Move It Or Lose It – No More Google Reader

Woman Pulling Surfboard On A BicycleOn a recent trip to Wales, I snapped this photo of a woman who was clearly finding new ways to change her carbon footprint and get a good workout at the same time. We’d passed her earlier in our car when driving into Tenby and I had missed the shot so I was happy to have another chance to get a photo when we saw her later pulling her surfboard while cycling up the hill.

Woman Pulling Surfboard Behind BicycleI had to work quickly when I saw her right in front of me after walking out of a shop, plus I was using an unfamiliar camera that John had purchased a few days earlier after his fell into the toilet. My Canon G11 had died on me two days before and I was grateful he’d gone ahead with a purchase while we were traveling, not knowing I would need it later myself.

I miss my camera. After two and a half years, I knew what to expect when I wanted to take a photo and now I’m not sure which way to go. There’s a lot to choose from no matter how tight you make the parameters. Change is hard for me especially when it’s unexpected. I’m fine with sudden shifts if I initiate it, but I don’t like being forced to change direction.

For the last few months I have been getting notices from Google that Google reader, my preferred method of following the blogs I read will  be discontinued. It was there yesterday just like the few last weeks telling me that time was running out. Had I done the first thing about researching what to do with all my favorites so I might find them easily.

Nope!

Until yesterday I had done nothing other than grumble about it and the only reason I did something yesterday was because I thought it was the last day to make a change and save them. I don’t want you to think I always wait until the last minute, but I did think it was the end of the month and I was worried because I knew that as of July 1, they would no longer be available.

That said, let me tell you about the easy solution I discovered when I looked up ” changes to Google reader.”  I found several places to put the blogs I read with just a couple of clicks because evidently, I am not the only one who wasn’t sure what to do next and a lot of people have written posts about the process. The two choices I liked best were Feedly and Bloglovin.

For those of you who read GOTJ through Google reader, the end is nigh! Today is the last day to decide so you’d better get moving. Feedly was the easiest and took only a couple of seconds, but I’m glad I also used Bloglovin. I’m not sure which one I’ll prefer, but I like have options.

There are multiple ways to follow my blog, but the easiest might be to subscribe in the upper right corner and have my posts arrive in your inbox.

Going back to the woman and her surfboard, I don’t know why she chose the method she did, but I do admire her willingness to do things in a less conventional way. People like her remind me to look beyond the norm and be willing to try new options … after a bit of grumbling of course.

How do you follow your favorite blogs?

Is change easy or difficult for you?

A Table For Two With A Sea View

Watergate Bay, Cornwall - A Lone Cyclist - 2/2/2012

I always forget that our wedding anniversary falls on ‘ Groundhog Day.’ If you’re not familiar with this annual celebration where a groundhog’s behavior is supposed to determine how much winter is left, you can read about it here.

There’s also a film called ‘Groundhog Day’ where a TV weatherman has to report on the Groundhog Day festivities and finds himself stuck repeating the same day over and over. He’s fairly self-centered and repeating the same day causes him to reevaluate his life and priorities. I never cared much for it, but it is hugely popular with many people.

All that said, John and I did a sort of Groundhog Day yesterday when we went back to the restaurant Fifteen, at Watergate Bay in Cornwall. It’s a gorgeous location and the third year that we’ve celebrated our wedding anniversary with a tasty meal there and a walk on the beach afterward.

Fifteen - A Table For Two With A Sea View

We arrived for a 1:15 reservation to an almost full house and not long after we were seated, the table next to us finished and I was able to snap this photo before the next couple arrived.

I took this without leaving my chair. It was the kind of day that reminds you of why Cornwall is one of Britain’s top holiday destinations. I love living this close to the sea.

Fifteen has a special menu at times that you can choose from along with other more pricey selections. Today’s special included a 3-course meal for 19.95 BPS each. John started with mussels which I never eat, but he enjoyed. I had a had delicious butternut squash soup that was slightly sweet and very filling leaving me struggling a bit to find room for the main course.

