Monday, August 22, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Well, hello there!

Did you make it through your weekend? We did, a little wet & soggy, but we made it!
My weekend started on Friday, as it should, right?  My friend Wanda & I had decided to make the best of the rest of our summer & head to the shoreline of the big lake!

She hasn't had a beach day in quite some time, as she lives on a lake & doesn't venture away from it for another body of water. But we decided there's nothing better than the sand between out toes and the sound of the waves rolling in along side of you.

We chose a park that she & I both remembered from years past. I remember going there with my mom, dad & big sis when we were younger for all day picnics with another family from church.

Mom would pack the best picnic ever, why is it the food that your mom makes at home never tastes the same as it does when your on a picnic at the beach? There was a shady park that the adults would camp out in, and the girls, they had 3 daughters and my little sister wasn't even thought of yet, would head down the dune onto the beach and play in the water and sand all day long.

So Wanda & I googled the park and found it right away and made a splendid day of it!  The weather was iffy - dark clouds and storms were rolling in from the west over the lake, but we parked ourselves in the sand and had only a few sprinkles throughout our day. Around 3pm the sun came out in full force & we stayed until 4:30 to enjoy it!

I got home around 6:15 and Dream Boy had dinner started. What a guy, great way to come home. We talked about our day and just spent the evening together. Around 9 o'clock I decided to channel surf and stumbled across "The Breakfast Club" and was hooked. Soon Dream Boy came up from his bicycle shop in the basement and joined in. It's been forever since I have seen this movie, but as I watched it I was reminded that even though this movie was from 1985, the attitude and behaviors of teenagers has not really changed. There are still bullies, there are still abusive homes, there are still those who feel entitled, and there are still those who just love life and move through it with a smile on their face.

Good reminder as I move into a new school year in the next few weeks.

Saturday started out sunny and warm.  I had forgotten to bring the mail in on Friday and was so happily surprised by snail mail!  Who doesn't love getting snail mail anymore?  This girl LOVES it - and I am fortunate to have a friend in California who loves to send it.  She is awesome at making cards and she shares them with me every so often. When I get them, it's even more unique when I open them to see her "note". She always writes on a sticky note so that you can pull it out & reuse the card for someone else. How cool is that? Not only do I receive an awesome surprise in the mail, but I can turn around and share it with someone else!
A little while later the mail came for Saturday and I had yet another card in the mail from a different friend!


Dream Boy got home from his Saturday morning ride and shortly after, the weather began to take a turn. The dark storm clouds started rolling in again, so after enjoying lunch together, he laid down on the love seat on the porch to "read" and I headed inside to edit more photos. 

The storms soon arrived and the deluge of rain with it! Oh boy did it come down in buckets and more! My phone started popping up weather alerts and not too far to our west, the next county over actually, there were tornado warnings popping up. They received some damage, downed trees and power outages, but nothing life threatening thankfully.

Dream Boy slept through it all.

Saturday night cleared off a bit, but the clouds would build with water, getting darker by the minute and releasing quick showers off & on all night. Dream Boy & I headed into town for a burger & a beer & then back home to settle in for another quiet evening.

Sunday was started in church! We picked up one of my graduated students on our way and headed into town. She's been joining us for church off & on since this past spring and we love having her with us. 

After church we headed home & Dream Boy needed to "unwind", so he headed out on his bike and I headed off to the grocery store after writing out a menu for dinner.

S&D1 were coming home for family dinner last night, so I went and picked up the fixings for Hawaiian BBQ chicken, Peaches and Cream Bars, oven roasted-balsamic glazed brussel sprouts and baked potatoes. 

I actually sliced the potatos - you know, like you've seen on Pinterest - and put them in my crock pot for the afternoon. I added olive oil, salt, pepper & fresh chives to them and baked them on high for 4 hours.! Best potatoes ever!

The kids haven't been home for a while, so it was great to sit down and spend some time with them. The weather had taken a turn for the cool side after those storms had come through on Saturday, so we all wore long sleeves and/or sweatshirts to sit outside to eat dinner. Haven't done that in quite a while.

So, as you can see, our weekend was a quiet, at home kinda one. Just the way I  like it. 

I hope you have a wonderful week and enjoy each and every day of it!

