31 December 2012

Snowflake Monday


Physical therapy is helping me work through some of the pain I've been experiencing in my back since... well, for about eight years now, but magnified beyond tolerance last June. My whole attitude is changing, and I am hopeful I will be able to ride the entire 2013 MS-150!

In a snowflake jersey of my own design!

We started our very own team!!!

a team of our own

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

A New Day Snowflake

Finished Size: 4 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread in two colors if desired (snowflake may be made in one color or just white), size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

A New Day Snowflake Instructions

With Color A, make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, ch 8, * 2 dc in ring, ch 8; repeat from * 4 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 2: *8 sc in next ch 8 sp, ch 16, 8 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off off if using two colors
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: (Ch 4 to count as 1 tr instead of starting tr if not changing colors this round.) With Color B, 1 tr in any joint between 2 8/sc groups, between petals, * ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 8 sc in next ch 16 sp, [ch 3, 3 sc in same sp] 2 times, ch 3, 8 sc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 tr in next joint between 2 8/sc groups; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr of final repeat, sl st in starting tr (or 4th ch of starting ch 4 if working in one color); bind off. Weave in ends.

A New Day Snowflake

Pink Variation

With Color A, make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, ch 8, * 2 dc in ring, ch 8; repeat from * 4 times; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 2: * 8 sc in next ch 8 sp, ch 24, 8 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off off if using two colors

Round 3: With Color B, 1 tr in any joint between 2 8/sc groups, between petals, * ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 12 sc in next ch 24 sp, [ch 3, 3 sc in same sp] 2 times, ch 3, 12 sc in sam sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 tr in next joint between 2 8/sc groups; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr of final repeat, sl st in starting tr; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

A New Day Snowflake

A New Day Snowflake

A New Day Snowflakes

A New Day Snowflakes

A New Day Snowflake Rock

28 December 2012

Friday Funny

Dude!  What's that smell?!?

Poetic justice. Sweet, poetic justice.

I have been monstrously plagued by automated and real comments that aren't... well, real. You know the kind:

"I was recommended this web site by my cousin. I'm not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are amazing! Thanks! See my [totally unrelated and entirely bogus] webpage > something stupid you don't want or need."

I get at least a dozen of these a day. Sometimes I can get that many in an hour. Just writing about this probably will trigger the offenders' sensors and earn me hundreds more unwanted comments on this very post.

That's why I moderate comments. That's why I probably will always have to monitor comments. I wish I didn't have to, but I don't want that garbage anywhere on my blog.

Right before Christmas, I received a new comment from a frequent flyer, one who hits me several times a day. Every day. Normally the comments are word for word identical. This one was different.

This time, the faker, the jerk, the person I wish would lose internet connectivity permanently, wrote that he apparently had accidentally triggered the "notify me of comments" button and was getting four email notifications for every single comment on my blog. Would I please turn it off?

No way, Dude! You got yourself into this mess! May your armpits be infested with the fleas of 1,000 unwanted emails! Per hour!!!

Take that. Yeah!

gag

27 December 2012

Heels Over Head

once upon a time

a real-life adventure

Read Part IX here.

Now available in ebook format!


Chapter Three

I recalled Bill Cosby's humorous account of his wife's labor prior to the birth of their first child.

"Morphine," she screamed. "I want morphine!"

I thought about the old western movies my grandparents used to watch, the ones in which bullet-ridden cowboys would bite down hard on a knife after swallowing a shot of whiskey.

I thought about all the hallucinogens I'd learned about in school, the odd-shaped pills that made girls stick their hands into burning flower-shaped flames and boys jump like birds from three-story buildings.

I remembered how my own children always stopped crying and forgot how much their owies hurt the instant they laid their eyes on the box of fluorescent glow-in-the-dark movie cartoon character bandages shaped like hearts, circles and stars.

Where are the real pain killers when you need them???

The ride back into the city from whence I had come seemed a lot longer via ambulance. Of course, there was no CD player to crank on this trip. The children weren't around to pester me about rest stops and which songs they wanted to hear over. And over. And over. I couldn't see out the windows. Holiday weekend traffic on a rain-soaked and accident-riddled highway tends to move pretty slow.

