Thursday, December 31, 2009
Arriving at one goal is the starting point to another.
~ John Dewey
This marks the last day of the year 2009, but like these steps to and from the beach, tomorrow's new year can mark a path of both 'coming and going'....With an eye towards the future, we learn from our past, solidly grounded in the 'here and now' of the present.
The daily photographic capture (composition, mechanics, post-processing) continues to provide an internal measure of discipline that stretches my views, perceptions and colors of the world. Reflections flow into personal words and meanings - though not always easily verbalized. Connections with others across the globe add an indescribable depth and flavor. Learning is contiguous and cyclical. This year's 365 project has been time-consuming, no doubt - but it is a choice made from the heart, the soul and the mind...and I'll do it again in two thousand and ten. 2nd Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
With transparent sacs on extended stems, this red algae resembles its common name, sea grapes (not to be confused with the sea grape tree!). It looks so delicate, but was obviously strong enough to weather the turbulent tide that pushed it on shore. The glistening from early morning sunlight and dark crimson hues make it a 'stand out' in the sandy environment. 2nd Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This camera is one of many mounted above traffic lights at popular intersections in an attempt to catch 'red light runners'. They have generated a fair amount of controversy as extreme viewpoints clash over safety issues versus privacy rights, among other topics. Similar to the larger scaled airport security concerns, it sometimes seems as if the existing rules are not consistently followed, there remains a reactionary attitude rather than a well-thought out plan, and conversations are imminent. The wise person seeks both sides before looking for appropriate fulcrum. Pine Ridge Rd & Goodlette-Frank, Naples, FL
Monday, December 28, 2009
A boardwalk through the Freedom Park not only provides a chance for healthy outdoor exercise, but a chance to visualize "Old Florida Swamp" before the human population explosion. Though the audible signs of traffic nearby are heard, the chirping of birds and the rustling through the undergrowth can overcome those alien sounds. The visions can entirely mask the man-made intrusions with a little focus. This photo was post-processed with a black and white effect in the style of Clyde Butcher. (Color original)
Other images from today's walk include the stately wood stork, red vine , cypress knee , and another swampy scene. Freedom Park, Naples, FL
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Finally able to capture these magnificent cygnets as they posed within distance of the lens. Reminiscent of the The Ugly Duckling fairy tale, these swans share their grace and beauty in the small water opening on the frozen Glen Wild Lake. Bloomingdale, NJ
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Though shades of winter are generally in hues of black, white and brown, there are other colors of evergreen, rusty red, and icy blue in evidence. Today's rainy, slushy, snowy conditions kept outdoor activities to a minimum....which did allow for more visiting, cleaning up, and planning for future visits. Looking outside from within offered prettier pictures and warmer, too! Bloomingdale, NJ
On early Christmas morning, the tree and gifts are picturesque and quiet...in anticipation of the chaotic unwrapping event to come. With a late-sleeping teenager in the house, there is no rush to start the day! Merry Christmas to all! Bloomingdale, NJ
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Exemplifying form and function, art and practical...the nutcrackers are fascinating. Their modest history of cracking nuts has truly taken on new meaning with E.T.A. Hoffman's original story, "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King" (and the now popular 'The Nutcracker Suite' ballet). The craftsmanship devoted to the nutcrackers is not only a time-honored procedure but likely a lost art with the move towards more mass production. Nevertheless, their symbolic watchfulness is associated with the holiday cheer. Bloomingdale, NJ
Mario and other Nintendo products are regulars around my sister's house since she works there...so when I needed an extra gift tag for some last minute wrapping, I was offered one of these! Hopefully, the gamers won't mind! :)
The gaming industry continues to flourish and it makes sense to try to incorporate it into our repertoire of instructional and learning strategies. Problem solving, differentiation, trial and error, motivation, perseverance, simulation, collaboration, and challenges are all elements of learning qualities ....and video gaming. It is a combination meant to be - maybe 2010 will bring more of these opportunities. Bloomingdale, NJ
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Gathering some holiday elements for a centerpiece - a few candles, Christmas origami, and shiny ornaments (note - they look much better without the black blob of the reflected camera)...It is nice to have extra time to attend to activities normally overlooked during the typical working periods. Everything seems to shift a bit into a more relaxed state, despite the stress of holiday 'to do' lists - the countdown is near... Naples, FL
Monday, December 21, 2009
This nativity creche is a treasure from a visit to Mexico many years ago. It is tiny in size, but meaningful nonetheless for many religious sects worldwide. The canonical symbolism is well beyond my scope and interest, but the simplicity of design speaks volumes to both the heart and the spirit. Once again, 'simple' often defies its definition with complexities when thought and reflection are involved. Naples, FL
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Caught Santa napping in the curve of the crescent moon this morning - guess he is entitled with his upcoming marathon! Ho Ho Ho! He'd better keep an eye on the time though, as Christmas Eve is quickly approaching...
