Originally I intended to go out and take photos of these same sights for this week's Round Robin photo challenge and for the AOL Community Photo Challenge, but the weather and my mood weren't cooperating.
But hey, I finally got out and used my new camera! Click the photo above to see my Flickr slide show with comments on each photo. That will give you all the details. The last stop on our photo safari was the new kiddie park (across the street from the lake). Go see the photos, you'll see what I mean.
*mutter mutter...now I need some new lenses for this thing...*
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Originally I intended to go out and take photos of these same sights for this week's Round Robin photo challenge and for the AOL Community Photo Challenge, but the weather and my mood weren't cooperating.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I never did make it out of the house yesterday. Too gray and bitter cold for a proper photo safari. Since I was up at the crack of dawn today, actually got a shower, put on street clothes and have already been outside once this morning - I think TODAY is the day for a photo outing. But first, back to this morning.
Posted by Becky at 1:03 PM
Sunday, January 27, 2008
When I was a kid, I remember screaming this phrase; "It isn't fair!" quite often. My mother was usually diplomatic and calmly would try to resolve the frequent fights between my brother and I, or would clumsily try to be consoling when I would come home from school screaming my trademark phrase after a hard day of being tormented by my fellow classmates. But there was one day when I came home ranting about the unfairness of the universe and my mother totally lost her cool. She screamed, "Who ever said life was fair!!!" in my face. I was struck dumb...and then I ran to my room to cry.
That one phrase turned my pre-teen world upside down. It was a profound statement about the state of the universe and my role in it. My mother was right (and admitting THAT to myself was also earth-shattering). Life wasn't fair! My already deep teen depression blackened around the edges and I sank further into a pit of blind despair deeper than any I had reached previously. The world looked bleak and hopeless...until I realized that I could reinvent myself at my new school.
No one there needed to know what a geek I was or that I was the victim of constant bullying. The problem was, I had no road map to follow on my path to coolness. I knew that first impressions were critical, but what kind of impression was the right one? My uncertainty turned into indecision and my indecision turned into a sort of walking fugue state...except on the bus ride to and from school.
I had to take public transportation each day because I lived too far away from my new private high school. The bus ride in the morning saw me in a state of nervous agitation. I would chew my cuticles and my legs would bounce up and down on the balls of my feet in a blindingly fast vibration that must have burned 1000 calories and kept my calf muscles toned. The bus ride home, I would sink into my seat in a puddle of relief and slouch against the window with one leg curled up onto the adjacent seat and one stretched out into the bus isle (I was, and am, pretty tall.)
What I didn't know in those first couple weeks of school was that I was being watched. I don't think anyone else noticed me at ALL during the day (I had succeeded in becoming invisible to my classmates), but this girl saw me. She watched me and, for some reason, decided to try to talk to me. She plopped down in the seat beside me one morning and broke through my jittery self-reflection with a simple statement; "Hi! Man, those new uniforms are wicked ugly. Why did they change them? Oh, and I'm Kathleen, by the way."
I often wonder now why a chorus of angels didn't sing at that moment. It was one of those cosmically huge life moments! One where your path suddenly takes a detour into crazy fun town and you wonder if fun ever existed before this person fell into your life.
She was one of those people. You know the ones...you GET them and yet are completely BAFFLED by them at the same time. And oh the mad talent this girl had. She was so creative! She wanted to have a career as a medical illustrator and had dreams of attending the Rhode Island School of Design.
Then in one senseless moment...she was gone. All that potential. All that LIFE, gone forever.
And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is why these sudden deaths of celebrities I have grown attached to hit me so hard. Heck, anyone I know or hear about who is cut down in the prime of their life hits me hard.
I tend to withdraw when I get depressed. I go through the motions of my life, but anything fun or any of my creative outlets tend to suffer. My blog. My photography. They suffer neglect.