Oh - by the way...........remember that photo I submitted last week for a showing in September?  Um, yeah. I opened my email this morning to find out that my submission has been selected to be displayed! Oh wow - just WOW!

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wedding Bells Are Ringing

I did it.

I shot another wedding.

At the end of 2014 I shot a wedding for a family friend. I loved every minute of it, but was totally exhausted when done. The whole affair, the prep, the research, the shoot, the editing had finally worn me down.

So I said that I would not shoot weddings anymore.

Silly me.

That changed this last winter when another friend posted that her daughter's photographer had raised prices on them after they agreed to a certain fee. 

Not cool.

I messaged her & told her to give me a call. We chatted for awhile and I soon found myself booked to shoot her daughter's wedding on August 12, 2016. 

Soon after that, I booked another wedding shoot for September 24, 2016. A former student of mine contacted me and I agreed to meet with her & her fiancĂ©, and I loved them both and found myself very excited and honored to be chosen to capture their wedding day memories.

Looks like I'm back in the wedding business - and that's okay with me. I really do love shooting them, I just have to remember to pace myself more with scheduling - not only weddings, but all my shoots.

Someone told me I was very brave to take on wedding shoots and I agree to a certain extent. There is no "do overs" on a wedding, you need to be on your toes and prepared for every moment. 

But I have an advantage that a lot of people may not have when it comes to shooting weddings. I was a wedding coordinator for over 10 years, which meant I was on the other side of the lens.

I followed the bride & groom around on their day, troubleshooting this & that. Setting up shots for the photographer all while closely watching & absorbing what they were doing.

I've done a lot of reading on the subject as well and I make sure I meet with the bride & groom a few times prior to the wedding to get a better understanding of who they are as a couple. I ask about how they met, their likes & dislikes, what is most important to them and so much more.

Pinterest is a huge plus! I know that every bride has a pinterest board. So I ask them to share it with me so I can get a better sense of style. They always have photo ideas on there as well and this is where I pull my inspiration from. 

Sometimes I recreate the image they see because it's "exactly what they want", and sometime I take the idea and put my own twist on it to be a little more original.
I will take a day and head over to the venue to get a better idea of what there is to offer for photo ops. I'll snap some pics on my phone to use later as I research ideas for the big day.

In the weeks just prior to the wedding and again the night before and day off, if time permits, I am pouring over ideas and researching lighting techniques and reading my camera manual again and just plain shooting nondescript things to get in the habit of where & what works on my camera. 

For this wedding, I borrowed my son's Canon Rebel. I can't for the life of me find the battery charger for my 1st Nikon which I use as a back up normally. This put a whole new twist on things! 

I am a Nikon girl - a Canon is so foreign to me. I know, I know, a camera will have basically the same functions regardless of the manufacturer - BUT those functions do not work the same on every camera. So I spent about 3 weeks going over the manual to his camera, taking it out on excursions to practice where my settings were and what would work best in the event I needed to pull out that backup body. I believe I have a better handle on the Canon now, but I'm just too comfortable with my Nikon to make a switch for good.

Wedding week - I touch base with the bride for any last minute details. In this case, it was the bride's mom who I mainly communicated with. The bride was busy and her mom knew pretty much all that her daughter wanted, so it worked out great.

I keep researching throughout the week as different ideas pop into my head. I'll watch YouTube tutorials over & over again to make sure I'm comfortable and have a good working knowledge of what I'm trying to achieve. I write down notes and keep them with me at all times - easily accessible during the wedding day.

I also spend time in prayer. I pray for the bride & groom and their new life together. I pray for the day, that all will go as smooth as possible. I know that there is always something that can throw a monkey wrench into the plans, so I've learned to be creative and help the bride especially, find an alternative and happy solution to the issue. 

In the case of this wedding, weather was a BIG part of their day. They got married in the clubhouse at a local golf course.  The bride's grandpa used to work there and so it held special meaning to the family. The wedding was inside and the reception was to be held outside in the large tent. The weather would have a huge impact on pictures for this day - there were not too many options inside for photos, other than the ceremony itself.

The forecast was predicting 90% showers on the day of the wedding. As the week wore on, it decreased slightly, calling for pop up showers and not an all day soaker, thankfully.  The humidity and temps were the real issue. It was predicted to be in the 90s with a very high dew point - meaning lots & lots of humidity. This also means pop up storms are inevitable. 

