View from the Suburbs: Making Work Pay Tax Credit

Annie and the Garden Hose

You may sit on a different side on the topic of the Stimulus Package, but, personally, I was quite pleased with the unexpected amount in my tax refund from the Make Work Pay tax credit.

My little Nikon Coolpix S230 took a little spill onto the hard tile kitchen floor a few months ago, and as a result, its touch-screen operation no long works.  I can still take photos and download them, but that’s about it.  Partly because of this blog, I enjoy taking photos and got the Nikon after a similar-sized Canon’s shutter mechanism developed problems.  These were my first two digital cameras.  Being a fan of the old film-type SLR cameras, I had started reading about the Canon T1i,  because I wanted a camera that was going to get good quality definition, but the chunk of cash for one was really more than I wanted to fork out at the moment, and I really have liked the convenience of being able drop the small camera in the pocket of a pair of baggy shorts and head out with Annie for a walk.

To make a long story short (can I really do that?), yesterday morning after my intown haircut, with that tax credit money burning a hole in my pocket, I stopped off at the nearby Best Buy to look at cameras and came home with the Nike Coolpix P100, which I think is going to be a nice compromise between the small S230 and the larger Canon.

I read the quick instructions and charged up the battery.  I need to read the manual to learn how to use all the bells and whistles, but I think from what I see in these shots I’m going to like this camera.

The Garden (5-22-10)

Angel Wing Begonia in Bloom

Blossoms of Yellow Wax Bean

Green Tomato in Hiding

Cucumber Blooms

Sunflower Starting To Open

Bluebonnets–Blankets of Color in the Texas Spring

Checking Out the Bluebonnets

Checking Out the Bluebonnets

Last week I put up a new banner photo, but I didn’t mention where it’s from. Actually, during a rain shower, I jumped out of my car and took a few shots of the bluebonnets on the esplanade on Washington near the entrance to Memorial Park.

It’s the time of year for bluebonnets (the state flower), which grow wild in the meadows of Texas, especially in the Hill Country around Austin. For a few weeks each spring, these elegant sprigs pop up with rows of miniature “bonnets” on them, producing a lush blanket of blue along roadsides and in the adjoining pastures.

Getting a Good Whiff

Getting a Good Whiff

These days, many Texas roadsides are seeded with bluebonnets and other native wildflowers, which all started with the Highway Beautification Act of the 1960s, a project spearheaded by then Lady Bird Johnson, wife of a Texan, President Lyndon Johnson.

A Burst of Color

A Burst of Color

Today I went back to the esplanade with Annie to try out my new digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix S230, which I just got yesterday to replace my old one, a Canon Powershot S410, which had started having lens problems, making every photo look psychodelic. I had been holding off getting a new camera, using the still setting on my JVC Everio Camcorder, but I’m glad I got it. The best thing about it is that it has a touch-screen menu. Actually, that’s not the best thing; the best thing is it’s easy to use. I figured out how to take both still shots and video and get them loaded onto the computer the first day! I have to say that I never really understand how to use all of the functions of the Canon.

(Here’s a little video I took with the same camera.  As you can see, it took lots of coaxing to get some of the other shots.)