It’s a bit chilly today and we’re getting ready to watch some football game or other. I thought a fire would be nice so I laid one up and got it going. There’s nothing like a good fire to warm you in a comforting way (a controlled fire, of course, otherwise it is liable to warm you in a very non-comforting way). As the pre-game show droned on and on, I muted the sound and turned to the fire, instead, which was much more interesting. Getting a still picture of fire that is interesting, I think, can be pretty difficult. It’s mostly hit or miss, because the flames are moving so fast. This is my favorite. It’s what you get today, anyway.
Monthly Archives: February 2015
We’re quite fond of our school. Of course, it isn’t technically our school any more, in the sense that we don’t have a child attending. In another way, though, it still is our school. It’s a non-profit owned by a society of parents and friends of the school and we are happy to remain members of the society. This evening was the winter society meeting, having been postponed from last week due to snow.
We like many things about the school but high on the list has to be the people. Both parents, faculty, and staff. We enjoy seeing them when we can and this was a good opportunity. It was also good to get caught up on all the doings, as there are some doings right now. But for me, connecting with people is still very high on my list. This is Angie, my favorite kindergarten teacher. She isn’t teaching this year but is still working part time. She is planning to have me come in to do a quick walk-through of the solar system with the fifth grade. It’s also almost time for Mr. Lincoln to visit the kindergarten. So good to see her and hear how life is treating her (pretty well).
It was a bit chilly this morning, somewhere around 18°F At about 7:00 I noticed that there was a bit of color in the western sky. I grabbed my camera and then paused long enough to put on my shoes. I figured I might be out for a little while and under 20°F I usually wear shoes if I’m doing more than grabbing the mail. It was a wonderful sunrise, as you can see (this is to the east, of course). With the rain and snow we’ve been having it was very welcome.
Cathy isn’t hugely fond of leeks but I like them a lot. It’s not uncommon to find them in my kitchen but when you have a leeky kitchen, something needs to be done. Tonight I thought a creamy leek sauce would go well with skate wings. I’ve never actually cooked skate before and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. They are not terribly fishy but have a nice, delicate flavour. The sauce went pretty well with them but I think something a bit tangier might be better in the future. I also happened to have some blood oranges, which I sectioned and put over the fish and that might be a better base than the leeks.
I was messing around with my new macro flash equipment today. I’m looking forward to insect season with this. The extra light means I can take pictures at f/32, which means as much depth of field as possible and with a fast enough shutter to stop the movement of those always moving bees and wasps. Up close like this, Depth of field can be just a few millimeters. At f/32 it is more like 10 or 15. Big difference.
These keys, of course, don’t move much by themselves. With a tripod I could tak as long an exposure as I like. But this was hand held at f/32 and 1/200 of a second.
We’ve been looking forward to this evening for a long time. Dorothy scheduled an art exhibit at Gallery Edit in Richmond, Virginia. Her theme was “home” but I’ll let you ask her for more details of that, if you are interested. Along with both of her grandmas, we drove down for the evening. Two other long-time friends, Rob and Susie, also came, which was wonderful. A few of Dorothy’s young friends showed up, as well. But even without the “home team crowd” there was good traffic through the gallery all evening.
We had an early lunch this morning (or was it a very late breakfast?). We had planned to go to The Roosevelt on Church Hill. We met our friends, Rob and Susie there but it isn’t open Saturday morning. So, we found another place, called the Sub Rosa Bakery, which is just across the street. It’s a fairly small place but they were very accommodating of our large group. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend Sub Rosa. Here we have four of our group of nine. Margaret, Dorothy, Kendra, and Michaela.
I know I’ve already posted a photo for today but I thought I’d post another. After our early lunch at the Sub Rosa Bakery we drove to Carytown. Parking was an issue, as it was a beautiful, Saturday afternoon and all of Richmond seemed to be out and about. We did finally find parking on Ellwood Avenue and walked the block over to Cary Street.
We didn’t have any real plans, but went into a few shops, including one called Bygones, which specializes in vintage clothing and accessories. They had some very nice things, if you are into that sort of thing. I don’t get dressed up often, so I don’t suppose it would make sense looking for things for myself. I did like two of the hats they had, a top hat and a bowler, but decided I’d pass this time.
On the way back to the car, I photographed Dorothy in this alley alongside a brick wall (which I supposed is obvious).
A third photo from today and I’ll call it quits. After wandering around Carytown for a while, we returned to Gallery Edit and the Hillside offices. James was there sitting in the front of the gallery playing the guitar. Dorothy, Kendra, and Michaela joined him there and I took some pictures. I really liked the quality of the light from the afternoon sun pouring into the big window. I also took a few more pictures of Dorothy’s art work, which should be up through the end of the month or so. If you happen to be in Richmond, give her a call and stop in to see it.
Shortly after we got home from Richmond yesterday there was a really nice sunset. Because I already posted three photos from Saturday and because sunsets aren’t terribly rare, I decided not to post any of them. Today the sunset wasn’t quite as spectacular but still pretty nice, so, today you get a sunset picture. That’s the way it goes.
