Labor Day

Bridge To the Hudson Quay
Bridge To the Hudson Quay
My Specs & Cases
My Specs & Cases

Yesterday, I came close to missing my first POTD since last year.  I was sorely tempted to not take any pictures because I felt so poorly – either a cold or I’ve gotten allergies for the first time in my life at age 65.  I forced myself outside  and drove to Hudson.  I ended up enjoying the evening weather that was actually cool; refreshing after the hot weather of late.  I also didn’t do much on Saturday, just a still life of my spectacles.  I first started wearing glasses in second grade.  After that I had to wear glasses every waking moment except when swimming or taking a shower.  By the time I was in college I was so nearsighted that I flunked the physical for the army’s draft.  About two years ago I had cataract surgery on each eye.  I was stunned to find out that the surgery would leave me with 20/20 vision in each eye.  For the first time in almost sixty years I would not have to wear glasses except for reading and working at the computer.  During the last couple of decades of wearing glasses, my lenses had gotten so thick that I could wear only lenses with a small diameter, so I ended up with wireframes with noticeable thick lenses.  When, all of a sudden I no longer faced such a limitation, I had fun choosing somewhat funky glasses for reading, for sunglasses, and some trifocals for the computer.  My POTD on Saturday was of my current collection of spectacles.

Since I have felt so poorly, I’ve done a lot of reading over the last few days.  I finished another Easy Rawlins mystery.

A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining"
8:40 PM

Blue Forget-Me-NotI’ve been searching for a state wildlife reserve on the St. Croix in Wisconsin. I had been there before but not for at least a decade and had forgotten how to get there. I finally got a large-scale atlas, and today, after trying a few dead ends without success, I found it. I parked by the road side and walked a few hundred yards to the edge of a backwater of the river. I had to get my feet wet and muddy to get where I was going, but it was worthwhile.

The last part of the walk was a steep, heavily weeded bank leading down to the edge of the water. The entire bank for hundreds of feet was oozing and leaking water from, I assume, a permeable rock layer. Heavy weeds grow along the wet slope. Among the waist-high weeds were a clump of the beautiful, tiny blue forget-me-nots.

I was crouching in running water when taking the picture with my macro.

Below are some other photos from my excursion.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Keep On Truckin’

Today is R. Crumb’s birthday.

Bad MonkeyAnd today I finished Bad Monkey.  A few years ago, a couple for whom  I was house sitting recommended Carl Hiaasen’s novels.  I was skeptical as I usually am when people I don’t know recommend an author that is consistently on the best-seller lists –  a bit snobbish I suppose.  I spent a couple of weeks alone at their house and ended up reading all of their Hiaasen’s.  Bad Monkey is Hiaasen’s  latest.  As usual it takes place in south Florida with lots of offbeat characters, some bad guys, some good guys, but all quirky in some way.  As usual, it aims a lot of heavy sarcasm at timely subjects, in this case medicare fraud, restaurant inspection, and south-Florida real-estate.

Neville Stafford, a Bahamian who lives on the beach on Andros Island (or Cay?), is one of the good guys.  I savored this bit of narrative about Neville:

Neville was thirsty and tired from the slow rolling ride on the mail boat.  His chin dropped to his chest and his eyelids closed as he pondered the difficult path he’d chosen.  People said he was mad not to walk away from Green Beach and take the money [hundreds of thousands].  They laughed about it at the conch shack and called him a simpleton, which stung.  By nature Neville wasn’t a trouble maker; just the opposite.  Never in his life had he thrown a punch in anger or caused a scene, but here was a fight from which he couldn’t turn away.

What would he ever do as a rich man that he couldn’t do now?  Where would he go, and for God’s sake why?  He already lived in the loveliest place imaginable and, besides, he didn’t like to fly.  That’s why he took the mail boat back from Nassau, seven hours by sea being more tolerable that twenty minutes by air.

Neville couldn’t think of anything to buy with all that dirty wealth.  His old bicycle carried him everywhere a car could go, and it didn’t cost six damn dollars a gallon.  Nor did he need a new fishing boat.  The one he owned ran like a champ; the motor was a Yamaha 150, way past warranty, but never had it stranded him, not once.  He wondered if something was mentally wrong with him for being content with what he had . . .

