There was a banquet, award ceremony, and dance this evening at the school. During the award ceremony, the two emcees, Joseph and Justin, performed for the audience. While Justin played the piano, Joseph did an interpretive dance. At least that’s what they called it. I won’t comment on what I think they were interpreting. They were actually quite funny and a good time was had by most.
Monthly Archives: February 2014
I’m so often taking pictures of young people that I thought I’d post one of some not-quite-as-young people. This is Keith, Gordy, and Sue, three of the nicest people you could ever meet.
We had a congregational lunch at church this afternoon and I took this, along with a bunch more, as we were getting ready to eat.
This is, or shortly will be, mom’s new computer. There’s a case for it, too, obviously, but this is what it looks like before everything has been assembled. In the middle is the mother board. Because this is mom’s computer, maybe I’ll call that the mom board. In front of that is the CPU (an AMD FX-4130 Zambezi 3.8GHz Quad-Core processor). On the right is 8GB of RAM. It’s pretty amazing that so much memory can be so small. In the back, from left to right, are the cooler for the CPU, the main hard drive, and a DVD burner. That’s all it takes, really. It took about 20 minutes to put it all together. Of course, I still need to install an operating system and load some software. Then it will be ready to use.
It was a busy day at work and I didn’t take any pictures during the day. In the evening, Dorothy asked if we could have Thai carry-out for dinner so I went up to a little place in Olney that we like. I got there a little early for our food to be ready so I looked around for things to photograph. At night, of course, and without flash, the choices are somewhat limited to where there is enough light. I took some pictures of a building with a sycamore tree behind it but the difference between the light from the building’s sign and the light on the tree was too much to get a good picture. When I opened up enough to brighten up the tree the sign was too washed out to be readable.
I saw this round metal pillar with reflections and decided that would have to do for today’s picture. I like reflections and these are nice, in a somewhat plain way. Anyway, it’s all I have. So, reflections on a cylinder.
We had a bit of an ice storm last night. Our phones woke us up with a text saying Montgomery County had decided to close schools and since our school follows the county, no school for Dorothy, either. I actually don’t think it was all that bad out. I went out back to take some pictures. There was a fair amount of ice on everything. These are multiflora rose stems and hips, with a pretty substantial coating. By that time, though, the rain was cold but not freezing, and before too long the branches were bare again. It was pretty while it lasted, though.
These are hanging on the wall in Dorothy’s bedroom, which, if you recall, is very brightly painted in purple and yellow. These are on one of the yellow walls, obviously. The cat mask is from Venice, bought on our trip there in 2000. The other mask is from last year’s prom. the gold leaved wreath is the laurel wreath that Dorothy made and which was featured here a week ago (see Not Resting On Her Laurels).
It was chilly this morning and there was frost on the windscreen of the car. While the car was warming up enough to melt the ice so I could get to work, I took pictures of the ice on the side windows. I think ice crystals are pretty cool (as in neat, although as in low temperature, as well). These were taken without a tripod or anything, because I was just sitting in the car, so it isn’t as sharp as it could be. Oh, well.
Cathy and I went for a walk at Great Falls early this afternoon. The water wasn’t as high as it’s been but it was still rather high (the reading was 6.4 feet, we’ve been there when it was over 9, 10 is flood stage). It was quite muddy, as it tends to be when it’s high. It was also fairly cold, so there was a bit of ice. In fact. rocks and branches near the water were coated with ice from the spray, which was pretty but hard to photograph well. The first picture here is from Olmsted Island, looking upstream at the main part of the river.
From the overlook, we walked back to the C&O Canal and walked about a mile south. The canal was mostly frozen over, although in the areas where the canal was not filled the running water remained mostly ice free. Obviously this time of year, particularly on an overcast day, there wasn’t a lot of color about the place. This bulrush (chairmaker’s bulrush, Schoenoplectus americanus) was a welcome point of color, even if it was just brown against more brown.
We had a little snowfall today. I must admit that I didn’t expect it. Then again, I haven’t really paid attention to the weather reports lately. It isn’t like I can really change what’s coming and a little snow isn’t going to make much difference. This afternoon the snow was welcome enough, it was a very pretty snowfall and because it’s pretty cold, it was a clean, pristine snow, not all slushy and messy.
