Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Go Ask Alice..... (31/366)

Well it's hard to believe the first month of the project is done.  I will say that my 366 Project had made me much more aware of my surroundings as I search for the "photo of the day".  I find that most days it's not an easy decision on which shot to use.  Today would be no different.

Our morning was just beautiful and the clouds were just painting a beautiful scene across the sky as I rode to work.  However, despite their beauty, it was the details in the 'shrooms below that helped me make my decision.  Something as simple as fungus, can be beautifully detailed and worthy of the pic of the day.

Perhaps I can do shots on the side for the Giant Eagle website...LOL

And when the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you have just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving low
Go ask Alice, I think she'll know

Monday, January 30, 2012

I'm Gonna Be (500 miles) (30/366)

OK so maybe not 500 miles, at least not in the next 30 days but I have set my goal of 100 miles walked in a month.  Yeah, this morning I found my treadmill at the much too early hour of 5:55AM.  I love to be intimate in the wee hours of the morning, but I prefer it to be with a warm body, not the steel of my treadmill.

But I did it.  Walking actually does wonders for me.  Get's the body moving, I have more energy and it gets me through the day.  Not to mention it definitely does what I want it to do in that unsightly area that starts just below my belly button and goes to my knees.

So here's to me, my walking shoes and the treadmill.  I hope Mother Nature gives us some more nice days so I can get back to the park or outside for a few miles on my lunch break.

But I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more
Just to be the (wo)man who walked 1000 miles
To fall down at your door......

Sunday, January 29, 2012

No More Words (29/366)

Word Feud.  My online addiction thanks to my dealer, Mark Richards.  It was August of 2010 when Mark mark first introduced me to Word Feud, and I have not looked back.  In fact, at any given point on any given day, I am playing with a dozen different people from all over the world.

I have always loved Scrabble but my kids are not quite up to par, although Shannon is getting there.  Word Feud feeds my Scrabble addiction and is my daily mental exercise.  Most games are very friendly but there a few people I play with that it gets very intense.

If you are interested in a little fun, find me on Word Feud at Sammarieob@gmail.com.  I welcome the challenge and the mental engagement!

“[Calvin and Hobbes are playing Scrabble.]
Calvin: Ha! I've got a great word and it's on a "Double word score" box!
Hobbes: "ZQFMGB" isn't a word! It doesn't even have a vowel!
Calvin: It is so a word! It's a worm found in New Guinea! Everyone knows that!
Hobbes: I'm looking it up.
Calvin: You do, and I'll look up that 12-letter word you played with all the Xs and Js!
Hobbes: What's your score for ZQFMGB?
Calvin: 957.”
Bill Watterson, Scientific Progress Goes Boink

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Born This Way (28/366)

So one of my goals for 2012 was not only more time with the camera, but a few more moments in front of it, instead of always behind it.  I have never been fond of my own photo.  In all my years of appearing in pictures, there were only 3 I liked.  My High School and College Senior Portraits and my college ID.  Yeah I know, but it was a damn good shot despite the fact I looked like I was mad at the world!

Every other photo I swear was just bad in someway, shape or form, so for the longest time I avoided pictures of myself by always being the one with the camera.  When my kids were born, I realized, they probably (despite what I might have thought) would like pictures of their mother.  I know I love having pictures of my Mom and Dad and I would try to make it at least ONCE into their photo albums.

So, to help with this goal, here is a picture of me from tonight (including make-up..woo hooo)....not a bad shot and just 45 mins early for #SelfySunday.

I am beautiful in my way
'Cause God makes no mistakes
I'm on the right track, baby
I was born this way.........
(yeah, I quoted Lady Gaga....it's how I roll)

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Stranger (27/366)

We all wear a mask.  We only show the parts of ourselves we want people to see.  We even hide from ourselves.  Our masks might not be visible like this one, but they are there none the less.

As I was getting ready for work this morning I kept looking at this mask in my room and wondering, what part of me am I really hiding?

Well, we all have a face that we hide away forever
and take them out and show ourselves when everyone has gone
Some are satin, some are steel
Some are silk and some are leather
They're the faces of the stranger
but we love to try them on.....

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Life is uncertain, so eat dessert FIRST! (26/366)

Welcome to Aladdin's Eatery right here in Mt. Lebanon, PA.  It's a quick walk from my office and specializes in Middle Eastern food (http://www.aladdinseatery.com).