I think Neville is a fortunate man.

I woke up with a cold this morning, and it has gotten worse as the day progressed. The photos I took were mostly when I was lying down. The best I could do was to try to capture a noir look in black and white.  Is it better to get sick on a day of vacation as I did today or to get sick on a work day and have to take a sick day? One of life’s imponderables.

Noir On the Stairway
Noir On the Stairway

Sponge Bob

Sponge Bob Noir
Sponge Bob Noir

I took this at the indoor amusement park at the Mall of America in Minnesota. The theme of the park used to be the Peanuts characters – Snoopy, Charlie Brown, etc. A few years ago the mall and the Schultz family couldn’t agree on a new contract, so now the park has a new theme. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but it involves Sponge Bob Square Pants.

I called this picture Sponge Bob Noir because I converted it to black and white to fit the current theme of Out Of Focus, our camera club, and because of the cool shadows.

I was walking in the mall – one circumnavigation of each of the three floors – because it continues to be so hot outside, well into the nineties fahrenheit.

I took the day off today.  I have nothing pressing at work, and I felt worse than usual when I woke up.  So I called in sick.  In spite of feeling so poorly, I reached my 10,500 steps goal today, first time in over a week that I have done so.

Here are more photos I took today:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Black and White

Out Of Focus, the camera club that I started settled on black and white for its current theme. So last night I did these candles in B&W.  I didn’t want to go outside to photograph because it was 98 degrees F. and humid.  The rest of the week is supposed to be just as hot. I foresee a lot of indoor photography. Still-lives perhaps.

Candles In Black and White
Candles In Black and White

More Mosley

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1)I recently finished Little Green, the most recent Easy Rawlins mystery. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back to the beginning and start re-reading the whole series. Yesterday I finished Devil In A Blue Dress, a book I enjoyed the first time, have remembered since, and enjoyed it just as much the second time. Perhaps because I also like the movie with Denzel Washington that was made from the book, and I liked the movie’s soundtrack. I think the soundtrack was my introduction to T-Bone Walker, the great bluesman.

Walter Mosley’s first Easy Rawlins is as good as his last.

I decided today to take control of my life again.  I am going to start jogging following a well-thought-out program from the book Heart Rate Training.  I bought a book to log my progress.  The book covers six months.  If I lose 1.5 pounds a week, I can lose forty pounds in six months.  I thus set one of my six month goals to get down to 200 pounds.  I also determined to complete what Heart Rate Training calls Progression A and Progression B at the end of which I will be able to jog continuously for forty minutes.  I can do that in six months; I can do that.  The only thing that can stop me will be injury.

I am also going to cut down dramatically on the beer drinking.  I can’t yet or don’t want to commit to completely stop.  I may have to but I’m not ready yet to make that decision.

9:45 PM

Street Light Bugs
Street Light Bugs

I was roaming around the Anderson Window factory looking for some after dark shots. I noticed this streetlight that was attracting lots of bugs.

Right across the street from the Anderson factory is a large, coal-fired power plant. About two blocks away is the state penitentiary. I was hesitant about taking photos after dark of either facility; concerned that I might be thought a terrorist or someone planning a jail break. So I concentrated on the factory and the bugs. Even then I was scrutinized closely by someone scooting around on a golf cart.


I missed posting photos for a few days.  Below are some shots from August 20 – 24.  None from today yet.

On the 20th, I and Vicky Sarner had dinner at Judy Rossi’s house.  Judy grilled some pork chops that were very tasty.  I drank some beer.  We shared some stories and photographs and had a fine time.

August 21st

On the 21st, I drove to Hudson and took pictures after dusk from the park on the bluff above the river.

August 22nd

I was tired and not inspired today.  Routine photos.

