Friday, August 31, 2007

Six Sets of Four

I’ve seen this meme floating around the Blogosphere for a little while. Now that it has made it to Roo’s blog, I figured I’d join in.

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. I was a salesperson in the Men’s Furnishings Department of a major department store (underwear, ties, shirts, socks...).
2. I did lenses and glasses data entry for an optical company and was able to enter the data “blind”, many pages ahead.
3. I was a House Mother for an Elderhostel dormitory.
4. I worked in a cheese store and offered samples in front of the store to drum up business. My folks came by to see me and my Dad was so proud of my pitch it made him cry.

Four places I have lived:
1. Rhode Island
2. Vermont
3. Minnesota
4. Connecticut

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Bermuda
2. Canadian Rockies
3. Acadia National Park in Maine
4. Cape Cod Massachusetts

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Maine
2. Maine
3. Maine
4. And almost anywhere as long as we don’t have to fly to get there.

Four of my favorite foods:
1. Pizza
2. Ethiopian/Eritrean cuisine
3. Clam or fish chowder
4. Fresh baked bread with butter

Four of my favorite books:
1. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
2. Ten Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Wayne Dyer
3. The Spenser series by Robert Parker
4. The Mitford Series by Jan Karon

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Starting Out

A recent photograph of my parents’ first house.
The five of us lived there with my paternal grandparents.

I really enjoy the show “House Hunters”. It airs here in the U.S. on HGTV. It’s similar to “Location, Location, Location” that used to air here on BBC America, except the home buyers work with different realtors in each episode. HGTV also runs the fun companion program “House Hunters International”. Chuck and I both get a kick out of “touring” the prospective homes and guessing (more like rooting for) which home the person, couple or family will (should) buy. The cherry on top is when the show revisits the new home owner a few weeks or months after they moved in and we see them settled into their new digs.

Recently, I’ve been struck by how big the housing budgets are for some very young buyers. And some of them seem to have champagne tastes, but are apparently not operating on a beer budget! Three or more bedrooms with three or more baths, a deluxe kitchen with all the bells and whistles and great rooms seem to be the norm. Remember “starter homes”? They were compact, affordable houses where kids shared bedrooms, the family ate in the kitchen and the only bell or whistle was the front door bell - maybe! Continuing along these lines, do folks ever buy cinderblocks and pine boards to build bookcases anymore? My Dad built mine when I was a kid. He stained the pine boards and polyurethaned them. Then we painted the gray cinderblocks to match the “decor” of the room. My grandmother, Gagee, made my curtains out of sheets and I sewed pillows out of bandanas.

If folks can truly afford deluxe and they want deluxe, that’s great, more power to ’em. I just hope that the folks who want deluxe, but can’t yet afford it, know that a starter house can be a very good thing to really live in - not just a property to quickly “flip” for profit. Most of us with clear recollections of the 1960s and earlier decades, started out with small budgets, in small houses. And a lot of us had pretty cool makeshift bookcases built with cinderblocks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Hey Lady! I’m Trying To Blend In!

I have no idea what the formal scientific name for this little guy or gal is! But he’s been hanging out in the evenings near our back step. The first photo was snapped while he was on the back walk. The camera flash, coupled with my presence, sent him springing onto the grass. I followed. He decided to either freeze and take advantage of the incredibly accurate camouflage of his surroundings. Or he figured he’d do the pause on the red carpet thing until the paparazzi had their fill!

Layout, photos and paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto 5 & Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac. Leaves of Time Fern Texture by Lori Cook, Photo Edge Style 5101 by Durin Eberhart, Vellum Style 5401 by Erica Hite (available at Scrap Girls) Font: Tempus Sans ITC.

As always, feel free to click on the image to get a better look.

Monday, August 27, 2007

File Under: “Duh!”

But cross reference it under: “Valuable Lessons”.

