Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Hazy days of August, OCNJ

I love peaking through the dunes and catching such peaceful scenes!

Monday, April 27, 2009

My World Tuesday: Spring has Sprung!

We have had a very long winter here in Connecticut! Snow fell early and stayed on the ground for most of the season, which is somewhat unusual. I felt the need to go out and take pictures of the early spring flowers, these were taken yesterday, April 26.
Spring has finally sprung!
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Monday, April 20, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Washington DC

The photo above is Meg's closeup of the fountain at the WWII monument. I found the scope of this monument overwhelming. It is large and all of the components from the fountain, to the states listed to the quotes inscribed are very beautiful and very moving. There were several vets on site having their picture taken.
The lower picture is the Washington Monument as seen from the reflecting pool from the Lincoln Memorial end.
For more delightful Watery Wednesday posts from around the world, please visit!

My World Tuesday: National Zoo

These curious otters and one very content panda were among the many animals we saw on our tour through the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. last week. To see more my world posts, please click here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Washington Monument

We spent Easter in Our Nation's Capitol: Washington, DC. We spent the morning on the National Mall visiting as many monuments as we could. I was overwhelmed at the sheer size and importance of the area . Lucky for me, my talented daughter Meghan captured this beautiful shot of the Washington Monument as the sun was peeking through the clouds. Please click on the image for more detail.
to see other beautiful skywatch photos, please click here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Buddy Friday: Vacation Travel Tips and Tricks

Well, it's that time of year again when everyone starts to get the travel bug. I shared my birthday with Easter this year and did not feel like cooking and having everyone to my house. Instead, we took a short family trip down to Washington, D.C. to see our eldest daughter who is in college down there. It was a great birthday gift!
Now, the only time we had spent in D.C. previous was pretty much to bring her down or take her home and we basically did it in one day. (a 12 hour journey there and back with the least amount of traffic). We had never stopped to see the sights or smell the roses. This time was different. This time we left home on Saturday morning and returned on Tuesday evening. We had a great time and learned a little bit how to travel on mass transit around a large city. We live in a small town, near a larger town that only has bus transit. It takes us around 20 minutes to get where ever we have to go in our car and that is our only mode of transportation. When you live in the city, things are different.

1. It takes lots of time to get anywhere between walking to a metro stop and riding the metro. Have lots of it on your hands.

2. Take time to learn how the mass-transit system in the area works. Will you have to switch trains to reach your destination? Do you have to reach a certain stop to do that? (for more information on the DC Metro, please visit she has excellent pictures and descriptions of the Metro on her "My World Tuesday" April 13 post.

3. Stop at the information desk and ask. That is what they are there for. Listen very closely to the directions. Ask to have them written down. That is what they are there for. They gave us something that looked like a hall pass for school with all the transfers and stops that we needed.

4. Don't worry about looking like a tourist--you ARE! We carried a camera bag and a backpack and a tote bag.

5. Carry your water and your lunch with you. We noticed that many, many people are opting for a picnic from home on a park bench or the ground. They brought their coolers with sandwiches and drinks and plopped right down. It didn't matter if we were at the zoo or on the National Mall (where all the monuments are located).

6. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS have each member of your family wear their cel-phones and have them turned on. I was overwhelmed by the size of the area and by how easy it was to lose track of my family members. That was very stressful. (oh--btw, all the phones except my husbands were tucked safely away in my purse!)

Don't pack too many activities into your day!!! It takes time to get around the city and you don't want to cut yourself short on that. We had 2 activities planned each day. Sunday morning we went to the National Zoo and had planned to have lunch at a nice restaurant a stop away at 2:15. We could have spent a lot more time at the zoo and brought a picnic to boot. No one is spending $3 on water and $3.75 on PB&J, let me tell you. We did make it to the restaurant in plenty of time and had a nice leisurely brunch with our daughter. Monday's schedule was a little tighter.

The next morning we met our daughter on campus and she took us on the metro to the National Mall. We spent the morning there and had 2:05 reservations at the International Spy Museum, several blocks away. We could have spent ALL DAY on the mall, picnicing, taking pictures of all the monuments. We only saw 3 of them because of time constraints as the tickets for the Spy Museum were purchased in advance.

We left the mall hurriedly, got on the metro going in the WRONG direction (my eldest daughter was no longer there to navigate), got off 2 stops later and turned around. Got on the right direction, off at the right stop and RAN to the museum across the street. WHEW! Just made it! We went on an interactive experience there called "Operation Spy". It's great for the 7-14 year old boys. Not so much for the teenage girls. My son, who at 12 is not easily impressed, had a fantastic time. We left the museum, went back to school for my daughter and went out to dinner for my birthday that evening. The trip was a success, she looks fantastic, and we are home now. It was a great birthday. Enjoy your vacations, make the most of them. Take time to learn the local transit systems, pack your lunch but not your day and have fun!!!
for more Buddy's Friday posts, please visit Margaret's Ramblings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Spring is Back!

I guess we are all taking advantage of the sunshine after a long cold winter. Even this proud swan was enjoying his day in late March when the ice had all melted.

Please click on each picture for a beautiful image of the sun dancing on the water!
To visit more Watery Wednesday posts from around the world, please click here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

My World Tuesday: Ten Mile River Bridge

I went hiking with my family on Saturday on the Bulls Bridge trails. These trails led us to Ten Mile River Bridge, which gave us a catwalk right over the river. The bridge rails came up as high as my head, I guess in an effort to keep the curious on-looker from leaning too far over. I loved the rusty railings in this shot. I was amazed at the level of corrosion on the bridge as well as the moss-covered tree trunks and rocks.

to see more great myworld pics, please visit

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Buddy Friday: 43 and Counting--Plan of Attack!

