Sunday, December 27, 2009

on the boardwalk

20091224_0041, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

Daddy arrived xmas eve in Fort Meyers - his red-eye was late arriving into Minneapolis but fortunately they either held or the connecting flight was late (it was showing up as on time on the internet) so he made it not too late into FL. Fortunately he left before the big snow dumped and all was shut down. It was perhaps the warmest day so far of our trip here and we decided to head out for a little walk through the slough after lunch. This is Six Mile Cypress Slough (as I recall it named). It is a wonderful little park with boardwalk throughout. Unfortunately the kids weren't as entranced - despite seeing gator, turtles, huge crickets, a snake, lizards, and plenty of cool birds. I realized after the fact that it was probably due to the fact that it was a boardwalk - and that there were no sticks for them to pick up and play with as they walked. Ah well. The grown ups all enjoyed the walk. Surprisingly un-buggy too - apparently the water is filled with little fish that eat mosquito larvae - excellent!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Florida gator with fish in his mouth

Here's the gator in the pond the day after A caught the fish. You can see a fish in his mouth - he had it there in his mouth - with a little periodic chewing going on - for quite a while to my surprise.


Chewbacca?, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

have a bunch of him standing up on his legs - he just reminded me so much of Chewbacca from Star Wars! I love his tongue peeking out in this shot and the flying hair.


cousin, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

cousin Claire is 4 yrs old and was over to play with her bigger cousins

Saturday, December 19, 2009

the catch of the day

the catch of the day, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

Doesn't this look like a lovely bucolic scene? Grandad bought the boys new fishing rods and they were trying out casting in the retaining pond in the back yard. Gdad had apparently tried them out already and never caught anything. But A has really good fishing *luck* and snagged this good sized bass. We apparently weren't allowed to keep him and dad had trouble getting the hook out of him but he was released back into the "wild". Today A spotted a gator in the same pond with a large fish in his mouth. We wonder if it was the same fish... I was surprised how long the gator had the chewed on fish in its mouth. I assumed it would be more like a shark and gulp it down but I guess maybe they don't have to worry about fending off others and so don't gulp their food? He kept it around long enough for me to check him out from the kids' upstairs aerie and then take my camera and go snap off a couple shots. I think my approach scared off the vulture that was pond side for a while and the gator got annoyed with me and retreated back into the depths. I was missing my telephoto lens. Might need to have P bring it out for me when he comes - there is some good wild life around here esp some birds like sandhill cranes - and gators of course.

jumping for joy

jumping for joy, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

Another action shot that cracks me up. The didn't do too much jumping in (a bit surprising) as they spent most of their time in supersoaker wars. I hope to get some more fun pool shots as the weeks go on and the cousins arrive to join them in the pool. We might have to take a break for a few days as a cold front has moved in - we'll see if the kids agree...

Rascal running

Rascal running, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

Meet Rascal. He's about 1 1/2 years old and a Chinese Crested Powderpuff. He is a great little dog. This photo cracks me up - he was very excited by the kids splashing in the pool. He has a lovely temperament and is also a great lap dog.

