Friday, June 27, 2008

Flag. Tank. Bomb. Fail.

We took our quiz last night, and OMG, it was bad. It was so bad I was ready to throw something, anything, just to relieve the frustration. It was so bad that my overall class grade dropped four freakin' percentage points. It was so bad that I need a new word for "flunk."

Looking back over the answers, we decided that we're collectively a giant dumbass. We missed the same questions, although had different answers for one of them, which I guess is good, if we're going to miss any of them, in that it's proof that we don't cheat.

One of the questions though, had an answer that was so sublimely ridiculous that we both e-mailed our instructor to question it. If I had only known the phrase, "I reject the premise of the question!" in my undergrad years, things might have been a lot different.

Our quiz reaction styles were a bit off last night...we had a role reversal of sorts. Normally I take one look at the quiz and devolve into sheer panic, verging on hyperventilating while gasping, "I...can'" Not so last night. M blew his gasket 15 minutes into the 2-hour quiz while I remained calm and blissfully ignorant of the fact that I was going down in flames. I watched my husband melt down before my eyes during the quiz, which was not fun. He watched his wife melt down before his eyes after the quiz, when she got her grade and was no longer blisfully ignorant, which I'm sure was not fun for him.

I haven't cried over a grade in years. Of course, I haven't tanked a quiz in years, either. Ahhhh, takes me back to my Rolla days when I was deluding myself into thinking I could be an engineer. Especially that last semester when my mid-term GPA was .8. Not 3.8 or even 2.8. Nope. A big, fat, whopping zero.8. Let's just say that wasn't one I proudly phoned home. "Memories...misty watercolor memories...of the way...we weeeeere..."

Wait, I take that back. I did cry over a grade recently, when we got 0/100 because we had the wrong friggin' textbook. That was a bad night. This poor grade, though, was solely our own fault. We were just downright stoopid.

We finally settled down and, at midnight, began slogging through the next chapter in the text. Because, you know, midnight is a great time to start studying. I'm really failing to see how being able to calculate the current value of a stock given it's required rate of return, risk-free market rate, last year's dividend, expected growth rate and beta is ever going to help me run a day spa, but here I am. Actually, it's a good thing I won't need that to run a spa, because according to last night's quiz, I still don't know how to do it.

Went to sleep sometime after midnight after realizing that I had fallen asleep reading the text and woke up to the news this morning that the Pin Oak Levee in Winfield, Missouri, fell at around 5:30. 100 homes in danger of flooding; entire town is being evacuated.

Sorta puts things in perspective, doesn't? Stupid quiz.

My day was considerably brightened with the news that our archbishop has been promoted right out of St. Louis. I heard it on NPR as I was getting ready for work and called M with the update. He said, "You're doing a little happy dance right now, aren't you?" Why yes, yes I am.

Things are definitely looking up. My home is dry, the archbishop is packing for Rome, and at least the quiz is over for the week.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Whodunnit? Me. I dunnit all. On Tuesday.

I'm being a very neglectful blogger these days, and I don't mean to's just the circumstances.

Few things going on:
  1. Taking my remaining two spas live with new software Tuesday.
  2. Launching my new (spa) web site Tuesday.
  3. Introducing on-line booking on the new site Tuesday.
  4. Rolling out a new spa rewards program Tuesday. (Tuesday is a big day for me. Wednesday I'll either be happily relieved or desperately trying to re-assemble the wreckage that was my spa's technology base.)
  5. School, which next week involves not only the usual reading, homework, discussion and quiz, but also the mid-term. Grrrrr. Thanks for scheduling that all at once, Nigel. (Nigel is my prof, whom most students call "Professor" but whom I'm so tempted to call "Nige.")
  6. Dealing with this insanely stupid wrist immobilizer. Like the boot, I'm learning to work around it, and the cyst has indeed gone down so I suppose it's working, but still. I am getting quite proficient at mousing left-handed, I must say.
Yesterday was my Circle of Women luncheon that benefitted the YWCA's St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center. It was really lovely, and for such a good cause. Many, many thanks to the special women who attended with me. My first year as a Table Captain was a success! Thanks to all of you, my table raised $1,050 for the Center!

