Saturday, January 31, 2009

January 2009 Mosaic

Katie posted a great tool on her website, and I have become quite a fan very quickly: the Big Huge Labs Mosaic Maker. I have decided to make a mosaic to summarize each month's photos, and I'll be posting it both here and on my main blog. Because months vary in length, and I like to keep things uniform, and the mosaic maker conveniently holds a maximum number of 36 photos, I'll have to use some "filler photos" to fill in the rest of the spaces. Oh, gee darn, I get to use some of the other great (I hope) or interesting photos that I took during the month but that weren't chosen for the POD. Click the mosaic to "biggify." And here on this blog, you'll get to see a larger version of each of the fill photos, with a little blurb about each. Enjoy!

This was a total lucky shot. I couldn't even see the screen of my camera when I took it. Bengal was sleeping behind DH's recliner (seen in very top left of photo), so I sat in my recliner, set the camera on the carpet, tilted it back, and hoped to have more than just an ear in the picture when I looked. And *this* is what I got! The even more remarkable thing is that this picture is straight off the card. Absolutely no tweaking. As I mentioned before, I prefer not to do a whole lot of tinkering with my pictures. A little cropping, maybe some contrast work, frequently some post-shrinkage sharpening (it can look a little muddy after resizing), and the occasional fill light when needed. Not on this one. Just shrink and post; that's it. Maybe I should take photos without looking more often!

Now this shot was actually intentional, and I'm quite pleased with it. I like the way they seem to glow just a bit, and the interplay of the shadows of one leaf on another. This was at Olive Garden, the same day I took the cheese and crouton shot of Luke.

I was just walking through the mall (same day as the game photo of Luke) when I caught my reflection. I thought it was really neat how far down the walkway you could see due to the curvature of the column. Notice that, due to the seam, you actually can't really see me at all! But can you see Luke? He snuck into the picture as I was taking it. I didn't notice until I flipped over to review the shot and saw the bright orange dot just to the right of center. That is the focus assist beam of his camera. Apparently, if Mommy was taking a picture of it, then so should he.

Pretty obvious what this is, I think. Just in case some of you are tilting your head sideways, it is an oil spot on wet pavement that is refracting the lights in the parking lot. I was just thrilled the photo turned out so well! It could have been a little more in focus, but given the longer than average exposure time, I think I did pretty well. I turned off the flash (which ruined the refraction), set the timer for 2 seconds (so that pushing the button wouldn't cause the camera to shake), held my breath, and waited for the image to appear on the screen. Not too bad!

Wow, I still can't believe I made it! And entire month of taking photos every day (save one). I can't wait to see what the rest of the year looks like. Thank you for coming along with me! It really means a lot to know that all of you are so supportive and interested in this project.


This is the top part of the fountain at the food court of the mall. Yes, we went to the mall again today, after just having been there on Wednesday. Wednesday's visit was for dinner (and the game store, as you saw). Today's visit was to have Luke's 4 year portraits made at JCPenney. Yes, they're nearly 4 months late! At least I managed to get them done (unlike his 2 year portraits, which never happened). All of his non-school portraits have been made at this same studio, most of them by the same lady who was there today. I sent the boys on to the game store after the pictures were done to keep Luke occupied while I selected portraits and sizes. When I finished, the fastest way from JCPenney to the game store was through the food court. This end of the food court is about 3 stories tall and completely glassed in, floor to ceiling. The trees you see in the background are real, growing inside the building. It is so rare for me to see it in daylight, and even rarer still for me to be there so early in the day (it was about 10:30 AM). I thought the sunlight shining off the fountain was just beautiful.

Friday, January 30, 2009


A few years ago, our favorite Mexican restaurant (Los Loros at Clairmont and N. Decatur, for any locals) redid their interior with a sun and moon theme. I happen to *love* sun and moon themed stuff, so I was thrilled. They also changed out all of their overhead lights with these Moravian star fixtures, which I also love. The panes of glass are a little silver streaked, and I think they are lovely. I also felt compelled to label this photo with the "Everyday" tag, because we do eat there nearly every week. The day of the week that we go has changed over the years (was Tuesdays, then Wednesdays, now Fridays), but the routine has not. It is a family ritual to eat Mexican, then grocery shop. We've been going there for about 10 years now, since just after we were married. Most of the waiters have been there either almost as long or longer than we've been going there. They have literally watched Luke grow up. I wouldn't trade our weekly visits to Los Loros for anything.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I know I've only been at it for 4 weeks now, but so far, it seems like I hit one day each week where it is late (nearly 11 PM now), and it suddenly occurs to me that I have no POD. In fact, I most likely have no photos of any sort, so I start looking frantically around the house to find something to "picture," as Luke would say. (See photos of Amazon packages, my new coat, and Legos for previous desperation subjects.) Today was such a day. At 10:45 PM, I had the sudden realization that I hadn't even taken the camera out of the case today. I wandered around the downstairs, looking at several things that could have been representative of the day. Then I spotted these. These are my mostest favoritest shoes in the world (yes, both pair, though I have a slight preference for the brown ones (on bottom) as they do not turn my feet black). My mother had to make me try them on, and then had to convince me that they were cute (they are). But cute or not, they are insanely comfortable, and I love them to death. The only thing I don't love about them is that they do not keep my feet warm when temps drop below about 60. So pretty much since November, they have been sitting in this spot, patiently awaiting the return of spring, and I am not-so-patiently waiting to wear them. Just a few more weeks!