He moved on to roast lamb with a potato something underneath and a spinach topping. I should have snapped a photo of the menu so I could review this properly. I’m sorry I can’t be more detailed, but most of what you need to know can be found in the sentence below.

Four words could easily describe our experience, ‘ Great Service, Great Food.’

Speaking of service, our waiter Nick, who I mentioned last year, recognized us right away even though it had been twelve months since our last visit. He said something cute when he asked about my apple/walnut risotto with gorgonzola cheese choice which was a lovely combination of taste and texture.

Nick said his granny Masie liked to say that ‘ An apple without cheese was like a kiss without a squeeze.’ This appears to be a variation of a popular old saying here that I had not heard before and I have to thank Nick for sharing it with me. I’m sure I’ll hear it in my head the next time I reach for an apple.

I wanted a quick photo of John holding my dessert before I dug into it below. Sorry about the woman growing out of his ear. I couldn’t discreetly avoid her and I didn’t want my ice cream to melt. Even a good photographer can have a shift in their priorities when there’s ice cream involved.

The service was excellent with the special message at the end making my sticky toffee pudding even more delightful. Nick is still teaching surfing and appears to doing a bit of modeling as well now. Click here to see him in a surfer shirt from the Fifteen shop.

I caught a quick snap of these surfers in the parking lot when I was changing my shoes for our beach walk. They were rubbing something on their boards which I assume was surf wax, but I’m sure I’ll find out when I take a few lessons this summer. I only have a three-quarter length wet suit not one of these full body ones and after our winter day at the beach, I’m content to wait for warmer weather.

I thought this family made for a cute photo. This appeared to be an outing to see dad surf complete with a sand crazed dog who was clearly happy to be running on the beach.

You can double-click on these to get a closer look. There were loads of surfers out which was brave considering the weather temperature and the amount of ice on the beach.

John took these four photos of me. I took loads of pictures of the ice from different angles never realizing most of the time that he was snapping photos of me. I managed to get some images that pleased me like the first one at the very top of this post with the beach cyclist riding into the sunlight and last two below.

Pieces of ice were breaking off while I was trying to get the shots I wanted and several times I had jump back to avoid being hit. John took this one of me the one below and I like the way the water droplets are blowing through the shot.

He shot this one after I climbed up on an icy rock to get underneath the hanging ice for a the last two images below.

He disappeared through the place in the rock above and I followed him later to see what he’d discovered on the other side.

There are loads of caves and carved out places on this beach and it’s a fun one to explore.

John on the other side.

Here’s a look at what I saw when I climbed up and shot under the shelf with the ice. Notice the water drop in the bottom right. Drops of water were falling constantly while I was shooting and it was fairly surreal having ice framing a beach shot with surfers and dog walkers in the background.

Having the sun sliding down towards the end of its day made for a nice close to another sweet celebration.

Thanks for all the good wishes on Facebook and for those on yesterday’s anniversary post.

It’s always fun to share special days with you.

 

 

What To Wear When You Work At Home & Other Thoughts

It’s 9:15 here and I’m still in my jammies. In a few minutes, I’ll change into my work clothes which often look like the photo below that John took of me the other day. That’s me with my sweet little Canon G11 that allows me capture most of the images you see here, at least those I’ve taken since September 2010.

My work at home attire must meet certain requirements, comfort and flexibility for movement are key so I can crawl out onto to the rocks if necessary when I want to get close to my subject. My camera must be in my other hand because I’m trying to get that stick out of my shot without falling in the water.

I need to tell you that this spot is walking distance from the house here in Cornwall and not  a photo from New Zealand as John and I like to refer to it when discussing it in passing as in, ” You know the river spot that looks like it’s from a Peter Jackson movie.”

Yesterday, I attended a planning strategy meeting. I left the laptop and cell phone behind and took notes the old-fashioned way with a pen on some small squares of paper which I carried in my pocket and scribbled on when I had an idea I thought might work for a novel I’m writing. I was interrupted a few times in the lanes by passing cars requiring me to give way. Some even caught me with pen and paper in hand which must have looked funny given I was dressed for a run like in the first photo. (The photo below is one of the lanes in summer)

There were some other distractions though, seven to be specific. Unlike the old days when a colleague might drop by to discuss a project, my distractions were a different sort. Having intentionally left my camera at home yesterday, I have to substitute a couple of older photos taken on days out like yesterday. Distractions that like to give your hand a lick and wag their tail with delight are always welcome in my world.

This was taken in the buttercup field I’m always referring to in other posts.

Here are a few examples of past work clothing.

I had to wear this look five days a week for three and a half years. It made getting ready for work in the morning very easy.

I’m on the far left in this shot taken during my pharmaceutical career. I won a sales award that night. Judging by the look on my face this must have been taken before I won it. This company did not like for women to wear slacks to work even if it was a suit. Not sure how the woman in the back pulled it off. ( I never realized the size of those shoulder pads, yikes! )

This was taken on a day when I did a presentation along with a local physician who talked about HIV related anemia. I remember this day very well because an older man on crutches (permanent, not temporary) came up to me later and shook my hand. He held it a bit longer than one normally would and said, ” You’re a writer ” which was totally out of context for the event and certainly unrelated to anything I had said that day. I remember I got all teary and had to work to keep from crying.

His look was intense and later when I asked someone about him, they said he had a gift for knowing things and that people went to see him for help. They stopped short of saying psychic as he didn’t like to be called psychic, but said he was known for helping people with his gift. It was certainly an unexpected gift to me that day. To have a stranger sum up something so important, something I barely allowed myself to think about as a real possibility given my work schedule and other things, well … I’ve never forgotten it.

I worked with these ladies on projects a time or two. This one was a breakfast on World AIDS Day. Three of us were working for pharmaceutical companies while Debra at the far left, organized the breakfast and worked for a local hospital at the time. She went on to work with Karen who is standing behind me. Karen ended up working for my old company when she and Debra where downsized from her longtime employer.

Sometimes my work day attire was more fun that other days and I had to hang out with half-naked men. No jokes please about that fanny pack or bum bag, depending on your country of origin, that I’m wearing around my waist. It was a company giveaway and I had to do it.

This was a bad phone photo of me dressed for work in 2008 when I was working for a local hospice. I was in a doctor’s office at the time and wanted to email John a photo of me at work. Can you tell I like black?

 

Elizabeth Harper - Wedding Photographer 2009

Here’s a job I love doing and what I generally like to wear when I’m working. (Note … I hate to shoot posed group shots like this and only do it on request) I’m not sure who to credit for this photo.

John took this one of me shooting from the balcony of a church in Barford, England as the bride was entering. I like to wear black when I photograph weddings and so far no one has yet to confuse me with a waiter. If anyone ever asks me for a drink, I’ll just smile innocently and say, ” Yes please.”

That’s it for today, I’ve got to tie on my work shoes and hit the road for another planning meeting. Sometimes I talk to myself when I’m working through plot lines and yesterday I got caught by an older man who I didn’t see working behind a hedge in his back garden. I felt obliged to stop and explain and I’m still not sure if what I said made sense. His Cornish accent was pretty thick and one can only say, “Pardon?” so many times without feeling foolish. It’s the kind of thing that could come up later in pub conversation as in, ” Aye, did ya know that American girl talks to herself when she’s writing her notes in the lanes. “

Sounds like a partial blurb for a book jacket in a way … American author, Elizabeth Harper, wrote much of her first published novel on notecards while pretending to run through the lanes around the village in Cornwall that she calls home. It was only after hearing a bit of good-natured pub chatter about her antics that she decided on the title, ” Mad Lizzy ” for this well written first book.

It’s actually not the name of the novel I’m working on, but I like it so well that I might use it for something later. What do you think?

