Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Freeze Warning?

Global warming? Not so in Georgia. The National Weather Service has issued a frost advisory for central and northern Georgia from 1am to 9am tomorrow. I repeat, FROST! Brrrrrr! The average low this time of year is 54 degrees. So what's up with the plunging temps? With the completion of the pool house, and the delivery of new outdoor furniture this coming Saturday from Georgia Backyard, we're ready for the pool season to begin. Okay. Pool season doesn't officially begin until Memorial Day. But we're ready! Woo-hoo! Click here to view a slide show of the finished pool house.

Afterthought: As I overheard Pete describe the pool house interior to a friend, he compared it to a "Caribbean brothel". Now you know I couldn't leave well enough alone... I had to ask how he would know what a Caribbean brothel looks like. Flashing me his best Clintonesque smile, he said in a syrupy sweet voice (sweet enough to give me a cavity), "I wouldn't know, my dear, I can only imagine what one must look like". Smooth, Doughboy...real smooth. But, I'm watching you...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Come Saturday Morning

We had been planning a family outing to Callaway Gardens for several weeks. Our list of weekend dates was limited to Saturday because of other preplanned and unchangeable events. We either go then or delay our bike outing for several weeks, possibly until the cooler days of autumn. The forecast called for 60% rain chance and the day dawned grey and threatening. Still, we decided to take our chances and proceed as planned. We picked up the Paynes, loaded our bikes, and made the one hour plus drive to beautiful Callaway Gardens. Boy, was it worth it! The clouds broke and we enjoyed mostly blue skies and 83 degree temps. With Ayden and Jameson tucked safely in their tyke trailer, we biked to the butterfly house, chapel, and horticultural center. Click on the flower below to view a slideshow of photos taken at Callaway Gardens.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Westview Cemetary

Combining my love for history and photography, Jamie and I walked the placid grounds of Atlanta's Westview Cemetary yesterday for several hours. Some may wonder why I have this morbid fascination for cemetaries. Others understand the peace and solitude that comes from these splendid domiciles of the deceased. Away from the hustle and bustle of mortal life I wander in faultless placidity. I reflect on the unseen lives shrouded in grass, and dirt, and stone. I dwell upon the bygone times of their lifes journey. I wonder about the lives they touched, and were touched by; and I give them breath again in my mind. It may sound odd to you but, I love cemeteries, and I'm not alone. There are thousands of people from all walks of life that share my fondness for these eternal gardens.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, my interest in cemetaries dates back to my youth. I have always been impressed with the many unique and varied tributes to the passing of loved ones in the form of statuary, mausoleums, and prose. I find a sense of calm as I walk around their eternal resting place. With my camera in hand, they are remembered once more. Click on the angel below to see a slideshow of my visit to Westview.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I am invited to dine with the Paynes almost every week night that I'm alone. I gladly accept the invitation. It gives me a chance to play with the boys and enjoy Jamie's home-cooked meals (she is an excellent cook!). But it's seeing the boys that I enjoy most. You never can predict what they'll say or do next. In nice weather they are outdoors playing in their big back yard. Seeing my car in the driveway brings Ayden to the gate where he greets me and begs me to play with him. How can I resist that face? He tucks his little hand in mine and leads me to the back yard where he asks me to watch him ride his fidower (translated as "four wheeler").
Ayden: Mimi! Watch me!
Ayden: Mimi! Take my picture as I ride my fidower.

Mimi: Ayden...look at me so I can take your picture.
Ayden: I am looking at you, Mimi! I can see you.

I moved from Ayden to Jameson. Ayden does NOT like the attention to be on someone else. Unlike his attention grabbing sibling, Jameson is more elusive about having his picture taken.

Ah hah! Jameson got his wheel stuck on a toy. He was my captive subject, if only for a brief moment. Don't let that angelic face fool you. There are horns beneath his helmut.

Mimi: Ayden, smile nice for me.

That isn't exactly the nice smile I expected. If you're patient, you might get lucky... in the world of toddlers, grab it while you can!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Signs of Spring

I love all seasons, but there is something special about spring. Winter releases its stronghold little by little as days grow longer and temperatures creep higher. One of the first signs of spring is the fuzzy green of budding trees. Other notable signs are green meadows and lawns, flowers, and babies. Our Boston fern has new residents - a mother bird and her four unhatched eggs. I check the nest nearly every day and will post photos of the babies as soon as they hatch. Aren't they cute? When I first discovered the nest, there were only 3 blue eggs. After our Scrap Etc. trip, I checked the nest and found a fourth egg -- the speckled brown one. Hmmmm... it looks strangely out of place from its blue-shelled siblings. The postman perhaps?

