Monday, May 31, 2010

Requiem of Spring

Forsythia buds
Since I am teaching myself PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS from 3 different books, I've little time to write. However, I am posting my early spring photos, most of which you have not seen.

Purple Crocus
Since dizziness and drunkenness have set in with my inner, possibly infectious, ear problem, no telling how these photos well be oriented as I am not oriented perpendicularly, but mostly circularly and swimmingly. Bet you are dizzy after that last sentence!!!

Narcissus- some call these
White Daffodils, Paperwhites
Some photos may bring back memories of my sideways, crick-in-the-neck video clip!

Summer is nigh; already my Texan relatives are complaining of 90+ degree temperatures.

But mid-Spring we were in NC without one of my camera SD cards.

Daffodil Macro
This is a belated Spring 2010 requiem or, if you wish, a prelude to Spring 2011. We can have the "half-full, half-empty glass" of optimism/pessimism. Do not mourn their passing, but wait for their glorious rebirth next Spring!
Dandelion Plant





Wood Hyacinth
Wood Hyacinth
Thanks to Arkansas-Pat for providing me flower name for the last two photos!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Dizzy as a Dingbat, Drunk as a Skunk

The title of this post pretty much says it! Or maybe 'ditzy!'


Confused Dizzy Computer
from Owner's Freak-out Input
[Broderbund ClickArt Image]
After a previously hectic Sunday, oft described in my childhood as a "day of rest" from the Biblical creation story, and perhaps a misnomer, Monday morning held a new surprise.


I arose and completed my morning rituals of brewing coffee and feeding Luckie. This ritual is usually follow by reading e-mails and blogs while consuming my mundane concoction of 1.5 cups drip coffee with 0.5 cup milk and 4 packets Splenda.


At the end of this time frame, I turned to my left to place my desktop replacement, behemoth laptop on a nearby table. This requires a torso-twisting movement of upper body strength with a non-travel friendly notebook.


Not although part
Cherokee,the caricature
is applicable otherwise.
[Broderbund ClickArt]
Suddenly the room began to spin, my head and ears felt overstuffed and plugged with inexplicable matter. My tinnitus was playing a head splitting high pitched noise. 


With no rhyme or reason an old hymn, Dwelling in Beulah Land comes to mind, but only the last syllable of Beulah minus the 'h' seemed more definitive. I had moved in, and still am dwelling, in LA-LA Land with none of the joyous amenities attributed to in the aforementioned hymn or several similar hymns. [There are two hyperlinks above to this hymn.]


Yikes! I needed an urgent trip to the throne room to eliminate a portion  my morning diuretic, coffee. Yet I felt the floor and I might become closer acquainted, not conducive to the well-being of my knee prostheses.


Although I completed my throne room trek safely, the spinning top, my head, intensified in m.p.h. and r.p.m.  Every perception had circular, speedy, spinning attributes. I was able to sit or stand in the vertical position only if I kept an upright orientation with head fixated in the frontal position, perpendicular to the floor.


Skunk
Broderbund ClickArt
Dizzy as a Dingbat, Drunk as a Skunk! Dingbats have nothing to do with bats....  And I doubt skunks drink our alcoholic beverages, although they like many animal species will eat or imbide dangerous or poisonous substances in the process of foraging.


These clichés are absorbed in our cultural language and used as uncomplimentary explanations and descriptions. 'Dizzy as a Dingbat' actually is as uncomplimentary as NitWit, implying a person, especially female, lacks intelligent, intricate, serious thought processes. Its origin I could not find. I suspect it is US, given our propensity to crucify the English language with alliteration and metaphor.


'Drunk as a Skunk' is thought to be of US origin, but why skunk? Probably because of its malodorous, repulsive, gas attack defensive system. However, there are a number of 'drunk as' clichés. The phrase implies a state of intoxication, specifically alcoholic, or behavior similar to intoxication.


Regardless, those were the clichés I used to describe my condition to the receptionist as I staggered to the admissions window with concerned help from my husband. The first cliché is descriptively more accurate. I knew I wasn't intoxicated, at least not by alcohol or drugs.


Jinsky, author of napples notes, had a similar episode recently. Jinksy, apologies if I unceremoniously dismissed your malady, but then you can be so humorous about life's discomforts.


