Thursday, May 31, 2012

Great Northern (152/366)

It was a beautiful day that lead into a beautiful night.  Dan had a game and Blinky's Noble Bar and Grill dominated!  Dan went 2-3 and in the inning he pitched, got 3 strike outs, one walk and allowed 2 hits.

As we were leaving I notice the beauty in the sky and tried to catch it at a traffic light.  I then tried to catch it at yet another light but it wasn't until we got into the Great Northern Shopping Center that I actually had a good view free of power lines and telephone poles!

The two Jo-Ann Fabric's employees who sat outside looked at me sorta funny as I stood in the middle of the parking lot taking pics, but oh well, it's what I do!

So take time this weekend and go out and find the beauty in your own back yard or in the parking lot of your local shopping center.  Beauty is EVERYWHERE!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pictures of Lily (151/366)

Lilies are lovely to photograph but the smell, I just can't get past the smell.  They just remind me of a funeral.  In fact, the do so much that when I need to order flowers for a funeral, I make sure my bouquet does not contain any lilies.

This photogenic flower was found at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, where I spend the last day and a half in a training on industrial belting.  C'mon, admit it, you are jealous and you want to know about idlers and steel cable belt : )

So, knowing I would be stuck in the hotel for this training all day and my motivation would be nil by the time I fought the I376 traffic to get home, I took advantage.  It was actually a beautiful bouquet with daisies and carnations but the lilies spoke to me.

Pictures of Lily made my life so wonderful
Pictures of Lily helped me sleep at night
Pictures of Lily solved my childhood problems
Pictures of Lily helped me feel alright
~The Who

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

After The Rain (150/366)

They predicted nasty storms today and for once, the weatherman was correct.  I was on my way to some off-site training when it really hit and then again in the early evening.

I had still not taken a photo yet for the blog and then contemplated a shot or two through the raindrops on my front window, but about 20 minutes later, I had my shot.  I tramped around in the wet grass to get my best shot of the pastel sky over my neighbor's house.

Once again, despite all the gray, rain, thunder and lightening, Mother Nature graced us with a brilliant sunset and the new hope of a great day tomorrow!

Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under.
~C. Joybell C

Monday, May 28, 2012

Hot Fun In The Summertime (149/366)

Growing up, we had a pool as did most of our neighbors and we had these huge neighborhood picnics with food and games and swimming going on in every yard!  It brings back a lot of great memories with good friends and family.

Now I live in Pittsburgh and life is a little different.  However, as different as it might be, we have the Green Tree Pool.  We did not have this type of community gathering place when I grew up but it's the best $130 one could spend for the summer.  No cleaning, no huge electric or water bill and my kids never fail to find a friend and it's usually a challenge to get them to leave.

So this is the Unofficial beginning of Summertime and if this weekend is any indication, there will be a lot of pool time in our future.

I miss the days when summer vacation was about relaxing and hanging out with your friends.  Now it's all about working and squeezing your friends in when you can.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our Hats Are Off To You (148/366)

This is an ongoing photo project I started back in 2010 when we went to Cleveland to see the Indians take on the Red Sox.    I got an interesting shot of an Indians hat and just love the way it turned out.  Since that game, I try to shoot hats from every team that comes to PNC or at every stadium we visit.  Once I have all the hats from all 30 teams, then I can start to assemble my photo book.

Shot this one today.  What a fun hat!  I did get lucky in the bottom of the 8th when a Cubs fan finally came to sit near us to get away from the raindrops.

Soon I will be gathering all those shots together to see exactly how many teams I have and how many more I need to get.  They key to this challenge is to not let the wearer know I am taking their picture!

You don't take a photograph, you make it.
~Ansel Adams

Saturday, May 26, 2012

You Can't Touch This! (147/366)

Today brought us to the Flag Football "playoffs" and Daniel's team (RED) was playing his friend Pat's team (GREEN).  Pat is the fastest kid we know and damn if he wasn't the one up against Dan the whole game.  Daniel was not put on this earth for his speed....LOL

The RED team saw a loss but it was well played.  Dan got a few good catches and threw for one of the touchdown's his team got.  The boys did well in the heat and humidity!  Those of us parents were smart and sat way up high near the press box so we could stay in the shade, where it was bearable (almost).

