Monday, November 29, 2010

"At the Birdbath" 66/365

My eye spied this little guy through my kitchen window.  The cats were right beside me, meowing and tail a-twitching.

At one point, there were three in the bird bath and what an explosion of water that was.  I was able to capture the one above through my window blinds.

At one point I swear he said "I see you!"  These photos are a part of my 365 Project - one picture a day - I don't post them all as some really aren't "post worthy".  But most do make it here.  And thanks to this little guy for being a great subject.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Destruction, 65/365

Is this my three year old son's way of telling me he prefers homemade pumpkin pie over store bought?  The above IS a store bought pie from before Thanksgiving - not the one we had for the holiday.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Magpie Tale #42, Tarnished Triumph

Magpie Tale #42.  Please click HERE to see other entries in this weeks challenge.

This is my second attempt at an Acrostic Poem (1st letter of each line reflects the title.)  I also kept each line to 10 syllables.  

I published this poem in late November 2010.  As a trophy is a symbol, I decided to submit if for Poetry Potluck (January 2011- theme Languages, Signs & Symbols) and I think the readership list is different so I hope most of you haven't already read this.  

Tarnished Triumph

Triumphantly I raised the loving cup
Accepted this symbol of victory.
Regard high, favor gained, envied by all.
Nagging inside my head, "Undeserving"
Ignored.  Arms wrapped around the spoils of war.

Success clearly etched upon the silver
Honoring the evidence of greatness.
Engraved forever for all man to see.
Deceit hidden, but engraved on my heart.

Tarnished now, this burdensome laurel wreath
Resting upon the mantle, mocking me.
It's victory long dulled, legacy shamed
Undetected no longer, truth exposed.
My own inherent value prized by none
Perhaps, but me.  Inside, a soul polished.
Honesty has finally set me free.

by Margaret Bednar

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Dinner is late - or is it early? 64/365

Tonight I got started on dinner late, and it was something I have never attempted before.   Stuffed shells with Martha  (Nov. issue of "Living", pg. 92) holding my hand.  Scanned the page and ran to the store for the ingredients.  "Fancier" than usual stuff; prosciutto, headradicchio, ricotta to name a few.   If I chop it all up small enough, the kids (and hubby) won't have a clue it isn't anything but cheese and "ground beef".  I think all turned out quite well (gotta love my new food processor!) noodles cooked, everything mixed and simmering.  That is until I read "Bake covered for 40 minutes, then 15 minutes uncovered".  Hmm.  That was a problem.

So at 8:00 pm everyone had take-out food.  The bright side is, dinner will be on time tomorrow night!  The photo below is also my selection for the "Sunday Creative Challenge".  The word of the week is "indulge". 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Renaissance Festival, 62, 63/365

The North Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville, NC (roughly Oct - Nov) is a step back in time.  I suppose a cleaner and less smelly version, but that sets well with me.   Over 500 costumed in-character (example above!) actors stroll the village giving it a realistic ambiance.

Permanent buildings reside on 22 acres set up to resemble a village marketplace where artisans have set up shop to sell wares colorfully displayed, of which I was eternally grateful.

Entertainment is ripe as 10 theatre stages are constantly providing entertainment (some a bit overflowing at the top, if you know what I mean...sorry, no photo of THAT) and laughter to the crowd.

An interactive circus (my daughter road an African Elephant), a jousting tournament (my 2 year old was scared out of his wits), and a medieval amusement park (world's largest rocking horse) are some of the attractions.  Oh, and did I mention food?  I walked around with a roasted turkey leg, which I found very messy to eat, but really quite delicious.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

61/365, Hangin' with Daddy

He "shaves" like Daddy and "paints" like Mommy.  Except he prefers peanut butter as his "oil" paints and carpeting for his "canvas".   This was one particular masterpiece I did not praise.  

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Biltmore Greenhouse, 60/365

This is the greenhouse for the Biltmore Estate.  One must walk from the mansion through the rectangular Italian garden with it's pools, fountains, and statue filled courtyard.  Of course, one also enjoys the distant view of the Appalachian Mountain range.  Now it is a leisurely stroll down a sloping, winding path through the Shrub Garden into the Walled garden, which is four acres.   What you find here depends upon the season.  Brick lined paths meander throughout and under the grape arbors that offer a shaded bench for one to rest.  Within this space there is also a Rose garden, a Butterfly garden and a Peony garden.  Below the Walled garden, there is also a 200 acre Azalea and Spring garden.  The magnolia trees are my personal favorite.  (During May and June, people bring picnic baskets and enjoy lunch here).  I visited once in the spring when the tulips were in bloom.   Walking through the sea of color to get to the entryway of the greenhouse is overwhelming to the senses.   Can you even imagine how long it takes a lover of photography to complete this walk?

