Archive for 2006

Dec 30 2006

kid cuteness over the ‘olidays

Published by under daily,kids

2 things out of 20. 2 things i can remember. 18 that i cannot. more on the ‘olidays later as well.

i am sitting on the couch with my laptop, showing my mom pictures of the kids on flicker. my mom keeps alternately oohing and ahhing, and saying crossly, “Make it BIGGER.”

This is when Jocelyn comes over, points at a picture, and says, “BIG it, mommy, BIG IT.”

Very cute. As long as we don’t have to get her a tiny white hood. Luckily, I know she was just verb-ing a noun.

ethan is big into Zero lately. It comes up in the weirdest ways. He also has a teeny bit of a hard time spitting out a thought in his head. He almost stutters as her tries to pick the right word at times, and you can see him trying to express his feelings and thoughts properly. However, sometimes, there is no editing between brain and mouth and the words just tumble straight out.

He was finishing up breakfast, but still had some orange juice in his cup.

e: may i be excused?
a: don’t you want to finish your juice?
e: no. you can drink it if you want mommy.
a: just have one more sip of your juice (becuase i am thinking if he tastes it, he’ll finish it), and then you can be excused. I want you to go upstairs and get dressed, ok?
e: (sip) OK! (scampers off, but stops at the top of the stairs to yell down at me)
e: MOMMY!
a: yes?
e: The, the juice, the juice must stay in the cup! The cup, it goes by my spot! The juice can’t go anywhere!
a: (laughing a bit) you mean you don’t want me to drink your juice?
e: YES! ZERO people drink my juice! NONE! ZERO!
a: OK, I’ll make sure it stays right here, by your spot, for you!
e: thank you mommy!

the former president died, and therefore, i get tuesday off. it’s like a second christmas!

-amy

2 responses so far

Dec 21 2006

Santa Train 2006

Published by under daily,kids,photos

If you live in the northern va area and have little kids that love trains, I can’t recommend the Santa Train enough. For $4 a ticket, proceeds going to Operation Lifesaver, an organization dedicated on train safety education, you get a train ride, train safety coloring books, a glimpse of Santa on the train, and very excited and happy kids. The only problem is they sell out so quickly, usually within 4-5 days after going on sale.

Since the event is already over, the pages on the various websites regarding this event have been taken down, but next November, you can vist the VRE website and I’m sure they will have it again. They have several different stops along the western rail (Manassas, Burke, etc) and eastern rail (Woodbridge, Springfield, etc.) This year, once again the train was a big hit. Learning from last year, the kids do get bored in the middle, so we brought snacks.

Most ironic moment.. standing at the station, the train easing up, to see some dumbass parents ignore the flashing lights and lowered gates to RUN ACROSS THE TRACKS with their kids in tow, to get on the station side of the tracks before the train comes up. Exactly what the Operation Lifesaver program later instructs our kids circle in the coloring book they hand out as “unsafe behaviour.”

Anyway. On to the cuteness. You can view the entire flickr set as well.

trying to get a glimpse of Santa

These kids grow up so quickly in a year. Last year’s Santa train:

3 responses so far

Dec 20 2006

busy busy busy

Published by under amy's head,daily,random

i’m crazy busy at work trying to get a publication out by friday. so no real blogging.

instead, i thought i’d just post some randomness throughout the day. it helps me get all the brain gook out, and well, you… um…. ok, no real benefit for you, but here you go anyway, out of the goodness of my heart. MERRY CHRISTMAS AND STUFF. HAVE MY BRAIN GOOK. BECAUSE. I. CARE.

