Friday, October 25, 2013

Lesson 266: Wake Me Up

Double, double toil and trouble, 
fire burn,
and cauldron bubble!

Do you know that line is Shakespearean?  It's from Macbeth.  Shamekia Hopson posted a summary on the Education Portal.  It is a far better summary than I could give you, although I have been brushing up on my Shakespeare lately, at the urging of a colleague.  It is better the second time around, Rob L.  Thanks again for loaning me your three hundred pound book.    Here is your lesson for today:

Lesson Summary

'Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble' is one of the most famous lines in English literature. These lines are spoken in unison by three witches who predict Macbeth's future throughout the play. These lines show how what the witches say can have double meanings and can be contradictory. Macbeth literally believes what the witches say to him without questioning the alternative meaning of their expressions. As a result, he starts to live his life to prevent the unpleasant aspect of the predictions made by the witches. Eventually, all of the negative things suggested by the witches occur and Macbeth is killed.
Interesting.  Thanks, Shamekia.

I'll try not to be like the trio of Macbeth witches and be contradictory in today's post. That ended bad for Macbeth.  Eloise would not want you to have the same fate--although it will be hard for me to resist a play on words.

The cold, fall rains have come to Erie.

Skies are now cloudy and overcast.

Just looking out the window at the cold, dreariness makes you want to crawl back into bed and sleep the day away.  Wake you up when it's all over, right?  If that's the case, Erieites, you better set your alarm for June.  

Eloise understands.  Early sunsets and lack of sun exposure leave me feeling like a bean plant science fair experiment.  I'm the pasty, weak thing trying to grow in the dark closet.  That is why I need to wake up early on weekends, get my butt out of bed, and meet these people. 

We played pirates on Saturday.  Our booty was the work we did to our own booties in the form of squats, lunges, step ups, and box jumps.  We didn't walk any planks, but we sure did hold a few.  

We exercised through the wind on Tuesday,

and a cold, light rain on two consecutive Thursdays.

Wake up, Readers, and join us and brave the fall, too.  

Last Sunday, I gave my friends another Wake Up call.  I wanted to conquer this really big hill I ran by this summer.  Eloise vowed to run up it before the snow flew.  I've learned that life's obstacles are always easier to overcome with friends, so I invited them all along for the fun.

Some crazies met me upon the hilltop.

Others ran to meet us from a nearby point of origin.

We all gathered at the bottom of this beast and ran up it together.
Well, all except for Eloise because I was taking the pictures. 
I did run it first.  It took me 6 minutes and 45 seconds of steady running to get up it!

As soon as they all reached the top, torrents of rain fell, mixed with hail.
The blurred shot is from the sheets of rain.

It stopped in just enough time for this shot to come into focus.
Cute, Girlfriends.
Real, cute.

After that last moon shot, my camera blanked out.  It wouldn't take a single photo beyond that one. Busted camera on their butts!  Eloise was a bit upset.

My new Canon is only a few months old and I wasn't THAT worried as I knew it was still under warranty.  I killed my last camera at the end of last summer photographing an Amish person.  The Amish cannot be photographed because they feel the camera steals their soul.  Someone better head to Spartansburg to get word to Jedediah that HE sucked the soul out of ME!!!  Camera killer.  I'm still holding a grudge.

I shouted at my friends, telling the asses, that their asses damaged my lens!  The only logical conclusion that I could come to was that my running group had been infiltrated by the Amish.  The new little blond.  She looked suspicious.  

Later I realized that in my shock and awe over the moon shot, I must have pressed the button too hard.  It was stuck down.  One simple, hard press and the button released.  Camera fixed.  The little blond is still a suspect, though.

She's the one in red, down low in the middle.  Can you see her in a bonnet?

As a post-run treat, everyone got a scabby apple from my 100 year old organic apple tree.
They had to blindly draw from the basket.  

I wrote an inspirational saying on each.

I even took my chances and braved ingesting Sharpie Marker ink.  
Eloise picked a good one!
(and I lived).

I believe I can get these same people and a whole bunch more to join me this winter on Eloise's Winter Run Series 2.  The plan and destination points will be revealed on next week's blog post.  Until then, keep thinking.  What could it be?  And no hints.  Hints are for sissies.  The brave take guesses.

