Thursday, February 28, 2013

FREE Replacement Kindle! Amazon you ROCK!

Besides the fact that I am one of their best customers (I read alot in case you didn't know that already), my love for my Kindle has scored me a replacement one.  Here's the chat:

Ode to My Broken Kindle

Ode to My Broken Kindle


O Kindle,  my friend,

My constant companion to New Orleans, Jackson, Virginia, McComb, Florida, and similar multi-state tours.

You with your blue leather case, and

Sassy cover with reading fishies.


Good company in the days after I lost my own personal Daddy,

When you read to me from comfortable old favorites. 

To ease my sadness.


Luxuriated with me over three summers,

Safely ensconced in your two interlocking and

Perpendicularly arranged Double Zip Zip Lock bags

As we floated in the 10 foot inflatable pool.


That one time when I left you on a plane,

And the kind flight attendant chased me down the terminal,

Determined to reunite us. 


You survived x-rays, repressurizations, sandy trips to the beach,  

Tossed into bags here and there, and

From Hell to Breakfast, and

Curious Wet Schnauzer Beards.


Alas, this morning you succumbed

To a tragic and accidental fall in the shower. 

The encasing  Zip Lock bag




To protect your delicate screen.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Great Whites

Egrets, that is.  Not sharks, thank GOODNESS.

This one was fishing at Weeks Bayou.  I love to watch all the birds around here.  These are WAY more graceful than the pelicans, but the pelicans do crack me up.

P.S.  Missy's pick - #421.   This was actually the only #421.  Thanks Missy!

Lucky, Lucky Me!

I live right by the Ocean Springs Harbor.  (Don't be trying to stalk me.  I have attack Schnauzers).  The Harbor houses sailboats, other-boats-whose-types-I-do-not-know-yet, and shrimp boats.  (The small 2 people shrimp boats, not the Bubba Gump big-ass commercial ones).   One of the coolest things I can do is ride my bike or walk 2 minutes to the harbor, and buy shrimp right off the boat.  It's pretty awesome.  Now I just need to really DO it more often.

From my office, I can see the tops of some of the boats.  It's pretty awesome and amazing.  And if I get up early enough to walk, I can often see the boats heading out for the day:

P.S.  This is Dena's Pick - #519.  Except I didn't have a #519.  I did have a #516, which was a TERRIBLE pic of a blurry bird in flight.  This is the closest decent one.  # 505. Thanks, Dena!

Photography Class

Two years ago I finally bought myself a good camera for Christmas.  It's a beautiful thing. I told Jason what I wanted from him for Christmas was books/ tutorials/ that would help me learn how to USE the damn thing.  He nailed it.  He got me:

  • Nikon D90 for Dummies
  • A set of 3 tutorial books that are funny, and each page has a picture and the conditions and tells you how the photographer got that shot, and what settings to use and etc, 
  • A manual that will fit in my camera bag and tells me what every button/ switch/ setting on the camera does, and
  • A laminated guide that I can stick in my bra if I don't want to carry the camera bag with me when I go to get a shot.  
Why, yes!  Yes, I do occasionally store things in my bra.  Don't act like you don't.  

So I have diligently tried to use these books to take photos, but honestly, I was clueless.  I didn't have the BASICS.  I tried to READ about the basics, but it just didn't click for me.  So last fall my cousin Holly made me take a photography class with her. (My whole life, I have been more adventurous when Holly was involved.)  The class was taught by Jason Taylor and Alex North, two well-known Gulf Coast photographers.  

Their stuff is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.   Here are their facebook pages, where they both post photos daily:

Here's a quick sample:

Ridiculous, right?  So yeah Holly and I took a class with these guys, and it was great!  It was a couple of hours of classroom training, and then a field trip.  They taught us the REAL basics.  ISO, FStops, and Shutter Speed.  With their explanations and demonstrations, I GOT IT.   It clicked.  

I still have sooooooo much to learn.  But I am capable of taking a picture with the proper exposure, or understanding why when I don't.  My photos have improved, and now I'm getting more shots like this:

Here is the actual # 375.  (The 1st pelican was  actually # 334, I liked the composition and exposure better.) 
So now I have all these photos sitting in my "to Blog" folder, and I'm trying to get back in the swing of blogging.  

Right now, on Facebook, I have people picking #'s to help me decide what to blog.  Lynn's pick of  # 375, 3, helped motivate this post. (I have some multiple pics with the same #'s, thus the 1,2,or 3.  In this case I only had 1 with the # 375. )    Thanks, Lynn!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Beard Brushing

Greta wouldn't stop complaining about how she wanted her supper early, so I solved that problem by making her sit and let me brush her beard out.  She's good about letting me do it, but it's definitely not her favorite thing to do.  Here's all the crap I combed out of it:   (pleasant, right?)

And here's the beautiful result:

My pretty grrrrl.  I need to  brush Jasmine's out too, but that involves asking 8 friends to come over to hold her down while I contort myself into bizarre positions to get to it.  I'm just not up for it tonight. 

SuperCool Before and After

I have a nook in my master closet where a nice piece of furniture needs to sit.  Well I mean I HAD a piece of furniture there, a super cool wooden chest that I got at some Import store in Baton Rouge eons ago.  It fit there perfectly EXCEPT:

  1. It made my clothes smell like the weird stain/ varnish they used on it, and
  2. It was too tall to be all that functional for me. 

I ended up just always throwing clothes I needed to put away on top of it, which drove Jason nuts.  But it was too tall for me to really USE the top of it.  I moved that chest into my studio and it is now holding art supplies.  So I went on the hunt for something with lots of drawers, but shorter.  My realtor extraordinaire,

Billie, who is fast becoming one of my best and funnest friends, called me and said "hey come look at this dresser for your nook."  And I did, and I bought it.  It needed some glue in a spots, and was pretty scratched/ banged up in some areas, but I LOVE the shape of it.  Very retro.  6 drawers.  Exactly the right height.  Exactly the right width.  Perfect!

Couple of coats of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (my current addiction), and VOILA: 

I still need to "pretty up" the top some, ( you know - with the tchotchkes and whatnot) but I love the direction it's going in.  I bought that cute little glass door chest @ Magnolia Antiques for $20.  The bottom shelf is now holding all my perfume. 

This drawer perfectly fit all my hair accessories, bracelets, rings, and misc. jewelry and bedazzlement.    The other drawers hold my pj's, painting clothes, and walking clothes.  THREE drawers are currently empty woot!

At first I started painting the whole outside, trim, and top two drawers with Paris Grey, and then realized I didn't have enough.  It bummed me out BECAUSE I HAD A PLAN.  But I can roll with it.  I was determined to use what I had.  Well really I didn't have a choice because I can't just run down to the Exxon station @ the corner and get Annie Sloan Chalk Paint AM I RIGHT?!  So I ended up painting the top two drawers with Paris Grey, the middle two with French Linen, the bottom two with Graphite, and then the outside and trim is Old White and Graphite mixed.  And then I waxed it and buffed it STUPIDLY with a blue terry cloth towel which left awful lint in the wax, but it actually ended up looking sort of cool so I left it like that. 

So yeah!  Turned out great I think!  Thoughts?

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bunnies in a Mexican Hat

I LOVE digging through antique/ junk stores.  It's therapy to me.  And yes, over the years, I have bought WAY too much stuff that I did not need.  Of course, sometimes the BEST stuff is the stuff you don't really NEED, but I was perhaps not always selective enough, and a lot of that junk ended up at the Goodwill.  Now I satisfy my collecting desires (for the most part) by taking photos of the stuff I don't buy, and I want to share them with you.   I really want to call this series "Shit I didn't Buy".  I can't think of any better name. But, in the interest of being less crass, I am just going to use the LABEL "Shit I didn't Buy".  How's that for compromise?

Categories of junk I did not buy:  

A> Junk I think is AWESOME, but I just don't have room for, I have too many of a similar thing, or I just don't want to spend the money.  Many times I regret not buying things in this category.
B> Junk I think is cool, but for somebody else.  Things I won't buy because they won't "go" in my house, and
C>  WHAT.  THE.  F%!#  - junk I can't believe somebody is trying to sell (empty ponds cold cream jars without lids), or things I cannot believe my eyes are seeing.

So...yeah.  I went to some antique stores in Hartselle, AL on my way home from Huntsville last week, and here's some junk I didn't buy:

 #1 Apparently hand-embroidered bunnies in a Mexican Hat.  I have to tell you that I was VERY TEMPTED to purchase this.  I collect vintage linens, and this one was in excellent shape.  It was on sale for $5.50.  It would have certainly been a conversation starter.  It was one of those things that I just couldn't see bringing home, and honestly I already regret it. This was at the booth that had 75% off the weekend before President's day at the Hartselle Alabama Antique Mall.  You know, if anyone wants to get it for me for my birthday or something.  Bunnies.  INSIDE a Mexican Hat. For $5.50.  WHY DID I PASS THIS UP!??!?!
 #2 - This most certainly calls into category "C" of this little series. The WHAT THE F!%@ category.  It's a clock encased in what looked, to me, like yellow plastic infused with very chunky vomit.  The tag said "Rock Clock" $45.  It is over a foot tall, and now haunts my nightmares.

