Wednesday, July 30, 2008


That's Chloey at the left, one of my six rescued cats. She's been with us for at least a ten or twelve years.

She showed up in our barn one day long ago, pregnant and hungry. Whoever had her before hadn't treated her very well, and it took days for her to let me near her. Food was the answer - she finally decided that I could be trusted, as I'd been bringing her food for more than a week.

Not long afterwards, she gave birth to five kittens. She was such a tiny cat that she couldn't feel them all, and I ended up caring for her tiniest kitten, Brutus.

Brutus was the runt of the litter, but was tough enough to fight for his life. His siblings were triple his size, and wouldn't let him feed, so I spent many hours with Brutus balanced carefully on my chest, a doll bottle keeping him fed. He took forever to feed, but he eventually caught up with his brothers and sisters. Of course, by then, he wasn't interested in anything other than a bottle and all that human attention.

We found homes for all the kittens except Brutus. After weeks of hand-feeding Brutus, I became so attached that I couldn't give him up.

While raising her brood, Chloey earned a new title: Terrorist Cat. Tom named her that when she began beating up our other cats who, due to natural curiousity, got too close to her babies. Chloey took on any and all other cats, including those who were two or three times her size. All the other cats soon learned to stay away from Chloey and her kittens, or be prepared to die. Chloey was quite serious about her Terrorist role, and the rest of the cats found out the hard way, ending up with bites and scratches from Terrorist Chloey.

Chloey the Terrorist finally settled down after her babies all had new homes. Her best friend was Brutus, since the other cats refused to have anything to do with her. Chloey and Brutus both loved the outdoors, and spent as much time as possible outside. They had been spayed and neutered, so they stayed close and didn't wander, spending most of their time in our century-old barn.

Tom would let them out every morning so they could enjoy the day. The other cats usually stayed indoors. But if Chloey didn't get outside, she went back to Terrorist status and picked on the other cats. Except Brutus - he was her favorite, and she tolerated him even during his everyday mom-wrestling matches. They'd spend the day outside wandering our little two acres, no matter what the weather. At the end of the day, just before dark, they dutifully came in, ready to eat their dinner and then curl up for the night.

Two weeks ago, Chloey didn't come in. Brutus did, but his mother didn't. Tom called and then went looking. He didn't find her, and - since once in a while she refused to come in because the barn mice were gaining on her - he let her stay out. He knew she'd be waiting at our door in the morning, just like all the other times.

But that was not to be. It's been two weeks now, and Chloey isn't coming home. One of the reasons why all our cats are required to be in at night is because the coyotes have grown in number over the last few years. We've seen them at dawn, out on the hunt, and we hear them howling late at night. Their numbers have increased dramatically due to lack of coyote-predators, and now all the rabbits and most of the squirrels in our neighborhood are gone. Cats are next on their list.

She's gone. Chloey had a fabulous personality, once you got beyond the Terrorist character. She lived a good life with us, asked for nothing, and gave me a lot of memorable smiles. She weighed about four pounds, but gave us tons of love. I miss you, Chloey.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Photo of the Day - July 29, 2008

Chimney Flues
Know what these are? They're chimney flues, used in making residential chimneys. Different and quite architectural-looking, I just couldn't resist them. You can find this image in my Dreamstime portfolio.

Monday, July 28, 2008

PhotoShop Disasters

Here's a fun site - PhotoShop Disasters is a blog showing how crazy some in the advertising business are when it comes to logical (or illogical) editing.

The photo of the Sears model above doesn't look too bad, until you notice her left hand. For some unknown reason, her hand's been altered to gigantic - definitely a PhotoShop disaster. And in the shot below, did you notice anything missing? Like maybe her belly button? Maybe the guy who PS'd this one just hates navels and couldn't help himself.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

US Puzzle Map - Can You Do It??

A friend sent me this puzzle map of the United States, challenging me to see how fast I could do it.