I went to a baby shower recently.  

These cute ducks were handed out as party favors.

My friend Kathy who was giving the shower, knows Natalie loves rubber ducks.  Kathy gave me the extras to give to my daughter who loves to line things up.  At bath time, every night for the last 15 years, Natalie literally puts all her ducks in a row! 

To answer your question, yes, that is a Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night shower curtain.  If you know my family, you know which child of mine talked me into the purchase.

Speaking of bathrooms, the downstairs bathroom is finally getting some long overdue remodeling.  The flusher on the potty finally stopped working.  After five different repair attempts, the hubby gave up, put a board across the tank, and is making us flush it manually with a chain.  The novelty of that fun activity has long worn off, and I found a damn ducky floating in the back of the tank!  Eloise decided it's time to redo the bathroom.  It's been in need since Sam peeled the wallpaper off when he was potty training.  I have a brilliant idea, and can't wait to show you when it is done.  It is going to be a crowd pleaser.  You'll want to come to the Lamp Post just to sit on my potty.  I'll post pictures when the project is complete so you can come and get in line.  I've got a lot of readers now.  Maybe I should make it a pay toilet.  

Sit tight though, folks (literally).  My creative projects are taking me awhile now that I have given up coffee.  Pots of joe well into the night kept Eloise's creative brain a jumping.  Unfortunately that got my heartbeat and nervous system a jumping too, and I gave it all up but one cup every morning.  Caffeine fueled me and I was rarely tired.  I could stay up late writing, working on projects, or reading.  All of those things move slower now because I am sleeping by 11:30 every night.  It can take me an entire month to finish a book!

Not this book , though.  

If you want a creepy book to read, check this one out.  It was loaned to me by legendary HCHS art teacher George Humes.  This is a true story about an Amish murder that happened in a town  a little more than an hour's drive from the Lamp Post.  

It is written by former Edinboro Professor, Jim Fisher.  He has written several other books that are very good too.  He followed the Pizza Bomber story, that the locals will remember.  He has a very easy to read writing style and his research is impeccable.  Check out his website at this link:

One book I have been plugging away is this highly anticipated one:

I've had it a few weeks and I'm still not through it.  The sequel is not grabbing me as much as the first one did.  I read The Noticer last fall and have been cheerleading for it ever since.  The Noticer Returns is falling a bit short for me.

Perhaps it's the time of year, or the lack of coffee to blame.  Still I think Andrews is making his points in too roundabout of ways.  Jones's wise advice seems more scripted and less authentic this time around.  I'm not done yet, and will post my final thoughts when I finish.  

There is one section of the book that I LOVED.  I think Andy Andrews wrote it about me.  One of the characters is a photographer.  She doesn't have an overly expensive camera or a ton of equipment to make her pictures perfect.  The character named Christy was described as this:

The Noticer Returns, Andy Andrews, page 86

.....Christy's bubbly personality was the fist thing anyone noticed.  As a photographer who never posed anyone, her ability to connect immediately with the people she photographed

 created a relaxed, joyful atmosphere 

that was always visible in the final product.  

Christy had a gift with natural light.  

She not only didn't pose her clients but also never used extra lighting 

or flash equipment either.  

What it was that Christy was able to see wasn't visible to anyone else, 

but the camera caught it.

 Her photographs were proof of some sixth sense that never seemed to fail.

Heck, maybe that is why Fionnula bought me this necklace that reads 
Capture life.

You know, on second thought, I think I am liking The Noticer Returns even more.  I think I am going to make a cup of decaf and try to fake myself out. Eloise is headed off to bed to finish that book.

Enjoy your photo story set to Avicii's Wake Me Up.  Fitting, because I have a feeling that tonight (like always), I'll wake up with a book on my head.  I fall asleep reading every night.  It's my new habit. 

Wake up and capture life, Readers!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lesson 265: Sometimes You Need A Compass

Did you get LOST in a busy week, Readers?

Good news:  the weekend finally found us!
I didn't even need to use my cool new compass app to find it.

