Book Review: Learning To See Creatively


learning to see creatively

Sometimes finding inspiration is the hardest part of doing something creative. Take photography, for example. You have a camera, perhaps the fancy digital SLR with all the bells and whistles. But no high tech machine is going to make you compose and organize the parts of a good, high quality photo. That is still a very human task and one that is also a matter of personal taste. In the recently released third edition of Learning To See Creatively, Bryan Peterson strives to educate readers in composing good photos.
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First Snow of 2015

Home & Garden

first snow 2015

It seemed for a while like Mother Nature had forgotten that it was winter. It’s been so mild here! Even at the end of fall, when we’d normally see at the very least a dusting of snow, we saw next to nothing. Well maybe Mother Nature finally checked her calendar. The past week has been cold. Really cold. It’s colder here than in Stockholm, Sweden. (I checked.) The creek that runs next to our house is almost completely frozen over and has a light coating of fresh snow on it from this morning. And we had a few inches of snow fall earlier in the week. I made sure to snap a photo of the sun trying to peek out as the snow flakes came gently down. It sure is pretty.

Germany’s 25 Years Since the Berlin Wall


approaching the east side gallery

Recently, every time I watch German television online or read a digital newspaper, I keep seeing specials about the past 25 years popping up. In one week from today, on November 9, 2014, it will be 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall. In October of 2015 it will be 25 years since the official reunification of Germany. For millions of people, everyday life has changed in ways that many of us could never understand and probably never will.

Likewise, it has made me reflect on my own trip to Berlin in 2009. While there, I stayed in former East Berlin along Friedrichstrasse. I didn’t stay there because of the East German connection. Instead, I simply stayed there because today it’s central Berlin. The area is around the corner from the Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten and many of the city’s museums on Museuminsel. During my visit, the East Side Gallery, the longest section of the Berlin Wall, was in the process of being restored. Wherever possible, the original artists were repainting their pieces. We walked along the open air gallery, at times separated from the wall by fencing protecting the restorations in progress.

Now look at the German capital. It’s truly amazing how quickly things can change.
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Post by . Originally published November 2, 2014. Last updated November 2, 2014.

The Garage Makes Progress

Home & Garden

A view of a horse

It has arrived! It has arrived! After getting a concrete foundation pad poured a few weeks ago, we’ve had a large empty spot in our yard. The pad was of great interest to the animals, apparently. We’ve found deer tracks in the mud around it and our miniature schnauzer, George, has loved crossing over the pad and finding a good spot to sniff the air — after all, you never know when you might spot a rabbit or a squirrel.

The concrete pad is empty no longer. The garage has finally arrived.
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Garage Demolition Begins: So Long, Old Friend

Home & Garden


Today is a big day. When we bought our home, nearly seven years ago, we knew the garage would need replacing. (Quite frankly, everything needed replacing…) It was essentially a carport. And not a very nice one, at that. It was a regular hang out for random cats and other outdoor animals. They left countless paw prints down the windshield of my car.

The doors didn’t offer any confidence that if they were taken down that they’d go back up. In fact, recently, when a door was taken down, it not only wouldn’t go back up but the hardware started to bend and break off the walls. The door had to be sawed apart, like Dutch doors, in order to retrieve the contents of the bay.

But now the day has come. Today, the garage is starting demolition. Within the next couple of months we will have a new, prefabricated garage in its spot. A bigger, better garage that can serve as a work shop where guitar pedals can be built instead of in the dining room.

Today’s the day. So: so long, Garage. Please, don’t think of the new, shiny garage with a solid, level foundation and no cracking cinder block walls that will be replacing you. We had a nice time together, but now it’s time to part. Finally, we’re able to check another item off the lengthy list of things at our home in need of renovation.
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A Visit to the Elizabethan Gardens


The Elizabethan Gardens

Earlier this year I failed to make the time to go to the Philadelphia Flower Show. It would have been my first time to attend the world’s largest indoor flower show. Then I ended up visiting Winterthur on a raw and rainy day to see the Downton Abbey costume exhibit. It was also early enough in the year that not much was in bloom anyhow. But I made up for them both with my first visit to the Elizabethan Garden in Manteo, North Carolina.
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Snow for Valentine’s Day

Home & Garden

Holly in snow, close

In case you haven’t heard, the East Coast of the US got a wee bit of snow this week. Just a bit. Today, Valentine’s Day, it’s bright and sunny but we’re still bracing for the clean up. Even my knee-high Hunter boots didn’t protect me from the snow as I ventured out for a quick look around with my camera. If you have to go anywhere, it’s a real mess. But you have to admit, the fresh snow sure is pretty. A real Valentine’s Day treat.
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