I have a lot to learn when it comes to editing photos. For the longest time I just used HP Photosmart to do any editing and my "editing" pretty much only consisted of cropping, converting to black & white, increasing the contrast and perhaps changing the hue and saturation. The thing I like the best about Photosmart is that it shows you all your options before you do anything to it. The only problem is that you're limited to how much you can do.
At Christmas, I bought Photoshop Elements 8. There is so much you can do with this program. This is good and bad. Good because of all the choices. Bad because I'm overwhelmed with all the choices and don't know where to start. Nor do I have a lot of time to figure these things out, so my learning the program is occurring very slowly.
I just recently discovered the Lighting options. So, without further ado, here is my entry into this week's theme of Dramatic Black & White over at I Heart Faces. I think it feels very "moody" this way.
P.S. Sorry about the crazy comment thing duplicating itself 3 times. I have no idea what's going on with it. I tried changing my background the other day and it deleted DISQUS and then when I changed it back to the old background it did this new thing. I'll fix it when I get some time to figure out what's wrong with it.
What a busy week! I'd show you my To Do list but "You can't HANDLE the TRUTH!" (name that movie)
But it's been a wonderful week.
Last weekend I thought I was taking some time off to recuperate and rest from all the Busy that I had all ready been dealing with. As it turns out,...I needed last weekend off just to recharge so I would have enough energy for this past week.
I won't bore you with all the details. Only Big Mama can make things like yard sales and projects for preschool art teachers and laundry into something entertaining.
Here's a snapshot (or two or three) of my Saturday instead.
I know what you're thinking: "You were gone? Who knew?!"
Anyhow, I needed a day two days off. Shoot! Who am I kidding? I could really use like a whole week off. But, alas, two days were all I could take this time around.
I didn't feel that way around 3:00 Saturday afternoon, even though I'd only been gone for five hours; missing the kids and Brian and feeling a little bit lost and lonely. I felt like Spongebob did in the episode where he chooses to live "free" with the jellyfish and leaves all his familiar surroundings of the Krusty Krab and his pineapple home and friends. (See how badly I needed the time off? When Spongebob becomes your point of reference things have gotten bad.) I even thought about calling it quits, cancelling my hotel reservation and going home but I made myself press on. I was determined not to cheat myself of peace and quiet. Desperately needed Peace and Quiet.
Cameron and Parker asked me last night, as I was tucking them into bed and administering good-night kisses, "Why did you go away?" I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying, "YOU! You all make me crazy sometimes! There's only so much one woman can take!" Because I think I've said things eerily similar to this to them before. And it isn't nice to say. Even if you kind of mean it. Especially if you kind of mean it.
After all, this is what I chose for myself. God put the desire in my heart to be a mom, to be a mom of 4 children, to be a stay-at-home mom to 4 children. I chose laundry and cleaning house and Nick Jr. and peepee on the floor and squashed-up stepped-on cheese in the carpet. But when this is all you do all day every day...and you don't get paid for it...then it all just starts to look and feel like work. A lot of work. And everyone needs time off from work.
So, I went shopping! Don't you love retail therapy? I went to Target and bought a cute Liberty of London bag and a dress for Easter and to Old Navy and bought a new pair of shorts, a shirt, a sweater on clearance and two pairs of flip-flops for $2.50 each. Browsed through several shoe stores, Barnes & Noble and bought some scrapbook paper at Archiver's.
Then I went to see Tim Burton's twisted version of Alice in Wonderland. I was the only one there. Until I was joined by one gal by herself and a family of four. The movie was very good but definitely not one I would take a younger child to see. I left feeling empowered and emboldened.
Then I went to lunch at On the Border (my favorite!). And then went down to Buckhead to check in to The W. Wouldn't have had any trouble finding it if the directions had actually mentioned turning on to Stratford. : P What a gorgeous hotel! Only had a little trouble (along with everyone else) figuring out that you have to put your room key card in the slot in the elevator before it will acknowledge which floor you want to go to. Took pictures of the stunning, contemporary room.
I thought I would do some quilting the rest of the night but couldn't pick my head up off the pillow and ended up sort of watching the NCAA tourney.
Finally gave up trying to keep my eyes pried open and went to bed at 10:00. Woke up 10 hours later. Closed my eyes again and fell asleep for another hour and a half. Showered, dressed, checked out. Went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast/lunch. Gorged myself on biscuits and gravy, two eggs, hashbrown casserole, bacon, juice and coffee. Feeling very generous and rested and tipped the waitress $10 even though my bill only came to $11.10. Wandered around drooling at ALL. THE. LOVELY. THINGS at Garden Ridge and then ended up at the library and quilted and read a book for a couple hours. Giggled silently at the man who was so completely annoyed and glowering at two women who were talking quietly at a table nearby.
