Friday, August 31, 2012

Yes It Is! (244/366)

Despite an incredibly crazy day filled with work, refrigerators, pedis and manis with my daughter, I managed to find a photo the just summed up the day.

Thank you Hallmark for reminding me that I need to be thankful for everything, for each moment in life is special!




Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thank You (243/366)

My August Photoaday Challenge word today was Card.  I chose to shoot a Thank You card I designed on Shutterfly earlier this year.  I think Thank You cards are not used enough these days.  I make both my kids fill them out after birthday parties and various other events.  In fact, they have done that as far back as 3 years old when they could just about write their name.  We have two to send out shortly.

The first card is to thank my mother's friend Barbara for starting Daniel off on his Sports Christmas Tree for his room and for opening her home to the kids and I and giving us a grand tour.  Barbara is the one from the post I did earlier this month with the upside down Christmas Tree.

The second card is for our neighbors up the street, the Formans.  They have a son, Steven and whenever he outgrows something, Daniel is happy recipient.  He has received over the year a Jason Bay Pirates Jersey, all weather boots, jackets and lastly, a giant bag of baseballs to keep his extra innings games in the backyard going strong!

I think teaching our children to do a simple task such as this is very important and if you want some cool cards, I am sure I can design one for you!

The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.
~Fred Astaire







Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Toy That Won't Leave (242/366)

Last night was a quick clean of the garage.  Every time I clean the garage out (or work on it), this toy ends up in my way.  Every time it ends up in my way, I try to toss it in the trash and one of the kids makes sure it finds it's way back in to the garage.

Tonight it actually has made it's way back into my house.....good God, please!

Dan thought it would be fun to model it for all of you.  Why am I sure this will never leave my home, even after my children have....LOL

I think all toys should be invisible.  Not only would they improve children's imagination, but they'd also be very affordable.  In fact, every toy would be free.
~Jarod Kintz




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Teeth (241/366)  

The first week of school is always crazy and my free time tonight was spent in my garage making room for a new refrigerator.  Well, not new, but new to me and less than 5 years old.

And before I knew it, it was dark, there was a ton of trash at my curb and I had not taken a shot.

I was sitting and pondering a shot and thought some macro fun with the Olloclip was in order.  This is an interesting shot of the texture and quality of the zipper in my new Coach bag.  It just feels rich and so permanent as apposed to the cheesy zippers in my $15 bags of the past.

Men wear the pants in a relationship, but women control the zipper.
~Author Unknown


Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day of School (240/366)

And so begins another school year.  I was successful in getting a 7th grader and 4th grader off on to their 180 days of educational excellence.

Of course, there always has to be some fun in the First Day, so Daniel got to wear this great shirt that I bought for him in Hollywood.  What was even more fun was that his teacher's theme in the classroom is Hollywood.  Well planned Samantha, well planned.

Now what I want to know is why during the first week of school, I have more home work than my kids.  All these damn forms to fill out and send back in.  It hurts my hands and gives me a headache.  Can't we just check a box that says "Same As Last Year".

Shannon and I have managed to have an almost quiet day with no episodes of screaming and crying.  179 days to go!  Keep your fingers crossed folks, because I am sure we will have our ups and downs!

But now, 9:30pm is my favorite time of night.....the sound of sweet silence.

Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead, ought to tell a child to go to bed.
~Robert Gallagher






Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dreams (239/366)

Sometimes I wonder what exactly goes through the batter's mind when they step up to the plate.  I think it varies depending on the situation they are stepping into.

Today, we attended out 15th game of the season (as a family) and it was not one of the best games we have seen.  The city of Pittsburgh and the fan of the Pirates have been dreaming of a winning season since 1992.  We won't even get into the possibility of a Post Season yet, but they did send me a package and I have to make my mind up by September 14th, 2012.  Many more games like today and I won't have to make a decision.

Now, I love baseball and I love being a Pirate fan.  I grew up a Phillies fan and in my heart of hearts, they will always be my #1, but I live here now and I have always loved the underdog.  My biggest issue with the last few games I have been to is that is seems like something is missing.  I don't feel the hunger.  I don't see that extra push to get it done.  I have watched players assume their infield hit will be an out at first and an error is made and what could have been more, sometimes is barely a single.