The day of the wedding dawned bright and beautiful, with big white, puffy clouds in a dazzling blue sky. I spent the morning prepping for the day.
Check my gear - make sure all batteries are fully charged, get any and all props out and clean my lenses.

Yes - I took time to do my nails and clean up the tootsies. I had selected my outfit earlier in the week AND had a back up outfit in the car in the event it rained & I got soaked.
Get showered and dress - pack the car, checking off the "to-do" list.

Watching my time very closely - I hate being late - and leaving a little early so as to arrive before anyone else, giving me time to calm my nerves and check lighting along with decor and any other details that have been added to the venue. 

The rain held off until shortly after I arrived, and then it poured buckets outside. It lasted about a half hour & then would stop & start over the next hour, stopping completely just after 5pm.

The wedding was scheduled to begin at 6pm. The bride was so excited when her sister announced that the radar was clear & the hour by hour showed no more rain until around 11pm! I was secretly dancing on the inside as well.

The time has arrived, the guests are seated and the groom is in place.
One of my "must have" photos is the grooms 1st look as his bride enters the doorway at the back of the venue. I watched and waited for his emotion to rise to the surface, but he kept a poker face until she was placed on his arm. He later told me that on the inside, he was fighting ever so hard not to cry, to hold it together. He felt his legs shaking and thought he would collapse at any moment because he was overcome with how beautiful his bride was.
The ceremony was short and oh, so sweet.  The bride squealed with delight when she finally got her ring to go all the way onto her finger! They always forget that the nerves and on this day, the heat, causes their fingers to swell & getting their ring on at that very moment, may not always happen.

She literally jumped up & down, laughing, and said, "I got it on" right out loud when she managed to twist it into place.
The day continued on with no rain until just as I was walking across the parking lot to get in my car & call it a night.

The heat though? Oh my gosh - can you say I looked less than professional by the end of this event? The humidity was stifling and I truly did not look, nor feel, fresh. When a guest comments on how exhausted you look, you know it's not a pretty sight. Even Dream Boy, who was a guest, commented on how sticky & gross it was to touch my arm.

The first thing I did when I got in the car? Cranked the air conditioning on high. The first thing I did when I got home after unloading my gear? Jump into a cool shower to wash all the grime away........while drinking a beer.  Ha! I make it a point not to drink during weddings, need to stay sharp & on my toes - and it's not professional to me, but baby get me home and that beer is well deserved! LOL!
I believe this day was a day to remember for everyone involved - it was a beautiful day in spite of the heat. A day that many memories were made to be held in heart & mind.

I am working through the editing process this week and I get goosebumps when I open a shot up in Lightroom and realize that I DID get that moment. It's so hard sometimes to tell on a little 2x3 screen, but baby, when it comes through on my "big" screen - I get a happy feeling deep down inside and am reminded that this is what I truly love to do.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday Morning Coffee

Hello everyone, and good morning!

Well, I'm a little late to the breakfast table this morning - but you know what? I can be, because I am officially on summer vacation this week! 

Yep - summer school ended last Thursday and I have this whole week of no school related activities whatsoever!!  
So for today's excitement, I am sitting in my pj's as long as I want, shutting down my electronics - such as email, phone & wifi related activities - cranking up the iTunes play list and editing, editing, editing the wedding I shot this past Friday night, until I am done!!

My Wonder Dog is sitting faithfully at my side to keep me accountable! Actually, she's just waiting for part of my bagel.

Yep - I shot another wedding on Friday. I had said about 1 1/2 years ago I wasn't going to do them anymore, but I finally caved & jumped back into the wedding pool.  I think I needed a break - I was very burned out from them prior, so this time I'm just sticking my big toe into the pool and wading in slowly. I have another one booked at the end of September.  Nice stretch of time between the two, but I have senior & family sessions booking up quickly, in the mean time.

The wedding - wowza!  All last week they were predicting warm temps, high humidity and rain most of the day due to the humidity. It was 90%, then down to 80%, then down to 60% as the week went on. But whenever I checked the hour by hour - the highest percentage fell during the hours of 6pm - 8pm.  

Ugh - the wedding was at 6pm. It took place on a golf course in the clubhouse, which is a log cabin. A very cool building. 