Three more accidents had occurred in the vicinity before my ambulance had even taken to the road, according to one of the paramedics. Four more ambulances supposedly were en route.

My children were going to follow in another ambulance, one paramedic explained.

"Someone told me my children weren't hurt ..." I began.

"I think they are fine, but there will be another ambulance going to Swedish. They will ride in that one. It's either that or a police car."

"The ambulance will be fine," I mumbled. It would be better than making them wait in the rain with the car for a tow truck. And it definitely would be better than having them accompany me, being as I was ... well, so properly undressed for the occasion.

During the long ride, the paramedic couldn't make contact with the hospital. Too far away, and too much weather interference, he complained.

The driver decided it might be faster to get off the interstate at the next exit and take side roads into the metro.

Bumpidy bump bump bump. Ouchity ouch ouch ouch.

The rough terrain of the road was magnified by the throbbing in my side. The paramedic had retaped my naked legs to the backboard with dry adhesive because I kept raising my knees. I wasn't trying to escape or anything like that. I was only trying to relieve the tension on my lower back. And the soreness of my shoulder pressed against the backboard.

My mind raced, trying to find something to think about to pass the time. I was beginning to think I didn't want to sit through a baseball game after all. Along with that thought came the oppressive realization that I wouldn't be able to call my best friend to let her know what had happened. The name and phone number of the friends with whom she was staying in Colorado Springs were back in my car. Well out of my reach. To make matters worse, my normally photographic memory wasn't giving me any breaks. Too many breaks of its own to deal with, I suppose.

I wondered if anyone would be willing to take my Rockies tickets off my hands. Maybe the paramedics ... naaa, they could have my shirt. Would I even have time to unload the tickets by the time the x-ray department was done with me?

I didn't know where I was being taken. During my first ambulance ride, I didn't have to wonder where I'd end up. Only one hospital graced the mountain hamlet where I'd once lived. I wasn't as hurt in the first accident ─ I was just head to toe in bruises, an incredible fashion statement for purple cravers.

I wasn't as humiliated then ─ I still had my clothes on. I wasn't covered with blood. Or mud. I was more talkative. I knew the emergency room doctor. I'd covered hospital board meetings for the newspaper for more than six years. I knew everyone at the then six-bed hospital, and all 10 or so staff members knew me.

Actually, there were about ten times that many employees. It just seems so tiny now. Now that I have a metro hospital experience in comparison.

This trip, I was headed for the caverns of anonymity. Giant caverns. Impersonal caverns. No reason to be treated special. No time for individual attention.

Once I was wheeled into Swedish Medical Center's enormous emergency BUILDING (as compared to Estes Park's emergency ROOM), I was left in a dimly lit and windowless examination room by myself for what seemed like hours. I managed to wriggle my legs free from the tape's cling, although it was still too tight for me to raise my legs. I rolled my hips slightly to the right to relieve the pressure on my lower back, left side and left shoulder. The pain of the tape ripping off the top layer or two of skin as I moved was adequately dulled by injuries sustained in the wreck.

ER staffers checked on me periodically to assure me the doctor would be in shortly, to inform me that my children were being attended to in the waiting room and to explain that there had been 17 accidents altogether down south. Someone would get to me as soon as possible, each Nurse Nightingale promised.


Read Part XI here.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2012 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.

25 December 2012

Wordless Wednesday

autumn window cleaning

lunch hour with a view

phone call from the top

looking down...

cleaning with a view

back to work

swish

bird's-eye view

A Miracle for ChristMS

The Coolest Jersey

Three weeks ago, we received news that the sponsor of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society team we've been riding for had opted to allocate charitable efforts in other directions next year. Although we understand the corporation's need to streamline expenses in this economy, the announcement was heartbreaking for both The Lizard and me.

We had known for a while the National Multiple Sclerosis Society was planning to roll out a new website for 2013, and we excitedly anticipated what we hoped would be a much more user-friendly participant center.

The new website debuted early. 2012 fundraising was brought to an abrupt halt. I was a mere $5 from reaching High Roller status. I would have donated that much myself had I known time was out. Once again, my heart was shattered.

