Monday, January 31, 2011

31/365 - Morning Has Broken

I got the Hipstamatic app for my iPhone, and love the images that it produces.  It's meant to recollect the pictures produced by Instamatic cameras on square 126 film back in the days when only professionals used 35mm film and 'digital' referred to alarm clocks and not much else.

This is a self-portrait taken in bed, first thing in the morning as the light started to stream in my window.  I love the ragged frame effect, and you can expect to see more of it this year. 

31/365: The Castle on the Hill

(Full view for a crisper image)

Okay, so it's not actually a castle, but it's the closest I can come here in Michigan. This is my church, St. Thomas the Apostle, from the back--it seems to only be sunny here on Sundays lately, so I managed to get a nice bright picture of it on my way to church. If I can read Roman numerals properly (no guarantees!), it was built in 1897--lots of stone and stained glass windows and a bell tower that still works! The inside is basilica-style, with marble columns and a really ornate tabernacle and altar area. Perhaps I'll post a picture of the interior some time, too (I've got a pretty good view from the choir loft).

My parish at home is comparatively modern in style, so when I got to AA I was really excited that my new church looked like this. :)

Location: St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan


Sunday, January 30, 2011

30/365 A Beauty on the water

We spied this schooner in Bellingham Bay from the park we love to go to. I don't believe it is from around here and so we decided to take a picture. We have seen the Lady Washington here before she was used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.


Photographed in Bellingham Bay, Washington.

30/365 Sadly but safely walked away!

With the axle held on only by the springs and the frame bent, this truck is totaled! Ryan was lucky to walk away without a scratch as was the other driver who ran into him.


Photographed in Burlington WA. in the tow yard where it was taken after the accident.

29/365: Gratka the horse


I started learning how to ride horses this year. This one's called Gratka, which is a derivation of the word 'gratis' (latin 'gratiis' meaning 'out of kindness'). 'Gratis' nowadays means 'free of charge'. In Polish, 'gratka' will be the word you use to describe something which was a really great opportunity, something you just had to grab as soon as you saw it because it was such a good deal. 'Ale gratka!' you might exclaim, when the universe gives you a present and asks for no extra charge. What luck!

Gratka is a nice horse, a bit round, a bit slow, and a bit lazy, but that's all right. I'm a beginner, I need a patient horse who doesn't mind a stupid rider. 


Saturday, January 29, 2011

29/365 - Tooks' pressie!

As promised, a photo of the present that Tooks sent me. :)

It is currently residing on top of my Tolkien bookshelf. What you can see in the photo is:

- the glass things either side of the spider are tea-light candle holders
- the Argonath either side of the photo
- the item in the frame is a card that I bought in Martha's Vineyard which as a Border Collie trotting purposefully down a lane with the words "All who wander are not lost" as "quoted" from JRR Tolkien (Yes, I know it's wrong, but I loved the photo!).
- behind that is a print-out of the map of Middle-earth, which I'm using to track the journey in the role-playing thread I'm posting in (although it's not very hard since we've not left Bree yet!)

And there you have it. :)

28/360 (posted on 29) My Happy Place

Posted by Heather a.k.a PatriotBlade a.k.a. PB

This is probably my most favorite place in the world. It is my retreat, my escape (both litterally and figuratively). I think of it as the "Wood Between the Worlds" of my world. Every book I open takes me to another place. Sometimes I'm glad to be able to close the book and escape, but most of the time, I wish I didn't have to leave.

Friday, January 28, 2011

28/365 - A Spot of Color

This was taken along the same path I found earlier in the week.  It had been so grey outdoors for so long I was genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised to find something that was so naturally vivid.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

27/365 Public Bookcase

I'd heard of these 'public bookcases' being placed in city and town centres, but this is the first I've actually seen. It's in a town right next to Cologne where I currently teach an evening class - which is why I only get to see it in the dark at the moment. ;)

I love the idea of a 'public bookcase'. You can take books out or put books in, you can return the ones you've taken out or keep them - no memberships, no loan periods, no questions.
There are some volunteer patrons, I believe, who manage the general upkeep and such, but otherwise it's just there and open for everyone.