The room they got married in had lots of windows, which gave me lots of natural light. There was a fireplace and beautiful mantel. They decorated it with white lanterns, twinkle lights, burlap bows and candles. In the center they arranged a white window frame with the couple's initials in white place in front of it, adorned with a simple wreath made of delicate greens.

But, other than this room, the rest of the clubhouse was exactly that - a clubhouse. So there were not many options for pictures if it decided to pour outside.

So this girl prayed all week for a window of time for outdoor pictures. The reception was being held in a big white tent on the grounds as well, but did not afford any options for pictures either, especially with guests mingling about while we were doing pictures.

Friday dawned clear for the most part.  As I went through my day prepping and researching ideas and packing my gear, the sun came out here at home. But the heat was stifling and the humidity was oppressing. I waited until the last possible moment to take my shower & dress for the evening, making sure I did major shellacking to my hair so it wouldn't flatten out too bad in the humidity.

I loaded the car up, checking off my list, as the sun continued to shine. I soon left home and when I got to the main drag in our village and turned to the west, I saw what I didn't want to see.  Those dark, dark skies with major gray clouds filled with nothing other than rain. They were so full they literally looked like a water balloon ready to pop because it was filled to far!

I prayed all the way through town and out to the venue. To calm my nerves, to help me have a clear vision and to have a creative mind no matter what the conditions turned out to be. As I got closer to the golf course, the roads were showing signs of recent rains - puddles and wet pavement everywhere. 

I arrived at the golf course, and thankfully it was not raining, but those water laden clouds were ready to open any second. I grabbed all my gear and quickly headed inside to get my thoughts together & get my equipment prepped for the evening.

And then it happened - the skies opened up and dumped buckets and buckets of water on the course and all around. 

Okay, okay - it's only 3pm, we still have plenty of time for this to blow through. For the water soaked clouds to dry up and push through.  It continued to rain for about 30 minutes. 

The wedding party started showing up soon and things got underway. I was kept busy in the bride's room, doing the normal pre-wedding pictures and running up & down stairs for this or that.

It's now 5pm and guests are starting to's showtime!

The bride and her girls are tucked safely away downstairs and the groom and his boys are bellied up to the bar in the clubhouse. But they were behaving, and just passing the time laughing and joking around, keeping the groom's nerves at bay.

The rain had moved through and I was able to go out onto the course to get this shot with their rings...
I needed to get down to eye level for this shot and realized with all the rain, I would probably come up soaking wet, but I didn't! The ground was dry as a bone!  That tells you how little rain we've had all summer. 

The night continued to progress - it was a beautiful wedding and the rain held off until I was home and tucked safely in bed sometime around midnight! 

I was, however, soaked to the bone from sweat, as was everyone else.  Oh my gosh - I was not a pretty sight at all! I was so conscientious of not looking professional as the sweat was literally dripping off my head and leaving droplets of sweat dotting my top. My hair, well it held up well, except my bangs! I had to sweep them off my forehead and they stayed in place fairly well because they were soaked with sweat!

I could not wait to get home & take a shower........and neither could Dream Boy. He was at the wedding as well, as a guest. The mother of the bride is a friend of mine, we used to work together at a scrapbook store. 

Anyways - the night ended being a beautiful one and many, many memories were created by everyone, especially the bride & groom!

The rest of my weekend? Well, I spent it pretty much recovering from the wedding. I was exhausted, as I always am after a wedding shoot, but with the high heat & humidity - it wiped me out big time. So Dream Boy & I laid pretty low and that was just fine for both of us.

Saturday afternoon we headed up to a store he loves in Grand Rapids for beer & wine. This store buys close outs and runs unbelievable specials, so we go up there & stock up every few months or so. Then we headed over The Local Epicurean, an Italian store where we took pasta making classes this past spring, and bought some sauce and meatballs to go with our wine. When we got home, I made up a salad while DB made up the pasta and he finished making dinner while I sat back with a glass of Pear Cider and relaxed.

Sunday was another day of rest & relaxation. I worked some on the wedding photos, but I worked more on a shot I took a few weeks ago in the woods.

Remember the deer shot I posted? Well, I have another one from that romp in the woods that I worked on yesterday and then submitted to a contest for an upcoming showing in Kalamazoo at the September Art Hop.

I've never done that before, it took me awhile yesterday to work up the confidence to feel my shot was worthy of submitting. I think we are our own worst critics when it comes to our creativity, would you agree?

