So Excited! I have a new toy! Tim took pity on my pathetic attempts to take photos one handed/left handed and got me a monopod! That's me using it in the photo above. If you've never heard of one before, it's sort of like a camera tri-pod only instead of three legs, it has one.
It telescopes down into the smallest little, no big deal thing to carry around, screws right into the base of the camera and provides stability that even my sad little excuse for a very limited right arm can hold steady while my left goes ahead and hits whatever buttons are required. AND the monopod can even be used as a walking stick. It. Is. Awesome. !!!
Even when my arm is healed and I'm back to what passes for normal, I can foresee that I will continue to use this device. The one and only downside that I can see is that since I don't constantly telescope it up and down, I'm walking around with it fully extended. Which means that you probably should never walk behind me. You might get whacked with a stick.
It's not intentional, I assure you. But as you know, I do not hear very well. With my hearing aids on and paying close attention I do really well with what is going on in front of me. Behind me is an entirely different matter. Anything that happens behind me is a mystery and ultimately a surprise. At least for me it is.
But honestly, if I took the time to constantly extend and retract the monopod, I would miss at least half of the shots I wish to take. So selfishly, since I'm out and about with the intention of taking photos, the monopod will be extended to my eye level (which is not fully extended by the way - I am a shorty after all) and stay that way until I am done. I'm sure that is a very selfish attitude, for which I apologize. But I'm so excited to be able to take photos again without the constant fear of dropping the camera and while doing all sorts of upsidedown and sideways contortions. Pleas forgive my self-centeredness!
Tim was able to run interference for me on this past Saturday while we took it out for a test drive. And I made every effort to be cognizant of where the stick was as I was walking around. But since that was my maiden voyage with the monopod, I still needed to get the "hang" of working with it, that was best done under supervision and with a kindly person to keep me from injuring myself or others. Tim volunteered.
He found a place that was sparsely populated which was perfect. Tim walked me through the process of getting it set for my use and then we headed out. And the very first thing we saw was an Osprey on the ground. What? Aren't those things supposed to be in the air? We observed, from a distance as the bird called and hopped a little bit, extended his wings and called again. If you've never heard an Osprey, the sound is kind of bone chilling at first. It's almost a scream but mournful. And they are not small birds either. So imagine being a tiny unsuspected little mousie and hearing that sound. Yikes.
The above is the bird in question. Clearly on the ground. As we watched and wondered if he was okay, some fool walked his dog over to the Osprey. Luckily it was just a big old golden retriever who was a sweet natured, goober of a dog, but the Osprey wasn't at all happy about it. You'd think that the dog owner would have picked up on that fact, but nope, he allowed his dog to sniff and caper and be silly with the bird who was Not Happy about it. As Tim called for the guy to leave the bird alone, we made our way closer. Finally the fellow left. (What is wrong with people?)
Before such a thing could happen again, Tim led me over to the nearby wildlife rehab center and we notified one of the people there about it. In short order the guy came out with a net, safely and gently captured the bird and brought it back to the center. He told us that the Osprey would be fine and that it only had a minor leg injury. Right now is Osprey mating season and apparently during his fancy mating dance this particular Osprey got a little carried away and hurt himself. Poor Baby. The center will sort him out and then set him free when he is healed and he will have stories to tell.
It was an exciting start to the day.
We continued on our way as I got more and more comfortable with the monopod and this new way of taking pictures. They aren't the best photos I've ever taken, but they aren't the worst either. And I swear to you, I will get better as I spend more time using this new tool. I am delighted with this gift and had such a great day!
