Picture of the Week

I saw a picture similar to this in my class that I took and ended up purchasing. He was asking people to upload "high key" (bright, light) and "low key" (very dark) pictures and this was one person's idea. I liked it and decided to try to copy it, it's a neat shot and shouldn't be too hard, right?


It has to have virtually no shadow, no texture and then there's the problem of the spoon reflecting anything above it, like a CAMERA!!! So I wrapped my arms and camera in a white towel to minimize the reflection, used a lightbox (a big white fabric box w translucent sides) to eliminate harsh shadows and went out in the sunshine to get maximum light. Afterward, in Photoshop, I still had to brighten it and I painstakingly removed what little reflection was still in the spoon.

Sheesh!  You wouldn't think such a simple shot would be so involved!

This Can't Be!!!

Yes folks, it can.. This is another blog on basically the same day as the last blog. That would make this 2 BLOGS ON ONE DAY!!!

I know, don't drop dead from shock.

We had such a nice calm day I just feel I need to blog it. It's nothing spectacular. Just a couple grandparents enjoying a beautiful Saturday the day after a long, hard work day.

So what do a couple 50-somethings do? We started as we do most Saturdays, we sit at our 'puters for a couple hours, reading, blogging, etc. Then we headed down the road to see how the new neighbors are doing and had a short visit with the family down the street. Next we decided to head out for a Rx refill and then to the new, big, beautiful Covington fire station. Rick has been wanting to see if we could weasel our way into a firehouse to get some closeup shots of trucks, fire hoses, boots, etc. Well, they were perfectly happy to let us come in to do just that. As we were headed back out they asked if there was anything else we would like to know or see, very friendly fellas.

Next the plan was to head down to Neely Mansion as we've learned that it's open every Saturday from 1 to 4. It's a 110 year old home that's being slowly rebuilt, a historical landmark I believe. But instead of heading down to that I suggested that we lay in the sun since it was shining so brightly and the mansion will always be there. So we lay out for about an hour.

Next, we were getting hungry and Rick's been having cravings for Subway so we headed back to town for a meatball sub for him and 2 RB sammiches and a small Jamocha shake from Arby's for me.

We came home and dropped in down the street again. Everyone was eating at Denny's house, Tony grilled up some burgers. We mentioned that we were planning to go out and try to get some late day shots, a sunset closely followed by moonrise. Celeste mentioned that she liked to take those kind of photos so she came along.

We drove out toward Enumclaw and found one of my favorite farms that has Mt Rainier as a backdrop. So we parked and started shooting. Cows, trees, barns, the mountain, sunset and finally, just as we were about to give up (Rick saw that the moonrise was supposed to be at 9:35 and it was nearly 9:55) the moon began to peek over the mountains. It's a big full moon and was really neat to watch rise.

Once we had our fill of attempting those difficult shots we headed back home for a soak in the hot tub, as usual.

Last, but certainly not least, we came in and perused our late day shots. Some of my best ones were the grass that was being lit by the setting sun.

What a great day!....

Three Weeks of Stuff

Well, Rick has been keeping up with his blogging and I've been falling further and further behind. That's partly due to his staying on top of his - my desire to blog is squashed when he blogs the same event I was going to blog and I read his first. So I'm not going to read his latest blog until I finish mine first, mmk?

First off, the last thing I blogged was my big kiting accident. Well, my head cleared up within a couple days but the backside, not so much. The pain migrated from the tailbone to the left hip, actually the ball-and-socket section. But as of Wednesday I started noticing the pain diminishing and as of yesterday I was pain free! I had to force myself to stop being active long enough to allow it time to heal. Fortunately we had some nice weather that I could lay out in and then we had the Circuit Overseer's visit so I went out in service a couple days this week. I also attended a funeral with my friend around the corner, Mary. It was her mom's funeral, she was 88 I think. Still a hard thing to go through, your mom is your mom. I took pictures for Mary and was talking to some of the funeral folk and may make up a Craigslist ad to do funeral photography! Maybe I'll make up some business cards and give them to the funeral homes even. It doesn't happen very often but sometimes people ask for such a service....

