Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Happy Halloween

The neighbour across the street erected a rather impressive 20' (I think) skeleton. The skull and rib cage light up, and I decided that it was very photo-worthy.

The lights flicker, so I took a number of photos to make sure of capturing them in their 'on' state. Then I took a brighter exposure so we could see a bit of the skeleton in addition to the lights. I blended the two photos together in Photoshop, and I think we have an effective result.

As usual, we shall be grinches tonight as we turn out the lights on those darn trick-or-treaters. Our street gets flooded with hordes of kids on Halloween, who don't even live here. One year, after running out of treats although we had purchased hundreds, we gave up. It wasn't a great loss as Halloween had never been a huge deal for us.

It is the night, sometimes the first one of the season, that we make sure to put the car in the garage. It is not that we live in a community that is overrun by abominable delinquents, but it doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution on this night. This year, it is the third night of putting the car in the garage because we had our first snow on Sunday night.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Mill Walk

Come Saturday morning, it seemed bright-ish and warm-ish; Sue suggested that we drive up to the Mill of Kintail for a little walk. Maybe we would see some colour, as we had at our Riverside Park on the previous day.

By the time we arrived, however, it was no longer bright, and we observed that there wasn't much colour either. Only a few little trees and bushes held any colour at all, like this one at the beginning of the path that we took.

Or like this plucky little bush in the gloom with the Indian River behind.

In general, however, we were heading into November bleakness, my least favourite month of the year.

Sue's red scarf helped.

This was a vertical panorama shot that I made with the phone.
I tried this with my camera but Lightroom couldn't stitch them together later.
Yay iPhone software!

After we reached the mill, we turned back toward the car by taking the broader path, The sun peeked out, but by the time I raised my camera, it checked out again. Somehow, I still like the subdued photo. Soon, even the leafy carpet will be colourless, but on this day, it was still pleasing to behold.

Finally, the sun shone for us, but I still prefer the dull photo above to the next one.

On the way home, we decided to divert to Tim's for coffee and a bagel, which we took to the park and consumed in the car, as is our custom.

Before I hit publish, please permit me to exhibit my narcissism by posting two photos that Sue took of me on our walk: the first at the start of our walk, and the second when the sun made one of its brief appearances.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Last Autumn Park Visit?

After yet another rainy few days, the skies cleared enough to induce Sue and me to take a stroll in Riverside park. There is a very good chance that it will be our final walk, at least with any autumn colour to see. We used our phones to record our outing. While we were both taking park photos, Sue did take this one of me.

Concentrating on what would probably be my final colour photos of the season, I didn't take any people photos. The fourth photo in this series is of the tree that I showed you a few weeks ago when it was a combination of green and orange. Now, only some orange remains.

Then I switched over to pano crop (16:9) mode, but in edit, I even created a even more extreme crop.

We weren't there long, but whatever sun there had been was pretty much gone by the time we left.

Finally, I am reminded of an autumn photo (the grass is green, and there are a few leaves on the trees) with me and my dad. He was born on this day in 1912 and lived until 1999. It was possibly taken on his birthday in 1947, and I would have been almost two months old. It was a b&w photo which photoshop colorized for me.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Caturday 55: Lacey Begins Her Winter Adaptations

We can debate when winter begins. In astronomical terms, the dratted cold season begins when the sun reaches Capricorn near December 21st. However, for us here in the Great White North, in real meteorological terms, we consider it to start around December 01.

But Lacey is already embracing the changing weather, or at least adapting to it. In summer there is no good reason for her to seek the sun on our bed, but suddenly, we find her there on a regular basis.

And then, there is Sue's lap. It had been months since Lacey last visited during lunchtime tv session. We wondered if she had forgotten or had decided that she no longer adored Sue.

Suddenly, she has returned to the lap of luxury, as it were.

We think that Sue's white sweater may be a trigger, and she's just started using it again.

But who is to know the mind of an inscrutable cat in any season?

Friday, October 27, 2023

Two Nights, Three Mugs, and Thankfulness

As has been the case recently, I obtained most of my sleep here, in/on my chair on the two nights in the title.

I began both nights in bed, but I switched to the chair after more than an hour on the first night and much sooner on the second night. At least I got some sleep in bed on night one before my arm/shoulder pain induced me to seek a better spot. On night two, the pulsing pain prevented sleep almost from the outset. I don't know why it was worse then.

