fetal position

Sunday, December 30, 2007

She found the smallest basket in our house and decided to take a nap...

the bees and the flowers

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Shirin bought me a simple linen tote from my favorite store. I plan to keep it folded up in my bag and carry it around to use as an alternative shopping bag.
I wanted to personalize it a little bit so I asked Shirin to copy onto the fabric some small bees I had sketched on paper - I have serious trouble drawing on fabric.

Originally I had added some little flowers with the bees but it looked a bit messy, so I relocated the flowers into a little garden at the bottom of the bag.

What do you think?

My next one is going to read "Al Loves Me".

brooklyn - this evening

Monday, December 24, 2007

late bloomer...

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I know I am over a year late, but I finally made that no-knead bread everyone keeps going on about. You know, that one that everyone one in the whole world has already made. I don't mind being last - and in this case it is really better late than never. It was the easiest bread making experience ever - just throw the ingredients in a bowl, mix, let them sit for a looong time, flip it a couple of times, shape it into a ball, let it sit for another two hours and then bake in some kind of cast iron type pan.
Yes, it's that easy. Even I could do it. The recipe is here now go bake! And eat.

things will never be the same

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Life is change.

We know big changes happen – we spend each day preparing for them, dealing with them, recovering from them.
Our lives are studded and defined by those happenings: by the births, the deaths, the marriages, the moves, the jobs and more.

So we all take some small comfort in knowing, or at the very least believing, that some things will always be the same. That’s why we create patterns and habits for ourselves, things that are familiar, that remind you that no matter what happens, you have some small, control.

Like the flavor of coffee first thing in the morning.
Like your favorite song.
Like making your favorite dish.
Like the words you choose when spelling out your name.
Like morning routine.
Like folding laundry.
Like the doodles you draw when chatting on the phone.
Like going back to the same old restaurant.
Like your mom's perfume.
Like seeing familiar faces.

But when those things change – those little things that you thought without a shadow of a doubt will always be just THAT way, however small and insignificant they may seem, their changing sometimes has a bigger impact on you than you'd expect.

This week, after 26 and a half years, basically my entire life give or take a few months, my parents were forced to change their home phone number in order to install DSL for the first time.

That small, tiny, insignificant change?
It makes me sad.

where I tell you all about how I need a camera bag. or two.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I'm torn. I need to make a decision about a camera bag and I am not sure what to do. Here are some things to keep in mind while I pick what to get:
  • I definitely need a larger camera bag that can fit my D80 and the two lenses I currently own plus have some room for me to grow - say one day I buy another lens, or a flash or something, I don't want to have to buy a brand new bag for that.
  • I would use that type of bag primarily for travel, or specific photo-oriented outings (I might not carry all my gear with me, but would like the option). I would also use it as the primary storage place for my gear when at home.
  • I don't like the look and feel of classic camera bags, which leads me to believe that Crumpler might be a good choice. I'm not crazy about their design, but at least they try to disguise themselves as messenger bags. And I can live with that.
  • I found this shop while browsing for handmade options, and though I love the idea, I'm not sure I'm willing to risk my camera on a handmade bag... yet.
  • Finally, I think I might need a smaller, slimmer carrier as well as a larger bag, so I can slide my camera into it and just head out the door. Maybe an old fashioned leather one, just enough for the body and a lens.
I'm going to try and pop into B&H sometime this week and see if I can find anything good in their second hand section.

Do you guys have any good suggestions?

pleased as punch

Saturday, December 15, 2007

That would describe how both Brookie and I feel on this sunny and cold Saturday. I took care of some chores, sang along to some Elton John, smiled at the thought of not leaving the warmth and coziness of the house, and made yummy healthy granola using the recipe in this book (thank you Nooshin!). WOW. I halved the original recipe since it made 10 cups which is quite a lot to make on a first attempt – you know, what if it turns out to be awful? I added some pumpkin seeds to the required sunflower seeds, omitted the coconut and coconut oil (replaced it with grapeseed oil) and replaced half the honey with agave nectar (why not??).
Oh, and Brookie? She’s pleased because she got tuna today. Lucky cat. Here she is, demonstrating her various takes on her I-am-pleased-with-you-human-I will-reward-you-by-letting-you-take-my-picture look.

Such a poser. Give us a smile, will ya?

take the tour!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I spent an embarrassingly large amount of time during the past week cleaning up and changing the layout of this blog. I uploaded at least five completely different templates. I researched html code, figured out how to create links and feeds and various different things. I played around with blog options with typepad, wordpress and vox and also there uploaded themes and templates and widgets. I nearly registered my own website and had ambitious plans of designing my own site and doing crazy stuff like that. HAH!
At the end of the day, I return to blogger and to the same old template I had before - more or less. I opened up that HTML page and started tweaking sizes, shapes, layouts, headers. I wanted a larger center column, to give pictures more space to breathe, while maintaining 3 columns to fit all the links and info I wanted to put in.

