Shining in the sun
Morning after a rain
I had grand plans of posting about our trip to a you-pick blueberry farm this evening.
And then tonight happened.
But nothing really happened tonight.
I was in the kitchen prepping dinner semi-early, and Meiling and Noah were outside. They had two Frisbees that they had gotten at the County Fair last night (we worked there yesterday). They were the kind with the big hole in the middle – just large plastic rings. They weren’t throwing them at each other, they were using them to…um…do things. Like the put a long stick thing through both, then one carried one Frisbee and the other carried the other. They hung things from them, dropped things through them, carried things with them. And they showed us many of the poses.
Mom and Dad were behind me, just chatting, discussing (among other things) plans for tonight. There weren’t a whole lot.
Once I had gotten dinner pretty much ready, I headed out the door to go pick up Drake from work. On my way, I stopped at Sonic to get a medium cherry limeade, since Mom had a token for a free one, and she told me I could use. So I got it. A whole medium! It made me feel so grown up. A soda AND driving. If myself 4 years ago could have seen me then, she would have asked who that person was, because there was no way that could have been her.
Earlier today I ran something over to a friend’s home. After I had gotten over halfway there, I realized I had forgotten what I was supposed to take to them. So I had to go home. And it made my trip that much longer. But I actually kind of liked it. It was one of those beautiful days, not too warm, clear blue sky, just a few white, semi-wispy clouds, and all the colors oh-so-vibrant. And there is just something wonderful about flying down a country highway, windows down, radio playing, hair flying. It almost made me half glad that nobody was home when I got there, so I just had to leave my things there. No one needed to see THAT crazy hair.
That feeling carried over to my trip to get Drake, and the soda. It was so beautiful. After I grabbed Drake, we chatted on the way home. He said that, since it was Friday, everyone there was joking, and having more fun. It just added to my feeling of a relaxed, happy Friday.
When we got home, Mom and I were outside, when I heard some music. And it sounded like it was getting closer. Dad appeared around the corner holding the speaker from inside, music blaring, with Meiling and Noah behind him, bearing Frisbees. We all started throwing the Frisbees back and forth, to the happy music.
And then Mom lit the burn pile, and the smoke outlined the sunbeams that were straining through the trees. I ran inside to get my camera.
I took a few shots of the smoke, and then laid down in the grass, and took a few self-portraits. They are among my favorites. Not because they are amazing. Because they capture the moment.
It wasn’t anything that we did, or really anything we did. It was the feeling, the mood, that prevailed, that is what made it memorable. The relaxedness. The laid-backness. The love. The feeling of family. The whatever goes feeling.
We have been running almost nonstop for the past two weeks. And I have been feeling pressured to do more school, and to be more busy (if that makes sense).
But the other day, Meiling and I were home alone. And we were sitting on the floor in the family room, making friendship bracelets. After that, we were going to read “Little House on the Prairie,” which we call Laura.
While we were sitting there, I kept feeling like I should go do something productive. School. Prep for our trip. Oh, I am sure that my room could have used a cleaning.
But I really just wanted to stay there.
And then it kind of hit me. It’s summer. I don’t ALWAYS have to be working, busy. And this was one of those times that I was going to remember for a long time, if not forever. And I don’t want to squish that, brush it out of the way, with “what-I-really-should-be-doing.” School. Cleaning. All great things.
But in the end, what do they mean? What do they count for?
Meanwhile, I have a little sister who won’t be seven forever. And what do I want her to remember about me in 10-15 years? The older sister who was always closeted up with her books, saying, “SHH! Please shut the door when you leave!” or as the sister who took time to read, to make friendship bracelets, bake fun things, do projects.
Oftentimes, Drake, Noah, and I talk about all the things that we used to play. The forts. The games. Like pretending that we were orphans (our parents had been killed by monsters – more specifically, their bites, I think), and we had to move from room to room, being orphans with no home now. (Side note: we actually didn’t remember this one, but I found it in an old journal, and it TOTALLY sounds like something we would have played.)