August 23rd

I had not taken any photos of Japanese Beetles until today because I find them disgusting insects.  I am being anthropomorphic when I say that their habits are disgusting.  I am not being anthropomorphic when I say that they are very destructive.  They killed a Hawthorn tree that Monica and I planted by completely exfoliating it in just a couple seasons.  I took the photos today when I saw that they had infested they large plantings of shrub roses in Liberty Park.  The photos help show how they can damage plants.

August 24th

Our photo club’s current theme is night time photography.  I took these to fit the theme and to get my POTD.  I didn’t feel too much like going out of my way to get better shots.

Little Green

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (Easy Rawlins #12)I finished Little Green today.  Little Green is the latest volume in Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins mystery novels.  I read the previous volume a few years ago.  In it, Mosley seems to kill off Easy in the end of the novel.  I was shocked with Easy’s death and with knowing that there would be now be no more Easy Rawlins mysteries.  I was therefore startled to find a new Easy Rawlins book at Common Good Books.  I snapped it up as soon as I saw it and then proceeded to examine the dust cover to make sure that, yes, Mosley had somehow brought Easy back to life.  I read the first book in the series, Devil In a Blue Dress,  many year ago, and have read most if not all of the ensuring books, all of them entertaining and enlightening views of the african-american experience in mid-twentieth century America. In addition, the books fall right into the hard-boiled private eye mystery genre that I love so much.  Mosley is the best writer of the genre that I’ve read since John MacDonald.  He is good enough to have escaped the confines of the genre and has become respected as one of today’s best novelists regardless of genre.

Lots of action, wonderful and unique characters, and insights into the human soul and the things that matter most.  As Easy says, “It’s an amazing world out there if you give it half a chance.”

Dinner On the River

I went downtown after work today and got a sandwich and smoothie at the food co-op, then enjoyed eating them on the deck behind the co-op watching the river flow and the people stroll.

The lift bridge goes up on the hour and half hour. I was there when it went up to let through the Andiamo on a cruise upriver.

Starting a Challenge

I am starting a Tribesports challenge today.  The challenge is to go one week without any beer.  I have not gone one day without beer in a long, long time, so this challenge is more significant for me that it might seem.  I’m looking at it as a first step in reasserting discipline in my life.

Meanwhile, I am succeeding in at least one area of discipline, my challenge to take a picture of the day (POTD) each day without fail for 365 days (this calendar year).  Yesterday I had done no picture bu mid-evening and my resolve was weak.  The thought of failing after almost eight months led me to finally take some shots of things around the house.  Here are the results.

Starting the Weekend

The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for LifeIt’s Saturday morning.  I just got back from Brueggers where I had breakfast and spent some time reading Twyla Tharp’s new book on creativity.  The book is timely for me because it focuses early on discipline, habit, and ritual, things sorely lack in my life, and because I have just come to the conclusion that I need some sort of plan for getting back on track.  I was doing well with my life until late winter.  At that point, because of shin splints, I stopped exercising and then everything else fell apart.  I was derailed – actually, I derailed myself.  Now I need to get back on track.

If it isn’t obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work.  That’s why this book is called The Creative Habit.  Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits.  That’s it in a nutshell.

Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.

Thursday, August 15

Friday, August 16

Pencils Again

More Colored Pencils (2)
More Colored Pencils (2)
More Colored Pencils (1)
More Colored Pencils (1)

The mailman delivered my new chin strap today.  I hope it helps.  It would be so, so wonderful if I could get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning feeling better – instead of much worse – than when I went to bed.

I didn’t feel much like taking pictures tonight, so I put my

new set of colored pencils to use again.  I took two photos using my new tripod then edited two keepers.


9:30 PM


  ‘I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence’, he [Lincoln] said in 1861.  Those sentiments sprang from one single, animating idea:  that the most ordinary of people had been created with the same set of natural rights as the most extraordinary, that no one was born either with crowns upon their heads or saddles upon their backs.

Working On Color

ResMed Adjustable Chin Strap Angled View ResMed Adjustable Chin Strap 1303
Looks Like Fun!

