Friday, December 25, 2009

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, in a land far away, Christmas dawned bright and clear. The snow on the tree branches glistened in the morning sun and the sky was so blue there could be no description for it. The fluffy white clouds hung in sight waiting for a breeze to move them along.

Briiing, BRiiing, BRIIING!!! Time to get up. (I really don't have an alarm clock--the "briing" is just literary license to make a point)

The dream went up in a poof of reality. Upstate NY. Christmas morning. The normal: gray skies, fog, dirty snow on the roadsides. Oh well.

Christmas is CHRISTMAS no matter what the weather--it's what's in our hearts that really counts. It's loving the LORD for sending His Son to earth for us. Awesome!

So I got out of bed and did all the morning chores: get dressed, make coffee, stoke the fire in the wood furnace, feed the animals, walk the dogs, hauling along my camera to document this less-than-stellar Christmas weather, get a last minute Christmas gift out of the car trunk and hide it, check my email, put the potatoes in the oven to bake so I can make potato skins later, print out a photo gift certificate that I was supposed to give to a client days ago. Okay, okay, so some of those things are not ordinary morning chores, but I did them anyway.

So MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all.

this is an early morning post. I may post another later tonight. Check back just in case I do.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Was Really Clever

It is Christmas Eve, 2009. Another year has passed and is almost over. Wonder how that happened? I seem to be saying that a lot lately. Many years have passed since I graduated from college. How did that happen? My oldest child is that old but what's puzzling is that my youngest child is this old. HOW did that happen? Even more confounding is that my oldest grandchild is almost in high school. Good grief--there can't even be an answer as to HOW that happened? I swear I didn't blink, but it sure seems like I had my eyes closed a lot. Sigh.

Anyway, back to Christmas eve. It's also my daughter's birthday. I was really clever, having her born on Christmas eve, don't you think? We always celebrated her birthday as a separate entity (unlike those I've heard of who say on Christmas morning, "Oh, here's your gift--it's for your birthday and Christmas"), but there were times when it was really a stretch to fit a separate party into the holiday preparations.

Once she was older and married, it became a really pleasant situation, at least for me, even if she doesn't agree. We would all go to Christmas Eve service, then back to my house for her birthday cake and presents. It added a little pizazz to the evening.

This year we decided to do things just a little differently. We met for an early dinner at Ruby Tuesday's and had a wee birthday celebration there. Very nice--no cooking, no cleaning, no stress.

After dinner we all went to Christmas Eve service.


The day Jesus was born to die

The day Jesus was born to die a horrific death

The day God sent His Son into the world to atone for our sins

Thank God for Christmas

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas as you enjoy your families and contemplate the amazing sacrifice that God made when He sent His Son to earth, and a Blessed New Year.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Not Much Motivation

I haven't posted much lately. This lapse, following on the heels of a year of daily posts , is discouraging (but if truth be told, I missed a few days during that year). For those who may be new to this blog, several friends and I committed to taking and posting at least one photo a day for a year. Several of them were so faithful they never missed a day, the others of us missed a few--mostly due to work constraints or computer issues. The challenge began on Oct. 1, and ended on this past Sept. 30, one year later.

One of my other friends, bless her heart, tells me that she still comes to my blog daily, only to see the same post for weeks at a time. She says it as a casual statement, not as an accusation. But I'm convicted, nonetheless.

I just don't have much motivation. Maybe I need to challenge myself to another year of daily photos--even if I use photos I've already taken. Maybe I have to stop playing Bejeweled on facebook. That's probably more the issue.

Anyway, I went shopping with a couple of friends the other day. It was one of those "desperation" shopping days. You know the kind--"I haven't done any Christmas shopping YET, and there's only 10 days until Christmas, so if I don't do it now, it will never get done. Let's get going! " We were on a mission, that's for sure.

Well, the mall wasn't very crowded, and by golly, we got it done! Whew. The first thing we saw when we entered the mall was this beautiful Christmas Tree. The photo doesn't do it justice.

After our marathon shopping spree, which only took us a few hours, we treated ourselves to lunch at the Olive Garden. Everything there is very, very delicious, so the decision was almost more nerve-wracking than the shopping.