P.S. For everyone wondering why they are here and not in a closet somewhere, it is because I do wear them, winter or summer, if I intend to spend a good deal of time in the kitchen. Too much standing and cooking in bare or sock feet makes me regret it, so I keep them downstairs "just in case."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


What is a trip to the mall without a visit to the game store? Note Kitty tucked in the front of his jacket. Can't possibly use two hands on the controller *and* be expected to hold Kitty at the same time. And yes, we do have a Wii at home, but not this particular game. Plus, that's not really the reason he insists on going to the game store. They were running a demo of The Force Unleashed on the PS3 for a while, which he *loved.* The demo parts they had were okay for him to play (not ideal, but tolerable), but the full game is not. They haven't had it running the last few visits, so he's had to settle for the Wii game.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It was quite the dreary gray day today, except for about an hour this afternoon. From roughly 4-5 PM today, the sun struggled valiently to escape the puffy blanket of clouds, as seen here. I think it managed for all of about 15 minutes before being consumed again, first by the clouds, and then by the fog. By 5:30, even the clouds were obscured by the mist. Such is winter in the South.

Monday, January 26, 2009


Okay, as you may have guessed, I am a little obsessed with the macro function on my camera. I just think it is so cool! (Maybe I should make macro its own label.) It is also the only way I can get any reasonable depth of field with the settings on my little Elph; there is no manual f-stop adjustment on it. Any guesses what this is? It is looking down inside an Aquafina bottle that is sitting on something red. The lens is nearly touching the outside of the bottle looking in from just above the label. I just thought the webbing pattern looked really interesting refracting the light from behind me and the red from underneath. I did tweak the contrast some, but other than that, it is completely unretouched.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


I don't know what it is about this picture, but it makes me laugh. He was trying so hard to sulk and pout, but that smile just kept coming out, so he tried to hide it. Didn't work too well, though. Taken at Panera Bread.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


We gave Luke his very own camera today. He absolutely loves it! But as I expected, he is having trouble keeping his fingers away from the lens. He is getting better, though there are still digits in some of his photos. I thought he had actually managed not to touch the front, but apparently I was wrong. This is what I saw when I checked it out after we got home. Still, only 2 smudges. Not too bad, I don't think, for a 4-year-old handling his first camera. I just need to remember to take a lens cloth with me from now on. Probably not a bad practice to have anyway.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Sweet tea, the Nectar of the Gods as far as we Southerners are concerned. The ultimate irony is that you virtually cannot find a decent glass of the stuff anywhere in the metro-Atlanta area, particularly inside the perimeter. The best and most consistent sweet tea we have found? The Golden Corral on Stone Mountain Highway in Snellville (not too far past the Big Rock going east). DH and I can down a whole pitcher between the two of us, though half the pitcher is, of course, ice.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We have been enjoying cloudless skies and bright (cold!) sunshine for the last few days. For the two previous days, I have been admiring these shadows on the gate to the play area behind Luke's daycare center when we arrived. But of course, I forgot my camera! What is wrong with me?! Taking the camera in the afternoon wouldn't have helped, since the sun wouldn't be in the right place. This is our last day of pure sun for a while (cloudy tomorrow, then rain for a bit), and I made it a specific point to take the camera and get a picture of the lovely shadows this morning.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