  • listening to a ‘Highlights of Aida’ (opera by Verdi, which I sang in the chorus of, many many years ago) at full blast makes for an interesting working environment. especially during the ‘return from battle’ crashy bangy loud parts. And since i can’t understand a word, it makes it easy to just relate it to whatever i’m doing. “Muuuuuuust LINK THOSE FOOTNOTES! Nooooooooooooowww check the ndashes! MUST MUST MUST LINK THOSE FOOTNOTES! doooooon’t forget those ndashes! Cross-reference! Cross-reference! Aaaaaaadd Referrrrrrrrrer! RE! FER! RER!”
  • The bathroom in my office building has a little thingee on the wall (I think I’ve mentioned it before) that squirts out air freshener at timed intervals. Every month or so, it runs out and they replace the stuff inside. This month is the month that the bathroom stinks of rank too-strong floraly scent and it makes me want to do my business and get the hell OUT before my nose rebels. Maybe it’s all a plot for less lolly-gagging in the loo. (ahem. I have been known to lolly-gag. like you haven’t played sudoku on YOUR phone while in the bathroom. um. no? just me? ok then. so glad we shared!) I’m eagerly awaiting when this scent runs out and they replace it with something that doesn’t smell like someone drowned you in a big vat filled to the brim with cheap, stanky perfume.

UPDATE:
OK, so I was actually WORKING all day. Go figure. Maybe some photos tomorrow.

-amy

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Dec 19 2006

things you do when your mother is coming to town

Published by under amy's head,daily,likes & irks,photos

1) scrub the blackened bottom of cookie sheets.

me: james, commere. my hands are all wet. bring the camera.
james: (takes it all in with a glance)
me: this is the before.
james: i think the after is going to be a failure.

me: yeah, probably. no way this is getting unblackened.

me: IT’S A CHRISTMAS AN SOS PAD MIRACLE!

-amy does wear dishwashing gloves.? ya wanna make somethin of it, punk?

One response so far

Dec 19 2006

self portrait tuesday

Published by under amy's head,daily,likes & irks,photos

Trying out my colored contacts (sapphire).

they’ve been sitting in my medicine cabinet for a year now.

i wonder why i always end up making this face if a camera points at me long enough. I think it’s a severe Calvin and Hobbes influence.

they still don’t work right on my eyeballs. i think they don’t fit properly. every time i blink, they move around and then settle. very batty. anyway, i took them off, dropped them in the trash.

i like my own green eyes better anyhow :)

I just need some NEW CONTACTS so they don’t fall out from yuckiness!

-amy thinks this is going to be a lazy, photo-posting blog week

3 responses so far

Dec 18 2006

stuff

Published by under amy's head,daily,kids

It’s brain vomit time, so please excuse the lack of any sort of linear narrative.

Jocelyn, the poor girl. We kept thinking it was a cold, and she stayed home Wednesday and Thursday. We were all set for her to go back to school Friday, but when I checked on her on the way to bed, she was WIDE AWAKE, and had a fever of 103. Ugh. Our girl is such a good sleeper, that she doesn’t even complain when she’s super duper sick. James stayed home, took her to the doctor and it turns out she has a double ear infection. It just breaks my heart. DOUBLE EAR INFECTION. And not a PEEP during the night. Ugh. My sister recently had an ear infection, and she informed me that hadn’t realized that DIZZINESS is one of the symptoms. She said she laid down and the room wouldn’t stop spinning. She didn’t realize what it was from, and thought she needed to eat something.

So of course, when Ethan whimpered a little Sunday morning, had a temperature of 102, I rushed him over to the urgent care center, only to hear his ears were fine, his throat is a little red, and I should “watch him and see how he does”. She gave me a prescription for an antibiotic, and if he gets worse I’m supposed to fill it.

I don’t like that really. I don’t think I can handle that sort of decision. and Ethan is no help, because you ask him how he’s feeling, and he says, “Good.” and then coughs up a lung (i’m exagerating). Anyway. The fever I think was a fluke, and we will indeed, wait and see. And possibly take him to his usual pediatrician for a more formal “yes do it.” before haphazardly giving him antibiotics.

On the upside, Jocelyn must be feeling better even though the snot factory in her nose is still going strong, because yesterday for naptime, she slept from 12:30 to 4pm. Making up for all that dizziness and no sleeping in the night, probably.

CURSE YOU PARENTS DAY OUT!!!

