Monday, June 30, 2008

Another Very Good Reason for Long Range Zoom

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Meeting of the 2000 MY Hi-Mid Interior PDT

I call it the Statue of Liberty Effect. When you're a visitor you do the things that the people who live there never do. In the case of Nancy coming into town from California, it means people getting together who haven't seen each other for years.

I worked with Nancy in the Interiors department of GM in the 1990s, and for a while we were part of a team of engineers working on a the interior of a "future" vehicle. Somehow this particular group of people consisted of all big, bold personalities, many of us very young at the time, and everyone was LOUD. Except for our late manager Phil who was kind of quiet, maybe because he had Tourette's syndrome, he was always passing out detailed hand-written instructions called "Rezenka-grams." I remember that he seemed completely overwhelmed in our many boisterous meetings, but he kept gathering us together because it was important to him that we function as a little family, volume and all.

Julie conjured up a list of email addresses and right away Frank replied "geez, willya look at those names?". Paul replied that he would be attending WFIT which is the state we were required to be prior to a certain trip to Oshawa. (With Food In Tummy) When those that could make it gathered today at a place we used to go for lunch, it started out seeming like so much has happened in everyone's lives since those 15 years ago, but then it progressed to lots of "remember the time" conversations and then to...well, general boisterous hilarity. Just like back then. People really don't change that much, even when the circumstances of their lives change a lot. What I've noticed is that when a certain set of personalities gather, the personality of the group transcends all of the changes and kind of falls right back where it always was. In this case, loudness.

Let me just tell you this: Always go to reunions of any kind. Just go, and be there.

Our director from that time even showed up. He was the one to hire me away from Chrysler to GM back in 1991, and I had copied him on my "goodbye forever" letter when I left last spring. So he looked kind of quizzical at my ID badge when he saw me. I tried to explain about how I came to be back, but, it was LOUD in there.

I really enjoyed seeing and catching up with these old friends, and of course Nancy who has been an inspiration to me for so many things, even this blog. I have the feeling that this isn't the last time we'll be gathering, because when Nancy visits, well, people just tend to get together. I think it would have made old Rezanka happy to know that we did this. Who knows maybe he does. Perhaps he could hear us, after all we were pretty LOUD.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This morning the lake had a mist coming up off of it, and I saw these deer coming over for a drink:

After the sun burned off the mist, the surface of the lake was like a mirror. I like the way this white heron looks with the reflection:

I am so lovin the zoom on My New Camera, I could never have gotten these shots before.

Friday, June 20, 2008


Tuesday, June 17, 2008


There are some people that just seem to crave attention. Sometimes they get it.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Garden Tub

Overheard at the Orthodontist:

" I really need to get the goldfish out of the bathtub and into the outdoor pond."

That was enough to divert my attention from the 2 month old People Magazine and begin eavesdropping.

The receptionist asked: "How long have the fish been in your bathtub?"

"Oh all winter. The pond completely freezes so we've been bringing them inside in the winter for the past couple of years."

The receptionist: "You keep fish in your bathtub all winter?"

"Yes, it's a garden tub. My husband put plants by it. We have one fish we call "lucky" because he didn't make it out with the others and lived all summer anyways.

The receptionist: "Um, what do you do about bathing?"

"We use the shower, it's separate from the tub." Then she finished paying her bill, her son came out and they left.

The receptionist and technician and I looked at each other in amazement, and then began to discuss this. Who ever heard of a garden tub? Have you ever seen what a mess goldfish make in their tanks? Can you believe they left one in there and didn't even know it?

Then the receptionist summed it up by saying: "Those country people!"

Now if you think about this...eww! Have you ever heard of a garden tub?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Decade of Business

Jeffrey turned ten last Friday. For the first time he didn't have a party. It just didn't come together this year. On Thursday night we went all around getting him a new bike. Usually he inherits whatever Tim had last but this year he asked for a new one, and it was difficult to find the just-right in-between size. Still, on Friday at work I was feeling a little bad about the lack of a fuss over him. We sent some cookies to his classroom, and he had a baseball game that night, but I wanted to get him a little something else so I ran out at lunch and picked up some video games.

I was telling Bob about all of this, and he said: Does he have a watch? I said he has a sporty one that he wears sometimes. Bob got up and went off to some cabinet down the aisle, and came back with a box with a watch in it. He told me that it would need a battery, but that I could take it home for Jeffrey. It is a nice fancy-looking man's watch that says DFM 1989 -1999 GM on the face of it. DFM stands for Design for Manufacturing, an initiative that Bob was in charge of for years, they must have had some sort of celebration with watches in 1999.

