Say Cheese

I love taking pictures.  I have always loved it.  I am not a professional by any means, but it is a little hobby of mine.

My dad liked to take pictures.  He had a Vivitar SLR camera that he took to Disney World when I was nine.  I remember being so interested in that camera – the weight of it, the feeling of looking through the viewfinder, and the connection we had because I admired the camera so much.  

When I was in junior high, my dad got me this great little camera that took a disc instead of a film roll.  It was a lot like the little Canon Digital Elph point and shoot cameras of today.  It fit perfectly in a back pack and was fun to use!  Plus, if you looked really closely at the disk film, it looked like little, itty bitty photo slides.  Coolness for a very gawky time of life.

In high school, I got another camera.  It was a Kodak film camera – the real film, not a disk, and I remember settling into my dark closet and putting the film it in so I didn’t expose any of it (because sometimes I could get more than 24 pics on a roll if I did that – score!)   I was on the staff of the school paper and by my junior year, when I moved to Ohio, I got a Canon Rebel SLR for me.  Unfortunately, there was not a school paper at my new school, but I loved that camera.

When I got to college, my major was journalism with a minor in English literature and another minor in (drum roll here) photojournalism.  The good thing was that I got two photography classes in.  Bad thing was we had to use slides.  Right around that time, and before the end of my freshman year, the university removed the photojournalism option for a college minor.  If one wanted the photojournalism degree, it had to be their major in the school of the arts. So back to taking pictures for fun.

One of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. Ever. It was also pouring down rain. She is beautiful, isn't she?

Which leads me to today.  I like taking pictures. I like cameras.  I still have my original Canon SLR, but I also have two Canon Rebel DSLRs (one I am selling) and a Canon Digital Elph (for my pocket).  I also am into digital video editing, and teach Broadcast journalism at school along with updating the district’s webpage. Whew.

In my post about being a digital hoarder, I mentioned I have over 25,000 pics in my iPhoto.  My kids are the subjects in most, and are never surprised when the camera comes out and I chime, “Say cheese!”  They now roll their eyes at me, but smile all the same.

But I want to get better at taking pictures so this past summer and fall, I took two digital photography courses with DSLRs.  They were really informative and sparked a new level in taking pics for me.  It was time for me to do something for me, which can be very hard sometimes for moms to separate ourselves from our little ones.  I knew it was time to rediscover what I liked about photography so long ago – and find out how to push myself to taking better pictures – manually instead of relying on auto.

iPhone pic of Squishy drawing.

On my blog, I try and take most of the pictures I post with my articles.  I am somewhat of a freakish purist.  However, my neighbor two doors down wasn’t home last night so I had to use Disney pictures of the witch from Snow White instead.  Just kidding.  Kind of… I do find that it is so easy to take shots with my iPhone on Hipstamatic (which I love).  I also adore the fact the iPhone pictures float through “the cloud” and land on my laptop in iPhoto – ready for my blog.  Hooray!  Photos made easy!

I know I should use pictures I take with my DSLR, but sometimes I am just a little lazy.  There are days when I just don’t feel like uploading them, editing them if needed and all of that hoorah.  Maybe next week.

But, hey, it is pretty outside so I am going to call it a day and run and take some pictures of my dudes with my real camera for a change.

Say cheese!

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Digital Hoarder

I think I may be a hoarder.  A digital hoarder.

At first I thought I might be turning into a real hoarder – of stupid stuff.  I was cleaning out the unfinished side of our basement and found many random things.  The difference is that I really don’t give a crap about most of this odd assortment of basement junk – I just want to rid it from my house.  I have a post drafted about these items, almost as a farewell send off as they go on their merry adventure to Goodwill or the Salvation Army.  But, these items are nothing compared to the digital “stuff” I have.

The truth of the matter is I hoard all things technology including, but not limited to, digital photos, data CDs, data DVDs and relics of different, more gentle, technology time period.

Digital Photos:  It doesn’t matter if it is a good picture, but if someone takes a digital photo of my child, I want the photo. Even if it is God awful garbage, I want it.  I feel like I need it.  It is my right, right?  If I take the boys to have their pictures taken, like maybe to Sears Portrait Studio, I buy the CD.  I never do a gosh-darn thing with it, but I have to have it.  I don’t know why I am so neurotic about this, but I am.  In fact, I almost start perspiring when I think they are going to toss it in the trash if I don’t buy it.  I need that digital photo DVD, CD or jpg.  I need it like a cop needs donuts, or like I need coffee before I start a day of teaching.

OK, maybe it is 27,000. Help!

Sadly, my digital photo hoarding problem is growing.  Currently, I have over 26,000 digital photos in iPhoto on my laptop.  I can’t delete them.  I back them up regularly, but for some odd reason, I don’t delete them out of iPhoto completely.  What if I need the picture of the martini from the lake house taken in 2007?  What if I want to post the picture of our neighbor’s daughter’s wedding bouquet from 2004 because I thought it was pretty? What if I need that photo of The Captain giving me the stink eye while doing yard work circa 2002?  I may need these pictures!  I can’t be impulsive and get rid of them.  Why?  Because I love them.  I need them.  I also may need an intervention soon.  But, hey, there is always a bright side to this psychoses!  My tech guys at school have learned a lot about iPhoto through me, mainly the fact that iPhoto actually can handle over 25,000 photos brilliantly.  Yep, I help with research through my digital photo hoarding.  I rock – digitally, that is.

Little Byte in all of her splendor.