On the first night, I slept for seven hours or more and didn't waken until just after seven o'clock. On night two, I made coffee at 3:30 after about only four hours of sleep. I can't explain the difference. although the indoor temperature was warmer on the second night. But really, 19.5C/67F is not exactly torrid and sweat-inducing.

My routine tends to alter when I awaken so early. On the first, late-rising morning, I only had one cuppa coffee, but on the second I consumed three cups (not full mugs) — all by 6:30, as it turned out.

On morning one, I had a light breakfast around 9 o'clock, but on the second morning, I had indulged myself by making a breakfast sandwich by about 6AM.

Breakfast by the computer at 6:06

But I was thankful, especially after night two: thankful for my chair and whatever magic it possesses, for as soon as I switched to the chair from the bed, my pulsing shoulder pain went away to wherever it goes. So, as few as the sleep hours there were, at least they were not painful ones.

I don't know where we're headed with the shoulder issue. I continue to await contact from the hospital for an x-ray and ultrasound. It's a busy, little town hospital, and my issue isn't exactly an emergency. So, we wait.

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Miscellaneous Photos on a Rainy Day

I was driving to the library in the light rain when I pulled over. There is a row of trees between the road and a ditch that caught my eye, as it has done before. I had always driven past, but on this Wednesday, I stopped. I wouldn't have bothered with my Canon, at least not in that weather, but my little phone was handy, so I decided to give it a try. It would only take a minute or two. I clicked, and that was that, for this wasn't the day for photos.

But it's not too bad, eh, with leaves both on the trees and on the ground.

At the library, I thought it would be cute to photograph an orange car under the orange trees. But something about the photo bugs me. (Bug, as in VW Beetle, get it? 😜)

And then I took another photo of the trees beyond the orange car. The cars behind were gathered for the church's Wednesday, free lunch. One church provides a free breakfast every week while this one (that you can't really see in the picture) does a lunch.

By this time, I had caught the spirit and was ready to show you more photos on the way home. I drove to the little, back bridge and found an interesting yellow tree. I had photographed this tree last winter, and it was a pretty good photo — better than these, but I am just showing you around at this point. Of course, that is our unMighty 😎😁 Mississippi river in the second photo.

I made one more photostop at a vacant lot behind a gas station.

Finally (phew!), I turned the camera (phone) to the left from the above photo to capture the little road that leads down to the river, just around that bend in the distance. I didn't follow it on this day, although I have done so before.

So, there you have it: seven photos from AC just driving around town on a rainy, autumn day. As you have seen, some nice colour remains, but most of it will not last very much longer. Too bad, so sad.

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Seeing the World Differently

I really shouldn't shoot so indiscriminately and madly, but I had little time, the trees looked great, and I couldn't resist.

I am referring to taking photos in the park. I showed you a bunch yesterday, and I have more.

One thing that I have never really done is to crop in camera, so, for no real reason on Monday, I decided to do that. Rather than take my standard 3x2 photos, I switched the aspect ratio right in camera to 16:9, which is the same as your monitor and tv. There was no particular reason to do this right then, but it just entered my head to try.

The results in the next three photos were okay but probably no better than I would have done by shooting normally..

Nearer home, some colour and light caught my eye as I was turning a corner, so I stopped the car and ended up experimenting with a different crop — a square crop (or 1:1 ratio). The light shining through the red leaves really drew my attention. 

There is probably an advantage to viewing the crop in camera although I am not sure how much I will do it in future. However, trying new ways may keep my doddery old mind in some sort of shape.

Looking back at the park photos, I did crop another photo into the square format, but it was done after the fact, in edit. It did make the scene more interesting to me by eliminating distracting elements off to the sides. The square ratio might be something for me to use more often in future, whether in camera or in edit.

When all is said and done, I may prefer this last ↑ photo, at least of today's batch.

With another overcast week looming ahead, these may be my final autumnal photos for this year. We shall see. Whatever the case, I feel better for having taken this lot before colourful October fades into bleak November.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Finally! A Bright Day

It has not been the very best autumn for leaf-peeping. First, there is us and our little problems. Then, there has been a definite lack of brilliant weather. Finally, the displays that we have seen have possibly not been quite as grand as in some years.

There was enough of a break on that one recent morning, and, as I posted yesterday, we got Sue's photoshoot done before the skies closed again. It has been gloomy and even rainy ever since that morning, and when I look at the forecast, I see another week of clouds.