EEK! I was taking this picture around 11:15 PM, after it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't taken a photo today, and I was frantically casting about for something to photograph before midnight. Okay, not the most interesting subject, I know, but it does capture part of our life. Can you tell where we like to shop online? LOL I heard the doorbell ring around lunchtime and found these three boxes sitting on our welcome mat. A picture of that would have been much more interesting, I admit, but I was slammed with work today and it honestly didn't cross my mind. Brought them in and set them on the couch, then forgot about them, which is pretty amazing considering that my recliner is right next to the sofa. (My brain is just mush right now.) Guess I should open them, don't you think? Dad might appreciate it, considering I think they're all from him!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Taken in real time, immediately following the words "so help me God." Best of luck, Mr. President.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Jammin' Nana! If you had told me before Christmas that my mother would beg to come to our house and play Guitar Hero, I would probably have laughed in your face. Keep in mind, my parents live 5-6 hours away. It is not something I ever could have predicted, but I am so glad we finally have a Wii game that she truly enjoys.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I was a little light on photos Sunday. This was the best I could come up with. He just looks so serious and studious. He is "typing" in Excel here. He loves to type, both in txt and in Excel (he likes the grid), and he uses Paint sometimes as well. I'll have to get a picture of one of his Paint creation to show you sometime.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Luke's first trip to Fernbank Museum. I was at the top of this staircase, and I sent him all the way down to the bottom. Considering that the "symbol" of Fernbank for many years was a nautilus shell, I thought it was most appropriate. I have a better shot of Luke from the same angle (more of a close-up), but this one has more of the staircase in it and is more visually interesting.

Friday, January 16, 2009


Certainly not the most interesting picture in the world, but it *definitely* sums up the day. Not much else to say really, besides BBRRRR!!!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Here it is, my first real "grown up" coat that I bought for myself. Double-breasted charcoal wool, comes to mid-thigh or a little lower. Even DH said it looks nice on me, which is quite the compliment. (No, I won't be posting a photo of me wearing it, at least not tonight.) I love the texture of it, and I'm not sure this photo does it justice, but it's the best I can do with the light and the flash I have. And even just standing in the store trying it on tonight, I can tell it is so much warmer than my current "big jacket." Given that we have the coldest weather in 5 years (or 15, depending on who you listen to and how cold it really gets) on its way right now, and hanging out for the next few days, it will come in very handy. I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


I was de-Christmas-ing the house today, and as I was removing the ornaments from the (fake) tree, I remembered a very pleasant surprise with these particular ornaments. Anyone familiar with classic Disney should have no trouble recognizing what these two ornaments represent. There are two others (obviously) that I knew Luke would recognize. He's grown up on Disney, so he is very familiar with the three-circle Mickey shape (the Mickey ornament was red on bottom and shiny black on top, the Minnie ornament was teal on bottom, shiny black on top, with a pink bow between the ears). I knew he would know Mickey and Minnie immediately. I wasn't so sure about these. He only watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse for about 9 months before switching to (mainly) Little Einsteins. We hadn't seen MMCH in months when I put these on the tree, so I wasn't sure if he would make the connection. Just a couple of days later, he was checking out the tree and pointed to the one on the right. "Look, Mom, Goofy's hat!" Then he saw the other one. "And Donald's hat, too." Needless to say, I was pleased as punch!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Bengal, enjoying watching the birds and squirrels playing in the morning light from our breakfast nook window. It was difficult to pry his attention away so he would look at the camera. The red in the foreground is the dining table, still wearing its Christmas tablecloth, and the vertical wood is one of the chairs.

Monday, January 12, 2009


Luke has been fascinated by his little Etch-A-Sketch ever since we bought it for him. I can hear it squeaking and squealing as the point scrapes along the back side of the screen. He was so proud of today's creation, he couldn't wait to show me. Of course, it is difficult to see backseat artwork from the front seat, particularly while driving. He managed to contain himself the last couple of miles and not wipe it away, which tells me how truly proud of it he was. As soon as I had the car parked at daycare, I hear "Look, Mom, Grimlock!" For those not in the know, Grimlock is a T-Rex Transformer. Sure enough, I could easily see what he was referring to. I'm not sure if he set out to draw Grimlock, or if he was just doodling and then "saw it" in his random creation (sort of like playing the "what shape do you see in that cloud" game). It is either fairly amazing Etch-A-Sketch skills for a 4 year old, or a pretty significant mental leap. Either way, I'm impressed!

And if you look carefully at the center of the screen, you can clearly see that this photo was taken with my cell phone. It is certainly not a high quality camera, but it gets the job done in a pinch like this. That will teach me to leave my Elph home in the mornings because we're "just going to school."

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I really liked the low level lighting at Olive Garden today. I know it causes some noise and some motion blur, but I still like how these pictures turned out. I thought I would be posting the tongue picture when I took it, but I decided I liked this one better. It speaks more to what he was actually doing (putting grated parmesan cheese on his croutons, about as close as we can get him to a salad right now), and I particularly like the expression on his face. The other picture will probably end up in the January Round Up at the end of the month on my main blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


This is not at all the photo I expected to be posting today. I took a few of Luke this morning sporting a Star Wars sticker, thinking I would talk about the magical power of stickers. (I also needed to fulfill a different committment to take a picture of Luke every week for my 101 Things in 1001 Days.) I took some in front of and inside Artuzzi's, a local pizza chain that we frequent. After all, part of the point of Project 365 is to document "the everyday," and while we may not eat there daily, we are there usually more than once a month. One of the interior shots even turned out quite well, and I thought "oh, that was it, today's POD" (for "photo of the day," to borrow Patti's nomenclature). Then just before we left, the sun broke through the clouds and caught the curves of the crushed pepper flake shaker just so, and I thought "that might make an interesting shot." Boy, did it! When flipping through all the photos I took today, this was the clear standout, so here it is.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Best napping spot in the house, says Tigger.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I was just walking through my foyer this afternoon when the sun suddenly broke through and shone brightly and clearly through this window. I like the play of light and dark, though I wish the photo showed a more accurate representation of how blue the sky really was.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Thought I should post a photo of the star of the show here, my trusty little camera: Canon PowerShot SD600 Digital Elph. 6 megapixels, 3x zoom, wrist strap with slider (more important than you would think), fits in my pocket, and takes great photos. What more could a girl want? (Maybe the ability to control depth of field, but that's about it.) I have others (obviously, or I couldn't have easily taken this one), but this is the one that takes the vast majority of the photos in my world. I've had it nearly 2 years now, I guess, a gift from my father before Luke's first trip to Disney (as a non-infant), and I've taken 3635 pictures with it as of this posting, per the continuous image counter on the camera. Obviously, I am not the best or most creative photographer. Most of the really good shots I get are accidents or mere lucky moments. Most, but not all, and I am trying to get better.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


* a make up photo, taken 1/7/2009

Another of the tips for sticking with Project 365 is to just keep going, even if you miss a day. There is no Project 365 Police. This is a photo of the reason I had to take a make-up photo. I went to bed a little before 8 PM on Jan 6, 2009. I was so tired, and I felt so bad, I just crashed.

Monday, January 5, 2009


One of the tips for sticking with Project 365 is to take a photo that encapsulates your day. Monday, January 5, 2009, was the day of the dead modem. I work from home, and I require internet access, so that was a rather big problem. We'd already unplugged for 10 minutes and plugged it back in, per Comcast's instructions, and it still hadn't worked. We set up a service call for Tuesday, but in the meantime, we tried to swap it at a Comcast payment center for a functional one. None of the payment centers had functional modems to swap for, though, so we brought ours back home. Just before bed, we plugged it back in and hooked it back up so that the tech could see that it wasn't working. Only it was! DH, out of habit, picked up his laptop to check his fantasy teams, and clicked the internet, which came up just fine. We were just baffled. Maybe it just wanted a vacation day and a car trip. Anyway, it is working now. Long live the modem!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


One of Luke's infinite Lego spaceship permutations (though these are the larger ones, formerly called Quatros). I believe this is supposed to be an X-wing. It is also very representative of the most common state of our living room floor: cluttered with various toys, frequently Legos.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I thought these peppermints looked so pretty sitting on the desk, some of the last remnants of Christmas in the house.

Friday, January 2, 2009


Not the best photo, I know, and it is a little blurry (no flash, hand held), but I think it really captures her better than the rest of the clearer photos I took that day.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


I really wanted my first photo of this project to be of Luke. We went to the park on a beautifully sunny New Year's Day, and I got several good shots. I just love this one! It is slightly cropped (to remove my husband's arm and get rid of some of the extra ground underneath him), and I tweaked the contrast a little. I wish his face wasn't so washed out, but I don't have the right software on this computer to adjust the levels. I try not to do a lot of tinkering with my photos, but it does help sometimes.

I can't believe I am doing this!

Okay, I have secretly decided to start Project 365, and how better to keep a secret than to start a blog, right? LOL I did actually start the project Jan 1, I just didn't get around to starting a blog (or typing this post) until Jan 5.

I would also like to thank Katie the Scrapbook Lady for her words of wisdom on the project, otherwise I would probably give up the first time I miss a photo (and I know I will). But she's right, there is no Project 365 Police, no one is going to care if I miss a day here or there. So instead of throwing in the towel, I will just take a make-up shot or use a good picture from a previous day, and I will try to do better going forward. And yes, I did back date this post to January 1, 2009, just so it appears in the "right place" in the log. I won't necessarily be downloading and uploading the photos I take every day, but they will be date adjusted to the date they were taken (or to the date that they are filling in for).

Hope you enjoy this journey with me, whenever I decide to make it public.