Monday, January 24, 2011

Dailyshoot update

I have been keeping up with the prompts.

Even I don't believe I've been able to go for more than a week without fizzling out. Good intentions paves the way, and all that.

Here's the recent activity:

#7: Triangular composition. I mentioned that I used the shot of kelly and Nate and the sparklers. It was a stretch, but I was tapped out by the time I got around to processing the day's photos.

#8: Path. I used the path to the beach, with Kelly and Nate running off into the distance, meeting the waves. I've already posted that here in "meanwhile, back at the ranch"

#9: Low. We went to the beach again, and I ended up going with the double meaning. Both a low point of view, and a 'low blow' as I made my friends who are shivering through an atrocious winter storm see ANOTHER photo of the beach.

#10: Monochrome. Laziness prevailed, as I just pushed myself away from the desk and pointed the camera out the family room door close to sunset.

#11: Stripes: The Peninsula Orchid society show was this weekend in Redwood City. Kelly and I went, and she bought her first orchid from the fellow who grew it from birth (or from seed, or from fluff, or however those things come). he was a new vendor this year, and grew the orchids in his house, and he gave her a lot of great information, and helped her pick out the best one of his stock. So this was my submission for 'stripes'

Although I also posted this shot, of her with her purchase, or as she likes to say "Mr. FlowerPants".

#12: Beauty. This was tough. You were supposed to photograph "the most beautiful thing you see today", which is so open for interpretation and hard feelings "you took HER picture, but not MINE? Do you like her MORE than me? Whose are you going to put as the MOST beautiful?" or the thought of "This is a great photo, but I'm sure there are more beautiful things to see" bla bla bla.

In the end, it was getting late, and i just went for the beauty that I see when kelly is taking care of her pets. How she's turning into a compassionate care-giver, and will make a great parent (or vet) some day.

(bounce flash. I'm getting the hang of it)

I also posted another light-painting photo. Kelly and I had a bit of fun in the back yard before bedtime.

Oh yes, and for those of you who've read this far, and were wondering about my super spy name...

#13: Hard Light shadows. And now we come to today. I should have gone out this morning with the camera, as the sun was brilliantly shining, and the shadows everywhere had crisp hard edges. But I didn't. So I took Nate into the bathroom with a flashlight, and had a bit of fun. I'll be posting one of these:

Oh phooey, speaking of Nate, I just realized that I won't be able to get him to Kung Fu in time. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

And now I must go and intervene in a fractions-and-ratios homework kafuffle.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Thought we lost her

I was putting Kelly to bed the other night, and we were looking in on the remaining 2 hamsters, Kashi and Cheerio, making sure they had water and extra treats, when I noticed that Cheerio was trailing something behind her.

A long... red... string.


Now, Cheerio is our brain damaged Roborovski Hamster. She's had what we thought was a nervous tic since we got her, which has caused her to only turn left. As she's gotten older her head-twitch has gotten more pronounced, and her barrel-racing ways have gotten more obvious, and a little more frenetic. If she's not actively turning left, she's twitching her head like Justin Bieber adjusting his bangs.

My first thought was that she'd run into something, and had repeatedly run into it because of her disability, causing a wound. But I would have thought that the wound would be closer to her head, and this seemed to be originating from somewhere in her hind quarters.

Sure enough, when I was able to corner her, and pick her up (good grief, those girls are fast!), I could see that all her left-turning (seriously, we should have called her Nascar. "Just turn left! Just keep turning left!"), and her ramped up speed recently, was causing her to pivot on her left rear foot, and somehow all that pivoting had caused her to spin some of her bedding into a strong string that had managed to form a tourniquet around that pivot foot. The blood was bright red, so I knew it was fresh, but I really didn't know if it had already cut off circulation to the foot, or if it had twisted enough to actually cut the foot off, period. My stomach was churning as I looked at the thread around her foot, and the sticky blood on the thread. How was I going to get that off her foot?

Kelly had a pair of craft snips on her desk that she's been using to make jewelry, and they looked tiny enough, and sharp enough to get in close without crushing any tiny hamster bones. *shudder*

Cheerio didn't like being held, and she was spinning around in my hand, so it was kind of hard to pin her down so I could get access to her rear foot. I managed to snip the thread fairly close to her foot, and I hoped the twisted bit around her foot would wiggle loose as she started tooling around in her tub again. Kelly wanted to make sure she would be OK (the foot was swollen, and bright red), so we took her into the bathroom, and I put her on a hot wet washcloth in the sink, where she could wander around on it, and moisten her wound. I had a wet Q-tip that I was trying to swab her foot with, and Kelly sprayed some Neosporin onto another Q-tip, and she was trying to medicate the foot, so it wouldn't get infected.

I did dread looking into her cage in the morning. Would she be missing a foot? Would she be dead? She is getting old, almost exactly 2 years old this week, and I wouldn't be surprised if this trauma would be enough to put her into shock.

But I was pleasantly surprised.

Hello, Cheerio. Ready to spin for another day?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

After school today (Wednesdays are half-days), I motored over to the coast with Nate and Kelly (Skip, at highschool, is stuck in full-day purgatory), and a bag full of Wendy's take-out.

We got to the ranch by 1, and it was looking pretty deserted. None of the horses on the line were saddled up, but that's OK. Usually week-days are pretty quiet.

Eddie was not on the line, but soon our poking around got the attention of Jorge, and he said that Eddie was out in the pasture, and Kelly could get him if she wanted. Did she want to ride him? he asked. Um, no. Kelly's getting a little bit afraid of Eddie, actually. All this time not-riding him has made him head-strong and extra spook-ish. But the ring would be available, after they moved the mare and her colt back to their stall.

Kelly grabbed her lead rope, and headed out to the pasture. Uh oh. Eddie's managed to shed his halter, and his head is naked. There's nothing to clip the rope onto. I went to tell Jorge, and he gave me a rope-halter that would work in the interim. Well, Eddie can smell a trap a mile away, and he'd come near for the sugar cube in my hand, but bolt away the minute he caught sight of the halter out of the corner of his eye.

It became apparent that he was slipperier than Kelly was able to deal with, and I could feel Jorge watching us from his porch. Soon, I could see him walking across the yard. I was ready to call it a day. Some days, you just can't catch the horse, you know? But Jorge was coming over with a little bucket full of tasty, tasty grain. I have no idea what was in that bucket, but ALL the horses perked up their ears, and started moving towards the gate.

I felt bad for Jorge. He wasn't wearing his work boots. He was wearing sneakers, and that pasture, by the gate, was ankle-deep mud. Ouch! I should probably get him a Jamba Juice card, or something, for all his trouble this afternoon. But soon he'd managed to snag Eddie, and make all the other horses mad because they didn't get the snacks.

I was in charge of the bucket of oats for the walk back, and i must say, I was Eddie's Best Friend EVER!

In the ring, Kelly would walk him around, and every time he came to the gate where I was standing, he'd want a snack. Perhaps I was a bit of an enabler, but I did offer him a handful of oats on nearly every lap. Maybe that's why he wasn't really paying attention to the instruction that Kelly was trying to give him.

"Eddie! You are being a butt!"

She was shooting lazer beams out of her eyes at him.

But then two seconds later, she was in love again.

This does not bode well for any young men in her future.


Signs of trouble...


Finally, the clock told us it was time to go. Kelly took Eddie out to the line-up, and we vacated the premises.

But it was SUCH a lovely day, I decided that we'd be just a little bit late picking up Skip from school.

(oh, and this was my submission for today. A photograph with a path)

The beach was glorious.

Perfect for going barefoot.

it's too bad we couldn't stay there all day.

And now they want to know when they can go back.

Coming at you from Kung Fu

I don't know why I never thought to bring the laptop with me when I was going back and forth interminably to Kung Fu lessons these last 4 years. Jeepers. Slow learner, I guess.

So Nate's class is nearly done, and I've spent the time editing photos from this afternoon. Kelly went out to the ranch again, and tried to work with Eddie. It was a literal goat rodeo at first (ok, it was a horse rodeo, but Kelly's skill level is more akin to that of a goat), with us out in the pasture, up to our ankles in stinky mud, trying to get a halter on Eddie, who is a champion halter-loser, apparently. Finally, Jorge had to come and rescue us, and I felt bad because he was actually wearing nice shoes, and not his usual ranch boots. There are (sadly) no photos of that fiasco, which is probably a good thing. If I'd had my camera (I ended up having to go out into the pasture with kelly, as she attempted the snaring of Eddie), I probably would have suffered one or more of the following:

  • Falling in the mud
  • sliding in the mud (involving dropping the camera)
  • being attacked by a horse and dropping the camera
  • being trampled by hungry horses and dropping the camera
  • Come to think of it, several of those things did happen, but at least I wasn't having to worry about ruining my camera in the fray.

    Turns out the horses like whatever it is that I use on my hair. I had several of them muscling each other out of the way so they could get in really, REALLY close and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Alas, even though Eddie loves my shampoo as much as the next gelding, he noticed that i had a rope-halter in my hand, and he was on High Alert. Even the bribery of sugar cubes couldn't drop his guard.

    Oh well.

    Anyways. Kung Fu is almost over, and i just wanted to record that yesterday's assignment was to make a 'triangular composition'. I didn't take the camera out yesterday, so I cheated a bit, and used the last photo that I took the day before, of Nate and Kelly with the sparkler. It's triangular if your eye tracks from their eyes to the sparkler. Subtle. Yeah, that's what I was going for...

    Today's assignment is to use a path or road to lead the eye into the photograph. I'm not sure how good the pirated net connection is that I'm currently using, so I haven't uploaded any of today's photos to my picasa stream yet. That'll wait until after supper.

    Also? Funny photos of Kelly, as she decides that she is angry with Eddie for being, and I quote "such a butt". The faces that I see in these photos are very reminiscent of her stubborn streak that I photographed the year she was two. And the year she was three. And maybe the next year, too.

    Oh, the class just got ordered. it's time for everyone to switch, and it's time for me to go home and make supper.


    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Light Painting

    Last night, just as I was getting ready to kick all the kids into bed, Nate reminded me that I'd *promised* that we would 'do sparklers' before bed.


    So, with Nate and Kelly in their jammies, we headed out into the dark back yard. I'd found a pack of sparklers, and had used some of them for Skip's birthday cake on Saturday. It was time to empty the package.

    But first, let's do some test shots with this little pen light I found in my purse.

    See the elephant?

    Yeah... i don't really, either. I always was a little behind the crowd in art class.

    How about this pony, drawn by Kelly?

    Well, at least I'm feeling a bit better about my elephant...

    OK, let's see what we can do with a simpler shape...

    This makes me feel happy. Yes it does. And you can see the trail of a passenger jet in the top right corner of the frame. A 6-second exposure will do that.

    Now for some sky-writing.

    Oh right. This was supposed to be about sparklers. "soft"

    Busy day yesterday, but of course, none of the photos I took ended up meshing well with the dailyshoot assignment, which was "Make a photo with a soft look today". I ended up tossing something together at night, while I was working on finishing up another prosthesis for my mom.

    Here's a bit of softness for my mom. From left to right: pima cotton yarn, waiting to be made into a knitty-titty, a titty waiting to be sewn up (this is in bamboo, primarily so I could tell mom that I knit her a Blue Bamboob), and a silk prosthesis waiting to be put in the mail today. Which reminds me, I need to get to the post office this morning.

    Sunday, January 16, 2011 "blue"

    I do think I am getting into a bit of a routine with this dailyshoot business. Either that, or I'm getting better at making 'what I have' fit into 'what I need'.

    Today's prompt was "Blue. Make a photograph dominated by the color or that otherwise illustrates the theme."

    At first, I was thinking about rifling through my yarn stash, and pulling out a bunch of skeins. Goodness knows I have an overabundance of blue yarn (of every color of yarn, truth be told)

    But then life got in the way, and our day began, and we were go, go, going.

    This afternoon, instead of waiting around the house, and being a stalker-pest when Skip's driving instructor showed up in the two-steering-wheel-equipped sedan, and trying to take photos of him embarking on this new part of his life, I headed over to the coast, so that Kelly could give Eddie a bath.

    Eddie being the recalcitrant pony, you may recall. He's eighteen shades of dirt-colored these days, and the mud is caked on so that any hairs that he shed (it's about time for their winter coats to start shedding off) would be trapped in the mud, making him itchier and itchier.

    Yikes, that is a dirty pony.

    Oh, Eddie! You are going to have SUCH a great bath this afternoon!

    Spray, spray, spray!

    And there on the right you can see the vat of Mane and Tail that Kelly got for Christmas. It's going to come in handy.


    So shiny, you need shades.

    And this is the shot I submitted for the dailyshoot:

    And then she and Carrie toweled Eddie off, while the light of heaven shone down and said "Well done, shiny pony"

    And then, because he was SUCH a good pony while he was having his bath, Kelly let him graze in an un-mowed patch of the ranch.

    Once Eddie was back on the line, the work wasn't over. There were more horses to feed, and the girls were willing to work.

    But soon enough, it was time to open the gate and send the horses back to the pasture.

    Get out of their way.

    We'll see you tomorrow, ponies.

    And you too, Wrangler.

    Birthday photos and Beach Rides

    Wow. 5 days in a row. Wonder how long I'll keep this up.

    Of course, I didn't end up posting it yesterday here. But it still counts because I posted to daillyshoot, right?

    Yesterday was Skip's 16th birthday. So we were kind of distracted. Pretty low key (I didn't even make a cake. I am a sucktacular mother), but still...

    I let him sleep in, but got up early to make croissants that would be ready when he got up, then went out at 730 to grab Kelly, (who was at a sleepover) and her two friends (who she was sleepovering with), and we headed out in the brilliant sunshine to the coast.

    Ahem. For those of you stuck in nasty winter, you may wish to look away at this point.

    It was SIXTY TWO DEGREES at the beach at 9am yesterday!

    Can you believe it? I mean seriously, what month is this? I grabbed a winter coat, because I was thinking "January... beach... waves... cold wind... fog" and by the time I got there, and after leaving the jacket in the van, I was still thinking "Why did I wear this black T-shirt? I'm melting!"

    Hmm. Someone didn't get enough sleep at the sleepover, and her name starts with a K...

    But she soon shakes off the sleepies, and is up and ready to go.

    Wrangler would like to come with them...

    At this point, I'm cursing my failing memory, because I have put all of my sunglasses in "Very Safe Places", and am squinting as a result.

    Yesterday's DailyShoot prompt was "Make an image of two complementary objects, showing their relationship to each other"

    So I chose "Horse and Rider" Yeah... not a big surprise... and used this image:

    The waves were wonderful, too. Sometimes they're better when the weather is foul, but they were in fine form yesterday.

    Back at the ranch, the girls had a bit of time before we had to race away. They went to work grooming some of the muddy horses, and if we'd had time, we would have given baths to them, but we were a little pressed for time. But one of Kelly's friends got to help Jorge longe one of the privately owned horses. that was fun to watch. Some day, Eddie will be polite enough to be longed out in the main area, rather than inside the ring. But not today. This is Cookie going through her paces.

    I also toyed with this composition for "Two complementary objects and their relationship to each other"

    Hoof pick and curry comb.

    But, the horses need to say goodbye. We've got stuff to do.

    Back at the house, we found someone who was a year older. (I left the camera in the car, so these are with the phone. I'm pretty pleased with how well it works, too.)

    Come on, Nate. Get in the photo!

    Kelly! You get in there, too.

    A small haul, but I think he was pleased with what he got. Candy from Kelly, a Top Gear calendar and magazine from Nate, and another year of Xbox360 Gold from Ken and I. Oh, and he starts his driving lessons this afternoon. So if he wants to count 'money spent on me', he can add that cost. Although I know he won't. That kid truly does not WANT anything. I think he's figured out early that if he has stuff, he has to take care of stuff. Ergo, if I have nothing, I don't have to bother and pay attention to it.

    Hmm. I should have less stuff.


    Moving on.

    We couldn't linger over the presents, because it was time for Basketball.

    I love this shot of Kelly and her friends. They're all gangly-legs, and elbows, and skinny-growth-spurt awkwardness,

    Ken is coaching Kelly's team, and it's been a good time.

    Well, except for where I'm sitting on the sidelines, photographing, and don't notice when a basketball gets loose, and bowls me over.

    Yeah. That was funny, actually.

    After the outdoor practice, it was time for the indoor game.

    Our team lost. No worries. Both teams, together, will merge to form the team for the middle school, which, I think, has the chance of being unstoppable.

    We handed Kelly off to the other team's coach, so she could go home with his daughter, and work on their science fair project together. Their project is called "Faces or Vases", and they're asking people to say the first thing that pops into their head when they see the following optical illusion:

    Their scientific method is full of holes, but they are in 6th grade, and they did it All By Themselves, so I'm proud of what they were able to accomplish. They will not be the team getting the gold medal for curing cancer, which is the level that some of these 6th graders bring to the table when their Genentech Executive parents give them 'a little advice'. *shrug*

    When I went to collect Kelly, she was not quite finished, and they were thinking about the poster layout.

    I had a brain wave, and asked if I could 'give them some advice' for the title.

    I figure it doesn't count, seeing as it has nothing to do with their research, their method, or their data collection. And I love how it turned out.

    Each one of those black blobs is a separate piece of paper. The title actually is in the negative space. I wonder if they'll get bonus marks for being SO CLEVER!

    But then we had to jet off, because Skip had gone out to see the Green Hornet with Cole, as a sort of impromptu birthday party, and it was time for me to go find them at the theater. Easier said than done, seeing as both boys had forgotten their cel phones, so I couldn't contact them. Oh well. No harm done, and soon we were dropping Cole back at his house, and heading for Skip's favorite Japanese restaurant for his birthday dinner.

    Skip inhaled his food, so you have to just see Ken's chirashi bowl (no ebi).

    And then we went home for cake.

    Must light ALL sparklers in unison! So everyone gets a match, and Ken goes over 'who will light which sparkler'. Quite the organizational spectacle.

    And then we sing, quickly! because the sparklers are shorter than we thought.

    Jewel flies in to see what all the fuss is about.

    It was a good (long) day.