Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Autumn bokeh

I am sitting here in my cozy house, my dog at my side, listening to the questions on Jeopardy when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t posted all week.

I didn’t want you to worry about me.

I am fine!



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George and I are playing fetch with foxy, a gift from a blogging friend. Thanks, JC. It’s George’s favorite toy at the moment. It is a flat fox, which means it’s unstuffed except for the face. At the head and at the tail, there is a small squeak toy. He likes it when I talk to the fox and pretend to have a conversation with it.

I ask it if it’s ready to fly and it shakes its head yes.

This is a game George seems to love.



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I took the macro lens out the other day and I went for a walk around the property with George. I was aiming to capture some autumnal bokeh with my lens.

And I did.


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I laid on the ground.



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And stood with a leaf in my hand.



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The late-afternoon light was delicious.



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And the old manor house was bathed in its glow.




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So pretty.



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I tried to get George to sit in this precise spot because the light and the colors behind him were so wonderful. But I couldn’t get him to look at me. So here he is looking intensely at who knows what (and he’s got that Border Collie stare going on).


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Work has been keeping me busy and it’s actually helped me a lot. I thought it would be difficult being out in the world again after Andrew died last month. But it’s been so good and I’m so pleased that I forced myself. I know that grief is different for everyone. Going back to work after a single month is not the answer for some people. I am just saying that it was the answer for me.

My weekends are busy too and I’m actually missing just kicking back and hanging around, getting some chores done, taking a little drive somewhere. This coming weekend promises to be fun: A girls getaway arranged by my niece, Kim. So looking forward to it ~


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Hope your week has been a good one. And oh, by the way,

Happy Halloween!


Found here on Pinterest


For other cool Halloween images, visit my Halloween Pinterest Board, {here}.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Pumpkin love

It’s a chilly Thursday evening and I finally broke down and turned the thermostat up. I have it set pretty low and am staying warm with a sweater and a toasty throw while I sit in my favorite spot here in the living room. George is nearby waiting for me to toss his toy like I’ve been doing over and over for the past half hour.

We have a system now with George, as I’ve gone back to work and he’s been alone for much of the day. My son gets home from work early in the morning and takes him for his first walk of the day around 8 then has him with him until he goes to bed. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the dog walker comes and she takes him out and then when I get home, I take him out. He’s not quite used to the dog walker yet and when she came on Thursday, he half-heartedly went with her, chased after a couple of frisbees and then looked longingly at the house until she let him back in. She saw him run immediately up the steps to my son’s room.


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It’s just going to take some getting used-to is all. And he is a little shy to begin with.

I have to mention the squiggles in the photo above. It’s a tiny gourd that I bought last weekend. It was the only one in the entire pile with a stem like this.


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I think this one in the front is interesting.



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I used to love carving pumpkins and I’ve made some nice ones over the years. One of my favorites was simple, using a drill to make tiny holes, then pushing white lights through each. I found it in my Martha Stewart magazine way back when.




Martha Stewart Celestial Pumpkins


My favorite was this, however:

pumpkins lace pattern 1

Martha Stewart Lace-Patterned Pumpkins

It’s very time consuming, but makes such an impact. So unique.


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I read this on Pinterest, and am going to see if it works this year to keep my carved pumpkins lasting longer:

After you scoop out and carve your pumpkin, dip it in a large container of bleach and water (use a 1 tsp:1 gal mix). The bleach will kill bacteria and help your pumpkin stay fresh longer. Once completely dry, (drain upside down), add 2 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice to a quart of water. Brush this solution onto your pumpkin to keep it looking fresh for weeks.


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From my 2009 files. This was a volunteer pumpkin that came up among the bushes in the front of the house.



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Taken on October 24, 2009.


And on that note, I’ll bid you adieu.


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Until next time, my friends ~

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekend on the Western Shore

I’m glad I started back to work because I am so busy that it keeps my mind off of my life right now. Everywhere I look, I see my husband. Today coming up the driveway from work, I thought I saw him standing there on the lawn waiting for me, George at his side. I had to look twice and saw that it was actually our son. But I promise you that it’s true when I say that I’m doing ok. My sisters check in on me all the time and my good friend, Karen, called me Sunday morning while I was on my way home from the Western Shore of Maryland where I’d gone to visit a friend that I had met online.

She was checking in to make sure I was still alive and hadn’t been killed by axe murderers. She actually said this.

I have ‘known’ Kat at Low Tide High Style for several years and we hoped to meet some day since we live in the same state and all. But she’s a 3-hour drive away and for so long it was so hard to get away. So we finally decided to meet halfway, in Annapolis, for lunch before I started back to work. But it rained on the chosen date and the weather was so lousy that we bagged that idea. We had planned to enjoy a nice autumnal stroll after lunch. And then she suggested that I come and stay at her place overnight.

