Category Archives: random snippets

Random Running Snippets, Few Apertures

Gotta love all that bling! (Not sure if there was a medal in 2003)

Gotta love all that bling! (Not sure if there was a medal in 2003)

Some random thoughts about last Sunday’s Chevron Houston Marathon and Aramco Houston Half Marathon while my quads gently scream (with apologies to the late George Harrison):

My dear close friends and family, who are almost all nonrunners, marvel at my half-marathon “achievements” (some don’t even know the difference between the half and the full marathon). They make it seem like I’ve climbed Mt. Everest! Being more of a slogger than even a jogger, it’s kind of embarrassing; it probably makes my running pals, all of whom are much faster than me, roll their eyes when they read their lovely Facebook comments.

While I do appreciate the adulation, here’s the total truth: Unless you have physical limitations, anyone can finish these events (heck, several blind runners led by dedicated guides completed the marathon). It’s a simple process: Train for the distance for four to six months. Then on race day put one foot in front of the other. Repeat until you at least cross the finish line. Bam! They put a medal on you! Bask in the glow while your body pleads for mercy for several days.

Finishing a half or full marathon is an awesome accomplishment. I recommend crossing it off your bucket list next January in Houston!

Back Off!

I thought about my former college roommate Jan during Sunday’s event. Given her nursing background, it was no surprise that she had posted on Facebook hints for avoiding the flu. One biggie? No hand contact. So what did runners see along the route? Lots of spectators wanting to give us high fives. Ugh! I’ve had the flu shot, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t get sick from someone else’s germs . . . no matter how well-intended the gesture is.

Around mile 10, a guy held a sign that read “High Five 4 Power.” I gave him a virtual high five . . . and stayed very far away. Love our wonderful supporters’ spirit and enthusiasm. Just not their potential viruses.

Don’t Mess With the Course

I hate to say it, but some runners are selfish slobs. Too many of them drop their excess wearables, especially trash bags that were worn for protection against the rain, on the ground as they’re running without any concern for those behind them who could easily trip over these discards, hurting or ending their own race. I figured it was just the guys who were guilty (having lived with three males who forget that hangars do exist all these years) until I watched a gal toss her sheddable jacket behind her as we neared the finish.

How hard is it to run to the side of the road and put bags, gloves, hats, and jackets there? Or drape them on a cone? Please take the time to keep your fellow runners safer!


Still Fundraising

Thinking about who you’re running for is a great distraction during these long-distance races. In the latter stages of the half marathon, from mile nine on, I tried to concentrate more on my family members who have battled heart- and stroke-related problems than on how cold, wet, and miserable I felt. It actually helped!

You still can donate to my Run for a Reason cause, by the way. Just click on this link: The American Heart Association. Thanks for making a difference!

Random Snippets and Apertures

My younger son warms up before a practice round at Tom Bass Park. (Nikon S6200)

Random photos . . . random thoughts.

I’m missing the kid this week. He’s in Charlotte, North Carolina, competing in the Amateur Disc Golf World Championships. The Mister, who I’m sure hasn’t dared to wear his embarrassing paint-stained Land’s End Super-T (with pocket) again, is in charge of driving our younger son to the courses, massaging his sore right shoulder, and boosting his ego.

It’s a dirty job . . . wish I was there helping out.

Perhaps preparing for the Olympics? (iPhone 4S)

I watched this kayaker smoothly navigating the lake in our neighboring master-planned community during a recent wog. Made my chronically sore shoulders hurt just snapping the pic.

Palms all in a row. (Nikon S6200)

I was intrigued by this line of palm trees in the median outside our local mall. Kind of looks like one tree with lots and lots of fronds.

Nature at its best. (Nikon S6200)

I think Texas corners the market on beautiful sunsets.

The cup runs alone. (Nikon S6200)

I felt sorry for this poor, pitiful, lonely, sloooooow cup. I took this photo at the Sugar Land Skeeters’ baseball game during a between-inning “race” pitting a pepper, a taco, and this sad-sack cup (gotta love minor league games with their corny activities). The cup took a loooooong time before finally reaching the third-base dugout (from the warning track).

Could Usain Bolt win dressed as the cup?

It made me wonder whether even Usain Bolt, Jamaica’s world-record sprinter, could run speedily enough in the cup costume to finally beat the dastardly pepper and taco.

Probably only Bolt could make the cup truly fast food!

Random Snippets

Dandy indeed!

Wednesday was my 700th blog post! Wow!! I’ve posted every Monday through Friday since January 5, 2009. Thanks to those of you who’ve been faithfully reading my ramblings.

I’d feel more like celebrating if . . . my lower back wasn’t hurting me so much. Looks like the new running shoes have not been the solution, unfortunately. I take it back, Mister!

Sitting even for short periods of time causes pain, so I’m making this, my 702nd post, a short one. I’m hoping a weekend of stretching, avoiding my office chair (which never has bothered me before), and running nine miles tomorrow will right my aching ship.

