Saturday, August 09, 2014

Round Robin: These Eyes

For the Round Robin Challenge: Where'd You Get Those Eyes?, I asked to see  "one or more close-up photographs of any eyes you like." I have a mixture of old photos and new to show you, although I'm running a bit late in posting them. Apparently the latest update to iTunes did something nasty to my firewall, and neither Chrome nor Firefox would let me online until I found a way to fix it!

So anyway, here are the latest, not necessarily the greatest:

Cayenne: one eye has a scar beside it that predates her coming to us. The other has a mole that the vet will remove if she ever has surgery for some other reason. It's not worth the expense otherwise.

Kito: I'm frequently asked whether he is blind in that pale blue eye, and some people even think it's a glass eye! Nope! Some dogs just have two different colored eyes, both fully functional. The trait is called heterochromia.

Karen: Note the scar above my eye, an artifact from my header into a sidewalk a year ago.

And here are a few shots from 2006:

 I must have been tired. As usual.

 An edit to turn myself into an alien. I tweaked it a little bit tonight.

And finally, here is a shot from an eye exam in 2008. This was probably when I was told that I was at risk for retinal detachment. I had a retinal tear in June, 2013, but I don't seem to have photographed anything but the eye surgeon's waiting room on that occasion. That was a scary weekend!


Linking List
as of Saturday, August 9th, 1:40 AM MST

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Carly - Posted!
Ellipsis Karen

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Round Robin: About the Monsoon!

When I posted the topic for the current Round Robin Challenge: About the Weather, my part of Tucson had just had its first big monsoon storm of 2014 on Sunday, July 13th. How big? Take a look:

The Arizona monsoon is a seasonal weather pattern that starts in mid-June and runs through September. It accounts for the vast majority of our 11" of average annual rainfall. The monsoon used to be calculated as starting on the date certain conditions were met, based on dew point and other stuff I don't understand. Nowadays it has an official start and end date, but this year the actual weather conditions arrived July 3rd, which is about average.  With climate change and all that, we've been in drought more years than not in the last decade or two, with monsoons that fizzled out without dumping all that much rain in the city itself.

But the storm that Sunday was a good one. Here is the view through my windshield as I sat in the parking lot outside my dad's place.

When I reached the street, I found some rather interesting debris.

I drove from my Dad's to Pantano River Park, to see how much water was in the river. Most of the time there is none. On that late afternoon, there was the most I'd seen in several years.

There is a wash (a usually-dry creek bed) in my neighborhood called Alamo Wash. I've photographed it a lot over the years. Here is my attempt to paste together two photos so you can see the whole scene that afternoon.

Tucson has something called a Stupid Motorist Law, designed to discourage people from driving through washes when they're full of swiftly-running water a foot or more deep. That is quite enough to get a car and its driver in deep trouble. People have actually died! So if someone is stupid enough to drive through a flooded wash and then need rescuring, the city charges them for the service. On that Sunday afternoon in the Terra Del Sol Neighborhood, no one was taking that chance, at least not where the wash crossed Betergeuse behind the high school. The cars you see above were mostly parked. One of them turned around, and so did I.

 Now, was there another way through, where the water wasn't so deep? How about this way?

No, I wasn't willing to chance it, although I did see a truck do it. Over by Terra Del Sol Park, it was just as bad as over by the high school.

Here, too, it wasn't safe to drive through. As I drove around, I saw a lot of neighbors out and about on foot, enjoying the post-rain 74 degree weather, down from 100+. The fact that power was out in some homes may have had something to do with people being outside.

I went back out to a main road and found another way home that did not involve crossing a wash. Then I took the dogs for a walk. Cayenne, who is afraid of thunder, was not overly concerned as I managed to photograph distant lightning.

Now, other than having to comfort Cayenne, I really enjoy monsoon storms. They're dramatic, they don't last long, and we always need the rain. But as I was driving home the next day, I was reminded that it's not all fun and games. Down on the corner, my neighbors were looking at the tree in their front yard, half-destroyed by a lightning strike. Even at that, they're lucky. At least two neighbors have had major roof damage in past years when a tree fell on their houses.


Be sure to check out all the Round Robin entries this week!

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Ellen's Phlog

Carly - Posted

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Round Robin Challenge: Words and Pictures, Mostly on Paper

For the Round Robin Challenge: Words and Pictures, I asked to see one or more photographs of something that contains both words and pictures. I didn't get out for a specific photo shoot this time, but let's see what we can come up with!

Let's start with a few shots from April, 2014, when John and I attended the 50th Anniversary party at Kon-Tiki, on what was really the 51st anniversary. Here are both sides of the special menu they had that night. One side was for appetizers at 1963 prices, the other for cheap drinks.

