Sunday, August 29, 2010

Playing with IPhoto

I was messing around with a bunch of photos I had taken of a home for a client this afternoon and got sidetracked. Not that that's anything unusual. This time I got sidetracked with pictures of my son, because I have thousands, and because it's just so much more fun to work with pictures of kids than pictures of counter tops and flooring.

My plan was to put together a quick slide show of our recent trip to the Musical Instrument Museum, which as totally cool by the way. I had the folder goodness only knows how many pictures I took while we were there and was pulling out some of the ones I liked.

Then I thought to myself "Hey, why don't I throw some music other than the standard options to this and see what happens." Apparently I'm pretty easy to convince because the next thing I know, I"m searching through all of our Itunes trying to find just the right song mix. I started out using three different Tom Petty songs but didn't like the way it was going so I started over. I picked the one song I thought I could do the most with. Then I started going back through my archival of photos. Then I messed around with the timing and the order and finally, I came up with something I liked.

Yeah, I probably wasted a few hours of my afternoon, but at least I had fun doing it.

Update: The video is blurry when expanded to full-screen size. I'm trying to figure that part out. It works on our laptops and our tv with no problem, so it's something to do the blog specifically. I'll work on it :)

video

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Weekend Roundup

I did my weekly produce pick-up at the co-op on Saturday morning. Everything looked wonderful as usual. The three mangoes found a new home with friends, but everything else will be consumed over the next week. As a side note, even with the infusion of fruits and vegetables, I have managed to not lose one ounce. Apparently I'm not so much exchanging the bad foods I usually eat for the good stuff as I am more "adding it all together." That's just dedication on my part people.



This is the only reason kittens are allowed to survive past the destructive idiocy stage. I just wish I had my real camera with me to get a clearer shot, but you get the idea.



Finally, after much avoidance behavior and a few minor scuffles, some camaraderie amongst the troops. I'm stunned that The Hooligan is the one that the baby is getting along with. The Hooligan doesn't like anybody and usually spends his days off in a corner by himself. I guess miracles do happen.



I pulled up to get gas the other day and this was parked nearby. The guys were trying to adjust some boards to support the arms better, I assume there was too much motion while driving. I'm always amazed that they can even move these huge things in the first place but more so that they usually manage to arrive in one piece. A healthy saguaro can weigh one hundred pounds per foot. This particular one is at least seventy five years old, most likely closer to one hundred. They generally don't start growing arms until they are 50-75 years old.




Hope your weekend was great.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ninny

My Aunt Ninny lost her battle with pancreatic cancer yesterday morning.

I'd love to be able to put together some amazingly deep and profound essay about the gallant battle she fought and how she's "in a better place with God" right now. But guess what? Cancer is one sneaky bastard and this totally sucks. I don't have anything profound to say about losing my sixty year old aunt. And the only thing that's deep is the pain I'm feeling right now.

I'm not going to write up some flowery tribute to her though. Because honestly if I did, I'd be afraid Ninny would materialize in front of me and say "You have GOT to be kidding me! You're going to sit there and write that crap with a straight face?" And then she would roll her eyes, shake her head and declare "I need some coffee!" Ninny never was one for holding back on what she thought. That was okay with me though because I knew she loved me. She was one of those people that if she loved you, she LOVED you, and you never doubted it for one second. And if she didn't, well, you knew that too.

Ninny was one of the most giving people I knew. Not just in material things, but in giving her time. A meal, a ride or a new perspective on a problem was yours for the asking. She would give you the shirt off her back if she thought it would make you more comfortable. But she could also wipe the smile off your face if you got in her cross hairs.

A lot of her life was spent making the world around her a more beautiful place. Ninny grew the most amazing flowers in her gardens and the things she could do with ordinary wall paint were incredible. She loved animals and kids like no-one I know. I mean, the woman could get along with my parent's evil little terrier better than anyone. I think she may have been the only person he came into contact with that he never bit. Now, whether that's because she knew how to soothe the savage beast or whether he just recognized a kindred spirit, we'll probably never know.

But mostly, I don't want her life and my memory of her to boil down to her fight at the end.

I want to remember her as the full of life, full of piss and vinegar aunt that loved me and my family so fiercely. I want to remember the Ninny that stood on her tiptoes on the top step of our fourteen foot ladder so she could paint the high parts of my home because even though I was four inches taller and twenty years younger, I was too scared to do it. And that she made me feel better about being such a wuss.

I want to remember the spiritual woman who insisted on going up to Sedona to visit the vortex. She was right, there was something awesome and peaceful about the place. The real miracle was that we all made it up there with minimal complaints and a stroller carrying Master J. We had some stranger take a picture of the four of us standing on a rock that day. Somehow the picture came out in black & white and I have no idea where my child was while it was being taken but seeing it brings back great memories.



I want to remember the Ninny that adored Master J from the first time she met him at a few weeks old and how she always said he was so special and wonderful. She had complete faith that he would do something great with his life, even when he was testing me to the limit. She also got him a drum set for his fourth birthday, I'm not sure I've forgiven her for that one yet.






And I'm even okay with remembering her like this...



because she was beautiful and smiling in spite of what life had handed her.

So, do I think she's "in a better place with God" now? Yeah, I do. But I have a strong suspicion it's because God might have needed some help at the Pearly Gates. Someone who would welcome with open arms all those who were coming in. And maybe someone who could help keep out the riff-raff that might try to sneak in as well. Sort of a heavenly bouncer. I think she would be perfect for that job.

If there's internet access in Heaven (and why wouldn't there be?), I hope she reads this and knows that what I'm really trying to get at is that I loved her fiercely too. And I'm missing her like crazy. Love ya Ninny!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Lesson in Investing

When Mister C and I took Master J to "Meet the Teacher" night, his teacher had a bunch papers laying on the table nearby. Turns out they were sign up sheets for various opportunities to be involved. I signed up to tutor the kids on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 9:45. A few minutes out of my day, I might be able to help a kid and the teachers know I'm on board with doing what I can to support Master J in school. I highly recommend volunteering at your child's school if at all possible. But that's not what this post is really about. That just explains why I was in my son's classroom this morning and got to hear the following story from his new teacher...

I hadn't been in the classroom for two minutes when Mrs. S pulled me aside and said "I just have to tell you this story because it's one of those that I will never forget!"

So I'm thinking "Great, what did he say now?" because that's usually the case. As expected, today was no different.

Apparently on the first day of school Mrs. S was introducing herself and telling a little bit about her own family. On her desk, she has a picture of her, her husband and her three grown sons. She was going through the family one by one, telling their names and what it is that they each do. One of her sons is some sort of investor, either in banking or stocks, I'm not sure which. The main thing being that he's an investor.

After she got done talking about everyone, Master J got her attention and then said "Did you say investing? You know the thing with investing is that you need buy low and sell high!"

I guess she about fell over. She then told the story to her sons at a family dinner over the weekend and they all cracked up. They couldn't believe he's only nine.

She wrapped up with me by saying "You really need to write a book about him!"

Believe me, I am, just one post at a time.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sit back and do nothing...

Because today is "National Relaxation Day". Seriously. I didn't realize that there was an actual day dedicated to doing not a whole lot. Luckily for us, I think we've got this one covered.











Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vehicle: 1 Qwest Box: 0

Some time last night someone plowed into the Qwest box around the corner from our house. It didn't seem to affect our internet or phone lines but boy, what a mess! Forgive the poor quality of the photos, I was on my way to pick up my produce and the only camera I had with me was in my cell phone.
















Thursday, August 12, 2010

Realtors Suck!

Yes, I'm a Realtor. Yes, I still stand by my statement. Here's the deal...