That and lots of ibuprofen!

Is It Really Friday?

The Camera+ app turns an ordinary iPhone 4 photo into something special.

Here’s my goal for today: Remember that it’s actually Friday.

Starting a week with Memorial Day (as in “no school”) always throws off my schedule. But add to it that yesterday was the last day of high school for my younger son (goodbye, sophomore year!), and I’m completely lost. I kept thinking that yesterday was Friday, so, of course, I woke up believing that today is Saturday.

I don’t write a blog post on Saturdays (or Sundays). Glad I actually looked at a calendar to see what day it really is!

My older son starts summer school Monday at our local junior college (two classes the first five-week term and one class the second), so I hope I have my internal calendar back in sync by then!

By the way, the accompanying photo has absolutely nothing to do with this blog post. I just liked how the Camera+ app changed what was a basic, blah photo into something that looked cool. Cool—something we could use right now with the heat blasting the Houston area. Oh, and rain, too.

No matter what day it is!

2010 Flies By

Happy New Year’s Eve! All I can say about 2010 is . . . what the heck happened to it? One minute I was ringing it in and posting my first photo of the day, and the next minute I’m looking back at the year in my rear view mirror. Zoom, zoom!

My wish for one and all for 2011 is good health and happiness. Let’s make this our best year ever!

Oh, and I also wouldn’t mind if 2011 went by . . .

A snail visits in a timely manner.

. . . at a snail’s pace!

Stay safe tonight!

Sidebar: I snapped the snail photo this morning! I just happened to see the little guy hanging around near my front door. How fortuitous!

Back Down to Earth

I don’t think my #1 son will care about the unusual Chanukah gift wrap.

I’ve had such a hard time getting started this morning! But with the house finally quiet with my older son back at college and my younger son back to the high school grind, I can think again.

There are a couple thoughts rambling around in my head:

• This is the first Chanukah we’ll celebrate without my older son. I don’t think it’ll really hit me until the first night on Wednesday. Of course, that meant early shopping and having most of his gifts (some are digital, and some still need to be delivered . . . oops!) wrapped and ready for him to take back with him.

With the Chanukah gift wrap safe and warm up in the attic, I improvised and used a Fry’s newspaper ad and envelopes. Hey, it’s the thought that counts!

My #1 son actually talks to us during lunch at a favorite restaurant.

• It was wonderful having my older son home for the Thanksgiving break! It seemed like he and his younger brother talked nonstop for a day or two. Plus my #2 son especially enjoyed having his brother’s friends visit; he’s missed them, too.

What my college freshman liked best about being home was eating at his favorite restaurants, which aren’t available to him (no car) at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Mister and I spoiled him as much as we could, and now we’re going to miss him until he returns home in mid-December.

Especially during the eight nights of Chanukah.

Random Musical Snippets

A one-eyed unicorn

Conversations With My #2 Son

Last weekend when we were driving in San Antonio, we, of course, were listening to our Sirius XM radio. Specifically, channel 23, which had become the all-Neil Diamond station in honor of the singer-songwriter’s new album.

Diamond’s new CD, “Dreams,” features him singing covers of his favorite songs. One of them is Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight.” One good thing about Neil is that he really enunciates every word, which, according to my younger son, Sir Elton never did.

My #2 son: “Did he just say ‘wild-eyed wanderer?'”

Me: “Yes, he did. Those are the lyrics.”

#2: “Oh. I thought it was ‘one-eyed unicorn.'”

Sure, that makes so much sense!

No commercials = music heaven!

Driving With an Old Fogie

I truly love satellite radio. To me it’s worth it to pay extra for no commercials. However, I’d consider going back to FM if it meant I could control the radio when the Mister is driving. Why? His choice of stations.

Three years might not seem like a long time, but it’s enough of a span that it means the Mister, who is 60, loves 50s music and the 50s on 5 XM channel. Which I do not. Slow and boring just doesn’t suit me. I much prefer the 60s on 6 and even the 70s on 7; I believe that the best music produced was from 1964 (e.g., the British Invasion) to about 1975.

I control the radio in my car, while the Mister rules the airwaves in his as I fume not so silently (as in, “Isn’t it about time to get hip, Grandpa?”). Meanwhile, our #2 son is oblivious to this musical warfare as he silently sits in the back with his earbuds firmly in place.

Must be nice to be plugged into your iPhone’s iPod, listening to music about one-eyed unicorns!

Photo Oddities

Ripples among a reflection

It’s photo grab bag day on my blog! I have a bunch of recent pics that don’t necessarily fit together but still are ones I like. Such as the ripples from the lake where the Mister and our #2 son fished recently.

Nature at its curious best

Would you even guess that the above photo is of a bit of nature that was hanging from a bush in a local park where the Mister and #2 played disc golf? The bush was just filled with these odd objects swaying peacefully in the air.

Whatever it is, it's also on the bush.

Some of them also were still on the branches. I’m guessing they’re some kind of pine cone given that they were on what looked like a pine bush.

