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Saturday, July 23, 2011

Come motor with me.

At the West End Overlook

Today we participated in the PittStop MINI Club meetup at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. 140 MINIs travelled parade style from the West End Overlook to Schenley Park.

We were one of last cars to arrive because there was a major accident on the most direct route, leaving us to backtrack almost all the way home so that we could take a detour. Here's Mark posing in front of a fog covered Pittsburgh skyline. We took a family photo as well, which I'll post when I get it from the photographer.

The Road to Schenley Park

One of the coordinators instructed us that this would be a challenging drive, since we would be running red lights and stop signs. We even had a sheriff's escort. And while it wasn't quite as treacherous as driving in Pittsburgh snow, it was still pretty harrowing.

See those people in the right lane? They were none too happy with us. In fact, one of the other coordinators risked his own MINI by using it as a barrier to block the people in the right lane so that we could all remain together. As we passed by him, he was exchanging f-bombs with one of the non-MINI drivers. Yikes.


Lauren keeping it cool under pressure and the scorching sun.

Forbes Avenue.

Once we safely arrived in Oakland, we hit another obstacle: gridlock. We sat in traffic for a long time before we finally made it into the park.

Our contribution.

After we got settled into our spot, we took in the sights around us.

The 18th turn.

The MINI show was located on the 18th turn, so we could easily watch the race cars speed down the track.

The races.

There were all kinds of different vintage cars in the race...

Minis as far as the eye can see.

...and thousands of cars on display. I wish I could have gotten more photos (especially of the Volkswagon show - Beetles and Buses as far as the eye could see!), but it was just way too hot to walk around. So we just stayed close to the MINIs.

Boots, baby.

Boot to boot.

MINI in green.

I was surprised that there were hardly any highly customized or vintage MINIs at the show. This green one stood out because of it's unique fog light covers.

All I need is the air that I breath and to love you.

Oxygen Blue is my favorite MINI color. Unfortunately, it was discontinued in 2010. I was excited to get not one but two Oxygen Blues in this shot.

Countryman and friends.

Despite the intense heat, it was still a great experience, which I hope will become one of our regularly scheduled activities in summers to come.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Somethin' to keep you cool.

Somethin' to keep you cool.

Today I was going to post some photos from Girl Scout camp, but my appointment at the hair salon took longer than expected. However, I did have just enough time to take a couple of shots for today's challenge.

Wouldn't it figure that on the hottest day of the year, the air conditioner at my parents' house went kaput? So poor Lauren and Grandma spent their day doing their best to keep cool.

The theme for today was "delicious." With a heat index well over 100 degrees, what could be more delicious than a popsicle?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Texas invasion.

Texas Invasion:  Posing in front of the skyline.

Also last weekend, my Aunt Beth and Cousin Jen came to visit us all the way from Texas. Most of my family is scattered across the country, so it's always a real treat when they come for a visit!

Texas Invasion:  Me, Beth, and Jen

My cousin Michele couldn't make it because she had a prior engagement. If she comes to visit next time, we promise not to make her walk a mile in the hot sun like we made poor Beth and Jen!

Texas Invasion:  Lauren splashing in the fountain.

Luckily, we did get to cool ourselves off in the fountain.

So where do you head to on an unbear-ably hot day? To Build-a-Bear at the mall, of course.

Texas Invasion:  Jen and Lauren at Build-a-Bear

Yes, we were suckered, I mean gently persuaded by Lauren to go to Build-a-Bear. It did make for cute photo ops though.

Texas Invasion:  Jen trying on a Smurf hat.

Here's Jen getting her Smurfette on. Our family has commented that Jen looks a lot like me when I was a teenager (and had my original haircolor).

Lastly, here we are posing in front of the big hiking boot in front of L.L. Bean. I wonder if there is a big cowboy boot in front of their stores in Texas?

Texas Invasion:  On the big boot!

Thanks for coming to see us, Beth and Jen - we loved having you here!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

High flying adored.

You are here.

It dawned on me that Kennywood is a lot like an Andrew Lloyd Weber musical.

Musik Express and The Phantom's Revenge.

You make Memories there. It has a Musik (Starlight) Express and Phantom ('s Revenge).

Carousel horse at the entrance.

