Tuesday, September 1, 2015

365 Journey

I have gotten a little behind in posting my 365 journey. At least on my blog. I've done real well with keeping up with it on my Instagram though.

But now with school starting up in a week, I will need to be more selective of my time & how I use it, so I'm not sure that I'll post daily on IG either, but I will continue with weekly updates on my blog of my adventure in this journey of my life for one year.

I love having the daily prompts and now that #AugustBreak2015 is complete, I am finding myself other sources of inspiration for prompts. I love having a list of prompts in advance as it is helping me think through my shots. I have started a private board for myself on Pinterest to remind myself of ideas and techniques I want to strive for and try & master.

I am determined to work on this self portrait journey as I have found that people are what I love to shoot. I get bored with landscapes and still life. 

Don't get me wrong - I love the shots that others take of these meme's, but I can't find the joy in it. I am drawn to people, and that is why I am using myself as a model. 

I don't have to schedule a time with someone, I can work this shot on my time. It is also a way to push myself & experiment with what I can do with my photography before I try it on others. It's also a way to become comfortable with me. 

We are our own worst critics when it comes to ourselves, am I right? I love where I am in life and who I share it with, but looking at myself in photos is the one thing I struggle with. I have come to realize that if I am not comfortable in front of the camera, how can I completely convince someone else who is also "camera shy" to relax and feel good about themselves?

So.......on with this journey.
Starting from the top left and moving right.

Day 15.  Prompt::Reading. I can be a real book worm and it can drive Dream Boy nuts sometimes when I get absorbed in a book & can't/won't put it down. As I set this shot up, I had the vision of one of my favorite childhood books, "Caps For Sale". 

Do you remember this story? Do you remember how he stacked all the caps on his head as he walked around trying to sell his caps?

Day 16.  Prompt::Look Up. Not everyone can say they have a rock wall in their backyard to climb!

Day 17.  Prompt::Sweet Delights. Between my big sister and our neighbor, our counter top has been a sweet delight of their garden harvest! Nothing better than a sweet, ripe, straight off the vine tomato in the summer.

Day 18.  Prompt::Two.  Dream Boy & I purchased "Daisy" earlier this summer. A bicycle built for two. We've had a few adventures on her & look forward to even more this fall.

Row 2 (l-r):

Day 19.  Prompt::Real Life. This is first thing in the morning, straight out of bed. No make up, no shower, no hair combing, nada-zilch-zero. This is as real as it gets people!

Day 20.  Prompt::Curves. My Wonder Dog & I snuggling up on in the curves of our favorite chaise lounge which is in my office.

Day 21.  Prompt::Water.  I am a water bug, have always been. My mom couldn't get me out of the pool, lake or sprinkler and I am still drawn to water. That's why I love my Wonder Dog so much, she is ALWAYS ready to head to the dock.

Day 22.  Prompt::In The Distance.  Reading, again with the reading. But it doesn't get better than a summer's day, sitting on the patio, with the puffy white clouds in the distance.

Row 3(l-r):

Day 23.  Prompt::Green.  The local farmer's stand has fresh veggies and flowers almost all summer long. The green stems on this bouquet are a reminder to me that summer will soon be over & these are some of the last of the beautiful blooms.

Day 24.  Prompt::Door.  Our back door straight into the kitchen. This door has welcomed many a friend, family member and holds the key to so many memories. 

Day 25.  Prompt::Favorite Recipe.  My mom's chocolate pie has always been my absolute favorite and it doesn't get any better than HER recipe written in her beautiful script.

Day 26.  Prompt::In My Bag.  We have an organic grocery store in town now with an awesome deli. One of our favorite things to do is grab dinner from there on a Friday night. Dream Boy gets sushi & I get some sort of delicious salad.
Day 27.  Prompt::Listen.  It was a rainy day that was pretty much spent inside. But at one point, I went outside to just listen to the falling rain.
Day 28.  Prompt::smile.  In my backyard there is an overwhelming abundance of these black eyed susan's. It's what I see every time I look out the kitchen/dining room window. It always makes me smile. 

Day 29.  Prompt::August Was.  In my opinion, August was way too short. But I packed a whole lot of fun into what few weeks I had off before heading back to school full time for the year. And spending my afternoon on the dock with my Wonder Dog was one of the best!

So here we are in September! 