Anyway, it's been a crazy few days, and only promises to get worse with the pending launches, but I did want to log in and let you know that yes, I'm still alive. We worked our arses off the last couple nights, though, and got our reading, homework and discussion done early, so I'm taking tonight to read an old Agatha Christie mystery novel. It's nice to read something that is pure brain candy. I'm not learning anything, or contemplating anything, or relating anything to this or that. I'm just reading and enjoying, and trying to figure out just what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Ravenscroft before Hercule Poirot does. Bliss.

Although I'm about ready to hurl something at M, as he's in full-on Christmas planning mode so here we are, nearing July, and Christmas carols are floating up out of his laptop and across the table. I love it when people say in late October, "Can you believe Christmas stuff is out already? It gets earlier every year!" You people have no idea. At my house, it's all Christmas, all the time.

Dammit. Now I've got Carol of the Bells stuck in my head.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The news is just full of P

We took our weekly quiz tonight and decided to relax by reading some news on the internet. I read about the floods, and that Jamie Lynn Spears has apparently given birth to a girl (really, is that news? I think not), and that the Cubbies were swept by the Rays. I read about a multitude of interesting topics, but two of them really make me shake my head and ask, "WTF?"

First: Pluto. All through school (grade school, high school, college) I was taught that Pluto is the ninth planet. I memorized all the planets and know little facts about them, and their order in the solar system. Then, last year, the foundation of my knowledge was shattered when some asshole astronomers voted Pluto out of the International Federation of Planets and demoted it to some sort of nameless unplanetlike entity. This week they decided it's a plutoid, which makes me think that it took 'em a whole year to come up with a catchy name they thought would stick. Well, they're astronomers, so I should cut them some slack in that department. They're probably not real creative when it comes to naming celestial bodies.

Anyway, this whole plutoid thing is asinine, really. The damn thing has been known as a planet all these years, and if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Let sleeping dogs lie. Really, we're all just fine with Pluto being a planet and not a plutoid. Does classifying it as a plutoid somehow change our world in any way? Is there now a peace deal in the middle east? Is it helping us find bin Laden? Has the plutoid suddenly thrown its superdelegate votes to Hillary? No? Then leave it be and don't force textbook publishers all over the world to correct their otherwise solid resources, and parents to have to glumly tell their children that what they thought for all these years was a planet, isn't.

M agrees wholeheartedly, as every time this subject comes up he just endlessly repeats, "Pluto is a planet." The "dammit" on the end is implied. While an overt statement of denial, it also sounds a wee bit like he's trying to convince himself that yes, Pluto is still, indeed, a planet.

I have a feeling our daughter will be raised under the notion that Pluto is a planet, and will fail her 4th grade planet test because she'll insist there's no such thing as a plutoid. And she'll get suspended for writing "dammit" after that statement.

Second: Pregnancy Pacts. It appears that 17 dipshit high school girls in Massachusetts formed a pregnancy pact and are now all expecting babies together. The fathers are boys in their school and men in their twenties, including one who is suspected of being homeless. OMG. What in the hell is going on? Apparently there needs to be some sort of better health education curriculum in that school.

Or maybe they were just all consumed with the "is Pluto a planet or a plutoid" question to notice that their students were being stupid f-ing idiots.

I was not going to post today, as I've struggled all day with this damn wrist immobilizer (although I have to admit I am getting used to it), but after reading about former planet Pluto the plutoid and pregnancy pacts, I just couldn't keep my mouth shut. As I read snippets of the articles out loud to M and we laughed far too much (probably from relief that the homework, discussion questions and quiz are done for the week, in time for the weekend, wahoo!) we decided together that commentary on this information is indeed blog-worthy. So here I am, gamely typing away with my lame wrist, upon which I have a cyst (I'm calling it the wrist cyst, because it sounds rather catchy that way).

So much for my self-imposed blog hiatus to rest my wrist cyst. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Involuntary southpaw

About a month ago, I developed some pain in my right wrist. Being the idiot that I am, I ignored it and figured it would eventually go away. I painted my darkroom primarily with my left hand, and started using it for things like opening doors and beer bottles (you know, the important stuff).

Then, Sunday, I noticed a bump on my right wrist. Okay, so now maybe that needs some attention.

