Category Archives: writing

The Start of Year No. 5

Already a photographer at age 8

Already a photographer at age 8

Start up the band and break out a parade! I’ve completed my fourth year of blogging (as of January 5). I wrote 241 posts in 2012, which included probably close to 1,000 photos. Guess I just love to overshare (no need to thank me).

I decided to look back over those many words and pick out two favorite posts from each month. That was so difficult! I love writing, and I enjoy documenting our lives, especially when those posts include my sons, nature, and disc golf. Here are my choices:

January

I was a bundle of nerves as my younger son returned to his public high school after our awful online high school experience. Fortunately, he did fine in finishing up his junior year.

I responded to an innocent question by the kid with a long harangue about the good, old days (including the top photo).

Ah, that sweet smile at 14 months!

Ah, my #1 son’s sweet smile at 14 months!

February

My older son turned 20. Sniff sniff!

Another of my younger son’s innocent questions, this time about the “Star Wars” movies, got me thinking about the future.

Dad and son are glad the fierce cougar is just a statue!

Dad and son are glad the fierce cougar is just a statue!

March

We took our first college visit with the kid to his dad’s alma mater, the University of Houston.

I overshared photos of the wonderful wildflowers in Gonzales.

If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone . . . .

If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone . . . .

April

I broke out plenty of puns, as I cried fowl (see what I mean?) when I was chased by chickens (aka Poultry in Motion . . . somebody stop me!).

The kid discovered that having ancient parents is a perk when it comes to learning U.S. History.

My #1 son enjoys the word play and card play.

My #1 son enjoys the word play and card play.

May

My sons had a blast playing Ultimate Uno with their pals at our house.

Our little town got an independent, minor-league baseball team, the Skeeters! We had fun at our first game.

Yep, he sure did!

Yep, he sure did!

June

An anole scared me and forced me to figure out a way to get him out of my office. I’m still always looking over my shoulder just in case he returns.

My sons and my “third son,” Chase, loved being living totem poles in the pool.

Smiling at a Skeeters’ game!

Smiling at a Skeeters’ game!

July

I shared my iPhone self-portrait failures, as I tried to snap a good pic of my older son and I at a Skeeters’ baseball game.

Did half my posts last year involve nature? Sure seemed like it, even when disc golf was involved.

Sam Houston watches over his campus.

Sam Houston watches over his campus.

August

Once we walked on campus, it was clear that the kid’s first college choice would be Sam Houston State University (which he plans to attend).

All-star pitching great Roger Clemens temporarily came out of retirement to join our Skeeters, setting off a media frenzy.

Father and son chat while walking back to the dugout.

Father and son chat while walking back to the dugout.

September

We watched Roger pitch to his son Koby for the first time in an actual baseball game, helping our Skeeters win.

Reading this post about my younger son’s over-Photoshopped senior pictures always makes me laugh at the memory.

I used this as a cover photo on Facebook.

I used this as a cover photo on Facebook.

October

Gotta love a teenager who fearlessly rocks his inner pink (as in the Pink Power Ranger).

This started the first of several posts in October and December where I educated my readers about the toxic puss moth caterpillars that are using our house as their own, personal Motel 6 (again, no need to thank me; got yer backs!).

My younger son and Chase found out how small the drinking fountains are.

My younger son and Chase found out how small the drinking fountains are.

November

The kid, Chase, and I enjoyed reliving their elementary school days at a reunion.

If butterflies pose for me, then I’m snapping away.

All good things must end.

All good things must end.

December

In documenting Chanukah, I captured a spinning dreidel . . . complete with a poem. Isn’t there a Pulitzer Prize for poetry?

My older son showed his softer side with a handmade gift for his brother.

Whew! I’m ready to continue on with the same Monday through Friday blogging schedule in 2013. I hope you’ll continue to join me!! Remember that comments always are welcome.

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Happy 3rd Blogiversary to Me!

The #2 son shoots a free throw during a middle school basketball game. (January 2009)

Today is a monumental day! It’s my great-niece Kate’s first birthday (one of her presents was a new baby sister on December 30!), as well as my third blogiversary. Did you miss the parade that just marched by?

Rare snow falls on my older son in December of 2008. (February 2009)

When I started the blog three years ago, at first I used it to try to get organized. In fact, Random Snippets & Apertures used to be called Get ’Er Done. But it was a lame attempt, which was no surprise given the fact that “Lazy” has seemed to be my middle name the past few years.

