Saturday, July 31, 2010

Grumman F7F-3 visits!

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Can I just say, Fighters are awesome!  Look at this! 


This is the Grumman Tigercat!  Beautiful, huh?

Open Skies


I took the above picture yesterday morning.  The clouds seemed spread out before me just for a photo…unfortunately, we live in the city and you see our neighbors.  OH, well.

We are dog sitting.  My in-laws went fishing.  Their dog gets seasick and we live on dry land.  She likes it better here.  Pepper is a pretty good dog, so we don’t mind.

Yesterday went well.  I directed my minions and then went off to work by myself.  It was nice.

After work i went to make more copies.  I still have the dreaded process of collating the damned things…probably near 100 books need collating.  Fortunately, my parents offered to help.  I think we will treat them to dinner if we can get this stack of color books amassed for binding. 

Lots to do today.  Among them is the fact that there will be an F7F Tigercat at the museum today.  I intend to be there to take a few pictures!  By “a few” obviously I mean to fill up my card! 

I leave you with Thursday’s sunset.


Friday, July 30, 2010

A Certain Time of Morning

It was that certain time of morning where you can get up refreshed or try to get back to sleep and be assured of a hard wake-up later.  I chose to getup.  I have had my coffee IV in since 4:15AM...some 45minutes before I even want to THINK about getting up. I have already been outside and noted that it is mild and summer-like.  I expect today to be a warm one.  I like this quiet time of the morning.  No one is stirring, not even me, since i like my coffee black.

I guess I could go for a walk, but that would require getting dressed and letting Cora know my whereabouts, and quite honestly, I think waking her at this time in the morning might be asking for trouble.  I will remain here, sipping my coffee, which is bold and strong and smells so nice.  All I hear is the babble from the fish tank filters and the gentle moan of my chair as I rock slowly to and fro.  Oh, and also the tap-tap-tap of my keyboard.

Once in awhile one of the dogs steps out into the cool night air and they can be tracked via their nails on the floor and the slap-slap of the dog door.  I could read a book, or take my camera outside and see what kind of morning shots I could get.  I noticed that Jupiter is not far from the moon this morning, probably something astronomers knew months ago, but it was a pleasant surprise to me when I stepped out this morning.

How many of you know which planet is Jupiter and which is Venus?  How many of you really give a damn at this time of morning...(crickets chirping) ...that's what I thought.

Well, it seems Friday is here again.  I will be secure in the knowledge that a strange charade will play out in the next week.  I have the singular position of senior maintenance sub.  I have been working as a maintenance sub for five years now.  I am familiar with every one of the maintenance staff and it seems, given yesterdays turn of events, I am in charge of making sure a ton of things gets done...why me?  Dunno.  Could be because of my charm and good looks.  Either way, I need to make sure a number of things get done and if they do that my "crew" stays busy.  Which would be great, but they don't all have those wonderful qualities that I do.

One of them does not know how to drive a stick (manual transmission).  A different one does not have his own car and apparently sees no need to (which is something the rest of us have discussed at length as being somewhat un-American) since he can have his mother or step-father drop him off where ever he wants to be (A. This would annoy me to have to wait for other people, B. I think you have to be crazy or insanely unconcerned with being in control of your life to do this).  And another can be trusted with certain things, but needs to have a certain amount of guidance (he will take over something I have started...leaving me to wonder why he could not have been doing it himself the whole time...).

Also, as if that isn't enough, I have to try and make sure Hose B is not left with Hose A or Hose C, as neither of them seem to like Hose B, and Hose B is of the opinion that everyone is beneath his lofty intellect and therefore unworthy of socialization.  JEEZ, dude!  Just a little conformity will go a long way toward fitting in and making others a little more comfortable with your presence.

