Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Larimore, ND pop. 1312

Doug and I took a little ride this past weekend to the teeming metropolis of Larimore, ND, pop. 1312, to see what we could see.

I warned Doug that as soon as we entered this little town, we would be noticed, just because we were there. And I was right.

It was actually more photogenic than I expected.

While photographing this building, which use to be a bank, a man approached me, pulled out his camera, and also started photographing it! He was the one who told me it used to be a bank building.

And that he was actually there visiting his grandmother, decided to get a photo of this for her, because his grandfather use to be the bank president. He said his grandfather was in the bank in 1930 when it was held up!

And I liked the look of this railing on the side.

And then while I was standing in the middle of the street, a van pulled up along side me, and a man leaned out saying, "I was just thinking about how photogenic this little town is!" Or so he claimed!!!!!! But then he continued to circle around several more times, and we became suspicious of him, although maybe he was just being suspicious of us. . .

ETA: Oh, WOW! I just wanted to add, I just made this from my SIL, Maria's, blog tonight, and it is delicious! I also foresee leftovers, which is gooooooood!

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

This is a novel so bleak and harrowing that you never learn the names of the two main characters. A father and son struggle to survive under such bleak circumstances that even the father's identity has been stripped away to the extent that at one point, encountering his reflection in a mirror, he nearly raises his pistol to shoot himself.

At least 6 or 7 years have gone by after a cataclysmic event covers the world in ash, blots out the sun, and destroys all plant life. What remains in the ruins of habitation has been thoroughly, desperately, plundered for any objects of sustenance or survival.

Before the novel ended, I found myself wondering whether all slivers of hope would also be a casualty in their lives.

Terribly brutal but still strangely fascinating to read!

And here's a few photos that seemed to capture the mood of this novel.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blockade Billy on the Nook

Blockade Billy by Stephen King: Download Cover

Stephen King may be known as "The King of Horror", but he is also known as a fantastic painter of characters! He has such range in finding ways to present a character! Blockade Billy is one side of a conversation of an elderly man in a nursing home with Stephen King. He's telling King about Blockade Billy, a very unusual baseball player that he knew long ago. It's more of a short story than a novel, but an enjoyable couple hours' read. Those who like and follow baseball are more likely to enjoy all the references and context, but the "baseball ignorant" (like me) can still manage just fine to go along for the Stephen King ride.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Cyclamen Blossom

The cyclamen that sits on my desk at work seems to love me! It just blooms and blooms!

Today, my two favorite Nikon lenses are the Nikon 105mm 2.8, and the Nikon 16-85 mm 3.5-5.6.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Hoyas Gone Wild!

Remember the plant that I told you about? The one that crept into my office, across the ceiling, under stealth of night (and day)?

It's bloomed, and this is what I see now when I look up above my head at work!

It's just one of life's little reminders that it really, really, does have a sense of humor!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sunflower Topaz Adjust

Nicki suggested my sunflower photo might lend itself to Topaz Adjust, and this is something I've thought about trying for awhile. I finally downloaded the 30-day free trial, and played with it a little with this photo. This particular adjustment is "dramatic". I tried the HDR adjustment, and thought I liked my own version better, but I don't know how to work with all the sliders in the program yet. I also liked the "ghostly" version, but it definitely results in a creepy, Stephen-King-like vampire sunflower field! The painting adjustments were also fun to play with.

Thanks, Nicki! I think I'm going to enjoy playing around with Topaz Adjust!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sunflower Mob and Dragonfly Portrait

Doug and I went for a wander in the woods, and saw this bad boy stalking the perimeter.

Then we headed off in search of buffalo, but they were no where to be seen this weekend. We were, however, accosted by this mob of sunflowers.

We paid their toll, and they let us go home. . .

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Turtle River State Park

Turtle River State Park is this little park about 20 miles from our house, perfect for a wandering in the woods, getting out of the house, little venture. On the way, we passed a sunflower field and a buffalo farm. . .
The park is not grand, by any stretch of the imagination, but it's got water, campground areas, mosquitoes, and kids fishing and splashing, picnic areas, and outdoor weddings. . . . even a touch of the old poison ivy. It makes for a very pleasant escape from indoors.

Nicki asked about how to make photos larger on blogger, and I stumbled upon a way the other day. I'd tried the same method in the past, and it never worked. But because it seems like blogger changes its format every now and then, I thought I'd try again. . . .

And it's easy!

You know how when you are entering a new post, you have the option to either edit html, or compose? After you upload your photo, go to the "edit Html" view.

Look at the code for a photo. Your specific numbers might be different, depending on how you prepare your photo for the web. In my code for a photo, I see:

width: 400px; height: 266px;

. . . and I just delete this. Delete it all the way from "width" to "px;", but make sure you leave the " after "px;" that stays in the code.
Next, a little further down in the code for the photo, you'll see something like:


All I do here is change the "400" to "900" and there it is! A nice big honker of a photo! And if you click on the photo, you get it even bigger! (And then, . . . go ahead!. . . . click on it even one more time!)

Wonderful for those of you who might be having EyeBall issues (thank-you-very-much!), or just like things BIG.

I'm not sure if all the blogger templates will behave nicely with this method, but it worked for me. Give it a try, and let me know what you think!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Calling BIG PHOTO Fans

Wow! I didn't know blogger would now accommodate a photo with 900 px on one side! This is going to be fun!

I went to a friend's son's wedding shower two weekends ago, and it was so much fun to take random shots of the sweet couple, and random items in my artistic friend's house. It's so nice to have tolerant friends, who let me scope out their houses and yards for Beautiful Things to photograph!!

