Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer's Almost Gone.

 But not all the way.  This weekend we went to a local park and took some photos of Chloe.  I think a few turned out okay.  If you prefer you can scroll through the pictures.

This coming weekend we are going to go fishing with my in-laws.  Chloe is excited.  She really liked going in Papa's boat the last time.  We got our fishing licenses and are now looking forward to a fun filled weekend.
 Of course, there is the small matter of the rest of the week.  I am biding my time to go back to subbing.  My summer boss seems have plenty for me to do, so I hate to leave him in a lurch.  On the other hand, today was the first school day at our local schools, and I miss my students just a wee bit.  Of course, my students number above a thousand since I sub.  Tomorrow will likely see me doing a lot of weed whacking...or perhaps moving furniture or surplus items.  Needless to say I'll be busy either way.
 Given the direction of our weekend, I hope to have a ton of pictures for you.  Our lovely daughter is flourishing.  She talks a mile -a-minute.  She has opinions and preferences and a strong sense of self.  She is also awesome.  I love her.
I hope you all have a good week.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Weekend Drive!

 We went for a short drive Saturday near sunset.  We went up the canyon and took a few pictures.  The one above is 8 or so pictures stitched together.  On the down side it shows the vignette of my lens at its widest, but the usually is not a problem.

 I used my new lens.  It was fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Saturday Morning

 Okay, some of this is last night.  She ate a popsicle in the back yard while we waited for Mommy to come home.
 THEN, Mommy braided her hair so she might have curly hair in the morning.
Finally, after sleeping between us since God-knows-when, she awoke with an undesirable cheerfulness and vigor, which neither her mother nor I shared.  Since I was rested and feeling reasonably ready for the day, I volunteered to get up with the rampaging child.  We have been doing fairly well...with a few minor disturbances, mostly centered around wanting Mommy.

She has been keeping busy by using Mommy's Kindle Fire Book.  Switching from children's videos to children's games with amazing ease.

Well, Mommy is up, let the day begin!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

It's All Good

I usually lament the end of summer about this time of year.  I don't think I quite feel that way this year.  I'm not sure why.  I know we were aiming to create an oasis in our backyard, however, that never happened.  Our sweet darling daughter makes mobility between inside and outside a little less easy.  Our nights this summer have been...painful.  She has not gone down easy and so it is a team effort to get her down.  No one gets to sit outside quietly unconnected to the horrors going on inside.

Cora's new job, Chloe and me getting sick, my job, and a dozen other small things all added up to us not quite experiencing the summer we had imagined.

there are worse things, though.  

That haze there at the lower part of the photo is smoke from the Taylor Bridge Fire near Cle Elum, Washington...some forty miles away, as the crow flies.

So far, at least 70 houses have been burnt and several thousand acres of land.

I have spent the last two days pressure washing the exterior of a school.  Seems the more I do it, the more I find that needs to be sprayed.  It's all good, though, I have been listening to books on my Kindle.  Particularly the books in the Kate Daniels series.

No one bothers me.  I like that.  

I sat in the bathroom as Chloe bathed.  At one point, she turned her head toward me and gave a knowing grin...she was drinking the bath water from a cup.  Could be worse.  Life is good.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Pigeon in My Pocket

Last night was the Perseid Meteor Shower.  Well, the strongest part.  I decided to use my new lens and take some pictures.  Since I wanted to have an area without nearby lights and I wanted SOMETHING in the foreground I chose an abandoned ranch about 25 miles from home.
The only meteor I was able to catch is in the center of the photo next to the corner of the house in this shot.

It was after midnight and dark.  My eyes had not adjusted to the darkness and I was using my flashlight to show the way.  I had already seen a coyote and several field mice cross the highway.  I did not expect other wildlife.  I squeezed through the barbed wire fence with my camera and tripod in hand.  I approached the old farmhouse and was greeted with a cacophony of pigeon wings as the inhabitants of the house were roused by my flashlight.  I saw several disappear into the dark sky, but one lit upon the ground a little way from me.  I shown the light on him and approached.  After a few aborted and fouled attempts I held the bird in my hand.

Now, what do I do with him?

I make a habit of wearing cargo shorts during the summer.  At almost all times.  I thought of the chickens of my youth and how you could fool the bird into submission by laying a pencil on his neck in place of your finger.  I decided to make use of my pockets!

So, with a pigeon in my pocket, I set about preparing for my shots.  I put the house in the foreground and lined up with the part of the sky I wanted to shoot.  I then proceeded to take shots.  At one point I felt something a little moist on my leg.  Given that I had forgotten about my friend, I took the flashlight and looked at my pant leg.  My little friend had attempted to gross me out by voiding his bladder/intestines.  Yuck.  Unfortunately for him, I was already moving through weeds and sage and nastiness, so a little more dirt did not bother me any more.

