Category Archives: photography

the Horicon Marsh

Being a nature and wildlife photographer I love the fact I have a great place in my area. this is a short video that shows some of the fantastic things I love about the Horicon Marsh.
If you are ever in Wisconsin and like photographing wildlife and nature this is a must see.


Horicon Marsh Bird Festival

This weekend is our 20th Horicon Marsh Bird Festival. As we say “The birds will be here, will you?”
We are the oldest bird festival in the state of Wisconsin. If you are in the area this weekend come and stop by. Here is a link to our festival events.

Here are some of my favorite pics I have taken around the marsh.

In previous festivals we have ‘officially’ found between 119 to 166 bird species during the festival. The official list is birds located and ided during festival events (hikes, bus tours, boat tours and the big sit) and we maintain and update the list during the festival in the DNR Education center. That way people can stop by and see what has been spotted. Right now we have 4 Ibis on the north end of the marsh and we are hoping they hang around for the festival.
A great time for birders, nature lovers, and photographers. come and join us.

end of this journey and the start of the next

P1000530 I first started this blog to document my journey as a returning college student. Going back to college at the age of 52 was abit unnerving. Did I still have what it takes? Could I adjust to the new method of teaching, online? What would it be like to have teachers who are younger then me? Well I learned after the first semester that, yes I still have what it takes and this style of learning works even better for me. I did have some learning challenges, see my early posts. But I approached those challenges with a sense of humor and my patience and I worked through the challenge.

the final bite I attended Moraine Park Technical College since it was right here in my town. I was able to take the traditional class format to get me back into the swing of college. Then I added online classes into the mix as well as accelerated classes. Each step came with it’s own challenges but I worked through them. Creating game plans, schedules and using lists I was able to keep track of classwork, due dates and outside events. There were weeks were I didn’t know if I was coming or going. You would put your head down and just start plowing through your work. Then one day you lift up your head and you realize you are halfway through the semester.And I realized I hadn’t bitten off more then I can chew. But I graduated after 1 1/2 years with an Associate’s Degree and a 4.0 GPA.

end of the line I then turned around and started at Upper Iowa University. They work well with Vets and since I am one it was great to have them helping me complete my degree. Other then one class I did my entire program online. This created it’s own challenges but I met those challenges and won. Then to top it all off I decided in my last two terms I added an extra class. Each term at UIU is only 8 weeks long and you only have two breaks the entire year, Christmas and spring breaks, otherwise I was going full steam ahead. And in it seemed in no time I had reached the end of the line. I had two classes where I pulled a B but the rest of my classes I pulled all A’s.

crane dance 1 As of this past Monday I am now a college graduate. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Health Services Administration. I did it, Happy Dance!!!

photoclub taking pics of each other
photoclub taking pics of each other
My blog changed from posting about returning to college to my photography. Now that I am done with school maybe I can now find the time to get out and get some more photography done. I haven’t been able to get out and do alot of photography over the past 2 1/2 years while I was in school. The class assignments and demands took over my life. ๐Ÿ™‚ But it was well worth it.

Take off. This college journey may be over but the next adventure begins. I now am out to find my job. I am learning to grow in this new environment.

The end is in sight

The end of an era, end of the line, end of the road and the end of that dam road.
I started this blog talking about my returning to college at the age of 52. I had a pretty steep learning curve that first semester and had some funny posts about it. The last time I went to college the internet didn’t exist and I was faced with e-college, drop boxes, laptops, tablets and computer technology. I quickly learned to navigate all the ones I hadn’t used before. I attended summer classes and night classes, did classes online and in person. Have had some really great professors and some not so great. Some classes I breezed through and others I had to work hard on. I graduated from Moraine Park Technical College a year and a half after starting and came in with a 4.0 GPA. Surprised me.
After graduating from Moraine Park I started with Upper Iowa University (UIU) to complete my Bachelor’s degree and faced a new challenge. Other then one class I would take in person all my other classes would be online. The first summer term, terms are only 8 weeks long, I took one class in person. I had to drive an hour to class once a week but it was worth it. Just over one year later I have started my final term at UIU. I am scheduled to graduate at the end of this term in mid Oct. OMG!
When I started this journey it looked like it would take me almost 3 years and that seemed like such a looooooong journey but I took a deep breath and put my foot on that path. Now I can see the end of that path. And in the process I have been able to maintain a 3.93 GPA, I got a B+ in one class. I have made the Dean’s List at Moraine Park and at UIU almost every semester I attended. I am still amazed at what I have accomplished. Alot of my family and friends are also proud, supporting and inspired by my journey.
After I graduate I plan on taking a week off to just RELAX and catch up with some household jobs that I have put off. Like trimming my front bushes as my front porch is starting to disappear behind them. Then begins the next step and that is job hunting.
Just have to get through this last term. I am taking three classes, microeconomics, Health planning and evaluation and strategic management. I have to buckle down and just do it. This first week of the term I am mentally bouncing around so am not buckling down the way I should. Deep breath and now get back to it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy New Year