Our kids’ school offered another Parent’s Day Out – usually they are “Night Out,” but this one was saturday from 10am-3pm, so that parents could possibly go get some shopping done during the day w/out the kids. We did a wee bit of shopping, but most of the time was taken up with seeing Better Than Fiction (pretty good) and me dragging James to an Indian buffet that I’ve been to several times with work friends. After we got the kids, I was wondering if the whole thing was a good idea, because now they were all hopped up, had no naptime, and especially in Jocelyn’s case, were pretty whiney and fussy. And it was HOURS AND HOURS until bedtime. So I had the GRAND idea to go see the Bull Run Festival of Lights*. James put in his 2 bits on how it would be crowded, and I should have listened, OH HOW I SHOULD HAVE LISTENED. Trust me. Spending hours and hours at HOME with cranky kids who are whiney and prone to getting into fights is one thing. Hours and hours trying to entertain said kids while in the CAR is quite another. Ethan was a champ. Jocelyn not so much.

But we went, and spent maybe an HOUR just waiting to SEE the lights. If you’re in the area, and have a hankering to pay $15 to go see this extravagant display of leisurely use of electricity, I would advise NOT going on the weekend. We didn’t get home until 9pm, a good hour past their bedtime.

*I looked up the URL to link this too, and right there, on the front page, it states, “Expect long lines on the weekend.” I am dumb, dumb, dumb.

WE SAY THINGS THREE, THREE, THREE TIMES IN OUR HOUSE

I think it is because of my love for the Eloise books (they’re so super cute, go read one) and the fact that they actually made 2 made-for-tv MOVIES out of the Eloise books (ABC family is showing Eloise at Christmastime, AND Eloise at the Plaza put it on your TiVo!!!) and I like to watch them. In Eloise world, she has a nanny (played by Julie Andrews in the movie, she is so wonderful) who always says things three times. LORD, LORD, LORD, we are TIRED, TIRED, TIRED! It’s time to SLEEP, SLEEP, SLEEP! And thus, Eloise is always saying things in threes as well, and it has been something I’ve adopted unconsciously, and thus, the kids adopted, and I’ve even heard James say some things thrice as well!
So it is both cute, cute, cute, and SMELLY SMELLY SMELLY when I hear Jocelyn call out, “I am POOPY, POOPY, POOPY!” from her room in the morning. (not of the smeared kind, thankfully. just the in-the-diaper kind.)

OH MY LORD, IT’S ONE WEEK AWAY

That’s right. Christmas. One week from today. There are a plethora of conversations relating to the time and distance in space Christmas day is from the present time, with Ethan. It usually goes like this:

ethan: Is it after this day?
me: no, it’s not for one week. That is seven days.
ethan: GAH!*
me: and only six days until grandma and grandpa will be here!
ethan: YEAH! after this day?
me: no, six days. they will be here on christmas eve!
ethan: YES!
me: and then for a week, we’ll have no school, we’ll get to play at home with grandma and grandpa.
ethan: wahooo! in SEVEN DAYS.
me: yup.

The conversations with Jocelyn are much simpler:

jocelyn: it’s CHRISTMAS!!
me: it is christmas time, isn’t it!

the end.

*seriously. almost exactly like Grace does it from Will and Grace on that episode where she wants to go, “GAH!” and make the face on antique road show when her piece isn’t actually authentic. of course, it turns out that it is. I think this is one of 4 episodes that I have actually seen of Will and Grace.

OH MY LORD, IT’S SIX DAYS AWAY

That is when my folks come. This means I have a whole crapload of cleaning to do before their arrival. It’s amazing the things you start to do when you realize your mother will be in your house. I will have more on this on another date. Right now, I have to go wash all the windows.

-amy amy bo bamy banana fana fo famy, mi, my, mo mamey… AMY.

One response so far

Dec 16 2006

wuuuuuuuuv.. twooooooooo wuuuuuuv..

Published by under daily,marriage

me: it’s back. IT’S BACK.