Now I am not off the Pirate bandwagon.  We still love our Bucco's in this house, but I want to see the life back in the guys.  This town wants them to do well.  We want them to win!

So here stands Andrew McCutchen at home plate.  I would imagine this was a lonely dream.  Bottom of the 9th, two outs, two men on, down to your last strike and you are being shut out.  It's you and only you against it all.  So is it a dream or a nightmare.........

Playing baseball is not real life.
It's a fantasy world....
It's a dream come true!
~Dale Murphy



Saturday, August 25, 2012

Buzzzzzzz (238/366)

We had another busy day getting ready for school on Monday and Dan had baseball practice as well.  While Shannon and I waited for him to finish up, I took advantage of the time and the beautiful Gerber Daisies at the ball field.  I grabbed my iPhone and Olloclip and had some fun.  I love the centers of these flowers as the detail is just amazing.  Now add one of your insect friends and it just makes it that much better!

When the flower blooms, the bee comes uninvited.
~Ramakrishna




Friday, August 24, 2012

Birdy (237/366)

The birds who visit our bird feeder are funny.  It seems they like to dump more food on the ground and eat it there than to keep it in the feeder.

This little fella was kind enough to let me creep up close to capture him enjoying his evening snack.

The reason birds can fly and we can't, is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.
~J.M. Barrie


Thursday, August 23, 2012

What A Pair (236/366)

This is a rare moment.  My daughter actually looked when I asked her too and smiled (almost).  This is a picture of her and her best friend Alicia.  They just got home from a Girl Scout camping trip and joined us as our elementary school had it's Welcome Back picnic at our community pool.

It's good to see the girls growing up and still staying friends.  This is such a tough time for them with all the peer pressure and social pressures.  I wish they could stay small and easy to deal with...LOL

Friendship is born at the moment when one persons says to another:  What?  You too?  I thought I was the only one!
~C.S. Lewis


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dining In The Garden (235/366)

I can feel a cold or flu coming on, but I needed to get out and take some real pictures.  So out to the garden I went to see if I had any visitors.  I think most of the butterflies visit during the day as I rarely see them when I get home.  Of course, Mother Nature does not disappoint!

Mr. Bumblebee seemed to be enjoying the sweet nectar of the Blanket Flower.

A bee is never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower.
~Kin Hubbard


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sunset (234/366)

Another night out and the weather was iffy most of the day.  By the time we left the restaurant, the clouds were wicked and when I got into my neighborhood, I had a pretty awesome view at the top of the street.

Sunset over the tennis courts and must get out and get my camera on order this week.

My body is so looking forward to a good night of sleep tonight and back to an exercise program tomorrow...as much as I don't want to, I have to.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Capital Grille (233/366)

Two thirds of the year is officially over.  Tonight was a treat as one of our supplier's treated my co-worker and I to dinner at the Capital Grille.  The food was absolutely amazing and I might not need to eat for days.

Wedge with Blue Cheese and Applewood Bacon, Dry Aged Steak Au Poivre With a Courvoiser Creme Sauce, Grilled Asparagus, Sam's Mashed Potato's and Lobster Mac 'n Cheese.  And we topped it off with a great cup of coffee and my dessert of choice Fresh Strawberries Capital Grille (fresh strawberries with a ruby port and Grand Marnier sauce.

It was so delicious that I just had to share.

Now I think I need to go jog 10 miles to offset the caloric intake...LOL

The only time to eat diet food is when you are waiting for the steak to cook.
~Julia Child




Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hole (232/366)

Today was School Shopping Day.  Too many things going on this week and on the weekend so today was it.  My Photoadayaug challenge word today was Hole.  How appropriate since my kids burned a hole in my wallet and my debit card.  I will say, that we did quite well today and including shoes and supplies, I kept it under $300 a kid.  I can live with that.  We just need winter coats but we will wait a bit, because it's like pulling teeth to get them to wear them.

Oh, and I finally got to get into my new Coach purchases and used my $50 Gift Card.  Life was good for Mom too!

