Creative… Sweet!

Happiness in a Box | 42mm, f/9.5, 1/60 sec, ISO 4500

If you’re involved in graphic or web design, photography, or any other vocation or avocation where you use Adobe products, you will appreciate why I was excited enough to take a picture of the software we just received at work… Adobe Creative Suite 5 Design Premium. We’d had CS3 since I’ve been at Horizon, and it has been fine, but CS5 brings a whole new level of excellent features and integration like never before.

I just love Adobe products. Their tools and layout are intuitive and with every new upgrade, they bring in features that I didn’t even know I needed/wanted! Almost always, those new features become a valuable, everyday tool that increases my efficiency and allows me to focus on creativity, rather than trying to figure out how to make the software do something I want it to.

What’s included? InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, DreamWeaver, Acrobat, Flash, Fireworks, and Bridge.

Très excited!! :)

The Turkey That Didn’t Get Pardoned

Fit for a King | 28mm, f/4.0, 1/60sec, ISO 1600

Oh my! My mom and dad and Sandee had quite the feast for Thanksgiving. If any of you have had the pleasure of eating my mom’s dressing, you know how much I look forward to the holidays, which is pretty much the only time she makes dressing these days. AND she made pecan pies, one of my favorite desserts. Sandee and I supplied the turkey (from Kroger, who’s always provided wonderfully moist and tasty turkeys) and the other fixins.  Needless to say, we ate well Thursday AND with leftovers on Friday.

Speaking of Friday, War Eagle!! :)

On the Road

These Colors Kick Asphalt | 58mm, f/4.5, 1/125 sec, ISO 200

Going to see family for Thanksgiving, spend some time at the lake, watch the game (War Eagle!), and enjoy the last few leaves of fall.

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Thanksgiving with the people you love most. And if you can’t be with the ones you love, love the ones you’re with. :)

Paws to Reflect

"You're Not My Type" | 36mm, f/5.6, 1/750 sec, ISO 200

I wish I felt like writing more about all of the good things in my life, because there are so many, many things for which I’m grateful, but I’m still down about Abbie. My sorrow comes over me in waves and then is gone again.

I think one of the reasons we get so attached to animals is the consistency they provide us… day in and day out, they are with us, there for us, glad that we are home, glad to just be with us. Even when Abbie was getting sick, she almost always met me at the door after work. Perhaps it was only because she was hungry, but I’d like to think it was because she enjoyed my company as much as I enjoyed hers. Having that constant companionship suddenly taken away leaves quite a hole. Even when I have other loving animals with me, each one is special.

I was reading Christine Kane’s writing last night about the loss of a pet, and I’m pulling a paragraph from her blog and adjusting it to my situation to describe how I feel right now.

Even though Abbie weighed only seven pounds at her passing, I felt the grief of a hundred tons of spirit.  After all, the sadness of letting go has so little to do with these earthly issues — like weight and form, or human and pet.  It’s a matter of the heart.  And thank goodness, our hearts don’t know such limitations.

I didn’t take any photos today, so I just posted this one from Boxerstock because I thought these dogs were cute. And I promise this blog will not turn into a downer. I just need to remember Abbie here again today.

The Beginning?

Kicked Back | 52mm, f/4.8, 1/90 sec, ISO 200

Yesterday, shortly after I’d dealt with Abbie’s death, I went to do my first “photo shoot” with a friend of mine and her son. She offered to postpone it because she knew I was upset about Abbie, but I knew I needed to get out and do something and also, I didn’t want to renege on a commitment.

So I met them at McDaniel Farm Park to shoot some photos for his senior year portraits. I knew this was a popular thing nowadays, but until recently, I thought having your senior portrait made was an experience like when I was a senior… the guys wore tuxes or suits, and the girls wore uncomfortable off-the-shoulder drapes. Everyone had to sit in an awkward position… feet pointing one way, shoulders turned another way, head tilted unnaturally to one side while looking at the camera and smiling “naturally.”

Now, the seniors like to have photos taken more casually, in their favorite clothes, sometimes with friends, sometimes with items from their hobbies as part of the photo. For this shoot, Brent was just casual and hanging out on the farm. He did bring his beautiful golden retriever Amber, and I got some good photos of the two of them together.

Anyway, I was really nervous about this because I’ve only shot things/people when, where, and how I wanted to. My friend (also my co-worker and FB friend) had seen several of my photos and asked if I would take photos of her son. I reluctantly agreed because I knew I needed the practice.

It ended up being just what I needed… something to get me out of the house, working with a great guy and my friend who put me at ease during this first-time endeavor, and doing what I love… taking photos. So who knows? If I can get better and find some work, I might make photo shoots a side business. We’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m working my way through the 256 photos that I took, picking the good ones and developing them more. I wanted to share one of my favorites. Brent is a self-described “redneck,” but I don’t see that side of him, at least not as the term is used perjoratively. However, he does love his faded, holely jeans and his old boots, so I wanted to make sure I focused on that at least once.

I loved the way the shirts, jeans, and boots contrasted so well with the white rocking chairs on the old house’s porch. All we need now is a can of Skoal. :)

R.I.P., Sweet Abbie

My Sweet Girl

I’ve had my sweet tortoiseshell Abbie (aka Miss Abbie, Abigail, Miss Gail) for a bit over 16 years now. I found her in the warehouse at City Paper Company in Birmingham. She was just a tiny little thing, was running a very high fever, and also had an abscess on her back, probably from another cat’s bite. And me, with my sick sense of humor decided to name her Abbie for abscess. She didn’t seem to mind. :)

I already had three cats in the house, and didn’t really want to have a fourth, so after getting her well, I gave her to a co-worker who took her home, but brought her back the next day. Her husband didn’t like that she kept jumping on the bed to sleep with them. I took it as a sign that she should be with me, and she’s never been away from me since.

I think that’s what I’ll miss the most, having a cat who loves nothing more than being in my lap or sleeping on the pillow by my head. My other two cats love to be with me, but Abbie was insistent that she be given preferential treatment… and she got it.

At first, she didn’t like it when I got the two orange kittens a little over six years ago, but over time, she grew to accept them, and most of the time, she and Tigger slept all curled up together. However, in the last several days, she wanted nothing to do with them or me, and just wanted to be under the bed. She hadn’t had a normal digestive process in over two weeks, twice in to the vet for an enema just to give her some relief. She stopped eating and seemed weak and confused. It’s time to say goodbye to my faithful friend and companion.

I did not want to traumatize her (or me) by taking her into the vet tomorrow, so I called an in-home euthanasia vet. They happened to have an opening in the early afternoon. I set the time, got off the phone, and wailed.

The vet and her technician were prompt, professional, and so very compassionate. It made the whole ordeal so much easier on all of us. All of the paper work and payment was taken care of ahead of time, for which I was grateful.

When I was ready, the vet gave Abbie the shot that would cause her to sleep. I held her in my arms and talked to her and stroked her and kissed the top of her head until I felt her relax. During this time, the vet was asking me about Abbie and her life, and it was a sweet retelling of what a wonderful cat she’s been. After holding her for about five minutes and knowing she was totally asleep, I gave her to the vet to administer the final injection.

We had a towel for her on the floor in my den. After the injection, the doctor listened to her heart until she was gone. Not 10 seconds after she said Abbie was gone, the sun broke through the clouds, came in through my window, and shone through the beveled glass on my coffee table. Right next to Abbie’s body, a beautiful rainbow was cast on the floor, and was there for about 30 seconds and then was gone. I said to the vet and her tech, that I guess Abbie was crossing the Rainbow Bridge. The tech said it gave her chills at the timing of the appearance of the rainbow.

Abbie was given a good life, and she did nothing but give love in return. As hard as it is to go through this grief at the end, the only way to avoid it is to not have a pet. I hope I am never without one.

Goodbye, Abbie. I love you.

Who Would Have Thought Granite Could Be So Comfortable?

No Mas! | 28mm, f/80, 1/350sec, ISO 200

Sandee and I hiked to the top of Stone Mountain today. It is 1.3 miles to the top, and believe me, my extra 30 pounds felt every bit of it going up, and my heel spur felt it coming down. But it was a gorgeous day, and I love a challenge, so it was a good thing to do.

Sandee took this picture right after we got up the steepest part. I was feeling a bit nauseated, and my heart was beating very hard, so I had to lay down. After about three minutes, I was able to continue. Actually several people stopped to take a breather at the top of that stretch of steepness. Of course, there were two twenty-somethings who were running it. Showoffs. :)