Beagle As Still Life

I am not a photographer who takes still life subject matter. I understand the concepts of it and I love seeing it when done well by others. But for me, it’s too much fussing for the end result.

I had more thoughts on this several years ago when I took a macro photography class from Bryan Peterson. I spent all day wrestling with my subject matter, made a bunch of mistakes, and decided that it wasn’t for me (you can see the post here).

So in Week 3 of Kim Klassen’s class, A Month of Multiples, we had an assignment to shoot a still life. After enough procrastination, I decided on a different subject matter for my still life.

I offer for your laughter “Beagle as Still Life”. Nothing, but nothing, will interfere with his naps, except maybe the crinkle of a cheese wrapper or the rattle of his harness. His sleep is an essential part of his daily routine and when it’s nap time, all other life ceases. Some days, we even check to make sure he’s still breathing.

So here is my still life for the Week 3 assignment. As one of my blogging friends commented, it certainly was still!

Finding New Hobbies

20161211i-2-blog

As this year has gone on, I found myself needing some new interests. Unfortunately, very little appealed to me.

I finally set the following criteria:

  • It could not require hours behind a computer. I spend all day in front of a screen for my job and I can’t do it at home all night and weekend too. I love my camera as a means to take a walk, but hours of post photo processing are not fun.
  • I wanted something physically active. It didn’t have to be anything hard core, but I wanted something that was more than sitting around (see the first point above).
  • I also wanted something where I could grow and learn, something where I could take classes, ask questions, and experiment to a higher knowledge level.

I settled on:

  • Using my Big Green Egg (BGE) smoker more and
  • Doing yoga more consistently.
Continue reading “Finding New Hobbies”

Beagle Reporting on the Backyard

Hello kind and gentle readers! It’s me, the beagle, reporting on what’s happening around the backyard. Mom and Dad took down the garden last year. They said it was too much work for what they got out of it. Plus there was a little problem with destruction. Apparently one of the dogs kept playing in it.

And when the tomatoes ripened, the mockingbirds and squirrels ate them up.

Continue reading “Beagle Reporting on the Backyard”

A Walk With Mom

Playing with my favorite toy - the squeaky soccer ball
Playing with my favorite toy – the squeaky soccer ball

Dear kind and gentle readers – yes, it’s once again me, the beagle.

I’m really liking Mom being home during the day.  Why?  Because she’s taking me for a walk nearly every day.  Oh such joy – I get to check pee mail!  Poop on the neighbors lawns!  And best of all, I’m finding all kinds of things to eat.

I go along, nose to the ground, when suddenly I get a whiff of something.  The other day at the park, I took off into the woods, shuffling through leaves that were nearly halfway up my short little legs.  Mom let the retractable leash out, not dreaming that I was on the scent of something yummy until I snatched up a stale bun.  Whoa – did she ever reel me in.  Worse yet, she dug it out of my mouth and told me I was a bad boy.  Then she threw it back into the woods.  I got the last laugh though.  As we walked away, I turned around, snatched it back up and nearly got it down before she dug it out of my mouth again.  ** sigh **  I was so close to eating it too.

I’m keeping a pretty good trot out there!  Mom’s getting a brisk walk in and so am I.  In fact, the other day she texted Dad that I was acting wild.  So she walked me around the entire park.  THE WHOLE PARK.  I could barely make it back to the car!  In fact, we were nearly there and I just ran out of mojo.  She finally coaxed me back to the car and then – this is so embarrassing – she had to boost my butt up into the car because I was too tired to hop in.

Where's the beagle next door?  I'll find him yet!
Where’s the beagle next door? I’ll find him yet!

For some reason, her and Dad found it incredibly funny when we get home.  Just because I stood there in the hallway, swaying on my feet and trying to sleep while keeping an eye on Mom.  Because I knew she was getting ready to take my brother, the Vizsla, out for his walk.  How dare she?  Those walks are for ME.  NOT him.  She left despite my vigilance and I made sure to howl and sob so she could hear me all the way out to the street.  Yeah, until Dad yelled at me to stop.  Hey!  I’m entitled to ALL the walks!  Who knows what I’m missing out there!?!?!

I slept the rest of the day.  In fact, I might have been snoring.  Dad complained about having trouble hearing the television, although more likely it was my brother.  I’m sure it couldn’t have been me.

Continue reading “A Walk With Mom”

Chaos Is Inevitable – Part 1

The beagle is three months old; the Vizsla is ten months old even though he looks full-grown
The beagle is three months old; the Vizsla is ten months old even though he looks full-grown

In chaos, all is possible. 
Every incoming idea is welcomed, with no regard for reality. 
Forget time, money or reason; embrace a brimming universe!
Because if you start with rules, your creation will be stillborn.
Philippe Petit in “Creativity: The Perfect Crime”

Along with the learning curve is the inevitable chaos that accompanies it.  It’s just not possible to start something – anything new – without there being a mess.