Then I left it on my desk over the weekend. I put it in my computer bag on Monday night, but then never took it out and finally gave it to poor Jeff on Tuesday. We got a battery for it and punched another hole so it would fit.

Then Jeff said he would write a thank-you to Bob. I thought that was a fine idea and I got out some of the second-grade class project note cards that he usually uses for these things. Then my sweet Jeffrey became difficult and went and got a sheet of looseleaf paper. I was a bit perturbed at that but then I saw how he was writing it and realized that he must have learned how to write a business letter at school this year and so of course he was doing that kind.

Here's what he wrote, I think it's very nice:

Monday, June 9, 2008

I got it!

Yesterday a string of sudden, powerful storms swept across the state, which knocked down a lot of tree branches and caused some power outages in the area. I didn't think too much about it after picking up what was strewn around in our yard, but then in the morning we found out that our school district was closed for the day. Darn, just as I was already stressing about the end-of-school activities this week and our plans for the summer. Luckily, my mother was available to come out to our house and watch the kids for a while, if Larry stayed later in the morning and I came home a little early. And, best of all, they would be in the house to accept delivery of my camera! Sometimes things just sort of work out.

The camera delivery might have worked out anyways, possibly with more drama for me to tell you about. My neighbor Patty had offered to hang around and watch for the UPS truck and intercept the delivery. She is a true angel. Just the thought that she would do that makes me happy. And those happy thoughts make me just LOVE my new camera all the more!

Yes, it is now in my possession. Prepare for a big upgrade in the quality of the photos that you see here. Maybe I'll throw in some sketches now and then for those of you who liked that.

I haven't had much time to experiment with it yet, but I did take it along to Jeffrey's baseball game. I got a lot of crisp pictures of a chain link fence with blurry images of children behind it. The camera can't do it all, there is some operator skill involved, and I'm working on it!

Here's one of Jeff doing nothing in the outfield, which is the majority of what happens when you get to first year kid pitch:

The improvement here is how much I was able to zoom in from where I was standing compared to my previous camera.

Another cool thing this new camera can do is "stitch" together multiple pictures to form a panoramic shot. It is kind of amazing how it does this. Here's one of the ball field:

More to come in the days ahead, stay tuned.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I won't be there

Ever since going back to work, the thing that bothers me the most is how many hours every day I spend so far away from the house. This has always been difficult for me and was a part of the reason that I stopped working last year. Now here I am back to making a color coded spreadsheet for where my children will be for each day of the summer, and depending on an intricate and tenuous combination of help and scheduling from my mother, my sister, vacation time, daycamps, and a proposal to my management for a telecommute schedule, which is still under discussion. To put it mildly I am freaking out which has manifested into some unusual behavior.


Everything started when I left my camera at Jillian's first communion. It turned out that my cousin Derek had picked it up after the party, but until I knew that I had to face the possibility that it was gone forever. Which made me start thinking about how much I'd really like to have a new digital camera. A better one. With a greater zoom. Image stabilization. More pixels per inch.

You may know this about me: that with the exception of the occasional escapade to Target, I am not much of a shopper, I tend to over-think and over-research both big and small purchases and often just don't make them at all. So it took a while to warm up to the new camera idea. I started learning about the features that are out there, and checking out friends cameras, and comparing prices. Then came the cost justification phase. I never really got a birthday present this year, and there was some profit sharing at GM, I got a little raise in salary, and then George Bush sent us a check in the mail to stimulate the economy. It's my patriotic duty to go out there and drop a little cash on the just-right camera of my dreams!

We went to Best Buy and the helpful man showed me the new Kodak Z1012. I was in love. But not quite ready to commit. I did some research on the internet about this camera and other comparable one. It looked like the best deal was to order it online through Kodak's website. I got a 2GB memory card and 10 percent off that way. So I put together the order...and then waited. And then when I was really ready and sure I placed the order. Of course the next day Kodak put that camera on sale for another $20 off but I wasn't going to think about that, I was going to wait for My New Camera to come in the mail.

The cranes showed up on our side of the lake again. I looked at them and thought about how once My New Camera gets here I'll be able to get some awesome zoomed-in pictures to post for you to see on my blog. At Jeff's baseball games I thought about the action shots I'll be capturing with My New Camera. The low lighting at Timmy's band concert would be no problem for a camera with the features that my new one will have.

