Weed of the day

No, there won't be a new challenge: weed of the day. I'm just running out of ways to say "picture of the day."
Obviously, it's a dandelion gone to seed (and the neighbors will all be happy to be gifted - NOT!).
I took Jerry for a walk this morning and left the camera at home. Mistake! Saw lots of things that I thought would make for good pictures. So, after we got back home, I grabbed the camera, jumped in the car and went back to where there were photo opportunities.
I took quite a few and figured it would be difficult to decide on just one. But, once they were cropped a bit, it became quite obvious which is the best. Too much background made the shot a bit disappointing, but this way, I quite like it. And I didn't do anything else, no editing other than cropping out the background and reducing the size of the image.


Picture of the day

Not a great picture - I apologize. The light was wrong (mid-day is bad), I was too far away. But all the other pictures I took today are of similar quality and this one is more interesting, so it'll have to do.
I drove by Planned Parenthood on my way to the library and the Pro Lifers were out - not in force, it's too hot, and there never are more than a few, a dozen at most.
Oh, and by the way, I am NOT expressing an opinion with any of the pictures I take. If I do, I'll say so. Otherwise, it's just a picture.

An evening with Joan Baez

Last night we saw Joan Baez perform at the Napa Valley Opera House. I was a huge fan way back when - in my teens and twenties (and that really was a long time ago).
The voice has changed a bit, gotten older, not so high (as she said herself), but the songs are still as enjoyable as ever, the message is still there and she does not at all look almost 70. She's tiny, I had no idea. And I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one whose jeans are always too long.
She brought along her mother (who's 97) and who has apparently managed her and probably still does; her son, who did percussion; an assistant, who changed guitars between songs and a guy named Dirk Powell who accompanied her on just about everything with strings and the keyboard (there was a joke about him leaving his trumpet at home).
There was enjoyable banter with the audience, little anecdotes (the Grey Panthers in Berkeley attacked her over one of her songs), little stories, and an excellent impersonation of Bob Dylan (old 2-note Bob) (quite appropriate considering their history).
All in all, a very enjoyable evening with Joan Baez.


Today's picture

Water (from the sprinklers) caught in cobwebs between the leaves. Saw this while taking out the trash and went back inside to get the camera.
I'm having far too much fun taking pictures (this wasn't the only one I took today, just one of the better ones). My digicam class II starts today, we're learning to use Photoshop Elements 7. I may or may not have any hair left afterwards :-)


A sort of challenge - the picture of the day

I've set myself a sort of challenge: try to find something interesting to photograph every day. It may or may not work, we'll see.
I saw this picture last week and that's what made me think of this. Today, I've started carrying the smallest camera in my purse. Makes for a heavy purse/bag, but I won't have to kick myself for missing interesting shots any longer.


The street where I live

Not sure if this works on here (it does on FB and, just in case, here's the link to this and two other shots: : http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=231040&id=708398128&l=f1c2b9cde5): I was playing with a new feature on my new little Sony: the panorama setting.
This, literally, is the street where I live. I've had a little two much fun playing with this camera this morning. But that's the nice thing about digital cameras: don't like what you did? Just delete it.


Digicam class

After my favorite little point and shoot camera gave up its ghost a month ago (and it's still usuable, I'd just have to dig out the duct tape), I decided it was time to grow up. In terms of camera, that is. I had seen classes offered in digital camera use through the Adult School and called to sign up and got the last place. There was a bit of a problem about that later in the day, but we straightened it out and I'm almost done with the first set of classes: how to use your camera. I'm still very much a beginner, haven't figured out F-stop, shutter speed etc. just yet. But I've learned to do close-ups (which I absolutely love) and changing the white balance and a few other less challenging things.
Next week, we're starting on Photoshop Elements 7 and I got brave and uploaded that one to the computer. We're still trying to make friends with each other. It won't let me save my watermark the way I want to, maybe down the line.
Here are a few of my early efforts, no doubt there'll be more.


Drug use on the increase

And just when you thought it was over .................

An article from AP about drug use being on the increase:


I know there are a lot of people who have no problem with any of this and it never was of much importance to me, either.
But, having seen what can happen (and I know very well it doesn't happen to everybody), I'm very much in favor of stricter penalties for drug dealers, stricter enforcement and definitely much more education and awareness.
Of course, not everybody who tries drugs goes on to hard drugs as fast as Henry did and not everybody becomes suicidal in a matter of weeks. But it's not unheard of, it does happen and kids have that mistaken notion that they are invincible. Just because somebody can handle dope, doesn't mean he/she can handle Ecstacy or meth as well.
And that campaign to legalize marijuana seems to me as yet another way to make a quick buck. "Money for nothing."

