Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Another Day


I took this snap shot on Saturday.  It’s my favorite niece (that was at the Balloon Rally).  We really had fun!

Yesterday, I was at WHS and it was hot.  Today, I was at SHS…and it was hot.  I told the kids it was because I had looked in the mirror this morning and told myself, “You. look.  HOT!”  For some weird reason they chuckled about that.  Weird.

Our adoption is nearing.  I truly feel that.  That is a VERY strange feeling, because we have spent so much time looking at it from a distance.  We are really beginning to get our hopes up.  What’s different is that China has a set course of events that need to happen.  Burundi was like walking through a mine field, every time we took a step forward a paperwork landmine blew up in our face and blew us back.  Of course, we have been with our agency for several years now and we feel we can count on them.  That is, we have complete and utter confidence in their incompetence.  It seems likely they will figure out a new way to mess it up, whether that is “forgetting” to mail something or “misplacing” something important.  Still, they can’t screw everything up…can they?

Sunday, September 26, 2010


So, since we are now waiting for a pre-approval letter from China concerning the little girl that awaits us there, we are both hearing from people that we need to come up with a name.  But, I ask, what is in a name?  There are so many things that depend on a name.  I mean, what sane person is going to hire an “Edith” to be a swimsuit model?   Swimsuit models are Trixies and Madisons.  What do you name a child?  How do you decide?  What keeps you from naming a child one name over another?
Well, let’s look at our experience:  I am the one that came up with Gypsy’s name.  My cat, when I was in High school, was Rappy (named for the Raptors in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park).  Cora came up with Toby and Sully’s names.  I nicknamed Twinky at work.  And when referring to the idiots, I heard my usage of the word “Twins” a few times by others (though they looked nothing alike).  I don’t know if a child needs a name. Really, how about Adopted Child Number One?  ACNO for short.  I like it, it has a certain sound to it, but what about if we DO get a second child?  Then we would have Acno and Acnt.  I can’t imagine anyone would be able to pronounce it.  So, obviously, that is not a viable option.

Do we name the child for someone we like and admire?  I like Harry Potter books, shall we call her Hermione?  How about Eleanor?  For Eleanor Roosevelt?  Or perhaps some of the Twilight characters?  Alice?  Bella?  How about Dark Shadows?  Remember Victoria?  I used to read Anne McCaffery books.  Remember Pern?  Yeah, no one ever admits it.  Still, Lessa?  Menolly?  Gemma?  How about TV stars?  Daisy (Duke)?  Rachel (Friends)?  Jesse (Saved By The Bell)?  Prue, Piper, or Phoebe (Charmed)?   Hot Lips (M*A*S*H*)?  [that last is probably not appropriate…]

Still, you get the point.  What do you name a child?  It is going to be something they keep with them forever.  Do you go with something that will embarrass them endlessly?  Like Kim, Diana, or Charissa?  Surely you would not saddle a child with such a name as Lorrene, Kelly, or Karen! 

So, what do we name our child, whose Birthday is today (September 27)?  Seriously, how do you name a kid and have no regrets?  I don’t know.  Maybe we will just wait. 

And, by the way, Happy Birthday Little Miss!  We love you already.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Up, Up and Away-ay in My Beautiful Bal-loon…


The annual Prosser Balloon Round-Up is this weekend.  Like last year, we showed up bright and early.


So did my family.  My sister, her husband, and their kids and my parents.  Cora and Emma went off in search of the sights.  Of course, when you hear those burners going, you have to run around and see the flames.


…from a safe distance.




Here is a shot of my dad.  He tends to shun being the center of a camera’s attention, however, I explained to him that this camera of mine WILL locate and focus in on him whether he likes it or not, so he had better just get used to it…


There were ample balloons this year!




And ample observers…


They like to settle into the water and back out again.


I’m not sure why…maybe their feet get hot.