It’s not just photography or writing.  Over the years of working as an accountant, many of my projects were new from scratch.  There was no prior trail to follow.  I had to come up with a methodology from scratch, tame data, and make it presentable to a vice-president who had limited time and attention to devote to my problem.

The easiest way for me to do this is to just jump in and start.  I can spend time trying to plan it out, design my spreadsheet, and determine if the data available was adequate (and if not, what else could I get).  I’ve found though that pre-planning it didn’t shorten the process – actually, it made it take longer.  By pre-planning too extensively, I got locked into this had to work this way and no other way.  It didn’t give my mind the flexibility to change course and backtrack where needed.

So now, I just jump in.  I assess my data, start the spreadsheet, make changes, get more data if possible, change the spreadsheet again.  I might go back and redefine the parameters of the project because what was requested isn’t going to give the answers needed or the data is not obtainable or something better can / should be done instead.  Sometimes I’ll get halfway through before inspiration strikes and I start all over again with a better idea.

So why should my photography and writing be any different?  I didn’t wait for my blog to be perfect before I started it.  I picked a theme and went with it.  I blogged for several months before I realized I could change the header and put my own picture in it!  But if I’d waited for my blog to look gorgeous before I started blogging, I would have missed six months of getting experience putting together posts and photographs.

My blog today is considerably different as I’ve gained experience and found my voice.  I’ve learned to downsize my pictures, add tags and categories, and create links.  Click here to see one of my first posts – oh look, a baby beagle!   And he’s looking for a treat.  Gosh, what a surprise.  The beagle has since gone on to write some of his own posts, which can be found here.

So a reminder to myself in nurturing my creativity – jump in and try it.  Don’t wait for it to be perfect.  It might not even be right.  But I’ll learn better and faster if I just do it.  If I have to redo it later, that’s how it goes.

To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.

To see what others are doing with their 31 Days project, click here.

#write31days

The Beagle Claims He Was Tricked

Here I am, minding my own business.
Here I am, minding my own business.

Dear Kind & Gentle Readers –

I got tricked!!!  Yes, I got tricked.  Wait until you hear what Mom and Dad did to me this time.

It started innocently enough.  After the grand morning ritual of the giving of the treats, Mom let me back outside again.  I was so happy!  It was a nice day out and there were lots of little boys to bark at as they walked to the bus stop.

Then Mom comes around to the side gate, whispers my name, and rattles my harness.  Oh wow, wow, wow.  I’m going for a walk!  Or to daycare!  No, a walk!  Check pee-mail!  Joy, joy, joy.  Can you tell how excited I was?  And I was alone – no sharing Mom with any of my brothers.  Little did I know that was by design, until it was too late.

I'm so excited!  Mom has my harness and I'm going for a walk!!  Or something!!
I’m so excited! Mom has my harness and I’m going for a walk!! Or something!!

So Mom let me out and I ran up and down the fence as fast as I could, but finally I was a good boy and let her put my harness on.  Dad was waiting by the car and more wow!!  Now, I’m going with Dad in the car.  I just excited and excited and excited.

We got out of the car and I hop, skip and run in the building with Dad.  Uh-oh.  Brake time.  This isn’t daycare!  And sure isn’t a walk!  Nooooooooooooooooooo.   I’m at the vet!!!!!

Bad Dad!
Bad Dad! I’ve been betrayed!!

Dad gave me to the torturers, who put me a cage.  Eventually I was too sleepy to stay awake and the next thing I know, my mouth hurts and so does the back of my neck.  Ewww!  My teeth got cleaned and a lump on the back of my neck is gone now.  Double icky!  My neck got shaved and the stitches itch, but Mom and Dad won’t scratch it for me.  At least I don’t have to wear a bozo collar.

I don’t care if it’s for my own good.  I don’t care if the vet says it was good the lump was taken off while it was still small.  Don’t care don’t care don’t care.  I wanted a walk and I didn’t get one.  In fact, I didn’t feel good when Dad put me back in the car.  I didn’t throw up, but I think I walked into a wall.  And the couch seemed to be a long way up from the ground.

How come I need a nap after I go to the vet?
How come I need a nap after I go to the vet?

So that was my big adventure.  And let me tell you, it stunk.  It was like getting a bath but worse.  I mean, was that fair?  Hellooooooo – a harness means a walk!!  Don’t you people know that?

Mom was nice to me later (take note Dad – you could have given me more treats to make it up to me.  A lot more treats.  But did you?  No.)  She stroked my head, cooed at me and told me what a good boy it was.  How could I resist melting in her hands?  I love it when she uses that special tone of voice and looks in my eyes.

Leave me alone.  I'm tired and crabby.  Go away.
Leave me alone. I’m tired and crabby. Go away.

But dear readers – you can help me out.  Yes, you.  Am I not pitiful?  And deserving of treats?  So send treats.  Lots of them.  Oh, wait, Mom just said something to me.  WHAT?????  I’m too fat already?   But I need treats!  Uh-oh.  Mom just said no.  No – wait – don’t take the keyboard away – I promise to be good – no asking for treats.

Dad!  Dad!  Mom’s nuts!  Let me out in the yard – now.  Yes, now.  Hurry up man and get that door open!

