THE EASTER BOUQUET – Marilyn Armstrong

The Easter Bouquet – FOTD – 04/24/2019

It was Easter. We weren’t going anywhere or doing anything. No one seemed to be doing anything and to be fair, I was just grateful I didn’t have to cook a huge meal that I couldn’t eat anyway.

I have to say that when you can’t really eat, cooking loses a lot of its attraction. And after cooking for a husband and kids and other people since I was 18 (was I really ever 18?), I could do without ever cooking for anyone ever again.

But I do because Garry doesn’t cook and if I don’t cook, he won’t eat. He might go so far as to open a can of soup, but that’s pretty much it. These days, though, cooking for a crowd is not on my agenda. I occasionally get enthusiastic about trying out a new dish. Mostly I do a lot of sighing while saying: “I suppose I have to COOK.”

Meanwhile, I am waiting for Garry to say those magic words: “Don’t worry Sweetheart. I’ve got this.”

The closest I get to that is (1) he will put a frozen pizza in the oven, and (2) he’ll drive to Mickey D’s and buy el cheapo chicken sandwiches.

If there was a good take-out joint in this town, we could occasionally work something out, but we don’t have anyplace worth going. Even when we can afford it, it isn’t worth the effort much less the money.

But I get flowers.

Sometimes, he brings home amazing bouquets and I don’t dare ask how much they cost. He no longer buys them in the grocery store, either. He goes to The Flower Lady who does all kinds of really fancy arrangements. He won’t cook, but he buys me flowers.

And he has gotten really into our birds. He watches the feeders and as soon as they get a little bit low, he’s out there filling them.

“Big group for dinner tonight,” he says, staring out the window. Like me, the first thing he does when he gets up — even if it is just to go to the bathroom — he has to look out the window and see who’s there.

We get pixellated by the birds. You go into the kitchen for something, but instead of whatever you were doing, you just stand there, watching the birds. “I see the pigeons have done a good job cleaning up the deck,” he adds. “You know, while I was feeding them, there were a few on the rail giving me a look which says ‘Get out of the way, fool. We’re hungry.’

“We didn’t get any squirrels today, ” he comments. I assure him we did. Between flocks of birds.

So I guess I’ll keep him.

Garry, I mean. The birds belong to the woods.

TIME FOR A SNACK! FLYING SQUARES FOR BECKYB – Marilyn Armstrong

Time for a Snack – A Flying Square for BeckyB!

I need to talk about the lens I used for this shoot. I am now the proud, impoverished owner of a beautiful, new 100-300 mm lens for my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II.

Olympus makes a 75 – 300 mm lens, but its low-end is f4.8 and high-end is f7.3 — which if you know photography, is pretty slow. I should add that the Olympus lens isn’t native to the micro 4/3 either, requiring an adapter which cost half again as much as the lens. You can buy cheap ones, but they don’t work. You need the Olympus model and that costs almost $200. They are never on sale or available second-hand.

This lens is native to the micro 4/3. Panasonic uses the same format as Olympus, which is good for both manufacturers since, in micro 4/3, there are plenty of lenses from which to choose. This one opens at f4 and ends at f5.6, which while not really speedy, is definitely faster than the Olympus model — and without an adapter, it will also work better.

The price of the Panasonic lens is higher, but since you don’t need the adapter, the price is not far apart and the Panasonic is a better lens. It’s silky smooth and sharp.

Having never bought a long lens for the Olympus, I’ve been using my Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-1000 for anything that required a long lens. It was bothering me to so rarely use my best camera.

Well, okay, the FZ-1000 is a good camera too. Just a very different camera. It may even be a great camera, but I prefer the color and fine finish of the Olympus. I wanted to work with it.

I really wanted that lens and finally, against all logic and reason, I bought it.

The Panasonic 100-300 mm lens costs as much (more?) than the camera. Most good lenses cost as much or more than the cameras they work with. Good glass is expensive, with good reason. Cameras wear out, but lenses, properly cared for, last forever.  You can get many new cameras and keep using your original lenses.

Lenses are an investment. Cameras are temporary.

I don’t have a lot of high-end lenses. It’s a poverty thing — but then, I saw this on sale for $100 less, supposedly “used” on Amazon. My experience with “used” lenses from Amazon is that they are actually new lenses, unopened and never used. This was true for this lens too. Brand new, never opened, never taken from its original packing. Just $100 less, making it barely affordable.

Warblers

I took it out of its container, fitted it on the camera … and there wasn’t a bird in sight. Disappointed, I played with the focus and suddenly, a slew of birds shows up including a woodpecker, another bird I don’t recognize, a bunch of warblers and Chickadees. As I shot, they actually got into quite a little tussle over who got the next seed.

You’d think we were running out of birdseed, but there’s at least a couple of pounds of seeds in the feeder. Various birds are getting possessive about who eats first, second, next.

Meanwhile, the lens is a winner!

It’s good for exactly the purpose for which I bought it. Birds. All the reviewers talked about birds. That’s what you do with a lens that long. Shoot birds. I suppose you could also shoot airplanes or drones, but birds are more fun.

I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to finally get a long lens for the Olympus. I’ve been using one Olympus or another for a long time … more than a decade and this is the first time I bought a good lens. Not a great one, but a really good one.

The birds showed me their best sides and they are all squares, too!

SHARING MY WORLD – Marilyn Armstrong

Share Your World – Election Day 2018


Is there one post on your site that is really special to you?  

DON’T DRINK THE KOOL AID – THE JONESTOWN MASSACRE. You’ll see it again on the 18th which will be the 40th anniversary of the massacre. It’s a cautionary tale for our times.

MARILYN’S FAVORITE YEAR – 1969.  Because it really was my favorite year for a lot of reasons.

They aren’t my “best-selling” posts, but they are favorite for entirely different reasons.

How do you deal with negative people? 

Personally? My life is singularly free of negative people. Otherwise, patience and occasionally getting really mad. I have to admit, it depends on what I think will get the job (usually customer service) done. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter. No matter what you do, it won’t help.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake in the morning? 

How quickly can I get to the bathroom!

Would you rather be able to talk to the animals or speak all foreign languages? 

It would be really convenient to speak thousands of languages. On the other hand, there’s no point in talking “Dog.” They would still ignore me.

Bonnie and Gibbs

November is a month in which many people give thanks.  America (and other countries) celebrate an actual Thanksgiving Day. For example, Canada celebrates this in October.

What small thing happened today (or in the past few days) that you were grateful for?   

We put up the bird feeder yesterday and it’s more than half empty today. That’s like two pounds of seed gone in about three hours. Shocking how expensive bird seed is, by the way. For some reason, I figured it would be cheap. It isn’t cheap.

Nothing is cheap, not even birdseed.

I was surprised. I thought it would a few days for the birds to find the feeder, but there were easily a dozen Chickadees and they were flying by in groups looking for a place to land! There were some other small finches eating their hearts out. I didn’t have a camera and it was raining, which slowed down my shooting. It didn’t slow down the birds!