Some people shouldn't be allowed near photo editors...

There is a photo blog I follow - guy is just your everyday person with a phone (and occasionally a real camera) who lives somewhere in California on some kind of small farm. He often posts 2 or 3 photos a day, mostly around the farm and he uses Snapseed as an editor. Okay, I have Snapseed, I don't use it much any more because I have better editing programs (iPiccy).  This guy edits his photos the same way all the time - intensifies the colors, sharpens, crops - to the point where all his photos look the same and there is no point to them, they don't say anything other than "Oh, look I have a photo editing app (and I'm not afraid to use it)"

Now of course I cannot comment on his blog about this because - hey, it's how he likes his photos to look. But oh I am so tempted because there have been photos that would have been better served by less editing; views that kinda grabbed me except for all the over-editing.

I take photos because I like the way something looks. I have no agenda, there is no point to my photos, artistically or otherwise. I'm not saying anything except "This caught my eye". But ¡Damn, do I love editing¡ I can play for hours with the most mundane of photos. Sometimes for my amusement I post them, most of the times I don't even save the edited photos because, I'm just playing and learning actually.

At any rate, I bought myself some flowers last week and took something like 35 photos. Some were just straight up shots, some where taken with effects my camera has built in. My favorite is called 'photo illustration' and I show some of those later. Right now I am going to show you a before and after pair...

Before editing, shot pretty much on auto with the flash turned off -

And then I went to town editing it...

And yes, if for some strange reason you want to see the photos full size, just click on 'em.


What do critics know?

The other night we watched the movie "Life Itself". I won't put a link to the movie, or a synopsis because that would spoil it. I will tell you that Rolling Stone Magazine dubbed it the 'worst movie of 2018'. Rotten Tomatoes gave it one star. IMDB rates it 6.6 out of 10 but that is based on actual, real people ratings. Somewhere else, the real people rating came in at 93% positive (Google users).

So who is right? Everybody is. My husband is in love with this movie. I like it. It's a nice movie. But mostly I am in love with a song that is basically another character in the movie and, get ready for this, the song was written by Bob Dylan. If you know anything about me, you know I am NOT a Bob Dylan fan. Up until 2 days ago there was only one Bob Dylan song I liked (She Belongs to Me).  Now there are two Bob Dylan songs I like, or in the case of this one, I love - sweet, sentimental, mawkish even (much like the movie) - but I love it -


My ineptitude is amusing

except when it is frustrating.

I've often stated that I have no domestic skills (or artistic ones, for that matter). Since Wednesday afternoon I've been fighting with curtains (again!). Taking out seams, then re-hemming, lace curtains. Lace! By hand! I need a needle threader to thread the needle threader.

Four 60" wide lace panels and to be deconstructed then re-constructed - by hand. I worked on them for about 3 hours on Wednesday and then another 3 hours today, then washed them along with the existing curtains; then washed the windows, then put them back up.

While I was contemplating this chore, having done it once already, I thought I should just buy a small sewing machine and then I remembered, I don't know how to operate one. I also remembered that the last time I had an encounter with a sewing machine I was stymied by the bobbins - didn't know how to make one (does one 'make' a bobbin? All I know is it is a little round thing with thread that goes somewhere underneath where the needle goes in and out.)

It's not that I wasn't taught how to sew, knit, crochet, it's that a.) I wasn't good at it and b.) I had no interest in it. I have little patience for repetitive tasks. And I just wasn't interested. Twice I was forced to complete a sewing project - back in the day they actually made you learn to sew and cook in grammar school. Cooking class was okay, if stupid because by the time we had cooking classes in 8th grade I had been cooking for a family of 5 for several years. I nearly barfed when we made English muffin pizzas (anyone old enough to remember those?) I gave the cooking teacher grief over that you can be sure.

I used to know all about gardening too, can you believe that? I knew which plants required which kind of fertilizer, when each different plant/shrub had to be pruned and all that happy horse manure (and yes, horse manure is basically for lawns, not flowers.) I wasn't really interested in gardening, it was one of my chores during my time as an indentured servant.

Technically I know how to do all these things, home repairs too - but actually doing them - Ahhh - not so much.

While I hate cooking, I'm not bad at it, as long as I keep it simple. Like tonight - we are having a salad with grilled chicken. Salad part is Bibb lettuce, fresh mozzarella, tomato, green olives, kalamata olives, and stuffed grape leaves. The chicken has been marinating in olive oil, white wine, balsamic vinegar, chili lime powder, garlic powder and 21 seasoning salute (it's a Trader Joe's spice mixture). I'm thinking that is going to be some speecy-spicy chicken.

I can bake - but I keep that simple too - tho I tweaked all the classic recipes so they are just a little bit different.

I've spent the last two days being all domestic - totally inept, but I got it done, half-ass and badly, but done!


New Toys

I've never been a good typist, pretty crap at it actually. Thankfully no one ever hired me for my manual dexterity. Part of the reason I've never mastered typing is because the fingers on my right are wonky. Here is a photo of my hands relaxed, at rest -

Notice anything odd about my right hand? Like the pinky finger sticking out to the side? It's always like that and yes, it hurts - not a lot, just the sort of achiness you would experience from holding a body part stiffly for a long time.

I can, with some effort, bring it in close to my ring finger but it's hard to do and I have to really concentrate and it won't stay put.

I've always wanted to try a Dvorak keyboard with the thought that it would lessen the strain on my hands - that pinky is useless for typing and just sticks up in the air like I'm all hoity-toity drinking tea.

Those Dvorak keyboards are pricy but I found an inexpensive solution - a keyboard cover! I'm typing on the Dvorak now and it's a little weird but some letter combinations are super easy to type but mostly it's a crap shoot. It doesn't help that I am using an Apple ultra thin with number pad, I really like bigger keyboards for my big hands.