Gotta go!  Be good and don’t get in trouble with Mom about treats.

Love ya!

The Beagle

[Note:  The beagle finally has his own page.  If you’d like to read more of his blog posts, check the tabs at the top or go to here.]

The Beagle Tattles That Mom Assaulted Him!

Dear Readers – I don’t understand why Mom calls me a tattle tale.  Geez – all I’m doing is reporting the truth as I see it.  And as we all know, I’m right.

Wanna play?  Dare you!
Wanna play? Dare you!

So it started innocently enough.  Mom grabbed the towel away, enticing my big brother to play.  He loves playing tug with the towel and sometimes she is foolish enough to let him do it lets him do it.

Opening gambit.  Do you want the towel?
Opening gambit. Do you want the towel?

So there’s a lot of jumping, tugging and growling (my big brother, not Mom).  But was that good enough?  NO!  It wasn’t!

And the answer is YES!
And the answer is YES!

Mom starts chasing my brother, shaking the towel at him.  He’d grab it, growl, and then she’d grab it back and start chasing him again.

And the beagle objects!
And the beagle objects!

Well, I couldn’t resist howling at the two of them.  I mean, was this stupid or what!  So I let them know my opinion.

I'll cheat if that's the only way to beat Dad.
See that cheating paw?

So what happened?  Mom turns around and mugs me.  Yes, she mugs me!  She said she was only playing, but I jumped sideways to get away from her.  Then my brother gave me a noogie.  Nuggie?  Whatever.  He rubbed the towel all over the top of my head.

Mine, mine, mine!
Mine, mine, mine!

Eeew!  They assaulted me.  And all I did was run wild circles around them, howling, and getting stepped on.  Oh yeah, and Mom stepped on me too.  Honestly, she needs to be more careful when I get in her face to howl some more.

Higher!  Higher!
Higher! Higher!

And then she laughed at me!  Oh wait, I’ve said that before, haven’t I?  But it’s true!  She laughed at me!  And told me it was my fault!

The beagle sees his chance to get the toy!
The beagle sees his chance to get the toy!

Of course, she didn’t get any pictures of herself doing that.  So she told asked Dad to redo the whole thing again.

He gets it!
He gets it!

Heh heh heh.  I actually got the towel this time.  I couldn’t believe it.  I got the towel!  I got the towel!

And gets pushed off the couch!
And gets pushed off the couch!

And got hip checked right off the couch.  Oh the indignity of it!  And of course, I let go of the towel.  Two seconds and I lost it.  Mom says I’m using too many exclamation points.  Sheesh, what a crab.  Oh, sorry Mom.  I didn’t see you there.  NO!  NO!  Don’t take the keyboard away.  I’ll be good.

Hey – you guys got any treats?  I need some, so send as many as you can.  Uh-oh.  Mom told me last time not to ask for treats.  Well, that’s just too. . . whoops.  Gotta go!  Mom’s on a rampage!

Love ya!  Send treats!

The Beagle

[Editor’s note:  The beagle IS a tattletale despite what he thinks.  His stories can be found at:

Get Out Of The Garden!

Magic Shower Water (she made me take a shower!)

It Was All Dad’s Fault (that the ball got lost)

Play Ball! (Mom made me into a movie star)

Loving His Momma

I hope you enjoy reading his side of the story – remember though that his view is quite biased as to who was right and who was wrong.]

The Beagle Loves His Momma

Dear Readers – Got any treats?  (Never mind.  Mom said that’s impolite).

Dear Kind and Gentle Readers – It’s the beagle here to share more of my life with you.  If you have any treats, I’d love to have them now!  (waddya mean I can’t ask for treats?  Patti’s reading this – she’ll give me one!  I bet Jaimie and Darlene will too!).

Here I am, walking over to my Momma.
Here I am, walking over to my Momma.

Okay, never mind, no treats (but I’ll always take one if you have one to offer – just don’t tell Mom).

So the other day I was in the yard, doing my grid search for new bunny trails, when I noticed that I was the only dog out there!  Now that’s not a big deal, as my bigger brother would rather sleep on the couch than go outside and the little guy gets cold faster than I do.

Am I a good dog?
Am I a good dog?

But the big deal is that Mom stepped out there and it was just me and her.  Yep, just the two of us.  Well, who can resist getting some loving from her when there’s no competition?  No bigger dog to hip check me out of the way and no little dog to run between my legs and get in front of me when Mom starts petting us.  It was just me.

I marched right up to the deck.  It was a little dicey as I didn’t follow my beagle trails, but I wasn’t going to waste this opportunity and risk someone coming back outside!  So I minced my way back to the deck and put on my best good dog routine for Mom.

Love me!  Put the camera down - love me!
Love me! Put the camera down – love me!

What do you think?  Did I look like a good dog?  Yes, I know the sun is in my eyes, but I was trying!

I got my loving (even got a treat), then went and took a nap.  It’s hard work keeping the yard free of critters!

Nap time!
Nap time!