Mar 30, 2009

cropping for fun and profit! -or- how you too can learn to stop worrying and enjoy the process.

that has GOT to be the longest blog title i've ever written.

but i digress. and look! a new record for my attention span; i've digressed in the first sentence.
gooooooooooooooooooooooo me!

anyway -
it occurred to me today how cropping a photo can make it go from 'eh', to 'eeeeee gods! what photographic genius took this miraculous snippit of nature?!'

and i do realize that this isn't new to anyone else. nor will it cure the world's ills and set Wall Street back on its merry little cash-making way, but it was just one of those things that the more i thought of it, the more i realized what a difference it can make.

let me demonstrate.

here's our cat. Elvis the Evil Wunderkat. a blah photo. an eeeee-vil gleam in his eyes. but! through the wonders of cropping....

now you can see how evilly his eyes gleam. and how i SO needed to pick up the extension cord from the floor.

let's try another example, shall we? roadside daisies before...and - through the miracle of the crop tool...why look! a bouquet of daisies fit enough to grace a table.

just one more to bore you with. but it never ceases to amaze me how a photo, like this of my niece, while still good....can, with a little time and care, be transformed into something that just takes my breath away.

and hopefully, that of the judges in this year's OC Fair.

yes - with just a little care and experimentation, kids, you too can take photos to another level. amaze your friends! confound your enemies!

just don't expect it to work miracles for things like this:

after all, i am NOT a miracle worker.

Mar 29, 2009

is there such a thing as decision makers anonymous?

i need help.
other than the normal.

i am completely incapable of making a decision.

now don't get me wrong, some things i still have capacity in decision making.
go to the bathroom? it's a go. (pun intended)
eat when i'm hungry? good to go. (however, what to eat is still a matter for debate)
go to work? a go, although when i win the Big Jackpot, it will quickly become a no-go.
update the blog regularly?


although, when it comes to picking three photos for possible entry in the local fair, well - i choke up tighter than a politician who was asked if he (or she) ever inhaled.

just for the record, my fellow Americans: no, i have never.

but pick three photos? gaaaaah. it becomes Sophie's Choice - the Remake. only substitute me for Meryl, Brendan for Kevin and the dang photos for my babies.

because that's what they become to me, you know. they become my children. and heaven knows i can't pick one over the other - that would be wrong. the others would have hurt feelings. they might plot together when i'm not in the room and decide to gang up on me in the middle of the night and....

ooops. sorry. that's what i used to think about my toys when i was a kid. really, now i only have a slight twitch from those electro-shock treatments.

seriously - it's the hardest thing ever. of course, some i love more than others, but what kills me is trying to balance what i have/do against what i saw at the fair last year AND to hold them up against what i remembered won.

which is impossible. remember: i have goldfish memory.

so let's see: i have goldfish memory AND i cannot make a decision.

shoot me. but make sure you get my good side.

last year at the fair, i just remember pictures were HUGE. the Fair want them at a minimum framed size of 8x10, going up to 32x32. i had printed my ladybug from last year at 5x7 and remember thinking, d-a-a-a-a-ang. this is BIG.

then i got to the fair and thought, d-a-a-a-a-ang. i've got a postcard up there.

now here's one of my many problems. i am Queen of the Control Freaks. i (possibly) can pick three photos. i can submit them. IF one or (heaven help me) all three are chosen, then i've got to have them framed. black frame, white mat, Plexiglas preferred. all within the span of about 3 weeks before i have to take them down to the fairgrounds for judging. which also happens about the same time as graduation here and last year i dealt with the local frame shops up to their necks in jobs before graduation.

once again, early planning seems to be the key. a plus for us control freakos.

that's all based on any of them being chosen. last year, i was one of 300 chosen out of a field of 3000 submitted. i'm not telling you this to pat myself on the back...

well, OK. maybe i am.