My #2 son warms up for the 4 x 400-meter relay by getting some air. (March 2010)

Before long I changed my blog’s name and focus. I finally started showcasing my photos and geared Random Snippets more towards my family. It definitely was a better fit.

My #1 son and his beautiful blue eyes! (August 2010)

Why do I blog five days a week? First, I’m a writer, and I love exercising my skills, always with an eye towards improving.

My younger son flies a putt towards the basket. (April 2010)

Second, I’m a photographer, and it’s nice having an outlet for my work.

I pose with my sons this past Christmas Day. (photo by the Mister)

Most of all, I see this blog as my legacy to my two precious sons. I plan to make each year into a book, so they can remember what it was like when they were growing up, and so they can read what I was thinking and what I believed in.

I snapped this pic of a pennant dragonfly on a windy morning. (June 2011)

Let’s just hope they don’t conclude one thing:

Bees are also bluebonnet fans! (April 2010)

That their mom loved snapping pix of flowers and insects as much as she did of them!

Thanks for joining me on Random Snippets & Apertures! Here’s to another year of fun and photos.

Travelin’ Thursday

dimassis-logo

“I’m a travelin’ gal, made a lot of stops

All over the world . . . .”

–shades of Ricky Nelson

Welcome to Travelin’ Thursday! Much like Waldo and Carmen San Diego, I plan to move out of my comfort zone and wander the friendly confines of my 10-mile personal travel bubble. Wherever I land is where I plan to type the day’s blog post.

I guess I’d better put reliable wifi on the top of my preference list of far-flung places to type profound thoughts and observations. I had hoped to type and post this from Dimassi’s Mediterranean Buffet, where I just finished a scrumptious vegan feast. But even though wifi is available, it’s not a strong-enough signal for me to access e-mail (I took a couple photos with my iPhone and e-mailed them to myself to use in this blog post) and post. So I must wait until I get back home.

dim-buffetdim-oven

Good Eats Once a Month

I love Dimassi’s, but I limit myself to monthly visits due to the cost ($9.99 plus tax, which at least does include soda). What I like best about this restaurant is that it lists the ingredients of every dish above it in the buffet line. That way there are none of those unwelcome surprises that those of us with food allergies and/or are veg*ns (shorthand for vegetarians and/or vegans) so often stumble across on our way to healthier eating and/or eating according to our convictions. Dimassi’s has possibly the world’s-tastiest hummus (or maybe just the Houston area’s) and plenty of other good vegan delights.

lost-daniel

Watched It Twice and Still “Lost”

Last night I watched “Lost” twice (once with the boys and the second time with the Mister, who worked late), and I found it to be fascinating both times with still more questions than answers. Yesterday I had lunch with my friends Karen C. and Kelly. Karen declared that she was sitting out this season of “Lost,” because she’s mad at the show due to the lack of answers in recent seasons. I find the utter confusion to be a great hook to keep our family interested in the eventual outcome. I enjoy reading what EW.com has to say about the show, as well as Nik at Nite and Docartz’ blog. They and their readers always seem to find so much substance in the show’s nuances. Pictured above is time traveler Daniel Faraday (a fitting choice for Travelin’ Tuesday!).

Potential spoiler alert!

(respectful spoiler space inserted)

I especially loved how Desmond and Penny named their baby son Charlie. We miss you, rocker boy!

Entertainment Center Update

Yes, it’s still in the bedroom, unfortunately. I’ve e-mailed a picture to the person who hopefully will take the little beast off my hands and am waiting to hear what her final decision will be. I may be too impatient for Freecycle!

Get ’er dones

• Travelin’ and typin’ were today’s biggies. If you’re reading this, then I got ’em done.

• I need to get back into the master bedroom. I’m sure that the little beast will be mocking me as I go through boxes.

• I bought the Mister a digital frame for Christmas. Surely you don’t have to ask if I’ve set it up for him yet, right? It has slots for three photos, so I need to measure them, pick the photos of the boys to use in them, crop them to size, and output them on my Epson inkjet printer. Then I need to put photos on an SD card that will play in the digital frame, learn how to operate it, and teach the Mister (aka Mr. Technophobe) how to use it. It could be a long night!

Strolling down memory lane

fat-mac

Two items in the news got me reminiscing this week. First, Apple’s Macintosh computer turned 25 years old (http://www.macworld.com/article/138340/mac25anniversary.html?lsrc=mwweek). As you can tell by reading this blog, I’m a HUGE Apple fanboy. I have been since the fall of 1985 when I walked into a now long-defunct computer store and first laid eyes on what looked like a large, beige toaster (pictured above): the Mac 512K (aka the Fat Mac, because the original 1984 Mac, aka the Thin Mac, only had 128K of internal memory). It was love at first sight.

Back then there weren’t many applications for the Mac, so I was able to spend a lot of time learning how to use MacWrite, MacPaint, and Ready,Set,Go! (desktop publishing software; I’ve continued to use RSG!, albeit upgraded versions, to this very day). The Mac appealed to my creative nature; I finished all kinds of projects on it, outputting to a noisy, dot-matrix Apple printer. When I worked part-time at an ad agency that used Macs, I sold them the Fat Mac and bought a shiny, new MacPlus. It looked the same, but it had a “whopping” one meg of RAM . . . what a beast! Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, applications weren’t the memory hogs that they are now, so a meg of RAM made for a pretty speedy computer.

Back then, Macs only had one floppy disk drive and no internal hard drive. I remember buying my first external 20-meg hard drive for an eye-popping $600! Twenty megs! I couldn’t fit two of my highest-quality Nikon D300 photos on that drive now.

power_mac_g5

When I bought my MacBook at the Apple store, they asked me if it was my first Mac. I had to laugh . . . most of them were mere babies when I bought that first Mac 512K. In fact, that MacBook is my ninth Mac, and I’ve loved everyone that I’ve owned. After the MacPlus, I had the IIcx, the PowerPc 6500/250 (a tower), the iMac G3 (Apple went back to the all-in-one design of the original Mac; I handed it down to the boys after about three years of heavy use), the G5 tower (the spare Mac in my office; pictured above), the G4 Powerbook, the 24-inch iMac (the boys also have their own), and, finally, the 13-inch aluminum unibody MacBook. Both 24-inch iMacs, the G5 tower, the Powerbook, and the MacBook are used every day by one of us.

I continue to look forward to see what the next Mac will look like and what it will enable us to do. Here’s to an even more successful next 25 years!

From Mac to Mad: Moving Up One Letter

mad-magazine

The second news item was about a former favorite magazine of mine, “Mad.” It was announced that “Mad” would move from monthly to quarterly publication in April. In typical “Mad” fashion, editor John Ficarra said, “The feedback we’ve gotten from readers is that only every third issue of MAD is funny, so we’ve decided to just publish those.”

When I was in high school and knew I wanted to become a writer, one of my goals was to work for “Mad” magazine. I so enjoyed the writing style, the wit, the little comics in the margins. But then I found out I’d probably have to move from the Chicago area to New York City, and that ended that particular infatuation. I still got my journalism degree from the University of Illinois, but I was destined to write about sports, Beanie Babies, and the local middle school. No “Spy vs. Spy” intrigue with any of those subjects.

#1 son enjoys reading “Mad” every now and then, so occasionally I still read it and chuckle along with him.

The Wonderful World of Photo Goofs

The good news coming out of my D300 yesterday was that there was only one ballhead; however, instead I was plagued with the slow reflexes resulting in the “mystery defender.” Here’s the evidence from yesterday’s eighth-grade girls’ B basketball game (our player is wearing the white jersey):

cpd-4727-mystery-defendercpd-4779-mystery-def-2

Really not those award-winning photos that a parent can’t wait to buy! As you can see, it’s the same player in both photos; was it me or was it her?!? Fortunately, I did get some better photos of her and the other girls. The professors back in journalism school used to say that names are news; in action photography, faces are news . . . and sell photos!

Get ’er done!

Progress is being made in the master bedroom! The entertainment center has been unearthed and has been listed in the local Freecycle group; hopefully, someone will want to give it a new home after 12 years in ours. I’m still dealing with boxes, of course, and will put those on today’s get ’er done menu. Along with:

• Laundry

• Stop at our local bookstore to buy “The Great Gatsby” for the #1 son (his latest English III novel)

• Continue the photo archiving (it may never end!)

• Watch “The Biggest Loser” with the family

• End the evening (after the boys go to bed) using one of my beloved Macs