But yesterday dawned bright and clear. So, after I did a little shopping for family last evening's family dinner, I seized that the opportunity to detour to the park for some quick photos. I'm glad that I did, for while some trees were bare, others glimmered in the light.

I went home quite satisfied. I will have more to share tomorrow, for they require their own post.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Redo

On Thursday, that yellow thing in the sky came out for awhile, so we went back to the park to redo Sue's autumn photo. It wasn't just the sun, of course, for her chosen spot now also had good colour: no orange or red, but still colour. If you look across the river you can see that the scene looks nicely autumnal from front to back

Once again, I used my Canon and took multiple clicks in each leaf fall that Sue made from her umbrella. I didn't feel the need to blend photos this time. That ↑ was my fave, which I also printed large, but this ↓ was a close second.

Of course, the scene was a bigger part of the project than capturing Sue, but I chose to crop in on this ↓ one, so we could see her better with her nice smile. Fortunately, the Canon gives me many more pixels than the phone does, so there is still decent resolution after cropping.

There were also some other nice trees in the park, but it is adjacent to the high school, and there were kids about, so I determined to come back after school. By then it was overcast, and since then it has also been rainy, so I may be thwarted this year. (What else is new?). However, it was nice to get the above series. Soon enough, we will no doubt be looking for a spot for next year's seasonal series.


On Thursday, after an ridiculously stupid night, I posted my Whining and Whinging entry. Thankfully, the next night was a very good 7.5 hours. I don't achieve that often. In fact, the night after that, Friday, yielded me barely more than 4 hours, and they weren't even very good hours if you know what I mean. As a result I was extremely poopdicated* yesterday. Sue thought I looked sad, but I was just really extremely tired. While I only got five hours last night, they were pretty good hours, and that makes a difference. I did manage to sleep in bed, and it was nice not to feel so constricted. Aside from some early difficulty with my shoulder, I managed to get into a semi comfortable position. Thank goodness for small mercies, which aren't really so small after all. 

* Poopdicated is our constructed word. Feel free to use it. It's better than plain old pooped, doncha think?

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Caturday 54: Twin White Socks

I cover my feet in all seasons. So does Lacey. Here's how we and our feet were situated when Sue came into our sanctuary to brew her coffee one recent morn. Yes, the coffee maker is in my den, just from about where Sue is taking the picture.

As soon as I get up in the morning, Lacey begins to keep me in sight, hoping that I will soon take her down for breakfast. It doesn't matter whether I arise at 4 or 7, for she thus begins her vigil.

As you can see, that's really not the best place for her to hang out. While she is not exactly under the chair itself, she could receive quite the knock were I to suddenly lower the footrest, for it does often descend with a wallop.

The next photo shows the scene better.

The three of us, with Sue included,  are crammed into are small space
without much shooting room between the little fridge and big 

That is where I have been sleeping for the most part recently. I know it is hard to fathom that it could be better for me than a king bed, but, somehow, it has been easier on my silly shoulder. However, I'm not a tiny boy, so I do get a little cramped as the night wears on. There is many a time when I want to trundle over to the more capacious bed, but I resist in favour of my shoulder.

You can see that I am using my tablet (iPad) above. My shoulder/arm is so compromised right now that extending my hand to play sudoku on the screen causes me problems. It is ridiculous, I know. This kind of nonsense wasn't in my playbook for my seventies.

Anyway, Sue thought the matching socks were cute, even if the old man in the chair is anything but cute.

Friday, October 20, 2023

I Saw the Doctor

After the whinging here and digesting some of your advice, I decided to break down and call the doctor. I was always intending to, but was waiting a bit for the resolution of Sue's condition — in vain as it has eventuated. I also wanted to see if rest and ice would work. They didn't.

Around 9:30, I called the doc for an appointment next week. As is often the case, I was given an appointment for that day: 11:30 in this case.

I cut the kaffeeklatsch with the lads a little short, kept the appointment, and was home by 11:40.

My doctor, is not of the warm and fuzzy persuasion, but she's efficient and on-point. She won't hold your hand or ask about your kids, but she will drill down to the nitty gritty. She thinks that I likely have bursitis but has ordered an X-ray and ultrasound. She has also referred me to the hospital for physio, but the queue is long and that may take some time, so I may have to bite the bullet and indulge in some private physio whilst I wait.

In the meantime, she wants me to apply ice for 10 minutes every hour and to increase my Tylenol for arthritis from 2 daily tablets to 6. I am already taking a full dose of Celebrex.