Instead, Hose B insists on brushing his teeth for a lengthy period of time (up to ten minutes) AT THE LUNCH TABLE, often just whipping out the toothbrush in the midst of conversation.  He also prefers to use a 15 letter word when two 3 letter words will suffice.  He has been known to begin his phone greetings with "Greetings, Sir, am I to believe we are not to be meeting at X School, as I am unable to ascertain the presence of other employees."  (He could have said, "Are we meeting here?  Nobody else is here yet.")  He has a habit of placing his forehead on the table when the conversation being carried on by us low-lifes is not sufficiently intellectual for him...which is most of the time.  To say he is difficult would be to understate the discomfort he affords others.  I have been sending him off to do lonesome tasks since, when he is out of sight, he is...out of sight.

Well, I guess I could go get ready for work by thinking up a few more nasty projects for them that I want to avoid.  You see, there are perks to being at the top.  I lead by example, unless they can't see me.

Oh, as sort of an update, we are getting more and more coloring books ready.  I am going in to make more copies tomorrow.  Hopefully about five-hundred books will be enough.  Of course, if we sell out, I won't complain.  Cora has been working her tail off making crayon rolls and has finished a fair few!  Everyone is invited to come out to the Moxee Hop Festival!  We will have a table there and it is FREE!!  There is live music and lots of fun for the family!  AND a fireworks show!!    

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Little Later

Each morning now the sun rises a little later.  I guess I don’t mind, I’m at least not getting woke up at 4:30AM now…which is nice.  I also notice the sun is setting earlier too, and that is not good.  I love my late evenings.  But, I have learned that you cannot stop the seasons from changing. 

Speaking of seasons, I am very displeased with the garden this year.  I cut back on the water today, and hope that will help the tomatoes to ripen.  As far as I can see we have numerous small green tomatoes, but not a stinking red one to be seen.  No, that’s wrong.  We harvested one.  ONE TOMATO!

Our Zucchinis have been doing crappy too.  We have gotten a measly three zucchini from our garden this year.  Last year by this time we were absolutely rolling in them.  I’m glad we don’t grow them because we are dependent on that extra food!  We would be starving!

Below you can see the majority of the produce of our bountiful garden.

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Yesterday, I copied a whopping 100 color books.  You probably don’t realize, but that is 2500 pages!!  Yeah, I had to dig out the calculator in my phone to double check my calculations.  I went through five reams of paper!  The ladies where I make my copies help pass the time.  A friendlier bunch cannot be found.  I drew them a picture last week while I waited next to the copier.  It was a daisy, around which I placed the words “the ladies of the Bindery brighten my day.”  Yeah, I know, corny.  What I did not expect was for them to put it on a background and laminated it.  It now hangs in a place of honor behind the counter…funny how I used to think people would never actually hang my art!  

Well, another day of work awaits.  Another hot and sweaty day.  I should be paid to walk around and take pictures.  THAT would be a good job for me…  

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bird of Prey!


I was discussing with a coworker of mine the hawks I saw Saturday.  He suggested that they may be Swainson’s Hawks.  These are hawks that migrate all the way to Argentina!  He said they either have a nest or chicks nearby.  He asked if I would like to meet with him and we could take pictures.  He offered me the use of one of his lenses…or course I said, “YES!”


The lens he let me borrow was a Nikkor 80-400mm!!  It was a lot like standing right next to the raptor! 


He is a Falconer, which means he has a pet(?) hawk that he uses to hunt small animals.  He uses a dog to help the hawk flush out and catch small animals.

We never did find the nest or their chicks, but the two hawks obliged to give us several great photo ops! 

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And here is a good shot of my coworker!


Slow Sunday

Sunday started slow.  Somehow we managed to start moving.  Cora went to sew and I mowed the lawn.  I then rearranged the hoses in the back yard so that we more-or-less have automatic sprinklers.  It’s a piece of plumbing genius I tell you.  It uses five hoses, each with a different destination and use.  I had to rearrange where my drip lines feed from, but that wasn’t too hard.  Then I came in and worked on the final drawings for our newest coloring book.  Here, have a look at a few of the sheets:

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We got bored ofstaying around the house and went in to wash the car, get some fuel for it and visit Grandma.  You see, she hadn’t seen My Precious yet.  I even let her hold My Precious!  I even trusted Cora to take our picture with Precious, but I took it back immediately, you never know what ideas might pop into my wife’s head, like “hide the other woman.”  It’s best if I keep Precious within my line of sight.


