Sunday, May 31, 2009

Scavenger Hunt: 2

Nicole's 2nd Scavenger Hunt.

Please take this with a grain of salt and a sense of humor.

1. souvenir: The other day, I had a tequila shot too many.

2. a fish: And almost broke my favorite fish platter.

3. religious building: So I went to pray to wash away my sins.

4. a fire department: I then went to the Fire department to volunteer and do good deeds. But I got lost and only found this.

5. manhole cover: Frustrated, I yelled at the communications portal. Talk to me!

6. a postcard: I looked for a post card to send to my Mom but only found an envelope.

7. water: I drank a lot of water to get dehydrated so my brain would work again. What was left, I doused on myself.

8. a communication device: I picked up my balackberry to make a phone call but the batteries were dead.

9. Life event: I felt like I was dying. I could read my own obituary.

10. foreign stamp: I looked for a special stamp to write a special letter. But all I found was this.

11. tree: I sat underneath a tree to compose myself.

12. Living Space of a non-human: I felt like I lived in a cage.

13. a street mirror: There were mirrored buildings everywhere and I did not see what I liked.

14. decoration fixed on a house: I went back home and stared at the wreath.

15. Foreign Flag: I wanted to go back home.

16. a fire: I lit an incense for Ganesha and willed the starship to take me back to my planet.

17. Antenna: I made sure that the antenna was hooked up the right way so the star ship could contact me.

18. Phone Booth: I headed towards a phone booth disguised as slot machines.

19. verboten sign: Something told me to be careful and not to go wrong way!

20. Beach: I had already packed my bags to go to the wonderful beaches on my planet.

21. a cityscape: I went to the top of the building and shouted, "Beam me up!"

22. something goofy: And they came disguised as ducks in my backyard.

23. something carved: And as wooden eagles on dead tree.

24. eye: The master then spoke to me and welcomed me with open arms.

25. something rural: At last I was going home to my planet Zulu.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


This week I worked on entering a gallery show and the theme was Creature Feature. This is one of the photos I submitted. I took it on my trip to Cabos San Lucas Mexico. I wish I could describe how beautiful the sea was. It was amazing! The colors can neither be described nor photographed.

So.... it is summer now. Time for vacations. Have you made your vacation plans? My plans are still up in the air. I have to attend a wedding in Atlanta in July and I was thinking about taking a few extra days off and going to a beach close to Atlanta.

Someone suggested Hilton Head. Someone else suggested Savannah. I am not very familiar with that area at all so did some research. And found out that Savannah is a gold pot for photographers. Why did I not know this?

So I think we will probably go there. Of course everything is still up in the air as of now. But I'll keep you posted!

What about you? Any vacation plans? Do tell! I love hearing about it.

Friday, May 29, 2009


Some days I wish I was a seal lounging on the rocks and sunbathing.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Coloring with PhotoShop Elements.

A huge thanks to Janice for the tutorial. Sorry it took this long to come up with something.

And no these are not from my backyard. The lone tomato is still cooking. It is taking forever!

Happy Thursday everyone! Let me know if you have any specific questions about Photoshop elements.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Commute to Success

No one told me that the road to success was paved with lots of hard, hard work. And also a thick skin and persistence. Not to mention determination.

I remember that a few years ago, I wrote an entire novel. In my opinion, it was fabulous. But when I submitted it for publishing, I got one rejection letter after another. One publishing company even recommended that I completely give up writing. But if I continued, please do not bother sending them a manuscript. I was crushed. I gave up. I deleted all the files on my computer and shredded the manuscript away.

I remember giving up photography for years. Even I hated the results of my work. It was way back when I used my manual camera. My eye to recognize a good photo developed much faster than my skills as a photographer. So I gave up.

I also remember that years ago I was told that I could never be a technical writer in US because I was not a native American. And I was a woman. The technical writing industry was dominated by white men. I would never get a job as a technical writer.

I refused to give up this time. And after years of hard work and tons of ignoring the nay sayers, I became a successful technical writer. I worked hard and did not give up. I believed in me when no one else did.