Over the last two days, I’ve been focusing on the color theme for the camera club.  It has been a bit hard because I’ve been so fatigued from lack of sleep.  The sleep apnea is getting to be too much.  A technician at the sleep center once suggested that I wasn’t getting benefit from the CPAP machine because I was  breathing through my mouth while sleeping.  When I was originally fitted with CPAP they told me that it was virtually impossible to breathe through your mouth when using the machine because of the direction of flow of the pressurized air.  Well I have almost certainly been breathing through my mouth.  I decided today to do something about it.  I first have ordered a chin strap that is supposed to prevent mouth breathing.  It wasn’t very expensive.  If that doesn’t work I will try a full face mask.  The ones I have used so far cover only the nose.  A full mask covers nose and mouth.  A full face mask is more expensive than just a chin strap, but they’re only half as expensive as I thought they would be.  I haven’t been concerned thus far about the cost of CPAP equipment because it has been covered (80%) by insurance.  This latest purchase and a full mask if I go that route will be my expense because I’m not working through my primary-care physician.  I am diagnosing and prescribing for myself.

I took a break from walking today, and yesterday I didn’t reach my goal of 15,000 steps.  I only did about 12,000.  It has become too much of a challenge to walk so much every day.  The spirit is willing but the flesh is sleep-deprived.  I was able to finish my Sunday chores today:  laundry (two weeks worth) and groceries.

Here are my photos from the last couple of days.

Saturday, August 10

Sunday, August 11

More on Sunday Night

The beer I’m drinking is much foamier than any beer I’ve ever drunk.  I thought something was wrong with it, but it turns out to be good.  And, it’s brewed by a company with a sense of humor, or schmaltz.  The brand is He’Brew, The Chosen Beer, the name is Genesis.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell, it is Friday.  I didn’t do much today.  I did about 12,000 steps.  I read a lot.  I’m reading and enjoying the most recent book about the Gettysburg campaign.

This crab apple looks like it’s suffering from something – I don’t know what. It looked intriguing so I took a picture. It is one of only two shots I ended up with today. The other is a blighted leaf from the same tree.

Off Again

I went through a second bad night in a row, so I stayed home again.  I don’t regret doing so.  I suspect I’m getting a reputation as being unreliable at work.  I can’t deal with the sleep apnea on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I’m so exhausted in the morning that I can’t generate the resolve to go to work.  I can carry on and enjoy life in spite of the sleep apnea, but I can’t always get to work.

I was able to take a long ramble around town.  I came upon a community garden on the North Hill that I didn’t know existed. I found a lot of photo opportunities.  I also took some photos behind the co-op.  I was chasing a wasp that was feeding – I think – on some flowers.  Although wasps are carnivores, so maybe this was a fly masquerading as a wasp.  In any event, I haven’t been able to identify the wasp, or fly.  The wasp didn’t stay still very long so getting a good shot was a challenge.  I enlarged considerably the best of the wasp photos.  Here it is along with the rest of today’s selects.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wednesday Off

My hotmail account has been closed down by Microsoft.  I am quite frustrated by what has happened.  Apparently somebody hacked my e-mail.  Lia got an e-mail from my account on Monday that she said was something I wouldn’t have sent, and I didn’t send it.  So I guess Microsoft did the right thing even though I was quite upset because they treated me as if I were the hacker.  So I have bolted to Gmail.

I had a restless night last night that, combined with my chronic apnea, left me feeling awful this morning.  So I called in sick and stayed home.  I’ve still managed to get in my walking.  Doing so turned out to be surprisingly easy since the day was so pleasant.  I ended up with three selects.

Water Bugs
Water Bugs
Blue and Tan
Blue and Tan
Gaggle of Geese
Gaggle of Geese

Hawks In the Hood

Accipiter In the Woods
Accipiter In the Woods

The last few days I’ve been hearing birds cries from the woods just east of the house.  I didn’t know what they were, but didn’t pay much attention to them.  With half my mind I thought maybe they were young starlings.  This evening I was in the yard taking photos and heard the birds again.  This time I realized that what I was hearing was some type of raptor, so I went to explore.  There were two big hawks hanging around.  They were aware of my presence and wouldn’t let me get too close.  They also wouldn’t leave the area.  They would move from limb to limb and make their single-syllable cries, but they didn’t leave.  I got a few photos but they weren’t very close.  The one I’ve posted has been blown up so much that it’s not very clear.  It is clear enough to allow me to identify the hawks as accipiters.  They behaviour indicated that anyway, accipiters being woodland hawks.  They were either Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, or Goshawks.  We are south of the goshawks range although the Peterson guide says that they are extending their range south.  I lean toward them being Goshawks because of the marking on their head, but the ID is not conclusive.

