Hello Old Friend.. Goodbyes and Tears

It has been too long since my last confession … I mean “post”

I admit that I’ve stayed away from the blog for several reasons. First and foremost, I was worried that I had nothing of interest to say. And secondly, life happened.  This is not one of my previous lighthearted posts. I will get back to those, (I hope). I’m writing because I need too.

An awful lot has transpired since 2011.  Interesting choice of the word “awful” to describe events in my life over the last 4 years.   If used as an adjective it could denote something nasty or unpleasant.  In this case it’s an adverb but has an underpinning of the adjective.

But, while it has been very challenging, there has been good too.  I just have to search harder to find the “good” stuff.  Every cloud has its silver lining they say.  Mine is that I’ve learned new things, discovered truths about myself that make me stronger, if not a little harder.  Funny how as we age, we discover that our patience is not as long as it once was.  And that we find ourselves less likely to give others the “benefit of doubt” opting instead to .. and here I come to a loss for words.  I guess that I am more inclined to feel affronted first, only soothing my ruffled feathers when others assure me that I have taken things the wrong way.  I am unsure when all this came about, but it has inexorably wormed itself into my psyche.   Perhaps I am still reeling over the death of my mother 2013. I think that’s when I retreated into this brittle shell, and now I have to figure a way out.  Writing helps! I should have come back to this blog ages ago.  She and my Mother-in-Law were laid to rest on the same day. So my hubby and I couldn’t even be together as we were in different provinces doing the same thing.  Yeah, his mom passed away Dec 2012 on my mom’s birthday. And then my mother passes away in June.  It’s been super tough on Dad.

I’ve continued with my photography and knitting. They are really the glue that holds me together and the place I go to “decompress”.  I am realizing that I need more.  More challenges, more opening.. so I’m spreading the wings and launching off the edge. Hoping for a soft and safe landing after an exhilarating flight when I’m more myself.  I’m tired now, will come back to this when I’ve slept on it.

So, I wrote the above entry in February of 2015 – and I didn’t “post” it. Thinking, that I would add more and then post it.  Sigh.  I’m sitting here and shaking my head at myself.

Life added more for me.. much more.

I may as well put it all in one post and then move on.
I mentioned above how my mom passing was really hard on Dad.  He never stopped missing her and I had no idea the strain he was under trying to put on that brave front and carrying on.  His health began to deteriorate but he figured it was a cold.  Turns out it was a lot more than that.  Dad passed away in May 2015.

I really, really miss them both.

My girlfriend showed up on my doorstep and gave me one of her signature bear hugs. The kind that you feel right to your toes because she puts so much of herself into it.  She really helped.  I still think  back to the day of the Funeral.  My brother and sister were with me in the receiving line and my girlfriend showed up with her husband to pay their respects.  With every person she hugged along the way, she left a trail of tears.  We had to laugh.  She was a one woman army and she made even the most stoic of us reach for a wad of tissue.  Ah – how I miss her.

Yup. You read right. I miss her.  That was May 17th at the funeral. On May 29th I got a call. She and her husband had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  My beautiful friend. Gone.

So, here it is now, almost a full year later.  I’m resolved to resurrect this blog.  First because I think that writing helps me to heal. I have always enjoyed the process of creating pictures. Not just with a camera or a computer, but also with words.  Some days the picture is clear, and others, it’s more of a Picasso.  But the documenting and process of creating is cathartic.  So, I take the plunge and say, I’m back.  Although I may change this to a “Dear Diary”.  Imagine the silly tidbits with that!  More tomorrow about the new direction of my life now that I’ve resurfaced from mourning and grief.  The tears will always be close, but the need to enter the land of the living is strong.

 

Dad at the Eel River Bar Beach

Rest in Peace Dad Joseph Edward Poirier May 13 2015

Rest in Peace Carole and Ron de Groot May 29 2015

Rest in Peace Carole and Ron de Groot May 29 2015

Advertisements
Posted in Activity, Family, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Magic of Photo Crops

I liked this image right out of the camera first time I saw it. There was just something about the light and the depth that appealed to me. But the longer I looked at it, the more I got thinking, “Gee. I wish that I could see more of the Nuthatch.” If I blew up the image full size on my monitor, I could see how cute the expression was and the fact that I had eye contact. I almost shrugged my shoulders and said “Oh well.”

