Sunday, November 6, 2011

Project 365... I'm almost done... but what is my next step?

I'm coming to the end of my photo project as described in two previous blogs. One I posted in January Project 365 and then in a touch-of-narcissism.  It started off being a very personal pictorial diary, but it's now much more than that... and I need your help.  I'm wondering how best to showcase the whole album.  I currently have the whole project split into four albums on Facebook, mostly because there was a limit of 200 pictures in an album.  I think it's still the case, but even if it wasn't, the thought of wading through all 365 photos in one album is still a little daunting.

The links to all four albums are here...

Here's one of my favourite shots from the first album, January thru March.  This one is my grandson, Callum at one of his soccer game taken on March 12th.
Click here for Part One - January thru March
Here's a shot that brings back so many memories of walks on the beach this summer with Zoe.  Here's one after a game on the beach taken on June 6th.
Click here for Part Two - April thru June
Here's one of my favourite shots taken at Gary Point in Steveston.  It just shows you what the iPhone can do!  And there's quite the story behind this one... a crippling back injury for one!  Taken July 2nd.
Click here for Part Three - July thru Septembe
And this picture was taken after I decided I needed to be a little more adventurous and I went from my iPhone to a more sophisticated camera, the Nikon D60.  It was hard to choose... but this is my favourite so far taken October 6th.
Click here for Part Four - October thru December
So... the time is almost here when I need to figure out the best way to preserve this whole project as one entity.  I'm tempted to put the whole thing in an Apple iPhoto Book, they really are terrific publications and it would make an awesome coffee table book.  But am I only going to print one?  Who else would be interested?

And if they are interested... how should I produce it?   As I said, I started this thing as a pictorial diary. The plan was to have collection of photographs, only of interest to me... but a very a unique way of recording a year of my life.

I've been playing around with iWeb, thinking that might be my answer.  But I'm leery about spending too much time on it.  Perhaps I should just put up in a separate Wordpress blog....hmmmmm.... still usure.  Does anyone have any suggestions?

Any input would be REALLY appreciated!!

Thank you so MUCH!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Rainy day stuff...

It's raining... a steady July downpour.  And it doesn't look like it's going to stop.  

As I lay in bed this morning I was thinking it was the perfect day to just carry on lying there reading my book.  It's a particularly good book, the new Jodi Picoult, "House Rules".

I love her style; especially the way she uses her trade mark technique of controversy and multiple perspectives to get the story across. She has an astonishing gift of being able to get right the heart of her characters, giving them such different voices and making them come alive. I thoroughly enjoying it and was really hoping to finish it this morning...

But my Zoe had other ideas.  She sat there staring at me; staring and grunting until I took notice and got up.  It really is most disconcerting and makes me feel incredibly guilty.  She wanted a walk.

We returned an hour later... drenched.  Wet through to the skin.  I had rivulets of water are running down my back and between my breasts.  But, you know what?  It was so worth going; it was so fresh and exhilarating   Rain in July is very different to rain in November.  And I also took my new picture of the day for my Project 365 (I'm on the third album now, July thru September).  And I'm thrilled with it. It shows quite clearly that there is still beauty to be seen, even on the most miserable day. 

It's still fairly early as I write this.  I have promised myself that I WILL do something around this place today... eventually.  A little cleaning perhaps, the fridge is actually scaring me right now.  

However, I was able to divert my attention enough from the household tasks to take part in some pleasurable procrastination.  This diversion usually involves some kind of word game like Words With Friends or Lexulous, perhaps a little Facebooking, listening to music.  This morning I got completely lost on YouTube.  I wanted to listen to some more Norah Jones after hearing her sing "Turn Me On" in a movie last night.  This one is so sexy and sultry.  I just love it!  

Then I started looking at some of the IMDb profiles in that film, "Love Actually"  I have a lot of favourite movies, but this one has to be up there.  It's a splendid story about all kinds of love, with a terrific soundtrack.  And it also has a stellar cast: Hugh Grant, Emma Thompson, Liam Neeson, Thomas Sangster, Colin Firth, Keira Knightley, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Laura Linney, Alan Rickman, Bill Nighy, and even Rowan Atkinson puts in an appearance.

I was particularly impressed with young Thomas Brodie Sangster (a little trivia here... he's actually a cousin of Hugh Grant! Cool!)  I remember seeing him in Nanny McPhee and I loved him in "Tristan + Isolde".  But he also recently played the young Paul McCartney in "Nowhere Boy".  He was very good, and in my YouTube travels this morning I found this super interview of him about his role in that film.  This kid is definitely one to watch!  