My physician knew I was a near life teetotaler, so she dropped alcoholic overindulgance from her diagnosis. After a series of maneuvers, sitting up, standing up, etc.  eliminating orthostatic hypertension, and signs of imminent heart or cerebral events, she noted evidence of fluid in left ear behind the eardrum, postnasal drip and my eyes "jerkily (nystagmus) trying to focus on a moving target.


Calcium Carbonate "rocks 
are deposited in the utricle.
If they excape into other
areas of the ear, problems
with vertigo and balance
may arise.
Her preliminary diagnoses was vertigo due to viral infection, Meniere's disease and/or an incredibly long description: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, acronym-BPPV. [Excellent graphic at the hyperlink provided]

But because I have deficiencies which might trigger heart or cerebral events, a battery of blood work, EKG and CT scan of head were ordered stat. [Don't you love medical terminology?  An event to me is news reports via newspapers, radio and television, like 'current or historical events.']


This incident occurred around 7 a.m. and we barged into Doc's office around 9:20 a.m. without appointment and were seen around 10 a.m. We left the office about 11 a.m. headed to a medical center complex for tests. We stopped by our pharmacy's drive-by window to leave prescriptions, swung by home for needed I.D. cards and continued to a nearby town where the complex was located.


By 2:30 p.m. we were home, having completed the orders, squeezed in lunch at Western Sizzlin'and again the pharmacy drive-by window for prescription pickup and payment.  I called Doc's office to notify her she should be receiving results shortly.


Three Rx bottles on left
are my current meds.
The other meds are OTC.
The last on the right helped
a tad until I visited Doc.
This fast chain of events always fascinates me. In past years medical orders could not have been completed in a span of 2.5 hours including one hour of travel on our part. At 4:30 p.m. Doc called me saying I ACED every test! The total time from initial event to finally learning results was 7 hours. The digital age contributes to the shortened pace, i.e., fax machines, Internet, other telecommunication devices, digital imaging electronics, electronic assay machines, and 3-min. screening EKGs.


Doc is sticking her preliminary diagnoses of BPPV and/or inner ear infection, probably both. I tend to agree as I have no pain, nausea, increased SOB (shortness of breath). So now the round of drugs begins. Plus in the link above for BPPV there are home exercises designed to put the brakes on my spinning out of control head. A print-out of the BPPV link is exactly what she handed me.


Short summary: I appear to have rocks, in my head...OOPS, in the ear utricle (not to be confused with another body organ with somewhat similar name, which I is not in my current organ inventory at this point in life). Because I've had kinetosis, tinnitus and multiple allergies for at least 5 decades and now another chronic syndrome, I am likely to be contending with the BPPV syndrome either continuously or continually.

I have had little balance for a long time. No tippy-toe dancing ballerina am I! I probably would fail field sobriety tests, especially the test named Walk and Turn, or more commonly - walk the proverbial straight line. I've had several fleeting, positional bouts of vertigo recently, plus the tinnitus is more intense. Hello! Welcome to another addition to aging!


Today, Tuesday, only the left side of my head seems affected. Now I've need to grab my those exercise list again for any round. The suggested movements are not difficult, but might temporarily worsen my symptoms.


Phew! I was worried about that brain scan. I am getting various disparaging remarks about the status of my brain, at the moment, like empty brain, birdbrain, nothing but rocks/marbles in my head, etc. I'm sure you can add to the metaphors.


Stay tuned for updates, but not hourly. I have to repeat these exercises 5 times a day I do not consider this a serious health threat if I pay attention to the symptoms--not life threatening unless I fall--then the consequences change.

For sufferers with a very mild form of this disorder may find relief in OTC drugs, meclizine commonly available in oral and chewable tablets forms, and dimenhyrdrinate commonly available in tablet, but also available liquid and suppository forms. Diphenhydramine, an old, but very effective antihistamine with drying properties available as OTC oral tablets, capsules,liquids and RX injectable, is sometimes used to dry out nasal and otic membranes, but its drowsiness side effect as well as urinary side effects, especially in the elderly suggest it be used cautiously.

Hopefully you are not doing pirouettes as you read this post...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Time-out to Play!

After a hectic schedule today, where we left home at 9:30 a.m. and were essentially gone until nearly 5 p.m. with a brief stop by the house to change clothes, I needed some down time.