Many of the tables also had this commemorative poster.

But there was another version, and we bought the artist's proof, direct from the artist, Doug Horne. I have it pictured here with several Tiki mugs from Kon Tiki plus a Tiki mug and two Moai salt shakers from Disneyland (one of them is tipped over to show the Disneyland logo on the bottom).

Speaking of Disneyland, we own two reproduction posters of attractions, one past, one present, both with an outstanding combination of words and pictures!

The Rocket to the Moon Poster is the one we bought at the relaunch of Tomorrowland in 1998, specifically to ask astronaut Buzz Aldrin to sign it. He didn't do it.


Disneyland itself has lots of words and pictures combinations, including this obscure example photographed in May 2013.

So far I don't have anyone else for my Round Robin Photo Challenges Linking List this week. I'll let you know if anyone else participates (pleasepleaseplease!)!

Linking List
as of Monday, 7/14/14, 2:33 AM

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Carly - Posted!


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Round Robin: Wild Night with Wolfie

I admit it. This week's Round Robin Challenge: Wild Ways wasn't the most straightforward one we've had. I asked to see pictures of "the wild ways of any living thing." It could be an actual wild animal, a wild plant, or even a pet or a human being wild in their behavior. I was kind of expecting to post archived photos of wild animals. whether found out in the desert, up a mountain or in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

I wasn't expecting to meet Wolfie.

She's not really a wolf, and her name isn't Wolfie. It may be Izzy, but that was just a name in a Facebook comment that may or may not have been from someone who knows her. She came into my life at 7 PM on Monday, and left it about 1 PM on Tuesday.

What happened was this: I was coming home from seeing my Dad when I saw a coyote - no, a dog - wandering up a street near my home. I stopped the car, and she stood in front of it, out of sight from me, but I knew she was there. I rolled down my window, and she came and put her paws on the window. I got out and opened the car door, and she jumped in. I figured any dog with that little fear of strange cars would be in danger on the street overnight, so I took her home. She happily followed me into the house, much to the consternation of Cayenne and Kito!

Next thing to do was to place a "found" ad on Craigslist, something I've done once before after finding a dog in the street. It was free; that wasn't the problem. The problem was getting a picture of her. This dog would not stand still for two seconds for the first few hours she was with us! She was constantly exploring, or trying to play with Cayenne and Kito - much more energetically than they were willing to do.


 She was quite friendly and affectionate, which also didn't sit well with Kito...

..or Cayenne.

I eventually got an acceptable photo and placed my ad:
This friendly young dog came up to my car about 7 PM Monday, 6/23. Sweet female, very dusty, hungry, no collar, tags, etc. Have her at my house a block or two from where I found her. Identify to claim. Thanks! (Sorry for the poor picture quality; she hasn't stopped moving since she got into the house!)
 I also wrote her up on Facebook. It was about this time that I settled on Wolfie as a temporary name.

Between her exploring (including sniffing at household poisons, so we moved them) and pestering the other dogs, there was no way she could be left unsupervised. I put her on a leash and walked her around the neighborhood, hoping she would lead me to her home, but the house she liked (near where I found her) had no doorbell and nobody answered my knock. I took her back to our house.

We put her outside a few times, but she would scratch on the laundry room door, to the point where I worried she might destroy it. So I left her on the leash and kept her by me all night. Eventually I managed to get about 90 minutes of sleep, sitting up on the couch with her leash still tightly in my possession. This dog was absolutely exhausting!

By morning I had not heard from the owner, and there was no "lost" ad for her yet on Craigslist. But I did have an email from a group called Lost Dogs Arizona. They have a Facebook page for helping to reunite dogs with their owners, helpful FAQ pages for lost dog owners and finders, and even a reward poster generator. 

I took Wolfie for another walk, but got no closer to finding the right house. None of the neighbors I spoke with knew where she belonged. And that one house still had nobody answering the door.

By this time it was clear that we could not wait for the owner to find my ad or the Facebook listing. I updated the listings to indicate that I would have to take her to a shelter if her owner did not get in touch soon. Next I took Wolfie to St. Michael's while I printed out the poster. She came with me as I stapled five of them up around the neighborhood. Then I drove her to the Humane Society of Tucson.

The block the Humane Society was on had a Street Closed sign and barriers in front of it, due to sewer repair by the city. I eventually found an alternate route and took her inside, having failed to reach them on the phone. I had read online that one needs an appointment to give up a dog to them, but I figured that I could make the appointment in person.

