Thursday afternoon, Mandy, the two little ones, the 16-year-old and I all went over to State College to meet up with the older daughter, Carrie, and her son - My Prince Grandson, Alex. We made arrangements to meet at the Sears store at the Nittany Mall and Mandy had made an appointment with their photography studio to have the kids pictures taken.
The picture taking was quite an experience. Alex has always been photogenic and quite the ham. That, plus his age now (10) made him easy to work with. Maya -all things considered -did quite well today. Much better than she was a year ago when, before Christmas Mandy and I had taken the two little ones, all decked out in the Christmas finery, to the K-Mart in DuBois for pictures. Getting her to sit in a particular spot -heck, just getting her to sit at all -was a chore. Trying to get her to look at the photographer was also very difficult. At that time, Kurtis was the little ham and not walking at that time (only 8 months old ya know) when we put him in a particular spot, he stayed there and he also smiled readily too for the camera. We still got some cute pictures of them that day, but none of them showed Maya looking in the direction the lady wanted. But as it is with kids, you take the best you can from the ones you get and be happy with that.
These are the two pictures we were able to get from last year's photography session. As you can see from the look on Maya's face there, she was off in her own little world, not looking at the camera, not really sure I suppose of what was happening there. I still think it's a lovely picture but just wish it would have been able to capture her looking directly at the object the photographer used to get their attention and that she'd been smiling too.
And so it was today with trying to get all three kids lined up, posed, holding still, ready? Say cheese. And inevitably, either Kurtis or Maya would look off in another direction or Kurtis would move, try to escape from be forced to sit down, stay still. We did however finally manage to get three shots that were reasonably good though. We never did get Kurtis to even smile, much less flash the big grins he usually gives out.
It still took a heck of a long time to look at the shots and make selections - this one, in two 5x7's and two sheets of wallet size - that one in an 8x10 and 2 more sheets of wallet size and so on and so forth. I, of course, loved all the pictures as did Mandy and Carrie too but no way can one possible have a need for all the photos in the packages they offer either. Sure you need to figure out who will be the recipient of a framed photo of these three super stars -there's Pappy (Bill's Dad), Poppy - Mandy and Carrie's Dad, me, Alex's Dad, Alex's paternal grandparents -both sets, Uncle Clate and Great-Grandma Eileen (my ex's 81 year old mother), one for my best friend, another for this or that relative and presto magic, before you know it, you're easily in hock for the rest of your life! These pictures are great, yes - for sure. But I am very much inclined to agree with my Mom who always believed they were also a big rip-off, money-making market too!
When Mandy was about a year old, one of those photo package companies - the kind that would come to your house and do pictures - called and wanted to know if I would be interested in having photos taken of my kids -have a nice picture to put in a pretty 8x10 frame and hang on the wall for posterity. Sure thing, I said and promptly made an appointment. It was one of those offers where you could get an 8x10 for only $3.00 -or something like that.
Our finances at that time were really rocky and the last thing in the world we could really afford was me looking at bunches of "proofs" of my three beautiful little children and NOT ordering a slew of prints -of this pose and that one and oh, that one is so precious too, I'll just take three of it plus two each of these and 5 of those. Will power flies totally out the window then, don't 'cha just know it?
Well as it turned out, the day they were to come with the proofs, I had to work - I mean I HAD to be there, no taking the day off, not even the afternoon. Mom was watching the kids that day and she knew the guy was going to be coming with the proofs. She also knew what the "special offer" they had used to sucker me into getting the pictures taken in the first place was as well. She told me not to worry - she would look over the prints and make a selection. She also said she was only going to pick one picture -the one we had already paid for -no others because she knew we really just could not afford to spend on any more than that ONE photo.
I remember waiting and waiting - excitedly -till the picture - the ONE picture she had chosen finally arrived in the mail. I opened it and there before my eyes was just the most beautiful picture ever of my three babies all together! Carrie, in her lovely long pale blue dotted Swiss dress from Uncle Tom's wedding, seated holding Mandy who looked so adorable in a pretty little pink dress and there was Clate, kneeling by Carrie, with a hand placed ever so lovingly on Mandy's shoulder. It was a fantastic photograph, really it was. I marvel at my Mom's ability to make that selection and stick to her guns that she was only going to take JUST ONE picture! But she did it.