My other photos of the day were of flowers found in the front yard.

Sunday Morning Going Down

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945Nothing is actually going down, but that lyric from a Kris Kristofferson song popped into my head as I started this post.  So I’m using it for the title.  And, the morning is almost over.  I just started laundry and haven’t done much else this morning besides getting breakfast at Brueggers and starting a new book on Antietam.  Yesterday I finished Rick Atkinson’s final volume of his trilogy on the U.S. Army in the WW II campaigns against Germany.  A very good book and a very good trilogy.  The Guns At Last Light presents the readers with a vivid account of the costs of the war.  70 millions deaths.  Total destruction of Germany.  Massive destruction in the Soviet Union and other parts of Eastern Europe.  At that’s just the war against Germany.  There was also the war against Japan.  Impossible to adequately explain  how  something  so devastating could have happened.

Atkinson calls it the “greatest catastrophe in human history“.  He quotes a WW II soldier as saying the war “was a savage, insensate affair, barely conceivable to the well-conducted imagination.  The real war was tragic and ironic, beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest“.

Yesterday I ended up with only three photos.  One of the photos is of Long Lake, one of my frequent photo subjects.  My daily walking route is around Long Lake. The light, clouds, weather, color are constantly changing. I’ve probably taken more pictures of Long Lake over the past few months than any other locale. I keep seeing opportunities.

As I sit at my desk next to an open window doing this blip, I’m hearing the wail of loons from off the lake.

8:15 PM

I hiked through the Brown’s Creek area this afternoon and took about 150 photos; deleted all but about 35; and then edited about a dozen.  Below are the selects for the day.

Backed Up

I’m a bit backed up, not having posted anything for a few days.  The big news is that for the first time in about 6 weeks I didn’t do 10,000 steps in a day.  That was Wednesday.  I recovered quickly on Thursday when I walked about 12,000 steps.  So I’m starting another streak.

I have been spending a lot of time learning Photoshop Lightroom.  Before buying Lightroom I used three different softwares in my workflow:  Windows Live Photo Gallery, Snapseed, and – sometimes – Gimp.  Now I will need only Lightroom and occasionally Gimp.  I was surprised to find out that I can use Lightshop to completely replace both Windows Live Photo Gallery and Snapseed and to allow me to do many things that I had been only able to do in Gimp such as spot removal and repairs.  I will only have to use Gimp if I want to use layers or paths.  Thus far I have rarely done so and have rarely had the need to do so.  I may actually be able to do away with using Gimp.  I could take the position that if there is something I can’t do in Lightroom,  it is something that moves to far away from the original image.  I want to be more of a field photographer and less of an editor.

Below is a show with images from the days I’ve missed, the 23rd, 24th, and 25th.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am going to see if I can get in a walk around the lake without getting rained on.  Maybe I will bring an umbrella.

Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson,  quote printed on the spine of the magazine Real Simple

8:45 PM

Hauling After the Rain
Hauling After the Rain

I made it around the lake without getting wet.  It sprinkled just enough to notice but not enough to actually wet anything down.  It’s been mostly a lazy day today although I’m at 12,000 steps and have gotten a few good photos, edited them in Lightroom, and posted my POTD on Blipfoto.  Wonderful weather today with pleasant temperatures and brief, sharp showers followed by sun. At one point I just had to stop my car on the shoulder of the road and hop out to get a photo of the sky and clouds. A truck happened to be passing and became part of the picture.  And the rest of my selects from today are below.

Again – Starting Too Late

Once again I’ve left posting too late.  It’s 9:30 and I don’t have much too say, so I will just post my keepers from today.  I, for the first time, used only Lightroom to process today’s photos.

