Thursday, November 21, 2013

No Service

Two weeks ago Jeff and I drove towards northeast Iowa for an evening (you'll see more pictures from that trip). We had no real plans, just a hotel in Davenport that night. As we were heading out we passed through the town of Grundy Center and Jeff decided to drive around the main square. There was a nice county building in the middle of the square and some shops. We were about to head back onto the road when we turned one of the corners we noticed an abandoned church that demanded more attention. It was slowly being reclaimed by vines and the effect was fascinating. We stopped and walked over to take pictures. I would have taken more but there was a dog barking on the other corner the entire time we were there. I just love the look of the ivy and the general rundown state of what was once a very lovely building (although the Weber grill is a bit confusing).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Selfie with Hat

I'm not a fan of selfies. I take quite a few pictures lately but most of them are not of myself. I don't always like to look at pictures of myself and I certainly don't like the reaching and odd positioning that most selfies require. But since the Oxford English Dictionary has decided to celebrate this word, I'm going to post one. Mostly because of the hat.

I realized that in all my pictures I don't have a single one of me in this hat, which seems amazing. I love this hat. I've practically worn out this hat I've worn it so much. Jeff and I were in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and while walking, we happened upon this old dying shopping district. There were two maybe three stores left in a whole four block area. We stopped into the sporting  goods store, and I decided to buy something. After all we were on vacation and the man running the store was incredible sweet. He told us old stories about when he was a pitcher. I wish I remembered his name. I'd look him up.

I needed a new hat so I was check out his stock. And the hat you see is the one I kept coming back to. I'd look over the hundreds he had but I kept coming back to that hat. So I asked. I thought it was just an odd Boston College logo. He informed me that it was for a minor league baseball team in New York, the Brooklyn Cyclones. And I knew at that moment that I had to have it. I love minor league baseball. I love obscure teams, that people outside of the city of origin might not know. I'd certainly never heard of the Cyclones. I love that I bought a hat for a minor league NY team in Fort Lauderdale. And I loved the hat. I bought it and I've hardly taken it off since. Twice now I've had to wash it but it's still going strong, although it was blue when I bought it. I just hope that the Cyclones are still playing when the hat finally wears out. I'll need to buy another one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


The Cardinals were playing the series at the time. Jeff slaved over that one. 

In October, one of our good friends came down from Minneapolis and stayed with us for a couple days. Since it was right before Halloween we decided to carve pumpkins one night. Jeff and I had bought a few to carve and it was a great night. I roasted the seeds (which didn't last two days) and we had jack o'lanterns on the porch for a couple days. The first night we went out with candles and lit them up and took pictures. I love how the camera takes dark shots. The ones above are both Jeff's pumpkins. The ones below were Josh and mine.

 Left to right: Cooperative, Josh's, mine

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Rainy Day

It's November and it's raining. I woke up to rain and fog and lovely 50 degree weather. A rare treat this late in the fall. I love rainy days. I feel more energized on rainy days. I get more done. I'm sitting writing right now but I thought I'd actually post a picture since I promised to post one daily. Oops. I have to learn not to make these kind of promises.

This is from a trip that Jeff and I were taking up to Minneapolis this summer. The storm clouds up ahead were impressive and a bit intimidating. But we kept driving anyway. By the time we got up there, it was just the tail end of the rain. But I snapped some pictures of the rather scary clouds.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


This is my favorite picture of my kitty, Misty. I've taken well over a hundred photos of our spoiled kitty but this one is probably the cutest. I love the light and the look on her face. As she gets older I realize how wonderful it is to have photos and videos of her.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In the Spirit of Fairness

To be completely fair and honest, I wanted to show you the difference that the Super Vivid setting on my  camera has on the pictures I take. Here are two pictures, of the exact same tree, taken seconds after each other. The first one has super vivid, which should be apparent.

The one below does not. Now I'll admit that the one above looks more like what I was seeing that day in the bright sun. It is closer to the colors. Which might explain why I took so many pictures that day. All my pictures tend to be dulled just a bit from true color. But this has been the case with every camera I've ever owned. Either way, fake or real, that super vivid is a really cool feature for photos of the fall colors.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Daily Shots

Last November I got a camera for my birthday and wrote about it here. Over the last year the camera has become a regular companion for me. On the weekends I tend to grab it before I leave the house most days. It's light, fits in my pocket, and takes the kind of photos that I always wished I could take. I'm a little in love with it.

And I want to share some of my photos with you. In an attempt to make sure I post a bit more, and to show off some of the beautiful things this camera can do, I'll be posting a picture everyday. We'll see how long this lasts but I love the idea. This will push me to post and push me to get outside to take even more pictures. Win-win, in my book.

So here is my first picture. It was taken with the Super Vivid setting on my camera so the colors are a tad more intense than they would be with other cameras. But this is much closer to what I was seeing that day. It was one of the more glorious days we've had. This was taken right outside the Iowa Arboretum in Boone County. You'll see more pictures from that trip. I took well over 60 in the arboretum alone.

Thursday, November 7, 2013


So I broke down and started a Twitter account over the last couple of months. A friend of mine talked me into it. While I was signing up I kept wondering how often I would use it. I am not particularly succinct. I have a tendency to use 20 words when 5 will do and I figured I would struggle using only 140 characters.  And that is true to a point. But I was missing the whole point of Twitter. I was worried about posting. Now I realize that Twitter is perfect for listening.

Once I started the account I saw how many of my favorite authors, artists, and musicians happened to have accounts. I started following people I admire, people who's work inspires me. And they posted things about their work and their lives. I found a quick easy way to tell artists how much I admire their work. And I quickly became obsessed.

I have a number of friends that I follow and I love to hear what's going in their life. I use my twitter account the same way I use Facebook. More reading and less posting. And when I do post I try to make it good, not just what I'm eating for lunch that day. If you are interested in seeing me struggle to keep my posts to 140 characters follow me over on @catbier. If you do, let me know you're coming from the blog and I'll try to follow you too. Twitter is fun!

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Green Room

On October 29th I decided that this was the year I was going to do NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month and the NaNoWriMo organization offers a contest to see which writers can write a novel in a month. I've decided to unofficial try it. So my evenings and weekends and any other spare moment, will be spent working on my novel. They suggest about 50,000 words. I'm currently at 6,000. 

But my timing this year is perfect. My back bedroom is clean and ready for use. And to top that off, I decided to paint the place at the beginning of October. I had been talking about painting for months, as one of my friends can attest to. I debated between green and purple. I also debated when to do it. In order to paint, I have a couple of tons of books to move. So I kept putting it off. I had originally planned it to be a spring project, then a summer project, and finally a fall project. 

One Friday evening I came home and told Jeff that we were having dinner near the hardware store. We walked in after dinner and I picked up a lovely shade of green. It's called Lettuce Alone from Olympic paints. The woman at the counter told me it was an "interesting" color. I think she meant that in a good way. I came home that night and started moving stuff. I moved books and bookcases. I moved the bed. The next morning I got up and started taping and then I started painting. I spent the whole day painting and moving things. But by the end of the day, I had a green room. Along with a green paint brush, green ladder, green drop cloth, green edger, and partly green pants. I never said I was a tidy painter. 

A computer, green walls, and a thermos of coffee. All set to write. 

The end result is that I love the color. I love the room. It seems so much brighter and so much warmer. Most of the art I have on the wall doesn't really match but I've decided that I don't care. I love these walls. And I love my new place to write. I sit up here happily, basking in the cheerfulness. At least I have a good place to make my first novel attempt in over 15 years. Now if the book will only come out as good as the color.