When we got back, Cora made a neat little chicken and rice casserole and I drew a couple more pictures, and re-edited a couple of those already done.  The Casserole was awesome, I hope she remembers how she did it.

Well, I have another day of work, moving furniture out of one area to the next so that someone can come in and rip out the old flood damaged carpet and put in new stuff…then we will be back and replace the furniture where we found it…or thereabouts (at least it will be in the same building).

We have a lot of work to do before Hop Festival.  How many tables do we use?  How do we mark prices?  How? How? How?  We will make it, but it should be interesting.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Good Morning ALL!

I wish the weekend would go on longer.  Instead I will be forced to go back to work tomorrow and I won’t be able to take my Precious camera with me.  I have been having SOOO much fun with it.  It does some amazing things.  It did NOT make me rich, but I feel better looking already.  I think it has caused Cora to lose weight, but it’s a mental change and not one recognized by the scale…must have been in the fine print.  I am certain there are other changes it is having upon us, but I can’t think of any right now.

We worked in the house yesterday.  It was hot outside.  I would have liked to have been out there, but I needed to get the coloring books bound.  It was funny, because as I was binding next to the window, I could look out and see the neighbor girls having a water fight…they were having way too much fun!  It ended when one of them chose to sit in a wheel barrow full of water.  I remembered water fights of my youth, which usually ended with one of the adults “going nuclear” with a five gallon bucket.  Ahh, summer.

After I bound the coloring books I took the dogs over to one of the schools so they could run.  I got some pretty good shots with that awesome camera of mine.  Have a look over at my photo blog.  Here is one of Toby mid-flight.  Is it me, or does he look like he is having the time of his life?  This one has the focus more on his tail than his front…but, I love his expression.


Today, I need to mow the lawn and rearrange the hoses.  I might get some more photos, too.   

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Photo Blog

So, I have been threatening to do it and last night I did.  I made ANOTHER blog.  This one is for photos only.  I will be putting them on there as I take them and am happy with them.  As you may or may not know, not every shot is a keeper.  Which was a real bitch when I was using film.  Mind you I was pretty good and could usually get several shots in a roll, but it seemed like an awful waste of money to develop a photo that was out of focus.

Now, of course, I have my precious digital wonder, and it does the focusing for me.  This is the header photo for the new blog.  I had a little fun with the photoshop.  This is a photo from Cora’s new “purse cam,” as I believe she is calling it.  She seems to think I only need one camera…how sorely she is mistaken.  How can I take pictures of my Precious if I don’t have ANOTHER camera?  I know, crazy, huh!?  Expecting that one camera would be enough!  HAH!!


The new blog is HERE.  I may be changing the title, but I liked the address too much to pass it up.

Another new thing I am doing is using Windows Live Writer.  For those of you who blog, give this a shot!  I am amazed at how easy it is to edit photos, write, and publish.  It’s free.  Also, I used the Nikon program to download onto my computer, and blogger was NOT accepting photos from it.  So, when I tried Windows Live Writer, they just went on without a hitch.  Plus, there is none of that sitting idle while your photo uploads to blogger.  You know, that twiddling your thumbs part where you can’t write or do anything else because you might interrupt blogger ogling your photo.  I am really impressed with this and have to hand it to my wife for finding it and recommending it to me.

What are we doing this weekend?  Well, given that the Hop Festival is approaching at something under light speed, we really need to get our shit together and prepare!  We have several (50-75) coloring books to bind.  I started collating the latest batch last night.  I also need to finish up the story.  I have only a couple more pages to do.  (Finding a dragon a home is no easy job, let me tell you that!)  I also want to finalize the irrigation arrangement.