So we will put away the pigskin till next season and wish the best of luck to the Green Team in their next round of the playoffs!

We didn't lose the game, we just ran out of time!
~Vince Lombardi

Friday, May 25, 2012

Winning! (146/366)

No, this has nothing to do with Charlie Sheen.  What this has to do with is Blinky's Nobel Bar and Grill scored their first win of the season today!  We have had a few close ones, but tonight we pulled it out and made the GAA and Blinky's very happy!

There were Victory Slush Puppies all around and 12 very happy boys!  Not to mention a few smiling coaches and definitely happy parents!

Now, tomorrow, we take our show on the road over to Scott Township for a make-up game.  Let's go for win #2...that's a streak, right??

Who, in their infinite wisdom decreed that Little League uniforms be white.  Certainly not a mother!
~Erma Bombeck

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Panhandle Trail (145/366)

The last official field trip with the Bear Den.  We did about a 3 mile hike on the Panhandle Trail in Collier Township, PA.  We brought our sturdy shoes, hiking sticks and dinner and enjoyed the beautiful weather.

We walked a bit then settled near the quarry and pond to have our picnic dinner.  We were off to the Fossil Trail where the boys scaled the "cliff" looking for their own fossils.  We managed to only have one wet shoe casualty and I had a blast taking photos.

More information on the trail can be found at 

We will definitely be coming back in the fall for a nice long bike ride!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dream Weaver (144/366)

Almost dreamlike and if I had taken this at a wide angle, my dining room would be more like a nightmare, screaming to be cleaned.  One of the things I love most about photography is that you can go from everything to just one thing.  Total focus and being able to blur everything else out!

These are my tulips from Mother's Day and they are just beyond full bloom and I like the abstract look the light brings.  It's also nice you can't see the fingerprints that are all over the sliding glass door that's giving me this great look!

I've just closed my eyes again
Climbed aboard the dream weaver train
Driver take away my worries of today
And leave tomorrow behind
~Gary Wright

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spirit In The Sky (143/366)

How can you not view this most spectacular sunset and not think there is a power greater than ourselves at work?
We spent most of our evening in the Middle School Auditorium watching Shannon in her band concert.  The students were outstanding and as we left for a treat from DQ, I saw this most beautiful sight.  No real place to stop until we got near the T station in Dormont.  I pulled off to take a few shots.  This was my favorite of the dozen or so I took, much to the dismay of my undernourished and ill treated children <insert your own eye roll here>.

A special thanks to Eric for the inspiration for tonight's ya babe!

Oh, set me up with the spirit in the sky
That's where I'm gonna go when I die
When I die and they lay me to rest
I'm gonna go to the place that's the best
~Norman Greenbaum

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wicked (142/366)

Well the weather was warm but storms were threatening and tonight's Pirate's seats were NOT under the overhang.  As luck would have it, we got a few sprinkles but by the 4th inning they had stopped and we had cut the Mets lead in half.

By the 7th inning we had tied the game and in the bottom of the 8th, Neil Walker scored and we took the lead.
Tonight's game was a lot like this cloud shot.  While it might not look good on the outside, there is that blue sky just waiting for you if you are patient.

I knew the Bucco's would not let me down.  Tonight was my 8th game this season and I am 6-2...not a bad start to the season.

It's not over till it's over!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Almost (141/366)

Almost done school.  Almost 12 years old.  Almost a teenager.  Almost always difficult to get a decent photo of, no matter what I do.

Tonight was the year end dinner for Shannon's Girl Scout Troop 365.  These girls have been together for 7 years now and are currently Cadets.  It's been pretty amazing to see these girls grown up.  It's also amazing I am the mother of an almost 12 year old.  How did that happen?  LOL

Mother Nature is providential.  She give us 12 years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers.
~William Gavin

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake! (140/366)

Tonight was Daniel's Blue and Gold dinner for Cub Scouts.  In Pack 202, we have a Parent/Child cake baking contest which serves as a fun and creative project as well as dessert.

