Summer Memories AND the T-shirt

Summer 2010, been there, done that and now we have T-shirts!

When I saw this article in the most recent issue of Family Fun Magazine, I knew this was a craft I could actually complete and it might even come out looking good.

I talked to the kids about their favorite activities from our very busy summer and then tried to find photos that captured their experiences. Family fun suggests assembling your memories and snapping a photo, I used Photoshop Elements to arrange photos and scanned the other items. It is easier for me to manage digital formats.

Other than that, I followed the instructions exactly. We’re all very happy with the results!

Advertisements

Well, hello there

Hey! How ahhh ya?

The sign as you enter Lemon Squeeze at Polar Caves, Mim in the slip and slide, Fish with Chocolate face and the Blue Lobster at Seacoast Science Center

We’ve been go-go-go all summer long. There was a ten day trip to Washington, D.C. a trip to The Cape to see family, and family came here for a visit. This on top of camps for the kids and weekends spent at the lake. I’m tired just thinking about it.

I didn’t mean to take the summer off from this blog, but that is how things worked out. Now that we’re back to the routine that fall brings, I am looking forward to writing more posts here on a regular basis. My hope is to really develop this blog into a thriving venture. Although at this point I’m still working on the specifics of what that looks like. You’ll know as I figure it out and by all means if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Moving on, fall seems to be making its presence known and after the brutal heat of this summer, I welcome fall with open arms. We have lots of family traditions that are tied to the fall. Halloween is a big deal in my husband’s family. We typically have a huge gathering over Columbus Day weekend, so my kids are already planning and plotting their costumes.

Just a reminder that tomorrow is election day. There are primaries being held for the Governor’s race as well as the U.S. Senate and numerous local races. New Hampshire allows voter registration on the day of the elections, so get out and vote!

Our family went to Chuckster’s in Chichester yesterday, I have some great pictures, so look for a recap later this week.

I’m back to writing and researching please stop by again soon!

Sorry

There were many sites I wanted to see during our stay in Washington, D.C. this summer. I knew there was too much for us to tackle in one trip, but I was committed to visiting the Pentagon Memorial to those who gave their lives on September 11, 2001.

As we walked from the Metro station to the site of the memorial, my husband endeavored to explain the significance of what we would be seeing to Mim. We’ve had lengthy discussions with Fish about the events of that day and their significance, but had yet to broach the subject with Mim directly.

My husband was educated to be an elementary school teacher. It is definitely the public schools’ loss that he never made it into a classroom of his own. He is a wonderful teacher and he has a great way with kids. As I listened to him explain the crash in terms my son could comprehend, I got watery eyed. In part, it was the ease with which he clearly translated the happenings and in part it was the memory of what happened.

As is his way, Mim quickly followed his father’s explanation with a question. “Did they have to say they were sorry?” A perfect question from a wiggly little boy struggling to learn the rules of this world. It made me smile.

I suppose the immediate answer is yes, we demanded an apology, and thousands of “them” and “us” died pursing “Sorry”.

To the families of those who died that day and the soldiers who gave their lives in the battles that followed. “Sorry” will never be enough.

To all those who lost so much that day I wish you peace.

To the men and women of the military and our public safety personnel and their families, I offer my heartfelt thanks for all that you sacrifice to ensure our safety and our freedoms.

September 11, 2001, we will NEVER forget.

What Camera Should I Buy?

I love pictures. The advent of digital photography has been a boon to a snap happy fool like me. I can snap away and delete the junk (and there is a lot of junk) without any real penalty.

I have a decent Cannon PowerShot point and shoot camera. My biggest complaint about point and shoot cameras is their over reliance on the flash. I much prefer natural or ambient light, but in many circumstances, those are hard to maximize with a point and shoot camera. I’m not Jenna or Casey, but I’ve got a decent eye and sometimes my execution is even good.

Sometimes, not so much.

It was while trying to capture these photos in Washington that I said to my husband. “It is time to move up to the next level of camera.” I just can’t get the control I want with a point and shoot.

Here’s where I need your help. I need help figuring out which camera to buy. When I walk into any retailer that sells cameras, it is instant overwhelm. I’ve read review sites, but most contain far more technical babble than I can decode. So, I’m hoping if I tell you about the pictures I like to take and my learning style you and your collective wisdom can point me in the right direction (no pun intended).

I take memento photos (us on vacation, my kids on stage), but more and more, I’m interested in candid shots from a distance and scenery shots.

I also tend to hang around with people who are extremely sensitive to bright light. So, learning to maximize ambient light would be a huge plus.