Alice was done deciding, Jean was still thinking.

My choice: Chicken Parmigiana. It was as good as it looks, especially since I didn't have to cook it.

So all in all, it was a very productive day. So thank you, my friends, for the company and the laughs.

Monday, December 07, 2009

So Who Does It?

So we live in upstate NY. It gets cold and it snows in the winter.

It snowed yesterday. Not much, but enough that there's still snow on the ground and trees.

My question is: when you live in upstate NY and it's winter and it's finally time to put the snow tires on the car, and your husband is still recovering from a back injury, who gets to change the tires, Who Does It?

The answer is: Me!

Okay. Now I've changed tires before. I learned to do that a long, long time ago because I never wanted to be stranded on the road, or dependent on calling home and waiting to be rescued. Back in those days I couldn't afford Road Service.

But, multiply that by 5--yeah, I know a car only has four wheels, but my husband needed one of his truck tires changed too, and add to it that there was snow on the ground and that it was cold (but mercifully not windy).

Frank made it a little easier by giving me pointers on how to do things more efficiently.

I decided that I'd make the chore as tolerable as I could. I found my "Blue Crush" cd, put it in the car cd player, opened the car windows, turned up the volume and danced my way through the job. (okay, it might be a little pathetic that I love "Blue Crush", the movie, but I do)

Okay, the job's done and now I won't have to hyperventilate the next time I have to drive in the snow. I still won't like it, but I'll feel safer.

Check out the post below. It's a new one too.

Beauty From Boredom

Last Friday I attended a dinner with my husband. I didn't really want to go, but he wanted me to, and he still needs a little company on his jaunts while recovering from his back injury.

I didn't expect that there would be anyone there I knew. All the stars lined up that night because in walked the one person, in a room of about 80 people, that I knew at all, with her husband.

Whoo hoo.

So we chatted, then dinner was served. Then one of the members of the group began playing some music which was actually pretty nice. But I started yawning and wondering what I could do to occupy my mind.

Back up a bit.

When we left the house, my mind had a discussion with itself. "Are you going to take your purse?"
"Nah, Frank's driving, I won't need anything in it or any identification."
"But you always need identification--you never know what might happen."
"But dang it, I don't want to haul that thing around."
"Hey, don't forget, your point and shoot is in it, and you might want that."
"Oh, all right, I'll take it!"

Back to the dinner. Sitting there, wondering what to, I remembered that I had my camera. So I got it out and started fooling around with some items that were still on the table. I didn't want to use the flash, and even at a high iso it was at a very slow shutter speed.

"Guess I'll have to take all the pictures with the camera flat on the table," I thought.

Within a few minutes my friend and I were moving dishes around, rearranging ice cubes, laughing (very quietly I might add), and making everyone else at the table shake their heads in wonderment.

The following images are a few of the results. No one is going to knock down my door to get their hands on them, but I consider them beauty from boredom. My camera saved the day (or evening in this case) once again.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It Started Out Okay....

Today dawned (if that's what you want to call it), grey and dreary--no surprise for upstate NY--but around 34 degrees, which is really quite tolerable for winter. I had to go join some other folks at church this morning to help decorate the sanctuary for the winter/Christmas season. I left the house wearing only an extra sweater, carrying along another layer just in case it got colder later in the day. So it started out okay.

After decorating, I had to do some shopping. I had all afternoon to browse, so I took my time wandering throughout the store. But when I reached the cashier at the front of the store, all I could do was stare and I began, mentally, to count the days until my plane leaves for Hawaii.

It was SNOWING!!!!!!!!!! Aaaargh. Fortunately it wasn't sticking to the roads at that point--obviously we don't have the snow tires on the car yet, that would be too sensible. So I finished my errands and returned home.

It kept snowing, hmmmmm.

As I was getting ready to write this post, it occurred to me that snow is kind of like art. Remember I mentioned that one man's art is another man's junk and vica versa? Well, one man's (or woman's in this case) dreaded weather is another's joy. I know people who actually like the snow and count the days all summer until they can ride their snowmobiles or go snow skiing again. And I'm sure the ski resorts are rejoicing too.