Last year, after much insistence from my friend Carol, I bought a digital camera. And started playing with photography again. Digital cameras are a wonderful thing. They provide fast results and there is not cost to develop the photos. I loved it.

Sure there are some terrible photos I took. But somewhere, I would find a gem and go, Did I really take this photo? Wow!

I started applying for exhibiting my photography. Once again, a ton of rejection letters. But I was determined to break into this world. One show that I applied to was called flowers. I love flowers and took some fabulous photos. I knew what the jury person's style was and knew that I had a very good shot at getting in.

But they rejected my photos. I was OK with it until I saw what they had accepted. Almost all were mind boggling except a couple that just did not fit there. There were these beautiful photos and then a photo of a cow in blue bonnets. It did not fit. It wasn't a good photo at all. But .... this person was a famous photographer and she got into the show. And I did not. Regardless of the quality of my photos.

But I did not give up. I worked harder and harder.

Next month, I have 2 shows. And I am already applying for July shows. If I get in great, if not, I'll keep trying. And use this to grow.

So if you are trying to pursue something, go for it. And don't let the nay sayers bother you. Keep going and keep trying.

The commute to success is a hazy path. But if you keep trying, sooner or later you will reach your destination. Work hard and keep trying.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tongue-Tied Tuesday

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

I hope you take a moment today to remember and honor all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifices for their country. I know that I plan to do so.

Meanwhile I am enjoying this long weekend with my family. And my list of things to do is getting longer and longer. My end of the month deadlines are fast approaching. But I am also taking it easy.

Yesterday, I watched the movie PS. I Love You. Wow. What an amazing movie. I cried like a baby. Have you seen it? What did you think about it? What are your plans this weekend?

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Wild flowers

Wild flowers grow in abundance along the Texas roads.

This week, I went to a new University in town. The University itself is old but recently moved to a new location. It is on a nature preserve and they have done an amazing job preserving it.

I was supposed to take photos of the buildings for a project. But I got distracted by the flowers. They were everywhere. They were beautiful. And they were calling me. So I took a bunch of photos of the flowers.

Photography I've discovered has a lot to do with chemistry. As a photographer, you've got to have some kind of chemistry with the object. Otherwise, it is just a very flat photo. At least that's been the case for me. When I shoot beautiful cars, I don't really produce good photos. That's because I am just not into cars. At all. Ask me what car I drive and my answer will be, "a red one". Flowers though invoke some feelings in me.

So if you are a photographer, go and find something that you feel passionate about. And see the difference between that and something you have no chemistry with.

Enjoy the weekend! For us in the US, it is going to be a long weekend. I am planning on taking a whole bunch of photos. I hope you too.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Photo Friday: Shiny

My entry for Photo Friday.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Never Again

Never ever again will I ever watch American Idol. Never. Period.

Those cold and brutal people toy with my fragile little heart.
They suck me into the drama and the hype.
They insult my intelligence.
They make me angry enough where I am screaming at the TV.
They make roll my eyes constantly till my eyes hurt.
They make me cry.
They really really insult my intelligence.

So don't get me wrong. I loved yesterday's show. And I had a friendly pool going where I picked Kris. So technically I won the pool. But OH. MY. GOD. So much drama!!! Such an emotional roller coaster ride.

Before I begin, I should let you know that I love both Adam and Kris. They both need to buy sun glasses because there is a bright, bright future ahead of them.

But this whole week my heart waged a fierce battle with my brain.

My brain told me this:

If show is rigged, Adam will never win. He is a very hard to manage person. He will not do well singing at Disney in front of young girls. He is uncontrollable. Kris is clearly a clean and cut person. He will do well as an American Idol winner. It has nothing to do with the fact that one is gay and the other is not. It has to do with who will fit better in the cookie cutter role that the producers of AI have created. Adam will probably refuse to sing that ghastly coronation song again. Kris will go with the flow and just do it. Also, the fact that Adam was declared the winner weeks ago does not bring much drama and hype to the show. If Adam won, people would say, "Oh we knew he was going to win all along." It would certainly not attract more people to watch the show next year. Or even vote. If Kris won on the other hand, there would be lots of drama. And hallway conversations. And lots of people would say, "I am going to watch it from the beginning next year. I am going to vote more often next year." So it is in AI's best interest for Kris to win this one.