waiting at sunrise

waiting at sunrise, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

The boys and I had a couple hour layover in Atlanta on our way to FL for the holidays. Turns out it was the day all the service men and women in basic training were heading home for 2 weeks break. The airport was filled with hundreds of them in all directions. I understood that they were all dropped off super early despite some of them not having flights until evening. Many were using their electronic devices like this guy. I enjoyed watching the morning light up the sky outside.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Taught the kids how to play canasta and hearts this past weekend when Pop was visiting. A just turned 10 and Q is almost 8. They only need showing once. Poor Q couldn't get to sleep last night and was in fact sobbing in my arms over a perceived stumble in a round of canasta with his brother and me. I had mentioned that it was possible to go out with a "concealed hand". Being the little risk taker he is he decided to go for it. Unfortunately it just barely didn't go his way (he actually could have gone out but overlooked an Ace he picked up). He was reliving the horror apparently. In the middle of the night he came running down the hall after another "bad dream". Card related no doubt. Today things have gone much more his way. He is remarkably astute with strategy - when to play tempting cards for discard and when to avoid giving away the pile at all costs. Big brother is fully competitive too. I'm impressed that they both grasped the basics of both card games including following suits in hearts and keeping track of points needed etc in canasta. They are wondering when we will teach them bridge... Today it has been all cards to the detriment of getting their homework done. I was impressed with their card sense and also surprised at the depth of Q's feelings when he realized he had made a blunder (and not a big one at that!).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Many thanks to class mom Mison who is one of the most generous people I know. Today she had 5 of us over for lunch. She had a spread for us to make our own spring rolls. Rice wrappers, several pounds of warm shrimp, lettuce, cilantro & basil, pickled mustard diakon like thing?, asian long green beans, something in the garlic family, bean sprouts, and very hot dipping sauce and some hot dipping sauce cooled with peanut butter and sugar. So nice! And to top it all off she sent me home with 2 mason jars of canned tomatoes - that she had harvested herself at the farm near Sacramento. One playdate Q had at her house ended with us being sent home with sushi, soup and salad. Crazy woman but such a great cook! Wish I could do things like that. Instead I had a nice meal for Halloween but managed to forget to cook the rice - and we had stew. Oh well! We made due with some left over rice, Trader's precooked rice etc. Not the same but it worked out.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

best carving job we saw

best carving job we saw, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

This was the most awesome pumpkin (and there are quite a few really cool ones) we saw on our annual crazy Halloween festivities. We had 9 friends over for dinner (I fed the kids in a whole separate room from adults for the first time!) and then trick-or-treating on the local Halloween street. I have a bunch more photos over in my fotki account (if interested email me). The people go all out and turn their garages into spooky environments, one garage was a place to have a light saber duel with a good guy or bad guy, one place always has characters dressed up in a recent popular animated movie - this year Penguins of Madagascar, some people project movies like Frankenstein on their windows or on impromptu screens. We ran into at least 10 other kids we knew and missed some others. We didn't hit every house but the least # of candies any of the kids came back with was 75 and one kid had over 100 pieces of candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween angst... I found out today - a year late - that my youngest was apparently scarred by his costume choice last year. He was a green penguin toting a fluffy red "puffle". Perfectly understandable if you played "Club Penguin" on the computer. Most of his brother's friends did and none of his class mates did. The travails of a younger brother. He is such an independent little guy and usually quite happy to drum to his own beat. He is also very private which is why apparently I didn't figure this out until a year later. He claims that the Halloween parade day at school is his "least favorite" day of the year! Oh no! He was happy to be a penguin for trick-or-treating last year. It was a very home grown outfit - and one I was quite impressed with. I suggested he go as a train engineer this year - misunderstanding his costume hesitancy as being a comfort issue. He has train overalls (a bit on the small side by this year tho) and it was an easy costume and essentially something he wears anyway. I got to school to help the kids get in costume and he didn't even want to remove his jacket nor tell anyone what he was. I found out at dinner that the cookie cutter friends of his in the other class refused to let anyone play kick-ball (his FAVORITE) unless they were identically garbed. At least 6 of the boys in that class were in Star Wars/Clone Wars costumes. Only 1 kid from our class (thankfully) was in Star Wars gear. I always refuse to buy them the pre-made costumes although I'll spring for some accoutrement or rewearable thing - or even the fabric for a green penguin and fluffy red puffle (which he still sort of loves). If I'd realized the psychic terror of not having a conformist uniform I would have gone along with the masses for him this year. It makes me very sad. We'll see what happens next year.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

For A's 10th birthday dinner he wanted to go to the Beach Chalet. By the time I got around to making reservations there weren't any (it was Friday eve after all). However EOS had availability when we wanted it - and we can walk there. I remember last time we ate there around my birthday thinking that he would really enjoy eating there (and Q not so much!). I showed him the menu on-line and he was sold. Rare ahi tuna tower! Crispy skin wild salmon! Sea scallops! For dinner tonight he ordered one dish that consisted of pan roasted calamari with pork belly and another of sea scallops. Both really good. I had a Thai salad with green papaya and mango, P ordered a lamb shank, and Q went with the burger and a side of truly excellent fries. His ketchup came in a condiment dish that held maybe 5 squares of ketchup, one of a spicy aoli and one of spicy mustard. Nifty - but not quite enough ketchup for Q. A tasty birthday dinner. Tomorrow for his party he is hosting 3 friends for an overnight party. Lots of Wii and little sleep I expect.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

