Monday, November 29, 2010

It's Like Christmas Came Early

I would like to send a big thank you out to Doreen at They Say Everyone Has a Story... I won a drawing she had for growing her blog to 300 followers.

When I saw the package in the mail this afternoon, I was very excited and even my son was curious. So we set to opening it, and I have to say we were not disappointed. It seemed that each item had been picked out with care, and it's uncanny how well the items fit.

I immediately hung the Welcome Friends ornament on my tree. Then we set to work putting the fountain together. Well, no assembly required, but we did have to find some batteries, unwrap the stones and put some water in. My son was quite impressed with it and declared it cool. (That's a very high compliment. He's 9 and fewer things are cool these days.) I, too declare the fountain cool. The photo opportunities are limitless especially considering water is one of my favorite subjects. My son also taste tested the candies, giving them a big thumbs up. He described them as sweet and carmelly.

I thought the coolest part was the handwritten thank you with the stickers on it. I love the little inspirational messages. I put that up on one of my bulletin boards.

Thank you so much Doreen for the thoughtful gifts.

Please stop by and check out her blog They Say Everyone Has a Story.... You will find a very inspirational person who continues to find the best in people and in the world despite what she has been through. The link in this post goes to an excerpt from her book. It is a tough subject and she does not pull punches, for herself or the people who caused her family grief. Look around her blog, and you will be inspired to rise above your own pain and to move on. Thanks Doreen for the cool prizes and especially for the awesome thank you note.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sundays In My City - Here Come the Holidays

Gingerbread Village - When one house just won't do

Ornament Balls - Now you know it's Christmas

Awesome Lighting - Just in case you miss the '70s

And one awetastic tree

Sundays in my City is hosted by Unknown Mami. Drop in to visit other cities from around the world.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Accept This Day for the Blessing It Is

I have this mantra that I try to say almost daily. It is: accept this day for the blessing it is. When my mom passed away, I was reminded, as most adult children who lose parents are, that every day is a blessing. Time does indeed run out.

It was this attitude that got me through what might be considered the usual disasterous winter outing. See, I have this way of turning winter photography trips into major castastrophes. Well, some of it is my attitude toward what invariably happens. I can guarantee that my glasses will fog. Frustrating doesn't cover it. There's no doubt my hands will eventually go numb. My gloves are great for pushing buttons, not so great for keeping me warm. Not to mention, every once in awhile I will put my foot into a ditch and find I'm up to my hip in snow. In fact, the list of winter clutsies that I have would probably be long enough to go from one side of Montana to the other. Today, I added another one.

While climbing up Peet's Hill to get to the trail at the top, I stepped on a rock that was under the snow, lost my footing and went to catch myself with both hands. I know what you're thinking. Where's the disaster? Wait for it... My camera was in my right hand and went lens first into the snow. I think I swore. Just the once though, which is pretty good for me. I spent 10 grueling minutes without a glove on my right hand doing the best I could to wipe slushy snow out of grooves I did not know my lens had. I did this totally blind, too. My glasses would not stop fogging. Definitely a grrr moment. To add to the fun, my other glove got soaked so it was warmer to leave it off. All of this joy erupting within feet of a shot I was dying to take.

By now, a few of you who live in Bozeman and know the hill are wondering why I didn't just take the trail from the bottom that connects to the trail at the top. Well, you'll know why when you see the photo below. Fortunately I persevered, my attitude paid off and I got my shot because it was all worth it. How else would I have been blessed with such a wonderful view on such a beautiful day?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

One Word Wednesday - Art Splatter

One Word Wednesday is the creation of Jillsy Girl. Sally G was kind enough to step in and host during the holiday rush. Today's word is splatter. Check it out and come play along!

Splatter actually fit right in with my day. I spent a couple of hours sorting through and straightening my son's art supplies. In the midst of that, a few items caught my attention. One of them was the dry splatter of paint on this container top.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sundays In My City - Buck Fest

Sundays in My City is hosted by Unknown Mami. Each sunday she gives everyone a chance to show off where they live. Check it out to see all kinds of cities from around the world. Better yet, sign up and show off your city, too!

When I went to let the cat out, he hesitated a moment, and that's when my eye caught movement going past our back deck. Upon closer inspection, I still couldn't figure out what it was. All I could see was a very large animal with brown fur. My brain went immediately to wolf. I almost grabbed my cat and slammed the door shut before we became food. Once I came to my senses, I realized it was too tall to be a wolf and was probably a deer. I decided to sneak a peek over the railing. To my surprise, it was not the usual does and fawns that we see, but a full grown buck! After grabbing my camera and running through six inches of snow in my surfer socks, I spotted him in my neighbor's yard. That's when I saw the other two that were with him. Definitely a good sunday in my city!

He seemed to be having trouble walking.
Not sure if he was injured or just on slippery ground.

Same shot as above with a closer crop
and some adjustments to the hue / saturation.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Half Frozen

When I came home the other day, I found these leaves caught between the freeze and the thaw. And while they are in limbo, I think that this state of existence makes for some of the most interesting and beautiful photography.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One Word Wednesday - The Great Spider Chase

One Word Wednesday was created by Jillsy Girl who is busy with the Holiday Season this week, so she has handed her baby over to Sally G. for awhile. Stop by for some dynamic blogging.

