Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Stein

I saw a photo of a beer stein in a magazine and remembered that I had one, so I decided to use it for my post today. No particular meaning, message or lesson associated with this post. I acquired the stein when I went to Europe with Leah on her National Honor Band Tour. Not knowing what else to bring back for the "guys" we left at home, I purchased a couple of these. They've been collecting dust every since 01. Oh well, I tried.

Some more trivia from "Really Important Stuff My Kids Have Taught Me"
**They'll remember you if you're the best reader in class--or if you throw up at lunch.

**Don't jump out of the apple tree with cardboard wings.

**It doesn't matter how fast you're running with the football if you're going in the wrong direction.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Just two days after celebrating the official Thanksgiving, we had a Do-Over. We got together with my daughter and her family at her house. When I arrived, Lauren greeted us at the door dressed in her finest princess outfit. After all, it was a special occasion, and she wanted to look special.

She decided to help mommy peel potatoes. She actually did quite a good job considering she's only 4.5. Nice going Lauren.

Friday, November 28, 2008

33 Days

My new calendar. Just 33 days until Jan 1, 2009.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day, 2008. So much to be thankful for. My list (certainly not a comprehensive one, for sure) is a cliche of everyone else's list. But that doesn't make it any the less real or sincere. Family, friends, health, finances, church body, my salvation, my home, where I live, the strength in my body, I can see when I open my eyes, and walk when I put my feet on the floor, and the list goes on.

So after preparing some food to take to a friend's today, we set out in the car. We didn't exactly go through the woods, but we did go over the river, and it wasn't "grandma's house" we wound up at, but a good friend's.

It was a good day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Unveiling

Today is the "unveiling" of my new gadget--the one I mentioned the other day. I retrieved my newly cleaned camera from the lab yesterday, so I was able to practice a little with the new lens today. In spite of the skies being their usual dreary winter grey, I took some shots anyway. I tried to eliminate the sky, but in the third image, in order to get the effect I wanted, I wasn't able to keep the sky out. Just use your imagination and picture it (no pun intended) with a blue sky. If we ever get one again (blue sky, that is) before spring, I might try this shot again.

So the new toy is a fish-eye lens for my digital camera. It's not the same as it was for the film cameras. But with careful composition and cropping, it can still be fun. The first image is what you get with the lens. The second image is the cropped version.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Time For Scrabble

After dinner tonight, Scott and I played a game of scrabble. So there was my photo op. I tried it with the flash and it didn't look to great. I tried it without flash and I liked it better. While moving the camera around, I came up with this view--down low and long. I love it. I'd like to try with the SLR on a tripod sometime. Maybe next time we play.

Oh, by the way! I won, but only by 6 points. It was a good game.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just A Bunch of Trash

I hurried out of the house this morning fairly early to do a quick errand. I hurried back to the house so my husband could have the car. Then I slowed right down and spent the day catching up on busy-work that was seriously backed up. What a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment I get on a day like this.

Then I ran into an "okay-what-do-I-do-now?" situation. "Well," I told myself, "why not clean the studio?" "Okay, let's get to it", I agreed to myself! So I spent the afternoon cleaning and purging and feeling like there was more and more oxygen to breath the more I purged and threw away. Even though this photo shows just a small amount of trash, believe me, there was a looooot more. I have a long way to go, but it's a relief that I got started and got so much done.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Nothing Profound

I went back to church this evening. We got there early and there was no one else in the sanctuary. My church is really beautiful, and I love being in the building when no one else is there.
So, although I don't have anything profound to say, I did my post.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Swore I Wouldn't Do This

I swore I wouldn't wish away the Fall by thinking of Hawaii, and here I am, doing it. I was a slug today--beautiful sunny day, and I hunkered up in the house. It's cold, cold, COLD outside today. Couldn't get photographically motivated. So now it's dark, and there aren't many/any options. My strobe light is at church, my studio is a mess and I'm not inspired.

So instead of being able to WOW anyone today, I'm sitting here listening to this cd, thinking thoughts about Hawaii and getting ready to make pizza.