Fredrick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park and the Smithsonian Zoo in D.C.,  designed 75 acres of gardens for Biltmore.  I believe he spent the rest of his life tending these grounds.

After exploring the greenhouse, one can walk down to the Bass Pond, which is about 1/2 mile further on.   And remember, there is still the horseback riding trails, the guided house tours, River Bend Farm and the Winery to visit.  Oh, and don't forget the lovely town of Asheville.  One to two days is never enough time, but that is why people keep going back.

And just below is my 60th photo for my 365 Photographic least one different photo every day of the year. This is a birthday present from the grandparents. My son played with an identical set at their house while visiting this past summer.  He absolutely loves it and the wooden train track it came with.  Now, to keep all the pieces in one place! He was sitting on my lap here as he wasn't feeling very well.  I enjoyed this moment of cuddling - he ended up falling asleep on my lap with these trains clutched in his hands. 


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Biltmore Estates, Asheville, NC

This is my photo for the Sunday Creative Challenge.  The word for the week is "lonely".  This photo was taken at the amazing Biltmore Estates. George Vanderbilt opened this estate to family and friends in 1895.  I believe it took 5 - 6 years to build, all 135,000 sq. ft.  With 250 rooms, there is a lot to see.  His wife, Edith and he were very much in love.  They had one daughter and George tragically died of complications from an emergency appendectomy.   In 1914 Edith sold 85,000 acres to the federal government and it is now the center of Pisgah National Forest.

The first time we visited, my youngest daughter was 7.  Her chin hit the floor when she realized it had been someone's house.  She said "Mom & Dad, this is the home I want you to buy.  It makes me feel like a princess!"  We wandered through the most amazing green house I have ever seen.  When the house was a residence, and not a tourist site, the fresh flowers from this estate filled the mansion.  I will post photos of multiple flowers from that greenhouse tomorrow.

This is the view of the house I love... I imagine I am strolling back from the tulip gardens with a few stems draping from my arms.  The side yard looks out over the Italian garden, the children playing tag on the huge expanse of green lawn, my husband busy with the horses in the stable...  Boy, I'm just as bad as my daughter!

Which do you like best? The above is for the B&W Wednesday Challenge.

"Everyone" says we must see it decorated for (click following word for details)  Christmas. And I'm sure they are right. But I think Biltmore Estates has something for everyone, anytime of year.  It has been open to the public every day for many decades.   The two times I visited this place, and in particular when I stood at these gates pictured below, I felt it was and still is a place of much peace.

Giraffe, 59/365

This is my submission for the Alphabet Challenge.  (G!)   This was taken at the North Carolina Zoo which is about 45 minutes from our house.

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Pretty in Pink", 58/365

"Pretty in Pink"

I took this macro at the "Magic Kingdom". Goes to show there are a few things that aren't man-made that shine at Walt Disney World as well!  I submitted this for the Macro Monday Challenge

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Magical Kingdom 57/365

"The Luncheon"
What a beautiful location this was (& my selection for next weeks - I missed the deadline today - Weekend Reflection) to sit and relax for a few precious minutes before the kids whisked us away to continue our mad dash through the "Magical Kingdom".  Within our view from the cafe was the very magical castle that I, as a child, watched flash on the TV screen every Sunday evening, (along with Tinkerbell) "The Wonderful World of Disney".

"The Castle Oct. 2010, Traditional View"
"Up Close and Personal"
"My Favorite View"
I was surprised how narrow the castle is.  I did get a few shots of the beautiful mosaics depicting the story of Cinderella that grace the inside walls. The following are details of larger pieces.


The photo above is my submission for "Art Happens In the Moment" challenge for December.  The challenge word is "Triumphant".  Who do you think felt most like rejoicing?  Cinderella or the Prince?  The reason I feel this photo qualifies for "in-the-moment" is I was lucky to get any photos at all of these mosaics... The crowds at Disney can be like "waves" and we were pushed along and swept through this castle "tunnel".  I had to raise my arms high and snap away.  That is why a few are blurry.

We spent our day keeping a close eye on the kids and enjoying their excitement.  We met many characters along our way.

"Cinderella Recognizes a Princess"
"Spent an Hour in Line to Meet Her"
"No Sword in the Stone Success,
But Mistaken for TinkerBell!"
"Finally saw the Illusive Peter Pan"
"Puff Enthralled the Little Ones"
"America Proudly Displayed"
The Magic of the Kingdom lasted until Midnight.  We thought that was fitting and my husband and I collapsed that night knowing we would never have to do it again.   We were blessed with wonderful weather and kids that held up the entire day without getting cranky.  I can't say the same for myself, but there really is no need to elaborate on that.  