I guess I'd better get on with some work... there are things lurking in the back of my refrigerator calling my name.

I came back here to post a video...  I've never done it before, so I hope it works.  

We had a break from the rain this afternoon, so Jim and I made the most of it and took Zoe for another walk at Diefenbaker Park.  They say that the arrival of swallows at least could be taken as a sign that summer has started and that warm weather is here to stay.  However, the proverb "one swallow doesn't make a summer" definitely comes to mind today.  It's a caution against getting one's hopes up too early... just because initial signs may look encouraging... one swallow doesn't guarantee that there's not another cold snap on the way.  But what about 24?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To one of the most amazing Mums in the world...

This morning I thought it was time to do another blog.  I had one in mind... I was planning to honour my Mum on Mother's Day.

But the feelings I felt today changed my mind completely.  This blog is dedicated to one of the most wonderful Mums out there... my daughter, Karen.

I have watched this beautiful girl grow and blossom into the most amazing woman.  Karen never ceases to amaze me with her many talents.  And believe me, I should know.  I work with her every day so I see first hand exactly what she manages to accomplish on a daily basis.  She just blows me away sometimes.

When her boys came along ten years ago and the challenges they brought to her life, I've been constantly  impressed by her strength and capacity for love.  She is truly awe inspiring.  

I could go on talking about her accomplishments, which as I said are many, but I won't... I just know that my grandsons, Connor and Callum, will have some pretty fantastic memories to look back on when they are men.  And I sincerely hope they appreciate all she does for them.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

a touch of narcissism?

After completing the first album in my Project 365... January thru March I posed a question.  If anyone had a favourite photo so far, I'd love to know which one and why.  Then a friend asked me why I needed to know... and it made me ponder the reasons.

This pictorial diary will definitely allow me to look at 2011 in incredible detail.  It's going to be a lot of fun looking back over this year in a very unique way. 

But I have to admit there has to be an element of what you might call ego stroking.  Isn't that what a lot of this social media thing is all about?  Sure, it's about connecting with people.  It's people watching to the utmost degree, which is always fascinating.  But aren't most blogs, unless they're purely factual, somewhat narcissistic?  Look what I'm doing... see how I think... aren't I interesting/funny/different?  

It's true, I love to ponder things in a very public way. It's wonderful getting other peoples' opinions on stuff.  I've always found it helps to get my thoughts in order when I write things down, even before the internet existed.  I used to do it when I wrote letters to Mum.  Admittedly, the response was never as immediate, but of course now Mum's no longer around anyway.  I used to email my brother too... he's always been a great source for the truth.  But Mike's so incredibly busy these days, he hardly has time to answer.  So, is all this social media I take part in, and this blog, a sort of substitute?  

With all this said, it's hard to believe that 92 days have passed since I decided to start this project.  It has been a very interesting ride so far.  I've found the most difficult thing has been keeping each photograph fresh and different.  I've had the occasional fail when I've realized late in the day that I hadn't yet posted a picture, but I've nearly always been able to come up with something!  Like the one I took in my bathtub... it's neat seeing which pictures get the most comments too.  

I'm going ahead and choosing three of my particular favourites and posting them here just for the heck of it.  Each one is chosen for completely different reasons... 

About halfway through this first album I realized I would have to start looking at the world a little differently to keep things fresh.  I think Photo #43 was the first one that succeeded on that level. It was a particularly grey day; it seemed like it had been raining for weeks, but training myself to see the world with different eyes made me look up... and I got this one.  For some reason I love it! 

Photo #45
Photo #85 is one of Zoe, chosen for the cuteness factor:
Photo #85
And last but certainly not least, Photo #18 just for being different...
Photo #18
And now I've started Project 365 - April thru June 2011 and from what I've posted so far, this is my favourite... just cos it's so damn pretty.
Photo #92

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Gay Old Goblin - the one that got Mike so incensed!

I've been thinking about Mum a lot this week.  On St. Patrick's Day three years ago I got a call from my brother, Mike, to say Mum was in hospital.  Another call later that week came from my brother, Ed.  He revealed that she was very, very sick.  We lost her two months later.

Mum... on one of her many travels. 
I will never, ever regret those two very rushed trips back to England that spring to spend some very precious time with her.  I had always admired Mum's strength and her amazing attitude towards life. But in those few short weeks we spent together I also witnessed her incredible spirit.  It shone through and that spirit gave me the greatest gift of all... the gift that allowed me to say goodbye to her without sadness.  It will be with me forever.