Thinking about it, I guess I'm really enjoying myself, listening to my favorite music (next to Country that is), thinking about my favorite place and getting ready to eat my favorite food. I'll get a grip, thank God for my blessings (of which there are many, many more) and enjoy my pizza dinner.

(By the way, the photo is so grainy because I didn't want to use my flash. It was taken at 1600 asa without flash and still had to be lightened in photoshop--which creates even more grain)

Friday, November 21, 2008

A New Toy

Today I got a new toy for my camera. It took about two weeks to for the Photo Lab to get it. It fits onto a lens that's already on a camera. Because it only comes in one size, most people have to have adapter rings to attach it. The rings come with the "toy", except, that is, the size I need! So I had to buy the extra adapter. hmmmm

I was very excited about having a new gadget for my camera. But, after showing me how to get it together, Tom said, "so can you leave your camera for a few days so we can clean your sensor?" (they also had to order the gadget to clean my very dirty sensor, and it also just came in.) Oh. My. Gosh! I didn't know I'd have to leave the camera, I thought they could do it then and there, kind of like an out-patient situation. But no, I had to leave it there. Okay! I'll just use my other camera.

Oooops. Can't do that 'cause the lens is a different size and NONE of the adapters will fit it, not even the one I had to pay extra for. Sigh. So instead of posting a photo taken WITH the new "toy", you're getting a photo OF the new "toy".

Patience is a virtue.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Love Those Post Its

My granddaughter stayed over one night last week. She's just 4.5. Sharp as a tack, if you don't mind the cliche. She attends headstart and will be ready for 5th grade in a month or two.

Anyway, she was enamored of the post it pad on the counter, and decided to use it to decorate my fridge. Pictures, words, designs. I didn't have the heart to remove them.

My favorite one is the top one. I "heart" nana. She already knows how to spell mommy, daddy, Lauren, Jacob, Mace and some others. Now she knows how to spell Nana. Good girl!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Desperate Times

It's late. I'm tired. I'm desperate. This is the best I can do tonight, but darn it---I'm determined that Trish will NOT win that trophy again.

I'm watching one of my favorite shows, CSI New York, with my feet up on the coffee table. So this is me, with my feet up on the coffee table.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Operation Christmas Child

I left for work this morning with my two empty shoe boxes. I was wondering what goodies I would find to fill them with. One for a boy, one for a girl. I love shopping for little kids, they're so unjaded and they treasure even the most insignificant things.

But these shoe boxes were going to be filled with goodies for some of the world's most poor and needy children, children who probably don't know what a bar of soap, or a brand new sharpened pencil, or a new hair ribbon looks like. These boxes are destined to become part of the Operation Christmas Child effort of Samaritan's Purse, founded by Franklin Graham, the evangelist Billy Graham's son.

I was excited. I had fun shopping for treasures with which to fill the boxes. I thought that even if I couldn't provide all of the world's needy children with treats this Christmas, I could make a difference for two of them.

When I got to church with my boxes, I got goose bumps when I saw the mountain of shoe boxes that had been donated by others in my church. Now, multiply that by many thousands of churches and individuals, and that WILL make quite a difference. It's a small thing that I and my friends have done, but Jesus says that "whatever you do for the least of these, you do for Me".

If you're interested in finding out more about the ministry of Samaritan's Purse, go to the website on the above poster:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Just "Shout It Out"

Have you ever had an experience like this: you're happily going through your day, when someone unintentionally says something, just any old thing, in a conversation, or you accidentally overhear something being said to someone else, and bam!! you're transported back to that little kid you used to be, dealing with a situation that hurts. Maybe you were snubbed by the other kids, maybe someone made fun of your hair, maybe you gave the wrong answer in school and everyone laughed out loud at you, maybe you were shorter/taller/skinnier/fatter/less athletic than everyone else and "they" never let you forget it.

I once heard a story told by a guy who was a musician, and a pretty popular one at that. He was also an inspirational speaker, and was invited to speak at seminars all over the world. He was probably in his late 30s at the time. He was also fairly short. One day he met an old acquaintance who jokingly made a comment about his height. This musician/speaker/father/husband immediately became that short/insecure/unhappy little boy he was in school. Wow. We never get over it, do we?

