Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Travel Time

Well, it's been a long time since I've written one of these posts!  I'm actually traveling for work a bit this week.  Nothing too far and only 2 nights away from home.  It should be good.  I'm heading out to a site to do some report work and visiting with a few others that are on the way or nearby.  So, it's part service call, part diplomatic mission of warm fuzzies.  All in all, it shouldn't be too bad.  I like all the guys I'm visiting and I've been to two of the plants before.

I'll be leaving today around lunch time and spending all day tomorrow on site working on reports and having lunch with a few sites.  Then Thursday on my way home I'm stopping at another site, just to say hi and check in with them.  Hopefully I'll be home by 6 Thursday evening and will be able to pick up Boo myself from daycare.

The last time I traveled for work it was right before Boo turned 1.  It was both good and miserable.  At least for me.  I think this time will be more miserable for Boo, because he's a bit (a lot) more aware of things.  I'll be calling home at bed time.  Also, we just spent a weekend away from Daddy, so he's been through that.  But, I'm Momma.  And as much as I'd love to say Gak and I are interchangeable, as everyone knows, you have different relationships with each of your parents.  And well, I'm the one Boo wants to cling to and snuggle with.  I think a good bit of that has to do with the fact that he just doesn't get to see as much of me as he does Gak, but also, again, I'm Momma and that tends to be a different bond than the one with Daddy.  All in all though, Gak and I both love our boy dearly and as much as I look forward to being out of the office, I'm not 100% looking forward to leaving the boys.  (Although, I am looking forward to an overnight trip next month with some college friends!!)

I am also negligent in posting not only about our weekend adventures (and trust me, Sunday was full of adventure!) I didn't even stop in to post a few words that yesterday was Gak's and my 7th anniversary!  I can't believe it's been seven years already, but some times it feels like we've always been married.  Here's to many, many, many more years together with my love.

I've got a boy to snuggle and a day to get ready for.

Peace to all and may your adventures be good, and the work challenging but fun.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Huh? What?

Let's see... it's been a week since I've posted.  As well as I was doing in July with posting, even with it being a reporting month, I've been doing equally miserably at updating in August.  Oh well, I'll get over it.

I've been battling off and on with exhaustion this month.  I had some follow-up blood work done and my Vitamin D levels are low, but within normal levels.  I'm not sure I totally believe it, but with the amount of Vitamin D I'm taking, I'd think my levels would be higher.  Oh well.  Hopefully it's just doing too much and the hard work of July catching up with me.  We shall see.  I just know that the last two weeks have been very difficult at work trying to focus and get things done.

On the plus side, there are a few good things going on.  My cousin Rae has finally passed the 20-week mark in her pregnancy.  I'm so thrilled that she and Kami are finally going to have a baby.  I can't wait to meet my newest little cousin, but I'm more than willing to wait another 29 weeks or so.  He can stay right where he is for now.

Mom, Boo and I went to the beach on Monday.  We had a great time.  I only have a few pictures.  Actually, I only have a few pictures from the whole month.  I've really fallen down on that, but I think part of it is burnout and part of it is the exhaustion showing through.  Anyhow, we had quite an enjoyable day on Monday.  We played on the beach and in the water, we had some lunch, went to the book store and the T-shirt store and had some ice cream.  Then we went back onto the beach for a little while more before heading home.  It was a very wonderful day.  I just wish Gak was able to join us at least one day.

I know I had some other positive things to post, but I honestly can't remember them right now.  I've been pretty distracted writing this between the show on the QM2 that Gak is watching, mindless puzzle games and putting a boy-o back to bed a few times.  Oh well.  I think I'll just wrap it up here.

Maybe later this week I'll do a craft update.  I've got 1 pair of socks done, 1 pair of socks almost done, a few scarves and one or two shrugs that I've completed since I last did a crafty-girl update.  I've been keeping my hooks busy in an attempt to keep my hands from shoveling more snacks into my mouth.  (I've been having a heck of a time not mindlessly snacking at work.)

Anyhow, I'm going to wrap this ramble up and head to bed...

Peace to all and may your thoughts not fragment and you have a good time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Photography vs. Art?

I've been doing the "Photo A Day" challenges from Fat Mum Slim for the past 2.5 months.  Also, somewhere along the line a friend on G+ shared a circle of photographers, so now my feed is full of some awesome (and not so awesome) photos.
Seeing all these images and actually paying attention to the shots I'm taking, well, more attention than I had been paying, has got me rankled.  Actually, it has just brought somethings that have been festering in the back of my mind for a long time now to the surface.

As much as I love my digital camera and the ease with which I can take, and over take, pictures, I'm not sure  everything it's done for photography as an art is a good thing.  First off, with the price of cameras coming down, and the quality being pretty good, everyone and their cousin thinks they're a Photographer with a capital "P".  Now, I've been taking pictures practically since I can remember.  But, I still don't call myself a Photographer.  I'm a photographer.  I'm someone who enjoys taking pictures, not just snapshots.  I know a fair bit about how a camera works and what things like f-stop and ISO mean and how shutter speed and f-stop and ISO are all related.  I've taken a few classes in high school, but really they were for fun and practice and I didn't learn a whole lot I didn't already know.  I'm not an expert in lighting or staging a shot and I'm really no pro when it comes to using Photoshop or any of the other photo editing software packages out there.  And you know what, I don't want to.  I enjoy playing with my images and exploring the world and capturing moments as I see them.  I wasn't into big darkroom tricks when I was doing black and white film, and I'm not into big software tricks now that I'm digital.

That leads me to one, or maybe several, of the other things that is bugging me about photography these days.  All the "tricks" everyone and their brother seems to be using on every single photograph.  Like capturing a moment in time isn't good enough, but they've got to fiddle with it and make it "perfect".  Dad's always telling me there's no such thing as perfect.  Sure, I'll adjust the contrast or the "exposure" or color levels, but that's about it.  And yes, I crop pictures, sometimes a LOT sometimes just a little and sometimes not at all.  And no, they're not always perfectly square or in the standard ratios.

And what is it with long exposures (especially of streams, creaks and water falls), single color highlights and whatever this HDR baloney is?  And why, in the name of all that is holy must every single shot be made to look as if it was shot using a Polaroid with half expired film?  I just don't get it.  I'm so not a fan of any of this.   In my mind it destroys the purity of photography, it makes it dirty.  I can't come up with any better word for it, but it just feels dirty to me.  Maybe I'm a realist living in an impressionist world, but why must every single person feel the need, no the mandate, to use every single tool in the Photoshop toolbox?  Aren't their images good enough to stand on their own two feet without all these tricks?
Yes, I know that sometimes you can't say what you want to say without some of these tricks.  I'll freely admit that I have a photo hanging in my living room that's of some lilies that I took at a museum in California that I played with in Photoshop to make what I lovingly call a "faux-Monet".  I have a Monet lily poster hanging on the opposite wall.  They go well together.  But, I don't do that to every blessed shot I shoot.

I'm not really sure what the point of all this was.  I know I can't change human nature.  And photography is the latest "fad".  Actually, I'm sure my dad'll tell me it's been a fad since the first affordable Kodak camera came on the market and that in the days after WWII everyone and their brother thought they were a Photographer.  Maybe it is just the mass bombardment we get with social media and the 24x7 connections we've got these days.  Maybe it's that all these tricks are becoming "easy" and are cheap.  But quite frankly, I'm not sure it's doing photography as an art form much good.  It makes everyone go "I can do that" and they think they can and you get inundated with nothing more than a million snapshots.  Yes, I take a lot of snapshots myself, but still... I've been taught to "look" and "see" the image and compose the shot at least to some extent and I do that more often than not, even with snapshots.  (Point in fact, I can remember trying very hard to set up a shot and get the perfect picture of a man with a stack of what seemed like 100 hats on his head at the KC Renascence Faire back when I was about 7 or 8 years old and getting nothing but frustrated.  The man understood what I was trying to do and posed wonderfully for me, but it seemed like everyone saw "just a kid" and had no problems barging in front of me while trying to take a shot.  And since this was back in the 80's I was shooting film and hoarding every single exposure I had on my roll.)

And, I'm a bit of liar.  I've put a camera in my son's hand at the ripe old age of 3 (and now he's 4) and let him have at it.  I fully intend on teaching him the lessons dad and mom taught me along the way.  But, for now, I let him take a million snapshots and then tell him he's taken enough for now and put the camera up on a high shelf.  He does get some interesting ones and I think part of why I do it is because it lets me see the world through his eyes.  I'm sure this was an unintended (or maybe an intended) bonus for my own parents when they put a camera in my own hands at a young age.  (That and I'm sure dad wanted me to follow in his footsteps and since photography is a passion and brought so much joy to him and a way to explore the world, he wanted to share it with Jon and I.)

So, with this jumble of thoughts and grumpiness (and no pictures today) I will leave you.  I haven't done well with the August challenge.  My exhaustion has been catching up with me again and my heart just isn't in it this month.  There have been some great prompts, but I'm just not feeling it at the moment.  (I am enjoying playing with Dad's Nikon D80 though... even though I really need to download the manual and figure out how to use the old non-AF lenses... I keep getting errors and the camera won't let me shoot...)

I bid you peace and joy in your hobbies.  (And for all that is holy step away from the photo editor.... please, just this once?)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Picture Pages

I promised you a picture page update the other day.  So, here it is.  Yesterday's and today's pictures are still on the camera, so you'll have to wait.  I'm not feeling very verbose this evening, but since I'm tired, that means I'll probably end up rambling way longer than I expect to...

August 1st, Outside.  I was actually feeling a little creative with this one.  This is looking out from the living room through the screen door onto the balcony.  I purposefully focused on the screen, not the flowers.

August 2nd, One.  I had problems with this one.  I dug Boo's "1" magnet out of the drawer and found a creative background on the fridge.  The focus is a little off.  Oh well.

August 3rd, coin.  This is the handful of Canadian coins that are still floating around in my work computer bag.  They're sitting on the inside of the flap of my current work bag.  I tried to make it interesting...

August 4th was "somewhere you sat".  Well, I'm not sure I need to say much more about this.  It was a wonderful afternoon at the beach.

 August 5th was logo.  I thought about getting a picture of the sign of the development we were staying in, but I didn't.  Besides, this is my favorite pizza and one of the big reasons I keep going back where I go.  Gotta love Grotto.

August 6th, is writing.  Playing in the sand.

August 7th was 8:00.  And well, Tuesday I was back at work and in the 8:00 hour this is what my desk looked like.  Or at least part of my desk.  This was shortly after I got the afore mentioned email about my Hydra of a problem customer.  Oh well.

Yesterday morning I took the one for the 8th, Wednesday's prompt was "glasses".  It's not very creative and it's still on the camera.  I'll post it later.

Yesterday was "messy" and I got a great shot of Boo while eating ice cream.  It wasn't the messiest he's been eating ice cream, but it was still pretty darn cute.

Today's was ring.  I think I got a pretty creative one, but again, it's still on the camera.  And I'm about to go crash into bed.  Here's hoping I actually crash.  I've been exhausted all week.  Not quite the bone aching exhaustion of earlier in the spring, but pretty close.  I've been that cold I get when I'm exhausted in the middle of the day at work.  I can't keep my eyes open in the evening, but as soon as I lie down, my eyes are wide awake and I can't shut the brain down.  I had blood drawn this morning to check my vitamin D levels.  I was supposed to get it done this month, so that's pretty convenient.  I just wish I could get all my energy back and get back into my 3-5 day-a-week activity groove and get back to eating the way I know I should be eating.  I know a good part of why I feel like I do is because I just haven't been doing what I need to do for my body.

See, I told you I'd end up rambling a bit.

Anyhow, I'm off to bed.

Peace to all and may you get some great photos and plenty of rest.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


Sorry I haven't posted all week.  The end of last week was pretty hectic at work and then I actually had a bit of "vacation".  It may have only been three days, but is was a very full, very fun and also pretty darn relaxing three days.  Even with being very full and lots of driving.

Yep, Kat, Steph, the kids and I went to Rehoboth for the weekend.  Well, Kat and Zoe had to go to Arlington on Friday and then drove over to Delaware that night.  Steph, the kids and I left Friday after work (we managed to get on the road by 6 when we both got off work at 4...).  It was really late when we got to the house, but it was all good.

Anyhow, Saturday was a fairly lazy morning followed by a handful of hours at Cape Henlopen State Park.  We were at the south end, just north of Rehoboth proper.  We couldn't find parking in Rehoboth and silly me didn't think about taking the Park and Ride until we were circling the blocks... oops.  It was much more enjoyable actually to be at Henlopen.  The best part of the day?  Swimming with my boy-o in the waves.  I think I need to convince him to wear a flotation vest when we do that though... just because he's a bit tough to hold on to and he can't swim by himself yet.  Next time... Yep, that's right, we actually went far out enough that I had to jump to keep my head above water when some of the waves came.  We had fun.  We also had fun playing in the sand and just having a really good afternoon.

We had a late-ish dinner back at the house of spaghetti (we were going to have it earlier than later, but the water just didn't want to boil and we had to get everyone showered...) then we headed back into Rehoboth and hung out at Fun Land for a little bit, wandered a few shops and then had ice cream.  We got home around midnight.

Sunday was spent cleaning in the morning.  We ended up doing a good bit more cleaning than we planed to, but that's because the two 11-year-olds were having problems with listening and being good role models for Boo.  So, they got extra cleaning chores.  I'm sure Dorothy and the rest will appreciate everything we got done off the "honey-do" list and then some.  We then took the park and ride into Rehoboth and had an early dinner of Grotto Pizza and Thrasher's French Fries on the boardwalk before hitting the sand for a few hours. Then, sadly, it was time for Steph, Kat and the kids to go.  Boo was very sad about that.  But, it meant a quiet evening at the house for the two of us.  Actually, he crashed pretty hard very shortly after we got home.

Monday I did the last of the laundry and our packing.  Then we met Mom at McDonalds.  We decided the park and ride was the best option and headed into town.  We had a few hours on the beach just being lazy for the most part and splashing a little in the waves.  Boo was wearing shorts because he didn't want to wear his swimsuit because he wasn't going to get wet.  That lasted about 10 minutes.  Thankfully I had two more clean sets of clothes for him.  We got off the beach right as a little storm rolled through and we had a light lunch at Grotto Pizza.  We then wandered up to the book store and then Boo declared it was time for ice cream (hence the need for the third set of clothes for the day...).  We then head back to the car.

We'd arranged to go to dinner at about 5:30 with Jay.  Since we had about an hour or so to kill, we wandered over to the outlets.  We went to Old Navy where Amma and I picked up several things for Boo's fall/winter clothes and I picked up two shirts.  By the time we left there, Boo was sound asleep in his stroller.  He got about a half hour snooze all together.  After Old Navy we went to the Corning outlet where I got a dozen new plates (6 big, 6 small) to replace my broken blue ones from Ikea.  They're pretty neat and should be much less breakable.

We had an enjoyable dinner with Jay and then it was sadly time to get on the road.
That was my whirlwind vacation.  We had so much fun together.  We've got to do it again.  I've posted a few pictures here, but there are many, many more over on Flickr (I think I uploaded 35 or 40... out of the about 80 I had on my camera...)

This week's been a real winner... any relaxation I still had from my vacation vanished within about an hour of getting to work.  Stupid Hydra of a problem.  But, that's another story.

Anyhow, hopefully tomorrow I'll get around to doing a "Photo a Day August" post...

Peace to all and may your vacations be wonderful, even if they're only 3 days long.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

New Month, New Adventures

Since it's almost 9:00, I'm going to try and keep this brief.   Here are the last of the July Photo A Day photos and today's photo.  I took today's photo using my Dad's Nikon D80.  I'm borrowing it for a while, mostly because I've had that itch to have a little more control over my photographs.  I've added a few more photos I've taken with the D80 on Flickr.  I've only played with a tiny fraction of the settings and I'm overwhelmed.  Kinda like my Photoshop Elements.  I use just enough to do what I want and ignore about 90% of it.  I'm having fun with the D80, so maybe there'll be a few more "creative" shots...

July 30th: Calm.  You can't get much more calm than Boo actually sleeping.  He's so darn cute when he sleeps.  So sweet, it makes it even harder to leave for work...

July 31: Toothbrush.  This is Boo's and my toothbrushes.  I love the echo of the line of the sink in the line of Boo's blue toothbrush.  (I actually took this one today, but that's only because my Cannon's battery was dead last night.

August 1st: Outside.  I tried to think "outside the box" on this one.  Unfortunately, I couldn't think of anything I had around that I could literally take outside the box.  So, I took this one looking out the back door.  Yes, I focused on the screen on purpose.

Anyhow, I've got 2 more work days until the weekend.  And I'm so looking forward to this.  Steph, Kat and the kids are joining Boo and I down at Bobbie's house in Delaware for the weekend.  We're leaving Friday night and Boo and I are staying until Monday, but the rest are coming home Sunday night.  Mom's coming down Monday.  It should be an awesome time.  Everyone is so looking forward to it.  Well, maybe not Gak, but that's because he has to stay home and work.  Wish he could come, but like Zoe said yesterday, this is a "no Daddy weekend".

Peace to all and may August bring you new, more fun adventures than July.