Vale Cemetery and Park

Yesterday Uschi and I took advantage of the utterly glorious weather and walked around Vale Cemetery and Park.

Paved walkway in Vale Park covered with fallen leaves

Unlike a lot of the other parks around the Capital District, Vale is incredibly peaceful. Aside from an ambulance siren I heard somewhere off in the distance it was easy to forget we were in downtown Schenectady. Actually pretty much the only sounds I heard were the various critters in the brush, presumably running away from Uschi. And except for one rather daring squirrel, my sometimes very animal-distracted guide dog was completely focused on her job.

Along the path to the main cemetery we passed by one of the more rural burial sites, which caught Uschi’s attention only because a couple were walking around down there.

Uschi looking through a wooden fence at a set of graves in Vale Park

We continued on and walked through the main cemetery before the sun started to set and the air got just a bit too chilly to be comfortable. It was a shame since Uschi was being so cooperative I thought I might finally get a chance to check out some of the graves.

Maybe next year I’ll go on one of the walking tours.

Sharing Photos

For some reason I’ve had ever so much trouble getting Lightroom to cooperate with me since I switched over to a Mac. I can’t explain the issue because the solution to seems to have been a mixture of waiting until the lack of photo organization bothered me enough to wrestle with the program until it finally did what I wanted. 1 Since I was already going through my images, now seems as good a time as any to share a few here.

For what it’s worth, I have been posting photos to my Instagram account more lately. Not surprisingly most of these are of Uschi. This one from Saturday is a particular favorite of mine. It was a very laid back day because the shepherd girl was a bit under the weather.

Uschi sprawled out upside down, sleeping

Not that the above photo is exactly a representation of this, but it does showcase how very different sick days for my guide dog are than for me. Clearly, Uschi doesn’t share my desire of shunning all human contact when she’s feeling ill. I find the level of comfort she manages to achieve quite impressive to be honest. Fear not, it was just a small tummy ache and my shepherd partner was back to her zany self the next day.

Anyway, I’ve been meaning to get a baby gate for a length of time that would be embarrassing if not for how easily I kept forgetting I wanted to get one. At one point in this chain of memory fog, I even mentioned the desire outside of the very store I acquired this from and still didn’t manage to accomplish the task that day. The sad thing is that I’m often reminded of the desire because Uschi’s has a tendency to be a bit too much for guests to handle, especially when they’re first visiting my house. It’s not that she’s disobedient, but that she wants to be friends with everyone that walks through my front door regardless of how little they share the sentiment. And even though she’s quite content to be crated, she’ll often spend the entire length of a guest’s stay making it known how displeased she is that she can’t continue her friend-making efforts.

Uschi sitting behind a wooden baby gate erected in the hallway to the kitchen

As you can see, she’s not fazed by the barricade. My guess is because she knows she’s quite capable of getting passed it if she really wanted to.2 As cute as she is sitting there on the other side of the gate, what I found most adorable was watching her while I installed the gate. At first she was lying down further back into the kitchen looking quite demure with her front paws crossed. Eventually that view just wasn’t adequate or I my efforts began to bore her and she started to pace, casting glances at me as she passed back-and forth. And finally because she’s Uschi the whole thing was interpreted as a game and she kept trying to entice either me or the gate itself into a game by hopping about and play-bowing.

In wholly other news, there’s been a lot of new green around the house of late spurred on by the very near death of a spider plant whose was all but entirely separated from its roots when its pot broke. Of note is a little baby jade that I saw had finally gotten some new growth on it.

Small jade with new growth forming

I have a few projects I’ve been lacking time and/or ability to work on, but now that Lightroom is finally cooperating I was able to sort through my photos and start on one that I intend to give as a gift to a friend for his retirement. This required some work in Photoshop and so, of course, I took the opportunity to play around a bit.

Blooming rose edited with a faint glow effect

I’m quite fond of how this rose turned out.

  1. Yes, if you’re wondering, the lack of Lightroom was a contributing factor in why fixing and organizing the photos on this site took forever.
  2. This is one of the dogs who has managed to free herself from a Vari Kennel after all.

Watercolor

It dawned on me that I never shared the oil painting rendition I did of Dolly’s GEB portrait that I made for my dad’s birthday. And then, while searching for the file to upload and share, I spent a ridiculously lengthy period of time rebuilding my Lightroom catalog because I really should have been doing many other far more constructive things. Which led to me editing some stuff in Photoshop because knowing that needed to be done would just gnaw at my mind whilst trying to accomplish the aforementioned constructive things.

Of course, I can’t do anything in Photoshop without playing around with things, so then this happened:

Portrait of Uschi edited to appear as a watercolor painting

Now away I must for there are many constructive things yet to be done that I am not currently doing.

Turning Six

Uschi turned six on Friday and in yet another “clearly this shepherd was meant to be my partner” moment she celebrated her birthday much like me: in food. She had rump roast for breakfast, then later we had an ice cream treat at lunch, and for dinner she had a marrow-filled femur bone fresh from the butcher. It was filling and exhausting.

It was also intermittently rainy, so we didn’t get to do the thing I really wanted to do. Instead we had our little birthday party in the backyard on Saturday. The main event, for Uschi at least, were the soap bubbles I was producing with a toy gun I picked up on a whim at CVS.

Uschi lying in the grass with her nose up in the air investigating the many soap bubbles floating around her

There were also balloons and a rather adorable birthday tiara, which you can check out here on the photographer’s blog.

What day is today?

Photo collage of six images of Uschi surrounding the text "Today Uschi is SIX!"

Why, it’s Uschi’s birthday!