Yesterday I visited my primary care physician, who diagnosed a ganglian cyst, which sounds much worse than it is. Typically you stick a needle in it and drain off the fluid and go about your business, maybe with a wrist immobilizer for a couple two three days. I did some research and it turns out in the olden days they'd just thump 'em real hard with a bible to get rid of 'em (which is why they're sometimes still called bible bumps), but people stopped doing that when they figured out they might actually be causing more injury (ya think?!).

The doc numbed the skin and brought out a needle. I'm not afraid of needles, being a long-time blood donor, but it's not something I generally enjoy watching. I turned my head away and studied the black and white print of a tree on the far wall.

I then felt the most excruciating pain of my life, barring the time I had dry socket. It was instant, searing pain. I started crying without being able to help it, which is an odd feeling. The tears just poured out, and I'm pretty sure the part of my body that didn't have a needle sticking out of it jumped about three feet. The doctor said, "Oooooo."

Not exactly inspiring confidence.

After a few seconds of mind-numbing pain, he withdrew the needle. "Um, yeah. I couldn't get anything. You're gonna have to go see an orthopedic surgeon."

%^$@. I feel like I just got out of the freakin' boot and now I gotta go back.

So off I went today to the ortho, who diagnosed the same thing as the primary, only he was smart enough to not anger it by poking it with a big, fat needle. That's the second step if step one doesn't work.

What's step one, you ask? Well, yours truly is now sporting a black wrist immobilizer and takes Naproxen twice daily, with food. Fun.

The immobilizer is more of a pain in the ass than anything. It's hard to type. I keep hitting wrong buttons on the keyboard and bringing up the Mac's search option, or highlighting and then erasing much of what I've just written. I also just brought up the source code for the blog inadvertently, which is interesting, a little scary, and not at all what I meant to do. All this stuff that keeps happening while I'm trying to type is highly infuriating and not conducive to my mental well-being. I'm mousing with my left hand now, which is easier than I expected, but slow, which is also infuriating to someone who is used to working quickly on a computer.

So I guess what I'm saying is that I'm gonna have to lay off typing on the blog a whole lot for the next couple weeks. I'm to limit my computer usage, which is hilarious given that 99.9% of my day job involves working on the computer, and once I get home then I have to do homework for school, on the computer. Something's gotta give, and unfortunately the two things I can give up right now are photography and blogging. You know, the two fun things on the computer.

Okay, I've almost just lost my entire post for the gajillionth time, giving me yet another heart attack, so I'm gonna sign off now. If I feel up to it, I'll try to throw something up. If you find you really need some of my wit and wisdom (or whatever the hell it is I post here), gimme a call. I'll use my left hand to answer the phone.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Toot toot!

We've had some roof issues here at the spa lately, which isn't good given all the rain this spring. Every time it rains we've got estheticians and massage therapists popping into all the administrative offices, "Ummmmm, my ceiling is leaking? And it's dripping on my client? And I don't really know what to doooo?"

In some spas, a gentle drip of fluid (typically some exotic oil) on a client is actually part of a service. I proposed we should market it as such and charge extra, but more rational heads prevailed and the roofer was called to come out for repairs.

So they're here today, three big roofing trucks with multiple roofers (I don't know how many there are...they've been up there since 6:30 a.m., when I was most definitely not here yet). They used tall ladders on the back of the building to get up there, and so have their area marked off with yellow "CAUTION" tape, which just so happens to extend into my field of view out my office's picture window. It's a new sight to behold and looks rather crime-scene-ish. Groovy. I'm trying to think of some juicy rumors to start, and am considering bringing in Zoe's sidewalk chalk tomorrow to make a chalk outline of a body (the roofers are here all week, so I've got plenty of time).

So they're up there working away, and every once in awhile we'll hear what I'm assuming is a big drill being used. Quite frankly, it sounds like someone's letting loose a giant toot. Which means I, of course, giggle every time it happens. I can't help it. It's like when I hear the word "fart." It just makes me laugh. My sense of humor is sophmoric. I know this, and I embrace it. Love the Three Stooges, Mr. Bean, all that sort of stuff. I realize this makes me an anomaly among women, but so be it. Some things are just intrinsically funny.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find my whoopie cushion and fake vomit.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

If a million trees fall in my yard...

The pin oaks in our front yard went to town last fall with producing acorns. There were a freakin' ton out there. M picked up a lot, but there was only one of him and about a gajillion squirrels burying them faster than he could collect them. He fought a good fight, but in the end, the squirrels (and the acorns) won.