This added to the chaos already going on in my head and heart. I had been unable to ride this year's event, my first time ever as a High Roller, at the last minute, thanks to a rekindled undiscovered injury from my March bicycle wreck. Initially, before we knew I had injured my back in addition to my wrist, my diagnosis was not a pleasant one. Full recovery was not likely. Healing wasn't going to happen.

I wasn't sure how far I would be able to ride once my body does finish rebuilding, assuming it does. And now, we had no team.

(The corporation that sponsored the team I rode for hopes to have a team in 2013, but both The Lizard and I feel what limited team resources are available should go to employees of the company and their family members, not to outsiders like us.)

Both The Lizard and I stewed.

In addition, my work group moved to a new floor, and along with this being my employer's busiest time of year, there was not much time to work on a new snowflake pattern booklet. Inspiration and motivation were running a tiny bit dry.

Then something magical happened. Twice. Pure magic. The kind of magic that comes from on High.

First, the worst of my back pain DID begin, albeit turtle slow, to heal. My back was getting better, even though it wasn't supposed to. More medical attention and a new diagnosis. I still have degenerative disc disease brought on by trauma to the disc. My arthritis is still a huge factor. But I am no longer considered "severe." I am between moderate and severe. Yay a thousand times for hyaluronic acid! (And plenty of sleep, plenty of water, no sugar, no red meat, lots of stretching, lots of prayer...)

As I prepared for my first session of physical therapy, to the music of my iPhone, of course, I received notification from a vigorous supporter stating he would be jump-starting my 2013 fundraising drive.

I had my first donation, and I hadn't even registered yet. Something inside me swelled. Something I haven't felt in a very long time.

For weeks, The Lizard had been coaching me that if I think or say I can't ride 75 miles in a day, I would not be able to ride 75 miles in a day. Twice in a row to boot. He said I would have to say AND believe I CAN ride 75 miles in a day. Twice.

Something that's been absent inside me ever since June began to blossom. It grew, and grew, and grew.

For about six years now, The Lizard has fantasized about forming our very own MS-150 (now BikeMS) team. He has been saying for what feels like forever that a Snowcatcher jersey would be the coolest jersey in the entire MS-150.

What if we formed our own team? What if I designed our jerseys? And shorts! Must have matching shorts!

What if I do finish another snowflake booklet, and what if I do indeed raise enough money next year to be a High Roller in 2014? To RIDE as a High Roller in 2014. To ride again. To ride 75 miles in a day again. Back to back. What if I set the goal, believing I can?

I believe this new enthusiasm growing inside me just might be my best Christmas present this year.

5 NOV 2013 UPDATE: I'm now registered for next year's ride. My new fund-raising page is located here.

I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.

24 December 2012

Snowflake Monday

12:12 12.12.12

Today's pattern was not only the snowflake I designed aboard the commuter train on December 12, 2012; this is the 212th snowflake for which I've written a pattern. I didn't plan it this way. It just happened, and to me, the coinciding dozens are worth getting excited about!

I designed this snowflake 12 days ago. 12 and 12 makes 24. Today is the 24th.

12:12 12.12.12

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

12.12.12 Snowflake

Finished Size: 5.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

12.12.12 Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in ring, * ch 1, 3 dc in ring; repeat from * 4 times; 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form last ch 1 sp of Round. Do not pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same sp, * 2 dc in next ch 1 sp, ch 3, 2 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 dc in same sp as starting dc, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form last ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 3: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, * 3 dc cluster (yo and draw up loop, yo and pull through 2 loops on hook 3 times, yo and draw through all 4 loops on hook) in gap between next 2/2dc groups, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 6, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc cluster in gap between next 2/2 dc groups, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 5 to form last ch 6 sp of Round.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same sp, * 2 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 6 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 5 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same ch as sl st, * ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 5, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, ch 2, 3 dc in middle (3rd) dc of next 5/dc group, ch 5, 1 sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 6, sl st in sc, ch 4, sl st in sc, 3 dc in same dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

12.12.12 Snowflake

12.12.12 Snowflake Rock

22 December 2012

Snowflake Saturday

Snowflakes with Purpose

January 30, 2012 Update: The Connecticut PTSA has announced they have a semi truck full of snowflakes. (WOW!!!) They have enough snowflakes. Read more here. Please send any more snowflakes you make have created to your own elementary school and delight children close to home! Thank you for making this possible!