This year's theme was The Great Outdoors.  We thought about it and came up with a campfire cake, the challenge was exactly how to do it.  I have to thank my friends Tracy, Val and Michelle for their inspirations and suggestions.

So here was the cast of characters:
(1) Tub of white icing
(1) Tub of chocolate icing
(3) Sara Lee Pound Cakes
(16) Rice Krispie Treats
(1) Red food coloring
(1) Graham Cracker
(1) Hershey Bar
(3) Marshmallows
(1) Multi Pack of fondant
(1) Red gel icing
(2) sticks from the back yard
Lots of creativity

I think it turned out well but we did not win.  Not this year.  But you just wait till next year!!!!!

Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.
~Ernestine Ulmer

Friday, May 18, 2012

Can You Guess? (139/366)

It was 5pm and no photo yet.  I headed to Aiken to get a 5K walk in before Dan's game hoping for some inspiration.  Hemlock 1 is not the best field to take photos at, at least not of the game due to the high fences, so  I didn't think a baseball shot was in my future.

As the game started and the sun started to set, I noticed it was shining through my cup of iced tea.  Looked almost like a laser beam spreading out onto the aluminum bleachers.  Too cool looking to not take a photo.  So I did and there was more than a few.  I finally settled on this one.

Just add this to the long list of "Weird Things Sam Photographs While At A Baseball Game"...and there are plenty of weird things...LOL

I never set out to be weird.  It was always other people who called me weird.
~Frank Zappa

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Tip-Toe Through The Tulips (138/366)

It was a baseball weekend and I have been having this fetish with the dew on my lawn that I had almost forgotten about the beautiful tulips that my children got me for Mother's Day.

I took the pot out to my back yard in the evening light and I was very pleased with both the colors in this light and the depth of field.  It does amazing things for clutter in the back yard.

Sometimes the photo of the day can be just that easy.

And if I kiss you in the garden in the moonlight, will you pardon me?
And tiptoe through the tulips with me.
~Tiny Tim

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Lost In The Lawn (137/366)

So yes, I was a few moments late for work today.  I headed out to the car and the lawn looked like a sea of tiny diamonds.  I dropped my stuff in the car and ran back in to get my camera.

My son asked, "What did you forget?" and I told him all I needed was my camera.  He joined me and said "Mom, you see a picture everywhere".  Yes I do Dan, yes I do and then he promptly reminded me that I was going to be late for work.....damn logical kid!

This was a shot with the camera free standing on the stone wall, I did not focus it by view but by luck.  It actually reminds me a scene in the movie Antz and what it might be like just tromping through my own front yard as a creature that small.

And I love good bokeh!

Dew drops are the gems of the morning, but the tears of mournful eve.
~Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Morning Rose (136/366)

I knew it would be a long day today so when I saw that the rain had let up and that some of the buds on my rose bush were blooming.  Now I know nothing about roses except that I love to photograph them.  I think I might have to read up on them so I can keep this bush doing it's thing year after year.

If you have any good tips, feel free to leave a comment below.

Now, before my body completely shuts down after an hour of hot yoga, let me finish this with just one word.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunset Court (135/366)

Yesterday was quite the dismal day weather wise and it carried over into today.  On my way home from Zumba class I was blessed some breaking sun and it was a welcomed sight.

I stopped at my favorite spot on the way home.  This is Wilson Park which is at the very top of my street.  It's a high point in my neighborhood and gives me a great view that is not obstructed by trees, telephone and power lines.

I think tomorrow will bring even more sun and warmth and I am looking so forward to that.

Clouds come into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.
~Rabindranath  Tagore

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Hoist The Colours! (134/366)

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mom's out there.  I hope each and every one of you had the best day ever!  I know mine was.  It started with a nice two hour chat with one of my favorite Mom's from down under.  Jodie, there are not many people I would get up early for, but I loved our coffee chat today!