This life-size ornament always catches adults and children with surprise and delight when looking up on 3rd St shopping area. His close-up shows his age, so I've kept him a bit more in perspective.
Though Santa Claus is often chastised as a negative symbol - the antithesis of religious meaning of Christmas - to me, he represents an innocent and magical element - a reason to 'believe' in the promise of hope and goodwill. His folklore and history is extensive, but his unique memory will always live on in the hearts of children. 3rd St & 11th Ave S, Naples, FL
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Sticking with my holiday theme (my version of the twelve days of Christmas, if I make it through the 25th)... it does make it interesting as the season brings out annual photo opportunities. Wreaths are a holiday favorite, probably because of the inclusion of nature's elements and the circular representation of 'beginning and ending' as one. Their circular shape offer the 'O' for 'joy' - an elation emoted this time of year when bringing happiness to others. 7th Ave S & 8th St, Naples, FL
Friday, December 18, 2009
It's that time of the year for holiday parties - a sure temptation for overeating, eating the wrong things, and other vices! This last day of school always brings those festivities in excess...and while I succumb to some degree, I happily give most of it away! The giving season is also in high gear - though it is still much more commercially based than heartfelt intangible. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Thursday, December 17, 2009
The lining of the palm fronds with twinkly lights is rather common during the holiday season in Florida (however unusual it may look to those in the northern climes!). Most are simplistic in nature, honoring the season's message, and shine throughout the night and early morning - a beacon, of sorts, for the wish of 'peace on earth'. Though this one is dwarfed by taller palms, it still draws the eye and hopefully brings a festive smile! Trianon Hotel, 9th St & 7th Ave S, Naples, FL
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Driving by I saw a sunny glint reflected in my rearview mirror....and upon closer inspection, I discovered shiny holiday ornaments hidden amongst the boughs (how many do you spy?)! Like other 'diamonds in the rough' these may need a little 'polish' to stand out, but there is definitely potential! Looking for those latent possibilities is a worthwhile 'treasure' hunt! Naples, FL
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Who needs a Gingerbread House when you can create a airplane 'sleigh' for Santa's deliveries...sans Rudolph!?? :) Our Culinary Arts students (both high school juniors & seniors and adults) host a district-wide gingerbread house competition and then auction off the results to the community. I love the creativity here - this side is a bit sloppy on the icing 'mortar' but I didn't like the distracting background on the opposite view. Allowing students an opportunity to 'stretch' their imaginations is so vital not only for their own development, but also for the health of our innovation process. Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Monday, December 14, 2009
Countdown to Christmas and this poinsettia is helping me get in the spirit! It is such an appropriate plant for the holidays with its red and green colors. The mottled and solid hued leaves which double (actually masquerade) as the "flower petals" are unusually attractive. Did you know that the real flower is actually the tiny yellow clusters in the center of the bracts? And their longevity far outstays the holiday season as they can be planted for future years...in fact, I've seen some grow to exceed six feet.