I had lunch at the Rio today and afterwards I walked around a little and took a few pictures. The fountain in the lake was going and I stopped for pictures of that. It was a very bright day and even with the ISO set to 100 and the aperture at f/32 the longest exposure I could get was 1/15 second. That gave a little blur but I wanted more. I happen to have a neutral density filter that removed nine stops worth of light. With that on, I was able to get this exposure at 1/3 second at f/6.4. Of course, the difficulty was aiming and focusing because I could barely see anything through the viewfinder.
I took some pictures of Cathy this evening looking at the world through rose colored glasses. Literally. Dorothy bought them at a thrift store but since they are actually prescriptions lenses, she doesn’t actually wear them much. Cathy decided she should, now and then, rather than worrying about things so much. Those of you who know where my pictures are can find them there.
For my picture here, however, I’ve decided to post this piece of needlepoint. It’s actually a little clutch purse that came from who-knows-where (actually, Cathy and Dorothy probably know). I think the colors are really nice and it’s a simple yet striking pattern. Enjoy.
There is snow in the forecast but as I came home from work today it hadn’t started. It seems that a lot of people are getting a bit tired of winter. This year’s winter has certainly been colder, snowier, and longer than most that we’ve had here in recent years. On my drive home, I was looking at the trees and the slate-grey sky and thinking about winter. While stopped at a traffic light as I neared home, I saw this, which is today’s picture of winter.
Well, the forecasters got this one reasonably well. We got about as much snow as they were initially forecasting, even though the later forecasts eased up a bit (so I guess they should have stuck to their earlier predictions). Anyway, about 14 inches here, which isn’t a record or anything but it’s enough to cover everything pretty thoroughly. Outside our front door is a concrete bench and Cathy uses that as a place for potted plants. One pot has a llama on the side and this is the llama, looking out from under a pile of snow. Probably reminds him of the Andes.
We had a little more snow overnight but it didn’t amount to much. As you can see, it was enough to cover the roads, which had been plowed yesterday at about 4:00 PM. One thing about snow in this area is that everyone takes pictures of it. I guess I’m no different (look, here’s a picture of snow!). But snow doesn’t usually make an otherwise dull picture interesting. Perhaps it can make a good picture better and a great picture better still, but a boring scene is usually not much less boring for there being snow in it. So, this is a somewhat boring picture, but with snow. It was actually a beautiful day today, with the sun out (melting the snow on the roads) and a fairly comfortable temperature (for me, anyway—a long-sleeved t-shirt was enough).
From the blog’s perspective, it’s still Friday, even though I’m actually writing this on Monday evening. This picture was taken the same day as the snow picture also posted on the 14th. While snow doesn’t really make a dull picture interesting, I find that I can stare at flames for a long time and not get bored. It was a good day for a fire and I enjoyed it this evening quite a bit. One log in particular seems to have had something in it that made the flames much more blue than they normally are, which was nice. The flames seemed more ethereal or something (I’m not sure what, really). Anyway, I thought they were pretty and I enjoyed finding shapes, patterns, and creatures in them.
We were down in Richmond for the long weekend, arriving at about 3:45 this afternoon. When we got there, we were warmly greeted by James and Jonny, who are interns at Hillside Missions. They showed us around the building, including their apartment and shared the loaf of bread they had just made. Shortly after this, we left Dorothy with James, Jonny, Becca, and Katy and headed off to our hotel.
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, we went to Richmond for the weekend. It was Dorothy who had things scheduled while Cathy and I were basically at liberty. Today we took a walk along the James river and saw a pair of bald eagles and also ran into someone we know, which is always surprising. We had a lovely lunch with the folks from Hillside and enjoyed getting to know them a little. When we left there, we went to Chimborazo Park, which has a nice view down onto the city. As we returned to our hotel near the airport, I spotted a black shape over to our right. It was this airplane, one of the hottest designs ever. Cathy was nice enough to let me pull into the parking lot of this small aviation museum and walk around a little. The SR-71 Blackbird is without a doubt the hottest hotrod to fly. It isn’t the fastest thing that’s ever been launched but among production aircraft propelled by jet engines, this two-seater is the king of the road, cruising at above mach 3 and flying up to about 80,000 feet (24,000 meters).
This image is a montage of six pictures that I took. It’s not perfectly stitched together but good enough, I think.
We spent a little while this morning in downtown Richmond. Yesterday, as we were driving through town on the way to the James River, Cathy noticed a building down a side street that looked like it had a milk bottle on the corner. Not an actual glass bottle, of course, but the building was built to look like there was a giant milk bottle at each corner. Last night I did a little searching on Google maps and found it, so I’d know where to go today. This morning we went back and found it.
