Picture of the Week

I'm doing something a little different this week and I want your feedback.  Rach, Dane, all you kids and other relatives and friends that get this blog - I want feedback! (just hit "reply", it's that easy) And If you don't get my blog in your email just click on the link below that says "cats hacked up hairballs".

Rick and I went to a photo society meeting a few weeks back and while describing one of the better pictures that were presented the photo ap "Topaz Adjust" was mentioned.  So I found it online and downloaded the free trial.  Herein you find the before and after of a picture taken in Utah in 11/08.

Click on it, make it bigger and tell me what you think.  Interesting?  Nasty?  Cool?  Give me your impression, I wanna know!  Alla yous guys!

Picture of the Week

Well, this past Saturday Rick, Sarah and I headed for the Arboretum near the UW.  There's not much blooming yet but it was a beautiful, sunny day so we had to go somewhere.  We ended the day down at Seward Park again and the big white Aflac duck is still there.  This time I used my 75-300mm lens so I got some better stuff.

I got a lens a while back with image stabilization (IS) and have been experimenting with it.  Seems it's messing up most of my stuff, I gotta be more selective as to when to use the IS feature.  It has a motor in it that somehow compensates for camera movement when you're shooting in low light or in a motion (i.e. a car, boat, etc) setting.  But when motion isn't an issue it seems to add motion, such as when you have your camera on a tripod.  It's so frustrating when you go out with other photographers on the same level as you and their pictures are all far better even though you have the "superior" lens.

Anyhow, somehow I did get a few good shots, here's one from the arboretum.  This is a witch hazel blossom called Hamamelis x intermedia 'Arnold Promise'.  I love the bright contrasting colors!

Heather, Heather, Heather...

What can I say about Heather?

Heather is very pretty.  I love her hair color just the way it is, don't mess with it, you're a beautiful brunette.

Heather lives in flip-flops.

Heather is becoming educated and is getting degrees in childcare.

Heather opens her mouth wide when she talks.  You can see her pierced tongue.

Heather keeps her house clean, she vacuums and washes dishes every day.

Heather is an animal lover.  Heather has a ginger tabby named Lily who has been part of the family longer than Gage.  But Heather wants a dog.  Heather needs a terri-poo.

Heather gets very sad when she loses a pet.

Heather fits right into our strange family, she's our kind of people.

Heather likes loud music.

Heather is Hunter's mommy and Hunter looks just like her mommy's family and just like his daddy's family.

Heather is not an in-your-face person and sometimes gets left in the background.  But that's OK because our family has enough drama going on right now.

Making Things Happen!

For a while now things just haven't been going so well with my family, as well as the rest of the country.  Some of us have lost our jobs,  Denny's rental house got flooded, Kevin and Shirley have been riding their roller coaster, etc.  Well, it looks like maybe things have finally taken a turn for the better.  In the last couple weeks, most in this week, lots of changes for the better have happened.

Let's start with Rach and Tony.  Tony started working back at Platt Electric, where he worked before he left for Cincinnati.  And as soon as started back to work they put an offer on the house across the street, the seller accepted the offer and now we wait for the bank to make their decision since it becomes what they've come to call a "short sell (sale?)", meaning that the offer is less than is owed the bank, they'll take a loss on it.

Kevin and Shirley have decided to get off their roller coaster.  Not the ending any of us were hoping for but hopefully Shirley will find happiness and they will all have the stable lives they need, mostly the boys. They're planning to divorce and Shirley plans to move to Las Vegas.  I'm urging them to have webcams so the boys can visit with mom every day via the internet (and vice-versa when they visit mom).

Denny and Heather's house in Lakewood is ready for drywall.  Their brilliant mortgage company has messed their account up numerous times and has them in arrears due to their errors.  Well, they've finally found their errors and may finally get things straightened out.  If not, we're getting ready to "Call Jesse"  the local TV station's thug to help with some of these impossible situations that companies pull on customers/victims.  When threatened with airing the problem on TV many situations finally find resolution - amazing!

The Sizemore kids's cousin, David, moved back from Georgia a while back and hasn't contacted anyone.  When we found him on facebook he still seemed to be attempting to avoid our company.  After numerous invitations to get together he may finally be doing so, Denny swapped phone numbers with him and they should be seeing him tomorrow night if all goes well.

Dane just called me to ask if I would come to his meeting tomorrow night - but he wouldn't tell me why.  But I'm not that dumb, I mean I didn't just fall off the turnip truck yesterday!  He's being appointed as a ministerial servant in his congregation!  Way to go Dane!

Keith - well, Keith is just Keith.  I wish I could say he got a job.  Someday.

My turn!  I got reinstated Sunday and will be announced Thursday night!  It was just under 2 years that I was out but it seemed a lifetime.  It was just in time, I was getting depressed again I think.  I still have mixed emotions, happy to be back but embarrassed and frustrated that I had to go aside like I did.  Like I said the last time - never again!

