Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cameras and Couscous.

Two weeks ago a vital switch on my camera broke off. Even though it was a teensy weensy switch, when it disappeared the camera stopped functioning totally. Not to mention completely.

As you can imagine, I was just a wee bit bummed out about it; I mean, what is life without a camera?

I put off calling Canon because I was quite sure they were going to cheerfully assure me, “Why yes, of course we can fix that problem. It will only cost you a mere five thousand, three hundred, forty-three dollars and nine cents!”

Well, I finally got up the courage to make the call. I explained my problem. I said, “The switch on the back of my camera has broken off and disappeared and now the camera doesn’t work at all.”

The tech guy said, “Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that. But unfortunately, we can’t sell you that switch all by itself. We’ll have to send you the replacement piece for the whole back of your camera.”

I thought, “Here it comes,” even as I rather tremulously asked, “And how much will that cost?”

He replied, “$23.”

(What? Twenty-three dollars? Is that all? You’re selling me the entire back piece of a complex electronic piece for just twenty-three dollars? What’s wrong with you, fella?)

I really was truly amazed. But then again, just because it was a cheap part, it didn’t mean that putting it on the camera would be easy. And it didn’t mean that it would necessarily solve the problem. But I told him to go ahead and send it and we’d see what happened.

In the meantime, I got an e-mail from a long time blog reader in Utah named Susan who, as a photographer herself, was taking my camera-less plight to heart. She wrote, “Watch your mail this week; a new “toy” will be arriving.”

Well, that certainly brightened my day. Not to mention my week. Not to mention my whole life.

Friday arrived, as did the piece from Canon. The tech guy on the phone had told me the repair might have to be taken to a camera shop if we weren’t “comfortable with electronics.”

Well, Steve stared at the piece for a while. And then he stared at the camera for a while. And then he got his tools and started taking it all apart. About 45 minutes later, after a great deal of thinking, pondering and figuring out some fairly complex stuff (the back piece didn’t just go over parts of the inner workings of the camera; it also went under some of them), he put it back together. He then turned it on and . . . it worked! Perfectly!

I was, of course, thrilled to have “my baby” back. However, I was also a bit worried that this wonderful lady was sending me another camera to replace my broken one—which was no longer broken.

Her camera arrived shortly after Steve had fixed my old camera. I opened the box and found this lovely little item, perfectly suited for taking excellent pictures and perfectly sized to fit right into the “camera spot” in my purse. (Susan also sent chocolate, which made it the absolute perfect kind of package!)

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Although I loved the camera she sent, I knew there would be no sense in having two purse-sized cameras. Happily though, I noticed something else she had included in the package in addition to chocolate and a camera—she had included receipts. She very graciously told me that if the camera she sent wasn’t what I needed, to feel free to return it and get something else.

Well! I was overwhelmed and grateful and relieved! And this is what I decided to do.

Since I’ve been a photography aficionado for a long time but still don’t know the first thing about shutter speed, apertures, or Fstops, I’ve been telling myself for a while that I really should take a basic photography course. But those courses cost money and it never seemed to be the “right” time to spend money on something non-essential.

But now? Today? At noon? My online photography class (offered by our community college) will post its first lesson. And I’m signed up, paid up, and ready to go! I’m so excited to finally have the chance to learn techniques that will help me improve my ability to do something I already love to do.

So part of the refunded camera money is going to the photography course and part of it is currently residing in this envelope where I am starting a savings account for a SLR (single lens reflex) camera.

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It has been a long-time dream of mine to own two cameras--a smaller camera to keep in my purse for spontaneous picture taking, and a professional quality camera to have for more official shooting.

So that’s the scoop! Kind of a long scoop, I realize, but I’m just so excited about the new class and the repaired camera and the kindness of a stranger and the dreams of an SLR down the road--I just couldn’t keep from just telling you every single detail of my Broken/Fixed/Replaced/Refunded Camera Journey!

And just to let you know that my newly repaired camera is still earning its keep, here are a few shots from our bike ride last night. I loved how the sky changed from moment to moment.

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This was taken in the same location; just facing a different direction.

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And Now . . . From Cameras to Couscous.

I recently posted a picture of a dish I made for a recent dinner.

food

Jenn wrote, “That looks good. Can we get the recipes please? My husband is also trying to lower his cholesterol. “

Jenn, the recipe is at the end of this post.


Karen said, “Is that couscous? I have yet to find a way to make that and make it not taste like sawdust.”

Karen, I have to say I agree with you; I don’t really think couscous is all that wonderful, either. When I bought the couscous for this recipe, I got the kind that was garlic/parmesan flavored and that seemed to help. I think when I make the recipe again, I will try rice instead.