And now, here it is Monday. I have downed my coffee, ate my bagel and chatted with you - so it is time for me to tune out for the rest of the morning and get busy on those wedding photos.

Thanks for stopping by - I'll be back later this week with some more from the wedding.

Have a great Monday and a fabulous week!!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

What's Going On?

Dream Boy asked me the other night if I didn't enjoy this past weekend?

"What? Why would you ask that? We had a great weekend!" I responded.

"Well, you didn't blog about it on Monday." he said with a disappointed look on his face.

So here I am. Catching you up and filling you all in. 

This summer has been a great one that I have enjoyed tremendously, making lots of memories and staying active and outside as much as possible. 

Last weekend was no exception!
I guess that sometimes I think that if you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you've seen what I've been up to. 

But then I remember that Dream Boy isn't on either & he enjoys reading my blog. So here ya go DB - this one's for you!

This whole past week has been great. I started last Tuesday after school going on some excursions.

I'm shooting a wedding this Friday night, so my first stop was to the golf course where the event is taking place. I like to get an idea of the venue and it's layout prior to just showing up. They are calling for thunderstorms and rain this Friday now, so please pray that it isn't an all day thing and that we have a window for outside pictures, as there are some beautiful areas on the grounds and most of my ideas are dependent on us shooting outside.

They do say that rain on your wedding day is good luck. It did rain the morning of my wedding and we will be celebrating 36 years in September and we're still going strong!

After leaving the golf course I headed over to my cousin's house. She has a sunflower patch - and I happened to see her pictures on IG the night before and asked if I could come play. She said most certainly, so I headed out there. I haven't had a chance to go through all of my shots from that delightful afternoon, but here's one.....
My heart was so full of happiness while I roamed around this beautiful patch of sunshine and I only suffered one small bee sting on the back of my knee.  I am allergic to bee stings, but not to the extreme that I need an Epi Pen, but thankfully I didn't swell too much with this sting.

From the patch of sunshine, I headed to a local preserve for a walk in the woods. As I'm walking along, trying to find the trail that will get me closet to the lake side, I'm watching 2 guys down by the reeds digging for something. I look around at the beauty & the silence that only the woods has. It just evokes a sense of calm and peace within me when I walk through them. In my mind I'm soaking in the beauty that surrounds me and think that maybe if I were to get my butt out of bed at a decent time and head into these woods, I might be treated to the sightings of the animals waking up, like deer.

I took another few steps, contemplating which way to go on the trail when I looked up and saw about 50 yards ahead of me, a reddish brown patch just to the right of the trail. 

Oh my gosh - it was a deer!  She lifted her head and I froze in place, slowly lifting Lucy to my eye. She perked up her ears and looked around before starting across the path. She hadn't seen or smelled me - so I checked the settings on my camera when my phone starts blaring, "Hot, Hot, Hot".

Dang it, I forgot to put my phone on silent and it was Dream Boy calling. I thought for sure the deer would take off. But she didn't, nor did her set of twins following closely behind.

I whispered into my phone to my Dream Boy that I was on the trail of a mama & her twins and I would call him back.

By now the trio had moved down the slope to the shoreline of reeds that surrounded the lake. Mama rooted around through the leaves on the forest floor and twin #1 followed her lead. Twin #2 was several yards behind them watching something in the sky and seemingly day dreaming. 

I managed to change my lens while watching them and slowly approached them for an even closer look. She continued to move into the reeds, while the twins decided they found something of interest and lagged behind her, letting me get this shot.
I know these are not tack sharp focus, but I was so excited and couldn't calm myself to get clear shots, and they kept moving on me ever so slowly, but enough to not be able to get that sharp focus.

I continued to watch them for another 20 minutes or so as they walked into the reeds to find mama. I could see the reeds moving as they walked and then I could hear them splashing in the water's edge. At this time I moved down the trail to the other side of the lake to see if they had broke through and I could spot them again. But they were submersed pretty deep in the reeds and I never saw them again.

Wow! What an afternoon I had.

On Friday I headed out to a friend's house to spend the day on the lake with her and another friend. We putzed around on the pontoon for most of the day, just enjoying the fellowship of good friends and getting caught up on this and that.

I arrived home & Dream Boy pulled in right behind me. We had plans for a date night, so we went inside to get cleaned up before heading into town for Art Hop. 