Here are some of the Photos I took
Lots of Pelicans:
Some other birds:
And a few other random things. Yes the rando files continue :)
Not too bad for my first time with a new toy and the first photo safari (of sorts) in awhile. More photo safari's to come! I am over the moon about my new toy! Yay Monopods!
my apologies to you. i havent written much lately. to be fair, i havent had all that much to say. most of my time of late is consumed with finding new ways to do old things. all a necessity. as you know, tomorrow will be the two week anniversary of me breaking my right arm. obviously, its still broken. doesnt heal in two weeks tho im sure its better. tomorrow i go for another set of xrays to make sure its healing properly.
i am very proud of my one handed/left handed accomplishments. some things are done similarly to normal, with a tiny tweak. like, moving laundry from washer to dryer. done the same way, but slower with more repetition i.e. smaller handfuls. other things i have to re-engineer in my head first like working a can opener. that one took a second or two. but i figured it out! woohoo! same thing with scissors. upsidedown and backwards works.
most things just require a little forethought, like opening the door to the laundry room first then picking up and carrying in the dirty clothes. everything becomes a multistep process. the smallest thing, say brushing your teeth, takes twice as long with many more steps so patience is a must. a sense of humour helps a lot.
i can make the bed, slowly, wash dishes! ( the trick is trapping the dish in a corner of the sink first), wash my hair, dust, wash floors and many other things. just takes me longer and involves more thought. but the one thing i really wanted to do that i couldnt quite figure out, was take pictures with only my left hand.
first of all, i dont want to drop my camera. yikes thats terrifying to consider. so its obvious to me that i will be using the camera strap every second! then there was, once again, the engineering of the process. the shoot button is on the right side of the camera, as is the lever for telescoping the lens. it had become second nature to me to use it with my right hand. how to do it with my left however? hmmmm. simple solution: turn the camera upsidedown! awesome! now the button is on the bottom instead of the top but accessible to my left hand. just needed to practice.
like most everything, the results are improved with time and repetition. i wandered around outside looking for something to practice on. aha! pretty courtyard flowers. i took 14 shots of the exact same thing. i didnt change my position, the flowers did not move. just 14 shots in one spot. one came out
clearly i needed a lot more practice. i began shooting anything that was holding still. didnt matter if it was photo worthy or not. this was strictly for the purpose of getting comfortable with my camera being used a different way.
gradually, though my subject matter wasnt especially inspiring, it was taking fewer shots to get a clear and centered image. yay. i was ready for a bigger challenge
it rained sunday night so we woke to pretty raindrops. i find tiny things especially difficult to capture, even with both arms working so i knew id be deleting many attempts. i hoped for just one success. just one. i was pleased with the results. i mean it can always be better but still... not bad for a one armed phptographer eh?
yesterday, i did even better. it took fewer tries to get these results. yay!!
as pleased as i am with my progress, there are a few things that are so far impossible. cannot tie my shoes for instance. at least not yet. havent figured out how to safely use a knife one handed so all cutting and vegetable chopping requires assistance. cannot properly style my hair. the best ive come up with so far is to dry a little, use the round brush, dry a little more. round brush etc. it is both tedious and time consuming. so i rarely bother. and the one mystery that may be forever unsolved - i cannot hook a necklace or my bra!! just aint happening solo.
so thats my life right now. if you want to experiment and share my frustration try strapping your dominant arm to you body for a day and then let me know how that goes. oh wait, you probably cannot do that one handed. heh.
yeah i know, the photo is a little catawampus, but right now, to be honest, so is most most of my world! its crazy! but we are adjusting. so many of you lovely people haver asked question! and its heart warming that you all care so much. i thought i would try to answer your questions here and all at one time. while i am lucky in that i am more facile than most people with my left hand, there are so many things as it turn out, that are simply easier using both paws. so please bear with me.
1. how did this happen? answer: by accident. tim and i were walking the same route we almost always traverse during the noonwalk mon through fri 52 weeks a year. it was sunny and dry and it was not crowded. i was not running. my shoelaces weren't untied. i did not faint. very simply, the toe of my shoe caught in an oversized gap between two pieces of sidewalk and i went down hard. tim was behind me coming up on my left and we were having a very pleasant chat. i was turned slightly to my left which explains why all the damage was on my right.
the only thing that broke was my right arm, very high up near the shoulder. but i badly scraped and bruised right knee, hand, elbow and cheek.
2. there was no ambulance involved. tim, my hero, ran home and drove back to get me. we went directly to an urgent care center assuming, correctly, that the wait would be shorter. we were in and out in less than 90 minutes! not bad.
