Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Decisions, Decisions. . . What Should the Well-Dressed Lab Wear for Christmas!

Sometimes it's tough to choose just the right attire for special events. And SOME friends are pushy about their ideas. First, they tackle you. . . .

Cover you in slurpy kisses and chew on your ears. . . .

. . . insist they know just the right thing to wear. . . .

. . . . and sit on your head to be the hat.

Friends! What would life be without them?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Another Peek at the Relatives While We Were In Philly

If you ever need to rent a really cool brother for some kind of PR reasons, consider this one, the one who's giving me weird looks while I hug his shoulders.

. . . Or this one, although Maria has first dibs on him, of course. Be forewarned, my rates are high for their rental. . . .

Here, we likely have my brother corrupting my sweet husband, Doug, with something on his camera. Can't you just tell by the look on Robert's face?

All was not fun in Philly. . . . This city is downright evil when it comes to parking! My brother, Robert, got a $76 parking ticket. . . . AFTER having put money in the meter AND having a handicapped sticker in his window. Down the block, 4 cars down, was a sign that said "bus loading zone." But not next to where he parked, but apparently he was suppose to know. Here, Doug is frowning ferociously at the parking ticket we got. . . . $36 for being about 3 minutes over! And then there was the $26 fine my sister got because of the way tollway lanes were labelled, and they missed the window to get toll ticket, and had to pay for the entire length of the tollroad, when they got off 3 miles down the road!

Everything else about Philly sang "brotherly love," but definitely not their parking policies/transportation policies!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distractible Huddle

First task each am on our Philly trip: gathering together and deciding what we want to do, eat, do and eat some more. Especially eat.

But look how well we stay focused!

And notice Lee playing a game of checkers. With himself. With scraps of paper.

And look how happy he is that he won!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Philly Fun

Should you have children, (which happen to be quite a bit of work, but very worth it), make sure that you require them, if they get married, to do so in a cool city. Because it's the least they can do to entertain us (which they must), given how much work they are.

So, Scott got married in Philadelphia (good choice, Scott; so far, you're doing it all just right!) And what a cool city it is! (Except for their parking issues!)

And when/if your kids get married, it will give you a golden opportunity to hang out with your relatives!!!!

This is Betsy Ross--NOT one of my relatives. She was excellent and stayed in character in such a wonderful way that I'll always picture her any time I ever hear of any reference to Betsy Ross again.

These ARE two of my relatives, one older brother, one younger. It's the funniest thing, getting two brothers together; it seems to bring out the Uber Imp in them. Who knew that Lee would be so fiendishly attracted to. . . . vegetation?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wedding Photographers are Awesome!

Seriously, you are! I don't know how you do it, day after day, getting all those perfect shots! Just the handful I got at my son's wedding were laborious . . . . and imperfect. And it was terribly agonizing to sit in the front row, tears in my eyes, seeing Scott and Elizabeth so lovingly wed. . . and not have my Nikon D300s in hand!

But my sweet sister, Mary Ann, graciously saw to it that my camera made it to the reception for me to get a "fix." Isn't her son (above) just cuddly adorable?

And my daughter Dianna, who is truly always right, says that wedding photographers have the most thankless job on the planet, because everyone looks at their own photos, and don't like them. Especially us women. (Relatives! You know who you are!) Ahhhh, but the rest of us! I love this photo of Maria and Lee, joyfully dancing at the reception. When I walked down the aisle, and caught Maria's beaming smile, I felt so embraced by a circle of love, and knew that this was the kind of family embrace that would extend to Scott and Elizabeth, and on through our circles of connection.

Thanksgiving week is such a wonderful week to count our blessings! I count this photo of Brian, above, one of my blessings! To catch his under-stated smile, without any hands warding off the Mom-Camera, was such a gift!

Mmmmmmm, cake! The fall theme was so perfect for the wedding! But WHY did I miss a shot of the pumpkins that they carved the night before, lining the path to the wedding venue?

No one would let me put these desserts in my purse to take home to enjoy the extras! I want to swirl white chocolate like that!

If only I could live close to these wonderful women!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Group Shot

Wow! Two days in a row (although, technically, one was this morning and this one is the evening of the same day.)

(You'd be posting twice in one day too if your husband was doing what mine is right now. He's watching Lawrence Welk! I kid you not! It's just sad.)

OK, so about my post. This is a group shot of my family at Scott and Elizabeth's wedding. It's a shot at the very end, after much dancing, (at least on Scott and Elizabeth's part), so everyone is beginning to look a little bit bedraggled.

But, I have to say, I really love all these people! This photo has me and Doug, our three children, the wonderful woman my son has married, two of my brothers and their phenomenal wives, my wonderful sister, her husband and her two little kids. You have no clue who is who, right? But you know what I mean, I hope, when I talk like this about family. . . .