And Meiling doesn’t have any of those memories.
Now we’re doing school, driving, going to work, running errands, cooking, programming, building, and other what-not, while Meiling is being her little self, at the same age when we were playing in cardboard boxes, cooking pretend food, and taping paper facial hair on one another (I don’t think I ever wore any of that). And she doesn’t have any memory of that.
So I want to be the sister that takes time for her. If not to play in cardboard boxes and make paper facial hair, but to at least take time out for her. Read to her. Participate in her make-believes. And give her some of the memories that we have.
And tonight was one of those nights, in a way.
Just a random, fun memory. Not perfect, but wonderful in spite of the imperfection, maybe because of it. Or maybe because it seemed so great.
That was today.
The photos that didn’t make the cut – for one reason or another. But I like some just as well as the one I chose. Tell me what you think, and which photo is your favorite. This week’s theme is horizontal lines.
(1) This one made it on 6 Lenses
(2) With my shadow
(3) I love barbed wire
This one and the next one don’t really fit the category, but I like them. 🙂
(4) This one and the next one don’t have the perfect focus, but I like them none the less (wow, what a schooling on what I like!)
So, which one(s) do you like?
Now the distance from the gate to the trees seems quite long when you are hauling a wagon containing 2 bags stuffed with books, a thermos of tea (for the pictures, not to drink), a camera bag, a quilt, and a teacup, with the other hand holding the camera. Also, the tall grass covered with ice didn’t aid my journey.
Basically, after hauling out there and back, I was tired. And cold.
So when I was done, I went inside and started a pot of coffee.
Then I went back outside with just my camera and macro lens to take a few pictures before I went in to have my mocha.
These past few days have been normal, or as close to normal as my life ever comes. Just the norms. School. Chores. Dinners. Nothing all that exciting.
Something a bit more exciting is that the first part of my midwifery correspondence course came last week in the mail. Mom and I ordered the first group of books that I need for it on Saturday, and I started it today. I can’t wait for my books to arrive (the earliest I can expect them is the 18th). Oh, I am SO looking forward to reading and learning!
I am not currently planning any desserts this week – but I am hoping that we will be able to pick up another of my favorite chocolate bars (Lindt 90%). I finished the one I had today. It was really good. And now I want more.
I am planning a few new dinners for later this week, from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. We’ll see if they make it on here. I haven’t been posting that many savory things lately – mostly just the sweets. 🙂
Oh. I just remembered. I will be making Mom some coffee chocolate chip coconut milk ice cream this week, and I will hopefully make Dad some chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt. I also owe my brother Noah a chocolate cake. (For Christmas, I let both of my brothers choose any recipe they wanted, and I would make it for them. Noah requested a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Drake wanted Brazilian Black Beans. I think I am going to make Drake’s when I come off this diet, so I can eat it. I really like Brazilian Black Beans.) But I probably won’t make his chocolate cake until next week. (I need to add all three of these things to my schedule.)
Well, that’s all for now, folks!
a few pictures. (You can never tell beforehand how long this section is going to be.)
The frozen grass I was trying to plow through
I should have tried to get this shot horizontally, but I guess I forgot. Plus, this blade of grass was very close to the ground. And normally I am not very close to the ground. This made photographing it rather difficult.
Hate these things. Vehemently. I was VERY careful to walk AROUND them.
This is the photo I posted on 6 Lenses yesterday. Couldn’t decide if I liked the vertical one…
…or the horizontal one better. What do you think?
(Said with an accent) A spot of tea!
Throwing out the tea
Ice is SO FUN to photograph. It has all the benefits of photographing water, except it stays much more still. The only downside is that it is cold out. Freezing cold.
There is a slight focusing difference between these two photos. Which one do you like better: 1…
I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today. I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see. I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping. 🙂
Today was just a normal day of school, of life.
I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight. I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat. It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself). Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese. They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle. I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing. I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese. LOTS of cheese. I think one time I had an actual burrito. But I much prefer the burrito bowl. Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!
