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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Celebrating Summer's Start with a week in Snow Hill

School finally let out just as Summer officially started so we headed south from Rhode Island to spend a week visiting with my Dad and step-Mom at their home in Snow Hill, Maryland on the eastern shore. It was founded in 1686 and is the county seat of Worcester County whose most well known town is Ocean City, Maryland. It's full of history and has some wonderful old homes and churches. We prefer quiet Snow Hill which is several miles inland, from very busy and crowded Ocean City however. Today's entertainment was a local (three blocks down the street) estate auction that was held right in the garden of the house which was also auctioned. I hadn't been to an auction since I was a kid and it was new to Jim who had only ever been to a cattle auction in Tennessee (that sounds pretty cool to me though). I enjoyed listening to the auctioneer and people watching and checking everything out -- it was pretty much the contents of the house -- and of a life -- interesting, but also sobering. We ended up bidding on and buying a great print of the HMS Victory in 1878 for Jim to hang in his office at the Naval War College. We got it for way less than it would have cost to frame it for sure. We just lost out on a cool vintage fan as well.

Dad, Hazel and our friend Nan listening to the auctioneer
Old tricycle in bad shape, but someone bought it
Our purchase for Jim's office -- got for $22.50!
Auctioneer's truck
Auctioneer selling the larger furniture items -- traveling around to them
Assorted housewares
We left the auction before they were done -- it was just getting too hot. After lunch at home Emma, Dad and I ventured off to get some of the best ice cream anywhere -- at the Island Creamery in Chincoteague, Virginia -- just 20 miles away. The drive down back country roads was gorgeous today as all of the orange lillies are blooming alongside the wheat, corn and soybean fields. I wish I'd stopped to take some photos. I just love visiting down here -- seeing Dad and Hazel is great, but I love this town and countryside and slower pace of life. I've been coming here enough over the last ten years that I know people in town and they recognize me which adds to the small town charm. One more day here and Emma and I are off to the Jersey Shore and Jim is back to work in Rhode Island.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Celebrating another wonderful end of year Ballet/Dance Recital

Hagrid, Harry, and Dumledore taking their final bows.
This past weekend was recital weekend. We are all used to it and the crazy schedule, but this year was extra special because Emma had the lead in the story ballet portion of the recital. They did an adaptation of the first Harry Potter book and Emma has the role of Harry. On top of that she also danced with the other upper level ballet students in a production of Balanchine's Serenade. Then she had three separate dances for her jazz, tap and hip hop classes. She was one busy and very tired girl. She did a fabulous job and we are incredibly proud of her. I managed to get some good photos at the dress rehearsal on Friday that I will share below.

I really enjoyed sharing Emma's performance with my Mom, who was visiting from Maryland for the weekend, and with Emma's friend Ally and her Mom and sister, as well as my friend Jen and her daughter Grace.

At the end of the show on Sunday afternoon all of the dancers received ribbons for participating in the recital and the special annual awards were given out. These are new this year and we were thrilled that Emma received the Fossey Award for Best Jazz student. She has a trophy and everything!

I loved the Balanchine Serenade. I am particularly drawn to corps de ballet pieces with lots of combinations and formations where all the dancers work together. I also loved the costumes they wore for this piece -- one of my favorite colors. This work has been called the ballet that changed everything and was a tribute to Balanchine

Emma's hip hop class dance was to the Beyonce song "Who runs the world (Girls)".

The next number was for Tap. They danced to "Walk this Way'. I liked these costumes and thought Emma did a great job -- it was her first year taking Tap.

The last number of the first act was Emma's jazz class dance. They performed to "Le Jazz Hot" from Victor/Victoria.  The choreography was in the tradition of Bob Fossey.

The second act was Harry Potter -- featuring all the ballet students from the youngest Ballet Movement kids to the Level 7 High School kids.  The director of Emma's school, the Ballet Center, always does a terrific job working everyone in and delivering and actual story ballet and not just separate dances. The costumes were also particularly cool this year: from chess pieces, to flying keys.

Flying Keys

Platform 9 3/4
Flying class
Harry Potter dancing on pointe. 

The Ballet Movement students were Fluffy dogs -- instead of the 3 headed scary dog from the book

Ballet Level 3 did a great job with the chess game. They all had individually made and different chess piece hats.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Twenty Five Years and Counting

Tomorrow (June 11) Jim and I celebrate 25 years of married life together. It seems impossible that it's been that long. I don't feel old enough for one thing. It's been 25 wonderful years, many happy moments and our far share of challenges and tough times as well. One thing I know -- I wouldn't want to be on this journey without my other half. Happy Anniversary Sweetheart. Thanks to all of you who have shared this ride with us.

Jim and I met while studying in Germany Junior year in college. We were in Regensburg on the Vanderbilt in Germany program. Jim went to Vanderbilt and I went to Lafayette. This was taken on our trip to Berlin in front of the Berlin Wall, April 1986

Our wedding party, June 11, 1988
Navy Ball in Newport circa 1993?
Enjoying a lovely Summer day in Lexington, MA with Miss Emma, 2000
Visiting The Breakers in Newport, June 2009
New Year's Eve at The Palette in Snow Hill, MD  2010

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Photo Challenge Day #1: Self Portrait

My friend Cynthia over on her blog Flotsam of the Mind is hosting a 30 day photo challenge. I'm going to try and participate when I have time. Today's challenge was to take a self-portrait (I refuse to call these "Selfies"). I managed to take two today with my iPhone and they're not bad. Both pretty much capture what I look like. If I'd had more time I would have finally figured out how to use the timer on my DSLR but it's been a busy day. If you'd like to see Cynthia's self-portrait or read more about the challenge you can read more on her blog Flotsam of the Mind.  So, without further ado, here are my self-portraits:

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Playing with my new 50mm Lens

Last Sunday my church, St John's Episcopal in Barrington, hosted our second annual Block Party. We had live music, kids games, hamburgers, hotdogs, popcorn and ice cream. The weather was perfect and believe it or not I wasn't on tap to actually do anything at the event so I brought along Chloe and my Nikon DSLR with it's relatively new 50mm lens -- and played around taking photos. I love this lense because it delivers such crisp photos and I have a lot of control over focus. I can also set the aperture as low as 1.4 which gives me really great shallow depth of field. Here are some of my favorites! Let me know what you think.