Then my kids made me breakfast and gave me a lovely bunch of tulips, all ready to be planted next weekend and cards.  We made our calls and were off to the ballpark.  Several years ago, I made the decision that the place I wanted to be on Mother's Day was with my kids at a baseball game.  Shannon asked what we would do if the Pirates were not at home on Mother's Day.  Simple, drive to Cleveland!

The Bucco's struck first and it was 1-0 until the 5th and then the pesky Astro's went ahead in the 7th.  Then we tied it in the 9th.  Bonus baseball on Mother's Day.  Could it get any better?  Of course it could, we could win! Pink bats, pink shoes, pink sweat bands....put a W in the win column boys, for your Mom's and all the mom's that came out to spend the day with you!

One of my favorite things at the Pirates game is in the bottom of the 9th, which of course means we are not ahead, they play this scene.  Now I have yet to watch any of these movies, but I soooo love this scene. )

I might have to make some time to watch them this summer and the Bucco's did not disappoint.  They played till the 12th and it was rookie Josh Harrison, who shot a single to left field to score Clint Barmes.  What a way to end the day!

Let's Go Bucs!!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Let's Go Bucs! (133/366)

Game 6 for me this year.  It was Joel Hanrahan Bobblehead Night and the kids and I decided to sit in Center Field for a change of pace.  Section 139, Row D and before the game started, Andrew McCutchen tossed the ball into the crowd and Daniel came up with it! I told him I think it's mine, I mean it is Mother's Day weekend, right?

So the first inning was a bit of a snoozer but the game went along nicely and it was great to see our Bucco's win again.  I started a photo project back in 2010 after I attended an Indians/Red Sox game in Cleveland.  The project is baseball hats and I will call the book, Our Hat's Our Off to You!  It won't be completed till we visit all 30 ballparks but the key is, the person wearing the hat, cannot know I am shooting the picture.

So this hat belonged to Tom, from Johnstown, PA.  Tom is a 20 game season ticket holder and always sits in Center Field and loves to heckle the opposing team's center fielder.  Tonight, the Astro's center fielder, Jordon Schafer was not spared...LOL  Today was also Tom's 57th Birthday!  He was a fun fan to share the evening with and I hope him and his wife had an uneventful trip back to Johnstown.

Never wear a backwards baseball cap to an interview unless applying for the job of an umpire.
~Dan Zevin

Friday, May 11, 2012

Grass, Man! (132/366)

Let me start off by saying I hate yard work. I bought my first house in 2001 and since then, my lawn, at both houses, has mocked me.  It's always been shitty looking no matter what I did and mowing it and weed whacking was about all I could do.  Or was good at..LOL

This year I am determined to perk up my lawn and get to all my plantable areas in the yard.  This is no easy task either when you 9yo decides your back yard is PNC Park South.  So as part of my grass plan this year, I hired a service to do all the lawn treatments I can never seem to get to.  It's working well and my lawn (freshly mowed here) is looking much better than it has looked since we moved here in 2006.

Over the next few weekends I am going to get to the planting and weeding portion in the garden beds and I hope to have my Butterfly garden up and running by the end  of Memorial Day weekend.  I hope the tree house finds it's way to it's new home soon too, then I can patch those spots and get it all finis

So here ya go Chris Merrick, aren't ya proud that I am getting it done??

The grass may be greener on the other side of the fence, but you still have to mow it!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Castle Grayskull (131/366)

I had a luncheon to celebrate my tenure as the PFO secretary at Aiken Elementary along with all the other incoming and outgoing PFO officers in the Keystone Oaks school district.  Leaving during lunch meant giving up my first floor parking space and having to park in the Penthouse when I returned.

But penthouse parking meant a new and different view of Mt. Lebanon and the area where I work.  This is my office building that I affectionately refer to as "Castle Grayskull", which is not as bad as it's prior nickname, The Cyclops Building.  Cyclops Steel Corporation took up many of the 7 floors in prior years.

