prices and great service.

But there’s also this –

restaurant1A good restaurant has fresh flowers on the table . . .

restaurant3 . . . with accompanied salt and pepper mill grinders. Special.

restaurant2. . . and homemade jam at breakfast.

It’s the small touches that makes a great restaurant and great restaurants get repeat customers over and over again. We’ve had our meals at this restaurant every day, sometimes twice a day for four days straight!

random6One of the things I look for at any hotel in which I stay is a Bible. Most don’t have Bibles on the night stand anymore but this one did. Hail to tradition.

Have a wonderful weekend . . .