If there were no schools to take the children away from home part of the time, the insane asylums would be filled with mothers.
~Edgar W. Howe


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shared Sunset (231/366)

I was Skyping with my dear friend Jodie tonight and she lives in Brisbane, Australia.  Skype was giving me fits on my laptop so I decided to try my iPad.  Woo hoo!  Success at last!  I told her that eventually during the conversation I was taking her outside on my freshly manicured front lawn so I could get a picture for the blog post tonight!

This is the beautiful sunset we both shared.  Of course it was 11:00AM tomorrow as she was viewing this but it was wonderful to share it with her. Now she can't wait to see snow.  I, on the other hand, can wait to see it..LOL

Hope you have a fantastic lunch and enjoy your day babe!  Catch ya on the flip side!




Friday, August 17, 2012

After The Rain (230/366)

As dinner was grilling, I was investigating my garden after the rainy day we had and a visitor graced me with their presence.  My black eyed Susan's are in full bloom and I had Dan run and grab my camera so I could capture the moment before he took off.

I wish I had a whole day to just lounge in the yard with my camera and enjoy all the beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.

The butterfly is a flying flower.
The flower a tethered butterfly.
~Ponc Denis Ecouchard Lebrun





Thursday, August 16, 2012

Wish #4 (229/366)

Garret Jones.  Sometimes Right Fielder, sometimes First Baseman of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  All the time good looking guy!  He is wish #4 (for those of you following along) and he had QP MVP game today with 2 home runs and 6 RBI's as the Pirates avoided a sweep by the Dodgers.  My record also improved to 13-4 this season watching the Pirates.

So thank you Garret Jones for a great game, for leading the Pirates to a win and for making the first game that my friend U-Ming Lee ever went to, a worthwhile experience!

And you sure make sitting on the right field line a good thing!

It's going, going, going......GONE!!!




Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wish #3 (228/366)

Back in June, after Dan and I slaved in our garden getting it ready for planting, I remember sitting in the living and saying, "If I had two wishes, you know what they would be?".  Dan's response was "Andre Either and Garret Jones?"  I told him that they would be wishes 3 and 4....LOL

Tonight we sat in center field to watch our Pirates take on the Dodgers and I got blessed with both my baseball hotties, as they were both playing right field!  Wishes do come true!

So today I treat you to Andre, my hottie from LA, wish #3.  Tomorrow I will share wish #4.







Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Customer Service (227/366)

August 3rd, 2012 I decided to treat myself to a little something.  I walked by the Coach store in the mall and decided it was time.  I had the extra money and I was due a treat.  I went in, shopped and walked out about 30 mins later with a new purse, wallet and change purse.  Now, if you have shopped at Coach you know they spare no expense and your purchase is boxed up, wrapped in tissue and even your receipt gets its own special Coach envelope.

Well I exited the store and as I was leaving the mall I got the call from hell from my New/Former bank.  I turned right around, as soon as I calmed down, walked back into the Coach store and asked them to void my transaction on my debit card and move it to my credit card.  I was determined to keep it but I will not use it until the money had been moved (again) and the credit card paid.

So today, I come home to a note in the mail from the wonderful woman at Coach who both helped me chose the items I wanted but also more than willingly helped me with the payment issue.  She thanked me for stopping in their store, hoped I had an enjoyable vacation and enclosed a $50 gift card for me to use to help me get more organized.  Woo hoo!!!  Now $50 at Coach won't get your far, but I want a nice cell phone holder and now it will only cost me about $10.00

Of course, my daughter thinks it should be hers....HA!  She needs to think again.

Customer Service is not a department.  It's everyone's job!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Goldfinch (226/366)

A peek out in the yard while making dinner found a cute Goldfinch munching on my cone flowers.  When Dan and I did this garden, it was for the butterflies, but it has become so much more.

We have a hummingbird that visits now, an array of birds, including a cardinal that I have yet to catch with my camera, butterflies, insects, etc.  Tonight we had this new visitor.  Oh how the simple things in life can make your day.  Both kids even tried to catch him with their iPads because they can appreciate the simple pleasures.

