Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day Trip

 
These are Day Lilies and yesterday we took a day trip. Nice segue, yes?
I had some price checking to do for some household items and a few work items so we decided to hit Costco also. This is all in Bellingham, USA, requiring a border crossing. We listened to the road and border reports and thought that 20 minutes was not too bad and we would tough it out. The estimated time does not take cheaters into account and our wait time became almost an hour! How some people endure this on a regular basis is beyond me.
 
The final insult was being right behind a bright yellow Corvette that was detained at the booth and then escorted away by armed guards. That took an extra 10 minutes. It is all surprisingly forgotten once we get moving again, but then the anxiety returns when we contemplate an equal wait on the way home.
 
We did our shopping, saved about $40.00 in total, and then headed home. But what is this? No line-up on the way home? No interrogation? No duty to pay?
Let's do this again.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Lack of Colour

 
I received a Photography book from Andrew for Father's Day, "The Essential Guide To Landscape Photography'. I have been reading it slowly, savouring it, and learning from it. I am on the chapter that teaches the various aspects of black and white landscape photography at the moment and I am inspired. I am going to try more of this in the future. I find that many times the light is not ideal for the photo I am aiming for, but often that very bad light for colour photographs is ideal for black and white. In fact, the bad weather that usually will keep a photographer indoors is what to look for when taking dramatic B&W photos. I am anxious to try some of the ideas when we go to Oroville next month. The skies can be quite dramatic there.
In the meanwhile, I am enjoying the run of the mill summer photos that I am taking and doing a bit of work on them in Photoshop.
 
 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Follow-up

 
Just a follow-up to my post of a few days ago. The client called quite late in the evening and I met her at her condo where she did pay me. She had a few friends in to see the new d├ęcor and I was given praise for what they thought was a great job. That is rewarding because I did the colour scheme as well as the work. There was a faint promise of more work to come, for the client's friend.  
 
There have been few times in my many years as a contractor that I have had a bad debt. It was one of the reasons that I got out of new construction and concentrated on re-decoration. In re-decoration there is a budget, and agreed upon price, and the client is looking forward to new and great things when the project is over. They willingly pay. When doing commercial or new construction, the company will at times have a financial problem and the last guys on the job get the shaft. I was dinged good a few times, but fortunately not often.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Patience

 
We are finally getting around to putting on a new deck roof this week. We purchased all the lumber and started painting it in the cool of the morning, on the shady side of the house. I propped myself up in a lawn chair between coats of paint, but had to find the shade. It was a hot day. And then the Humming birds started humming around the flowers only a few feet from where I was sitting. Of course, they only come when my camera is not at hand. But being an optimist, I ventured inside to get the camera and then waited.

 
And surprise, surprise. They came back. I actually managed to get about 40 shots of the two of them, but with the poor light, (they refused to go into the sun, just like the photographer) the images were not sharp. But, I will take what I can get.

 
For those who know what this means, the auto ISO setting on the camera was too high because of the poor light. Also, I could not get a fast shutter speed or small aperture for depth of field so the photos are lacking sharpness and contain a lot of 'noise', that grainy dirt like appearance on the image.

 
The tiny birds promptly left and I again resorted to photographing flowers, my favourite subjects. They co-operate immensely, I can choose the ones in the best light, and I need not exercise any patience.  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Excuses

 
I met with a client yesterday afternoon who was going to pay me after I returned her key for the condo she was moving into at the end of the month. She promised to bring me a cheque.
 
After almost forty years of hearing every excuse in the book for not getting paid when promised, I was on the alert when she said, as she approached me, that she was sorry, but she "could not pay me today". When I hear this, I do not say anything, but rather let my silence ask the question. And then it came.
"I went to my bank but could not get anywhere near it. There were 15 police cars, a S.W.A.T. team, and miles of yellow police tape all around my bank. They had been robbed and were closed for the rest of the day."
Whether it was true or not, I thought it was a good excuse and  I will meet her again tonight to see if she has the money.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dental Work

 
I was at my dentist yesterday getting a regular check-up, cleaning, and examination. I have issues.
 
It started when the x-ray machine came out and the heavy lead shield was draped over my upper body. I noticed that something was new and improved. The shield was larger and had a very high 'turtle neck' that came right up under my chin.
 
I found a few YouTube videos regarding dental x-rays and the dental associations claim that there is less radiation than ever with the new digital x-rays and the exposure to radiation is similar to being in the sun for a few hours for a week or taking a cross country airliner flight, and is very safe!  
 
If this is the case, then why the lead shield? Not only that, but why does the dental technician run out of the room each time she snaps a pic? Why is there not a shield for my brain. (Don't laugh, I apparently do have one.)
 
Apparently new studies have shown that if you have dental x-rays more than once every two to three years, you have a good chance of developing small brain tumours called Meningioma that are precursors to brain cancer.
 
But that is just my first issue. I refused fluoride and was made to feel like I was paranoid. I did not do it because of fear of this toxin, but because I have a gag reflex similar to aspartame when it goes in my mouth. I think my body just recognizes what is poison and warns me.
 
Another issue is the ability of the dentist to discover minute pockets of decay with his hand held device, x-rays, and his brutal little poker, the kind that my mom told me to never put in my mouth when I was a kid. He found 5 of these tiny things this time and he wants to drill and fill each and every one of them for the low, low price of $1200.00!
 
And that brings me to the final beef, and that is the cost of dentistry overall. It is assumed that the patient is on a dental plan so anything goes. I, being self-employed and now semi-retired,  am not on a plan so I pay every cent myself from my after tax dollars. The conversation in the elevator down from my appointment was interesting. A middle aged lady was complaining about having to pay $25 for her newly cleaned teeth. Obviously, she was on a plan. My invoice for the very same thing was $231.00!  

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Farewell Minter Part 2

 
This combination of colours is interesting.


 
These were spectacular!


 
Tiger Lilies, reminding me of Sask. where they are the provincial flower.

 
Shaped hedges with the wedding tent in the background.

 
The air was cool behind this aqueduct waterfall.

 
The water played with the light, making for challenging but interesting photography.



 
We happened upon a wedding procession, the best part being the pretty little flower girls and the ring bearer below.


 
Rubbing the gardener's head for good luck.



 
It was a wonderful afternoon. Next year at this time, when Minter Garden's is no more, we will at least have a few photos and some good memories. Thanks Bill and Ella, and Frank and Elma for joining us.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Farewell to Minter Gardens

 
Last weekend we went, with friends, to visit Minter Gardens. This is the last season for this popular commercial garden. The sun was warm, the buffet in the Trillium Restaurant was delicious, the flowers were magnificent, and the company stellar.













Sunday, July 21, 2013

Harvest Time

 
Another trip to the garden, this time to harvest more potatoes. Getting out early in the morning to beat the heat is the only way to go. The garden is a model of lushness and bounty. The plants are healthy and yielding large amounts of produce which we have already been enjoying in salads and the potatoes in a variety of ways. We stopped for blueberries on the way home. Delicious!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Visit

 
Saturday visit to see my dad. Actually, where my dad's remains are. The headstone from 2002 was refurbished and looks like new.