Monday, May 26, 2008

No time...

The movers will be here in the morning. Zach has graduated and had his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. We had the party celebrating these things. Mom and Dad are still here, my sister was here for the festivities, my brother and his wife will be here this week.


I still need to pull out some clothes, get the food out of the way, pack some dishes and stuff for the first few weeks in Alaska. Pack the computer, the sewing machine, the books and dvd's, the suitcases, the dogs, the snacks, all the miscellany we need for the trip in the trailer and the Suburban.

Double whew.

Then, sometime in mid-June, we will pull into Fort Richardson, Alaska. Finally.

We will be taking this computer with us, so hopefully I will have a moment this week to put up some photos of the happenings this past week...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I am all about the Photos...


I didn't realize that downloading PioneerWoman's action set for Adobe Photoshop CS3 meant I could hit the little play button and Voila! my photo is transformed. I was working step by step trying to figure things out. Again with the duh...

(I started this post a while ago so if I am repeating myself, sorry. Life is too busy for me to go back through all my posts to see what I have said!)

But actually trying to replicate the actions rather than just voila!ing them has taught me quite a bit about Photoshop CS3. So my moronics in not doing any reading of instructions or help was a boon in this case.

Anyway, here are four photographs I have "viola-ed"...

This is a prickly pear cactus flower. On a bright sunny day. I messed with this one rather a lot.

I really liked this photograph of a rock and a dead tree up on Mount Lemmon before I did the Photoshopping to it. Now I like it even more. This one was really a bit of work -- I made four layers: the tree and rock, and the scrubby midground, the mountain background, and the sky. Then I was able to adjust and improve each separately. I really like the rusty color on the rock in front now. The sky could be a little bluer, maybe, but we don't have those bright blue skies in the middle of the summer.

This is a detail of a detail of the statue at the Vatican Museum. (The original ). I love the way this turned out. I have a thing for statues and gargoyles...

We have a Bird of Paradise in our yard. It's two sticks with some leaves. This is a photograph of our neighbor's beautiful plant. I love the colors and detail, and that black hole. It feels like you could crawl under this plant and find yourself in another place....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Weekly Winners!

Weekly Winners is the fevered brainchild of Lotus. More winners can be found HERE! ! !

I am aware that Sunday is actually over for many of you, since I am on Arizona time -- since we don't do daylight savings (yay! I love that!) currently we are the same as the Pacific Time zone.

But it's been crazycrazy lately. We spent hours at Ikea in Phoenix yesterday, getting stuff for Zachary's house this fall, when he moves in with a couple roommates and starts at the University. He got some great stuff, some dishes, some linens, a desk chair. He's pretty ready, stuff-wise. Photos of the best stuff will come later...

Today we went to church, the youth (and some adults) had a water battle after the second service. I took this picture of Tess' new shoe:

Kinda cool shot, but not as fabulous as I would like. So of course I started playing with my Photoshop CS3 (only 7 days left on my free trial. Sob.)

Driving home, we saw an enormous dust devil. Huge. The dust rose way up into the sky, higher than the high tension power lines nearby.

Here's a closer up shot of the base of the dust devil. I have seen small dust devils around here before, and heard about the huge ones, but this is the first time we have seen of the really big ones.

Here's my dog photo of the week:

And a truly terrible photo of Thor:

And a much cuter photo of Thor, because I feel horrible about posting the terrible one (I did get his permission...):

Thursday, May 08, 2008

13 random things about fire, palm trees, dogs, and music. And airports.

  1. There was a chimney fire. Rather than start putting out the fire, my grandfather sat down and started drawing up plans for a new house. My grandmother got help from the hired hand and they put out the fire. My grandfather really really enjoyed building houses, and apparently took glass half full to whole new levels.
  2. Zach and I all have some form of musical ADD. Mostly we only listen to CD's that we have burned. Seriously mixed CDs. Occasionally there will be two songs by the same artist or group on the same CD, but mostly it goes something like this: Frank Sinatra, Linkin Park, Louis Armstrong, Elvis Costello, Italian classical music, Maroon 5, Cake's cover of Kenny Roger's Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town, Elvis Presley,Kelly Clarkson, the Beatles, something from the soundtrack to Sweeney Todd. No themes, no cohesiveness.
  3. Another facet of our song ADD involves being almost completely incapable of listening to an entire song while driving around in the car. I find that I sit slightly forward in the Suburban so I can reach the next song button within a third of a second...
  4. But I will listen to the same song 5 times in a row for days on end. Then not listen to it for several years.
  5. When I am listening to my Ipod it has to be on shuffle of course, and I get annoyed if it plays too much of any singer or group. Shuffle should not alternate between Elvis Costello and Linkin Park. That's not shuffling. That's just being lazy.
  6. I have to listen to Linkin Park's Breaking the Habit in every airport when I am flying. Even those I am just passing through. I have been doing this for four years or so, ever since I first heard it when Zach played it for me at Schipol Airport in Amsterdam. I forgot to listen to it in Phoenix SkyHarbor when we went to Italy in March. And what happened? Our plane reservations for the flights home were canceled. We were stuck in Rome for four or five hours while they figured out how to get us back to Arizona. Had I listened to Breaking the Habit in SkyHarbor, never would have happened.
  7. I get seriously giggly when I reach a certain point of exhaustedness. I always have. My family remembers a trip to Washington, DC, and how I would laugh at everything and anything around 4:00 every afternoon (I was 4). My kids do this too. So much better than getting cranky, right?
  8. We had a dog -- a beagle basset hound named Theo -- for 16 years. He was goofy looking...he had the classic basset body, with the bow legged front legs, the long body, the stumpy legs, but he had a beagle head. He had a thick neck. You couldn't drag him with the leash, because he could slide his collar over his head -- if we tightened the collar enough to prevent that, he wouldn't have been able to breathe. He was a well-traveled dog -- he lived in Germany with us, and flew back to the US once or twice with me when I was visiting my parents.
  9. My Mom accidentally almost strangled Theo once. She tied the leash to the garage door, and then promptly forgot and opened it. She turned around, and there my poor dog was, dangling from the garage door by his neck (I don't know why he didn't slide his head out of the collar this time. He was a really really great dog, but not the smartest dog ever.) My siblings find this very very funny.
  10. I own palm trees. I cannot begin to express how deeply weird this is. I own palm trees. Four of them. (There used to be five, but the little one didn't survive the really cold snap last winter.) We are not really a palm tree family. Oaks, maples, evergreens, sure. But not palms. Mostly we live in cold or damp climates.
  11. I think palm trees are of the genus stupid. I don't like them at all. I mean, I think they are probably awesome in whatever climes they are native to (sorry. To which they are native. dangling prepositions and all that, don't you know...) but in California and Arizona? Stupid and annoying.
  12. But totally awesome to photograph. I love to photograph the weird textures of the bark and trunk and leaves. Plus I have a couple of really cool photos that I shot straight up under a palm tree...So really, it's kinda crazy I don't like palm trees...But I have never claimed to be particularly sane.
  13. I have never been to New England. I have been south -- Florida, Virginia, one of the Carolinas (I don't know which one. It was a very long time ago.). I grew up in the midwest -- I have lived in Minnesota and Illinios, and traveled a lot in or through the Great Plains. I lived in the Pacific Northwest. I adore the Pacific Northwest. I live in Tucson, which checks off the desert Southwest. But I have not been to New England. This is very wrong. Someday, someday I will be in Maine and Vermont and New Hampshire and which ever other states are the New England ones. Someday. Not today. Or next week. Next week is really busy.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Abe's so much better -- he is calmer, he's not limping and stiff, he's back to trying to bite Mojo's jowls off, as in the photo above.

After four surgeries, Abe has a much better and healthier knee.

Unfortunately for Abe he has a funky weird knee anatomy -- the vet had to finally overcorrect the tendon or ligament (I am not sure what it was. When the doctor started explaining all the bone cutting and moving and pinning and scraping and gouging and scooping stuff, I kinda stopped listening, because, ugh.)...the vet finally had to overcorrect the tendon or ligament, actually make it a zigzaggy shape to get the kneecap to stay in place. In normal dogs, it's straight. The vet had never had to do this surgery even twice before, much less four times. He was really annoyed. It was kinda cute how pissed he was at Abe's uncooperative knee. Plus he only charged me for the first surgery -- the rest I only had to pay for the supplies used and the prescriptions.

Oh, yeah, that was the problem -- pit bulls are prone to congential knee deformities. And since Tucson has more fighting pit bull breeders than anywhere else in the US, lots of the mutts in Tucson are part pit. And since both our dogs are Tucson rescues, they both are part pit.

(And please don't bother to tell me pits are dangerous. Bad pit bull owners have dangerous dogs. The breed itself is not inherently bad or dangerous. Pits are actually very very friendly to humans. Mojo, who is part pit and part mastiff, adores people. Really really adores people. Embarrassing really how much he slobbers over people. Any people, too. He is not discriminating when it comes to people. Two legs = wonderful, is Moj's philosophy.)

Whoops -- just caught a story on the news...apparently they can be dangerous to truck engines. A Vacaville, CA, man found a pit bull stuck in his truck engine. While he was waiting for help to arrive, the dog was chewing through wiring and eventually chewed himself free, doing a thousand dollars worth of damage. I wonder if insurance covers that -- or is that an act of God? A God with a kinda mean sense of humor, maybe...

So Abe is very much better, his thigh muscle, which had visibly atrophied during his trials and tribulations, is back to normal. He is off all meds except for the glucosamine and chondrotin he will be on forever to help with the inevitable arthritis that accompanies this kind of joint damage.

We are very happy to have our cheerful if rather annoying at times Abe back.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

I love flow charts...

song chart memes
see more song memes

Life is slightly crazy. We went to the school musical at Zach's school on Thursday and Saturday -- You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown -- very fun. And in between we went to the Gaslight Theater and saw a spoof of Indiana Jones that was really terrific and made us realize we have been missing something by not going to this theater all the time we have been living in Tucson. Sigh.

Other than that...THOR GOT A WII!!!!!1!!1!1!!!!!

Yes, and he is most excited. He's been wanting a Wii for months and months, and yesterday they happened to have one at Target. I almost didn't get it, until I realized Thor was looking like someone had just run over his dog, set fire to his home, peed in his swimming pool and told him there is no Santa...then we bought it and he carried it clutched to his chest the rest of the time we were at Target. He didn't even realize that he was scratching his arms up from clutching the box so tightly. I don't think he even would have cared if he was scratching his arms up, because he HAS A WII!

I remember when they used to get that excited about a new $5 Batman figure.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


You Belong in London

You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.

And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

What European City Do You Belong In?

I love London. I love the energy and the history and the Underground.