This I recognize!

Not that they looked anything like a conventional pine cone on a conventional pine tree. By the way, I love the bokeh (background blurring) in this photo. So dreamy-looking.

Here's something you don't always see in a tree!

This isn’t a pine tree, but it did have something . . . or rather someone . . . unusual in it. The boy is looking up to where his kite is stuck. I’m not sure if he ever got it down. Reminds me of Charlie Brown and his kite-eating tree!

Is Roderick magically putting?

When I take disc golf photos, I try to time it so I snap the shutter just after the player releases the disc; that way the noise doesn’t affect the throw. Sometimes that means photographically catching the disc in the air in an unusual position . . . like in this pic. This almost looks like sleight of hand by Roderick as he manipulates the disc. Is he trying to throw the putter into the basket or is he magically pulling it back into his hand?

Interesting rocks caught my eye.

Oddities or not, I think all these photos really rock!

Update: Those odd-looking pine cones actually are bagworms! Thanks to my college roommate Jan for figuring that one out!

Random Snippeting While Too Tired to Think

My bespectacled #1 son sleeps on our way to San Antonio.

This has been such a tiring week! Before I could overcome the exhaustion from graduation and ProGrad, my #1 son and I were off for the three-hour drive to the University of Texas at San Antonio for his three-day orientation (Tuesday through Thursday). I’ll be blogging about that experience next week assuming I’ve finally caught up on my sleep (we all know how hard it is to sleep in a strange bed for a couple nights). Until then, here are some random thoughts . . . .

We Are the Champions!

I’m not a huge National Hockey League fan. But I’ve always loved the Chicago Blackhawks. My father used to take our family to Blackhawks games when we were growing up. So I was thrilled that my hometown hockey team won their first Stanley Cup title in 49 years recently.

Perhaps now my beloved Cubbies will break through and finally win the World Series again?!?

A Fitting Description

My blog is capably hosted by WordPress. A couple weeks ago I had a suggestion for improving the site and sent them an e-mail. I received a reply from someone who called himself a “happiness engineer.”

I love that term! I think that’s the perfect description for someone like me—a mom and a photographer. If I ever update my resumé, I’m stealing that label!

Random Snippets: Digital Photography and Movies

Pretty flowers grow near a reflective bridge on a lake.

Usually I’m a big Scott Kelby fan. Not only is Scott great at writing photography and Photoshop books, but you can tell from his blog that he loves taking photos. He’s a true fan of photography and almost is giddy when he scores a great assignment like taking pix at a National Football League game. Just like any of us amateurs would be.

But when Scott threw down a photo gauntlet in his blog last Friday, I rolled my eyes, folded my arms, and said, “I’m not playing.” Scott challenged his readers to shoot in the “old school” way, like back in the day when we used film. Remember pre-digital photography? It was like shooting blind—no switching your ISO (ASA for film) to keep up with changing light conditions, no clicking off as many pix as your memory card will hold. And, most importantly, no checking the LCD to see what you’ve shot to make sure the lighting and shutter speed are right and that eyes all are open.

Reddish blossoms

Yep, we’re spoiled, and I love it! I shot film for about 40 years, and I would never go back! Digital photography is freeing. Sure, you still can take bad shots, as I well know. But it’s easier to capture good—even great—photos because of the instant feedback. I’m a fan of new and improved technology. Digital cameras allow us to be better, more creative photographers.

So when I grabbed my Nikon D700 and Nikon 105mm macro lens last Saturday and went off to take photos, I purposely ignored Scott’s challenge. I didn’t limit myself to 24 or 36 photos (a roll of film) nor did I put tape over the LCD monitor. I happily snapped away, chimping when necessary to check lighting conditions and to make sure I got the shot I wanted. I had so much fun shooting flora and fauna—it was a wonderful experience, helped enormously by my digital SLR.

And after I put the photos on my iMac, I used Photoshop to make them look a little bit better (never underestimate the importance of cropping), which was another Kelby no-no for this task.

Perhaps I’ll embrace the next challenge Scott throws down . . . as long as I can play by my own rules!

By the way, even Scott had trouble with his own challenge. We are such creatures of photographic habits!!

Two Thumbs Up

Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, collects letters written to Juliet.

We saw a couple movies over the weekend that we liked. First, the Mister and I watched “Letters to Juliet.” It was slow-moving and formulaic but very good, helped by gorgeous scenery of Italy. The highlight for me? Hearing “I’m a Believer” sung in Italian! What I found hard to believe? Sophie, who was ably played by Amanda Seyfried, supposedly was writing a story about one particular letter to Juliet and the quest to find that Juliet’s Romeo, yet she never snapped one photo! Not even with a film camera!!

Donkey and Shrek once again are animated stars.

On Memorial Day, the four of us enjoyed “Shrek Forever After.” It was excellent; I truly loved it. A highlight? Hearing “I’m a Believer” for the second straight day; this time it was sung in English, of course. Ogres rock!