O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner. I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan. I was really happy with how it turned out. The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time. Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too. I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few. Everyone enjoyed it. The cheese was well liked by all (see above).
No pictures. I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share. 🙂
I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work. I went for a walk today, and it was lovely. Today was a bit chilly. It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things. I like the cold, gray days. They always have a certain quiet beauty about them. I can’t explain it. There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray. They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere. They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky. Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were. No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them. I love gray days.
So I brought my camera on my walk with me. As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture. I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.
Here are a few of my shots.
LOVE the moss
And the grass
Old barbed wire is so…country…
…and just plain wonderful!
Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…
…or this shot better. What do you think? One or two?
Old rusty farm equipment
Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!
Love to you,
*Note: I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it. I just like this recipe. 🙂
I love the trees in the pasture across the street. I know I’ve said that before, but they are so beautiful I had to say it again. And you will probably hear it again at some unknown date.
The in the past week, when I have gone out to get the mail, I stop and look at them. Sometimes I run out with my camera when the light is really great. Here are some of the shots from the last few days.
I know that these are basically all pictures of the same thing
But bear with me
‘Cause I love them all
And I’ll try not to be to repetitious
But I really like these trees
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope you have a lovely day, like the one I am looking forward. A day full of friends, family, and food. And thankfulness.
So, what are your plans?
I know that I just posted a few hours ago, but I can’t help it. I need to post again.
About an hour ago I looked out the window, and noticed that the sky looked lovely – deep blue with the white clouds streaked against it. So I decided to go sit out on the deck and take a few photos.
I went and sat there and started snapping away.
Then I saw a part of the sky that I really wanted to take a picture of. But I needed to get up to take it. Once I was off the deck, I went for a walk.
And I was richly rewarded.
The wind was (and is) quite busy. It was mostly warm, but suddenly I would feel a bit of cold in it, making me thankful that I had worn a jacket.
And it reminded me that, although it was 80 degrees out today, winter is still coming. It is not far off.
I watched the sky slowly change from bright to dark, and the clouds drifting across it.
The sunset wasn’t a beautiful, colorful, amazing sunset. It was just a quiet going-away of the sun. The sky stayed mostly blue, with some yellows and golds near the sun, and just the faintest tinges of pink here and there.
I decided that I needed to visit one of my favorite places – the clearing (if that’s what you would call it) behind the pond. It is so open and beautiful. The thick grass is framed on all sides by the trees. This time of year you can see through them all the way past the pond to the road, but in the spring and summer it is more difficult.
It feels very secluded back there, even though it isn’t.
I took Meiling and Noah with me to the clearing-behind-the-pond. Meiling told us a bit of a story on the way. It went something like this.
“Once there was a man named Mr. Mashmallow. He liked dogs. So he bought a dog. It was a hound dog.”
(I immediately started singing “Hound Dog.” Once I finished, she continued.)
“They also had a green buffalo in their yard.”
“A green buffalo?” I asked, “In their yard?”
“Yes,” she responded.
I think that is far as she got.
On the way back home, while we were passing two conifer trees growing closely together, she said, “I am going to check if there is a bear.” She used her flashlight to check if there was.
She then calmly informed me, “You have a baboon in your jacket.”
At this time my jacket was tied around my waist. Not sure exactly what was meant by this. I don’t think she was referring to me. No, she doesn’t do that yet.
She then informed me that she was trying to “freak me out.”
She makes me laugh.
And not long after that, we were home.
On the deck – the sky through the tree
This caption goes for the next few pictures: I LOVE the bare tree limbs against the lovely sky!
LOVE the clouds
An airplane flew by 🙂
I LOVE THE CLOUDS!!!!
Leaving the deck
Somebody’s excited about her bone!
These trees are my favorite. They look so beautiful all the time – in spring, summer, winter, and fall, in fresh green, bright sun, soft rain, and snow
The sky in front of our home was particularly striking
My feet, or lack thereof
Were does it lead?
