Friday, July 31, 2009

Two for $20

Yesterday was my mother's birthday. My sister, her girls and I took her out for a celebratory supper. We chose Chili's because they have a special - I'm sure you've seen it: 2 people get an appetizer to share, each get a meal and get a dessert to share--all for $20.

I was surprised how it made the whole table engaged with each other. Rather than everyone disappearing behind big menus to each pick our own oversized entrees, we all worked together to coordinate appetizers (which ones looked the best?), meals and especially desserts (I want chocolate! no, not white chocolate!).

Because there were 4 adult appetites (3 adults and a tween!) we guessed there would be plenty to share with my 4 YO niece...and of course there was more than enough.

After supper, we repaired to HomeGoods to do some shopping. Mother found herself a ceramic chicken cookie jar (all I will say is it's huge, and brightly colored), I found some pillows and my sister found some shopping bags. I love that store. Their lamp selection is so fabulous.

It was a fun evening. Happy Birthday, Mother.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Pup-Care


Nursing a pup with gastro-intestinal distress. What are you up to?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Usual, Then

Nothing special happening around here.

Just the normal routine.



Eat, sleep, shred.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009



Reading a new book: Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life by Amy Krouse Rosenthal.


From the cover:



I have not survived against all odds.


I have not lived to tell.


I have not witnessed the extraordinary.


This is my story.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

GadZukes!

Well, here we are again. Sunday evening. The weekend is over, and what do I have to show for it?

Good friends and good food on Friday evening (after I went to spin class, thank you very much). And I made cucumber salad on Saturday, and made one trip in the car to get a few groceries.

Today, I made zucchini bread. And grilled a hanger steak - if you haven't yet, it's the most tender steak I've ever sliced. It's also called the butcher steak because for a long time it was the butcher's secret. And I grilled the leftover zucchini to go with my steak.


Isn't it amazing how a little chemistry can change the zucchini below (top) ...

into this tasty morsel? I found the recipe at Smitten Kitchen, and you should try it.


Too, I read more of my Monster of Florence book (a serial killer case captivates an American author who moved to Florence after becoming successful) and started the reorganization of the studio. Of course, I was distracted by marinating the hanger steak. And then I was sidetracked by making the zucchini bread. Then I needed to water the peppers and tomatoes. And drop off some of the cucumber salad, zucchini bread and a fresh tomato for my mother.

So the studio is a complete shambles.

I'll worry about it tomorrow. After The Closer.

Maybe.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Garden Fresh

Is anything more evocative of summertime than garden fresh produce?



When one is given a gift of cucumbers, and has on hand an onion and sour cream, one consults the Internet for a recipe to use these ingredients (possibly because one has gotten up late, walked the dogs, had coffee, read and hasn't yet gotten cleaned up to go out).


And after mixing sour cream, cider vinegar, celery salt, chopped dill, a touch of sugar and some grated onion...




...one has sour cream cucumbers a la 1956. Yum!


Let me know what time to expect you!










Friday, July 24, 2009

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Pick One Already

Part of the photo walk was to submit two best images. We will set aside the fact that I haven't figured out how yet.

The tail light is one I like.


And I love this one because it's my best friend since age 7 or so and her 8 year old. For two hours he snapped pictures with us and we all had fun.

I conducted an informal poll yesterday at work, and this one won. Which surprised me. So I guess I would submit this one.


And I will submit this one because I love it. It looks all b&w, but if you look closely, there are some bits of wood that are brown. I didn't have to do anything much to it except crop it a bit.


In other news, the squirrels and some sort of minuscule black dot looking bug have attacked the tomatoes, the eggplant is going great guns, the jalapeno is covered in peppers but the pimento has yet to cough one up, and there are several grape tomatoes turning red so that if the @#$% squirrels don't recognize them for tomatoes, I will be able to eat them tonight.

And in our lifetime section, today is my sister in law's birthday.
Happy Birthday, Carrie! I bet you thought I forgot, but I didn't!! If you were here I'd take you to a crab legs dinner. Have a great day.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sampler - Photowalk 2009






























Link to all my Photowalk photos: http://mollyfair.smugmug.com/photos/swfpopup.mg?AlbumID=8960694&AlbumKey=JRcha


If you see any you like, or you have suggestions to make one better (next time), please leave a comment.



Sunday, July 19, 2009

Blue Ridge Photowalk



I had a great time at the photo walk. Which is not to say every photo I took was glorious. But, C and I took her son CBT who is 8, and that was fun to watch. I haven't seen his photos yet, but I'm thinking many of them are better than mine :)


There are about 150 photos from yesterday, so over the next week or so I will be sharing them as I "post process" them.