But hey, no one ever said life was fair, right? But no one ever said we had to lie down and take it up the bum either. So, time to get up and dust myself off. I still have a new camera that needs breaking in. It is 7am, the sun is AWOL and it looks to be a crappy gray day out there, but maybe I'll take the new camera on a field trip anyway. I need to get out of this house for a while.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
I fell in love with him in 10 Things I Hate About You (so much so that I bought the film on DVD). When I saw his photo and the headline that he'd been found dead, I burst into tears. The reaction was unexpected. I haven't reacted this way to a famous loss since Jim Henson died.
What the hell happened? It's just senseless.
I'll miss you Heath.
Posted by Becky at 9:23 PM
We were all watching the Giants vs. Packers game Sunday night when Tyler proclaimed that watching football was "boring". No amount of explaining the finer points of the game and why watching football can be fun was going to change his mind. Unless Tyler has a football and is running for a touchdown himself, it's boring.
Posted by Becky at 9:15 AM
Monday, January 21, 2008
I've had- two entries of morning videos, the final one where I tried to get Max to say bye bye to the camera. As I said, this came back to bite me later. Max took me at my word and just prior to nap time, he brought me his coat. This is what happened:
Awww! Too bad it was way too cold out for bye bye. But, shhhh! The boys are going bye bye later today to their favorite indoor play place. They haven't been there since Tyler's birthday party. This should make them both very happy. :-) Just don't tell Max before I get him to nap, or I'll get another bye bye meltdown. LOL
Sunday, January 20, 2008
I took several videos yesterday morning and thought I would spread them out over several entries. (I don't want everyone to be overwhelmed with cuteness.) In this segment, Max has finally awakened and joins Tyler and I in our morning routine, already in progress.
Yep. Max knows what he wants and he's not hesitant to just go for it. Here is another example. Max decided some time ago that the food on Mommy and Daddy's plate tastes much better than anything in his bowl. Since then, Mommy got smart and just pretends that what ever I make for Max is really MY breakfast, lunch, dinner. You get the idea. He thinks he is soooo slick when he swipes Mommy's food.
Note the look of confusion at the end of the video when I start telling Max to say "bye bye". You can just tell he is thinking, "Mommy? You are going bye bye? NOW? Where the heck are you going???" This will come back to bite me in the ass later. Stay tuned for the bye bye video.
Oh, and one other thing to note. See the cute brown outfit Max is wearing in these videos? It's by Baby Soy - yep, made from soy beans. I get a kick out of it's biodegradable goodness. But that's not the thing to note. That outfit is a Rubik's cube of snaps. When I went to nap with Max the night before, he was wearing something entirely different. John fetched the baby when he woke from his nap and let me continue sleeping. I woke at 3am the following morning. I guess I was tired! Anywho, when Max got up at 8am he was wearing this Baby Soy outfit with it's 82 snaps in this odd yet cool asymmetrical configuration with extra snaps down the sides and around the crotch. It takes me 20 minutes to figure out what snap fastens where; so I was really impressed that John had figured it out on his own. I should tell him so. He likes it when I recognize his skills at things like outfit matching and correct assembly of baby-type items.
Posted by Becky at 3:01 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Every morning when Tyler wakes up, it's like some internal talk switch gets instantly flipped to the ON position. He steps out of bed and comes down the hall, all with a non-stop running commentary on what ever thought was in his head when he first opened his eyes. In the pre-dawn hour I heard him exit his bedroom.
"Oh! The lights on! Mommy is up! Mommy? Mommy? Is that you? Why are you awake?"
Then he comes around the corner into the family room and starts talking about one of his ToonTown characters. I thought this would be a fine time to innocently fiddle with my camera and stealthily start a movie. (Note how he finally notices the camera might be ON about 3/4 of the way through this video.)
When Tyler watched this video playback, he was laughing so hard he cried. He thinks he is the funniest thing since Will Smith. Blah blah blah. Heh.
Posted by Becky at 12:44 PM
Friday, January 18, 2008
Weekend Assignment #199: What is your usual sleep schedule on weeknights? Are you an "early to bed, early to rise" sort of person, or do you stay awake far into the night (voluntarily or otherwise), and get up as late as your work schedule permits? Do you give priority to getting adequate sleep? If so, how is that working out for you?