The people there were very nice and helpful, except that they couldn't help me. The first available appointment to turn her in was not until Monday the 30th. There was a $35 ($30?) fee, and she would need her DAP (Diphtheria/Parvo) shot first. The alternative was to take her to Pima Animal Care Center, better known as "the pound." They assured me that Wolfie was a year-old purebred Husky, highly desirable and extremely unlikely to be euthanized if her owner didn't claim her. When I said she was too much dog for me to care for, I was told that huskies are too much dog for most people, being high-energy escape artists, bred to be able to run in front of a sled all day. Sometimes they go through several owners before finding one capable of hanging onto them. I also learned that Wolfie had recently been groomed, a good indication of an owner who cared. However, she still had no collar, no locator chip, and no sign of obedience training. I kept thinking about Jack London and The Call of the Wild.

So Wolfie and I went across town to PACC. We had to wait outside in the 90+ degree shade for about 40 minutes for our turn to come in, during which time a dog waiting in a car after having been hit by someone else died for lack of immediate medical attention. So sad! I turned Wolfie in, gave the PACC person info to complete the paperwork, took note of the dog's ID number, collected my collar, bandana and leash, and left.

Shortly after I got back across town, I got an email from someone directing me to a Craigslist ad that had finally been placed for the lost dog. That was definitely Wolfie's picture! I called the owner, and asked what part of town the dog had been lost from. "Uh, actually, I just got her back, here at the pound."

I told her I was the one who took her to PACC, said I was glad she had her back, and wished her a pleasant week. I don't think she said thank you. She may not have believed I was the one who helped her dog. Maybe she felt that Wolfie would have been better off left to wander home on her own. Maybe she was annoyed at the steep fee PACC charges if you let your dog go missing and it's turned in there.

But I still think I did the right thing.

Someone asked on Facebook what the dog's real name was. I had not asked. But someone posted another comment. All it said was, "Izzy."


Linking List
as of Saturday, 6/28/2014, 2:30 AM MST

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Teri - Posted!
A Creative Walkabout

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sunsets (and Sunrises) for Cheaters

 Sunrise at home, 10/25/2010, taken with my previous Canon.

For the Round Robin Photo: Sunrise, Sunset, I asked to see at least one sunrise and at least one sunset. Time was, I got lots and lots of really nice sunset shots here in Tucson, and even a few nice dawns, but that was a couple of cameras ago.

 Gates Pass, March 6, 2009, Sony Cybershot. This is how it really looked.

My current camera, a Canon SX 160 IS, doesn't have a preset for sunsets, or for much of anything else. I have to say that I'm getting pretty fed with the thing, and anxious to get a camera that will do what I want - even if I do have to learn or relearn all that stop about shutter speed and aperture.

Here is a typical photo on the automatic setting of my current camera:

I managed to get a nice effect of the reflection in my car's roof, but the fact remains that thesunset itself hardly shows up at all.

But I did some fiddling, and found that the Live setting lets me darken the scene and increase the saturation. So I did.

Better. The sky didn't actually look like that, and it wasn't that color. But it's closer to what I saw.

Okay, now it's getting a little silly. This was with the saturation up, and using autocorrect in my photo editing software.

And how did I do with sunrises on this current camera? Judge for yourself:

That with the saturation up also. Not terribly impressive, is it? But it's more realistic than that last sunset!

Okay, one more from better days with better cameras.

Safeway Sunset, 1/6/2008. Sony Cybershot.

I have a nice firm camera that someone gave me last year. Batteries are dead, and it's strictly a film camera, but several people have assured me that the lenses are compatible with a Canon Rebel digital SLR. Someday, I'll have one of those - I hope!


Please check out all of the Robins' entries!

Linking List
as of Saturday, 6/14/14, 1:19 AM

Karen  - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Freda  - Posted!
Day One

Teri **Welcome!**
A Creative Walkabout

Carly - Posted!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Round Robin: Age Is Relative

For the Round Robin Challenge: Really Old, I asked to see photos of people, places or things at least 60 years old, and preferably at least a century old. I think I had some idea of photographic historic buildings or old ruins, that sort of thing. But it's been a busy couple of weeks for me, and who am I kidding? When I think of great age these days, I think of my Dad. He turned 91 years old this past February. He probably won't make it to the century mark, but who knows?

My Dad has dementia, and week by week he loses a little more of who he was.  May 10th was National Train Day, and I took him down to the Historic Depot, where an N-scale model railroad layout had been set up in the vintage Amtrak waiting room. This should have been a neat thing for him, because a) he used to be an avid model railroader, working in N-scale, b) he used to be president of the Wilmington Railroad Museum, and c) even in the past month or two he has shown interest in tiny scale models of things. But on that day, he declined to go up to the model train setup and take a look.