You can ride the Carousel. Oh wait, never mind. That was Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Jellicle cat.

And sometimes you see a Jellicle cat.

Last Saturday, we headed to Kennywood with our friends Scott, Beth and "the other" Lauren.

Teaching them young.

Here's Mr. Scott on the Musik Express with the girls, teaching them an important life lesson: shooting the devil horns.

Ridin' the Express.

The Musik Express proved very popular with the girls, so I took a turn with them. Before the ride started, they excitedly described all the thrills that awaited me. I refrained from dampening their enthusiasm by telling them I had already rode it countless times, and how daddy will never let me forget the time that he ripped his shirt on the safety bar lock.


The weather was clear, producing a gorgeous blue sky. This made for some great photos, but it also made it miserably hot for those waiting countless minutes in line with little shade. Like us.

This end up.

This is the Aero360, which I've never rode before.


But I have a feeling that once Lauren is tall enough, I'm going to have to take one for the team.


As seen in Lost Kennywood.

Bavarian swing.

I love the Bavarian Swing. Now that I can't wait to ride with Lauren.

What Rick Sebak didn't tell you.

Ah, now there's something Rick Sebak didn't tell you (my fellow Pittsburghers will get this).

Sleepy leopard.

And that my friends, is how you can tell that a great time was had at Kennywood. Any dream will do...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Um, hi.

Um, hi.

We had a very full, happening weekend which I will hopefully post about as the week continues when I have more time and energy to edit photos. For now, I give you this grasshopper. Please try to contain your excitement.

This fulfilled today's challenge, "part of the full picture." The only time that I ever see a grasshopper is when one perches on our daylilies. I had a lot of fun shooting this little guy. Sometimes, like here, he'd get a little spooked and hide from my lens.

Trying to blend.

But he'd always come back out for his closeup.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

G is for Grandpap.

G is for Grandfather.

Today's challenge was "Begins with G." As I've mentioned before, this is one of my favorite photos. It was taken sometime in the late 60's / early 70's at the Playboy Club in Las Vegas. Pap is posing with "Bunny Nikki."

Pap was a gentle man. He liked to do Snoopy impersonations, perform tricks with his handkerchief, dye Easter eggs and smoke Winstons.

A larger version of the photo can be seen here.

Six years, 2226 photos later.

Then Goldilocks said, "And this chair is too small!"

My Flickr account has been enjoying a surge of activity this past week. Yesterday's challenge was "Have a seat." Coincidentally, I just did a chair photo for one of last week's challenges (This actually happens quite a bit). I shot this in a two foot space next to my Lauren's bed, so I had very little room to compose. And since I had a pot of macaroni and cheese on the stove, I was also under the gun. I titled it, "Then Goldilocks said, "And this chair is too small!"

The little red chair was part of a floral arrangement given to my mother when I was born, so it is quite dear to me. I even made a scrapbook page about it. When I read yesterday's challenge, I thought of it immediately, but unfortunately everyone here is too big to sit in it. So in comes Goldilocks to make the declaration. :) Some one commented that it looks like Alice (in Wonderland) after she drinks the elixir and grows big. That works too.


I couldn't believe it when I saw that it had made the front of Flickr's Explore page. So I guess there went my 15 minutes of fame. :)

In other news, on Monday Lauren was diagnosed with an ear infection and strep throat. Thankfully, the antibiotics started to work immediately, and she's back to her old self in time for a very busy weekend.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekend challenges.

Color your world.

The primary challenge of this weekend had nothing to do with photography, but the fact that Lauren is sick. It would seem that her lethargy on Thursday had nothing to do with her being tired, but everything to do with her 102 degree temperature that she just can't seem to kick. Needless to say, we missed the last day of Girl Scout camp as well. I'll try to upload the few photos that I did take later in the week.

Yesterday's challenge was "your favorite color," which for me has been and always will be blue. This would have been more effective with Lauren's little hand holding the crayon, but she was stuck inside all day. :( So instead, you're stuck looking at my big paw.

This was not an easy feat. First, I had to lay on my back on our patio to get the shot. Then, I had to hold the crayon with my right hand so that the words would read right side up. Because of this, I had to balance the camera on my chest and reach over with my left to press the shutter. Thankfully, I had no camera mishaps due to lack of balance, but I'm sure I looked odd doing it!

Bicycle races are coming your way.

Today's challenge was "tire." Not a lot of subject matter to choose from, so I went with a bicycle. Again, I had to lie down to get the angle I wanted. My neighbors have to think I'm so very strange.

All the other colors are just colors, but purple seems to have a soul.

Lastly, here's a bonus photo of one the purple cone flowers in our garden. Purple cone flowers have to be one of the most photogenic species around.

I always know summer is here
When purple cone flowers appear.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Golden Hour.

Be my guest.

Playing hooky today from Girl Scout camp because Lauren and I are completely exhausted. I thought for certain that she was going to be devastated when I told her that we weren't going tonight (The girls were scheduled to go swimming), but she merely shrugged it off. Usually she spends her entire evening outside in the backyard, but right now, she's lying on the couch watching Return of the Jedi and waiting for her popcorn. If that doesn't tell you how exhausted she is, I don't know what does.

Today's golden hour wasn't very golden. Sometimes we have beautiful sunrises and sunsets, but much of the space around here is blocked by telephone polls and electrical wires. Nonetheless, that little patch of sun peeking through the trees gave me enough encouragement to complete today's challenge.

Details to come after camp wraps up tomorrow. In the meantime, I think I'll set a spell myself.

Monday, July 4, 2011


I'm lost without you.

Since non-photography life has been keeping me so busy, I haven't had time to participate in the daily challenges, but given we had our 4th of July celebration on the 3rd, I had a little free time today.

When I saw today's challenge, I immediately thought of someone looking for their lost camera. After I was finished editing, I thought that it should be titled "I would be lost without you." Too true! I usually don't care for vintage style editing because it is way overdone, but I think it fits the mood of this photo.

Don't know if there will be any updates this week, as Lauren and I will be attending Girl Scout camp in the evenings,, which won't leave much time for blogging, or anything else for that matter. I plan on bringing my camera, so when it's all said and done I'll not only have acquired the knowledge of how to make biscuits on a stick, but hopefully some fun photos to share here.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fore score and seven years ago...

Let's golf!

Just a little patriotic pun in honor of the impending Independence Day holiday. Here we are at 2011's halfway mark, and would you look at that? This is the 51st post of the year. That's as many as entire 2010! I think I can now claim that I have brought the blog back from the brink of extinction. :)

Took the day off from work yesterday so that I could take Lauren to our community pool. She has been begging me for the last month, but the weekends have been cloudy and in the low 70's, which doesn't make for great pool weather. When we got home from the pool, I was delighted to find that my new point-n-shoot camera had arrived from Amazon. At first, I wasn't going to bother replacing the one that I wrecked at the beach. I figured that I could just use the D50 as my walk around camera. Also, this year I've already spent a SINFUL amount of money on photography. However, it's just not practical for me to take a DSLR with me wherever we go, and I would just as soon leave it at home, which would no doubt mean missed shots. So it was hard for me to resist when I came across the Panasonic Lumix LX5. With the exception of the ability to change lenses, it pretty much offers all the manual settings of my D50 and has better low light capability and more megapixels.). Not to mention, it fits perfectly in my small purse.

Lauren teeing off.

Yesterday evening, we went out for pizza and then to play a round of miniature golf. Lauren became hooked during our trip to the shore, and I'm still kicking myself for not getting any photos. Naturally, this was a great opportunity to try out my new camera, and it did not disappoint!

Humpty Dumpty, making sure you heed the sign.

We decided to give North Park Mini Golf a try. We've frequently driven past it, but have never actually played there. It's been in business since 1961, so it has a nice retro feel to it. It was almost as good as the ones we played in Ocean City. Almost because I felt that it didn't have enough moving obstacles, but it did have some fun water hazards in addition to the usual cute school houses, windmills, and characters.


It's also nicely landscaped with fountains and flowers.

Little red house.

Suffice to say, it was a nice way to kick off the holiday weekend. And if Lauren has any say, I'm sure there will be more mini golf outings in our future.

A golfball's perspective.

And Mommy will be right there laying on the 10th green, camera in hand, embarrassing the heck out of her.