And I thought, “Yes. I think I could do that.”


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It was like meeting an old friend, one that I’d talked to over the years through e-mail and IM. Kat is a photo-journalist and she and her husband, along with two well-behaved border collies, live in a lovely home on the water.

Although I took my camera, I barely took it out. I get like that sometimes and also didn’t want to overstep my bounds by photographing their property which I thought might be weird. Especially when she does such a nice job of it herself.


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We did a number of things in her beautiful part of the state. She took me to a local Amish farm where I bought some pumpkins and took these photos with my camera phone.


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For some reason, I think this one almost looks like a watercolor or something. Not that it’s all that and a bag of chips. I just like it.


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While we were out and about on Saturday, we ran into her son and his girlfriend, shown above. She was holding the most adorable little kitten that she found at the farm. It was purring and I believe she wanted to take it home.

But she had to just be content holding it for awhile.


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Kat had her home completely decorated for the season. If you visit her blog, you can see some of it. I ended up only taking a photo of the delicious apple spice cake that we had for dessert. It was gluten free and I really thought I would have to pretend that it was tasty just to be polite. So imagine my surprise when I bit into a slice of it and found that it was ding dang diddly delicious. (And I got a slice to take home as well).


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On Sunday morning before brunch, I sat down at the end their dock with my long lens, hoping for some eagles to come along. One or two flew by and one perched for a bit, but I was too far away to get a decent shot.


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The only shot I managed to get of any wildlife is this. It looks to be some type of thrush, but the tail seems too long for a wood thrush. This is where I miss my husband because he used to know the birds really well and there was a time when he could tell me exactly what this was.

All in all, it was a lovely weekend and I do hope they’ll have me back. The two border collies, Misty and Quinn, were just a joy and they made me miss George all the more. I had left him home with my son because I just didn’t know how they would all get along. What a nice family though! I met Kat’s husband, and their two adult children who live in the area. It’s great meeting people in real life that you’ve known for so long on the pages of each other’s blogs, especially when they are as gracious in real life as they appear on the blog they write.

Hope you all have a good week and thanks so much for coming by today.

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UPDATE: The bird is a brown thrasher, cousin to the mockingbird. Thank you, Donna.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Checking in

Apologies for my lengthy absence all week. I wanted to check in really quick before I start watching the movie I rented for tonight. I picked up a pile of mail from our box at the end of the driveway and in it, I spied the familiar Netflix red envelope. When I opened it later on, I smiled to see that it was Just Like Heaven, one of my favorite little romantic comedies. I say little because it’s light and sweet and Reese Witherspoon is in it, as well as my favorite guy, Mark Ruffalo. I didn’t know that it was next in my queue so it was a nice surprise.

I am doing well. Thank you so much for your comments and concerns, and for your support and kindness. I returned to work this Tuesday and today was the first day that I felt like everything was right. I knew where everything was and could answer questions again, I fixed things that were wrong, got an generous load of work done, and felt good. Every other day I felt like I was pretending to be ok. Maybe when you pretend enough, it becomes real, right?


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But I have plans for the weekend. I am actually going on a small trip and meeting a friend in real life that I’ve known for years through blogging. I’ll tell you all about it when I get home. We both live in Maryland, but three hours away from each other. It should be good!


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Sometimes when I see these fences, I think of my husband and all the work he did fixing them when we first moved here. Then he got so tired, he just couldn’t take care of them anymore. And this is one of the good sections . . .


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And speaking of good ~

Between me and my son, we’ve been keeping George walked and happy playing. But I work all day, and my son works the night shift so he’s asleep much of the day which leaves George alone and lonely. So I’ve hired a dog walker, a woman I’ve known since she was just a girl. She graduated from our school with my eldest son, Matt, and came over last night to meet George and he loves her.

I am so glad.


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And George is glad because a box of goodies came in the mail this week from one of my readers. I can’t believe how kind people are sometimes, and JC – we all thank you!


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I snapped this coming up the driveway after running some errands last weekend with George. I’m sure he wishes he was coming with me this weekend but maybe next time, little fella.

Hope you all have a good one. Thanks for coming by ~

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Saturday, October 12, 2013

October redux

It’s Saturday night at the manor house on the hill and I don’t know what you’re up to but I’m enjoying my evening. It’s quiet here, but more often than not, a big gust of mild October wind blasts through the window I have open in the living room. I’m listening to music on a cloud player on my laptop and watching old episodes of The Big Bang Theory while I sip a glass of Kris pinot grigio.