Rick?  Well, he came to the Kingdom Hall with me Saturday for Brother Poggensee's memorial.  Not an advancement or accomplishment, but a new experience, and an insight into my life.  He blew out his jaw.  Does that count?  No, I didn't think so either.  Well, how about just being a good husband?  Yeah, that works.  Not everyone can do that.

Picture of the Week

Well, since we didn't get out for any pictures this weekend, in spite of the fact that it was a 3-day weekend, I guess I'll have to hunt around through my archives for a picture.

I know! I haven't put up my horse shot from Fruita, Utah that was an accidental masterpiece! I saw this opportunity and was crawling around on the ground shooting between fence slats. What do you think? Most of you've already seen this but here you go:

An Unexpected Facelift!

Well, if you're looking at this blog most likely you see the facelift. And if you don't then you need to click on the title (An Unexpected Facelift!) to see my new blog page.

Rick had gotten tired of his old dull page and started looking for a new look. He would ask my opinion on some templates and I decided I should change mine as well, it looked so old and drab in comparison to the new stuff out there.

But both Rick and I like to tweak and play with our computer stuff to personalize it even more than you're supposed to. So last night we were both at our 'puters with our blogpage html open, deleting, changing and otherwise screwing up our new pages.

Screwed up just the way we like them, that is.

I had to move the little line with the date and number of comments to the bottom of each blog, it was at the top. The margins on the sides of the "About Me" section on the right were way too wide, made the column too narrow, so I had to find and change that. Rick had frames around his pictures, I want that! So I figured out how to make it so. And finally I put that little curlicue in front of the title last night. There were other little things not worth mentioning too.

Overall I like the new look. And it wasn't painful at all!

Picture of the Week

Well, I'll go back to our trip to Seward Park a couple weekends ago. We had lots of birds to get pictures of, mainly ducks and seagulls. There was this one big white farm duck there mixed in with all the mallards, he really stuck out.

Yeah, that's what he said - "Aflac!"

2 Good Experiences

I think I'll start something new. I blogged an interesting experience from one of our Circuit Assemblies in the past. It was good enough that I wanted to share it, and remember it. Well, I want to share all the good ones - THE GOOD ONES I said. Some of them just stand out. So I'm gonna start recording some of the better experiences from our assemblies and conventions.

We just had our 2 day assembly for the year and it ended up with 2 good experiences given by Brother Madsen, our current 66 year old District Overseer, who was raised on a farm in Ohio:

For some reason I didn't catch the very beginning of either of these experiences, So we'll start with the near the beginning. This was about a couple in the ministry in Ethiopia. They stayed in the city and were sent to a village that would be "safe". They were told there were no witnesses in the territory. After working some of it they met a 6 year old boy who told them he was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. They were baffled. They looked for his family and could find none. The boy belonged to no one. So they contacted the authorities to see if they could take the boy out of the village, back to the city and find a home for him. The authorities said he was likely kidnapped as a sex slave, it was very common in the area. So, yes, they could take the boy and do what they could.

When they got back to the city it was already meeting time so they headed straight for the Kingdom Hall. When they got to the hall the boy recognized it and said that it had been his hall! Then, when they got inside in the front row were his parents! They were all amazed to have found each other! The parents had looked for 2 years for the boy, then gave up and determined that he'd been murdered, they even had a memorial for him.

But the most astonishing thing about this story isn't how the boy and his family were reunited - rather it was that he had been taken when he was 3. That was 3 years prior and he knew that he was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Those parents had definitely inculcated the truth into his heart. The heart of a 3 year old. He knew he was a Witness and that's what got him back to his parents!

The next experience takes place closer to home, I'm not sure where exactly but that doesn't matter. It involves a 40 something brother, a prematurely bald dad with kids at home. That's important.

He apparently was having health issues and an ambulance had been called. En route to the hospital he had 2 major heart attacks that did much damage to his heart and he actually died twice before reaching the hospital.

In the hospital he gained consciousness and while he was in a lucid state his doctor wanted to get him to make a decision before he lost consciousness again. The doctor told him that he had major heart damage and he had only 2 choices. He could have surgery in the morning that would help him live another 10 or 20 years (if he lived til the morning). His chances of surviving the surgery were 50%. Or he could choose to not have the surgery and live as long as his heart lasted, which would only be a matter of days, not even a week. He had no problem deciding. He had kids at home, he had to do what he could to try to live as long as he could, he had to take care of his family, he would have the surgery.

That night an elder visited and they read some scriptures. One that was shared was Romans 14:7 & 8 "None of us, in fact, lives with regard to himself only, and no one dies with regard to himself only; for both if we live, we live to Jehovah, and if we die, we die to Jehovah. Therefore both if we live and if we die, we belong to Jehovah."