Our schedule today included (1) church services, (2) Life Group fellowship, (3) delivery of items to help my house cleaner with her Volunteer Spay and Neuter Clinic scheduled for May 25-27 in Yellville at the Marion Co. Fairgrounds. We also had to return (4) a long-distance phone message of my half-brother who just had heart surgery and finally (5) we finished a business transaction with my best friend around 4:30 p.m. Too much retired life for me!


For some relaxation in the midst of stress (see previous post), I decided to play around with Adobe Photoshop Elements 8.


SOOC
I have only completed 1.5 lessons in a textbook for this software. I am a tad impatient it doesn't dive right into the creative processes I know this program has.

Instead it has 135+ pages of nearly 500 pages on the ORGANIZER feature of the program. I prefer to do my own organizing, which is nil or none.  However, I can see some advantages to the organizer, especially tags.  It's just that I want to choose what to organize in true NitWit wisdom and not necessarily the way dimwit ORGANIZER decides. So I'll plow through the chapters but may take a peek ahead now and then.

Effect 1
But today I play: [Hope Jinksy at napples notes, sees I can create rhyme on occasion, albeit almost too short to read!]


In order above of insertion are a number of creations from a single photo: The first shot is straight out of the camera [SOOC]: no corrections like crop, contrast, white light, color, noise, etc.  Crop would have been minimumly~probably the tip of white at the bottom of the SOOC photo. This is backlit photo which I love with flowers and other semi-transparent subjects.  Although not a MACRO, the Zoom lens helped give that appearance. I suppose Close-up is a better adjective.

[All photos should be clickable to enlarge.
This post is created in Blogger In Draft,
so don't guarantee!]

Effect 2- Lens FLare (I think)
The rest of the photos are effects applied to the SOOC photo. Since there are probably 100s of variations, I did not bother to remember which I used. Remember I am playing! I did take note these same effects can be applied to text, clip art, and projects, not just photos.

I only applied one effect to each photo. Imagine the fun of mix-and-match, as well as the degree to which each is applied. WOW!


Having always been a realist insofar as photography is concerned, I can see I may find an artistic leaning with this program, as well as FUN~ FUN~FUN!


Effect 3- subcategory of 
some effect called zoom
Nothing could be better for a NitWit......

Oh yes! I have an inexpensive light box with LED daylight balanced lights ordered.  Imagine the fun I anticipate with this, especially in the winter.

I could have built a light box. At this point in my life I don't need to be worried with details. Building is easy to do insofar as the box is concerned. Building a lightbox in a la DIY mode allows for sizes not found in commercial offerings: usually 1"x1", 16"x16" (most common), 24"x24", i.e., basically square. The larger the box, the more it costs.

Effect 4
Buying daylight balanced lights is tad harder and the expense part of a project. But it is possible and the newer energy saving (curly cue ones) are even available balanced for daylight.


Back to my Play Today~~~Which photo effects do you like best?

[Besides SOOC, I like #4. The texture reminds of  palette knife oil painting. If I had applied a slight blur to it, I would really have a piece of amateur art.]

Thursday, May 20, 2010

REST IN PEACE

Our little town's Mayor has succumbed to his personal battle with the BIC C, cancer, his second bout.

He was a tireless community worker in public service before his successful bid for Mayor.

Previously he served as alderman, and some tenure as public works supervisor and director.

The fire department auxiliary and a community theater have been his specific contributions. We have an excellent insurance rating because of his tireless efforts to upgrade a volunteer fire and rescue department. The theater is a unit of the fire auxiliary after it was rescued from failed ownership; an individual bought and donated the building to the city who gave it to the fire auxiliary. 

What is not widely known is his humanitarian efforts for down-and-out persons he met and helped without judgement.

I will remember his tireless volunteerism in his chosen place of retirement, above and beyond his shortened tenure as mayor. He was preceded in death by his wife, just 18 months ago.

Rest In Peace, Ron.

[Because of this crisis, my attention is focused on municipal matters, not blogging, a temporary  absence. I invite you to read my previous post, A Can of Sardines, if you have not done so. I also invite you to visit the posts on my blog list and friends/followers.]

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Can of Sardines

How did a smelly, oily tin of tiny fish, called sardines or pilchards, and a relative of herring, became the central theme of an Aberdeen (NC) annual international festival?---largely because of the idea of one man.