Yesterday I worked in PhotoShop Elements. Earlier in the week I had watched one of the free podcasts by Corey Barker. He’s the host of “Adobe Photoshop Elements Killer Tips” (available on Apple iTunes). I wanted to try some of the techniques I had seen. So I started from scratch. The only pre-made item I used was a Grunge Texture. Everything else was the result of my experimenting with colors, textures, layer styles, shadows and fonts which live in PSE. I worked at it for a couple of hours, including a quick review of one piece of the podcast. I was very happy with the final product and started typing up a little information sheet in Text Editor. I was about to save the PhotoShop file when the keyboard froze up. Yup. Locked up completely. I didn’t even have a cursor or a “spinning beach ball of death”! My heart started pounding as I groaned aloud. I felt so stupid! I asked Chuck for advice, but I knew he didn’t have a magic wand. I hadn’t even saved the Text document, which detailed all the colors, settings and techniques!

I drew a quick sketch of the layout and then I pushed the button and shut the whole computer down. I kept my fingers crossed as I powered the laptop up again, but no chance. Everything I had worked on was gone. So I started over. As soon as I had a couple of layers I saved and named the file. And I saved it over and over every couple of layers. It’s my habit to save word processing documents frequently, but I had never thought to save PSE files in progress! I think I associated saving with “merging” or “flattening”, but saving keeps all the layers separate and editable. Lesson number one learned.

Lesson number two was equally valuable. I was able to recreate the entire layout in well under half an hour! When I started over, I was dreading how long it would take to redo the project. But because I had already made all the choices, I breezed through it. Chuck looked over and saw how rapidly it was all coming together and reminded me how slow and agonizing working in PSE was just a few months ago. It felt great! I realized how much I have learned and how much more smoothly and surely I navigate within the program.

Here’s the finished product:

Layout, photos and paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto 5 & Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac. Refresh Grunge Texture by Lori Cook (available at Scrap Girls) Font: Bradley Hand ITC TT.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Coming Home

We first saw the house in July. But we didn’t close until September. It was two more months before we were able to get enough work done such that we were able to move in. During those weeks of working on the house and waiting for others to finish their work, I used to drive over to the house and sit on the front porch with our Siberian Husky, Z. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the variety of plants growing everywhere - neither could Z. I found a chipped and cracked water pitcher in the back of the pantry. I filled it with water and every flowering thing I could find. I placed it on a little table on the front porch next to my chair, Z curled up at my feet.

Every year, as summer begins to wane, these flowers spring up in the mostly untamed tangle along the edge of the front lawn. Every year, it makes me think back to that first year of excitement, frustration, delight and exhaustion. I miss Z. She loved the first year we lived here, the last year of her life. We walked every bit of of every acre together across her last four seasons.

These are for you Z...

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Miss Rumphius

Barbara Cooney rightly won the American Book Award for her lovely book: “Miss Rumphius”. As author and illustrator, she takes us on a sweet, simple journey. Through Miss Rumphius she shows us how we need to live in the world. The clear, almost matter of fact message: “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” The declarative sentence fuels an internal quest, one which we cannot help but become engaged in ourselves. Seek out “Miss Rumphius”, share it with a child, read it yourself. Then decide what that something is which you will do to make the world more beautiful.

Friday, August 24, 2007

To Do Or Not To Do...

Procrastination is an incredibly powerful force isn’t it? It must be up there with gravity and sex. It can also lead to a high level of productivity - in a roundabout way. I had a handful of things I would have sworn I really wanted to get crossed off the old “To Do” list today. I stayed very busy all day long. And, no, very busy (in this instance) is not code for digital scrapbooking. Really. I never even opened up PSE 4! Now here it is, the day winding down and those top priority items are still sitting pristinely on the list, no triumphant double cross out lines struck through them.

Maybe I’ll cross out “Friday” at the top of the list and write in “Saturday”. Sounds like a plan...