The next event I must be sure to cover is our completion of the bigger half of Kevin's house in preparation of my brother's family's arrival from Utah. They were scheduled to arrive last night and the house still wasn't done. There was paint touch up, cleaning, appliance cleaning and placement and door rehanging to be done. The yard had also been ignored for most of the last month and the grass had gotten back to being about 15" tall. So Wednesday I hit the grass with my riding mower and knocked it down to more like 8". Now it needs to be hit a couple more times and weed whacked around the edges. I may bring my mower back down Monday and run it around again on a lower setting.

Shirley is back from Vegas, living in the little half of the house that Kevin rented so the family is all back together, the boys seem very happy to have their mommy back. Yesterday while we were cleaning and hanging doors she was there playing with them on the carpet. It was quite a din, Kevin says that's pretty normal for their home life! She loves to play with the boys (and they, of course, love to have her play with them!) Earlier yesterday she had the job (she was volunteered by Kevin) of cleaning the bathroom, mainly the toilet and tub. I'll tell you, that toilet was NASTY! But she handled it like a trooper, she had to actually scoop a mess out of it! She used a combination of gloves, then a plastic bag and now it works and looks fabulous!

Walking down the street to work on the house I spotted a guy measuring the house that Rach and Tony are buying - it was the FHA appraiser! Progress! Things are finally moving forward and the closing date is slated for the first week in July!

So Mark's family was scheduled to finally arrive from Utah Friday afternoon sometime. We were all scrambling around to make the house ready. Rick got home and I goaded him into coming down to help (sorry hon). I had cleaned the appliances but they had to be put in their places. Then he volunteered to go to get some supplies from Covington and a few minutes after he left I got a call from him: "They're coming! I just passed them!" They were almost here! I was trying to keep an ear open for the truck but missed, I wanted to get a shot of them pulling up the road with their little caravan. But I did get to be the first one out to greet them. I had made a welcome sign for them that turned out well - moving across state lines, lock, stock and barrel, is a big undertaking and deserves a fanfare! (I wanted a kazoo band, but no one knows how to play the kazoo apparently!)

When they got here just about everyone was home from work already so everyone ended up helping unload the truck. By the time we came home to soak in the hot tub around 9:30 the truck was nearly empty and the house was quickly becoming their home. It was great to see things happen so quickly and efficiently! It's the first time all the kids have their own rooms. There's a nice big kennel in the back yard for their 2 dogs, a yellow lab named Sandy and a white terripoo named Holly. It was so handy to just stick them in there while we unloaded, no fear of them wandering away. This house is I think close to the same size as their Utah house but, with more rooms, the rooms are a bit smaller and their stuff isn't fitting as nicely. It's nice to have a place to immediately move into though, so they don't mind. They didn't have to put their stuff into storage and stay with family for any length of time. And the house came out pretty nice, after painting and new carpet.

So we are happy to say "Welcome DeBellings!"

Picture of the Week

OK, I've been loosely following a list of suggested daily themes for my 365.  One day the theme was "drinks" and I've been wanting to play with this idea ever since I first saw it.  I think my attempt worked out pretty well.

It's a little darker than I wanted it, lighting is always a problem when shooting indoors.  But the color kind of matches the color of what's in the glasses so it works anyways...

Picture of the Week

OK, well, I already posted my choice for my Picture of the Week but I'm gonna post it again anyway, and I'll post the original in a small format just below it so you can see the before and after. I tweak most of my pictures, some more than others and I just want everyone to see some of the junk that I have to start out with.
I was driving when I shot the picture so there's some motion blur. Tony's jeep is right behind the shot of Keith's car and ruins the overall shape of Keith's car, so it had to be eliminated. Then the tracks left by Tony's car had to go since there appears to be no car to make them. The biggest problem was the blur. So I put it into a filter that does, among other things, a "smooth" if desired. Desired. Much better! Cloned out Tony's jeep and the tire tracks and added a slight vignette and voila! A picture I LOVE!!!

The Big Kiting Accident

What?!?! A KITING accident? How can you get hurt flying kites?

Seriously, as it turned out, I should have been wearing a helmet out on that beach. Someone even called an ambulance for me!

So.. This guy was flying this quad-string stunt kite by us, buzzing us with extra strings unused and flailing about. I googled quad-string kite and they're what's used to pull someone sitting in a go-cart type vehicle down the beach. It's referred to as a "power kite".

No, he didn't snag anyone in the strings. It was actually my fault. The old "good Samaritan" gets injured helping his fellow man.

His kite crashed, the lines got twisted and the easiest way to fix this is to have someone hold onto your kite while you untwist, then they can help launch it again once it's straightened out.

So I held onto his kite, he walked out to where the handles lay on the sand, untangling as he went. He put the straps on his wrists and I held up his kite to take off. Just as it began to rise I felt something on the back of my ankle. Oh, one of those unused strings was wrapped behind my foot, I'll just lift and untangl.....

That thing lifted violently while I was standing on one foot. It pulled me off my remaining foot and dropped me on my tailbone, then my head bounced on the concrete-like sand.

But my camera was safe.

I lay there for a minute very still with my eyes shut. The guy with the kite may have seen me fall. The kids thought I was taking another strange angle shot. It took a minute for everyone to figure out that I was hurt. It didn't knock the wind out of me but rang my bell real good.

I finally started to talk and open my eyes, I thought maybe my head was bleeding, it hurt so bad. But it was just a big jarring, bruising accident. Immediately my ears, jaw, face, butt, and back o' my head hurt. The next day my wrist and shoulder hurt, then my stomach muscles and the tendons in my neck, I musta tensed up before I hit my head, trying to not hit so hard.

Today I'm pretty good, the only thing is the first and last few inches when I raise myself from a sitting or crouching position.

So, the next time you go kite flying DON'T FORGET YOUR HELMET!!!

Ocean Shores 2010

We have, as a family, stayed in Ocean Shores this time of year a few times. Once it was for Denny's wedding, that took place on 4/15/06. We rent one big house with lots of bedrooms and split the cost. Then we can cook and save money, we don't have to share the hot tub with other hotel guests and we can be as boisterous as we want to be, hanging together, watching our movies, playing games, whatever. We BBQ and have a campfire usually. Rick and I, of course, have our laptops. Tony has to have his golf, Kevin and Denny their beer, us, our laptops.

Unfortunately for me this event sometimes coincides with my annual one-day special assembly of JW's in Puyallup. That's a 2-hour drive one way.

This was kind of an odd house, it had glass doors like a store would have. I think it was at an earlier time a business building. It was convenient, had plenty of room but noisy, creaky and the plumbing was loud. I think we all had at least one night with very little sleep.

It did, however, have a nice hot tub, horseshoe pits, a firepit, washer and dryer (but no soap) was close to the beach and had lots of parking.

So we had lots of room to hang and explore. Then - the unexpected happened... We had the most beautiful day we've ever had at Ocean Shores! Friday was already nice, but then Saturday was like 70º and drop-dead gorgeous! I just wish I had been able to enjoy it more.

(Don't forget to click on these pictures to see them better and please, check out the new gallery on our smugmug site!)
Joe, Keith and I went out Friday afternoon, drove around a little looking for an interesting place to explore and found the dirt road to the breakwater by the marina. We walked out on that and enjoyed ourselves.

Then the evening group showed up, Kevin and Denny in one vehicle and a couple hours later Rick, Sarah and her boyfriend, Sopha. We were finally all there. So we all piled in our cars and headed for the beach, Tony loved driving in the surf (don't worry, he sprayed off when he got back to the house, another benefit to renting a house!). Rick and I were taking lots of pictures for Tony. I was down near the water using my telephoto lens to get him from far off to right up close and the combination of moving surf, moving car and zooming lens left me unaware of my being too close to the action - Tony sprayed me! Sprayed me GOOD!! Fortunately, Rick got a shot of the wall of water just before it hit me. My camera automatically blinked a "I'm wet, dry me off" signal (actually it said "change the battery pack") so that was priority #1. All's good. I was wet and a little cold but it was kinda worth it. After that I kept telling them my share of the house rent was reduced by $50. Imagine that - he sprayed his MOTHER-IN-LAW with his jeep!

I got up Saturday morning determined to make my special assembly in spite of not having gotten barely any sleep. A 2-hour drive, then about 3 hours of assembly (I opted to stay for only half, we'd planned the ocean trip months before I found out about the assembly) then another 2-hour drive on only about 3 hours of sleep. Then I got back and the day was grand and everyone was having so much fun. But I was tired beyond functioning. If I tried to sleep it went exactly as the night before - nada. So I grumped around a bit and finally got out to play and got past the grumps. Sorry again Rick!

