Sunday, February 26, 2017

A whole pile of random things...

So I sort of have lots and nothing much to say.....  this is my mood these days.  Which is mostly just fine with me.  Those who need to know my stuff do- and those who don't, well, don't.

First off, I recently purchased an AMAZING wide angle lens for my camera. (Insert happy dancing here)  And I do mean amazing.  It is the lens I have wanted my whole life and didn't know it.  I will be using it for cloud pix and landscapes mostly, and already, it is so incredibly satisfying.  It ticks off so many many of my photography needs....  I could soliloquize for days, but I won't.  But look!  LOOK at those pictures!!! It really bothers me that I didn't have it for my Bayfield trip.  I had ordered with what I thought was plenty of time, but the order got hung up in processing.  Um- wut?  If I didn't know that lens was going to be amazing for me I would have canceled.  I'm glad I didn't though- so very glad.  But what is up with that Canon???  HMMMM???

This was a really good weekend for the most part, I got a lot of little things done- plus finished one book and polished off a collection of short stories.  GOOD STUFF PEOPLE!!

The short story collection especially was excellent- called Drown by Junot Diaz.  A group of 10 stories about different members of a family based in the Dominican Republic and in the US.  Some brutal stuff, but quite compelling.  One of my favorite books in this genre!   The favorite other short story collection that I always recommend is Interpreters of the Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri - both worth picking up and reading.

Old house with a bit of mystique

In other news it has been cold and tomorrow will be warm and then it will get cold and I want daffodils.  The warm weather has pushed me into premature daffodil longing- I try not to think about it too much before the end of March, but here I am- wanting some.  I've had a couple photos sent my way by people that understand- - -  I will take more of those!!!!  :)    Pictures will do until I can either pick some or procure them in another way.  

The MA has been busy busy this month, as you all mostly know.  He sort of hit the ground running very early in January and has been in the office every day since.  LONG days....  So when he gets here we do chit chat a bit.  The man is getting even funnier these days- I feel like I should get a book and record the things he has been saying, sort of like what you want to do for your kids or the students at school.  Because you know you are never going to remember them in an hour.  The last thing he said a couple days ago- and maybe it is funnier to me than any one else when we were discussing the lengths that people go to maintain their accountant.  The miles they drive, the things they do.....  he tells me: No one wants to tell the new guy about their life.  Which like I said, sent me into fits of giggles, but other people may not get it??  No?  Oh well.  Anyway, he sleeps a lot in front of the tv after he finishes supper.

LOOK at that smooshy, kissable face
Not me though, the more I do at school the less likely I am to sleep.  It is just a wonderful thing being awake for the 4th time at 11:30 pm- said no one ever.  So I slept a lot (I got laughed at when I said I slept "in" until 6:30, but that IS sleeping in for me!) this weekend, as I really was able to relax.

As you may or may not know, tis the play time of the year and the Chequamegon school is putting on The Music Man- you know- 76 trombones and all that.  Lots of fun- silly, catchy songs.  Plenty of scenery to paint.  And my initial massive group of enthusiastic volunteers has dwindled a bit.  But such is the life of the Mad-Art teacher!  We will be fine, the troops will rally.

Last month's visit with the grandgirlies
It has been intense at school, though.  Many students have a hard time in the middle of the year like this- the winter, the school work, the rare days off and the stresses of families seem to add up to a lot of kids in distress.  Seniors are focused on finishing strong, junior are worried about imminent ACT tests, sophomores are sort of lost and freshmen still- as a group- are pretty clueless. But warmer, longer days are coming- and we will make it. As I said in my last post, this snow day could not have come at a better time.  We needed this unexpected mental health day.

I still have more artwork to get into the hallways, I need to do my high school progress reports and I shall be needing to get to looking at art work for the upcoming art show as well.  So there will be no easing up in the foreseeable future.  But that just makes the week go fast, so thats ok.

Lots of things coming up, lots of things to make the day go by fast.  I've said frequently the last few weeks that I would love to discover a worm hole and a perpendicular universe so I could come to school- get into that time warp and clean both of my rooms- then come out of it and teach school.  In a tidy art environment.  That would be great- someone needs to hook me up with that - K?  Anyone?

So, I am feeling like I need to get out a book and read and relax and get myself to bed here soon.  I hope all of you have a great productive week and if I find someone who can direct me to the nearest 4th dimension, I will let you know so you can get everything done you need to do, too!  I'm helpful like that!  And I send you a week full of joy as well.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Best Possible Snow Day

Yesterday we had a snow day.  The weather people were messing with us for a week saying we would get x number of inches of snow- then they would decrease the number and then increase and winter storm watch and then warning and then advisory.....  sheeeeeesh.

I got up yesterday and was bitterly disappointed that a. there was barely a dusting of snow on the ground and b. that the phone hadn't rung at 5am announcing that there was no school.  I was secretly mad at the MA as he predicted  the night before there would be no storm to speak of because it didn't "feel right" out there.  I ordered him to bed as he laughed at me and made fun of me/pitied me.  Lol.  Such a smartie pants he is. Who died and made him weather man??  

Ah..... a cup of joy and delight perfect for a snow day

Anyway, I was kind of worried as there was virtually no snow.  So I was wasting my time, dragging my feet getting dressed until the last minute and literally the second I had begun to stand up to find my jeans and something presentable on top- my phone rang!  WHAT???

So yeah, there was a snow day with virtually no snow.  AND the storm stayed south of us.  BUT thanks to the weather people and almost every school in the northern half of Wisconsin, the threat was real enough for everyone to call school.

Don't you dare judge the administration for this!!!  First of all can you imagine how obnoxious it is to call an early day if the weather had disintegrated and we needed to get the kids home early?  AND in our particular case we have the largest area wise school district in the state- there are some kids who are on the bus for an hour or more and in the remotest places you can imagine.  So, lets not be hasty to call them out.

The thing is that we all needed this day. Staff, administration and students.  A break from all practices, meetings, classes, hallway incidences, sickness, traumas brought to school from home and on and on. WE NEEDED THIS!!!!!  For me (it's my blog and I'll whine if I want to) I have been pushing to get art work done for next week, trying to get grading done for progress reports, do scenery painting after school, etc. etc.  Lots of drama everywhere.  Lots of counseling of many of my favorite kids. (On the record- I have no favorites.  Off the record- some of them just need me, so of course I secretly love them the most ;) )  I come home, crash and burn, eat a little and then sleep like crap.  So this day was needed and wanted and it was loved and cherished and admired.

I cooked a little, read a lot, had a visitor (hi Jake!), drank copious amounts of coffee, chatted a bit on the phone, and I felt layer after layer of stress and anxiety (oh yes I have that in spades) peel off of me.  I slept really well last night.  whew.

So today it is windy and pretty and I don't foresee a whole lot of outside activity.  I have to do a little grading, some prep work for a meeting I have next week, and a touch of mending, but there are these books that need to be read and probably some photos that need to be edited from fun trips, and a camera that needs to be mastered....  

I will find my zen, my peace and my joy!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Winter Photo shoot

Last weekend I took a fun mini-vaca with a couple of my friends- the Mad-Science teacher and the Mad-English teacher- to (prepare yourselves, it will be a surprise, I am confident) the north- specifically we stayed in Bayfield (told ya) :P

Abandoned school 

Anyway, I needed to get my mojo back (winter depression?- idk)  and that has to include some photography and that is what I want to feature here!

Lake Superior and not a lot of snow, but lotta ice!
We did a LOT of fun things, some of it food related, most of it activity related.  We did a swing around the Hwy13/Hwy 2 loop of northern WI, including a couple waterfalls, an abandoned school house, replete with an equally abandoned piano (obsession admitted), an extremely cold beach, and awesome diner and 3 tired travelers.  And oh so many many photos- plus there was some dogsled races and a ferry ride with a hike on an island as well.  Add in an amazing apartmenty-sort of sleeping quarters, some Big Water coffee shopping and of course Coco's- and there is some amazing time away from home that was just what we all needed.

It was a perfect day for photography
I have been smitten by the idea of this abandoned school since I heard about it a few months ago.  It is in a state of disrepair and it will indeed decay completely if it is left as is.  There have been a lot of people in there tagging and such, which I suppose is what happens these days.

The piano is amazing- in an old abandoned sort of way.

Only ivory left to tickle
The audience was silent tonight
As is expected in Wisconsin in February, most of the water was frozen- including the waterfalls, but there was certainly enough beauty to record.
Walking on the creek to Twin Falls

Frozen Twin Falls by Port Wing, WI
Pancake ice in the little bit of open water at Amncion Falls.

Mother Nature was kind enough to gift me with this INCREDIBLE sunrise.....  I sure can get dressed in a hurry.  Lol.  Bayfield just never disappoints. Seriously, this is not color enhanced, just cropped.  It was astounding

This still amazes me

We had a cold and fun time both at the Apostle Island Dog Sled Races and also hiking around on a VERY cold Madeline Island.  Going on the ferry cutting through the ice is an experience unlike any other.
They LOVE to run....

and they smile all the way!

It was dreary that day but oh well.

I heart Madeline Island and Big Bay State Park

Found a little blue shelf ice by the Ferry Dock in LaPointe- but no where else

Looking towards Bayfield

Frozen (ice)  hills on Lake Superior- I was standing on the lake there, and I could only take about 2 shots before the cold wind forced my hands back in my gloves.

Will the next performer please take a seat....

If you think sled dogs don't get love- you are all sorts of wrong

I have so so many pictures to edit yet, but I am going to take my time.

It really was a  fantastic weekend for photos and catching up with good friends....  and finding so much joy in totally expected places.  

Friday, January 27, 2017

So where did January actually go?

Apparently there are some of us who just never stop clowning around in public

I haven't written in my blog lately, which makes me a little sad.  I have been doing school, doing a little traveling, hanging out here, letting my stupid toe heal, enduring some obnoxiously cold weather, and then some warm, soupy weather that has caused a lot of slush....  oy.
Bobby and Shantay Kutz

So yeah, not much has been happening here.  But that won't be the case forever- I have stuff I plan to post!  I have a bunch of photos I realize I need to process from visiting Ella and Ava....  So yeah.  Meanwhile, I have some iPhone photos from my nephew's wedding last weekend.  I took a few pictures there too, but alas- photo processing.  Well, I will be changing that soon.  :)

Last time I let the blog go a couple years ago, we all know what happened......  not good.

So, though I am not a very superstitious person, I feel like I need to interrupt that possibility!  :)  hehe

Jon, Sarah and Emily
So enjoy my photos of my lovely family- it was a super fun weekend.  Hey- you know what??  People in Milwaukee area dress up for weddings!  This event had no one in camo, blue jeans, blaze orange- no casual dress at all.  It was a refreshing change.  I am not dissing our northwoods for the more casual atmosphere, as that is our jam, but it was very pleasant.  AND I have to say that this was a wedding with several military folks, including the groom and his brother.... and a whole lot of firefighters, which also includes the groom.  They were adorable.

Bill, Rosie and I
It was so nice to see my seester-Rose and her hubby Bill, and Emily.  Plus my brother and his wife as well.  Just such a nice day.

Bill, Rose, Emily, Darlene and Bobby 

Anyway, I hope that you all have a joyful weekend!!  :)

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Last Adventure of 2016

If you were to look in on me right now, it would be a sorry sight.  Here it is -  not too long after 4am on a Saturday as I begin this paragraph, plus it is our Christmas break and the Mad-Art Teacher is sitting on the couch unable to breathe through her nose.  And not sleeping....This is not cool.  I didn't get to sleep until at least midnight.   I am pretty sure that the germy little fingers of a grandchild (not sure which grandchild, actually) introduced me to this virus, and the main reason  I think THAT is that the MA got the same thing at pretty much the same time.  Oh well- that is what happens in the winter....  when you have lots of visitors who stick their little fingers all over your face.  No regrets.
Who me??  
Seriously needs to up his selfie game- lol 

I said to the MA  earlier this week that I HAD to find someone to go with me up to Bayfield, as I was really missing it and I needed an adventure.  Low and behold, the next day he casually mentions that if I hadn't found someone to go that he would!  Wait, WHAT?  This is the last work day of the year, and the man who NEVER misses a day of work, much less the second to the last day of the year (where clients call in a panic to find out what they can do to avoid paying all the taxes) and he wants to spend the day with me in Bayfield!  Huh. I was hoping that the apocalypse wasn't happening whilst we were traveling because it was that sort of an event.  Hehe  So I told him what the schedule would be and what we were doing and in what order and he was good with that.  The only issues HE actually had is that while he was driving I would be chatting away (shocking, I know) and would forget that he didn't know exactly where he was going.  He has, of course, been to Bayfield and the area before, but it has been a while and he had never been over to Meyers Beach....  but that was fine.  I just reminded myself frequently to give specific directions.  Apparently when the kids were little and we had gone to my Grandma and Grandpas in Minnesota we had come home that way, but I have no real memory of that- I was undoubtedly occupied with said rascals in the back seat.

So, I ignored the fact that I had things brewing in my head and instead- armed with zicam and a positive attitude- we left in the am to head up to Washburn.  Along the way we admired the new bridges that were installed on Hwy 13, rebuilt in less than 6 months mind you, where they had been washed out by the storm in the early summer.  There was very little sign of the power of mother nature there, except we did see where the train tracks were never fixed- rails are hanging there unsupported.  I guess the the train isn't running beyond Park Falls now- who knew?!
Vegetarian frittata with roasted rosemary potatoes mmmmmm

 I was STARVING when we arrived at Coco's for a lovely breakfast of frittata and potatoes.  I knew that it would be totally worth the wait and it was! Being there in the winter is so nice, you have choice of seating and no chance your favorite breads have been all bought up!

Look what was not at all in it's usual spot!  Docked for the winter
Bayfield was next up, and while that is always beautiful, the ice in town was a problem.  Last Monday there was a massive wind storm and it is obvious everywhere that the lake and its spray had coated the surfaces of the road and, well, every other surface as well, with ice.  Made for some hazardous walking, but we got to the docks and over to the marina area and then to Big Water Coffee!  Our next stop was going to be for a walk down on Meyer's Beach, but that was not to be.  As I mentioned- ice. And it was all over the stairs that lead to the beach, and neither of us were willing to break bones just to get down there.  sigh.  It is a nice drive over though, and there was very little traffic.  I had some alternative places to go- including for me to shoot an abandoned house by the Bayfield golf course and then stop by Friendly Valley Beach.  I knew that beach is level with the road and that we could get there without too much effort.
This was way way treacherous- I was clinging to the railing as I stepped to the top to see what that stairs were like.  Not good

Only in your dreams....

I spent a lot of time reminiscing- my sentences frequently started with: That is where Adam and I** .... or Laurie and Adam and I always .......  It was entertaining (for me at least) to think of all my Bayfield adventures and that was courtesy of memories that popped up while guiding a new person through a Bayfielding adventure.  We also stopped at the Chequamegon food co-op (no ice there!  haha) and then had a light late lunch at the Black Cat Cafe in Ashland.  We got home before it got dark, so I was able to unload all my stuff- I always take and accumulate a lot of stuff when I am in the far north- and feed the horse before dark.
** Adam- I sort want to go see Point Detour again- but not in the ice- just sayin'  ;)

We found an iceberg!  
So the Lake was just glorious- even though it was quite grey and overcast.  There was some shelf ice built up on the beach, and that ice was covered with sand.  There were other areas with worn and weathered icicles hanging from brush and a shells of ice over the rocks.  The Chequamegon Bay was fairly quiet, and was partially frozen down by Ashland,  and the South Shore- as per usual- was more active.  But, that is normal- gah, it kills me still that I couldn't get down to that lake by Cornucopia.  PLUS, while I wasn't rushed by my companion,  I could not take all the time I wanted to shoot as the wind was so cold.  So my pictures are fine, but I am NEVER satisfied.
Friendly beach and ye old Gitchee Gummee tree stump

But that keeps me trying new things and wanting new lenses (hehe) and giving me new things to do in the year to come.  2016 did not suck you guys.  It is what it is, the good and the bad- and it is all in your attitude- and in your quest for a little joy in your life.  Happy New Year's Eve to you all and be safe and happy tonight and all through the coming New Year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016- it was good for me! Was it good for you??

I have seen SO many posts lately about 2016 being bad- I guess if one is an aging celeb or singer- you could be hoping that it ends soon without taking you down with it. But personally, it has not been as bothersome as other years have been- and I have done some more truly spectacular things.  (Yes it is always about me- you should all know this by now)

I saw that Debbie Reynolds was rushed to the  hospital with a possible stroke- as of this moment she is still alive****....  this is a bit more alarming as I was named- at least in part- for Debbie Reynolds.  Now, it isn't like I have her posters hanging all over my bedroom or something, but I definitely enjoyed her acting in movies and on TV.  Especially as Grace's mother on Will and Grace.  Possibly because of the fact that I (and hundreds of other Debbies, Debs, Debis, Deborahs, Debras) am her namesake??  I have never really examined this fact before- so I am letting this roll around in my mind a bit.  It mystifies me that my father wanted to name me that- 1. I never took him/them for a movie star fan type 2. I am also not sure how much input he actually had in my naming actually, but the vibe I got  is that he had a big say in the matter and 3. why in the world, when there is the pretty and concise name Debra - I ended up with Deborah....  and he used to enjoy calling me Debor-ah ha..... um- what? Or maybe I have that backwards.....  One of them wanted it the short way and one the long, and since my father (as told by my mother, so you never know what spin was put on it: we all spin things the way we please) was a bit domineering at times, I am sure he got his way.  AND just fyi- my brother Ed was named for-----drum roll please.......  (maybe you guessed it!) Eddie Fischer.  Yeah, this is quite a large- well- how about that- moment. Or perhaps you just closed your browser and went on with life....  hehe

So, really this has been a pretty good year.  I had an addition to the grandchildren list - little miss Ava- and the horse indeed lived to see another year!  I was going to say I didn't break anything, but scratch that from the list....  Fortunately nothing serious.  The fall weather was GORGEOUS and of course there were the travels!  I found 2 regular kayaking buddies- one of whom I am married to. Huh, who knew.   I got new camera equipment (YESSSS) and a new editing program and that has been quite gratifying.  I am so thrilled with my pictures this year.

I was happy to spend time with many of my friends, and made new ones as well.  AND through the event of a somewhat large numbered class reunion this past summer, I have reconnected with some of my classmates who I have not talked to in SO many years!  It is really a satisfying experience!  I have also found a childhood friend and was fortunate enough to have supper with her one night, and we will definitely do that again.  While there have been some sad and scary things that have happened, in my particular life those have been fairly minimal and I am definitely grateful for that.

I am so sorry if this year sucked for you, but I for one won't be basing the success of the year based on the number of singers and other celebs have died....It is too bad about folks like David Bowie, Prince, Carrie Fisher, but that is definitely life.  I am glad that you are reading this, that you are actually still here in this world.  If you are reading what the Mad-Art teacher has to say, we are most likely in some way connected or special - and that is everything to me.  So while I do think we ought to protect Betty White at all costs (lol) there is a lot more to a year than the casualty list.  

When did this one become 14??

I hope you can look back at your 2016 and find something to smile about~ there has to be things- many things- that have given you joy.

****  well hell, poor Debbie Reynolds died after all...  One should never have to bury a child.  :(