I am a child of the 50s. I clearly remember when the TV (a tiny screen housed in a huge cabinet) first came into our house in 1955. Ten years later, I was delighted to own a battery-powered transistor radio that crackled out the Beach Boys and the Beatles from hundreds of miles away. I wrote my college papers on a portable Smith Corona typewriter and thought the heavens had opened when I got an electric self-correcting typewriter sometime in the mid-70s, about the same time I picked up a 35 mm camera for the first time. Jump forward at least three decades and I’m playing with what feels like magic with my Nikon D90 and my little MacBook while watching a DVR’d movie on my flat-screen TV. Tonight, I thought I’d see what I could do with the magic of Lightroom and Photoshop.
Black & White Mist on the Pond
I used layer to create the image below. I used a shot of the full moon (taken from the street outside my city condo) and a boring image of a a high-desert hill. However, I don’t know how to use layers. I wanted the moon higher in the sky & more to the right. I also wanted to manipulate the hues of the moon to reflect what a rising moon typically looks like — a little more warm. When I figure out how to use layers, I will re-post this image.
I wanted the focus to be on her eye. See the dirt on her hat? That’s because she just loves wearing this yellow hat & I love photographing her in it. Notice the wispy hair in her eyes? She has not yet had her 1st haircut.
Today was my 2nd observation of the year & I can honestly say that I am satisfied. I did the absolutely best that I can, which is a good feeling. For a change, I’m not kicking myself for forgetting this or that. I pulled out every teaching strategy that could possibly fit with the lesson, and my students were 100% engaged the entire period (I was so proud of them).
I had not realized how much I enjoy getting out with my camera and posting my new images until lately when I’ve been too busy with work. Saturday, I went into the city park (no, not a pond with ducks, or trees and grass, but a small mountain with rocks and cactus). I must have been distracted, or maybe I’m a little tired of rocks and am longing for green grass, but I just didn’t connect with my subject (i.e., rock).
The setting sun adds dimension to these saguaro, sentinels of the Arizona desert.
The Arizona state flower is the saguaro cactus flower, but they won’t bloom for a few months. (They seem to like the ridiculously scorching temperatures.) The state tree is the Palo Verde, which is not in bloom yet. In fact, right now it looks like a bunch of green twigs on a smooth green trunk and just does not make a good picture (I tried). This mesquite tree was vibrant from the glow of the setting sun; however, by the time I’d parked and changed lenses, the angle of the sun had changed and the impact was gone. However, I did capture some of the remaining light on the trunk.
The smooth trunk of a mesquite tree.
The mesquite survives in the desert because of its small leaves that take little water and thrive in the blistering summer sun.
A quick post before getting ready for work this morning: I had my pre-observation conference yesterday…my chance to show my evaluator (aka my principal) that I know how to write a lesson plan, that I use data to back up my choice of assessments and activities (I won’t bore you with any more details). The point is this: I worked at least 10 hours on this document and on the lesson that will be observed tomorrow. Hence, I got little sleep over the weekend and nearly fell asleep during 6th period yesterday. I said nearly.
I hit the sack as soon as I got home about 5 PM and gratefully fell asleep. However, my body woke up at 1 AM. I attempted sleep for 2 hours, gave it up at 3 AM, did some work, read some blogs, and read To Kill a Mockingbird because some of my students are reading it.
Now, my body is crying to return to bed and sleep. Alas, I have to take it to work (a 30 minute drive) and force it to be “on” for my students. I’m getting too old for this job.
By the way, for the class to be observed, I’m employing the skills I’ve learned while blogging. I set up a blog, We Read, Think, and Write, for my students to respond to their chosen novels and they will participate in that activity tomorrow (some have already posted their thoughts about the books). In addition, they will use my school website for their in-class and homework assignment. Ms. Howard’s Freshman Honors English. I hope it works.
My next door neighbor died a few days ago. At 40, this kind father of a 2-year old son, devoted husband to a beautiful woman, and non-smoker died of lung cancer.
And I am ashamed.
I am ashamed because I did not know him.
We shared a common wall for six years and I did not know him. He was an important person with an important position first in the state and then on a national level. Is that why I did not know him? Was I too timid to approach such an important man? But he was always friendly. Why didn’t I stop and talk?
I do not know his wife. In fact, I know very few of my neighbors and only on a surface level. I go about my busy life, giving a wave or smile to those passing by my condo. I intend to talk to them. I intend to ask about their health, their families, their interests.
I don’t even know the people I work with well. I utter pleasantries and try to not engage in the gripings; I heat up my lunch in the workroom and then retreat to eat and work at my desk. We do not meet for happy hour or a cup of coffee because of lengthy commutes.
What does it say about me that I talk more with people who live across the country or on the other side of the globe than with the people who live 10 feet from me.
I am touched that someone might find my images and words inspiring. I thank Muhammad Syanizam for nominating me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. When I spent some time reading his blog, I was surprised at the depth of knowledge and the wisdom in one so young. This young man from Singapore is bright, talented, and full of soul. Check out his blog at Nizamhappieboyz.
Now you get Seven (OK eight) MORE Things About Me That You Didn’t Know Before:
I love parties…any kind…small and intimate or large and loud…but I cherish my quiet time alone.