So here's what new:
- The header: I hope to change my header on a somewhat more regular basis than I did before. I created and edited the banner using Picnik, a fabulous online photo editing tool. Flickr (my secret lover) now allows you to just click a button and edit any of your pictures with Picnik. It's wonderfully useful for us non-PhotoShop savvy folk, and it totally fulfills my needs for now.
- About: I've added a link to my photos (for mom), a "email me" button and a one click stop to subscribe to this blog's feed (if that doesn't work for you, let me know? I'm a bit unsure about it).
- This caught my eye: right below the "about" section is my favorite feature yet - feel free to suggest a better title for it! There you'll find an ever-changing list of links to items/blog posts/stories that I find inspiring, funny, interesting, cute, etc, etc. I subscribe to over 300 websites and blogs through Google Reader and every day I find a couple of thinks that I think: "oh, I should tell so and so about that" or "oh, I should post something about that". Well, Reader makes it really easy for me to single out items to share on this side bar. I'm kind of surprised I didn't put this up sooner...
- The rest of the left column: it remains pretty much the same, with links to family&friends' blogs and sites, archives and categories.
- The right column: a good ol'fashioned blogroll.
My sisters' were asking me for some recommendations of some good blogs I visit frequently and I realized that my link list was really quite messy. So I sorted it out, added a bunch of new links and divided them into categories for you convenience (always thinking of the reader, I'm nice like that). This will change now and then as my own interests flutter, as they do often, but for the most part those are some of my favorite places to visit.

So there you go - the new and improved montague.
Overall I am quite pleased with it, though certain things still need fixing: most significantly the size of my pictures. I can't seem to figure out a way to size them the way I want, and it's just too complicated and fiddly to change the settings for each individual picture. The default size is too small, if I set a determined width for them they go all pixel-y or look huge if they happen to be vertical.
If you know code or know your way around blogger and want my undying love, admiration or my first born (Shamim?) please HELP ME!

And in case there were any lingering doubts, it is obviously now very clear that I am, in fact, a geek.

hummingbirds in Jamaica

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Right across from the balcony where we had breakfast was a beautiful, huge tree with these stunning pink flowers.
The owners of the b&b planted the tree specifically because it attracts the hummingbirds. It was the first time I had seen a hummingbird up close, let alone the "found in Jamaica only" Green and Black Streamtail one. Each morning, in between sipping my coffee and enjoying traditional Jamaican dishes, I tried to capture their flight and movement.

PS: as you can tell, the blog and the pictures are still being re-arranged and edited. If you logged in earlier today you might have seen totally different layouts and other such things, but I think I've managed to reformat the layout I had before, which I loved, and make it a bit more pleasing. It's a work in progress, especially the older pictures, which you will notice are out of proportion and messy. I plan to fix them, I promise! Also, Shamim and I (well, Shamim really) did some wacky messing around with the banner when I first set this blog up, and now Ican't remember how to change the picture! Oh well, I'm sure we'll figure it out eventually!

excuse our appearance

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I am testing out a couple different layouts for the blog, so apologies if things look a bit wacky over the next little while!


Monday, December 10, 2007

And so we are back, our short getaway just whizzed by and we are settling into the (freezing) hustle and bustle of our lives in the big city. Jamaica was warm, welcoming and all together wonderful. To tide you over until I have the time actually sit down and recap what we did (hang by the beach and eat) and saw (mostly the sea, the sand and lots of jerk pork and chicken) here is a sampling of some of the pictures I took. One morning we wondered over to the home across the street from our bed&breakfast - the woman that lives there grows orchids and they were all absolutely stunning!

You can see them larger on flickr.

see you next week

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I'm signing off for the rest of the week as we head somewhere beautiful and warm for a couple of days, and play around with a new amazing gift.
I am extremely grateful and terribly intimidated. It was so easy to shoot with my trusty Canon point-and-shoot. If the photo looked ugly, I could just blame the camera!
I'll see you on the other side - wish me luck!

p.s. and if you know of any good online "dummies guide to photography" leave me a comment with a link and I will be eternally grateful!


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Saturday evening, dessert with friends in front of a warm fireplace...

Sunday morning, from our bedroom window...

The sad end of our basil and mint...

Brookie catching a break from all the snowflake hunting...

Quick breakfast on the go...

The flurries outside...

It's nice to be back home, with a purring cat, sipping hot water with fresh ginger and agave nectar. I plan to spend the rest of today here, reading a book or watching a movie, maybe baking something small if I feel like it, but mostly, just trying to recover from this nasty sore throat/cold thingy I've had going on. For someone who likes to boast about their very good health, I've been feeling quite poorly these past few weeks.
I hope this is it for me the rest of the season.