Yesterday I woke up to find that my back had seized up. I’m not sure what brought this on, other than an aging spine that’s never been exceedingly strong (either figuratively or literally). Whatever the cause, it was not comfortable. I decided to give it a good rest and stayed home today, spending most of the day on the couch reading with an ice pack under the small of my back. That, along with some wondrous pharmaceuticals, helped considerably and by the evening I was able to get up without the aid of a cane. This picture honors the quilt that kept me warm while the ice pack kept me cold. This is one of the many, beautiful quilts that my mom has made over the years.
In my four plus years of taking and posting a photo every day, I have a few days where I only take two or three pictures. They typically don’t end up being everyone’s favorite and I have a feeling today will be a perfect example of that. I met a good friend for dinner at Urban Barbecue this evening. We had a very nice dinner and an enjoyable time. I got there a few minutes before he did and that gave me time to take three pictures of the bar from my table (it was the most interesting view from where I was sitting, without aiming my camera at, and weirding out, other patrons). Not a terrific picture. In fact, I’m a bit embarrassed by it. But it’s all I have to show for today. The dinner and visit were much (MUCH) better than the photo.
Because they live so far away we don’t get to see some of Cathy’s siblings nearly often enough. Although for one reason or another they could not be here for Christmas, David came this week for a visit. As nice as it was to see him, we were particularly excited to see our youngest nephew, Darius.
This evening we went out for dinner and the corner booth we sat in was ideal in that he could run back and forth between two adults and not really bother anyone else in the restaurant. He moved to a high chair to eat but then was back where he could plan after finishing. I’m especially glad we got to see him in such a good mood because he came down with a bad cold after this and was not nearly so animated the rest of their visit.
This is one of a handful of pictures that I think are pretty good, though.
Although you may be thinking that this is what I call Cathy when I’m trying to get her to forgive me for something I’ve done, I’m actually referring to “the” Catherine the Great of Russia (2 May 1729 – 17 November 1796), who rules Russia from 1762 until her death.
I have a small (and not terribly valuable) collection of stamps and paper money from around the world. This is a detail of one of my favorite bills, a 100 ruble note from 1910, portraying Catherine the Great.
Dorothy and one of her new friends from Richmond came up for the weekend. It was a pretty hectic time but we really enjoyed having them here. We saw David and Darius again this evening but Darius was not feeling well so I didn’t take any pictures of them.
After they left I took a few pictures of Dorothy and Katy. Cathy asked if she could get in the picture and this is the result.
Dorothy was home for the weekend with her friend, Katy (see the picture from last night). They wanted to go visit Rocklands Farm so we headed out there late in the morning. We had a great time with Janis who walked out to see the chickens, pigs, and cows. These, obviously, are the pigs. It was also wonderful to see Erin and her kids and get a bit of a visit in before we had to run. Thanks, Erin and Janis for being so willing to put up with us showing up unannounced and unplanned and welcoming us so warmly.
Through an unlikely series of connections, we’ve recently become friends with a new group of people. One of Dorothy’s classmates was Jack. Through him, Dorothy met his girlfriend, Abbie. Through that, we met her parents. He is a pastor and has been led to plant a new church in Rockville. We have become involved in that and are meeting with them on Sunday afternoons.
They have already started getting used to the idea of me taking pictures fairly often but I’ve hesitated to post any of them. This one makes me laugh, not least because when he noticed my camera aimed at him, David put on an expression and posed for me, looking thoughtful and serious. Then we both laughed.
Love the beard, David.
It has been cold a bit lately and there is snow and ice on the ground. This evening I was looking out the window of my home office and seeing different patterns of ice on the window. This somewhat abstract image, which I named “Winter Sun”, is actually the out-of-focus light of a street lamp shining on the ice riming the window pane and seen through the screen. The image was much more orange as taken but I adjusted the white balance to get a cooler, bluer color, more evocative of the winter landscape.
We had a small snow squall again overnight and this morning. By midday the sun was out and it was quite beautiful. The roads were never terribly bad but because I had no meetings and what I needed to get done today I could do just as easily from home, I stayed and worked from here.
In the afternoon I cleared the walk and the drive and then went around the yard taking pictures of the snow. It’s notoriously hard to get interesting pictures of snow. It’s sort of white on white, but these footprints that were in the show and that were mostly covered by this recent fall make for nice shadows. Personally I’m not tired of winter yet, although I know some people are. It’s only February, folks.
It was pretty cool out when we got home late this evening. The wind was blowing and it was clear, with only a few clouds quickly moving across the sky. Orion was setting over our house and I got my tripod and went out to take some pictures. You can see his belt, the three stars Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka, running horizontally across the middle of the picture. The bright star at the top of this picture is Betelgeuse (Orion’s right shoulder). The star closest to our roof is Rigel. Other stars are Meissa, Bellatrix, and Saiph. Sirius in Canis Major, the brightest star in the night sky, is just over the top of the tree to the left in this picture.
So, have I had a trip to the International Space Station where I took this black and white photo of fjords? Well, no, obviously. As you probably guessed, this is a close up of wet and salt encrusted pavement. But to me it does look a bit like an aerial photograph.