(tivo button noises.)

james, holding the tivo remote, glares over at me.

me: i don’t know how you don’t just throttle me.

james: i don’t either.

me: seriously, I would. I am so annoying sometimes.

james: sometimes?

me: I wouldn’t be able to stand me.

james: it’s because i love you.

me: SUCKER.*

* This conversation may have an altered ending because the chronicler may have allegedly had a drink or two and may have already forgotten how it ended even though it was only 2 minutes ago. Allegedly.

One response so far

Dec 13 2006

sick sick girl

Published by under daily,kids,photos

Jocelyn just finished up a round of antibiotics last Monday, and now she is sick again. Started Friday with super goopy (pink-eye-y) eyes. We got some drops for her, the doctor saw her Monday morning and said, yup, she has a cold.

She is intolerant to milk, and she will get all snotty and sick when she’s had milk. Not just any dairy, but MILK. If the milk protein has been altered in some way, then she’s good with it. Cheeses are all ok, except american, which let’s face it, is basically congealed milk, dishes that have milk that have been cooked in the oven are ok (like bread. cookies. baked mac and cheese.) but stove top cream sauces are out. I guess it doesn’t break down that milk protein enough for her system to not go after it.

So James thinks I’m crazy, but I have been thinking about what she’s eating (as I always do whenever she gets a runny nose, FIND THE CULPRIT!) and one thing we’ve been doing is giving her M&Ms as a reward for various things. She let’s me blow her nose? She gets an M&M! She goes peepee on the potty? M&M time! She lets me put in her eye drops? Two M&Ms, one for each eye!

I recall at one time, like a year ago, I had chocolate in the “never ever give her” category. I don’t know why I changed my mind on it, but I did, and now I’m thinking that these M&Ms are the culprit. I can’t quite chalk it up to a normal cold when it happened so quickly after the round of antibiotics. Grrrr.

Ethan had this same intolerance and drank soy milk, but he outgrew it when he was about 18 months.

Jocelyn will be 3 in march. I’m starting to lose hope that she will outgrow it.

Grrrr.

sick jocelyn

Poor girl.

2 responses so far

Dec 12 2006

the search for a lens

Published by under daily,photography,photos

I have some very VERY exciting news.

No, it’s not the fact that Jocelyn is basically potty trained. (Although that is very exciting.)

No, it’s not the fact that yet ANOTHER cat in our household of 3 felines is peeing in places not occupied by litter. (Exciting, but not in the nice variety.)(she is at the vet building up a supply of urine in her bladder to be extracted and tested in the morning as we speak.)

While the above items are TRUE, they are not the very VERY exciting news.

I have figured out what camera lens Santa will be bringing me! Yay!

Perhaps if I had blogged about this search, you would feel the same sort of relief that I do. Nay, that my husband does. For no one can feel the relief that James feels now, after listening to me DECIDE, and then change my mind, and then lament on the beauty of the lenses out of my budget, then decide on another one, then decide no lens, a FLASH, a FLASH is where it’s at, and then just cry because I have no flipping idea what to get, and then FINALLY make up my mind on A LENS A GLORIOUS LENS!

That is the sort of relief that only James can feel. But just so you can get a better feel on that sort of relief, I’d like to go through what’s out there, and include links and what not so if there are any other photographers-in-learnin’ that would like to follow the links and learn along with me, they can do that. If you’re not interested, then I’ll see you later alligator, as Ethan says CONSTANTLY.

I have had the aid of my brother Joseph, who is a great photographer. So great, that I woudn’t let him enjoy my wedding, but instead made him shoot it for me, for free (yay me!). He’s been a great source of info for me and he didn’t laugh at my dumb questions. (at least, not out loud).

First of all, I have a Canon 30D with the kit lens, which is the Canon EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II. We purchased this baby when it first came out, thus blowing our wad, and having no more moolah on a better lens. We knew that the lens it came with was pretty much crap, but it’s not like we’re all that stellar photographers (YET) anyway, so it’s been a good lens to learn and experiment with. With Christmas around the corner, we decided that it’s a good time for new lens. YAY!

Before I get into this, I want to state that most of the sites I’ll be linking refer to both Canon and Nikon cameras/lenses. Since I’m in the market for a Canon mount lens, I focused on Canon. Pretty much everything I’ve read suggests that both Canon and Nikon are quality, and neither are really “better” than the other. The sites all have Nikon information as well.

