Tuesday, April 8, 2014

what's doin'?

celebrating my daughter's departure to Paris, her first journey to Europe!

watching "The Sopranos' final episode again and discussing what it means. What DOES it mean?

crying because I still miss my dog.

thanking my darling husband for finishing the kitchen cabinets. (A custom job, it took a while. After all, he does work full time!)

watching as the back porch is transformed into a livable space.

cleaning my closet and donating under worn items to Goodwill.

taking an inventory of my Momoko dolls. (I have 34 of the little darlings.)

eating more veggies and fish and less red meat and fast food.

designing marketing materials for Art Gallery 21.

getting a summer haircut.

updating the German Bread Haus web site for my best girl friend.

discovering the organic coffee beans now available at Trader Joe's!

counting the days until school lets out.

researching how to protect my neighborhood from exploitative investors.

keeping up with pulling weeds in the yard before rainy season arrives.

seeking a good book to read that I haven't already read.

improving my writing skills by taking a stab at short stories.

shooting Jazzercise technique photos for the instructors.

enjoying the last "cool front" of the dry season.

needing to find time to play dolls.

What are you doin'?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

my most pinned pin on Pinterest

Pinterest was launched in March of 2010. For the first couple of years you had to be "invited" to join. I requested an invitation on a couple of occasions after I discovered the site in 2011, but I never received one. Then, finally, in December 2011 they let you in via Facebook and this pinner was born!

In the first few months, I was obsessed, which I wrote about here. I overcame the obsession and began to use Pinterest for my own purposes (mostly dolls and clothes) and now it is my favorite inspiration board. Like Facebook, I visit Pinterest almost daily. I "pin" things to bookmark them and I really do return to my boards on a regular basis. Lately my watercolors pin board has been my favorite inspirational board. And, my photograph board. There is so much to learn about both of these subjects and it's delightful to have one place to put all that stuff! It beats rifling through a drawer of file folders!

So, this post is about my "most pinned pin." That's it, right there. The haircut. It's pinned to my style board and, as of today, has been pinned 2,200 times and liked 491 times. And, it's evoked quite a conversation of comments about short hair, particularly pixie cuts. It seems that young women are eager to try the pixie cut but are afraid it won't look good on them. I don't think anyone looks bad with a pixie cut. That's just my opinion, of course, but every woman I've known of any age who got her hair whacked off into a pixie discovered it is the most flattering cut of all.

The only thing I know about the young woman in the photo is that her name is Ema and she is from Romania. I found the picture on a photography blog that included about 20 photos of this lovely young woman, apparently shot in the spring of 2012. This particular photo appealed to me because she's wearing red lipstick and glasses and I think the contrast makes for a really great portrait! Oh! And, I love the haircut!

I'm not entirely sure how they keep count of who pins what, but it really doesn't matter. What became clear to me since I first started this pinning thing is, it's all about connecting to people who share your views. About art. About fashion dolls. About personal style. About a great haircut!

Who could ask for more? Certainly not me!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

spring is here?

Only five days left in March. It's such a long month, isn't it? 31 days. They say it's spring break this week, and the tourists prove it to be true. I heard it was snowing up north. Still. It was 55 degrees on my back porch this morning, and, I'm in south Florida. Go figure.

Around here, it's been busy. Still missing my dog though. It's been two weeks and one day, but if feels a lot longer.

cleaning closets and cabinets and sifting out some of the junk that's accumulated. Where DOES all this stuff come from? Can someone tell me that?

learning how to create documents using Photoshop instead of QuarkXPress.

designing a golf tournament brochure for my Soroptimist club;
it's the 20th year!

editing a database for the Pioneer Women of Fort Lauderdale to reflect their activity over the past five years; boy, was that tedious.

assembling the pieces for a scrapbook, which I'll share in another post.

making lists of my dolls in a feeble attempt to "thin out" my collection.

waiting for news of the Integrity Toys Convention in Orlando this year; they announced in February last year, so what's the holdup?

thinking about "Tea with Barbie" in July at Old Davie School.

taking lots of pictures at work related events ... and, it's not like taking "society" photos or portraits or landscapes either; it is an entirely different animal.

repotting plants to accommodate the new growth.

enjoying all the blooming in my garden!

waiting for spring ...

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Saying "Goodbye" ...

Almost 24 hours ago, I said goodbye to my best friend, my terrier, Buddy. It was one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do.

Buddy came to me from the Broward County Animal Control Center which is located next to the airport. I went there with a friend who was looking for a dog. He wanted a puppy, and it was in the midst of a batch of labrador puppies that my guy was discovered. There were eight puppies, all from the same litter, and they were all over the chain link fence gate that separated us and there was no room for the little terrier to get close. He sat for a couple of minutes as the puppies rushed the fence and when I clucked my tongue and said, "Hey, little guy!" he stood on his hind legs and did a perfect pirouette.

There went my heart.

I said, "That one. He's coming home with me."

And, he did.

That was in 2003.
Animal Control said he had been found wandering in Lauderhill. He was one day away from euthanasia. I paid the 60 bucks to have him neutered and tattooed and the next day I picked him up and brought him home with me.

I don't know who owned him before me, but whoever it was, they trained him exceedingly well. I would soon learn that he responded to hand signals. Sit. Stay. Come. Down. Fetch. Twirl. There was nothing this dog wouldn't do if you gave him the right hand signal. And, he was totally a lap dog. He loved to be in my lap or, if I was on the sofa stretched out, between my legs. He slept with me, he followed me wherever I went and for several years, it was just the two of us.

I did eventually marry again and my darling husband has stories about Buddy that he could share. About how he loved beer. And, cat food. And, playing ball. He would run himself ragged fetching that tennis ball, no matter how many times you threw it. He loved to play.

He also liked to lay in the grass in the sunshine. As he aged, that became one of his favorite pastimes.

He began losing his vision about two years ago. We began to notice a change in his behavior and the vet confirmed that he was going blind. I did learn through the vet and various internet sources that dogs adapt to blindness when they lose their sight gradually. Sudden blindness, as in the case of our friend, Hallie, is a different story, although, Hallie has done well thanks to her wonderful mom!

My heart is broken and I have been surprised at the grief I feel. It washes over me in waves and the tears flow. I can't seem to stop it. It passes, but, I think it's going to be a while before I feel normal again.

I read "A Dog's Purpose" after I read "The Art of Racing in the Rain." I learned one thing from both books. When a dog loves you, he loves YOU just as you are and his sole purpose in life is to be there for you. There's no greater gift than that.

Now I truly understand why they call them "man's best friend." I'm sure going to miss mine ...

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Photography 102

I love my camera. I have a Nikon D80 with an AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm zoom lens. The camera was a birthday gift in 2011 and the lens followed on my birthday in 2012. It's taken me ever since then to master the basics. (And, I use the word "master" very loosely here!)

I think I look at as many photos as I shoot. I've been on flickr for years and I have a daily routine that includes at least ten or fifteen minutes browsing doll photos and professional photographer's pics on flickr. It was actually on flickr that I discovered "depth of field." I had figured out how to do it with my camera on the "AUTO" setting, but I didn't know what it was called. This photo of Poppy Parker, shot in my backyard, is what it looks like ...

Recently I have been exploring "Exposure Compensation." Some days I think I understand it and other days, not so much.  With many dSLR cameras, exposure can be adjusted by changing either the lens f-stop or the exposure time; which one is changed usually depends on the camera's exposure mode. The setting I've been messing around with is called "aperture priority." This is a setting on some cameras that allows the user to choose a specific aperture value while the camera selects a shutter speed to match.  I didn't know what aperture was, so I looked it up on Wikipedia where it defines aperture as a hole or an opening through which light travels

My biggest issue has been eliminating the flash for shots where I know there is adequate light. I detest the ugly shadow from the flash. The "aperture priority" setting is the one that allowed me to shoot this stack of books and blur the ones in the distance while being clearly focused on the stack in the foreground. And, no shadow!

While I was goofing around, my cat took up a spot on the table next to me, so I started focusing on her. I fired off four shots and was so pleased to see them turn out well, with that depth of field I so love! And, no shadow from the flash, no red eye!

What's important is WHERE you focus the camera. That's the trick I'm trying to master. You have to be aware of the light conditions, too, because when shooting "aperture priority," the camera chooses the shutter speed. Which creates another issue; if the shutter speed is slow because there's not enough light and you're not using a tripod, you'll have camera shake show up in your pictures. One more thing to worry about!

Finally, I gave the setting a whirl while we were out and about and I got what I think is a really good shot of bees on a sunflower. No tripod. No flash. Lots of outdoor light.

Odds are I will never figure all of it out. These dSLR cameras do so many things! But, I'm learning one thing at a time until I've learned it really well. For now, "aperture priority" is my thing!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

February self inventory

As February draws to a close, I'm doing a little self inventory to see what I've accomplished this month.

learning how to take "selfies" with my smart phone. (My granddaughter and Karlie Kloss taught me the techniques! Haven't mastered them yet, but working on it every day!)

writing a memoir and submitting it to AARP/HuffPost50 memoir contest. I don't expect to be selected as a finalist, but it was a really good writing exercise with a deadline. It took me 15 days to come up with 5,111 words to submit.

restoring  the Barbie room after a roof leak. We had a rain storm that dumped six inches of rain on us in four hours and our roof revealed its vulnerability. Fortunately, we discovered it before any major damage was done and my darling husband came to the rescue!

appreciating my darling granddaughter's company when she unexpectedly dropped by my office for a visit.

sorting through all the junk that's accumulated on the back porch in anticipation of getting the house painted. Where did all the stuff come from? I do believe a visit to Goodwill is in order!

packing up the winter clothes. We didn't have much of a winter here in south Florida. A couple of cold fronts came and went quickly. Only got to wear my new Kate dress from Boden once!

believing in the power of friendship. I am so blessed in that department!

listening to the birds in the early morning and discovering a pair of Baltimore Orioles and a hummingbird. Yes. Hummingbirds make a tiny little sound as they fly from flower to flower to feed! And, you can hear the sound of their wings when they whiz by your head! My yard is a Certified Wildlife Habitat and there is no end to the activity that goes on out there!

realizing I am less than three years away from full retirement age and really need to get down to business planning my exit from work. You don't just decide one day you're going to retire. There is a bunch of stuff to do beforehand.

heading into March with many wonderful plans for environmental events at my job. It's truly my favorite time of year at work. By the time we get to May, I'll have an Earth Day hangover!

wishing you a wonderful beginning to the month of March.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Faster than a speeding bullet!

That's where the time is going!

If you're like me, there are days, weeks even, where one simply cannot keep up. THIS is one of those months!

Happy February, or what remains of it! See you in March!