A lovely wooded walk (I went this way, in case you were wondering)
This make me smile
On the way to the clearing-behind-the-pond with Meiling and Noah
Following the path
Meiling thought she saw a bunny, so she went to look
It turned out to be only waving grass
Heading back home
The warm home-light beckons
This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that. It was quite interesting. Definitely very squishy. It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say. We also brought Lucy with. Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held. Mom had to chase her around and catch her. I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught. Lucy really liked the motor home. She was looking for it after we got home.
To give a brief synopsis:
Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).
Friday we drove up to the Faire. On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.” I was so excited I started screaming. 😀 We watched that on the way up. We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker. The concert by the Wintons was that evening.
Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square. The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30. The dance was started at 7:30.
We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.
And that’s that.
Here are some of the photos I took. I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home. Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is. 🙂
Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again! I have the photos to prove it. 😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday. I think we can definitely be called groupies. 🙂
Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny
Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!
My silly brother. Just got to love him.
Relaxin’, and my view, in a way
I worked on this post on the way up
[Does this need a caption?]
Meiling playing and looking out the window
Hey, look! It’s the Wintons!
Meiling enjoying the concert
Saturday – walking to the park
An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).
My friend Bethany 😀
Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures. 🙂
Lu, sitting on my lap
Self-portrait – these were so fun!
Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?
“So away we go, down that forever road.”
The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad
“Life is a highway…
…I want to drive it all night long.”
Crossing the river
“…makes me want to take a back road.”
I love roads. Oh, you could tell? I wonder how you figured that out!
I love the greens in this one
This little blue car was so cute!
I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!! I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations. I am so glad I finally found one. 😛
Meiling using her drink for a microphone
Thursday was a beautiful day – in the morning the sun was out, but in the afternoon the clouds rolled in. There was a brisk breeze and it was just a bit nippy. The weather plainly said “Autumn.”
It was the perfect day for some self-portraits. I headed out with my camera and got a few shots. I only spent about 45 minutes out there, which, although it sounds like a lot, isn’t that long. My first self-portrait shoot took about, oh, an hour, maybe a bit less. My second self-portrait shoot took probably 2+ hours. Which was very, very fun.
Anyways, there are not all that many different shots, so this post won’t be too terribly long (although I don’t need to tell you that, since you will find that out in a few seconds).
So, without further ado, here they are.
(Breaking news alert: I just went and selected all my photos, and there will be more than I originally thought. Many more. Just thought you would like a heads up.)
This spot is right in the front yard, and I could see it from the window. It called my name all day, “Come. You need to take some self-portraits right here.” So I listened.
Throwing leaves. Yay!
I love this fence! You may remember it from this picture. This lovely tree has a few branches that bend over the fence. This was another spot that was calling my name.
At the edge of our property, standing on the road, looking up – the lovely orange and red of the maple and oak trees, respectively.
See the leaves flying? The wind was blowing quite briskly.
I really like how these turned out. I underexposed them some by accident, but I am quite happy with the resulting effect.
I found this tree out in the woods behind our property. Just a perfect place!
I thought that it would be fun to jump. I ended up only proving to myself that I can’t jump gracefully. This is the only one that turned out. All the others look extremely ridiculous.
Just to prove the last point, here is an example of how the rest of my jumping shots turned out. *Sigh* Rather pathetic, and ridiculous. But they made me giggle. 🙂
Yesterday I went out and took some pictures. All the flowers were blooming, so I crawled around in the dirt to take a few photos. Dirty, yes, and rather uncomfortable, but I ended up with some fun pictures. I got a tick after all that, though, so I’ll have to do a tick check next time. Bugs are supposed to be bad this year since we didn’t have a real winter. That means more ticks. 😦
Back to the subject at hand. Here are some of the pictures.
There are a few lovely tulips – I like this one especially
Aren’t the pansies’ little faces so cute?
That yellow is quite bright!
I think this flower is so pretty
Do you see what I see? Everything’s turning…