I started off looking at this page here:

photo.net: Building a digital SLR system
http://photo.net/equipment/building-a-digital-slr-system/
written by Philip Greenspun, updated 9/2006

The first very important tidbit I learned, was exactly what the difference was between the different flavors of digital cameras. You’d think I would know this, but I didn’t. I knew that SLR meant that the lens came off the front, but that is about all I knew. I learned that the three basic SLR digital cameras fall into these categories: small lenses, small sensor; big lenses, small sensor; and big lenses, big sensor. I knew my dad’s Canon 5D was a lot more expensive than my 30D, but now I know it’s because it has a big sensor inside, while mine has a small sensor. The Canon 5D is the only camera (I beleive, anyway) that has a big sensor. Nikon digital SLRs all have a small sensor

This shed a bit of light on the whole different lenses / crop / x1.6(canon) / x1.5(nikon) stuff. I have heard this, but never really understood it. I still don’t REALLY understand it (but I’m closer than I was before) so I will quote Mr. Greenspun:

“Having a smaller sensor is like cutting the center out of a drugstore proof print. You don’t capture all the information on the left and right and top and bottom of the frame. It is as though you took the picture with a telephoto lens. The viewfinder has been adjusted so that what you see optically is what is captured in the digital file. If you’re coming from the film world you will need to do a mental adjustment. A 50mm normal perspective lens on a big lens/small sensor camera behaves like an 80mm telephoto lens on a film camera.”

With Canon lenses, the “-S” means that the lens is built for these small sensor cameras (ie: EF-S 18-55mm).
Nikon uses “DX” to denote this type of lens.

Even though these lenses are built specifically for small sensor cameras, you still have to do the math to determine their actual end result.

While you CAN use normal lenses on a small sensor body, you have to do the math to determine what the actual focal length is. However, if you were to use a lens specific to the small sensor camera (EF-S or Nikon’s DX), they wouldn’t work on a large sensor camera. Or rather, they would, but the edges of the photo would be blurred/black, because the lens does not go to the edges of the sensor.

Mr. Greenspun goes through the different camera bodies VERY briefly, and I skipped over most of it, because I already have my camera body. He then goes on to suggest that you start with a “normal” lens.

He defines normal as the same perspective as normal human vision, which would be about a 50mm lens. His reasoning was pretty sound to me, being that,

“The novice photographer who starts with a zoom lens typically uses it in lieu of backing up or stepping forward. An experienced photographer visualizes the scene first, chooses a focal length, then gets into the appropriate position to capture the scene with that focal length. It is much better to get a lens with a fixed focal length, learn to recognize scenes where that lens can be used effectively, and then add additional lenses once that focal length has been mastered. So even if you have the $1000+ to buy a high quality zoom and the muscles to lug it around it is probably a poor choice of first lens.”

Hi! My name is Amy, and I am Guilty As Charged! I’ve totally stood where I was and zoomed away, only moving my feet when I couldn’t get the shot I wanted at the end of the zoom. So seeing myself in that statement, I was on board with his suggestion of a prime focal lens.

I also learned about aperture. This stuff, I kind of already knew. The f/stop on a lens represents the aperture. there are steps between each aperture, called “stops”. The smaller numbers are good, and they actually mean it is a bigger aperture. I did not really understand this until my brother pointed out that the number is actually the bottom number of a fraction.

So while I knew that f/2 was actually a BIGGER aperture than f/4, it made a lot more sense to me when I realized that it is actually over 1, IE: 1/2 is much bigger than 1/4. It’s TWICE as big! This was where having a photo-geek brother paid off.

