iPhoneography: Springfield Farmer’s Market

11 09 2018

iPhone 8Plus, Snapseed app borders

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Mater Melvin begats a lengthy grammar lesson

29 11 2013

I originally posted this photo and brief blog entry on July 28, 2008. For this re-post, I’m including the ensuing grammar lesson that resulted from this harmless little photo of some homegrown tomatoes. 

I just picked these little jewels from the garden this afternoon. As I was carrying them inside, I thought…hmmm…two yellow ones…they look like big orbs…with eyes! And I have just enough new cherry tomatoes to form…a smile….oh, and what looks great with bright golden yellow and orange-red? Cornflower-french blue! Oh, and what about rosemary eyebrows?

While I realize the concept of playing with your food (and photographing it) isn’t a new concept, I felt (creatively) compelled to do it anyway. So…voila! I present to you—‘Mater Melvin. How can this colorful little concoction not make you smile? Step away from your desk and go grow something!


And the comments started coming in…

My friend Sue responded as I would hope a viewer would: “Mater Melvin looks good enough to eat!”

She was followed by my father (aka “The King of Texas”): MATER: — noun — an informal use of the Latin word for mother, sometimes used by British schoolboys or used facetiously. Also refers to a female parent, a mother—a woman who has given birth to a child (also used as a term of address to your mother). I submit this only to point out that Melvin may feel compromised by the application of the term “mater.” Perhaps the graphic might better be termed “‘mater Melva.” I fully realize that in this case, as in so many others, I am “neet peeking” but I can’t resist it—it’s in my nature!

And here is my response: And now, my dearest friends, you can finally understand why I am so compelled to correct (some of) you when you misuse “lie” vs. “lay.” I explain that a “dove” is a bird and not something you do off a diving board. I correct you when you use “I” vs. “me” at the end of a sentence. I lecture that “irregardless” is crude and unacceptable in most circles (i.e. mine). The word is “regardless.” I insist that you put the periods and commas inside the quotation marks. I preach when to use “further” vs. “farther.” I cringe when you use “its” in the possessive form when you mean to use it as a contraction (or vice versa). You can just imagine how I must feel when someone misuses “lose” vs. “loose” when they are writing. I can’t help it. I am my father’s daughter. The apple never fell from the tree.

Repeating the words of my lifelong Grammar Guru: I can’t resist it—it’s in my nature! (You can direct your complaints to Mr. Dyer now.)

Oh, and for the record, Grammar Guru says one should always avoid using exclamation points. He says using one in a sentence is like laughing at your own joke. (I ask him why God made exclamation points in the first place if he didn’t want us to use them. He has no answer for that one.) I break with tradition here and must admit that I have been known to use one when I’m truly excited (on paper). However, I do think using two is a tad much (I’m sure you’ll agree). And three? Egads!!!

Read my Dad’s comment about rampant misuse of quotation marks:

The King of Texas then responds with: Thanks a lot, mi hija—you may have exposed me to a flood of rebuttals on the conjugation of the verb “to dive.” In anticipation of that flood and at the risk of overloading your comments section, I offer the following ramble:

The old school conjugation of “to dive” (a la McGuffey’s Reader), present, past and future—is dive, dived and dived (I dive today, I dived yesterday, and by this time tomorrow I will have dived again). Virtually every source, including the college edition of The American Heritage Dictionary, shows “dove” and “dived” as acceptable past tenses of the verb “to dive.” Many people choose “dove” over “dived,” one syllable rather than two, notably in cold northern regions (we in more tolerable climates speak a bit slower and prefer two syllables).

We have, over time, perhaps corrupted the past tense of the verb “to dive” because of its similarity to other verbs such as drive (drive, drove, driven) and strive (strive, strove, striven). However, its inclusion in the dictionary doesn’t make it right—one also finds a four-letter synonym (verb, noun, etc.) for excrement in the dictionary, but the term is not used by literate persons—at least not in polite conversation (not even in the colder regions). It’s available to all, of course, but its indiscriminate use immediately labels the speaker.

And now, a short history of the transition from “dived” to “dove” (fromhttp://www.thefreedictionary.com):

Either dove or dived is acceptable as the past tense of dive. Usage preferences show regional distribution, although both forms are heard throughout the United States. According to the Dictionary of American Regional English, in the North, dove is more prevalent; in the South Midland, dived. Dived is actually the earlier form, and the emergence of dove may appear ANOMALOUS (please note the definition below) in light of the general tendencies of change in English verb forms.