Here are some other things lost and found at the Lamp Post this week.

Found the perfect moon shot tonight on the way to the football game.

My team lost the game, but we found new royalty.

Eloise got this cool drink cozy for my dozen plus one years as a student.

Sam hunted down the Husky as always.  

He found some friends to play with.

Ellen brought a friend and convinced her to wear their tutus.  

Natalie wasn't in the mood for pictures tonight, but she did want her usual order of french fries.  When wove our way down through the crowd of kids, I was mobbed with "Mrs. Eloise!  Mrs. Eloise!  Hey, Mrs. Eloise!  Look at me, Mrs. Eloise!"  Natalie is not much for crowds.  Sam was tugging on my sleeve requesting a ring pop and a soda that he didn't need but I bought anyway.  When the concession clerk asked me what I needed, I said, "an order of french fries, a coffee with a splash of vodka, and a can of soda laced with Benedryl."  The parent volunteer laughed and said, "We're all out!"  Next time Eloise is not waiting for refreshments until the third quarter.  I'll be first in line.

We lost the daylight.  My team will be working out in the dark. 
We'll need a compass to find the outdoor locations....or we can just listen for Doc's bullhorn.

We lost some of the picturesque fall weather, too.
Once the rain begins in Erie, we start a long, wet ride.

Eloise can't let the weather stop her though.  I'm on a quest to win $3,000 in Dr. Krauza's 58 Day Challenge.  Here are two sweet and supportive family members reminding me of my pledge to refrain from sugar, bread, and dairy products.  No apple pie for Eloise.  And no sharing of my winnings with them either. 

I've got big plans what to do with the money when I win it all come the day before Thanksgiving.  Doc, I'd like it all in $1 bills.  I want to spread them out on my living room floor and roll around in them awhile.  I'll even let Ellen take my picture.  After that, I'll scoop them all up and bring it in to Terri at the bank to start up an Eloise Wellness Fund.  

Immediate family members wishing to draw from the account will have to apply for a wellness grant.  I plan on using my three grand to fund projects like 5K races for me and the girls, sports equipment, fees for club sports, new sneakers and sports attire, etc.  These types of activities can be a drain on the budget, and it would be nice to have some money set aside for health and wellness.  Hard work, plus the power of positive thinking.  I'm going to try to make it work for me to the tune of three thousand dollars.

My teammates were so proud of themselves for showing up to the rainy workout in the photo above.  I couldn't wait to post it on the facebook page.  I then realized my camera was lost.  I quickly found it---but it was in the front seat---in the vehicle my husband drove to bowling.  Eloise had to drive into Erie late at night, just to get the camera, so my friends could have that B rate photo for some motivation.

Because Sam and Natalie get a big cagey at night, I called Grandma over to watch the kids for 25 minutes while I was gone.  I came home to this:

I've been hollering at Sam for a month about throwing balls in the house (he knocks my pictures off of the walls).  He told me Grandma made up the game.  So much for Granny tucking in her grandchildren and reading them bedtime stories.

The trees are really losing their leaves with the wind and rain. 

I like to take photographs in the fall because there is so much color to play with.  I frequently take my camera into the woods behind my house to snap some shots.  

Eloise snapped some beauties lately.

I have to walk past my parents' house to get to my path.
They make sure I have sufficient flame orange on.
They say my hair color is too close to the coat of a deer.

Mr. Orengia, the HC version of Barney Fife Park Patrol, warned me that there have been coyotes spotted back in the woods.  There also have been reports of bear in the area.  Thanks, Mr. Orengia.  I'll be on the lookout. 

Wildlife in the woods reminds me of this ANNOYING song that is stuck in my head.
If you have kids and do not know this song and video, that splash of vodka you put in your coffee was too big of a glub. 

Kids are digging "the fox song,"  What Does The Fox Say?

If you want to see the most kid-favorite, annoying video ever in your life,
Kids will think you're cool, and Eloise will be happy not to be suffering alone.

I don't need a compass to draw me to the park pond.
It is where I seek my solace.
You've seen many photographs of the tree's reflection on the water.

