Sunday, October 30, 2011

Small World

There are times when I feel like my world is very small.  I live in a very small town in a very small part of NYS.  I attend a church with a small congregation and I have a small circle of friends.  The towns I live nearest are small.  Although the school my children attended is a Central School, it's not large because we live in the middle of farm country where the population is not large. I was a stay-at-home mom most of the time I was raising children.  I don't like or pay attention to politics or world events, so I impose much of the small-mindedness I'm guilty of on myself.

All this to say:  today I attended a Comic Book Convention in Albany.  I'm constantly surprised at the things that other people are interested in.  Who would have thought that there would be Conventions for Comic Book addicts??  Not only are there vendors who sell old Comic books & the artists (amazing artists) who draw the comics, but there are those who dress up as their favorite characters from the comic books--much like the Civil War and French & Indian War re-enactors do. It's an entire industry, for goodness sake!   

Never having been to one of these events, I don't know if the venue was typical--good or bad--but I was wishing the entire time that there was some kind of solid wall or backdrop against which to photograph the characters.  But alas, there wasn't.  It was what it was, and I had to make the best of it.


There was another room dedicated to playing games.  Some folks were being taught how to play, some were actually playing the game.  Below are two game pieces. The pieces average about 3/4 inch high and are hand painted.  Now that's dedication and determination!   

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Clean Windows

At the beginning of this week, on a balmy sunny afternoon, I got motivated to clean the living room windows.  It's always a relief for me when I finish that task.  I'm not good at cleaning windows and I find it a frustrating job so I procrastinate for long periods of time before I buckle down and do the deed.

It's really a good thing that I cleaned the windows when I did, because now they're nice and clean, so I can have a really clear view of the SNOW THAT'S FALLING (*&%##@!!*) right now.  Wouldn't want to miss one flake...  It's not even Halloween for goodness sake!

I wanted to get a shot of the snow on the pumpkins on the back porch through the screen, but the camera kept focusing on the screen and not the pumpkins.  I was going to trash the pictures, but when I put them on the computer I thought they looked kind of interesting.  I'm not planning on entering a competition or anything with them, but I think they're fun enough to post here.

By the way, I spent some time checking flights to Hawaii this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Twelve Hour Day

A few weeks ago I was surfing blogs and I came across one blogger who had posted 10 images from one day.  The images were made one per hour, on the hour, throughout the day.  The challenge is to take the photos wherever you are and whatever you're doing on the hour. I thought that was a pretty interesting concept and I decided I wanted to try it.  The tricky part  was remembering to begin the process early enough in the day that I wouldn't have to stay up till 1 am to take my last photo.

So yesterday I began early enough (8 am).  None of these are earth shattering or even the slightest bit creative.  But I did it.  In order to remember (because that's part of the tricky part), I set the timer on my cell phone to ring every hour.  So at one point I was in the bank, chatting with the tellers, when someone's alarm went off.  I continued chatting, ignoring the alarm until I finally realized it was mine.  I'm pretty hopeless sometimes.

Anyway, here's the journey through my day.  I got so into the routine that I wound up with 13 images.

I'd like to try this again, but the next self-challenge will be to make the images just a wee bit more creative.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Inspiration and Determination

A few weeks ago I decided that I had had enough of being overweight.  No matter what I tried on my own, I wasn't able to lose a pound--mostly because I didn't stick to what I was doing.  And as we all know, the older more mature one gets, the harder it is for one to lose the weight. 

So I got inspired and determined.  I decided to go on nurtri-system.  I did it for a month last year and lost a nice bit of weight.  I'm giving myself three months to do it this year.  (if I can persevere, that is...this is NOT fun!)

Anyway, one of the bloggers that I follow ( challenged her followers to join her in her quest to be more careful about what she's eating and to shed a few pounds.  It's nice to have someone to be accountable to.  But just so you know, as I sit here writing this, I'm gnawing on my finger and dreading thinking about the fact that it's still 3 hours till dinner-time.    My goal is to lose 20 lbs by Christmas.  I think that's doable.

Another self-improvement project was to get my hair cut.  I'm very lazy about my hair.  I don't want to fuss with it, never have, never will, so my cut has to be one that enables me to wash and go.  As in, walk out the door while it's still wet and have it air dry in some semblance of a decent look. 

It's been 10 1/2 months since I cut it last, and I was having (totally unrealistic) expectations of once again enjoying long hair--you know, clip it back, pony tail, leave it loose, blowing in the wind.  Not!  Newsflash--one CANNOT regain one's youth by letting one's hair grow long.  It only makes you look ridiculous and it's more work than it's worth.