One funny story, though: we were just about done and time was just about out. CBT had gone to the train track to get a shot of something. C & I were both hearing chickens. But we couldn't imagine where. Well. Under the trees that made an L shape around a building or two right on the park in central Blue Ridge. We were all energized and the chase to get a chicken picture was on.

Yellow legs here was much more curious than her flibbertigibbet harem leader. He ran and hid and led us on a merry chase.


Still, it was a fun way to end the day - my memory card filled up and I hadn't brought a back up.


Hope you had a fun Saturday, too!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

World Wide Photowalk



Today, all over the world, groups of 50 photographers will strike out and take pictures of whatever route their leader has mapped out. There are numerous walks in Georgia, and several in Atlanta. To see something different, I will be going to Blue Ridge for a photowalk there and I'm looking forward to it.


On the photowalk website, I think I saw a note about this being a Guinness World Record as about 30,000 photographers will be participating in this event.


It's going to be fun!

Friday, July 17, 2009

What are Little Boys Made Of?


This is E. He's a younger brother and an older brother X 2. He has not come to stay with me yet. But I'm thinking it won't be long before he's ready...we'll have to see.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Personal Trainer


At 5:30 pm this afternoon the only thing between me and home was a visit with my personal trainer. I signed up in a fit of mid-year resolution when the health club in our building opened.

Idly, I wondered who that crazy lady was and if I could smack her.

But I went to the personal trainer. Only 6 more weeks of my package is left. Budgeting and planning season is upon me. I decided to manage expectations.

"We are entering the part of the year that I put in a lot of time at work."

"We're doing overhead flies today. Start with 30 lbs. And 15 repetitions. Super set."


"You know, like Tuesday, things come up late in the day. Last minute."

"Goodgood. Now, we're doing underhand rows. Underhand. Underhand."

"I'll probably miss a lot in the next few weeks."



"Donkey kicks. 15 on each side. Three sets."



"Maybe I should skip a few weeks and then pick back up."



"'Excellent work. See you next Tuesday."


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thought for the Day


It's all in how you look at it, right?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Homework

I've completed more lessons...the first is a combination of texture and text.


This one is subtle...it is called edge burn which means you darken the edges to draw attention to the subject. Film photography does this by overexposing the edges, photoshop does it differently. The first photo is a portrait I took recently straight out of the camera.


The second is with the edges burned. The difference is subtle.



It's time to put in a plug for the site...it's JessicaSprague.com. She teaches digital scrapbooking but in order to do that she teaches photoshop and work flow. I can't recommend it highly enough. The prices are reasonable, you get free product and the lessons are forevermore available to you as references. And, she shows you where to look on the web for additional textures and brushes. It's been a great experience so far.






Monday, July 13, 2009

Weekend Expedition

Saturday some friends and I drove about 40 miles above Atlanta and went to explore some antique stores...we had such a good time I forgot about my camera most of the time. But I did get some shots...

I love the metal piece below. See the crown on top?




One antique place included a nursery. There was a geranium that had an ivy look and the most beautiful coral blossoms...





The next two are either side of the front porch. First, the right...





and then the left.



These dishes feature dragons - I don't think I've ever seen any quite like this.





For those of you in high school in the early 80's...do you remember the must have car? It was the 280Z from Nissan. And there was one boy in my class, Kenny C, who had one. When we stopped for lunch Saturday, I was so surprised to see a near mint 280Z in the parking lot. I found later it belonged to a lady who couldn't drive her Harley that weekend because "my carpal tunnel is acting up and I can't hold the throttle open that long this weekend".





We had a great time. Thanks, Marlene for finding the places to explore!







Sunday, July 12, 2009

Old Slides



This is a style of photography called Through The Viewfinder or TtV for short. Photographers take a picture through another camera's view finder. Some have posted viewfinder "textures" that can be used in Photoshop to give a similar look and feel. That's what this is above. One of my photos with a TtV effect layered on (plus a texture). I really like the vintage feel - I think it most reminds me of looking at old slides. What do you think?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Honey House


Well! My favorite peanut butter, Peter Pan Peanut Butter With No Sugar Added, will be leaving the market as soon as the inventory runs out. I emailed my grocery store chain, and the manager of the store I frequent called me at my office yesterday. Can you believe it? Customer service is still alive.

Above is the shed that was in the picture I showed you on Monday or Tuesday, the one with Olivia in it. Yesterday I learned about adding textures...and this is what I came up with. When I looked at it this morning, I could believe it was scanned and only the lacy thingies added (they come with the frame).