This was in the parking lot at work and the patterns were quite varied and (to me) interesting.
It was quite cool this morning. My phone said it was 1°F here and my car agreed. There was a bit of wind, which made it seem a little cooler but the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. I had to drop some papers off at the school so I went to work via Lake Needwood. It’s covered in snow and I stopped to take a few photographs before continuing on to the office. Fortunately, the roads are clear because I needed to drive to Richmond later in the day and bring Dorothy home for a short visit.
For many years Bob Prentiss said that he’d get baptized when hell freezes over. How prophetic. Today, at the 4:30 Saturday afternoon service at Mosaic (a.k.a. “a church for people who don’t go to church”), with between six and eight inches of snow on the ground and with roads poorly cleared at best, Bob was baptized.
There were people who could not get there because of the snow—we left home a little before noon and it was slow going—but it was going to take more than a bit of snow to keep us away. This picture is from after the service. From left to right: Cathy, Dorothy, Kadie, Stephen, Maureen, Bob, Julia, Heart, Heather (holding Heart’s baby daughter, Emma), and Carl (the pastor at Mosaic).
Two church-related posts in two days. Sorry about that but it’s what’s been going on. They are from two different churches, neither of which is the church of which we are members, which I find a bit interesting. I posted a picture last week of David (February 15, 2015) and mentioned a church plant in Rockville that we’ve become involved with. This evening there was a service to install pastor Ben as a member of the Potomac presbytery (PCA) as an associate pastor of McLean Presbyterian Church. His job, however, will be here in Rockville. It was good to gather and celebrate this event with our newly found friends, our brothers and sisters, and we look forward to the weeks and months ahead as we walk down this road together.
As I was driving home today the eastern sky in front of me was quite beautiful with a line of clouds running almost due east-west straight ahead. I took a couple pictures of it as I was stopped in traffic. Then, I stopped at Safeway to pick up a few things. The western sky, over the top of the shopping center, only had a few small clouds but they were quite lovely. With my long lens and standing up on the side of my car to get a little higher up and over the foreground distractions, I was able to get this picture. By the time I got out of the store, not only was the sun down but all the clouds had moved off and the sky was a brilliant, deep, indigo blue.
Mom sent an email this morning saying that her refrigerator was leaking water. The ice maker hasn’t worked for a while now but it’s still hooked up to the water supply. Unfortunately, it seems somewhere along the way there is a leak and the water is coming out onto the floor under it. She turned the water off at the mains but there is only so long you can have water off and still be considered to be living in modern America. I went there after work and pulled the frig out from the wall. Nothing obvious—the copper tubing comes out of the floor just where it meets the wall and didn’t seem to have any problems.
I took the panel off the base of the refrigerator back, exposing the compressor and the rest of the mechanical workings. When the water was turned back on, I could see the where the leak was, with water dripping from the plastic tubing just after where the copper tube is attached to the system. What to do. The most obvious thing was to find the other end of the copper tube and turn the water off there, to only the refrigerator. It took us a while to find but we finally did, behind the access panel of the upstairs bathroom. Unfortunately, that value wasn’t in very good shape and the handle broke off before I was able to even start to turn it. We ran out to Strosniders and bought a new valve and in a fairly short time I had it replaced. The water is now turned off and all seems well.
I’m afraid all I have for a photograph for today is another meal. This evening I decided to make burgers. I topped them with sauteed tomatoes and onions and then melted some Irish Dubliner cheese, which is something like cheddar but a bit more buttery and quite good. I had the burger sans-bun and paired it with some fresh broccolini, boiled briefly just until tender. Turned out pretty well, if I say so myself.
We had another little snow fall this morning. When I checked early Montgomery County had decided on a two hour delay for schools. That hasn’t mattered much this year but I was planning to go in to do some things with the fifth grade. Because it was already scheduled to be a half day today, the delay meant school was canceled. Montgomery County decided to close, anyway, a little later. Cathy and I went to work together and had no problems with the snow. The roads were all fine. This is the view from the front of my office building, into the trees beside the parking lot, taken from a third floor window. There are a few mid-sized trees growing on the banks of a small stream. The thickets toward the top of the picture are brambles.
One of my favorite things at WCA is the lower school’s History Night. Each of the six classes from kindergarten through fifth represent a culture and people from the period in history which they study. Kindergarten is native America; first grade, the children seen in this picture, ancient Egypt; second grade, China; third grade, the Vikings; fourth grade, the middle ages; and fifth, colonial America. I was asked to come take pictures and I got quite a few good images (which makes it hard to pick just one representative sample).
I suppose technically this is a sub-urban sunset, as we were in the suburbs, but it’s certainly not a rural sunset. We were in Rockville, paying a visit to Second Story Books this afternoon. As we left the sun was sinking into the west (as it does most days) and the sky was turning orange. There was no way we were going to get somewhere wide open for a beautiful vista so we pulled into the parking lot of a local business establishment (Aladdin Carpet & Floors, to be precise), and I took a few pictures through the power lines and construction equipment across the street.