My husband's (H) sister (one of my 3 sister-in-laws) [SIL] married a man named Randall. As best I can remember, I met Randall the sum total of three times in their 18 years (I think) of marriage.


The first time I met Randall, SIL and I were wrapped up in Weight Watchers program, along with one of Randall's daughters. Our conversation about meals was totally engulfed with points, ad nauseum to Randall and H. At one point Randall suggested we put our unused "points" up for auction on eBay. It became the informal humorous idiom of our visit when SIL or I mentioned "points;" his gentle wit was endearing.


Hmm....I wonder if eBay and Weight Watchers would allow selling of unused points? The incentive might provoke more weight loss....but I digress.


Randall and SIL had been married a few years before we made our first visit to NC to meet him. Not knowing what to expect, we were apprehensive. He set us both at ease, almost the moment we set foot in their lovely home, which he built.


Distance between Arkansas and North Carolina, as well as the advancing march of years on us all, prevented many visits, between us.


March 25th Randall departed this earth to be with His Savior and Maker. He is one of very few persons (my Dad being one also)  I personally know, who did not fear death and professed he was "ready." [photo in above obituary link as well as more details than I provide in this post]


It did not take many visits to realize Randall was a man comfortable in his own skin--a kind, generous, humanitarian, even-tempered man with wit and understated humor,--a man who overcame and conquered his own weaknesses to become a stalwart example for others afflicted with similar weaknesses.


Besides serving in the Army in the Philippines during WW II, Randall was a building contractor until retirement. He served as a deacon in his chosen faith. He had a very large vegetable garden, sharing his produce with many friends, neighbors and needy persons.


Like many retirees, he and a group of friends met at a local spot for coffee weekday mornings, his spot of choice - Bojangles. Randall served as chairman and referee for the diverse group whose discussion ran the gamut of coffee shop topics including politics, the daily obituaries, etc. Randall subscribed to newspapers that marked the military obituaries with an American flag. It was his contribution to the daily banter to report the number of "flags" in the morning daily newspaper's obituaries. Now he has his own flag....


If there is a single sentence of my personal impression of Randall it would be this: a man who made a difference every day wherever he was, as opposed to the wider emphasis on one day per year.


The Brainchild of the CEO an Editor of USA Weekend Magazine in 1992 Make A Difference Day became symbolic of activist volunteerism. The initial concept was to set aside a day to do something nice for your neighbor. But why one day a year? Randall simply served others every day in any way wherever he found himself.


One of his activities after retirement was helping his daughter (D) in her business for a few hours several days/week. During lunch hour, he had a propensity for sardines and saltines which is the crux of this post.


The malodorous drift of a seaside open fish market was not the  preferred air freshener in a place of business, especially when the owner could not tolerate the odor! She suggested he eat lunch across the street in a park by Aberdeen Lake. Soon his friends joined him.


The simple act of partaking lunch, the menu of which was sardines, RC Colas, saltine crackers and Moon pies, evolved into a festival in the self-same park, named the International Sardine Festival, held on a Friday in October. The event has grown to include crowning a Sardine Queen on the back end of Randall's pickup truck.



One of my shirts in my favorite color!
Food is free but donations are encouraged. Caps and tee shirts with the Sardine Festival logo were sold.


October 2009 was the 17th year of the event which has grown from a small group of sardine/RC Cola/Moon Pie lovers to over 1000 attendees.


Shirts available in  multiple colors
and sizes. Caps with adjustable
band available in multiple colors.
As the festival grew, the donations and revenue from sales also increased to where significant donations were given to various worthy causes, usually related to youth.


Remember my earlier mention of the Bojangles crowd? They were the Sardine Festival Committee! How many committees do you know that meet nearly every day?


Randall was the Sardine Festival, according to many friends. Two years ago he relinquished the reins, but still attended the Festival, as guest celebrity.


In December Aberdeen proclaimed Dec. 12, 2009, Randall L. Moss Day for his humanitarian services. He was honored as Grand Marshal of the annual Christmas Parade.


Please click on the links I have provided, as I cannot tell this tale as well as those who have actually planned and attended it.


Remember the tee shirts and caps? I have several which I routinely wear in every casual setting. Inevitably, people read the  shirt's logo and ask: "Where in the world is there a Sardine Festival?" Being the lover of tall tales myself, I love to regale the story, probably with embellishments (after all I am a Texan), as I have not had the privilege to attend a single event.


