There has simply been no time for blogging lately.  Here’s what’s happening in my little part of the world, for those of you who might care:

100 Push Ups. I’m now on week 4.  I thought about repeating week 3 because it was kind of hard, but I ended up doing okay on the last day of week 3, so I pushed ahead.  Let me just tell you.  Week 4 = owie.  But I can now do at least 25 push ups in one go, whereas when I started, I could do only about 10.  How are you doing on your 100 push ups challenge?

Gardening. My mom and Chef suggested a couple of spots in our yard where we could actually have a vegetable garden.  That’s very exciting!  But now the work begins.  One spot has flowers that need to be dug up and/or moved.  And the soil underneath has a lot of rocks in it.  I think the previous owners must have dumped gravel there, or something.  It’s going to be a task to work up the ground.  The other spot is where our shed used to be before we tore down the dilapidated old thing.  But it’s also where we’re temporarily storing our canoe.  So I need to clean out the garage so I can put the canoe in there, then pull up the soggy plywood that pretended to be a subfloor in the shed… then get rid of the weeds and the extra siding and guttering and paving bricks that are in that corner of the yard.  Then I need to till it up.  Oh my.  I honestly don’t know if we’ll have a garden this year.  It might be next year before I get all this stuff done.

Volunteering. In addition to running on the NF Endurance Team (I’m doing terribly at raising funds, by the way, so if you would pretty please click that link and donate, I would be ever so grateful), I’ve signed up to volunteer for Minnetrista in their Farmers’ Market and the Cardinal Greenways for their events.

Knitting. I’m still plugging away on Christmas gifts for 2010.  I have about four gifts almost finished (they just need some sewing, but all the knitting is done on them) and one about half way complete.  I’m really hoping I’ll get everything done in time for Christmas.  After that, I told my mom I’d try to knit her a sweater if she’d look through my pattern books and consult with me on what she likes and I’m able to do.  And at some point, I’d like to maybe knit baby blankets for the crisis pregnancy center in town.

Job hunting. Let’s face it:  I’m always looking for a job.  I just applied for two today, and one of them sounds especially great.  I would love to get that one.  It would utilize more of my skills than my current job does, and I think I would enjoy it much more than shuffling papers around.

New Business Idea? About a week ago, I sent out some postcards to friends.  They were Indiana postcards that we’d gotten free at the State Fair last year.  I used my last one, so I searched the town for postcards of our little burg.  I’m sure that if I go to the bigger city next door, I’d find postcards, but they wouldn’t be of my little town.  I couldn’t find postcards anywhere that featured my little town.  So I’m thinking of taking photos and making my own postcards, and then perhaps selling them.  I don’t have all the logistics worked out yet, but the idea is percolating in my brain.

Running. Good golly, it’s hard to fit running in when I’m doing all this other stuff.  I still get in five miles every Wednesday, and usually three on Saturdays.  I try to run at least two miles two other days during the week, but it’s not always easy.  I went to visit my parents last week, and it’s very hilly around their home.  I ran hills like we in central Indiana have never seen.  Yowza.

Writing. I haven’t been doing a lot of blogging lately (obviously), nor much work for Demand Studios.  I have, however, been trying to be better at letter writing.  It really is a lost art, and I know I like getting letters in the mail, so I want to be better at that.  It’s just more enjoyable to me than email.  I’m also trying to work on a book, but my motivation waxes and wanes.  I really do want to get the book finished by the end of this year — even better would be the end of the summer — but finding the time to do it at the same time that I’m feeling motivated is a definite challenge.

General fitness. I’ve noticed an increasing amount of jiggle in my tummy area lately, so I’m trying to work that off.  I’ve lost 2.5 pounds in 2 weeks.  Yay for me!  I would love to do some form of exercise every day.  Mondays are tough because I work 10 hours and then we have Monday Night Dinner.  But sometimes I can squeeze in a walk in between.  I want to be riding my bike more, but I need to change a tire, which my father-in-law was going to help me do this last Monday, but then we discovered that our garage is almost completely void of tools.  The tools all migrated to the shop when Chef moved his studio out of our home.  So I need to get a hold of a wrench, at the very least, before we make a second attempt.  I’m also attempting to curb my eating, which is tough to do when you’re married to a chef who makes amazing meals all the time.  I just have to remind myself that the meal I’m currently eating is not the last delicious meal I will ever eat.

Bunions. They are still there.  They still hurt sometimes.  I’m trying to wear my more sensible shoes more often and lace my running shoes very loosely.  I’m still nervous about surgery, but still determined to get it done.  And still doing those push ups so that I will be able to get around on crutches.

So I haven’t forgotten about this blog.  I just have been a little too busy to spend much time on it.  Please don’t hate me.  Instead, come running with me!  Or help me dig up my soil for a garden, or write me a letter, or just come over for a visit.


New Growth


I took these photos the other day, when it was beautifully warm and sunny, and the new shoots and leaves and buds were coming out everywhere.

Fun with Picnik

As I mentioned previously, I’m learning about Picnik, a photo-editing site.  You can do neat stuff.

Here’s my original photo:

laundry original

Below, I increased the warmth.  You can see that the leaves on the trees in the background look a little yellower, and it looks like the sun is brighter.


On the next one, I reduced the exposure.  The colors look deeper and richer.


I also tried reducing the saturation, which washed out the colors.  I think this made the photo look older, like it was taken a long time ago and has faded.


The next one shows aliens in my yard.  How fun is that?


This post was not sponsored by Picnik.com… but it should have been.

Lawdy, Miss Scarlett, I don’ know nothin’ ’bout takin’ no pitchers!

Have you noticed my humongous improvements in photography lately?  What, you haven’t?  Oh.  Well, that’s probably because there haven’t been many improvements.

