Last time around I promised a few updates, and I’m here to deliver. But first, I’d like to welcome those who never unsubscribed from my earlier blog, Novelist in Training, and have now found themselves mysteriously transported here. This weekend, after six months at my new blog home, I finally figured out how to change my old feed so that it would pick up these posts. If you showed up here after all this time and are still feeling lost, take a stroll around the archives for a bit with a special detour at this post, which describes what befell my last blog.

Now for the promised updates, along with piles of gratuitous cat photos for no additional charge. (You’re welcome.) I hereby vow not to turn this into a blog about photography — especially since I already have one — but my new camera arrived on Monday, and boy is it scary. Um, pretty. That’s what I actually meant to write. It’s pretty. Shiny and black and covered in buttons and dials that do God-knows-what, but I’m finding out, and by this time next decade I’ll be an expert.

Our friendly local UPS guy dropped off my new toy on Monday afternoon. Hubs and I both happened to be home, and he’s still laughing at how quickly I sprang from the couch, bounded over two cats, dodged the dining room table, and sprinted to the front door on the off-chance that the delivery guy would give up waiting for me to sign for it and take off, camera still in tow.

Opening the box revealed the usual camera essentials, along with one industrial strength instruction manual (weighing in at just under 200 pages, all in English), a quick-start guide, and two instructional DVDs. Since I’m a good, rule-abiding citizen I waited the requisite 90 minutes for the battery to charge, sifting through the directions and viewing one of the DVDs while I waited. I then loaded the Nikon, turned it on, swallowed the terror that the display screen induced, removed the lens cap, and searched for a subject. I didn’t have to go far: The Basil was lounging on his side only a few feet from me. I aimed, focused, and caught him as he spontaneously decided to lick himself. Yes, the very first shot with my new camera caught my cat licking his crotch. My life is so glamorous.

It was about a thousand degrees outside, so a trip around the block was not an option. Hubs had left to run errands, so my cats were the obvious choice for models. Since it did not involve petting or food, however, they found the attention boring and much yawning ensued.

I’ll spare you the illustrious first photograph, as well as the next several, which were of the back of Echo‘s head (being a cat, he refused to look my way simply because I wanted him to do so) and give you Rosie. Click on the picture for a larger photo, in case you need a little more tongue action or just want to see what sort of resolution my camera gets. Clearly this cat is not meant to model, since I focused on her eyes and she promptly yawned, baring her none-too-impressive fangs and pushing the top of her head entirely out of the picture.

And, since one cat photo is never enough, here’s The Basil, post crotch-lick. He’s one hick kitty, is he not?

When hubs came back from his errands, we got out of the house for a while and went on a hike. Here’s a picture of the sunset. Other than cropping and a few minor adjustments, it’s pretty much straight out of the camera. Like the photos above, click on this one for an enlargement.

And, finally, for the other update I promised, a recap of Friday night’s birthday celebration. Despite a history of hazardous birthdays, my father and I both survived my mother’s surprise with no more harm than a lack of sleep due to a later-than-usual bedtime. The activity? A trip to watch our local theater company perform Steel Magnolias. Since the movie version always makes me cry, I haven’t seen it lately, so I’d forgotten how many good lines there were. It was very well-done, and we watched avidly, laughing and, yes, crying in all the right places.

All in all, it was a good birthday.