Besides humor Randall loved pranks, both of his own making, and others who turned the tables on him. His brother and wife live next Randall. Both brothers had considerable gardening skills. The brother was more of a landscape type; Randall loved a huge vegetable garden. 


An Aberdeen group once awarded the brother an award for his efforts; I've forgotten the exact title or the group making the decisions. The brother was not at home at the time the sign was posted in his yard. Randall moved the plaque over to his yard. I am not sure how the brother became aware it was his award.


Later, Randall rightfully was awarded his own award for the awesome vegetable garden, in which his brother also shared some labor. The abundance was shared with many people.


Before his death from cancer in March he had lost his hearing and any useful sight, was diabetic and had other aging complications, all of which he endured without complaining. Now he, and those who believe in the Christian Life after death, has been made perfect and lives with his Savior. 


In true Sardine Festival tradition, I am told, Randall was buried with a supply of Sardines and RC Cola--don't know about Moon Pies. And after final rites at the cemetery there was a courtesy table of--you guessed it -- Sardines, RC Colas and Moon Pies--for the mourners.


A most remarkable man--everyone he met considered him a friend--an unassuming, humble man who made a memorable difference every day in every way, where he chose to live--a exemplary life for anyone, regardless of beliefs.


-------------------------------------

Addendum  to previous post, Bugs! Bugs! and More Bugs , I finally settled on Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 3-User purchased at Amazon.com . It was difficult to choose as I read a 2010 review of the top 10 antivirus programs and suites. Price was not a consideration.


I am approaching this problem with a more open view that no program promises or delivers 100 per cent protection. However, I am simply hoping for less problems in the area of installing and un-installing I have encountered by other name brand programs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Bugs! Bugs! and More Bugs

Spider (ClickArt)
Despite hiring an immaculate housekeeper, and, believe me, she is, the Advent of Spring has invaded the house with an assortment of critters, including a "granddaddy long legs" spider which fell on me while in my recliner, some things that look like ants in a bathroom, and maybe a flea.

Ant {ClickArt)
Today is Call the Terminator, oops! Exterminator Day.
[Don't gross out over the artwork. I was contemplating a piece of clipart which was a green paper cup filled with cockroaches, some which were crawling around the rim.]

However, I found more bugs of the digital type, when my husband [H] began to complain about his cranky computer which is not very old and further has very little on it like personal files. I occasionally glanced at his computer when I passed by and noticed it seemed sluggish. But since we purchased his computer, I had replaced a laptop with a whiz-bang speedster as a reward for my 25 lb loss, I figured I just was comparatively thinking.

However, I began to notice he rebooted frequently and in the worst way, what we techies call a hard boot-the off/on button. Then one day I noticed he rebooted and moved his cursor around to get his icons to appear and it ran like molasses in the winter. Still he said nothing until he no longer could assess the Internet. Then he called for his in-home tech support, me.

Computer Doc (ClickArt)
Late one night when he went to bed (9:30 p.m.) I sat down to find, as I suspected, viruses or the more common "Trojan horse or worm." [THW]

We both use AVG Home Free and have keep viral definitions current. For 10 years I've few infections on numerous computers. I checked H's AVG Virus Vault which contained one item, a THW. This usually means the computer is safe until you make a decision to clear the vault or delete it as AVG could not "heal" it.

Considering its behavior, I decided there must be more than one dastardly resident among all those hieroglyphics.

First I tried to run a free virus scan on one of the major anti-virus sites. Oops. forgot he could not access the Internet!!! One of those senior moments!

I began a search for cure of the one virus named in the Virus Vault. In the process on of my reliable sites for information is cnet.com . This site, its user forum and its associate site, download.com, have never ceased to be a source of good information.  However, this time I landed on a Yahoo site and used its instructions to remove the naughty little bugs.

A search on my computer came up with suggestions from the virus forum to use FOUR separate programs to clean up the computer, some of which had to completed in safe mode with System Restore turned off.

I faithfully downloaded the 4 programs and printed the step-by-step instructions from my computer (remember his could not access Internet or e-mail).  If I carefully follow step-by-step instructions, I usually stay out of trouble. I have a routine where I read each step several times before actually performing its instruction.

Usually a short scan, sometimes described as a "system" scan, is sufficient to catch most bugs. However, I had no idea what I might encounter, so I decided to have each program scan the entire computer's system and installed software programs, downloads, hard drive and system and video memory.