All of the photos in this post were taken in October during the years we’ve lived at the manor house.


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Currently, the trees aren’t quite to this stage yet but I can see it coming.


My {young, cute, hip} hairdresser turned me on to this cool tune. It’s really appropriate for the season and I love the catchy tune.


I love this!


If I sound happy, I must admit that at this moment, I actually am. But the truth is that it comes and goes and frankly, it’s a huge curve. When I see beautiful things, I want to cry because my husband isn’t alive anymore to see them. And when I see beautiful things, I want to cry because they make me happy.

What the what.



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I live in a beautiful place.

And I’m so glad I captured these images throughout the years.



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The best images are the ones that retain their strength and impact over the years, regardless of the number of times they are viewed. — Anne Geddes



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What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce. ― Karl Lagerfeld



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This was left at the table for me one day when I came home from work. I took a picture of it for posterity’s sake.


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I went out to dinner with dear old friends one evening this week. I was surprised to find out that I am, apparently, a kick-ass apple pie maker. And my pumpkin/apple pie is a close second. I was actually blushing.

20131010_215132 copy 2Taken at Zeppoli Restaurant, Collingswood, NJ

{That’s me, second from the right}

But seriously, if you want to make an excellent couple of pies that will astound your friends, and gain the respect of your enemies while you’re at it, here are the recipes, straight from Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook, 1972.


Favorite Apple Pie

Pumpkin/Carmelized Apple Pie



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This old cookbook has some awesome old-fashioned recipes.



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I usually put a heart in my pies, but I also like using cut leaves. Got the leaf cutters at Williams-Sonoma years ago. The metal ones are better than the plastic ones.



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A lot of photographers think that if they buy a better camera they’ll be able to take better photographs. A better camera won’t do a thing for you if you don’t have anything in your head or in your heart. – Arnold Newman



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There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs. – Ansel Adams


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If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff. – Jim Richardson



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I honestly think that a huge part of being a good photographer is simply showing up with your camera.  ― Kate Young



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And with that, I bid you adieu for now.


Until next time,

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Autumn light

Hello, friends. I’m enjoying the fine autumn weather we’ve been experiencing lately in Maryland. Last week was rather warm and this weekend found me turning on the AC again. Just too hot. Since I start back to work next week, I’ve been trying to tie up a few loose ends beforehand and rewarded myself by spending yesterday visiting my niece in Baltimore for lunch at her house. She and her husband have an adorable baby girl who is now 6 1/2 months old.

Seeing babies is always heartwarming, isn’t it?

Well, except when they’re screaming. Which this one was definitely not.


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How cute is that little face?



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Kim and I took a walk to a nearby park and stopped along the way to look at this interesting and colorful row of homes. We each fooled with our camera settings to get things right.


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I love all the brick, too.

And the marble steps.



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At the top of Federal Hill.



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View of the harbor from the hill.



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Baby loves loves loves the swing.

I swear, I took 30 or more photos and couldn’t get things right. Either she wasn’t laughing, or she was laughing and just out of focus. I swear my camera has a setting that locks onto the face while they are moving. I need to discover this setting.



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My niece, like her mother (my husband’s sister, Helen) is a wonderful cook. For lunch, she served homemade roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese. Ok, this was no ordinary grilled cheese sandwich and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. She took two slices of rustic bread, sliced on the thin side. She then shmeared each side with homemade pesto, then added slices of fresh mozzarella cheese. On the outside of each piece, she brushed on herbed butter she had made using a collection of different varieties from her patio garden. Then she grilled them to perfection. Oh. My. God. Soooo good.

Sometimes I feel guilty when I feel so happy.

I’m sure this is perfectly normal right now. So I’m not going to sweat it, you know?



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But I miss him.

Yesterday evening, while I was inside working on these photos, the entire room took on a sort of crazy glow. I looked out the windows and realized that the sky was so different-looking with the sunset. It was glowing. My son and his friend were outside setting up things for a campfire party. I went outside to snap these while they were gathering kindling and setting up the camp chairs and thought to myself that it was a perfect evening for a campfire. Good for them!



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I remembered that my husband used to often find me working on my pictures or reading a book or something and he would come in and tell me to come outside. That he wanted to show me something. Here is one such time:

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My husband would often bring me feathers. He would find them during his walks and I would often come home to a feather at my place at the table. When my son asked me to come out to the campfire last night and meet his friends, I walked out the front door and found a beautiful big feather.

And I smiled.

Hope your week is full of smiles. Until next time, my friends ~

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