See, I finally printed the owner’s manual off of the internet.

DSCF1579It’s in that black binder.

DSCF1578See?  There it is, in all its black-and-white, small-print glory.  And I’ve been meaning to read it.  Really.  But these other things have been getting in the way.  Like our new installment of Netflix: Flight of the Conchords.

Flight-of-the-Conchords-718566It is strange, and funny, and it’s impossible to read a camera manual while I’m watching it.

And this, that I also started reading in October:

DSCF1585And I’m enjoying it, but let me tell you, this sucker is thick.

DSCF1576See?  Seven hundred thirty three pages.

And no pictures!

And see this bookmark?

DSCF1577Yeah, I’m not even half way through.  I just renewed the book from the library, and I now have until December 4 to finish it.

So you see, I haven’t had much time for learning about my camera.

Oh, except one thing I did learn?  Don’t use Dollar General batteries in it.  Because while I love the Dollar General, their batteries were not made for use in high-falutin’ cameras.  The batteries died in about two days.


But I did have a little time to check out a photo editing website that I found when looking at blogs the other day.  I wish I could remember which blog I was looking at when I found it; I would have given credit.  The site is Picnik.com.  You can upload your photos and edit them.  It’s totally free, and you don’t even have to register!  You can do it all without creating a username and password and adding it to your list of 657 other accounts you have because you need a username and password for everything.   However, you can choose to have an account if you want to, and that allows you to save a certain number of photos.  You can also have a paid account, which gives you more features.

So here’s what I have done with Picnik so far.  This is the photo I started with:

Sonic Flyer 1And on Picnik, I increased the contrast to 13, increased the exposure to 13, increased the saturation to 23, and rounded the corners.  And this was the result:

Sonic Flyer 2

I really like the effect that the rounded corners give, and I like how the colors are brighter.

In this next one, starting again with the original photo, I increased the temperature to 44 (made it warmer looking) and made it look like a Poloroid:

Sonic Flyer3

Increasing the temperature and making it Poloroid make it look kind of vintage.  And that’s cool.

So I might not be taking great pictures, but at least I’m learning how to do neat things with the pictures I do take.  I highly recommend Picnik.  I haven’t spent a lot of time there, but I absolutely love that you don’t have to register, and that they have so many really cool features for free.

But I still have lots of reading to do.

Rainy Fall Afternoon

On Fridays, our town has a Farmers’ Market in the library parking lot.  We really like going, because we get fresh local produce at really good prices.  Typically, the Farmer’s Market takes place, rain or shine.

But this past Friday, the rain and wind seemed to have kept people from getting out there.  When I drove past the library on my way home from work, I saw one lonely vendor in the parking lot.  Nobody else.  *sigh*

I really wanted to have a post about the Farmers’ Market.  I love the Farmers’ Market, and I wanted you to see why.  But I guess the vendors thought no one would come in the rain.  And they probably didn’t want to stand in the rain, either.

So instead, I took a photo of the rainy parking lot.


My Halloween-esque Post

I didn’t really post this because it’s Halloween tomorrow.  In fact, I don’t really do Halloween.  I don’t have any huge religious or moral objections to it.  I just don’t like scary stuff and I try to avoid eating too much candy.  And none of my friends have costume parties.  So when Halloween rolls around, Chef and I turn off the porch lights, lock the front door, and huddle on the couch to watch TV.  We haven’t been egged for that yet, so I hope our good fortune continues.

But Wednesday I was out walking in the neighborhood, and I had the camera with me.  (Chef found the neck strap!  So now I can carry it without worrying about dropping it.  He also found the lens cap, but the spring mechanism is broken and it won’t stay on, so I will have to continue worry about scratching the lens.)  There’s a little cemetery just a couple of blocks from my house, and I really like cemeteries.  I know a number of people who also like cemeteries, so I don’t think I’m weird or morbid or anything.  I just think they are nice, peaceful, and quiet places.

This particular cemetery has an older side and a newer side.  I prefer the older side where the stones are weathered and not so shiny.  There are stones there for men who fought in long-ago wars.  I want to say there is a Civil War soldier in there, but that seems really old and I couldn’t find the stone to back up this vague memory.

The old part of the cemetery isn’t in great shape.  A lot of the stones are broken or chipped, and many inscriptions are now illegible.  But I still like it.

DSCF1502I liked the long shadows here.

DSCF1506Here, the shadow of the bare tree added interest to the stone.

DSCF1509Three little stones.

DSCF1510I thought the juxtaposition of the dead tree with the headstones was apropos.   I also like that I just used “juxtaposition” and “apropos” in the same sentence.

DSCF1514It reads, “ANDREW DRAGOO DIED MAR. 12, 1865 Aged 32Y 10M 20D”  So young.  Also, March 12 is Chef’s birthday.  And the stone is so very weathered, it’s almost illegible.  It was for all those reasons that I took this photo.

DSCF1515There were a lot of broken and toppled monuments, but this one was probably the most dramatic.

DSCF1518Okay, maybe I’m over-thinking this, but I liked how the photo shows a progression from death to life.  The stones represent death, the tree behind it is alive but going dormant and the leaves are dying, and the house and car in the rear are evidence of life.  On a more superficial level, I just liked the tree as a backdrop to the monument.  (Honesty: that was the real reason I took the photo.  The whole death to life progression came later.  Like, just now, as I was uploading the picture.)

DSCF1519My parting shot.  I like how this photo shows the variety of stones — tall, short, square, round.  You can even see some of the new, shiny ones way in the back.

So, anyway, Happy Halloween, if you’re into that sort of thing.  And if not, I still hope you enjoyed the photos.

Things I Love About Autumn

DSCF1443Burning bushes

DSCF1445Corn fields ready for harvest


DSCF1448Hot tea

DSCF1446Changing leaves

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