Return Of the Blog

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Photograph titled “Reach” by Jennifer Koczan

 

I haven’t made an entry or even logged into the account for this blog since April of 2019.

My motivation and my inspiration fell to the wayside. It has happened a lot over the years since I’ve tried to start and actually maintain a blog.

Lots of reasons. Lots of excuses. Some of those reasons were good ones. Some of them were bad ones. I have had the tendency to care too much what other people think of me. On the other hand, when I am going through something serious. I go quiet.  The last couple of years have been very long seasons in my life.

A lot has changed.

I think that certain realizations come to you in age. Experience brings wisdom.  I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned to let go of a lot. I’ve grown a lot. The past is finally the past and I don’t live there anymore.  There is incredible freedom in learning to let go of the things that you cannot change and the things that do not serve you.

This blog is now headed towards a real transition of its own. I’ve decided that I am going to write about the things that I want to write about.  I want to write about all of the things that inspire me. What motivates me. What can bring me down. My experiences. Travel. My day to day. Life.

Everyone has a story.  It’s up to you to decide how you want to tell it.

 

 

Sometimes It Snows In April

It was snowing when I took this picture of the daffodils this morning.  Though you can’t actually tell from the photo, I was being covered in big snow flakes.  Most of what came down didn’t stay initially.  It did however, accumulate and stick more as the evening came.

Everyone was complaining because it is snowing in April. I can only imagine that when Prince wrote the song “Sometimes It Snows In April” it was because people were acting surprised about a weather event that has likely occurred a thousand times through out the course of history and it got on his nerves.  Probably not.

It is not unusual to see snowfall in the month of April.  It also has been known to snow in October, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  Enjoy the white on the yellows, reds and pinks of Springtime flowers and blue skies. It’s an opportunity.

These daffodils were not planted by me. I am not exactly sure where they came from. They popped up along the fence in the back of my property. I have lived in my house f  or almost 7 years and this is the first time they have made an appearance.

I am glad that they came.  Aren’t they interesting?

 

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7 Day Black & White Photo Challenge

A lot of my friends were tagging each other on Facebook to encourage them to participate in the “7 Day Black & White Photo Challenge”.  The idea was to post a random black and white photo to their Facebook timeline every day for seven days. The catch was that it couldn’t include people or an explanation as to what the photo was about.

Quite a few people were annoyed by it and ignored the challenge. When a friend finally included me, I was delighted and couldn’t wait to get started. My inner photography nerd was beating its chest and rearing to go.

I’m a big liar. I took my seven photographs but they were hardly random. I already knew what I wanted to capture and share to my Facebook. Then I spent probably fifteen minutes on each photo carefully crafting the right shades of black and white in Photoshop Express on my iPhone.

I blame it on that inner photography nerd that was beating its chest. It was a total out of body experience and I have no control over that guy or gal. Whatever that inner photography nerd identifies with. Believe me, I just rolled my eyes as hard as you did.

The challenge is still active on social media. If you get tagged to participate, I hope that you’ll embrace the idea and take part. I thought it was a lot of fun.  If you’re friends are lame and won’t tag you or are ignoring the challenge, then I challenge you.

My submissions are below. They are set to appear in random order so they are not in order.  I didn’t add any explanations but I will gladly explain if anyone has a question in the comments.

I’m considering having prints made.  *looks away*

 

 

 

 

 

Last Of the Fall

We had an impressive rain fall last evening and the wind rattled the windows on the house until well after midnight.  At some point, during the night, we lost power. I noticed the clock on the stove flashing this morning. 

 I went outside this morning to find the temperature to be fairly warm and inviting. I noticed that nearly all of the trees were bare. The leaves are completely gone from the Maple tree in the front yard. I boast that I have the prettiest trees on the block.  I’ll miss them until the spring.

I made the most of the weather this morning and took what will likely be the last colorful stroll along the riverwalk. I snapped a couple of photo’s that I wanted to share with you. Gorgeous morning. 

I hope that everyone is having a wonderful Wednesday. 

It’s almost December. Can you believe it?

Wandering the Region- West Beach

The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore is located in northwest Indiana along the south shore of Lake Michigan. The national lakeshore was established in 1966 and includes 15,000 acres of wetlands, prairies, sand dunes, oak savannas, forests, and historic sites.

The West Beach area is located on the edge of Gary, Indiana and near the town of Porter, Indiana. It is also a quick drive from Interstate 80/90 and 80/94 if you’re passing through the area.

