Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Something to think about

I have another crafty thing to make, and then I maybe I can give up for a while.  I want to make needle minders, they are two magnets with a decorative design on top.  For example, if I have a keychain that is now un-keyness I can make a needle minder from the key fob by adding magnets.  When they go on a project, a magnet with "charm" is on top and magnet that is pretty on the bottom, and you're there.  I'll show you one of mine at the bottom of this post.  It is addictive to make these.

I have just gone through all my photos from the last several years, looking for likely photos to submit to Shutterstock.  My overall conclusion is that I take a lot of crappy photos; poorly composed, unfocused, etc.  From the beginning of my photographic endeavors, there are quite a few that stand out.  But the problem is that the resolution is not 4 MP or better.  Many are the size for online posting, back when too big was the problem.  It is a shame, I have taken art photography classes, photojournalism classes, nighttime city classes (in San Fran) and lots of beginners and intermediate photography classses, and all of these included extensive training on the production of black and white photos in the darkroom.  We even had a darkroom set up here in the house, for a couple of years, in the room where the computers, printer, laminator, file cabinet and so on now reside.  I didn't think that digital cameras would ever equal the quality of film cameras, so much for my predictions.   I even ran an electron microscopy lab at the medical center where the images from the electron beam met the (super fine) film.  Now even that is digital, they made the 'scopes with fittings that would take the digital information apparatus long before most labs had converted to digital.  So I need to work on sharpening up my eye and choosing viable subjects, and so far I am limited to this lower floor of the house, where I only have bedroom, bath, computer room, laundry room, and out into the garage.  Hard to do an Ansel Adams style with only a single DSLR and only one lens (Nikon) and cats as models.   And once I can walk with just a cane, the horse.  The mare is quite an image, she had a "stroke like" episode several months ago, and the main result is that her tongue hangs out the side of her mouth and she flaps it up and down, slorp slorp.  This is a big improvement over the cribbing she used to do, and easier on the wood at the pavilion.  And also it looks and sounds pretty funny.  She doesn't seem bothered by it when she eats or drinks.  And at 25 years old, there is no worry about riding and the bit being in the way.

That's it for today, I am hoping all my followers are enjoying my rambling. Bye!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A cross stitch finish

This will be a quick post to show the finish of a cross stitch project that has been unfinished for at least 20 years.  When it surfaced a couple of months ago, I promised myself I would at last get it done, and here it is.

Nothing too complicated, but a lot of color changes for a 6" pattern.  I won't use it as a trivet, and maybe mess up the surface of the plastic, so it is just for show.  I have 3 more of the same sort of design, but for now I will work on the big projects.  I have a dozen of them lined up already.

I have been submitting photos to Shutterstock, an online source for searchable images to use in commercial designs.  The way it works, an image is submitted for review and if it meets the criteria for size, sharpness, etc. etc. it is listed under the keywords I select.  So I recently added two photos and one was accepted and one rejected for lack of sufficient sharpness.  Here are the two:

Raven is the all-black Newfy, and Maggie (Magpie) is the black and white Landseer Newfy.  The shutterstock people rejected Raven's photo because it was out of focus, and over processed.  Both photos were taken back to back, and neither had any photoshopping done. And I especially like the way Raven has her eyes cut to one side, as if she is saying "now what?"  So I think the Shutterstock reviewers don't see the difference between a fuzzy photo and a fuzzy dog.  Ah well, only one person's opinion.

Time to move ahead with my next subjects.  At least when I shoot dogs and cats and sunsets I don't have to get a model's release form.