I soon found this was a 30 minute scan on a computer with relatively few programs or personal files. But I am a stubborn person. I decided to endure this boredom to be thorough. Since the programs indicated that I could continue to use the computer, I accumulated 20-30 wins of Free Cell over the course of the 5-hour night which I renamed  Five Hours of Darkness and Pain..

Each program found additional THWs, no true viruses. Most of these THWs were what I call tracking. I would not call them harmless, however, as they report to someone your habits and activities and possibly try to steal personal information. The replicating type (steal your address book and send it to others) is less popular among the criminal element now, as the ones that can give bank accounts, credit card info.

Three of the 7 THWs on H's computer were the backdoor stealing information type.

Please note, one program did not find all of the THWs; it took four.  AVG had found 1. MalWareByte found 1; Norman Malware found 3; Super Anti-Spyware found 1, FakeAlert Removal tool-1.

I will provide links to these programs. I installed MalWareByte and Norman Malware to run at regular intervals.

At 2:30 a.m. H's computer was up and whizzing along speedily, accessing the Internet.....and I was temporarily sick of Free Cell!

But that is not the end of the story. Even though my newest laptop was running great, I decided to run the programs on mine. Guess what I had 7 THWs, too, and none the same as H's. (We are on the same wireless network.) These scans ran as long as 3.5 hours; I have lots of programs and personal files!

Five files on my computer were in compressed (zipped) very old programs in a Downloads folder; I downloaded and transferred these files through about 5 desktops and laptops but never unpacked and installed, hence not active. The remaining two files are Hewlett Packard, update of which they will be notified.

Now there is a possibility some were "false alerts." But I take no chances. The Delete/Empty Wastebasket immediately technique is my mode operand of choice.

Now I am considering whether I should choose and pay for one of the major AntiVirus programs or suites. AVG Home Free has never failed me in this fashion for 8 years. They do have a paid version with much better rates than the two major programs. Then......do you get what you pay for???

The two major anti-virus programs gave me major installation headaches when I worked for a small computer upstart, building and installing operation systems.

Here are the four removal programs as recommended by CNET and their web sites:The programs suggested to be run in this order were:
1. Malwarebyte's Anti-Malware
2. Fake AntiVirus
3. Super Anti-Spyware
4. Norman Malware Cleaner

Here is the final link I used to establish procedures:
http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100422095857AAGTw1u

I don't guarantee either computer is completely clean, as evidenced by my comments, nor than even 4 programs did the job.

I caution myself and others no one program is fool proof; any of these removal tools can report false positives. In fact Hewlett Packard reported back to me saying in so many words this appears to be the case of the files I reported to them. Too bad! I deleted them anyway.

I am researching paid anti-viral and malware protection programs. One of the top rated programs, Bit Defender,  allows protection for 3 computers from one purchase at a decent price. Haven't' checked cost of definition updates yet.  Although not entirely convinced this one is leading the line in my mind, to date.

[ClickArt is a modestly priced program of 950,000 various art including photos, most of which are free of copyrights. In order to be sure I comply with the few which may be copyrighted, I intend to attribute the program ClickArt every time I use anything. To have art ready sometimes is the difference between posting or not.  I've used ClickArt software in earlier versions for 15 years. i bought this version in Staples, Southern Pines, SC.  A newer version is available.]

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Nitwit Idiotic Crick in the Neck Video

Here is the Idiotic Crick in the Neck Video referenced in an earlier post,  What Am I Doing?

As mentioned in the earlier post I took the movie with my Canon Point and Shoot Camera, using the portrait orientation. I found no way to rotate the frames in the manner I can rotate a still photo.

To complicate matters more, I had to convert the *.mvi camera format to a compatible Blogger format [*.mpg4] which required downloading a trial converter software version. You will see a red watermark of the software developer as the video plays.

So find the horse liniment for the crick in the neck and watch this idiotic movie, for fun or simply skip over this post to a more sensible blog!

video
Room of Yard Sale Junk,
Supplies for Volunteer
Spay and Neuter Clinic

Now wasn't that movie a nominee for Oscar??? Please send your nominating submissions to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences!

More seriously, I will try to do better in my next attempt. Surely I can find a way to hold the camera in landscape format.

