Sunday, December 31, 2006

Christmas 2006?

Here is part one of my Christmas post. I've been saying that I plan on holding *my* Christmas in the third week of January, once all my schoolwork is in. If anyone has some leftover Christmas cake, send it here! The question mark in the title is because I'm not really sure Christmas has happened for me yet. Maybe by epiphany?

Christmas cake, as you know, is a hit-or-miss kind of food. I heard a food writer once use it as an example of how people taste. There are people who, when they eat a food, like it to taste the same all the way through. Then there are those who are willing to eat a cake (for instance), and have a new taste and texture to each bite. Me? I like the variety. But I do respect the tastebuds of those less adventurous... heee.

But I digress.


Christmas Eve bulletin, from my view in the sound booth. It was an Osborne Family spectacular! (That is to say, we were over-represented).


Dad, putting his new pineapple slicer to work.


Kam (so cute)! Kohl wouldn't stay in one place long enough to get a picture of him. Hence no picture.


Shortbread! I cooked it slowly in the oven, but it probably could have stayed in another 15 minutes. It didn't dry out completely, so it was moist and chewy, soooo delicious.

Part two of my Christmas post will mainly be decorations and tree and hopefully snow! Hold on to yer boots!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Doin' the Christmas Dance

Hi,
Just a few pics from the Symphony Nova Scotia and Halifax Dance production of the Nutcracker to tide those anxious blog readers (hello? are you out there?) over until I can make a proper Christmas post.


"Mother Ginger" (the Russian doll scene)


"The Spirit of Winter"

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Slash and Decorate


I'm not even halfway through my schoolwork yet, and it is looking like I'm going to have to carry an essay over Christmas. But at least one of them is going well, right? So well that I am taking a break to do some blogging.

Mom, Dad and I took the annual drive out to Clam Harbour to Keating's Christmas Tree Farm (as if New Brunswick has the monopoly on tree farms, Dee! Don't you know how many trees this province exports every year? Lots. Don't forget your roots/bluenose!

Ahem. As I was saying, we went and cut our tree. The first image, at the start of the post, is a Grey Jay, aka Whiskey Jack. Now, I have seen grey jays in Algonquin Park in Ontario, before, but this was the first one I have seen in Nova Scotia! He was a big, healthy, bright lil' corvidae, too. Since West Nile it is especially neat to see a grey jay in NS.


Ah, the obligatory tree-and-saw picture. This one is obviously posed, because the minute Mom and I agree on a tree, Dad goes at it with a mighty vengeance. You'd think it was personal.


Good ol' Keatings. The days of the family-run operation are gone, yessir, Keatings has been sold to the great tree conglomeration, Northern Lights. It's a sad, sad day, the triumph of capitalism (and retirement). It seems that the trimming machines were a little off on the lot this year - you may notice, if you click on the image to enlarge, that many of the trees resemble marshmallows this year. What ever happened to the cone-shaped tree???



And finally, Clam Harbour in the distance. We didn't stop at the beach this year, I had to get home to do schoolwork and attend the theatre (more on that later), but at least I got this view of the sea.

You can bet your boots I will be back later with pictures of the tree, fully decorated and lit, and close-ups of the various ornaments, and maybe pretty reflections of the lights in my mirror balls. Have I mentioned how much I like mirror balls? And that I found a HUGE one at the fabric store for $6? What joy!

Finally, I just wanted to mention that I DO crop, colour correct, and otherwise adjust some of my pics, so if you ever want or need to know what ones have been edited and how, drop me a line in the comments section. Also, if you read this blog, drop me a line in the comments section. I often wonder who is out there!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Nephews attack!


I mentioned in my last post that my nephews stayed the weekend with us earlier this month. By the end of the visit, there wasn't a single surface in the house not covered with baby drool or 2-year-old, erm, nose fluid. Is it any wonder Dad and I suffered through the plague after their visit? I got really behind in my schoolwork as a result. I finally got a breather in the school work (well, not actually, but I pulled an all-nighter last night to get my marking done and haven't really been able to focus today), and thought I would post some pics. I've only posted two, because I have to start evening out the Kohl deficiency somehow and cutting back on Kam photos is the only way to do it.

I feel like I'm writing under water. My desperate hope and desire is that I will have these two essays done by Christmas Eve. They both require second readers, and I just dread having my lame, rushed "scholarship" exposed to a third party.