 

Traveling Light To London – Packing The Essentials

London Skyline From The London Eye

This Monday I will be traveling by train to London to spend a view days with my friend David who came for a visit last summer with his partner Steven. He invites me to join him every time he comes London and I’ve not been able to before now. To get in the mood for my temporary transition from a country mouse to a city one, I’m posting a few pictures from my last trip to London.

These were taken last September when my sister came to visit and John joined us in London for my big birthday. I loved his present of a Canon G11 which is able to isolate accent colors when you shoot in black and white mode. This camera is definitely one of the essentials I’m packing for my trip.

This is another shot from the London Eye. If you want to get a look at London from the air, this is well worth the cost of the ride.

Artists like the one you see here, always amaze me.

Be sure you double-click on this picture to see the man on the pier. I didn’t see him when I took the photograph, but thought he added something to it when I saw him later while editing the image.

This shot reminded me a bit of photographs I’ve seen of Venice even though it’s the Thames and that’s not a gondola.

This is the bag I am taking for a three-day trip. It’s actually an old leather briefcase-handbag I used to use for work. Even though I’m pretty good at packing light, this maybe an interesting challenge as it’s not very big and a bit narrow. I’ll let you know once I get it packed.

Shades Of Cornish Grey

 

This is my third winter in Cornwall and while we get more sun than many places in the UK, some would complain about the amount of grey days during the coldest months. Grey can seem fairly bland when compared to colors like red or yellow, but with shades of blue and lavender like you see below, I believe I can ‘ tolerate ‘ what I like to think of as shades of Cornish grey.

This part of the moor is very close to our house with only a short walk through the lanes before you leave the road to cross on foot. There are roads that go across the moor in places, so you can drive, but not in this spot and it’s one of my favorite places to go locally, second only to the buttercup field and Lavethan Wood.

We’ve got wild moorland ponies here who don’t always act like they’re wild. These three were happy to come closer to say hello to me. I’ve been known to carry sugar cubes in my pocket so perhaps they’ve heard about me through the PNN. (Pony News Network)

I took this from a favorite spot on the moor as the sun was going in for the day. If you click to enlarge it, you can see the wind turbines on the hill. Most people don’t like the way they look, but they are so far from us that I barely notice them. In fact, the telephoto on my Canon G11 had trouble with the distance so it’s not the best image quality. They do give a more modern look to a landscape that most days looks like a movie set from another time period so I can see why people might be put off by them.

Bedruthan Steps – A Closer Look At A Special Place

Some of you may remember this photograph taken recently by a visiting friend from America. You may have also seen this post where I tell you that only a few minutes after stepping off the plane in Cornwall for the first time to meet John face to face, he brought me to this magical place.

Even in February it was obvious that Bedruthan Steps was spectacular with its jagged rocky face extending into the sea and the cliffs with signs that warned walkers not to go too close the edge, but allowed one to decide where the edge was for themselves.

Because we usually visit this location on the anniversary of that first meeting, it is generally windy and cold and while you can go down the hill behind us in the picture and up the other side, there is a locked gate during many months of the year when the steps behind it are considered too dangerous and slippery for people to climb up and down.

Two days ago we arrived with my sister Margaret and found the gate unlocked. It was my first time to walk on the beach at Bedruthan Steps and not a memory I am likely to forget. Here are some pictures from that beach walk.

Going slowly, we make our way carefully down the steep steps.

Here is a hazy look back at the steps after we reached the beach.

This gorgeous golden sand was everywhere.

John climbing through the rocks to reach another beach.

More people followed us through the opening. I like the informal triangular point they lined up into without knowing. Margaret is in the center with her camera raised.

Off they go back through the opening leaving us alone on the beach once again.

Here’s a windblown sister snap taken by John.

Leaving only our footprints behind we go back to the other side as well.

Dogs were everywhere and all seemed well-behaved and happy to have their time in the sun.

This is a classic Margaret pose with her weight balanced just so and her camera in hand.

A little kiss of thanks before we go for introducing me to this lovely place.

Then it’s back up the steps we go with John leading the way.

Here is a shot from the top of the stairs.