3. saw an orthopedic on fri and they trussed me up in the contraption in the photo at the top of the page. it involves way more velcro than should be legally allowed and looks a little bondage-esque, lets be honest. but they are the experts so im doing as told which means wearing the assigned apparatus 24/7 except in the shower, icing often and doing forearm exercises as instructed.
4. whats next? next week i have an appointment for another xray session to be sure all things are still properly aligned and healing as anticipated. eventually i will be going to Physical Therapy to regain strength and mobility.
5. how am i doing? overall, ok. im finding ways to do a lot of things one handed and, even harder, asking for help when its something i simply cannot do, solo. mostly, im just keeping on, keeping on.
it takes forever to type one handed argh...so many mistakes! in fact this is my 2nd time writing todays blog. somehow i accidentally deleted version one. soooo frustrating. but once i calmed down, i came back, tried again and here we are. taadaa! i feel so freakin accomplished :)
i hope i answered all your questions. if not, let me know. hope all is well with all of you. thank you so much for caring!
i seem to be on a dumbassery roll!
yesterday during our normal noonwalk, i caught the toe of my shoe in an extra wide sidewalk crack and boom. down i went. turns out that concrete is not very forgiving.
after a few hours and multiple xrays, we learned that i had broken my dang arm. ratz. its way up high near the shoulder and of course, my right arm. of course!
i see the orthopedic doc tomorrow and should know more then. meanwhile im trying to stay as still as possible. at this point, perhaps i should be encased in bubblewrap and sat in a corner where i cannot myself or anyone else. geez!
needless to say, i will be taking yet another blog hiatus. my apologies
much like mcarthur, i shall return
meanwhile please stay safe and be happy.
one armed hugs all 'round
This past Saturday was Minock Day! Woohoo! Always one of the BEST days!
We met up in Palmetto to see a performance of Cirque Italia! I had never heard of them and assumed (though one should never) that it was one of the many regular Cirque du Soliel Shows. We have seen a number of different Cirque du Soliel Shows, one in Denver in a tent but the rest were on various visits to Las Vegas. They are always pretty amazing.
Cirque Italia is not affiliated with Cirque du Soliel. But yes, there are some similarities. Both are wildly entertaining. Both have amazingly talented performers from all over the world and they both were inspired by the idea of a Circus.
But Cirque du Soliel began in 1984. Cirque Italia first began performing in 2012. Cirque Italia wanted to bring a new look to the old fashioned idea of an antique Barnum and Bailey type Circus (without the animals). Cirque du Soliel is all about being inovative and modern, contemporary and new, maybe even a little futuristic. Italia is all about the past. And oddly, that makes it very refreshing.
There was definitely a vintage feel to the event, from the costuming to the music to the actual acts themselves. It was, almost, like watching a two hour long version of the Ed Sullivan show (remember that?) only much, much more. Their press says that it is a European style Circus. Having never seen a European Circus (as far as I know) I will have to take their word for it. Whatever style it is, I vote resoundingly YES!
There was interaction with the audience, pratfalls, silly fun, death defying acts, gravity defying performances, sparkles and spangles. We were surrounded by balloons, popcorn and candy apples. Arrows were fired, people swung through the air or balanced on chairs and each other, there were dancers and unicycles and giant robots! There were fountains and waterfalls and running gags. We laughed, we gasped and we applauded over and over and over. Two hours could have felt like an eternity but, instead, it flew by far too quickly!
For us, obviously, getting to have some Minock time was just icing on the cake.
In short, we had a wonderful time and we recommend Cirque Italia highly. They do tour around the US so if you have the opportunity to see them, consider it. It was awesome!
Keeping within the theme but earlier that same day, I tried to do my own home version of a Cirque Italia act. Well not really. Their performances are intentional. Mine was utterly by accident. Let me set the scene for you. I am at the kitchen sink, rinsing dishes and then putting them into the dishwasher. The dishwasher is on my immediate right. The door of the dishwasher, of course, is open because I'm loading it. Funny things are being said to my left, so, instinctively, I turned that way, laughed and then turned back to my right to complete my task.
