Status report

1. I’m a fourth of the way through my big project for work. Since Zaphod isn’t expecting me to have it done for at least another month, I’m in good shape. I expect to have at least a third of it finished by the time he gets back from vacation, which should make him happy. I’d hoped to do the whole thing by Wednesday, but I can’t get all the information I need by then.

2. Ron and I are almost finished updating our share of the Dining and Lodging Guide, which we have been working on for two days. Another day should see us clear on that.

3. We added a second hive body to the newer beehive in the backyard yesterday. The first was completely full and covered with burr comb on the top. This is the most productive year I’ve ever seen for honey.

4. We’re harvesting honey from our oldest hive tomorrow. I’m way excited about this, as we are test-driving the new extractor.

5. I have to start a batch of pickles this afternoon. I was planning to do my canning later in the season, but the cucumber vines had other ideas. Hopefully I can start the pickles now and let them work for a few days while I clear the rest of the really pressing projects off my plate.

6. I need to mow the lawn.

7. I’d rather spend this afternoon playing with my new Diana camera, which came in today. (That’s No. 78 on my 101 Things list….)

Hope you’re having a productive day.


Goin’ AWOL

If I’m quiet for a few days, don’t panic … I’m just working on a big project that I’m hoping to complete before Zaphod gets back from vacation next week, so I may not have a lot of time to spend blogging.



Man is … that which has not a single quality underived from Deity; that which possesses no life, intelligence, nor creative power of his own, but reflects spiritually all that belongs to his Maker.
— Mary Baker Eddy

We were driving west on Route 66 last Sunday evening, on our way back from Litchfield, Ill., to Tulsa, when we noticed this huge, pink-tinged cloud looming behind us.

As we drove along, the cloud changed its hue, shifting from golden to coral to deep orange against the rapidly darkening sky. Watching this profusion of color, I commented to Ron that the cloud seemed to get more beautiful every time I looked at it.

As I turned my attention back to the road and squinted into the brightness of the setting sun, trying to read the street signs ahead of us, my perception shifted, and I realized the cloud behind us was really no different from any other cloud; it was just the degree to which it reflected that fiery sunset light that made it so stunning. As our position relative to the light shifted, we saw different reflections, each more beautiful than the last.

It occurred to me that there might be a good metaphysical analogy in that cloud.

Photography is, simply put, the act of recording reflected light. As a photographer, I strive to create striking images by looking for interesting light that’s reflected in an interesting way.

Similarly, in my day-to-day life, the people I find the most striking are those who most clearly reflect the light of divine Love. As my position relative to that light changes — that is, as I grow, and as my perception of man as the perfect child of God sharpens — I see more of that reflection in people, and they seem to become more beautiful.

In my images, I love to play with reflections. A well-placed reflection can draw attention to the beauty of the original and help the viewer to better appreciate its attractive qualities. Similarly, I think an individual whose life clearly reflects God’s goodness can draw attention to the beauty of divine Love.

May we all allow our lives to reflect such beauty.


(Photo captions, top to bottom: Sunset on Route 66 near Webb City, Mo.; Niehaus Cycle Sales, Litchfield, Ill.; a young roadie admires the Four Women on the Route sign during a presentation at the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield; Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, Mo.)

Hurricane Scout

As if the rains and scorching heat weren’t enough … Hurricane Scout apparently hit my spaghetti squash vines this evening and harvested the biggest squash for herself:

I was laughing too hard to yell at her. Fortunately, she really didn’t get down to the meat of it, so I think it will still be salvageable if I cut off the parts she chewed and bake it in a hot oven.

This is fairly typical of Scout, really. When we lived in Belleville, the garden wasn’t fenced, and she spent the entire summer running around with green fur, because we had an understanding: Any split tomatoes within her reach were fair game. She would rummage around among the vines, searching for treats, every time we let her out. The first summer we were in Oklahoma, I planted some late tomatoes, but they got too much shade and too little water and produced only one tomato. It was about a day from being ripe enough to pick when Scout apparently got desperate and violated the terms of our agreement, swiping the perfectly healthy, perfectly intact fruit right off the vine and wolfing it down while I tried to yell at her between peals of uncontrollable laughter.

Ornery little cuss….





Catching my breath

I could have stayed at school all afternoon, but I’d caught up the stuff I wanted to get done today, so I decided to come home and catch my breath before I dive into the next big project.

I’m thinking of running over to Dwelling Spaces to buy myself a Diana camera if they’ve got one. I didn’t spend any money on souvenirs during our trip to Litchfield last weekend, so I have a few dollars to spare. It’s either a new camera or a trip to the nail salon. The idea of sitting still and doing something totally frivolous for a half-hour is appealing, but I haven’t had acrylic nails in ages, and I’m thinking they’re probably not a great idea at a moment when I have a lot of typing in my immediate future, as they’re likely to slow me down for a few days until I get used to them.

I worked really hard cleaning my office, transferring files to my new hard drive, and doing some housecleaning yesterday. Maybe when I finish the big project I’m hoping to do this weekend, I’ll reward myself with fancy new nails that go click-click-click over the computer keys. 🙂


UPDATE: I couldn’t find a Diana this afternoon when I went shopping, so I just came home and ordered one from Amazon instead. I’ve been dying to try one out for ages. It probably won’t be much different from the Holga, but for $50, I think it’s worth the gamble.

Definitely a portrait camera

Three quick Holga images, all shot shortly before noon Sunday on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge:

Ron, the Route 66 Person of the Year, gamely carrying my Fuji around his neck and his Kodak in his pocket while I lugged the Rebel and the Holga.

Jim Conkle, festival organizer and Route 66 Pulse editor, stood still long enough for me to snap a quick shot.

Michael Wallis, author, historian, Sheriff of Radiator Springs, and one of my favorite subjects for portraits, because great lighting conditions always seem to accompany him. 

And once again, the Holga has proven herself to be a portrait camera. I don’t always get the shot I want when I’m photographing buildings or scenery or whatever else, but she seems to like environmental portraits….



After four days of babysitting, three days on the road, and two days of attempts to get my feet under me at work (probably an exercise in futility until school starts), I’m pretty wiped out … and my house is pretty much of a disaster … so I’m hoping to muster the energy to spend an hour or two getting the house in order a bit before I crash. I would have cleaned last night, except I had a boatload of produce in the garden that I had to chop/grate/cook/process/etc., so I spent most of the evening in the kitchen.

Goals for this evening: 
Clean hamster cage
Install new hard drive
Move photo and music files to hard drive 
Make Rock Cafe page for Ron’s blog 
Clean bathroom
Transfer and sort images from Litchfield trip
Start cleaning craft closet (no, I still haven’t gotten that done)

Hope your evening is productive.

I forgot to mention this the other day, but I completed No. 88 on my 101 Things list — we went to dinner at Lanna Thai last week. It was pretty good.



Ron and I went to the Will Rogers Awards banquet tonight in Litchfield, Ill. The banquet is part of the annual festival, which is a combination car show, convention, and reunion for Route 66 enthusiasts. Several awards are presented at the banquet, with the Will Rogers Award being the biggest one of the night. They are given in several categories, including historic preservation, business, lifetime achievement, and just general contributions to the road.

Ron and I were surprised and delighted when he received the Person of the Year award for his blog, and then we were even more surprised when I received the Wallis 66 award for being a noisy writer/photographer/firebrand.

A committee chose the recipients for most of the awards, but Michael Wallis got to pick the recipient of his namesake award himself.

I’ll post something more thorough, with pictures and stuff, when I get home. (It’s hard to blog from an iPod.) For more about the festival, check Ron’s blog.