Lots of people were on the bridge…




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I can’t tell which one is cuter…

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All in all, a very nice morning. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Moonshine Happy


Many of you know we are adopting.  We have been through so many wrong turns we have become dizzy.  Today, however, we feel we have come around and steadied on a new course.  Our shining star is rising in China.  We have written and sent our letter of intent for a little girl in Hunan that needs a family.  May the wind be at our backs and the skies remain clear so we can see our star to steer by. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Skies Are A Smilin’

Believe it or not, this is only a five second exposure on a moonlit night.  And, before you mention it, I know it isn’t in focus.  I was using manual focus on the moon moments before this.  I obviously did not refocus it close enough, particularly because it was dark.  I swear I tried to focus on my hand, but it was hard to tell in the dark.  Honestly, the hardest part about this photo was holding still for five seconds.  Try it yourself, it isn’t easy…you have to breathe!

I want that cable release so I can do photos like this…except,on DARK nights, not moonlit ones.  It IS possible.  And I cannot wait to try it.  I want to do landscapes in the dark, does that sound weird?  Probably, but I think it is a realm of photography little explored.  And I think I know why:  In the day light, you take a photo in a matter of milliseconds.  At night, these exposures can last several minutes.  In a half hour you can amass a couple hundred photos in daylight (I know, because I took roughly 500 in one hour on a recent photo shoot).  In the same time span at night…well, lets say fifteen would be pushing it.   
I don’t remember if I have mentioned it, lately:  I LOVE my camera.  Of course, as if to spite me, Nikon has come out with it’s newest camera, the D-7000.  This seems to be a cut about the D-5000, and even has a few features better than the D-90.  Yet, really, the camera I have (whether obsolescent or not) is miles ahead of what I had before, plus, it has the beauty of being tried and true.  I may even buy, eventually, after I use this thing for awhile, another camera body.  Nikon, fortunately, does not change the lens mount often.  So, I’ll be able to use my lenses for this on other Nikons!  Too much camera chat?  Sorry.

I taught fifth grade again.  Not the peachy, silent, respectful world of happiness I had yesterday…well, not yet.  I had them sit with their heads down for talking while I was talking.  No, I am not talking about one child talking while I explain the next assignment…no, five to eight children were trying to voice their particular concern over everything from whether they could borrow a pen to what was the best way to hold a football. 
I have a fairly high threshold for such things, but even I have a breaking point.  I started to explain something after shushing them for the fifth time, but they continued their huh-bub - then I just said, “HEADS DOWN!”  they looked shocked, but put their heads down and all became quiet again.  I counted to twelve…an arbitrary number intended to induce calm in me…when I got to twelve, I realized I needed more time, so I counted to a different number…somewhere in the fifties.  Then I looked around.  I saw a couple of them trying to catch one another’s eye, and swiftly gave them MY STINK-EYE and they immediately put their heads down again.  I counted some more, weighing what action to take next. 

I decided to remind them of my expectations.  I reminded them that I had spent a MARVELOUS day with a different fifth grade class yesterday, and that I would not mind going back there because they were respectful.  I asked them what grade they were in.  They responded.  I said, “…really?”  They became a slightly different class after that. 

After about an hour and a half of doing what I asked them to do without too much trouble, I rewarded them.  I took requests and let them watch as I drew pictures for the last 20 minutes of school.  I am forever amazed at the concentration and quiet that occurs while I draw a picture for kids (not so much for me, I can stop at a moment’s notice) , they simply disengage their mouths and re-engage their eyes.  It is amazing, and I would just love to have someone witness it, so I could have someone verify it.   

Part of this may be because the plans I was greeted with were less than specific…which is weird.  I had great plans the last time I subbed for this teacher, but today’s plans were on the non-existent side of minimal.  There were a couple post-it notes with semi-formed half-thoughts, but hard core plans they were not.  Fortunately, last time I got a feel for what was expected of the kids and I have an idea of where they are headed.  I can do that.

  I have great expectations for the next few days.  I hope you will join me on our adventures!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Harvest Moon


I need a shutter release cable.  You would not believe the photos I could take if I had a shutter release cable.  It would make me stronger and taller and smarter.  Cora would lose weight and most of my friends would win the lottery!  YES!  This is what a shutter release cable would do.  So, who’s on board to  donate to my shutter release cable fund? 



