It’s easier if you put the horse BEFORE the cart!

February 1, 2010

  

When I want to put a picture with a story I write, I look for it by going  back through my photo archives, guessing at about when I took the photo (because they are grouped by the date I downloaded them from whatever camera I used).  An inexact science at best. 

For example, I recently came across a picture of me as a little kid (yes, I know, there are alot of those!) in the kitchen of our old house in Springfield.  And I realized there was a connection between that picture and one I took about a year ago.  Soooo, I started looking for the more recent picture  so that I could do a post about their connection, but I couldn’t find it.

Part of the problem is that my photos aren’t in consistently-named files.  The Kodak camera I used first, lists them by numeric-only dates, i.e. 8-2-09.  While the Panasonic system that goes with my current camera lists them this way “Aug 2 2009”.  Also in the mix are old photos I have downloaded (which are filed alphabetically by how I have named them) that, depending on whether I’ve edited them or not, can be found in one or all of four systems — these two systems, plus the “My pictures” on my hard drive and my new Picasa 3 editing program. 

Can you see how comfusing it is for me, an already disorganized person, to locate a specific photo?

Ha!  But I think I’ve discovered a solution!  Late last night when I was looking for the “lost” photo in all those systems, out of frustration, I decided to just start from the beginning of one system and go through each file methodically (not something I always think to do — that methodical thing) until I found the picture I wanted.

But as I went through the files, I would come across another picture that I would think, “Oh, I should do a post about that!”  So, I pulled up my blog too, and started creating drafts for future posts that are just the picture(s) I’ve come across and a “working title” that will remind me what picture it is when I look at the title. 

I now realize I was going at the link between pictures and posts from the wrong end!  Rather than deciding to write a post and THEN looking for the picture that I have in mind for it, I am now going to go through my photos, put them in drafts, and use those drafts to write posts!

Of course, not all of my posts necessarily include photos and some of them are about a picture I took yesterday, but when they are going to include an older picture, this is going to be a much less stressful way to do it.

I just hope WordPress doesn’t have a limit on how many drafts you can store, because I think I may end up with alot of them!

May this be an encouragement to all of you.  If at 63 years old I can still have an occasional “ah ha” moment and come up with a new way to do something, then I hope that will encourage you to never say “I’m too old (or set in my ways) to change.”

May you have an “ah ha” moment of your own today!


A Snapshot of Friendship

November 6, 2009

 

Last week I had the rare pleasure of getting to meet two fellow bloggers — C and V from Stickhorse Cowgirls!  Hubby and I were passing through the city where they live and I had contacted them and asked if we could have dinner.  Hubby just stayed long enough to eat, and then he left the three of us to gab till our hearts content.  And we did just that.

It was so exciting to get to put faces to two women who had over months of reading and commenting on each other’s blogs, become my blogging friends.  We talked (and ate, at least part of the time) for three hours, with nary an awkward silence.  The conversation really was more like old friends catching up after a long absence, rather than strangers meeting for the first time.  Remarkable, touching, fun, memorable.  And now, I consider V and C real, honest-to-goodness friends of mine.

But, the real friendship I want to tell you about is the one between the two of them.  Sitting at a table with them for three hours gave me a little snapshot of their very special friendship (of over 50 years!), and how it blesses both their lives.  I can’t remember anything specific they said that would be an example.  All I can say is that I came away from that evening having been reminded of how precious old friendships can be when they are firmly grounded in shared love and respect and lots of shared memories.

May we all cherish and nourish the friendships we have been blessed with — both old and new.  They are such a plus in life.

Thank you, C and V for such a memorable, fun evening.  Now, when I read your words, I see your faces and hear your voices. 

A truly special evening.


I like MY blogging world, thank you!

October 17, 2009

 

On Thursday, my blogging friend, Beth, at C.Beth blog, did a post about some unkind exchanges on a message board that was discussing, of all things, lollipops!  I was amazed at the tone the commenters used not only about the product but about each other!  You can go here to read Beth’s post.