After we finished our stay in Victoria we headed north then over the hills to the west coast of Vancouver Island to stay in Ucluelet. This photo is the "dock" at the house where we were staying (a GREAT deal - 1 or 2 bedroom apartment with lawn then beach). The owners advised me not to let the kids down there unsupervised. As soon as I saw the dock I understood why! It was juryrigged and very tippy.

A snap of Uncle C. looking out our window at Q. whose reflection you see in the bottom of the photo taking this pic.

At the end of the dock we got to enjoy watching otters dine on discarded fish scraps.

We went on a cruise with Archipelago Cruises from about 10 - 3 one day. It was an excellent boat that the proprietors lived on. They had an interesting story - they had been shrimpers for many years until there wasn't much of a market/catch left and then they crafted this new site seeing venture instead. They take a group of up to about 20 people out to the Broken Island group of islands - islands that are inhabited almost exclusively by sea lions, otters, eagles, whales etc. It was a foggy day - as all our days in Ucluelet were. That is what happens on the west coast... Here is a snap of some folks processing some thresher (?) sharks. The guy was showing off for us. We were heading out of the Ucluelet harbor. Apparently there used to be a huge fishing fleet here which was able to support several gas stations etc. Now there is just one gas station left - it was adjacent to where we stayed which was actually rather nice as there were always boats coming and going to enjoy watching.

Here is a shot of a humpback out toward one of the many many Broken Islands. We watched him for a while. There were a couple other whale watching boats doing the same thing. The nice thing about being in and around the islands is that the water is remarkably calm.

Down he goes. It was fun to watch the water pattern coming off his flukes and swirling in the water afterwards - he left behind a smooth patch on the water.

A sea lion colony - they were entertaining to watch - these bulls were busy scratching themselves - in tandem.

How often do you get to wander wherever you want and climb around on the boat? The kids had great fun. We all had good binoculars to use and thick blankets. We went with the preordered gourmet lunch option which was quite yummy.

This was when we scrambled down off the path near the Lighthouse at the Wild Pacific Trail to explore some tidepools. It was a good enough hike that we did it twice! Photos long and short.

climb the path to the sky, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

I'm pretty happy with this shot. The daily challenge (a couple days late as per usual for me these days) was "path". This is the path to the top of a hill at Twin Peaks - it might be the highest point you can get to in the city proper. It is extremely windy up there - I have a couple shots that were blurry from the gusting wind! I was alone for a while but was happy to see this guy come along and I hustled down to where he would appear to be near the top. This was shot with my wide angle lens and converted to black and white with my software Adobe Elements 6 using the "vivid landscape" setting - which darkens up blue sky nicely for added contrast in this kind of a shot.

I also submitted this photo for Digital Photo School's weekly assignment "contrast" and ended up runner up! I was pretty stoked about that since it is a moderated forum and usually there are some very good photos submitted. My photo linked back to my flickr account and I got a lot of visits out of it and a few more people who made me a "contact". I've stumbled on a few intriguing photographers thru these DPS assignments and made "contacts" of them myself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

after the first game

after the first game, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

A quick snap on the way back to the car after his first game. On the walk to the field A. asked me "why am I doing this?" which I found exasperating as he agreed (wanted) to play back when we signed him up a few months ago. His dad asked him how it went today - he said "it was fun!". He is apparently happy to be playing. They had an hour of practice followed by a game that went just shy of 2 hours. A bit boring IMO but guess not for him. Unfortunately Q didn't have as good a first game in his league. This is A's first time playing baseball in a league.