Dynamic happens to be this week's word. And I chose a photo of my cat trying to capture a granddaddy long legs. Dyanmic is definitely the right word for that chase!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sundays in My City - Winter Fun

Unknown Mami hosts Sundays in My City and gives us all a chance to show off the cities that are dear to our hearts. Stop by and check it out. Better yet, join in and show off your city, too!

Winter has finally come to Bozeman to stay. Bringing back the season of snowmen and snowball fights.

Not Your Average Snowman

Snowball Fight Aftermath

Saturday, November 13, 2010

World Kindness Day - Charity Begins at Home

Se'Lah and Anyes came up with a really cool idea for celebrating World Kindness Day. They put the word out through blogger and asked their followers to join them in random acts of kindness. I was inspired by this lovely thought and signed up immediately.

Unfortunately, I had to scrap my original plans and stick a little closer to home as I have been feeling under the weather.

Fortunately, I am usually looking for opportunities to help out when I can, so this post won't be completely barren. Last week, I went into work a couple of days early and cleaned out the microwave the teachers use. I figure their job is to teach, so they don't need to worry about clean microwaves.

And although I have been homebound, I did the best I could to keep with the spirit of the day. This morning started out fine, and I took some packages to the post office for my husband. (I think I picked my bug up there. Oh, well.) Then I dropped by Pet Smart to buy a heater for my goldfish tank. He's been a bit sick as well, so I'm hoping a nice even water temperature will alleviate stress and help him heal.

I have also been helping with Boy Scout popcorn. We stored all the popcorn for our den in our garage, so that people could come and get it. We were told that cleaned out half the garage of our Pack Leader. Wow!

Since I declined to go on errands, I looked around the house to see what I could do to help make my husband's day go a bit smoother. I emptied the trash. I put his clothes in the drier. I thawed chicken so he could make dinner a bit quicker.

The beauty of all these tasks is that I benefit from them, too. When I help my husband, I help myself. This truth becomes apparent in the deeds that my husband does to make my life easier. He took the last order of popcorn over to the scout's house, so that we could have the garage back. He put a bag into the garbage bin I emptied. (Sometimes follow through is not my best quality.) He took our son to the library and ran some errands from my list.

Charity truly begins at home. For when we are kind to those we love most dearly, a foundation is built from which kindness can then radiate througout the world.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Skywatch Friday - T-Rex Ate the Sky

T-Rex Ate the Sky

Here You Can See the Contents of His Last Meal

Big Mike is the Tyrannosaurus Skeleton that stands in front of the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, Montana. It's a lot of fun to take all kinds of abstract shots of him. When we visited on Sunday, I happened to notice that the clouds fit nicely within the space of his ribcage. A quick glance up as I walked by, and I observed that he appeared to be devouring the sky.

For more quirky shots of the sky check out Skywatch Friday!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Time to Deliver

What $5,000 in Popcorn Sales Looks Like

A Wall of Popcorn

Loved the connecting Yellow Lines
 Just Don't Look at the Top Row

My Son's Popcorn
This is what $1,000 in Popcorn Sales Looks Like

PS - I would like to say thank you to my father on this Veteran's Day. Because of men and women like him who served in WWII, we can have wonderful things like the Boy Scouts. And we can have all this yummy popcorn to eat. Love you Dad!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One Word Wednesday - What's the Connection?

One word Wednesday is the brainchild of Jillsy Girl. Today's word is connect. And there is a definite connection to all three photos below. Scroll to find out. One answer is obvious, the other probably I only know.

By now I'm sure you've guessed that these are all mushrooms. The other connection is that these photographs were all taken in Hyalite Canyon on the Blackmore Trail.

Check out more connections at Jillsy Girl. You can even join in the fun!

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Friday, November 5, 2010

Skywatch Friday - A View of Bozeman

Today's Skywatch Friday post is a celebration of the season that is just around the corner. Winter! Last year we had the pleasure of hiking up Drinking Horse Trail out by the Fish Technology Center. During that hike, I was captivated by the snow covered scenery. If you look really close, you can see a bit of Bozeman on the right hand side of the photo. In fact, one of the nice things about many of the nature trails near here is that they offer different views of Bozeman. Many of the trails are not very difficult to hike up and the bird's eye view is definitely worth it.

Drop by Skywatch Friday to view many scenic skies from around the world.

View of Bozeman from Drinking Horse Trail

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

One Word Wednesday - A Special Retreat

One Word Wednesday is the brainchild of Jillsy Girl, drop by and check it out. Today's word is retreat as in a place you would go to find solitude.

I was surprised to find that this word was a bit difficult for me. Mainly because I'm a nature photographer, and if anyone would understand solitude, I would think it would be someone who likes to walk around and photograph nature. Especially, if that someone is a lot like me and tends to go out adventuring alone. Perhaps if the word had been refuge. Retreat is more specific. It implies a very specific place not a general area. Nature is huge. It's general. So, how do I narrow that down to retreat. Where is my special place.

I started to backpedal through all of my recent photos that I had not yet had a chance to post. Then I found it. This awesome shot I took while hiking in Hyalite Canyon. It didn't immediately occur to me to use this as my retreat, as I took the photo on a trail I had never hiked before: Blackmore Trail. Still, I knew it didn't matter. I am always in Hyalite Canyon. It is one of my favorite places to hike mainly because I have not seen every last bit of it. One day I'm going to hike all the way up Hyalite Trail and see all the waterfalls along the way. I'm going to find my way to Mystic Lake. I may need to wait until I no longer work or my son is in high school, so he's more independent, but I will do it. I will explore every inch of my retreat.

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