Today is my oldest son's birthday - he's 28. How the heck did this happen?

I will continue on with my journey and working more at my craft and skills. Stepping beyond just taking a photo, but actually capturing what my eye sees as I look around this world I live in with awe and with my artistic mind.

I hope you will continue to follow along on my journey.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Monday Morning Coffee

Here we are - back to Monday again!
Libbi says good morning too.

She is fully recovered from her run in with a car over a week ago.  Thank goodness.

Today she is back on her own as I'm back at school for the day. Yep, it's that time of year again. I'm in my final countdown of summer vacation.

We have our welcome back breakfast this morning and then staff meetings this afternoon. I may put a little time in my classroom to prep for my students next week, but the rest of my week I plan on enjoying every moment I can.  

The Wonder Dog & I still have a few dock days to put in - it was so cold, rainy & overcast this last week, we didn't get over there once!

This past weekend was spent close to home.

I drove my MIL to South Bend on Friday afternoon to pick up my sister-in-law, who flew home for the weekend from Florida. It was a nice afternoon, a quick trip there & back!

Friday night I stopped at the local organic grocery store & picked up sushi for Dream Boy & chicken salad for moi. I am not a fan of fish, but he is. And yes, I've tried sushi, and no - I still don't like it.

Saturday was a wet, dreary, rainy & cool day. We were supposed to work the back to school carnival at church in the afternoon, but the weather was horrendous, so it was postponed to September 12.

I had a senior shoot scheduled for 4pm, but again, the radar and hour by hour forecast was not promising, so we rescheduled for later this week.

So Dream Boy & I headed into town & did a little shopping, some stuff I needed for my classroom and groceries we needed for home. We picked up fixings for dinner & headed home for the night.

Dream Boy offered to cook, so I let him. Love that man!

We settled in after dinner and pulled up a documentary on Amazon Prime called, "Holes In My Shoes." It's about a man named Jack Beers who grew up on the lower east side of New York. He was 94 when this documentary was filmed and he & his younger (86) brother told Jack's life story.


If you have not seen this film, you need to watch it. This man just blew our minds with all he has accomplished in his life and how he did it and the humble attitude he had of it all. 


Then we watched a movie, "If I Stay." I read the book last year & really like it and I must say the movie was very good as well. Sometimes they lose something when they make a movie from a book, but I think this one stayed fairly close to the story line.

Sunday we started our morning in church, as we do every week. We love our little church and really enjoy everyone we've come to know there. 

After church we headed downtown to our little Main Street Cafe & had breakfast and got caught up with Marlene & Michael - the staff there. They know us by name and make us feel right at home when we walk in the door.

We then headed home and Dream Boy joined up with his riding buddies & they took off for an afternoon ride while I prepped for a senior session later that afternoon.

I met up with my senior girl & her mom in downtown & we strolled the river walk and did some pictures before heading a little further into downtown to shoot at 2 new spots I had spied earlier this summer. 

It was great because there was virtually no one around, so we weren't fighting for an open spot or waiting for people to move.

We finished up there & then headed out to a local golf course that had an old barn on the property, along with some old rusted farm equipment & trucks. It was a very unique setting and they were so polite and welcoming in letting us shoot a few pictures there!

I headed home after we finished up there & picked up Dream Boy & we immediately went out to the local campground for supper with our friends & their family. What a great way to wrap up the weekend.

We ended it with a small bonfire before heading home around 9:30 so I could shower off the bug spray & get to bed at a decent time.

This back to school & alarm schtuff is going to cramp my style very quickly. 

But a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do!

Have a great week everyone - I'll be back later with a catch up on my 365 project. 

Yes, I'm very proud to say that I have not yet missed a day. But, my prompts that I started with this project with will be ending today, so I need to get busy & continue my list by researching more. I am finding it helps me greatly to have a prompt a day or so before I'm to shoot it, so I don't feel like I'm just taking the photo to take the photo.

Thanks for stopping by this morning! And to all my faithful readers, thank you for your kind words when I see you or with the comments you leave on my post. I'm so glad you enjoy catching up on our life at My Happy Place.

Oh - & don't forget, tomorrow is the 1st of September, so be sure to join me on Instagram with "Feet First". Take a shot of where you are standing at any given time of the day & post it & tag it #feetfirst2015. It's a lot of fun to look back on you shots of feet first as the year goes on & see where you've been!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Chicago Journey - Day 2

When I left you yesterday, we had just ordered our lunch from the Taco Truck, right?