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.
~Author Unknown




Sunday, August 12, 2012

Grand Slam! (225/366)

It has been 48 days since the O'Brien's have been to a Pirate's game at PNC Park.  Travels and such have kept us from our home park but today, with a few extended family members in tow, we made our grand entrance and it felt so good to be home.

And then the first inning and 4 runs by the Padres and well, the crowd was not happy.  Then they added an additional run in the second and we were down 5-0.  We managed a run in the 3rd and then all hell broke loose in the 4th!  It's was a 13 man at bat and a 9 run inning, we were ahead 10-5 and it was Game On!

And our group was treated to a Grand Slam by Clint Barmes, who, just a few innings before caused a 2 run error.  Error?  What error?  LOL  Amazing what 4 runs can do to change things and make people forget!

So here is what a first career Grand Slam looks like!

Let's Go Bucs!!!




Saturday, August 11, 2012

Sprinkles!! (224/366)

I had a dream this morning that I won the lottery and told a good friend of mine to go pick out a new car and I will pay for it.  Well, she did get a new car today and I do wish I could have helped with the paying of it but  I was so happy that she and her family are now in a safe!

And sprinkles remind me of being a kid, with not a care in the world.  I actually used to call them "jimmies" and that word still brings back fond memories of my childhood.

So I had a very productive day anyway and I did enjoy a cookie because, well, sprinkles make me happy!

Happy Saturday to All!!!



Friday, August 10, 2012

Tiny Band Of Gold (223/366)

We got home from visiting my Mom today and this is the last of my travels for a while.  I need to rest up for the big trip next year!  Knowing that my time today would be limited, I decided to combine the Photoadayaug challenge with my blog.

The word today is RING.  I have a few rings I could have used but this was the one that I felt set the tone after an email I received.  First, let's talk about the ring.  My best friend and I have matching ones that we exchanged on her graduation.  Just a tiny band of gold with a simple sentiment inside.

Hers says :  Dawn BFA Wham and mine says: Wham BFA Dawn.  It's just that simple.  We may not talk for a week or a month but when we do, it's as if no time has passed.  We just pick up where we left off!

I chose this for today because we need to keep our friends close.  Not always physically but in our hearts.  I received an email today that a friend of mine is dying of cancer and the treatments they are doing are just to keep him comfortable and give him more time.  I will keep him and his family in my prayers and be thankful for all the friends that I am blessed with.  It really makes you take stock in what you do have and push aside the silliness that we can let get in the way.

So here's to you, all my friends and especially Greg.  You will always have a special place in my heart.




Thursday, August 9, 2012

These Boots! (222/366)

We did our final day trip today and took a ride to Maggie Valley, NC to visit Wheels Through Time Museum.  Daniel loves anything with wheels and he probably could have moved in if I would have let him.

Indians, Harley's, Cadillac's and more filled this wonderful museum hidden in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  I took a large number of shots of all the different bikes but these boots were my favorite as I thought about the stories they could tell.

You never truly know about another person until you walk a mile in their boots or shoes.

These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do.  One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you......
~Nancy Sinatra


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Minister's Tree House (221/366)

We left Asheville today about 8:50AM and headed out on our big day trip.  First stop, 183 miles to Crossville, TN to see the Minister's Tree House.  Last year about this time, someone on G+ posted a pic about it and it was the I knew I wanted to see this and take pictures.  So I sent the link to my Mom, showed the kids and it was a done deal.

Now I took a ton of photos why we were there but I felt this one showed the enormity of the house.  It's almost 10 stories high and we climbed almost all of them.  We bypassed the ladder that took you to the very top of the bell tower, for my healthy and sanity...LOL

What I think amazed me most was when we got there, the parking lot was FULL and they even had space for bus parking.  I kept thinking as we were driving, "What if we get there and it really looks like we were trespassing?"  Thankfully that was not the case and if I had to hazard a guess, I would say there were about 100-200 people visiting at the same time we were.

It was definitely worth the drive!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Upside Down (220/366)

Christmas is alive and well here in Asheville, NC, at least at my Mom's house and at her friend Barbara's house.  We made our way over to Barbara's after lunch out and a new shoe shopping spree at Kohl's.