Fort Baker lighthouse, originally uploaded by beverlykaytw.

trying out blogging direct from my photo page instead of my usual direct upload. I am quite intrigued by Fort Baker - the fort in the Presidio that rests under the Golden Gate Bridge. It is no long open daily. I also didn't have either a sweater or tripod with me as this was not a planned visit but I got a few good pics before retreating to the warmth of my car and will head back another day for more. This was my submission for "diptych" challenge. I shot it with my 10-22mm and 70-200mm lenses and had to crack open the software book to figure out how to make the diptych.

Yesterday one of A's friends invited him and Q join him for his overnight birthday party at the Embassy Suites down near the airport. That idea still bemuses me to some extent but I dropped off Q late (after his soccer game finished) and the kids were clearly having a blast. I joined the festivities long enough to enjoy a margarita at the free happy hour then hustled home for an evening alone w/ DH. We went to One Market Street for dinner. This pretty much is my fine dining birthday dinner. I made the reservation a week ago or so when I realized we had a free evening. Open Table had just sent me an email with the Michelin star winners listed. So I decided to go with a starred restaurant. I'd actually eaten there for lunch before - which I forgot. But this was the one restaurant I could get the reservation time I wanted that had a menu that appealed to me. It was GREAT! You know how often there is at least one item that falls a bit short? Well we ordered an app and entree each and they were all excellent and we enjoyed a little dessert at the end - also very good (although it was creme brulee which isn't too hard to make really tasty). They started us out with an amuse buche that was a little piece of tombo tuna - so yummy! I had heirloom tomatoes with pork belly, tamarind sauce and a few leaves of greens - a "BLT" of sorts (no crouton due to my gluten allergy - which the server knew about and was helpful with). Dinner was a roast duck breast - 3 thin slices - and a leg confit on the other side of the plate and there was pickled fig and other stuff - kale as I recall. It was all so good. DH had the shrimp and tomato crostini started and bacon wrapped pork loins. I fully supported their Michelin star designation.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I keep thinking that I am getting better at my photos (and I AM) but I get links to other peoples work and today got a link to a sports photographer's blog - WOW. If you were interested and scrolled down in the comments you would see his explanations about how he lit the shots - a lot of these people are just so generous with sharing their knowledge. I follow this guy who does a flash lit photo a day - and he also posts a photo and schematic of how he lit the shot. So kind. Also a flickr friend Sheila got an invite by Getty Images to submit some of her pics. Pretty great honor that speaks to the quality of her work. Anyway - seeing the work of so many others is just so humbling.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Next stop was Victoria on Vancouver Island. We had a rental home on the Gorge waterway - this was our view from our spacious deck as we enjoyed out take-out dinner in the warm eves of the heat wave.

DH & I loved The Bug Zoo even more than the kids did! Our tour guide Robin was fantastic and how often do you get to hold a scorpion?

The Craigdarroch Castle was better than I expected and I do recommend it.

We spent a couple of hours kayaking on the Gorge. A was a good kayak partner and we made it upstream and also downstream to the edge of the harbour so we had a nice view of The Empress and Parliament.

This was our view after we pulled our kayaks out of the water. Not a bad way to end a day.

Not a stunning image but Q was always on C if he could help it. I thought it was pretty sweet (and felt a bit sorry for C at times having Q hanging off him always!).
For links to the photos in the short album or long album click away :-)

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Very much enjoyed the movie Julie & Julia - which I saw with cousin Julia while the kids were at school.
We left Portland right after another excellent breakfast at HPP with Nanma and drove as quickly as we could for the ferry at Anacortez. We didn't quite know where Anacortez was and we didn't really understand why Seattle traffic was so bad mid-day. Never the less we made the (very large) ferry in time. (There were bets to the contrary). This is a view from our ferry leaving Orcas Island heading to Vancouver I realize when thinking about it - but was worth mentioning. Our huge ferry stopped dead and lowered a zodiac to "rescue" this eagle. This (female?) was swimming away as fast as she could go but she had a long way to go. However by the time the ferry managed to halt and zodiac get lowered she had made it to shore. The boat folks thought she was hurt and called the wildlife people but I think it turned out she just had a huge fish in her mouth and couldn't fly. She hopped up the hill where she was met by her mate. It was quite interesting watching an eagle swim using their wings.

