Browsing Archives for June 2009

I took a photography class on Saturday. During the class, I learned that in order to properly operate a camera, you need to buy millions of dollars of accessories which are all happily available in the camera store just next door. I also learned that the two lenses that came as a part of my ‘camera package deal’ were the two dumbest lenses ever made for a camera and what I really needed was a lens that the camera teacher referred to with a huge amount of derision in his voice, as a ‘vacation lens’. A vacation lens takes pictures far away and pictures close up. A vacation lens is desirable in situations where you are seeing a lot of different things in a short period of time and don’t want to be encumbered with twelve tons of camera equipment, like when you are on vacation. The trouble is that I am always on vacation. This is my natural state of being. I cannot imagine ever hauling around two lenses and switching them back and forth incessantly just to take a picture. I am far too weak and shaky for that! The mere thought makes me heavy lidded and woozy… and pale… and limp… and sweaty… and very, very tired. When the class was over I marched to the camera store, conveniently located next door and demanded a vacation lens…

Me – I would like to trade these two pathetic, stupid, and moronic lenses that came with my new ‘camera package’ for a vacation lenses.

Salesperson – A vacation lens?

Me – Yes… it takes pictures close up and it takes pictures far away. You don’t have to waste your life switching lenses around.

Salesperson – But your camera package did not include a vacation lens.

Me – I know… but that is only because my camera package was stupid.

Salesperson – No, actually it is because you are stupid.

Me - Yes, I see that now.

Salesperson – This is how we make our money.

Me – I understand.

Salesperson – Stupid people buy expensive cameras with dumb lenses every single day.

Me – I bet they do.

Salesperson – Millions of them!

Me – Okay… well, I just want a vacation lens and I will trade you these two stupid lenses that came with my stupid camera that I, Mrs. Stupid-head bought, for one lens is not stupid.

At this point the salesperson went over and held a long whispered conversation with another salesperson during which they both occasionally glanced my way, nodded, laughed, guffawed, snickered, slapped their thighs while hoohawing with great gusto, rolled on the floor sputtering and spewing forth gales of hilarity and then the salesperson got off the floor and came back over to me.

Salesperson – Here is what I can do. I will take your two ‘stupid’ lenses and give you one vacation lens and then you will pay me five bajillion dollars.

Me – You drive a hard bargain.

Salesperson – Do we have a deal or not?

Me – What choice do I have?

Salesperson – Well… you could sell your new camera on Ebay for about ten percent of what you paid for it! Hawaaaaha Hawahhhhhh Hawahhhhhha!!!

Me – Fine. I’ll take it.

Salesperson – Sold! Now… which moron was next in line? Hwarh Ha Ha!

Before I left, I asked the salesperson what camera setting was best to take photos of the interiors of houses. The salesperson said to set the camera on ‘A’, play with aperture dial and let the camera decide the shutter speed.

Sadly, this is what I heard…

Hawahhhha! HahHAawAhahahhahaWhahHaw!

Next, I asked the salesperson what I should set the camera on to take photos outdoors. The salesperson said to set the camera on ‘P’ and that daylight was the best light to shoot in and please not to to be such a demanding customer ! Can’t you see I have a million more morons standing in line just waiting to buy an enormously expensive camera with two useless lenses that they will not be able to use and will sell at a garage sale in five years for twenty bucks?

Sadly, this is what I heard…

Hawahhhha! HahHAawAhahahhahaWhahHaw Hawrrr Hee Ho Harreareawwww!

I then left the store to drive to Atchison to photograph the home of Mary Carol Garrity knowing full well that if I didn’t get any good shots, I would not be able to post them on MSFH. Mary’s people had requested to see the photos before I post them. Mary Carol Garrity is the owner of several fabulous stores called Nell Hill and Garrity’s that focus on beautiful furnishings, and home decor. She is known for her beautiful displays and her down to earth prices. She also writes a syndicated column on decorating and is the author of several decorating books.

I decided I better practice a little on the way to her home.

I stopped at Ree’s Fruit Farm for some indoor shots…

I put the camera on ‘A’ and twirled that little dial madly to the right and to the left…

twirling, twirling, twirling..

I also stopped at the Taco Den in Meriden for lunch and continued to twirl like a lunatic….



tilt-a-whirl twirling…

twirling, twirling….

Twirling and HURLING!!!

Then on to Nell Hill’s…

Mary’s store.

Where I photographed with the camera on ‘A’ and took eighty photos that look just like the one above…

Then to went to Mary Carol’s house.

Her gorgeous house….

Where I took a thousand more pictures that look just like this one…

Finally, at the end of the tour and the end of my rope, I stepped into Mary’s exquisite walled garden…

And I saw this little statue sitting on a table…

I set the camera on ‘A’ and twirled the dial like a madwoman…

As I left, I realized that I could not possibly blame anyone if all of my photos of Mary’s house are deemed unsuitable for public viewing by Mary’s people.

I have no idea what I am doing and I will never be able to take a decent shot with this dumb, stupid, dumb, old stupid camera!

The end.

For all the Twits

June 8th, 2009

Sarah Susanka, architect, author, and cultural visionary.

I got to have dinner with her.

We didn’t uh… exactly sit at uh… the exact same table, but I could see the back of her head from my seat!

After dinner, she gave a talk to the attendees, a truly wonderful talk. Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the evening…

Architects need to re-connect with what normal people want.

Bungalows bespeak the value of good design.

Most people spend their lives searching for a sense of home, It has nothing to do with size, but rather a certain quality of home over quantity of home.

Most house plans today are chosen based on the front facade. They really only have one side.

One fourth of the American population is comprised of ‘cultural creatives’. These are people that choose quality over quantity, desire beauty and balance, seek harmony and sanctuary in their surroundings, prefer sustainable options, believe that well being begins at home, and that the character of their homes is reflected back on them.

These cultural creatives are the same people who made Sarah Susanka’s first book The Not So Big House, skyrocket to the top of Amazon sales just weeks after it was published. They were desperately searching for someone who understood what they had always wanted in a home, who could put in understandable terms, with great photos, drawings and and a hefty dose of good old common sense.

Did I mention that I got to go have dinner with her?

Here she is signing one of the TEN books that I had.

Some of them were well worn copies from back when I was designing our home, but some are for tonight’s giveaway and for some future giveaways.

Mr. Random Integer Generator chose two winners for me.

Here are your random numbers:

2 24
Timestamp: 2009-06-06 04:41:13 UTC

Of the correct guesses, those numbers line up with…

#2 – Barb
Sarah Susanka is going to be my guess. She has some great ideas.

#24 – Erin
Sarah Susanka – LOVE her books – I’m jealous, where do you get to meet her? I just read a bunch of her stuff because we recently bought 115 acres (crazy, I know) and will be having my dad design us a house here one of these years…

Winners please email me your mailing address at and please feel free to tell me your top two choices of the above pictured books. I will attempt to accomodate your wishes.

Everyone else… hold on!… more Susanka giveaways coming soon.

But tomorrow!

I get to visit the home of Mary Carol Garrity!

Good Grief! This might be too much for a weak and shaky sort like myself!

I better go lie down for a while.