If the show is not rigged: All Gokey votes would go to Kris. Also, the long time viewers and voters are very mad at the judges and the show for shamelessly pimpimg their favorites. In their eyes, Adam could do no wrong. He could screech and be out of tune but that did not matter. He was Adam! Impartial the judges are not. Meanwhile, Kris could sing his heart out and he could not do any right. The judges always were harsh and mean to him. They treated him very very badly. The long time viewers knew that. And they did not like it. If you don't believe me about the shameless pimping the judges did for their favorites, go to you tube and search for Gokey scream. He was another favorite and supposed to be in top 2. He screamed out a song and the judges LOVED it. It was so horrific that there are ring tones available for purchase. So anyways, a lot of people made fun of the tone deaf judges. So they gravitated towards the one contestant who was always criticized brutally.

My heart did not listen to anything my brain said. I was stressed and tense. My heart knew that no matter who won, both Adam and Kris would have successful careers. But I really wanted Kris to win. He played it very clean. He sang week after week and never let the brutal criticism of the judges phase him out. He did what he did. He sang his heart out. Without screaming. And he never got any respect.

So there you have it. My thoughts about this AI season.

Oye. I am exhausted. No more AI for me next year. Of course my friends know that I've been saying this every year for the last 6-7 years. And I get hooked right back in.

Off I go. Need to purchase some songs on itunes.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

We got in!

A while back, my bloggy friend Mythos and I collaborated to create some collages. The project was called letter. I snail mailed him some photographs and he created beautiful collages. We sent the collages to a gallery in Baltimore.

Yesterday I found out that all 3 pieces got in. All 3. I almost had a heart attack. I have never ever had a photograph or artwork in a gallery. How exciting is that?

Here are the pieces in case you are interested...

Alex in Wonderland: 1

Alex in Wonderland: 2

Escape to Nowhere

Here is the blog that we created for this project and other art projects.

Today I am just going to savor this moment. The best part about this project? Both Mythos and I had a fabulous time working on this project.

Question: Have you ever thought of entring a photo or some artwork to a gallery or a competition?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Day 2 of healthy living and I have already fallen off the wagon. I am keeping a journal which I used to call "Getting healthy journal" but now is turning into something else. It is full of excuses. On day 2. But they are very creative and almost legit sounding excuses. And it is everyone else's fault that I can't accomplish what I wanted to.

Perhaps I'll fill up the book and get a nice book deal?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Top 10 things to do without a computer

Hello there! I am back and I missed everyone!

So the dark computerless phase in my life is finally over for now. I have my laptop back and it is no longer accessing naughty websites unbeknownsed to me. It is being good. While I did not lose any data, I did lose a ton of my applications so now have to reinstall everything. It is bad but I am so happy to have my laptop back. I think I fared rather well without a personal computer but my family kept telling me that I looked lost without it. I looked like a sad little lost and helpless puppy trying to put on a brave front. They felt sorry for me.

During this dark phase, I did a lot of contemplating. Why am I so addicted to da darn Internets? Why must I write a blog? Why? Why?

Anyways. I'll spare you the drama. Instead I have a top 10 list. Things you can do if you ever have to go through this phase.

1. Curl up in fetal position and cry like a baby. Very cathartic experience.

2. Watch the shopping network on TV and buy random and ridiculous stuff. Keep the box it arrived in. If you don't like it, you can always pass it on to relatives at Christmas.

3. Answer solicitors calls and ask them all kinds of personal questions. How is your love life? How was your childhood? Were you ever abused as a child? Chances are that they will hang up on you but don't worry. Another solicitor will call you soon.

4. Send hand written thank you notes to everyone. So what if you haven't seen them in ages? Just come up with random things and thank them.

5. Start painting a room. Decide on a color and go buy the paint. Wish you had a computer to pre-visualize. Abandon the project.

6. Call random people. Forget Facebook and twitter. Forget Skype. Pick up the darn phone and call everyone you know. Chances are that they are too busy with Facebook and Twitter but try anyways. Leave a perky message for them.

7. Organize pantry. Cannot tell you how nice it is to have a pantry that is alphbetized.

8. Pontificate. Ask yourself what you really think about important issues. Is Jessica Simpson really fat? What exactly is Paula Abdul on? Grab anyone around you and express your opinions. Do not let them excape! Kepp pontificating with them as long as you possibly can.

9. Rearrange furniture. Get help and take out all the furniture in the house. Place it on the lawn. Change your mind and bring it all back in. Serve pizza to the helpers.

10. Watch tomatoes grow. And wish that your computer was working so you could install a web cam and watch your tomatoes grow at work.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Computer Issues

Hello World!

I wanted to let you know that my computer has been very naughty lately and is in time out. I am sending the computer to rehab for a few days. I am hoping that its addiction to naughty stuff is just a phase and will pass.

Meanwhile, I will hold seances and meditate for my poor lost computer. Please send positive wishes its way.


Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mothers Day

Happy Mother's Day!

To my boys:

Mothers are magical.

They can heal with their kisses.

They can clean the kid's face with their spit.

Their hugs can take away all the burdens.

They know just where to massage when a kid gets a spasm.

They know when the kid needs a shoulder massage.

They know everything. Even if the kid does not tell them.

For example, they know if one of the son has been commenting anonymously. Leaving smarty comments. They can deny but Mothers know. Also, why else would they be unhappy that I turned anon commenting off? Mothers can spot their child in pitch darkness. Also, this mother knows how to track down anon comments right down to an IP Address. And this mother knows your IP Address.

Don't mess with da mother!

Mothers also follow them on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. And they know when their kids need a new profile photo. So let's have a portrait session today. Shall we? Please please please?

Ohhhh I digress....

So Mothers are magical. And powerful. And smart. And know that the best gift to receive is time. And lots of hugs. And lots of photo sessions.

PS: Fathers are special too. But today is Mother's day and I am planning on milking it. Damn it! Me! Me! Me!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Boys are Coming!

Da boys are coming back to town!!!!! For those who don't know, my sons come home from college for summer today.

I am so excited. We'll spend many happy days together. Having fun. And lots of conversations like:

Who's cooking tonight? Me! No I said I was going to make crab cakes! But I said I was making macaroni cheese! Me! Me! Me!

And then... Who's cooking tonight. Not me! I cooked yesterday! Not me! Me neither!

Also, there is a constant competition to laundry. Everyone wants the washer and dryer. No one wants to actually do the laundry. But we do want to stake a claim on it. The washer dryer is mine. I have to do laundry today! Two days later... Can I do my laundry? Nope. I have to do mine first! I am doing it right now!

Then there are shoes everywhere! And nintendos and game gears to trip on in the middle of the night. Not to mention the complete strangers I run into in the middle of the night at my home. While I am in my PJ's.

I am looking so forward to having my house full. I miss them. I feel like I have a hole in my heart when they are not around.

And as much as we trip over each other, I have to say that in my house, if you ask the question, "Who is going to wash the dishes tonight?"

The answer will always be...

"Not me!"

All in unison.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Friday!

My entry for Photo Friday: Wildlife.

The theme for Photo Friday is wild life this week. I debated whether to post a photo of an actual wild animal or a photo of what I did last evening. It was a tough choice. And I opted for the safe one. After all, some day, my boys may get in politics and I should not post any crazy photos on my blog.

Before you all jump to conclusions, let me just define wild life. What is wild is a subjective matter. For someone like me, it is simply going out for a late night movie with a friend. I am more of a curl up on the couch and read kinda gal. Or close all the curtains in the house, put loud music on and dance! Like John Travolta. Yep. That's me.

What makes matters even more wild is that I saw Wolverine. It was fantastic. I've never seen any of the XMEN movies so I never knew what to expect. But I had a blast.