West Beach offers approximately 3.5 miles of trails. This includes the Long Lake Loop, that I wrote about previously at “Wandering the Region-The Long Lake Loop”. I also wrote about the West Beach area in January during my last visit.  You can check out that post here at “A Walk On the Lake: Lake Michigan In Winter”

West Beach offers three trails:

The Dune Succession Trail (ecological succession) is a 1 mile loop trail that highlights the stages of dune development. It is an incredible and scenic trail that offers a breathtaking view of Lake Michigan from atop a 2,000 year old sand dune.

On a clear day, you can see the the city of Chicago, Illinois in the distance.  As you hike along with path (and up some stairs, I promise it’s totally worth it)  you will enjoy the shade so generously offered by the Jack Pines, Black Oak Trees and other species. I especially love watching the prairie grass as it sways in the wind.

The West Beach Trail is a more flat and easier 1.4-mile hike through an area that was sand mined in the 1920’s. This area is being restored as an oak savanna and is a great place to see prickly pear cactus. If you checked out my blog post about the Long Lake Loop, I showed a few photographs that included the prickly pear cacti that were technically on the West Beach Trail and were involved in the recent controlled burn.

Lastly, The Long Lake Loop that runs along the south side of West Beach. The loop is 1.5 miles in length and connects to the West Beach Trail Loop.  You will pass by the shoreline of Long Lake which is popular for birding, running and offers much more solitude than the busier sections closer to the beach area.

I should mention that West Beach is also close the Marquette Trail. I haven’t ventured down that trail yet so I can’t tell you much about it. Click on the link and check out more information and see what others have had to say. I’ll write about that trail in the future.

Below is a gallery of photographs that I took during my most recent visit to West Beach. I hope that you will check it out.

 

 

 

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day And Other Stuff

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day

I love St Patrick’s Day, but unfortunately, depending on what day of the week it falls, you may be celebrating a week before the actual holiday. That’s what happened this year. The holiday was on Thursday, March 17th. Most cities celebrated the weekend before. On the actual day, it almost felt as if the holiday had already past. I guess technically it had.  The rivers had already been dyed green and all of the cool pub crawls, parades and other festivities had already been done.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I went up to Chicago to enjoy the city for a couple of hours. I was attending a performance of the Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre later in the evening. The initial plan after my arrival was to visit the Shedd Aquarium. It had been awhile since my last visit. The place is really big and it can literally take all day to get through all of it.

When we got there, the line was all the way out to the street. We stood in that line for almost an hour. When we were finally allowed to have access to the building to buy the tickets, the line for that was probably also an hour long.

You know the line is long when you measure it in hours.

I checked the time on my phone and saw that the aquarium closed in three hours and that there wasn’t enough time to get in and then to be able to see even half of it.  Tickets are fairly pricey at around $50.00 just to only see a very small portion.  So, we decided to go and do something else.

I ended up at the Willis Tower ( formerly the Sears Tower ) to go up to the Sky Deck. The day was gorgeous and the skies were blue and clear. This means that the view from the top of the building would be phenomenal.

I stood in that line for almost three hours. Ugh.  I also kept watching the time because I had to be at the Briar Street Theatre by 8pm. When it was getting close to 5:30 pm and I was about to pass out from the heat and hunger, I started to get worried that we would be late.

We all stood in line to go up to the Sky Deck so we could walk around for less than 15 minutes, snap some photo’s and then get into another line to get on the elevator to go back down.  Time well spent. *hard eye roll*

It was still fun though. Had a blast that day. One of my taxi drivers was simply hilarious. I had the best burger I’ve eaten recently at  Clark Street Dog. This place is amazing. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop in for a bite to eat.

This was the second time I have seen the Blue Man Group perform at the Briar Street Theatre and as expected, they were awesome. The show is so much fun! I recommend seeing a performance if you get the chance. Check out their website at blueman.com

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect. I snapped a few photo’s and placed them in the gallery below, I hope that you will check them out.

 

 

Goodbye To Winter

I believe that we have seen the last of the snowfall for the year. The temperatures are starting to rise and soon the remaining ice and snow will melt and leave us with a muddy mess for awhile.

I’m okay with that.

Next week our temps will be in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s. It’s early though, I know. March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, they say. In a matter of an hour we had rain, freezing rain, ice and then snow. I went to Target for twenty five minutes and walked out to an inch of snow on the ground.

This morning the air was foggy, the ground was icy but at least the sky was sunny. The sun always helps to make up for the things going on around you. It does for me at least.

This winter wasn’t much of a winter. We had some periods of snow but not as much as we have in the past two years or that I can remember. It didn’t get nearly as cold either.  I’m okay with that too. Old houses get drafty.

I only got to use my snowshoes once but I still got outside and hiked frequently. I really don’t mind that it didn’t snow much, I hate to drive when the weather is bad. Considering that I live in southern Michigan and northern Indiana, you would think that people would remember that we deal with this every year, but they always forget how to drive etc.

It sure can be pretty to look at. I snapped the photo below when I decided to take an alternative route home after I dropped my son off at school. I couldn’t help but stop to admire the red barn and the snow. The silence.

The lane at Johnson's Tree Farm

The lane at Johnson’s Tree Farm

So long Winter, you still technically have a few more days until it’s officially Spring, but I think you’re done until next year. At least I hope so. I’m totally ready for warm weather.  I’m also ready for the possibilities the rest of the year will bring.

What about you? Do you enjoy the winter time?

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

A Walk In the Woods- Snowfall Means Snowshoes

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We had a significant amount of snow fall in my area over the past two days. I made a last minute decision to go out to the park for a short hike before work.  I grabbed the bag that contained my snow shoes, loaded Lu in the car and off we went.

It was the first time this year that I was able to hike with my snowshoes. They definitely came in handy as the snow was just about to my knees. Snowshoes really do make a difference when you’re making your way through deep and heavy snow.

I was the first person to trek through the freshly fallen snow in the park. It was still snowing lightly when I arrived, but then the sun came out and the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue that I have seen in awhile.

I almost couldn’t stop staring at it.

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

Blue skies.. Nothing but blue skies..

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It was so beautiful!

 

I didn’t get to hike for very long before I had to get in the car and head back home. I had to work and the decision to go out to the park was last minute. Even though I didn’t have a lot of time, I still enjoyed it.

As usual. I had the entire place to myself. Lu and I had a really good time.  I took some photographs. I hope you’ll check out the gallery below.  It was a gorgeous morning. The sky was amazing.

 

 

Morning Stroll Along the River- Seasonal Comparison

I had to work another long day. I decided at some point to get up and venture outside. It snowed last night and into the morning. The sun was finally starting to shine. I was tired of sitting.I decided to go for a walk.

I work near a river walk that is fairly newer and very nice. It runs along the St. Joseph River. The city has done a really good job at building and maintaining it.  There are several statues and sculptures in addition to probably  two million dollars ( more I am sure ) in landscaping. It’s simply wonderful.

Really the only down side is that it attracts juvenile terrorists in the summer time, but the police department does an amazing job of patrolling the area to keep issues at a minimum. I am not worried about going down there.

Over the past couple of years I have taken quite a few photographs of the area in different seasons. I decided to go out and see what it was like and maybe capture a few shots. The sun was shining a little and the sky continued to open up revealing an amazing blue sky and white puffy clouds.

It was a frigid 5 degrees and windy. I didn’t bother with a coat either. Just a fleece for me and a pair of fingerless mittens. I am wearing  a pair of fairly obnoxious looking winter boots. I figured what the hell, it’s the weekend and nobody real important is around.

On the other side of the foot bridge is a sculpture titled”Volatus Aquilae” ( meaning Eagle’s Flight) and was created by local artist,  Robert Kuntz. The scuplture sits between the two dams on the river  and is nestled in the center of a cul de sac sorts along the fence.

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Volatus Aquilae in the summer

Volatus Aquilae in the wintertime

Volatus Aquilae in the wintertime

Just a little different. Still beautiful.

 

Volatus Aquilae

Volatus Aquilae

The St. Joseph River in the summertime. This picture was taken in the mid-morning.

The St. Joseph River in the summertime. This picture was taken in the mid-morning, just to the left of the sculpture.

It was quite different today.

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BRRR!

The larger of the two dams. The building on the other side of the river is the new hospice center.

The larger of the two dams.

And just to leave you on a warmer note, here’s a shot of the foot bridge from August. I don’t know why, but I didn’t snap a photo of the bridge today. It may have been because I was standing outside in 5 degrees with negative wind chill and I could no longer feel my face. Ha!

The foot bridge to Central Park.

The foot bridge to Central Park.

I hope everyone is having a great day and most of all, keeping warm!!