I dare you to have a Happy New Year!
Well I double dog dare you to have a Happy New Year!!!

A new year begins again.
In looking back to 2015 I realize I accomplished alot in one year. I graduated from Moraine Park Tech College with an Associates in Business Management and with a 4.0 GPA. (Happy Dance!) I started at Upper Iowa University to complete my Bachelors degree in Health Care Management. I completed several terms at UIU and got all A’s, except for the one B+ in critical thinking. These two things were major accomplishments for an older adult like me. ๐Ÿ™‚ The saying is true that you can teach an old dog new tricks.
I look forward to 2016 to bring me favorable results in my endeavors too. At least I will strive to make this happen just like I made it happen in 2015. I hope to graduate from college this fall and then get a job. But before then I have to complete the remaining classes, make it through the winter (and spring and summer), work the 2016 Horicon Marsh Bird Festival, get out and do more photography and get together with my family and friends.
I wish one and all a Happy New Year and may the year bring you all sorts of joy!

What do you mean it is almost December?!?!

Tuesday is December 1st!!! How did that happen? I just realized that I haven’t posted a school update in quite some time. sigh Time has gotten away from me.
Ok let’s see. I believe I posted that I had graduated from Moraine Park with a 4.0 GPA in my associates degree in Business Management last May. I had a few weeks off then started the second half of my school path. I started at Upper Iowa University at the end of June. The terms are only 8 weeks long so are very accelerated. For the summer term I did one class online and the second class I went down to the west side of Madison to the satellite campus. This is an hours drive for me but I lucked out and had good driving almost all of the nights. The class was in the evening so it was daylight when I went down and night when I returned. Just had to deal with traffic and road construction delays on the return trip (they closed lanes on the interstate after 9pm so they could work on the roadway). But the last night it STORMED!!!!! About 10 minutes before class ended the skys opened up and the rain just dumped. I tried to wait it out but it didn’t let up so made a run for the car and got soaked. Fortunately I keep a spare polar fleece jacket in my car so was able to take off my sopping wet tee and put on the jacket. Much more comfortable. But the drive home was a scary, hairy, nerve wracking white knuckle drive. The speed limit on the roads was 55-65 mph and people were driving about 30-35mph with flashers on. Took me 1 1/2 hours to get home that night. But I ended up getting A’s in both my classes. I had taken English Comp II online and Statistics on campus.
I only had couple of days off before the next term started. This time both classes were online and I took Critical Thinking and Introduction to Health Management. I enjoyed the health class but critical thinking was a challenge. The challenge was not the subject matter but the instructor. She was very hung up on APA formatting on the papers and discussion posts. It was more of a research paper writing class then a critical thinking class. It seems to the instructor that the APA format style I learned 40 years ago and had used throughout my entire college career was not correct. Nor was the formatting style that was in Microsoft word correct. I ended up with a B in that class. Oh well. (got an A in my health class)
Then I began my term 2 in Mid October. In this case I am taking Population Health and Intro to computers. I have two weeks left in those classes. Am enjoying the health class. Computer is just another computer class. As long as I don’t hose it in the next two weeks I should pull two more A’s. Then I get afew weeks off before I start the next term in January.
If all goes according to plan I should be done with classes by the end of next October I should graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in Health Services Management. Then I can start job hunting. The end is in sight. 10 months left. OMG!! Hard to believe I was nervous about going back to school at the age of 52. I have proven I do still have it left in me. And having my VA benefits available to access has helped me so much.

