Monday, February 27, 2012

A Few Days' Difference

Last Thursday, we had wet, slushy, snowy precipitation making my drive to/from the University of Iowa a mess. The wind alone would've been bad enough. But Mother Nature was dumping the slick stuff on us like crazy.

Of course, after driving about 70-80 minutes (normally about 45 minutes), I got to the parking garage. And the moment I pulled up to the parking garage's gate (maybe 10 seconds from my pushing the ticket dispenser button enabling the gate to go up), what happened?
Yep, the "FULL" sign lit up. That means the ticket dispenser won't dispense a ticket, meaning the gate's arm won't go up. As I sat there for a few minutes, wondering if I should find a parking meter somewhere (meaning I'd have to splash around in cold gunk in my sneakers), the "FULL" light went off! Yipee! I only had to wait about 5 minutes.

Of course, today was a different story, thankfully. Another sunny day on the University of Iowa's campus in Iowa City. It was definitely a nice day to walk around.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Wrapping Up Birthday Week

On Saturday, we held the final celebration of "Livie's Birthday Week." This was the party (with cake, of course) with Livie's family, including her great-grandmother, Oma. Here's the photo tour of Livie's birthday celebration with her family:
 
Livie, Grandmam√°, and Grandpap√° are waiting for the party to start.

I make sure Livie always gets fresh flowers for her birthday. Daddy picked out such a festive, colorful bunch!

Pizza time!
 
Nonno wonders if someone needs help eating her pizza.

A pteranodon puzzle/skeleton - one of the many gifts she was excited about.

Another favorite gift - a sink/mirror/toothbrush kit for her American Girl.

She also got a green St. Patrick's Day colored Patrick Kane Blackhawks t-shirt.


Nonno sleeps.

Scarlett sleeps.

Time to sing "Happy Birthday"!

Yummy, yummy cake!

Abuelita and Nonno pose for a picture.

Later, Oma and Abuelita are entertained by a finger puppet show.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Happy Birthday to Livie!!

Happy Birthday, Livie!!

From this little baby . . .


. . . to this 6 year old! (as of 5:06 PM EST)


Her day started off with her school's 2-hour delay (due to road conditions) and a blueberry waffle on "the special table" (the breakfast-in-bed tray):


Then she realized she was wearing her cupcake pajamas, and wanted to take a picture with the cupcake she'd made at her art party:


Then she got to take 2-dozen of these frosted sugar cookies decorated with pink and purple balloons to school (which she and her class will eat during snack time):
They're from our favorite bakery, Jules Bakery.

This afternoon after school, she and I will pick up her birthday cake from the bakery. Then we'll bring it home and wait for her paternal grandparents to get here. We'll all go out for dinner - Livie's really excited about this.

Then tomorrow, her maternal grandparents will drive up so we can celebrate her birthday with the family. We'll have pizza, open some presents, then have cake and ice cream.

Little does she know, she's got some great art supplies waiting for her to open tomorrow:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Will It Rain . . . Or Not?

Old Capitol, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, about 12:30 PM on Wednesday February 22, 2012

Old Capitol, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, about 5:15 PM on Wednesday February 22, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Couple Varieties

Yesterday was mostly sunny on campus. There were a couple really good potential photo opportunities for some reflections of blue skies and white clouds on windows.

But since it was in front of the journalism building, it seemed like a gaggle number of students kept congregating in front of where I wanted to take photos. I didn't want people in my reflection photo and after a few "could you step over that way for just a second so I can get this photo?" to a few oblivious chatting groups of students accidentally walking in front of my camera, I figured I'd have to try again another day.

Anyway, as I walked to class, I did catch what I'd hoped would be an interesting cloud photo after all . . . which, upon looking at it on my computer . . . well, it wasn't as interesting as I'd expected.


So I threw in a bunch of random Picnik effects (don't ask me which ones, because I wasn't paying attention) . . . and here's what I got:

I'm not sure, but maybe I needed Livie's help? 

I will be disappointed to see Picnik go . . . I'm not sure what I'm going to use without it.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monday's Views Around Campus

Since I didn't have Presidents' Day off, I headed down to the University of Iowa yesterday. Livie had had a 4-day weekend (Friday and Monday off), so Andrew came home early so I could go to class.

Here's a view from I-80 eastbound, just a couple miles before my exit:
Yep, this is Iowa. We've got farm equipment!

Once I got to Iowa City, I decided to go get a coffee before heading to the library to finish reading my assignment.

Because of where I parked, I was able to get a photo of a very colorful bridge over at the biology building:
I'd chosen to photograph it from this side, so that I could get the sunlight shining through. It wasn't quite as dramatic as I'd hoped it would be, because clouds had moved in diffusing the sunlight just a bit.

Just as I took this photo, a woman walked by and asked me if I wanted to take a photo from the inside of the bridge. I must've looked surprised, because she went on, "I mean, you don't have to, but would you like to go take a photo from the inside? I don't mean to be weird, but if you'd like, I could take you up there. It's really cool from the inside."

I'm sure I was smiling by this point, because she was so eager to show me the bridge from the inside, and she was talking quite quickly. (And I was also kind of wishing my hair were as curly and bouncy as hers.)

"Um . . . uh . . .okay. . . . My daughter likes this bridge, and I thought I'd take a photo of it. I'm sure she'd appreciate a photo from the inside, too," I'd explained.

As we walked to the building's entrance, she asked, "Oh, is your daughter in school?"

"Yes, she's in Kindergarten."

"Oh, she's little. How cute! Well, anytime she has a day off from school, you can take her up there if you want. Come find me, and I'll take you both up there. I'm in the biology building on the first floor over there," she said, pointing over in the general direction.

By this time, we'd taken the elevator to the appropriate floor, got off, and walked toward the bridge. We'd run into someone she knew, and she explained how my daughter is 5 and in Kindergarten and loved the colorful bridge, so she was taking me to get a photo from the inside, for my daughter.

So here's the view from the inside:
I liked the red windows.

And the blue ones, too!

Check out the science-themed floor patterns:


So, as she took me back down to the ground level, she asked if I teach at the University. I said, "No, I'm getting a graduate degree in English." She was really impressed with that - a graduate degree in English!

I was more impressed with the fact that there are people who take biology (and other science classes) and don't wonder what alien language is coming out of their professors' mouths!! Haha!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Your Sunday Best, Feb 19, 2012

The Old Capitol, the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.

Livie helped me choose a texture (the postmarked envelope) and effect (Lomo-ish) on Picnik.


Click the button below to see this week's other "Your Sunday Best" entries.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Liv's Birthday Party - A Photo Tour

Today, Livie had a birthday with some of her Kindergarten friends. We had it at The Dreaming Bear's art studio, because that was a much more appealing location for a February birthday, than the other "usual" choices (like that loud pizza place - you parents know where I mean).

So she and her friends arrived at 1:00PM. Here's a photo tour of what happened at party time.
Livie's excited and ready to head to the Dreaming Bear!

Ms. Em is giving the girls a bit of instruction before they begin doing their art project.

They've just started decorating their art projects - they're all painting cupcakes.

All the girls are having fun doing artwork!

"There is art that decorates and art that liberates. If you really need art that matches your sofa, might I suggest hanging an identical sofa above your existing sofa."

"Good art is often too broad to fit through narrow minds."

A very well-dressed tall friend "supervises" artists from high above.

Some of the finished pieces of art.

More finished pieces of art.

Now, the edible princess cupcakes!

Yummy!! Cupcakes, and thirst-quenching water.
All in all, it was a very successful party! All the girls were so excited to have been able to do art at a birthday party! However, I am wiped out after being in charge of 8 kindergarten girls! (I don't know how their kindergarten teacher does it with twenty-two!!) The owner of the studio laughingly said I should go home and celebrate with a glass of wine (for myself, of course, and not Livie!).

It was a lot of fun for the girls, and for that, I am glad. I'm glad we have this option - something creative and fun, here in town, not just for parties, but for a regular ol' Saturday when we need something smart and fun to do. (Livie is counting down the days 'til she and I can head back to the Dreaming Bear to do more art during their "Open Art Studio" a different day.)

Oh, and this is just the beginning of "Birthday Week" for Livie. On Friday, she's taking frosted sugar cookies for her Kindergarten class, for snack, in honor of her birthday. And on Saturday, she's celebrating with her grandparents.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Sun Came Back!

Yesterday, the sun came back to eastern Iowa! While on the University of Iowa campus, I took a couple photos with the blue, blue sky in the background:
The communications and journalism buildings around 3:00 PM.

The Old Capitol around 4:30 PM.


Since Livie's school isn't in session today, she helped me use Picnik to edit these photos:

The Old Capitol, with the thermal effect at 25% fade.

This is one of the texture options. Livie liked the swirls.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Too Easy to Procrastinate!

I should be reading right now, but the snowy weather we're getting right now is making it hard to concentrate. So I'm procrastinating by editing some photos in Picnik.

So last week on campus, I took a photo of the Adler Journalism and Communications Building, where one of my classes was held last semester (Contemporary American Women Writers). Well, this semester, I have to walk past it to and from one of my classes (because of where I sometimes park my car). I took a couple pictures of this building last semester during the fall (you can see them by clicking here and looking at the first photo, as well as clicking here to see that bare autumn tree look).

And while I was inspired to take another photo of it last week, it didn't turn out like I'd expected. So I just had to edit it using Picnik.

After using some of Picnik's special effects and texturing, here is how last week's photo turned out:

It turned out pretty cool, huh? Well *I* think so, anyway. I took this photo in the afternoon, but it almost looks like a nighttime shot, due to the editing (boost, heat map - the "thermal" choice, and some texture). I love the colors and the tree's reflection in the windows.

Okay, now it's back to the books . . . and keep your fingers crossed that my drive to/from school is safe doesn't take too much longer than usual!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Who IS that?!

Liv made herself this mask!

She also made herself this little hideaway in the linen closet!

And she's "in" my colorful artsy corner of my desk.
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