OK... now to the Gay Old Goblin bit.  When Mike and I were going through Mum's things after she passed, we found several super little poems. She loved to write and I know she would have been a great blogger!  I've already shared a couple of her poems, including the one in my blog In the Eyes of the Vice Squad, which shows Mum's great sense of humour.  Well, here's the original tale... the one that got my brother so incensed!

The Uninvited Guest
by Josie Summers Pywell Scott

Party time in Fairyland, the birthday of their Queen.
Such excitement you can guess and food you've never seen!
Tiny buttercup buns and fairy cakes and teeny cups of dew.
The elves were having bee rides and beetle races too.

The frogs and toads so happy, leaping high on the grass.
A fairy band was playing tunes on instruments of reed, not brass.
Suddenly a great shadow was cast over those laughing faces.
They gasped with fear and all were glued in their places.

It was Grumpy the hideous goblin, waving his big knobbly stick!
"Why wasn't I invited to the party?" he roared... the dandelion clock didn't tick.
You see, fairies are all very timid, dainty, fragile and weak,
But up came a brave young pixie who wasn't afraid to speak.

"The invitation must have got lost in the post, but as you're here, won't you stay?"
What a big surprise everyone had in fairyland that day,
When the goblin came to their party and stayed to dance and play. 
He wasn't just a bent and grumpy old man, he really was quite gay!

He gave piggy back rides to the pixies and swings to the fat little gnomes.
He danced and did tricks till they were in fits, and then it was time to go to their homes.
He waved them off so sadly, they too were sorry to say goodbye.
They thought they would never see a big bad goblin cry.

The Fairy Queen flew over to him, she called "Come dry your tears.
Please come to all our parties for the next ten thousand years!"

And here's the one Mum wrote after Mike went through her innocent little poem with his editing pen.. 

In The Eyes of the Vice Squad

I was writing a tale the other day
- a sweet, an innocent one
At least that's what I thought it was
- until picked up by my son

"You're sending this... To the Church magazine!
- Mother, are you going mad!!
I'll have to go right through this
- you really are too bad.

"Very lucky for me I saw it
- just in the nick of time
If this stuff fell into the wrong hands
- I would probably have to resign!"

"What are you going on about?"
- I was quite unable to see...
"This highly inflammable story you've done
- full of homosexuality!

Now here, you can't have a Queen
- it will have to be a King!
You can't possibly have all the 'Fairies'
- and out goes the 'Fairy Ring'

What's this you've put!? 'Bent old man'!?
- a criminal! That's out!
Your "Gay" old goblin must go too
- that's what it's ALL about!

"Mother! "waving his big nobbly stick!"
- now that it out - but quick!
For that has sexual meaning
- you really are quite thick!

Now this bit here - oh no!
- leaping high on grass!
You've even pulled the drug scene in
- there's nothing I can pass."

So, here I am, left with my story
- what's left of it you see
A pixie - An elf - A toadstool
- and a very bewildered ME!

Jose Summers and her dog, Sam

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Brain Fart #679

Isn't it weird how the brain works?  Sometimes I feel quite sane... and then sometimes... not so much.

Take this morning for instance.  I'm pet/house sitting for my daughter this week and life is suddenly crazy.  The animals are pretty good... most of the time, when they're not fighting over food.  As I said, it's been crazy... having another large dog around is so much more work... AND mess. And my Zoe is not impressed. Karen must have picked the worst or for her, the BEST, week to be in Mexico. Vancouver is a flippin' mud bath right now!

But I digress... I was talking about my brain and the way it functions, wasn't I? 

I'm ready to leave this morning, all dressed up in my coat and boots when I realize I don't have my iPhone.  Shoot!  Where the heck is it?  Off come the boots and I trudge through the house looking for it... it's nowhere to be seen. So I call it from the land line... Aha!! Yes!  Success!  I look at the iPhone and see a missed call message.  I think to myself. "Damn! I missed a call from Karen!"

OK... think about it... Karen is in Mexico... you are in her house, yer dummy... you have just used her phone to find yours.  

Zoe and Koda wait patiently for their dinner.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why I'm walking with Lina's Ladies...

There are two very special people who are at the heart of my motivation to join Lina's Ladies to walk 60 kilometers again this August during The Weekend to End Women's Cancers fundraiser.
Lina & Linda Weekend to End Breast Cancer 2009

First and foremost I'm doing this walk for Lina Vassallo... dear sweet, strong Lina, who was the inspiration behind our "Hoofin for Hooters" team in 2009.  Lina lost her very hard fought battle with breast cancer on January 6th, 2011.  She was only 38.

I'm walking for Lina...