Dilemas of a Fashionista

I am taking an English Comp class this summer. In writing various papers I created one that was not an assignment. I started with a woman buying shoes and then what caused her to buy shoes. And it became this short paper. I thought I would share. Alot of women will relate. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Dilemmas of a Fashionista
The decisions begin with a cream colored envelope arriving with the mail.
Upon opening I discover an invite for husband and wife to a special event.
Who will be there? How much do I want to impress them? Do I want to dazzle them or do I want to be chic or be professional? The audience dictates the dress choice. What do we wear? I know he will wear his suit. Should my dress be short or long, full or slim line, frilly or sedate? What color would look good on me or should I go for matching my husband suit? Wait there is that dress I havenโ€™t worn before that would work but I donโ€™t have shoes to go with the dress.

Should it be high heels, low heels, flats, casual, dressy? Open toe, sling backs or mules. With sparkles or plain or dyed to match. Should the color be the same or different. Contrast or in the same color palate? Should they have a bit of frou frou And what about budget? How much are we willing to spend on the shoes? Should I get them in a store or order them online? If I order them online and they donโ€™t work would I still have time to get another pair? Maybe I should get two pair. The one pair I really want from the online store but also buy the other pair that is almost perfect as an emergency backup in case the online pair are wrong or donโ€™t show up in time.
Now that I have the shoes to go with the dress I have to decide on accessories. Now should I do earrings and a necklace or just one alone? Do I wear my hair up or down? If I wear it up I need earrings but does the dress need earrings or just a necklace? If down then do I want to do a special braid or a fashionable chignon? Maybe curls? But would curls be too much with the dress? Maybe just pulled back with sparkly clips but then if I have clips do I need earrings? And which necklace would work best with the dress.
And do I take a purse, clutch or just slip something into a pocket? Does the dress have a pocket? If I need a pocket maybe I should wear this other dress. But then I would have to wear a different shoe.
What about a wrap or a coat? Are we driving or taking a taxi? Is there snow on the ground? How far will I be walking?
Men have it so easy. My husband will just choose black or brown shoes or sneakers. (black tie is black shoe, dressy but not black tie is brown and casual is sneakers). He will just pull out that suit he has in the back of his closet that is only for weddings, funerals and mandatory tie events. Keeps life simple and stress free.
I look at my husband and ask โ€œI think Iโ€™ve got it. What do you think?โ€
With a slightly panicked look he reaches for the invite.
Hubby rereads the invite for time and place and thinks with alarm โ€œDo I tell her now or get out the wine and tell her over a glass? Is it too late to return the online shoe order? The date says it was held last week.โ€

so we begin again

I just realized I hadn’t posted to my blog in acouple of weeks. I have been busy over the past couple of weeks ordering my class books, prepping for class, attending orientation and visiting my mother. I started my classes with Upper Iowa University this week. This is the second half of my plan in getting my bachelors degree. I got my associates degree in May. With UIU the term or semester is not 16 weeks long but 8 weeks. So you are allowed to take a max of two classes per term. And there are a total of 6 terms per year. No winter, spring or summer breaks for the next year and half, a term will end on a Friday and the next term starts the following Monday.
This summer I am taking Stats and English Comp 2. English is an online class but for stats I am taking it in person at the Madison campus. This means I have to drive an hour to class and an hour home but it will be only for 8 weeks. All my other classes will be online. That will be nice this winter. I can sit at home and not worry about driving on icy, snowy or nasty roads if I choose to. But I will have to make it a point of getting out of the house at least several times a week just so I don’t get housebound.
For my English class one of my first assignments is that I have to write a paper about a childhood memory. When you are in your 50s alot of those memories have faded into the mists of time. The only memories that are left are the truly memorable ones. ha ha I decided to write about the time when I was 7 years old and made the decision to ride my bike down a steep hill. My brakes failed and I ended up making the decision to face plant myself into a long needled pine. It was either that or running myself off a 15 foot drop off. I survived with alot of small punctures but I ended up killing the pine tree. I hit it hard enough that I knocked it about 15-20 degrees off center. My family had a tradition of buying living Christmas trees and then planting them in our yard. This one was the one we had planted after that previous Christmas. And to make the memory complete my mother was in the house watching this entire event unfold from the living room windows. It wasn’t the first or the last grey hairs I gave her. The interesting thing about my English class is the introduction discussion. The students write an intro telling about themselves. This is truly an online class with a university that has locations all over. I have students in my online class from WI, IA, KS and FL. I am use to my fellow online students all being from Wisconsin like at Moraine Park online classes. And a majority of my English class appear to be current or former military. In my stats class I am glad I took my advisor’s advice and am taking the class in person. Trying to take this class online would just frustrate me to no end.
So it begins well but we shall see how it ends. I am dealing with a different grading system, new instructors and a new university. So we begin again.