So I made an emergency appointment at my hairdresser's, bit the bullet, and went back to short (kinda) hair.  I couldn't quite figure out how to hold the camera in this first picture so you can see what it looked like before the cut.

While my hairdresser was working on the cut, it occured to me to hold the camera the other way.  Duh!  Sometimes I'm a little slow on the uptake.  But at least you can see what the final results are.  And you know how it is when you get a cut.  It never again looks as good as it does while you're sitting in the chair.  So this is as good as it'll get, but I'm happy...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Wasn't Going to Post

I decided yesterday that I wasn't going to post anything to my blog for the next couple of days.  At the end of the year I'll be making a book of this year's posts, and I need to slow down on the entries so that the book isn't humongous.

But this morning a friend loaned me a Scott Kelby book called "Down & Dirty Tricks for photoshop CS".  I was looking at some of the fun things that can be done with images in photoshop, but when I tried one of the "tricks" I realized I couldn't do it because I only have elements 7 and some of the CS functions are not available in elements.  That's why elements is so cheap inexpensive.  Usually elements is totally sufficient, but I was a little disappointed.

Then I remembered that I have Scott Kelby's book for Elements 7.  There aren't as many tricks as in the other book, but it has some funky ideas, and since I was psyched to try a special effect, I got the book out and practiced a little.

This is what I came up with.  I like it. 
(it's not as large as I expected it to be, but it will enlarge a little if you click on it)

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Good Day

Today was one of those "stay at home and do whatever I want to" days.  They are few and far between and I really enjoy them when I get the chance.

I started out  by trying to make a photo card for a friend of mine.  Had to edit the image, put the shadow on it, then create the template for the card, import the image and then try to align everything correctly so that when it printed everything would be in the correct place. 

So while I was doing that I flipped on the TV and found a great movie to watch.  If you want to see a "feel good" movie, get "Operation Dumbo Drop".  The movie is based on a true situation that took place during the Viet Nam war.  I know that the terms "feel good" and "Viet Nam war" in the same sentence might seem like an oxymoron to some of you, but really, it's a great movie...

After completing the card, I packaged up some items my son wanted sent to him and headed off to the post office.  But before I left I googled a recipe for Pumpkin Choc. Chip cookies, just in case I needed to buy any of the ingredients.  Sure enough, I couldn't find any pumpkin puree in the house, even though I was sure I had a can of it and about three pkgs of frozen pumpkin.  None to be found, so I went on a search and rescue mission after stopping at the PO.

The pumpkin I found was Libby brand and while putting the ingredients together I tasted the puree.  Ick.  No flavor at all which really surprised me for being a name-brand. 

The finished cookies look okay but according to the wee little taste I took, they taste like regular chocolate chip cookies.  So I guess my next mission is to get out there and buy some cooking pumpkins at a farm stand and try the recipe again with the real thing.  

I have a fun meeting tonight and then home to watch what will be left of Dancing With the Stars.  Altogether it's been a good day!

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I've noticed lately that the number of "followers" for my blog has been growing, slowly but surely.  It's encouraging, but it has me curious as to why.  I mean, I began this blog about 5 years ago and have been pretty faithful about posting.  Along the way I've had a small group of "followers", but the numbers have increased at the slowest possible rate.  Well maybe not, maybe the slowest rate would be no increase in numbers.  So why now? 

Anyway, I began my blog the first time I went to Hawaii so that I could post images I took while there, so people back in NY (I was thinking about those in my church) would be able to see the pictures.  Well, as it turns out, the majority of them say they don't have time to look at my blog.  Okay--well, I wonder why they all said they couldn't wait for me to return so they could see the pictures I took? 
(and I won't even comment about that excuse cause I would certainly make some enemies).

When I discovered, about a year ago, that I could make books out of my blog posts, I decided to continue using the blog as an online, fairly superficial,  journal, you know, highlighting some of my daily activities and the sights I was seeing.  Maybe someday my children/grandchildren will enjoy reading through the books and get a kick out of my adventures.

But now that I have a few more "followers" and have read some of their insightful and profound blogs, I'm beginning to think I should be writing more philosophical, thought-provoking posts. Seriously, do I owe my readers more than a few pictures of license plates?


So in light of that, I went back to my archives and did some alternate processing on an image I made this past summer when a friend and I visited an abandoned quarry.