Another huge reason for me to be trudging the sweltering streets of Vancouver again this summer is to support my beautiful friend, Linda.  Linda was one of Lina's closest friends and has been devastated by Lina's death.  It will be so hard for Linda to do this walk again without Lina by her side, but she wants to do it... she needs to do it.  And I need to be by her side every step of the way.

I'm walking for Linda...

It's pretty obvious another major reason for doing the walk this summer is an enormous hope for the future... the hope that together we will raise enough funds to finally end this dreadful disease.  

Since 2004, $33 million has been raised by Weekend participants.  This has meant numerous advances in cancer research and care.  Every year proceeds continue to fund innovative research, treatment, and prevention programs for breast and gynecological cancers at BC Cancer Foundation.

I'm walking with the hope that one day all women will survive Cancer.  That all women will beat this disease and they will have the chance to see their children grow.

I'm walking for all women...

Walking is the easy part, but the part I need help with is the one that I find the most difficult.  The hardest part is asking people for money.  After all this time, we still need funds to help find a cure for cancer, so we will never have to feel the heartache of losing those we care about, ever again. 

Please be a part of my journey and visit my donation page... even the smallest donation would help my cause.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Here today... gone tomorrow! But I still want a Teasmade!

I was just checking out this link... 6 Soon-To-Be-Has-Been Gadgets.  It seems crazy to think that some of these things may become obsolete.  Things change so quickly in this technological age; it's quite alarming really.

Who would have thought in the early 90s that our beautiful new CD players, such an advance on the old cassette tape, would become a thing of the past in less than 20 years.  I know you can still buy them, but seriously, who does anymore?  And with the popularity of streaming video, even DVD players, brand new on the market such a short time ago, may not be around for very long either.  They are even predicting that laptops are likely to become technological dinosaurs in the not too distant future.

For some reason this got me to thinking about my parents' Goblin Teasmaid.  The picture in the Wikipedia link didn't do it justice so I found one that was much more like the one Mum and Dad had...

This fantastic device would faithfully wake Mum and Dad up every morning... oh gosh, it was way back in the 60s... OK, sometimes it was a bit of a rude awakening as it occasionally had the unfortunate habit of spurting scalding water in the wrong direction, but it was very reliable otherwise.  I know my Dad really appreciated a nice hot cuppa tea with his first ciggy as soon as he woke up!

I was amazed to see that an Automatic Tea Making Apparatus was originally invented in 1891.  I guess they may have been the very first in home automation.  Goblin, the one we had, are no longer available, but Swan still produces them for John Lewis and Tescos.  Cool!  I want one!

Edited later to add: My friend Tarnia found a Facebook page for the new Swan Teasmade. I "Like" it!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Project 365

I made a decision on January 1st to start a photo diary for 2011, my Project 365.  The plan is to post a picture every day to record my life over the course of this year.  It might prove interesting... if it works out that way, it could be a perfect subject for a Toastmasters speech.  There's something to be said for looking ahead!   

Having reached the third day of my project I have a bit of a quandary. I really enjoy the spontaneity my iPhone has given me, to be able to take a picture and post it right there and then is brilliant.  It's one of the main reasons I wanted to do this. 
My dilemma is this. Do I choose spontaneity over quality?.  When I've been out walking with Jim and he is taking the same photos with his wonderful Nikon D60 the results are incredible.  His photos so far this year are awesome.  But for this project, do I continue to use my iPhone and keep the same spur of the moment posting I originally planned?  Or do I take fantastic quality pictures with a decent camera and take the spontaneity out of it?  

Is it a photo diary recording my thoughts at that moment... like this one?
Sanderlings on the shoreline. Back to work tomorrow, but what a way to end our wonderfully relaxing Christmas break with another peaceful walk along the beach at Boundary Bay. We see so many birds here... bald eagles, brent geese, widgeons, pintail ducks.
Or do I try and compete with Jim and have as a result a great collection of amazing photos like this one? 
Jim took this great shot on the first day of the year.  What an amazing sight!

Sunday, January 2, 2011


Yes... procrastination. It's not usually a problem with me.  Although occasionally I am guilty of leaving things until the last minute.  I work better under pressure.

But yesterday, being the first day of the New Year and all, I felt I should write something particularly significant for my first blog of 2011.  I thought about it long and hard.  I even went so far as writing a few things down... they're right here in my drafts, but nothing seemed profound enough to be deserving of such a lofty perch as 01/01/11.

Procrastination does have a place in this life.  It means that today I can write about anything I damn well please and not feel in the least bit stressed.

Therefore... should you be so inclined, watch this space for more ramblings...

Sunrise 01/01/11 - Taken by my hubby, Jim.