And I saw this …

Jordan Lake, continued.

The boat had an upper deck with this tiny little spiral staircase to get up and down.  It was so steep that almost everyone was afraid to go up.  Once they were up there, they were afraid to go down the stairs again, so I stood at the bottom to catch the nervous Diane as she descended.  When she got to the bottom she said, “these stairs would make a great picture”.  And they did.

This is what I saw …

Jordan Lake, 4/28/2012

Yesterday I went on a boat tour of Jordan Lake.  Entire flocks of blue herons, bald eagles, ospreys, fish jumping out of the water … everyone else on the boat was training their cameras on all these amazing sights.  Nobody noticed me taking pictures of everyone’s feet.

Off the Leash

At last.

This is the kind of art I have wanted to do for YEARS.  I first of all lacked the skills, the tools, and (so I believed) the vision.  Turns out, once the tools were there, the vision came.  And the skills will happen over time, with practice.

This one was done by taking a picture of an Armani ad from British Vogue; grunging it up; superimposing the coffee cup; and superimposing the clouds and power line.  Then adjusted color, and added a “rust” effect.

Voila.  Simple as that.

iPhonography

Grunge Cup.

I don’t have hobbies.  I have obsessions.

People in my photography club thought i was weak, a slacker, lazy, perhaps even stupid, because my camera of choice is my iPhone 4s.  Well, they’re not laughing now.  Last night we were treated to a slide show and presentation by the fabulous Suzanne White of the Chatham Camera Club, a professional artist who is an accomplished iPhonographer.

Well, well, well.  There are even books about this subject, it turns out, and what started as a cult, a niche, is pretty well mainstream.  Who still takes pictures using a CAMERA!  Downloads images onto a computer to edit!  How regressive!

I did the above image using Iris Photo Suite, from a snapshot of the coffee cup in front of me.  Simple, and fabulously fun.  I can feel wellsprings of creativity that were bottled up for YEARS.

More pictures of mine will follow.  In the meantime, you can see Suzanne’s photos  here:  http://flic.kr/ps/wXDXW

Puppy Mills: One Success Story

Anna

This little wire-haired terrier is Anna.  She is probably the sweetest dog I have ever met.  There almost wasn’t even a story to tell about her; she might have been a minor blip in the canine cosmos, but instead of dying, she went straight to heaven during her life.  This lucky doggie was rescued from a puppy mill in Missouri, where she was kept in a cage and bred over and over until she gave birth to a stillborn litter. She was scheduled to be “destroyed” but instead was removed by a rescue organization.

Anna’s ears were chopped off and infected; her paws were splayed from spending her life standing on the wire floor of a cage; she could barely move.  There are countless sad cases like this, of dogs being treated like livestock, and the ethics are hardly even debatable.  But that’s not what this post is about.  I just want to say how lucky little Anna is that my friend Donna, and her husband Tom, wanted her badly enough to get her the vet care she needed, to drive to another state to pick her up and bring her home, and make her part of their family.

Donna says “The saddest thing is that they broke her spirit.  She doesn’t even bark.  She had to be taught how to eat out of a bowl, live outside a cage, walk on a solid floor, how to play.  It took months to teach her what toys are for, or even what affection is.  If you hugged her, she froze up in fear. But now when she just sees us, her little tail thumps like crazy.”

Today, Anna still can’t walk very far, and is prone to anxiety attacks.  In thunderstorms, Donna has to hold her in her lap, but nothing makes the panic stop.  Who knows what she has been through that would make her so afraid.  I frankly do not want to know, because what Anna has endured is heart-breaking enough without the details.

What I do know is this:  she is one lucky and blessed little dog. Donna and Tom could have gone to a breeder for a healthy, happy puppy.  Instead, they took on the challenge of the dog that needed them the most.  In return, she gives them love every day.  If you look at her closely you can see it in her eyes.  It’s the most important lesson they’ve taught her: how to be happy.

Briar Chapel 5K

Silver Medal in my age group.  Time:  32 mins 45 seconds.

This was my first ever race, after decades of solo running.  For some reason, I thought it would be “fun”, I can’t even remember exactly why, but I started training in January, my poor flat feet pounding the hard winter pavement every morning until I was exhausted.  By April, my body felt so beat up that I was really just ready for the race to be over, but kept it up for another 3 weeks.

By race day, I was obsessed.  What to eat, run or rest, walk or bike, how much to drink … trying to sleep … exhortations to just run at my own pace, it doesn’t matter how well I do, yadda yadda yadda.  When that starting horn went off, it all flew out of my head as the pack surged in front of me.  People who claimed they could barely run 100 yards were leaving me in the dust.

By nature a competitive person, my impulse was to start sprinting after the pack but for once in my life, common sense ruled.  I stuck with my pace, pushing slightly more than I felt comfortable and maintaining the push up the hills.  By Mile 2, I was passing many of the rabbits, and by Mile 2.75, my mind had shut down.  There was nothing in the world except breathing in and out, the pavement under my left foot, my right foot, left foot.  Then I heard someone say “I can see the finish line …” and something kicked in.

To this moment I don’t know how I did it, but I began to sprint.  To an outside observer it wouldn’t have looked like a sprint, but the thrill of crossing that line was one of the most intense things I ever experienced.  Like I said, I’m competitive.

Within 2 hours, I was already plotting when I would run my next race.  4-miler?  10K?  Wait for fall, so I don’t have to train through the summer?

For now, I’m savoring the relief, sad over having it behind me, a check-mark next to that item on my bucket list, and … I’m forever changed.