So why is bigger better? Aperture is basically how big the lens opens to let the light in to the sensor. If there is a lot of light, you can snap off a picture very quickly and it will be very sharp. So when someone says that an f/2.8 lens is very fast, you know that it is because of the amount of light it lets in by that big aperture. On the flip side, if the lens has an aperture of f/5.6, it is a smaller aperture and therefore is letting a lot less light in. That means that the shutter has to stay open LONGER in order to get the light, which means it takes longer for that shutter to snap, and is therefore a slower lens. A slower lens may be affected by camera shake, which results in blurriness. It means that if you’re operating in low light, unless you use a tripod, you’re going to need to fight some blurriness with a high ISO (faster speed, but more graininess in the photo).

If there was one thing my brother hammered into me, was get a fast lens. He discouraged anything over an f/4, and who was I to argue?

So after reading and rereading photo.net’s ‘building a system’ page, I started to wander off from the “get a prime, fixed length lens”. Sure. I could get a fixed lens, and learn how to frame a photo up right the first time.. but surely I’m good enough now that I can skip this and get a zoom, right?

I started looking around at wide angle lenses.

Joe immediately suggested the Tokina 12-24mm f/4. 12mm is a very wide angle indeed, even when you do the multiplication for the cropped sensor. He pointed me to this site, which has a wealth of information for me to soak in:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/digital-wide-zooms/comparison.htm

Ken Rockwell: wide angle zoom comparison
Nikon users will love his site, as he uses (and adores) Nikon. He has a lot of articles on cameras, lenses, how to become a better photographer, etc.
In this comparison, he suggests getting the Nikon lens unless you want to be cheap, in which case get the Tokina. However, at the bottom of the review, he states (under the heading, “What About Canon?”):

“I’d buy the Canon 10-22mm lens in an instant if I had a Canon digital camera. The Canon 10 – 22 mm is better than any of these four lenses, including the Nikon.”

He has a full review for this Canon lens here:
http://www.kenrockwell.com/canon/1022.htm

The Canon 10-22mm was a bit out of my price range, and Joe still insisted that his Tokina (which is cheaper) had the better aperture with the maximum f/4 (the canon 10-22 goes from f/3.5-4.5).

So I was really struggling for which one to pick… when suddenly it didn’t matter anymore.. I was wondering why I wanted a wide angle in the first place. I like to think that I do take some good shots once in a while, but those bad shots? A wide angle lens just means that there will be MORE badness. A crappy photo will turn into WIDER crappiness. Is that REALLY what I want? Also, I wanted to fiddle more with shallow depth of field, which wide angle lenses don’t really do, by their inherent nature. They are for capturing more of the environment around your subject, not make it blurry.

Really.. I like wide angle shots, but generally, I’m taking pictures of my kids most of the time. I need a good portrait lens, really, which means a telephoto lens, with a zoom to be versatile.

(This is where James is bashing his skull in. Fickle fickle Amy. Hand On Forehead. Le Sigh.)

Telephoto means a long lens. At least with telephoto, there’s only 1 lens that really caught my eye.

70-200. Canon makes this lens in several versions. Let’s go from cheapest, to most expensive, shall we?

First I need to learn ya some more letters n’ stuff. Canon uses the following:

IS: Image Stabilization – this is found on longer lenses, as the longer focal length tends to magnify camera shake. Helps offset bigger (less light=longer shutter speeds=more camera shake exposed=blurrier) apertures. I have no idea how it does this. I like to think there’s a little man in there, holding things steady.
USM: ultra sonic motor. This is the auto focus motor. With it, it’s silent and quick. Without it, it’s not as silent or quick

L: this denotes that the lens is in Canon’s professional series. top quality stuff.

OK, now that we’ve got all that out of the way (these prices are all WITHOUT the current Canon rebates going this holiday season)…

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM ($580) small (i say small, but f/4 really IS a very decent aperture) aperture
Canon EF 70-200mm f/4 L IS USM ($1060) small aperture, but WITH image stabilization!
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L USM ($1150) ooh! BIGGER aperture (remember smaller numbers are better/bigger really the bottom half of a fraction) but no image stabilization
Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM ($1700) OMG!small aperture AND image stabilization! Zounds!
The f/4s were out of the running. Sorry. I need the wide aperture. The f/4 with IS would help offset any blurriness, but if you’re going to spend a grand on a lens, then why not cough up another hundred bucks and get the f/2.8 w/out IS? And of course, there’s the holy grail of the lens, which of course, is the one I want, which would be the f/2.8 with IS. Which would be $1700. Guess what, that ain’t happening.