Rules are pretty simple - fit together the various States to complete the United States map, doing so as quickly as possible.

No cheatin' allowed (in other words, you can't look at a map while doing this puzzle.) Ready, Set, Go for it!

Feel free to post your winning times here! :) b

(It took me 14 minutes, but it would have been faster if Washington, DC had cooperated.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

My Lightbox at 123rf. com

I've just begun building a lightbox at for my Maine images. It's easier for my buyers to quickly find my Maine pictures this way, and it shows the variety of different photos as I continue to build this "portfolio-inside-my

Take a peek - there are landscapes, Fall scenes, architecture, wildflowers, and my favorite place to be - the Pemaquid Point lighthouse. The direct link to 123rf is in the column on the lower right.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Architectural Antiques? Try Urban Remains

If you enjoy really unusual, one of a kind architectural antiques, be sure to visit Urban Remains, a Chicago firm which specializes in building salvage.

The 1915 cartouche shown is huge - it's 12 feet tall, and 20 feet wide! The white terra cotta below shows a laurel wreath and cornucopias with the masks of comedy and tragedy; this was was originally on the Terminal Theatre in Chicago, and dates back to 1915.

At the moment, they are saving great parts from a Italianate residence, an old athletic club, and a depression-era bank. Urban Remains is Chicago's most active company involved in both large and small demolitions, and is the area's largest source for antique hardware.

The Prairie-style brick apartment complex shown here is almost a city block long, and was built around 1910. They are in process of removing birch mantels, tile surrounds, birch doors and millwork, staircases, marble vestibules and limestone entrance door surrounds.

Urban Remains has lots of vintage lighting, period stained and leaded glass windows, early building elements, old ironwork plus lots of things you just wouldn't expect - like the vintage stainless steel toilet and sink combination, direct from the Cook County Jail (below).

If you are looking for something special for your home or office, they are worth a call.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Photo of the Day - Lobster!!!

This is actually an unusual lobster.

I happened across a lobsterman (those are his hands) down on the working docks in Five Islands, Maine. He explained that this lobster had shed his shell - which they do every year - while inside his trap. Touching his fresh new shell was quite different than I would have imagined - it was very soft, very flexible, and nothing at all like most lobster shells are.

Finding a freshly-shed lobster in your trap doesn't happen very often; in fact, it almost never happens. But I guess when you have to lose your shell, you just do it wherever you happen to be.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Easier Sorting with Rainbow Folders

Just ran across this from friend Scott Johnson, the Florida Computer Tutor (take a look at his blog - it's full of good stuff!).

The freeware Rainbow Folders helps you sort out all the different kinds of folders you have in your computer by color-coding them. It's designed to make your life easier by group identification of your files, and great for showing various types of files as being connected.

I'm going to make all my photo files in blue, while my word processing files will be green, and my spreadsheets will be red (they are usually bill-related!).

It's pretty easy to use, and you can custom colorize in just about any hue. It works with Windows XP and Vista folders. Under the Options selection, you can choose other languages too.

PS - Be sure to use the US version for the download, unless you speak Polish, as the SERVER 1: Software Author version will be in Polish.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It Just Isn't What It Appears to Be

While messing around on Facebook, I stumbled across this photo on the game Owned.

Forgive me for posting this, but this image really caught my funnybone. (Guess I'm having a weird day, huh??) I laughed so hard I had to make a run to the bathroom!

Just had to share this one . . .

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dorcas Thimble

In the 1880s, English jeweler Charles Horner (1837 - 1896) patented a simple idea - he designed a silver thimble "sandwich", made of sterling silver with a strong steel ‘middle’. With silver being such a soft metal so easily pierced by needles, this invention meant no more holes in thimbles!

He registered this steel-cored thimble with his now-famous trade name "Dorcas", and sold many thousands of them throughout Britain and the rest of the world. His thimble was still as pretty as the usual sterling thimbles, yet stood up to heavy use without becoming damaged. Because of Horner's innovation, his business thrived.