I like this picture of Kohl because he instinctively hams it up for the camera and you can never get a natural shot. Here, he's saying "Oh Aunt Sarah, you're so silly. Are you SURE you don't want a picture with my finger in my nose, or my fingers in my eyes, or my face scrunched up, or my head tilted cutely to the side? I really can't believe you would pass up the opportunity."



While the angle of this picture isn't great, I love the colours and the texture of the big papa chair. It's such a manly shot, and I don't think the sleeping baby takes away from that at all, but represents (in my opinion at least) what "masculine" should really mean. It also reminds me of all those pictures of my grandfather, with a baby, child, kitten, or Grandmother, sitting on his lap. Papa Osborne, keeping the tradition alive. And he still got to enjoy his Sunday afternoon snooze.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Get it while it's cold


I was up late last night due to cold-and-stress-induced-insomnia, so I decided to take some more pictures of snow (why not?). I've been readingthis blog a lot recently, and am awed and amazed (and ashamed for my cheesy little photos) by what this photographer is capable of, and his approach to digital photography. So I decided to take some pictures using my bulb setting to see what would happen (he has recently been turning night into day using long exposures). My results are far from impressive - the longest exposure I can take sans bulb is 15 seconds, and I need 30 - 50 second exposures to get the right results. They are shaky from holding the shutter button down for so long and all that, but I still think they are neat enough to share.

Above, you see a picture of last night's full moon - it's the only one in December, and against the swift-moving clouds, it looked more like a moon you would find hovering over a desert in Arabian Nights than a lil' ol' Bluenose moon.


I love this one - the long exposure makes the hideous orange light from the street look like the rising sun. I have a brighter one, but it is far more shaky. If you click on the picture to see it full size, you may understand my comparison a bit better.


Then, the Three Sentinels - the trees outside my window standing guard against the elements.

Driving in to town this evening was another beautiful experience. The snow is still on all the branches, the sun had just set and there was a pearly purple-orange glow in the sky. The cars coming toward me in the dim, with their shimmering headlights looked like a chain of diamonds, and the houses on Lake Echo decorated up for Christmas were like fairy lights hovering in the distance. With such lovely visions, is it any wonder I'm blogging and not doing schoolwork?!?!

And no, I have NOT been reading LM Montgomery lately, though she usually has this effect on me. Maybe I will indulge during the Christmas break.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Kitty, a fair but frozen maid"

I have plenty of pictures to post from this past weekend with Kohl and Kamron, but very little time to do it in. That will have to wait until later. I did want to share, however, this picture, one of the many I took today, trying to set down in megapixels the First Snow of the Year (cue Hawksley Workman). Scanning through my pictures, I kept seeing this blue haze hovering over the neighbour's garage, seen as those little squares of light in the left-hand corner. I quite suddenly realized what that blue glow was in this picture, and it was an eerie realization to say the least.



Well? What do you think of my little bulb setting experiment (that's where the camera shutter stays open for as long as your finger is on the button)? I'm still a little too spooked out by it to like it much, but it was a cool little accident.

Also I could not pass up the perfect opportunity to use that line from _Emma_.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Tempered

While I assume (deperately hope?) that this masters program is an excellent learning experience, for the next month I fear I'll be walking the fine line between insanity and insomnia. It is certainly a trial by fire, for me, at least. But intellectual fire-trials aren't like others. Instead of walking hot coals or enduring a blast furnace, leaping over bonfires or holding my hand in boiling water, I feel like I'm being asked to make charcoal. When people made charcoal, they stacked a huge pile of logs - 3 cord of wood or so (a long winter's worth of wood in a drafty house). Then they smother it with dirt (shovelled on by hand), and light it on fire - for a very slow burn. One week later, they dig back the dirt and pull out the charcoal, which, given the amount of wood consumed, is a mere fraction of what you start off with.

Forget separating the wheat from the chaff - I am convinced that academia is about assembling, arranging, and then consuming by fire vast amounts of information, to collect in the end the few blackened nuggets of compressed information that may remain.

No wonder I sometimes feel like I'm on the verge of resembling this broken pane of tempered glass that I saw at the bus stop today:

Monday, November 27, 2006

November afternoon

I wandered out into the yard today to take pictures of whatever I could find, and was thoughtful enough to bring my tripod with me this time. Hence the clear images, with no blur! So I am sorry if this post takes longer to load than usual, but I was happy enough with these pictures to want to post them as large as possible.



