"I Am Too A Camera," iPhone Protests

“Not really,” she said, “I mean, you’ll do in a pinch, but where’s the functionality?”

“Have you seen these pictures?” iPhone retorted.

“Seen them?  I took them,” she explained.  

“And yes, I’ll give you that from time to time you do good work,” she continued, “But I have to hold you very steady.  And the light has to be just right.  If anyone or anything moves, forget it.  You blur. The images are not sharp in low light.”

“Hmph,” iPhone gave her its back.

“Oh come on,” she said, “Don’t play like that.  I use you; I took you to the beach tonight, didn’t i?”

iPhone gave her the silent treatment.

“Please,” she said, keeping her voice even, “you’re a phone, really.  They don’t call you iCamera, do they?”

“And you don’t even have a macro function,” she muttered just loud enough for iPhone to hear.

“Fine!” iPhone yelled, “I dare you to post the pictures you took tonight!  They are really good!  I’m as good as any camera buried inside a phone and if I were free, I could be even better!  Go ahead and post them and see if anyone likes them.”  iPhone was breathing heavy, righteous with indignation and hurt feelings.  “You’ve only taken hundreds and hundreds of pictures with me since we’ve met.  That’s more than most people take in a year.”  iPhone tried hard not to cry.

“All right, okay, calm down,” she gave in, “it’s not that I don’t like you, I do.  I just miss having a real camera-“

“I am a real camera,” iPhone interrupted angrily now.

“Look.  You’re a camera, okay?  What I mean is…I miss my camera.  I miss my Canon, with its lenses.  I haven’t used that one since digital photography took over.  Then the little point-and-shoot, the Elph.  It was a fine little camera, but it broke down, ” she spoke carefully, wanting to explain, and soothe iPhone’s feelings, but also to establish some photographic boundaries for the future.  iPhone needed to understand where it stood in the overall scheme of cameras.  Just because it was her primary camera at the moment didn’t mean it’d be that way forever.  At least…she hoped not.

“You do take better pictures than I thought you would,” she admitted, “and with the fun apps I’ve added, it’s true that I’ve had a good time manipulating the images.”

iPhone was listening, she could tell.   Quietly, still licking its wounds.

“I want you to know that I’ll always appreciate you.  I’ll keep you in my purse for everyday picture-taking,” she tried to sound upbeat. “You’ll come shopping with me and will take pictures of me trying on clothes so I can see what I really look like – haven’t we had fun doing that? And, yes,” she began to speak faster as she sensed iPhone becoming impatient with her little speech, “…yes, I will still take you to the beach. I promise.  But you have to understand that if I do get a camera – no, okay, sorry, another camera, that I’ll want to spend time with it, and go out photographing, and you’ll come, you will, but honestly, you’ll be coming along as my phone then, and not as my camera,” she finished, finally, and exhaled.

“Just so we’re clear,” she added.
“Fine,” said iPhone resignedly, “just shut up and post the pictures, then, will you?”

But What About My Book?

See, I love to read. It’s my passion and my joy.  And the internet is interfering with it.  I will sit and cruise from blog to blog and pretty soon a couple of hours have passed.  Sure, I find some pretty talented writers and highly entertaining sites out there…but I hunger for literature still.

And my house is a mess.  Everyone says that, I know, but in my case it’s true.  
Yeah.  Told ya.

So anyway, I’ve developed this great ability to walk back and forth past this mess all day long, and the next day, and the next, and pretty soon I don’t notice the full, blatant, horrible mess that it is.  We recently got new carpet and had to haul the contents of one room to this one.  In the process, we are combing through the stuff to see what to save, what to store and what to give away.  And that takes time…I get caught up in memories and emotions and…let’s just say it’s been a protracted affair. 

Life’s immediate tasks take precedence so it’ll be Friday before I get round to addressing this situation which is frankly overwhelming me.

In the meantime, the library wrote to tell me that my book was waiting so I dashed over yesterday to

 pick it up, as though I’d actually be able to nestle in my comfy chair (or better yet, out on the beach) and lose myself for hours in its pages.  As if.  How can I relax amidst that mess?  But the larger issue is, really, detaching from the internet long enough to relax in my own home in order to do the thing that I love: read.

So, I have been reading in my car.  Yes.  In the car.  I even have a favorite reading spot that I drive to, park, cut the engine (0r, if it’s hot, leave the car and the a/c going and don’t even think of lecturing me about that) and…bliss.  I. Read.  I’ll even stay there for an hour or two, just reading.