Horner did not use the name Dorcas on the first patented thimbles; in the beginning they were only marked with the word PAT (for patent) plus a number (the size). The thimble at right shows this earlier marking. After 1905, the name 'Dorcas' was added to the rim, and the apex of the thimble was slightly flattened.

Horner Dorcas thimbles have been made in all different designs, from fancy florals to the simple and traditional dimpled design. All were made to be used, and they are known to collectors worldwide.

The fancier they are, the higher the price - Dorcas thimbles generally range from around $50 to $150 for very rare ones. Age plays a part too - earlier Dorcas thimbles tend to run a little higher in price than later ones. The Dorcas shown here is $75, and you can find it in my Red Moon antiques shop.

When considering thimbles for purchase, condition is important. Holes, splits and being out-of-round all affect a thimble's value. It's usually not worthwhile to repair a thimble unless it's extremely rare. However, a really rare thimble which is damaged might be worthwhile owning if the price is right. After all, you can enjoy owning if - especially if you didn't have to pay a lot - until you find that perfect example!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tonight on NBC evening news, the last story of the show was about

Mimi and Aspen

This is a new site started by 12 year old Mimi Ausland, of Bend, Oregon, who wanted to help feed hungry pets at a local animal shelter. With the help of her parents, she was able to connect with to provide food to the Humane Society of Central Oregon, and she's soon expanding to Furrytale Farms on Bainbridge Island, Oregon.

If you click on the link you can earn FreeKibble 20 pieces of kibble, and you can do it for both cats and dogs. When you play their one-question trivia game, it doesn't matter if you guess right or wrong - FreeKibble still gets their kibble based on you playing their game. It costs you nothing but a few moments of your time.

Many of the animals benefiting from FreeKibble come from homes lost through foreclosed mortgages. It's a sad day when you are hurting so much financially that you have to give up your beloved pet.

What was really impressive is that immediately after the news, I attempted to click on the FreeKibble site, only to learn that a zillion other people had the same idea. The site was unreachable due to the huge volume of people doing what I was doing. It's a few hours later, and I just checked FreeKibble's site - they're open for business again. Even more interesting is that if you check their Totals page you'll see this:

Pieces of Kibble Donated

June 2008

May 2008

April 2008

July 11, 2008

July 10, 2008

July 9, 2008

July 8, 2008

July 7, 2008

July 6, 2008

July 5, 2008

July 4, 2008

July 3, 2008

July 2, 2008

July 1, 2008

Did you notice the change in donations from Thursday, July 10, and today, Friday, July 11?

That's the power of NBC News. And that's just as of 10 pm tonight. By tomorrow, the numbers ought to be astounding. No wonder I couldn't get through - everyone in the world was doing FreeKibble!

If you check under my Links section, you'll find FreeKibble there, too.

MicroStock Photography - Hard Work but Fun

For more than a year, I've been shooting Stock Photography. I've been doing it mostly for fun, although I've been able to make a little money from it. But it's definitely not a get-rich-quick kind of business . . .

It all started with the now-defunct Lucky Oliver, a microstock website that had great ideas but just wasn't able to implement them in a way that made money. They eventually closed, primarily due to lack of sales.

Microstock photo companies sell photos for photographers at really inexpensive prices, often only a dollar or two per image. Like I said, we're not making a whole lot of money. However, there are photogs out there who have dedicated themselves to this business, and with strong focus and excellent work ethic, can make a living doing stock.

Web designers, printing companies, newspaper editors, church secretaries - as well as myriad others - buy these affordable photos to use in websites, tee-shirts, brochures, magazines, business cards and in just about anything that might look better with a photo. It's handy and quick to buy photography on the internet at any time of the day or night, so those with tight deadlines love microstock sites can finish their projects with just a few dollars and a few clicks.

Some of the large design companies will purchase a specially-discounted program at an ms site just so they can buy several photos at a time to show their customers. The customer then chooses the pictures they like, and everyone is saving both time and money.

Well, Lucky Oliver had thousands of photographers supporting it, but unfortunately was not able to produce enough business for those photographers, and eventually shut down. But the idea of selling photography on-line was quite intriguing to me, and it didn't take long before I became hooked. After all, I was shooting for pleasure, so it only made sense that I might possibly be able to make some money too.

Before long, I'd begun portfolios on several different stock sites, and met via the internet dozens of microstock photographers from all over the world. It's a wonderful community, this group of photographers - they continually help each other out with advice on techniques, equipment, where to shoot, and a whole lotta other things that might take years to learn on your own.

I've included here a couple of my photos, just for illustration. The top photo is a sepia version of a still life of antiques, while the middle photo is a product photo of a new cell phone. The last photo at the bottom is for those looking for background or texture - it's a close-up of sterling silver circles, hand-hammered into an original, one of a kind necklace. (Yeah, I know it doesn't look like a necklace, but it really is.)

The variety of topics is limitless - people, places, outdoors, indoors, animals, products - there's a photo for everything you can think of. All the sites make it easy to find whatever it is you are looking for, since they all offer easy-to-use search capabilities.

You can see some of the microstock photography sites I'm on - just click on the banners at the right side of this blog. I use the name Loongirl on my sites, in case you are specifically looking for me. Or, wander around and see some of the really fabulous images by all the photographers - every one of these sites has fabulous photography by some of the best photographers in the world. It won't take long before you see something which will knock your socks off!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Jill Bolte Taylor - Stroke Genius

My good friend Alice Day sent me this video today. It's a talk by Jill Bolte Taylor about the stroke she had, and how she was able to interpret it from the inside out. Jill is a research scientist, and her stroke - though completely unexpected - gave her insights she could never have dreamed of.

I cannot thank Alice enough for sending me this video.

It has impacted me so very much. Not only can I relate to everything Jill Taylor went through (and I am forever grateful that my own stroke was minor compared to what she went through), but it also points me in a positive direction. What Jill Taylor discovered is that there can be good in something so horrendous as having a stroke. She's an inspiration to me, and her talk was not only humorous but was wonderful for strengthening my spirit.

Thanks, Alice. ((((hugs to you))))

(If you'd like to read more about Jill Bolte Taylor, check out this link.)

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life Post-Stroke is Different, but Good

After my stroke, I learned several things. In the hospital, they did all sorts of tests on me - CAT scans, an MRI, ultrasounds, plus blood sugar tests several times every day.

From the tests I discovered that I have a carotid artery that is completely blocked, and the other carotid that is 60% blocked. That sounded pretty scary, until my doctor explained that one can function very well with just one working carotid, as it will provide enough blood flow to the brain to accomplish everything needed. At the same time, the partially blocked carotid needs to be maintained, so I'm now on blood thinners to make sure all works well. In a few weeks I'll be seeing a vascular surgeon about the carotids, but for now, my doctor is satisfied that all is well.

Another thing I found out is that I've actually had four strokes. Apparently, from the MRI there are four spots in my brain which show stroke damage of some kind. My doctor, an internist, wasn't able to tell me more, but when I see the vascular surgeon I'll have questions. For now, I've decided not to worry about it - I can't change it, and my brain is working well right now. Whatever will be, will be . . .

I also learned that my blood sugar was way too high, even though I was faithfully taking my prescribed meds every day. Unfortunately, those meds just weren't doing the job, so now I'm on additional medicines that help the first meds keep my blood sugars lower. I'm doing well, my blood sugars are much lower than before, but I'm still not quite at a level that makes my doctor happy.

So the next step is to get some exercise. Exercise has proven to be one of the best ways to lower one's sugar. I've been overly tired these past few months, probably from not realizing my sugar was so out of whack, and I haven't been doing much exercise-wise. So I'm now going to start slowly, mostly walking, with the idea of building up a regular walking program.