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just "Shout it out" like the commercial says. I don't mean literally "shout", just figuratively. Be gone!! feelings of insecurity, be gone!! thoughts of inadequacy, be gone!! demon telling me that I can't sing/dance/write/tell jokes/photograph/draw/paint/mother/cook/drive/ski/whatever it is you love to do and do well, as good or better than the next person. Just dab on the cleanser, rub it around a little, wash and the pain is gone.

I've been following a blog lately that I really enjoy. The address is She's a teacher and a wonderful writer. Her post today is the inspiration for my post. (the photos were MY idea though, thank you very much). Thank God for teachers like her and Steve and Jayme and all the others who are filled with compassion, love, understanding, patience, and all the other attributes it takes to be a great teacher. Maybe because of them, many students will dodge-the-bullet of being caught in their own little "hell". (read the mentioned blog to understand where that statement came from).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Comfort Food

Today is/was one of those days...the skies were cloudy, AGAIN, the temperature was chilly, the wind was blowing... We headed off to church this morning, only to arrive to a cold building--once again the furnace was not working up to snuff. It really wasn't that cold, but some of the people were really whining about it. Well, we have church service first, followed by SS, so the first announcement was that SS was canceled, as was evening service. Okay! Not that I like missing SS (I really like the class usually), but it was great knowing that I didn't have to go out again in that depressing mess this afternoon.

When we arrived home, I got the idea to make meat sauce to go with hot dogs for dinner tonight, and then I started thinking about "comfort foods", like chili, stew, homemade soups, brownies, pizza, hot tea (when I have a sore throat), open-face grilled cheese, ice-cream. Lately I've realized that everyone has a different list of comfort foods, so I guess your list will depend on your situation as you were growing up.

So after warming up a little (we've had the wood furnace off for the past few days due to the balmy temps, and my husband just got it going again today after we returned home from church), and after watching a moving and trying to nap--I say "trying" because between the dogs and my husband, there's nothing sacred in the let's-be-quiet-because-mom-is-trying-to-nap department, I got the idea to make brownies. Not just plain brownies either, but brownies with chocolate chips in them, thank you very much! Yuuummmm. Comfort food.

While they were baking, my son and I played several games of Boggle. Now THERE'S a "comfort game" if there ever was one. I'm sure some of you are saying, "What's Boggle?" and others are saying,"I HATE that game!~!" Okay, what I want to know is this. How in the world does Boggle stay in business? I think I know only 2 people who can even tolerate the game, let alone like it. I LOVE IT! I love words, and anything having to do with words, why. won't. anyone. play. Boggle. with. me??? To be fair, I have one friend who will play the game with me because she loves me and wants me to enjoy myself, but she usually manages to get about three words during each round, then I feel bad for making her play and we switch to something else. She's a good sport about it, though. My daughter will occasionally play with me, and she usually tromps my butt. However, she's in Kenya now and it will be a loooong time before she returns. My one friend practically strangles me if I even mention the game in front of her.

So now that I've had my comfort food and my comfort game for the day, and I didn't have to go out again this afternoon, it's all good. Thank God for food, shelter and family. And "comfort".

Saturday, November 15, 2008

From Diapers to Teenager in Just Three Months, huh???

In just a few days my grandson, Mackenzie (Mace to you, Jayme) will turn 13. Not sure how that happened--it was just a few months ago that he posed for this photo, right? He's always been really good about posing for photos for me, until...

NOW!!! I practically had to threaten him tonight at this party. (threaten him with what???) As you can see, he didn't much care about the threats. I pleaded with him (please, please, PLEASE let me take your picture). As you can see, he didn't much care about the pleading. I demanded that he let me take his picture (I NEED to take your picture!). As you can see, he didn't care about that either. What in the world happened to that compliant, easy going, happy to cooperate, where-should-I-sit-Nana, oh-tilt-my-head-like-this, okay-I'll-change-my-shirt-for- you, Nana, little boy go? Sigh.