I also hoard digital technology of yesteryear.  I have my original Apple computer.  My dad bought it for me in 1990.  It still turns on.  The monitor is black and white and does not have any internet connection.  I still think it is cute (not sure why) and I absolutely can’t get rid of it (because it is a part of me – like the need to order cheesecake in decent restaurants).           I found some of my college essays on my vintage Apple.  Unfortunately, I can’t figure out how to get them off of the computer.  Bummer.  Anyone have a dot matrix printer with a gigantic cable to loan me?  Maybe then I can get the files off of the classic Apple, which I lovingly refer to as Little Byte.  Get it?  It’s little and has some bytes in it!  Little Byte?!  Clever?  Yes, for 1990.

What to do with the Palm Pilots of days gone by.  I remember strutting into my classroom my first year teaching with my Palm.  I thought I was a rock star who was going to forever change the face of education with the stroke of a stylus.  I think I may have carried it around for two weeks, and then found it again the last day of school when cleaning out my laptop case.  Move over, Palm.  Move right into my basement – the digital hoarding zone.

Lastly, I have floppy disks, Zip disks, hard disks, hard drives, DVDs and CDs full of I don’t know what.  I backed up before backing up was cool.  Problem is, in the wake of backing up, now there are almost zero ways to access the information (unless it is a DVD, CD or portable hard drive).  Plus, in my constant frenzy to back up things, I have back ups on back ups.  Looking through one of my external hard drives yesterday, I found I backed up the same folder of English 9 lessons SEVEN times.  The SAME folder.   Maybe I have a back up hoarding issue, too.

Crap.  The Captain just took a picture of Squishy and String Bean with his iPhone.  I sure hope he emails it to me…  What?  It was cute, OK?  Lol!  But seriously, he better. I need that digital picture.  Now.  😉

I got it! Relief. 27,001 and counting...

Teen Gooberville. Population Me.

In sixth grade, my mom decided it would be a good time for a family photo at Olan Mills.  She dressed us all in our Sunday best and attempted a new hair do on me.  Let me say this: my mom has short, naturally curly hair that she never uses anything more than a hair pick on it.  She never uses a curling iron, flat-iron or hot rollers.  But on this fateful day, she decided that my hair needed some “body” and “lift” and plugged in her 1965 set of hot rollers.  One of them was very stubborn.  It happened to be in the center of my head by the crown if you will.  She could not get it out.  She tried everything.  Even peanut butter because she read somewhere that could get gum out of dog hair.  Hmmm.  Gum and hot rollers.  I never knew they were in the same category.  I went to Olan Mills with a hot roller stuck smack on the top of my head.  They positioned my brother just so it would not show in the pictures.  The show must go on, my mother said.  Nice.

In seventh grade, my mom bought me a faux fur coat.  It was my new school coat and she really thought it was very stylish for a new, gawky thirteen-year-old.  It was hot pink.  It was hideous. I wore it with my head hanging down.  I tried to wear sunglasses with it.  Did I mention that I rode my bike to school so I got the thrill of being honked at on my ride home?  Nah.  I probably didn’t mention that.  Unfortunately, no one threw any red paint on my coat thus making it unwearable.  I have never forgiven her for this.  Ever.

Yes. This is it. Someone is selling it on Etsy. Good luck with that.

In eighth grade, my mom took me to the orthodontist.  To add insult to my already brace-faced injury, he put me in this fun gadget called a bionator. “This will make more room in your mouth, and it really isn’t that bad,” he said to me.  It is reminiscent of a torture device circa WWII.  A bionator was hastily cemented (yes, really) to the teeth in the top of the mouth and has a special, little key for turning and opening it.  My mom was to insert the key and turn it each week.  On the first “turn of the screw” she accidentally released the key and it went down my throat.  It was never found.  Maybe it was taken out with my gall bladder last year.  Who knows.  This torture gadget caused my speech to sound a little garbled and caused me to spit on people as I spoke to them.  I am sure this is why I had a massive bankroll of friends in eighth grade and why only two of them showed up at my slumber party.  Rock on.

In ninth grade, my mom and the very wise and evil orthodontist decided that the bionator was not working. His suggestion?  Pulling two teeth on the top and two on the bottom and pulling them all together with the already in place braces.  I was the only 14-year-old that could use not one, but two straws without opening my mouth. The orthodontist tried to make me feel better by saying he would wait until next month to put the rubber bands in.  Thanks, dude.  Dating score for me as a freshman?  Zero (unless you could the rubber bands – I mean, they were truly sexy.)

In tenth grade, my mom took me to this amazing, huge and completely confusing outlet mall.  We shopped all day.  At one point, she called me over to look at a dress.  She was holding onto the clothing rack and it turned, hitting me directly in the eye.  I sported a black eye at school for the next few days.  No one would believe me when I said that shopping with my mother is really quite dangerous. They must have forgotten about the obnoxiously bright pink fake fur coat.

C is for Coffee

Every morning during the school year there is one thing I enjoy the most.  It is having a good cup of coffee.   I know that this may not seem like much, but I love good coffee.  And I won’t stop there – I love good coffee creamer and sugar in the raw.  Mmmm.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law know this about me.  It is weird that they know I love coffee, but they do.  On a family trip to Disney, I saw this awesome coffee mug.  Now, travel mugs is actually something I use every single day during the school year.  As I mentioned above, it makes my morning.  But my husband, being cranky because it was the last day at Disney and we were shopping for last minute purchases, said that he would not buy me this mug.  Uncool.  That was July.

On my birthday, in September, my sister-in-law Lisa and my nephews stopped by to drop off my present.  She was giggling like crazy and practically shouted to me to open the present.  I pulled out the “Mine” mug that I coveted at Disney and hugged her immediately.  Hooray!

So here it is, on my desk at school, in all of it’s splendor.  Mine.

Making the morning grrrrrreat!