Monday, April 22, 2013

Bike Riding at the Park

I accompanied my children to the park so they could ride their bikes while their mother and sister were in a bible study class. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

When your little one becomes ill

When your child, especially a young one, becomes sick to the point where they have to be admitted to a hospital, it is a very personal experience. I do not mean it is personal in that it is a private matter to be kept among your closest circle. By personal, I mean that it is a deep and personally moving experience.

The first thing that hits you is worry and a lingering fear. As a parent in general, you worry about a sick child. No parent want their child to go through illness. But, that gets multiplied when a hospital stay is involved. Something so serious surely means that there is a chance things could get worse. And, it's that remote chance of things getting worse that causes fear.

If you have any understanding of health care sciences, you know that certain things are routine and can easily be treated successfully. You also know that there is always the remote possibility that the same symptoms are of something worse. You start to imagine things such as multiple drug resistance, acute and rapid infection, or even misdiagnosis. Suffice it to say, when you don't know, you have to trust in your health care providers. When you know a little more, you REALLY have to trust in your health care providers.

In those hours when your child is first admitted, it is all about testing. You have a series of tests conducted to figure out what is wrong with you little one. These are the toughest hours. It is not so much the unknown; it is the time wasted waiting for test results. Your child is clearly suffering and you have to stay there and comfort them until the test results come back. Doing nothing and waiting are the toughest.

It is in that time while you wait when the worst thoughts come to you, and the self-recriminations. Why didn't I catch it sooner? What could I have done to prevent this? Is this going to leave my child disabled? What if the worst happens? How can I go on after losing him/her? The craziest things pop into your mind during that time of waiting. You are there trying to comfort your little one while being plagued by your own torments.

One can't really blame the health care providers for what you go through during the testing. In their case, they've treated hundreds or thousands of people. It is routine. But, even if it weren't routine, it doesn't help them to freak out the parents. And, they can't simply go into full treatment mode as soon as you arrive without first knowing what the real problem is. Their calm aloofness is meant to be comforting; but, it can also come across as uncaring.

Try as you might, you cannot help having an emotional roller coaster when your child is sick. Even with the support of friends and family, it can be a very personal experience although you are not the patient. As a parent, you want to take the worry, the pain, and the unhappiness away from your child. We cannot unburden them; but, we somehow manage to take on a bigger emotional burden.

While one can feel alone with all your worries, it is vital to take comfort in the smiles your little can offer and the support of your family and friends. If you can recognize that your little one is loved by others and they worry too, you can give each other strength. And, it is also setting a good example to your little one that in times of trouble, you can count on the people who love you to give you a hand.

Black and White Photos for April 21, 2013

This month, I wanted to spend a little bit of time in the monochrome space. I'm not comfortable using other monochrome colors than black, yet. I started the month OK; but, after photographing an event, which came out great, I burned out a little. It's been a few days.

Today, I visited with my in-laws and took a few photos around the house. 


The clothespin is nothing new. I've done clothespins before. There is a lot of play when it comes to depth of field and bokeh with clothespins. In this case, I wanted those elements; but, I also wanted to try a clothespin with backlight. The light in this photo is reflected from a tree trunk. The clothespin is in the shade of a car port. In this case, I over exposed. The camera naturally wants to balance out the light; but, then that leaves the details from the clothespin too dark.

Nothing too special about this light bulb. I just thought the fixture and surroundings would look nice in black and white.

Before going outside to shoot photos, I was checking the settings on the camera. My wife had her feet up while watching TV. I thought it would frame nicely. 

Again, testing before going outside. I thought this would be a challenge. White textured ceiling. White textured fixture. White smooth light bulb. Shadow. I was curious what white on white on white would do. 

My Mother-in-law has this plastic cattail and grass decoration bythe window. The lighting hit the cattail nicely. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

At the end of the day...

One of the most used phrases used in business is "at the end of the day"; which is usually invoked when referring to something that has results in some significant consequence or meaning.

So I am sitting at my kitchen table at the end of today pondering what the end of the day entails for me. Is it really the culmination of a day?

In my experience, the end of the day usually means a break from work. Rather than being the end of my work, the end of the day is a chance to regroup and prepare for the next day.

Even when it comes to major decisions, one normally "sleeps on" a decision, making the choice by the next morning.

So while the end of the day is the finalization of a calendar day, it is mentally the start of the next, a chance to pull back and see the big picture.

I've enabled Google+ Comments on my blog

Google announced, today, that they linked comments between Blogger blogs and Google+ accounts. This is a good thing.

In recent years, I've had way fewer comments on the blog and more comments on G+ and Facebook. The audience is there, it's just shifted away from the blog.

Having blog comments also appear on G+ makes the blog less ghost town and more hub. I can tell from the stats that people read my posts and even share them. But, there is little evidence to the outside world that this is the case.

I didn't see this feature coming. I'm glad it's here. I like it.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Making Google+ Your Social Media Hub

Today I discovered Friends+Me, a service that grabs your Public posts on Google+ and then reposts them to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. The service is currently in beta; but, it will soon have different plans, starting from Free, to an Unlimited version.

In the past, I have used similar services, except they attempt to create an RSS feed from your Google+ feed.  Unfortunately, RSS doesn't map well and consistently across services. The result tends to be messy.

Friends+Me seems to have worked out how to get around the formatting problems that other services have had. The result is a neat and very useful way to share your Google+ posts.

Google has chosen to leave Google+ off limits to incoming feeds for auto posting. This is probably for the best. Having automatic incoming links would mess up search results, which often feature Google+ posts from yourself or people you know. Search results could quickly get spammy.

Outgoing posts are the only other option for automating your content posting. Now with Friends+Me, it's a viable option.


During beta, the service is offering full access to all the features. After the beta, there will be Free, Standard, and Unlimited plans.

The Free plan seems like it would be OK for somebody who posts occasionally.

The Standard plan would be good for somebody like me, who has a few web side projects going on. For $20/year, it's not a bad deal.

If you are a social media gun for hire, I would recommend going for the Unlimited plan. At $34.99/year for unlimited reposting, I think it's a bargain. You would save tons of time having to post things and then copy them to another service. Granted, G+, Twitter, Facebok, and LinkedIn are not the universe of social media; but, they do cover a large territory.

Minor Problem

Not all is roses with Friends+Me. There is one final problem that most likely will not affect everybody, mainly photographers. If you post multiple photos on your Google+ page, only the first photo will post to the receiving service. So, if you don't have romantic notions that your full beautiful album will repost, you'll be OK with this.

Another thing that affects photo lovers is that the service creates its own photo album on your Facebook page. It would be nice if the photos simply went to your Wall album rather than an "in your face" Friends+Me photo album.

Final Thoughts

Personally, I'm OK with the issues that the service has. I'm even willing to pay the $20 for the Standard Plan. If I made money off of running accounts, I think $35 is also reasonable. The issues with photos are a bit of a letdown; but, I can live with it. I'm probably better off trickling them out rather than posting them all at once. This is a service I would recommend if you're a Google+ fan and are loathe to visit the other services if you can avoid it. Friends+Me finally allows me to make Google+ my main network.