Came home. Got hugs and kisses!
And wishing I was more like Spongebob. He's the consummate optimist and thoroughly enjoys his mundane job. He approaches each new day with gusto. So maybe using him as my point of reference isn't such a bad thing after all.
This is one of the best pictures I've taken recently! But can I make it better? How? I would kind of like to boost the color or contrast but then it doesn't look at all natural. I only have Photoshop Elements. And I'm a tad frustrated with Elements 'cause it seems so hard to do even the simplest things. I need help!
Shutter Speed: 1/125
I edited it by adding a layer and applying Soft Light to it but then it doesn't look "soft". Hmmm...
Here are a couple edits that Susan Keller did to my picture! GORGEOUS!!! This is EXACTLY what I wanted! Looks like I need to get some "Action Sets" for Elements! Go to her site and look at what she did with a few others! She tells what she did to improve it in the comments.
1. On a scale of 1-10, how superstitious are you, honestly? I'm probably a 1.5.
2. Julius Caesar is quoted as saying, "I came, I saw, I conquered." Which circumstance or experience of yours does this saying best describe? Cleaning Landon and Anna's rooms the other day!
3. If I peeked in on your day like a mischievous little leprechaun, at what time would I most likely find you blogging? From 7:00 - 7:45 a.m. and then from 9:00 - 10:00a.m.
4. Re springing forward for Daylight Saving Time, is there anything you've ever been really early or really late for? The first thing that springs to mind (and I will only list one since there are so many) is we were really late to Brian's great-uncle's funeral. We had to wait until Brian was off for lunch and then drive over an hour away. We made it there in time to hear Taps being played. We love you, though, Uncle Jasper and we'll see you again!
5. What are you most looking forward to concerning Spring? Driving around with the windows rolled down!
6. Shamrocks are the national flower of Ireland and are picked on St. Patrick's Day and worn on the lapel or shoulder. Do you wear green on St. Patty's Day? Yes! I was just laughing this morning, when I dropped Anna off at preschool, about how EVERYONE had on green! Every little person and every teacher! I think it's very funny that we celebrate this day in this manner. And I wonder if Ireland knows how much we love them?
7. One of Caesar's assassins, Casca, said, "But, for my own part, it was Greek to me," which of course means he didn't understand something. Probably his own lines in the play. Anyway, what is something that is "Greek to you," something incomprehensible or indecipherable? Electricity, water, how a camera can "see" what you see and then remember it and store it and you can print it out!, that the continental plates shift and move, stars, languages that use symbols that are different from the ones I use (i.e. Arabic, Korean, Chinese, Japanese), the internet, how musicians can put notes and words together into something beautiful, ...I'm in awe every day.
8. Is March behaving more like a lion or a lamb where you live? Sweet little lamb
9. "An extra yawn one morning in the springtime, an extra snooze one night in the autumn is all that we ask in return for dazzling gifts. We borrow an hour one night in April; we pay it back with golden interest five months later." -Winston Churchill. If you had one extra hour per day every day, what would you do with it? Gee whiz, I'd probably waste it. I'm already given 24 and I waste most of those already.
10. Legend says that every Leprechaun has a pot of gold hidden deep in the Irish countryside. Aside from real gold or money, what material item would be in your dream pot of gold? A new wardrobe
11. "The best things are nearest: breath in your nostrils, light in your eyes, flowers at your feet, duties at your hand, the path of God just before you." Robert Louis Stevenson. Look around you right now and tell us about something essential or beautiful very near you that you take for granted every day. Plumbing
12. Just for a bit o' fun, click here (www.blogthings.com/irishnamegenerator/) and then report your Irish name. Mine is "Zoe O'Sullivan." I love it! Mine was Sinead Flannery
And, on that note, (and copying Joyce's idea) I'll end this post with the ethereal voice of Sinead O'Connor singing Sacrifice who was born in Glenageary Dublin. ; ) Wouldn't you love to be that beautiful bald?
The cat has found me again. She's clearly missing the laptop more than I am. Did I tell you I accidentally let the laptop slide off my lap onto the floor and that the fall broke the part of the power cord that you stick into the laptop and so now the whole thing won't work 'cause you kind of need power to run the thing and it has a battery life of approximately 33 seconds which is only long enough to walk with it from one room to another and quickly plug it in again before it goes to sleep?
Raise your hand if you think that's the longest run-on sentence ever written. Do you think I could get in the Guinness Book of World Records with that one?
Back to my point: The cat.