Now I was never a fan of this type of fare, but a co-worker introduced me to falaffle and I was hooked.  I enjoy a falaffle wrap and their hummos is amazing but my favorite menu item is the falaffle Salad with tahini Yogurt Dressing.  That's what I enjoyed for today's lunch.

Now, beyond the amazing  food at Aladdin's is the dessert case you have to stand next while you wait for your take out items.  All I have to say is OMFG.  The size and sheer numbers of cakes in the case is enough to give you sugar overload just looking at them.

And if the caloric content doesn't get to you, the cost will.  Almost every one of the cakes in that case are $65.00 each.  SIXTY-FIVE DOLLARS!  Not sure what they are made of but I am pretty sure I am not paying that much for a cake.  I think though, I need to sneak over there and get myself a treat for workout night.  Yeah, I know, I will gain what I work off but damn, just one of those would taste sooooo good!

Don't lead me into temptation, I can find it on my own (right in the cake case at Aladdin's).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Dude Looks Like a Lady (25/366)

I don't often stage photos but I had been planning on taking some shots of Dan's Millennium Falcon once it was completed.  The Millennium Falcon was a birthday present from Grandma Julie to Dan and he was so patient when he got it.  He had to wait 3 days till he could start building it because the dining room table was otherwise engaged.  However, when he started, there was no stopping him.  He was done in under 48 hours.

So, I thought I would put a character into the gun bay to make the shot more interesting.  What I failed to notice, until I was editing the photos was that, damn, that dude looks like a lady!  I realized that as I was fixing the Lego characters, I put Luke's hair on Leia's body.  I think it was the lips that gave it away.....LOL

So never judge a book by it's cover
Or who you gonna love by your lover
Love put me wise to her love in disguise
She had the body of Venus
Lord imagine my surprise.......

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wish You Were Here (24/366)

This is Lucky and I am sure if he could sing, it would be more like, "I wish you would remember I am here".

Lucky has been a member of our family since October 2010.  Shannon won him at our elementary school's booth at the local Green Tree Octoberfest.  We named him Lucky because we practically killed him before he ever got home.  I put his container in a bag we were carrying, not realizing that it had holes in the top of it (oops) and later, when I reach into the bag, I couldn't imagine why everything was wet.  Yeah, there would be Lucky in his container, with those big fishy lips, gasping for air.  Thanks to the quick thinking of one of the other parents, he dumped the remainder of his Dasani container into Lucky's and he was saved.

He continues to live up to his name as he was almost "overfed" and most recently, underfed.  Apparently unless he and his cousin, Steve, have their bowls out where the kids can see them daily, they forget they own fish.  I think he should have been born a cat.

And their Grandmother wonders why I won't by them a dog....LOL

We're two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl
Year after year
Wish you were here.......

Monday, January 23, 2012

Obscured By Clouds (23/366)

We had the weirdest weather over the past few days.  We were at 9F Friday morning after a snowy Thursday. Saturday, both in Pittsburgh and NJ, we enjoyed a few inches of snow and then wicked freezing rain and sleet.

Today gave us almost 60F and any snow is almost non-existent.  As I checked out my office window this afternoon, the cloud reflections in the rain puddles were so cool and the sky itself, wickedly beautiful.

Mother Nature was having her way with us as tomorrow, we are due to see an almost 30 degree drop in temps.  Only about 5 more weeks of this crap and before we know it, Spring will be here!

Well a girl can dream can't she?

But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on every one
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in the way....

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Our House 44 (22/366)

So we made it through the weekend.  The house probably needs one more good day of tossing things out, but the bulk of it is done.  I came home with boxes of "stuff" and I am going to need time to go through it all over the next few weeks, especially all the pictures and super 8 film.

So weird to see the house to empty.  So weird to have copies of my Dad's birth and death certificates.

I hope a nice young family finds our home and takes it into the next chapter of it's life.....

Our house, in the middle of our street.
Our house, in the middle of our...

Our house, was our castle and our keep
Our house, in the middle of our street

Our house, that was where we used to sleep
Our house, in the middle of our street....

Saturday, January 21, 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends (21/366)

Nothing beats good company and great food after a long day of emptying my Dad's house.  Word to the wise....don't make your home a catchall.  Downsize on a daily basis!  We found enough picture frames to reframe everything in the Louvre!