First of all, I have to say how embarrased and annoyed I was to have collected such a vast amount of supplies. Now, to be honest, I counted everything--container of rubber gloves, all the little dispensers of hand soap, the gallon jug that fills all the little bottles of hand soap. The sheer volume of supplies was overwhelming. The good thing is that they are in one place right now, ready to be used one by one.

After writing that piece, I knew I needed to come up with a plan, so I sat down with my crate of supplies and took another look. What do I need to keep? Can I share or donate some of these supplies? If I really will never use it, I'll put it in a pile for town cleanup day. I have already used up the last of 3 bottles with very little cleaner left. It is gratifying to turn bad habits into good and through the process of elimination, it will be good to replace these supplies with recipes and environmentally friendly products. 43 and counting!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday: Ocean City, New Jersey

Watch your fries and ride the rides!
There are some days that I just can't wait for summer...this is one of them.
This view looks south and is taken between 8th and 9th Street on the boardwalk in OCNJ. The Strand theatre and Shriver's are institutions there. Watch the gulls! They'll pick the food right from between your fingers!
This view is taken from the Beach looking north toward Music Pier (building on the right) and Wonderland amusement park. In the month of August, OCNJ hosts a baby parade down the boardwalk among many other noteable events.
for more great skywatch pics from around the world, please click here

Monday, April 6, 2009

Watery Wednesday: Kent Falls Experiment

I've been playing a lot with my camera lately. I'm a girl that until recently, has been happy to point and shoot on the automatic setting and not venture into the world of aperture and shutter speeds. It is only very recently that my curiosity has been peaked by technique, so after talking with a friend about how he gets those great captures of waterfalls, I decided to check it out.
The top shot is based on the effect I saw in my friend's picture that I wanted to learn how to capture. While it's not perfect, I'm learning. This was accomplished by setting my camera to Ap Prority AE, the shutter speed was 1/10 and the aperture was set at 32 with an ISO of 1600.
The bottom shot is taken with a more natural setting in mind. I took this picture last fall and again tried to stay away from the automatic settings. This one was taken with a shutter speed of 1/200, an aperture value of 6.2 and an ISO of 400. This picture was a happy accident. Both pictures are captured at the same vantage point at Kent Falls. I am still learning what all this means, but it is very interesting. The lovely thing about landscape shots is you can always go back and try again.
to see more great Watery Wednesday shots from around the world, please visit

Saturday, April 4, 2009

My World Tuesday: Summer Spiderweb

This was a picture taken back in September. I took my morning coffee out onto the deck and lo and behold, there's a perfectly formed spider's web with the light shining through. Liam thought it was really cool. Here it is!
To see more of My World, please visit

One Single Impression: Listening

Sound of my own footsteps
Hitting sand on pavement
A cardinal’s call
The click of a camera
School bus passing
Truly listening
To the sounds surrounding me
Listening to the quiet
But not quiet
As I listen, I hear many birds
I am alone but not alone
For the birds are singing their song
Their praises for a beautiful day
Spring is on the way
Just listen

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buddy Friday: I Got a 46!

We've all seen those quizzes and forwards. Take the quiz and post your score, forward it to everone you know and send it back to me! We've played along too, some of them are just fun and pass time. Now I have a question for you: How many bottles of cleaner do you have in your house? Me, I have a whopping 46 NOT including whatever is in my garage and my laundry detergents. If I assigned a basic cost of $4 per bottle, I have at least $250 in cleaning supplies in my house right now.

How did it get that way? I'm not sure. Something can be said for shopping without a list. Something can be said for wanting to try the latest and greatest product to hit the market. Apparently I'm a sucker for floor cleaners. I have mostly wood floors in my house and truthfully, the only thing that will "help" them at this point is a professional refinishing. But no, I get sucked into these products. Are they all "green"? Unfortunately, no, though some are. In an attempt to make cleaning faster, fun and a cooperative effort, the industry has inundated the market with a cleaner for each scenario when a lot of the time one multi-purpose cleaner will do. They have introduced wipes when a cloth or paper towel and spray would suffice. It is amazing and overwhelming to see so many products available and in the process I have made poor choices monitarily as well as environmentally.

I remember my mom cleaning with Pledge, Pinesol, Ivory Liquid and a vacuum cleaner. Our house was spotless. You could eat off the kitchen floor. In my attempt to clean better, I have aquired all the trappings that say they will help you clean better. The only thing that will help me clean better is me. From this point forward, I have placed a moratorium on buying any further cleaning supplies and make a commitment to use and dispose of the products I have in a safe manner. I will begin to look for recipes for further supplies once I run out or buy their green counterpart. I'd like to get back to cleaning simply and keeping as few supplies in the house as necessary. I'd like to get to green and stay that way. So what's your score?

Skywatch Friday: Outside my Window

Having a high-schooler during Daylight Savings Time means I get to see a lot of sunrises these days. I am learning to keep my camera with me and was lucky enough to grab it this morning. I couldn't resist the bright ball rising into the purple hughes, i did not do the color justice, but it was beautiful.
to see more skywatch shots from around the world, please visit Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sepia Scenes #24, Bulls Bridge Skyshot

My son and I went for a photo-hike on Saturday. This is one of his pictures; his favorite capture. He really liked the way the sun was peeking through the trees. He got some great shots for his first photo-hike! Well done Liam!
to see more sepia scenes from around the world, please visit