Apparently, when I first turned left, I took a teensy tiny step back without realizing it because when I shifted to the right, instead of being beside the open dishwasher, instead I was, suddenly, on it and then on the ground. Yup crashed into (and onto) the open door and then face planted onto the floor. It happened so very fast that I don't really remember it. First I was standing and then I was on the floor, certain that I had, once again, broken my nose. (I did not by the way).
I stayed on the floor for a few minutes, attempting to gather my wits about me. Tim leaned over me asking if I was all right. The first thing I said was, "What a dumbass" in reference to myself. Who is that ridiculous? I mean, other than me. I am an accident waiting to happen at all times.
After the applications of multiple ice packs and a bit of rest, I pulled myself together, we headed out and tremendously enjoyed the performance and the company of our dear friends. But I'm telling ya, the next day I was so sore! Shins, knees, ribs, hands and face. Shockingly few bruises, mostly just the blackeyes, thank goodness, and nothing appears to be broken, other than the door of the dishwasher, may it rest in peace.
I honestly thought the dishwasher was totalled but as it turns out, if you close it Just Right, it still works. Tim has it doing a trial run right now to check for leaks. So far, So good. Whew!
So there you have it! Great Excitement! Terrific Evening. Wonderful Company! But from now on, I think I will leave the acrobatics to Cirque Italia.
It's a very basic thing, butter. It's been around for the past 8,000 or so years. And for a change, that is not an exaggeration. There is credible evidence of butter in Ancient Africa that long ago. Wow!
And it really is such a simple, again basic, thing. Just cream and salt. That's all it is, when it's done correctly. Pure and quite honestly, very natural.
For a long time, reports have gone back and forth on the relative healthiness of butter, as opposed to a butter substitute such as margarine or the "Smart Balance" sort of thing. But I will tell you, as a veteran cook/baker of many years, and there are a zillion or so chefs who will back me up on this, as far as flavour goes, there really is no true substitute for real honest butter.
When a recipe calls for butter, that is what I use. I grew up with mostly margarine so I do know, first hand, the difference. And since I use butter, not only in baking but also in cooking and in every day use (buttered toast anyone?), butter is an item on nearly every grocery list that I write.
Which is why I was fairly outraged to learn, a few weeks ago, that butter, one single box of 4 sticks of butter, suddenly cost $6.00. Six dollars for a box of butter? I stood there with the box in my hands with my mouth agape, eye wide, wondering when cows suddenly became an endangered species. And then I put it back down and walked away.
This was a very ordinary sort of butter. Just made of cream and salt. Nothing special about it. It was not some fancy imported butter. I was not the butter made from the milk of dragon's or something like that. Just regular ordinary normal butter that originated in a cow.
Six dollars! And since each box holds 4 sticks of butter, that means $1.50 per stick. And since a batch of Chocolate Chip Cookies requires a full cup of butter, which is 2 sticks worth, suddenly just the butter component of the recipe is three bucks. Just the butter! This will severely impact my baking days, which at least used to be, every Friday.
I was very understanding of the shortages and just plain missing items on the grocery store shelves during the Pandemic. For two full years, I was very patient and pleasant and tried to just get really creative. When meal preparations required Item A, I either figured out a way to make it work with either Item B or without that item at all.
In this past post-pandemic year when there have still been big empty spots on the grocery store shelves now and again or limits on items, I have continued to be uncomplaining and forbearing. I even urged others who were very angry to stay calm and offered up alternate ideas.
As prices have gone up and up and up, I have trimmed my grocery lists and shopped accordingly and made better and better use of leftovers. As, I assume, most people have! I mean we all have budgets right? I grew up 'making do' and I am very good at it. I know how to do without and how to make tough decisions. Nowadays when we shop I always ask myself, 'Do we realllly need that?" and "Will something else do just as well?" before selecting each item. I watch the sales, use the coupons and plan meals accordingly.
But now they have gone too far. Now they are messing with my baking day. They have crossed my line.
Quite honestly, I am not absolutely certain what, if anything, I can do about it other than find another butter resource. My friend Marsha suggested Costco. Great Idea. Sometimes great deals can be found at Costco. Of course that means buying in much greater amounts than usual, but butter freezes nicely. I will have to do the math (dang it) the next time we are there to see if it really is a better deal. Usually Costco does have a better price, but not always.
