Friday, May 31, 2013

May Books

I know I don't always post my monthly book lists here, but I thought I would this time, in case summer is your time for more reading.

The Box-Car Children - Gertrude C. Warner
You probably know that this children's (of all ages!) book is about four homeless siblings who move into an abandoned boxcar. A friend pointed me to the original version (with the hyphen in the title) of this posted online here. I had heard this story as a kid, but forgot most of it. It's very good and happy. I want all my nephieces to read it (plus there's a whole series).

Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
Laura's great-aunt Sadie died at age 105 in 2005, but her Roaring 20s Flapper ghost is "haunting" Laura until she finds a particular necklace. My friend Dania recommended this a long ago, but I couldn't find an audio copy until recently. It was perfect timing as I started walking around my neighborhood. (My current walking motivation, besides my Fitbit, is to listen to an audiobook instead of music. It works well!). This is a really fun and heartwarming "celebration of life" story with a bit of romance and mystery mixed in. Sadie is annoying at times but otherwise, I loved it. It's probably my favorite Kinsella book so far.

The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton
At age 21, Nell learns that her parents aren't her biological parents and that they found her abandoned on a ship when she was four. Later in life she goes searching for clues about her past. The book hops between time periods and perspectives from Nell in the 1970s, Cassandra (Nell's granddaughter) in the early 2000s, and Eliza (Nell's caretaker who apparently abandoned her on the ship) in the early 1900s. Dania recommended this book, and the story itself has potential, but I found it to be very slow and way too long. Sorry, Dania! :( And sorry, Kate. It's 16 CDs, and though it isn't completely uninteresting, I never felt sucked in. The last CD was more riveting, though, and confirmed some of my story-related suspicions.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon - Sarah Addison Allen
17-year-old Emily goes to live with her grandpa after her mom dies. The small town where her mom grew up has secrets that are influencing how people treat Emily. Meanwhile, 36-year-old Julia (who went to school with Emily's mom) has returned temporarily to run her dad's restaurant, and is forced to face her painful past. This is by the author of Garden Spells, a book I really enjoyed last year. I enjoyed this one as well. It wasn't exactly action-packed or full of crazy surprises, but it was charming in the Allen way, with a bit of magic and romance mixed into small-town life struggles.

I'm currently listening to yet another Sarah Addison Allen book (I recommend her!), a Kim Vogel Sawyer book that is just ridiculous, and I'm rereading Twilight on my Kindle so I can highlight hilarious passages and laugh about them with friends. And, okay, I might be enjoying it a little, too. :) I've also been reading Landscape Photography by Tim Fitzharris.

Today I was reflecting on how awesome it is that there are so many books available for free. Not only that, but audiobooks have become so much more common than when I first started listening to them back in the 90s. It's awesome. I can listen on my drives, as usual, but I can also download them on my phone and listen while walking or doing chores. Then, of course, there are all of the e-books (for my Kindle) I can check out without even having to drive to the library and touch all the icky books. :D Thank you, Library2Go!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Portraits - Isabella (age 1)

This was my third portrait session with Isabella/Bella and it's been fun to watch her grow up and to try different things with her pictures. You may remember that her 6-month photos were in November, so they had to be indoors and presented a new set of challenges for me. I was excited to be back outside for the 1-year photos, enjoying the weather and greenery.

Bella's mom Darcy brought along her party balloon from the week before, as well as some cute clothing to work with.

Bella wasn't quite standing on her own yet, so she had her mom help out so we could see her outfit.

I was eager to try bubbles again and had Darcy use the little bubble maker I bought awhile back. Bella wasn't sure what to make of the bubbles and seemed slightly disturbed. :)

Next, I brought out some pinwheels.

She seemed intrigued by these and was happy when she could hold one.

Darcy brought some cute little wings, which was awesome because I had been thinking of tracking some down myself. It fit with the forest setting.

Love the little tongue.

I wanted to incorporate this basket since it's in her other two sessions:

At 2 months old.

At 6 months old.

I love her little dollish face here!

Speaking of dolls, here's one I believe she got for her birthday.

She adores it, apparently. :)

Bella was happiest with her mom nearby, so Darcy is in the smiliest pictures.

I know she's drooling here, but it's cute and I didn't edit it out. She was teething, so this is a natural moment.

She was also fascinated with the dirt and it actually took a lot of effort on Darcy's part (she was jumping around trying to get Bella's attention) for Bella to look up. It was kind of hilarious, actually, as I was basically laying on the ground waiting for her to lift her face, while Darcy was the jester. Dirt was WAY more interesting.

I was loving how the flowers matched her little Easter dress so well. Oh and in case you're wondering, she is sitting on some clear plastic to protect her from the dirt.

Happy birthday, Bella!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Lupine and stuff

The other day my coworker told me about all the lupine growing in the field across the street from our offices, and urged me to take pictures. So I stayed late one night and took several of the lupine as well as some other scenes. All of these photos were taken with our office camera, which is a Nikon D700.

(By the way, I thought I had more photos from when I rented the macro lens, but it turns out I'm done with those. Until next time I rent it. :D)

Earlier in the day I had noticed some columbine growing by a coworker's office. I liked the coloring of the wall behind it and asked if I could barge in and take pictures through her window.

And now it's evening. The nice thing about evening photos is that I can practice incorporating flare.

I love evening light! (Who doesn't?) And check out all the little evergreen trees sprouting up.

I went out the following day with better shoes on so I could walk further into the field.

I had a hard time narrowing these down, sorry. I wanted you to get a good idea of what I saw.

Okay no more lupine. Here are some weeds instead!

I have a thing for these more textury types of pictures.

One of the dogwoods at work.


The scotch broom is all in bloom, which is what aggravates my allergies the most. So I decided to walk around near it.

Thanks for looking!

Last night I went to the rose garden, so I have several rose pictures I will post one day. I also have some from the iris garden, but am debating whether to post them since they aren't all that exciting. It is exciting to have so many flowers blooming around me, though! And now we've had a bit of rain and we're at our peak of green. How's the weather for you?


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