While I’d live in jeans if I could, I do enjoy being a girlie-girl, getting dressed up, going to a NICE restaurant, and being treated like I’m someone special.
I enjoy listening to the Beatles, Adele, Leonard Cohen, Alison Krauss, Joshua Bell, Yo-Yo Ma, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum, Coleman Hawkins, Sarah Brightman, and Etta James.
I am from a large family…I’m the oldest of 10 and I have somewhere around 75 cousins (and no steps or halfs).
I miss the oceans of South Florida, the magnolias of Georgia, the rolling hills of Kentucky, and the green trees of Indiana.
I miss my family and hate it that I live 2000 miles away and do not get enough time with them.
I miss my younger son who moved to Chicago last year; I miss him terribly.
I am thankful that my older son, my daughter-in-law, and my granddaughter live only 20 miles away. Those who’ve followed my blog have seen plenty of pictures of her as she is my favorite model.
I think that I should nominate seven bloggers, but I have visited so many blogs that have inspired me to take better pictures or take a different look at my life. I am pleased to pass on this Very Inspiring Award to the following bloggers:
I do not see myself as creative and am amazed by this nomination from Mehmudah, who describes herself as a writer, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter, a student, a blogger, a dreamer, a cricket nut, a photography enthusiast, and a courageous Muslim woman. Check out her powerfully engaging blog Ummanall’s Musings.
7 More Things You Might Not Know About Me
I have failed at dog training. My rescued dog has now trained me.
I cannot sing or dance but pretend I can when no one is around.
My heart sings when I granddaughter calls out my name and smiles at me.
I worry that my father’s Alzheimer’s will take him away before I have a chance to go home again.
I have fantasies of being a great photographer as I travel the world snapping powerful shots that move people to think and take action. Because I’m already 61 and have little experience I doubt that this will happen. But I can dream, can’t I?
I rejoice when my students get turned on to learning and are so involved that they don’t notice when class is about to end.
This is my 100th post! WooHoo!
And now I have the privilege of nominating seven bloggers. Check out these blogs by people who truly are creative:
From Madhu comes the Versatile Blogger Award. Madhu’s inspiring images convey her passion for travel. Not only are her photographs incredible, but her writing about her travels is informative and witty. You owe it to yourself to visit her blog: The Urge to Wander
7 Things About Me That You Didn’t Know Before:
I have gone by three different names in my life. I was called MONA when I was a child, RAMIE in my teens and 20s, and RAMONA during the next 3 decades.
I am older than most of my students’ grandparents (61) but, because of the accident of genetics, I look 10 or more years younger — at least from a distance. (This isn’t bragging; it’s purely genetic.)
My sons tell me I’m a perfectionist. I disagree, countering that if I’m a perfectionist, my condo would be clean, the papers organized, lessons planned, dog trained (you get the point).
I am a horrible procrastinator. “Experts” say this is related to being a perfectionist.
I start jobs and projects and don’t finish because they aren’t turning out the way I think they should. This isn’t possibly related to being a perfectionist.
I have a horrible time saying NO. It’s so bad that I even jump in and volunteer before I’m asked.
I taught writing strategies to teachers in China last summer and will do the same this summer.
Now I have the pleasure of sharing these versatile bloggers with you.
I love this award because I’ve been following their blog for quite some time and am always impressed by the photography and writing. In their words, MDPhotographers “are just 2 Guys that love photography and try to capture beautiful scenes, objects and moments whenever there is an opportunity to do so.” Stop by and share their captivating moments.
The award has some guidelines to be followed.
1. Include the logo in a post on your blog.
2. Answer 10 questions about yourself.
3. Nominate 10-12 marvelous bloggers.
4. Let your nominees knows about their award by linking them to the Sunshine Award in their comments sections.
5. Share the love and link the person who nominated you!
10 questions for the Sunshine Award
Favorite Color: YELLOW, but I rarely wear it because it does funky things with my skin & make me look sick.
Favorite Animal: TIGER because I was born in the Year of the Tiger; tigers are strong and fierce protectors.
Favorite Number: TWO because I was born on the 2nd.
Favorite Drink: COFFEE,DARK BEER , or a very good PINOT NOIR
Facebook or Twitter: FACEBOOK (I can’t figure out how to tweet.)
Your Passion: FAMILY, PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVELING, and TEACHING
Favorite Pattern: SPIRAL because it’s the perfect pattern in nature.
Giving or Receiving Gifts: GIVING
Favorite Day: SATURDAY
Favorite Flower: YELLOW ROSE
The following marvelous bloggers have brought sunshine to my life:
Recently, I’ve been nominated for five awards. I’ve completed the writings for four of them (the posts will follow soon) and there is another hanging around in the wings.
Tonight my 100th follower joined me. There are people in 40 countries around the world who regularly check in.
I am AMAZED and HUMBLED!
I want to thank the first person who noticed and followed my blog. I thought I was posting into an abyss, that it was safe to post anything and say anything because who would notice it anyway. I was shocked to find a follower! I have no idea how he found my blog or what caught his attention, but I am grateful. Thank you Arley. If you haven’t seen his blog, check him out. http://shootabout.com/ You are in for a treat.