Friday, May 27, 2011

Flowers Make for Easy Subjects

Again, I'm catching up on my blogs about my 365 project. Today's feature is flowers. I love photographing flowers, especially following the longest winter EVER! Flowers are great subjects; they don't squirm, cry, close their eyes right as you push the button, or complain. And, as an added bonus, at this time of the year, they are as close as my backyard (or front yard as the case may be.)

In April, this crocus showed up unexpectedly in our yard. What a fun surprise!

O.K, this isn't a flower. It's a picture of the buds on the maple tree in our front yard. It was taken on a very rainy, nasty day and I was desperate for a picture that didn't require a lot of effort.

We usually have some interesting flowers blooming in our woods this time of year. On May 3, I took a little walk to see what I could find. I discovered this plant that had taken over some huge areas in our woods but I had no clue as to its name. I called my horticulturist neighbor who was unable to identify them from my description. Though he'd promised to come check the next day to see what they were, I decided to investigate a little further. I saw an online ad for a book about Minnesota Wildflowers and then it hit me; I HAVE that book! So, about one minute after picking up the book I was able to identify it as a Cut-leaved Toothwort. I should have been a detective. Oh wait, I'm a mother. That's probably where I honed my skills.

I was once told that a weed is simply a wildflower out of place. Well then, this violet would qualify as a weed. A pretty weed, but a weed nonetheless. It's growing between the slabs on my back patio. I'd prefer moss, I think.

It's easy to miss the blooming of the bleeding heart in the spring, but since I'm on this "picture a day" kick, I'm always in search of a subject, and like I said, flowers make such nice subjects.

It has been fun to watch my Coralburst Crab tree bloom this year. It's the first year we've had it. Here it is as it's just starting to bloom.

Though this picture didn't make it into my 365 project, I though I'd share it with you anyway. Think of it as a bonus - because I love you. It's my crab tree in full bloom. Is it not gorgeous?! But then again, the blooms haven't fallen all over my yard yet.

A visit to the garden center gave me a few minutes to click a few quick shots of some very cooperative flowers.

Lilacs are always in vast supply this time of year so a picture of a lilac isn't really all that special. BUT, this particular lilac is the first bloom to grow from a shoot I planted over 10 years ago. I'd given up hope.

And now, to conclude the flower series (and most recently - purple flower week) . . . a wild geranium. We transplanted this into our yard from the woods behind our house about 15 years ago. Technically, it's a wildflower but, since it's not growing in my patio, I don't consider it a weed (though it does have the tenacity of a dandelion!)

Spring is my favorite time of the year. I'm always amazed at how flowers just come shooting out of the ground after a winter with temperatures dipping below zero. Good job, God, is what I like to say!

Take some time to enjoy the flowers in your corner of the world. Spend time with the ones you love, grab a camera, and gather some memories; especially if you get a dandelion bouquet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Catching Up

Well, clearly my mother and my friend, Leslie, have not been bugging me about my blog. There's a lot going on (when isn't there?) and I realized tonight that my most recent 365 project update was over a month ago. So, instead of putting all 30-some pictures up at once I'll break them down by types. Tonight, surprise of surprises, I will focus on my two sweet grandchildren. I try to make them my picture of the day as often as I can without being totally annoying. This could get to be more of a challenge once they catch on to my craziness.

Easter Sunday - and little Amelia was over-the-top ADORABLE!

Amelia, again, (thank God they aren't dressing Charlie like this) all dressed up for her daddy's birthday. We got to babysit while they went out for an evening alone. Love the tutu!

Amelia's first time with a sitter. I had my small group that night otherwise I'd have been there. As it so happens, my small group meets about a mile from Paul and Erin's house so I was able to stop by for a picture before my meeting. Amelia is looking at her parents with an "I hope you aren't planning to leave me with this person" kind of look. Emily took good care of her and she did fine.

28 hours with Charlie - certainly not enough time but I made a quick trip to Wisconsin because I simply could not go another day without seeing him. Oh what fun to kiss those sweet cheeks!

Don't you think he looks like the Gerber baby; perhaps with an Elvis kind of smile?

Sadly, five pictures is all I have of my adorable grandchildren in the past 30 days. Wait, that's not right. I have many more pictures than that. These are just the ones that made it into my 365 project. There will be more soon. If you want to view my entire 365 project, click here.