It looks curiously alien and a little surreal, I think. :D

Also, the fact that this concept actually works - that, as a rule, these bookcases don't get vandalised or just plundered entirely - helps restoring at least some little faith in humanity, I think. :)

27/365 An Early Wisconsin Winter Morn

I took this photo a couple of mornings ago out in front of our house, looking across the street to the West.. The moon was nearly full & so bright. There was a light snow falling. A very beautiful COLD & quiet morning.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

26/365.... The Mountain....

The Mountain...
Ok, I'm driving down lower Wheaton Way in Bremerton on my way to the hospital to see my son when there was my photo opp... :D   No one in front of me, no one behind me I stopped the car and took the shot as quick as I could. It's not a very good shot but the bump you see on the horizon in the middle of the picture is Mt. Rainier. Or as we say,,,,

 The Mountain.

Click to the largest view for a much better look.
The bridge you see is the old Manette Bridge. They are currently in the process of building a new one because the old one has been here since before I was born and it's seen far too many days....

The water way you see directly ahead is Sinclair Inlet. It leads to the Puget Sound.


26/365: DUCK!!!

I love all the duckies that show up every year at my brothers pond (which is in his back yard in Vancouver, WA).  This year the pond is as full as it gets.  Yesterday there were around a hundred ducks swimming, waddling about.  I had to take the picture through the window, if I tried to go out there, they scatter so fast.

I took four pictures and this was the best of the bunch.  Quack quack, waddle waddle!!  If you double click on the image, it gets much larger and you can see the duckies more clearly.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

25/365 Lots and lots of tracks.....

…right outside my back door.  Squirrel tracks, dog tracks, and lots of birdie tracks. 

Location:   Chilly Southcentral Pennsylvania

24/365 - The road goes ever on and on...

...and this little one must follow, if she can.

There's a trail not far from where I live, part of which I use when I walk Shadow here.  The other day I decided to take a different turn and see where I ended up, and found this nifty corridor.  I'll definitely be revisiting this picture as the seasons change.


Monday, January 24, 2011

24/365 - Great chieftain o' the puddin-race!

Ok, I know the chronologically astute among you will be aware that Robert Burns' birthday isn't until tomorrow, but today is my turn to post a photo, and we had our Haggis, Neeps and Tatties for dinner tonight, so I took the opportunity to use it as my post.

For the uninitiated, the haggis is the brown part of the dish on the left, while the yellow-ish neeps are simply mashed turnip (or swede or rutabaga), and tatties are mashed potatoes.  Although its contents don't sound appetising, haggis is a tasty dish, especially when combined with neeps and tatties.  If you haven't tried it and get the opportunity to taste it, I'd recommend you go for it and try to put the ingredients out of your mind.

24/365: Fishing pole

I passed this on my way to campus the other day and had to take a picture of it. There were about four or five lamp poles done up like this, each with a sign that read "Take a balloon and come to State Street for the Fish Parade!" I don't know what a fish parade is or what prompted it, but with smiley fishy balloons, how could it not be a good time? The semester theme is "Water" (don't ask--I have no idea!) so maybe it had something to do with that.

Anyhow, it made me smile. :)

Location: University of Michigan


Sunday, January 23, 2011

23/365 Somewhere Over the Rainbow!

Oh the beauty of our area!!! I love when it rains here or I should say when it is stopping raining and the sun comes out. I don't remember ever seeing a double or triple rainbow till I moved to this area. But double rainbows are common though I still love to see them. This double is not very bright yet but shortly after taking this picture and when I could not get a good shot of it again, it got very bright. We could see the entire double very vividly from end to end. We were driving home when we saw and photographed this. Its a narrow road so we had to drive on down because of traffic and the farther we got the fainter they both got till we lost them both. I truly wish we could have found a road to turn off on that would have allowed us to picture both of the rainbows end to end vividly. It was so AWESOME!!!!

If you want the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you will definitely want to visit this little farm. It appears the end of the rainbow is right in the roof of their home. :D


23/365 Proud Bald Eagle

This Bald Eagle was sitting proudly at the top of the tree right in front of our house. We have seen young Bald Eagles there before but this adult was enjoying the break from searching for food. We have many in the area but this is the first adult we have seen sitting somewhere. Our house is located about 1/4 of a mile from the Puget Sound so he definitely is not looking for fish at this moment in time.