This  is taking me just a little longer than forever to type. I never learned to type properly on a QWERTY keyboard so you'd think this would be easy to pick up. You would be wrong! Still, what the heck, something new to learn.

(If you need/want a specialized keyboard, check out a special cover instead.)

***Image of a Dvorak keyboard layout -


8:30am (Maybe I should take up soccer)

It's Sunday morning, it's not all that warm (yet) but oh so super sticky. I hate air conditioning because it gives me the most awful headache, and with closed windows I feel like I can't breathe. Despite having lived in the Caribbean (through no choice of my own) I simply don't understand why people would willingly submit themselves to this torture of heat, humidity and air conditioning for the major part of the year.

I have often spoken about my husband's dedication to routine. He denies it but any deviation from his self-constructed, strict routine makes him irritable and grumpy. You have no idea the negative impact this has on my life, no idea. He doesn't mind being one of the living dead, me- I am constantly aware that I am just sitting here waiting to die.  Our lives are defined by his schedule of naps and lunch and his resistance to anything that even remotely resembles movement.

For years (and years) we always did the major housework on Sundays - Sunday morning to be exact. I can make sense of this when we both worked the usual Monday-Friday, 9-5 but since retiring (yes, he works, part-time, from home) it doesn't matter what day we do anything.  My husband's contribution to the housekeeping is a major vacuuming once a week - wherein he moves most of the furniture and spends and hour and a half vacuuming a 1116 square foot apartment. That's pretty much it. He does feed the cats and he will empty and wash the litter box once a week (he never scoops). Every other day he will take out the trash (there's just the two us, we don't make much trash) which means he walks 15 steps to the end of the hall, turns left, walks another 15 steps to the trash room. And even with that little effort I have to remind him to do it. I could easily do it myself, and sometimes I do, but seriously that is all the exercise he gets! Oh, and twice a week he carries the laundry to the laundry room, just to, I haul it back. The laundry room is 15 steps to the end of the hall, a left turn, and then 10 steps.

My husband's day is - coffee, feed cats, work, breakfast, shower, nap, work, lunch, nap. Which leaves his afternoons free. He usually reads and occasionally watches television (with headphones).  Somehow, out of boredom, he started watching soccer. Pro, amateur, whatever was playing on whatever sports channels we have.

Then along came the women's world cup. Hoo-boy - is he ever dedicated to this. I mean like dedicated. So here's the thing - the final of the women's world cup is today, Sunday, at 11am. What to do, what to do? Sunday, 11am, he's usually vacuuming.  Oh No!

His answer to this world shattering problem? CHANGE HIS INVIOLABLE SCHEDULE.

Yup, yesterday, Saturday, we did the major housework so this morning would be free for him to watch soccer.

If I dare suggest a change to his schedule, he pulls faces, whines a bit and if his schedule MUST be adapted, even if it is just for that one time, well, harumph, sigh, he goes along - but just this once, please, thank you very much.

For me, groans and grumps. For the Women's World Cup Soccer finals - No problemo!

Maybe I should take up soccer.


Frankie and her odd relationship with water

Miss Lulubelle has always had an odd relationship with water. She likes it but in her own weird way.

In the morning after my husband fills the coffee pot and replenishes the water bottles he refills the Brita water dispenser and Frankie gets her morning water from the Brita dispenser - meaning she drinks from it directly as the water flows through.

During the day if she is thirsty she will park herself in front of the sink and complain, at which point one of us will fill a glass cup with water and put it on the floor,  she will first lap up any water that has dripped on the floor and then drink from the cup.

And then there is the bathroom. When she was able to jump into the tub, in her younger days, she'd make a beeline for the bathroom as soon as anyone had finished their shower to lap up water drops from the shower curtain. Or if someone had used the coffin shower in the hall bath - bingo - you was there.

Since we got rid of the tub and put in the new, big walk-in shower she has been in Frankie bathroom heaven. Except that she knows she is forbidden from going in there. It is so funny to watch her wait, as unobtrusively as possible, in the hall until we get out of the shower and then she slowly meanders down the hall, towards the shower room. If I catch her before she gets there and tell her 'No', she does an immediate 180 and wanders nonchalantly into the bedroom. You can almost hear her saying, "What? I wasn't going into the shower just headed for a little nap on the bed"

It's always been difficult to catch her slow meander down the hall, but yesterday I did manage to get her as she almost into the shower...(There is sound, me telling her 'No")



Deadly quiet out there which is a nice change for a Thursday morning. I was up at 8am,  which seems a late start to the day but I didn't get to sleep till around 4am - the ole brain would not shut off last night, finally exhaustion set in.

Holidays mean nothing to me except for the inconvenience - I have 'stuff' on order and in transit and a holiday in the middle of the week messes with their timely delivery. Nothing important, mind you, but still what was supposed to be here yesterday won't get here till Friday or Saturday and what was supposed to be here Friday won't get here till Monday, if I'm lucky.  So poo to all this mid-week holiday crap. Plus we had to do our weekly shopping trip on Wednesday instead of today and therefore missed out on our senior discount. Hey, 5% off our grocery bill is a big deal especially when my husband was stocking up on his pricey beverages ie: coffee and soda. I drink very little coffee and no soda but they were 'on offer' (as the Brits say) this week so it would have been foolish not to get the stuff while we could.

Ordered some new curtains from JC Penney over the weekend, on Monday I received a notice that they had shipped  and then last night I received a notice that the order was cancelled because they were out of stock - WTH? Didn't they know that when I ordered? How can they tell me my order shipped when they never had the items on hand to ship. Come to think of it now, this happened the last time I ordered from JC Penney. Note to self: Don't order from them anymore. No wonder they are going out of business.