As always, keep making memories, taking pictures, and most importantly, spend time with the ones you love. If you don't get them up on your blog - that o.k., I'll totally understand.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Smart Boy

Personally, I think all of my boys are smart. I am, after all, their mother so what would you expect? Last Sunday, however, we experienced a first in the Holte family. Our youngest son, Scott, received his Masters Degree; specifically a Masters of Science in Mass Communication. So, we have documented evidence that Scott is indeed, smart. As you might guess, we are very proud, and thus, I decided to share a few of my pictures with you. And yes, this is just a few.

First off, we headed to the Student Center where there was a reception and hooding ceremony for the College of Fine Arts Masters students. As you can see, Scott is VERY excited about getting his hood. Um, Scott, maybe next time you could give your professor a break and lean down a little. Hopefully, no shoulder surgery will be necessary.

The interim department head explained to everyone the significance of the colors on the hood. The red and black are the school colors and on Scott's the gold signifies his specific degree. Intriguingly enough, not all of the students getting the same degree had the same color hoods and one man had clearly forgotten to even pick his up. I'm sure his mother was thrilled.

I decided if I ever get a master's degree, it'll be in music. Their hoods have pink trim. Enough said.

Congratulatory handshakes from the department heads. (I think that's who there were.) Scott told me later that they had put the hood on upside down. He fixed it before the graduation ceremony. Apparently, he'd watched the video about the "proper" way to wear a hood!

Angelina and Scott after the hooding ceremony. The logo is for St. Cloud State - the college from which he graduated.

A quick picture with his proud parents before heading over to the commencement ceremony. I'm feeling very short!

Scott thought the quickest way to get to the Hockey Arena was to walk . . . in the rain. Hmmm . . . By this point, Scott had "flipped" his hood so it's facing the right direction. It is kind of pretty, isn't it?

After the two-hour ceremony, we emerged from the building to a beautiful, sunny, afternoon. We headed over to the Munsinger/Clemens gardens in St. Cloud. They are always beautiful. The rest of these pictures were taken there.

Not graduation related, but pretty nonetheless.

Angelina wasn't sure how she felt about pictures of him by himself. As she pointed out, he couldn't have done it without her. :-)

Their future looks bright!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In Appreciation of Mrs. Black

Do you ever have things pop into your head from many, many years ago? It happens to me all the time. I refer to them as “A Blast from the Past.” Tonight, I had one such “blast” and being as it’s Teacher Appreciation Week, I just had to share it.

When I was a kid, every August we’d get a postcard in the mail telling us who our teacher was going to be for the next year. It cost about 3 ¢ to mail a postcard back then so I guess the school considered it a good use of their funds. Anyway, when that fateful day arrived right before the start of my 3rd grade year the news wasn’t good. I was assigned to Mrs. Black’s class. There were stories about Mrs. Black and none of them were good. She was very strict (which is probably why they’d put me in her class) and I just knew from the get-go that this was gonna be bad.

I remember a little bit of a crying/tantrum session in the backyard. Such sessions are always so helpful yet never seem to change anything at all. But, that was not the worst thing I did in regards to my upcoming tour in Mrs. Black’s classroom. Oh no! I actually went to school on the first day (or so I’m told) and said to Mrs. Black, “I told my mother if I got your for a teacher I was going to kill myself.” My girlfriend says I am forthright but the truth is, I don’t always have a very good filter between my brain and my mouth! Well, in fairness to me, it’s better than you might think.

Anyway, once I declared my disdain and suicidal thoughts to Mrs. Black, I’m sure what she wanted to say was “Well then, what are you doing here because clearly you aren’t dead?” but she took a somewhat kinder route. She said (again, this story has been passed down as I don’t recall my rudeness), “Well, Nancy, I might not like having you in my class either.”

You may have guessed this by now, but I loved Mrs. Black. She was strict, but she was also kind and a great teacher. The one thing I do recall of third grade (without my mother’s help) is sitting inside during recess on the last day (or perhaps the second to last day) finishing up some reading assignments that I’d slacked off on. But, I don’t recall being bitter about that - probably because I got to be with Mrs. Black - who really was pretty cool after all.

So, as teacher appreciation week comes to a close I’d like to thank all of the teachers out there who work so diligently even when they might not feel very loved. And, a special thank you to Mrs. Black.