Atlantic Beachlife reading at its finest.  No distractions.  No laptop (though the iPhone is in my purse), no messy house.  Just me and my book.  The most relaxing time of the day.  It might seem a little weird, but if you see a girl in a minivan (whatever, it’s paid for) parked at the Fourth Street Beach Access, do her a favor and just keep walking.

If You Can’t Say Something Nice…

We have the greatest tree service at the beach here today (a shout out to Lucas Tree Service), chain saws wailing, limbs falling.  On Sunday we noticed a very large water oak in the back yard, dead and leaning dangerously over a neighbors’ house.  Naturally we called the tree guys first thing Monday and out they came, we made a plan and it was game on for this morning.  

We tried knocking at the ‘target’ neighbor’s door twice and finally left a note explaining what would be happening the following morning.  The guys would need to be in their yard, too, slowly and carefully removing this tree limb by limb.  No problem, this neighbor was easy going and happy to oblige.  Anyone could see that the

 leaning tree was a disaster in the making.

Not the neighbor who lives behind us, however.  Our yards are only separated by a shared landscape of natural palms and scrub trees.  We like it because it’s like a campground and I know they like it too.  It makes for a natural privacy fence.  The tree guys had to cut a couple of scrub trees to get access to the larger, leaning water oak and that’s when this neighbor came charging from his house, shouting at them to back away from his trees.  It was f- this, and m-f that and so on.  He was loud enough that another neighbor heard him from inside his house! 

All this over a couple of scrub trees, more like giant weeds in the overall scheme of things,  when he could obviously see that this very large tree had come to down or it would fall onto the other neighbor’s house!  The tree-guy-in-charge told this fuming fool to step off and he did, I guess, eventually.  I am in shock.  I don’t really know this neighbor but… what? What happened to approaching someone and speaking in a reasonable tone?  Why didn’t he come on over here and chat with me if he was so concerned?  He had to have been in his house watching…waiting for his opening to pounce.  

What makes someone so agitated that they have to come at someone with such force and vitriol?  “My property!”  I can’t express how bewildered I am by this.  My son told me recently that his wife told him and his friend to stay out of her yard, when they were just tromping through our shared woods, playing like the kids that they are.

I didn’t think we had such un-neighborly people living here and enjoying atlantic beachlife.  They don’t mingle too much, but we always smile and wave when passing their house.  

Our other neighbor, the one who heard the rants, said, “you don’t hear such language in this neighborhood.” And I had to smile to myself.  I guess he’s right.  We aren’t the kind of people to charge out and let the f-bombs fly at innocent workers who are just trying, at our behest and at our cost,  to be good neighbors and not let a tree fall on someone else’s house.

These are the gents who were so ungraciously treated.  On behalf of my neighbor, I apologize.  Thanks for the firewood and mulch, too, fellas!
Post Edit:  Said neighbor ate crow.  He actually came out of his house again, and apologized to all the workers for his earlier rant. It’s not easy for some people to apologize and own up to their own bad behavior, so props to him.  

You never know what someone might be going through that would make them act in a way that seems so uncouth so maybe this is a good lesson for all of us.  Let’s cut each other some slack and realize there might be a personal backstory going on when someone seems irrational and, apologize ourselves when we really must.

Mother is finished with her moral of the story now.

Beachlife ‘Discovery’

An absolutely lovely day was capped off with practically the whole neighborhood gathering beachside at 7:43pm to cheer on Space Shuttle Discovery.  All these years and it’s still a thrill to watch that master of the universe come hurtling up from Cape Canaveral into the twilight sky.  Followed NASA on Twitter all day to ensure we were there at lift off or to see whether it had been scrubbed as is often the case.  But off it went, right on schedule.

It was the clearest launch I’ve seen yet.  The rocket and its trail were so clearly visible, and when it separated from the booster engines it traveled on its northerly path for all to see, in wonder and awe.

Afterwards the neighbors all trouped home in the just-dark night, thrilling to each other the wonder of what we’d just witnessed.

These images were captured with lil ‘ol iPhone.

Dune House on Beach Avenue

This “quirky” house is known as Dune House and was designed by renowned architect William Morgan, who has designed many interesting houses throughout Atlantic Beach.

We have fondly referred to this house as the ‘Teletubby House’ as it resembles the grassy, green mound that the Teletubbies live in.  (Are the Teletubbies still around??)  It’s an oceanfront property, and the house is actually comprised of two “shells” placed into the dune itself, so that it’s used as a duplex / rental property.  I think the shells are made from ‘gunnite’, the swimming pool fabrication material.  They are exposed from the beach side – the light source come from the windows that peer out from the dune onto the beach.  The entry doors are opposite, from the street side.

You can Google William Morgan if you are interested in architecture.  He’s a real treasure, and we met him and his wife last summer.  He lives next door to the Dune House, in another home he designed, oceanfront.  On the other side of his home is my personal favorite of the three, a large, contemporary home he designed for one of his adult children.  

Dune House is making news here because it is now for sale.  William Morgan is getting older and he’s not well.  He’s published several books (we have one, a wonderful coffee table book we bought from him at a book signing in town) and has designed structures worldwide.  He’s a local treasure.  This property is a local curiosity. But naturally we are concerned that whoever shells out the big bucks for it isn’t going to keep it as is.  The asking price is $1.85 million…for an underground duplex of 750 square feet each unit.  It’s truly one-of-a-kind…someone could buy it and open and bed and breakfast. It would be a cool place to vacation:  Atlantic Beach, Florida is a great, relatively ‘under the radar’ place. The beaches are awesome, the town is relaxed and unique, and within driving distance of the more touristy and kitschy (if you like kitsch!) and okay, it is  the nation’s oldest city – St. Augustine.  But staying here would be like moving into the neighborhood for a time and some of my own best vacations were in beds and breakfasts nestled deep in the heart of a community.

More about Atlantic Beach and the beaches area to come. Beachlife temperature (in Fahrenheit) tonight is 52 degrees.  Warm weather is on its way!

Day Two: Beachlife Housewife Happy

By 12:30 this afternoon, these two fellas, Atlantic Beach’s best painters

were packing up their brushes and posing for my camera-substitute in front of my lovely new staircase. Not only did they do a wonderful job and cleaned up after themselves (as always), they cheerfully indulged me as I asked them to repair a small section of my office ceiling that had been water damaged, and patched and painted  a couple of dings in the kitchen as well. I can’t tell you how much that pleased me.  The water damaged ceiling bothered me every day  and the kitchen wall was newly-gashed by two wild kids.  And now, it’s all good as new.  He scraped off the damaged part, stain-killed it, patched it and primed it, then painted the section today.  They rummaged around my garage, looking for an old can of paint they remembered using more than two years ago in the kitchen…and they found it.  It was pretty much dried up but they were able to wet it and get enough to paint over the kitchen kid-gashed spot. I wish I had more local readers, but I never know who might be reading this, so: If you are in the area and want a great painter call Greg Critzer.  They give him props at the paint store also.  E mail me at jeannie@atlanticbeachlife.com for his number.  In fact, feel free to contact me there anytime, anyway.

But back to the stairs.  I’m thrilled with the outcome.  It was tough to get a decent photo of it because of how it’s situated in the house.  The color works so well, it really seems as though it was just made to be painted that shade.  It hardly seems new, it just blends into the surroundings. It’s as though it’s always been that way, and I couldn’t be any happier.

Well, that’s not quite true.  I noticed a small ding in the paint already.  I almost hate to look closely for fear of finding more. I want perfection but I know that doesn’t really exist.  It’ll take a few days for the finish to harden completely.  

I won’t pretend that this project/topic really interests anyone but me. Now, having said that, I present the following pictures. I chose these because they show off the actual color the best, and they include the post lids painted black, which I really like.  That was a last minute idea that was actually a good one! They’re awkward photos, but you get the idea. Personally, I’ll enjoy looking at these for the next few days anyway:

Imagine the brown/black concept and see if you don’t agree that it would have been hideous?

Next week the carpet arrives and then it will seem like a new house completely.  Woe to anyone who wears shoes in my house then! 

Big News for Beachlife House

Her staircase is finally getting its makeover today. After twenty-one years in a whitewashed finish, the pickled stain and lots of wear and tear has left this contemporary styled open staircase looking so last century. This staircase is a beloved part of the home’s interior.  She spied it on the very night she saw her home for the first time.  It was dark, and the lights were on inside the house.  She was walking outside, trying to be surreptitious and noticed the staircase through the lovely, elongated windows. She was immediately attracted to the open style.  The staircase is located to the right of the front door and together with the large, rectangular picture windows is a bit of a focal point.  Traditional enthusiasts would eschew her staircase but she has always loved it, and tomorrow, it will make its debut, mature but refreshed.  It will be a golden-hued beauty, accented with three post tops painted black, just a bit, to give it an edge. The aged carpet that wraps its steps will be torn free. It will be cleaned and exfoliated, then primed, and finally, the deeply saturated golden caramel oil-based paint will be carefully applied by hand.  Atlantic Beach’s best painters have been recruited for this special job. 

This wanna-be designer went through many iterations of choosing the paint combination for the staircase. An opportunity such as this doesn’t come along every day, and she wanted to get it right. Wanna-be designer thought that something dramatic, like black, or brown, or both,  would make the staircase look splendid. She elicited opinions from her husband (ambivalent), her father (eager to be helpful) and her internet friends (who live far away, but willingly looked at many uploaded pictures, and endorsed her brown/black concept). Her color-ambivalent husband dutifully painted some large cardboard swatches of the chosen brown and black. Wanna-be designer loved them, and pronounced them perfect for her staircase.  She believed it to be true.  Meanwhile, her husband was busy with a different painting project, re-doing a credenza for the living room.  Wanna-be designer thought it would be great to use the brown/black colors on the credenza and the staircase, so her agreeable husband transformed that piece with her chosen colors. He applied several coats of paint beautifully, yet it didn’t take but a glimpse of the newly painted credenza  for wanna-be designer to realize that the colors were completely wrong for the staircase. She felt horrified that she could have been so…off.  So utterly wrong in thinking that those colors could actually work in that space.  It was apparent in an instant, before her in living color, that they were. just. wrong.

The brown/black idea was lovely…on the credenza. Seeing them in person, she understood that on the  staircase they wouldn’t have melded.  A true designer has the innate ability to understand what a house is about.  It’s more than just a house’s architecture or style…it is what the house is, its essense.  The combination of architecture, natural light, the non-changeable elements like cabinetry, wood flooring and tile.   The house’s soul, and what it seems to tell an intuitive person about how it should look. And this house’s soul is about lighter tones.  Saturated colors, fine, but only in certain hues.  For instance, this house speaks gold, not silver.  A wanna-be designer sees brushed nickel accents and likes them for her house.  A real designer understands that the cool tones of nickel would fight with the warm tones of wood flooring, golden tiles, and rich greens, toasty browns.  This wanna-be designer is honing her skills one misstep at a time.

Bright side: thank goodness for newly painted credenzas to show this wanna-be designer the light before she made a serious mistake.  Moments after viewing her new brown/black furniture piece she repaired post-haste to the paint store and returned with a rich, lush golden shade.  The house has its own, inexplicable way of muting the color, of drawing the color into itself.  This color is the color, and suddenly everything falls into place. Hello,  Byzantine Gold by Benjamin Moore.  Cargo Brown and Edwardian Black? What was she thinking?  This wanna-be designer would have painted herself a cave and her husband would have insisted she live in it.  

As the two talented painters began their work, the wanna-be designer became a giddy homeowner and pranced around as they got down to it, snapping pics for her before and after album.  Within minutes they’d ripped away the twenty-one (yes, twenty-one) year old carpet from the steps and started sanding and priming the staircase.  Chemical odor permeated the house but she didn’t mind: her vision was taking shape!  

End of day one: wet paint.  Rich, golden caramel glistening.  Giddy homeowner has become hyper mother, insisting the children walk gingerly up the stairs, not to touch a thing, not to kick up the dust for it will stick to the wet oil paint and forever mar the finish.  Atlantic Beach’s best painters will return tomorrow to finish the job.

Wanna-be designer, giddy homeowner, hyper mother is tired but grateful. A lovely home  makes her happy and the staircase re-do followed by the much-needed new carpet will go a long way to satisfying her design urges.  There is always another project to contemplate…but this is pretty wonderful to her.

Final results: to be continued.

The First of March

brings beachlife breeze
billowing clouds
breeze in the neighborhood means wind on the beach
Me and iPhone are taking a little walk to the beach to see what we can photograph.  February ended its run at 83 degrees and March mustered its might and arrived in a flurry of 51 cold ones.

The gulls were poised westward, hundreds of them, all in agreement that there was something worth waiting for.

This house is adjacent to the public walkway to the beach.  It’s an enormous, contemporary, stucco creation.  I looked up and was lured by the end-of-the-day light striking the palm fronds, the blue sky and the architectural elements from the viewfinder of my eyes.  

iPhone camera picture stats:  Beach picture taken with iPhone camera and enhanced with my newest app,Picoli.  I used the ‘Color Balance’ filter over the image as shot.  In the second picture I used the ‘Saturation’ setting.  
In this picture I used the filter called ‘Sunburn’.  Again with the seagulls, still waiting for the magic in the west.  

It felt much colder than the 51 degrees it was.  It was sunset and very few people were walking about despite the gorgeousness of the waning afternoon light.

Truthfully, I was freezing my bum off and rushed back to my warm home where the scent of the yummy dinner my husband had made awaited me.

The end.