Extra Credit: If you had no work or family scheduling obligations, would your sleeping pattern change substantially?
Schedule? What's that? In this house it's "sleep when ever the opportunity arises." Sadly, the opportunities for sleep seem to be in short supply. I am NOT a morning person, but in a cruel twist of fate, my children seem to be. Lately (after waking up multiple times through the night), Max wakes for the day between 7 and 7:30am. Tyler needs to be up for school by 7am, but he wakes on his own most days in the 6am hour. Bed time for Tyler is somewhat fixed at 8pm (with a 7:30pm "prep" time). Max's bedtime depends on his variable nap schedule during the day but seems to fall in the 7-8:30 time frame, most days.
John and I both require some adult unwinding time in the evening. Given the choice, we are both night owls. Given the choice, we are also great sleepers who will sack out for 10 hours or more. Are we given the choice? Nope. Not very often. And no, we give hardly any priority to adequate sleep. During the week we try to get the minimal amount of sleep required to function and not have the desire to beat our children. On the weekends, we each take turns sleeping in. Then we hope to store up sleep like a camel does water in order to survive the next sleep deprived week of working and parenting.
Extra Credit: With no obligations, would our sleep patterns change? Heck yes! We'd sleep until we woke. The clock would be tossed out a window and all accepted norms of day/night would be ignored. I see us falling into a totally new pattern of sleeping for 10 hours, playing for 10 and then sleeping again, possibly with naps in between. No more 24 hour days. Maybe someday when we win the lottery...
Posted by Becky at 10:53 AM
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
So, yeah. Yesterday I lit a fire under my own butt and got busy moving my old journal entries into Blogger. I was going at a good clip and had done about a month's worth when suddenly I was stopped cold. Blogger put the "word verification" whammy on me! I guess my sudden activity got the spammer police on my ass. *sigh* I was in the groove! Talk about a buzz kill.
I kept going, as long as my children would allow. I still have about 3 months left. Not too shabby! And it looks like the whammy is gone today. (We'll see if I can post this.)
Now, for the answers to my sort-of quiz from the other day.
1. Frak - from Battlestar Galactica people. I thought that was an easy one.
2. Frell - a little more obscure. From the SciFi show Farscape.
3. dor-sho-gah! - that's Klingon.
4. Shazbutt (or shazbot)...Mork's favorite curse word on Mork & Mindy
5. Shards - from the Dragonriders of Pern series (not TV, books)
6. tanj! - from Larry Niven's Ringworld series (also books)
Now I'm going to get the frell out of here and go watch frelling American Idol (or as Tyler calls it, "The Bad Singer Show").
I feel like I am forgetting something I wanted to talk about here. I hate that...
Later: I remember one thing I wanted to mention. I knew my pal Karen would get most of these. She just doesn't speak Klingon or read Larry Niven (apparently). LOL good job Karen.
Posted by Becky at 9:57 PM
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I started blogging back in 2004 on AOL. When AOL plastered a big ugly ad banner on the top of all my journal pages, I moved to Blogger (along with a ton of other AOL bloggers.) I've been happy as a clam (pretty much) ever since. I set my old journal on AOL to private, but I had so many great entries over there...I couldn't just leave them.
So, I've been slowly (and I do mean SLOWLY) moving the entries over to here. I have to copy and paste them, one by one, because Blogger doesn't support an import from AOL. It's a pain in the ass! But worth the effort. Tonight I finally moved February-April of 2005 over to here. There were some heavy duty entries in April of 05. I'm glad they are back online since I think a couple of my newer readers will probably be interested.
Regarding my previous entry, I'll post the answers to my little quiz in a day or two. I want to give my friend Karen a chance to see it (since I think she might be the only reader I have who might get them all right.) LOL!