I need a camera that will allow for manual settings as well as auto because sometimes let’s face it you only have time to grab the camera and push the button. However, I plan on keeping my PowerShot. It lives in my purse and will continue to do so. This other camera will be for the more predictable “Kodak Moments”.

I taught myself PhotoShop years ago, I had a book that showed you how to make textures. I learned about the different functions and features by doing. I’ll likely be the same way with photography. I’ll see a shot and tinker with the settings until I get what I want. So, settings should be fairly easy to manipulate. An the view screen should be a good size. I am have problems seeing detail clearly at a distance, so the ability to take the shot via the view screen is a must.

I would like to be able to change lenses and tinker a little there too.

I don’t need video functionality although it appears to be hard to get away from it.

This is not going to be an instant purchase, and I don’t want to drop a HUGE chunk of change, but I’m looking at this as an investment since writer’s make more money when they can supply photographs too. I don’t need bells and whistles and sirens. Just a few bells and maybe a whistle would be nice.

Camon Vs. Nikon? Olympus? Sony? I’ve been Canon most of my life, so I’m familiar with their menu structures and since I’m not anywhere near professional, I won’t notice the color variations. I’m inclined to stay with Canon based on familiarity, but am open to alternate suggestions as well.

So dear reader, what do you recommend?

Helloooooooooooo!

Sorry for almost two months of radio silence, but wow it has been a busy summer!

Since I’ve last checked in there have been a few blog worthy occurrences. My dad visited from Arizona (and yes, we watched Breakfast at Tiffany’s together), we caught up with some of my mom’s family on Cape Cod, took a 10-day trip to Washington, D.C. for some volunteer work and sightseeing and we added a new member to our family.

We had a wonderful visit with my dad, he’s a low maintenance house guest. He’s been a desert dweller for the past 5 years so he really enjoyed the lush green of the Northeast. We visited some places nearby and took a day trip to the lake. Towards the end of the weekend, we met his sister for lunch and a little coastal fun.

After Dad left, we had two extra girls for a few days. We brought them home, picked up my mom and headed to Cape Cod for the annual family gathering at my Aunt’s house. It was a short trip, but a great time was had by all. The highlight for my daughter was winning the egg toss with my cousin T. We returned home for a scant 16 hours. Just enough time to do the laundry, finish packing for our trip to D.C. and catch a few hours of sleep. Thankfully, we were already 90% packed for D.C. so, we threw in a few last items and took to the skies.

I’ve been looking forward to this trip to Washington, for at least 4 years and the trip did not disappoint. The main purpose was to attend the NOAH conference. NOAH is an organization I co-founded that supports people with albinism and their families. I was 14 at the first conference and there were 70 people in attendance. There were over 900 attendees in Washington, D.C. NOAH Conferences are always fun, but as a former National Conference Chair, I volunteered to be the utility infielder and assist with any challenges that arose on site, so I didn’t get to any of the sessions. The kids had an awesome time. Each was in their own group. Among other things, Mim’s group had an introduction to Judo, and talked with doctors about what it meant to have albinism. Fish’s group had a lesson on how to travel safely on the Metro and then they were off on small group adventures throughout D.C.

Speaking of the Metro, I think Mim could have stayed in the hotel and ridden the trains throughout the system and been as happy as a clam. He enjoyed reading the maps to tell us what stop we were at and how many stops we had left until we reached our destination.

After the conference we did some sight seeing in Washington. Our stops included, several Smithsonian museums, The Spy Museum and Mount Vernon. I hope to do some more detailed blog entries on trip in the near future. Let me summarize by saying that Washington, D.C. is on of my favorite destinations. I highly recommend a visit, just not in July.

We lost our beloved dog Daisy in February. All of our hearts needed some time to mourn, but by June, we were all talking about wanting another dog. While summer is the best time to get a dog, we knew we had a lot of travel at the beginning of the summer, so, we decided to wait until we returned from D.C. to seriously entertain the idea. Dory, joined us the Sunday after we returned. The story of her arrival and immersion into our family is a blog entry for another time. She is a very sweet dog and has made herself right at home.

The kids are squeezing in a few last summer activities, Mim is at the town’s theater camp and Fish is rock climbing at Girl Scout Camp. They head back to school in just about two weeks time. I knew we had a jammed summer, but it flew by even faster than I expected.

Even though I have not been blogging here my fingers haven’t been completely idle, I’ve had a few posts over at Live to Write, Write to Live, the blog of the New Hampshire Writer’s connection a group a co-founded with other local writers. Stop by and check us out if you have a minute.