My sweet friend, Ruth, told me that after the wedding shower, her yard was nominated for "Yard of the Week" by the local newspaper--except they botched it and sent their photographer to the neighbor next door.

Here are a few photos of the right yard:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

More for the Aging Memo: Posterior Vitreous Detachment

Subtitle: Keep an Eye on Your Eyeballs if You Value Your Sight

Actually, this is a more serious post on something that can happen to your vision, and happened to someone very near and dear to my heart this week, who gave me permission to post this.

I want all of you to know about this, because it's potentially sight-saving.

Another thing that can happen as we age is that our vitreous in our eye can detach. You know how eyeballs are shaped kind of like grapes? The vitreous is the inside of the grape; the retina is like the back of the inside of the skin of the grape.

Picture a lovely gelatin dessert sitting in your refrigerator, and a fine little gratin dish (like those beautiful ones that Maria sent me at Christmas.) Now, picture having somehow forgotten one of those desserts in the refrigerator. . . . and it ages. . . and the gelatinous dessert gradually pulls away from the sides of the dish. That's your eye getting older, at least for about 60% of those over 80 (and for an unlucky few, like my loved one, younger than 80.)

As this vitreous pulls away, it can detach (tear away from the retina, for an unlucky 10% of the 60%), and even bleed (hemorrhage.) And untreated it can lead to permanent blindness.

On Saturday, my Dear Sweet Loved One noticed a new floater; a super duper icky booger of a floater. And then by Sunday, he noticed that his vision was cloudy, almost like his eyeball had sucked in some hazy smog from L.A., leaving him with about 40% of his vision in the one eye.

The floater is actually matter from the tear that's floating around in the vitreous, back and forth, hither and yon, across the field of vision. The smog/haze is really blood cells, as the vitreous detaches, leaking into the vitreous. These are not good.

A good thing is to get oneself as soon as possible to an eye doctor, or emergency room, and they will refer you to a retina specialist, pronto, with statements of "Not good. I don't like what I'm seeing."

My Loved one and I quickly cut short our little ground support-helping-our-daughter-move hobby and hoped for stay at a B&B and headed back to Grand Forks. Loved One was urged along from the eye doctor to the retina specialist and a cool, fancy surgery involving lasers (in a very Star-Wars-like fashion was done) to cauterize the hemmorage.

But since this wasn't enough to re-attach the vitreous, Loved One and I headed down to Fargo on Tuesday (about 70 miles south of Grand Forks) for a little more laser razzle-dazzle.

Eventually the floater-guber-booger may or may not dissolve and the smoggy haze may or may not lift, but it shouldn't get worse, which would be the Awfully Awful outcome that you want to avoid. It's best avoided by getting to medical types with fancy lasers pronto.

It's also less likely to ever need this if you avoid things (other than avoiding aging) like putting a great deal of pressure on the eye, like blowing your nose like a Decibel 100 blast, or abruptly lifting weights, or. . . . (use your imagination.)

This guy is happy that ole Dead Eye is slightly impaired (hopefully temporarily) in the vision department:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Did EVERYONE But Me Get the Aging Memo?????

Subtitle: Public Service Announcement with Too Much Personal Information

(Now that's your cue to move along if you're especially squeamish about aging. . . .)

There seem to be these things that People Know, but not me. Like, I never knew that people needed "reading glasses" as they hit 40, because they're eyes were changing. I had no clue! I thought the pharmaceutical companies were cheaply trying to save money on ink by making the print on bottles really, really tiny! . . . . until my eye doctor diplomatically explained bifocals to me.

Now, I find that the vigorous, "Aren't I doing it right! brushing my teeth is a bad thing. A BAD thing.

As in receding gum lines!!!!

What the heck! I never heard of this! Receding hair lines, yes. . . (for guys!), but is it really fair that if you brush your teeth well (translate: "too hard") you get receding gum lines, and they hurt! And they can't fix it! Bummer. Actually, in the grand scheme of things, "bummer" with a little "B", because really, there are much, much worse things that could happen (probably also listed on the Secret Aging Memo, that I never got and intend to file a complaint form about as soon as I find my bifocals.)

And these 3 cute triplets, playing a little ballad with their musical instrument about my receding gums, were serenading me for my birthday!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Ugly, Ugly Nature Shots

Lots of activity on the river. But what are they doing?

And why is this little group gathered, and waiting. . . .

And what is this line for? What's in this cooler? Knowing what's in the cooler would probably shed light on this mystery.

Ewwwww!!!! What is that ugly blob? (blob, not bob.)

It's a freakin' butt-ugly catfish! (And you HAD to see it in the larger photo format, of course!) The so-called Cats Incredible (yeah, right.) tournament in Grand Forks, with big buck prizes, and a fine excuse for. . . . ummmm. . . . drinking. . . .
The fisher people. . . (oh, heck. The fisher MEN. Notice the predominance of male fisher-folk with their coolers) bring their ugly, ugly fish to the table to be weighed, measured, and applauded. . .

And after it's official entry into the Books, it's hustled along in a laundry basket (more ewwww!!!!) to the eager hands of waiting, innocent (easily amused) children . . .

. . . and ceremoniously dumped onto a slide. . .

. . . for the ride of its ugly life. . .

. . . back into the Red River of the North.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Shooting My Husband

Shooting my husband, shooting. . . .

. . . an empty luggage box . . .

Maybe, this is a sign we should take a trip with that luggage? (Rabbits, this is your final warning! Or next, I'm catapulting pumpkins at you!)