Then yesterday when we finally all got home from school and work, there was a gold and white sticker on the front door. UPS was here and tried to deliver My New Camera, but there was a check in the box for "signature required." There were boxes checked that indicated the next attempt would be Friday between 10:30 and 2:00. Nobody would be home then either. On the back of the sticker was a phone number to call "to prevent your package from being returned to sender." So I called and had to go through that horrible voice-recognition conversation with the fake computer lady. She asked me what I wanted to do and offered the choice "arrange future pickup." What I wanted to do was change the delivery time but she was not offering me that choice. I tried to say that but she kept going in her fake perky way: "I'm sorry, I didn't catch what you just said, would you like to" and then listed the same choices. So I selected "arrange future pickup" and picked Friday with the hopes that the next set of choices would be the time categories shown on the delivery sticker. But no, it just started asked me if I wanted to track another package. Arrrgh. I tried repeating the call but the choices didn't change.

Well today when I arrived home there was another sticker on the door marked "second attempt." I only get one more. I called the phone number and had the same exact conversation with the fake computer lady. This time I kept hitting buttons on my phone until she offered to get me an operator. And a real person came on the line! I asked the real person how I could schedule a different time for the delivery, and she said that wasn't a choice, I could only pick the dates, and not holidays or weekends. I explained that no one is home here during the day, and so what are my choices then? She said after one more attempt on Monday it would go to the pickup center. I asked her where that was and she seemed kind of put out but after a lot of clicking she was able to spew out an address in Pontiac. Which is not an easy drive from here and I can't imagine when I would ever be able to get there during business hours. I asked her what else could be done. She said that I could arrange to have it redirected to a neighbor's house and give them authority to sign for it. I started thinking about whether I could ask Kendrea to do that, and whether she'll eventually start to feel put upon for being the "person who's home during the day" around here. But then the real phone lady finished some clicking and said that wasn't a choice, am only allowed one change and I already did an "arrange for future pickup." But I didn't change anything, I told her. Doesn't matter, she said. The rules of UPS are concrete and final. I have used up my one chance, and now the only possible thing that can happen is for the camera to be delivered to my house between 10:30 and 2:00 on Monday when I'm not here and then it will be returned to the sender.

This is the part where I started getting just a wee bit hysterical. "Are you telling me that I have to QUIT MY JOB if I ever want to get a camera delivered in the mail? That there is NO POSSIBLE WAY for me to get this done without using up the same scarce resources I am about to be juggling to manage the care of my children? Just to receive delivery of something that I had to pay for shipping on? I'll NEVER get my new camera!" She wasn't the slightest but sympathetic which actually might have helped at that moment. I know it's not her job to soothe hysterical customers.

So what is going to happen? I just don't know what I'm going to do next. Calm down, for starters. Blogging is good for that. And since I'm not taking pictures with a new camera I've gone low-tech with the illustrations.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Something about a cup

I got to bed nice and early last night. Not true for many people in this town, it appears.

This morning I asked Larry if the Red Wings won the game last night.

"Yes they did!" he told me.

"Good then that's over now. Is the coffee ready?" I said, and he laughed at that.

Apparently this Hockey thing is important to some people, so I might as well at this time join in. Yay Red Wings!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


This weekend was the premier of this movie:

For months I have had plans to go and see it on opening night with my girlfriends Betty (aka Carrie) Alisa (aka Charlotte) and Lynn (aka Samantha.)

In case you don't know, it is a movie based on the TV show that ran for years on HBO. The four of us saw it for the first time when we happened to catch a couple episodes scrapbooking at Lynn's cottage. Then the DVD sets came out and we watched entire seasons of episodes back-to-back as we cropped and pasted. It became sort of an obsession.

So to celebrate the movie premier, we got dressed up much more than usual, and went to a theater in the "city." Well, as close as we could get to it in this area. We followed that with a nice dinner and lots of gabbing.

We weren't the only ones with this plan, the entire theater was filled with groups of women all glammed up, and it was fun to be a part of that crowd.

My very favorite part of the evening was when we were walking down the street by the theater and some men who were standing there remarked as we walked by: "There are so many good lookin' women out here tonight!"

Even though the comment was meant in a collective sense, it was said while we were walking by, and so I'm going with it.

The movie was all that we could have expected, and as it celebrated the power of friendship, fashion, life after 40, and going
out on the town, so did we.