Monday, April 27, 2009

One more try

This weekend's challenge was Wisdom, for which I submitted this. I wasn't entirely happy with it, mostly because it just looked washed out. I took it too dark, and then the picture I took with better settings wasn't great because the woman I was photographing didn't smile. Here are the two original shots:

As you can see, the first is too dark and it's pretty poorly cropped. The second shot--which I took with the camera's automatic setting--is exposed better, but the woman isn't smiling and the crop still isn't great. What can I say--photography's hard, especially when carrying a squirming child who loves nothing more than to eat dirt the moment she's placed on the ground. Anyway, I cropped the first photo and played with the colors and contrast to make the woman's face more visible, then ran an "old photo" filter in gimp to give it a sepia tone. The filter also made the picture fuzzier, which I didn't like, but also didn't know what to do.

Today I came across this article on making better black and whites. Being relatively unsatisfied with the product I'd put out on Sunday, I played with the two photos more today. Here's what I've got:


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Ride 'em, cowgirl!

Derrick took this picture this evening while I was watering our garden. Usually he's the one playing horse!

You know you're a mom when you just can't help but add another picture just 'cause your kid's facial expression is a little different.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

No one

The above is a photo Derrick took for the most recent Mission 24 photo challenge, "One." Derrick used a random number generator to create a screen full of every number except one.

Since the moment I saw the challenge I've had One or One is the loneliest number going through my head constantly. Yeah, it's fun.

To continue the theme, Sylvia is one determined kiddo, especially when it comes to cat food. We've been trying to find something she can feed to herself. Looks like she found something she likes on her own.

And finally, this is the image I submitted, entitled, "one red cent." The background is a pair of pants I recently bought from Old Navy. Who would have thought they'd be so useful?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax day

In celebration of Tax Day, my husband and I came up with a list of many of the things we're blessed with as citizens of this country that we wanted to express our happiness for the opportunity to support with our tax dollars.

Gratitude for this Blessed Nation

I am grateful for the roads I drive every day and for the prosperity that freedom of movement for people and goods affords the economy.

I am grateful for an education system that is available to everyone. I am grateful to belong to an educated society.

I am grateful for police officers who enforce the law. I am grateful for a courts system that mediates disputes and guides justice.

I am grateful for the DMV that ensures people are licensed to drive, and ensures that their vehicles are safe.

I am grateful for a parks system that preserves some of the natural beauty of this land we've been blessed with.

I am grateful for the FDA that makes sure my food is safe and makes sure the drugs I sometimes need to treat illness are not snake oil.

I am grateful for the EPA that protects us from pollution, that keeps our water drinkable and our air less smoggy.

I am grateful for building codes and inspectors who make sure the buildings I spend my time in are safe.

I am grateful for social security that keeps my grandmas from living in poverty.

I am grateful for unemployment benefits, particularly in these tough economic times.

I am grateful for Medicare, Medicaid, and other welfare programs that keep people from suffering the worst of poverty.

I am grateful for NASA and their inspirational mission. I am grateful we can, and we do, dream of visiting the stars.

I am grateful for NOAA and the national weather service--especially living in tornado alley!

I am grateful for the CDC for tracking and studying diseases.

I am grateful for the USGS that helps us find and properly use our natural resources, and monitors earthquake and volcanic hazards.

I am grateful for a navy that protects us from pirates. I am grateful for the national guard, for their service in country cleaning up disasters, and out of country. I am grateful for the service of the other branches of the armed forces too!

I am grateful for air traffic control for making air travel just about the safest mode of transportation available.

I am grateful for the IRS for collecting our tax dollars--very efficiently, too!--so our government can function.

Freedom isn't free. This year, and every year, I am grateful for the opportunity to pay taxes.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

246 weeks

In the first days after Derrick and I were married, we discovered we had no trash bags. So, we went to Target and bought 180 trash bags, expecting them to last, oh, a couple of years. We thought we'd finished them a couple of times since then--the last time just about the time Derrick moved out here, but as we were packing up we discovered another roll of trash bags.

Today we threw away the last of the never-ending trash bags.

According to the EPA the average American family disposes of 0.23 tons (460 lb) of trash per year. Our trash bags are 13 gallon trash bags, which probably hold 1 lb of trash per gallon (or less), so every year we throw away approximately 9.5 lb of trash per week. That's still a lot of trash--and I suspect we're doing better now that we live in an area with easy recycling--but it's not bad. I bet when we have our own home and can compost our waste food, we'll do even better.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


So, I joined a new blog, Mission 24 photo challenge ('cause I don't already have enough to do). The first challenge I participated in was Black and White, for which I submitted the following photo:

The other version of this shot (which I almost submitted instead) is below:

Today was also the field trip for the class I'm TAing. I took my camera along in hopes of finding some stuff to photograph. This is a picture I took of a nice limestone erratic. Unfortunately, the picture was waaay overexposed, so I played with it a bit in gimp and came up with this:

No post of B&W photography would be complete without a picture of Sylvia, so here you go:


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

8 months and a boo-boo

Yesterday Sylvia turned 8 months, which is amazing to me. She's 27 1/2 inches long, which is exactly average. Pretty good, considering how far below average she was a birth.

Yesterday Sylvia got her first (semi) major boo-boo. I was opening a package in the kitchen with a knife while holding her (dumb, I know) and she grabbed the knife. Without even thinking about it I yanked it out of her hand--and sliced open her pinky finger in the process. It bled a lot, and she cried (though not a lot) and I felt really bad (still do, truth be told).

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Happy birthday

My husband and I are now the same age--something I have to savor since that state only lasts for about 2 months before, once again, I'm the older one.

We never seem to do much for Derrick's birthday (or mine, really) and this year was no different. We hung out together, went to Indy where Derrick bought himself a birthday present at Woodcraft, I bought some books for Sylvia at a good bookstore down there, and we stocked up on tasty Trader Joe's food. It was a good day.

Friday, April 3, 2009


This morning I was listening to NPR when I hear this gem of an interview with Indiana Rep. Mike Pence (a republican). It irritates me so much that republicans are now so focused on avoiding debt--where was this ethic when Bush's tax cuts were on the table?

If Republicans are so into sacrifice, why can't they sacrifice this idiotic idea that taxation is always bad? Why can't they sacrifice some of their precious tax cuts and actually pay for the war they were so keen on just a few years ago? Why can't they sacrifice their pride and actually put forward some new, productive ideas instead of just trotting out their old, rancorous and rather unpopular ones? Seriously, why can't they sacrifice their partisanship, just a little, and actually work with the other side, work toward good, centrist legislation that's helpful for everyone in this country instead of just those few who possess most of the wealth?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

New tooth

Sylvia has another new tooth--this one on top. The running nose, low-grade fever, and loss of ability to sleep through the night all make sense now, as does the unfortunate resumption of Sylvia's bad habit of biting. Ouch!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Moving to San Diego

Derrick's going to take the post-doc at Scripps, so I guess we're going to San Diego, probably in December. Sometimes I'm excited, other times, not so much. I've really grown to like small-town living and I'm not actually looking forward to moving someplace where we'll be paying through the nose for a tiny apartment with no yard (again!) and not even the possibility of a garden (one of the perks I really enjoyed last summer). On the plus side, I was looking at the price of condos in the area and apparently prices have dropped quite a bit--so much so it might actually be more cost-effective for us to purchase a condo for the year or so we'll be there rather than rent.

We'll see.