I think his friends finally convinced him to let me take this shot. They all agreeably converged together for a group shot, and he must have figured he should just give in and be done with it.

I managed to get some shots of my baby while at the birthday party. It took some cajoling, but I managed to get one or two decent images. I think it was just a few months ago that he was in diapers, and look what happened!! He had the nerve to grow up, get his license, graduate from high school, buy his own vehicle and start college. hmmmm. I do remember telling him, when he was 6, not to get any older. He refused to listen to me, darn kid.

So yesterday, Mackenzie's younger brother, Jacob received an award in school. It was too cute.

Friday, November 14, 2008

An Old Friend

About 13 years ago, I attended my first Schenectady Photographic Society meeting. It was in February and I was terrified. All those people and I didn't know a one of them. But I was determined to continue attending and eventually join the group by paying annual dues. I remember that I used to bring a book with me, so that I'd have something to do during the break.

After about 4 meetings, during the break one night, the president came over and began a conversation. What a relief!! Then, as I was standing on line for refreshments, I stood behind a woman who was pregnant and she was talking to another member about the coming baby and the effect it would have on her teen-aged girls.

Well, I had recently been in the same situation, so I boldly joined in the conversation. Little did I know that she and I would become fast friends in the coming years. We had much in common, in addition to loving photography, and we eventually began doing things together, not the least of which was organizing an Annual Women's Photo Retreat. We spent many years doing that and going on shoots together. (Ironically, the president who first "befriended" me was her husband)

So, as the saying goes, "all good things must come to an end" and she and her family moved to Tennessee to live with and care for her father-in-law. The other day I received a call from her. "Hi, I'm here in the area and thought we could get together for lunch". What good news.

Today we had lunch together. It was great. You know how it is with a good friend. You may not see her/him for years, but when you do, it's like it was just yesterday... So as we were parting, I took a few shots. She'll be visiting with her mother, who is being hospitalized, and then leaving at the beginning of next week. I may not see her again this trip, but when I do, it'll be just like "yesterday".

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I Must Have Been Dreaming

I had a crazy day today Busy from beginning to end, and not everything was as successful as I would have liked. And Nothing, I mean NOTHING was easy. So when I got home today around 3:30, I thought I'd get the chance to rest a little. I must have been dreaming. I had a little less than 2 hours to do some important stuff on the computer and then I had to head down to the high school to photograph the in-coming members of the Nat'l Jr. Honor Society.

Well, last week I gave the teacher in charge some order blanks to send home with the kids, thinking that they would make it home to the parents. Okay, big mistake. I must have been dreaming. Kids don't seem to get the concept: 1) get a notice for the parents, 2) place it in bookbag, 3) transport it home, 4) give it to parents, 5) emphasize it's importance. This even applies to those elected to the prestigious National Junior Honor Society. Sigh.

So tonight, all 44, yes 44 families, arrived in the lobby (not all at once thank goodness) with NO order blanks filled out, let alone placed in an envelope with payment. Aargh.

My son, who has great organizational skills, managed to hold it all together and we finished a mere 15 minutes late. Pretty amazing.

Well, let's back up a bit. Before we left the house, we packed three bottles of water between us because I knew it would be hot and dry and I would need some water as we went through the photo session. I hoped to keep myself hydrated. I must have been dreaming. Those water bottles never touched my lips. But we survived and it wasn't too terrible an experience.

When I got home I still had water bottles on my mind, so now I have them on my blog as well.
After a good night's sleep, I'll wake up in the morning, think about it, and say, I must have been dreaming.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Just In Time

It's almost 11 pm, but, by golly, here's my post, just in time. We had our photo club meeting tonight, and I was desperately trying to think of what kind of a photo I would take for my blog, when I decided I'd just be corny and take a shot of the refreshment co-chairs. They are probably the most important people at our club. They faithfully provide cookies and drinks for our break. Now if that isn't important, I don't know what is.