Although I'd been taking meds for my inactive thyroid, it just wasn't enough. That was also part of my tiredness - my thyroid wasn't working very well. My doctor has doubled my thyroid meds, and I'm getting some stamina and strength back. It's going to take awhile for it all to make a difference in how I feel, but I've already noticed some improvement.

One of the things which came as a surprise was that when my blood sugar is over 180 (90-100 is about the norm), it makes me go to the bathroom much more frequently. That explains all those nights when I had to pee four to six times; I didn't get much sleep those nights. Now that my blood sugar is lower, I'm only getting up one or two times a night - hurray for a good night's sleep!

Thank you to all who have written such kind notes and well-wishes. I cannot begin to tell you how much they mean to me. Your support has been absolutely wonderful, and I cherish you all as my dear, dear friends.

Special thanks to Sybille Yates for starting a Facebook group "Get well soon Beth (Loongirl) Pulsipher!"

What a hoot - with an invitation from Sybille, I even joined my own Get Well group!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Life is Full of Changes, but I'm Still Here

A week ago my life changed forever.

At age 54, I had a stroke.

It was around 8 pm, and I was cleaning up in the kitchen after making some jello. My right leg suddenly went wobbly, and after a few seconds of fighting to stand, I slid to the floor.

"No problem," I thought, "I'll just rest here for a few moments, then I'll get up and go sit for a while."
As I turned over to position myself to stand up, I flopped on my face. My right side, both arm and leg, were completely paralyzed. They were both just dead weight, and wouldn't budge.

At that moment, I realized I'd had a stroke. My brain was still functioning, but when I tried to talk out loud to myself into moving towards a chair, I realized that my speech was screwed too.

Time to regroup. I needed help. I was alone, all by myself in a loft apartment over an antiques shop which was closed for the evening. The only help was my bedroom phone, just 40 feet away.

Forty feet is a long, long ways when only half your body works. I dragged myself, slowly, six inches at a time. After every pull-push, I rested for a few minutes. My useless right arm kept trapping beneath my body, making it even harder to move forward - and I couldn't make that arm do anything. Moving fast just wasn't going to be an option.

It took two hours to get to the phone. By then, my arm and leg were working a bit, although not completely. I was able to reach my phone, and called my neighbor instead of 911. I was afraid that the 911 operator wouldn't be able to understand me, maybe not even hear me. My voice was so small and frail, and it still wasn't much more than garble. I sounded like my mouth was full of cotton balls.

My good friend and neighbor, Miriam, is also my landlord. She is a true gem. I never call her late at night, so this call was unusual. I could only stammer a few words, and she knew immediately that I was in trouble. She came running, believing that I was going into diabetic shock. She was there, in her jammies, inside of a minute - we live in separate buildings only 50 apart.

I wasn't able to tell her much - being a bit dazed from dragging myself across the apartment, I just wasn't able to talk. The only thing I could get out were two words - "stroke . . . hospital."

She called the ambulance, got me help, and had me on my way to the hospital in very short order. She followed in her big antiques van, and stayed with me for hours in the ER until I was finally taken to my room. She made phone calls for me. She held my hand. She is the best friend one could ask for.

So, for the past week, I've been in the hospital and now, finally, released with no restrictions. I can talk and walk. The doctor has told me to do whatever I want as long as I am comfortable.

My speech has returned to nearly 100%. But I'm paranoid that every time I mis-speak - as we all do sooner or later - that it's because of the stroke.

Tom is here with me now, for the time being. He's made sure I take all my new meds - there's a whole lot of them now, at least until they get me balanced. He's cooked for me, driven me around to doctors and lab tests. He's taken me out for photo shoots just for fun. He's helped me ease back into life again. He is the very best of best husbands one could have. I am so blessed.

Because of him, I'm beginning to think I'm okay. That's the first huge step towards wellness.

I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay.

The more I say it, the easier it gets.