The past rears its ugly head

Doesn't it seem like I'm going for some kind of record with the number of posts recently? :-)

So, Henry died on 8 May 2007. The hospital there knew enough to contact me by phone shortly after he was admitted. I don’t know if they looked into his wallet or they got contact info from the police but I do know they had his wallet with his insurance card and his driver’s license in their possession because they handed it to me as my friends and I were leaving. Oh, and nobody asked me for insurance info the whole time I was there, either.

When we still hadn’t gotten invoices from anybody involved (hospital, doctors’ group, ambulance, paramedics) after 3 months or so, Larry started calling around. The hospital had no record of him (what?). Call to the Medical Examiner explained that people admitted to the ER get a crisis (?) name (I think Henry’s was Zulu something). Back to the hospital: oh, yeah, Zulu ….. So, Larry gave the nice man in accounting our names and address. ……………. Nothing for weeks. Another phone call, yes, they have our info.

Eventually, the Doctors’ Group tracked out down (after we had called them, too) and served us with a delinquent notice and threatened us with a collection agency. The insurance got involved and so did Human Resources at Larry’s employer and this was all taken care off. Not without hurt feelings and harsh words being exchanged, the woman who answered the phones at the Doctors’ Group was an evil bitch (and that’s putting it nicely).

After months of all this, SF General finally sent the insurance a bill, they paid, but we never heard from them. Until this morning, when a letter marked personal and confidential and addressed to Henry arrived. Delinquent notice, pay within 10 days or else.

Are these people thinking? Is there a connection between doctors, nurses and accounting?

I certainly wonder.

I am not disputing the amount outstanding, far from it. We have been wanting to pay for years now. What I’m upset about is the way all this has been handled/worded, trying to make us look like deadbeats. We’re not, we’ve tried to get an invoice for years and now we’re the bad guys? I don’t think so.

But I feel a whole lot better now. I just called the guy whose name is on the invoice and complained. I was nice, no bad words, no yelling, just explaining and asking what had been going on. I should do that more often :-)


Flea market, September 2010

Another flea market and another load of pictures. I'm trying to get used to a new camera - two cameras, actually. The point and shoot is strictly for the flea market and while I can do just that - point and shoot - it comes with a menu of options that I haven't explored yet.
The other camera, SLR type, has been around for a couple of years but I've hardly ever used it. All those buttons and dials intimidated me. So, I'm taking a class. I can do close-ups that I'm very happy with and will upload a few pictures soon. Next we will learn things like shutter speed settings and I'm not looking forward to that. Too many new things in too short a time.
Back to the flea market: the tool and button vendors are two of our favorites (along with the vintage fabric seller). Larry obviously goes for the tools (and the sewing machine and typewriter were at the same table), I'm into buttons (and far too many other things). And, yes, I actually use the buttons - more on that later.
The last trip was very successful, maybe too successful?


On my way to photography class this afternoon (I'm finally learning to use my SLR digital camera), I noticed three cars parked on the side of the road, 2 huge SUVs and 1 small non-descript sedan. The SUVs were from the Sheriff’s Department and one was a canine unit.

The light at the intersection changed to yellow, I stopped and while I was sitting there, the little caravan just behind me started to move. The passed me in the bike lane to my right and turned left just in front of me. Had I insisted on my right-of-way when the light turned green, I would have been rammed.

Then, as if in slow motion (because I was still kind of shocked about being cut off like this), the SUVs and the sedan surrounded a small car with 4 people inside stopped at the red left just off to my left, waiting in the left turn lane. The dog was let out – big, black and mean-looking. Two plain clothes officers jumped out of the small sedan and pulled guns.

The people in the car all stuck one hand out of the window next to them ……………

............ and that’s all I saw. The light had turned green for me, there were cars behind me, I had to get to class and I didn’t think the officers would appreciate it if I yanked out my camera and clicked away. Wish I had, could have gotten some interesting pictures.

I keep wanting to talk about “shots” instead of pictures and “shooting” instead of clicking or taking pictures, but considering the subject, I’m going with the alternative.


September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day

And the editor published my letter here:


I only write about once a year. Henry didn't have a very high opinion of people who wrote to newspaper editors. He wouldn't appreciate it. And I wouldn't do this if things were different.

I mostly recycled last year's (blog and FB) info and added a bit: warning signs and risk factors.