But then it hit me. Why not crop it. Not only did I crop it, I also did a Topaz treatment that simulates the look of a painting or watercolour. I can’t help it! It’s like an addiction I have to turn everything into a painting these days. Maybe after the novelty wears off I’ll leave well enough alone. But in the meantime, I just love the effect and this little cutie is no different.

The thing to remember about crops is that your image has to be sharp to begin with. If you have ghosts or too much noise, you’re better off to leave the image larger. I know that new software can “sharpen” images these days. (It’s amazing how far the digital manipulations have come in only a year!) And if the image is only slightly blurred, then the software does a fairly good job. But serious over sharpening can cause a myriad of other issues to “crop” up.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
Over sharpening leads to attenuated noise in the photo and there’s no amount of treatment that will get rid of it. You would spend less time in trying to redo the shot than squinting at the monitor trying to clone out or brush out the problems. Of course, there are some instances where the shot is a “one time only” deal. In which case, I suggest cropping in only so far and stopping before the noise issues and sharpening become glaringly obvious. As a hobbyist, we have to learn to get brutally honest with ourselves about what constitutes a “keeper” and what is an, “Oh I can fix that in PS”. I’m speaking from personal experience. I saved all my images even though there was no way in heck I could “crop” anything off them. Yes, they were that bad. But they looked “cool” so I saved them. 3 years later, I’ve learned. If they can’t hold up to the old 1:1 view, then they better have some other redeeming quality in order to make the grade. For instance, a shot of a UFO …. kidding.

But that would be SO cool!

Anyway. Give the idea of cropping your photos another thought if you haven’t already. Sometimes, what we thought was just an OK picture, with a slight crop can suddenly become the money shot for you. Also, take into consideration, if you had a landscape layout – there’s no reason you can’t crop portrait style:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah. I had to play with this one too. There’s just so many opportunities with photo editing software these days! And what else am I going to do with this bad back but play with pictures? 🙂

Enjoy!

Posted in Animals, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Photo Exhibition Update

So, the Chaleur Camera Club photo exhibition Grand Opening was last night in Bathurst. There’s a story here.

Negative Ned would be groaning about this time. In his opinion – I ALWAYS have a story. And in my opinion, having stories is a good thing. It keeps life interesting and gives me something to blog about ….

….
🙂

Back to the story. I didn’t go to the Grand Opening.
The End.

And it would be the end too, if Ned had anything to say.
Which he doesn’t. It’s my blog.
I ordered 3 new images and mats. I paid extra to have the mats cut and shipped because I was on a tight schedule. I bought several new exhibition frames too.
Now for the story. I have to admit something here. I really goofed in organizing this show. Admittedly, it’s my FIRST time putting one of these things together. What I did was, I asked someone who lived in Bathurst to scout out free venues to host a show for the club. He came back with 2 possible locations, a library and a gallery. I chose the one that had “Gallery” in the title. Hey! In my defence, wouldn’t you rather have an exhibition at a Gallery?
Anyway, I went ahead and booked the venue and let all the members in the club know we had a 3 week showing at a gallery. OOoooo.
So for 6 months, I sat on this information and not once did I get off my backside and actually go to SEE the venue for myself. Shame on me.
My second really big mistake was not asking the right questions of the host.
FYI, a really important thing to know when planning a photo exhibition is, “How many photos can we fit in your gallery?”
That’s right.
In addition to not scouting, I assumed that a Gallery would be a larger space and that we would be able to fit 50 images with no sweat.

Can you picture my embarrassment, when two days before the Grand Opening, I finally get photo titles and sale pricing from everyone and submit the details to the Gallery management. They send back telling me that they can’t host them all. It was at that point that I called and asked just how many photos we COULD show. Suddenly, we were all limited to 2 photos each. The Gallery is a 12×12 room with 2 walls of display space and 2 walls of window.

Thank goodness the Club members are so understanding. We had a lot of people show up the day before the exhibit to put up the display and then most showed for the Grand Opening too.
Except for me.
Turns out, I physically couldn’t go. All that organizing and trying to get boxes of frames moved etc etc was too much for my back and once again, I am a twisted mess.
There was no way I was going to be able to stand around at all, let alone socialize.