Here is one of John with Margaret behind him coming up even more steps on the way back to the car.

Ugh!   We … are … almost … there … whew!

Taking a last look back, you can see where the first photo was snapped down near the wall and the group of people standing there. (click to enlarge)  I hope I didn’t overwhelm you with photos today, This is only a few of the photographs from our time on the beach and it was difficult to choose which told the story best so I went with more rather than less.

Last Night Of The Proms 2010 – Hyde Park

I know The Last Night of the Proms is more than just a big patriotic sing-a-long, but for this American it was a dream night that I had imagined being a part of since first becoming aware of it several years ago. If you’ve ever had an opportunity to be in a mass of 30,000 flag-waving people singing in unison, you will know exactly what I mean.

Even though I tried to watch with an eye for detail so I might retell my experience, I found myself singing loudly along with the rest of the people gathered in Hyde Park and focused more on what I was feeling and less on observing others. Knowing that this night was part of the plan for my birthday week in London, I had brought back two American flags from my last US visit to wave in what I knew would be a sea mostly Union Jack and English colors. Flags from other countries were represented in spots and I even saw Confederate flag with what looked like Elvis’s face superimposed over its center.

Rarely does an experience deliver the excitement one imagines it will, but being in Hyde Park on September 11, 2010 did that and more. In addition to fun, I had a chance to see up close how some Brits celebrate their love of music with an opportunity to dress up in some wildly patriotic outfits along with a few folks in more traditional formal attire. The Last Night of the Proms ends a two month series of concerts at The Royal Albert Hall and include Proms in the Park on the last evening. It is on this final night that gestures get grander and people show a side that makes you wistfully happy to be part the singing crowd regardless of your nationality.

Some people dress up but don’t seem to want their picture taken. Oops!

The flag tribute in the photo above to the NYC Firefighters was a touching memorial to those who died on September 11, 2001

I like NY shirt on the man in the photo above.

I snapped a couple of photographs with this group and after giving them a quick look at my images, I showed the man who is giving me a thumb’s up how to adjust his Canon G11 so he might pick up an accent color like I was doing for my images that night. I love this cool feature on the G11. It turns out that I gave a little tutorial to a man who spends a fair amount of time in front of the camera instead of behind it. You can see more of Mike Brewer here.

Even though ” No Glass” signs were posted and bags were checked, we saw quite a few folks breaking the rules.

Dancing was happening everywhere with all ages and throughout the evening.

This was an American artist from New York, but I’m afraid I cannot remember her name. Feel free to help me out and I will go back and add it. (Big thanks to Pete who left Nell Bryden’s name in a comment … see more about Nell here)

Check out the Confederate flag with Elvis. Someone told me in our hotel that rooms were full because of the Proms, the Pope’s visit, and Elvis.  It seems they were expecting them ( The Pope & Elvis, though not together)  later in Hyde Park.

Vibram Five Fingers

I wore my ” Monkey Feet ” to the Proms.

Margaret taking in the scenery as things were getting started.

Click on this one to see the field of flags.

John’s eldest daughter took this with her new iPhone. He still looks pretty tan from his channel sailing a few weeks ago.

The fireworks gave a nice finish to things after a less than rousing version of, ” God Save The Queen.”  Do have a look and listen to at least two of our group sings so you can get a feel for how it felt to be there.  Rule Britannia” and Land of Hope & Glory ” are just two from the evening, but they will give you a chance to see what I’m raving about.

Saturday Night Fun

This image was taken last night at an event in London that I have wanted to go to for a very long time. It was even more amazing than I had imagined it might be and I have some photos I think you are going to enjoy later and maybe a bit of video too.

I snapped the photograph above of John after dark with my new camera. That’s right … my new camera! John gave me a Canon G11 for my birthday. Can you believe it? What a sweetheart thing to do. I’m still learning how to use it, but I have already taken about 3000 photographs since opening it on Friday. I am editing the Saturday photographs down to a more reasonable level and should have them up tomorrow.

Can anyone guess where we might be  …