31 May 2010

Memorial Day reflections

This town was hosting the "Moving Wall," which is a replica of the Vietnam memorial in Washington D.C. that travels all over the country. The town also set up a large flag display and each flag had a tag. The tags were in memory of a service member or sponsored by a family.

It was stunning.

And, as much as I would like to take credit for this beautiful photo, I'm pretty sure it was God (and Nikon), but I am grateful.

This photo was very emotional for me to take. I have no idea who the woman is, but she had her family with her, while she found more than one name on the wall to gather her impressions.

America's quiet daily celebration of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

I hope you were able to remember those in service to our country and their families in some special way this weekend.

27 May 2010

Can't you almost hear the bell?

I came across this school while I was looking for something else. Isn't that always the way? I had to stop and take the shot, because it just screamed traditional middle America to me. It makes me wonder about all of the book covers this school could be on...and then, about all of the stories of the little people whose lives run in and out of it every day.

26 May 2010

It's What's for dinner!

No, Not beef.


This is for all my foodie friends out there. Farmers' market season has started and this Dairy has a wonderful concoction called Gretna Grillin' cheese. It's divine. It tastes like fantastic grilled cheese (imagine that) without the bread. Here's what you do.

Cut the cheese into 1/2 to 3/4" thick slices or wedges.

Put a non-stick pan on medium heat, with NO oil of any kind. You'll see how the cheese cooks in it's own buttery tasting oil.

Place the pieces in the warm pan, but don't go far, it will only take a minute. See how it is getting all melty? Yum!!

Now flip them and brown the other side. I did one portion lighter and one darker, I like the darker, it's a bit crunchy. Don't overcook though.

When you are finished with both sides, you can place on a paper towel to get a little of the extra oil off. See the two different cooking times? I'd go with the darker.

Enjoy!! The dairy talks about things you can serve it with, but I found it delicious plain.

And for StarryNews, I used the "food" setting on the camera. :)

If you do not have a farm near you that makes this type of cheese, be sure to check out the shipping options with the Dairy.

Happy Eating!


24 May 2010

Sometimes history finds you.

As I wandered through Madison county (no bridges in sight), I came across this lovely small cemetery. There was another family already there, looking at the military stones dating back before the civil war. Some of the stones were worn beyond recognition, but someone has been keeping track, as there were flags placed nearby.

Here is Jonathan Alder's stone. A little piece of American history among other American Heroes.

23 May 2010

Sun, Sun, Sunday!

Today was all about parks. I had glorious plans to try all kinds of settings, views, composition, etc. What I didn't plan for was the approximately 5,000 people who also thought going to the park was a fabulous idea. Who can blame them, a bright sunny weekend day after 16 of the last 22 days were rainy, it was good to get out! So I'll just talk about what I did get. I started at the township park which is really nice. I need to get the neices there soon. This is a covered walking bridge connecting the trails from one side of the park to the other. The pond isn't enormous, but there were many folks fishing, optimistic that while modest, hopefully it was stocked. I didn't see any fish come out on hooks, so I'm not sure it really is. There is also a great play area for kids. I would like to try to catch movement, but that was difficult to do without kids with me. I didn't want to be the creepy camera lady in the distance. So, I saved that for another day too.

Here is a pond shot. I was trying to get the "story composition" (front, middle, back) part right, but really, it still looks like too much water to me. Feel free to make suggestions in the comments sections on how I can fix that in the future.

My next stop was the city park. Also, great play areas, ball fields of assorted kinds, a pool, and thousands of more people in the way. So I kept going. My last photo stop was the state park in the next county over. On my way out of suburbia to the country I came across several horse farms and equine riding centers. I made a mental note to return and try to catch some of the horses out.

The metro park is also a protected wetlands. I tried to understand the depth of field settings by taking several of the same shot and adjusting along the way. Here are a couple samples. The first one has a clearer overall view, while the second one is intentionally focused closer with a blurred background.

In the smaller play area in the metro park, there was a very cool climbing structure. It's a bad angle, due to the stuff behind it, but I was trying to exclude all the folks trying to take in the sunny day and their less-than-appropriate-for-the-website apparel.

Isn't this the most interesting piece you've seen in a while? Most playgrounds now have all those toys where even the most balance challenged and unsupervised child cannot hurt themself. This one still looks fun!

Thanks for taking the park tour with me, hope your Sunday was sunny too!

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20 May 2010

What's one more hobby?