Please join me in helping create a winter wonderland for the students at Sandy Hook. Read more about the project here, then help spread the true spirit of Christmas by coming together as one, doing something very special to help traumatized children feel a little safer and a lot more loved, and to personally experience the energy and revitalization that comes from serving others and spreading beauty.

Here is a bonus snowflake pattern, but please feel free to make ANY snowflake for this project. The Connecticut PTA would like them all to be different!

I have included instructions for three different variations, and all three rounds of all three variations are interchangeable. Just remember that regardless which starting round you use, you will need to work a total of six V-stitches evenly spaced in the second round. Whatever size chain space you use on the second round, be sure to fill evenly on both sides of each chain space during the third round, using the instructions I've provided or any stitch combination you choose. Mix and match to your heart's delight, and truly no two snowflakes will be identical.

If making a solid center, you also may add googly eyes or tiny buttons and embroider a big smile to make a happy face in the center of the snowflake. I'm told little children are thrilled with smiley face snowflakes.

See the first post in this thread for a list of snowflake pattern resources. Ravelry's snowflake database is here. My snowflake pattern index is located here.

Sandy Hook school colors are green and white. White snowflakes are entirely appropriate for this project. And no, they don't have to be crocheted, knitted or tatted. I know of many school children who are making paper snowflakes to send.

Please make and send snowflakes for your own elementary school!

Thank you for helping make a difference!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thank you again for helping in this meaningful project.

Finished Size: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

NOTE: Snowflakes may be stiffened with sugar water, Epsom salt dissolved in water, homemade glue made with cornstarch, liquid or power fabric starch, spray starch and LIGHTLY ironed (be careful not to scorch!), water soluble school glue (do NOT use all-purpose glue; it leaves residue that will NOT come off), fabric stiffener found at craft and some department stores, or Modge Podge. Please note that liquid starch may cause hand-dyed thread to run. Please note that Modge Podge and Epsom salts can take away from the delicacy of very fine, lacey snowflakes, but otherwise work just fine. Epsom salts dissolved in warm water will harden the fastest.

Winter Wonderland Snowflake Instructions

Winter Wonderland Snowflake

Variation 1

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 11 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic ring as tight as desired.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same ch as sl st, sk next dc, * 2 dc in next dc, ch 8, 2 dc in same dc (V-stitch made), sk next dc; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 dc in same ch as starting dc, ch 8, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: * 1 sc in space between next 2 2/dc groups, 8 sc in next ch 8 loop, ch 16, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 13, 8 sc in same ch 8 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.

Winter Wonderland Snowflake

Variation 2

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 17 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Pull magic ring as tight as desired.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same ch as sl st, sk next 2 dc, * 2 dc in next dc, ch 5, 2 dc in same dc (V-stitch made), sk next 2 dc; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 dc in same ch as starting dc, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: * 1 sc in space between next 2 2/dc groups, 5 sc in next ch 5 loop, ch 16, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 13, 5 sc in same ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Winter Wonderland Snowflake

Variation 3

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), * 1 dc in ring, ch 3; repeat from * around 4 times, omitting last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 5 to form last ch 3 sp. Pull magic ring as tight as desired.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc around post of hdc just made, * 2 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 2 dc in same sp (V-stitch made); repeat from * around 4 times; 2 dc in same sp as starting dc, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: Ch 2, yo and draw up loop from sp between next 2 2/dc groups, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw up loop through same sp between 2/dc groups, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook (starting dc cluster made), 2 sc in next ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, ch 16, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 13, 1 dc in same ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp, * yo and draw up loop through next sp between 2/dc groups, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook, [yo and draw up loop through same sp, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times, yo and draw through all 4 loops on hook (3/dc cluster made), 2 sc in next ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 1 dc in same sp, ch 16, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, ch 13, 1 dc in same ch 5 sp, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; sl st in top of starting dc cluster; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Place on small piece of cardboard or inside stiff greeting card for mailing. If sending a large group of snowflakes, a small (clean) pizza box will hold the snowflakes flat. Resealable plastic bags may be used to hold snowflakes inside mailing box.

Please send snowflakes to your own elementary school!