Definition added (from Merriam-Webster):

1: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected : irregular, unusual.
2: of uncertain nature or classification b: marked by incongruity or contradiction.

The use of “dove” as a past tense of dive, according to Merriam-Webser, is therefore inconsistent, deviating, unusual, abnormal, unexpected, irregular, uncertain, incongruous and contradictory. Given all those negatives, I can’t imagine why anyone would use, or even think of using “dove” in that manner.

Let’s face it—it’s a bird!

Back to the history lesson from http://www.thefreedictionary.com;

Old English had two classes of verbs: strong verbs, whose past tense was indicated by a change in their vowel (a process that survives in such present-day English verbs as drive/drove or fling/flung); and weak verbs, whose past was formed with a suffix related to -ed in Modern English (as in present-day English live/lived and move/moved). Since the Old English period, many verbs have changed from the strong pattern to the weak one; for example, the past tense of step, formerly stop, became stepped. Over the years, in fact, the weak pattern has become so prevalent that we use the term regular to refer to verbs that form their past tense by suffixation of -ed. However, there have occasionally been changes in the other direction: the past tense of wear, now wore, was once werede, and that of spit, now spat, was once spitede. The development of dove is an additional example of the small group of verbs that have swum against the historical tide.

Yes, I know—I have a lot of time on my hands.

Then my friend Jeff tops it off with this humorous response: Oh. My. God. Oh wait, I mean, of course, Oh!!! My!!! God!!! And who says 110 in the shade is a more tolerable climate? I mean, really.
— Jeff “I don’t be toleratin’ no periods within my quotation marks” Evans

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Digital Polaroid transfers, continued

19 01 2009

Here’s my second attempt at a Polaroid transfer created digitally. After reading Scott’s comment, I agree that the instructions to use a watercolor paper texture (from a digital photo of the paper) added a bit too much texture, so I used Photoshop to achieve a more linen-like texture. And Scott’s right about the fading, but initially I was always able to get pretty intense colors in my transfers. They do fade, so if you intend to give the images away or sell them, I advise creating high resolution scans on your flatbed scanner (at original size, RGB, 300 dpi), then printing on archival matte paper (or even watercolor-textured archival inkjet paper) to duplicate the texture of the original transfer. This will ensure that they won’t fade. I find that when the original do fade, they tend to go to a bit more blue cast. I think one of the things that is off with the transfer below is that there isn’t enough blue in the “residue” around the image. I did look at some of my originals and not all of them have that tell-tale inky blue cast in the residue, though. And the other thing missing are flawed areas (when the print doesn’t lift well in some areas, it tears away the emulsion and you’ll get “hot spots” in the print. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s pretty common. I like mine with as few hot spots as possible, hence why I went through so much Polaroid film in creating those images in the last post!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Tomatoes, nasturtiums, herbs and Alzheimer’s

25 08 2008

Hey, I finally found a use for all those plates I’ve collected throughout the years. Photo props!

This is my meager—but no less lovely—edible harvest from this morning. And yes, the Nasturtium flowers are edible, too. These rapidly growing annuals are easy to grow from seed, like full sun to partial shade, come in an array of colors (yellow, orange, pink, red, butter yellow, cream, and mahogany), and have a peppery taste. There are climbing and trailing types available. Nasturtiums are also called Scottish flamethrower or Indian cress. Both the lotus-leaf-like leaves and flowers are edible.

Read this funny and informative post titled, “Nasturtium: The Flower Growing Under False Pretenses,” on Hanna’s This Garden is Illegal blog.

You’ll find growing tips and recipes for Nasturtiums here and here. I cheated this year and bought my tiny seedlings from DeBaggio’s Herb Farm and Nursery in Chantilly, VA. Yes, sometimes I am not a patient gardener! My also-gardening-crazy friend, Karen, introduced me to this family-owned nursery several years ago. We buy most of our herbs and heirloom tomato plants there. (They sell 100 varieties of tomatoes!)