It turns out to have been the Richmond Dairy Company at one time and there are milk bottles on all four corners. This bottle, on the south corner, is the only one that it labeled and it’s the largest of the three (I’m not sure if there ever was one on the fourth corner, but I assume so). The building has been converted to apartments and added on to, which explains the missing fourth bottle. I’m glad they had the sense to keep the other three milk bottles, though.
We walked around a few blocks and I took a few more pictures. On the left is Gallery 5, formerly Steamer Co. No. 5. On the right is a ghost sign for the Jefferson Saloon, purveyors of whiskey, wine, liquor, and cigars.
I thought I’d post a second set of picture for today in addition to those I posted from downtown Richmond. After we walked around a little downtown, we drove out to Maymont. From Wikipedia:
Maymont is a 100 acre Victorian estate and public park in Richmond, Virginia. It contains Maymont Mansion, now a historic house museum, an arboretum, formal gardens, a carriage collection, native wildlife exhibits, a nature center, and Children’s Farm.
In 1893, Major James H. Dooley, a wealthy Richmond lawyer and philanthropist, and his wife, Sallie, completed their elaborate Gilded Age estate on a site high above the James River. According to their wishes, after their deaths Maymont was left to the people of Richmond. Over the next 75 years, additional attractions were added.
The first picture here is the mansion, up on the bluff overlooking the James River (as mentioned in Wikipedia). It really is beautifully situated and it’s a remarkably nice park. Many of the attractions are closed on Mondays, so we were not able to go into the mansion, for instance, but the grounds are open daily and that was enough for us.
We started by walking down past most of the animal exhibits to the Japanese garden. While this can’t be the best time of year to see the garden, we really enjoyed it and would recommend it highly. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you visit in the summer, when it is quite hot, getting from the Japanese garden back to the parking area is going to be a lot more tiring. There is a tram that runs, which would take care of that, but again, not on Mondays.
The other three pictures are of birds (obviously). The first two are in aviaries, the third was a wild mallard on one of the ponds in the Japanese garden. I also enjoyed the collection of trees on the property, including quite a few very large Lebanon cedars (Cedrus libani) and some pretty impressive bald cypress (Taxodium distichum). My favorite two tress, however, were a golden Hinoki cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Tetragona Aurea’) and a very large incense cedar (Calocedrus decurrens). I have three of the later planted along the fence in my back yard and it was nice to see such a big version of what they can become.
I was looking around for things to photograph this evening, like I sometimes do when I haven’t been outside at all or if I have something going on right after work and don’t get much opportunity to take pictures. This is a close up of a portion of a blue glass vase that’s in our dining room. I like the abstract quality of the picture. One nice thing about pictures like this for my blog is that I could take a picture of this vase again in two months and it would probably a completely different image and it might not even be obvious that it was the same subject.
I was over at Henry and Calvin’s house this evening. I suppose it’s really Greta and Andy’s house, but when you have kids as cute as these two, you are going to have to learn that it’s their house that people come to. Actually, I wasn’t there to be with the kids. That was a wonderful bonus and of course I took the time to take pictures of both of them.
Calvin, being still fairly young, isn’t as adept as his big brother in making facial expressions on command but he did smile a few times for me and I think this picture captures it pretty well. He’s getting over a cold and I think his head was stuffed up, which didn’t help him much, but he’s basically a happy boy.
It’s been a while since I’ve seen them and I was quite impressed with how much talking Henry is doing and how understandable he is. Once or twice during the evening he’d say something and we’d all look at each other as if to say, “do you have any idea what he just said?” Mostly, though, he’s quite understandable and starting to communicate clearly. He still has his wonderful smile and is getting better at smiling when asked.
Great kids, good food, healthy discussion. All the makings of an enjoyable evening.
I know a lot of people are tired of this winter. I’m actually not, particularly, although all the school days missed and even more so the late openings are a royal pain. I certainly won’t miss those if we don’t have any more this year. It’s become quite lovely the last few days and today Cathy and I met outside my building at work and we walked around it a few times. It was really nice out and although there is still a significant amount of snow on the ground, it’s starting to melt very noticeably. I thought to look in the edge of the woods behind the building, because I knew there are some snow drops (Galanthus nivalis) that bloom there pretty early each spring. Look what I found! They aren’t quite in full bloom yet, but they are certainly coming up and it won’t be long. Spring is definitely on her way.