 I thought it was because he was tired (and he was), but we were there at least an hour, and he never did agree to get up and look at the trains.

He's also losing his ability to remember some fairly basic concepts we take for granted. On Train Day we also stopped at the Kon Tiki for lunch. He doesn't focus on the menu well enough any more to really choose his own food, and even before this he tended to make bad food decisions, solely on the basis of lowest price. ("No, Dad, that's the wine list. Look at this page where the sandwiches are.") So on that particular Saturday I ordered him a chicken sandwich(?) and a dinner salad. At first he was eating croutons and cucumber slices with his fingers, not having put the salad dressing on it. Thinking he might not want the Italian dressing I'd ordered for his salad, I gave him my leftover thousand island dressing. He promptly spread this on a slice of banana bread and ate it. More recently, I showed him how to crack open a peanut, and more recently still, he didn't understand how to consume a root beer float. He kept stirring and stirring it with both the straw and the spoon, and ultimately ate and drank very little of it.

Some things are still in his head, though, including what a red light means, and the idea that he should sit in the driver's seat. Last Saturday I drove him up to the top of Mount Lemmon - not to Marshall Gulch past the village of Summerhaven, but taking the right fork past Ski Valley and continuing until we reached a road block a few miles later. I don't think I'd been that far up the mountain in 20 years, if ever. We parked in a little lot up there, and Dad chose to get out, only to return to the car after about two minutes - it was too chilly up there for him, and the air was too thin. I was taking pictures and not paying close attention, and when I reached the car, there he was on the driver's side. I told him his was NOT going to drive down the mountain, and fortunately he acquiesced. It's a good thing that I am careful nowadays not to leave the car running or the keys in the car when he's with me and I'm not actively driving.

I found something else last weekend that is also very old. In our library was a food storage bag containing stuff of Dad's that I'd never seen before, presumably out of one of his boxes of keepsakes that we packed up in December 2012. Along with his Bachelor's and Master's diplomas, a very old kid's book, his childhood autograph book (signed by family and classmates) and two pocket New Testaments, I found a pocket memo notebook. In it I found a list of family birthdays, several lists of addresses, and a two-page timeline of Dad's service in World War II. Apparently in 1943 he wrote down when he was sworn in (Dec. 15, 1942), began active duty (Feb. 23, 1943, two days after his 20th birthday), and the four places he was assigned to Stateside in 1943 (Atlantic City, Syracuse, Nashville and finally Monroe LA for flight school). His handwriting is different on the next page, where he recorded that he entered advanced navigation school at Selman Field, LA on Feb. 27, 1944 ("approx," he says), graduated July 3, 1944 as a Navigator-Flight Officer, experienced a Delay en Route, and finally reported to Lincoln Army Air Base, Lincoln NB, July 14, 1944.

He never got around to recording in this memo book when he got to Foggia, Italy, his seven missions, his capture and imprisonment at Stalag Luft One, his liberation in mid-May 1945, his return, hospitalization and discharge. I know from his Library of Congress Veteran's History Project page that he was with the 772nd Squadron, 463rd Bomb Group, but it's not something he ever talked about in my presence except on one memorable (for me!) day in January 2011. He also did a long interview and a living history recording around 2010, so there are some records of what my Dad did all those years ago. Which is good, because he mostly doesn't remember being a veteran at all.

As old as Dad is, he's not the oldest person I've known. My friend Margaret is two weeks older and in much better shape cognitively, and years ago my other friend Eva made it to age 104. But even that great age is pretty ephemeral compared with the mountains I love to drive on, or this planet we keep endangering.

But human life has meaning, and each individual life has meaning, even after 91 years, when brain function falters and much of who the person was has been lost. He's still my Dad, and he still is glad to see me each day. And I still love him.


You know what? I bet Carly's entry this week is much more cheerful than mine....

Linking List
as of May 31st, 2014, 2:53 AM MST

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Carly - Posted!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Round Robin: Is That Funny?

For the Round Robin Challenge: Funny Stuff, I asked to see "one or more pictures of anything funny, or at least humor-adjacent." I thought about taking pictures of Snoopy and Linus toys, but they didn't seem all that funny without the words of the comic strips. And this was my "hell week," my last week at my third job, working late every night. I haven't been out much, or had time to seek out humorous subjects with a camera. But yes, I did manage to take a few pictures, and curate a few more from my files. Is any of it funny?  You get to decide!

"How to Tell If Your Dog is a Space Alien." -- Weekly World News headline, 1979.



Linking List
as of Saturday, May 17, 2014, 1:46 AM

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Day One

Carly - Posted!