Damn, I thought that might work.  Oh, well. I had a good day today.  I hope you did, too!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mule Dry Creek

hidden valley

As I mentioned the other day, I went for a drive.  I ended up on a well coifed road that took me above a canyon.  To say the views were beautiful would be to understate things.  This land of ours, though I have forever hated their brown hues, is rich and diverse in its structures and shapes.  It just takes a vehicle with four wheels to prove it.  One thing I have learned over the past few years, is despite the fact that it looks boring from one angle, all you have to do is go over the next ridge or around the next corner and you can find surprising things. 

This canyon, holding a dry creek, is proof of that.  From the canyon mouth it looked like it may be a boring road to take, but it gained significant altitude and I hoped to find a reptile.  I was successful with the reptile within about two miles of the mouth.  However, the views attained there, enticed me to drive further.  I am glad I did.  I found an impressive road that I hope to visit again…with a more rugged vehicle, so the wife does not threaten to…hurt me if I drive her car on gravel roads again.

I just thought it was interesting that you just have to look for beauty to find it.  Often, it is looking you in the eye and you just haven’t trained yourself to see it.  I like going for drives in this little state of ours and finding those little things that make me happy.  That picture above is one of those things.

I subbed for fifth grade today.  I enjoyed it.  I don’t remember “number’s places” being that hard, but, hey, it’s been 26 years, what do I know?  I don’t know how many ways I showed them about how to read a number in text and translate it into numbers, but, apparently, I was not getting to all of them…Ahh, well, they aren’t mine, right?  Still, I tried.

How about them tomatoes?  Well, since you asked, we are still getting tomatoes off the vine.  I am still finding zucchinis and those silly damned yellow squash that took 23 months to ripen.  I should probably dig up the last of our carrots…damn, I hate fall.

Monday, September 20, 2010



I have a descendent of the spider plant cutting that I took home in second grade.  Mrs. Courier, though I am fairly certain you are dead, thanks.  My mother still retains the parent plant.  This is but a grandchild or whatever you call plants.  Spider plants are difficult to kill.  I go through phases.  I am a good plant keeper…then I’m a bad one.  Whatever, I still have my spider plants and the cacti from when we were on our honeymoon.  Here is a spider plant that has been through worse times.  I have killed better plants than it, yet, it remains!

This week looks like the week of the Fifth Graders.  I will teach three different classes of fifth graders in two different districts…looks like the makings of a good week!  So be it!


Considering how we managed with our e-books of just seven years ago, I was mildly worried that the Kindle would not find itself used.  I, of course, was mistaken in that worry.  As Cora has noted, it is actually easier to read than a book.  You don’t have to turn it to keep light on the page.  If you are in a dim area, you just make the text bigger…and batteries?  They last forever!  Here it is getting used.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Saw the Sign


I began working on this sign about two months ago.  It seems amazing that it has been two months already.  Anyway, I chipped and sanded and cleaned and primed it and I think it now has a new lease on life.


Here is the finished product, ready for delivery.  What do you think?


Saturday, September 18, 2010



I went for a drive today whilst Cora visited with her sisters.  I enjoy exploring.  I chose to go down south of Satus…basically a whistle-stop for the railroad if my understanding is right.  I found all sorts of cool things.

Sprinkler fence

I found a Native American cemetery and learned about new cultures…


Took a picture of Cora’s car…turns out I am no longer allowed to take it on gravel roads. 


I found a new friend…a SIDE-BLOTCHED LIZARD.


Saw these…Chukars?

DSC_0073 birds

At the point where I decided to turn around I saw this.  It took me a moment to realize that the designation on the metal tank referred to a jet engine…The J-57 was the engine used by several fighters and the B-52 during the 1950s and 1960s.  This was what they shipped them in.  Cool, huh?


Here’s a barn…I keep taking pictures of barns…


Landscape, this one goes against the “thirds” doctrine of photography…but I like it anyway.


I saw a herd of buffalo…or bison.

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Check out the one with the afro!


Basically it was a tour of our valley during harvest…


Below are wine grapes…I love wine.


It was a very good day, until i got a major headache.  It made it difficult to drive and I ended up hiding my head under a pillow for an hour while the Tylenol kicked in…other than that it was a good day.