And on the subject of couscous, “Anonymous” also chimed in saying,

“Since couscous is just really tiny pieces of what is basically pasta, it won't taste like much if it's cooked in plain water. I like to make couscous by throwing a vegetable bullion cube into the water before boiling (chicken and beef just don't work the same way). I then top it with something like that awesome looking zucchini-squash-tomato stew in the pictures!

Other people seem to prefer if the couscous is sweet - that's how my mom started with it. Throw dried fruits with the water - golden raisins, craisins, dried apricots (yum), maybe some nuts. They rehydrate and get all plump and tasty. Search for recipes online - there's lots of tasty ones around.

That was interesting to read—I’ll have to try some of those couscous tricks!


And finally one other person left a comment about this recipe as well:

“It really was tasty, Darlin'. Steve “

Hmmmm. A reader of Smithellaneous calling me, “Darlin’?”

What’s the world coming to?


There are a few more comments have come in on various topics; I’ll get to those soon.


In the meantime, here’s the promised recipe.


Rosemary Chicken With Vegetables

1 5.8 pkg. quick-cooking couscous (OR rice!)

4 boneless chicken breasts (1-1 1/4 pounds) (I cut mine into smaller portions so I had 8 pieces instead of 4)

1/2 t. lemon pepper seasoning (could substitute something else if you want—maybe Italian seasoning?)

1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (I use garlic from the jar)

2 medium zucchini and/or yellow squash halved lengthwise and then cut cross wise into slices.

1/2 C apple juice (could use chicken broth if you don’t have juice)

2 t snipped fresh rosemary or 1/2 t. dried rosemary, crushed

1/4 t salt

2 T dry white wine, apple juice or chicken broth

2 t cornstarch (If you don’t have cornstarch, you can use 4 t. of flour instead)

12 cherry tomatoes (halved) (1 cup)


1. Prepare couscous according to package directions; keep warm.

2. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper seasoning. In a 10-inch skillet, cook chicken in hot oil over medium heat for 12-15 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink, turning twice. (Reduce heat to medium low if chicken gets too brown.) Remove chicken from the skillet; cover and keep warm.

3. Add garlic to skillet; cook and stir for 15 seconds. Add zucchini, apple juice (or broth) rosemary, and salt. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer, covered for 2 minutes.

4. In a small bowl, stir together wine (or broth or juice) and cornstarch till smooth; add to zucchini mixture in skillet. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly; cook and stir for 2 minutes more. Stir in tomatoes.

5. Serve vegetables and couscous with chicken.

6. Pat yourself on the back for eating healthy!

377 calories per serving 8 total fat grams (1 g. sat fat) 378 mg. sodium

6 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Love Being a Nonny said...

I am still amazed at the GOOD in people! What a gift! You are blessed in so many ways!

simplykristi said...

That is an awesome story! I just bought my first digital SLR, a Pentax K-x, in July. I bought one for $699, which included the body (camera) and two lenses. I am self-teaching myself how to take great photos since I can't afford to take a photography class.

leeanne said...

What an awesome gift you got! It does my heart good to read about the great people out there that are so willing to help others.

The recipe looks yummy! I'm going to give it a try. I, too, tried couscous quite some time ago and wasn't a fan of it. I think it deserves another chance. :)

Melissa said...

I've got the two camera set up going on, and it's great! I have a Canon EOS 40D and several expensive lenses to go with it, and I love it. But I also have a small Olympus waterproof camera to take when I'm not worried about water or rough treatment, or I don't feel like lugging the heavy Canon and lenses around! It's the best of both worlds, you'll love it!

Ann Martin said...

So glad you got your camera fixed. Steve is WONDERFUL! I have a Sony Cybershot W80 (I think) which I keep in my purse and a Canon Rebel SLR with a regular lense and a 300-ft lense. I really enjoy the SLR but it is a little heavy to carry that with the two lenses. I always use the SLR for concerts and special events. I would like to take classes so I could learn more about the camera but have never done so. I know I paid over $1,000 for all that but now the camera which was on sale for $800 when I bought it is $599 or $699. My Daddy gave me mine and I treasure it as a gift from him.

Random said...

I'm so glad you got your camera problem solved! And more than solved, that you now get to do exciting new things with photography (I'm so jealous of your course). I can't wait to see what you shoot, and I'm even more eager to see what you do with a DSLR. (I have the two-camera setup, too; a Panasonic superzoom for lending out or taking into dangerous [for cameras] places, and a Canon DSLR with a few nice lenses.)
Do let us see samples of your photography, please! (But while you learn, don't let the "rules" of photography quash your creativity - you already take great pictures!)