In all my reading over the last 2 weeks, there was a quote I heard, can’t remember where, or who it was, but roughly, “the lens is usually better than the photographer using it” (that’s me, hehe). I can’t think of truer words in regards to the thought of me spending 1700 on a lens. Way more than I need at this juncture, or even know what to do with. Remember Philip Greenspun saying, “So even if you have the $1000+ to buy a high quality zoom and the muscles to lug it around it is probably a poor choice of first lens.” Gulp. OK, yeah, so he’s talking about me.
So taking these things into account (hi, i’m still learning, and 1700 is out of my league) still, honestly, a telephoto zoom is probably the lens that I am going to use the most. I know I would like to get a wide angle zoom at some point, but I don’t think this is the time. Telephoto is what I need, and while this one is overkill, something like it is really what would suit me best at this time.

So, after moping around about my lack of two grand to drop on a super duper fancy lens, looking at the wide angles again, I went back to the original idea of getting a fixed focal length lens. I started looking around dpreview.com‘s forums and caught wind of the Canon 50mm f/1.8, which is a cheap, but still great lens at about 70 bucks (look at that super fast aperture!) I could get a lens, a fancy flash to bounce off walls and my my kids look less orangey and grainy (let’s face it. i work during the day. i take most of the kid photos in yucky light.) and even a new bag to top it off.

It all SOUNDED so good, but I knew it really wasn’t what I wanted. This was MY CHRISTMAS PRESENT DAMMIT. I could go buy a 70 dollar lens any old time of the year! I DON’T WANT A FLASH (right now)! I WANT A FANCY LENS!

So what to do, what to do. I lamented to my brother, who shot back, “Look into Sigma.”

And so I did.

And I found this baby: Sigma 50-150mm F/2.8 APO EX DC HSM for about $670.

f/2.8! yay! 50-150! if we do our math for my cropped sensor, that is actually about 80-240! yay!

All those letters behind the lens stuff mean something too! yay! I can’t remember what though, and I’m too lazy at the end of this long assed post to go look.

I did go searching from some reviews or feedback on this lens, and I didn’t find anything on sites, but I did find several mentions of it on the dpreview.com forums, all positive.

And so, I am a giddy schoolgirl who will be setting out milk and cookies for Santa to make sure he doesn’t pinch it for himself.

So I am happy. I learned soooooo much in this experience of trying to find the right lens for me. All about aperture, and big sensors and little sensors and lenses, and image stabilization and ultra sonicy goodness that I’m going to go lay down and dream about nice, soft bokeh.

If you are still reading this… Hoorah! I will send you a candy cane as a reward. Just you email me and see if I don’t.

-amy comes right down santa clause lane.

10 responses so far

Dec 08 2006

Cute Kid Stories

Published by under daily,kids,photos

MY BOY, PSYCHO KILLER (QUEST-QUE C’EST, FUH-FUH-FUH FUH FUH-FUH-FUH FUH FUH FAR BETTER*)

Ethan has been learning his alphabet in pre-school this year. He learned it in pre-school previous years, but this year, the year before kindergarten, they are learning how to print as well and he is really getting into it.

He often comes home and wants to write his name, my name, Jocelyn’s name, daddy’s name, and other assorted words that he likes. Sometimes after he writes the word, he’ll take his scissors and carefully cut the word out and put it on the fridge (our home art gallery).

One day, he came home and said, “How do you write blood?”

“Blood? Why do you want to write blood?”

“Because my friend Palmer got hurt in school. He was bleeding. So I want to write blood, and then give it to him.”

“Ok.”

I spelled it out for him, and true to form, he cut it out with his pair of scissors.

I was a bit worried about my son taking a small piece of paper with “BLOOD” printed on it to school and handing it to one of the kids. It is a bit psycho killerish, wouldn’t you say?