Barbara and her husband Dennis own a home that was built for William Jennings Bryan in 1917 and it is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Now, that in itself is very cool but Barbara also keeps her home decorated for Christmas 365 days a year, something she has been doing for the last 10-12 years.  The number of trees was countless and each one had a theme, including 7 trees in here living room, one for each Grandchild.

This is my favorite.  It's the upside down tree.  It sits where the family tree used to be.  She used to cut a fresh tree down (from a farm in Madison County) and use the big lights and heavy ornaments, but when kids and grandkids came into the picture she decided to turn it upside down and give it a new theme and it became artificial.

I love the fact that my daughter took over 100 photos in the house today and I only edited a few.  More to come as time permits.

Christmas waves a magic wand over this world and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful.
~Norman Vincent Peale


Monday, August 6, 2012

WRITING on the wall  (219/366)

Tonight was spent watching the local Single A team for the Colorado Rockies (Asheville Tourists) take on the Single A Team for the Mets (Savannah Sand Gnats).  Mother Nature was trying her best to dampen the spirits and the skies but it didn't matter!

It was quite the pitcher's duel for the first four innings and then the Gnats scored once in the 5th and once in the 6th.  Then finally, a 2 run shot over the right field wall by the Tourists and the game was tied till the bottom of the 9th.  The Sand Gnats loaded the bases and it was a sacrifice by OF Brian Humphries and they won 3-2!

Dan got to be involved in a trivia contest on the field and won a new cooler bag for our next trip to the ballpark and he also got a ball from one of the base coaches.  It was a great night!

And this, it by far my favorite sign from any ballpark I have been to!

Read the writing on the wall...... 


Sunday, August 5, 2012

USA (218/366)

Over the next few days I will probably be sharing pictures that look at bit out of place for August.  However, my mom decided not to take down her Christmas decorations from last year and they are still up.  Dan and I counted and there are 14 different trees around her house and many other decorations.  I could spend a whole day just photographing all the unique and different ornaments she owns.

This shot is from the Patriotic Tree in her office (aka my bedroom) and it's in honor of all our athletes competing in the 2012 Olympics in London.

For athletes, the Olympics are the ultimate test of their worth.
~Mary Lou Retton 







Saturday, August 4, 2012

Scenic Overlook (217/366)

We have been traveling down to my Mom's house in Asheville, NC for the last 6 years.  Every year we have stopped (at the urging of the kids) at the Metcalf Scenic Overlook which is in Tennessee,  just a mile or two from the North Carolina state line.   When we hit this overlook, we are only about 20 miles from Grandma's house but we still have to stop.

So I have been taking this picture of my kids for the last six years and despite the weather being less than desirable today, we stopped and got the shot!

Gotta love these little traditions and it's funny how the kids look forward to it almost more than I do.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Coin (216/366)

Well the bad day yesterday moved into today.  So what does a girl do when the day goes to shit?

She shops and I decided that I am due a lil something...and this is what I treated myself to.

I spent some serious "coin" but you know what, I deserve it!

Let's hope tomorrow is a better day!

There is no better therapy than retail therapy!
~Samantha O'Brien


Thursday, August 2, 2012

One (215/366)

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do.
Two, can be as bad as one.
It's the loneliest number since the number one.

Yeah, I took one and only ONE photo today and this is it.  This is a potential contractor I will call for quotes when I start doing some necessary home repairs. This picture was taken for one reason only....so I would not forget the name and number.....LOL   I am not sure if it was the full more or something else, but DAMN, today just sucked!

So I am leaving you with this photo and I promise, more fun one coming next week as we head south to see my Mom in Asheville!




Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Outside (214/366)

So I started the August Photoaday Challenge with my friends on Facebook and took two shots this morning before I even got showered or dressed.  The dew on the flowers was just too good to pass up the opportunity and I thought that fit the challenge today which was "Outside".

Interested in the challenge?  Follow @fatmumslim on Twitter.  It's just something fun to do along side my 365 Project and while the challenge word might now always be my post here, some days, it will.

A single rose can be my garden, a single friend, my world.
~Leo Buscaglia