#3  - Giant llama planter.  Now look, I like a cute planter as much as the next person.  I even have a collection of vintage elephant planters.  But this one was HUGE.  And if he's supposed to be pulling that cart, WHERE/ HOW IS THE CART ATTACHED TO THE LLAMA?  I'm just sayin'.    Disturbing, people.

ooooh I have so many more things to share, but I'm going to try to pace myself.  I think I'll have fun with this little series and perhaps it will keep me out of some trouble :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

I'll Freeze for Her

Why, yes.  Yes I am freezing with the courtyard door open right outside my office.   But how can I deny her desire to lie in the fresh air and sunshine?  She won't actually do it, like, OUTSIDE, like a normal dog, unless I'm out there with her, and I can't be OUTSIDE with her right now.  So I'm happy to sit here and freeze.  She occasionally hears something and perks those big ears up, sniffs at the air, and sometimes even gives a big ole warning bark into the air before returning to her nap.  It's worth a little cold to watch her enjoy the day.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Small Heartbreak of a Cotton Candy Pancake

A week ago, I went to a mardi gras carnival at my sister-in-law’s school.  Imagine my excitement when I saw a COTTON CANDY machine!!  Fresh cotton candy!  I was doubly excited since I’m missing mardi gras this year and I know this would be my only chance. 

 I love cotton candy.  Like, LOVE IT.  The taste, the look, the fact that it’s only available to me rarely and it therefore like a special, elusive treasure.  It’s just fun. I usually only get it once a year, at mardi gras, and even then it often comes in a bag.  FRESH cotton candy is what I crave, and I can’t actually remember how long it’s been since I had some. 

Cotton Candy cost 2 tickets at the carnival.  I stood in like to buy tickets, then stood in line to get the cotton candy.  A kid from the school was making it, and he was definitely in the learning phase.  He was COVERED in cotton candy.  Like he was going to need 4 showers after the carnival to be un-sticky.  In the middle of making mine, he hit his stride.  He figured out how to twirl it.  He was having fun.  He didn’t have it flying all over him.  He made it extra huge, and it was a work of ART. 


I took it and started walking to find my family.  I took about three bites of the cotton candy, and then...

Fell off  the sidewalk.

Yep.  Stepped wrong off the little wheelchair accessible ramp in the sidewalk.  Banged my knee, and landed SMACK on my cotton candy.

I was heartbroken.  And a little hurt, but not much.  I’ve sprained this ankle like a million times, and most recently last Thanksgiving, so I know when I’ve really messed it up and when not.  This was just a mild twist. 

But a few kids and a lady ran over to me, asked if I was ok, helped me sit up, and a kid picked up my cotton candy.
Here I have attempted to artistically represent the before and after using the magic of Microsoft Paint:

It was a cotton candy pancake.  A giant, pink cloud, the width of a piece of paper.  It was pitiful. 

He said “Ma’am, do you want me to throw this away for you?”.  “Yes, Thanks.”  I said, as a little tear ran down my cheek ( ok not really, but I really was sad.)  

People asked me if I wanted another one.  I said no.  I mean, of course I DID want another one, but my foot hurt, and also, I may be dense but I can recognize a direct message from the universe that is saying “YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE EATING COTTON CANDY” when I hear one. 

 So anyway, slight setback on healing the ankle from the more major sprain at Thanksgiving (during which I landed in my 1st beautiful plate of Thanksgiving food and was attacked by dogs), but I’m already walking in the mornings again and yesterday I spent the day at an artist colony and at the Huntsville Botanic Garden, and it only started bothering me after about 4.5 hours. 

I will forever dream of this perfect cotton candy and what could have been.  I could have shared it with Kaylin and we could have been crazy sticky together.  But I suppose there will be plenty other opportunities for me to share sweet, sticky treat times with her.  And with her baby sister who is due now in just a couple of months! 

Monday, February 4, 2013

2012 Reading Summary (a pathetic attempt)

So as I said in my last post, 2012 was the year of the Complete and Total Lack of Focus.  As such, it was one of the leanest reading years I've had I think since college.  I only read 29.5 Books.  Embarrassing.  Some of them were actually even re-reads, which I hesitate to even count.  But I did get something new out of each of them, so I suppose they count.  I almost NEVER reread.  It just seems like such a waste of time when there are so many things on my ever-growing wish-to-read list.  So anyway.  Here's the 2012 list (in chronological order) with some short explanations:

  1. Snuff ----  If you know me, you know my passion for Terry Pratchett
  2. Metatropolis ---- A collection of related dystopianish short stories.  I really liked them. 
  3. Bel Canto ---- Read on the insistence of my friend Michael.  It was just ok.  Michael is still awesome, though.
  4. The Book Thief ---- omg loved.  Cried. 
  5. Interpreter of Maladies ---- I have a love/hate relationship with Pulitzer Prize books.  This is one I get.  It's actually a collection of short stories which I'll probably revisit in paper.  I listened to audio, and I think there are some parts I could have lingered over longer. 
  6. We Need to Talk About Kevin ---- omg people are freaking crazy.  I don't have the potentially heartbreaking responsibility of raising another person. Thank God some people are willing to take that risk or the human race would quickly become extinct.
  7. The Sense of an Ending --- I personally did not have the sense of an ending.  I had a sense of "what the hell was all the hype about??"  The "twist"? Yeah.  Not that twisted.  I'm not a fan.
  8. The Virgin Suicides --- Yes I know, old news.  But I never read it, and I can't believe I missed this one.  Loved it.  Potential eventual reread.
  9. The Art of Racing in the Rain ---- A book from the prospective of a dog.  LOVED :)  Thanks Aunt Billie! 
  10. Memoirs of a Geisha ---- I was convinced this was non-fiction until I decided to check 1/2 way through.  SO disappointed. 
  11. Gone Girl --- it's ok, and no I didn't see all the twists.  It was fun, but I don't think it deserved all the hype.  It's on like every best of 2012 list.  I say meh. 
  12. The Tiger's Wife ----  I liked it.  Very Ann Patchett-y.  But I think the author is actually like 16 or something ridiculous like that. 
  13. Saturday  ---- Pretty good.  I mean Ian McEwen is ALWAYS good, but this was not my favorite of his books. 
  14. Defending Jacob ---- See comments for #6
  15. A Clockwork Orange ---- Jason started watching all these documentaries about North Korea and making me watch them.  They were actually fascinating and SCARY, and they made me think about 1984 and A Clockwork Orange, neither of which I had read since college and I honestly couldn't remember anything about.  So I read them both again. 
  16. Solomon's Gold ---- Neal Stephenson - the Baroque Cycle.  I'm obsessed.  These are rereads because I love them so much.  Well technically not rereads, because I first read them in paper, and now I'm listening to them on audio.
  17. Little Bee ---- Lots of hype.  It's pretty good. Didn't see the end coming. 
  18. Waiter Rant ---- Fun!  Made me want to tip more, and I'm a pretty good tipper to begin with.
  19. Silas Marner ---- I had never read it, and I am trying to catch up on all the "literature" I should have read a long time ago.  This one made me sad!!
  20. Feed ---- Zombies!  FUN!!  This is part of a series, and I can't wait to read the next ones. 
  21. 1984 ---- See comments for # 15
  22. Light in August ---- The Books on the Nightstand podcast people had one of their annual Booktopia weekends in Oxford in 2012, and consequently talked a lot about Faulkner. I remember LOVING Faulkner in high school, but honestly couldn't remember a thing I had read.  So I listened to this one on audio and it all rushed back.  I loved his writing all over again. 
  23. Three Cups of Tea ---- Crazy guy goes to Afghanistan, ends up building schools.  Pretty good memoir.  Didn't really tell me as much about Afghan culture as I thought it would.  I mean it told me some, but I wanted more.
  24. Neuromancer ----  first winner of the science-fiction "triple crown" — the Nebula Award, the Philip K. Dick Award, and the Hugo Award.   I thought it was fun until about 1/2 way through, then I was BORED with it.
  25. Let's Pretend this Never Happened ---- Bwwahahahahahah!! 
  26. Bonanza ----  See Comments for #16
  27. Crooked Letter Crooked Letter ---- Friendship and betrayal.  It was sad to me :( 
  28. The Juncto ---- See Comments for #16
  29. Weird Sisters ---- The Virgin Suicides "light", and with the opposite ending.
   29.5 1st 1/2 of The Brothers Karamazov - I'm loving it, but the audio is lonnnggggggg.  Also, I'm only listening to it when I'm sitting in my studio because for some reason the audible files lock up my ipod. 

So that's the summary for 2012.  Kinda sad. HOWEVER, now that my head is clearer, I have been BLAZING through books!  It's SO exciting.  I feel like I'm making up for lost time.  I am feeling more and more like myself.  Happy :)