Thursday, April 30, 2009

ANNIE THE REGAL DACHSHUND


This is one of my Dachshunds, Annie. She's my youngest one, and I've had her since she was a baby. The other one, which I rescued as a spry little 11-year-old, is Missy, who refuses to stand still for a picture. Annie is the diva in the family!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TOM ULRICH PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW - A LITTLE DIVERSION


I graduated from high school in 1975, not with honors, most likely, though I have to say really the whole high school experience for me was not that great, so blocking it out has not been all that difficult. Well, I could block it all out except for my "gang", The BB Gang, which consisted of five girls who would hang out in the bathroom between classes and laugh our asses off at probably nothing. We also spent every waking moment together on weekends and in the summer, driving around and around Fairfield, the little spot of the earth we lived on. That was memorable. And Tom Ulrich's classes, which gave me at least some sort of direction. He didn't care that I couldn't keep my mouth shut in class, all he cared about was that I really, really loved biology classes.

To this day it is a little hard for me to not say, "Hi, Mr. Ulrich!" when I see him, though the difference in age is much less noticeable now. He seemed like an older man when he was teaching high school, and I was such a kid. I really probably made his life pretty miserable, but in defense of myself, as an adult, I was diagnosed with ADD, so there, Mr. Ulrich!

I do understand that ADD just means I'm distractable and creative, and boy could I ever create ways to get out of school! Until Tom Ulrich showed up. Then I looked forward to going, at least for that part of the day.

Not only did Tom bring a kid a much-needed diversion from school while being IN school, he had unconventional-for-the-time teaching methods that nowadays would never be tolerated. And what a shame because did we ever learn! My career as a medical transcriptionist I almost totally credit him with since he had me in all sorts of medical lab classes where we were actually prepared for something. All of my terminology knowledge and understanding of the importance of species and genus names came from him. We even dissected a shark once. There are students in every class like this, I'm sure, but Tom got called to the office for something, and okay, probably something I did, I'll admit it, and he said, "Do NOT touch the mouth of that shark while I'm gone!" So one of the boys inserted his thumb into the throat and started pretending he was being eaten. Of course, a shark's teeth point backward, so when the teacher returned, he tried extracting his thumb from the mouth and ripped it pretty much to shreds...(his thumb, not the shark). Then Tom tried ripping the kid to shreds and it was pretty ugly. :)

Anyway, a few years back Don and I visited Montana, and when we got to Glacier National Park, I called Tom since he lives there now, and we had an awesome time! We met for pizza then went out canoeing on a stream and saw so much wildlife. It was one of the most memorable times I ever had. And you could not ask for a better tour guide. Tom not only lives there, he inhabits there. He is a professional wildlife photographer, and you have, probably without a doubt, seen his work somewhere.

After I left Fairfield High School, I guess Tom just could not stand not seeing my face in classes, so he pursued his REAL dream...photographing the world he loves so much and making a living from it.

I have been fortunate enough to see a couple of his shows in the past several years, and last night Tracy and I loaded up Myrtle, the Ford Focus, and took off for Wabash Valley College, about an hour away, after she saw an article describing his latest, and greatest, and final of the year, show. And it was way beyond worth the hour it took us to get there. We were both fascinated with the stories and the photos and had time to visit with him after the program.

Here's a link to his website. You can do everything here from looking at his photos to signing up for a guided photography trip to Ecuador! THAT'S hopefully in my future at some point...after I retire and can afford it.

TOM ULRICH PHOTOGRAPHY


At the top is a picture of Tom and me. He looks the same, except his hair used to be red, and I look the same except I used to weigh 90 pounds. :-)

Please browse Tom Ulrich's website and check out some of his photos. I think everyone will be as amazed as I am by those, and I say that without the slightest bit of prejudice!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IMAGINE THE BATMAN THEME SONG HERE


I worry about the earth. And every summer I spray enough pesticide on my lawn to probably kill a large horse, or a human, and it certainly cannot be good for my dogs, my grandkids or ME. But I live in mosquito country where mosquitoes resemble small flying horses, and in order to make the back yard enjoyable for the summer, it has to be sprayed heavily to keep the blood suckers down to a tolerable level.

Anyway, I read that a single bat will consume up to 1000 mosquitoes per night, and I started researching and found that a person can actually buy a fully constructed, ready to hang Bat House.

When it arrived in the mail, fully constructed and all, and the brochure said it would hold 100 bats, I was skeptical. I still am a little skeptical, but my awesome boyfriend, who usually goes along with my whims, built a pole, attached it firmly to the side of the Beach House, pointed the entrance to the Bat Chambers southeast as instructed, and hoisted it 17 feet into the air.

What I had not read is that it takes one to three years to even get a bat colony going on, and if after three years you don't have any bats, you should probably consider moving the house.

I am patiently waiting, waiting, waiting for bats, dragging Tracy outside at odd times to see if we can spy one coming or going, and here is a picture of the abode. If any bats are reading this and would like to take a look at the place, just give me a call!

Monday, April 27, 2009

WEST BADEN SPRINGS HOTEL









Recently my mom and dad passed away, and my cousin, Tracy, came to stay with me a couple of weeks to help get me comfortable and back on my feet. It just took a couple of days to convince me to start trying to venture out again. In an effort to have a day of normalcy, we drove up to French Lick, Indiana, which is just 25 miles from my house. There's a casino there, and the two of us, huge gamblers that we are, lost our $25.00 after a couple of hours and scooted up a couple of miles to see the West Baden Springs Hotel. It has been recently renovated and I knew there was a lot of hoopla associated with the place, and as close as it was, which is pretty common for people who live near a landmark, I had never seen it since it was done. The last time I saw that old historic hotel it was a shambles and renovations had not yet been funded.

The place is a huge draw for celebrities and I couldn't imagine why anyone would want to visit French Lick/West Baden, even if Larry Bird WAS born there and lived there, and occasionally does still live there. I have seen photos of the newly remodeled hotel, but until you walk in there, you cannot even imagine the beauty of that place!

Tracy and I walked in and the first thing we saw was a group of models doing a photo shoot, modeling wedding gowns and other more upscale clothing. After standing there with my little camera, in the midst of probably some of the most famous photographers in the Country, we wandered off to find our own chaise lounge to pose on. I won't post those photos. LOL!

But from the top:
Photo #1: A "few" of the rooms inside the dome. The lobby was so spectacular we really didn't need to look much further.

Photo #2: Looking up at the dome. Tracy had to put her hand on my back to keep me from falling over backwards while I took this.

Photo #3: Part of the huge front porch. We sat there in a rocker and had to force ourselves to get up and finish our own little walking tour.

Photo #4: The fireplace in the lobby. How magical, don't you think?

Photo #5: A woman graciously offered to photograph Tracy and me together. Aren't we adorable?

Photo #6: A view of the porch side from the gorgeous gardens.

There were more pictures and I'll do a separate blog a little later. Just wanted to share quickly!