Although synonymous with Christmas, I always think of Septima Poinsette Clark when I see these blooms - likely the resemblance of her name. Introduced to her in an adult education graduate course (and embarrassed that I'd not known her legacy), I immediately immersed myself in her history, publications and philosophical connections to education and literacy. What a joy it is to discover such a treasure! Naples, FL
Sunday, December 13, 2009
This royal tern joins his buddies for a rest on the pilings and looked so regal against the blue backdrop of sky and water! As always it is not hard for me to be drawn to the beach, not only because of its proximity, but because of its majesty, latent diversity, and ever-changing 'sameness'. The broad perspectives and the minute details all play a role in the beauty of the shoreline and the far-reaching waters. The appreciation for the amazement of nature and the occasional interplay with human beings contribute to my lens' attraction. So, I've tried to share the facets that I experience here and hope that the variety outshines the potential number. 5th Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Saturday, December 12, 2009
This collection of sculptures in the children's section of the hospital's Garden of Hope & Courage is delightfully fun and whimsical - just what sick and frightened children need to experience...adults, too, find pleasure! :) One can just imagine the giggles and the peals of laughter as these adventurers attempt to balance the rocky path across the stream! Like comfort food, such a scene brings solace, optimism and a renewed sense of confidence - all in a glimpse! Garden of Hope & Courage, Naples Community Hospital, Naples, FL
Friday, December 11, 2009
We welcomed a little cool dry front this morning, which apparently sent these shore birds to find beak warmth in their feather ruffles. The behaviors of shorebirds are quite intriguing! Actually, these sanderlings joined gulls and other birds in trying to get a bit of rest ... and many do so on a one-legged stilt. But the gathering is certainly reminiscent of crowd behavior where individuals mimic each other's behavior and become more anonymous! 2nd Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Our school book club joined club members from other schools in the district for a get-together at Barnes and Nobles this afternoon. It was fun to meet other book lovers! The main event was a scavenger hunt created by the "Queen" of scavenger hunt creators. The hunt was amazing...taking participants throughout the entire store and making them really read the clues and think about them as well. There was another incentive - the book, Beautiful Creatures, a gift card, and Godiva chocolate wrapped with a bell. Just some good, clean fun! :) Waterside Shops, Pine Ridge Rd & US 41
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Despite a large swath of blizzardy snow across much of the US today, our Florida weather is quite summer-like...with just a gentle breeze. The posted photographs of snow from Flickr friends depict a pristine, cool and seasonally festive look - a welcome reprieve to our heat and humidity! One can overstay that welcome...for me, the excessive cold and snow would lose appeal after a month or so. On the other hand, a scene, such as this view from a city park, always seems to exude a warm and peaceful reflection. A short walk revealed other 'eye-candy' and are shared in antithesis to those beautiful, snowy pictures of others! Golden Gate Pkwy & Goodlette Rd., Freedom Park, Naples, FL
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
There's nothing like turning the hallway corner and being welcomed by the festive artwork of the little ones from our Early Childhood Education's Learning Partners program. Creativity is nurtured at this age - it is valued and appreciated ... unconditionally. Generally, that outlook dissipates as age increases, especially as we spend time in our educational institutions. Sir Ken Robinson has much to add in his book, The Element, and his TED appearance. There are indications that the tide may be turning with the attention to 21st Century skills and the recognition of innovation as an asset. Let's hope so! Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Monday, December 7, 2009
These poblanos are less than fresh, but they filled the bill for tonight's "Skinny Chilies Rellanos" (stuffed with brown rice, fire-roasted tomatoes, a bit of Havarti cheese and a few other tasty ingredients...baked, not fried). The mild spicy flavor helps to clear the mind and the palate! :) And, for some reason, this meal always reminds me of my decade of living in Wyoming and my mom's side of the family who (mostly) live in that region.
Rather than exchange gifts this year, the Lucey/Brown/Davis side of the family decided to donate to community members who might not otherwise celebrate the holidays. Since we are spread out all over the country, we each chose to whom and how to provide those contributions. Finding myself much more global in orientation and a huge believer of 'helping others help themselves', I opted to 'loan' Marleny of Huancayo, Peru money for her embroidery business via Kiva. I would love to see more action of the old adage: teaching them 'to fish' for lifelong benefits, instead of giving them a fish for an immediate 'band-aid'. Naples, FL
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Don't know why I'm continually drawn to phtographically capture the seagrape leaves - perhaps it is the red veins that mimic the human circulatory system, or maybe it is the round and often heart shape they take on, or even the thick, almost rubbery, texture. No matter, the seagrape is a favorite...that is, until my neighbor's tree drops its dried leaves and ripe berries on my driveway and then they are definitely a nuisance!