This fuzzy lady was in one of the fields on the farm we stayed at on Orcas Island in the San Juans.
A and I walked down to the beach at the farm shortly after 7 a.m. It was amazing to see how glass smooth the water is - after all this is ocean water.

It was low tide and there were plenty of orange and purple sea stars to be seen. I love tidepooling and especially the showy stars - perhaps because I never had the opportunity until I was an adult. It will be interesting to see if my kids seek them out when they grow up.

Before we left we grabbed some lunch and headed to the highest point on the mountain - our group is at the picnic table below. It was a hazy day but you could still see a classic cone volcano in the distance (Mt Baker?). Orcas was only one night but a lovely island worth a longer visit some day. For more photos see long or short.
Last night we had a few clouds moving through - which is relatively unusual for this city - usually blue skys or fog but not that many good cloud days. I headed to the beach after dinner when the guys headed down to playground for a little ball throwing. I didn't make it to the beach quite quickly enough and there was some awesome clouds in the sky above me as I drove but I did get some shots. Pretty sunsets are always nice. I like this one as you have the couple off the the right and you get a sense of the vastness of the place. It is pretty cool that this is on the edge of a very populous city. No surfers in sight - was kind of hoping for a few. But quite a few other people down enjoying the warm evening and pretty setting sun.

A couple of nights ago I decided to grab the camera and get shooting again. Q was in the tub playing and I added my flash and manually dialed it down and bounced it off the left wall. I posted these that eve to flickr. The next day was my highest viewing ever at 1182 views of my photos and/or site. Not sure why. I generally run more like 150-200 views in a day altho there is a lot of swing depending on whether or not I've been posting. Who views the photos and why? I had 3 bubble photos and they got around 50 views each so they didn't make up the total by a long shot. I just find it curious. I have a contact Sheila from Manilla who takes marvelous photos - all the more amazing since she didn't get going until Dec '08. She has a ton of people who follow her and post comments with big images and then real comments by real friends of hers get lost in the dross. I know it annoys her at times. That's flickr for you. I have made some flickr friends I enjoy very much and I always enjoy hearing from them.

geez - just checked out my fotki account. Turns out on 8/15 I had 8 visitors - and somehow they managed to view 20,151 photos! That somehow just seems like 1 person viewed hours worth of photos or something. Too weird.
Last night was checking out how to make Spam Musubi. A tried it first (he is the most food adventurous person in the family - at age 9). I bought it next. He fought me for it. It is seriously yummy. Now I need to figure out where to buy spam. And maybe get a mold. Got everything else. Spam better not have gluten in it.

Monday, August 31, 2009

This was our sunset view from our Oregon cabin south a few miles from Gold Beach. The coast was fairly well socked in with fog when we first arrived and it was lovely to come home from our fabulous day jetboating with Jerry's Jetboats to this view. I highly recommend the jetboats if you are ever in the area. We did the 100ish mile tour - noon to 7 p.m. or so. They take you up the river which progressively gets wilder with a bit more rapids. The boats can pretty much race over smallish rapids and the drivers delight in giving you a thrill ride and doing 360's. We saw quite a few Osprey and Bald Eagles as well as 3 River Otters, a Beaver and a few Deer. Once you leave the coast the weather warms up quickly so you enjoy getting soaked by the driver. They stop off and you have dinner out at a family style restaurant late afternoon and then the ride back in is still fun and you still do spins but the driver keeps you dry. Our cabin was quite rustic and all alone up a steep drive 3/4 of a mile or so but it worked out quite well for us.

Unfortunately we forgot that we were in bear country. Uncle C. spotted a bear ambling down the hill away from our car in the a.m. - oops! We had left our camping tub out on the ground. There really wasn't much in it besides some tea bags, mosquito repellant, dish soap, and of course things like this aluminum foil and dishes. The bear destroyed the box and punctured the repellant and dish soap but we got out of it with minimal damage all told. Guess we should have taken those bear warnings seriously! We went to a long (but good) ranger talk about bears just 2 nights before at Jedediah Smith Park. Doh.