Luckily for me, he put it on the fridge and had forgotten his plans for it by the next day. I don’t need to fear parent-teacher conferences on just why my son handed a small piece of paper with the word ‘BLOOD’ on it to his classmate.

* Run run run run run run awaaaaaaaaay
I feel better now. Don’t you? It’s like leaving ‘shave and a hair cut’ without the ‘TWO BITS!’ on the end. You just can’t do it. Oh David Byrne, you can burn my house down anytime.

JOCELYN THE SMARTIE PATARTY

Monday, on the way home:

me: “So what letter did you start this week?”
e: “I!”
me: “Really! ‘I’! What sound does the letter ‘I’ make?”
Jocelyn: “eeh! eeh! eeh!” (it’s very hard to ‘spell’ the sound ‘i’ makes. pretend i spelt it right)
me: “THAT’S RIGHT JOCELYN!!”

ETHAN IS ALSO VERY SMART

me: So what words start with ‘i’?
e: ice!
me: hmmmm…. igloo. if. is.
e: THAT’S WHAT I SAID! IN MY CLASS! IS!
me: totally rad!

James later told me that his teacher was VERY impressed that he thought of ‘is’ as an ‘i’ word.

ETHAN AND JOCELYN ARE BOTH CUTE

Last night was my office’ holiday party. Yes. On a Thursday. And there was not a fully open bar (wine, beer and soft drinks only). On a Thursday. And it involved speeches that were overly long and invoked everything from our grandchildren working at our company to how someday we’ll be able to see a building with our company’s name on it from 66, or the toll road, or near DC. The glaring fact that our building ALREADY had our OLD company’s logo/name on it didn’t seem to phase him. The orator kept going on about how our efforts will make or break our parent company, and our work is what will sink or swim this company. It just made me want to holler, “MUTINY! WHO’S WITH ME? TOGETHER, WE CAN BRING THIS PLACE DOWN!” while swinging a sword and carving the place up.

The whole overly long speech situation gave me the giggles and everyone kept nudging each other to whisper smart ass comments to each other in a way that somehow made me feel like I was in church, and my mother was goign to smack me upside the head at any moment unless I started to behave and pay attention already. They really needed to offer us hard liquor to get through that speech.

So, along with the being on thursday, no fake gambling, no hard liquor, feeling like I was sitting in church for a good 20 minutes, sadly there was no dancing boob girl.Oh wait, this was supposed to be about Ethan and Jocelyn wasn’t it? Sorry I had to lament the fact taht there was no vodka, and no dancing boob girl. Wah. Still though, the folks I work with are a lot of fun, and we had a good time just talking and laughing. The food was good too.

ANYWAY. KIDS. CUTENESS. CARRY ON.

BEFORE the party, I had to get the kids, get the sitter, get the cat, get us all home, get ready to go, and then go. After I picked up the sitter, Ethan said to her, “I haven’t drawed you any pictures yet. But I will make you one when we get home.”

(AWWWWWWWWWW!)

At one point I said, narrating our events, “Now we will go get Sitter!”
Jocelyn: “At our house?”
me: “No, we will pick her up at her house, and take her to our house.”
jocelyn: “We will get SITTER at HER house! And then we will get LINDA! And they will come to OUR house! And WE will PLAY!”

Linda has been over to our house a few times now, and every now and then, Jocelyn will declare that she is coming over, totally out of the blue. This was one of those times. It was cute.

THE CROSSDRESSER

Jocelyn and Ethan’s classrooms each have a corner of dress-up clothes with a variety of different things. One time last year I arrived at his classroom to pick him up and he was wearing a dress-up dress, complete with heels, prancing around the room happy as a clam. The really cute part was at least 2 other boys were complaining that it was THEIR TURN ALREADY, and when Ethan saw me, he grinned like his face was going to split open, and hollered, “LOOK MOM! I’M A GIRL!”

So I knew what he meant, when on the way home one day, Ethan declared proudly:

“I was a GIRL today!”

me: “Awesome!”

-amy is researching for santa. wide angle lens? long zoom lens? fixed length? flash? oh, santa, your job is HARD.

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