Friday, November 30, 2012

Flashback Friday: London 1911

So obviously, I wasn't there in 1911, London i.e or really anywhere on this planet. But the years I lived in England did have some serious fogs rolling across the football pitch that was behind our house. Children played outside in all weather at school but not on foggy days. On those days, they were kept in for, while gas central heating was becoming common, coal fires were still the norm in many houses in the late 60s and early 70s.

But in 1911, the fogs were heavy and full of pollutants "...old London, when a million coal fires polluted the atmosphere with clouds of filthy black smoke carrying noxious fumes, infections and lung diseases. In old London, the city resounded with a symphony of fog horns on the river and thousands of people coughing in the street." as described in Spitalfields Life.

The air of London is much cleaner now but we still have the old photos to remind us of the 'pea souper' days of yore. Not quite the romantic fog we often imagine, was it...

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christmas Surprise? or Shock?

One of the reasons I'm not always overjoyed about traveling in November, especially with a long trip as we just did, is that we return to "Holiday" preparations. I had hurriedly taken down the Halloween things before we left and then we come back and's Thanksgiving!  I had put some fall things out but one of the things that was neglected at that point was getting the house really cleaned and straightened.

Our periodic cleaner had to cancel because of Hurricane Sandy and somehow there ended up being a lot of seasonal things out and about. Packing for three weeks without laundry facilities was a challenge. In any case, everything got put on hold or ignored including any thoughts of Thanksgiving when we got back and I took to my bed. Well, I'm now upright again, and of course on Black Friday our neighbors had their Christmas lights out. Sigh...

I do, however, like to get the Christmas supplies down out of the small attic storage we have and decide what goes up and what doesn't. Each year my desire for lots of any Christmas decorations diminishes a bit. I liked the cartoon recently that talked about Tier 1 decorations, Tier 2 decorations, and then Tier 3 - the tree items that really can't be identified or recognized.  Each year, my desire to put up and tree, decorate it, and then most importantly TAKE DOWN the tree withers.  From fresh cut trees, to a scrawny plastic tree of lights while we renovated, to a skinny tree that really does fit best but can still look....a bit lame. Even the trees have evolved in 10+ years, including the tree that drowned when the cellar flooded.

But yesterday, I bit the bullet and asked my husband to bring the plastic bins down and put them on our bed. That way I knew I'd have to deal with them and they'd be at a reasonable height to explore.  But what a surprise shock I had when on top of one of the bins was a Nazi flag!

This flag has been in my family since my father returned from WWII. I don't want to get rid of it because it took a lot of blood, sweat and tears from a lot of men to get that flag and all like it from flying in Germany. But over the years, it's always been...what do I do with it? The other war bits my father brought back have disappeared over time but the flag remains. I know it shall remain but longer on top of the Christmas decorations!

Any suggestions for its storage location would be greatly appreciated. Out of sight perhaps but not out of mind.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Goodbye Tuesday Tutorial - It Was Fun

Sadly, I must say goodbye to the Tuesday Tutorial. I have hit the wall with Blogger's photo limit and am in the process of working my way round that.  I think, with tutorials, the images have to be large and enlargeable. If I ever figure how to make it work again, I'll try to reintroduce this feature. It also helped me keep tutorials where "I" could find them!

Right now, I'm doing the "800px and under" images which are still free because I sure don't want to have to buy more storage on Google. I already pay for Flickr! I am not a professional blogger and I don't want to have to monetize to keep blogging. Choices, choices.

But life goes on and next week there will be a new Tuesday meme. It will certainly take you places!

Monday, November 26, 2012

AAM Monday

Just a quick one today. No scrapping done on our trip but a zillion images to go through. I think I'm going to put this trip on the back burner for a while. I have neither the energy nor the enthusiasm to revisit yet.

I did manage to get the final week before the trip done...the hectic pre-departure time. It's kind of a million years away now. But there were some big things that went on that week - early voting and Hurricane Sandy. Yep, it was a week.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sleepy on Sunday

I am still very tired, though the cough is mostly gone. I recall a few years ago when a respiratory thing went round and round and it really seemed to take a long time to get over it. I do hope this isn't the same thing. Fortunately, I have virtually nothing on my upcoming agenda that requires a great deal of moving about.  I see more sleep ahead this week. zzzzzzzzzzz

I am happy to report, though,  that my nights with this seem to be over. A useful but not pleasant nightcap.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Flashback Friday: Orange Leader

While on our recent River Cruise in Germany, Austria and Hungary, "Gary" was our fearless leader most days. We were the orange group, and as he said, we would always remember ourselves that way! This damp, chilly day, he found an ingenious way to deal with that orange flag and keep his hands free. It truly was a misty, fall day on the Danube and a fascinating visit to an Austrian riverside wine town.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tired but Thankful

After a nearly three week trip in Europe, I have come home tired and hopefully getting over a respiratory infection. I've spent the days since landing back in the US sleeping, dozing, reading and sleeping. Doses of cough syrup have replaced food which is probably a very good thing considering how much we ate on our trip. I was grateful to have only gained 2+pounds in that time!

However we knew we'd be too tired to really do much for Thanksgiving, with an arrival  back in the US late Monday night. I had realized that there was no way to defrost a turkey in the two days so I bought a turkey before we left, cooked it and froze the mostly leftovers after having a October turkey dinner. It may take most of my energy today to go get it out of the freezer and make some other things to go with it but that's ok. Trust me, it won't be much else!

But today I truly am thankful...

I have a roof over my head, food to eat, people who love me, in fact all my needs are certainly met. I expect that in a few more days my health will be back to normal and that too is a real blessing.

I hope your day is filled with gratitude for what is ...and if includes a turkey dinner all the better!


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial: A Word to the Wise


Passwords are like underwear. Change yours often.

Passwords are like underwear. Don't share them with friends.

Passwords are like underwear. The longer, the better.

Passwords are like underwear. Be mysterious.

Passwords are like underwear. Don't leave yours lying around.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Memory - Getting Ready for Christmas

No it isn't even Thanksgiving, but this photo takes me back to shortly after Dick and I were married. I'm thinking this is 2003. My hair was still red, I was still wearing my contact lenses, and the kitchen was starting to take the shape of the renovation we would do. Soon that old stove would be gone - that stove that had burners than never really boiled pasta and a totally dead oven.

I'm not sure who I was wrapping Christmas presents for, but we did buy more in those days as our grandchildren were still young. Now they are just as happy with something small and plastic! Lots in that kitchen changed but then so did we. I still do like red though.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tuesday Tutorial: Lighten and Brighten Those Images

There are many ways to skin this cat or subject so keep playing with your images and you'll find the method that works for you. This one comes straight from  Sahlin Studio.While Krista Sahlin uses PSCS, it also works just fine in PSE.

I'm using PSE10 on a Mac.

First get your image, here one of us on a Cunard cruise 5 years ago. You may say we look old but to us today, we look much younger! Gravity happens.

The basic image, but with the only layer, normally called 'background' changed to layer 0. Do this by double clicking that layer, over on the right in orange, and you'll get the option to change it to an editable layer. Simple huh?

Now duplicate that layer by clicking on layer 0, then hitting CMD (Cntrl on PC) - J. and you'll see the new duplicate layer on top of the original. Click that duplicate layer, and change the blend mode, the drop down right above the layer, to Screen. Click the eyeball to the left of the layer image and you'll see the on- off difference. Keep it on but you probably want to reduce the opacity as Krista does and as I did.

I reduced the opacity to 42%. That way you have more contrast and the image is no longer so white. Don't worry ...there's more to do!

Now you want to click that layer 0 copy, and duplicate it.  CMD/Cntrl J again. This time, make the blend mode Soft Light. I changed the opacity to 75%.

Looks good to  me. One thing I often did in early days, and still do in some layouts when I am working with lots of copies, is to enter the blend and/or opacity info as the name of the layer. It helps you to see the kind of combos that appeal to you. If you're in CS, you can write your own action. PSE? not yet, maybe in PSE12???

Friday, November 2, 2012

5 Fact Friday: November 2, 2012

There didn't seem to be a 5 Fact Friday at the 'mothership' site but I'm hoping there is one this week. In any case, this meme comes from

So what facts can I come up with this week...

1. We survived Hurricane Sandy just fine thank you. No loss of power, no internet out, no trees or power lines down. Sadly, many parts of the east coast are not able to say the same thing, and the devastation in NY and NJ is terrible. I suspect recovery will take a lot of time...

2. I bought about 8 new pairs of socks at Target. I have a reason, but one of them is the winter stuff will be gone soon. It always is.  All the socks are black and/or gray except for two wild pairs of kneesocks. I'm hoping they don't clink to my slacks/jeans.

3. Did you know that if you rub hand lotion right on your socks or tights or whatever you might have on your legs in the cold, you minimize the static cling?

4. I have been alternating oatmeal with grits, bacon, and eggs for breakfast. That seems a good balance to me. I'm hoping my heart agrees.

5. Those things are on my dining room table for a reason.

That's all she wrote folks! If you click on that little banner in this post, you'll see some more Friday Facts from other bloggers (I hope).  Join in when you can!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

AAM: Scrapbooking Slowing Down

I haven't felt the need or desire to do much more than the weekly Project Life page lately. I like the concept of PL but really it doesn't always allow me to do as much playing around as I seem to have done when it was just the plain 365. I am now thinking that for 2013, I will alternate the styles a bit more. When I look back on some of my 2011 pages, I like the ability I had to write more.

I finally realize I don't want lots of little cute cards on the pages. I like seeing them on other people's pages, but it's not me. Kind of like knowing that it is pretty darn unlikely that you will see many flowers or buttons on my pages. Definitely not torn papers or old tape. But knowing what I don't want is easier than defining quite how I do want it. Clean but enjoyable. As with most of life, it's all a process.

I was more in a fall mood for this page than the weather we were actually having would have indicated. We had the a/c on a couple nights but I think we finally have a good fall weather. Albeit with Hurricane Sandy to help it along the way...a welcome chill in the air.

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