: : Red Sox Notes:

Mike Lowell continues to live up to what we call him around our house: Mike “I only know how to hit doubles and home runs” Lowell. It may not scan well on a player’s jersey, but it’s true! I know he’s coming into free agency. I know he needs to think about his and his family’s financial future. But I sincerely hope that Mike and the Red Sox manage to find a happy meeting of the minds and bank accounts so that Mike can continue to dazzle both at third base and whenever he’s at the plate.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Wicked Cool Car

Yesterday, Chuck and I were out in Hadley, Massachusetts, part of the idiosyncratic Pioneer Valley. We were parked in front of Whole Foods when we spotted this rolling canvas across from us. The trunk of the car is covered in blackboard paint. There’s a little plastic soap box fastened to the rear bumper that holds chalk, which the viewer can use to leave comments!

Layout, photos and paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto 5 & Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac. Icy Frost Transparency by Diane Miller and Roughed Up Transparency by Ursula Schneider (available at Scrap Girls) Font: Stencil.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ahem, Again...

Hem, the marvelous musical group that I’ve written about previously has released a new six song EP. It’s called “Home Again, Home Again” and includes the song: “The Part Where You Let Go”, which you might recognize from the second Liberty Mutual TV commercial. At this moment, the “physical” CD seems to be available only at CD Baby, an on-line purveyor of lots of great music. It’s available in the U.S. for just $6.99 plus $2.25 S&H. But CD Baby ships to lots of places around the globe. They can even help you save on international shipping by mailing the CD and all the paper parts, without the plastic jewel case.

Check out the Hem links I’ve posted in the sidebar, just below the clock. You won’t be disappointed!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Honey, What’s For Dinner?

Bloggers get a bad rap for droning on and on about what they ate for breakfast that morning. I want to put that complaint to rest by telling you what I made for dinner tonight.
No. This is totally different!
Anyhoo, I had some leftover slices of grilled eggplant in the refrigerator. But it wasn’t quite enough to make a side dish for each of us. Off to the pantry where I spotted a small jar of marinated artichoke hearts (always a big hit with Wonder Hubby). But I didn’t want to start tossing things together to make an improvised ratatouille. I wanted those yummy, smoky eggplant slices whole. So I finally settled on laying the eggplant into two individual casserole dishes. Then I drained and arranged the artichoke hearts around the eggplant. Color was needed. Back to the pantry where I found roasted red peppers. I sliced some up and added them. Done. Into the countertop convection oven.

Main dish? When in doubt: chicken. I quickly ground some salt and pepper onto a large chicken breast and pan seared it in a little olive oil. Something else - rice? pasta? I had some shiitake mushrooms Chuck had brought home from the local farmers' market. Maybe add them to some rice... Wait a minute. That reminds me of mushroom risotto, which I happened to have a bag of in the freezer, direct from Trader Joe’s. Done. But the chicken was starting to look a little boring compared to the side dishes. So I removed the chicken and deglazed the pan with a bit of balsamic vinegar and some sherry. Better. I sliced the chicken. I added a dollop of light sour cream to the vinegar and sherry mixture, stirred it gently and returned the sliced chicken to the pan. Covered, I let the chicken stay warm on super low heat in the improvised sauce. Ding! Out came the risotto from the microwave. I spooned some into two gratin dishes, then popped those into the oven along with the eggplant dishes to finish off.

Wine? Sure, why not? (Is there a "No" answer to that question?) Chuck arrived to pour a not too sweet Gewurztraminer from Washington state, as I ladled the chicken onto the mushroom risotto. Dinner was served.

Now wasn’t that better than cereal and milk?

Wish Them Luck!

KRL and PJL are starting graduate school!
We wish them great success and lots of chances to study together!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Watermelon Ways

It’s a recipe. It’s a digital layout. It’s both! We enjoy watermelon in season - juicy, crisp and cold from the refrigerator. This year I’ve been serving it with sharp and savory ingredients for a delicious, refreshing contrast. This layout was digi-scrapped using mostly items from the absolutely free Scrap Girls “Refresh Biggie Collection”. Then I continued to play in PhotoShop Elements. When I spotted the watermelon image, I knew I had to scrap this fun, summery page.