Sadly, that picture got slightly water damaged when the upstairs of the house caught on fire and in trying to remove it from the frame to replace the frame with a new one, it was stuck there and parts of the picture tore in the process then too. And, of course, I have no "proof" or no negative to have the picture reprinted from. I don't even remember the name of the company that maybe, if I had that information, I could have contacted them to get a reprint of the photo done. So, you'll just have to take my word for it that it was just a beautiful photo that thankfully, did last for close to 20 years at any rate.
So after the girls (and I) decided which shots we felt were best, how many to order and Mandy signed a healthy sum of funds away to get prints upon prints, off we went in search of food cause by that time, we were starving. Carrie and Alex opted not to join us for supper as she needed to get home, grab a bite to eat and then a little shut-eye too since she had to work the graveyard shift tonight.
After considerable discussion of where to go and dine, we finally decided to take our chances with Applebees. Not that eating there was taking a chance but rather taking Kurtis and Maya there to eat in public can be quite risky at times. We were seated in a nice booth - Mandy and Maya on one side; Kate and I on the other and Kurtis in one of those wooden high chairs with no tray, was at then end of the booth. Mandy ordered the steak and shrimp combo, Kate was really in an exploratory mood about food tonight - NOT -and opted for a bacon-cheeseburger and chicken noodle soup and I had the 9-ounce steak, with mushrooms and garlic on top, sides of onion rings and Applebee's "famous" Mac 'n'cheese. Maya was given a choice of either spaghetti or mac 'n' cheese (two of her favorite foods) and she chose the children's mac 'n' cheese -not really a big surprise to any of us. Kurtis dined on the french fries that came with Kate's order but which she didn't want. Both kids behaved quite well - ate very good, no meltdowns, no screaming, kicking, screeching, wailing from either one of them! A nice meal, yes indeed.
After we got home, I started to transfer the photos - yes, we did get the CD with the pictures we had to choose from loaded to it to bring home tonight -but for some odd reason, I couldn't get any of these pictures to open after I got them transferred over to "My Pictures." So I had to putsy around with the computer - do a little maintenance stuff -and finally, was able to get in to the folder, name the pictures, get them all positioned in the right direction, etc.
I wanted to e-mail one of the pictures of the three kids to a couple of my cousins but didn't want to send them as an attachment from my e-mail because I was afraid the file would be pretty large and bog down in transit in cyberspace or worse, maybe even crash someone else's computer as they tried to download it. To avoid this problem I usually send pictures using the Picasa e-mail set-up in which it crunches the file down to a reasonable size for me but when I tried to do that, Picasa2 gave me an error message saying there's currently a problem with Picasa, they're working on it and if I just hit the "send" button it will send an error message for me then back to Microsoft about the issue. Hmmm. Seems to me I had the same message a week or two back when I wanted to e-mail a couple pictures I'd taken of the kids to my cousins.
Ok, I thought -no problem as I also have the Kodak Gallery that I can use too to e-mail photos from it -it does pretty much the same thing with pictures as does the Picasa2 program. But when I tried to log into my Kodak Gallery account, no dice. Seems they are doing maintenance and it will be available again "shortly." Well, then I remembered that I got that same message there when I had tried to e-mail some photos through the Kodak gallery because I couldn't get them to go using the Picasa2 program.
What gives here people? Two photo programs that both do roughly the same thing and neither one of them is functioning nor have they been for a week or so now, seems a bit strange to me. What the heck is the issue with this software anyway? And when will either or both of them be available for me to use again? No information as to that, of course.
Stymied there, I saw in my e-mail that my phone bill had just arrived so I thought well, since I can't e-mail those cousins a picture, I'll check and see what my phone bill is for this month. I signed in to that sight and what do I get? A message from Verizon telling me that accessing my account is temporarily not available and please check back at another time. No mention as to what time would be okay for me to check back though. Considering this client of Verizon's tends to be a bit senile, they shouldn't leave it to me to check back randomly but really should give me more exact information that I could maybe log into my computer calendar so it will send me a notice or flag my attention to remind me I need to look at my phone bill and not put it off, etc. And this is the second month in a row that I've received that message from Verizon when I tried to view my bill. What gives with that issue there people? Seems to me in a month's time they should have gotten their act together, got that "unavailable" issue all ironed out, don't 'cha think?
And now, before I head to the sofa to put my weary head on the pillow, I'm gonna show you one of the pictures from the selection on the cd. Yep - just like my Mom - only gonna show you one! Well, at least just one today anyway!
Isn't this just priceless though? (And trust me, it is killing me right now NOT to post all the pictures we got to select from for every one to see here and now. Eventually, I will show you the favorites though - but today -just one!