Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Mystery Helicopters

This was the view as I left work on the 19th. Yep, I was the last one in my group.

As I walked down the hall to the elevator lobby, I had this view from the hallway windows: see the 3 helicopters? I wondered what was up. I guessed a bank robbery.

Let's have a little game: what do you think these guys were lined up to see? It was around 6:30 in the afternoon, the view from the window is roughly south looking toward Turner Field where the Braves play ball. Beyond the stadium is the airport. The helicopters are pointed roughly west.
Come on, guess!

Cool Hand...Cotton?

Cotton is able to get out of the fenced backyard. It is not clear to me how or where, exactly. So I am on a self imposed "must supervise every outing to the backyard". If not, there is a minimum 30 minute round up, coupled with fear and worry and all the swear words I learned as a young CPA.

The first time I walked out the back door with both dogs after yesterday's escape, Girlfriend here stopped, looked at me, and I swear if she could speak she would have said "really?".


Monday, March 30, 2009

Alien Invasion?

These utterly alien things are right by my front doorstep, raising their heads to the mothership.
The seem to reach higher as you watch them.

You can see the stubble where valiant Tim (the landscaper) cut them down last year.

Undeterred, they rise from the earth.

And suddenly, they begin to look less science fiction, more organic.

Until they start to look soft and airy instead of hairy and other.

And they have rosy light pink tips at the end of each frond. Is anything in science fiction pink?

Maybe these aren't aliens after all.

I think...can it be?

Maybe-wait-yes! They're cinnamon ferns.
Note: I had to lay down across my front steps in full sight of the neighbors to take these shots. If that's not dedication to my art, I don't know what is. I think I heard mumbling about "calling the authorities" if they see that again...

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Doesn't this make you feel Spring-y?

Saturday, March 28, 2009


It's been raining in Atlanta.
Since Thursday.
I've had a couple of narrow windows to get some pictures.
This vinca turned out really rich and saturated.

I love dogwoods. Looks like they may last until Easter.

The rain made my camellias fall off the bush. The ground is adorned with them.

It's supposed to rain Saturday, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This is a view of the Arno - I took it when I was on a wonderful vacation in Italy. We were in Florence and I was captivated. I had finally gotten into the swing of being in a foreign place.

This week has been a bit challenging, more so because I have a case of wanderlust and keep wishing I could go back and "finish" my vacation in Italy. There's so much to experience there, I feel like I left before I could get to everything. And for some reason, I keep getting travel related emails: VRBO, Delta, Airtran. And today, a blog I follow written by an expat American living in Florence just really pushed the travel button.

Where do you wish you were?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


bows low
inviting Cotton to play
a game.
knows that Gus will
tackle her,
bowl her over
pick her up by her tail.
Sometimes Gus
will spring straight up
to pounce
from behind a tree,
always outruns
Laughing the whole way.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

I took lots of photos this weekend. This one was interesting. I have plans for many of the rest.

Washed a lot of clothes, too. Played bridge Friday night.

My dogs got out at dusk on Saturday. And went in two different directions. Sigh.

The squirrel has been foiled in his attempts to get into the squirrel proof bird feeder. By moving it out of his reach.

The carpenter bees are decimating my deck and menacing me and the dogs. I will have to call the pest service. No mercy. While they're at it we will discuss the tunneling in my yard.

I stood in my front yard and thought about what plants I could take out in order to have flowers and a few vegetables.

Because I am au courant, I just read the book Twilight. Then for kicks I watched the movie. It was painful until the last 20 minutes. I'll just leave it at that. Watched a documentary on CS Lewis that was just bad. Hope my movie luck turns soon. Oh, and I watched Little Women when my OnDemand didn't work.

I have a great stack of books to get to. There's a full week of work ahead.

There's always next weekend.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Back in February, I shared this picture with you - I took it because of the neon and white lights. I thought they were lovely. Well, actually, I shared a version that I had straightened up. Apparently in the great conversion to the external hard drive, I deleted that jpeg version and I only have the version below which lists to starboard.

Friday, the weather was so sunny and sky so blue, we went out for lunch. I angled for something near the store from where I buy the dog's kibble - I know, always thinking. Anyway, one of us had been here and suggested it. Perfect.

This is the interior - light, fresh and soon to have a large patio opened beyond that dark gold wall on the right. The food was so tempting I ordered a curry lunch special and a sushi roll. I was not the only one.
Tried any new restaurants lately?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunroof Perspectives

Some days the only photos I can take are from the sunroof of my car. Here are some from the past few days.

Which one is your favorite?

Friday, March 20, 2009

That was Then

3 years ago I adopted a shaved, just shy of 1 year old Golden Retriever that I named Gus. Cotton was about 8 months old. I had never had 2 dogs before.

This is now.

