The five-minute project that ate Chicago

“Wait a moment,” says I, twiddling with something on the computer. “This will just take a minute.”

My husband’s eyebrow rises. The right eyebrow. The eyebrow I fear. That eyebrow says “A minute? Really?”

I look up, peer at the eyebrow. “Okay, five minutes. Tops, half an hour.”

“Uh huh,” he says. Cynicism drips from his tone. He racks up The Magnificent Seven and settles down for a good two hours of favorite movie viewing. Just in case, he has Tombstone set to go as the second feature.

“It will just take a few moments,” I declare, stubbornly. “I’m nearly done.”

The hands of the clock have crept around past midnight, then one, two and are heading to three. I’m not quite done. Yet.

Why does this keep happening? It looks so simple. All I had to do was set up the background.


Pick a photo to use for the background. Enlarge it to the size it needs to be and sometimes, it doesn’t even need to be enlarged. If necessary, expand the canvas. Do some creative filtering to soften and lighten it to superimpose the text and have the text be legible.

Type out the text in a separate document. Cut and paste the text into the text box. Format the text. Mess around with it to make it do whatever I planned — wave, like a flag? flow like a river? fade into infinity? Whatever. Save it.

Check to make sure it’s readable, not too pixellated. Make sure I copied all the text and didn’t leave something behind. Save often. Save, save, save because if you make a mistake, Marilyn, you do NOT want to go back and start from scratch.


The text doesn’t fit. The font doesn’t display properly. The background is too busy, too dark, too … too. It’s much too grainy. It’s not grainy enough. Needs more fog. Needs less fog because I can’t even tell what the picture is anymore. I don’t like it. Why am I bothering? My husband is turning off the television and going to bed without me. But I can’t quit now!. I am so close!

It reminds me of art projects in college … there you are. Twenty-seven cups of coffee to the wind. The sun is rising and the glue won’t dry.

Now, we don’t use glue, but it’s three in the morning. My five-minute project ate not only Chicago, but the better part of an entire day. Since it isn’t finished and I’m so stubborn I simply will not let it go, it’s going to eat a big chunk of tomorrow, too.

96-Sunrise and Sunset-EmilyDickenson

Doomed. By my pickiness, unwillingness to compromise. Refusal to throw in the towel.

Do your projects eat your days? Consume your weekends? Is there some kind of cosmic law that says all projects which look simple on the face of it have a lurking monster with tentacles just beneath? They will reach out and drag you under … and it will just take another five minutes!

Daily Prompt: It’s not fake. It’s faux!

Some call it Gettysburg, but you can call it Tourist Haven. I do.

Here you can meet the local ghoul. Or is he a zombie? So hard to tell. He lives behind our motel. Fine faux design. It’s an excellent photo-op for those of us who have had trouble finding a cooperative ghoul or zombie to pose for that special vacation photograph!

Remember: It’s not fake. It’s faux. Faux, being French for fake, is much less sleazy. If you are going to an assignation with a fake ghoul or zombie, why not arrive in style, driving your faux horse? Note that the carriage is entirely real. Just the horse is plastic.

Yay for Tourist Haven! Happy vacationing.

George’s Coney Island

George’s Coney Island Hot Dogs is an original, serving hot dogs from generation to generation, everyday except Tuesday.

Founded in 1918, George’s Coney Island remains in its landmark location at 158 Southbridge Street in downtown Worcester, Massachusetts. In 1938, its namesake George Tsagarelis expanded his “store” to include its art deco design, wooden booths, tile floor and all-important counter.

In 1940, he added the Romanoff designed 60 foot neon sign. Modeled after George’s hand, the hot dog dripping mustard sign has welcomed hot dog lovers and seekers of the secret sauce as well as photographers and artists from all over the world.

Weekly Photo Challenge: A Day in My Life — A Little World

Waking up to the light in the bedroom, my day begins with coffee and ends where it began. Not exciting, perhaps, but it’s a form-fitting world for me and mine. I wanted this to be an ordinary day, like most days. There are busier days, days spent away from home, at doctor’s offices and (alas) working … but this is a regular average day in my life. Nothing special, nothing fancy. Welcome to my little world.


Like many photographers, I’ve experimented with manipulating images to look like paintings, posters, line drawing, and other art forms.  These three came out nicely, I think. I don’t know if they are photographs anymore. I think after a sufficient amount of manipulation, it may be photography based art, but it’s no longer photography per se.

This is a marshy area along the Blackstone River. It’s a manipulated image that intentionally resembles a poster.

The roof on an old mansion not far from home.

Definitely poster style! Black-eyed Susans, one of my favorite wild flowers.