Me and Three Sibs

Life's been such a whirlwind! A vacation, a puppy, an anniversary, a wedding, and now, preparing for a large Christmas party and a grand-puppy!

But I miss posting on my blog!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Birthday Tour: Part 4 Our So-Called Scenic Backway

And practically a stone's throw from Canada, traveling west, we proceeded along the so-called Rendezvous Region Backway through the "Spectacular Pembina Gorge." I suppose I should be more ecstatic about it, but somehow I was not. Maybe it was the construction we ran into on a 2 lane gravel road, which literally made us have to stop in our tracks for 20 minutes, waiting for the pilot car to lead our little caravan of about 10 cars, across a stretch. Apparently, some kind of construction was occurring (invisible construction escaping the naked eye.) And do you know how long it takes to accumulate 10 cars on a North Dakota backroad?

Well, to prevent totally caving to the phenomena of the "grass being greener on the other side," I just boosted the saturation and contrast in this photo:

This is as hilly as you could ever get in North Dakota. I kid you not; this is our ski slope! (My son once broke his collar bone skiing there. The parent accompanying him on this middle school trip really annoyed me when she called me from the hospital, s*l*o*w*l*y dragging it out that she was in the hospital with my son, then digressing into something about the weather, before she told me he was fine! ALWAYS begin these conversation with a parent with the bottom line: "He/she is fine." That's the rule. Don't break it! It's evil to handle it any other way.)

We did have a hitchhiker on our trip to see the scenery. Before we got totally lost, out of range of our Garmin and cell phone coverage. How do you get lost when there are only a handful of roads? And we kept asking, is THIS the spectacular scenic byway?

And we saw wildlife, so all was good.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Birthday Tour: Part 3 Icelandic State Park

And this is a rare bit of wonderfulness in North Dakota: an honest to God, actual, real, beach. They're rare, and miles and miles apart (unless you think of Devil's Lake, which is a lake that seems to be slowly consuming the state, like something out of a grade B horror flick named something like "The Glob"). But this is in Icelandic State Park, and it's beautiful.

And there are walking trails! Just wandering through the woods, along some fields. Doug is stalking a monarch. The monarch population has been declining because of the use of herbicides to control milkweed. Apparently, the monarch really depends on the milkweed plant. So I guess Doug should grab this photo while he can.

And you know that little obsession I have about sRGB? And making sure that the photos I post are in this color space rather than RGB? Forget all that stuff I said about "convert" vs. assign. It turned out that the new "save for web" action I created did not have the "embed color space" box checked off, after my computer crash in March. That's all it was! I created a new action, and now, finally, I should have dependable sRGB posts.

Why is this important, you ask? Because web browser need the information to figure out how to interpet the colors in your photo. This means that after you carefully edit your photos, the browser will willy nilly interpret the color any old way it feels like. Unless you embed the color profile in sRGB, and then there's more of a chance that the right color information will be communicated to the browser. (But then there's still that problem of not all browsers being color managed. Will you ever listen Google Chrome?)

Hamilton, ND pop. 73: Part 2 of the Birthday Tour

It was an exhaustive process, but I managed to edit the all of the photos from my extensive tour of Hamilton, ND. Should you, yourself, attempt this walking tour of the city, let me assure you that with good shoes, you CAN walk the entire downtown in one day.

Here is the post office, the centerpiece of the city's sweeping skyline:

Note that the post office includes a small cafe.

Next up, the shopping district. Should you desire to have a shopping spree in Hamilton, it would be helpful to check in advance which days, and hours, the Coffee House Treasures is open. Sadly, we missed that golden window of opportunity to pick up the rare, and perhaps rarely accessible, treasures of lifetime.

And here is a second cafe, and lest there be any question about it, YES! They do have Budweiser! My photo does not do justice to the signage which graces this establishment, marking it as Luscious Lou's 5-81 Country Bar & Grill. Darn, looks like I also missed my chance to meet Luscious Lou. (What's your guess, male or female?)

Above, you also see poor Ruby with Doug. Ruby is not "poor" because Doug has her with him; she's poor because he left her idiot harness on her that keeps her from leaping over the back seat of our car and taking over the steering wheel. It's bulky, obnoxious, and did not manage to keep her from chewing the backseat belt almost all the way through.

Another thing to note about the above photo is the red pick-up truck. After we got back in our car, the elderly, and rather grim-faced driver of this vehicle, tried out his Homeland Security Skills on us, driving up and down the street, four times, seriously scanning us for any signs of Up-to-no-Goodness. A tip of a the hat to the man in the red pick-up in doing his part to protect the Homeland, all .3 square miles of it, only 9.8 miles south of the Canadian border!