As I walked out of the kitchen into the meeting room, my friend and her daughter walked through the door. Before anyone could get out a word, my friend announced, "I can't help it, she dressed herself." Well, how could I resist of shot of this elegant outfit and adorable face?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Rain Held Off

I spent a few days trying to talk myself into attending this parade. Will it be too cold? Will it be too crowded? Will it be worth it? Will it be too boring by myself? Will I be able to get a good spot to take photos? Oh--my--gosh, just be quite and go to the parade for goodness sake!

So I did. It wasn't too cold or crowded. It WAS worth it, it wasn't too boring, I got a great spot. And it didn't rain. Hooray for me and for all those in the parade. The biggest problem??? Just like yesterday--which photos to post??? since there were quite a few I like.

So this is what you get, like it or not.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Through the Window of Time

Our group went to an awesome little 50s museum tonight. It was a great step-back-in-time and we could barely tear ourselves away from the place.

Funny thing, though. The images I thought I would really like, I didn't, and some of the ones I thought would be ho-hum, I really love. As one of the other members said, the hardest part about the trip tonight is picking out which few to post.

My favorite music is Country, and one of my favorite artists is Conway Twitty, and coincidentally, one of my favorite songs of his is "It's Only Make Believe".

The song was on this great jukebox, only one of an entire collection that was breath-taking.

Four of us went out for dinner after the shoot. We had a great time, as we always do. Great evening--friends, cameras, photo ops, food, conversation--what more could we ask for?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Photo Show

A friend of mine has his work hanging in the Massry of the Daughters of Sarah Nursing Home in Albany. It's an assisted living facility in Albany. Today was the opening reception for his show, so after church I drove down to say hi to him and see the show. Very nice images--all racing cars from the Fonda Speedway.

While I was there, the many of the residents were in the lobby area waiting to see a performance by a group of children. It was so cute, I had to go over and take some shots of them. Wish I could have recorded the music too. I love the sound of Jewish music.

When they were done, I asked if I could take a group photo. Not a problem. Look at these adorable faces!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Quite the Home

I had to do something today that kept me away from home, but indoors most of the day. While there I was musing over what I would do for my post for today. On my way home, I had to photograph a piece of property for a job I have. I decided to use one of those images. This is the house (?) on the property.

My imagination ran wild. Did these people (who appeared not to live here anymore) run out of money after they finished the foundation and before they could erect the house? Did they intentionally choose to live in the basement (foundation)? How long did they live in the "basement"? Did they get claustrophobia from living underground and having only one source of daylight in their home? There were no other windows around the entire foundation. Imagine trying to get out the front door after even a moderate snowstorm.

I'll probably never get the answers to these questions, but it's fun trying to piece together the situation of another person's life.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Unique Advertising

I had to go to Sharon Springs today. It was a dreary, gray day, but I came upon a sight that made me chuckle and made the drive worth it. These hay bales were in a field and I just had to stop and photograph them.

I especially love this one below. It's the one that caught my eye first, and then I noticed the others when I got out of the car.

I love being surprised by the little things that come into my life and make me laugh. I wonder if those people who were selling those pumpkins know how they brightened the day of the travelers driving by?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Seeing Eye Glasses

Today I stopped at Empire Vision to pick up my new glasses. If the photo looks out-of-focus, it's because I couldn't wear the glasses while I was taking the photo of the glasses. Just kidding! I don't have to wear them to photograph. I was too close and when I saw the image on the computer, I just didn't feel like doing it over.

It's been a couple of years since my last "new" prescription, so I'm a happy camper.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Uh Oh

Well, I held true to my determination to avoid all discussion or knowledge of the election proceedings last night. But when I got up this morning, I made the coffee, walked the dogs, stopped to get the newspaper out of the box in front of my house, and cried, literally. Our Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves, I'm sure. Immediately, a quote came to my mind and I checked it on the internet to make sure I quote it correctly.

All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Edmund Burke

My consolation is knowing that God is still on His Throne, and that this is the path He has given us to go down, and He is still a God of mercy and grace. God Help Us Now.