So, she's sitting here trying not to fall off my lap. Her enormous backside is barely hanging on. She used to be so comfortable hiding underneath the laptop and supported by the arm of the overstuffed chair. But now that I have to do all things computer-related up here in the office, while sitting in this office chair, my lap has disappeared. Well, it hasn't disappeared but it is too small to support a cat her size. Do you have any idea how happy that last sentence makes me?
While she sits here, though, it is hard not to pet her. But it's spring-time and petting her only adds to the gobs of hair floating in the air. I keep having to hold my coffee cup way up high so the cat hair doesn't float into my mug. I mean, really! I really don't want a mocha and caramel flavored hairball snack for breakfast. ACK!
And I have been at this desk, off and on, nearly all day. I tried filling out my bracket on espn.com but either my computer is malfunctioning or their site is INCREDIBLY SLOW because of all the ding dang traffic there today. It took me over an hour... AN HOUR!... just to make my first round picks because it kept freezing up and I would have to walk away from it or throw it out the window. I would go and do something else and come back and, occasionally, it would be ready for me to make another pick. Sometimes I would have to leave again and come back... AGAIN.
THEN! THEN!! The whole dad-blame thing shut down Firefox completely! AND when I got it back up?! Guess what was missing?!
ALL my first round picks!
Soooo,....(*taking deep cleansing breaths*).... I am thinking that this whole thing isn't worth it. Even IF I won the whole shebang, I'm believing that 10,000 dollars would not be adequate compensation for the amount of frustration I feel at this moment.
If you read my blog regularly then this picture isn't new to you but I knew I had to submit it into I Heart Faces this week when I saw that the theme was "Bundled Up". The temps were so low that day that the kids didn't stay outside for more than 10 minutes and I love how this picture captures how windy it was.
This picture makes me think of that episode of Mad About You where Paul was working on a project for Yoko Ono and she wanted him to capture the wind in the video but not to do it by showing the effects of the wind. Do you remember that one? So funny. I miss that show.
Just feel like sharing a photo today.Because I am entirely too pooped to do anything else. It took me all day to clean Landon's room, decide what was going in the "Sell", "Keep" and "Toss" piles, organize what was left over and then start cleaning Anna's room. All day.
I don't know that I have any specific memories related to music other than concerts I've attended. But when I hear certain songs or bands I tend to associate people I know with that music.
The Cure - My best friend in highschool Candice
Mercy Me - Kristy Dorminy (?? Not really sure why exactly ??)
Red Hot Chile Peppers - My brother Stephen
The song Take These Broken Wings by Mr. Mister - Sorry, Paul, I know it hasn't been your favorite since you were 10 years old but it's a hard habit to break.
Neil Diamond - My mom
Anything off Paul Simon's album Graceland - my dad, particularly during the time he lived in Jacksonville, Florida
The song More Than You'll Ever Know by Watermark - Juli and Heidi and Shana
And other songs might not have a specific memory attached but rather certain places attached to them.
Soul for Real's album Candy Rain - takes me back to 1996 when I first started dating Brian
The Cranberries' album everybody else is doing it, so why can't we? - Ski trip to North Carolina with my youth group
Wes King's song Thought You'd be Here - reminds me of when we were waiting to get pregnant with Cameron. I'd hear this song nearly every day on my way to class at Clayton State and I'd cry all my make up off.
Chet Baker, Maxwell and Anita Baker - all make me feel like I'm in downtown Atlanta on a date with Brian.
Ace of Base - 1994 Lynchburg, Virginia
The Black Crowes, Angie Aparo and The Village People - remind me of when we used to go to Music Midtown festival
Ottmar Liebert, Bob Marley and The Dream Academy - all make me feel like I'm on vacation to Florida or Puerto Rico
I moved the cd collection downstairs recently. This is a shot of the bookcase and a shot of all the cd's that still needed to fit in here somehow. I think it's high time we moved everything into digital files, don't you?
And, in case you didn't notice, I have a varied taste in music. ; ) Do you have any music-related memories?
Linked up today with Mylestones for Flashback Friday.
I've been composing a post all day in my head. It started out with way too many "I" and "me" pronouns. A lot of how "I" was feeling about something that has nothing to do with "me".
Then I changed the pronouns to "they" and "them". It was about how much "they" gave. How unselfish "they" are. And "they" are but, if "I" know "them" at all, then "they" wouldn't want the post to be about "them".
And now I've turned the focus, my attention, the glory on God.
He asked them to go. They went.
He asked someone to give. They gave.
He asked someone to pray. They prayed.
It's about people He made who need help. About obedience. About love.
Pictures by Laura Taylor. Thank you, Laura, for going and for taking your talent with you. And thank you to my friends who went who are pictured here. For being obedient and for loving the people of Haiti enough to GO and DO something for them. (click on March 7th and move slider to 35:00).