Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lane and Jon's House

Photo by Sandra Busby
Edited in PicMonkey
Tonight I'm going to Lane and Jon's house for Chinese.

This is one of my favorite things to do.

However, I don't have much to say.

Just look at the image and enjoy it.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

"Life is the Childhood of our Immortality"

Photo by Sandra Busby

Edited in PicMonkey and BeFunky

It's such a gorgeous afternoon, sunny, cool.  But I've already been for my walk and tidied up my little garden in the back a bit.

That's quite enough physical exercise for one day for me.

There's a football game in town.  "Roll Tide."  So I'm more or less confined to my house until 6pm when the game starts and the traffic clears.

My house guest called and postponed her visit for a couple of days.

I have NOTHING to read.   (That has to be remedied after 6pm.)

I've had my lunch, and done all I can do to make myself look presentable.

Lane and Jon are getting ready for Bert's birthday supper tonight, for a dozen teenagers.  No chance of company there.

The quotation from Goethe could provoke some deep thinking, but I'm entirely too languid for that.
The picture is nice though, so I'm sharing it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Le Train Bleu

Photo by Sandra Busby

Edited in PicMonkey

Le Train Bleu is a restaurant in one of the several train stations in Paris -- Gare de Lyons, I think.

As I look at my pictures, I am naturally drawn to the ones taken in Paris and the memories that accompany them.

Here the weather is fine, sunny, coolish.  Not much going on here until the next football game traffic arrives, when we -- those who are not fans -- will have to stay inside our houses until the fans disperse.  But now,  it's quiet, lazy.

Part of me is here, sitting in my chair, listening to the fountain, looking at the pattern of sun and shade on the lattice work.

But part of me is not here.  Where is that part?  In Paris, yes, most certainly when I look at the large crystal vase of pink and red roses against the guilt, carved woodwork and I remember the afternoon Paola and I had lunch at Le Train Bleu.  Lunch served by waiters in waistcoats with huge white napkins over their arms.  Tender meat and gravy over mounds of potatoes.  Crisp asparagus.  Fresh baked break with sweet butter.  And finally strawberries the size of your thumb covered in creme fresh, and served with a bite size almond cookie.  Red wine, of course, and afterwards a coffee.

But, part of me is somewhere else.  I must go and find her.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Instagram + BeFunky + PicMonkey

So, here is the original Instagram of Nicky.

And here it is turned into a watercolor on BeFunky.

Enfin, cropped, enhanced, framed, and written on in PicMonkey.

As you can see, each version has its strong points.  The Instagram with no enhancement is, to me, a wonderful image.

The BeFunky watercolor by itself adds a delicate touch.

Finally, using PicMonkey to enhance, etc.  I think I like it better to use PicMonkey as the last step.

And you?

BeFunky Watercolors

These are the same photos as in the previous post.  Only this time, I put the PicMonkey version into BeFunky and turned it into a watercolor.

Some things I like better about the watercolors, and some things I like better about the PicMonkey version.

I think this is my favorite watercolor version.  There's still plenty of color in it, and I love the yellow at the top.

This one, too, is quite interesting.  The colors are dark enough for my taste.  One difficulty is that the printing does not always come out readable.  Maybe I should wait and write on the watercolor?!?

What do you think?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just Playing Around with PicMonkey on a Sunday Afternoon

There were wind storms in Paris and six people were killed that day.  When I got back to my apartment the police and firetrucks were there because a chimney had been blown off the roof.

Some streets are so narrow in Venice that you can touch the walls of the buildings on either side.

From the balcony of the apartment in Florence, I shot this view of the buildings across the Arno in the rain.

Zurich at Christmas time with Lee and Jacqueline looking for a place to eat in the evening.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thinking About Paris in October

Photo by Sandra Busby
Edited in PicMonkey
Everybody asks, "What are you going to do in Paris?"

I will do what I always do, and mostly the same things I do when I'm at home.  The only difference is there are more beautiful things to see and shoot in Paris.

Normally, my day at home goes something like this:  sleep until 9am or so, drink tea while I look at my e-mails and blogs, talk to people I love on the phone, go out for a lunch, run errands, and in the evenings play bridge and read or write.

Normally, in Paris, my day goes something like this:  sleep until 9am or so, have breakfast in my room while I check e-mails and blogs, go out for a little (window) shopping, meet friends for lunch, shop and take pictures until dusk, have a light meal, go to the room and process my pictures and write a little.

Not too much difference.  But the atmosphere in Paris makes a tremendous difference in my  creative juices, having a visual feast -- for my camera and for my interest in fashion.

Just sitting in a cafe, such as the one in this picture, with a hat and sunglasses to shield me from the view of passers-by, with a coffee and my camera watching the kaleidoscope of people and clothes and dogs (this is the only distance at which I enjoy dogs, on  leash walking by) is my daily treat.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sunday Evenings with Maha

Sunday Evenings at Barnes and Noble

I suddenly realized that I haven't posted anything since last Sunday!!!

It's been quite a week, which I don't want to talk about.  Reminds me of Will when he was 5 years old and I would pick him up from kindergarten.  I always asked, "How was school today, Will."

His invariable answer, "I don't wnat to talk about it."

What I do want to talk about, however, is the way I spend my Sunday evenings with Maha (Martha's affectionate name.)

For several years now, we have been spending our Sunday evening together, eating a light meal at Jason's or Panera's or Taziki's, after which we go to Barnes and Noble for our coffee and our weekly fix of fashion magazines.