That set up, combined with all the rain this spring, means we have a veritable tree farm in our front yard. Each week thousands of little teeny tiny trees sprout up from the lawn. For reasons I don't remember (probably rain, rain and more rain), M went about a week and a half between lawn mows. He normally mows every weekend.

Which means the trees had a chance to grow. Really, really grow.

One morning we made plans for him to mow the lawn right after work. That day, as I was pulling out to go to work myself, I saw how the morning light played across those colorful little leaves. I figured he was gonna fell all those leaves that night, so I stopped the car, got out and grabbed a few shots.

Glad I did, because he mowed as planned, and by that evening the lawn was back to looking like a golf course again. Of course, I called him Paul Bunyon for a couple days...

P.S. Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.
P.P.S. Happy Birthday to Steve and Shawn.
P.P.P.S. Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad Z.
P.P.P.P.S OMG could we have had any more things to celebrate this weekend?!

Friday, June 13, 2008

A sad day for journalists

America, the world in fact, lost a great journalist today.


I've been looking forward to watching the election this year under the guidance (and entertainment) of Tim Russert. In a world where Paris Hilton's dog gets regular headlines, and most people don't understand what politicos' promises really mean (or don't mean), Mr. Russert regularly brought good, objective coverage of American politics to all economic levels of society. He's one of the few out there who don't embarrass those of us who have earned journalism degrees.

My heart goes out to his wife and son, and the rest of his family.

Rest in peace, Tim.

Yo, Foghorn Leghorn

Super Secret Message to M:

Dude, go see the ENT doctor and get yourself on those nifty allergy shots that make life worth living again. We both need good, actual sleep at night.

That is all.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Unfortunately, it was an exciting night

Ugh. Work and school are kicking my ass right now. They're both going extremely's just all very time-consuming.

I've had some trouble sleeping the past week or two, which is nothing new to me, having battled insomnia on and off since college. Normally, while most people are sleeping, I'm laying there thinking things like this:

"What's on my things-to-do list for tomorrow...I need to make sure the new Spa Rewards program is set up, and write the instructional memo for the spa coordinators, and same with the new on-line booking program, and did EJ ever respond to my list of things that needs to happen for the new site to go live July 1? I don't think so. I should call him. I have all travel plans for my software trainers to come in set, but need to create the schedule for pick-ups/drop-offs, meals, etc. It'll be much the same as last time, but I'm not taking them to Villa Farotta because we just had that meal with the consultant there Sunday night and I wasn't impressed. I hope that asshole consultant isn't in tomorrow...if I see him one more time I think I might beat him silly. I wonder if I'd have enough time to run errands over lunch tomorrow. I still have gifts to buy. Let's see: Steve's birthday, Shawn's birthday, Mom and Dad's anniversary, Father's Day times three...did we get Father's Day squared away with the dads? Maybe Zoe and I can run out when M is cutting the grass tomorrow night. I need to get her in the water more or those swim lessons will be for naught. Mental note: check on-line for open swim times at The Lodge tomorrow. Crap, that'll shoot my lunch break as far as studying goes. I think the homework went remarkably well tonight. How again do I calculate the future value of an ordinary annuity?"

Meanwhile M is sawing logs next to me, blissfully unaware of the running monologue in my head about the gajillion things I needed to get done yesterday.

So that's what normally keeps me awake. But I've determined this week that it's not just my over-active brain. M is doing his share.

For instance, two nights ago, just as I was falling asleep, he bolted upright in bed with that sharp intake of air that you have when you're suprised and scared at once. This, of course, makes me bolt up, "What? What's wrong? You okay?" He told me that there was a large dumptruck wheel coming right towards us, with, you know, a dumptruck hanging off the end of it. Okaaaaay.

I'd say he went right back to sleep after that, but since he never really woke up (and didn't remember any of it the next morning) that would be inaccurate. Meanwhile, I laid there, heart pounding, thinking, "That doesn't make any sense. How is the dumptruck hanging off the end of its wheel?" Ridiculous, I know. I'd be willing to pay money to just turn off my brain for a bit sometimes.

Last night I decided to hedge my bets, and took an over the counter sleep aid before retiring for the night. Ahhh, bliss.