Our adventures have given me lots of fodder for this blog. I promise once the kids get back to school, I’ll be on a more regular posting schedule here. I miss it.

So, what have you be doing this summer?

Item Number One On My Murtaugh List

Or, How a Feminine Hygiene Product Saved My Hearing.

From l-r, Neil Patrick Harris, Cobie Smulders, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel and Alyson Hannigan of the CBS series HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER. Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS ©2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used with Permission

Do you watch How I Met Your Mother? For those who do, I’m staring a Murtaugh list. For those who don’t, let’s just say, “I’m getting too old for this sh*t.”

I love music. The TV, keeps some people company as they move through their days, for me, it is all about music. The soundtrack to my life is provided by the radio, Pandora or iTunes. I especially love live music. I’ve seen lots of concerts in my life from the super shows like Live Aid or the Human Rights Now Tour, to a cappella groups performing in a college cafe. In recent years, my musical leanings have been more country (much to my husband’s chagrin) and while those types of shows can be loud, typically they lack the pounding base and screeching guitar of heavy metal or rock ‘n roll.

Daughtry is one of the few new rock bands to catch my ear in a long time. I mean REALLY catch my ear. I bought their first, self-titled album and enjoyed every track. I bought their second Leave This Town, on release day. Again, there isn’t bad track in the mix. My husband isn’t a big concert guy and a country concert is out of the question, but he agreed to see Daughtry with me.

Garth Brooks ruined me when it comes to concerts. I saw Brooks on the Fresh Horses tour for $19 per ticket for tenth row seats and later on the same tour, different venue for $23 per ticket for fourteeth row seats. Regardless of your feelings for Garth Brooks, you will be hard pressed to find a performer who gives as much to his audience during a performance. In my mind, it is hard to justify $80 plus per ticket for a band that won’t give me half of the energy that Brooks put out. Thus, we chose the cheaper nosebleed seats straight back from the stage as opposed to the more expensive seats on the side (still on the second level).

My vision isn’t the best, but my hearing is pretty good and I try to be careful about loud noise. About a mile from the house, I realized I’d forgotten my ear plugs. I was running a little late and figured we’d be high enough that I wouldn’t need them. Heh, yeah, not so much.

The show featured three bands, Cavo (which we missed in favor of a quick dinner), Lifehouse and Daughtry. As soon as Lifehouse came on stage, I knew I was in trouble as much from the pounding base and screaming guitars as the screeching teenagers too my right.

Ok, let’s just say it. I’m old. I know it. I’ve never minded when people sing a long with a band, I do (although I try to keep my vocals to a low volume), but screaming not singing, SCREAMING while the band is playing drives me batty. Shriek all you want between songs, but while they are playing, I’d like to hear the band. Thanks.

Two songs in, I broke my cardinal rule of getting up during a band’s set to head for the bathroom. In the ladies room, the bass vibrated the concrete walls. Again, I’m old, but when the structure I’m in is shaking because of the sound, it might be time to turn the levels down just a smidge. I spied a machine on the wall. You know, the ones that NEVER work when you are in desperate need of a pad or a tampon. Fortunately, this arena is fairly new and I was rewarded with a tampon in exchange for my shiny quarter.

There was a gaggle of women crowding the sinks to hear one of their comrades in cleavage relay her latest man trouble, so I headed outside. I can’t imagine what a casual passerby thought of the woman deconstructing a tampon by the ketchup dispensers. When you get down to it. Tampons are cotton, shredded and balled up, it makes an adequate noise dampener.

I headed back to my seat, and waited with the usher for another break in the music. I guess I was gone longer than I thought because A-Man looked a little concerned upon my return. I offered him a set of home made earplugs, but surprisingly, he declined. I managed to survive Lifehouse’s set and by the time Daughtry took the stage, I was able to snag the seat on A-Man’s left putting more distance between me and the screaming meemees. Lifehouse gave a good performance, and while Daughtry wasn’t as good a showman as some acts I’ve seen, he and the band put on a solid performance.

We weren’t the oldest in attendance, but we were in the ahem generational minority. With three bands, the show started at 7:30 and Daughtry finally closed at 11pm. I can’t say I didn’t get my money’s worth but 11pm on a work night is well . . . late. We didn’t get home. Oy, in the immortal words of Lethal Weapon’s Roger Murtaugh, “I’m too old for this sh*t.”

Item number one on my Murtaugh list. I’m too old to attend rock concerts.

Special thanks to Jane Boursaw of Reel Life with Jane and Film Gecko for connecting me to the CBS promo people who kindly sent me the above photo.