Now make another snowflake or two for your own elementary school, your own home or your own child. If you live alone, make one or two snowflakes for yourself, and hang them where they will always remind you of the day we formed a new Hands Across America or Hands Across the World to make this planet a better and more beautiful place.

Winter Wonderland for Sandy Hook

20 December 2012

Heels Over Head

Hoo goes there!

a real-life adventure

Read Part VIII here.

Now available in ebook format!


The morning of my first backboard trip, before the accident occurred, the Department of Wildlife had dispatched an officer to an Estes Park motel after a great horned howl nestling was nudged from its nest.

Too young to fly, the owl had perched upon a rail near the motel's lobby entrance to welcome tourists and become one of the most popular attractions in town that day. One of my photos ran three columns by ten inches deep in that day's paper.

The officer logged the exact time the bird was photographed by the local newspaper. (Me.)

The rest of the stills, from the camera loaded with black and white film, and the backup camera loaded with color slides, and with and without strobe, were of identical quality. Perfect quality. The videotape, when inserted in a VCR, displayed, with amazing clarity, the winged creature performing extreme head-turning contortion. The tape just wouldn't play in the video camera. Perhaps because it wouldn't fit in the crunched machine.

All my film from that morning had survived. Visual and court-ready proof beyond a shadow of a doubt ALL my cameras had been in perfect working order just hours before the accident.

My cameras were the most important material things I owned then, and I had to make do without them for what felt like an eternity. Even when I finally settled the claim, I ended up forking out more than $1,300 out of pocket to replace the entire collection.

And now I was saddled with a mouthy paramedic who thought I'd be able to collect damages for a treasured pair of jeans.

Back to the real world!

And that's exactly where I landed when an oxygen mask covered my face, followed by a needle being inserted into my right arm.

My first ambulance ride had been less than a minute long. On this one, I'd be lucky to find myself at the nearest hospital in less than an hour.

Read Part X here.

Table of Contents

Copyright 2012 by Deborah and Brett Atkinson
All rights reserved. No part of this book - prose, photos or graphics - may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without express prior written permission of the author.

18 December 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Downtown Denver

Real Snow on the Snowflake Rocks

white snow

snow candle

blue snow

yum

prism

snowglobe

my snow

My 2012 Christmas Tree

Let there be light.

the reason

Healing Skies

Attack of the Dust Monster
Last year's dust before professional camera cleaning.

I'm not the only one having trouble with dust spots on digital photos. I've been asked to share how I "fix" the dust spots.

I use a primitive version of Adobe Photoshop. My version 7 is at least six versions back from the current CS6. But it suits me just fine, so I have no plans to upgrade in the near or not-so-near future.

I have never used Elements, but I understand it is similar to Photoshop, just not full-strength. I have never used Lightroom. I have never used any version of Creative Suite and don't personally know anyone who has it, so I have no idea if the instructions I share will translate for programs other than prehistoric Photoshop.

However, hopefully any image editing program will have the basic tools or some kind of equivalent of what I use to fix my dust spots.

Healing Tool
Here is the "healing tool" I use.

unfixed Mount Sneffels
This photo may appear perfect, but notice the dark gray hair-type spot in the gray clouds in the upper left-hand corner.

ugly dust spot
Here is a photo of my computer screen showing a photo with the obnoxious dust spot in the sky below my healing tool circle.

blue sky

Select the healing tool by clicking on it. Place the healing tool/cursor over an area of the photo that matches where the dust spot is located, then push the ALT button AND right click the mouse. Let go of the mouse. This action stores data from the clean space into the healing tool, and the healing tool will now paint that clean space into whatever area of the photo you desire.

Get read to fix!

Place the healing tool/cursor over the dust spot, press the CONTROL button, right click the mouse and move the cursor across the dust spot.

fix the dust spot

There are two main modes of healing tools: Normal and Replace. These modes are located in the tool bar at the top of the screen when the healing tool is selected. Normal will blend the fix, including smearing nearby colors if you get too close. Replace will replace the pixels being fixed. Use this mode if your dust spot is close to an area with a strong difference in color or contrast, then use the Normal mode to blend edges if necessary.

Here is my fixed photo:

Ta da!
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