Until M rolled over and inadvertently slammed his giant, 2-ton hand down right on my boob. Oh. My. God. Guys, that's the female version of taking one in the family jewels. I wound up out of bed, writhing around on the floor while M sleepily said, "Wuh? Wuh's goin' on? Why're you down there? Come back to bed."

I climbed back to bed and, after the pain finally ebbed away, fell back asleep. Some time later, I don't know when, M woke me up to tell me we lost power. You know, in case I wanted to don my electrician's belt and go out to restore it.

At this point, I started getting grumpy.

After awhile, he asked where some blankets were so he could toss them over the screeching battery back-up on the sump pump downstairs, which whines horribly just to let us know that despite the absence of Ameren-supplied power, it's working away for us.

Now, when M asks where something is (actually, when any husband asks where something is), the wife just goes and gets it. It's not worth having this conversation:

"Where is X?"
"It's in the linen closet, left side, second shelf down, halfway back on the right right behind the toilet paper."
"I can't find it."

Despite the most detailed directions possible, I'll end up having to go get it anyway, so I might as well go as soon as he asks where something is.

We got up, I grabbed the flashlight, and we padded downstairs. After retrieving the blankets we headed into the storage area and the screeching pump. It is impossible to think when that thing is wailing away. M, of course, decides this is an opportune time to inspect the pump and generally just get to know it. I, of course, snarl, "Put the damn blankets on and come on!"

We douse the screaming alarm and head back upstairs. I offer to set the alarm on my watch since we no longer have functioning alarm clocks. He offers to go get his cell phone and set the alarm on that. Fine. He comes back minutes later, "Um, I left both cell phones in Zoe's room last night, when we were putting her down."

^&$@#. Why the &%$@ did you take my cell phone in there? I left it on the counter for a reason. Great, I say, I guess we'll just get up when one of them gets an e-mail and wakes up Zoe.

I set the watch alarm and try to go back to sleep. Within minutes I can hear one of the phones vibrating in her room. Crikey. Someone's calling or e-mailing us before 6 a.m. Then I hear the "PING!" that happens when a voice message is left. I cringe and wait for Zoe to start, "Mooooooommy! Moooooooommy!" Thankfully, she slept through it. Or only woke up momentarily, as evidenced by our getting her up later and her telling us that the phone rang. I shot death glares at M when she said that. He looked guilty and slinked out of the room, carrying the offending cell phones with him.

So, my pharmaceutical-aided attempt at getting a decent night's sleep was foiled once again by the husband. And people wonder why I don't mind his travel schedule.

Power came back on as I was stepping into the shower shortly before 6.

And so starts another day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Beautiful Girl

It shocks the hell out of me that my baby isn't a baby any more.

I think she's beautiful.

Ominous clouds

Wonderful clouds again yesterday.

Took this out the moonroof of my car, sitting at the light at Manchester and Kirkwood. Which reaffirms my decision to take the camera darn near everywhere with me now. I'd still be kicking myself if I hadn't been able to get this. Or worse, if I'd been forced to use the BlackBerry's camera to capture it.

The storm clouds passed us by and did not dump their fury on our area.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Doodlebug = Shutterbug

While Daddy played in the dirt yesterday, Mommy and Zozo went shopping. We went to the fabric store, which was like a flashback to my childhood, going with my mom. I remember feeling all the beautiful material, and absolutely loving the notions department. I remember my mom pouring over pattern books, and then cutting all the little pieces out of the giant, flimsy sheet that was neatly tucked into the little packet she chose. Straight pins held paper to fabric, and after awhile a form would emerge. Her ability to create something out of some yards of fabric still amazes's a skill I have tried a couple times to learn but have never been able to. I eventually decided I should probably just stick with photography.

So why, you are probably asking, did I go to the fabric store?

Velvet. Black velvet.

No, I'm not into painting Elvis or dogs playing poker. I need it to make photographs (of course). I had been using an old navy blue sheet as a background for still lifes (still lives?), which worked remarkably better than I had predicted. Still, I was spending an inordinate amount of time burning in the background to get it to go dark, and it's ridiculous to keep doing that when $12.75 will get you a yard of perfectly black background. (Yeah, Ma, I know I probably overpaid for it, but dang it, I don't know my way around a fabric store like you do, and I at least did look through the remnants bin and didn't find anything...)