Downtown was hopping alright! It not only was Art Hop, but the sidewalk sales were going on and Rib Fest was in full swing at the Arcadia Festival Sight as well. We wandered around looking at various displays of art, a few racks of sidewalk sale goodies and lots of people watching. 

Our hunger started to kick in, so we headed over to Old Dog Tavern for dinner. This is housed in the same building that my dad & grandpa worked in for years when I was younger - they have even repainted the outside and kept Star Paper Company in the paint job. I love going into this building as the memories come flooding back from my childhood. My mom would take my sister & I down to see our dad and we would see grandpa loading trucks & then go upstairs to see dad at his desk. I remember the slope of the floors and the stacks and stacks of paper goods and cleaning supplies. 

Well, when you walk in, the floors are the same wooden floors and they are still sloped as they always have been. I'm just not able to go upstairs to check that out. But the memories are beautiful in my heart and mind.

Saturday Dream Boy went out for his morning ride and I did some journaling until he got home. He went out and scouted some new places to put our kayaks in at and we decided we wanted to try a portion of the Kalamazoo River, so we dropped in at River Oaks on the Morrow Pond. 

I have never been on it and we were both amazed at the size of this "Pond". Hokey toots - it was HUGE! This pond is formed because at the west end there is a dam. The Kalamazoo River feeds into it and then continues out of it from the other side of the dam. 

We decided to paddle around the "pond" and then head back towards the river. 
The day was hot & sunny and it felt good to be out on the water, until we got out into the middle of this pond and were surrounded by what looked like sludge to me. It's very shallow and with the summer being so hot, the algae is coming up from the bottom and floating on the top. I could not wait to get out of this place, so we started paddling towards the river.

In July of 2010, a pipe line broke and their was massive oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. It happened approximately 35 miles away from this section of the river, but in time the spill managed it's way down the river into Morrow Pond. Enbridge Oil has spent countless hours, money and resources to clean up the spill and it is said that it is cleaner now than it has ever been. 

When I was growing up, The Kalamazoo River had many paper mills along its banks and they were allowed to dump in the river. Everyone knew that the river was so polluted you didn't dare go near it, let alone in it.

As Dream Boy & I entered the mouth of the river where it starts to form into Morrow Pond, we were pleasantly surprised at how crystal clear and beautiful the water was. We paddled up stream a ways before deciding we had been out long enough & knew that we had quite a trip back to the boat launch.

We got back to the boat launch and Dream Boy was trying to help me out of my kayak because it was so slippery. Well, it didn't go too well. I usually will straddle my kayak when getting out, but I though with his help I could get out from the side. 


I ended up falling back into my kayak, and sat there while it began to fill with the sludge from the pond. I had to get my bearings before I could attempt getting out again, but by then I was soaked and I swear my skin was being eaten alive by the sludge pond waters.  I couldn't wait to get home & hose off.

Thankfully I can report that my skin is in tact AND we will not be putting our kayaks in at that launch again. 

Sunday we headed into church and then went home to have some lunch before we headed into downtown again for the Sunday afternoon concert in Bronson Park. 

We loaded Daisy up in the back of our trusty but rusty truck and headed to a trail about 6 miles from home. We then road Daisy into town for the concert. 
About half way into our ride I felt like I was bouncing on my seat more than normal. I said something to DB and he then realized he hadn't raised the seat back up after our DIL had ridden with him. She's a tad shorter than me & I immediately realized it was NOT my imagination that I was sitting lower than DB.

Now this may not seem like a big deal, but when you have legs as long as mine & the room on the back of a tandem is very limited - AND you DB feels like we're riding in the Tour de France, it's a very big deal.

Nonetheless, we made it into town and found a spot on the little hill in the park, so we set up our blanket and settled in for a great concert!
The concert lasted about an hour, it was a New Orleans style jazz band from Chicago - all brass - and they put their own twist on this genre of music. We enjoyed it so much!

Soon we were back on Daisy, heading back to Trusty Rusty, but let me tell you, this ride was more painful than the ride into town. The back of my legs were not happy with the lack of room to stretch and then DB became a wee bit competitive when some guy passed us on the trail from behind. If you know bike etiquette, you know that you always says something to the rider ahead of you when coming up on them so as not to surprise them. This guy said nothing, just blew by us so he could catch up with his wife who was ahead of on the trail.