BUT! my point is this: there's a LOT of peeps in the OC that love photography as much as i do. some more, i'm sure. and there are a WHOLE LOT more of 'em that are a WHOLE LOT better than me. and to say i've got as good a chance as any of the others is, well...wrong.

better ones are going to win. some of the time. Brendan thinks the only reason i didn't win last year was because my ladybug wasn't big enough.

remember kids: size DOES matter. bigger IS better.

then, of course, there's this: let's say i go ahead and print my three submissions super large. get 'em framed and ready to go. then, let's say from my three, the Fair only picks one, or maybe all. then what do i do with these three huge framed pictures after the fair is over?!

i live in an apartment. we do not have a wing for the art we've collected. and as much as i love my niece, i do not want her sweet baby blue eyes gazing down at me from the ceiling while her auntie saws logs.

or anything else.

so you see - that's the vicious circle i spin myself into. i worry about them getting chosen, and i worry if they don't...and what to do with the products after the fact.

wait - i've got it. i can sell 'em on eBay!

or maybe i should try Etsy.

crap. another decision. i am sooooo screwed.

Mar 18, 2009

up the river: a tale of a pacemaker.

my stepfather had a pacemaker installed today.

oh and butt implants.

OK, not really, but dammit, he's 82. he needs a butt.

the surgery went very well. i was amazed at how much color he had when i went to to see him afterwards. looked great. sounded good.

wanted to get out of bed to pee. that's how i know we're family.

AND he got lasagna, salad, broccoli, a lemon bar AND coffee for dinner. (and i had Thai food. i got the better end of the deal!)

so during our stint at Memorial Hospital, my mom took my darling husband in to visit, leaving me to watch the purses and what not.

that's when the fire alarm went off.
and the magnetized door to the waiting room shut automatically.
oh crap.

i had this image of me trying to get out the building, carrying two purses, one tote (filled with a sammich, water, 2 romance novels and pepto. that was my mom's) and one backpack (filled with a police scanner, manual and book. that was my husband's)while trying to let them both know that i was still alive, unsmoked and unsinged.

but, since i smelled no smoke and no one was running around trying to avoid being singed and smoked, i decided i was OK.

it was annoying, though, listening to the chiming of the alarm. at least it was somewhat pleasant.

it was about to get worse.

my parents, who are notorious for not telling things...important things, decides to call my step-niece, her step granddaughter. and tell her what's going on.

because the niece knows nothing of the surgery.

and so, in the course of the conversation, when my mom mentions that i'm there with her, the niece declares that i will die for not telling her.

my mom fails to mention that i was sworn to secrecy by both of them to not tell the granddaughter or my stepfather's son.

sold up the river. by my own mother. the one person in the world i thought would stand by me through thick and thin.

just apparently not when it comes to saving her own butt.

remind me, if my mom ever gets a pacemaker, no butt implants for her.

Mar 17, 2009

diabetic diatribe - vol. 1

before we delve into today's subject, a request.

my stepfather is having pacemaker surgery Wednesday...installed, for the first time. my mother is nervous..and considering he's 81, does make for some nervous moments.

of course, i'll let you know how it goes.

so. it's been a week tomorrow since i got privy to the news. a week since i started meds for the rest of my life and a week since my life changed.

but not the drama queen part. heck, i've been a master at that for most of my life.

anywhoooo -

yesterday, i got my very first test meter. i had one all picked out: it was tiny and cute and came in different colors. apparently, however, my doctor doesn't seem to fall for my ideas.

it's still small, but it's blue. i'm cool with that, but it sure ain't pink.


today i started monitoring me blood. yarrrrr. i'm checking 2-3 times a day, but today was a lot more, mostly because i'm still getting used to the dang thing. earlier this a.m., i was talking to my friend and fellow diabetic (i'm not only the president of the anti-sugar shack, i'm also a member!) and was whining about my delicate fingers getting some serious bruising because of the blood testing and not only that! i am bleeding all over the place.

stuck pig? thy name is me.

i asked what she kept her lance at. there are numeric setting on the lance so you can go thick or shallow...depending on you and your preference. she said her's was at three, which mine was as well. kinda low, really, but still! i'm starting to look like i'm rehearsing a scene from "Psycho! The Musical!"

this, cannot be good.

i've decided at this point that i need to go as low as i possibly can. and i move on.

then later in the day, i pass by her desk in time to see her checking her own blood, and i notice something...

she has the cap on her lance.

i do not.

well no freaking wonder i'm the Old Faithful of diabetics. i'm practically sticking a dagger in my finger.

so what have we learned today? for starters, that for someone that has had lot of experience with diabetics, i have NO idea what in the hell i'm doing. secondly is the fact that knowledge wise, i've got a long, long way to go.

and lastly - here's a stock tip: invest in Band-Aids. i'm single handily cornering the market in 'em.

i'm sensing a new book in my library: the Idiot's Guide to Diabetes.