I will check out other brands of butter but first I will have to read their ingredients list. I refuse to buy any butter than has more than two ingredients. As I stated before that should read; cream and salt. Period. Nothing else.
The one thing I will not do is use a butter substitute. It doesn't feel the same, it doesn't taste the same, it doesn't smell the same. It's the way I feel about substitute sugar. I know there are people who swear by it and love it and rave about it. I am not any of those people. It does not taste the same (even within a baked good) to me. And I do not care for the taste. At all. Same thing with butter.
That doesn't mean that I am right and they are wrong. Nope. That is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that I do not care for it and, therefore, will not use it. Everyone else is, naturally, free to do whatever feels right to them and I will never EVER criticize them for it.
As I understand it, the price of butter has increased, yet again, since I last shopped. Does anyone know why? My father's people were all farmers. I know how hard they work. But I suspect that farmers are not the ones making big bucks from the price increases. I'm pretty sure that the truck drivers who get the cream from the farmers and take it to the factories are also not rolling in dough. Nor are the factory workers or the other truck drivers who ship it to the stores. The people working in the the stores aren't driving to work in Maserati's (at least most of them aren't). Sooooooo where is all this extra price increase money going?
Have a cookie, if you can afford it.
Here we are, 3 days into a brand new year! So how's 2023 shaping up for you so far? I feel like 3 days is enough to have at least an inkling of where this year is heading.
For me? So far Twenty Twenty-Three has been Very Exciting! Of course what I deem as exciting may not seem so to you. I have, apparently, reached an age where small things start to feel very big. Perhaps I should explain by way of example:
I actually said, outloud to myself, in the laundry room these words, " Hurrah it worked! I am so excited!" What was I excited about, you may ask? I was able to get iron scorch marks out of a pair of Tim's shorts. Yee hah, ya'll. I was genuinely excited about that.
Yesterday I was nearly jumping for joy when I learned that Vacuuming out the dryer vent from both the inside and the outside did indeed fix another problem. I had noticed that the dryer was taking longer and longer to actually dry the clothes. And of course, the longer the dryer runs, the more electricity it uses which means the more it costs. A bad thing. And I was dreading the cost of having to call in a repair person. And then it dawned on me that the issue could possibly be a clog in the dryer vent. So I dragged the big old shop vac outside and put it to work. Then I asked Tim to kindly move the dryer inside to the inside part could also be vacuumed. I intended to do the actually vacuuming but he kind of got into it and did it himself. I ran the first post vacuum load yesterday and holycats! It was like magic! Terribly Exciting!
It's been unseasonably warm here this week but I see that it's already beginning to cool off and by Friday (possibly Thursday) I will have window all wide open again (and probably long pants on). I am excited at the prospect of open windows once again.
I have a long overdue hair appointment tomorrow! Hurrah! That is always a reason to get excited. I always feel so transformed after a haircut. And quite honestly, just the being fussed over and pampered in such a lovely place is reason enough to look very much forward to it. Yeah, I guess you could say I am excited about my salon appointment.
Inexplicably, on Monday, when I stepped on the scale I had, overnight, lost not the usually 2 pounds but 4! Wow! That is definitely something to get excited about. I kept stepping on and off, on and off, trying to be sure that it was correct. I even asked Tim if the scale seemed "off' to him. He assured me that his number was correct. Dang! That is Hugely Exciting! Like a little unexpected gift.
Oh! Also very exciting is that I've been seeing birds using the bird bath almost daily now. They may have been using it all along but I've actually witnessed it several days in a row since the new year began! Very Exciting!~
Yes people, my excite - o -meter has an admittedly low "Wow" threshold these days. But that's ok. My friend Jan told me recently, that she loves how excited I get over simple things. I guess I am a simple person. I find joy in very small, simple things. Like cookies. Cookies bring me great pleasure :)
I grew up hearing the expression, "Simple pleasures for simple minds" which feels a little insulting to me. Personally I don't think there is one single thing wrong in finding happiness in simple things, small gestures, tiny delights, uncomplicated moments. But then, I suppose I wouldn't since I appear to one of the small and simple things.
And I'm okay with that.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.