Sunshine, blue sky & lilacs for Michigan moms!

Buds On Blue

Walking on Sunshine, photo by Sue Fraser

Sue shared this with wishes of “blue skies & sunshine” back in 2007, and I’d like to join her in wishing all of Michigan’s marvelous moms a very Happy Mothers Day!

View Sue’s photo bigger and see more in her slideshow.

PS: To all you moms not of Michigan, a Happy Mother’s Day to you as well! ;)

Pint Sized Leprechaun

Pint Sized Leprechaun

Pint Sized Leprechaun, photo by Danielle Ericks

Luck is believing you’re lucky.
~Tennessee Williams

My St. Patrick’s Day wishes are that my Michigan State Spartans prove they should have been a #1 seed all along (Go Green!), that the Michigan Wolverines show they’re not the only ballers in the Great Lakes State by defeating Notre Dame (Go Blue!), and that luck makes itself a believable part of your life (Go Luck!!).

Danielle writes “This little guy was having a hard time keeping his hat on – my best shot was a little blurry so had to resort to this one.” View photo bigger than a leprechaun and see more in her Motor City slideshow.

Happy 2016 … plus Scratch Circles and the Sands of Time

The Sands of Time

The Sands of Time, photo by David Marvin

The Wheel of Time has rolled into another year. It might be my increasing age talking, but it seems as if the world has gotten harder over the last couple of decades. I hope that 2016 treats everyone more kindly, including you!

Apparently I can’t even post a simple metaphor without learning something new. David writes:

Scratch Circles or “Scharrkreise” form when plant matter is blown around by the wind, etching circular designs in the sand.

If you want to get all geeky on sand circles, scratch circles & Scharrkreise – a term coined by R. Richter in 1926 – those links are just the thing for you!

View David’s photo background bigtacular and see more in his slideshow.

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories, photo by Richard Deming Photography

Here’s hoping that whatever holiday you are celebrating this season is wonderful. Thanks everyone for being a part of Michigan in Pictures!

View Richard’s photo bigger and see more in his Christmas Time 2010 slideshow.

Christmas Full Moon and the Metonic Cycle

Moon December 18 2015

Moon December 18 2015, photo by Dave in Michigan

EarthSky notes that the December full moon will be the first on Christmas since 1977:

This month, the December full moon falls on Friday, December 25, 2015. For Earth’s Western Hemisphere, it’s the first full moon on Christmas Day since 1977.We won’t have another full moon on a Christmas Day until 2034.

A 19-year cycle of the moon is the reason. Amazingly, the moon’s phases recur on (or near) the same calendar dates every 19 years. This cycle – known as the Metonic cycle – happens because 235 returns to full moon almost exactly equal 19 years. So, in other words, the phases of the moon realign (or nearly realign) with the same calendar dates every 19 years. We just missed a full moon on Christmas 19 years ago; instead, the full moon fell on Christmas Eve. It was December 24, 1996 at 20:41 Universal Time, or UT.

…In any year, the phases of the moon take place about 11 days earlier than in the previous year. For instance, the December 2016 full moon will happen on December 14, 2016, and the December 2017 full moon will fall on December 3, 2017.

View Dave’s photo big as the moon and see more in his moon & moon shots slideshow.

More about December’s full moon in Christmas Moon, Snow Moon, Cold Moon, Oak Moon, December Moon on Michigan in Pictures!

Santa Claus for the Cause in Bay City

Bay City Santa Claus for the Cause

Santas invade Midland Street 2015, photo by Tom Clark

Tom took this shot of the assembled mob of Santas at the 2nd annual “Santa Claus for the Cause” event last Thursday (Dec 17) in Bay City. They raised over $15,000 for a bunch of worthy charities in Bay City with sales of Santa suits. More about the event from mLive – I’ll try and give you an early heads up for this next year too!

You can view the photo bigger and see more in the gallery from the Santa Parade on his website – follow him on Facebook for more!

How Pere Marquette 1225 inspired the Polar Express

Pere Marquette 1255

Pere Marquette 1225, photo by Bob Gudas

The Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso is home station for the Pere Marquette 1225 locomotive aka the Polar Express:

Retired from service in 1951, 1225 was sent to scrap, in New Buffalo, Michigan. In 1955, Michigan State University Trustee, Forest Akers was asked by C&O Chairman Cyrus Eaton if the University would be interested in having a steam locomotive (Eaton did not want to scrap the engines but was having a hard time finding places that would accept them) so that engineering students would have a piece of real equipment to study. Forest Akers thought it a good idea and proposed the idea to University President John Hannah. John Hannah accepted the gift of the locomotive. When he told the Dean of the College of Engineering about the gift, the Dean said that Engineering was not interested in an obsolete locomotive. John Hannah then called up Dr. Rollin Baker, director of the MSU Museum and told him that he was getting a locomotive. The C&O then instructed the yardmaster at New Buffalo to send an engine to the Wyoming Shops for a cosmetic restoration and repainting with the name Chesapeake and Ohio on the side. The 1225 was the last engine in the line, i.e. easiest to get out. It had nothing to do with the number representing Christmas Day.

Baker received the gift of the locomotive in 1957 when it was brought to campus. The locomotive remained on static display near Spartan Stadium on the Michigan State campus in East Lansing, Michigan for a decade. While on display, a child by the name of Chris Van Allsburg used to stop by the locomotive on football weekends, on his way to the game with his father. He later stated that the engine was the inspiration for the story, Polar Express.

Lots more about the Michigan’s largest operating steam locomotive at Wikipedia and information about riding the train and the rest of their collection at the Steam Railroading Institute.

View Bob’s photo bigger and see more in his slideshow.