Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photo of the Day - November 27, 2011

Adina's AP Homework Assignment

Adina needed to work on her photography assignment.  So we grabbed my cameras and started on a walk around the lake.  I really never never know what I will find.

Of course about five minutes into our walk I discovered that I forgot to put the SD card back into my camera.  So I did the next best thing (too lazy to go back home), I pulled out my iPhone.  If my friend, Andy can publish photography books from his iPhone images, I can shoot with it too.

We found all sorts of interesting bugs and plants.  I was more fascinated by the HDR option on my iPhone.  I was just aiming at anything to see what kind of quality I would get.

I was pleasantly surprised at these results.  Nice and convenient too, except I need my reading glasses to see what the hell I am doing now!!  Oh the joys of aging.

A couple of these photos were taken outside of the house that used to belong to Jackie Gleason.  I spent a lot of time peeking into the windows and was fascinated by the 70s decor!  I remember when he lived here in Inverrary!  He would ride around the neighborhood on his golf cart with the Rolls Royce front!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Project 365 - November 21, 2011

Cookie Monster

My sweet child returned from Chicago tonight after five days of competing in the Glenbrooks Debate Tournament. She was so thoughtful to bring us a present!

A pumpkin cookie for mom and a Superman cookie for dad. Way too current to not share with the world!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Photo of the Day - October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

This was the first Halloween that we didn't spend with either one of our children.  I guess it is a new phase in our lives.

However, Adina was invited to a Halloween Party at her friend's house so she decided that she wanted to be a skeleton.  Joel found a costume and make up for her at Party City and Adina did the rest of the magic!  She really is an artist. 

Working from a photo on a website, Adina created this unbelievable face within about 20 minutes!  I snapped away as she applied the make up.

Final results were amazing.

Photo of the Day - November 16 - 17, 2011

Sycamore for a Day (or two)

Arriving on the Indiana State University campus brought me back to 1975 once again!  I loved going to school there.  I had the best four years.  It was a time to learn, a time to grow up and a time to cut the proverbial umbilical cord.  But best of all, we had Larry Bird and Kurt Thomas!  World-renowned basketball champion and Olympic Gold Medalist gymnast.

It all rushes back to me the second I see those sycamore trees lining the newly enclosed campus which was all city streets when I was there.  Yes, I was cold, but I had my layers on.  The wind blowing in my hair felt refreshing.  Then I blink and realize this is not my reality anymore, it is my daughter's.

So we headed up to Lincoln Quad to put my suitcase in her suitemate's room.  She was extremely gracious and slept at her parent's home for one night so that I could stay in the dorm.  We gathered next door in their common room for their sorority.  It was a dorm suite without the walls, decorated with fresh paint, couches, comfy chairs and throw pillows.  It was study hour and only three of Rachel's sisters were there with their computers looking quite busy, of course checking their Facebook pages in between writing their intensely interesting term papers!

My daughter graciously cooked up a snack for me since I was hungry again.  She wouldn't let me clean up the dishes saying, "you are in my home and I don't expect you to clean up after me here," wow, how grown up is that?  I smiled.  But later that evening when she wasn't looking, I did wash the dishes and put them away.

A few hours later we were dressed and ready to attend the Symphonic Band concert at Tilson Hall with Noah's parents (her boyfriend is in the band).  We sat up in the balcony because my daughter, who is not only in Gamma Phi sorority, but also in the professional fraternity, Kappa Kappa Psi as a little sister!  She said that we had to sit with her "brothers" and besides, the sound was better up there!  I was fine wherever we sat.  Each piece was a very upbeat, but short piece and the concert was over before we knew it.  And then we gathered in the Heritage Ballroom where I suddenly had deja vu because I remembered that I had been award the Alan C. Rankin President's award for community service in that very room in 1978!  I do believe there is a photo of me in one of the yearbooks getting that award!

