Monday, July 30, 2012

Day 4 -- back in the blogging business


Here we are on Day 4 of our trip, and I solved the photo problem by going to Best Buy in Vancouver (the biggest one I've ever seen) to buy a card reader so I could get the pics out of the camera (my cable no longer works, unfortunately).  And then we had to go back to Best Buy, because of course I picked up the wrong one (SD reader when I needed CF).  Sigh.

 Reflections on a building across the street.  They look like totems to me.

So, we had a nice day today.  We got a fairly late start, which frustrates Ed but is fine with me -- I'm actually sleeping all night for some reason and sleeping until 8 or 8:30, which is "sleeping in" for me.  Then we drove over to Granville Island and enjoyed exploring the shops there -- I bought a nice ceramic plate in the shape of a pie piece (pic to come later) by a local artist.  It's very pretty -- grey and green.  It's only in the shape of a piece of pie; it doesn't have a piece of pie on it.  :)

 Bored in a shoe store while Gracie shops.  She asks to see one . . . pair . . . at . . . a . . . time . . .

Then we had a very nice lunch at a Chinese restaurant with a waiter who was very amusing, and then drove around because when you ask Grace, well, what would you like to do, she answers "Drive around."  She likes to look at stuff, and so we did.  Then Ed went to a museum (Matisse, Picasso, other nice paintings collected by a Baltimore lady who maybe had a relationship with Gertrude Stein before Gertrude and Alice got together).  And now Ed and Grace are driving around some more, while I enjoy the peace and quiet and view out my hotel windows, watching the light reflecting off all the buildings.

Here's one from last night at the Night Market in Chinatown.  This kid was so entertaining -- he was a real showman, had a great smile and sense of style, and all the Chinese elders taking their ease loved him.  I had to laugh when he began to sing "Jamaica Farewell" in between what were clearly Chinese popular songs -- he had so much fun with leaving a girl in Kingston town . . . 

 I'm sorry I didn't get his name --

So, tomorrow we hop on the ferry to Victoria.  I'm excited to get to Butchart Gardens in the next couple of days -- it's been a long spell since I've been there!  

Hope everyone is having summer fun -- 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 3 notes


To my dear one:  Thank you so much for crawling under the bed, moving all the furniture, sorting through the sheets and blankets, and feeling all the way along underneath the wall vent until you found my wedding ring, which I couldn't even see when I looked under there.  When I dropped it, I thought, no problem, I'll just pick it up when I've put my other jewelry on, but when I bent to pick it up . . . it was gone and I was so upset.  But you stuck with it until you found it.  I'll never understand how it rolled so far and got itself so hidden, but you found it.  xoxoxoxo

So, day 3 of our trip.  A nice trolley tour of Stanley Park, a great dinner at Joe Fortes (great mussels, oysters, and halibut), and then a short visit to the Chinatown Night Market.  I was pretty tired, so while Ed and Grace walked around, I parked myself in front of a stage where various people were singing.  I was enchanted with this young Chinese guy singing "Jamaica Farewell" and other Chinese songs -- he was very popular with the elderly ladies who were sitting and watching with me.  And one venerable gentleman was dancing up a storm.  I totally enjoyed it.  

But, no photos!  Yesterday, I sent three of my pictures from my cell phone to my email and got a message from T-Mobile that I'd incurred $50 of roaming charges!!  Yikes!  

And I was sure I had brought my card reader to take pics off my camera, but I guess I left it at home.  :(  So no new pics until I get back to California on Friday!  I'm bummed.  Above, a leftover (very expensive) picture of Mt. Shasta from yesterday.  And here's an extra treat:

 This is my gorgeous grand-nephew, Zeelan.  Don't you think he has the sweetest face?  And the bluest eyes . . . 

More tomorrow.  And more pics as soon as we hit Washington again!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Road Trip -- Day 2


Hello from the Pacific Northwest!  We are on Day 2 of our trip to British Columbia; we went through Oregon and Washington, to get to beautiful Vancouver.  

Here we are in Oregon -- can you tell by the logging truck?  I decided to do a series of vignettes in my sketchbook and found lots of things to sketch in Oregon -- barns, lambs, all kinds of interesting things.  But in Washington -- trees.  Nothing but trees, bordering the highway all the way.  Not much to sketch!

At some point, we started to get close -- Vancouver ahead!   It doesn't look that far on the map, but it takes a loooong time to get through Washington State.  Finally, we made it to the border and were ready to go through customs -- 

I kind of freak out at customs.  My mother was an American citizen, but she had been born in Germany, and every time we went through customs when I was a kid, she would turn around and point her finger at us kids and say, "When we go through, no one talks but Dad.  Whatever you do, don't tell them I was born in Germany."  We would hold our collective breaths until we got through -- we couldn't imagine what horrible fate would lie ahead if one of us (e.g. my three-year-old brother) would pipe up and say "My mom was born in Germany!"  Would we be searched?  Would our mother be taken away?  Of course not, but when you're a little kid, you fear all kinds of crazy things.  So to this day, I get anxious when we approach customs . . . 