So, go ahead and smile, those of you who have been waiting for this. I'll just keep counting the days...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Guess I Just Don't Get It!

The local community college has a pretty decent art program and over the years they've developed quite a following for their art shows. They have a very nice space in which they hold monthly Gallery Shows highlighting artists of varying media.

Our MVP group got together tonight for our monthly meeting to visit the gallery. I can't tell you what the theme was, cause even after reading the bio and description, it still wasn't clear to me. I hoped that after viewing the work on display, it would become clearer.

Unfortunately, I guess I just don't get it. Now, I know that art is subjective. One man's junk is another man's art and vica versa. But there are some pieces of "art" that are beyond my comprehension, and most of what we saw in the gallery tonight made me scratch my head in wonderment.

This first image shows a peep hole about 1 1/2 inch in diameter through which the scene of a window and fire escape are seen.


Cute, but my own children have created scenes just as interesting with their lego blocks.

This was probably one of the most interesting pieces in the show. It was an illustration of a $5 bill, in huge scale, broken into these pieces within frames and connected with hinges. The entire piece was in the shape of a huge "S".

The guys seemed to tire of the show pretty quickly.

The gals were a little more persistent in trying to "appreciate" the pieces on display.

Another diorama. Okaaayyy

And then this below. This piece was really beautiful. The wood was very appealing, but, seriously, what's the point?

Well, I'm sure that people have said that about some of my photos. What's the point? What's she trying to say??

I submitted some images to an art show recently. For two of them, when I photographed the subjects, I zoomed my lens for no other reason than to get a funky look. The judge, who did the judging at a closed session, wrote comments for each artist about each piece of work. On my card, she wrote, "What are you trying to say?"

Truth be told, I wasn't trying to say anything, I was just having fun with my camera.

I guess the work we saw tonight was pretty much the same. The artists were just having fun with their mediums. Our "opinions-be-damned" or some such sentiment.

These photos show just a representation of the pieces on display. Maybe you'd like them, maybe not. But bravo to those artists for being bold enough to display their work.

One day I'd like to have a show there. We'll see.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


I got to spend some time with my grandson, Mace, today. He came here right after school. We did some computer stuff and then we headed outside for some photos. It's been a long time since we've done a photo session.

My yard is really pretty pathetic looking. Ugly trees and scraggly bushes accompanied by old cars, car parts, lawn mowers and even a small sail boat dot the landscape. (If you've ever seen Sanfaord & Son, you might have an idea of what my yard looks like). So it was very tricky to get shots of him without "junk" in the background. We didn't have much time, so we couldn't even get in the car and go someplace that looked better.

But-----I got some shots of him that I'm happy with and now I can finish the project I'm working on as a gift for his mother AND I've got some current photos of him for myself. Whoohooo.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Couldn't Find the Photo

The other day I posted that I was keeping an eye out for a photo of my granddaughter. It was taken by a newspaper photographer who said she didn't know if/when it would run in the paper. I've looked every day and, voila, no photo. (According to my daughter, it was taken at a local Halloween party. I didn't get the chance to see the kiddies in their costumes, so I was looking forward to seeing the picture--oh well)

But today I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the "Star Student" ceremony at school. Lauren didn't know she had been chosen, but we all knew. She's in kindergarten.

Before the awards began, the 4th graders sang a few songs. Those kids crack me up--they're sooooo cute. They're enthusiastic, energetic, optimistic, excited. They haven't become jaded and cynical yet. Their faces beam and they still like grown-ups, thriving on the encouragement and love that we give them.

I get teary-eyed when I watch them. Is that a surprise to anyone who knows me?

So this group of 4th graders sang. Their first song was "America". I'm so glad I live in a small town where patriotism and God still mean something.

Lauren with her award. I couldn't stay any longer to get more photos. I like this one. She cracks me up, too.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The Headlines Say It All

Today, the day after election day, I looked at the newspaper. Usually I just bring it in the house, toss it on the counter for my husband, and ignore it. But the other day my daughter asked me to keep an eye out for a photo of my granddaughter--the photographer told her he didn't know when it would run in the paper--so I'm looking for it each day.

