Friday, May 31, 2019

More Blossoms

Last week I posted this photo of a fence and blossoming tree on a street in town.

Of course, those blossoms are pretty well spent by now, but when I drove by again, another blossoming tree caught my eye, farther back in the yard. I returned home, grabbed my camera and hurried back.

This is more or less what I had noticed in my initial drive-by.

But as I studied the yard, making sure to stay on public ground, I thought this composition was more pleasing.

I like both shots but particularly the second one. In addition to the blossoms, the tulips are still in bloom, so I think they balance the photo nicely. And, of course, the tree is great and both anchors and frames the scene.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

The Blossoms of St James Park

I have been keeping my eye on St James Park. Last year, I noticed several beautiful trees in blossom at this time of year, so I have driven past several times in the past week or two to track the progress. On Sunday night when I drove past, I saw that the tress had finally blossomed, so I purposed to return on Monday morning.

Sadly, the day dawned chilly, windy and overcast. But I had dropped Sue of at her exercise class, so I photographed anyway as best as I could.  Besides, the next few days did not promise much better, and you have to do what you can when you can.

I was pleased when I got home and uploaded them to the computer. They were pretty fair right out of the box as it were although I always tweak a bit. I like tweaking. Maybe the grass is a little too bright for my taste or the blossoms are just not quite a vibrant as they were to my eyes, and I try to adjust those things. But as I said, these were decent to begin, keeping the conditions in mind of course, so I didn't have to do any major overhauls.

You will see a church in the background in some of the photos, and I was happy to do this since this is the church where we have our exercise class — the class that I am not attending right now because ... well, you know why.

I was happy that this macro shot turned out as well as it did because it was very windy, and little movements become very amplified in the macro world ... which is really the micro world.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

A Stroll in the Park

Sunday was a pretty nice day, so we stopped for coffee and a chicken sandwich and headed to the park. It was a little breezy, so we chose to eat in the car, but with the windows down, we had plenty of fresh, springtime air.

Once done with our noms, we went for a leisurely stroll. Of course, I couldn't resist taking some snaps.

This is the path leading from our parking spot into the rest of the park.

At the other end before we turn around.

A shot with a glimpse of the river.

Back near the car, I was taken with this tree.

I liked it so much that I went back in the evening with my wide angle lens and tripod. This was the first time, post surgery, that I had ported my tripod

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

I Forgot My Pants

How do I begin to talk about my pants: my post surgery pants, I mean?

They weren't really an issue in week one, post surgery, when my difficulties were in moving about. To wit: getting out of a chair and straightening up was a bit of a trial. Getting in and out of bed and even rolling over too. Oddly enough though, I wasn't in pain just sitting or lying about but just making those big changes of position. I was even fine walking around once I had actually straightened myself up. In those respects, the surgery was easier than anticipated.

But after that first week, when both the internal discomfort and surface swelling began to decrease, another problem arose — surface irritation all around the incisions, which pretty well covered my whole lower abdomen as the operation was a double hernia and covered both sides. Surprisingly to me at the time, there was a whole lot of surface tenderness and irritation. Anything rubbing on that below-the-belt area has been quite irritating and still hasn't settled down completely in week four of post-op.

So, what does one wear in such circumstances?

Bed was easy. I simply stopped wearing pyjama bottoms to bed (yes American Google spellchecker, I do choose to spell pyjama with a y). So except when the sheets hit the incision region, which is something that I can control pretty well, the nights are pretty good. Oddly enough, I have always disliked  not wearing pjs to bed, but needs must as they say.

Now, what about daytime? For awhile, I reverted to bandages so that there was something stationary in the tender area between my pants and me. This prevented direct rubbing. And I wore the soft track pants over top, but the elastic band tended to sag down to the irritated area. I have to freely admit that this problem was aided by my belly which does not want to hold a belt up high.

These are the only pants that I have worn since surgery day except for once which I will get to soon, below.

Then a neighbour, who has had the same surgery, gave me a tip. Braces. Actually, he said suspenders, but I was brought up to say braces, which I like better even though people look at me funny when I say it. Being used to people looking at me that way, it doesn't bother me (I was a teacher, after all), and I can easily add the word that they will understand. It's like saying plaster instead of bandaid. It's just better and part of my British heritage passed from my grandparents to my parents and then me.

The braces looked pretty funny because the only ones in my possession are Santa-themed. I used to have another pair, but nobody knows where they went, not even Sue who I have always thought knows all. All that is worth knowing anyway.

Fortunately, I suppose, it's been cool enough to wear shirts or other coverings over top of the braces, so I didn't stand out too much although family were not always spared. I think Danica especially found it odd and disconcerting.

In summary so far— I wore no pants to bed, and track pants and braces during the day. I feel as though all those needed to be part of the story, but now I finally get to the main point, which is that ...

. . . I forgot my pants, or I should say 'about' my pants. Totally. Completely. But wait ... it's not what you think.

It is about the night Shauna and the kids took us out for our anniversary supper. I sure didn't want to wear track pants to a fine restaurant to celebrate such an occasion, and my jeans (they are nice, respectable jeans, by the way) are a tad on the tight side.