Some photographic workshops I've attended noted photographers tend to prefer either the portrait or the landscape format which reflects the way their eye composes. Mine has always been portrait; it is such a strong preference, I hold the camera that way almost automatically.

Thanks, for tolerating my perverse humor. Perhaps my next post will return to sanity.

Thanks

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Treasures in Junk


1, Rocker
While in NC we were invited to lunch with a long-time best friend (BF) of my husband (H).

When we arrived he and a friend had a large yard sale in progress. The assortment of items elicited the quip often defining the mushrooming growth phenom of yard/deck/attic/rummage/garage sales in my lifetime: 'one man's junk/trash is another man's treasure,' author of which is unknown, or lost in antiquity.
2. Rocker, Yard Sale
 view

I sat in the shade of the open garage, people-watching. Several loads of people came and went.

3. Overview - Yard Sale
One lady com-mented she bought hidden "antiques" to resale herself. Without a second look she passed a pedestal Carnival glass candy dish [maybe a copy or retro] and a GlasBake covered casserole bowl in Chrome holding stand, both were at approximately 50 years old.

4. "Hog," Scooter, in Yard Sale
There was a fine collection of knives in mint condition which were advertising, or small tokens given by salesmen as rewards for orders or patronage, provided by a well-known tool company. The knives had become what is known as collectibles.

5. Adult Tricycle NOT For Sale
BF was cooking chicken and rice for us, a favorite of H, next to a concoction known as Chicken Purleau, both similar in ingredients. The aroma wafted  and teased my nasal appetite sensors into the garage.  Several patrons of the yard sale commented about the nose tickling aroma drifting through the garage, lingering under the tent, rising upward over lawn where the garage sale was located, and finally permeatingthe air of the entire block.

6. Dog,Pup Watch Yard
Sale From Car
I have been labeled unAmerican because I do not routinely make garage sales in search of bargains. In fact, I have little  interest in this uniquely American phenomenon.

7. GlasBake Casserole in Stand
At some point BF drifted by me and said H and I could have any items we wanted, free gratis. After repeating the offer to both H and me, I wandered out and looked around. Naturally, I retrieved the casserole in stand and candy dish. H picked out a pocket knife. It seems like there were a couple of other small items, but these were the highlights.

8. Filagee Cut-Out Design
The casserole dish appeared to be a prototype of Pyrex; The stand was corroded with a white, crusty powder. I planned to clean it ASAP. I love the filigree cut-out design. The casserole dish does not fit evenly in the stand. The stand may need some re-shaping.

9. Foot Carnival Candy Dish
The chrome metal casserole dish stand cleaned up wonderfully with a product named Simichrome which polishes nearly every kind of metal. Although it is not recommended for a few things, I have never been disappointed. It is available at Amazon.com
10. Upside down
footed Carnival
Candy Dish con-
verted to Nut Dish
The Carnival Glass footed candy dish was in mint condition. I discovered the footed candy dish might be inverted for a smaller nut dish in the footed portion. Only a NitWit would think of that.

A number of you are avid garage/yard/deck/attic/rummage or any other name sale. Carol of The Writers Front Porch regularly finds great treasures What treasures have you found?

PHOTOs:
Nitwit: 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
 [gotta get or build a light box for items like the glass and chrome to cut glare and unwanted reflections!]
Husband: 2, 3, 4, 5

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

What Am I Doing?

Since returning from NC, I have been playing catch-up or something akin to that with my time.

1. This is the first year I felt my allergies could stand creating my own hanging baskets -14 to be exact- and a few pots sitting around the front yard. Yea! for allergy shots that work and an occasional Benadryl on top of a new pricey Rx called Xyzol- a non-drowsy 24-hr. antihistamine.

Upon return the Marigolds were in full array at nurseries and big box stores. Since deer shun Marigolds it was my primary purchase plus some Alyssum and Moss Rose to fill in around the Marigolds.

I finished this project today.


2. Another project was to add some solar lighting, and repair or replace malfunctioning units from last year. This project is ongoing at the moment. I found some great orbit shaped solar lights which rotate colors. My photographic spirit is entranced with light so these mesmerizing spheres were a "have to" purchase. I also purchased some lights for each side of the driveway.  When completed, I'll  try to get some photos, of course.