After Gold Beach we headed up for our last night of camping. We stayed at Eel Creek Campground if I recall correctly. We had actually stayed there on a previous visit. It doesn't have terribly much to recommend it other than lack of RVs and proximity to the dunes at Oregon Sand Dune National Rec Area . You can see in the photo above the whipping wind we encountered once we crested our first dune a few short meters from our campsite in the evening. The dunes reach for well over a mile at this location before you hit the ocean.

Here you get a little sense of just how far off the ocean is. We have never been brave enough (or foolhardy enough?) to try to make it all the way out to the ocean. You'd need to be fairly fit too - some of the sand is pretty hard work to cross! Some dunes reach 500' in height.

Here is a pic snapped on the beach near the ocean - but it could easily be on the dunes.

The next day we took a dune buggy ride. This really is a must. It was one of the funnest things I have done - a half-hour of action packed adventure. We thought we might try renting our own little ATVs afterwards but decided against it - it would have just been so tame in comparison!

A last look at the Oregon coast line before we headed inland to Portland to spend time visiting with Nanma and cousins.
I asked my 4th grader today if he has learned much so far this year (this is the start of the 2nd week of school). Quite excitedly he answered "I've learned more so far with Mrs E. than I did all last year with Ms Gordon!" although he followed that up after a pause "well except about Indians". Yup. I thought Mrs E was going to be a teacher he really liked.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

happy boy playing in the river

campfire smoke through the redwoods

giant redwood stumps to climb next to our campsite

marshmallows to be roasted - of course

hikes in the redwoods

I am quite bad about posting about our trips. I spend so long getting photos sorted out and uploaded to my fotki account that I am usually not up for a trip report afterwards. So I plan to be better and upload a few photos from each major place we visited in a couple entries. I'll start with the California photos since that was the first 3 days of our trip. 2 nights in Humbolt Redwood SP camping in the Burlington campground. Then a night up at the top of the state at Jedediah Smith SP. Both are great parks and both include redwoods as well as nifty swimming holes in the rivers that run through them. For more photos visit either the long or short album.
Crayfish update. We "set him free" one day. He liked to move backwards away from us. Wasn't heading for the stairs fast enough so we picked him up and moved him over there. He was very able to get down the stairs - which are past vertical as DH pointed out. He used all his little legs/claws to hold on securely to the carpet and headed easily down - face first. One day grainy dark video may come to a YouTube near you...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Have a dust spot. This day was bound to come altho it impacted pretty much all the photos from the trip (24 gb worth). Have to say much as I dislike (sometimes) my adobe software it is also magical how it can mostly get rid of these spots. I originally bought camera and then one "always on my camera" zoom lens to avoid spots. Then realized the whole point - and fun - of DSLR is playing with different lenses. I also invested in some GOOD lenses. But I really do need to figure out how to clean off the spot instead of using the computer to get rid of it after the fact. It is a bit intimidating however as you can really mess up your camera if you do it wrong.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

A week without taking a picture (well, almost). My son even asked him to photograph him with the mice on his head and I declined. Maybe I needed time off after the trip. Maybe it is the struggles I've had with processing the darned images I already have. Adobe is far from my favorite software. I inadvertently (apparently) clicked on something and changed my images from 8 bit to 16 bit. Apparently my computer and Adobe won't let me save to jpgs if 16 bit is selected. I had a day of struggles trying to figure out where my jpg option had disappeared to. I even uninstalled and reinstalled. Not a total waste as the program seems to be behaving somewhat better and let me upload close to 1000 RAW images w/out crashing. It has been crashing regularly when I make it download over 50 images or so at a time. But then turns out one of my media cards is perhaps a bit corrupt and I couldn't get the jpg images off the darned thing - and it was crashing Adobe. I eventually was able to download them to my laptop. But then trying to cut a DVD crashed that. Thumb drive from hubbie eventually came to the rescue and I finally have the images. Hours later. I uploaded 7 images a couple days ago to flickr. Just started uploading of first album to fotki. Making very slow progress. This covers about 4 days out of 3 weeks. I also have trouble editing down as I envision different people in my intended family audience - maybe Uncle C would get a kick out of this one, maybe grandma will want a choice of close ups of this kid. So then I start getting a bit random about it - and still have too many images. Deal. You don't have to look at them. And how long do I have to keep the crappy images the kids took? Some are cool - maybe 3 out of 30? In an artistic blurry sort of way.