She appeared here on October 3, 2013 at about age four weeks. She’s really grown a lot and happened to come to work today with her mom. I heard a knock on my door and was happy to have this face waiting for me (and Kasia’s, of course) when I opened my door. The picture from October doesn’t really have a good smile but now she’s getting the hang of it.
What a beautiful day it was. The sky was mostly a clear blue, it wasn’t too cold, and it was a great day for a walk in the park. Everything is still very wet because the snow is melting and the ground is saturated, so we decided we’d take the paved route to Lake Frank and from there down to the Rock Creek Trail (or at least a spur of it). Well, that was a good idea but the paved route still had ice and snow on it for most of the way, so it wasn’t the easiest walking we could have chosen, but it was nice to get away from traffic and into the woods.
The lake is quite high, as you might expect with the snow melting and the rain we had. As you can see in the first picture, this little arm of the lake is up into the trees where there usually is just a little stream flowing. There is also still a layer of ice on the lake. These two ducks found some open water where it’s still possible for them to swim around a bit.
The second picture is of a sycamore leaf with water flowing over it. The water is so clear and makes the leaf look so clean and bright. I just love the texture of the water and of the leaf and the picture makes me happy.
The snow is receding in our yard. It’s less than half covered and I thought of posting a picture of the grass showing through the snow. I was out back taking pictures and looked again at these flower heads from on the buddleia that is growing through a crack in our patio. Of course they aren’t fragrant like they are when they are fresh and have bluish purple flowers, which are so attractive to the butterflies, but I think that even as skeletons they are quite beautiful.
Dorothy was cleaning some dried paint off of her palette and thought it would make a good subject for some pictures. This is my favorite of those I took. I was using flash but bouncing it off the wall and ceiling so there wouldn’t be so many bright reflections, which worked pretty well.
I like the swirling blues the best but the yellow/orange in the middle adds a bit of a kick.
It snowed fairly heavily much of the day today, although not much accumulated on the ground, at least not on the pavement. It was very pretty and gave me something to look at out the window. This is the spruce tree outside my office with snow starting to cover the branches. In addition to the return of the snow, the temperature has dropped again to well below freezing during the night and only a little above as the high for the day.
There are always people that you wish you’d run into more often and this little girl and her family are in that category. I’ve been taking pictures of her and her brothers since they were tiny but the chances I get are way too far apart for my taste. We always say we should get together more often and we really mean it, but it doesn’t work out, somehow. I’m convinced life gets squeezed out by all the stuff we fill our life with and here I use the word “stuff” where a stronger word my do better.
Anyway, Elizabeth is about 14 months older than the last time I took her picture, I think. As you can see, she’s missing a few teeth but her smile is just as genuine as ever. Her brothers were around, as well, and I tried a few times to get pictures of her younger brother but he wasn’t having any of it.
Yesterday it was snowing and there was about an inch of new snow on the ground. We looked out the back window and saw two foxes playing in the back yard. I was going to post one of those pictures for yesterday but before getting it posted, today happened. Yesterday the pictures were taken through two panes of glass in an upstairs window with a 100mm lens. Today I had time to go down stairs, switch to the 75-300mm zoom lens, and take the picture through one pane of glass.
These two foxes are living in the area, obviously, and I couldn’t be more pleased. I’m looking forward to a rabbit free (or at least greatly diminished) spring and summer. That is unless some busybody decides that foxes aren’t safe to have around. Look, I understand that these are wile animals and not pets (or Narnians). But they aren’t going to attack and we aren’t raising chickens. They run away when I even just start to open the back door. Our neighbors have small kids but they also have a dog. The foxes aren’t going to hang around when he’s in the yard. Anyway, for now, I’m enjoying the foxes, long may they prosper. They may look like they are fighting in this picture, but they are playing.
Have you ever eaten at Bombay Bistro? If not, and if you’re in the area, I highly recommend it. I’m not qualified to say whether or not the food is authentic for any particular part of the Indian sub-continent. What I am qualified to say is that it’s really good. The Chicken Tikka Makhani is one of our favorites and I don’t we’d ever consider not including that in an order. We like to try new things and this time we had Saag Ghost, which is “lamb cooked with mildly spiced spinach.” I’m a fan of cooked spinach and liked this one quite well. Anyway, as far as I can tell, it’s hard to go wrong. It isn’t a big place, but that’s part of its charm. Anyway, if you haven’t eaten there, you should.