P.S. Click here to see photos I took during lunch today. My photography buddy, Darlene, and I visited another old cemetary in Newnan. Practice...practice...and more practice.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Scrap Etc. 2008

5 months of anticipation
4 great friends
3 days away from home
2 stops along the way to Nashville for scrap supplies
1 FABULOUS event!

After months of planning and expectancy, the day came at last when we made our way to Nashville for Scrap Etc. 2008 (click
here for a photo slideshow). Our Ford Expedition was packed nearly to the top with rolling suitcases, camera bags, snacks, and scraparatus. With two off-road diversions for yet more scrap supplies and lunch, we made it to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel with time to spare. Thursday night was the opening ceremony and a sneak peak at our instructors for the next two days. Friday morning came early as we eagerly made our way to the Tennessee Ballroom for a day of scrapping, bonding, and instruction. We shared our excitement with 600 other attendees, all women (go figure! men are scrap wimps). We were on excitement overload as we tore into our scrap kits and whipped out our arsenal of scrap tools and adhesive. It doesn't get better than this! We scrapped from early morning to night, stopping only an hour for lunch and dinner, making calls to home, and shopping at the Scrap Etc. store (3 times!). From the time we handed the car keys to the valet attendant to the day we returned home, we never so much as stepped foot outside. There was no time! Gosh we had fun...

Chere, Judy, Jamie and I eagerly anticipate our next travel event together... Creative Photography Retreat. My life would be so empty without these amazing woman in it. I've written about them in earlier posts, but it bears repeating that these ladies mean the world to me. I can't wait until we travel together again to Connecticut in the fall. In the meantime, I look forward to our Scrap Club get-togethers on the first Sunday of every month. Woo-hoo! Scrap Club is just two weeks away!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Happy Birthday, Judy!

Judy, our Scrap Club Diva and friend, is having a birthday later this month. Because Scrap Club meets on the first Sunday of the month, we celebrated Judy's birthday a bit early. We had a girlie tea (without the tea) consisting of pasta salad, cucumber sandwiches, fresh fruit, chicken basil salad, and other yummy goodies. The grande finale was dessert. Our fellow Diva, Pam, is an accomplished baker and decorator of cakes. There are definite perks to having a friend like Pam. She made a beautiful cake in the shape of a ladies hat and delicate coordinating cookies. Yeah, we girls know how to eat and have fun! Check out additional Scrap Club photos here.

Back To Nature

Unless you're new to this blog, you know I am passionate about photography. In particular, I am obsessed with perfecting my photographic skills. This takes practice, practice and more practice. My photo buddy Darlene and I agree that a photo we took a year ago would be pleasingly acceptable. However, by today's standards, we may find that same photo lacking in composition, clarity, quality or something equally unacceptable and reject it altogether. Yikes! I am becoming a... photographic snob! You be the judge. Your critique is welcome and appreciated. Please view my new nature set and give me your unbiased opinion. You may even leave a comment anonymously if you view your critique as less than complimentary. No matter the comments, I will accept them graciously. After all, I can't improve without a few bumps along the way. Thank you!

Note: Flickr slideshows may skip photos as it tries to load large files. Click your mouse on refresh to ensure that all photos are loaded. And, be patient. It may take a few tries. All photos in Nature #2 set were taken with my Nikon D200 in Program, Shutter or Manual mode using a Macro Nikkor 105mm lens. A few select photos were cropped, sharpened and/or lightened using Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0; however the original composition of the photos are untouched and in their original state SOC - straight out of camera. Meaning, I did not apply any PS enhancements, layers, or filters.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring Has Sprung...

...the grass has riz, I wonder where the flowers is. I used to say this to Jamie when she was little. She always got a kick out of it and I loved to hear her girlish giggle. There is nothing in the world like the sound of a child's laughter.

I was invited to join Jamie and the boys for dinner again tonight (I can never pass up a free home-made meal. I have no shame.). We even shared a bottle of my favorite wine -- Silver Lake Reisling. What an awesome daughter she is! We ate al fresco (who IS Al anyway?) on her deck and enjoyed the warm 80 degree evening. It just doesn't get better than this! We watched the boys play in the back yard while we sipped our cool, crisp wine like gentile southern belles. Just call me Scarlet.

Every year spring hits Georgia full force. There is very little transition from winter to spring. With the warm temps comes pollen... lots and LOTS of pollen. It is everywhere! I managed to find a few flowers that weren't entirely coated with green pine pollen. In a few short weeks the pollen will dissipate, then we'll be faced with daily smog alerts. You gotta love Georgia!