The pros and cons are reflective in almost (if not,) everything, but we often allow the 'halo' effect or negative connotations to influence our thinking! 4th Ave N & Gulf of Mexico, Naples, FL
Saturday, December 5, 2009
After buckets of rain today, there was a bit of sunshine. Also revealed was this leftover avocado crop! The Florida avocados are not nearly as tasty as their California/Mexico cousins, but it is always a treat to harvest a fruit directly from the tree, free of pesticides and totally natural! So, here comes the BLT with avocado sandwiches and the guacamole! Naples, FL
Friday, December 4, 2009
Uniformity has its purpose - for example, when it leads to opportunities for equality. Even such regularity usually offers individual differences, though, as in the position of these bucket handles. Customization and personalization have become preferred characteristics in consumer products, digital software, restaurant selections, and a variety of 'services,' to include education. Savoring differences doesn't necessarily mean the sacrifice of important and consistent values or goals, but making a conscious effort to balance those needs is important. Estey Ave & Airport Rd., Naples, FL
Thursday, December 3, 2009
This bamboo plant is purely ornamental, but the species is amazingly versatile and multi-faceted. It serves as a food source for the panda bear and humankind (i.e., bamboo shoots), as a construction material for the building and furnishing of structures, for medicinal value in treating infections in China, and as a cultural symbol in many southeast Asian countries...among other things. It is an amazingly sustainable resource.
The notion of sustainability in our learning resources seem askew these days...What really are the key elements to effecting change for the long haul? How do we shed the old 'habits' and begin anew? Some of the concepts in Chip & Dan Heath's Made to Stick offer some insight, i.e., simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness, credibility, emotional, and stories. However, there remains an important element (and perhaps more?), personal accountability, that is missing from the list. How does one 'learn' that characteristic? I know...more questions than answers, but for now that may provoke additional thoughts! Pine Ct & Mandarin Rd, Naples, FL
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Though my tendencies lean toward organization and planning, I value the spontaneity and impulsiveness of some classroom experiences, especially when they lead to 'teachable moments.'
Today, I was presenting some website and research resources to the Spanish for Spanish Speakers II class for their upcoming project on Spanish speaking countries. When reviewing the Culture Grams online subscription site, I asked for someone to give me an example of their assigned country and a student mentioned "Cuba." On the search results, there was a musical note which someone inquired about and it linked to an audio file of the Cuban national anthem. As soon as it started playing three students of Cuban heritage jumped to attention with their right arms in salute and started singing! I couldn't get my camera fast enough...had to ask for an encore to capture the video version! How cool....and their classmates, most from other Spanish-speaking countries, were very respectful.
The rest of the story is also cool....Since the Media Center is currently located in a classroom of the Health Science wing until renovations for the new space are completed, the students' lyrical voices carried out into the hallway. One of our adult Practical Nursing (our campus is both a technical high school and an adult postsecondary technical center) students (also from Cuba) was drawn to the door's window and beckoned me out to the hallway - she was so touched! When I shared that with the class, they wanted to meet her. Then and there an authentic interview took place - she has only been in the US for 3 years and she went to Russia to learn English and was then able to come to the US, which apparently was typical years ago. So much to learn outside the normal curriculum - too bad more of our classroom time isn't actually based on 'teachable moments' with authentic experiences....Lorenzo Walker campus, Naples, FL
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
While out and about this afternoon, I searched for red as a photographic subject - as a remembrance of World AIDS Day. This French painting posted outside one of the galleries in town struck me not only for a slice of the symbolic red, but also for the movement in the artwork. The awareness movement for HIV/AIDS has had a huge impact over the last decade in slowing the number of people living with the disease. However, there are still too many - an estimated 33.4 million people worldwide living with AIDS in 2008 (UNAIDS, November 2009). Annual reflection on this day, December 1st, is one way to keep the issue in the spotlight, but it seems some of the previous movement has lost some momentum. 6th Ave N & 10th St., Naples, FL