However, there are several plus sides to all this. The Gallery people were/are really, really nice and they were super happy to have us there. They contacted the media and prepared crudites and refreshment for the social aspect of the grand opening. They made a lovely speech thanking us for choosing them. Also on the plus side is that I made every mistake that could be made and learned from them all. The Exhibition went ahead regardless. Hopefully, the participating members will get good feedback from the exhibition and perhaps make a sale or two.

As for my extra photos and mats? Well, I have another 2 week exhibition planned for May. This one will be for fun with some friends who also love photography and we’ll be planning it together. We’re going to submit about 5 images each. I have about 10 images printed now and I’m going to get more. I really love the way they look on metallic paper.

Posted in Activity, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Yummy Jam Filled Cookies Recipe


Jam-Filled Cookies

½ cup shortening
½ cup margarine
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Strawberry jam – or whichever flavoured jam you want to use

Cream shortening, margarine and both sugars together in a large bowl.
Add eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; mix until smooth
Add ALL dry ingredients and stir.
Cover and chill batter for approximately 1 hour

Preheat over to 350 degrees
On a floured surface, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness.
Cut into 1 ½ inch rounds with cookie cutter.
Place ½ to 1 tsp of jam on half of the rounds; top with remaining rounds.

Lightly seal edges with fork.
Cut X in tops of cookies.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden.

These cookies really gain in size as they cook so give ample spacing.
Approx 5 doz.
Enjoy!

Posted in Activity, Baking, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dental Visits

I have a confession .. It has been 2 1/2 years since my last dental visit.
I’m not fond of going to the dentist. My sincere apologies to all the wonderful people out there who strive daily to perfect our oral hygiene and health. However, there are many reasons why the average person such as myself, avoids going in. Here’s my list:

1. I am a grown woman. I have given birth. I have worked most of my current life and been all over the world. I have seen things you couldn’t begin to imagine. I don’t need a complete stranger given me heck because I haven’t flossed according to the rules of the Dental Association or the Health Advisories. I KNOW I should do a better job and that I should do this more often. However, I don’t.
Get over it.
2. Do you think you could put a silencer on that drill?
3. With the advances in technology and medicine, couldn’t we make a smaller needle? OR, perhaps come up with some other way to freeze the mouth before conducting any dental work?
4. What is up with those hard shelled mouth x-rays? My mouth feels fine until I get one of those shoved in and it scores the soft tissue …
5. WHY do dental professionals conduct conversation with you while they have their two fists shoved in your mouth?
……

I’m sure if I think more about this, I’ll come up with more excuses – not the least of which is the financial cost .. it’s cheaper in the long run to extract all your teeth and go with false teeth .. 🙂 No more worries about the Flossing police and never again will you be subjected to that drill or the dreaded scaler … shudder

Yes, I’ve been paying (in more ways than one) for the fact that I have neglected my oral health for 2 and a half years. I noticed about 2 months ago that my mouth was feeling the painful effects of hot and cold. That certain of my teeth were bleeding during flossing. Ergo, I knew I could delay the inevitable no longer and made an appointment to see the Dentist. Here’s what they found:
1 broken molar; 2 small cavities AND 1 badly infected and subsequently loose tooth
AGHHHH!

The broken molar and the 2 fillings fixed the problem with hot and cold sensitivity.
Today I had my first extraction since having wisdom teeth pulled 27 years ago. Sigh
The infection was so bad that she had to freeze the area three times before she could pull the tooth and spoon the infection.
The extraction was one of the lower front teeth and causes a speech issue. Thankfully it will be filled in using a Marilyn Bridge on Friday morning. If the bone loss repairs itself in 3 years, I’ll be able to have an implant done – but it’s not an option for me at present because I apparently let this infection go on for 2 years too long.

The moral to the story is – regardless of my / your feelings about going to a dentist – if you aren’t willing to have all your teeth pulled and get false ones, then you SHOULD make an annual visit.

So, what does todays photo upload have to do with going to the dentist?
Absolutely nothing – which is why I

    really really

like it.
:-p

Posted in Activity, General, health | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments