Winter Wonder

I stood in our bedroom and bemoaned the fact that the extreme cold has created a layer of frost on our window, preventing me from looking out upon the freshly fallen snow in our back yard.  As I squinted through the frost on the window, the beauty of winter’s wonder became evident at a distance of a mere two inches.

What appears to be landscapes painted by an impressionists brush are, in truth, the ice formations on our bedroom window.  The colors are formed from the beautiful sunlight reflecting off the neighbor’s house and our own landscape.

These are unexpected winter gems and I look forward to capturing a few more ice still life’s before the deep freeze is over.

A State Fair To Remember

There is nothing more enjoyable than a visit to the State Fair.  This year’s trip was later in the run but it wasn’t any less enjoyable.  We saw all the sites and tried most of the food and were pleased by every minute of the day.

The Last Graduate

Our third and final child graduated from high school  last night.  It was a big moment for over 500 kids at Noblesville.  Here are a few of the shots from last night’s festivities.

The Gift of a Friend

Ben and Elliott have been friends for more than 9 years.  During that time they have played games, designed shirts, created music, and much more.  They’ve changed from little boys to young men.  Their friendship endures because of their many similarities but it thrives because of their many differences.

This past week we spent nine days together flying from Indianapolis to Houston and back.  Along the way, the boys/men met mutual friends, played more games, explored and discovered new places, walked the streets of Houston, ate amazing meals and learned even more about one another.

I believe it will be a trip they will never forget.  It was our goal to enjoy ourselves, experience new and exciting things, and connect with old friends.  I think we accomplished our mission.  In the words of Gary Sinise, playing Ken Mattingly in the Houston-based movie, Apollo 13, “It (was a) hell of a mission.  One for the books.

The Detail of the Brush

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’ve ever visited a large, well-funded art gallery, you’ve had the opportunity to view amazing works from some of the most historic artists.  If you are like me, you  stand back a few feet and gaze at the masterpiece, taking in the colors, shapes and movement.  But yesterday was different for me.  While viewing great works at Houston Museum of Fine Art, I tried something different.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst, I stood back to get a sense of the artwork and its subject matter and scope.  I took in the range of hues, the story and composition.

Then I stepped closer to the canvas in an effort to examine the different sections, the variety of styles and perform a detailed analysis of the work.

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, I moved in even closer (so close that the museum attendants asked me to step back).  I poured over each stroke within an inch square, looking at the brush stroke directions, the weight of the artist’s hand, the width of the brush and the amazing variety of color and the layers that made this painting possible.

And I did that for painting after painting.  I wanted to see the paintings from the artists’ point of view.  I wanted to be in direct contact with the medium.

At the end of my journey through the expansive exhibit halls, I truly felt that I was in touch with the artist, the canvas, the purpose of the paint.  And when I was done, I fully believed I understood the art and the artist in a way I’ve never understood before.

A Great Day, Once Again

Growing up in Indiana, we have the privilege of beautiful state parks.  They boast beautiful waterways, lovely walking trails and a wide variety of wildlife, including deer, squirrel, rabbits, fox and coyote.  But even in the best parks, Indiana lacks something that Texas offers.  Alligators, Ibis and Ahninga’s abound at Brazos Bend State Park.  Thankfully, we were able to experience them all in just a few short minutes along the well-worn paths around one lake.

It was another great day in the park and I was thrilled to see the wild-life and even more thrilled to spend it with two quality guys.

The Start of Something Good

Houston Sunrise 2013.03.31Every so often you need a break.

This week will be one of those breaks as my son and his best friend and I travel to Houston, Texas for six days of fun.

We’ll see the Space Center (Thanks Katie).  We’ll experience the Aquarium.  We’ll be terrified by the traffic and thankful for green grass and flowers already blooming in March.

Most of all, my son and his friend will be thankful for their time with on-line friends seen face-to-face for the first time.  That’s really the reason we are here in the deep south.

My joy is found in getting to spend time with two great young men for six warm, sunny days.

We all need a break from time to time.  But the break doesn’t always require travel to distant places.  In fact, there are times when the break can be as simple as finding a respite during the hectic day, discovering a quiet evening during our busy week, experiencing time with dear friends that renews and rejuvenates our souls, rekindles our spirits, refreshes our souls.

What will you do this week to enjoy a break?  Will you attend a yoga class?  Will you enjoy a cup of tea in a quiet corner of your house?  Will you go for a short walk away from your desk?  Pet a dog?  Listen to a child laugh?  Marvel at a sunrise or sunset?

What will you do for a break?

 

Just a Tease

IMG_3593Indiana weather is a funny thing.  This year more than ever.

Whether you want to blame the groundhog or the meteorologist, this year’s weather has been awfully strange and now it is about to take a strange turn.  On a day when the crocus is in full bloom, facing the warm spring sunlight, the forecast in the coming day is for 5 to 9 inches of snow, impassable roads, and treacherous conditions.

Indiana is known for amazingly beautiful spring flowers, blistering summer days,  fantastic fall foliage, and hazardous winter winds…Sometimes all in the same week.

I have a feeling that the next few days will provide the best and the worst of Indiana weather.

