Archive for July, 2013

Travel theme: Tilted, take two

Though I’ve already entered a post in response to Ailsa’s travel theme “tilted” I just can’t stop thinking about alternate views. My first “take” on the challenge — images of my daughter taking an off-kilter approach to her surroundings — was a fun stretch, but since that time, a desire for a more literal interpretation has lingered in mind. In particular, I love the diagonal angle of the surf at sunset and the lonely sloping tree Ailsa presents in her challenge.

So, the other day while we were cooling off at the beach (indeed, it was downright chilly!) I tried my hand at some imitation. What do you think?

slack tide at Indian Beach

slack tide at Indian Beach

strong wids and crashing surf make plumb lines the exception not the rule

strong winds and crashing surf make plumb lines the exception not the rule

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery, right? I think I’ll happily continue to work on capturing tilts in my images. Thanks for the challenge, Ailsa!

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.


A word a week: Unexpected

Expect the unexpected” is sage advice for any parent, right? Right. Or sometimes, just expect to be charmed in the most curious ways.

"up you go little guy"

“up you go little guy”

After watching for a moment, I asked my daughter: “Whatcha doing?” She turned with a grin and said, “Mama! One of these little guys was giving another a piggy back ride and I thought I’d let some of the others join in the fun too, so I am helping them all take rides!”

Enjoy the ride, little ones...

Enjoy the ride, little ones…

Charming, indeed! I wonder how many more little snails are out there now, compared to two weeks ago? Unexpected and totally delightful innocence. For more images that capture the unexpected, visit “A word in your ear” and enjoy the ride!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

From the daily post: “FreshThe definition for fresh has a bit of a fork in it – it’s a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and it’s a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing)”

I’ll take both interpretations and run with them. In the summertime, there’s nothing like the fresh berries that grow here in Oregon! Whether straight out of the market container or cooked up in a delectable pie (Vintage Betty Crocker recipes are my favorite), these berries beg for forks!

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

Travel theme: Tilted

Once this “tilt” became the preferred position, we knew that the swing’s utility had to decline. A fun foreshadowing of our little one’s off-kilter views …



… still present today, in many ways:

Caught mid-flip, one braid up, the other down

Caught mid-flip, one braid up, the other down

Not sure if this is quite what Ailsa had in mind with the “tilted” travel photo challenge, but it’s what first came to my mind when I thought of possible entries this morning. Enjoy 🙂

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

Phoneography Challenge: Black and White

When traveling over the mountains and through the woods (or through the Columbia River Gorge, depending on our starting point) to my grandmother’s house, the difference in landscapes between west and east never ceases to captive and amaze me. In Washington and Oregon both, the wet west side lushness contrasts starkly with big-sky expanses of the eastern desert scape. So for this month’s entry into the “Phoneography Challenge: Black and White” hosted by “Lens and Pens by Sally” I thought I would take Sally’s “tip of the week” and modify some snapshots by converting color images to black and white, to showcase the contrast in scapes.

First up: the densely wooded edge of the Wilson River cutting through the Tillamook Forest of Western Oregon. Even in black and white, the sweet musty smell of the damp forest floor comes to mind, doesn’t it?

First taken in Hipstamatic on my iPhone 4, then converted to black and white with iPhoto

First taken in Hipstamatic on my iPhone 4, then converted to black and white with iPhoto

In contrast to the dense forest, just look at the expansive sky, dramatically punctuated with towering windmills, clearly marking the states’ commitments to conservation. In this image I see timelessness and progress both.

Also taken in transit with my iPhone 4, but only converted and brightened with iPhoto.

Taken in transit along highway 84 with my iPhone 4, then converted and brightened with iPhoto.

Which image do you like best, and why? Though the color versions are striking, stripping away the color really does highlight each landscape’s essence.

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

Travel theme: Simplicity

Ailsa’s travel theme for the week, Simplicity, brought to mind the moment captured in the snapshot here.  Sometimes less really is more– an important ideal to keep in mind as we wade through our too-busy, stuff-cluttered day-to-day lives.


© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

Though there isn’t a personality trait — in any scheme I am aware of anyway — called nostalgia, I can easily imagine one, perhaps ranging from “lost in the past” on one end of the continuum to “cutting-edge modern” on the other. In such a scheme I wouldn’t fall all the way over into the “lost in the past” side of things as I do enjoy many modern conveniences, but I would definitely fall left of center. Even as a child I loved all things old and still have the collection of antique “tiny bottles” I started when I was five or six years old. I recall spending hours looking through my Mom’s collection of antique books, gazing at her collectibles and thinking about what the families were like, who enjoyed our furniture before it became a part of our household artifacts. Once I could read, my favorite stories were of times long past.

In keeping with the personality theme, I am delighted to note that my daughter shares this sense of intrigue and interest in times long gone. In these last six years its been a joy to share with her stories, activities, and movies I loved as a child. I’ve toyed with passing along my antique dresser to her (the one my parents picked up at a garage sale when I was an infant and that I’ve kept with me ever since) but still am not quite ready to part with it, if even to move it across the hall.

Whether it’s nature or nurture that spurs on our sense of wonder for things from the past, we’ll never know. But I do know this: at present a favorite pastime of ours is to let our imaginations reach back along the time-space continuum. Nostalgia, for us, is not just in the past — it’s sure to be part of our futures too. What’s old is new again.

© Erica K O’Shea at “”, 2013.

The Effortful Educator

Applying Cognitive Psychology to the Classroom

Conditionally Accepted

a space for scholars on the margins of academia

Midtown Mocha

A smooth blend of cultural happenings and infatuations.


Knitterly thoughts from Louise Zass-Bangham

Damon Ashworth Psychology

Helping people flourish

The Electric Agora

A modern symposium for the digital age

Small Pond Science

Research, teaching, and mentorship in the sciences


My thoughts on public education and other things


I overuse the strikethrough

High Five Literacy and Academic Coaching



Comments and advice for academic authors

When Women Inspire

You can make a positive impact too!


Gauge as Rx'ed

Social Emotional Learning and the Common Core

Tools to integrate SEL with your current teaching practices

Thriving in Thin Air

Setting Out for Everest

Why? Because Science.

Combating Stupidity Since 2012

Sonya Huber

books, essays, etc.

Tell Us a Story

stories about true things

judgmental observer

film, tv, popular culture, higher ed, unicorns