3. The third project is boring. My housekeeper and I plan a garage sale, hopefully, Memorial Day.

One room in my house is filled with items destined for garage sale, and later some charities, or the dump. Complicating the sorting and pricing, is the fact I allowed the housekeeper to store items for her pet project, a Spay and Neuter program scheduled the end of May

This room looks like the popular TLC series, HOARDERS. 

These projects are in addition to our usual daily schedule.

And Luckie supervises!

I have several unfinished blogs written and add or review them in between errands and duties.


Before July I have HOPE our humble steps will be aglow With Marigolds, Moss Rose and Allysum in blue Maxwell Coffee cans! [Later I will photo the hanging baskets.]

But the highlight of the week is a Hybrid Iris blooming . I had forgotten I had planted a small assortment of hybrid Iris, but after a few years there were no blooms. Ah! but this week... a hor d'oeuvre.

I ordered a text book for Adobe PhotoShop Elements. This little jewel of a shot will be given the PhotoShop treatment as I learn.

PHOTOS: [all by NitWit1, some Straight Out OCamera]
1. Potting items
2. Marigold SOOC
3. Moss Rose and Marigold SOOC
4. Allyssum SOOC
5. Garage Sale Room -1
6. Garage Sale room -2
7. Luckie SOOC
8. Blue Coffee Cans SOOC
9. Hybrid Iris

MOVIE: to show you I am completely discombobulated, I decided to take a movie clip with my Canon Point and Shoot, in the portrait orientation.  HA! HA! -  no way to rotate it that I have found. So I'm posting it anyway.

First movie I've ever attempted with a "still" camera. These gadgets get smarter every day, but the operator sometimes goes the opposite direction.

Don't get a crick in the neck trying to watch it--just consider the weird sense of humor of the photographer.

OOPS! My new composing window has NO movie icon . I wish Blogger would rid itself of buggy programming. In Blogger Help  several people have complained of same deficiency.

Apologies! You will have to wait for the crick in the neck.

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Carpenters

They build their homes all day, during warm daylight hours, maybe at night--I am not sure. But in daylight, I observe their industriousness. Their devotion to duty remind me of ants. Their professional weapons of choice are mandible drills.

Yet these tireless hummers are a different insect species, commonly called Carpenter Bees. For a quick description of these wood-drilling, borer bees trot over to the link.

Largely non-aggressive insofar as stinging, the Carpenters mainly bore holes in wood structures for nests, and of course, their activity is more evident in the spring.

Our first encounter with them was in April at husband's (H) sister-in-law's (SIL) home, the exterior of which is cedar, a soft wood. The carpenters don't have to work as hard with soft wood, smart or lazy--I'm not sure. Maybe it is the BIG BAD WOLF syndrome, "better to eat (bore) you with."

The lovely home was surrounded by huge azalea bushes in many colors, dogwoods and a variety of spring growth, multiple pollen sources. This Spring initiated the heaviest pine (and total pollen) spring in several years, according to local news reports. See blog post, Golden Smog.

Considered a nuisance, rather than a threat, the airborne bees cause major superficial damage to structures, usually without compromising the structure itself, as opposed to termites, a subterranean pest, whose damage is disasterous before discovery.
To amuse himself, (H) decided to plug the holes with spackle compound or caulk. Seemingly in open revolution, or spite, the persistent bees immediately bore holes next to the plugged hole, in less time that it took H to eat a sandwich.

After talking to SIL's in-law neighbors, he opened combat on the population by swatting at the buzz-bombers with a leaf rake. The fallen comrades were crunched by H's shoe. However, I did not see a dent in the population swarming around the house.
Most of the exterior walls of the house are permanently marred and scarred by this hefty sized bug-eyed bee.

Upon return home we discovered carpenter bees have visited and left their trademark at my best friend's home in past years.

Extermination is an option by professionals. One solution is to paint or finish the wood with an impermeable surface, and keep the finish in good repair. This may be the most expensive option but the bees won't hang around, looking for a convenient season to build their home in yours!

PHOTOS: (# from the top)
1. Carpenter Bee in flight- how about that shadow? [Nitwit1]
2. Carpenter Bee mandible work: perfectly circular bore [NitWit1]
3. Bottoms Up Carpenter Bee, with castings- sawdust [Husband]
4. Bug-Eyed Carpenter Bee, Wikipedia link reference in text
5. Carpenter Bee more examples of mandible work [NitWit1]