This is all you get today.  I'll come up with something a little more provocative another day...maybe.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Just a Few

Here are just a few fun license plates.  I must have seen at least three really funky plates while I was driving today, but, alas, I couldn't photograph them.  The first two here are from a few weeks ago, but the last two were ones I found parked today.  

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What a Surprise!!

Many years ago an acquaintance, who was a pretty needy person, got a job selling Cutco knives.  To help him out, I agreed to let him do his schpeel on me for practice.  I had never, in my entire adult life, had good knives and I was so impressed with the product, I purchased a set from him.

Well, as I said, it was a long time ago--maybe, hmmm, 20 or so years.  They have a lifetime guarantee.  Lifetime in terms of sharpening, replacement, etc.  I never took advantage of that because I never again knew anyone who sold the product.  I LOVE THE KNIVES.  They are awesome, but after 20 years, they definitely needed to be sharpened.

One day I received a sale brochure and noticed that they had instructions and a "where-to" address if sharpening was desired.  I finally got off my lazy procrastinating butt, wrapped them, wrote out a check for only $9 (for 5 knives), and sent them off.  

They came back today.  Woot, woot!!

Now here's the kicker!  As I happily unwrapped them, I remarked to myself that some of them looked as good as new.  When my husband came in the house later, I gave him a heads-up that the knives were newly sharpened and that he should be aware of that if he decided to use them. 

He looked at the invoice, which I ignored when I opened the pkg, and asked why they replaced some of them.  I said, "they didn't replace them, they just sharpened them".  Here's the thing...they actually did replace three of them--NO CHARGE--not even an explanation on the invoice.  I guess it was the ones with the serrated edges.  What a surprise!

So!!  If any of you have Cutco knives and they need to be sharpened, go to the website for the address and don't delay.  If you don't have them and you're in the market for good knives, bite the bullet and purchase them.  You will never regret it.

Monday, October 10, 2011

North Creek

So today, two friends and I took a train ride to North Creek.  You might be thinking to yourself, 'okay, why would a train be going to North Creek, and exactly what is there to do in North Creek once the train arrives there?'

Hmmm, I had the very same thoughts when I saw the flyer for the trip.  I mean, I've been through North Creek and I guarantee it's not a thriving metropolis.  Actually, it's not a metropolis of any kind, and it's pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

Always on the lookout for a new experience and a new photo opportunity, I decided to take the trip anyway, and fortunately two of my friends agreed to go along. 

However, Indian Summer decided to return with a vengeance today.  The train was very warm on the way there, and a veritable sauna on the way home. No a/c, no breeze, and hardly any view to speak of.  In spite of that, we did manage to have some great conversation, a yummy lunch at one of the local restaurants and some fun taking photos in front of a wonderful mosaic mural.

Back at the train depot, we saw this old car off to the side.  Not the best abandoned car specimen I've every seen, but it will do.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Either,  Or

It was a stunningly beautiful day today.  Much more like our usual Fall weather than all the rain and cool conditions we've been having.  So . . . three grandkids in sports, three games to attend.

After putting the images on the computer and crying over viewing them,
I feel like I have only three alternatives left. 
EITHER I turn a blind eye to the results from the lens,  OR I:

1)  Stop trying to take action shots, 

2) suck it up, keep taking action shots and deal with the soft images I've been getting, or
3) get the new super-duper, very, veryvery expensive sharp lens that I want.

NONE of these are acceptable alternatives, although #3 is the most only desireable one.  Each time I get soft images like these , it drives me crazy, I mean, closer and closer to getting the lens.  They may not look too bad on the blog, but they aren't sharp, and the lens doesn't seem to get sharp images no matter what I do.  Okay, I'm whining.  I'll stop now.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Art Show

When I arrived back in town tonight, this is how the Glen Store looked.  It was only about 52 hours since the "takeover" and it has a new paint-job, a new porch, a new railing and a new sign.  I could see people inside being busy.  

The annual Hagaman Art Show was held this weekend.  I was completely blown away when a friend called to congratulate me for the 2nd place ribbon on one of my images.  I was even more blown away when I arrived there this afternoon and saw the other photographs on display.  They were great!  So the 2nd place award is much sweeter, knowing what my competition was.  Success definitely breeds motivation and enthusiasm.  On my way home from the art show, I was already thinking about which of my images I would submit next year.

Saturday, October 01, 2011


Yup, rain again.

Our Photo Walk this morning included a stop at the fire house.  I was psyched!