After a nice hot shower, it was off to dinner with three great friends.  Cheryl and Pete and Lisa joined Dan and myself as I indulged in another NJ home favorite, Fried Chicken Croquettes.  I think I indulged in all my home favorites: Eat Gud Bakery, Dunkin Donuts Coffee, Stewart's Rootbeer, Little King Hoagies, ordered my favorite ribs from Chicken Holiday (to pick and and take home tomorrow), another 6lb of pork roll and dinner at the Golden Dawn diner.  I love my NJ diners!

I have more pics I plan on sharing either on G+ or Facebook but for now, here is my favorite shot from tonight.  I hope this looks better on my home computer than it does on this one.

I am posting it regardless.....

No, I get by with a little help from my friends
Hmm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Oh, I am gonna try with a little help from my friends

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Boys are Back in Town! (20/366)

Well the trip from Pittsburgh to NJ was uneventful and pretty quick.  340 miles in about 5 1/2 hours.  Mother Nature is calling for shit weather tomorrow but I guess that beats a beautiful day when you are stuck in a house cleaning it out.

Dan and Jared are looking forward to a fun "Boys" weekend and I am sure they will have it.

But for now, my body is tired after the long drive and it's time to hit the hay.....

So who is coming to help me clean tomorrow???

Guess who just got back today?
Them wild-eyed boys that had been away
Haven't changed, haven't much to say
But man, I think them cats are crazy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Morning Has Broken (19/366)

The title of this post was chosen for two reasons.  Once again, we had a beautiful winter morning with the pinks, blues and oranges that just made me want to stop every half mile to take a shot.  As I got to my other office I was happy to see that the open field on our property gave me an amazing view of our sunrise.

I also chose this title because Cat Stevens was one of my Dad's favorites and tomorrow Dan and I head back to NJ so we can go through what's left in his house.  It's not going to be easy.  This is the home I grew up in, a home that only knew one owner, my family.  My room, as a teenager covered in Rolling Stone magazine covers, a lace net over my bed and more staples holes that anyone thought was humanly possible.  Christmas Eve get-togethers with family and friends, homemade peach custard, climbing trees in the back yard, picnics with all the neighbors.

I am sure a shot or two will end up in my blog this weekend as I say "Goodbye" to my childhood home.

Morning has broken, like the first morning.
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird
Praise for the singing, praise for the morning
Praise for them springing, fresh from the Word.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Food of the Gods!  (18/366)

So today brought a good friend to town for a visit (and for work related purposes too, but we won't dwell on that) and good friends mean good food.  So after a grueling day at the office (smiles), Mechell and I ventured to Atria's Tavern in Mt. Lebanon, PA.  This is the original one and a very cool place to eat ( http://www.atrias.com ) being at first an old grocery store, turned 6-pack store, turned restaurant.

A "must have" when you go to Atria's are their Pot Roast Nachos.  Now, I know you nacho aficionados are probably turning your nose up at Pot Roast on nachos, but trust me on this one, there is no comparison.  These are the best things on the planet!  Food of the Gods I tell you.

For those of you not living in the Pittsburgh area, I feel for you and for those of you who do, if you have not partaken in these morsels of deliciousness, you are missing out!

(and the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martinis were AMAZING!)

Nachos RULE!
~Beavis and Butthead

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sometimes, all you need... (17/366)

Is a change in scenery.  The grocery store was not quite what I had in mind, but what I had to do.  It's actually one of my least favorite jobs and not much would make it better.  However, putting fresh Orchids right as I walk in, did give me a nice change in attitude.  Now, if I could get Giant Eagle to just make their carts a bit bigger, I might not look like I am shopping for a small, third world nation.

I mentioned a few days back that one of my goals for 2012 is to turn my brown thumb a little greener, so I think I am going to read up on Orchids and get one or two for my office.  Once I indulge my photography bug and get a nice new Macro lens, I can practice with it and have many more interesting photos to share with you.

We are also expecting a 20 degree drop in temps and snow tomorrow, so this gives me hope that Spring is right around the corner!

A woman loves orchids because they make her feel like she is floating on a cloud of possibility.
~from The Perfect Man

Monday, January 16, 2012

Good Morning, Good Morning (16/366)

Well the morning found me just a wee bit late but I could not help myself.  The sky this morning was so beautiful I just had to stop and take a picture (or three).

And that is where it all ended....LOL  I got to the office and tried to boot up my laptop, and yeah, it would be dead as a door nail (who decided a door nail could be dead is what I want to know?).  But I digress.  A few hours later, I had a loaner laptop which had a keyboard that one of my hands could engulf with ease.  Thankfully my boss got me upgraded to a keyboard and laptop so I could function like a Big Girl.