Been doing some clean up in anticipation of my brother and sister-in-law's visit. She is one of those housewives that actually cleans and has a nice home. I am pretty much the antithesis. I do manage to pick up enough for a cleaner to sweep through once every two weeks. Every now and then I imagine a fire sweeping through so I can start again w/out all the crap. I could be more ruthless about getting rid of stuff... but one day I might want it... And if it was all gone how would my youngest make his recycled crap sculptures (that we are never allowed to get rid of?). Oh - maybe that would be a good thing... I put the kids (willingly) to work yesterday scrubbing down the walls etc. I am always amazed that food stains can end up on the wall above my head. How does that happen?! A. complained today that his arm was sore - from all the scrubbing he figures. My hubbie called it "elbow grease". I just kept thinking "wipe on" "wipe off" from Karate Kid. The trash can he cleaned hasn't looked this clean in 4 or more years. Q. helped me clean off the ladder to their loft bed this morning. Who knew we could get that grime off?! Cool. Then was talking to my brother on the phone this afternoon thinking I was just about done when I happened to gaze up. Darn! Haven't vacuumed the molding and ceilings in a while apparently. Did that this afternoon. Then a little bit more wiping off of finger prints on doors etc. The place isn't actually tidy but it IS cleaner than it used to be. And I have also done something like 10 loads of laundry in 2 days. A. is begging for his own bedroom (which means a different house/city). Q. is begging to not have that happen - unless his brother stays sleeping in the same room and they use the 2nd room for toys - then he is all for it. Hubbie wants a camper. No place for that here either. But I like SF. Mostly.

Back has been bad this week which interfered with sleeping and walking but sitting was mostly OK except when my stomach was bothering me. Didn't help.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Our pet crayfish (refugee from 3rd grade class explorations) likes to climb. We were warned (by the Petco guy when I went in to buy him a tank). This morning there was an empty tank sitting on the floor. Doh! Where was crayfish? We all searched. I probably logged a good 1/2 hour peering under furniture with a flashlight. We were wondering if we'd have to wait until we smelled his decaying body before we located him. We were pretty sure he needed to be in the water. How long can they live outside water? No one knew. He had been really active last night so I sort of suspect he made his escape then. Daddy finally headed off to the office. "I found crayfish!" he shouted. Crayfish had made it down all the stairs and was at the bottom. We actually had to get some tweezers to pry his claw out of the carpet fibers - he wasn't interested in being recaptured. He seems to still be alive. You got to admire his fortitude. He fell a good 1' onto a wood floor. Scampered across the wood floor, headed down a long/high flight of carpeted stairs. I am curious enough that maybe some other day I'll put him down on the floor (or have A do it since I am not a big fan of picking him up) and watch him go. Maybe.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

I'm loving the "follow" feature on my dashboard. I can easily see updates from other blogs when I visit my own - which has led me to actually bother to visit my own more often... I also signed up for twitter. I just can't imagine I really have much I want to tweet about but again it can be interesting to follow some other people/entities. I have also added a couple of things (rather than friends) to facebook and am really liking that as an option. Often by the time a weekly or monthly newsletter comes my way I just don't want to spend time with it but an individual post I can view (or not) more frequently sometimes is really satisfying.

Friday, July 03, 2009

I've spent a few hours now photographing some architecture for a couple of contractor friends for use for their websites. Funny enough they barely seem to look at the photos. The one above was the contractor's own office that I helped him design and get permitted. He is more responsible for the over all look than I am or at least his subs are - they used reclaimed fir for the wood and he has a tile guy he lets go crazy but my stuff is in there - primarily in planning form but also in arrangement of the write boards (also salvaged stuff). I'm happy to help out and look forward to seeing the final website design.

These two were for another contractor friend - a cafe he designed. He was especially proud of the lighting as he custom made them (from salvaged materials). I originally shot this cafe mid-morning. Blah. He wanted me back in the evening and it was SOOO worth it to get it at twilight.