Zozer and I were so excited with our purchase that we hurried home and set up our first shoot. We carefully composed and cropped and arranged. At one point, both of us were balancing precariously on the stepstool and hanging on to the tripod for dear life. I handled focusing and exposure details, she managed pushing the button on the cable relase for the shutter. It was a true creative collaboration. I adore the look of excitement she gets when she hears the shutter trip...I'm creating another shutterbug.

Here's our photograph:

After making our image, we waited for the green light to go off on the back of the D100, which meant that it was finished writing the enormous RAW file to the flashcard (it was Zozer's job to watch the light and tell Mommy when it went off - "Not on, Mommy!"). Then we turned off the D100, opened the little door in back and removed the card. Zoe closed the door and off we headed to the Mac. Zoe loved watching all the "little Hoots" transfer from the card to the harddrive.

We sat here together and flipped through the images, finally deciding which one we thought was best exposed, then pulled it up full screen.

FYI, it's incredibly hard to adjust curves and levels, sharpen and the like when you have a small child constantly trying to kiss the screen. She was so excited to see a "biiiiig" Hoot on the screen, and at one point went and retrieved our subject matter off his black velvet background to show him. The real Hoot kissed the digital Hoot a few times, too.

I wanted to shoot Hoot quickly because this is actually Hoot 4 of 4. He's just made his appearance this weekend, as Hoot 3 of 4 is now broken in and was in need of some R&R. 4 of 4, as you can tell by the creative numbering system, is the final in the series of back-up Hoots. After 4 of 4 gets his real world experience, we'll start rotating them regularly. Sorta like the tires on your car. They''ll all last longer if they all have a chance. So I wanted to document the last "new" Hoot before he got all loved up and abused. I plan to document 1, 2 and 3 this week, as well, in their various states of usage. 1 of 4 is, by far, the most worn, as you'll see. I'll have to shoot them after Zozer goes to bed, of course. If she flipped over having a Hoot in the hand and one on the screen, she'd go bonkers if she had four real ones at once.

Funny story about the fabric the fabric store lady was cutting my velvet and writing my ticket, two little old ladies shuffled over with their bolts. These were women from the motherland, wherever that might be. I'm thinking Russia, but it could as easily have been Croatia or the like. They wore long skirts and had scarves wrapped around their heads. The lines etched in their faces told the stories of long, hard lives. They were kind and good spirited, and smiled at my little imp wandering through the aisles of bolts playing peek-a-boo. One of the women flipped over the corner of my black velvet and felt it with her gnarled fingers. She smiled, then looked at me and gave me a thumbs up.

I didn't have the heart to tell her I can't sew a stitch.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Pentax Spotmatic

A few years ago, people started giving me the old cameras they found in their homes. "Here, I thought you might want this." They guessed I would like them because I love all things photographic. They were right.

So I've built quite a collection of old Brownies and Polaroids and some various point & shoots. I even have a disc camera from the 80s. Remember those? Whoever thought it was a great idea to shoot photographs on film that was smaller than a dime should be shot. And not with a camera.

They resided on the mantel for awhile, and got lots of attention there, until M started making comments about how other people lived in this house, too, and wouldn't it be nice if one of the main focal points of our home reflected the family, not just my hobby. Picky picky. The cameras were moved to the top of my computer armoire (you can see them in the photograph of my workspace from last month), and we haven't had a decent-looking mantel since. Except for Christmas, when we have little lighted houses in fake snow.

I've been meaning to get them all down and give them a good dusting, and possibly arrange them on the mantel again (when M isn't around), but I just haven't gotten to it. A few other things on my plate, I guess you could say.

And then an old colleague popped back into work the other day to say hello to everyone, and she brought me a new old camera. She and her husband recently retired and are preparing to move to Colorado. They're cleaning out their home here in The Lou, and their farmhouse out in the boonies somewhere south of here. That's where they were last weekend when Rick pulled a musty old bag from the top of a long-forgotten closet. "I guess we better just throw this away, huh?" Chris responded, "No! I know someone who will want that!"

So I'm now the proud owner of a heavily used Pentax Spotmatic, complete with three moldy lenses, a camera bag that is in such bad shape Chris had to place the whole thing in a plastic grocery bag to bring it to me, and a metal film canister that was fixed to the strap with black electrical tape.

I brought it home today and shot it, because, well, because I guess I wanted to share it.