 

Rise and Shine!

Robins fill themselves with berries in preparation for Spring.
Robins are unaffected by the time change as they fill themselves with berries in preparation for Spring.

Can I ask a series of questions of you, my faithful readers?

What crazy man thought that Daylight Savings was a good idea?

What does this shift give us?

Does anyone enjoy waking up with one less hour of sleep?

Is there any reason we have to change the clocks at the un-godly hour of two in the morning?

Why can’t we change the clocks at 3:30 on Friday afternoon?

Better yet…Why can’t we just leave them the way they every other day of the year?

Thank you for your indulgence and I look forward to any and all answers.

Any Time, Spring…Any Time.

Flowers on the beachI was flipping through some old photographs and came upon this shot of some flowers on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.  I took this picture in 2008.

More than thinking about the trip itself, the photograph placed a longing in my heart for the return of spring here in Indiana.

From my desk, I can see a skiff of snow on the front yard.  The winter clouds are moving past in the cold breezes of February.  I long for the warmth of spring sun to melt the snow, soften the earth and give rise to the many flowers planted around our home.  I ache for the sound of robins claiming their territory and the roll of thunder as spring showers nourish the landscape.

But for now, a picture will have to do.  For now, memories will suffice.

Sunrise In Indiana

January 12, 2013
January 12, 2013

Indiana is a beautiful state.  From the emergence of the early spring flowers to the last of the fall colors and into the brilliant white of the new-fallen snow, this state never fails to impress.  But if we are honest, we will have to admit that January is rarely considered one of the more picturesque months.

However, yesterday offered a perfect mid-winter reprieve. We enjoyed a beautiful sunrise, a light ground-cover fog and a 65-degree spring-like day; all in the heart of winter.  To make it even more unusual, the day ended with thunderstorms and torrential downpours.

Despite the rain, it was a fantastic day; one not often found in the bleak mid-winter of Indiana.

Memories of Days Gone By

1991 Snowfall
The snow and ice accumulate on a tree in Muncie, Indiana. 1991

While we received a nice cover of the white stuff this past Christmas, it is good to remember that it happens from time to time.  The snow and ice hit Indiana hard in 1991, 2005 and 2010.

We should be use to it, but it surprises us every time.

A Different View

Some of my best pictures happen when I come at it from a different angle.  Imagine snow on a pine tree, for instance.  From a distance the snow is a white mass that bends the boughs to the ground.  But if I look closer, I see amazing crystals and curled needles; each one unique.

These are some shots from today’s snow fall offering a slightly different view of the world.

Another Gift of Snow

A beautiful layer of snow fell last night, covering the neighborhood with a fresh blanket of white. As the sun rises on the winter white, some will find treacherous travel, children will find a fun day of play, and everyone will find a feast for the eye! Look for more pictures to follow as the sun rises on the neighborhoods.

A Much Needed Break

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends.  I’ve met myself coming and going.  To be honest, I’m ready for a little time off and by golly, I mean to have it.  My 8 days of rest start today and I intend to take full advantage of this beautiful week to rest and renew.

Today, I made a journey to Mount Summit Lake.  I spied some birds, hiked some trails and had a marvelous time.

After a nice drive home I threw a chicken in the oven and boiled up some fantastic broth.  Our Thanksgiving Dinner looks very promising and I’m already enjoying my time away.  I can’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring!

Web Weavers

One of the many spiders taking advantage of the early morning sun in our garden.

With the cooler days and the colder nights, the local arachnid population is hard at work spinning and hunting and preparing for their short remaining weeks of life.

Webs stretch between flowers and branches or near porch lights, perfectly located to capture their prey.  Signs of life and death struggles are evident in the torn filaments and mummified remains of the night’s catch.

Soon we will see egg sacks, neatly woven and hidden away from predators, filled with the next generation of garden spiders.

There is nothing more chilling in my garden.  And yet, there is nothing more fascinating among the tomatoes and Brussle sprouts.

Hummer Activity

One of our frequent visitors to the feeders rests on the nearby weeping cherry.

The hummers are getting active and playing well together.  I have three hummingbird feeders in my yard and as the weather turns more nippy and we enter fall, the birds have decided to get as much nectar as possible; building up their strength up for the long southern journey.  They chase one another less often and actually spend time together at the feeders.

I marvel at the survival ability of these little creatures.  They weigh less than nothing and yet, they can live up to 10 years.  Despite flying thousands of miles to the southern hemisphere, they return to their home range with pin-point accuracy each and every spring.  They have amazing flying skills but they also have great memories, fantastic hearing and perfect vision.

They are a back yard marvel and when they leave in the next few weeks, they will truly be missed.

Ben’s Best School Pic

While looking through some pictures earlier today I found a school picture that earned two thumbs up.  When I showed it to my son his response was nothing short of pride.  In fact, he asked that I post the picture for all to see.

This boy has had every hairdo that you can imagine.  He’s gone from bold (pictured here) to bald and back.  Hair grows and styles change and Ben is always on the cutting edge of the hair fashion!

So this post is for you, my son.  Enjoy.