Saturday, March 24, 2012

Do you want to know?...

(a Weekly Top Shot Entry) and (a Your Sunday Best entry)

Do you really want to know your numbers?  I’m referring to your DNA.  Do you really want to know?
Pretty intriguing, isn’t it?

Hand-blown mercury glass egg with
encased Russian church domes.
This week the medical department at the office presented a program to introduce interested employees to a company ( offering to test your DNA.  If you fell into a certain category, you were offered the testing for free.  If you didn’t fall into the ‘free’ category, you should have consider yourself lucky!

You had to be age 21 – 65 AND fall into one of the following:
  • Diagnosed or being treated for pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes or have a fasting glucose >/=100
  • Blood pressure >/=140 over >/=90
  • Cholesterol >/=240
  • History of Coronary Artery Disease
Mercury glass egg detail.

Up until this point, the thought of having my DNA tested never crossed my mind.  But, it might be sort of cool to find out where my ancestors came from or what’s in store for me on the health-front…or maybe not.  Maybe just going with the flow might be the best thing.  Years ago, my ex used to tell me that, with my aristocratic nose, I was probably related to Tsarina Alexandra of Russia (I wish!).  Hmmmm, maybe this is why I’m reading War and Peace?  But, wouldn’t getting information like that be cool?!

Russian laquer boxes.
The front most depicts my church, Ss. Peter & Paul Russian Orthodox Church.

In any event, the checkbook is currently saying ‘no’ to the $207 all-inclusive fee for analyzing my spit; however, a dear friend is having hers done and I will anxiously await her report.  Right now, you’ll have to pardon me while I go look for my crown.

Russian wedding crown broach...gifted to me for my son's wedding.

Monday, March 19, 2012

5 O'clock Shadows...

I'm starting to adjust to this time change thing if but for only one reason...the light after 5 PM is wonderful!  After Sunday dinner I stalked my neighbors yard for about an hour.  They're traveling and it's exciting to walk around in an area that you really have no right to be in.  They only have daffodils but, at this point, I only have weeds so I thought I was justified.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Daffodils...some caught at, hopefully, unique angles in interesting light and a weed of some sort thrown in for good measure...

Saturday, March 17, 2012


I am notorious for going out there and just clicking away...usually at the same thing.  For the longest time it was flowers (and Victorio Loubriel nudged me on that one) and then the moon and then there are the birds at the feeder.  I can set up my tripod and camera in the kitchen on Saturday morning  and click away at these feathered friends as they come flying in for their snack.  The photos are the same, over and over; after all, these guys are not about to stand still and strike a pose.  But, I'm addicted.  After all, how often can you get this close to a bird without it flying off in a nanosecond; close enough to examine the pattern on its face or the lay of its feathers or its less-than-beautiful feet.
Mr. & Mrs. Finch dining out.
So, as the non-winter turns over into a hopeful spring, I've got to try and move away from the boring and monotonous click, click, click and try to concentrate on some different things.  It's not going to be easy.  I've tried it before.  There's been some successes but then I find myself on that slippery slope heading towards those flowers and birds and moon shots.
Mrs. Red to Mrs. Finch:  So what do you think of this new shade of lipstick?
Mrs. Finch to Mrs. Red:  Hmmmmm, no comment.
I've got to remind myself to look at things differently, look at things from different angles, start capturing the unique and steering clear of the ordinary.  There is nothing wrong with the ordinary.  I know I'll be there, trying to get the perfect shot but this time, I'll try to get the perfect unique shot.  Wish me luck!

Sea Salt....well, I said I needed to try something different.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Could you do it?...

I just finished reading Dorothea Lange - A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon.  I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a fast reader.  I tend to read in spurts and if I don't understand a passage, I reread it and even use a dictionary...unless, of course, it's an historical (aka hysterical) romance or some fluff that I just can't put down.  So, this 450+ page book was a challenge.

I wish I had done a little research before tackling this book because the author worked primarily off information concerning the times surrounding Ms. Lange's life and not personal data.  Personal notes and records from Ms. Lange were basically unavailable...she kept very little...she destroyed most - even photos; so I felt the book did not have a real 'personal' feel.  I was hoping to get inside Lange's head and find out what was behind the making of some of her photos.  Except for the chapter on Migrant Mother, the author never really takes you there.  And, if she did and I missed it, it was because I was wading through tons of information about the era's political scene.

A victim of polio as a child, Lange barrels through life head-first, feeding her passion for photography initially through portraits and then through documentary pieces while employed by the government.  Her physical limitation didn't stop her nor did the fact that she was a woman in what was considered primarily a man's world.  While she traveled and worked, she often 'fostered' her children out and they suffered for it.  I took great exception to this even though it was a common practice at the time.  Today DYFS would be knocking on your door (I would hope).  Her health took a back seat to her passion and to her devotion to her second husband and she died shortly before her long-awaited exhibit opened at MoMA.

I'm a notorious Post-It user.
Note to self:  Buy stock in Post-It Notes.

So, Dorothea Lange lived beyond the limits of her life...very little, if anything, stopped her from pursuing her passion for photography.  As I read the last paragraph, I asked myself if I could do it...could I pursue a passion and not allow the integral parts of my life to interfere...not allow family, friends, health to hold me back?  Could you?

I believe we all have limits.  I certainly do...and they change from day to day, month to month, year to year.   Some are obvious and some are not.  So, what do you do?  Do you grab those moments when the limits are at bay, when you can push them aside for a while, when you have the freedom to pursue your passion?  Or, do you work through and around those limits, like Dorothea Lange, to pursue your passion - at any price?  Either way you cut it, it's a tough trick.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I've been robbed!...

Give me back my hour!

What?!  You'll return it in the fall?

But I need it now!


Time...there's not enough of it and now 'they' are taking away an hour.  Well, not really, but it certainly seems like it.  This must have something to do with the way this was all explained (or not explained) to me as a child..."We're going to lose an hour." "Move the clock forward because we've lost an hour." "Don't forget to change the clock; we're losing an hour over night." What do you mean "we've lost an hour?!" How can anyone lose an hour?!

I need that hour.  I need it for doing stuff and for sleeping and, more importantly, playing with my camera.  I 'suffer' for about a week after the time changes.  For about a week I always feel like I have to hurry and catch up because I've lost an hour.  And then I have all these great intentions of going to bed earlier, changing the clocks earlier, shutting off the TV earlier...all in the interest of easing into this time change thing.  But nothing works.

I've heard numerous reasons for why we need to do this but I just can't justify any of them.  And, yes, I know it will be lighter longer at the end of the day but that sure doesn't help we wake up in the morning.  'They' rob us every Spring and we let 'them.'  Give me back my hour!  Please...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Is it dead?...

The old Osmiroid waiting for a practice session.
Wow, it was one of my favorite times of the 4th grade day with Mrs. Alongti.  Do they do it in school know, sit and practice 'penmanship?'  Probably not.  After all, now we (and the kiddies) all have computers and IPADS and texting and who-knows-what.  I imagine it's gone by the wayside just like handwritten thank you notes or handwritten letters or handwritten grocery lists even.

A Mont Blanc fountain of two...gifted to me by a former boss.
And what about fountain pens? One of my biggest thrills was getting a fountain pen and just writing my name over and over and over.  What can I say, I’m easy to please.   But, there was something very 'grownup' about using a fountain pen.  The thrill was gone when that pen leaked all over everything.  But, that didn’t stop me…I couldn’t help myself when I learned about calligraphy.  I must have almost every style of nib out there…well, at least every style that was in style 10 years ago. Even that changed from using standard calligraphy pens to felt tip calligraphy markers. I hated that change. It took all the romance out of calligraphy.

Even the exterior of some fountain pens are beautiful.

Eureka!   That’s it!   Penmanship, calligraphy, the handwritten note…all romantic!   Is it dead?
You know, romance…is it dead?   God, I hope not! I’m still waiting for it.

Calligraphy 101

Friday, March 2, 2012

To market, to market...

Ahhhh, Friday night!  This is the first night all week I've had really nothing to do.  I could have gone to the gym; even felt a little guilty as I strolled by on my way to the parking deck but, the thought of getting all the 'necessaries' done, heating up some foccacia, pouring a glass of wine and hunkering down in front of the monitor won out.

The 'necessaries' included a stop to buy a card, a bank run for mom, and a visit to a market I haven't been in lately.  This market is very cool...every time I go there, I make believe I'm in a foreign country, doing my daily shopping.  The place consists primarily of fruits and vegetables manned by people of Asian descent with a deli/bakery in the back manned by people of Russian descent; thus the feeling of being in a foreign country.  Then there are several rows of shelves stocked with products labeled all in Russian as well as a freezer section full of unique items which I can't always identify.  Here's where I got in trouble.

So, I picked up spinach because there was much conversation in the office about how great it is for your eye sight.  Then there were some nice looking tomatoes I could not pass up because I am yearning for the garden to get started.  And then a stop at that 'foreign language freezer.'  I'm thinking about Easter and how my mom used to make homemade cheese.  As the holiday draws near, you cannot get hold of farmers cheese for her recipe.  This place has it so I picked up a pound of that with the hope of finding my mom's recipe and taking a crack at this wonderful cheese.  But then I spotted the fish.  True confession...I love olive oil....over tomatoes....on a bed of lettuce...with a little salt.  I can hear some of you moaning now.....'How awful!'  But, be honest, we all have our little 'things' so I'm asking for tolerance.

The problem here is that I can't read Russian let alone speak it.  Yes, I took Russian lessons as a child and I can recite some of the alphabet and I can sing some Russian songs and say prayers in Russian but, reading it, that's another story.  So there is this container of little fish staring at me.  I think they're sardines.  They look like sardines.  I hope they're sardines.  I couldn't resist after they jumped off the shelf and into my cart.

Even though sardines were not on the menu tonight, I could not resist opening that container for a sample.  What did I buy?  Well, apparently this company does not de-bone but I'm not a coward so I jumped right in.  Hmmmm, they taste sort of like sardines but, not exactly.  And they're all different sizes, unlike the US packaged brand I usually buy.  They are definitely in olive oil...I think that's olive oil.  And, for the $3 I spent, I think I got the whole day's catch...there must be 30 in the container.

I'll continue to do my research and see what I can come up with as far as these little fish go.  I may have to call in my Russian speaking/reading/writing girlfriend to rescue me.  In the meantime, the foccacia is in the oven.