Today Was a Good Day Photo Challenge

I would like to believe every day is a good day.  Some are better than others, but I strive to find the good in every day.  But, to me, a good day would include:

Family

You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.

Desmond Tutu

We just returned from Arizona where we celebrated my mother’s life.  Her Arizona family was very dear to her.  They surrounded her with fun and love.  These are the cousins that started out as little toddlers.  They grew up and have definitely gone different and interesting directions.  So fun to get together with them and watch them share stories.  It is never often enough or long enough.

The little cousins grew up!
The little cousins grew up!
You can always find a friend!
You can always find a friend!

The same trip found us shopping which can be a little tedious for grandchildren.  G always finds something to capture his interest…even it is him!  He makes a point to find the good in every day and he spreads that around.

Brother Britt and his daughter Brittany.
Brother Britt and his daughter Brittany.

A visit to Arizona is never complete without visiting my brother.  Both of my brothers have Huntington’s Chorea.  It is a horrible disease.  I wish I could see him every day.  The quality of his care in AZ is so much better than I could get him here. A good day is when he has family to visit him.

Color and Creativity  –

“Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? no. Just as one can never learn how to paint.”
― Pablo Picasso

My current knitting project.
My current knitting project.

Only two squares left.  It has taken forever, but it has a wonderful calming to the creation of it.  I try to work on this a little every day and that makes it good.

For three happy grandmothers to give to their new grandchildren.
For three happy grandmothers to give to their new grandchildren.

These just came back today.  Once I bind them they will be off to the grandmothers of the babies for which they were created.

Nature –

“I’m not a social butterfly. I’m a caterpillar.”
― Jarod Kintz

Caterpillars are fascinating. Butterflies have wings to fly.

Caterpillars are fascinating. Butterflies have wings to fly.

I try to start every morning on the back porch watching nature wake up and start it’s day.  My mind wanders in and out of prayer and admiration for all that is nature.  It is a very peaceful and spiritual time.  A little bit of time out never hurt anybody.

Music

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

I know there is more than this to make a good day… sometimes it is the simplest of things, a hug, a smile from a stranger, seeing someone helping another, and sometimes you just have to break your spirit free above the clouds to see the sunshine.

A Good Day Above the Clouds.
A Good Day Above the Clouds.

Today Was a Good Day

Saturday Fun and Sleepover…

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”
― Henry James

graham_h0Summer is one of the blessings that came with moving closer to family.  Although I am not a fan of the heat and high humidity, I am a fan of pool time with family.  Graham loves pool time at Nana’s.  Our neighborhood pool is wonderful and is very family friendly.

The kids live 25 minutes away, but every once in awhile they come south for a sleepover.  We love those times, and so do they,

sweet kiaaLots of pool fun, good food and ‘lovin.

maclane_crawl

We get to enjoy big and small moments in their lives like first crawls and giggle moments.  Movie time and snacks just before bedtime finish off the day.  ‘

Morning comes early with little one.  Pancakes and Disney and playing with Daddy’s toys from when he was a boy.

toys

Matchbox, Playmobile, pirates and spaceships.  They all mix together for wonderful playtime imaginings.

sleepover

It reminds me of one of my favorite children’s books, The Napping House by Audrey Wood and illustrated by her husband – Don Wood.

“And on that granny / there is a child / a dreaming child / on a snoring granny / on a cozy bed / in a napping house, / where everyone is sleeping.”

aptime

Perfect!

Exploring Charlotte

Last June we moved from Indianapolis to Charlotte to be closer to our children and grandchildren.  After living in the same home for 26 years, it was a tough move to make.  As much as I miss all my friends, it is one of the best decisions we have ever made.  We are busier than ever and get to see our family so much more.  In addition there is a whole new city to explore.  Saturday was a busy day and one filled with hidden discoveries in Charlotte.

persian_rugThe long runner my husband discovered at Classic Attic.  It was in great shape and we got a very good price for it.

My husband had discovered a place called Classic Attic, it is a great little consignment shop that is tucked into an unusual space.  It is on the backside of Park Road Shopping Center.  Normally, one would think this is where the dumpsters and employees park.  Not in Charlotte!  They  tuck the coolest things there.  It is a lower level than the Shopping Center… like a walk-out basement effect.

map2

In the map above is the shopping center.  I have marked my favorite spots with hearts.  Classic Attic is next door to one of the nicest garden shops.  Great plants I am going to have to go back and spend more time (money).  And then as we were leaving to go to a soccer game we passed a great little pub (also on the backside)  It had an outdoor area with umbrellas and beautiful blooms.  It was located just under a walkway that went from the shopping center to a group of apartments.  So quaint.  Sir Edmond Halley’s

SirEdmond1

This was our table.  The food was wonderful.  We ordered something quick so we wouldn’t be late for the game.  A cuban with sweet potato fries.

cuban

What would we do without our cell phones and Instagram?
And a nicer view of the outside of the restaurant.

siredmond2
From there we went to the soccer game at Dillworth Elementary which is worthy of photos, too, but I was watching the game….kind of.