Flying the American flag upside down is traditionally considered a sign of distress, as it is with all national flags. The signal is one that was used primarily in past centuries, pre 1900s, on the high seas by military and merchant marine vessels alike. While the U.S. Flag Code does permit flying the flag with the union down, it specifies only a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

In recent times some have interpreted this in a much broader manner and have come to use it as a political statement, instead of a true S.O.S., which it was originally intended for.

see sidebar for SOS

We are now in a political state of extreme SOS

BTW--I believe that the blacks have just sacrificed their "racist" card. Don't want to hear any whining out of any of them about how down-trodden they are in this country.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I grew up in the Bronx. I could live in a city again very easily, but here's the thing. I LOVE small town living. My town (although it covers a huge geographic area) is so small that I tell people who have never been here, that it's an intersection and don't blink. But there is a church, a church hall and a small country store--oh, and an awesome volunteer fire department (whose members are amazingly dedicated and proficient).

So on the way to work this morning I stopped to vote. I knew the workers and almost every one who came in. It took about 2 minutes for my turn, and I was on my way.

After I got home this afternoon, we headed over to the church hall for the customary election day pancake dinner. (remember I said it's the best one in the area--they kept their honor, it was great)

It was awesome--I met a bazillion people I knew but hadn't seen in a loooong time. How fun. So it was a good day--of course, you have to understand that I still haven't seen the news, and I have not idea how the election is going. I'm going to stay oblivious until tomorrow...

Monday, November 03, 2008

36 Short Hours.... (Part I)

It is 10 am on Monday morning. As I write this, it will be approximately 36 short hours until we will know, almost for sure, who the next United States President will be. In less than 24 hours, the headlines of the local newspaper will be shouting the news!!!

I'm terrified! I don't even think I'll watch the news on Tuesday evening. I will vote in the afternoon, go with my family to the local pancake supper (which is held every election day and is the best one in the area) and then I'll take my laptop up to my room and watch a chic flick. One more night of a peaceful/hopeful mind won't be a bad thing. If things continue to go the way they appear to be headed now, it will be 4 years of aggravation and terror!

Before I actually got out of bed this morning, I was thinking about history, in the generic sense. We, all the people in the United States, are living an historic moment. Whomever wins this election WILL MAKE HISTORY! If Obama wins, it will be the first time a BLACK has held office as President, and if McCain wins, it will be the first time a WOMAN has held office as v-President. Whomever your candidate of choice is, whether he wins or not, this is the time to realize that you've lived to see an amazing thing come to pass and that God's will is being done--no one gets into office, anywhere, outside of the will of God--that's my only consolation if the election goes, in what I consider, the wrong way.

In the past, when I was in school and all the time between then and now, I've taken those "history-making" moments in stride and for granted. But this...this is HUGE! This will be one of those dates in the history books, almost an icon--kind of like Pearl Harbor, Kennedy's assasination, landing on the moon, the destruction of the Twin Towers, etc.

I think it's another reason to be very proud of living in the United States and being an American.

(Part II) 2:45 pm

I was looking through a little book I have entitled, "Really Important Stuff my Kids Have Taught Me". I bought it years ago and every once in a while I look through it. I came across the word "muse". Just to be absolutely sure of the meaning, I looked it up: one definition--"to ponder, consider or deliberate at length", another--"Muse: (Greek Myth.) any of the nine daughters of Zeus, each of whom presided over a different art or science. And yet another--a source of inspiration, esp. of a poet.

I love this word, I guess I'll have to begin a sidebar entry on "words I love". Anyway, here are a few things this author has been "taught" by her kids:

**If it hurts, stop doing it

**If you don't run, you won't trip, but you may never get there.

**One hundred times is not too many if it's your favorite book.

Oh my gosh, we should all start thinking a little more like "kids"....

Part III

It's 7:30 pm now, and this will be my last post of the day. Susie Homemaker and Hattie Housekeeper came by today. We had a nice visit. I can see out of the living room windows now, there will be dessert tonight, the cat can now get in her litter box, and we're no longer tripping over the dust balls in the hall. Those ladies worked their butts off today and I commend their efforts.

The news is on right now, and my stomach is beginning to hurt. I'm glad I already decided to watch a movie tomorrow night...