We secured a bench in the park and dined on our tacos, salsa & chips all while people watching. The park filled up quickly as it was the business lunch hour as well & everyone was taking advantage of the beautiful summer day to sit outside & eat. Lots of brown baggers and lots of bought lunches, but the park was filled with the sound of chatter & laughter all around.

I finished my lunch 1st, so I grabbed Lucy & headed up around the steps for a few shots of a bike rack that had caught my eye. I think because Dream Boy is so big into biking & I do some of my own, this rack just screamed at me.
So many bikes and so much character in each one! New, old & in between. I especially like the old milk crate strapped on the back of one to help carry all that important cargo to & from. 

I fully understand commuting in the big city by bike. After spending time in Seattle with S&D2, either public transportation or bikes is the way to go in the tangled masses of cars.

Oh & Dream Boy loves this pick - somehow I knew he would.  

Deanna & Sarah soon finished up & we cleaned up our bench & headed off in the direction of The Bean.

But we passed through another park on our way there where there were oodles of children playing in the Splash Park. It was the perfect way to spend their afternoon.
We again dawdled, just people watching and admiring the art surrounding us, whether it be the architecture of a building, sculptures....
or a girl refreshing her makeup before returning to work.
We finally tore ourselves away & headed around the corner to find The Bean!

As you can tell, it was packed around here, which is usually the case.

We headed in closer for the obligatory selfie, which we took with the 3 of us at once.
You can't see it here, but poor Sarah was getting crowded out by the woman to the right of her in this shot. She kept backing up & literally was pushing Sarah over as she kept moving closer to The Bean & her husband kept telling her to move. She was totally oblivious to her touching and pushing on Sarah.

We didn't last long around The Bean as the heat radiating off from it was crazy hot!

We left this world marvel and headed in the direction of the Chicago River to catch our Architectural Boat Tour.  We didn't have far to walk and just before we reached our destination we were overshadowed by this building.
The TRUMP building. The letters on the side of this are 2 stories tall! They told us on the tour that Donald Trump had every intention when he started designing this to make it the tallest building in Chicago, which meant it would tower over the Sears (I still call it the that) Tower and then would be the tallest building in the U.S. 

But the day Mr. Trump flew in to meet with his architecture's, was September 11, 2001. In light of what happened that day, he chose to make the building a bit shorter than the Sears Tower. In all honesty though, as we're on the boat making our way down the river & I'm listening to this, I can't understand what the difference would have made? After all, if you ever have the opportunity to take this tour, you will immediately know what I'm talking about. 

If Chicago were to be attacked, as New York was, the logical route would be to fly out over Lake Michigan & head straight into the city via the Chicago River. The Trump Building is the 1st building of stature that you see on the left side. 

Anyways, we headed off down the river and learned a whole lot about the buildings on either side of it. I was amazed at the history I learned that day.

I honestly couldn't tell you which building this is, but I was struck at the way the sun was peaking around the corner of this building.

It was literally one of the few pictures I took while on this tour.

I did enjoy hearing about Montgomery Ward and the park built in his honor. The buildings that his company had were massive along the river & fortunately are not standing empty, much like the original United States Post Office now is. We learned that Groupon is now in the Montgomery Ward building. 

Our tour ended after about 1 1/2 hours - and I highly recommend this particular one if you ever have the chance to take a tour on this river.

After we docked we headed back up to the street level and decided our day was complete and it was time to head back to the train station. Being that it was a 2 mile walk back & Deanna was becoming tired of walking, I pulled up my Uber app and called in an Uber. 

I felt so smart! We have used Uber in Seattle when we visit our kids, but this is the 1st time that I had used my app and took advantage of this form of transportation! 

Soon we were back at the train station and boarding for our ride back to Naperville!

One more day of fun awaited us on Wednesday - more on that next week.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Photography Journey Into the Big City Continues

A few weeks ago, I went to the Chicago area to explore with my camera & a few other blogging/photography buddies.

I arrived at the home of my friend on Sunday & on Monday 4 of us met up together & explored the delightful little town of Geneva. If you haven't read that post, you can catch up on it here.