And if you want to do a bar crawl across little Hamilton, you could probably literally crawl it from the post office to Bill's Place, to Luscious Lou's. And back. And what a night you'd have!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birthday Road Trip

My birthday was last week, and you know how on your birthday, you get to push the envelope a little and ask for something from family members that on other days they might grumble a bit. (Not terribly; you just know it's not there favorite thing to do).

Well, my "pick" was to head to a little hole-in-the-wall cafe for breakfast, and then hit the back roads (long, boring, flat stretches) of North Dakota, with two wonderful buddies, Doug, and my dog, Ruby, and some camera gear.

First, we went to Darcy's Cafe in Grand Forks:

You know-- the perfect place--great coffee, huge breakfasts, and old, chipped, wooden booster seats, odd little photos tacked on the wall, neon lights, and waitresses that call you "hon", and Kenny's Special on the chalkboard menu.

Oh, and the ever kind server who will race out to your car before you pull away to give you your credit card that you forgot on the table!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Re-Enacting the Trauma

Kind of like play therapy, only different:

She's great at removing the body parts . . .

. . . but I don't think she'd be good at stitching things up.

. . . but I bet she'd be awesome at removing stitches!

Thanks for the well wishes yesterday as we worried about Baby Ruby's Big Girl operation. Not surprisingly, it went well, but it's still hard to see her uncomfortable, and the idea of "keeping her quiet" till her stitches come out seems almost delusional!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Big Red Dog's Date with her Birth Control Plan

What a day! As I write this, Ruby is at the vet getting her reproduction capabilities nixed (spayed). And it seems to fitting that this should occur on a day when I opened the newspaper (you know--those print things) and saw that the federal health care plan is going to mandate that insurance companies cover women's birth control contraceptives, starting January, 2013! It's about time! The fact that men's Viagra is so routinely covered, but women's contraceptives are not, has really angered me over the years. Insurance companies have been able to duck this by claiming religious controversy. I suspect it's been a "convenient" and lucrative "moral position" and their part, and that they've been much more inclined to cater to their male stakeholders than to young women. But I digress. . . .

. . . Anyway, so Ruby is at the vet, and I'm anxious about this. She looked at me with her beautiful big eyes this morning and said, "Where's the food? Yo! Are you forgetting something near and dear to my heart? Tricks? Shall I do tricks for you? How about a handshake? Ummmm, let's go in the kitchen and get some food!" Apparently, we would get to fee her until tomorrow.

And then we pulled out the leash and led her to the car (translate, she practically dragged us to the car and leapt with joy into the back seat), and now she's probably under sedation. . . . so I'm pacing around, antsy, looking for ways to distract myself . . . . (I'm glad my children never needed their tonsils taken out, or. . . ummmmm. . . . needed to be fixed!)

So here are two versions of a shot of the Big Red Dog, and look how red--I mean, REALLY, really red she is in the second photo. The photo was taken with my new 20mm f2.8 lens at the dog park. The first photo is much more what she actually looks like to me.

The second version is one in which I used the command "convert to sRGB" from my working space of RGB in photoshop, and then ran an action that resizes and sharpens for web.

The first shot is one in which I used the command "assign to sRGB" and then ran the same action.

I don't get it. The "convert" command somehow loses the sRGB change, and results in a photo that is interpreted by the web any old which way, in whatever color space it feels like. And Wild Red it is.

But the "assign" command keeps the sRGB designation and successfully bosses the web around demanding that my instructions about the sRGB color space be followed. (But then again, Google Chrome and internet explorer are still not color managed and will play looser with color instructions; Safari and Firefox have much better color management capabilities.)

Other than all that, this shot is of Ruby at the dog park. She loves it! She's now gotten to go about four times, and still thinks its the Happiest Place on Earth (sorry Disney.) See the black dog taking a drink from rectangular Rubber Maid container? Ruby is a maniac with it; when she gets a chance at it, she manages to "dig" out all the water with her front paws, splashing any nearby humans, who then are at her beck and call to refill it from the drinking fountain. Apparently, other owners at the park are telling me their dogs are picking up her fiendish ways and are doing the same things to their dishes at home now. Sorry folks!

Sigh. Time to go pace around in the kitchen again and clean a closet. . . .

***** UPDATE * * * * *
Ruby is home and well and groggy and sleepy. I'm not sure yet if she's going to be trying to lick her stitches a lot, so we're taking a wait-and-see attitude about whether she need to wear the cone around her head. We actually got one of those inflatable ones. It's hard to see her like this; she's definitely uncomfortable, and for awhile she just laid in her crate and moaned :(

Hopefully the next two weeks will show a speedy recovery, and we'll see our little maniac back!