Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Promise of Spring

     The weather has been "interesting" lately. Everyone is becoming a little winter weather weary, but the warmer temperatures and melting snow of yesterday reveal that there is hope. These daffodils in the front of my garden indicate that spring is just around the corner.
    I also came across a story on another blog which I wanted to share. It involves a dog who has been attending daily Mass every day since the death of his owner. Click here to read "German Shepherd Attends Mass."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Quality of iPhone Images

     I purchased this lovely orchid the other day while picking up some things at one of the local big box stores. I thought it might be interesting to compare the quality of the image taken with my iPhone to that of one taken by my compact Canon Sureshot camera. Both shots were handheld and admittedly taken at different times. At first glance, the photo above looks just fine, but compare it to the photo below taken with my little Canon Sureshot.

    To really see the difference, you need to click on each photo to view it as a larger image. The "real" camera produced a sharper image, and that is why I always carry both my iPhone and my small camera with me. The iPhone is handy and truly great for grabshots, but I tend to reach more often for my small camera. Having said that, there are many fun photo apps for the iPhone which I will be exploring.

Monday, February 25, 2013

A Few Inches of Snow

     This morning dawned clear and bright with a blanket of new fallen snow covering the ground. For the third weekend in a row we have had snow. Fortunately, this storm brought only a few inches, barely enough to shovel. This is the magical scene which greeted me as I let Emma out this morning. 

     Knowing that the forecast was calling for quickly climbing temperatures, I headed back inside to get my camera.

     Upon close inspection I saw the snow on these branches was beginning to melt, and crystal droplets were beginning to form.  I raced back inside once again to grab a closeup filter to get these images. 

     You can click on the photos to see larger versions. This is one time when I would highly recommend doing so as I am quite pleased with the closeups. For those who are curious about my equipment, I used my trusty Nikon D60 with my regular close focusing 18 -55mm lens to which I added a T3 closeup filter. These were all hand held.  [Closeup filters T1, T2, andT3 are used with zoom lenses and are an inexpensive way to do limited macro work.]

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Busy Week

     This past week was even busier than usual. On Monday morning, I met friends at a local coffee shop for our weekly Italian conversation practice. In the evening I had my regular Italian lesson.
     On Tuesday, I met friends for breakfast. Then my godchild and her two little girls came for a visit.  It is so much fun watching the girls play with Emma. Later that evening, I attended a meeting at the camera club to which I belong. One of the members filled in on short notice for a speaker who had to cancel. Our member explained the printmaking technique which she has developed using polymer photogravure etching. Yes, the process appeared to be every bit as complicated and involved as it sounds, but it was fascinating to see her beautiful prints and discover her passion for her art.
     Wednesday was a typical day with a session at the gym and later a flute lesson. Thursday was a catch-up day for shopping and errands. Friday, I met friends for lunch, and yesterday I went to a really fun birthday party for my youngest  cousin. The party had originally been scheduled for today, but with the predictions of stormy weather the party was moved up a day. Fortunately, everyone was able to come and a wonderful time was had by all. There was lots of high energy and little ones racing around. The birthday boy is now one, and he is the happiest, cutest, most adorable little guy. 
     I made the penguin holiday wallhanging above for my godchild for her birthday and presented it to her on Tuesday.  I loved the penguin border fabric and how the piece turned out so much that I made one for myself as well. ;-) [This pattern was from the McCall's Quick Quilts - Dec./Jan.2013 issue.]

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day Advice

     As I did for Valentine's Day last year, I decided to delve into my collection of sheet music for help with this posting. All the talk shows this week have been doing pieces on what folks should and shouldn't do to celebrate tomorrow, so here's my advice. As "Snooky" Lanson sang in 1945, "Say Something Sweet to Your Sweetheart." 

     Serenade your sweetie with a song. "Peg of My Heart" was a favorite of my dad. I must have heard that piece a couple of hundred times growing up. His other favorite for which I don't have the sheet music was an old piece that went something like this. . .    Put on your old grey bonnet with the blue ribbon on it while I hitch old Dobbin to the shay. Through the fields of clover we will ride to Dover on our golden wedding day." If you have two minutes, click on this link Put on Your Old Grey Bonnet to hear it performed by the Hayden Quartet. It's a jaunty, catchy little ditty. I just remember the chorus. One of the special memories of my childhood was my mom and dad often singing as they did the dishes together.

     Next, try never to be . . .

Isn't this cover lovely? The illustrator was Frederick Manning.

     If money is tight, then just take your sweetie out for a spin on "A Bicycle Built for Two."

     Two last covers that lament the fact that the course of true love doesn't always go smoothly. On the cover above it says, "The Pal That I Loved Stole the Gal That I Loved" a "sympathetic ballad with ukulele accompaniment."  It was "Successfully Sung by Rubini and Rosa," in 1924.

      Newhoff and Phelts (pictured) in 1914 also sang of the age-old sadness of unrequited love in Gus Kahn's "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else."
     I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day tomorrow!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Blizzard of 2013

     This photo was taken from my sunporch as the snow began falling yesterday morning. The ominous forecasts talked of the impending monster storm. By 6:00pm, the winds had picked up and the snow was piling up. As the night progressed, the winds started to howl and the lights flickered on and off throughout the evening. Fortunately, I never lost power.

     This shot was taken early this morning. I had shoveled the back porch late last night before turning in, so I was able to get the porch door open. Weymouth received 26 inches of snow!!! Mother Nature definitely made up for the lack of snow we have been enjoying this winter. Can you find the doghouse  in the above photo?
     The drifts were incredible; some were three or four feet deep.

     I shoveled the back porch and stairs and the front stairs and walkway, but my wonderful neighbors cleared my driveway. Thank goodness!!! I am blessed to have very good neighbors.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Blizzard Is Coming!!! A Blizzard Is Coming!!!

     At 10:00 AM, the snow has just begun falling giving credence to the alarm that the weather folks have been sounding. The predictions are for 16 to 24 inches by tomorrow. There may also be places which will receive up to 30 inches. Yikes!!! I plan to hunker down and spend the day quilting having given myself the day off from going to the gym. I know I'll get my share of exercise shoveling out this weekend. Thank goodness I have two wonderful neighbors who I think will clear my driveway for me.
   What a coincidence that the massive blizzard of 1978 occurred thirty-five years ago this week. Now that was a storm!!! I live on a well traveled street, but the plows were simply unable to keep up with the incredible amount of snow we received. The roads were totally impassable, but everyone pulled together and helped each other out. I remember folks pulling sleds as they trudged up the hill asking if folks need anything at the store. They were heading to a market about three quarters of a mile away. My neighbor was a head nurse at South Shore Hospital and so a snowmobile was sent to bring her out to the main road where she could be transported to work. I will never forget the image of Mrs. M. in her crisp white nurse's uniform and white stocking perched onto the back of a snowmobile! Schools were closed for a week. No one will ever forget that storm.
     Will this storm compare to that? We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Argo and Les Miserables

     Well, I've checked off seeing two more Oscar contenders. Last week I met a group of friends for lunch and then we headed to the cinema. Half went to see Lincoln which I had already seen, and another friend and I saw Les Miserables. The singing was great, the acting wonderful, but it just wan't my cup of tea. My friend who had seen the stage production a number of times absolutely loved the film version, but as for me, not so much. I normally grade movies that I comment on; it must go back to my days as a teacher. :-) I'm not grading this one as I can't do it objectively. I really didn't care for it, but if you liked the stage production of Les Miserables and its music, you probably would enjoy this film.
     Tuesday, I went with my friend Donna to see Argo. It was awesome. Though I knew the outcome, the movie still proved to be incredibly suspenseful. I could barely breath during the last fifteen minutes!!! In fact, I was so taken by Argo that this morning I ordered from Amazon - Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. I had checked out a few websites to see how much of the content of the movie was fact-based and what was not. That's why I want to read the  account by the CIA agent, Antonio Mendes, whom Ben Affleck played in the movie. Whether the film was historically accurate or not, Argo  is one thrilling movies! A+ !!! Definitely go see it!