Jehovah only sees the living person, even if he's dead, he's alive to Jehovah. So it really didn't matter to this brother if he lived or died, either way he was alive to Jehovah. Then the elder made this remark: "So when you wake up after the surgery, even before you open your eyes, reach up and feel the top of your head. If you feel hair up there you know that you are 'on the other side'. If you're bald you know you made it!"

He had the surgery and is happily still alive.

I think I like the second one better, I love humor, But the first one makes you realize that you really can sound the truth down into your kids' hearts, even if they're only toddlers.

Let the Meeting Come to Order!

OK, so we're having fun with our picture taking. But I think we both feel that we need to learn more, get a helping hand from someone with more experience. So we've been considering joining a photography club.--

Since I'm having my Circuit Assembly this weekend I didn't have meeting on Thursday night. Rick found a Photography "Society" in Tacoma that just happened to be meeting on Thursday night. We decided to go and check it out.--

So we picked up Sarah and headed for Puyallup, where the meeting was being held. We got there and were a bit taken aback by the crowd - they were mostly old folks, even older than us!--

We came in and a few greeted us. When the meeting finally started they did a little introduction of the newbies and visitors. Then about an hour of club business - the calendars are selling well. Get your calender money turned in. Plans for the 2011 calender were in the works already, turn in your photos for consideration in the next calender. And finally, don't forget to buy raffle tickets for a free . . . . . weekend in a cabin! Bet you thought I was gonna say calender, huh?--

So finally after all that is taken care of we finally get to what we went for - a presentation, critiquing and competition of 40+ pictures.--

I would say that of those 40+ pictures there were maybe 6 or 8 that were outstanding and probably that many or more that were mediocre or worse. Some were lousy subjects, some were great subjects but poor composition, some weren't focused well. The bulk fell into the kind of stuff and quality that Rick, Sarah and I all take. --

In spite of the age of the group though, once the lights were out and the critiquing began we were all on the same level. Some photography terms were being used and I was glad that we could understand it all, bracketing, lens sizes, depth of field, etc.--

So we left with new feelings. Personally I enjoyed going in and seeing what everyone else had to show. Now I know where we stand in comparison, we're in the middle, but it's a good middle. We're not as good as the best but way better than the worst.--

An interesting side point - as kids we all had involvement in clubs of one kind or another. There were the leader-types that liked to hear themselves talk. There were the treasurer types that liked to be involved in fund raising. There was the club business that always had to be addressed before the meeting could begin. Well, even in a group of mostly 60-somethings there were the same personalities running the show. I guess some things never change.

'Nuther Dead Guy

I wonder if this is gonna become a kind of a theme for our relationship. Well, this dead guy isn't quite like the last one.

Most of you know the area we live in, we're a couple miles up a curvy wooded road. Those kinds of roads tend to gather tossed furniture, fridges, car parts, etc. A few weeks ago Rick and I noticed a bumper on the side of the road right where our neighborhood exits onto that wooded road. We made some snide remarks about it, I don't remember what was said but I remember that we did, because...

A couple weeks after we saw that bumper we were vegging in front of our puters like normal. Dane was visiting and we were yakking. Rick's dad called to tell him about a news story he was seeing about a car off Auburn-Black Diamond Rd. I heard Rick tell him it was a long road and the event was happening probably nowhere near us. Then Denny calls. I put the phone on speaker. "Did you hear about the car off the side of the road? Did you notice the bumper on the side of the road? It belongs to the car! It's all over the TV - turn it on! There's a man near the car too!"

Then I notice the whirr of helicopter rotors, they've been hovering for a while, I just never paid attention. The Dane says "yeah - there's like 6 or 8 emergency vehicles right at the entrance to the neighborhood".

This is all in one conversation, one comment quickly on the heels of the other.

Then I, in my infinite wisdom, ask - "is the guy dead?" not realizing at first that he's been there a couple weeks and also having seen people found alive after a week in their broken car, off the side of the road. But this time - duh.

Good, old, quick-thinking Denny comes back real quick like: "Yeah, they've got him wrapped in a blanket and they're taking him another beer, his is empty."

Duh again.

The news dropped the story after the finding of the body. Turns out he was a depressed 50 year old man, another suicide. So now we have a home made cross and sign at the spot where he drove off the road, littered with flowers and keepsakes.

This guy's name was Scott. Otherwise known around here as "Dead guy #2"

Picture of the Week

I guess I should just give up trying to do this on Sunday, especially since my meetings are at 4 now, I get home, eat dinner and veg. If I can only remember to do it in the AM...

This is at Seward Park. Rick and I hit it a Saturday ago. The mountain even managed to make a showing that afternoon. Good thing we took advantage of the pretty day, Sunday it was back to the typical January rain...

About Me

My photo
After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.