Echinacea seed head


Olivia, looking intense (she has been practising in the mirror).

This picture of the cat was, naturally, not taken outside, but in my room. Any of you who know Livy will understand that, as mesmerising as birds at the feeder are, late November is decidedly *not* the time of year for a kitty of her self-professed pedigree to be leaving the warm confines of her palace. I was very pleased to have her sit still enough for a close-up, and so I include it with the other pics.



Berries in the back yard.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

I-will-not-refer-to-the-festivities-now-approaching. . .

. . . But I will post some pics that have reminded me of it.



Frosty grass - no snow yet, not even a flurry.








A "Late Autumn" cactus















The cotoneaster in the grey morning light.


Honestly, I cannot believe that December is almost upon us! I'm pretty occupied with my School Stressing activities right now, but really looking forward to what the rest of December will bring. Most of you probably know how excited I get about holiday decorating and visiting and baking and *eating.* Especially eating to the sounds of Bing Crosby and a roaring fire (that ticking noise the wood stove makes can actually be quite rhythmic). Before I get to all of that, I have to keep my mind on the many, many tasks at hand. I can at least eat sweets, listen to Bing, and grade at the same time, right? In fact, that might help the students out considerably.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Na-uh.

Booo!!! I got "Edward Ferrars" for the Austen hero who is most right for me - BLECHHH. Hugh Grant can keep his sense and sensibility, for all I care. No need of persuasion, I can say for certain that quiz was _bogus_.

Captain Wentworth all the way, baby. Although, this website has made me a bit more sympathetic to Henry Tilney these days, too.

"Till this moment, I never knew myself"


I've been doing Jane Austen-related quizzes to pass the time this evening, since it is too cold in my office to do work. When I do the "which heroine are you quizzes" I keep getting Elizabeth Bennet, which really annoys me since I'd rather be Anne Elliot, and end up with the dashing Captain Wentworth *swoon*. But for the "which villainess" quiz, I got Mary Crawford from Mansfield Park,
which is interesting, to say the least. I'd like to think, if I was going to be Mary, that I would be more successful at ensnaring and exposing that stupid Edmund - he's such a "Lord High Mayor of Wankerville," as the editrix over at Austenblog calls him. That way Feeble Fanny would be free of his nincompoopishness.

Also, for the "Regency Romance Quiz," I received the following analysis:

Oh dear, you are Bookish, aren't you? You are a highly intelligent and witty bluestocking, whose beauty is hidden behind spectacles. Your dress sense is eccentric and a little unfashionable, and you consider yourself plain. You have very little use for men, who find your knowledge of Shakespeare, interest in politics and forthright speech formidable. You are undoubtedly
well-off. The only reason for your presence in a novel of this kind (which, I might add, you would not dream of reading, although you have occasionally enjoyed the works of Miss Austen), is your mother, who is absolutely determined that you will make a good marriage. Rather than defying her directly, you are quietly subversive, dancing with anyone who asks you, but making no attempt to hide your intellectual interests. The only person who can get past your facade is the man who is witty enough to spar with you, and be amused at your blatant attempts to scare your suitors away. While you will, no doubt, subject him to a gruelling cross-examination to find out whether his respect for your intelligence is real or mere flattery, you may be sure that he is your match, and that you, he AND your mother will all live happily ever after.

Now I don't mind hearing that. Although they can leave out the references to my mother. If I'm an independent, witty bluestocking, why should she have a say in it?

Feather pics from my feather wreaths. The white one is still in progress.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Blehh


What with the rain, and my cold, the time change, lack of sunlight, and my schoolwork, frustration et al. included, I'm feeling rather blue today. Don't get me wrong, I like rain in November, it's very atmospheric (as a description, not a pun) and moody and dark. Still, the best way to experience November rain is sitting with a for-fun book by the fire, with a mug of tea at your side, cat on your lap, and apple crisp in the oven. I, on the other hand, am sitting in a hard wooden chair, with a flourescent light overhead, and the drip drip splat of bad gutters just outside my window. It has no literary charm whatsoever. It's just Bleak. Bleak House. *sigh*

Not myself, but Sarah









I had a dream a few days ago that I died, but was brought back to life through some medical means. The problem was that I was no longer Sarah, but a girl with Sarah's thoughts and only Sarah's thoughts, and none of my friends or family knew quite how to treat me. After I realized this, I spent the rest of the dream wandering around the moon-lit house, trying to think of a new name for myself that would enable me to become my own person, and so people would know how to relate to me. I can't remember what name I settled on (or maybe I do, but I don't want to share it, because it only sounds fitting in a dream).


It was very odd, being Sarah but knowing that I was not her. It was like wandering into a dimension that is exactly like your own, except instead of calling it gravity they call it non-levity. The rules are different but the results the same. Such a strange sense of 'other.'

Anyway. This is my glass of water.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Ou est le camera?



I can't seem to find my camera tonight to upload any new photos. If I don't find it tomorrow morning I will be very concerned, but for now I am perplexed.




In lieu of any other pictures (well, I have plenty, but don't feel like sharing out of the Sarah O. library tonight), and because I am mildly addicted to blogging and blog-reading, I'll post a pic or two of myself that I took with my macbook photo booth. They are only of me because I have found it awkward to carry a computer around and point it at things. Seriously. I don't generally like pictures of myself! I thnk my neck gets turkey-ish. So I have chosen the least poultry-like to share.



I like this last one the best, shall we name it "Ghost Kitty"? She wouldn't pose by herself so I had to hold her. And then I had to scratch her chin so she would hold still. And then she would close her eyes. Oh yes, computer pic-taking is *very* tricky.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Tough choice


If you are a loyal reader (lol), you'll know by now that I like to take pictures of hardware and tools. So imagine my joy (oh yes, joy) when Mom, Dad and I went to Home Depot the other day, and I had my camera in my purse.


Dad was looking for a belt sander or a palm sander, so Mom and I just wandered around the store looking for ideas. You know, stuff to buy, projects to add to our 75-item "To Do" list. Because we love pain.



Oh, and on the way home I took pictures of the traffic lights and made them all squiggly. Indulge me.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Light pics

The afternoon light made everything glow the other day, so naturally I took some pictures.












Wingnut

Don't you just love it when your post is finished and ready to publish, and blogger goes down? Or maybe the wireless router at your house? Yes, fun times.

In any case, last night I was attempting to share this short little story with you. It seemed to be a day for the birds, because I had two encounters. As I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning, this precocious little bluejay - I am calling him Wingnut - decided that my office window might be the perfect place to hide his stolen peanut. He checked it out a few times and eventually decided to pass (Bleak House may look abandoned but it is inhabited by ferocious MAs such as myself), but I hope to see him again.

And then a starling at the ferry terminal asked to share my donut with him. He chose the wrong time to beg, however - he showed up just as I had stuck the last of it in my mouth - and I only had sugar bits to share with him. We had a short conversation - all politeness on my side, and impertinent chirps and feather-puffing on his - and then I had to catch the ferry. He watched me go, I think he was as sad to end our brief acquaintance as I was.






"Wingnut"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fire "unbalanced"

I was playing around with the white balance on my camera the other day, and took a few nifty pictures of the fire, and decided to share one.

I've never seen the aurora borealis, but after watching that strange greenish flame hover and dance along the logs, I think I have an idea - a very small one - of how it feels to see the aurora. Plus, I was a heckuva lot warmer.

More terminal art

I took the Woodside Ferry again on Thursday, and took a picture as I was going down the first set of stairs. The light is just lovely over the harbour in the mornings, and I thought the grid of the windows lent themselves rather well to the use of one of the art features in my photo editor. Hope it's not too over-the-top.

Hungry Hippocat


Yes, it's a set-up, and yes, its terribly corny and cat-lady-ish, and yes, it has little if no aesthetic value as a photograph... but it sure is cute! Especially if you know Livy, who is the most ladylike, finicky eater ever. She's a fanatic about watching her weight. So picture how big her eyes got when she saw her new dish!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

My 12-step program

Step number one; admit you have a problem.

I have a problem.

I just can't get enough of "Baby Tamron"!!!

Such a cutey. And posting them on my blog means I don't have to carry a photo album around with me where ever I go. And if his mouth looks strange on the first one, it's just because he is putting his thumb in his mouth and the shutter speed was too slow to record it properly.