Posted by Becky at 7:57 PM
Saturday, January 12, 2008
Oh the weird stuff that percolates in my head late at night. Last night I found myself swearing every time Max woke up and started rocking in his bed...but not just any swears. I was swearing the following:
Can you name the sources of each of those curses? No fair using the internet to look em up either! Feel free to add to the list. (Honestly, #6 drove me crazy until I figured out what it meant. I thought it was one of the more stupid invented future swears I'd ever read.)
Personally, I love it when SF authors take into account the inevitable shift in spoken language and the rise of new slang and curse words. It drives me crazy when this important facet of being human is forgotten. Seriously...500 years in the future everyone will speak English the same way we currently do? Seriously?! Come ON now!
The first time I recall this phenomenon being addressed well in a film was in Demolition Man. It's one of the reasons I can overlook this movie's flaws and it stays on my list of all time favorites. Ignoring language shift is almost as bad as those early SF stories that ignored the fact that the moon has no atmosphere.
Posted by Becky at 11:07 AM
Friday, January 11, 2008
Weekend Assignment #198: What is your favorite thing about winter? Whether you love this time of year, hate it or merely endure it, you should be able to find something good to say about the season. What is it?
Posted by Becky at 11:50 PM
Thursday, January 10, 2008
The next thing I noticed on the mode dial was the glaring absence of the little movie camera icon. What?! This wicked expensive camera can't make avi movies like my old Canon does??? Shoot! What was Canon thinking making this expensive digital SLR camera take nothing but photographs! Heh. OK. I guess I won't be giving up my little point-n-shoot camera any time soon. This new camera will force me to focus my attention on my PHOTOGRAPHY, and not my skills as a videographer. That's not a bad thing. LOL
As per tradition, the first photos I snapped were of John sitting in front of a computer or of the room around me. We'll call those test shots since I never share them with anyone; until today.
Canon PowerShot S50 circa April 2003
HP PhotoSmart R967 circa October 2006 (I sold this one to my SIL and went back to the Canon)
OK, technically this photo of Max is the 5th picture I snapped. The first 4 got erased once I read the manual and saw I was supposed to FORMAT the memory card before I used it (oops). Oh well. They were just photos of John sitting on the sofa, using his laptop. LOL!
Posted by Becky at 4:36 PM
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
A couple months ago I was watching an episode of CSI: NY that featured an online "game" called Second Life where a real life predator was locating and kidnapping women he'd met in the game, but IRL (that's In Real Life for those of you who don't spend much time online). The CSI gang had to enter the game world to track down the bad guy.
Cool stuff...but what made it REALLY interesting to my inner-geek was the cyber tie-in they did with the real game of Second Life (apparently there is a virtual CSI area in the game you can visit). I'd heard of SL, but, like Worlds of Warcraft (WoW), I had been avoiding it because I was afraid of the time-sucking vortex these SIM games tend to be for me. I'd fallen into the snare of The SIMS a couple years ago and woke from a gaming trance months later wondering how so much time had passed.
Turns out I wasn't the only one who was concerned. John had been playing SL for months and didn't tell me. He claims it was out of fear that I would become addicted. Uh huh. Sure. He just didn't want me to find out about his harem of SL girlfriends. *wink wink* But seriously, that was a fear for about half a minute, then I came to my senses. I realized John is just as much of a geek as I am and the lure of an entire virtual universe where you can be whom ever (or what ever) you want to be is too cool to be ignored.
So, since that episode of CSI aired and I got that startling confession out of my husband, he has become my SL mentor. It's nice to have someone show you the ropes. The world of SL is really overwhelming. There is so much to do and see, it's hard to find a place to start. I am still a noob (newbie), but I've already found a few places I like to visit. I like to sit at the baby grand in the piano lounge of the Imperial Hotel and play classical music. The lounge overlooks the bay and it's really relaxing to hear my avatar play Claire De Lune while the waves crash and the sea birds call.
I enjoy taking demo flights in the helicopters at J&S Aviation. I did manage to wreck the CTH-100M copter I was flying last night. I went down in flames into the water and my poor avatar got stuck in a very undignified position. Nothing a little game restart didn't fix. Heh.
I bought a little euro-style scooter at a city on the brink of apocalypse called Blissville and I have a blast speeding over hill and dale on that thing. It's a bit hard to control and I tend to get stuck up in trees and whatnot. Still, not a bad way to get around. All avatars can fly, but that gets old after a while. (John's avatar just gave me Pegasus tonight, so I have yet another way to get around, but it's more fun when his avatar puts on a unicorn suit and saddle...more like a real horse, unpredictable.)
Then there is The Trivia Lounge where I can hang out, have a drink and answer trivia questions to win some of the currency of the land (called Lindens). Lindens are pretty important if you plan to buy clothes and things for your avatar. I don't have enough $L yet to rent or buy any property, but John lets me borrow the beach house he shares with a buddy of his. Nice place, but it could really use a woman's touch. Naturally I have the urge to redecorate, but I've been told no. (I need a nice ocean front hut of my own, I guess.)
Mainly, I am just getting a kick out of having a goth alter-ego. I've often said if the "goth" lifestyle had existed when I was a teen, I totally would have embraced the look and music. Now, I sorta can. I spent most of my first month in SL working on a signature look for my avatar. It's really amazing how complex the game can be, but it is also easy at the same time. I'm interested in some of the role playing communities (there is even a space station with a pseudo-Star Trek theme where you can park a star ship and engage in battles with the Klingons or whoever.) You name it, it's probably in there.
Maybe tonight I'll go snowboarding...or maybe scuba...or go back in time to the age of dinosaurs. Hmm. Or you'll just find me playing piano at The Imperial Hotel. Ha! I am a creature of habit.
Do you have a Second Life? Let me know! I'll give you my contact info and you can show me your hang-outs. Or we can just swim in John's pool. In my second life, I can wear a bikini. :-)
Posted by Becky at 9:15 AM
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Does this look like the face of an ill child?
I didn't think so! A messy eater, sure. But ill?
I should have known. Max is normally a good sleeper, but for the last two weeks he's been waking up, sitting up, and rocking back and forth in his bed (often with his back to the wall of the crib - bouncing off it with a loud bang bang bang). Sometimes he would lay back down and go to sleep, but then an hour or so later he would be back up and rocking again. For the last few days he would wake and rock for HOURS and not go back to sleep until 4am or later. I've been a sleep deprived wreck!
Luckily Max had a well-baby checkup scheduled with the doctor. Turns out he has an ear infection. Say wha??? Who knew? No fever. No cranky baby pulling on or poking fingers in his ear. But the mention of the sleep disturbance alerted his doctor. So yes, I slapped my hand hard against my forehead. Duh. I should know by now, this kid is so easy going, he will ignore pain and discomfort all day because he'd rather be happy and have fun. He is also (usually) a great sleeper.
And I thought this rocking thing was just a new phase he was going through. Oi. So Max gets that tasty bubblegum flavored antibiotic twice a day, for the next 10 days. Tasty. Heh. I don't think so. Man, that stuff stains! I hope this time he doesn't get any of the nasty side effects. Last time turned into a major poop-fest with the end result being a nasty, painful diaper rash.
But maybe he will finally start sleeping at night...again. Please! Amen.
Posted by Becky at 2:09 PM
Karen (Mavarin) mentioned the new AOL Community Photo Challenge on her blog recently, so I thought I would participate. I dug through my archives and looked for a photo that said "beginnings" to me and found this one:
New Daddy Meets Max
With the sub-zero temps going on around here and the lack of my new camera, I don't feel too motivated to go out and shoot anything new. I'm sure my tune will change sometime between January 28th and February 12th (see previous post). LOL! I want to do the Round Robin challenge too, but it's too darn cold to cruise over to the open air train station right now. The challenge will be closed by the time I get my new camera anyway. I'll catch the next one. :-)
Posted by Becky at 12:17 AM
Monday, January 07, 2008
Remember...it's COLD and dreary and dead around here. Not much that qualifies as colorful (unless you count my vocabulary this morning when Max woke up at 2:30am and stayed awake until 5am). So I will dig through my vast collection. There are two photos that come instantly to mind that fit the bill for this week's shoot.