A few years ago I had had enough of January in the midwest (read: too cold and snowy), so I used a three day weekend to visit my friends MamaMaven and GMan and their two cuties. We had some fun times and MamaMaven introduced me to stamping, adult style. This is not your run-of-the-mill dress up a card with some color affair, this was serious business. She had files of lovely paper, drawers of stamp sets, and a brand new spectacular Ikea craft table. I was enthralled. She told me about the "stamp camps", or classes she went to with friends and other fun activities. GMan referred to her demonstrator (the woman hosting the classes and teaching all the new techniques and such) as her dealer. I could totally see the addiction reference, in no time I was hooked!

I came back to my town and immediately looked up local demonstrators so I could start amassing the fabulous tools and skills myself. This lovely lady, Connie was one of the people who answered my e-mail. She had a nice website, lived nearby, and had all kinds of classes for all levels of stampers. And a new hobby was born!

Here is my current stamping corner...which was at one time my home office, but quickly got replaced. Tell me you aren't in love with the electronic die cutter, embossers, and rainbow of ribbons.

These are some cards I made at Connie's stamp camps. Isn't she clever? The valentine's ones were my first try ever, I was so impressed. The second group were from a later time.

These are a selection of gift card holders. I made samples for a friend of mine who needed a supply. So many options, so little time.

I'm still stamping, in fact this weekend I think I need to restock my supply of cards on hand. I would show you the most recent ones, but I want it to be a surprise to the people who will be receiving them! BTW, the pictures on this post were from my iphone and Sony camera. I would have taken photos with the Nikon, but I have a plethora of card photos on hand, so I thought I would be 'green' and reuse them. :)

See you soon,

19 May 2010

A break in the rain.

It's been raining a few days here, and when it stopped I headed out to try and get some shots of local fountain. Sadly, it was not running today, so I kept driving and took in the landscape. Growing up I thought we lived out in the country, but really it was the 'burbs. Looking back the private lakes, tennis courts, and golf course in the next community over should have been good clues. But we didn't have a McDonald's, so I just thought we must have lived very far out.
I realized when I went to college, that area was definitely more rural. Since then I have been introduced to working farms, and there is a real peace to be found (if you don't have to work it).

Here is last year's corn field, not planted this year.

Here are the new fields, happy to have had all this nice rain. A day or two of sun and these babies will be on their way!

And one more rose bush from the weekend, because who doesn't love flowers?

Tomorrow, a trip into the land of paper crafts...

16 May 2010

The dog days of...Spring?

A local park began its outdoor summer concert series tonight. Every Sunday a different band plays, tonight my friend MusicMan was performing with his group. StarryNews, her sister, and another friend hung out and listened to the fantastic performance. Of course, it being May in the midwest, it threatened rain all afternoon, so the band actually played inside the shelter house. They had opened all the doors and windows and it made for a perfect setting for all of us sitting outside to enjoy it. Including the dogs. I'm not really a dog person, but I do appreciate adorable well behaved dogs, especially out and about in a park. There was one little itty bitty black dog with an older gentleman owner. The dog was wearing a black and gold dress that said gold digger. Too cute. I took a picture, but since it was my first day out, it's not worth sharing. :)

However, I did get an opportunity to shoot some roses, as this particular park has a beautiful, extensive rose garden. I will add the photos as attachments and hope for the best. This was truly just me testing out the new toy, mostly on auto and presets. Straight out of the camera, no adjustments.

I'm hoping to head back again in a couple weeks when the garden is in full bloom. By then I may have worked out a few skills...

15 May 2010

Begin at the beginning.

I'm Marie Elizabeth, welcome to my new blog.

Over the last 5 years I've been lucky enough to travel to some great locations, visit friends, meet new folks, learn tons about culture, and snap of few shots of the fabulous views. No matter where I end up, I find something interesting to share. My last lengthy trip, I sent weekly email updates. These were summaries of my experiences and encounters. Some of them were hilarious and some more thought provoking (the experiences, not the summaries). Unfortunately, I didn't save these mini-story hours and I really regret it .

So, I decided I would do a much better job at keeping track of travels and trips (even around town). I bought a new camera (Nikon D5000) and expect there will be a very humorous learning curve involved as I shoot some new locals. Oh, and I expect to include some normal life stories, but if that's not of interest to you, fell free to skip ahead to the photos.

This is the first entry on a brand new blog...give me some time to figure this all out and then I hope to get some fun stuff up and running. Welcome!