Afterwards we all went out to dinner to a new Chinese buffet (not my style, but it was my daughter's choice).  I had to laugh because on buffet of not only Chinese food, were trays of macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes and wings!!  But it was the company, the conversation and the experience.  And of course, once again, we closed out the place and the people was cleaning up around us!!  We continued our discussion out in the parking lot next to Vicki and Dave's smart car!  I just loved the size of it so I had to take a photo of course.  It is sitting next to Noah's "BOAT" and you can see how small it is.

Back at the dorm I was instructed to get into my pajamas, grab my iPad and join the sisters in the common area.  We sat there, chatting about life, social issues and what was Rachel like as a child until almost 1 a.m.  My eyes hurt at that point and I really needed sleep, so excused myself.  I had to take a running leap to get in the bed because it is up on blocks so that there is extra storage space underneath!  Yet another giggle!!

I was the first one up in the morning and read email, Facebook and Twitter stuff and made myself tea while I waited for my daughter to get up.  She wasn't moving, so I took a shower (quite an experience in the dark, cement floor stall) and got dressed and waited some more!!

Finally, my sleeping beauty got up and we headed over to visit our friend, John Newton.  He is an institution at ISU and in Terre Haute too.  He was the alumni director for years and years and once he retired last year, came back to work (on his own terms, part time) at the ISU Foundation.  He also served as a Councilman for the town for a few years.  But now enjoys his time traveling for both pleasure and for the school.  I am always amazed at the fountain of knowledge in his brain!  He knows every student, where they live, what they major in, when they are going to graduate and he really listens and hears and remembers what you say!

We spent about an hour and a half there.  He was even kind enough to print out my airline ticket which was amazing for John because he was so anti-technology a few years ago!

Then it was off to the Lincoln Quad dining hall.  Mmmmmmm dorm food.  After circling around and around I finally decided on a chicken patty on a bun with lots of salad on the side.  For dessert I chose a brownie.  So did Rachel.  As we took a bite, we both looked at each other with a very funny look on our faces and tried to figure out what we were tasting.  It was mint.  Who puts mint in brownies??  Well, midwesterners I guess!  Blech.  Well, I did want something sweet, so I ate a few more bites before I gave up!!

Onward we went to wake up Noah!  Yeah, I know, it was about 1 p.m. but he was sound asleep.  He had pulled an all-nighter to write a paper, went to class, turned it in and went back to his room and promptly fell asleep.  But we were heartless and woke him up and we made him go to Wal-Mart with us.  I wanted to buy something for the girls' suite to say thank you.

Of all the things in the store, Rachel wanted cleaning supplies and a rug!!  So that is what I got for them!!  And they appreciated it.  

Then it was off to the airport.  It was a very short trip but we packed in a lot of talking and eating and one huge hug at the airport (no tears) and I was headed home.

Photo of the Day - November 16, 2011

On the Road Again

After I finished my business at the conference, I rented a car at Enterprise and got directions to Terre Haute, Indiana and headed off on my way.  I knew that it was at least a three-hour drive, so I decided that I would really, take my time, enjoy the scenery, take smaller country roads and get out and stretch my legs often.

I had my phone plugged into the speaker system, listened to my own music, had the GPS running and called every family member I knew to keep me company along the way.

But nothing in the world is like driving through southern Indiana!  You feel as though you just stepped back about forty years or more.  The roads are clean and smooth, but only one lane in each direction in most towns.  Most towns only have a "flasher light" to define their "downtown" and there are only a couple of buildings clustered here and there that give you any indication of a "town."

But the people are friendly.  They smile.  They gladly offer directions or want to talk about the crazy weather that blew through Aeoli last night and ruined their town square (I passed through there and did see the damage, but it wasn't anything as bad as their descriptions).

I stopped in this one town, Orleans, Indiana because, well, nature called!  And I saw this guy coming out of an antique shop with a deer head complete with antlers.  I started a conversation with him and asked permission to take his photo.  He was more than happy to pose for me.  He was so proud of his new purchase!  I was more intrigued with the formation of his facial hair.  Not really a beard.  Not really a moustache.  Not really white.  Not really the color of his hair.  But it was interesting enough that here I am talking about it!!

Also in this town I walked through their square and shot images of how they decorated for the holidays.  I was touched by this veterans memorial.  I took one close up of one brick because it honored a WWI veteran.  Sense of community is what I felt as I stood in this town that existed before the Civil War!

I passed by signs, giant billboard-sized ones, that said, "Every thirty seconds abortion stops a heartbeat," and "Jesus will save us all."  There were huge crosses at the front gate of some of the farms.  I tried to snap these as I was driving but unsuccessfully and my daughter was impatient for me to get there!!

I did take this one shot of a boat on a lawn next to an American flag.  I loved the sign on the top of the "ark-like" boat which was advertising their Christian Book Store!

I passed by a huge silver building and by the time it was too late to take a photo, I realized that it was a White Castle building.  This isn't their corporate office, but it was a very large building.  I think it was a packing plant.  I know that Joel would have liked that photo!

At one point I stopped at a Wendy's for some lunch.  After eating my baked potato and chili, I was about to stand up to leave when I saw exactly what I had just been learning about at the NAMP conference!  Being wired, always.  Here were two southern Indiana guys, out for lunch, texting away!  Something was obviously very important!!

And so, I was on my way again.  After getting detoured onto a very, very deserted road (thanks to US 46 being closed for improvements), I was a bit nervous because I was VERY low on fuel and had no idea how far I was from the next flasher light town!!  I bet that I was on fumes by the time I pulled into the gas station (that was so generic that the sign only said "GAS" and no brand!!).  The guy was teasing me because I had pulled up to the pump with the gas cap on the wrong side.  Oh well, it WAS a rental and I didn't look before I got into the car.

About 30 minutes later, I pulled into Terre Haute and was able to wrap my arms around my 20 year old.  It was the warmest welcome I ever received. 

Photo of the Day - November 12 - 15, 2011

National Arts Marketing Project Conference

Every year that my office can afford it, I attend the National Arts Marketing Project Conference.  NAMP is an offshoot of the Americans for the Arts, our umbrella organization that is in Washington, DC and NYC and goes to bat for us on a daily basis to protect the funding for the arts and any other issue that may negatively affect artists and arts organizations.

So this particular conference focuses on arts marketing.   How to attract and retain audiences.  We dissect it, slice it and dice it in session after session.  There are sessions on the psychology of the "experience" and customer service.  Other sessions focus on return on investment.  And my favorite sessions focus on technology and social media.

This year I finally understood Twitter!  We used social media incessantly throughout the entire conference.  In fact they even posted our Tweets on two giant screens in the grand ballrooms during our networking luncheon.

There were unbelievably inspirational speakers at the keynote and plenary luncheons.  There were dine arounds where we went out to dinner with about 10 colleagues and continued our conversation on one specific topic.  There were round table discussions to focus on issues and challenges.

The absolute best way for me to conduct business is on the fly.  We meet in the lobby for two hours and discuss an issue.  Or we chat over breakfast as we are preparing to go into a session.  Or we Tweet to each other and then retweet the profound statements in 140 characters or less.

Somehow, I really believe that these folks really connected because as I am writing this, I am still receiving Tweets from the conference and it was almost a week ago!  That says something about how social media is connect us.

It is about the conversation that can continue no matter where in the world that you live.  If I have a marketing question, I can post at tweet, with a hashtag, and within minutes, I will receive a response.  It is brilliant.  If you care to follow, just use #NAMPC in your Twitter search field.  Thee are some great comments (and silly ones too).

Now if I can only communicate that to the cultural organizations here who are resisting the social media highway.  It is like a highway, you get on, there is a direction, but you can take a detour and discover something fascinating.

So, yes, I am looking forward to continuing my conversation throughout the year with my national colleagues and then renew it again in Charlotte, NC next November.