A Pear's Lament (Take 2) & 56/365

A Pear's Lament (Take Two)
by Margaret Bednar

Succulent, elegant, honey-sweet fruit
Elongated silhouette, global curve.
Aphrodite's prize, kingly gift, honored
Namesake of noble bishops, hallowed Saints.

Fragrantly delicious, white blossomed tree
The of remote Chinese antiquity.
Popularity too swiftly ripens
Usurped by distant cousin, short and squat.

"Unfairly pruned", the grievously laments
Family squabbling now doeth commence.
"Kind John Chapman desired to use my name
Earth's gift to Zeus's bride, and curer am I."

Of same grand rose tree ancestral descent
Flesh of grit versus skin, smooth and shiny.
Supermarket ratings pronounce the truth:
"Statistics do show, "apples float, pears sink."

Each line is 10 syllables, which I think flows better than my first attempt.  I hope this is an improvement.

I am untutored in poetry - How do I use punctuation? for example.  How important is it to have structure?  What is the best way to learn? (I think I know that answer - keep following the blogs :)  My son gave me some advice and encouragement today regarding poetry.  (I visited him at the University and we "did laundry".)  Boy have the tables turned, wasn't it just yesterday that I was teaching him?

This evening two of my girls and I attended a community theatre musical production of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".  It is full of nice songs and comical characters!  Steve Martin & Michael Cane star in the movie version.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Pear's Lament & 55/365

A Pear's Lament
by Margaret Bednar

Succulent honey-sweetened fruit
Elongated body, global curve
Namesake of bishops and of saints
Aphrodite's prize, honored gift to kings

Of pure white blossomed tree, and
Remotest Chinese antiquity
High esteem too swiftly ripens
Usurped by distant cousin, short and stout

"Unfairly pruned" the laments
Family squabbling doeth begins
"Johnny Chapman desired my name
Earth's gift to Zeus's bride, and curer, I

Of same rose ancestry
Skin of grit versus shiny and smooth
Farmermarket ratings pronounce
"Statistics are out; Apples float, pears sink"

This was my attempt to have a structured consonant count for each line in each paragraph.  (7,9, 8, 10) The silly idea came to me as I was strolling around the farmers market and all the fruits and vegetables seemed to be competing with one another.  I read up on the history of the pear and apples and their place in mythology and folklore.  I hope you enjoyed the silliness. I hope it made sense!  (I have paintings of a pear and apples on my other blog.  Click HERE if you want to see them)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4 Similar Poems by Emma Bednar & 54/365

white, blue
illuminating, guiding, exposing
lunar, crescent, dreamlike, fantasy
indulging, wishing, pondering
imaginary, extraordinary
by Emma Bednar

by, Emma Bednar
Full Moon
Winter Blanket

What Is White?
By Emma Bednar
White is the full moon comforting and guiding
Helping light the darkness
A  sharp surprise, face colorless
The light chocolate sprinkled upon the 
Ice cream, cold and sweet 
Snow’s blanket covering earth’s sleeping floor
White is the color of forgiveness
Happiness running through the soul 
It’s the Easter flower which symbolizes
Tranquility, grace, beauty, and life
Embracing and soothing

What is the Color?
by Emma Bednar
White is the color of the moon shining in the darkness
     showing it’s personality
It’s the color of a blanket 
sleeping on the earth’s floor
White is the color 
living on an animal’s skin
White is you
when you get shocked
It’s the color of your favorite flower, animal,
chocolate that you eat
White is the color
of the paper you use
White is the color of forgiveness

The first three poems were a result of taking Emma's 1st poem written (last one posted) & reworking them to fit 3 different kinds of poetry forms.

#1:  Lanturne:  Japanese lantern, consonants per line (1,2,3,4,1)
#2  Acrostic: 1st letter of each line of the title
#3 Diamante - 7 line contrast poem following a pattern, beginning with a noun or subject, and ending with an antonym or synonym.

Emma has always been a writer.  Since she was quite little, she always asked for beautiful leather bound writing books and she filled them with scribble.  Every page.  Now she is an eleven year old fifth grader and enjoys writing short stories, usually mystery.  She got the poetry "bug" lately in school and has continued writing in her precious journals here at home.  I had her take "What is the Color" and the handy dandy dictionary and look jup adjectives, synonyms, etc.  She was a busy little beaver writing on those treasured white pages of hers, and she now has quite an impressive list of words.  Words she can't wait to use.