It's now more aptly named "650 Washington Rd." which is it's physical address but it serves as my office home now.  We moved our department here back in 2008 which was the first time in over 23+ years that I did not work in an office where something industrial wasn't happening 10 feet from my desk.  No rubber dust, no nasty Nh3 smell from reclaiming hose, it's been a pleasure.

We will find ourselves "moving on up" in the next 60 days to the 5th floor, to gain us more room.  I hope the do that in July while I am gone and an office with a view would be very nice too!

The brain is a wonderful organ.  It starts working the minute you get up in the morning, and does not stop until you get into the office.
~Robert Frost

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Iris At The Fence (130/366)

Weather has not been kind to us this week.  My lawn already looks like I have not mowed in weeks and two Little League games were a washout.

On the bright side, I noticed that the Iris's in my "garden" decided to rejoin the living.  I have tried more than a few times to eradicate my "garden" of weeds via Round Up.  Pretty sure that the Daffodils are immune to it and the Iris's just needed a year to recover.  Of course the same thing goes for the weeds.  Nothing kills them and trust me, I have tried.

So tonight, after photographing some of the side garden at Daniel's elementary school, I came home and played in the back yard.  This was my favorite out of all the shots.  The lighting at dusk and the fence as a back drop gave this a very earthy feel.

Where the flower blooms, so does hope.
~Ladybird Johnson

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Walk-Off (129/366)

I thought I knew what today's photo of the day would be before I even took it.  Tonight I was treated to a Pirates Game by one of our good vendors.  Jim, my co-worker and Steve, our vendor, met at the PNC Park this evening to root on our Buccos against the Washington Nationals.  I was hoping to see Stephen Strasburg pitching but tonight was not his night.  We did have the phenom, Bryce Harper so I was hoping to catch a few good shots of the hot shot 19yo outfielder.

I captured more than a few shots of #34 but the eventual outcome of the game totally changed my mind.  All during the game we had a rather loud cheering section for AJ Burnett behind us.  Burnett did a hell of a job tonight with 10 strikeouts and only allowing 2 runs in 8 innings.  We got to see Andrew McCutchen and Garret Jones hit solo home runs and it looked like another W was in the bag for the Pirates.  Until the 9th inning.

Yeah, former Pirate, Adam LaRoche hit a 2 run home run off our closer, Hanrahan, and the crowd ( for a Tuesday night game in Pittsburgh, it was a crowd ) started to leave.  Then of course on the big screen is my favorite (and the only one I know ) scene from Pirates of the Caribbean, "Hoist the colors!"  And that we did.

We were down by a run, we were down to our last out and it had not been a great night for out catcher, Rod Barajas.  Now I like Rod.  I like him because he just looks like a nice guy, he has 6 kids and because he is an underdog at this point in his career and I love the underdog!  I also tired of the AJ Burnett fan club behind me ridiculing him the whole night.

So with Alex Presley on third after a two pass balls, Rod line a shot into the left field corner and those of us fans still left, went crazy!  There is nothing better than watching your team come back and take the win with a walk-off and it's even better when it's a home run!!!!

Way to go Rod, you were the man of the night!

Every strike brings me closer to the next home run!
~Babe Ruth

Monday, May 7, 2012

Spring Abstract (128/366)

Like most Monday's, the day was a blur.  Before I knew it, 5pm rolled around and no picture taken. So after a much needed hour of Zumba, I drove to pick Daniel up from Cub Scouts and in the parking lot of the Borough Fire Department and Public Works, I found my shot.

I love flowers as a subject and most days it does not matter whether the flower is in full bloom or still in  tight bud.  Another bunch of iris's were at my disposal and this abstract just spoke to me.

Photography is the beauty of life, captured.
~Tara Chisholm

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fifty Shade of Pink (127/366)

This is one of my favorite quotes and the picture of this rose brought it to mind instantly.  The delicate softness of the petals, the varying shades of pink are both romantic and erotic.  It also didn't hurt that I am in the middle of the last book in the Fifty Shades trilogy.  It seemed appropriate <smiles>.