But . . . we had no problem getting through, and here we are!  We have a lovely room (suite, really) on the 15th floor of a downtown hotel.

We had a lovely dinner at our hotel's restaurant, and now we're relaxing, watching the Olympics.  More fun tomorrow -- 


Friday, July 27, 2012

We're on our way . . .


I got maybe four hours of sleep last night, which is better than none, I guess, and enjoyed a very nice ride up through California (hot and dry, really) and into Oregon (warm but not dry -- trees and flowing water everywhere).  Our first stop was

Granzella's along Interstate 5 for breakfast -- after leaving home just a little after six.  Quick service, good food.  Then on to Roseburg, OR, and along the way, we passed

Mt. Shasta! Yay -- snow-capped mountain in July!  You would have laughed to see me trying to take a picture of it -- going 70 mph, dang trees getting in the way, me fumbling with the focus on my cell phone (my actual camera was in the bottom of my duffle bag), and the fact that my hands aren't really steady, all added up to a whole bunch of el crapola pictures.  But as always the "delete" button saves the day.

So tomorrow, I'm up for 1) being a little less tired, I hope, and 2) enjoying a lovely ride through the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite places.  Maybe we can get some actual photo ops and I can take some decent pictures, not going at 70 mph.

Next stop:  Vancouver!  Yay!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Procrastination --


I'm sitting here thinking I should shut my laptop and get busy -- I need to get ready to go on a trip.  Although I like to be somewhere on vacation, I don't like the process of getting there.  So much to get ready, so much to think about -- passports, pick up dry cleaning, get that prescription refilled, don't forget this and that.  Oh, and get the house all picked up so that the friends staying with our cats don't think I'm even more slovenly than is usually apparent.  

We're heading for Vancouver, a place I love but one my dear one and daughter have never been to.  Three days in downtown Vancouver and three days in Victoria.   We're going to drive he** bent for leather there and back to maximize the time we have there -- two days from the Central Coast of California.  It's a long haul.  But, I'm looking forward to it . . . if I can ever get up off this couch.

 Butchart Gardens, here I come!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My newest find --


Here's what I wanted to show you, recently bought on eBay:

It's a bad picture, but the post card is represented fairly well.  The colors in real life are a little darker and more muted, but still pretty saturated.  It's a painting by someone named Robert Schmidt of the North German Lloyd ship, the Bremen.

Why do I care about this?  Because my grandfather spent much of his working life in the bowels of this ship, because when they emigrated to America, my mother's family sailed on this ship, and because my grandmother and I took it back and forth to Europe the summer we spent the summer in Muenster.

I don't know the exact vintage of this particular postcard -- there are many different ones -- but I'm trying to find out.

I also have a menu from the ship that's the vintage of when my mother's family sailed, and a number of poster stamps.  I'll do a whole post on poster stamps soon -- anyone else know what they are?  Here's a poster stamp from the early 1900's:

These things mean a lot to me -- it's the visible history of my family.  Now that I'm retired, I'd like to do something with them -- scrapbooking ideas, anyone?  I haven't really scrapbooked before.

Wordless (wordy, really) Wednesday


 So I'm still fiddling around with the heron I did the other day, trying more textures.  My watercolor teacher told me recently I need to be more bold, so I'm trying to do it with my photos, too.  Today I wanted to see if I could create the look of fabric, so I used Dali from Roberta Murray's Atelier collection of her Pictorialist textures.  If you want to be bold, she gives you that opportunity!  What do you think?

Did I get anywhere near the look of fabric?  I was trying to not have the heron stand out too much, as if it were pasted on the fabric, but rather have it blend in more.  Hmmm, I wonder whether there's a way to make something look quilted in Photoshop.  Anyone ever try that?

Back later with something I got on eBay that I'd like to share . . .  :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Fun with textures and new supplies


Linking up to Texture Tuesday today -- since I most always do flowers, I thought I'd try Kim's textures on different subject matter.

This is a sunset picture I took in Tucson a few years back, processed with Color Efex Pro and two of Kim's textures.  I like how it came out -- in the original, the front part was all sandy and full of garbage.  The magic of Photoshop :p

I'm off to do some art -- I'm trying to figure out how to combine photos, paint, and collage elements.  It involves lots of trips to an art store, to get new supplies.  A terrible job, but someone's got to do it, right?  I'll show you how it comes out.

One of the supplies I got was Ranger's crackle paint.  I tried it over several painted bits and it didn't crackle.  Has anyone ever used this?  How does it work?

Have a great day.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Check out this photographer/painter


This morning in the Santa Cruz Sentinel there was a story about a local photographer, retired orthopedic surgeon Mark Wainer.  He does "painterly" photographs so of course my husband pointed the article out to me. 