Note: The colors, as uploaded in Blogger, are not as bright as in my original layout!!!

Layout by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac. All papers & embellishments are from the FREE Refresh Collection Biggie (available at Scrap Girls) Font: Type Keys by Typadelic from DaFont and Tempus Sans ITC.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sorrow, Healing, Hope

“There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.”
- George Eliot, 1819 - 1880

Mary Ann Evans, Ms. Eliot spoke the truth. When I think back to my painful firsts - failures, losses, deaths, disappointments - the first of any given one, was a body blow. Sometimes a great overwhelming sense of physical weakening, as I was sent reeling. The world spun. The bottom dropped out. But with the next one (and life always brings us more) there was some memory, some learning, some reflex that got triggered that said I’ve been here before. More importantly, that memory brought strength, resolve and a little beacon of light. The more years we live, the more we experience the sorrows, the more rhythmic it becomes. We don’t like that part of the ride, but we know that somehow we survived the last one. Surely, we will pick ourselves up and find our way through, once more.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Still Working

There’s an old Yankee expression (which if you are in the south, is an old southern expression; in the midwest, a midwestern expression and so on...), which is particularly true in rural areas everywhere. Nowadays, it is no doubt part of the environmental movement’s code as well. It is as follows:

Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do. Or do without.

Here are a few details of what is not quite yet used up or worn out and continues to be of service.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Guest Post - Ocean III

After a very long and very busy day, I had no idea what I would post tonight. Then I opened my e-mail to find a great photo of Matunuck Beach in Rhode Island, at sunset. My niece KRL snapped it with her cell phone and had sent it along in response to my two recent ocean posts. Thanks so much KRL!!!

I’m going to go crash now...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ocean II

For KRL and Roo and Chuck and me and anyone else who is missing the ocean, I’m posting this photo. It was taken from the same spot as the one I posted the other day, but in the other direction. We were driving along Park Loop Road in Acadia National Park and came to Otter Point. It was one of those perfect sunny, dry, breezy, comfortably cool days in Maine.

I’m not sure if it’s grammatically possible, but I think I’m not just reminiscing by looking at these photos, but living vicariously through them!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wish Her Well

Ronnie is undergoing a medical procedure today. Hold her in your thoughts and pop over to her blog in South Africa to deliver your good wishes!

Monday, August 13, 2007


I am thinking about the ocean. The way waves roll in, crest up and crash upon the shore. The way the ocean draws back as waves recede. And that quiet time between the waves, when the ocean lets us believe it is still.

I am thinking about life. The way good news pours in and crashes over us. The way bad news swirls about, threatening to pull us under. And the way most of life is that quiet time between the two extremes.

But even in that stillness, there is joy, not just contentment. In that quiet, there is gratitude and grace. In that lull, lies peace.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Thought...

“Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”
- Paul Boese (1668 - 1738)

Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves.
Sometimes we need to forgive someone else.
Sometimes we just need to say: “enough”, let go of the pain and move on.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Faded To Fabulous - and Beyond!

Two days ago, I posted “Faded To Fabulous”. I thought I was done. I was happy with the results. My sister Gail was happy with the results, but preferred the middle photo of the transformation. All was good. Then George Geder commented. He’s a kind man. He’s a professional. He complimented Mom and Dad and my work. Then he urged me to do more: cropping, cloning, healing. I was grateful for his unemotional, experienced photographer’s eye. But I was also scared. Why? It took me a bit to figure it out, but I finally realized that I viewed the photo of Mom and Dad as sacred. I shouldn’t be doing anything as “bold” as what George was suggesting - should I?

