Friday, July 31, 2009

Project 365: Day 212 -- Anna Belle

What can I say--it's been a boring week. This is Anna Belle in the garden, shot through my office window.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Project 365: Day 211 -- Chillin'

Not a very good photo at all. But I nearly forgot to take one completely, so better this than none. Just Woofy chillin' on the porch. Shot through my office window.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Project 365: Day 210 -- Twilight & My Wedding Rings

One of my goals this year is to photograph all my jewelry that is special to me. So I decided to combine some practice with my macro filters with shooting my wedding rings. The band is the first ring Kelly bought me, and was used in our wedding ceremony. The emerald ring was a Christmas gift two months later. Bless his heart, he tried so hard to surprise me and keep it a secret, but I guessed he had purchased it without even really trying. They were originally yellow-gold, but a few years ago I had them dipped in Rhodium since I never wear yellow-gold anymore.

On another topic, I am finally reading Twilight. Yeah, I know--everyone else read it years ago! I am nearly finished with the first book (in two days) and I have really enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next three installments.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Project 365: Day 209 -- Squirrels, Cardinals, & Flowers

Today was another rainy, dreary day. Like most of July has been. Very strange. We've gotten nearly DOUBLE the normal amount of rain this month, and temperatures have been about 8 degrees below normal. It's been a very strange month.

Kelly filled one of the bird feeders with sunflower seeds yesterday, and hung it from the grape arbor. The birds and the squirrels have been going nuts over it. We don't mind that the squirrels eat it. Even though we know they can be a nuisance, squirrels are cute and fun to watch. All of these bird and squirrel photos were taken from my living room window with my 70-200mm lens.

The flower photos, taken after it stopped raining, were taken with the 70-200mm lens and the 10x filter.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Project 365: Day 208 -- The Project Begins!

After many weather delays and scheduling conflicts, Cole was finally able to start painting today! This is just primer, but since we are painting the house a shade of white, this gives an idea of what it will look like. I am excited! Now if we can just get the rain to hold off this week--there are 6 straight days of rain in the forecast right now.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Project 365: Day 207 -- More Macros and an Asian Dinner

I played some more with my Closeup Filters this morning--I really love these! And with these images, I decided that I really liked the softer color instead of my usual practice of popping the colors and contrast to the limits. I really love how these filters turn the background so soft and dreamy.

Kelly and I made a great Garlic Shrimp dish tonight for dinner. He's in charge of the wok, lol. The veggies (red, green, and yellow peppers, onions, and mushrooms) were sauteed with some seasoned salt in garlic and sesame oil. Then the shrimp were added, along with some Stir-Fry Sauce. It was all served over a bed of Jasmine Rice. Of course, I picked out all the onions and mushrooms because, well, they're gross. But other than that, it was very yummy! Definitely adding this recipe to the rotation.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Project 365: Day 206 -- Bugs, Flowers, and Fruit

One of my close-up filter sets finally arrived today, so I had fun playing. These were all taken with the 10x filter on my 28-75mm lens. I'm still waiting for the filters for my 70-200 to arrive. I think I am going to have fun with these!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Project 365: Day 205 -- Fresh Summer Salad

We eat salad a lot year 'round, but it's so much better in the summer with much fresher veggies! We are really trying to use organic products and produce now, so most of what you see in this salad is organic. I just love the crisp colors and how refreshing it looks!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Project 365: Day 204 -- Twice in One Week...

Wow, Anna made my blog twice in one week. I just really liked the way the sunlight was hitting her as she prowled the deck railing...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Project 365: Day 203 -- The Other Cats

Everyone who reads this blog knows my cat, Woofy. He's my very spoiled baby and favorite fur-child. But we have two additional fur-children. However, their father has completely disowned them, and they aren't on my list of favorite "people" either.

This is Anna Belle. She was our first feline child. We adopted her from an animal shelter 14 years ago. At the time, Kelly hated cats. But he finally consented to have a cat in the house to keep the dog (our black lab mix named Josephine) company while we were at work all the time. In the beginning, Anna wasn't so bad. She played fetch like a dog, loved Josephine, and was a cuddly little thing that liked to sleep on my pillow.

The problems started when we decided (ok, I decided) to get a second cat. Anna was NOT thrilled to say the least. But she sucked it up and dealt with it when we brought Peebles home. Then Peebles escaped one day, and came home knocked up. Next thing you know, we had 4 kittens. We gave two away, and kept two--Woofy and Weezer. Now Anna was really mad.