It was then that Sue said, "Why don't you wear your black pants?" (still with braces covered by a shirt, of course) .

Me: I don't have any.
Sue: Yes you do.
Me: No, I don't think so.
Sue: Yes you do.
Me: What are you talking about?
Sue: You bought a pair last fall and a blue pair too?
Me: What?

Of course, she was right. She found them in my closet with the tags still dutifully attached. Apparently, I purchased them last September when Sue was to donate her piano to the Glen Gould Foundation in Toronto (which you may read about HERE).

In case I were to attend the event with Sue and her sister, I needed something dressy, Well not dressy as such, but a step or two up from jeans, which is pretty well all that I wear in retirement. Nice jeans, of course. Did I mention that already?

So ... we went shopping, and I bought these two pairs of pants, sort of chino types of slacks.

I still have no memory of this.

When Sue described our hunt, I did have a vague niggling because she told me how we had great difficulty finding what I was looking for and eventually a helpful sales person found something suitable. I do have a murky impression of this, even though I draw a blank at the pants themselves.

The pants went into the closet as soon as I got home, and since I didn't end up accompanying Sue to the presentation (good thing because the venue was small and crowded), in the closet they remained. Forgotten. Completely forgotten. Utterly forgotten.

I still, more than week after the rediscovery when I write this, don't remember actually purchasing them. Meanwhile, Sue had thought that I simply decided that I didn't like them when I wore jeans to our New Years function and so on and so forth.

Occasionally, I have surprised myself somewhat (somewhat I say) by rediscovering in the depths of my cupboard some item of clothing that I had forgotten about. I mean if it's summer clothing, it lies dormant for about 8 months a year, so I think I can be forgiven. At any rate, when I see such a piece apparel, I do remember about it. But not these pants! Nope! Still a blank.

You may gather by now, that unlike my dear wife, clothing doesn't mean a whole lot to me. Don't get me wrong; I don't dress like a slob, and I do like to look presentable. But beyond those requirements, I am not particularly moved by apparel. Except for caps to some degree. I do like a jaunty cap. I mean everybody wears shirts and pants, but most blokes don't wear nice caps, choosing, if they wear caps at all, to don those banal and ubiquitous ballcaps.

What remains to be seen is if this memory blank is an indication of galloping brain atrophy. On one hand, I am pretty darn sure that it ain't getting better in me 'ead, but on the other hand, I have always been something of a forgetful daydreamer. And that brings me some modicum of comfort.

Footnote: I am doing fine really. I am in my fourth week post-surgery, and, while I am still tender, I have been able to discard the braces. I even used my tripod for a photo last evening.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Tulip Time

Ottawa has a pretty major tulip festival every spring. Although I have only been twice in the past, I thought I would get in the spirit and get a few shots of ours and then our neighbour's tulips.

Mine have the road and driveways in the background unless I get very close, which I didn't this year.

The pink and white flower in the background is the only remnant of the dozens of Canada 150 tulips which we planted back in 2016 for Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017. Only one remains, and it is actually much more faded than it shows in this photo. The 150 tulip has been a major disappointment.

I moved across the street to our neighbour's front garden. She also has a 150 tulip remaining (first photo), and it also is not as saturated as it looks in this photo.

In her backyard is a wonderful clump of red tulips.

But these pink tulips are the best shot of the day IMO.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Trillium Time

It is trillium time in Eastern Ontario. As I post every year, the trillium is the flower that our province has adopted as its own. I know of one spot on a country road where I can find these flowers, so I headed there early one morning.

Ideally, I would use my macro lens and a tripod and take care to get good compositions and exposures, but with things being the way that they are with my body these days, I put on the telephoto lens and just stood and shot.

Results were predictably mediocre, and I trashed almost every photo, but with a bit of work, this one is at least acceptable.

However, I did obtain a few other photos, which at least show you the context of this shoot. This one catches a few trilliums in the foreground although they are not sharp because I focused on the barn beyond the woods. It does reveal where these flwoers grow — in shaded, wooded spots.

When I was ready to depart, I noticed a sunrise glow way down the road.

As a bit of a lagniappe from the gods, at the corner (see the stop sign in the above photo), cattle were grazing in the field across the road. I zeroed in on one with the fence in the foreground.

So, the rehabilitation continues. I continue to wear braces (aka suspenders) on track pants. Track pants are soft, and the braces hold the waistband above my incisions. Unfortunately, the only braces that I own are Christmas/Santa braces, so I keep them covered up with a shirt or sweat top. I hope to discard them soon.

As a bit of an addendum: later that morning, I took a photo of our neighbours red trillium, deep in the shade and pointing downwards — silly thing.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Photo Restoration

Our neighbors had this old photo (of themselves) sent to them, but was in rough shape.

I wish I had kept the complete original 4x3 scan, but I had already cropped the bottom half (above), which was just a table loaded with drinks.

I do not consider myself to be a accomplished restorer, but I am willing to try when the occasion warrants. So the various spots had to go as well as the bottle. A slight colour adjustment was required, and I felt that I had to darken the background somewhat as the people back there were too faint and fuzzy to add anything positive to the photo. They were more of a distraction the way they were and had to be diminished IMHO.

