Bird Brains!

We have so many things that grow, live and/or visit here, along with festivals and fairs, etc. There are events just about every weekend, all you have to do is look. I feel very fortunate to live in such an interesting area. We have mountains, deserts, rain forests, valleys, rivers. lakes, the Puget Sound and the Olympic Peninsula.  You can do almost any sport somewhere in this state. We have rodeos in the east and surfing in the west.  We have the world's biggest octopus species. And we have birds - lots of birds...

We have Bald Eagles that winter and breed here. We have the Sandhill Crane festival in Othello every year and Great Blue Herons breed right here, almost on our own street. One sight I've personally been wanting to see are the large flocks of Snow Geese. They actually come from North of Siberia to our more temperate climate to breed up in the northern part of the state, right in the same area as the tulip and daffodil fields. 

They're here by the thousands in January and February, along with a few hundred Trumpeter Swans and a handful of Tundra Swans as well, but hunters are allowed in until late January. So February is the photographers' turn - to ready, aim, SHOOT!

We picked another perfect day to photograph in the area, sun and stormy clouds, perfection! When we located the flocks I was surprised by the noise, I don't know why, I've been to enough bird breeding grounds. After analyzing them for a couple minutes I determined that we were looking at families. There were big, white birds and slightly smaller ones with lots of grey. They walked along in family groups. I was curious about the one I found walking alone...

Every once in a while they'd decide it was time for a move, sometimes being spooked by Bald Eagles. They'd rise up almost as one and the sky became a tornado of geese. A buzzing, flapping, honking tornado. It was awe-inspiring.

We did a little driving around and found more sights - like these curious little guys!

We'll definitely be going back for better pictures next year. I was experimenting with a new lens and it may end up being resold.

Poked and Prodded

So last week Rick had his physical and this week was my turn. After nearly 4 1/2 years of being uninsured I can finally get some questions answered and maybe some problems solved (temporarily, at least).

She did all the usual and then told me I didn't have to have a pap smear done but that she'd do one if I wanted one. Yeah, right...

I wrote about an event I had on the airplane on my way to Kauai in Sept 2011. Well, I got to finally talk to a doctor about it. She had an EKG done (which looked fine) and gave me paperwork and referrals to the Heart Center in Covington. I'm to do a stress test and have an echo cardiogram and chest x-ray done. She seems to feel that the chest pains I was feeling before that event were probably esophageal spasms (sounds possible to me). But that doesn't explain the episode. When she listened to my heart I asked if she heard the murmur that they did an echo cardiogram for 11 years ago before my hysterectomy. She said no, this time she heard a click, which could be a mitral valve prolapse. But that, again, doesn't explain the episode. Hopefully the tests I'm having done will tell us something.

I got a prescription for my depression (which this week is not a problem, yay!), we'll see if it works. Got my asthma prescriptions renewed. And got referrals for a mammogram and colonoscopy. Yippee!

Guys have it easy.  No whining allowed...

The Evolution of a Photographer

I've always been interested in photography. I remember as a teen living on Alakoko St wanting to take a picture of "fire and ice". I didn't know how I could do it so I don't think I ever even attempted it. All we had were instamatic-type cameras and I think I must have realized that that type of camera just wouldn't do the job. I know I wanted to do it in the dark, have the fire shining through the ice, or something like that.

Eventually I got myself a 35mm camera from a pawn shop and took Rachyl's senior pictures for High School. I was finally able to play with a camera. But in the same limited way that everyone could during the film camera era. It was a cheap camera and had a limited life with my gang. 

So in about 2000 I took the kids on a trip to the coast, hiked the entire Dungeness spit and visited the lighthouse at the end. I borrowed my Mom's 35mm camera and was so excited about the pictures I hoped I was getting. I recall having to reload the camera with film as we picnicked at the lighthouse. On the way back to the mainland I took lots of pictures. At one point I accidentally left the camera sitting on a piece of driftwood and Dane and I had to hike back at least 1/2 mile to retrieve it! Then, later that evening, after having the kids pretend to be scaling a cliff face while I lay on the ground to make it look like they were quite a bit above my head, then sunset shots and Keith taking pictures of a slug it suddenly occurred to me that we should be running out of film. I always had a hard time reading the film indicator numbers. Turns out that when I inserted the film it never caught on the wind-up spindle. I got NO shots of our visit to the lighthouse, the long trek back, the kids "climbing" the cliff and the sunset. Agh! 

The next year I was introduced to digital photography via another borrowed camera for a trip to Yellowstone. I was thrilled to be able to take tons of pictures and not have to worry about processing costs! It was not a great camera and my inexperience got even more in my way and some of the most important shots got bungled. 

I, again, bought a used camera, this time off ebay. I chose an Olympus because that's what Mom's camera was and it took great pictures. It was a 2 megapixel digital camera but I enjoyed the freedom of shooting a whole day's worth of shots and then only need to upload them to my computer to be able to view them. And EDIT them! Picture It was awesome! 

When I was preparing to head to Hawaii for the first time in 30 years I had the funds to buy myself something brand new so I got the same kind that a co-worker had bought and fallen in love with, a Canon Powershot. He was right, the camera was perfection! On our last day in Hawaii I drowned it under a waterfall and had to go back to my Olympus. But the pictures were safe on my parents' computer and on the memory card. 

That's about the time that people started commenting on my pictures. I overheard a person in line behind me at the store raving about the nice pictures, she had been peeking over my shoulder. Then a friend's relative told me they should be post cards or calendar shots. Hmm... 

A couple years later I decided to splurge the big bucks on a brand new DSLR and a class. 

I went kinda overboard with my photography, I loved it so much! And then Rick and I had that in common so it was even easier to overindulge. 

Right now we're in a bit of a slump. We had a downer autumn. But my family keeps me shooting, I've become the family photographer. I get requests for maternity, newborn, engagement, anniversary, etc.

I particularly enjoy shooting "outside the box", in this case meaning not your average poses and scenery. I had an idea for my granddaughters, I wanted an old-fashioned tea party shot. Rach and I got together to do it and it came out PERFECT!! 

Rick and I had been toying with the idea of joining a photo club and finally did when he signed on with Boeing, we joined their club that meets on Wednesday evenings. We've been going for about the last 6 weeks. 

For me it was a bit discouraging. They have a judging and then a critiquing session for all the weekly entries. Well, my stuff was all getting judged basically mediocre. While I don't consider myself an outstanding photographer I also didn't think my work was "mediocre". Last night was print night, meaning that our pictures were to be printed and presented on some kind of mat. I chose my picture for the night but also decided to include a copy of my little Tea Party granddaughters' picture since I had it available, I had printed new copies for the moms since the first ones came out rather dark. Well, my chosen shot again came in at a mediocre score but my Tea Party girls was a big hit! I was shocked and thrilled! They told me I should be a portrait photographer, if I wasn't already. 

So, wow! I'm happy to finally have some recognition from other photographers. Only problem is: from here it's all downhill...

All Quiet on the PNW Front

Yep - not a lot of excitement going on right now.  For the most part everyone seems to be getting along, no one is pregnant and there are no weddings in the plans.  We're all working and paying our bills.  But here's the few things that have come along that are worth mentioning:

Dad had a heart attack a couple weeks back that could have been a much bigger, life-changing event but thanks to being informed they did everything right and it became somewhat of a non-event.  I know that it wasn't and still isn't a non-event for the folks but at least there isn't any major happenings going on because of it.  They handled the attack right, got to the hospital quickly and dad's doing good in spite of a 100% blockage that could have been a real tragedy.  He still has to find out what they want to do about the remaining blockage and has to correct some diet and activity.  But all in all, it was mostly a wake up call.

Both granddaughters are now walking.  Elise is much more mature in spite of the mere 5 months age difference, she walks like a long-time walker.  Taylor is still getting her walking legs.  But they're both extremely cute little girls.  It's been so long since we had girls that it's surprising how cute they are!  Sure, the boys are all definitely cute as well but girls are just different.

Rach is planning major surgery for the end of the year and is going through all the tests, etc, that are necessary before it can be done.  She'll also be my companion on my annual trip to Kauai this year so I get to be the tour guide once again!  Yahoo!  It's no fun to go see places I've seen before by myself.  Let's see, Waimea Canyon, Polihale Beach, Salt Pond Beach Park, Kalalau Valley, Secret Beach, Queen's Bath, Hanalei, Kilauea Lighthouse...

Rico and I joined the Boeing Photo Club and got to share some of our shots for their critiquing.  This last week Rick shared a shot of a globe thistle with a bee and actually got really good comments and 2nd/3rd place in the popular vote.  The competition has begun!

Rick's done with his training at work and actually got to work OT this weekend.  He's supposed to do that every 3rd weekend but with an impending strike he's gonna see if he can do it more often.

Oh!  Denny recently tried to get a new truck and I ended up as a cosigner or something and got a real credit rating for the first time in my life.  For once I got an actual number, I've always just gotten records of my on-time payments month after month.  This report said; "Scores range from a low of 300 to a high of 850".  Then on another line: "Your credit score: 000826".  WOW!!!  Nice number!

Right now and for the next couple months I'm part of a 4 member team whose job it is to inventory the Auburn School District's elementary schools' libraries.  All 14 of 'em!  It's actually a fun job except for the fact that the bookshelves are situated low for the little kids.  We're crawling around on the floor half the time.  I'm a Grandma - that crawling on the floor stuff is exhausting!  But I'm paying for my trip to Hawaii and getting my mom's "Sweet 16" ring fixed with the $$$.

I'm rather excited about our upcoming trip to Ireland.  I have our itinerary set up, maps to all the places we'd like to see and included maps to thrift stores ("Enable Ireland") and Kingdom Halls.  I have rooms for all but 4 nights, 2 are at hostels, one at a hotel, one at a CASTLE, one at a B&B and one at a "guesthouse" on the NW coast.  I've been driving around on Google maps to see what we'll be facing when we go to find some of the more obscure sights that I hope to see, castle ruins and the like.
Oh, and speaking of Google maps, Rick went to Google Earth and looked at our place and saw this:

They managed to get "the Stump" while it was in the extraction process (the other red circle is the dead neon in the driveway).  Kinda funny...

So, while no news isn't great for blogging purposes, it means life is just moving along - peacefully...

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.