Whoever used this camera used it like it was meant to be used: a lot, and hard. Those old cameras have rugged metal bodies and are built like tanks. The edges of all three lenses have slight dings and are no longer perfectly round, which means they were dropped a few times.

O, how I would love to meet the person that owned that camera!

rd = r* + IP + DRP + LP + MRP

Many apologies for not posting yesterday. It seems that the first week of Financial Management is much harder than I anticipated. Much of it is review from accounting, but some of it is brand spankin' new. Like calculating corporate tax liability given interest and dividends (received and paid). And bond yield given inflation premium, the real risk-free rate (catchily termed r* - which the author of our text book felt necessary to tell us is pronounced "r-star"), default risk premium, liquidity premium and maturity risk premium.

It's pretty easy when you realize
rd = r* + IP + DRP + LP + MRP

Mmmmmm. I loves me some alphabet soup.

So our typical evening goes a little something like this:
  1. Get home from work, pick up Zozer. (5:30-5:45ish)
  2. Make, eat and clean up dinner. (6:30)
  3. Play with Zozer. (7:45)
  4. Bathe Zozer and do the nightly routine (brush teeth, naked baby run, lotion on the bay-bay, kiss animals goodnight, fly Owl around the room, hugs and kisses, sweet dreams) (8:00)
  5. Immediately head into dining room, open the laptop and the textbook, and groan. (8:05)
  6. Work on homework for 3.5 to 4 hours. (12 - 12:30 a.m.)
  7. Compare notes, then get into an argument over the definition of intrinsic stock price because we think about things differently and, because it's now after midnight and we're exhausted, we have no tolerance for anything the other person might say that's even one letter different from what we've written. (12:31)
  8. Fall into bed (12:45), then fight the urge to throw the alarm clock against the wall when it goes off (5:45 a.m.)

It's not all that bad, really, and I know that the rest of the term won't be like this (for example, this first week involved four chapters, whereas all the rest involve two at this most). So I'm holding out hope that I'll be able to make images again soon and play in my digital darkroom.

Some Zoe highlights, for the Zoe Fans out there (and so I can get this stuff documented so I don't forget):

  1. She calls trashcans "trashtrans."
  2. She loves to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and substitute names for "star." "Twinkle twinkle little Mommy! Twinkle twinkle little Daddy! Twinkle twinkle little Hootie!" She cracks herself up with each one.
  3. She wakes up each morning and tells us that she slept well, but Hoot snored.
  4. We got a coupon from PetSmart in the mail a couple days ago, offering a free birthday gift for our cat (with a purchase of $10 or more, natch). Zoe saw it and, before we knew it, was laying on her belly on the floor in the kitchen, personally singing Happy Birthday to Max. He looked nonplussed.
  5. She pronounces birthday, "birsday."
  6. Peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches are "peter-jelly sandwiches." And they are her favorite.
  7. Her favorite song is still Snow by The Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  8. She wears hair barrettes every day, and must pick them out herself. This week she's taken to wearing her hair clipped up in a messy French roll, with little curls falling out here and there. It's adorable.
  9. She announced last week, "I love clothes." Yet, she's never happier than when she's running naked through the house.
  10. Her new favorite thing to do is hang out on Mommy and Daddy's bed and make Pillow Houses. Whereas she crawls inside and then instructs us, "Look for Zoe!"

Well, I've eaten my Cheerios (the smallest person in my home decided a couple weeks ago that Raisin Bran is now her favorite cereal, which means we're all out of Raisin Bran and now Mommy is relegated to eating Zoe's Cheerios, but Mommy cheats and dumps a boatload of sugar on them to make them palatable) and updated the blog, so it's off to one of our other locations to get 'em all trained up on the new spa software that I just had to insist we get all those months ago. Stupid technological advancements.

Might actually be able to play in the darkroom tonight, as we completed and submitted our homework last night (well, this morning, at 12:30). It'll be nice to have a night off.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Grumpy McGrumperson. That's me.

Between the new class (that's kicking our collective ass, by the way, with four long chapters of assigned reading, multiple homework questions and problems that involve a lot of writing and setting up calculations and graphs in Excel, responding to the discussion forum question about InBev's potential hostile bid for A-B and then responding to classmates' responses, and a quiz...all in the first week) and converting our other two locations to the new software (yes, at the same time) (yes, I'm stupid for even attempting it) (especially while I'm in class) (d'oh!), I haven't had much time to shoot or play around in Photoshop.