We all live happily ever after.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Drive by Shots

This is a house that I have loved since shopping for my home in 2005. It seems sort of Hollywood-ish to me with the "walled" front yard. Sometimes I think of doing that with my front yard which would make it another room, and that's appealing for a small house.
This house has the best front yard to me. A jumble of growth and ornaments - see the blue vase? This is one that does wonderful Christmas lights too.

Just giving you a break from flowers and dogs. I took these to talk about with Tim the yard guy. He dreads Spring, because that's when I have my ideas. Most gardeners have ideas in the winter when they can plan, and get the infrastructure done.

That's me, right on time as usual.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


First, Happy St. Patrick's Day. My family is Irish on my mother's side for sure, and suddenly I'm drawing a blank on my dad's side. Dad's side definitely has some English...

Anyway, by Green--in the title--I mean spondulas. Bucks. Do-re-mi. As in conserving money.

The homemade laundry soap was a success. The first test was dog towels. There were many, coming off a long weekend of rain. And I think there was a dog cleanup towel too, from one stolen strawberry too many. Anyway, 5 towels, large load, 2 tablespoons homemade Laundry Soap. Clean, fresh smelling towels came out. This can't be, I thought. It was too easy.

So I went about gathering up the my towels. The ones that sometimes possibly get eyeshadow or mascara on them. Plus a few kitchen towels that had mopped up minor messes. Large load, 3 tablespoons of laundry soap since there was make-up on the handtowel and I didn't pretreat the stains. This time I added the distilled vinegar in the softener dispenser. Didn't I mention it? Distilled (white) vinegar softens. I know, amazing. And if you want a fragrance you can add essential oil of whatever you like to the vinegar for the rinse.

Now you can google to get a liquid laundry soap recipe - the ingredients are basically the same plus cooking and water. It sounded too messy to me and storage would be a problem, for me, anyway.

So I did dry. And found it here first. One bar of soap, grated, 1 cup borax, and 1 cup washing soda. And a cool container would be nice, but I used something I had.

I saved a nub of the Fels Naptha to treat spots with - it's in a little baggie with the wrapper so I will have the instructions. Now, I've also read that I can use Ivory bar soap, or a Castile bar soap. So you have options.

Oh, and interestingly, my usual Publix didn't have everything, but the Kroger did.

Well, my towels came out fresh and clean. No fragrance, but clean smelling. I am a believer. And maybe by the end of the year, richer!

One more test is underway: the dishwasher. I read that 1 tbsp washing soda + 1 tbsp borax = dishwasher soap. So, at this moment, my dishwasher is running. And the laundry softener from the laundry test? I put it in the rinse aid dispenser because I understand it gets rid of water spots.

Monday, March 16, 2009


This photo really illustrates my thoughts right now. I have so many things I want to be doing, and such limited time. For example, I've been thinking about how to conserve money. I don't really think I'm extravagant, but there have to be ways to cut back. In many ways I have always been one of those reuse, repurpose, do without people which is good for the environment. Because I believe we are to be good stewards of the environment.

Most of my family was of the reuse, repurpose, make do or do without philosophy. My grandmother saved tin foil and washed out ziploc bags to reuse. And she had this wonderful muffin recipe that used mayonnaise because it already had eggs and oil in it, but can I recall it now? No. And there was some batter mix that you made up and put into the buttered/floured pan and then poured in canned fruit. Again, can't quite remember the particulars. And my granddad saved everything for it's potential future use. Our storage house was so fun to poke around in.

And we had a compost pile. And it had worms. Yep, folks way back there in the 70's we were doing all the things that are currently experiencing a revival on the "internets". The upside of composting with worms? Great source of fish bait. This I know from countless trips to our fishing pond.

Then there's the photography. There's learning to take better pictures, which is to say have the result be what I saw in my head. Then there's Photoshop and Lightroom, and all the myriad things to learn there.

Laundry. There's a place to save money. I stumbled onto sites that explained how to make your own laundry soap that is also environmentally friendly. SCORE. I purchased a book that explained how with lemon juice, distilled vinegar, olive oil, baking soda, water and little else, one can keep their house clean and put fewer toxins into your personal environment and our larger environment. My grandmother always made a paste of lemon juice and salt to remove rust stains, swore that you could whiten your linens by drying them in the sun on the lawn, and stripped furniture with a mixture of 1 part lime and 4 parts baking powder and water to make a paste (if you want to use this, look it up, we've already covered I can't recall all the recipes).

And I must be pretty suggestible, because this person talking about making her own laundry detergent was going to go thrift store shopping to select glass and enamel containers and buckets to use to avoid plastic containers. Again, sound thinking, from the reuse, repurpose, etc. school of thought. Anyway, I went to Scott's today looking for just those things.