100th post

I started this blog just over a year ago and have hit my 100th post. I started this blog as a class assignment but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on blogging. I was writing alot about the adventures of returning to school at the age of 52. Man had things changed!!!! The last time I had been in college the internet didn’t even exist! It was an adventure all right. I started my return to college career back in January 2014 and have graduated in May 2015 with an associates degree. And I will graduate with high honors!!! (I was able to have a 4.0 GPA) I am soooo proud and amazed at myself. Old dogs can learn new tricks ha ha.
Over the past few months I have gotten so busy with classes that I haven’t had time to WRITE new posts. I was able to do the weekly photo challenges, usually. Man I have to get out and so some more photography. I need some new stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚
It seems appropriate that my 100th post falls on the day I graduate from Moraine Park Technical College with a 4.0 GPA!!!! (I wrote this on Saturday)
Now it is on to the second half of my journey. Later on this summer I should start with Upper Iowa University to get my bachelors degree in Health Care Management.
The challenge I am facing right now is all the free time I have on my hands. Major readjustment. You are going at warp factor 10 to get your homework done, club meetings and all the other stuff you need to get done, like laundry. Then you suddenly cut out the homework which took up a majority of time and you suddenly have alot of free time. I keep going to my laptop thinking I need to do something but I don’t. About the time I get use to the new pace it will be time to start up classes again. ha ha
Time to celebrate.

Light at the end of the tunnel, I think

Well I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Of course this is the first tunnel and I still have to get through a second tunnel. ๐Ÿ™‚ In the matter of a few weeks I will graduate from Moraine Park Tech College with my associates in Business Management. It is hard to believe that 16 months ago I was just starting this journey of returning back to college at age 52. WOW. After the first few months the learning curve smoothed out from a vertical takeoff into cruising attitude. ha ha Then at the end of the summer I should start with my online college and work towards my bachelors degree. I have done many group projects for various classes including a community service project for a local art center and bought them two new laptops with funds raised. I have written one marketing plan for a local business and a customer service manual. Once this semester is over I will add an integrated marketing plan for a different local business and a group internship with my local library which I have created a Then and Now book for them. It will be added to the library collection. Another big WOW. And all this doesn’t cover all the regular group projects of power point presentations, reports and papers. Man that makes me tired and proud writing that all out. And to make my life even more interesting I am gearing up for the Horicon Marsh Bird Festival which is the week before graduation. The term “hell bent for leather” can best describe my life right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ And to add the cherry on top of it all out of my 6 classes two are ending by April 30th and another two by May 5th instead of going full term to May 15th. The way it looks now (fingers crossed) as long as I don’t screw up my final projects I should get 5 As and one B. That would give me all A’s and one B for ALL my classes since I started in Jan 2014. That makes me VERY proud and abit stunned. I wasn’t sure how well I would do returning to college at age 52. But there is still some smarts and life left in this ole gal. ha ha Ok I have to do a plug for the festial. ๐Ÿ™‚ If anyone is looking for a fun birding time in Wisconsin check out the festival. The festival is May 8-11 this year.(always Mother’s Day weekend) Here is the website ย ย We have boat tours, bus tours, hikes, guest speakers and children’s activities. As we say “The birds will be there, will you?” The photo at the top of this blog is a favorite. I love the humor of it. All the birds are looking to the left except for one egret. so it is called “Quick look. Oh well Charlie missed it again”