So for this year's Halloween post, you will all be treated to a picture of something my co-worker and I received from our boss towards the beginning of the month. I was trying to describe them to Steph today, but they're seriously too hideous for words. Heck, even pictures don't really do them justice.

Alright, I apologize for the terrible picture. I only had a moment to sneak in a photo before someone was going to ask me what I was doing. Anyway...

They're hats. Yes. I said hats. The orange one is mine, and yes, that's a veil. The purple one with the GIANT spider on it is my co-worker's.

And we were expected to actually wear them! AND NOT JUST TODAY!

Have you seen those pictures of pets that people put hats on? The ones where the expression of the animal says something to the effect of "when you aren't looking, I will poop in your shoe!"? Have you seen those. Had I been forced to wear this...that would have been my expression.


Because I was challenged...

I'm not going to say who challenged me, or really that it was even a personal challenge.

All I'll say is that you DON'T have to be a professional to enjoy playing around with Photoshop.

Oh, and that you don't even have to have the expensive version to have some fun. These are all done with the FREE Photoshop LimitedEdition software.

So, on to the before's and after's. You don't have to like them the way I do...but I'm of course interested in what you DO like. So have at it. I had fun playing around with them anyway.

Here is the before...

And the after!

Now I'm sure that some will say that I 'popped' the green a little too much. But I kid you not, it was really that green! It just happened to be lower light than my camera likes under all that canopy.

Here is another.


And After.

So, I may have taken a bit more liberty with this one. I really wanted to see how much I could punch up the violet/blue. But look at how much sharper it is! (I did not use any kind of Unsharp Mask with this, it was all done with color balance, saturation, and brightness/contrast)



Photoshop layers were utilized with this photo. So, there was a little more technique to it than just adjusting levels and color balance/saturation. But it was still done in less than half an hour. And if I were to actually print this out, I would probably bring the blue back down a little more. But I was trying to make a point...

Last one.



Yep, I got a little more creative with this one. I don't know why I wanted to highlight the yellow dresses...but it seemed appropriate with the color balance a bit to the sepia side. I was having fun.

Which brings me to my point. You don't have to be a professional to use Photoshop. Obviously, in a professionals hands these would look even better. My photos turn out better than they would if I didn't go in and change a few things. Have fun with it people! Let the creativity show!

Who needs The Club?

A co-worker's sister had her car stolen recently. She was quite put out by this since she had taken precautions against theft. She had even installed a Club for goodness sake! Seems the pesky thieves had just cut the steering wheel, removed the club, and drove away.

She was quite happy when her car was found, relatively undamaged, and vowed that it wouldn't happen again. Her solution? A new paint job.

How's that for a theft deterrent?


A brief lesson in...

...judging a book by it's cover.

There are certain types of phone calls that I receive almost every day. There are the typical information gathering phone calls from normal people looking for apartments. There are the phone calls from residents who are having a problem. There are sales calls, and contractor calls, and calls just to say hello. But my favorite are the people that think they can find an apartment by only looking at the outside of a building.

First, when they call it's because they have seen a sign in the neighborhood that looks like this:

Ok, maybe it doesn't look quite like that. (How's THAT for Photoshop skills!) But what does that sign ultimately say to you? More on this later...

This is a phone conversation resulting from someone seeing the sign:

Caller: Yeah, I would like more information on the apartment you have at *insert address here*.

Me: Oh, you've seen a sign. We actually don't have an apartment available at that address, just one of our permanent signs.

Caller: Ummm....oh. Well...

Me: What kind of apartment are you looking for?

Caller: Oh a *insert type of apartment here*.

Me: *Proceeds to tell caller about whatever apartment is available in the criteria that they are looking for*

Caller: Ok, well I'll drive by and look at it and then call you back.

This is where I'm always dumbfounded. How in the hell can you tell what an apartment is like on the inside based on what it looks like from the outside? I always offer to show the inside of the apartment and 9 out of 10 times I'm told "No, I'm just going to drive by first." Now, I would understand if the apartment is located in a different neighborhood or something.

For example, lets try something here. I'll show you three pictures of the outsides of three buildings. We'll call them 1, 2, and 3. Yes, I know I'm original. Then, I'll show you three photos of the insides of those apartments and we'll call them A, B, and C. It will be your job to match the correct interior photo with the correct exterior photo. Got it?

Here is 1


...and 3.

And now for the interior photos.

Here is A.

And B.

And C.

Lets see how well you do matching the interiors with the exteriors. I'll post the results tomorrow.

