Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 Months

The text is kinda small...It says:

Dear Dad,

Well, it's been 3 months. I'm getting by - it's hard, but I'm happy, overall. I know that's what you'd want - I guess that makes it easier.

Yesterday I wrote the speech I'll give at your burial. I don't know how I feel about fumbling through another speech in front of the gazillion people who love you, but I'll do my best.

My little cousin Lydia asks about you a lot. You never met her and I don't know why she's so curious about you, but it is really sweet. She loves looking at old pictures of you - she says you were "very handsome!" - and she's decided her favorite band is the Beatles. She and I often dance to "I'll Follow the Sun" and "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da."

I talked to Barry yesterday. He misses you too. Everybody does, of course...I think I do the most, though.

Love you, miss you,
Amy

Life goes on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Too tired to sleep

I'm exhausted. Very, very exhausted. The kind of exhausted that keeps me from being able to fall asleep.

No good.

I went up north to the cabin Saturday morning and got home around 8 tonight - a short, but fun mini-vacation. The weather was perfect and I watched fireworks for the first time in....a long time. Lots of running around with my little cousins, swimming, fetch with Bailey (who is happy to get in the water and show off his doggy paddle this year!), grilling, tubing (none for me - I just went along for the ride), a bit of bocce ball, and sparklers!

It was a good time, but all that time running around in the sun really exhausted me (I can be redundant because I am tired.) There were LOTS more people around than I am used to up there - I think that wore me out too. I get overwhelmed when things are chaotic and I don't really get the chance to recharge.

Life is weird...I've been going to the cabin pretty much my whole life. It feels exactly the same, but totally different at the same time. It's changed a lot - the cabin, the neighbors, the lake, the town...there's MORE of everything.

My little cousins are growing up so fast. People always say that about kids, but I have only recently realized just how true it is. I remember being up there when my cousin was pregnant with the oldest kid - he's 8 1/2 now. A few years ago, he fell off the dock - it was near shore and he didn't get hurt or anything, but he was scared and cried and cried...Now I can throw him in the lake and he laughs - then runs back on the dock and pushes me in.

My life is totally opposite of my cousin's. She's living "The American Dream" and I'm...just me. I'm not at all surprised that we turned out so differently, but it still feels kind of weird sometimes. As often as I feel like a part of the family, I feel like a total outsider. Always welcome, but odd...

I can't find the right words to describe it.

It's not bad. Just odd. Sometimes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday Review: Picnik

If you use Flickr, then you've probably heard of Picnik (that little button above your photo that says "EDIT PHOTO" will take you there). I used the free version via Flickr for a wee bit, liked the interface, and noticed that there were several features that sounded really cool, but weren't available without the $24.95 premium subscription (1 year). After getting VERY frustrated with Photoshop so many times, I decided that was a reasonable cost! I haven't used it a TON yet, but I decided it was worth a review!


Who: Piknik

What: Online photo-editing software

Price: Free for standard features, $24.95 for a year of the premium version

Where: Flickr or www.picnik.com

Why: Definitely worth checking out for all the fun features - and it is so much easier to use than Photoshop!

Pros:
  • Cool artsy effects and touch-up features like teeth whiten and blemish remover (listed on the "Create" page)
  • Nothing to download
  • It is very CUTE!
  • Far less complicated than Photoshop - and I prefer the interface to PhotoshopExpress
  • Integrated with Flickr
  • Easy to use with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Picasa, Webs, Webshots, Photobucket, and more
  • Fullscreen capability (although this mode disables keyboard shortcuts)
  • All the changes you make are saved
Cons:
  • A downloadable version would be nice - lots of uploading your photos for editing, downloading to print, uploading to printing website like Shutterfly
  • The Flash interface can be a wee bit annoying
  • It can take a relatively long time for photos to load
  • $24.95 is a reasonable price, but assuming I want to continue using it, next year at this time, it'll have costed me $50...a one-time fee would be preferable.
  • As I edited photos, I expected the changes to save within Picnik, but they are only saved to the version you actually save to your computer or whatever
  • You have to save each photo before editing the next
More things worth mentioning:
  • Firefox add-on available here
  • You can send your Picnik-editied images to QOOP for prints - I'm not familiar with QOOP, but it looks pretty cool and the prices and products available are comparable to other sites (although I'd rather be able to pick up my photos from Target than pay for shipping and wait for them to be mailed to me)...I'd be more likely to try QOOP if they had some deal for signing up - like 25 free prints!
  • You can also easily print from home from the site
  • The "stickers" and "text" features seem perfect for simple digital scrapbooking
My rating:
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ - I really like how fun and easy picnik is to use, but I have to give it 3 stars because I'd really like to be able to send my images directly to a site for printing that has in-store pick up. I also think that I'd rather be able to download the software and use it off-line. Try the free features and if y0u like it, I definitely recommend the $24.95 subscription.