Friday, October 17, 2008

Suddenly it hits me

Rick's been gone since early Monday morning. Normally I can still talk to him by cell and e-mail, but with him buried in the mountains somewhere, his cell phone is crappy even at the hotel. So I've only spoken to him a few times this week - just enough to hear he's had some problems on the job, and won't be back until Saturday after dinner. I'm starting to really miss him.

Then I was doing my daily check of family blogs, and read Julie's description of the California nephews and their apple-picking trip. (The PB&J link is at left.) I can just imagine Tubby toddling around in his warm mama-knit wool pants, proudly carrying an apple or two. I really miss all of those little guys.

Then Nora put her soft muzzle into my lap this morning and inquired about breakfast. I still think we made the right decision; I have to be careful and watch her expression even while I'm petting her ears, in case her switch flips and she decides I'm too far past her boundaries. But I'm really going to miss her.

I'm sensing a theme here.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Soaking It All In

The autumn color is almost at peak here, and I'm making a conscious effort to soak it all in. There's a spot near Sumac Road that I've been meaning to drive by some morning fairly early, when the morning glow will be bouncing perfectly off the splashes of gold and coral and ruby on the hillside. And there's a young maple in the gully by the river that is just glorious, and I need to climb down the bank near noon someday soon and photograph it looking straight up through the leaves.

But in the meantime, here are a few drive-by shootings from earlier today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


My dog has the most unbelievably soft nose and ears. And she always bows to me in the morning, and then comes up to me with the most polite of junior-to-senior dog greetings. And she loves to run up to me in the driveway and explain to me how much she missed me and how nice it will be when I sit down and give her supper. And she is the best piece of exercise equipment I have ever owned - and probably the one I've actually achieved the most actual exercise with. And she is incredibly smart, picking up tricks and new obedience commands effortlessly. And she would LOVE to do agility training and competitions; she's already a huge fan of the tunnel and the ring.

But she's still biting. Tasha put a cup of hot chocolate down on the floor by her chair yesterday, and Nora tried to nip her when she reached for it. She cornered Rick in the kitchen two or three weeks ago and nipped him on both hands, one right after the other, for no reason. She lunged for Luc the last time he tried to put her leash on. She's developed a habit of stealing food from the pantry, and growling at anyone who tries to take it back. She even curled her lip at me this morning, again for no apparent reason. And it's getting worse.
The dog trainer is strongly implying that she's just not safe to have around, and should probably be put down. Elizabeth agrees, and I suspect Noelle would as well (based on our last conversation). The fact is that after 4 months with us, if Nora is not safe in a quiet country home with patient adults, minimal disruption and lots of exercise, she's not going to be safe anywhere. I just hate to give up on her.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Birthday Toys

Okay, now that Rick's birthday is over (and it ended well, with him renting a convertible and tooling down the California coastal highway system, with a stop in Monterey for a fabulous birthday dinner on Fisherman's Wharf), let's get back to me. Because some really big boxes showed up late last week, and over the weekend Rick and I got to open them and play a little bit.

I've developed the lazy habit of keeping my camera on automatic, letting it choose speed and aperture while I concentrated on composition and the like. This has come back to bite me twice recently, when the camera decided to hike its speed up in dim light to the point where even the clear, sharp images were disappointingly grainy. So I need to make much more use of my tripod, and slow that shutter speed down in search of a higher quality image.

But meanwhile, I also need to play with my new lighting equipment and make sure I can be comfortable and confident with it. That's going to mean practice, and it would be much better if I can con someone in the house to modeling for me so I'm not constantly running back and forth. And I need to get a better sense of composition for large groups and working within the confinement of a backdrop.
Dad, thanks for the backdrops (one large and black, another smaller and a sponge-paint-like combo of bronze and violet and green). Rick, I love you even more for the studio lighting, and for helping me figure out how it actually goes together. And thanks to all my wonderful family, Nora included, for sitting around for me while I began to experiment.

I'm not content yet. Some of these are better than others. Tasha asked me after the family group shot was taken if I was "happy"? I had to tell her that it's more like a puzzle; I'm happy about the equipment and grateful for the patience of my victims/models - but I've got work to do and things to ponder. And I think I'm going to wash both backdrops and store them crumpled in pillow cases, so we have evenly abstract wrinkles instead of those fold lines.
Pressing on . . . .

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweetie

Rick is having a rough birthday today. He spent more time than he intended last night tearing up the house looking for the travel itinerary and boarding pass he's sure he printed, and then we had to take an emergency trip back to the restaurant where we had celebrated an early birthday dinner because the waitress forgot to return his credit card. He left the house at about 3:30 this morning, and when he called from the Minneapolis airport at 8:30 I had to tell him that the power cord for his laptop was still sitting by the door. (Apparently it slipped out of his gear bag. The good news is, I found it in time to warn him so he could replace it before leaving civilization.) He'll be landing in San Jose sometime this afternoon, then driving 4 hours to the job site to check in and get his first real look at the problem. However, the job site is a solar-powered highway equipment shack somewhere in no-mans-land along the California coast, and he's been warned that the nearest hotel will be an hour's drive away from there. All in all, he probably won't get to bed tonight until a good 20 hours or more after he left. And then he'll work 12 - 16 hour days for the next week with the hope of making it home again on Friday, because he's scheduled to leave again (for Miami this time) on Monday.

One of the many things I've always respected about Rick is that he's an incredibly hard-working man. As a result, he has more aches and pains and battle scars than your average man of exactly 47 years; but he is a very determined person, and his jobs get done. Some days I think he could benefit from a little less determination.
Try to slow down a bit, Sweetie. Happy birthday, and remember I love you.