Then Anna escaped and ended up having 5 kittens. (Yes, we know we should have had them spade, but we were keeping them inside and we were kind of broke at the time.) Out of those five, we kept the last one, simply because we couldn't find a home for him. His name is Pete, and he took to Parrish right away and became her cat.

But Anna was super pissed by now. And honestly, Peebles was, too. Peebles had been rescued from the wild, and never really took to being a housecat. She disappeared one day and we've never seen her since. Well, we think we have on occassion, but couldn't get close enough to be certain.

So at this point, we have 4 cats, a dog, and oh, two puppies. Now Anna is the Bitch from Hell. She hates the other cats with a passion, and she's not too fond of us humans, either. She no longer sleeps in our bed, and she's thinks nothing of reaching out and swatting our ankles with her claws as we pass by. We did get her spade, but that just seemed to make her moodier.

But I still tolerated her. Until she got mad at us and started peeing in Kelly's shoes and in my purse one day! After that, she was banned from the house. Good thing we live on 2 acres in the country on a deadend street.

This is Pete, off-spring of Anna. He's good natured and friendly with those he likes. But he doesn't like Kelly. He was welcome in the house until he started spraying even though he's neutered. Now he's banned from inside, too.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Project 365: Day 202 -- Groceries

Grocery shopping has become more and more of an ordeal lately. Not only is it just a hassle to drive 30 minutes into Nashville to the nearest grocery store, and increasingly difficult to find more organic options, but the cost of food and other related items seems to continue climbing at an unprecedented rate. The same items I bought today cost me nearly 20% more than they did a year ago.

Because I wondered if it was just me, and were my shopping habits the problem, I posted a little poll on one of my message boards. The poll asked things like how many people in your household and their ages, how frequently you shop, and what kinds of items you buy--name brand vs. generic, organic vs. non, fresh, frozen or canned, beef, poultry or fish, how many meals a week are prepared at home, etc.

The results were interesting. While most everyone answered very similarly, their totals of what they spent every month varied widely. Some people said they were feeding a family of 6 on $300 a month. Others said they spent $800 or more for just two adults.

One of the keys for those who spent less seems to be stockpiling items on sale, and buying paper/cleaning/personal care items somewhere other than the actual grocery store. I don't stockpile items because we have no where to store them. I also don't pay attention to sale fliers or compare prices since shopping at multiple stores requires considerable additional driving. At some point, the cost savings would be negated by the additional fuel needed to drive to other stores.

Then I wanted to see what I spent in the sub-categories of grocery shopping on this trip (these categories overlap and this is before tax) This is for two adults and 3 cats for 14 days...

Cleaning supplies & Paper Products -- $41.71
Personal Care Items -- $18
Snacks -- $30.96
Breakfast -- $1.99 (breakfast is a sometimes thing around here.)
Lunch -- $56.19 (roughly $2 per person per day for 14 days)
Dinner -- less than $4 per person per day for 14 days
Produce -- $30.30
Meat -- $49.41
Beverages -- $27.65 (includes bottled water)
Cat Food -- $12

Wow. That's a lot of money in some categories.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Project 365: Day 201 -- This and That

A little of this and a little of that today. These flowers were budding next to the hummingbird feeder and I thought they were pretty...

My spoiled baby Woofy, who hates having his photo taken and refuses to look towards the camera...he usually runs by the time the shutter has clicked the 3rd time.

I don't know if this Cardinal is really brave, or just stupid. All three cats were within 15 feet of him as he ate from their bowl.

I've been trying for a week to photograph this little guy. He's so fast! I set up my tripod with my 70-200 lens about 5 feet from the feeder. He comes to eat every evening around dusk, and every morning around 7:30.

While I was waiting for the hummingbird to return, I captured this pretty little guy...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Project 365: Day 200 -- Orchids, Cacti and Pears

Well, we headed back to Home Depot this morning to pick out new storm/screen doors. Ours are just falling off the hinges, they are so old and cheap. They were on the house when we bought it 15 years ago. While we were there, we also looked at shutters and some new interior doors. Then we headed over to the garden center, where I couldn't resist photographing these beautiful cacti and orchids.
Kelly has spent the afternoon doing yard work, which includes trimming a bunch of trees and bushes that have gotten out of hand. We have a pear tree that was all tangled in our power lines. He also had to remove all the poison ivy growing up the side of the house before Cole comes to paint tomorrow.