Next stop Farmer’s Market on King.

FMgarden

The plants, the plants!  I purchased a couple of sweet potato vines, vinca and some mosquito plants that smell like lemons!

veggiesThe veggies were awesome as were the strawberries.

berries

We couldn’t get home without some of these!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Photos from my walk…

“A picture is a secret about a secret, the more it tells you the less you know.”
Diane Arbus

Two posts in one day!   I decided to go for a walk and put what I had learned to work.  I was so happy with the results I just had to share.  This time of year is not all that photogenic, but I had faith I would find something… and I did.

Frozen

There wasn’t much to see until I got up to the Millhouse.  Management had turned off the running water, but the pond still had some standing water in it and it had frozen.  Everything the wind had blown that way had been trapped in place.

ip_frozen

I liked this configuration so much I took a shot with my iPhone.  I used the standard camera so I could run it through a couple of my apps.  When I got home I made some changes with Snapseed, which I haven’t used very much.  I like some of the effect I could create.  That was where I added the greenish hue.  I then pulled it through Instagram and finished it off.  I have to say I do love my iPhone camera.  I actually find this version of the shot more interesting.

Hydrangea laceHydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers.  I can never figure out which color I like the best.  Now I will have to include the lacy version in there with the others.  I love the skeletal, lacy effect of this beauty.

Design Path

This is my walking path.  Sometimes I like to make my photos more artistic by adding filters.  The shadow designs on the walkway were so pretty I wanted to make this more like a painting.

All in all it was a great morning walk.  The weather was briskly, chill.  The book on my iPod was “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.  The reader is excellent and I highly recommend it.  Although I was not fond of “The Mermaid Chair,” I loved “The Secret Life of Bees.”  This has the same feel to it and may be just a little bit better.

Enjoy!

Shredding and Tossing

Last summer my husband, sister-in-law and I flew to AZ to clear out my mother’s house.  We had to move her to a dementia oriented nursing facility and the house needed to be cleared out and sold.  It was something I would never want to do again and never want my kids to have to do.  With this in mind we have been shredding and tossing. (BTW – I intentionally made the b&w photo blurry… in my mind it was old technology… therefore blurry black and white. 😉 )

The local library had a shredding day so I convinced my husband we could throw away 30+ years of his sales reports, taxes predating 1990, grocery receipts and other items taking up huge amounts of room in the basement.  The local high school was also collecting electronics so out went an old tv, computer, monitor, speakers and wires.  I didn’t stop there.  I went through the toy closet.  Not to throw away.  My grand kids would have a fit.  I have an amazing collection of Playmobile, Brio and Legos.

I spent the afternoon sorting through the pieces and pulling out old crayons, wrappers, broken matchbox cars (oh, forgot to mention those… lots and lots), lost puzzle pieces and more.  Some of the Lego sets were still intact and other in chunks and pieces.

It brought back many wonderful memories of children’s voices as they vocalized the story line of their play.  I can’ wait for the grand kids to visit and plow through the organization of my afternoon and make a creative mess.  It’s been too long.

(All photos were taken with my iPhone using Instagram and Photo+.  Obviously, they looked better on the small iPhone, but you get the picture.)

Which digital is from a Nikon D80 and which is from iPhone?

I love photography.  I love looking at the world through a lens, I love the quiet that surrounds you as you hunt for just the right shot.  I love playing with the photos afterwards…. the ones that need a little help.  What I don’t especially love is lugging all the heavy equipment around.  I had been shopping for a small digital when we decided to get the iPhones.  Bingo!  If there is a camera app I think I have it.  I have had more fun with it.  Now the test.  I took the same basic photo with Nikon D80 with a AF-S Nikor18-105 lens.  Which is which?

For those familiar with the two it is probably very easy to tell which is which.

The first photo is the iPhone.  Look at how vivid the colors are!  I know I could tweak the colors in the Nikon shot, but I wanted to compare them shot for shot.  Pretty good for the iPhone.  They really are two distinct looks.  One very vivid the other more subtle and fine.

This clematis was also taken with the iPhone.  It is a strange flower to photograph and I used a different app.  It didn’t do well with Instagram so I used Photo+.

The second is the Nikon shot.  As you can see it is an oddly unphotogenic flower.  It really looks slightly out of focus even in person.

This last shot didn’t do well at all with the iPhone.  I think it was the contrast in the very fine details and the broad expanse of white petals.  It couldn’t decided where to focus and it just didn’t work.  Plus it was after 7:00 in the evening so the light was waning.

All in all a very restful way to end my work day  In the garden with two cameras playing.