Yesterday at 11:28 a.m., I submitted a purchase offer to a listing agent for a client. I triple checked to make sure I included everything that they asked for. It was all there. I scanned the offer in and emailed it instead of faxing because more times than not, the fax "never showed up". So I'm trying to keep it simple. I sent a text to the agent to let him know that I had sent the offer and asking him to please let me know that he got it.

I got nothing.

I called the agent's primary phone (the one in the listing, so it should be current) and left a message again asking him to let me know that he had received the offer.

I got nothing.

Because I had an expiration in the contract of 5:00 p.m. today, I knew I needed to make sure that he got it and could submit it to the seller as quickly as possible. I called him again last night around 6:00 p.m. reiterating that I am just trying to make sure he got the offer.

I got nothing.

I called his phone this morning at 9:00 a.m. and left a message for him to please call me. I then called the direct line to his office and, after getting voice mail there as well (WTF?) I left a message. In the message I said basically "I can't get a hold of the listing agent and I'm trying to make sure he got the offer".

I got nothing.

I sent another email to the agent at 11:30 a.m. today letting him know that I had submitted an offer 24 hours prior. I asked if there was anything else that he needed from me.

I got nothing.

I tried calling again around 3:30 p.m. today and it went straight to voicemail.

I texted him at 5:00 p.m. tonight with a simple message "You're a hard man to get a hold of".

I got nothing.

I called and left messages on both his cell phone and the main office phone (again, no answer at the main number?) at 5:30 p.m. letting them know that while the offer had expired, the buyers were still interested.

I got nothing.

I have solid buyers with good work histories and financing already in place that want to buy a listing that has been sitting on the market for over three months. What the *fuck is wrong with agents that they can't even be bothered to respond to an offer to purchase one of their listings? I am so **pissed right now. I cannot believe that these agents are still in business if this is how they run things. I am more floored that this ***d-bag has been in business for eight years. I do not have the patience to deal with this type of ****douchebaggery and *****ass-hattedness. It's no wonder people hate real estate agents, they're idiots.

Edited 8/13/10: Apparently the strong language in my last paragraph has offended my mother. Now, if you in fact know my mother, I will wait for you to stop laughing...

Done yet? Good. Below, please see the politically correct terminology.

*darn blasted tarnation
**slightly miffed
***wonderful man who is obviously just having a hard day
****non-thinking behavior
*****Self-centeredness

While I would never give up my right to free speech, I will acquiesce to my mother's delicate sensibilities.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Because there's not enough chaos around here...







Friday, August 6, 2010

Vulture?

I dropped Master J off at I Mamoo and Papa's house earlier today so I could go meet a friend for breakfast. As we were about to turn onto the dirt road that leads to their house, we noticed an unfortunate young rabbit that had lost in a conflict with a car laying in the middle of the road. I drove carefully around it so as not to decimate it further, remarking to Master J that yes it was sad but sometimes it happens. I didn't think too much more about it until I had to skirt it again after I dropped him off and then again on my way back to pick him up. I hung out with my mom for a few minutes chatting and then Master J and I headed home. As we were turning onto the pavement, I noticed a rather large bird in the road. I did a double take as I realized it had to be some kind of vulture. We watched as it grabbed the rabbit and dragged it to the side. I drove slowly forward so I could get a picture of it. Unfortunately it didn't like that and walked away from the rabbit. I didn't want it to take off so I just took a few pictures with my phone and rolled slowly off. I watched in my rear-view mirror as it went back and started picking at the rabbit. I've seen them circling around out in the desert before, but never up close. It was really cool to see. This picture does no justice to what this bird looks like up close. For the record, they are butt ugly.


Sunday, August 1, 2010

My Painting "Helper"



Yes, that's my drop cloth. You know, the thing that's supposed to cover surfaces I don't want to drip paint on. In this case, that surface is the tub in my bathroom. Which is now completely exposed on every edge because my lard-ass cat has decided to climb into the middle of it. Is it any wonder I can't get anything done in a timely manner?