Mar 12, 2009

today is the first day of the rest of your life.

how trite.
how dramatic.
how me.

today was the first day i started taking daily meds.

yes, Gentle Reader, (and it was actually yesterday) i became one of the millions of Americans that has diabetes AND high cholesterol.

and neither one is really all that bad. it's just a change in lifestyle. an opportunity to make smarter decisions regarding my life and my eating habits. a chance to....

oh, who am i kidding? THIS SUCKS, THIS SUCKS, THIS SUCKS!!!!!

now granted, the cards was stacked against me; both my mother and grandmother are diabetic. my husband is, although the doctor assured me you can't get diabetes by injection.

sorry - too much info? moving on.

now while i know the chances were good that i'd get it, i tried to keep the attitude that it didn't necessarily guarantee that i would get it. but dang, it still slapped me across the face.

and dang it further, it's not like my AC1 (the measure of sugar in your blood) was outrageous... it should be at 6 or below and i'm at 7.3.

come on. stupid head.

but - it's OK. i know this doctor is young and aggressive...and really, REALLY cute. he's also Brendan's doctor, and what i've always liked about him is that he doesn't let Brendan get away with nothing.

but dammit, that means i don't get away with anything, either.

and did i mention he's really, really cute?! i already decided that any 'girlie' exams will be performed by the office's PA. not him. nope. ain't no way he's seeing my hoo-hoo.

that would involve extensive sprucing and heck, if i'm not a doing it for the Husband, it certainly wouldn't be good to do it for my doctor.

although it might be a good opportunity to try & carve that Chargers bolt i always wanted.

what - too much?

Mar 10, 2009


there are people out there that are stupid.

i'll give you a minute to let that set in.

yep, i know. really? stupid people in the world?? how can that be?!

a couple of weeks ago, we were watching some show that was exactly how stupid you can be, and still walk upright. the would-be Mensa applicant tried to rob a convenience store. the old coot behind the counter, after refusing to hand over the money, THEN electronically locked the door, AND locked himself behind the bulletproof glass.


and our aspiring thief was actually begging for the cashier to open the door with the ever-popular, "c'mon, man, i cain't (yes, not a typo) go back t'jail."
(p.s. - he was a skinny, stringy, greasy white boy)

Grampa behind the counter opened the sliding window half an inch (which made me yell at the TV, 'oh NO! don't do that, dummy!) and spat back, "well, then y'all shoulda thought o' that 'fore y'all tried to rob my ass."

yep. Grampa said ass.

which brings me to today's installment of stupid.

dude goes to John Wayne airport. dude is going to fly to Philadelphia, with a stop in Vegas, because dude got out of the Navy just a few weeks ago.

dude was wearing baggy pants. but underneath his baggy pants, was wearing bicycle pants. and inside those pants was cocaine.

d-u-u-u-u-d-e. you're stupid. like no one's gonna notice you're wearing baggy pants?

go to jail. go directly to jail. do not pass go. do not be a stupid-head.

Mar 8, 2009

stranger things have happened. as usual.

for whatever reason, i am remembering, fondly, a poetry reading my school held back when i was in 6th grade.

and for those of you keeping track, that was approximately 36 years ago.


so - here it is. the poem i had to memorize and recite. i couldn't remember all of it, so i had to resort to Google...but i'm not ashamed.

come on, it was 36 summers and springs ago.

Every Time I Climb a Tree

Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
Every time I climb a tree
I scrape a leg
Or skin a knee
And every time I climb a tree
I find some ants
Or dodge a bee
And get the ants
All over me.

And every time I climb a tree
Where have you been?
They say to me
But don't they know that I am free
Every time I climb a tree?

I like it best
To spot a nest
That has an egg
Or maybe three.

And then I skin
The other leg
But every time I climb a tree
I see a lot of things to see
Swallows rooftops and TV
And all the fields and farms there be
Every time I climb a tree
Though climbing may be good for ants
It isn't awfully good for pants
But still it's pretty good for me
Every time I climb a tree

by David McCord

string 'em up.

riddle me this, kids: who's brilliant idea was it to cap off a hour off my weekend?

even as a kid, i would shake my fist every time Daylight Savings Time rolled around. then, as now, i

hated losing an hour of sleep. especially when i sleep like crap half the time, anyway. hated feeling like i had just gone to sleep and BAM! i'm waking up again.

stupid alarm. stupid job. stupid need for money.

don't get me wrong, i get the whole idea of conserving energy, electricity, blah, blah, blah. but isn't it all about me? and if it is, then shouldn't the Powers That Be, be concerned about how this crap effects me? after all, the Powers That Be now have an hour of mine that they say i'll get back in six months. without interest.

kinda like my income tax refund, only i don't get to spend it.

it makes me think i should move to Arizona, since they don't observe DST.

then again, Arizona slapped us with a huge tax on our rental car when we honeymooned there, so they could build the Diamondback stadium. we didn't even get a ticket to the game. Arizona doesn't observe Dr. Martin Luther King day, either.

and most importantly to's hottern the hinges of hell there in the summer.

on second thought, i think i'll just stay here, sleepy in my smogberry treehouse.

Mar 5, 2009

if you're happy and you know it, the meds must have kicked in.

i know. i stole that from my facebook profile.

but i could seriously use some meds right now.

first off: the Husband had interview #2,457, 632 with the company that's, courting him. now of course, he's tormenting himself with 'oh crap, i said this, this and this wrong.'

meds. now.

work today was meeting upon meeting upon meeting. then, a friend of mine at work, who apparently isn't as good a friend as i thought...well - let's leave it at i got the shaft when i needed support.

meds, meds, meds.

at least it's almost Friday...there's a weekend to be savored. hopefully, photos to be taken, a soul to be fed with all that is beautiful and joy and love in the world.

and meds.

so while i lick my wounds and heal my feelers, i'll check for meds to make me happy.
they're contained in the pint of Ben & Jerry's Strawberry Cheesecake sitting in my freezer.

Mar 3, 2009

hugs to my girl, Kristie.

gramma will be missed.

prayers, please for my girl and her family - gramma passed in her sleep this a.m. and even if i did try to kill her by catapulting her from her wheelchair once, she still liked me.

or at least pretended to.

i'll miss you Sylvia.

oh mercy. she's at it again.

see the badge on the right there? yeah, that one, with the camera and the black & gold?

yep. i'm at it again.

it's another photo contest...but one that i don't have a photo in. let me explain.

what's your dream assignment is all about you. what's your dream? if you could go anywhere in the world and photograph anything, what would it be?

mine is kinda mushy. but it's an idea i've been mulling around for a year or so. i would love to travel and find my friends, both on the 'net and family we have around the world and find out why they love who they love. how did they meet? what made them fall in love with the other? and more importantly, why do they stay together?

so it's pretty easy. if you want to vote for me, go to the badge on the right, click pic it, and log in. and yes, you'll have to create an account here, and if you decide to enter your own idea, for heaven's sake, tell me so i can vote for you, too.

after you get registered, you can log in, then come back here to pic me...again on the badge.

a little complicated, i know. but remember that dreams are work.

keep dreaming.

Mar 2, 2009

this is what being stupid looks like.

oh, i know. they look like ordinary news vans. parked and ready to transmit. but trust me, this is exactly what stupid is.

you see, i work in Los Alamitos. yes, that Los Alamitos...and just in case you haven't heard, this is going on.
and my company is right next door to the city council/mayor office AND for the last week, there have been a steady stream of news vans.

tonight is the city council meeting, and Mayor Stupid is expected to not only step down as mayor but from the city council as well.

normally, i stay away from things like religion. politics. spiderwebs and bees. but here, well...nope.

Forrest Gump said it best, 'Stupid is as stupid does.' this guy was beyond stupid. then to claim he didn't know the cartoon was derogatory, well - that makes him ultra stupid.
especially when he said he didn't understand it, then why would you send it?

u-g-l-y, you ain't go no alibi, you guilty. and ugly.

so kids, and parents, the next time you start to send something, or say something, racial or not, just remember this: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

everything, everything has a price. and this is the price of stupid.

don't be stupid.