#1 Tyler at Stanhope Day
#2 Prizes at the State Fair
That'll do. That'll do.
Posted by Becky at 8:53 AM
Sunday, January 06, 2008
OK. Amazon is not exactly on my shit list, but they have ticked me off pretty well. So far, I have my new camera CF card, a new lens filter, a spare battery, a new camera bag...but no camera. The ONE item I made sure the site said was "in stock" and it hasn't shipped yet. Argh! The last time I looked the shipping estimate said January 28th - February 12th. WHAT?! I have to wait a MONTH to play with my new toy?!?! In what universe is that "in stock"!
In the meantime, I'll just have to continue to use the old Canon point-n-shoot. It's served me pretty well, so far.
Waiting for a Strike
Tyler shows off his unique bowling style at his pal Liam's birthday party this weekend. Shhh, we won't mention the fact that he is totally over the foul line.
On to another topic. I recently made a comment in Ree's "Confessions of a Pioneer Woman" blog and made the mistake of checking the email me if there is a response to this comment option. What I got was an email EVERY TIME someone commented on that post after I did. My lord, how does that woman have time to pee, never mind do anything else all day. I was staggered at the number of comments one pot roast recipe posting received. Wow!
I was also beset with a serious case of blog envy. I don't want THAT many readers, honestly. But a few more would be nice. Yes, yes - I've read John Scalzi's advice on how to increase the number of readers to your blog. I'm pretty sure that Ree doesn't have time to visit hundreds of blogs each day. I know I don't. I'm open to some more ideas.
What I know I need to do is take a serious look at the blog itself. Ree's blog has a very appealing template. Is mine too blah? Ree posts just about every day. I only post when I have something interesting to say. Am I boring? I don't want to be boring.
Help! I could use some honest opinions. What do you want to see/hear more of? What is appealing about this blog? What is dull and uninteresting? More photos? More videos? More mental breakdowns? Be frank. You won't hurt my feelings.
My new year's resolution is to transform this humble little journal into a rock star personal blog by the end of the year. Any help would be greatly appreciated. :-)
Posted by Becky at 3:55 PM
Friday, January 04, 2008
Weekend Assignment #196: Now that the WGA strike has had lots of time to affect the prime time television schedules, how is it affecting you as a viewer? What show do you miss most, aside from reruns?
OK, my focus kinda wandered there for a moment. I miss Chuck, Heroes, Journey Man, Bones, House, Desperate Housewives, Medium, Ghost Whisperer, Moonlight, Las Vegas, Smallville, Supernatural, CSI, Ugly Betty, Prison Break, Kyle XY, umm.... I know I'm missing a couple. Good enough. How has the strike affected me? Good golly! I am watching "Crowned: The Mother of all Pageants" on CW; a reality show about a beauty pageant. AAAAAAHHHHH! Someone pay those writers what ever the hell they want. PLEASE!
Posted by Becky at 3:59 PM
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
I've wanted to write something interesting to post, but I've been struggling for the last couple days. Feeling majorly depressed. I think it's a combo of after holidays let-down and that time of the month. Brutal combo really. My only bright spot today was watching Max dance to his favorite Christmas bag. What? You all didn't get gift bags that sing this year? LOL Max did. When he lifts the flap on the Santa bag his grandma gave him, you hear a snippet of The Jackson Five singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
It's too cute watching him lift the flap and dance around in a circle with that bag. It's one of those moments I've been trying to catch on video, but when ever he sees the camera come out, he stops doing the cute thing. I'm about ready to install video surveillance cameras all through the house and just video tape everything 24/7. Heh. Can you imagine? It would be a full time job just going through the feeds every day looking for those elusive gems to save.
My new camera better get here soon. I need something to cheer me up quick!
Posted by Becky at 10:09 PM