I came across these headlines--didn't read the articles, but the titles made me really happy. I guess the newspapers DO run some good news sometimes!!

So Happy-Day-After-Election-Day to you all.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

It Says It All

Well, hubby is home from the hospital. Last week was a whirlwind of chores, work and trips to the hospital. Ironically, I had a meeting every night from Tuesday through Saturday in addition to all the daytime stuff. Some weeks are just plain boring, with nothing more than my photo meeting on Wed. But naturally, the week hubby was hospitalized is the week I was booked solid. Murphey's Law at work!

Anyway, as I said, he's home. So now I'm just as busy, the only difference is that I'm not in the car as much. But after church this morning, I had to go to the store for a few things. I must have seen at least 4 license plates that grabbed my attention--and sure enough I saw them when I was driving and there was no camera within reach.

But when I returned to my car, I saw this one on the car next to mine. I grabbed the camera and GOT IT!

Maybe you don't remember, but a while back I mentioned how I didn't want any more drama in my life. (well there certainly is some now that hubby's laid up--but that's not the kind of drama I'm talking about) You know, the kind that develops when interpersonal relationships go awry--whether it's with a girlfriend, boyfriend, co-worker, boss, neighbor. Even though I'm not able to do it too often, I'm learning that the best response to that kind of "drama" is WHATEVER.

This license plate says it all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Just 12 Years Ago

Twelve years ago this month I was sitting in the high school auditorium watching my daughter be inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.

Tonight I sat in that same auditorium and watched my grandson, Mace, be inducted into the same organization.

Quoted from the NJHS website:

"The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) is the nation's premier organization established to recognize outstanding middle level students. More than just an honor roll, NJHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, Character and Citizenship. These characteristics have been associated with membership in the organization since their beginnings in the early 1900s."

So, congratulations to Mace, and the 40 other students inducted tonight!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

2nd Favorite

My birthday was last August. One of my presents, from Trish, was a birthday dinner. Unbelievably, it took this look to hook up and go out for that dinner. We went to Applebee's, my second favorite place to eat out, Olive Garden being my first favorite. (thank goodness there isn't an Olive Garden around here, I might never leave). Phil joined us and we had a nice time catching up with each other's lives and family happenings.

Thanks Trish!!!

Backing up a little, on my way to meet my friends for dinner, I passed a motel and saw this sign. I already felt that I was late and as I slowly passed the sign, my brain had an argument with itself. You know, the kind that goes:

"Isn't that cute, I should get a photo of it".

"But you're already late and you don't want to make them wait any longer"

"But it will be dark on the way home and you'll miss your chance".

"But the traffic is heavy and it will take too long to turn around and then get back onto the road"


So I did.

Do you get it? It took me about two split seconds. It's not a license plate, but I also have a collection of funky signs, and that's where it will go. Words are so great and I wish I could play with them like this sign maker did.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

White Balance

The assignment, given by me last Sunday, is to shoot the same scene, using a tripod, using different white balance. I used natural daylight. Nothing else is changed. No editing took place except to downsize the image in order to load it onto the blog.

The images are numbered. Choose which one you like best and let me know in the comment section. I'll reveal what white balance they are after I get a few votes.






Friday, October 23, 2009

One Last Time

At the beginning of this week, our little hiking group decided to do a hike today (Friday). After watching the weather closely all week, it was decided that we would do a short hike near Indian Lake to avoid the late-day rain that was forecast. Chimney Mountain. It was pretty chilly this morning, unlike the balmy temps we had yesterday, but at least it wasn't raining or snowing this morning.

There isn't much color left in the foliage up north and the sky was pretty gray, so things looked pretty bleak. It was a short hike, although pretty steep.

We spent quite a bit of our time talking about the hikes we would do next year.

After the hike we went for a late lunch/early dinner to a restaurant in Indian Lake. The same one we went to the last time we were up there. The menu there is amazing. It was a good day and a good way to end our hiking season.