Sunday, August 12, 2018


On the 29th of July was my mother's birthday.  This year she would have been 100.  She died when she was 80, so she has been gone 20 years.  It is hard to believe this, for me, it seems like a year or so.  She was in a nursing home for the last 4 weeks, as her caregiver (my father) was pitching a fit every time the hospice ladies came to the house, begging them to not leave him alone with her.  Since she was 6 months in hospice care, I don't know what he thought was going to take place at the end.  He wouldn't go to the nursing home until I insisted that he come on the last day, and drove him there so he couldn't change his mind.  He held her hand for no more than 15 minutes, and then wanted to go home and for me to call him when she died.  Mind you, she was awake and alert until about the last hour, so she knew what was going on.  When I called him to tell him that she died, he said, don't leave me here alone.  Say what?  So we went to get him to take him to our home, he wanted to bring the dog, but that was out of the question with my household of cats.  That worried him more than Mom's passing, go figure.

I don't know what made me drag those memories back, I ceased berating myself when Dad died, 3 years later, when he was 80.  Old news.

I went to the "old" mall a little earlier today to walk in an uncrowded place, air-conditioned and with a lot of benches.  I did OK, with 2 or 3 pauses.  I had to remember that however far I walked, I had to go back too, but C was there with me, and there was no hurry necessary.  It was the first time I had been in the center court since all the anchor stores, and then the little stores, all shut down.  It is where the early voting takes place, in the old Goodwill store.  You know a place is in trouble when even Goodwill pulls up stakes.  I saw a few other walkers, and if I went on Saturday instead of Sunday there were probably more walkers.  I raised a bit of a sweat but I had no pain to speak of.  And what if it was painful?  I still want off the walker, and I need to do more than a stroll down the driveway to get better.

The embroidery floss that came yesterday was a real shocker.  I knew there was DMC floss, and some knock-off floss made in Mexico, but somehow I missed asking about the proportion of each, and of course the DMC was only 40 percent.  I don't know what to do with the rest, I'm thinking I'll Goodwill it, someone will get to use it on a project, or the floss bracelets the girls are wearing around here.  Teach me to not jump to conclusions.

"Experience is what enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again."

I hope all of you who read this are having a peaceful day before the usual Monday madness.  Every Monday I appreciate being retired (which I did at 55) instead of having to go to work.

Although I would go back in a flash if it meant N was still alive.  I never thought he would be the first to go.

Time to wrap this up.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 09, 2018

so life won't pass me by

I got a new skin/keyboard cover for my MacBook Air, and instead of the blue, I got a red, just for a change.  It looks like a new laptop, no tape sticking it on, no rough edges to worry with my fingers, no keyboard cover where all the letters aren't worn off.  All for the princely sum of $12.99.  I love my little Air.

We had a downpour yesterday afternoon, but the sandbags did their job and no water got in the garage.  We're probably the only homeowner around here to use sandbags, but the last time the rain got into the garage, then the hallway, and then into my bedroom, 3 inches deep all in about 20 minutes.  Remediation and carpet replacement, $8000.   The threshold is not level under the garage door, a gap of maybe 1/2 inch on one end, but enough to flood the entire lower house.  The price includes ripping out the buried french drain and replacing it with a large pipe, new gutters, and a very hyped sense of the weather.

I have been playing around with my tiny Nikon Coolpix camera, and found it has features I never knew about.  For instance, it has a  built-in star filter, you can use it while shooting or after on the photo.  It has settings for all sorts of conditions, like beach, fireworks, sports, snow, as well as the usual portrait, red eye, etc.  I have been entertained for several days, now if I could only get outside to use the camera...  I also found I have two of these exact cameras, oops.

The consensus of the therapists is that I need to be more challenged in the routine, so for the two sessions this week I leave with sweat dripping and legs like noodles.  Also, I need to get out and walk, even if I do it at the old mall.  I went to the CVS pharmacy where I can sit down between coming in and leaving.  The lady who has been there the most came out and gave me a hug, I guess I haven't been in there for 1 or 2 years, but they always ask about me when C comes in.

I should be getting a package in today's mail of floss.  Yes, yes, I know, MORE floss?!  But I do enjoy just holding them and sorting the colors, maybe it reminds me of kindergarten.  Or something.  Anyway, delivery today should be soon.

That's it for now, thanks for reading, and I hope you found something interesting here.  Bye!