This ↓ is the result after much fiddling and faddling. You can't make an old photo look like a modern well-lit studio image, or at least I can't, but they were pleased with the result. I also presented them with a 5x7 where this was originally about half of a 4x3.

I also made a bw version, which I think they are beginning to prefer although they have gone back and forth a bit, as have I.

To re-emphasize: I don't claim to be all that good at this (or anything photographically for that matter), but the end result is much better than the original, and they like it, so that is good.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Another Brief Morning Wander

After photographing the geese and the early morning glow on the previous day here, I returned the next day. I was a little late for the best light, but I went more for the practice than anything else. I simply need to get to know my camera better. The basics are all the same, but the new mirrorless is slightly higher-end and has more variables and in somewhat different places too.

Some lucky people back right onto the park, and I can see their gardens. With tulips in their prime right now, I snapped a few shots.

I took a number of photos, including the geese, but I didn't spot the family of the previous morning, and those that I did spot were on land. Of course, I took photos, I didn't much like them and just sent them to trash.

This photo ↓ looking down the pond toward the river (which you can't see) is okayish but just barely. There's a lot of guck in the pond. Guck is the technical term BTW. 😄

I did like this ↓ photo, however of the fence and tree beyond the pond. Sunlight is spilling into the scene, and there are reflections.

I am keeping these excursions short and just firing away somewhat randomly when the spirit moves me, but I am appreciating getting back in the saddle as it were.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Bouquet Again

I have already posted these first two photos of Sue's anniversary flowers, so let us move along quickly to the macro shots below them.

Sue asked me to take some close-up shots, which I finally did on Tuesday. I had almost left them too late and saw that the flowers were beginning their decline once I looked at the pictures on the computer.

Nevertheless, I got two acceptable shots. The pink one turned out best.

Both the flowers and the anniversary itself fade away, but, for now, Sue and I shall keep on keeping on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

My First Morning Foray

I must still be sensible about resuming normal procedures. In fact I should not resume many activities for the time being. I have been explicitly told this by the surgeon — no yardwork or lifting for another month or so.

But I will now drive for a short distance, and I will bring my camera with me if I think I might use it. However, I eschew the tripod for now in an effort to keep myself unencumbered as possible.

When I arose yesterday morning, I spotted nice light in the west from the bedroom window, so I checked the other window and saw that there was also some promise to the east. So off I went.

I have had it in my mind to take some early morning photos of the pond around the corner. It's about a minute drive, and I don't have to walk once there but just really get out of the car.

I was treated to a family of geese who kept a very close eye on me. I tried not to disturb them, so I remained as far away as I could and zoomed in as much as possible.

But as I moved around, I lost the glow of the light, so I had to move back closer to them. Of course, they paddled off.

I did take another photo without the geese. But I am still learning the ins and outs of the new camera and didn't compensate for the highlights properly. Still . . . it's not terrible.

The geese were gone; it was cold and windy; and, the light was passing its best point. So, I headed back home. It was good to get out, though.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Finally! I went out and took a few photos. I didn't go far or for long, but I went.

Every time we (as in Sue driving) drove past this nearby property, I wanted to take a photo of the blossoms hanging over the fence. I think it's a picturesque little setting.

A little later, we stopped by the park. I wanted some photos looking (mostly) across the river where I could see the emerging green of the trees leafing out. I like the lightness and brightness of these early leaves and how you can still see the contrasting verticals of the bones (trunks) in the image.

It was a cloudy day. To get the effect that I wanted, or at least something approaching it, I added glow in post. I pretty well accomplished what I wanted to. It may not be to everyone's taste, but it is to mine right now although I may not approve when I look at these photos next year.

On Flickr, there is a Bench Monday meme, so I purposefully include benches in my photos when I think of it.
I do like how this one is framed by the trees which also frames a view across the river.

There are benches here too, but I am not fussy about this image.

Looking completely across the river, I like the verticals and there's also a bench (picnic table).

The curve of that trees plus the balancing of the birch tree to the right
make this my favourite photo of the outing to the park.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Anniversary Dinner

Our normal anniversary meal consists of pizza, largely because it is something we did all those years ago at the Festival Motor Inn in Stratford. Besides that, we are pretty content just to hang out. While special outings and events are really nice on occasion, we keep life pretty low key for the most part.

Knowing that Shauna and the kids were planning on taking us to dinner for an actual anniversary dinner, Sue and I did go out to a local diner on the previous night. It was a very good, uncomplicated meal and definitely several rungs up from the usual pizza.

Come Friday, they picked us up and drove us into the city. We didn't know our destination until on the drive in when the kids couldn't hold back any longer.

We had never been to The Keg before, but Shauna has and raved about their steaks, which is what we ordered.

It was pretty dark in there, but I pulled off a few shots with the compact camera.

I did try a few food shots, but they didn't turn out well at all. But the food was good — very good.

While there, we were given a gift, in addition to the meal, I mean.

I am looking forward to that.