I couldn't be more pleased to have a new tree to watch grow and flourish.
It was planted by one of my favorite students ever--Ray.
He planted a Liberty Tree for his Eagle Scout project.  
The tree sits behind the playground, at the east entrances to the woods.

Thanks, Ray, for giving me a whole new world of tree photo opportunities.
It has been an honor to be your teacher.

Eloise is not the only one who is drawn to trees and the photo opportunities they possess.  If you are in the mood to watch something really neat, click the link below.  It will take you to a story titled, How a Tree Helped Heal Me.  It is amazing what this man was able to photograph with his iPhone.  If you are in a rut and need some motivation, listen to Mark Hirsch's story.  It is very inspirational.

My husband lost these underwear, and he doesn't need a compass to find them.
I lit them on fire.
I warned him to throw them out or they were going to appear in blog world.
Men don't listen.
Just making good on my promise, Honey.
(Why do men keep ratty underwear?)

Natalie gets the art prize for the week with these sunny, happy people.

Sam gets the award for this tree.  
I asked who was standing beneath it and he said, "Dad."

I found these in Ellen's sketchbook.
She fiddles around with art in her down time.
Mother Eloise loves these, too.

Sam has been playing school in the evenings.  
He plays the role of the teacher and we all trade off being the student.
Ellen got a spelling test last night.
If there is ever a pictorial representation of a big sister-little brother relationship, it is this:

Eloise always encourages parents to read their child's library book with them each week.
Sam picks some real page turners. 

I loved this advice from WWE Wrestler, Randy Orton's parents.
They discouraged him from being a wrestler.  
"What good advice those parents gave Randy!" said Mother Eloise to her scrappy, WWE loving son.

Then I got to this part.

Speaking of page turners, November is fast approaching and Eloise is thinking about her third attempt to write a novel in a month.  For the past two years I've participated in the National Novel Writing Month contest.  It is a great on-line program that helps writers set goals and complete a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.

In 2011 I wrote The Key and got this cool journal.

Last year I wrote In Stride and earned this neat t-shirt.

My 2012 novel was my greatest feat.  I had shingles during the first half of the month.  Eloise had to write 40,000 words in two weeks to accomplish the goal I set out to do---and I made it.

So where are the books, Eloise? you ask.  They are coming your way soon--all free of charge.  I am going to make The Key available for you to read in the spring of 2014.  Holiday time is approaching, and people don't have as much time to read for pleasure.  I will let you know when and where you can access the book after the turn of the new year.

I am going to go for my goal this year as well.   It will be my third consecutive try at the contest and I like my threes.  Eloise can't quit now.  This year the book will not be a secret, and I am needing some help from my readers.

Eloise is working on a family cookbook/family history book.  It is a blend of all things that make up the culture of my house:  food, photos, and stories.  I may be contacting you for a special recipe of yours that I would like to include in my book.  Send it back to the Lamp Post so others can enjoy your special dish, too.

I tend to think cookbooks are boring.  I used to only buy ones that had photos in them---and then came pinterest.  I don't like reading lists of ingredients and procedural steps.  To make my cookbook fun, I am going to intersperse the recipes with some family history.  Eloise is a good story teller, and I'd like to put some of the best stories in print throughout the cookbook.  

Family and friends:  If you can think of a heartwarming, inspirational, informative, or funny story to include in my book, please send me your suggestion.  Cousins on my mother's side:  Yes, I am including the Red Crayon Story (from my 8 year old perspective).  Cousins on my father's side:  The Mr. Peanut cup will be included---and no, I DID NOT steal it upon Grandma O's passing.  In laws, I DID steal this lovely cup from the camp.  

Swiped it right out from under the noses of 50 Italians and no one even noticed.  How did Eloise accomplish such a sneaky feat?  Read my third book to find out.

Thank the Lord I found this great new song from Lady Antebellum.  It is called Compass and it has replaced the fox song in my brain.  It gets the bid for the picture video for the week.  Thank you Lady Antebellum for showing me the way.  

Enjoy the video below as well as the song.  

Goodnight Sweethearts.  Remember the words of Lady A:
Let your heart Sweetheart, be your compass when you're lost
And you should follow it wherever you may go.