Then the light bulb went off. Just as I had carefully saved the original and each successive version of the Dorothy and George photograph, I would copy my “final” version and work on that. I did. Here are the results. Nothing lost. Everything gained. So Mr. Geder, as the old George M. Cohan line goes: “My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. And I thank you!”

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Time To Dance

Sixty-one years ago today, my parents were married. Sadly, unfairly Dad passed away 19 years ago. But on this bittersweet day, Mom was laughing and reminiscing. Not too much reminiscing, because she was quite busy helping her newly engaged granddaughter, Carrie, make plans for her upcoming wedding to Al. Sweet and fitting don’t you think?

Puts me in mind of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3:1-8; a time to mourn and a time to dance...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Faded To Fabulous

It all began with the photo on the far left. Dorothy and George, my Mom & Dad (well, in that photo, not yet!). Mom thinks they were photographed while attending a family wedding in the late 1940s. The photo was very faded, but still in good physical condition. I scanned it into the computer and then tweaked it in iPhoto 5 until I achieved the center image. By then it was much better, but you still had to squint to focus in on the details. The photo on the far right is after I converted it to black and white and did some “healing” in Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac.

As I’ve said before, I really like to see the original alongside the new and improved final product. It provides a context and a sense of history. Best of all, now we get to see Dorothy and George looking fabulous!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


This is a twofer, as in two for the price of one. The small, fuzzy, tigeresque caterpillar in the photo above is, I believe, a Milkweed Tussock caterpillar (Euchaetes egle). This little fella is destined to become a Milkweed Tiger Moth. Our stand of milkweed is little more than three yards away - and heavily chomped! From an outside the species perspective, this appears to be it’s most colorful and flamboyant life stage.

What makes this a twofer, is what the caterpillar is curled around. That’s the doormat outside our kitchen door. I believe we bought it at least nine or ten years ago. It shows no signs of wearing out. It is made from recycled tires. More importantly, it works! It works in all four seasons. I’d bet it even works in the fifth season folks up in northern New England have: mud season. We bought it on a trip to Lehman’s, an excellent hardware store in Ohio, which serves the large Amish and Mennonite communities. I don’t see the exact same model doormat on their website, but I hope the one they are now offering is just as sturdy and functional. In any event, Lehman’s is worth a look.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


As a child, we called them darning needles and sewing needles. I was an adult before I knew they didn’t deserve the frightening appellation. This beauty came to rest on our back walk this afternoon, a favorite spot for all visiting Dragonflies. I had to photograph it from farther away than I would have liked, because each time I got just a half-step too close, it took flight. I tried to identify it, but with over 5,000 species worldwide, it was a challenge. I suspect it is the Common Whitetail (Libellula lydia), perhaps an immature male. With all due respect to the Odonata experts, until further notice, he/she will be known simply as “Lydia”.

Feel free to click on the photo to get a closer look at Lydia.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Mother Nature brought us two terrific days in a row and we took full advantage by making the trek to Tanglewood yesterday. It’s about a two hour trip door to door - or door to gate, to be more precise. Tanglewood, located in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts, is the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. When you attend the summer concerts performed in “The Shed”, you have the option of being seated under cover, in the open air hall or out on the lawn. With one impromptu, rainy day exception, we always opt for the lawn.

Attendees cover the entire possible age range of folks. Dress code? From cut-off jeans, tee shirts and flip flops all the way to dazzling summer frocks and the preppy men’s summer uniform of chinos, a buttoned down oxford and a blazer, sans tie - it’s summer after all! Some folks turn the picnic on the lawn into a Martha Stewart vs. Ina Garten case of one ups-woman-ship, complete with charmingly clothed tables, vases of flowers, candles and of course “The Menu”. There are some folks who must have prepped for days (or maybe their staff does it?), others proudly pull out containers from fabulous food emporiums, still others pack the humblest of picnic fare. I’ll admit, I’ve played a few of the games - though never up there with the black-belt picnic queens - and it really was fun. But over the years we’ve settled into something simpler and ultimately more enjoyable and relaxing.