Reading those comments reminded me once again how thankful I am for my blogging world that is filled with bloggers and commenters who are unerringly polite and supportive to each other (and me!).

I think there may be a few reasons that have kept nasty, mean-spirited people from visiting here. 

~ One is my blogs title.  If someone is looking for smut or topics on the dark side or some topic that will just give them an excuse to rant and say unkind things to other people, I’m guessing they probably aren’t drawn to a blog entitled Add Humor and Faith.

~ I tend to visit blogs and develop friendships with bloggers and commenters who are of the same mind as me, i.e., who appreciate civility, try to see and encourage the good in others and enjoy a good story or a good laugh (or photography!).  And, I very seldom venture out onto the “big, bad” internet in general.  I have specific sites I go to to make purchases, but in general I’m very careful about new sites I visit.  In both cases, I hope that I am limiting my exposure and maybe fly under the radar in the bigger internet world.

I also watch my lauguage!  Not only will you not see swear words here (although, I do tend to use a heart-felt “crapola!” or “rats!” occasionally), but I am careful that I don’t use any specific words that might lead someone putting that certain word into a search engine to my site.  Case in point is the time I wrote about The Flasher (you can read that post here) and was careful not to use the anatomically correct word for the part he was flashing! (That was a little difficult since, after all, it was the focus of the story!)

And, lastly, twice, when I first started blogging, I got a commenter who left comments on a post  that were just a string of filthy words and thoughts.  In both cases, I just marked those comments as Spam and sent them off to the Word Press support group.  Now, it did happen twice, so obviously whatever they did the first time didn’t discourage the sick commenter, but I never heard from him after I sent his second comment to Word Press.  And THAT is one of the big reasons I will probably never leave the Word Press protective umbrella, because they took care of him for me, and I have no idea how, I just know I never heard from him again. (and also they are, without fail, kind and helpful when I ask them really dumb questions about blogging!)

So, thank you fellow bloggers and commenters for making up a wonderful blogging community in which we all can love and laugh and learn.  I am thankful for you.

(Hmmm. I just read back through this.  Is this dry as dirt?  Am I old as dirt?  Points to ponder.)

Happy Saturday!


For the Love of Photography

September 25, 2009

 

Yes, I think I can say I love photography, and no one is more surprised than me.  All of the years I was growing up and Mama was taking pictures at every gathering (she was a recorder of people and events most of the time as opposed to looking for pretty pictures), I have to admit it was sometimes a little inconvenient that, whatever was going on, there would routinely be times when everyone had to stop what they were doing and gather together so that Mama could record the moment with a photograph.

But now, when I look back through all the albums of her photographs, I am so thankful that she loved photography.  It is so much fun to look at pictures of events that I have lived and even ones that were before I was alive.  But they’re all there, recorded by Mama’s faithful camera.  And, I love sharing some of those old pictures with you too.

Of course, writing a blog and wanting to share with you what I see (or what Mama saw), was what finally kick started my interest in photography, so in that vein, here are a couple shots of sky, one of my favorite subjects, I’ve snapped recently with my old faithful Kodak.

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Thank you, Mama, for planting the seeds of interest in photography in me all during my growing-up years.  All these years later I am enjoying it so much and I look forward to thanking you in person when we meet again.


Some things I’ve learned about myself through Photography

August 24, 2009

 

I think of my mother often when I am using a camera.  She would be delighted that I finally “get” the fun of photography.

And, I have learned a few things about myself because of photography, for instance —

 

I am drawn to repeated patterns . . .

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and bright colors . . . 

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P1030548(1)(1)   (I can’t tell — is it obvious what this is?  If you don’t know, I’ll give you a hint — the color was a pleasant surprise when I played around with editing the hue and saturation of a black and white picture from the zoo.)

 

and the sky . . .

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. . . and sometimes opportunities to show a unique perspective

 P1000151(2)    A window at a filling station.  A cooler filled with soda pop inside provides the color and is made interesting because it is viewed through a window that is reflecting near-by trees.

 P1000151(1)  A cropped version of the window above.

100_2245e1   I thought these bushes in the yard, photographed through a screen, looked a little like a painting.

P1010157(1)  I was amazed at how much more I liked this simple picture of a bird when I made it a negative.

100_4823g   There is something a little mysterious about just a glimpse of a pretty girl, isn’t there?

100_1838edit1   Bridge girders through the tinting at the top of the windshield.

100_1965edit2  A sunset taken in the rear view mirror (as the passenger, of course!)

100_2731e2   I took a picture of clouds from inside the car and inadvertently overlayed them with my husband’s reflection in the window.  When I cropped it to just the reflection, I got a picture I really liked!

I can honestly say that photography has made me look at the world around me much more closely and appreciatively.


The Saga of a Post

August 1, 2009

 

Most mornings, when I first begin to wake up, even before I get out of bed, I think, “What shall I post about today?”

Well, yesterday morning, the chocolate/raspberry cake that I had made four times in the last couple months came to mind, and I decided that that would be the subject of the day’s post.

I had taken pictures the last time I made it, so that was already done.  All I needed to do was go to the Weight Watcher e-tools Recipe Builder where I could put in the ingredients to find out how many WW points were in a serving.  So, I had a plan.

But, first I really needed to make my coffee, eat my oatmeal and read my newspaper.  No problem.  It would be an easy post that wouldn’t take too much time to do, I thought.  I could do it after my breakfast.

So, a little later than usual, about 6:30 a.m., I started to put together a post about the cake.

Hmmm. A slight problem.  I went to the Recipe Builder, but apparently there are lots of Weight Watchers who go there first thing in the morning, because I couldn’t get in!  Rats.  Because I usually get on the computer so early, I don’t normally have this problem with any site.  I’d just have to try later.

So, I started the post by beginning to type the text, and then I went to my picture file to enter some of the pictures I had of the cake.  I entered ones for all the steps, but then realized that I had forgotten to take a pretty key picture — one of what the cake looked like on a plate! 

P1020503(1)    I just didn’t think it would have the same impact and “curb appeal” if the only “finished” picture you saw was of the cake frosted in the pan, uncut!

Okay, Plan B … I needed to bake another cake so that I could get a picture of the cake “plated”.  But I knew I didn’t have all the ingredients on hand, so it would require a trip to the grocery store.

It was still early enough that I decided to do something that I rarely do.  I would run to the grocery in my normal early morning/breakfast eating/coffee drinking/blog writing attire … old knit shorts and t-shirt and no make-up!  

Let me just say here that there is something deceptive about having a grocery store just five minutes away.  It makes it feel less threatening … not a big deal.  It lets me feel more like I’m running over to the neighbors back door to borrow a cup of sugar as opposed to a real, honest to goodness,  trip to the grocery store (which, of course, would require make-up and “regular clothes”).

So, I did go to the grocery store, looking like death warmed over, and I took it as a good sign that the greeter did not scream in fear and run away.  I gathered up the ingredients, used the self-check-out and returned home having been able to avoid making eye contact with most of the other shoppers.

When I got home I went right to the computer and tried to get into the Recipe Builder again.  Still no luck.  Rats.  I did not want to post this recipe without telling you the points value.  I knew it wasn’t light, light, so I didn’t want to mislead anyone. 

I briefly thought about putting this post off for another day, but I had already invested a significant amount of time in it, and no other subject immediately came to mind, so I decided to perservere. 

I baked the cake and while it was cooling so that I could frost it and then take some additional pictures, I tried Recipe Builder o.n.e  m.o.r.e  t.i.m.e.  Still no luck.  So, desperate measures were now required.  I decided I was going to have to come up with the points the “old fashioned” way.

 P1020656(1)    Math is NOT my native tongue, so this was definitely an option I put off until I absolutely couldn’t get WW to do it for me!

The cake was now cooled.  I frosted it and then cut 1/20th of it (4 WW points, as I had found out) and put it on a plate.  I had set a place at the table for it, but when I put the cake there, it just didn’t look finished.  Hmmm.  Suddenly, I knew exactly what it needed — some fresh raspberries on top!  Unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand.  It would require another run to the grocery store.  But, now that I had come up with that idea, I knew I wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less than fresh raspberries to finish off the cake. 

I went to the grocery store … again.  This was about an hour later than the last time, and the atmosphere was noticably different.  The greeter looked surprised and just gave me a brief wave this time  … not as friendly (apparently she was now fearing that rather than the first trip when I looked really ratty being a rarity, I was now going to look like this all the time!)  And there were alot more people in the store.  And this hour-later group was much better dressed, so probably expected the same from me!  But, at least, this time, all I needed was a container of red raspberries (or a brick of gold — they undoubtedly cost about the same!).  I used the self-check-out again and came home, again, with the final piece of the puzzle.

I washed some raspberries, put them on top of the piece of cake and then took the final pictures for the post.

By this time, it was 11:00 a.m.  This whole thing had taken hours.  I was done.  Oh, but wait a minute.  There sat the pretty piece of cake and glass of tea, and no one to eat them! 

Hubby had already eaten his breakfast at some point during all this craziness and had now left to run errands of his own.  He wasn’t up yet when I went to the grocery the first time, and had already left the house by the time I went the second time — how convenient!  His only comment on what I was doing, including the trip to the grocery, was  just shaking his head and smiling.  At least I hope that was a smile — one caused by my dedication and perserverence and not a smirk at how I had looked to go to the grocery!

P1020653(1)   So, anyway I was home alone with that pretty little piece of cake, and I had had a very busy morning.  So, before I went to finally take a shower and get ready for the day, I sat down and ate that pretty little piece of cake, and enjoyed it very much.

As a final touch, I took some last pictures of that process to add. 

Then I went up to the computer; added the final pictures; and published the post.  Mission accomplished.

Hmmm. Sometimes writing a blog feels a little bit like work, but fun work.  One of the most fun “jobs” I’ve ever had.


Thank You, Friends . . .

December 26, 2008

 

 . . . for helping, encouraging and supporting  me to my 300th post!

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My husband says he never doubted for a minute that I had enough to say to fill 300 posts, but he’s just prejudiced.  Ha.Ha.

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Thanks to Jen for pushing me to start this, to those of you (mostly Jen’s friends and mine) who have been reading from the first, thanks to all of you who have started visiting here along the way, and to all the commenters, a special thanks for reassuring me that someone was “listening.”

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This is so much fun — and I couldn’t have done it without all of you!   Thank You!

(Am I the only one who finds the sight of butterflies in a little snow shower fascinating?)


Can You Smell Greatness?

December 6, 2008

 

If so, I think I may have just gotten a “whiff” this week of future blogging greatness.

A young man from Texas first popped up as a commenter on my post about editing a few days ago.  He said he was brand new to blogging and was looking for help.  He totally charmed me when he ended the short list of questions he was asking with, “3) Will you read my blog? (asked in a pathetic, begging-like voice.)”

His claim to “neediness” and his willingness to admit it in a way that made me laugh, brought out all my grandmotherly, and lover of clever humor,  instincts. 

So, I went to his blog and left him the longest comment know to man, giving him advice on everything from how to get new readers to limiting his sugar intake and always wearing clean underwear, in case he’s in an accident.

Thus began me reading his blog and commenting on his always funny, always original and witty posts.  And, him commenting regularly on my blog, again always with clever words.

I suggest you go over here and see if you don’t agree with me.  And, while you’re there, it would be great if you’d leave him a comment.  I remember how much I appreciated the comments on my first posts. 

If he sticks with this blogging thing and gives an audience time to find him, I think there may come a time when those of us who read him when he first started may be proud to say, “I “knew” (read) him when!”


Editing is Like Popcorn . . .

December 3, 2008

 

. . . It’s hard to know when to stop!

I have never considered myself to have OCD, but I am a little obsessive about my posts.

I do my best to edit and “perfect” a post before I publish it.  But, then I will re-visit it and decide something would sound better this way, or I think of a picture that would look good there, or something else suddenly occurs to me that I should have told you about, so I add a pararaph about that.

So, I frequently edit my posts multiple times after they have been posted.  Luckily, I don’t think most people read a post the second time, so I don’t think anyone notices.

But, because each of my posts is really a “work in progress,” here’s a little suggestion. Don’t ever tell someone, “Go to Sandra’s post and read the last sentence in the third paragraph — it made me laugh out loud!”  Because there’s a good chance that that sentence has been changed.  Or, that that paragraph has been moved, and the last sentence in the third paragraph may now be about someone’s dog dying or something equally sad, and your friend will think you are totally insensitive, not to mention, just a little bit weird!

Okay.  Here’s my post about editing.  But, I’m pretty sure I’ll be back later to edit it.

Edit #1:  How could I have not even mentioned typos?!! I am shocked at how often I re-read a post and find mis-spellings and transposed letters, and with amazing frequency, letters just left off the end of words, like I got tired of typing the word and just quit!! 

Edit #2:  And, I have given up trying to correct my grammar.  If there are any English teachers who read my blog, I’m sure they see all kinds of mistakes in that regard.  That’s why I love the idea of “poetic license.”  I like to think of my errors as adding character and uniqueness — as Dr. H would say, “my own voice.”


Sharing Ideas with Fellow Bloggers

November 21, 2008

 

I am far, far from being an expert on blogging, but it has occurred to me that these two ideas that have struck me recently might also be of interest to other bloggers.  So, I guess this is a “for what it’s worth” post.

1.  First, I have started writing down ideas for posts as I read other’s blogs.  I’ve always tried to write down ideas that occur to me whenever, but I have just recently started specifically keeping a pen and paper handy when reading and commenting on other blogs.  Sometimes the idea for a new post will come from my comment on the post, if not the post itself. 

Case in point, Staci, wrote this post about what makes a reader and she then makes the connection from that to being a writer.  It’s very interesting, but what specifically caught my attention was a quote from sociologist Shirley Brice Heath, “Simply being a ‘social isolate’ as a child does not, however, doom you to bad breath and poor party skills as an adult. In fact, it can make you hypersocial.”

Ms. Heath’s quote triggered a memory for me that inspired my comment: 

“This reminded me of when I was nine years old, and had just moved to a new city with my parents (late life baby, so all siblings were grown and out on own). The sense of isolation was profound in my new neighborhood and school. I do remember doing quite a bit of reading to fill the void where friendships had been, but I also remember thinking, “I had better really work at making new friends, or I’m going to be lonely forever!” I know I wasn’t shy before the move and had had a fair number of friends, but I do think that move made me much more outgoing.  Ever since then, I have always been very open to new friendships, and I think that is a direct result of experiencing that awful loneliness as a 9 year old and finding out how painful it can be.”

After I wrote that, I thought, “I may write a post about that move being a turning point in my life.”  A thought that I’m not sure would have occurred to me, if I hadn’t read and commented on Staci’s post.

2. Secondly, I’ve had cards made.

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Not fancy, and a “life-time supply” (at least for a 62-year old!) of 200 was less than $25 at Office Depot. 

I got tired of mentioning my blog to someone (which I do do when the opportunity arises), and then, if they asked how to get to it, one or the other of us having to dig a pen and some scrap of paper out of our purse or pocket to write down the address.  This is much easier and more professional looking.  Also, I think this card is much more likely to make it out of the purse or pocket of the person and onto the computer desk than a hastily scribbled address written on a scrap of paper would be.

By the way, if either of my children are reading this, don’t get me cards for Christmas.  I already have a whole bunch.  But, I would love to receive a little business card case.  It might do a better job of reflecting that professionalism I’d like to project than the rubber band I’m using now!

Just a couple of thoughts from a blogger who is just learning as she goes.