And He whispered to me in the darkness as we lay together: "Tell me where to touch you so that I can drive you insane: tell Me where to touch you so that I can give you ultimate pleasure:  tell Me where to touch you so we can truly own each other."  And I kissed Him softly and whispered back, "Touch my mind."

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Flutist (125/366)

Today was Shannon's special day.  She has been playing the flute since 4th Grade and this year was given the honor of performing in the PMEA Band Festival.  The PMEA is the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association and it is an affiliate of the National Association for Music Educators.

Students elected to this band were given their music back in the beginning of the year and they practiced at home and with their own school band teacher.  The day before the concert, all 125 children met for the first time  for an all day practice.  It was then they met their guest conductor, Ted Cramer.

I have to say we were all blown away at how well the kids played as there were some very difficult pieces.
Some of the selections we heard today were: Bugler's Dream (Olympic Fanfare), Salute to Louis Armstrong, Star Wars (Main Theme) and a compilation called Sousa Favorites.  It was a delightful 45 mins and I am so proud of how far they have all progressed.

Yeah, I am still smiling!

I can never make up my mind if I am happy being a flute player, or if I wish I were Eric Clapton.
~Ian Anderson 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Experimenting (125/366)

So my Rhododendron is just getting ready to bloom and I was experimenting with my 50mm lens during dusk.  I think I like the grainy look to the shot but I think it also shows my current camera's limitation.

But you never know what you will get unless you try.

Don't shoot what it looks like.  Shoot was it feels like.
~David Alan Harvey

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Potential (124/366)

I was lucky the past two days and had my shots before 8AM.  Today, not so much.  I thought about taking a picture of the Slutty Brownies I was making tonight for my son to take to school tomorrow, but I was pretty sure they would not last long enough for a photo.

So after mowing the lawn and having dinner, I did a little walkabout on my street.  This morning I passed my neighbors house and noticed they have the most beautiful Iris's getting ready to bloom.  There were a few that had burst forth but most of them were still wrapped tight, just waiting for their moment.

I happen to think that an Iris is at it's most beautiful before it blooms.

Each flower is a soul opening to nature.
~Gerard De Nerval 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (123/366)

I woke to the sound of rain falling this morning and all I really wanted to do was lay in bed and listen.  However, 6am rolls around fast and there are kids to get up and off to school.  In all my rush I realized I also needed to drop my car off and had planned on walking....not a great move.

Luckily by the time I got to my mechanic, Monro Muffler on Cochran Rd, the rain had let up and I could get my walk on.  After eating a meal at Jerome Bettis Grille 36 ( ) last night, a good walk never hurt anyone.

So off I went and this walk, despite the hills, never lets me down.  Loved the way the raindrops looked on all the different plants and just had to stop to capture a few.  I am sure many of the drivers going up and down Cedar Lane wonder what I was doing, but anything for the photo.

As I started back up the hill to the office, one of my co-workers found me and offered me a drive in...who was I to say no...LOL

All I can say is that my life is pretty plain
I like watchin' the puddles gather rain
~Blind Melon

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's Not Goodbye, Just Goodnight (122/366)

Today we have officially been through 1/3 of the year.  The day started off with exciting news that two dear friends have become proud parents of a bouncing baby boy named Spencer.  Congrats to Nicole and Mark!  I cannot wait to meet the little man when I am back east in July.

Today was also a little sad as a dear friend and colleague came to visit and took the kids and I out to dinner.  Sad because he will be retiring in a few short weeks and we won't have our normal work banter that we enjoy now, but a happy day too.  Happy because Ed will be starting is well earned retirement which will mean he can come and enjoy all my humor on Facebook!

So here's to Ed.  Thank you for being a wonderful person to work with over the last decade and even bigger thank you for being an all around great guy to know! Enjoy the golf, the free time and the grand kids!

Truly great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget.