It’s Been A While


Lily was afraid to walk out onto the dock because there was an 8″ gap between the decking and the concrete.


Lily found another way to get to her “daddy”.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Time is just flying. I can’t seem to get a handle on how fast my days and weeks fly by. Before I know it, it will be fall, then on to holidays of Thanksgiving and then Christmas, and then winter and then just waiting for it not to be winter any more. In an effort to sit back and figuratively smell the roses, my husband and I went for a week’s vacation to Lake of the Ozarks.

This vacation spot in central Missouri has been a mainstay of my life since I was a child. I have photographs of my family and cousins at “the lake” when I was very young. I still vividly remember the first sight of the lake when driving down Highway 54 and how it would and still does, elicit an “ahhhh”. We (I should say I, because I make the plans and just tell my husband who, what, when, where and how) decided to find a pet friendly resort so we could take our fur babies with us. We stayed at a really nice resort called The Alhonna and our room was right at the water’s edge. My husband could even fish off the deck except that Lily, the smaller of the two labs, believes any throwing motion means you are playing with her; ergo, casting the reel is play time and play time means she’s barking.

Our “girls” are two very large labs. They’re half-sisters and have been together their whole lives and we’ve had each of them since they were eight weeks old. My husband is obviously the preferred person as far as the dogs are concerned and they follow him everywhere as if he were the pied piper.

molly and l;ily

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rise/Set

corleyfoto rise set2

Riding into the Sunset

I think almost every motorcycle enthusiast has on their bucket list a trip to Sturgis, South Dakota. Each year an estimated 500,000 motorcycles descend on the small town of Sturgis to attend their annual festival.  We were fortunate to attend and rode as much and as long as we could.

To see more of this week’s challenge, click Rise/Set.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Out of this World

corleyfoto out of this world
Going underwater is definitely a feeling of “out of this world”. On our trip to St. Croix, we took a snorkeling trip to Buck Island Reef National Monument.

Most of the Monument area, which is administered by the National Park Service, is underwater and attracts around 50,000 visitors a year. With its 4,554-acre long reef there is plenty to explore and experience in the water. Snorkelers can follow an underwater marked trail on the eastern tip. It is one of only three underwater trails in the United States. Along the trail are plaques denoting information about marine flora and fauna commonly found in the area. Two thirds of the island is surrounded by an elkhorn coral barrier reef, providing an ecosystem for over 250 fish species and a variety of other marine life

To see more of this week’s challenge, click Out of This World.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

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On our recent trip to Texas to visit family, my brother-in-law asked if we’d like to go to a CBR bull riding competition. I said a very loud “oh yeah!”. I’ve always wanted to watch bull riding in person; I’ve watched it many times on television. And…what could be more Texan that bull riding?

I imagine each time these cowboys mount their bull, it is an experiment to see how long they can stay on the bull and if so,can they reach the magic 8 second mark? For me, the experiment was using an ISO of 3200 indoors, handheld, from the bleachers with a standard 70-200 4.5 zoom lens. Some images were better than others.

So as I am wont to do, here’s some facts on bull riding I didn’t know:

Bull Riding Rules:

8 seconds is the length of a qualified ride and was devised purely for the safety and well-being of the animals. After 8 seconds the bull or horse losses adrenaline and along with fatigue their bucking ability decreases.

For 8 seconds you can’t touch any part of your body or the bulls body as far as that goes
You can’t have your spurs in the ropes when you leave the chute (I’d likely have my arms and legs wrapped around the chute… lol)
Scoring: The bull gets half of the points and the cowboy the other half. Points up for grabs are 0-100 and there are typically 2 judges. Judges look for control and rhythm of the rider with the bull. The bull is judged basically on his agility and raw strength.
If the bull performs poorly a rider can be offered another chance to ride before being scored.
Scores in the 70’s are average, 80’s are dang good and 90’s… well that’s a real cowboy!!!

To see more of this week’s challenge, click Experimental.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage

black oak sketched for web

Black Oak is a tiny town in the northwest corner of Arkansas. It is the subject of John Grisham’s book “A Painted House” and the town my dad grew up in. Dad was born in 1925 in Black Oak and stayed there until World War II when he, his mom and brothers and sister all moved to St. Louis. Growing up, dad nor Grandma never really talked about their life in Black Oak, but I know it was not easy. My grandfather died when my dad was only twelve years old leaving grandma to raise not only her three biological children, but also her step-daughter and grandpa’s nephew.  To my knowledge, dad only returned to Black Oak one time.

In 1992 I made my first pilgrimage to Black Oak, taking my fourteen year old son with me. I had been researching my dad’s family genealogy and wanted to see this town than had grown to be such a part of my life as I dug through census records, old newspapers and chat rooms. Several years later, I returned to Black Oak, this time with two of my elderly aunts. The small woman in this photograph is my dad’s sister, Mabel and of course, the other one is me. Black Oak is really nothing but a blink of the eye now and the Black Oak Grocery shown in this photograph had long been shuttered.

To read more about Black Oak, click here to read my blog.

To see more of this week’s challenge, click here or Heritage.