Dream Boy stepped up the peddling pace and the race was on to catch and pass this couple. Which we did, but my legs were screaming the whole time. There is no way for me to just take my feet off the pedals and let him go crazy because my pedals will keep spinning as he is pedaling away. So I suffered through and felt the total excitement with DB passed him and beat him by leaps and bounds to our destination.

When we got home I sat down to read and Dream Boy asked if I was up for one more adventure. I immediately said NO! He just started laughing at me then.

Crazy man.

This week is my final week of summer school, today being the final day. I have had some students who didn't do so well and many others who have earned their credit and one who has been an overachiever and made some amazing progress this summer! There were a few hiccups at the beginning, but overall, it has been a good group of kids to work with and the sense of accomplishment felt by them when they finish up is also truly felt by me.

So we're heading into another weekend with some plans dependent on the weather. I'll be sure to come back next week and fill you all in!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Coffee Time!!!

Oh what a beautiful morning!

Truly - the sun is shining and the humidity is very low and it is just a great day. I can feel it!!
I'm in my last 2 weeks of summer school and then I'll have a few weeks off before starting up the new school year! It will be lovely to just "be" and "do" as I wish.

My weekend was very full. On Friday, my little sister, my nieces & I were supposed to have a beach day. But I woke up to thunder, lightening, and a downpour. Not the best beach weather. So we met up anyhow and went shopping at the outlet mall north of us. We had a great time! We window shopped, bought a few things on sale and just enjoyed our time together. A day that was much needed by all of us.

But tell me this? Our "german" niece - she was an exchange student who my sister hosted during the 2014/2015 school year, bought one thing. She bought Lindt chocolates from the Lindt store?  I asked her if she came all the way to America just to buy German chocolates? I know, technically they are Swiss, but I believe they are made in Germany. If not, isn't Switzerland closer to Germany that the USA?  Hahahahaha!

We went out for lunch and then we headed over to Holland for about an hour before heading home. What a wonderful day - beach or not, it was just great spending time together, laughing & being silly!

Saturday started out much the same as Friday - rainy, thunder and lightening and just plain dreary. Oh, but we really needed the rain.  Anyways, Dream Boy headed off about 10 in the morning with our brother-in-law, for a BIG soccer game at the BIG House at UoM.  That's the football stadium at University of Michigan. They were gone all day, so I had it all to myself.

I stayed in my jammies a good part of it, but spent a lot of time pouring over a camera manual.  Yep - I decided to challenge myself and learn to shoot a Canon. 

I borrowed S1's camera a week ago and decided that I wanted to expand my camera skills and learn to shoot his Canon. I am a geek and do read my manual, which he didn't have anymore, so I printed it out. Let me tell you, maybe because I'm used to shooting on a Nikon, I find that Canon puts extra steps in how to work this function or that. It all seems to flow better on my Nikon. But I haven't given up on it - I have a wedding to shoot next week and I want to have it with me in the event I need a back up camera, so I need to know how to use it.

I spent time in my office/studio catching up on lots of paperwork. Finalizing contracts, writing receipts and notes and putting mailings together. All in all, a pretty productive day.  My baby, my Wonder Dog, loved that I was home all day with her & it was such a relaxed day.

Sunday we headed off to church, again it started out as a really cloudy-overcast day. After church, Dream Boy & I headed down to our new Sunday morning favorite cafe for breakfast for him and lunch for me. We were both so stuffed after finishing our meals that we literally did not eat another meal again! 

We headed to a concert in one of our local parks and heard a local band, "Barn On Fire". They were SO good! Hard to really explain there genre because they took cover songs, a lot of CCR, and put their own twist on them. But they also had a lot of their own original work and it was great. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

So here we are on Monday again - another week to enjoy and explore.  Today is the 1st of August and the pic above is my #feetfirst2016 Instagram pic. I started this meme in 2014 and take a pic of where my feet are on the 1st of every month & post it to my IG account, tagging it #feetfirst2016. It is a lot of fun to go back through my photo scroll and see where I was on the 1st of each month for that year.  You should join in with me! Just be sure to tag your shot as I did. You can take one pic, or several throughout that day. 

Thanks for joining in with me for coffee this morning - hope you have a fabulous Monday!!!