Now that we are going to Paris in October, we are really zoning in on the shoes and clothes we want to look at, the shops we want to visit, and the bistros and tea rooms we want to check out.

We both make lists during the week from scouring the internet, making notes from our favorite blogs, with addresses which we find on the Google Map on our iPhone or iPad.  What "techies" we have become.  But it is a pleasant way to bring the week to a close.  (Reminds me of when we were 8 or 9 year olds in Leeds.  My sister and I each had a dime which we spent at Miller's Drug Store for a coke.  Then we would sit on the ledge near the comic books and read until we heard that slurpy sound, indicating that the last drops of the coke and the ice were being consumed.)

It is almost like being a kid again, except I am enjoying it much more this time around.  I like being a kid in a grown up's body, with a house and a car, and a few dollars of disposable income.  It gives me something to look forward to, being with a friend and planning an adventure.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Espadrilles from Spain

Shoes, shoes, shoes

(Photo enhanced using PicMonkey)

Oh, happy day!  I have found someone who can wear my shoes.

Vicki, Mary Caroline, and I had lunch at Carmello's yesterday, and in the conversation, I asked Vicki if she thought she could wear my shoes.  (You can't imagine how many shoes I buy, as works of art, and then can't wear them.)

So, after lunch we came by my house and I pulled out these lavender, silk, wedge heel espadrills that I bought in Spain on the first cruise that Ann Hays and I went on in September last year.

Actually I bought a pair of shoes in almost every port.   In my defense, I was egged on by Ann Hays to buy these.  Even I knew I could never wear them, outside the house.   "You could wear them when I come to see you," Ann Hays said.

They were only 20 euros and they were size 35 (the only pair of 35's in the store), so I took them.

And they are exquisite!  Not anything else like them in Tuscaloosa.  But the elastic on the back was too tight for me and my foot went to sleep in them.  So they languished in my closet along with a dozen other pairs of shoes that I have brought home in the hopes of wearing them because I liked their looks.

Now that I have found someone who not only can wear my shoes, but who still wears heels and who enjoys shoes as much as I do, Vicki and I will make it a ritual.  Every so often, I will choose one of the pairs I can bear to part with,  let her try them on, and -- Voila!  A new life for the shoes and a perk up for Vicki.   And, of course, I will get to make the picture and blog about it.  Perfect arrangement!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

What Can We Control?

What Can We Control?

For those of us who want some control over our lives, just what can we control?

It seems to me there are three things we should start with:

1.)  We can control what we put in our mouths.  What we eat, what we drink, and what drugs we take are things we can all control.

And we need to be more conscious of what we put in our mouths.  Doing this will largely give us control over our physical health, which is priceless.

2.)  All adults have some control over who touches their physical bodies. We can protect ourselves from unwanted physical touch.

Physical touch can be either  positive or negative.  Removing ourselves from the physical proximity of negative people is something we can all exercise more control over, if not totally, then we can minimuze it.

3.)  It is possible, I believe to control the thoughts that we entertain in our minds.  We might not be able to keep a thought from entering, but we can, with a great deal of effort, learn how not to entertain thoughts that make us feel "bad."

A couple of quotations from Bertrand Russell are appropriate here:

"The wise man thinks about his troubles only when there is some purpose in doing so; at other times he thinks about other things, or if it is night, about nothing at all."

"The man who can center his thoughts and hope upon something transcending self can find a certain peace in the ordinary troubles of life which is impossible to the pure egoist."

How to learn to do this is the topic for another post.

What about our feelings, can we control them?  Also, a topic for another post.

What we cannot control are what anyone else thinks, feels, does, or believes.

Once we get this through our heads, we can productively spend out time on things we have some control over.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Taking Control of Your Life

Taking Control of Your Life

Such a seductive concept, that one can take control of one's life.  But what does it really mean?  Is it possible?  And most importantly, if it is possible, is it desirable?

My answer to all those questions is quite simply, "I don't know."

Sometimes I think I know.  And maybe, as someone said, "We know more than we know we know," applies here.

There are so many selves inside us, I guess it depends on which self is currently on stage, whether or not we believe we are in control of our own lives.

My "teaching" self certainly feels in control because I seem to know so much, and if by some chance someone needs to know what I know and I can share it with them, I really feel "in control."

How good it feels to feel in control, I will not deny!

However, most of my selves know most of the time that I -- that little I -- is only a puppet, jerked around by strings held in the hands of the "bigger" selves who know what the script is and are following it.

Ah, the script, but who wrote the script?

Bert, my oldest McLelland grandson, started to high school this fall and was telling me about a mock trial that was held in his history class.  Martin Luther was being tried by the Catholic church for heresy.

And Bert was playing the part of Martin Luther.

As he relayed to me what happened in his classroom,  I was reminded of this concept of being in control of your life.  Here's what happened:  The trial was designed to follow a script, like a play.  Somehow, in the process of preparing for the rehearsal, some people got only bits and pieces of the script, different pieces.  Some lawyers had only the answers to the questions.  The defendents had only the questions  to be asked, not the answers.  Only one person, perhaps the judge, had the whole script.

Bert, who was playing Luther, knew what questions he would be asked, but he didn't have the scripted answers, so he made up his own which completely bamboozled the student playing the lawyer (who possibly knew very little of history and of Luther's trial.)

As it turned out, Luther was acquitted because the prosecution was befuddled.

That often seems to me to be a fairly good description of Life.  We have only a part of the script; we don't have the answers, but have to make them up as we go along.  Only the Judge has the whole script.