At just about dinner time we opted, instead of cooking, to go to the local beach and fly kites. I bought one years back but had string issues so I spent the $30 to have that fixed. Denny and Rach each bought one too. And there was a variety of smaller simple kites to try to fly (they're a lot harder than the stunt kites are to get in the air). So we flew kites for a good hour or so. Everyone got to try their hand at the stunt kites, they're a blast and Rick now understands when I talk about my kite and how fun and what a workout they are. He never flew a "2-string" kite before. He posted that in a comment on facebook and his sister, Jackie, replied "those are STUNT kites you silly! they Will knock you on your [butt] and drag you down the sand!" Apparently her husband, Gary, had been a kite flying aficionado.

So then we had dinner around 10, after a stunning sunset (9:15ish) at which point I said, when I saw it, "Grab yer cameras! come on!" Sarah was the only one that bit. We hopped in the toaster and headed back the half block to the beach we had just left about an hour earlier. But the sunset was not over the water, it was over the land. We did our best, though, to get some good silhouette shots.

Sunday AM we had a big family breakfast, then Rick, Sarah and Sopha headed for home. I had to haul people in my car so I stayed to hang with the kids some more before we'd leave. We drove out on the beach and flew kites some more. The boys took their bikes out and rode around on the hard-packed sand. There was a guy flying a stunt kite similar to ours but with these other strings that were hanging below his kite, making a neat string arch as it flew and his kite kept buzzing us, albeit unintentionally.

Which leads us into - "the rest of the story"...

OK, I'll write a blog already!

Well, we have had a couple interesting events take place over the past couple weeks but - again - nothing wow except for last weekend.  So let me recap the last couple weeks, then I'll move on to our weekend at Ocean Shores and then - the big Kiting Accident...

We had the boys' cousins from Fresno visit back in the 3rd week of May.  The day started out cool and rainy but eventually the rain stopped so we proceeded with our BBQ plans out by our firepit.  It was, of course, awkward at first, lots of lulls in the conversation but then we moved outside and it went better.  The kids played with my grandsons and my kids were all typically bratty.  At one point my chair legs kept sinking in the dirt so Tony came around and lay on top of my chair (with me in it) to shove it down further.  Dane had a graduation party to go to so took Audrey, the cousin closest to his age.  Then the next day, Sunday, he took her with him swing dancing.  She seemed to enjoy it, in spite of the fact that she knew no one and is normally very shy.  We all went to Dane's meeting and then they had an early dinner at Applebee's with Dane's dad, their crazy uncle, as they call him.  Monday they boogied home.

Kevin painted and made repairs to the house across from Denny and moved in.  The boys and Kevin are all so excited to be in their own place and it's nice that they're right down the street.  They can drop in for little visits and the boys always grab an apple.  Shirley came back from Vegas last weekend and is returning this weekend to retrieve her things and come home for good.  So she'll be living down the street as well.  The boys are thrilled to have their mommy home.  She has already put a female touch on the place.

OK, let's see, Keith - same... Denny and Heather - same... Rach and Tony - same... OH!  Mark and his family are getting ready to head out here the last week of June and hopefully move into the house next to Kevin.  And Rach's house should close just about the same time.  So we'll all be here and in our own places!

Dane is back at work as a tile mason for the summer.  He's doing a kind of concrete stamping, or grinding, I forget what it's called terra-something or tetra-something.  They wanted someone with no experience.  It's a very specific craft known by few but very hard on the body.  So, while it would be cool for Dane to learn, he probably should finish this summer job and move on to something less hard on him, he's such a fragile boy....

The rain has been relentless all this time.  There has also been some hail, thunder, lightning and wind. We would have a part of a dry day about once a week, just enough to get our yards mowed if we hurried!  We are finally supposed to be getting a break from the rain for the next week.  Yay!

Next up - Ocean Shores!

Picture of the Week

I'll go ahead and do my Picture of the Week now, since I'm already at my keyboard.  This is one of my hostas.  They had lots of spots and such, I did a lot of cleaning up but I really like the end product, so...

Don't Touch that Dial!

OK folks, hang on, I'll be back to blogging soon.

We went to Ocean Shores this weekend and I had to prepare for that. Wednesday I shopped, Thursday I cooked and Friday I left.

Once there we had no internet access. The weekend was fast and furious as you'll see when I do finally blog. But this is all you're gonna get right now because I damaged myself and find it very painful to use my keyboard.

I had a kiting accident...

Stay tuned for "the rest of the story" coming soon...

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.