Oh and the music is always very nice too! How bad am I? Two full paragraphs before I think to mention the Mendelsohn and the Rachmaninoff! Silence reigns during the concert. Scofflaws have been known to be frozen in place by icy stares from nearby parties for squeaky chairs, rustling wrappers or squealing children. It may be apocryphal, but I’ve heard that the picnic queens just turn the offenders into ice chips and plate their oysters on them! Seriously, the music is lovely. I generally spend the concert writing - with a very quiet roller-ball pen! Chuck usually does the New York Sunday Times Crossword Puzzle, also very quietly. All in all, it’s well worth the trip!

Our little picnic space in the shade.

The view of The Shed from our spot.

A lawn ticket, on, the lawn...

Saturday, August 4, 2007


A sunny, warm day without much humidity. No clouds in a clear blue sky. Last night’s thunder, lightning and hail storm nearly forgotten. Light breezes cooling off the mostly shady porch. Cassandra sprawling and exploring. Abigail, having caught sight of the camera, evaporated. Three cotton shirts drying on the line. Life’s good.

Layout, Photos and Paper by LMR/Pink Granite. Software: Apple iPhoto 5 & Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 for Mac. Font: Type Keys by Typadelic from DaFont

Friday, August 3, 2007

Just A Whisper

Our family attorney is a peach. Harriet is exceptionally intelligent, moral, decent, kind and patient. As regular readers know, I am not a big fan of talking about our eventual deaths, life insurance, etc. Neither is Chuck - really. Compared to Chuck, I could be a funeral director! So imagine how difficult it was for us to slog through our wills. It took us years. That is not an exaggeration. I mentioned our attorney is patient. She held our hands, almost literally, and reworked, rewrote and tweaked until her secretary was probably near exhaustion. It’s not easy to get a worrier/what iffer (me) and a Pollyanna/cockeyed optimist (Chuck), who both wish to live forever and avoid the whole topic, to hammer out wills, powers of attorney and health care proxies. But we did it. We also updated the primary and contingent beneficiaries on our investments and insurance, because Harriet explained those things trump wills.

But even after all that hard work and tsores (ours, Harriet’s and her tireless secretary’s) something was missing. So I (the reluctant potential funeral director) drafted a letter. I addressed it to my primary Health Care Proxy, who is Chuck and my secondary Proxy, who is Carrie. I thought of it as whispering in their ears. I wanted it to be the kind of conversation they would want to have with me, if they were sitting in a hospital waiting room, anxiously awaiting a meeting with a doctor. I spelled out what I believed, what I felt and thought about life and death and ordinary and extraordinary means. I gave them a sort of flow chart of what ifs (See, it comes in handy.) to help them make unimaginably difficult decisions in a time of crisis. Then I copied and pasted it into a new document and told Chuck it was time to write his letter to me and his sister Carol. Bless his heart, he edited it until an equivalent letter was crafted.

I’m glad we wrote those letters. I hope we never need them. But chances are, one of us will. Do you need to write a letter that will whisper in someone’s ear?

Thursday, August 2, 2007

More Than A Game

The current owners of the Red Sox have a marvelous sense of history. They understand that today’s team is built firmly upon the shoulders of all the players that came before. That respect for the former players and that sense of stewardship of the team, came together beautifully today at Fenway Park, in Boston. On the 60th anniversary of the first “Bobby Doerr Day”, the Sox honored the great second baseman once again. According to Mr. Doerr, now 89, this might be his last visit east from his home in Oregon. But what a visit this was.