Can I also tell you how slow "web mail" access is?  Good Lord how dependent we become on these boxes of technology!

I think I would have rather stayed and enjoyed more of the sunrise this morning.....

Nothing to do, it's up to you
I've got nothing to say, but its OK
Good morning, good morning

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Here's Your Sign  (15/366)

Some days you can see the most ordinary of things and they can just make you laugh.  I am sure we have all had moments where someone said the most innocuous and it just hit you funny.  Well today, that's what this did to me and I am sure the people who lived on this corner wondered why the hell I was parking my car and running out to take a photo...

Sometimes you just have to do it!

And to this I say....Yes, please!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Look at all the colors!  (14/366)

And I love when people get creative.  A room full of creative people just makes me smile.  My afternoon and evening was spent with a group of lovely ladies at the Green Tree Fire House.  It was a Scrapbooking Fundraiser for one of our local Girl Scout troops.  Being a former Girl Scout and having a daughter who is now a Cadet, it was a worthy cause!

Now, did I do any actually scrap booking?  No, but that didn't matter.  It was the social side of things that I needed and it felt good to get out, be disconnected from the internet and just enjoy good conversation with friends!

One woman created this wonderful 4 drawer ribbon holder and her father drilled holes to run the ribbon through which I found very ingenious and yet oh so simple.  I can't wait for tomorrow!

Each day comes bearing its own gifts.  Untie the ribbons!

Friday, January 13, 2012

All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey..... (13/366)

Temps were 1F with the windchill this morning and snow was blowing.  It would have been nicer if it were just brown leaves and grey skies.  But it is January in Pittsburgh and getting to used to the mid 40's that we have seen over the past few weeks, makes this rapid drop in temps hard to handle.

I'd be safe and warm
If I was in LA
California Dreamin'
on such a winter's day....

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Hey, Hey Donna!  (12/366)

Everyone, this is Donna.  She is the smile that greets me on my trips to the gym and today was no exception.  I had left a few things at the gym yesterday and dropped by today (before the fluffy white stuff hits) to pick them up.  Our weather today has been wet and gray and nothing was inspiring me, until I pulled up outside of Curves and saw Donna's car.

Now I have never fancied myself a portrait photographer, but nothing like the present to start learning how to get better at it.  I hope to do more planned and candid portraits as the year progresses.

Thank you Donna, you and your smile were the best part of my day today!

A smile is a curve that sets everything straight!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mother Nature's Decorations (11/366)

Despite being up at 6AM to get one child on a bus by 6:50AM and the other at 7:55AM, I had the day off.  Zumba from 9-10AM and then home to shower, out of a free lunch (Birthday goodies from Panera) and then to a movie (free again....a goodie after taking 20 people at once to the movies...lol)

In between coffee and Zumba I stole out to the rose bush on my back patio after I noticed Jack Frost paid us a visit last night.  I love the way it decorates everything it touches and I am working hard on capturing that beauty.

We have a lot of winter left so expect a few more of these.....

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Here Comes The Sun (10/366)

It was a typical drive to the office today.  Parked in my not so usual parking spot and as I was getting out of the car, I noticed how cool the sun looked peeking through the opening of the parking garage.  As I was getting ready to shoot, I was moving the camera around and picked my position, this is what I saw.  The sunburst was amazing and I was thrilled to have captured it.

And I had my post pic for today and it was all before 8AM.

And I say....it's alright

Monday, January 9, 2012

Purple Haze....all in my brain (9/366)

It's actually a Blue Haze (Cactus)  that I have somehow managed to keep alive and growing for almost 5 months.  See, this is a big thing for me because plants generally see me coming and just kill themselves, before they have to go through the slow, painful death I will put them through.

I also have on my goal list for 2012, to turn the 50ft bed of weeds in my yard into a blooming butterfly garden.  Starting with a simple cactus seemed like a good first step.

So here's to a green thumb in 2012 and I need to figure out how to produce a light box that looks just like the frosted window in my office, because it just gives this the depth I have been looking for in my photos.

Hey Maureen....look how nice it's growing.....aren't you proud of me?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Star of wonder, Star of night!  (8/366)

Every Christmas I say I am going to shoot the Nativity at our church, St. Margaret's of Scotland and so far, my camera never makes it to Mass with me.  So, today being the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany (and the last time we would see the the Nativity till the end of Advent 2012), I told the kids I was taking a few shots with my iPhone when Mass was over.