On Tuesday, 3 of us, caught the train at the Naperville station & set out to spend a day in the BIG city of Chicago!
Side note: I caught some slack about having a selfie stick, but (ahem), it did come in handy!

The train ride last maybe an hour, but with our chitchatting, it didn't seem to be near that long.

Upon arriving & emerging from the underground world of Chicago, we were greeted by a beautiful, sunny, clear day! 

After getting our bearings, we set off on foot to explore the streets as we headed towards Millennium Park.

As I am participating in a 365 Journey & have been using prompts this month from Susannah Conway's #AugustBreak2015 on Instagram. The prompt for this particular day was edge & while I didn't end up using this shot, it is a great capture of my friend Deanna. It truly shows her loving personality!
With no real agenda in our mind, we were free to stop & admire & shoot whatever fell into our path. 

A beautiful building caught Sarah's eye as we were looking down a side street at the Chicago Board of Trades Building. 

The building was "The Rookery" and as we were standing outside the entrance, a gentlemen told us that we really needed to go inside and see the architecture of this building.

He also informed us that this is where they plan on shooting the movie with Leonardo Dicaprio in it, "The Devil In The White City".
Okay - can you believe the woman standing on the stairs behind Sarah does this all day long? She is "the keeper of the stairs", meaning, she does not allow anyone with out authorization beyond this point.

Not being drawn to architecture and the such, I admired the beautiful ceilings & lighting, but didn't capture many photos, as I was more enamored by watching the people moving about. 

As we exited the building, we were all instantly drawn to the 2 food trucks across the street. They appeared to be together due to the paint color & style of their trucks, but at the same time, they were 2 totally different trucks!
Oh the charm of these 2 trucks, but this donut truck is what everyone seemed to be drawn too.

Not to mention - it sold DONUTS! Who can resist donuts?
Me. I resisted the urge to purchase a donut. It was hard, believe me, but I did resist!
Our journey continued on in the shadows of the buildings along the way and we found ourselves in the middle of a Farmer's Market.  

I followed this woman around because I was drawn to her hat & her dress, her whole style intrigued me. But I could only see her from behind. At last, she walked around this vendors booth and stopped, turning to face me. 

As she engaged the vendor in a Q&A session, I was able to capture her look of confusion as she seemed to ask for directions from the colorfully dressed man.
What do you supposed they were talking about? She approached this vendor very slowly, as though she was afraid to ask any questions, but when she finally did, he became very attentive to her.

I think Deanna thought Sarah & I got lost, but the 2 of us finally emerged from the depths of the market & we continued on our journey until we  emerged onto Michigan Ave and were greeted by the Lion in front of Art Institute of Chicago.

I failed to capture the Lion, because I was enamored with this guitar player~~
 Can you read his sign?

"At least its not January."

A street performer with a sense of humor, I love it!

So we continued to push on down the street, moving along with all the others like a school of fish. I believe everyone had the same destination in mind as we did.

The Bean.

But just prior to reaching the infamous Millennium Park, we side stepped into a smaller park. At 1st we thought it was a short cut and a way to avoid the crowd, but we fell into another world all its own.

There were these gentlemen, possibly waiting for their wives who were somewhere shopping or just sitting together to shoot the breeze for the morning as they do on a regular basis?
But the generation gap is so apparent in this set of 4. The 2 younger people appear to be "bookends", absorbed in their technology and unable/unwilling to communicate with those of an older generation.

While the gentleman on the left actually appears to be posing for me as I take their photo. 

On the other side of the park was a group of children led by 3 women. They had chosen the steps to eat their lunch. A little in the sun, a little in the shade. As they wrapped up their lunches, their teacher began giving directions for them.

As is usual, their is always one who is lost in their own little world, not paying attention to what they should be, but to what their imagination wants them too.
I identify greatly with the little girl on the left - I tend to drift off into my own world as well quite frequently.

We decided before heading any further, we would take full advantage of the food trucks parked just on the other side of the park.
The Taco Truck!

This vendor was so sweet and so attentive to his patrons. His food was amazingly delicious and it filled each of our bellies to their fullest!

After finishing our lunches, we headed in the direction of The Bean.

But, you'll have to come back tomorrow for the rest of our Chicago adventure, because now that I've looked at all these food trucks and talked about them, my tummy is getting quite rumbly.