So that is that for now.


You may recall my recent posting of Sue tossing leaves for her autumn photo where she goes to the same spot as the other seasons. If you do, you may also recall that there was not a ton of colour that day, for the foreground tree had not changed much.

I drove back on my own to check the situation before doing the weekly grocery shopping There had been progress.

Once I got home from from visiting the good doctor, the sun came out, so the lady and I returned to the park for a second photoshoot. We had pretty good results, which I will post in the near future.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Whining and Whinging

It's 3:30am. I have given up sleep, and here I am. At the keyboard to whine and whinge. You lucky blog-reading person, you.

What a night! As short as it was.

I decided to go to sleep in my chair. And I did. For about an hour when I awoke in a sweat.

I changed my shirt and went to bed instead, but I didn't stay long because my newest affliction would not let me find a comfortable position.

The newest affliction is a torn rotator cuff and being a side sleeper, neither the left side nor the right provided relief.

Which was why I was in the chair to begin with, for there, I can more often find the angles that minimize the pain. 

The rotator cuff is my own diagnosis at this point, but whatever it is, I have a lot of upper arm and shoulder pain. Sometimes it pulses, even when I am not moving. It is most annoying and distracting. While one might sleep through a moderate, steady pain, pulsing pain renders repose nigh unto impossible.

So back went I to the chair.

But it's not easy because my positions are greatly constricted. Not only do I now have to deal with the new rotator cuff issue, but I am always positionally limited by my chronic scrotal pain. I won't try to describe the contortions in which I have to put my legs in order to try to limit said scrotal pain. I can do it, but with the added annoyance of the shoulder pain, it isn't exactly easy.

And then there was the heat. No matter what combination of blankets or non-blankets (be they  electric or regular), sweatshirts or no shirt (not quite no shirt, but you know ...),  I could not regulate my bodily temperature. When my core was warm, it was too warm, but my legs still felt cold. I do tend to have cold spots there.

What a mess am I! Sometimes, I feel like I must be 102 years old rather than 76. What a freaking year this has been.

And then, around 3 o'clock, I had an inkling. An inkling that I might not have taken my pills last night. Including that trazadone that usually helps to get me 5 or 6 hours on most nights. I checked the pill container. Sure enough. I was not about to take that pill at 3:30, so here am I. Pouring out my grief and woe to y'all.

So, the shoulder, heat, cold, and general discomfort got me up not long after 3. I might just as well have given up after the initial sweat-through at midnight.

In light of my ridiculous night, I have cancelled my brain surgeries for the day – the ones that I was going to perform and not the one one which I need to have done to me. I really should have someone examine my addled brain. Can they do brain transplants yet? Or, keep the brain and do a complete body transplant maybe?

I suppose that I will keep my mid-morning coffee meetup with the photo boys. It's been a month since we last met, and I can just sit there glassy-eyed while they talk and I don't, for that is how our meetings tend to go at the best of times.

Speaking of coffee, it is now 4 o'clock. Maybe I will have my second cup already so soon.

I hope this isn't too incoherent, for I am about to hit that Publish button regardless.

Monday, October 16, 2023

Sue's Fourth and Final Seasonal Photo

We have taken three photos of Sue in a spot in the park: winter, spring and summer. It was time for the autumn photo. Unfortunately, the canopy of leaves overhead had not yet changed colour, but there were leaves on the ground and a bit of colour on the other side of the river. 

Sue scooped up leaves in both her hands (first photo) and her umbrella (second photo).

We had trouble timing her throws with the phone because phones are slow to fire, and you would be lucky to get more that one photo out of an attempt. And the falling leaves may not be where you want them. After many tries, this ↑ was the best attempt, and it's pretty darn good, but maybe we could do better.

Fortunately, I had thought to bring my camera, which has the capability of firing off many photos in seconds. I just hold the button down, and it takes photo after photo. In theory, at least one photo might be suitable.

But then, I added a little photoshop magic by combing three images of the leaves in different parts of their descent. It took a little effort, but I wanted to see if I could get a good result.

I probably should have cropped some of the foreground to make Sue look larger, as in the first photo.

By blending three photos, I was able to get leaves all of the way from the umbrella down to just about the ground and on both sides of Sue. I think we can call that a success. However, there is a possibility that we might try again if the leaves of the overhead leaves change colour and we have a nice day.