Thursday, November 26, 2009


At the end of August this year my trusty but old computer crashed. It took with it every photo I'd ever taken digitally plus every word I'd written since 1995. It basically took away my life because I use my camera and Adobe Photoshop to make my art. My son, who is now a certifiable genius, loaned me his notebook and took on the arduous and sometimes seemingly impossible task of resurrecting my old computer from the dead.

Things went along well for 3 months while he sporadically probed the depths of my computer. I continued to take photos and use photoshop daily. I started listing my photos on Etsy...a long time dream of mine. So imagine my surprise when two weeks ago I went to one of my picture sites to retrieve some photos and when clicking on what looked like my gallery link initiated a tsunami of malware and trojans onto his notebook.

It seems that the innocent looking Adobe Acrobat Reader that popped up and then closed on my screen was hiding some nasty stuff that followed my keystrokes and wouldn't let me out of its stranglehold unless I BOUGHT the software needed to erase the viruses it had downloaded to me. Cyber blackmail at its best. Needless to say that notebook crashed and along with it three months of photos, notes, emails, etc. I was back to where I'd started...unable to connect in cyberspace with anyone.

Long story short. This latest cyber attack on my computer put my son into hyperdrive and he worked one solid week to restore my old computer and protect it from every and all nasty and malicious software that tried to worm its way in. He succeeded so well that I have my restored computer working better, faster and safer than ever before. And I can once again blog, post and list to my heart's content.

The moral of this story is simple. TRUST NO ONE. Even if a friend sends you a letter and there is a link, jpg or doc file in it don't click on it unless you computer tells you it's been checked for incoming viruses. As far as clicking links on websites...that's a crap shoot, I guess. I thought that this picture site was safe but they had obviously been hacked by professionals. This has happened on Twitter and even Facebook so the best advice is to be sure your security software is up to date.

BTW...the link you will be taken to if you click the title of this post is BusinessWeek. There you can read the full story about Adobe and their Hacker battle.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my tweets and facebook friends!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sugar Cookies - 140 year old English recipe

I wanted to share a favorite family recipe. I've been making these for almost 35 years. Before you say ewww, icky...bacon grease...I want to tell you that I've tried making this several different ways without the grease and the flavor is NOT the same. Of course if you hate bacon, leave it out! These are amazingly delicious sugar cookies and since they're now discovering that not all saturated fats are harmful I'm willing to give into my yearly craving at the holidays.

Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies

1 c. brown sugar
1 c. white sugar
1 c. shortening combine: 1/2 c. bacon grease & 1/2 c. Crisco
2 eggs
1 scant tsp. baking soda, mixed with milk
3 T. milk
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
dash of salt

Cream together the sugar and the shortening. Gradually add the well beaten eggs, vanilla and milk. Beat in remaining ingredients and add flour until cookies are of a consistency for rolling. Roll out, cut with round cutter and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for approx. 14 minutes.

This recipe from the Angola Episcopal Women's Cookbook, 1970; Mary Hankins, Albion, Indiana

Thursday, November 05, 2009

I THINK in Photographs

Ever since my computer crashed in late August I have been neglectful of blogging. Call it apathy or laziness but it didn't seem important that I express my feelings on a daily basis because what I was mostly feeling was anger and discontent. In the those early days of computing I could turn on the computer, maybe, and nowadays I find myself spending most of my time online or just on the computer working at post-processing my photography.

But not having my 'real' computer has done something to me. The first thing is it has given me a sense of discontent. I'm using my son's laptop and the keyboard is all wrong. I can't get my fingers on the right keys and if I don't keep typing I find that my hands fall on the wrong keys and everything is scrambled. Very disconcerting. I mentioned to him recently about building me a new computer and he said he'd totally forgotten about his promise because I seemed to be getting along just find with his laptop. I think NOT.

Yes, I can still do my post-processing in Adobe PS but I have to hit an error key 53 times before it will actually open the program. Then there's the problem of my printer, scanner, tablet and mouse. There are just not enough USB ports to hold everything and I'm constantly plugging and unplugging things all day long.

So what am I really trying to say? In life, it's the little things that bug you and just really, really get under your skin. But I did do something that I've been putting off ever since that fateful day in August. I've finally put my photography out for all the world to see. In some ways it looks a lot like most of the photography out there. Kinda grainy, textured and antiqued...but I'm working on developing my own unique style. I find that every day the camera finds its way into my hands to record the moments in life that pass by without much notice. The way the new kittens snuggle down next to my husband, the 'cat whisperer'; the late afternoon light as it filters down thru the autumn trees; the full moon that shines so brightly even I can find my way around without the porch light.

Today I read something on a website that fully explained why blogging is so difficult for me. It said: I can't write stories only moments because I think in photographs. So to all my followers please note that sometime soon I may only be photogging, not blogging.