When I was young, this was the honey house, where the honey was separated from the comb, and put in jars. It smelled wonderful. It's also where there was a box of books that had the Time Life series on the moon landing, and I would spend hours looking through those books, completely mesmerized. It seemed everything was possible then.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Refrigerator

Look, another class project. This time it was learning how to get the ragged edges on the photo.

But more importantly, this is like putting my art on the fridge when I get home from school! That's why I like it so much!

Speaking of refrigerators, I need a new oven. The burner dial that won't stay on and was lying on the back edge of the stove fell behind the stove tonight. I think it's a sign to get it in gear. This is the oven that was here when I moved in, and it needed to be replaced then, but I've gotten 4 more years out of it! How's that for frugal?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Picture and A Story



I never promised the story went with the photo!



Monday night I was walking the dogs. If you've been here before you will have found it hard not to know I have golden retrievers. Sweet, loving, loyal, steadfast, make love not war, and could you please scratch my belly goldens. Gus and Cotton.



As we turned the corner on the second block of our walk, a neighbor was opening their garage door. Suddenly their dog came boiling out of the garage, took one look at Cotton and laid into her. She screamed. I screamed. We spun in circles. I'm not sure what Gus did, but he refrained from making it worse. I was convinced Cotton was mortally wounded based on the snarling, growling and the other dog's grip on her neck.



Suddenly it was over, and the other dog hadn't broken her skin. Her thick fur helped I'm sure. She was shaking and looking for the other dog. We got out of there and I continued an abbreviated walk to give her time to calm down and hopefully not associate walking on her leash with negative feelings.



What's that? Gus? What did Gus do, you ask? I'll tell you. When the other dog was removed, Gus calmly looked and him did his biggest, deepest "WOOF. WOOF." But only the two. That's all.



Cotton seemingly bounced back with no ill effects. The last test was doggie run around today. I wanted to be sure she didn't get defensive in the jostling that inevitably goes with dog play.



Now. Here's the question. In this instance, what makes a good neighbor?



What should I have done and what should she have done?

The First Nephew

Meet the First Nephew. He was kind enough to stop playing long enough to pose at the park on Mother's Day weekend - and he smiled for me. He's wearing his cap with the official US Army pins I got him. And in front (the bar one) is from WWII, part of the Japan campaign, I think. {Aunt Molly shamelessly tries to find cool stuff.} And if you ask him what he wants to be, he's said "Army Man" for years now. He has a posse: Eli, Audrey and Metz.

Okay - so the photo is dressed up from the day 2 lesson from the Jessica Sprague class. We received complimentary House of 3 frames, stamps and word art - they are my current favs! The border on the photo, the ornate frame around the word celebrate, the word celebrate - all are House of 3 and came with the class. Great, yes?

And, look at the color of the frame around the word celebrate. Did you notice that it's the same blue as the blue in the T-shirt on the First Nephew? And the word celebrate is the color of the rail he's leaning on? Yep, learned how to do that in lesson # 2 using the color picker.

I love it when I finally start getting it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Tricks

I'm taking an online class from the Jessica Sprague website. While you can't sign up for this one, there are some free classes available so that you can find out what she's about. I highly recommend her - I had her teach a class I took last year in Charlotte. [Don't have photoshop? or photoshop elements? Free trial version area available from Adobe that you can use to try a class.]

You may have seen this once or twice before since I took it last year, but isn't it fun with the border and word art? And I finally know how to resize for the web.

This is a shed that, at one time or another, all my siblings and cousins peeked in. It's fun to see it starting over with my niece!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Homemade Tartar Sauce

I Know What You're Thinking...you're either thinking ick, or yum. And if you're thinking ick it's because, almost always, you don't like the sweet pickle relish that is in most tartar sauce.

So before taking off for the 4th of July fish fry, I looked up a recipe for home made tartar sauce. And found one with capers - I love capers - but it did call for chopped dill pickle. So it made me think, what if I leave out any pickles? I can substitute dill and cider vinegar. So I did. And I didn't have tarragon so I left that out too. And I didn't have Tabasco, but I did have Jalapeno sauce.


It was a hit. How do I know?

There's none left!

Original Recipe from Epicurious.com

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped dill pickle (I replaced this with a stem of chopped dill and 1tsp of cider vinegar)
3 tablespoons chopped green onion
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon (I left this out)
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I used jalapeno sauce)

Whisk all ingredients together, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to 2 days.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

One of Those Times


This is one of those times you wish your brother or brother-in-law lived only 15 minutes away.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Brandywine

Below is my first tomato this season - first one I've actually tried to grow, really. It's a Brandywine and is now sitting on my counter, waiting.










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