One of Mark Wainer's beautiful photographs

I found this reproduced on another website, so I hope it's okay to reproduce it here, with a link to Mark Wainer's website.

I was surprised (and delighted) at his work; I had expected that a "painterly" photograph would be something like mine, but they are really not at all.  I think where mine look like photographs manipulated to look like paintings, his look like paintings done in a hyper-realistic style that looks like photography (though he does start with a photograph).

What do you think?  I think his work is beautiful.  When I look at some of his landscapes and seascapes, I wonder whether he turns them into HDRs before he starts the painting part of the process.  They look kind of like HDR, which would contribute to the "photorealistic" feel of his work.

Do you like it?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

And the marbles just roll away . . .


Those of you who are "of a certain age" will understand this -- those not of a certain age, this is what you have to look forward to. :)

I find myself, these days, saying often "I'm really losing my marbles," in response to what seem to be gaps in my thought processes, memory, and so on.  In class or in conversation, I will be reaching for a word, and it's just not there.  I know if I keep trying to think of what it is, it won't make any difference; I have to just choose another word, and of course a minute or hour or day later, I think "Interaction.  Duh."

I have rarely used a calendar with any frequency; I'd start using one and then it would fall by the wayside and I'd just store things in my memory, which resembled a steel trap at that point.  Today, I forget that we need bagels, that I was supposed to be at a watercolor class at 10AM, not 1PM, that I needed to return those papers to the insurance guy last week, with alarming frequency.  So now I'm trying to use a calendar -- I have Google calendar set up on all my computers and devices -- and I forget to put things in it.  I think I've put things in it, but when I look back, I haven't.  Because I often forget my phone, I write something on the back of an envelope in my purse and then forget I've written it there.  I find myself gasping to myself -- oh no, I should have canceled that doctor's appointment, or I'm supposed to be at a meeting for Open Studios, or we're leaving on vacation in two days and I haven't had the car looked at or printed out the confirmations or talked to the woman who's going to house sit while we're gone.    

While all this is, as people have told me, perfectly normal, I still find it provokes a lot of anxiety.  I've always been the person that was on top of things, that could keep a lot of balls in the air without ever letting one drop.  But things have changed.  To wonder "Am I losing my marbles?" is really wondering, "Are these the first signs of Alzheimer's?" and I upset myself just thinking that.  (One of my grandmothers had Alzheimer's, I'm pretty sure, but we didn't have the term back then  -- we just thought she was loony and cried at unexpected moments and was, well, losing her marbles.) 

This morning, Grace and I showed up for an appointment that I had clearly mis-scheduled on my calendar, because the person we were to meet never showed up.  We waited for 20 minutes, and then left.  I need to call her to find out what the real date was.  I look like a doofus in both people's eyes, I'm sure.

Hmmm . . . is this a downer of a post?  Sometimes I can laugh about it, and I guess that's the frame of mind I should try to stay in.  Have you ever had to deal with this?  Do you have strategies you use to stay on top of things?  Or to cover the fact that you've completely drawn a blank?

On a lighter note, I recently finished an online collage class that was really fun.  Here's a digital one I did:

The title:  The Urban Forest.  I liked the class so much, I'm going to do it again in the fall.

And how are you doing?  Have your marbles started rolling away?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Well, hellooooo again --


I'm speaking to you from the land of retirement, where clocks have no meaning, every day is Saturday, and the biggest decision is whether to play with my pictures, do a little watercolor painting, or take a nap for a while.

It's been all of 3 days that I've been retired!  It's a kind of tumultuous time, no matter how happy it may be (and it is very happy, for me) -- it's also a time of looking back over things, taking stock of the things you've accomplished, wondering with all the things you're putting aside . . . who am I any more?

Well, anyone who's read this blog knows that I've been reinventing myself as a fine art photographer, so "fine" at this point that I've been accepted into Open Studios this year!  I was astonished to hear that they had chosen me  -- I really wasn't expecting it.

So, I've been working hard to get my stuff together, even though it isn't until October; I don't want to be rushed.  My greeting cards are done, I'm ordering big things printed on canvas one by one, my advertising postcards are done -- things are moving along pretty well, since it's only July.  

I like this picture of a heron I took a couple of years ago but just processed today.  For some reason, it makes me think of Gustave Klimt, and I wonder what the printed photo would look like, on matte paper with little gildings of gold here and there.  What do you think?  It looks like the rock behind him (her?) could be made into a circular moon kind of thing.  I really want to move into something that's kind of mixed media; I just finished a collage class and loved it, and I wonder if there are ways to incorporate my photos into collages and so on.  Anyone doing this kind of thing, so you can show me examples?

Anyway, I've missed you all, and hope that one or two of you have missed me :)  I now have the time to put my thoughts together enough so that I can share them with the world (haha) and so I'm returning to blogging.  Seriously.  I am.  Stay tuned . . .