Oooh, and I almost forgot. I have the itch to sew. And I want to progress with my knitting. And then there's crochet.

And I'm going to take out some flowers and add some vegetables and herbs in my front yard - the only part of the yard that consistently gets sunlight.

And, I want to go to the Atlanta farmer's market to shop AND to photograph.

Of course, Monday through Friday, there's work.

So you can see that if those beautiful coral flowers represent all the notions I have going on in my head and the vines and leaves are the tenuous connections between all those things, that's how this photo is an illustration of my thoughts these days.

I think these are native azaleas. I'm hoping my friend Candi can tell me. When the blossoms first appear, there are no leaves. There's just the pop of color and the bronze of the limb. Then as time moves along, leaves appear and fill in the gaps and the flowers aren't so distinct. But in the beginning they are really something.

I'll let you know how the laundry detergent thing goes. I'm most excited about the dishwasher detergent. It's so easy I'm going to have to do it to believe it.

Have a great week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


f 1.8
50mm lens

Friday, March 13, 2009


I love these pictures. Golden dogs with dark eyes and noses, faded buttery yellow tiles with bits of black for punctuation. The colors echo each other.

This was with my nifty 50, Canon's 50mm entry level lens. I love that lens.

There's something familiar about these poses, almost as if I've seen a series like this and am subconsciously capturing it in my world.

I had a sense of deja vu about the composition while I was taking the shots, but for the life of me don't know where I saw it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Entertaining New Friends

On Sunday, I hung this bird feeder. What you can't see is that I rigged a mounting hook using metal coathangers a la my paternal grandfather. He rigged many things. Surprisingly I absorbed that, and I realized it as I balanced precariously at the top of a ladder with a pair of needle nose pliers making adjustments to my mounting hook.

Anyway. The New Bird Feeder.

My new friends:

They play peek-a-boo.

They look both ways before eating.

This little one makes several landings to scope things out, hops on the feeder, gets a seed and flies off to eat it.

She looks at everyone a little askance.

So far there have been four pairs of regulars (two different pairs of cardinals). I am hoping for the pileated woodpecker to make an appearance. And I'm trying to figure out if I can move the feeder to a pole mount, but I need post hole diggers.

And that's something I don't keep lying around the house.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

First Annual Birthday Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Last week, C and I loaded up and drove about an hour north of her house to Dahlonega, Georgia. Dahlonega was the site of the first major gold rush in the U.S. I know this because there's a sign that proclaims this as you drive into town.
To make things a little more interesting, I made up a random list of photos we needed to get. Below are my efforts. I was struggling because I used my new camera, thinking that forcing myself to use it would help. Let's just say I need a lot more practice. A lot.

The Scavenger Hunt List:

1. Neon Sign (lit) - Check. Anyone know what Keno is, exactly? Other than a game of chance.

2. Clock Tower - Bust. What small town in the south doesn't have a clock tower on its square? Apparently Dahlonega.

3. Do What the Sign Says - Bust. What was I thinking putting this on the list?

4. Old Logo (I had in mind a Rock City painted barn) - Check. You can trust your car to the man who wears the star...

5. Picture of someone in uniform. Work with me folks!

6. Capture your reflection in an unusual place. If you look closely, you will see my toes at about her eye level. Besides, I liked the sentiment of this sign.

7. Historic Statue - Check. Sort of. Again, what small town doesn't have a statue? So I offer the Lumpkin County Courthouse, now the Gold Museum.

8. Unusual Perspective - Here it is folks: the view of the sky from the visitor's center ladies' room. I was trying to work out kinks with the new camera. Tough things like how to turn it on. And how to focus. I know you're thinking "didn't she read the book?".

9. Something from a prom. Think 80's prom. And you just know these earrings went with a long formal. Probably with a bow. I am cringing as I picture my prom. Bows abounded. So did ruffles.

10. A Wheelbarrow. It is small town America, for Pete's sake. No wheelbarrow.

11. A 50s or 60s lampshade. C swears this had to be from that era because it matched her mom's wedding china.

12. Fruit or Vegetable Stand. Two things. One, we were pooped and took our snaps from inside the car on the way home. And I used PW's soft and faded action on it because I was getting itchy to use my new Photoshop. And no I haven't read the book on that one yet either.

13. Your waitress. Too busy eating southern food served family style at The Smith House. Had a lovely political discussion with the stranger who was seated with us. I believe I remembered that as we were walking out.

14. Local color. This is my favorite because of the broken piece.

15. A Tacky Souvenir. It was a bumper crop!

Extra Credit: A scene from a movie. Okay, I titled this one A River Runs Through It.

My efforts were hardly high art, but I had fun trying. And spending a day away from the office was just what the doctor ordered. It's too rare that we make time to do something like that.
I'm glad we did!


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