Up river this time of year they have Eagles from different parts of the continent gathered for the feasting of winter. Soon they will all be departing for their home areas because the gathering and spawning of the old Salmon will have come and gone and the food will not be as plentiful. They say we get Eagles from as far away as Montana and Mexico that come specifically to this area in January to feed on the dying Salmon of the Skagit River. A few years ago they counted over 700 Bald Eagles in this feasting up river, I believe this year their number is several hundred but I have not heard their official count.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

22/365 - Pizza!

Okay, so it's not a very entertaining or informative photo, but I'm working the night shift tomorrow, so I'm trying to stay on night shift time, which means sleeping for most of the day! Or else playing on the computer.

As we were rather lazy today, we decided to order out and today it was Dominos Pizza. This is mine: Texas BBQ minus green peppers replaced by mushrooms.

22/365: A snowy morning in Lodz

Snowy morning

Well, I am VERY glad that I got to take some photos in the snow. I was sure I'd missed it this year. I never had time to ride out of town and go walking in the forest when it was snowy, and then everything started melting. But on that morning...

Pure luck, really. I would have still been asleep at nine, not somewhere on the edge of town taking photos, if I didn't have a horse riding class that day. You wouldn't think so, but the easiest way for me to get to the stables is to take the bus all the way to the airport and then walk across the fields. And I think from now on I will take the earlier bus and wander around the birchwood for a bit every time I go. :)

(if you click the photo you'll go to my flickr stream where there are other pretty winter shots)


Friday, January 21, 2011

21/365 Mamma! Let me in!

Posted by Heather a.k.a. PatriotBlade a.k.a. PB

This is how I am greeted almost every morning when I go outside to feed my kitty, Moria. She gets up on her back legs and "knocks" on the door when she thinks I'm coming.

Had SO many pics this week! So here's some links to see the rest. If you don't have facebook, it's okay, you can still see them.

All from this album:
The latest snow pics are in this album:
These were taken with my celphone:
And these were from me just playing around with Mom's camera:

21/365 Arts of Okinawa

(Filling in for *Alassë* today)
Our daughter is studying Japanese and she may have the opportunity to travel to Japan on an internship this summer. With that in mind my mother asked an old classmate who married a woman from Okinawa if we might watch their weekly dance practice. These women do have public performances, but they did not have a show while we were in Tucson.  They were very gracious in allowing us to watch and they talked with us about many things, including the difference between Japanese and Okinawan cultures. It was a fascinating afternoon.
This practice took place on the military base and we were there when Air force One flew in with President Obama for the Memorial. We didn't see any of that, however.

I had difficulty choosing one photo.. so I have also placed one in the 'runner-up' section.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

20/365 Oasis In The Desert

If you look up the word 'Oasis' in the dictionary.. it should say 'Agua Caliente park'.  It is a quintessential Oasis in the Desert located just northeast of Tucson, Arizona nestled in a corner between the Catalina and Rincon mountain ranges.

Agua Caliente means 'hot water' in Spanish and the water from the natural spring is said to be about 87 F (30.5 C) year round, the temperature in the small lake is not that warm.  You cannot swim or fish here, but there is an abundance of wildlife and whenever we visit Tuscon we always stop here for a hike, a picnic, or simply to take photos. It's a gorgeous spot.

I was able to post a photo on the 'runners up' page.. so check it out!

Dawn /RoseMorninStar

20/365 High Water

With the melted snow and continual rains in the last couple of weeks, the Rhine is currently at flood level - but nothing catastrophic, just ol' man river knocking on the city doors and wanting to come in for a visit. Not so bad that it wasn't perfectly alright to go and have a look and take pictures, which we did on Sunday.

The water level was at 8.70 metres - real entry into the city only begins at 9 metres and since they built some flood walls a few years ago (after the 9 metres had been reached twice within a few years), the city is said to be safe up to 10 metres (which hasn't been reached since then).

I chose this for my main photo as it shows the almost surreal side of floods, that is, the way areas that are normally dry land - the bank promenade, in this case - peek out from under the water.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

19/365: Thank you flowers

When I came into work (in Vancouver, WA) on Monday morning, my brother and his wife had left me some flowers just to say thank you for the work that I do for the company.

I shot this with the new Olympus camera and I like the clarity so much more over the cell phone camera.

So I wanted to share them with you folks too.  And you get to see a bit of my desk as well. :D


19/365...The Marina...

Nice boats, eh?

This is the marina of Port Orchard.

Lots of nice boats.
It looks nice now, but even better when the sun shines.
Look for another shot come summer.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

18/365 - A bit of culture...

About a year ago my sister spent a few weeks in Ethiopia as part of her school program.  She brought back this for me, a hand carving of the three wise monkeys (see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil).  I currently have it displayed in my living room, and I believe it's the only piece of actual 'art' or 'culture' in my entire apartment.  To wit: it's directly above my collection of Xbox games.


18/365 The big crane.....

For months now they've been building an 'addition' to the Medical Center.  This wing will be the Children's Hospital.

I certainly don't envy the construction workers out there in the cold weather!

Hershey, PA.


Monday, January 17, 2011

17/365 -- Zingerman's

This is the storefront of Zingerman's Delicatessen, a (fairly famous) deli near my apartment. The Zingerman's in the picture is the deli and bakery, but they also have a cafe, dairy, and restaurant at various places throughout Ann Arbor. The food is incredible, but pretty expensive, especially for underpaid graduate students! They do, however, have huge pretzel sticks for $1, which are probably also really expensive when you think about it, but at $1 I don't feel like I'm spending a ton of money like I would buying a $15 sandwich. Perhaps I'll take a picture of one some day...

I study at the cafe (which is right next door to the deli) sometimes, including yesterday, when it was as busy as ever--I felt a little bad taking up a table for four with my computer and books. ;) I was also not the only person taking pictures of it as I went by--it's something of a tourist attraction for people from out of town.

Pictures of the interior can be found on the Runner Ups page.

Location: Ann Arbor, MI


17/365 - Foggy Sunrise

This was a sunrise over the river near to my camp in Iraq.  The fog was localised to the river and its banks, and the palm trees were rising out of the mist as the sun came up.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

16/365 Pretty as a picture!

This shot reminded us of several we have seen in places such as Webshots or on desktop wallpaper. I loved this view of the sun shining through the bare trees. This is also at Rialto Beach of Washington where we were. I could not help but have Ryan snap the picture. Very magical and mystical, I almost expected to see the faeries or a unicorn come out of the woods there. I would not have minded if that had happened at that moment nor would I have been too shocked. It was just amazing! We plan on going back soon to visit this area again.


16/365 View of the Pacific Ocean

I think this view was beautiful!! It shows some of the rock formations on the coast line of Washington's Rialto Beach. We were surprised to find out that there are Pelicans here in the state and they were flying south to find somewhere for the night. It was very cool to see but then we noticed something going on in the surf and realized we also were seeing dolphins playing in the surf. Wow! Such a treasure to see so much in just a few moments. We felt like it was magical!!!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

15/365 - First fuchsia bloom

I have three fuchsia plants that I brought indoors for the winter. As instructed, I clipped them down to almost nothing (you can see the skeleton branches). To my surprise about a month ago, three blooms appeared. Only one lasted (the other two fell off) and this is the result. It should be dark pink as opposed the pale pink it is at the moment, but I suspect that may have something to do with sunlight, or lack thereof. :)

However, I'm very impressed that these plants appear to be thriving, as I thought I'd killed them!

And what's more, this photo was taken today! :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

14/360 More Snoy Objects!

Posted by Heather a.k.a PatriotBlade a.k.a. PB
West Virgina, USA

Dad's snow filled boat. I thought it looked neat, but settled for posting the shed instead.

14/365 Snowy Shed

Posted by Heather a.k.a. PatriotBlade a.k.a. PB
West Virginia, USA

Our snow covered shed. We had probably about 9 inches of the evil white stuff yesterday (Thur.). I'll be SO glad when things are GREEN again!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

13/365 First bloom

We've not had frost for a week or so now, the snow's all gone and on my balcony the hellebore is in bloom, with some more pretty buds to come. (It's probably been blossoming for a few weeks already, but I couldn't see it under the snow. :D ) I love hellebores, also called Christmas roses, very much. :)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

American Southwest desert 13/365

This is a saguaro (pronounced "sah-WAH-row") cactus which grows in a very limited area in the American desert Southwest/Northern Mexico. This photo was taken west of the city of Tucson, Arizona. We are currently visiting my mother who lives here. 

Saguaro cactus live to be 150-200 years old and can grow to be 50 feet tall. They are about 85% water and may weigh 8 tons or more. These cactus are very slow growing, taking about 50 years to reach 6 feet tall.  Woodpeckers make holes in the cactus, making homes for birds, bats and owls. It flowers only one night a year and bears fruit from which the native Americans make jam, jelly, candy, and ceremonial wine.

The city of Tucson is a valley surrounded by 4 mountain ranges. It is much drier and warmer here than it is in Wisconsin, where I live.. and it is a welcome mid-winter break from the snow!


12/365... The Game....

The things any good DM needs
  I've been playing D&D since 1984...
I have had many a good Friday nights playing this game.
I DM (run the game) as well as play the game. I like doing both...

We are currently looking for hidden objects to re-establish the history and lands of the Kingdom of Achleyon. We've found the Druid's area and have opened the gate to release the animals into the wilds.
We are now on our way back to the capitol city....

Hmm, but what will happen on the way home?
Only the DM knows.
 (edited 2/20/11) I had to reload the picture...


12/365: Peanut M & M's

This image was taken when I got to work at my brothers home this morning in Vancouver WA.

My sister gave him a huge jar of peanut M & M's for Christmas.  They are pretty in color, but also tasty.

I think I would like the old fashioned jar more though.


12/365: Cracked red pepper

This image was also taken early this morning in my kitchen in Vancouver, WA.

I love cracked red pepper on many things.  I don't over do it, but use it often.

Very random, indeed.  But there is the mind of Jules at 5am.


12/365: Some fresh basil

This picture was taken very early this morning in my kitchen, in Vancouver WA. *wink*

I love to use fresh basil in cooking and I cook Italian quite a bit.  It lasts a long time and does actually grow.  I replace it three or four times a year.

I got a new camera after I took these pictures this morning.  So next week, I am hoping that there will be more variety and better quality.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

11/365 - Sunrise Over Lake Michigan

Here's the picture I wanted to take and show last week, more or less.  It'd look cooler if the lake was frozen over, but it's been a bit warm for that.  Taken somewhere in eastern Wisconsin.


11/365 - A cozy little home.....

LOL.  Some woodpecker or furry critter took advantage of the shelf fungus to make a front porch.  The tree is mostly dead, but I hope it stands for a long time!

Photo taken in somewhat chilly but sunny southcentral  PA.


Monday, January 10, 2011

10/365: Obligatory Squirrel Photo

Everyone has to have one, right? I mean, it's not a photo blog unless someone posts a picture of a squirrel in a tree! So here's mine; I took this on campus as I was walking home from class. I don't know if there's anything particularly special about Michigan squirrels other than that the ones on campus are FAT and relatively fearless. And even photogenic!

Location: University of Michigan


Sunday, January 9, 2011

9/365--Sunset on Mt. Baker in Washington State

This is the sunset upon Mt. Baker here in Washington State. A very beautiful site after a very dreary day of snow and fog. We had to go out and Ryan thought we should take the camera along. So very glad we did!


9/365 Winter outside my door this morning!

This morning we woke up to green grass and cloudy skies and then the snow started! It is now a winter wonderland and you can not see the mountains in the distance. But it sure is pretty for now!! I love how this tree and the things along the fence give it such a dreary but detailed look. It's not even noon yet!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

8/365: At home with perch and burbot

8/365: At home with perch and burbot

January 8th

I like to say I'm currently unemployed, but the actual truth is that I'm freelancing. It's nice, because I have lots of time to go outside and take pictures, but some days I do have to sit down and make a deadline.

The illustrations I've been doing recently are all going into schoolbooks, so it is rather important that the perch looks like a perch and that the burbot is not missing its fishy goatee. Enter my vast collection of picture reference books. That's an encyclopaedia of animals which my mum got me at a flea market. Very useful. Because google is good, but google plus books is better.