Thursday, May 29, 2008

Being a Grandma

It is, without question, wonderful, as are good friends. My friend Kate turns out to be a pretty competent photographer. In early May we spent the day with our Memoir Group for our yearly retreat. Kate had her camera and after lunch shot this series of our girl as she lay on the floor for a bit just after coming in from our picnic lunch. What delight to receive them! They are untouched for now -- my current computer hasn't the power to handle them efficiently. But the new machine is in transit so ... Photoshop here I come!!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Minnesota Spring

I suppose, if one is going to open a blog, one should post to it, yes? In early April I was remembering what spring was like when I was growing up. This is the result ...

March brought the first hint of spring in northern Minnesota, though not in the way most people would recognize. From mid-December through January the night temperatures would plunge below zero and anything above 15 degrees during the day was considered warm. Here and there blasts of arctic air would slide over us, sending the thermometer ever downward: –30, -40, -45 degrees. During these times we waited for the day when the temperature would be above zero again – warmth!

February often brought some relief. It felt balmy as the twenties came into view. But March! During March the nights were still well below freezing, but during the day, oh during the day there was an increasing chance that we would have a day above freezing and then the snow would begin to slowly melt, sending rivulets of frigid water down the street gutters, only to freeze again at night and create crusty layers of ice that might just break if we walked on them – never mind the cold water underneath that would creep into our boots and chill our feet to the bone. It was no longer safe to drive on the lakes and soon the fish houses were taken off the ice and tucked away until next year.

The snow piles we walked to school began to give way and the forts that little boys had dug into drifts were no longer safe. Slowly, slowly the layers of white began to dissolve and some days, instead of rivulets, there were small streams flowing in the streets – wonderful places to build dams made of snow and ice.

Even on warm days the air was crisp and cool. The piles of snow and frozen ground were an ice pack, chilling everything around. Buildings began very slowly to release their cold and the days of beautiful frost patterns on the inside of my bedroom window, despite storm windows and a south and west exposure, were long gone.

Such freedom, such release this brought but slowly, ever so slowly. And then the last ice was usually ‘out’ of the lakes by mid-May, a signal that the old season, winter, was gone and a new season begun. The tulips and daffodils bloomed, the lilacs that smothered our town, were in bud and ready to burst into flower come a day or two of warmth.

And, it seems, so was I. Thinking, reminiscing about those days still creates a fullness in me, the sense of sweet promise and hope and unfettered joy that I seldom experience these days. It’s a loss, I think.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Photography and Photoshop

I am loving the photography section of Pioneer Woman's site and am learning so much. Miz Booshay, another 'taught myself' photographer is also posting tips and hints and the results -- well I'm thrilled. Take, for example, her advice about north facing light. I don't have a north facing window but I do have a northwest facing window so I set up our granddaughter in her blessing dress -- an heirloom that was made by two of my great aunts back in 1900, and began shooting without flash.

And look at the results! This photo is cropped and a drop shadow added around the edges, but otherwise is not touched up in any way. And clearly in all the snapping, our girl took a wonderful pose. So tell me, is it just my grandma self speaking, or is this not a stunning photo for somebody who has no idea what she's doing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


Another beginning, something I've been wanting to do. It will be my place to share thoughts, memories, photos, things that come to mind that just have to be put out to the world. Carol's new blog and Pioneer Woman's wonderful site are just the encouragement I needed to get going.