Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life

This week’s photo challenge, A Day in My Life, is a great opportunity for me to tell my readers about my New JOB!  I have completed two days of training at Discovery World in Milwaukee, and although I haven’t taken any of my own pictures, you can see some on their website.  In addition to my job in Guest Services at this museum, I will also begin working two days a week at Old World Wisconsin at the end of next month as a Costumed Historic Interpreter.  This means that I get to do weekly time travel, from the 19th Century into the Future, and talk to folks of all ages about how things work, how we work, what we do with what we know, and what wonderful things are all around us!  I think it’s pretty cool that someone’s willing to pay me to do that.  And when I get home, I photograph, describe, list and sell all kinds of old and new stuff on eBay.  

Favorite elements of my new job: hearing the screech of seagulls on the Lake, matching my breathing to the pace of fish in the aquarium (ever notice how flying ducks are always in a hurry and fish rarely seem to be?), watching a 5-yr-old stroke a Pencil Urchin with 2 small fingers, and seeing a kid’s face light up when he lands his plane in the Flight Simulator.  I am looking forward to getting a deck tour and cruise on the SV Denis Sullivan when the ship returns from the Caribbean and taking in a film at the outside amphitheater at dusk during the summer.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Future Tense

The challenge for this week is Future Tense.  I admit, thinking about the future often makes me tense, anxious, sometimes panicky.  I have a vivid imagination and a lot of irrational fears.  And I’m working on breathing, living in the present moment, all those Buddhist practices that address those thought patterns that Western Pragmatism put into my head.   The OMG! your children, your finances, your health, your retirement….you must have a PLAN for the future, you must be PREPARED, if you’re not anxious, you obviously haven’t grasped the situation!!!!  There are DANGERS out there in life!   

Do you think life is something to be feared?  Do you think life is a wonderful adventure, naturally unfolding, peaceful and harmonious and without judgment?  How do you want to live your life?  You have a choice. 

path to the dark side

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lunchtime

This week’s challenge is about a universal favorite: FOOD!  I grew up in a family that was highly educated about and highly appreciative of food.  My family was started in Massachusetts, moved to Chicago and then to California.  Regional ethnic influences were explored and absorbed with gusto.  Last night, as Steve & I enjoyed dinner at our local sushi bar, we got to talking about our personal culinary histories.  Steve adamantly refused to eat anything but hot dogs, potatoes and asparagus until he was 16.  Then, on a trip to New England, he actually tried fresh fish and realized that he was missing a world of wonderful taste.  You can get lost in a food wasteland, if you’re not adventurous, in the Midwest.  But there are plenty of opportunities to branch out. 

Last year, on St. Patrick’s Day, we ventured into the city to see what kind of shenanigans we could witness.  We had lunch at one of Steve’s favorite places: Beans & Barley.  I love it immediately for its California vibe.  Here’s a picture of my portabello and gorgonzola and roasted red pepper sandwich with curried potato salad:


And the beer?  New Glarus Spotted Cow.  The best in Wisconsin micro brews, IMHO.  And you can’t buy it in Illinois.  Oh, but that’s not all!  DESSERT!


The cafe has a deli and market attached, were you can find a variety of locally made sauces, mustards, natural soaps, and ART!


Yes, indeed, ladies & gentlemen!  Step right up to the Art-o-Matic vending machine, insert your token, make your selection, pull the knob, and PRESTO!  A cigarette-pack-sized piece of genuine, handmade ART will plop into the tray!  Decoupage, graphic, random, actual ART.  Really, isn’t this a cool idea?  Get your local cafe to install one TODAY!  All your neighborhood artists will want to supply stock for it.  I think it’s brilliant.  

This year, on St. Patty’s Day, we’re invited to the Finnegan’s house (Steve’s sister’s) for garam masala corned beef & aloo gobi, naan, chutney and Chai spiced rice pudding.  See, living in Wisconsin need not be bland!

The Illuminating Blogger Award

light bulb concept

A new-found kindred spirit in the blogosphere has nominated me for the Illuminating Blogger Award.  I’ll allow her to introduce herself from the description on her About page:

“Sally W. Donatello is an educator, photographer and writer. Until recently she worked at Special Collections Department in the University of Delaware Library. Her interests are eclectic, but her passions focus on art, gardening, human nature, nature and reading. Mostly, she prides herself in being a lifelong learner.”

Typically on a Friday, I would be posting a Weekly Photo Challenge entry, but this week, the prompt is Phoneography Challenge: My Neighborhood…and I don’t have an iPhone.  But Sally recently began her own iPhoneography challenge for Mondays, so check out her stuff!

(in case you haven’t caught on, all the underlined bits are links to those places. 🙂 )

Now, I’m going to share one random thing about myself and then nominate some others for this award.  Here goes:

As a fellow lifelong learner with Sally, I am thrilled to have learned a new word this year.  Phenology.   Spell check hasn’t even learned this word!  Phenology is “the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors”.   Aldo Leopold, a Wisconsin naturalist and hero of mine, took this study quite seriously.  I’ve been going to naturalist classes at the UW Madison (where Leopold taught) Arboretum for the last few months, and at every class break, the hostess has asked the group if they have any phenology to report.  Well, today, I have field notes that I can share at the next class.  I heard the first red-winged blackbird of this year singing his territorial song!  I was thrilled.  There’s something about the liquid melody of this bird that just makes my spirit soar.  The sun is shining brightly on the piled up snow.   The days are longer and all my photo sensors are doing a happy dance…I feel dazzled as a Tahoe skier, except without the raccoon face tan.  Temperatures are inching up well past the freezing mark, and we’re told to expect rain this weekend.  Yipee! 

Maybe that’s not so random.  It may be integral.  I love nature; I love sunshine; I love being outside.  How about this?  I had a job interview at the US Postal Service yesterday.  Yeah, that’s pretty random.  I have another interview, coming up next week, at Discovery World museum.  I think that one would be a better fit for me.  Okay, on to the nominees for Illuminating Blogger.

I’m not sure if these fine people accept blog awards, so I offer these nominations simply out of my own appreciation for the enrichment they have brought to my experience.  Any response is entirely up to them. 

Interesting Literature.

Jose of JoseRaSan66. I don’t read Spanish, so I miss a lot, but I do love photography and gain on that account.

Jamie Dedes of The Poet By Day 

I’m supposed to share 5, but I’ve only added 3 blogs to my follow list since the last time I gave out awards.  Instead, I’ll share a photo of my neighborhood.


Yup, that’s my car at the bottom of the shot.  But today, a red-winged blackbird sang!  I am illuminated, lit up all around.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Lost in the Details

This week’s photo challenge is hosted by a nature photographer.  His shot of an icy falls reminds me of some that I took at Wehr Nature Center…and for that reason, I want to go in a different direction. (Yes, I fear comparison!) 

“Lost in the Details” is an interesting posture.  Are you forgetting the big picture?  Are you so overwhelmed that you are purposely choosing to downscale?  Or are you simply appreciating the most minute things in wonder?   Details… are they petty?  or pretty?

This would be a great theme for macrophotography.  Unfortunately, I don’t have the lens.  Here’s one detail shot that I’ve posted before that I like:


And here’s one that I took this Wednesday after our latest snow storm:

storm window

I enjoy details…and I always want to be reminded to look up! (or as my mother would quote from her Girl Scout leader days, “Look wider still.”)