Oh, and back to that sign. I also have a very similar copy running in the newspaper. It's amazing to me how people see what they want to see.

"Yeah, I'm calling about the one bedroom apartment you have listed in the newspaper."

WTF? Does that thing not say "1, 2, & 3 bedroom apartments and houses"?


It's like a patch for my addiction...

I had posted a couple of days ago about a blog that Steph introduced me to. Last week I started reading the archives thinking "Well, when I get bored of this, I'll just stop reading." Problem was, I never stopped reading. I read through every back entry on that site. Yesterday was a dark day for me. I finally reached the end. No more posts. I think I cried a little.

So. To help soothe my addiction (I hope), I am borrowing the style that this post will be written in from PW. Granted, her photos are WAY better than mine...but you guys will just have to deal.

I'm sure that you (and by 'you' I mean the two people that still read this from time to time) have just been dying to know what I do on a day to day basis. So I'm going to satisfy your curiosity. All of you know about the "showing apartments" aspect of property management. Yesterday I focused on the other aspect of the company.

One of the things my company does is rehab old historic buildings. This is one of two that we are currently be working on. It will have two very nice apartments in it soon.

There's the tile that will be going in the kitchen and bathrooms.

These front doors used to be yellow. Big Bird yellow. No joke.

This is the kitchen. No really! Ok, it WILL be the kitchen once all the construction equipment is out, the floor is down, the cabinets are up, the appliances are...ok. You get the idea.

This is a new bathroom layout for us. In the past, our bathrooms have all had a tub/shower combo. Like most standard apartments. In this particular apartment, we are trying out a separate shower and tub arrangement. (I just wish we had put a bigger tub in...I mean, if you're going to separate them the only reason to use the tub is for a bath right? That tub barely looks big enough for

Then I got distracted. LOOK! I can see my shutter move! Ok, actually, I was just checking to see that I wasn't getting too much dust on my lens. But when I turned the camera over, my finger hit the button. Oh so flattering. Hey, do I have anything in my nose? Guys? Hey guys?

This happens a lot at our construction sites. Not really sure why...

And finally, here is the next building in progress. That whole front wall had to be torn down and re-built. Funny, as soon as I pulled my camera out all of the masons seemed to disappear. Weird.

So there you go. Don't you feel better now? Breath a sigh of relief and go about your day with renewed purpose. You're welcome.

Stay tuned tomorrow for another "A Brief Lesson In...".


I want one!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I really want a (or some) new camera lens(es). But, in an effort to not get greedy, I think I've found the one I should start with. It would satisfy two of my 'wants' all in one pretty little lens.

This little guy would provide me with a new 'fast lens' for low light photography (which was what that last camera related post was about) as well as a macro function. And considering the fact that I tend to get myself into 'close-up situations' almost always when there is lower light...it just sounds like a necessary lens to me.

"Necessary?" you say, "but do you really think your life won't go on without this lens?"

Hey, you hush now! I'm busy convincing myself that this is the next thing I need!

Anyway, this is SO going on my Christmas list. Course...I still need to get better with my camera. Heh...funny story. Today I was out taking pictures of some buildings for our advertising. I had changed from one of my older manual lenses to the auto focus lens that came with my camera. I happily snapped away...all the while not realizing that I hadn't changed some of my settings back.

You see, I had been taking some lower light photos the other night and had set the ISO way up. It did NOT need to be that high with all the bright sunlight I was in today. I ended up with some funky exposures. See, it's so different with a film camera...I'm just still not used to digital.


Impossibly, irrevocably, unquestionably...Addicted

Thanks a lot Steph for introducing me to The Pioneer Woman. I seriously can't stop reading.

This woman is living my childhood dream. And it's not even fair, since it obviously wasn't her childhood dream.

Wow. Bitter much?

I'm sure many of you remember all of the career choices children used to wish for. My brothers wanted to be anything from Firemen, Professional Football Players, Astronauts, Archaeologists, and Loggers (remember, I grew up in Oregon).

I know that my parents wanted me to go into some sort of medical field. And I know that most little girls wanted to be things like nurses, teachers, doctors, or even lawyers. But as far as I can remember, there was only one option for me.

I wanted to be a Cowgirl. Seriously. I wanted to live and work on a ranch. Working cattle and riding the fences. I would even get out on my horse and imagine that I lived on a large ranch and had really important jobs to do. The dogs may have gotten tired of being herded and there was really only so much fence to ride and "check", but I kid you not, this continued into high school.

Stop laughing. I mean it. Don't make me hit you.

I really had no perspective on what an actual ranch hand's life was like. Just from what I would read in books. It was all so glamorous to me then. All horses and sunsets and hearty meals at the end of the day. The books don't cover the sweat, aching muscles, manure, and hard work. I mean, I had spent plenty of time around cattle to know that they were dirty, smelly beasts and that it would of course be work and not just a pleasure ride every day. But at that time, it was all a romantic idea.

So, you would think that now that I'm older, I would have abandoned this idea as a childish dream. I would know that my body probably couldn't handle it (at least at first), that it would be dirty and nasty and gross, and that it wouldn't be even close to that romantic idealized image from my childhood.

Guess what. I would still love to do it. If someone asked me what my dream life/house was, the first thing that comes to mind is a big ranch house situated in the middle of nowhere with an actual working ranch of some sort. Lots and lots of land. Without a neighbor in site.

Would I go crazy? Probably. Course...that's assuming I'm not already there...


My favorite month

October is by far my favorite month of the year. I mean, how can you not like the crisp air...the crunchy leaves...pumpkin flavored everything!

In the spirit of the season...here is my little Halloween kitty.

I adopted Pandora in October several years ago after a classmate of mine told me she was trying to get rid of a stray. She had four cats already and her husband wouldn't let her keep another. She told me about this little black cat that had the sweetest personality. When I went to see her, sure enough she jumped right into my arms.

I'm not really certain how long Pandora has been with me. I know it's been more than five years. She's lived in many places here in St. Louis; in Elko, NV; and in Grants Pass, OR. This little cat has been a joy, a source of entertainment, and a loyal friend.

It's really no wonder we get so attached to our pets.



I love this photograph. I know it's dark and slightly out of focus, but it reminds me of the really cool place it was taken. It's in a great little underground pub in Weston, MO.

This photo was also taken in a dark little pub.

No, the point I'm trying to illustrate here is not that I enjoy hanging out at dark pubs. It's that I really would like to get a new lens for my camera. My old film Pentax took really great low light photographs without a flash. The newer digital can't do that with the same type of lenses.

eBay here I come...



Gather 'round everyone! It's photo time! Now, if you'll kindly scroll down, you will see one of my favorite photos from the Chihuly exhibit that was at the Botanical Gardens last year. I have several that turned out great, but I keep coming back to this one...

It's been a while since I posted a photo. I really should do that more often. Anyway, there you go. RBPOTD. (random blog post of the day)


A brief lesson in...


I'm going to have to start giving these "A brief lesson in..." posts more often I think. And pass them around to certain individuals I will not be mentioning here.

So. Let's get started. Of course the following situation is completely hypothetical. Any similarities to a real situation is unintended.

Person #1: Have you seen my calculator? It is no longer in or on my desk.

Person #2: What does it look like? Was it the blue and grey one I found yesterday on my desk?

Person #1: Yep! That's my calculator. Do you still have it?

Person #2: No, I didn't know who's it was so I put it over there.

Person #1: After looking "over there" for the calculator and not finding it, asks Person #3 Have you seen my blue and grey calculator?

Person #3: Oh yeah, I saw it there and asked Person #4 if it was hers. You might want to ask her.

Person #1: sigh Thanks. Hey, Person #4, have YOU seen my blue and grey calculator?

Person #4: Yeah! It's in my desk drawer. We didn't know who it belonged to so I just held on to it.

Person #1: Gee Thanks.

Ok. There is one more little piece of the puzzle you will need to solve this terribly difficult logic puzzle. There are a total of 5 people in the office. Person #5 (not mentioned in above scenario) has a very special calculator that can not be removed from her desk.

Now this would have saved Person #1 a good deal of time if the other three people could have figured this out.

Let's work this out. So, Person #1 is gone. Person #2 finds the calculator and realizes it isn't hers. Person #2 places calculator in an area that would suggest it does not belong to her. Persons #3 and #4 discuss amongst themselves whether or not the calculator is either of theirs. The calculator has now come in contact with three out of five office workers, none of whom the calculator belongs to.

Since the calculator does not belong to Persons #2, #3, #4, or #5 (as we know from the above statement), who does the calculator belong to?

I know it's difficult, but I'm certain with just a slight amount of brain power you can come to the correct conclusion. I have faith in you! And now that you have solved this puzzle, lets see how often we can ALL use logic in our day to day lives.

What a different place this world would be!

Tune in next time for "A brief lesson in Customer Service!"