I would really like to take my dSLR with me but I always felt funny bringing it to Mass but I will make it happen later this year.  Our Nativity has such detail and is so beautiful that I feel the need to share it.

Now, I know this is technically three pictures, but can you really have one King without the other two?  They pretty much are a matched set......

Star of wonder, start of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light

Saturday, January 7, 2012

They say it's your birthday!  Well Happy Birthday to you!!  (7/366)

And what a birthday it was.  Could not have asked for better weather.  I got my new favoritest slippers in the world (which I am sure will make it into a pic of the day, at some point), my favorite Mexican restaurant complete with Ultimate Margarita's and just good fun!

We also discovered that Shannon loves black beans and rice (and ate almost my whole side order...lol).  I think we might need to crack the windows tonight...HA!

I did fine myself a little sad this morning as I realized it's my 1st birthday without my dad, but I know he is looking down and smiling. When I head back to NJ in a few weeks, I will get a Linzer Tart and I can enjoy it for both of us.  

Zumba class got the blood pumping and then of course, I had to make a stop at Dunkin' Donuts for a cup o' Joe before picking up Shannon from basketball.  It was then home for a few domestic duties, basketball practice for Daniel and off to dinner at Mad Mex.  

We shot this pic just before we left for practice.  I so love the forward facing camera on my iPhone. One of my goals this year is to be in front of the camera a little bit more.   I just wish my arms had been a little longer...LOL  I held it, we all smiled and Shannon pressed the button.  

I think it still counts...besides, it's my birthday!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Good Day Sunshine (6/366)

Well after starting off the work week at 10F with snow, it was amazingly wonderful to have the weather up to 55F today and the sun....please don't stay away my friend we love you and miss you here in Pittsburgh!

So I took the time to get and enjoy a bit of the blue skies and warmth and had lunch with a friend.

I think we are back to just a high of 40F tomorrow but it sure beats 10F!

I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good in a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me (5/366)

As I was finishing up my day and closing down the work laptop, I noticed this beautiful sunset right out my window.  The weather for the last few days has been cold and gray.  It was nice to catch glimpses of the sun today and open the blinds in my office for some warmth.

So I grabbed my 4S and took a few shots out the window.  Not normally the greatest view in Pittsburgh, but the reflection of the clouds and sunset in the puddles on the roof gave me a much different view.

And then, as if planned, Elton John and George Michael started singing to me on Pandora.  They knew this would have to be my picture of the day....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

No Weigh?  Yes, Weigh! (4/366)

I should warn you all that not every shot is going to be a photographic masterpiece and today's shot is no exception.  Now this shot was done first and foremost so I can get myself back on track.  September 14th, 2009 I started on a weight loss journey that saw almost 100lbs leaving me.  My journey over the last 9 months has been more like a Sunday drive on the back roads with random stops at great hometown diners.  A fun trip but not quite the direction I need to be going.

Well by sharing this with you all, I now make public my goal to get back on track and finish the weight loss journey and get into the weight maintenance.  The good news is, as much as I did not want to step on the scale today, I have not gained any weight since October.  The bad news (please move beyond the obvious fact my feet are screaming for a pedicure) is that I have not lost any weight since October either.  I can live with that, for now.

As I recently told an old friend, it's time to stop fighting the battles and win the war!!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Snow Day (3/366)

Our first real snow day of the winter.  Cold enough and snowy enough to cause havoc on the roads and turn my 5.5 mile drive to the office into winter, fishtailing fun...NOT!

Mother Nature 's fury continued through the day but not a lot of accumulation and I did manage to finally get out to Kohl's (God bless Kohl's) to get my kids new snow boots.  Yeah I know, it's January, but there are only so many hours in a day.  More of the white stuff is on tap for tomorrow, but I think I already have tomorrow's pic planned.

Drive safe!

Monday, January 2, 2012

The Party's Over.....(2/366)

Today ended the birthday celebration for Daniel.  We started celebrating on December 10th with a family party and ended it today with 16 of his classmates, cub scouts and basketball team members.  Yes, some thought I was a bit insane to take 16, 9 year old to the movies and pizza, but in the grand scheme, it was great.  No muss, no fuss and for 100 mins they all sat in one spot, laughed and didn't bother anyone...LOL  Besides, the Chipmunks are timeless and who could miss the Chipettes doing Lady GaGa?

Now, how do I get my birthday celebration to last that long?  The other challenge is how to do get 16 kids to smile and look at the camera all at the same time?