Blog Earlier

Raindrops, Ant, and Thistle
Raindrops, Ant, and Thistle

I think I need to do some blogging earlier in the day.  On days like today I don’t always feel like blogging – or doing much other than reading – when it gets much beyond 8:00 PM.  I’m not going to write much today except to say that I purchased Photoshop Lightroom and already like what of seen of it.  I developed all of my raw files from the camera using Lightroom.  For some of them, that was enough.  For others, I went to Gimp particularly for touch up work.  Lightroom is mainly for adjustments to an entire image as opposed to sections of the image.  The workflow is to develop raw files in Lightroom and pass them on to Gimp is necessary.  I did all of the work for my POTD in Lightroom (note especially the vignetting).  I’ve posted my other keepers for the day below.  I tried and failed to identify the insects in today’s photos.  I’m close to giving up trying to ID insects.  For me, it’s much harder than identifying birds.

The Longest Walk

Wild Blackberries
Wild Blackberries
Green Worm
Green Worm

I just finished the longest walk I’ve taken in a long time – about 9,000 steps and about 4.5 miles.  I did the Long Lake loop with extensions.  Before leaving I liberally spayed my cap with OFF and sprayed the back of my head and neck.  The flies were still around but not as great a nuisance as yesterday.  I would have finished my walk more quickly except that many times I dawdled to pick and gobble wild blackberries.  I finally stopped when I felt I was becoming a berry glutton.  I think I ate at least one serving of fruit.

8:00 PM

I logged 20,786 steps which is 9.78 miles.  I was hoping to get my Fitbit 25,000 step medal today, but I’ve exhausted myself.  I suppose I could do another 4,500 steps today, but I don’t think it would be worth doing.  I might end up with heat exhaustion.  I don’t know if 20,789 is a personal record.  I will still log more steps before bed.  I might at least go out for a slow, slow and short stroll after dark.  I can at least exceed 21,000.  I fell pretty good about the walking I’ve been doing given the following charts.  The second chart shows that I’m in the 97th percentile of steps walked per day for men of all ages.

Steps Chart
Steps Chart
Steps Percentiles
Steps Percentiles

I picked up the photos I had printed for the county fair competition.  They all look great.  I feel good about my chances to win a ribbon.  Vicky Sarner says the competition at Washington County will be greater than at Ramsey County which is a small, rather bare-bones county fair.


I’m still learning Gimp.  Here is an experiment in combining two images, one with a rather lackluster sky and the other of only clouds, but rather dramatic clouds.


Today is my birthday.  I have just one more year until retirement.  So I’m going to set a couple goals.

  1.  Get my weight under 200 lbs.
  2. Be able to easily walk 10 strenuous miles in a day.

Just two simple goals.  I could list a lot more goals, but I haven’t been successful when I load two many goals on myself at the same time.  For the rest of this month, also two goals:

  1.  Get my weight under 230 lbs.
  2. Walk an average of 10,000 steps per day.

I just finished giving Penzu a final look.  It will not work.  Uploading a photo took way too long.  Once the photo was uploaded, I couldn’t figure out how to re-size it and it was difficult to move.  This is the second time I’ve tried and rejected Penzu.  I need to remember not to try it again.  Now my e-journaling candidates are Blogger, WordPress, and OneNote, my old reliable.  I like Blogger except for its printing function which I need to explore a bit more.

 I just tried saving to PDF.  The results were not as good as with OneNote, but acceptable.

Here are some photos from yesterday and today.

Exploring WordPress

I’m wondering if I should switch to WordPress for my daily journaling.  I an currently using OneNote, but there are formatting problems with one note that are time consuming and irritation.  So I going to use WordPress for a while to see if I might like it better than OneNote.  The most important issues that I need to resolve are the costs of data on my Verizon wireless account and formatting ease.  I will use this blog as a photo and text blog plus images copied from other places on the Internet, particularly Google Images.  Here is my first photo post.  I was easy to do. Now I want to re-position the photo, but I don’t seem to be able to do.


%d bloggers like this: