Virtual Visit

Would you like to enjoy a quick visit to my beach? Well, sit back and block out the next 48 seconds and pretend you are standing next to me on the boardwalk gazing at the expanse of sand and water.  

We’ll just make a quick stop at the beach this time.  But there’ll be more virtual beach visits to come.  Now that the little Canon Elph is in my pocket, you too can come to the beach with me.

I can always use a few more friends who love the beach like I do.  If we can’t sit side-by-side in our chairs and chat about whatever will clear our souls, or just nothing at all… this is the next best thing: beach lovers or just people who like to see what other parts of the world look like.  Let me know what you’d like to see and I’ll try to oblige. Our shoreline is not magnificent, rather ours is a neighborhood beach,  occupied by homes of varying size and means. It’s an eclectic community comprised of locals,  and transplants like me, who came to this little corner of the world, and fell in love with its quiet charm. This community is a treasure to most of us who live here. We appreciate the residential character of this coast, in contrast to the aggressive development of some coastal communities which squeeze out the average individual or family from living within walking distance of the beach.  

People enjoy their beach in any number of ways: biking, jogging, dog-walking, surfing, swimming, boogie and skim boarding.  People might walk alone to simply meander along the surf’s edge, looking for shark’s teeth. They might head out with a friend or small group to encourage each other as they move their bodies for fitness’ sake, or just to connect for a few minutes before returning to the obligations of life that pull at us all.    

Some people prefer solitude.  To take their chair and their book and lose themselves from the rhythms of their households and escape for a few hours. Breathing in the salt air, perhaps falling asleep.

But this 48 second video clip reveals an empty beach, taken mid-week just before the sun set.  A lovely time of day to come out and take a few minutes to appreciate my life in Atlantic Beach, Florida:

(A note for reader Just Moos: I cannot leave a comment on your blog.  It appears there is some barrier to it when I click on the ‘comments’ section; it won’t allow me to write text. I’d like you to know I’m visiting, and there’s a comment I wanted to leave…)


*Little Canon Elph’s first trip to the beach, Sunday, May 10, 2009.

A New Friend for iPhone

My birthday brought me not one, but two awesome cameras.  I think iPhone was most worried about a pint-sized camera coming in to the home.  Into my purse.  To live together with us and come along where ever we go.  
 But since our “confrontation” last week, we cleared the air and iPhone came to terms with the idea of another camera in my hand.  So that when I was, finally, gifted with two wonderful cameras, iPhone rather graciously accepted the little Canon Elph and even shared shared space with it in the camera bag over the weekend!
I think this is the beginning of a long and harmonious relationship.  And isn’t it sweet the way Canon put its cord around iPhone for the picture – taken by my new, DSLR, a Nikon d 60?

Nikon comes to me compliments of my dear Dad and Canon was a gift from the husband and kids.
Now I am set for a quick snap-and-file-or-email pic (iPhone), taking a good picture or a video-on-the-spot (Canon Elph), and to explore my creative side through real photography (Nikon)!
I couldn’t be happier with all three of these, my new favorite things.
I remember something my Dad said to me last year when he was a bit exasperated with my tendency to over-shoot certain moments, “Live your life, don’t photograph it.”
I’ll keep that in mind, Dad.

My Birthday Moon

Saturday, May 9, 2009
Full Moon
Moon rise 9:01pm EDT
over the ocean in Atlantic Beach, Florida
Nikon d 60 Inaugural Photo Event

Jacksonville Beach on 5/7/9

I needed a few minutes to clear my soul today so I stopped at Jax Beach before collecting the crew from school.  
It was 82 degrees and sunny with a sea breeze.  Enough of a break to bring the surfers out. The Jacksonville Beach Pier lures surfers, fishermen, people-watchers. There were a lot of people scattered about the beach on a Thursday afternoon, doing what I like to do best  on the beach.  Not power walking.  Not throwing balls to a dog.  Not building a sandcastle.
Just…relaxing.  Reading.  Sitting or lying down.  Swimming.  I do love being in the ocean when the conditions are right.  Today was that kind of day.  
It reminded me of the days when I could spend Thursday afternoons on the beach too.
It smelled like summertime.
I met this guy and we chatted about surfing and the beach.

He talked about surf conditions and has surfboards for sale.  Anyone interested?  I have his name and phone number. He’ll even teach you to surf in two hours, twenty bucks an hour. I have no idea if he really has surfboards or if he really could teach anyone to surf.  Why wasn’t he surfing?  He was waiting for the tide to come in some more.  He was hoping conditions would get even better.  He was a pleasant dude.  He called me ma’am. (Ma’am?  Me?  And here I was thinking of him as a sort of peer. In a way.)  But the sunshine and beachlife had done me some good in just a few short minutes, so I forgave him in my heart and anyway, he was just being friendly.

I stayed there for about fifteen minutes.  I looked around and soaked it in.

I wanted to take off my shoes and stay for a while.  Rather, I stayed for a bit, then carried on for the rest of the day.
It helped.

iPhone Wins A Photo Contest!

    ( Winning Photo from an Easter themed iPhone photography contest)

“Oh, oh my gosh,” iPhone excitedly said, “You…um, me…um, w-we, we won a photo contest!”

“Are you reading my e-mail?” I asked suspiciously.

“What? No.  No!  It’s right here, see?” iPhone could barely contain its glee. “It says so, right here on this blog: .  Do you see that?”  iPhone was vibrating with excitement right there on the counter.

 I glanced down at the blog it had  been reading.  Yup, it was Glyn’s iPhone photography site, the one I’d bookmarked as soon as iPhone came into my life.  I didn’t know iPhone’d been reading it too.

 I’d been wondering when Glyn would get around to announcing the winners of the Easter-themed photo contest.  The challenge was to photograph anything Easter-related using the iPhone camera,  and  one or more of the growing number of wonderful photography apps to enhance it. It had to be e-mailed via an iPhone to the blog.  The prize would be a case for the iPhone 3G donated by Griffin Technology Clarifi. It’s not just another iPhone case; this one comes with a slide across  lens for getting better close up shots with the iPhone camera.

 So I’d participated, just for fun.  And I got the e mail telling me I was one of the winners a few weeks ago. Glyn indicated he’d announce it on his site soon, so I hadn’t mentioned to iPhone, or anyone, for that matter.  (Well, okay, I told my Dad and my family.  But I did not tell iPhone.)

 “And you don’t like to think of me as a camera!” iPhone was bubbling with pride, trying to engage me in the moment, while  continuing to read the  short announcement and admiring our winning photo.

 iPhone didn’t notice that I wasn’t too….surprised, for a few moments.

“Wait a minute,”  iPhone calmed down, “this is exciting, isn’t it?”

 “Mmm hmm,” I murmured, pleasantly.  It was true that I’d been mighty excited when Glyn’s e mail first arrived announcing that I was one of the winners. I’ve never won anything, let alone a photography contest.  

 I was just a little reluctant to encourage iPhone’s photographic aspirations.  I am still pining for a real camera.  iPhone’s been really quite reliable for most of my photographic occasions these past few months.  We’ve had some good times together, made some good pictures, downloaded many entertaining apps.  I can’t deny it’s been a lot more fun than I expected, photographically, when iPhone came to me.

Winning an actual award, with rather a good prize for iPhone too, kind of ratchets up iPhone’s expectation for a future in photography with me.

I had not anticipated that iPhone might learn of the award before I’d had the chance to tell it.  This was a problem, I could tell.

iPhone’s exuberance settled.   iPhone was putting two and two together.

 “You asked if I’d read your e mail,” iPhone stated flatly.

I said nothing, nonchalantly going about my business in the kitchen, acting preoccupied.

“You knew about this already,” iPhone went on in monotone, “and you didn’t tell me.”

iPhone was so disappointed.  I could feel its disappointment in my own heart.  

Should I have told iPhone we’d won, back when I’d found out?  I was feeling so conflicted!  I didn’t want iPhone’s expectations to soar while I am hoping…longing…pining for a real camera for my birthday in three more days.

I love iPhone and it will always be my pocket pal.  My go-to device for just about everything…but its photographic affections will be replaced by a real camera if I get one for my birthday three days from now.

“I know I’m right,” iPhone went on.  It had stopped shimmying about the counter and was still.  “You must have gotten an e mail telling you we’d won.” 

“And you didn’t tell me,” it added. 

I  sighed, and turned to look at my beloved little device, who only moments ago, was giddy with joy over having been a photo contest winner.  

Heck, I was giddy myself when the e mail from Glyn had arrived. 

“All right,” I admitted, “it’s true.  I knew that we’d won and didn’t tell you.  I wanted to surprise you when Glyn posted it on his blog.” 

Oh really?” iPhone’s tone was  sarcastic, which brought me up a little short, I admit.  I was not accustomed to sarcasm from my beloved iPhone. 

“Well, it’s true.  I waited to tell you because I wanted to write about it on the blog.  Then it would be a surprise for you and the five or six people who read this.  Like, my cousin, Rosie, and a couple of new visitors, Mickey and Debra.  And Sink!” I spoke brightly.  I remembered to smile.  

“Sink?” iPhone spat, “A sink? What the…” 

“Never mind that,” I said quickly. I was making a mess of this.  Explaining the name of my friend Sink would divert the conversation and I knew this needed to be addressed-soon.  Because, my birthday is coming and I just might get a real camera… 

I realized I was treading water on this one.  I needed to feign enthusiasm to pull iPhone back from the brink.  I  want iPhone on my side,  camera or not. I didn’t want to spoil iPhone’s happiness with the contest win. I do love iPhone.  And it did win the contest, that was true. 

I hoped I did not sound false.  We stared at each other.  I noted that iPhone’s screen had not dimmed – as it usually does when it’s idle – during the entire confrontation. 

“I’m so proud of you, iPhone,” I said respectfully, “I-I love you. I never meant to hurt you.”  

“We’ve talked about this before, remember?   You do know I think you’re great, and I admit – your pictures and apps  have been pretty awesome. I’ve had the best time.”  

But…” iPhone was waiting for the denouement.  Damn, it knew me so well.  (How did this happen?)  

I exhaled.  

“Since you came to me last December I’ve grown to depend on you so much that now I cannot imagine life without you.  If I had to choose between you, and say…giving up acrylic fingernails, I’d choose you.  I’d give up Starbucks for you.”  

I thought it sounded pretty convincing.  And I was speaking the truth. (But Starbucks would go before the nails did.  Just sayin’.)  

iPhone was unmoved.  It knew I wasn’t finished.

 “iPhone, seriously.  I need a real camera.  One that can take pictures and videos and has a flash and a zoom and a close up feature,” I told it quietly, “and you don’t have those things.” 

“I have asked my family to buy me a camera for my birthday which is coming in three more days,” I finished, really ready to be done with this nonsense.  I’d lost my patience with all this.  And with writing this story.  

“Oh, I know when your birthday is,” iPhone snarled, “I think we all know when your birthday is.  You can’t stop talking about it.  What is your freaking problem?”  iPhone’s volume was rising. 

I did not know where to take it now.  iPhone was angry when I wanted us to be happy together.  And, truthfully, iPhone had embarrassed me just a little about my multiple birthday references.  Suddenly, I wasn’t finding it all that amusing anymore.  

“iPhone, let’s stop this,” I said, “Let’s be happy – WE WON THE PHOTO CONTEST on the iphoneography blog! You’re going to get a brand new Clarifi case, with a built-in lens from Griffin Technology Clarifi.  We’re winners, you and me!”  

I had really blown it.  I was so darned excited when I learned we’d won and I knew I should have told iPhone right away.  

“I was wrong to keep it from you, simple as that,” I stated as candidly as I could, “Will you forgive me?”  

What else is there, without forgiveness?  I mean, really?  

“Whether I get a camera or not for my birthday (in three days)   you have to know you that I will never, ever go anywhere without you.  I might get another camera, but I promise you this:  I’ll never get a BlackBerry.”  

At this, iPhone brightened.  The tension between us was gone.  iPhone gave me a very sweet apology in return which it asked me not to write about, and we took some very sweet make up photos with the camera.  I’ll keep those pictures private as well.  

iPhone, you are still my #1 smart phone.









Wrapping Up A Sunday

By the time I headed out on my  bike for a short look-see at what was going on in my neighborhood, it was already six o’clock on a Sunday evening.
This time of day on this particular day of the week has always made me feel just a little wistful for as far back as I can remember.
And seeing people coming off the beach,  arms full of a day-at-the-beach paraphernalia for the trip home, or just on their bikes or walking but clearly leaving evoked that same familiar yearning tonight, as I paused for a few moments and watched the people wrapping up their Sunday.  I’m sure it’s not unique to me but I wonder why after all these years, it can still creep up on me, even if just a tinge, during that subtle transitional time of day when a Sunday afternoon becomes Sunday evening. 

The weather was warm but without the blanket of humidity that will come, with a nice sea breeze.  The light, though still strong as we are approaching summer, was changing.  It was the sun moving westerly as the people were packing it in, in the mild beachlife Spring evening that was redolent of school nights long ago, when I’d had to, finally let go of Sunday and accept the impending week to come.
The feeling that went along with all that was visceral and took me by surprise tonight.  Even the beach, my  beach, gave me that longing-for kind of mood.
So I breathed in that familiar and comforting blend of salt air and marine life, and pedaled home.

The First of May, The First of May…

… the countdown to my birthday begins today.
As I sang the above as a little rhyme to my kids this morning, one of them innocently and excitedly blurted my coming age, too.
Age is so important when you’re young.  Reaching that next age, and the next…well, that’s what it’s all about when you’re coming up in the world.
Oh, and the party and wish lists,  of course, for which the plans and ideas start being floated about thirty days after their last birthday.  I’ll just listen without comment or commitment for several months until we get within, say, three months of said child’s birthday (usually it’s just the girls). Then I announce that the real birthday planning may begin in earnest about one month before their big day.  It helps keep their excitement confined to a manageable period of time.  
Me, being all grown-up like I am, I try to keep within the same ‘thirty day out’ guideline.  But once we hit the first of May, all bets are off and let the games begin. 
My date’s the 9th.
So I said to whichever-daughter-it-was who cheerfully announced the age I would become,  come the 9th: “I’m celebrating the mood, not the age.  I don’t care about the age any more.”  
I’m all about the birthday fun and attention,  and since it does come attached to a number, I face up to it, I do.  But it’s not like they have to tell all their friends.
Do they?
If it comes up, I say, in conversation, fine.  It’s okay, I’m not ashamed.  But, kids, I like a little mystery about myself, so…you know?  Be discreet? 
 Do you think people aged 13, 11 and 7 can understand the concept of discreet?
Oh well.  It is what it is (a phrase I’m quickly tiring of in our language but I’m a lazy writer today), and if someone (and many people do!) discovers my chronological age, so be it.
Chronological age…only someone older would even think to use that one when describing their age.  As in, age is only a number. (All the little disclaimers we use when we start becoming a bit dismayed by the passage of time.)
Yea, right.  But it’s my number.  Which is a bit of a startling thought.
Well, never mind all that.  I am still counting down to my birthday because, like my mother before me, it’s a day for celebration and presents and fun!  And if I don’t get this party started, no one will.