Shortly before the start of this afternoon’s game, the players were warming up on the field. Four young men tossed the ball back and forth, all of them dressed in the uniform of the late1960s. Music played which sent us back to images of “Field of Dreams” and “The Natural”. Slowly the four came together and walked side by side across the field. Now we could clearly read the numbers on their jerseys: 1, 9, 6, and 7. This season has been dedicated to the Impossible Dream Team of the 1967 Red Sox. 1967 was the first time the Sox had made it to the World Series since 1946. The four guys stepped through a green doorway which had me thinking of cornstalks in an Iowa field, and emerged moments later behind a 1946 Ford convertible. Seated up on the back deck, his friend and teammate Johnny Pesky below him in the back seat, Bobby Doerr waved to the cheering crowd. Slowly, the Ford with its precious cargo, drove around the warning track.

The ceremony which followed was a fitting tribute to Bobby Doerr. But he wasn’t standing there alone. He was surrounded by hundreds of ghosts, from over 100 years of Red Sox players and Bobby spoke for all of them. He did them proud in a heartfelt speech in which he thanked the current owners for never forgetting the former players.

Love, respect, family, history, the genealogy if you will, of a great sport, played by hundreds of sometimes all too human men, across a turbulent century, in a great but imperfect city. We all need a sense of where we fit in this world, not just in the present moment, but across time. The current ownership of the Red Sox gets it and we’re the richer for it.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Congratulations to Carrie and Al, who became officially engaged to be married this evening!
We wish them every happiness!

Smile For The Camera!

Since I began Pink Granite, I’ve been delighted to receive compliments about my photos. I’ve always enjoyed photographs. I’ve appreciated and been fascinated by those frozen moments, captured on film. I’ve also been repeatedly impressed by the sentimental importance of photographs - formal portraits and candid snapshots, as well as those more casually gathered and posed groups of people at beaches, in backyards and at family celebrations.

I took my first photographs under the steady hand and instruction of my Dad. I thought it was so neat to look straight down into the top mounted viewfinder of his Brownie camera and see “my subject”! Over the years, Dad taught me how to frame a photograph as I looked through the lens and how to make a decision about what I wanted to capture on film. One Christmas, I received a Kodak Instamatic camera of my very own as a gift from Mom and Dad.

Just before Chuck and I married, we bought a Canon SLR. It was terrific. We took it everywhere, including our honeymoon to Bermuda. About a year and a half ago we were up in Acadia in Maine, sitting by Jordan Pond. It was a beautiful crisp fall afternoon. We had been snapping pictures and needed to change the film. We heard an unpleasant clunking sound and that was the end of our trusty SLR. I was really sad. I had not wanted to make the move to digital. We tried in vain to get the Canon repaired, but we were repeatedly told it was just too old. Too old! It was the same age as our marriage - just fourteen years old! So reluctantly we began the research.

We settled on a Canon PowerShot S2 IS. As is typical of our happily balanced relationship, Chuck read all the instructions and then showed me the basics. My first real outing with the camera was to my niece Kate’s bridal shower. I was convinced I had captured nothing usable. But when I got home and uploaded the photos onto the computer they were pretty good. Encouraged, I kept shooting. It didn’t take long for the penny to drop that, unlike our old film camera, I could take as many shots as I wanted and it wouldn’t cost me a cent! Taking lots of pictures helped a lot. But I still find myself using the same simple advice my Dad gave me: frame it well and decide what I really want to capture. I try to both see through the lens and mentally and sometimes physically step back to make my decisions.

I often use Apple iPhoto to lightly tweak my photographs. But it feels a bit like cheating to crop and play with exposure or color balance! I always make a duplicate of the photo first and only play with the copy. I occasionally will use the “auto-enhance” feature, but most often “undo” it and adjust it myself. For older, faded or damaged photos I start in iPhoto and then move over to Adobe Photoshop Elements. With these precious antiques I have no compunction about getting them to look the best I possibly can. As I wrote several weeks ago, I want to respect their age, let them be mature treasures. But I want to ensure that future generations can see their beautiful faces.

To see some truly great photos, let me point you to Ilva, who takes amazing photos of food. George has both heritage and contemporary photos that he continually works his magic on. And Roo has a wonderful eye for all sorts of flora out and about in his garden.

: : Enjoy!