About this time Cora texted me to tell me she was awake.  I told her I had a pigeon in my pocket.  Cora responded that I should not let him drive the truck.  (for those of you who don't know, there is a children's
book that is called, "Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!"  It's by Mo Willems, a children's book author of whom I am fond.)  We traded several texts about the meteor shower while I shot.
I was experimenting with the exposure while the meteors were in the sky.  By the time I finally got the exposures right, I found that the meteors would come shooting through just after I had closed the shutter.  Figures.  I only got one GOOD shot of a meteor.

I came home and found Cora in the back yard.  My companion had not moved very much and seemed happy to be in my pocket.  I had to prove it to Cora, who seemed a little doubtful of my word.  I shown the light on him.  Cora was amused.  I was going to put him in an old rabbit cage overnight and show him to Chloe before releasing him, confident in pigeon powers to find his home.

Cora was still chuckling as I turned to go to the shed to retrieve the rabbit cage.  Apparently when I had shown the pigeon to Cora I had not replaced the flap of the pocket very well and the pigeon, being somewhat more clever than a chicken, made a bid for escape.  In a loud flapping of pigeony wings he left the confines of my soiled pocket and flew away.  Cora and I chuckling in his wake.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Is This Love?

 You've all heard the song, "Is This Love" by Whitesnake, right?  No?  Oh.  Okay, here, have a listen.

Okay.  Now you've heard it.  I think I might be in love with this lens.  I've had it for two days and I think I like carrying it around for the fun pictures alone!  It requires a different mindset.  You have to get close.  I mean CLOSE!!  
 It is a WIDE angle lens.  For the picture of the house below, I was standing about 5 or 6 feet from the corner of the house.
 I was almost ONE the truck.
 I was right on the pole.
 It is a fast lens, too, which means it has an aperture that lets more light in and I can take pictures at faster shutter speeds or in darker places without fear of moving the camera and blurring the image.

This lens has a neat way of showing the sun.  It causes bright light sources to have 18 point stars.  Which is funny, since I was in to Best Buy looking for a cheap UV filter to protect the lens from bumps and dirt (I get a little careless when jumping in the vehicle on a photo drive).  They were out of cheap ones and I didn't want to pay 40 bucks for the next step up.  I asked if they had some in back.  The guy that came up held out a filter.  I looked at it, immediately reading, "That's an 'Eight Point Star Filter.'" out loud, and he looked at it as though it were some other-worldly entity.  And he went back to the drawing board, soon finding the forty dollar version I wished to avoid.  I think his computer was missing a few chips.

But really?  Who wants eight points when you can have THIS MANY!!    

 I took about 30 minutes yesterday on the way home and took some pictures with my new lens.  Not exactly world class material, but fun to experiment with!
Today, I think we will go down to the tri-cities for a bit.  I'll take the camera, too!  I hope everyone enjoys their Saturday!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

11mm to 105mm and Beyond.

 I got my new lens today!!  It's an 11mm-16mm zoom!!  Why, you ask?  Because LOOK!!!  This is our living room wall.  This is the new lens.
 This next one is the lens that came with my camera.  It is an 18-105mm.

 Pretty cool.  I got a lens for my Birthday from Cora.  That was a 50mm.  The difference is it blurs the background better than my other lens and is better for portraits.  Here it is:
 And, of course, there is my $20 lens.  My Holga plastic lens.  It gives a lot of mood and character to the photo.  It is about a 60mm.
Holga 60mm
So, those are my lenses and I am happy to say, my range is working itself out!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tacoma Waterfront

 These are some pictures i took of the Tacoma waterfront a couple weeks ago.

 The Kalakala is a local land  watermark.  I was going to tell you when it was built, but a man I met on the waterfront drew some doubt upon the widely held notion that she was built this way in the 1930s.  The man suggested she was built like this after the war by Lockheed.  I don't know which is true.
 I am exhausted.  Cora is exhausted.  She is still suffering from the after-effects of her Saturday bleedfest.  I worry about that girl sometimes.  I have been out in the 100 degree heat and ACTUALLY working my tail off.  The past two days has seen me exhausted at lunch! The heat absolutely takes every ounce of energy out you!

I found that someone had messed up the watering of the schools I am in charge of this week, and I took some time to try and figure out how to fix it.  Finally, I had to call the guy on vacation to get it figured out.  Some people might say that watering grass is not rocket science.  They may be right, but that doesn't mean that making sure a lawn is watered is as easy as putting a man in orbit!