The theater I went to was Alamo Draft House. It is a restaurant/theater. So you go in, sit down and order some food. They serve beer and wine, and everything on the menu. If you are ever in Austin, you must go see a movie there. Before the movie, they show these crazy advertisements. And crazy clips from old movies. Whoever came up with the idea of this theater is definitely a genius.

So that was my wild life yesterday.

What have you been up to lately? What was the wild thing you did recently? Do tell! I am all ears.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Rant

Here is a photo of a turtle I shot in Mexico a while back.

Here is a rant I have. If you are in a good mood, you might want to skip this part.

So I am super mad at myself. Why you ask?

American Idol. I hate it, hate it, hate it. Every single year, around May, I make a promise to myself never to watch it again.

It robs me of 6 months of my life. It toys with me. It tortures me. It is an annoyingly phony show. And it is all rigged. Watching it makes me want to pull my hair apart with pliers. It makes me want to pound my head on the wall. It makes me want to roll in confectionery sugar and lay around fire ants.

Surely I could find something more productive to do with my time? Stomach crunches? Learn PHP? Sleep? Find a solution to world hunger?

Yet every single year I fail miserably. I hate myself for it. How could I fall for it every single time? Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

I get sucked into all the hype. I even have friendly bets. My guy is Kris. Yesterday when he was declared safe, I screamed out loudly. It shook the entire house. The next earth shattering scream came when Danny Gokey was safe. I swear I can out-scream him.

I also don't pretend that I am singing when I am actually screaming. If you want to know what I am talking about, go to you tube and search for danny gokey scream. I swear it will give you a heart attack. Awful! And yet he is safe.

My voice is still hoarse this morning. What have I become? Ugh!

So next year, do me a favor. Don't let me watch this faux-show. Lock me up in the basement somewhere. With no access to TV for 6 months.

Oh and leave me a computer with internet access so I can learn PHP. I promise not to read anything about American Idol. Or watch videos on You tube. ;)


And the judges said that he got A++ for his efforts.

Maybe next year I will apply for AI? I can so scream!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Another HOOT

HOOT= Husband Out of Town

So what is with me and the geckos? And why is it that anytime my hubby is out of town, I run into all kinds of problems?

Last weekend, as I was going to water my plants, I noticed a baby gecko was lounging between my patio door. I am terrified of them. So I screamed and shut the door. And locked it. And it remained locked until yesterday.

The gentleman who does my yard work showed up last evening. I unlocked the patio door and explained the situation to him. I wanted him to open the door from outside and verify if the gecko was still stuck in my patio door.

If gecko found, catch it and release far from my house.

If gecko runs into my house, do whatever to remove it from my house.

If no gecko found, chilled beer for everyone.

So he opened the patio door and looked around. And he found nothing. But I spotted it. Sitting right there. And I screamed and screamed and screamed.

He finally saw it and grabbed it and released it. His entire crew was watching this by now. And they all started laughing. And telling me how good the geckos are.

I like geckos just fine. I just don't want them in my house. I am very seriously phobic about them. It has to do with an incident that happened in my childhood that I never ever want to talk about.

All I have to say is that dear geckos. Let's coexist. You in your space and me in mine.

And frankly everyone laughs at me about this. And gives me advice. I know that I have a serious phobia about this. It is irrational. I know that they are good for the earth. I know. I know. But I am terrified of them. And it is not funny to me at all.

So what about you? Do you have an irrational phobia? Something no one understands?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Warning! Bug Porn!

So this month I am planning on entering a Critter Show at a local gallery. Most likely I won't get in but I want to keep trying.

Photography is a lot about chemistry. You gotto feel something about the subject. I love flowers so taking photos of flowers was easy for me. Critters and I have absolutely no chemistry. If I see bugs, I think of bug sprays. I really don't think they are cute or lovely. I am just being honest here.

I remember a while back I went to a British Car show. I am totally not into cars. So the photographs came out very flat. Hard to explain. I felt nothing for the cars. No excitement, no rush, no feelings at all. It just seemed like a chore to me. And the photographs I took there reflected that. So I'll see how it turns out.