I did start running again this week, though. My foot hurts. Not the broken one. The other one. Figures.

I'm hoping I can get a grip on this homework stuff and work a little more efficiently after the first week or so, which would give me much-needed time in my digital darkroom and to read some new photography books I have. I still have one left from The Orland Collection purchased last month, and now the catalog book from the Gordon Parks exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum.

Sigh. The last two weeks we had off seem like years ago, already.

This is part of my Shots Out My Car Window On The Way To Work Since I Don't Have Time To Really Shoot Portfolio.


Monday, June 02, 2008

FINC 5000

Started a new class today. Financial Management.

'Nuf said.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Terrifying experience...not so bad

Yesterday morning was Zoe's first swim lesson. We were very excited about this, and talked about it all week. "Swim lesson! Going swimming! At The Lodge!" Wahoo!

The first kink in the plan happened when M's flight was canceled and he was stranded in West Kingston, RI, overnight, thereby guaranteeing he would miss the first lesson. Shoulda known then things might be a little sticky.

Thankfully, Auntie Stef filled in as bag-watcher and photographer for the morning, gamely taking D100 instructions from me ("This is the zoom, this is the shutter. Push half-way down to focus, all the way down to shoot. Hold it steady because I had to put the giant-ass telephoto on so we won't be specks.") and wishing us luck.

We headed down to the pool, where Zozo surveyed the water, talked about swimming some more, and then practiced jumping over the crack in the concrete under our feet. All was well until, well, until it was time to actually get in the water.

We started our first lesson in the small wading pool, because it's warmer and because there aren't a million other people around. Zoe didn't care either way and stayed veryclose to Mommy. She was given a dive stick by her instructor, Ms. Kendra, and she practiced throwing it about three feet away and then cautiously, and only with holding Mommy's hand, going out to retrieve it.

Then we transferred to the big pool. This was not good. Commence freaking. Zozer became the human equivalent of a stubborn barnacle on the SS Mommy. There was absolutely no peeling her off, which meant that while other children were doing "the starfish" and laying spread-eagle (supported, of course, by their parents) in the water, my child was screaming, "NoNoNoNoNoNo! Get out now!" and gripping me with the fervor of the last person on the last lifeboat of the Titanic.

Ms. Kendra and I tried various things, but the best we could accomplish was half a starfish at any one time. Zoe would either do the arms part or the legs part, but there was no way in hell she was doing both. At least half of her appendages at all times had to be wrapped around Mommy.

Finally, near the end of the lesson, Ms. Kendra taught us all a new song for the "submersion" portion of the lesson. I'm sure I thought the same thing Zoe did when she heard "submersion." "Oh heeeeeeell no." I did nothing more than some gentle bouncing, which Zoe most certainly did not care for either ("No bounce, Mommy! Get out! Go see Auntie Stef!"), but sang the song anyway.

That's when it hit me. Music. Duh. I felt like a dumbass and all-around failure as a mother. I know that my child loves music, and that it soothes her, and I didn't remember it out until the lesson was almost over. I moved away from the group and softly sang Zozer's favorite children's songs to her, swishing back and forth in the water. The tears stopped, the grip loosened, and I actually got some smiles.

Then, naturally, it was time to get out of the water. Ms. Kendra suggests we get her in the water as much as possible, which we shall definitely do, armed with a heavy knowledgebase of Zozer's favorite tunes. Itsy Bitsy Spider seems to work best while in the water, just in case you ever find yourself stranded with Zoe in a giant indoor pool filled with loud, splashing children.

After all that, when I had Zoe out of the pool and was toweling her off on the pool deck, she looked back at the water, then back at me, sighed and said, "Mommy? It's not so bad..." I suppose that's all subjective, eh?

We've already talked about going back next week and she says she's game. Meanwhile, I'm practicing Itsy Bitsy Spider daily.

Many, many, many thanks to Stef for filling in last-minute so we'd have still footage of this momentous occasion, and so M could see images when he got home. You did a stellar job, sweetie, working with a telephoto lens and no tripod, low light, moving subjects and through a window. In appreciation, I'm posting your arty shot of the primary colors that I'm sure caught your eye even more than the cute swim instructor.