Our lovely city is growing faster than they imagined many years ago.  So, in the past few years they have connected our sewer system with that of Yakima.  We have gotten new schools and the city park has been expanded and improved.  Well, because we did not have irrigation water in the city, we have been forced to use city water to water the lawn and the garden.  Apparently with all these new houses and families who have similar ideas, drinking water has been becoming an issue for the city.  To help with that, the city hooked us up to irrigation!!  Yes!  Now I don’t see as many dollar signs going into the garden.  Also, the faucets on the side of the house always leaked, the new irrigation hose bib does not.  AWESOME!


I also hope to get out and take my Precious to see some new places!  Hopefully, I will find some time to do that between binding coloring books and making sure everything is ready for Hop Festival!   

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Love a Fast Film!

My camera has a super-sensitive...err...sensor.  The sensitivity is measured as ISO, which is basically the old ASA from the film days.  Remember?  You used 100 ASA/ISO for bright daylight and you used 400 ASA or more for evenings with a flash.  I used 1600 ASA film once and liked it because it made, after a 2 minute exposure, the night look like day.  Well, this lovely, wonderful camera of mine goes all the way up to 6,400 ISO.  Have a look at the picture below.  It used a 1/4 second exposure, and captured this.  Admittedly, the street like was on, but WOW!!
The lens has Vibration Reduction, which is why I was able to hand-hold the camera at 1/4 second.  Is it me, or does that picture look AWESOME?

OK, well, how about this one?  And please keep in mind that I was just testing my camera's abilities and not going for mega-artistic expression.
SO, I have to say that Night Shots probably won't be a problem.

I LOVE that camera!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Cora and I drove up to E-burg late Tuesday night to meet some people from Illinois that we have met through the adoption blog-o-sphere.  Yeah, I know, weird, but not the first!  Remember this?

Well, these people have their own travel blog, and it is totally worth a look!

I think you get that much energy after being couped up in a motorhome with your family for several weeks.
before they left on their voyage, we sent them some coloring books to while away the time.  I inserted this, thinking they'd appreciate it, but never dreaming they would color, laminate and post it in their window!  How cool is that?

Anyway, we had a great visit and made a great friendship even stronger.  Thanks Diana and Eric for coming to meet us!

and another picture from my lovely new camera.  I am learning my way around it pretty fast.  I am going to master double exposures soon and then i will let you see my work...but, I need more time!!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

New Camera Pics!

Whatdya think?

Life is Beautiful, As Long As You've Got The Right Camera!

Until then, though, life is dull and grey.

My Precious!!!

I have MY PRECIOUS!!!!
The above was taken by the Elph.  Below is the first shot by my Precious!  Look how IN FOCUS the background is!!  That is EXACTLY what I was trying to take a picture of...I just happened to be in front of the camera.  As soon as I get everything figured out and programmed, the rest should be better!!
Yes, I may look a little crazed...can you blame me??

Technology Rocks!

What would we do without Facebook and technology?  I was in the backyard last night.  I noted that the skies were filled with smoke from a fire some distance away.  I took my phone and camera and went to locate the source of the smoke.  It was clear by the time I got to the highway that the flames were about ten miles away.  Out near Highland/Cowiche.

I stopped at the high school and walked up to the stadium which has a clear view and took a few pictures.  I then went home and emails the photo to my dad 30 miles away, who looked at it via his iphone.  It just seems amazing to me that we no longer have to rely on News Cameras to bring us "Satellite" coverage of an event.  In minutes, my father was looking at a photo of an even 45miles away from him.  I COULD have taken video, had I chosen and he could have viewed that.

I COULD have taken a picture with my phone and sent him that.  WHO KNEW, thirty years ago, that the Brick Phones they were making would evolve into something that could take videos and photos?  Am I alone in my awe?  Am I the only one that stops and stares in amazement at the digital kingdom I am in charge of? The answer, of course, is no, but I wonder if you all consider it as often as you might.

I was not sure where the fire was exactly, so I posted it on Facebook and a few of my friends came back and told me it was about where I thought it was.

Of course, I could have GOOGLED it, had I been so inclined.  It is amazing to me how much information is available at our fingertips!  In 1987, if you had told me to Google something, I would have probably thought you meant ogle and would have looked closely at something.  I love the word google!

For instance, and we will go back to the phone thing, a friend I work with sent me a picture on the phone.  It was a picture of Elton John!!!  He went to the Elton John concert last night at the Sun Dome and thought to send me a photo of ELTON JOHN!  Now, THAT is the ultimate in cool!

I know we do this everyday now, but just a few years ago we still were waiting for film to be developed.  In the next day or two I will have the digital equivalent of an SLR (Single Lens Reflex) from the olden days.  NO FILM!!!!

Ahh, I love technology when it works!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hitting Self On Forehead!!

You ever have those days where you want to slap yourself on your forehead?  Those days when you get that horrible cold feeling in the pit of your stomach when you know you've made a horrible decision?  Yeah, me neither.

That's not true, of course, but I had to throw that in.  Today WAS one of those days.

We decided to leave town for a bit, if only to forget our new neighbors.  What?  I have not mentioned our new neighbors?  Really!?  You're in for a treat.  We were.

A few weeks ago we found out our next door neighbor has been diagnosed with incurable tumors.  He was not expected to live long.  That in itself is sad, since we are rather fond of him.  However, some people have moved into his house in the interim.  These are unsavory sorts.  We knew this immediately.  I felt bad thinking it just looking at them, but they have since proven our suspicions.

To begin with they smoke like chimneys.  Not so bad.  But we've seen other things.  The mom tripped her own child and then laughed at the child.  Then a pair of them were drinking beer at 8am.  The kids(none older than five) were out till 1030pm the other night.  They spend a inordinate amount of time in their, well, it can best be described as a predator van.  It's not a situation we are fond of.  I guess the mother and grandmother had launched a campaign, the other night, to beg for money for cigarettes as their "man" was gone.  I am not sure how it will end up, but we remain hopeful that whatever happens does not involve us.

OK, back to MY chilled feeling sick moment.  We left to visit Cora's sister.  I decided to leave them to their own devices and I went to purchase a few items for my camera (curses upon Fedex and the USPS).  I needed a semi large memory card (not too expensive) and a UV filter for protecting the lens.  I got my items and one of the salesmen asked me if he could help.  I asked about the suitability of something.  We ended up talking and I described my week long wait.  He said, "You know we PRICE MATCH, right?"

The world got smaller.  I got dizzy.  The sounds around me seemed to fade.  He verified it with his boss and on-line at the Walmart site.  Yes.  They had six in stock.

I. Could. Have. Been. Taking. Photos. All. Week. If. I. Had. Only. Known. THAT!

Curses upon the Camera Attainment Gods!!!!  I am fairly certain they don't like me.

Mine remains "in transit."  I still feel a little bit sick about it.

I know, the rest of you are rolling your eyes.  I know "it's JUST a camera."  I know.  I know!  I KNOW!  I am very patient about most things.  I can wait to get bird seed.  I can wait to get brakes fixed on the car.  I can wait to get new shoes.  I can wait to go pee.  I can wait to get Cora a birthday gift...or a Valentine's Day card.  ONCE in a while, though, there is something I desire SO much.  Need.  Crave.  MUST HAVE!!  That I have difficulties waiting.  (for instance, I was once slightly forlorn when Cora was away on a business trip.)

So, hopefully, you now understand my sad state.

Here are a few pictures from our day!
It started with this spray plane flying low over the hop fields.

Cora and Emily made lunch.

Which turned out to be something very pretty.  Given the surroundings...well, I think it was perfect!!

And the company was great.  Unfortunately, my brother-in-law was absent.  We missed him, but not too much, since we were having so much fun... the pool!
It was a great day and we got to see Emily for a good visit.  Here we are on the way home...well, here Cora is.

A Deathly Silence Followed

I live in a small town.  I am normally fond of that.  There are some downsides.  I am recognized every time I go to the store.  There are no decent stores, except for the small one that sells overpriced items.  We HAVE to have a post office box.

It's that last one that so often offers us trouble.

Every time I fill out a form to buy something on-line or fill out my address on an address line, I have to add our Post Office Box.  Some forms don't allow this, but if something comes through the mail, we have no choice!  So, I am conditioned to add this little bit of detail to EVERY form I fill out.

It was no different when I purchased my camera one week ago.

Before I continue, I submit that tracking a package can create rage in a person who sorely wants to have his item.  Tracking the item from one point to another (especially if one makes the mistake of taking free shipping) and watching it sit in one place for 24 hours at a time is enough to drive one mad.

My beloved camera was in Kent for twenty-four hours and then it moved from there to Federal Way...this morning I found it has been put in transit to our local post office.  It WAS travelling via FEDEX.  I had assumed (wrongly, obviously) it would arrive on my doorstep.  Now I see that it will go to our small post office, due in no small part to my inclusion of our PO BOX.

It had a small note to the side that says it may take an extra two or three days.

When I read that...a deathly silence followed...

I may have to hit or break something or scream or pull out my hair or something.

Yeah, tracking a package is NOT nearly as satisfying as it should be.      

Friday, July 16, 2010

Signs of Change!

Above, you see the finished product upon the building.  Looks pretty good to me!

Below you see my next project!
Yes!  This one will be a little more complicated, but I am sure I can do it.

I had a very good day at work.  Someone had the day off and that absence lent the day a positive spin.  Amazing how stressful one person can make a day.  He seems to think himself superior to everyone there.  He cannot work alone without bellyaching.  He is not very good at interpersonal relationships and is startlingly blunt.  He is not skilled with machines and is next to useless when you ask him to do something that might require thinking out of the box.  He has issues that I try to take into consideration, but is exceptionally difficult to deal with.  So, with his absence I enjoyed a particularly nice day!

I think the sign will be part of my weekend, if only to take my mind off another absence,  my beloved camera.  I have to badmouth FedEx now.  That package has spent at least two days in FedEx facilities...sad, huh?  It is either winging its way to me now or next week...I know which I prefer...

I am looking forward to getting my camera. There are SO many things I want to try.  Many of them include long exposures.  Some can be short exposures.  I am just very excited and looking forward to using it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Sign?

I don't generally subscribe to the supernatural.  In fact, I am highly doubtful MOST of the time.  Today, however, I may just have to take this as a sign...

Are you guys with me??

Finished Product!

I finished the sign.  Here you see what it was like before.

Then, after about two weeks of off and on work, you get this:

I am told it looks really good on the building.  I have had more than a few complements on it.  So, I guess I CAN add "Sign Painter" to my repertoire.

The past few days have dragged, for no other reason, but the fact that my beloved camera remains in that odd place called "IN TRANSIT" by our lovely shipping networks.  I can only hope it arrives before the weekend, for then I will spend my entire weekend getting to know my precious!  (Which, by the way, remains without a name, since no one has the courtesy to comment with name suggestions but my beloved wife!  COME ON PEOPLE!!  NAMES! or vote on those suggested!!  PLEASE!!)

I have regaled my coworkers with the wonders of my camera.  One, for the shear humor I assume, wants me to text him when it comes in.  I imagine he will share the story of the guy he works with and his camera with his friends...I don't mind.  I WILL call to the world and announce I have a piece of picture taking equipment!  I don't know quite how I'll do it, but I will keep it with me all the time!!  That's what you do with new members of the family.  We did that for Toby!

Well, work calls and I can only ignore it for so long.  May your day be short and the nights be long!  (i.e., work gets over sooner and you have more time to spend with your loved ones, jeez I hate explaining myself, but Cora would come on and say I was wishing for winter...which I am NOT!)