Meanwhile, I did catch this lovely couple doing the wrongo dongo. At least that's what I think is happening.

Question of the day: If you were a critter, what kind of a critter would you like to be?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Technical Woes...

I am having technical issues with Blogger. Can't upload a photo. When I click browse to upload an image, nothing happens. It just sits there.

Do you think that Blogger found out that this weekend I spent some time working on my web site? And as unsuccessful I was at my attempt, I am planning on some day dumping blogspot and moving on to my own domain. And that I may actually use Wordpress to create my web site? Maybe Blogger thinks I am cheating. Maybe the fact that I exported my blog to an external hard drive was a clue to Blogger that I was going to dump it. And then it decided to dump me first.

Hey applications have feelings too! Anyone who uses Windoze knows this. It can be mean, mean, mean.

Oh well. Happy Monday. Meanwhile, here is some doodling to entertain you...


I know. I am a better photographer than a computer doodler. Yeah! Just looking at the positive side!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


I had visitors yesterday.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Birdie Takes a Bath

This is our bird and we call her Birdie. Although she loves to take a bath on her own, once a month, we give her a nice bath.

My hubby takes her to the kitchen sink, holds her and sprays her with water. He also uses a special soap which costs more than my shampoo, conditioner and hair gel all put together. And we have a special spray that we spray after the bath. Don't ask me how much that costs.

Birdie has expensive grooming habits.

Of course she hates this process. She is not in control. But when she takes a bath on her own, she just splish-splashes. It is important that all their feathers get wet and clean or else she will develop a skin infection.

After the bath, we drape her in her towel for a few minutes. She sulks and pouts. But is very calm and content.

And when she is calm and content, it makes all of us living with her happy.

Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Question of the week: Why is Ford sponsoring American Idol? How many jobs do you think could be saved if they did not make those awful commercials? Who buys a car because they watched a commercial on American Idol about it?

Ok. That's more than one question. But it is perplexing to me. Why? Why?

Friday, May 1, 2009


Ever wonder how menopause got it's name? Well maybe not. You probably have better things to do. But I do wonder about things like that. So I researched it and came up with the following.

The term was coined in 1856 by a woman doctor named Marie. Okay so I am totally making this up but play along with me. OK?

So Marie was a doctor a long time ago. She married the love of her life and had many children. She was a good wife and a good mother. She worked very hard. She juggled her career and her family life. She loved well and was well loved. All was fine and dandy for years except she woke up one day alone. The love of her life was busy having fun with his friends and the children had moved on. She had made endless sacrifices for her family and they had all forgotten about her. She gave them 20 years of her life and they did not even bother checking on her. She was pissed.

So she said the most profound words:

MEN!!!! OH!!!! Pause!

And so she paused to reflect upon her life.

She had done good in her life. She had raised wonderful kids and lived a good life. But...

Gone were the days when she needed approval. "How do I look in this dress?"

Gone was the neediness, "You complete me. Do I complete you?"

Gone was the clinginess, "When was the last time you told me you loved me? You do love me, right? You need me right?"

Gone was the endless desire to please everyone. Gone, gone, gone. Everything dissipated into a cloud of smoke and she looked at her life anew.

She was standing on her own two feet and was strong. She had become an independent woman. And she loved it.

No more bull sh%%. No more waiting for the phone calls to come or the gifts of affection. No more the need for the approval. No one completed her. She completed herself. And she was happy. She was secure.

She. Did. Not. Need. Men. She was a-okay.

Men. Oh. Pause before you say something to a woman going through this phase.

That's how Menopause got it's name. That's my story and I am sticking to it.

To all the men who read this blog, be nice to women who are going through this phase and be honest with them. Their BS radar is on a very very high alert. Don't give them BS and if you do, expect them to call you up on it.

And to the men and boys in my life, remember that I am armed and dangerous. I have a blog and you don't. Have a great day! Love ya!

PS: I like men. They just drive me crazy sometimes.