Time for the serious stuff…
In 1975 Tom and Joyce DeBaggio started their family business selling home-propagated herb and vegetables from their backyard in Arlington. Author of several herb books (all of which I own—duh, no big surprise), Tom was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 1999 at the age of 57. NPR interviewed DeBaggio on their All Things Considered program in May 2005 here and April 2007 here. The Alzheimer’s Research Forum wrote about the NPR Audio Interviews in May 2007.

I read his first book, Losing My Mind, published in 2003 by The Free Press/Simon & Schuster, Inc., after my father shared his observations about conversations with one of my uncles, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My father said most of my uncle’s waking hours were spent in the past…in his early years…as a teenager….as a young man…repeating the same story over and over. My uncle passed away a few years ago.

DeBaggio’s follow-up book, When It Gets Dark: An Enlightened Reflection on Life with Alzheimer’s, was also published in 2003. Both of these books, as well as his excellent herb books, are available online here. His son, Francesco, now runs the family business.

A review of Losing My Mind from Publishers Weekly:
“I have a clear sense of history, I just don’t know whether it is mine,” writes DeBaggio in this moving and unusual memoir. The author, who has previously written about his gardening business (Growing Herbs from Seed, Cutting and Root), documents his mental deterioration from Alzheimer’s. Diagnosed with the disease in 1999 at the age of 57, DeBaggio undertook this project in order to increase awareness of this devastating illness from a patient’s point of view. He describes how his gradual loss of memory has impacted his life. For example, after he became confused about how to get to his niece’s house, he realized he had to give up driving a car. The increased loss of language has been extremely difficult for a man who once worked as a journalist and a freelance writer. Interspersed throughout the narrative are DeBaggio’s recollections of his childhood events that may soon be lost to him. He also describes the disease’s negative effect on his wife and grown son. Although DeBaggio provides information on the medical advances that are being made to treat this disease, it is clear that a breakthrough will come too late for him. With this rare first-person account, DeBaggio has made a significant contribution to literature on an illness that currently affects four million Americans.

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


22 08 2008

From today’s harvest….we can’t keep up with these tomatoes!

This afternoon, while ponder I was pondering on what to do with this overload of tomatoes ripening daily, and remembered the character Bubba Blue, from the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump. Director Robert Zemeckis won the Academy Award for Best Director for the film, which was based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom.

Remember the scene where Bubba lists all the things you can make with shrimp? …”dey’s uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried, there’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp….”

Pretty soon I’ll be saying, “dey’s uh…tomato salad, tomato sauce, tomato relish, tomato chutney, tomato paste, stuffed tomatoes, tomato soup, roasted tomatoes, tomato juice, tomato salsa….” HELP!

(While we’re on the subject of Forrest Gump—the title track, “Feather Theme,” is one of my absolute favorites. Click here for a video on youtube.com with the music set to stills from the movie. The song was composed by Alan Silvestri. If you haven’t seen the movie, it’s a really (bitter)sweet film with an excellent soundtrack.

And, from my personal Grumpy Grammar Guru—see comments from “Hershel Dyer”…

Check out this site for a truncated history of the tomato:

Apparently at one time in the tomato’s history it paid to be po’ folks (since the poor were the only ones eating tomatoes). Who (whom?) would have thunk it?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Tomato harvest

16 07 2008

Tomatoes! Yet another distraction from trying to get back to work after being gone for nine days visiting my family in San Antonio. I was working at the computer and caught a glimpse of ripe cherry (and some kind of orangeish in color) tomatoes on the vine outside my studio window…the first harvest of the season. Fifteen smooth, little, intense red gems.

Now that I’ve sworn off chicken (in my meander toward vegetarianism), vegetables have become my dearest friends. I even tried cabbage this weekend. Yep. Cabbage. Me. Will wonders never cease? (Of course, it helped that Mom lightly sauteed it in a pan in olive oil with a dash of sugar to carmelize it). I even had a few bites of canned cranberry relish, and although it wasn’t unpleasant, I still can’t get past the fact that it still looks like a can when you serve it!. I’ve been completely beef-free for almost twenty years. Rarely ever ate pork. Now chicken-, pork-, and turkey-free for nearly a month. I’ve found I don’t have a craving for the chicken—it was more just a habit and convenience to choose it when eating out. While these decisions are also health-based, they’re coming far more from compassion than any other reason. It was time to go “cold turkey”—pun intended.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.wordpress.com