Well, I am going to go lay my head on the pillow and, in the space of seconds, wake up to the sunrise.  THAT's how tired I am.  And the thing is I figured Chloe would be in bed early tonight.  How wrong i was!  She seems glued to consciousness.

Let me know which photo you like best!  THANKS!!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Hop Fest Again!!

 The Hop Fest is here again.  We meant to go down, but Cora feels icky after a REALLY BAD bloody nose.  It was squirting.  We are NOT the kind of people to overreact, but this needed attention, and after 10 or so minutes without it slowing down, we decided we needed a little extra help.  I'm glad they came.  They managed to help staunch the flow after about 1/2 an hour.  She feels like her head is clogged now and it's best that she remain calm and not move around too much.

However, that was not going to stop her from going to the parade with Chloe and me!

As usual, there was a fun run...but given the expressions on most of the runners, I doubt it was very much fun.  It really makes me wonder about people who do these things to themselves and then try to make themselves feel better by calling the obvious torment they experience "FUN."  I will admit they have bodies that are considerably more fit than mine, but in a famine, I'm betting I will live longer.
 The parade was pretty long, given that our parade route is probably less than a half-mile.  We throw candy at our parade here, and the kids were ready.  It took Chloe a couple times to get into the groove, but once she got it, the kids around her had to watch out!
 I think Chloe and I will go for a a walk later, maybe even pick up dinner.  Despite Cora's not feeling so well, it's possible for this weekend to turn out good!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And It's Been Awhile

Years ago I worked with an Ex-Marine.  He was a shift manager at a juice plant.  He worked hard.  He busted his ass to do hard jobs, but always looked clean shaven and dressed to kill the woman-folk.  I mean, he would be working on the greasiest piece of machinery one moment and five minutes later was dressed as snazzy as could be, ready to take a girl to a movie.  The guys who were with him minutes before would still be greasy and looking like they had battled an oil well into submission.

We finally found his secret.  He used to bring several changes of clothes and keep them in his vehicle and I'm pretty sure he shaved on his break.  He was a...complicated individual.

The reason I bring his memory up, though, is simply because he loved, I mean LOVED a song.  This song:

If it came on the radio and he was in the lab (that's where I worked) he would stride over and turn it up.  He would even sing it (silently) and his eyes would close just a little.  He really like the song.  I imagine it held some meaning for him.  I wonder what he's doing now.  Probably dressing disturbingly well for a straight guy.  Well, here's to you Dave!  Wherever you are.

The reason I bring up the song, though, is that it has been awhile since I blogged.  I have been busy.  Haven't we all?  This previous weekend we cleaned house, had my parents come up and babysit and then Cora and I went to dinner.  First time we've done THAT for awhile, sans Chloe, anyway.  Sunday we went shopping and got ready for the oncoming week.

The past few days I have been doing the job of one of the groundskeepers.  I had the bad luck to be on two mowers last Friday that broke.  The first one had a spindle break.  The second had a guide arm break.  Pretty much it stopped them from being useful, but neither was my fault.  So, I attempted to mow lawns without a big lawn mower.  The span on these things is about 14 feet, so they mow a lot of lawn all at once.  The small mower mows a swath of about 6 feet.  It takes a long time to mow a big lawn that way.

So, I have been out in the sun pulling weeds, emptying garbage, and mowing lawns.  It's hot work, and I have a slight sunburn, but I'm good!

Chloe's Nana went on vacation this week and next.  Nana also happens to be our daycare.  So this week we had to find a new daycare.  We found one on Craig's List.  Chloe has gone there a few times over the summer, and she seemed to not mind it too bad.

This week, though, Chloe was a different child.  She cried before going to daycare.  She whined.  She said she did not want to go.  She said she did not like it there.  Cora and I have both seen and observed some things that made us feel that maybe this person was not the greatest daycare person, but we wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt, but when Chloe began to dread going to daycare we began to worry.

Yesterday, I called to tell the daycare person that I wished to pick Chloe up early, and they said that the kids had gone down late.  I said, "ok..."  They said, "Well they had lunch at 1:15, because they were having such a good time outside."  Ummm, they are little kids.  They thrive on schedules.  Knowing what is next is important to kids.  STRUCTURE!!  We had already decided that Chloe would not be going back, but if there were any doubts they were erased by that.

Chloe spent the day with my parents today.  I think they spoiled her, but that is their job.  They shared their grand daughter with an untold number of family and friends.  They bought her a new outfit and pajamas and a puzzle and who knows what else!  She got A LOT more mental stimulation than the "daycare" where the TV was on all the time.  The change in Chloe was amazing!  Where as she came home kind of blah and listless from the "daycare," she came home happy today.

I guess that is the difference FAMILY makes.  Thank goodness we have family!!

And, THAT is why it's been awhile!