Friday, May 22, 2009

Lotsa stuff!

20090509-Waiting for ship 1It's been a bit since we've made a post here, and I'm afraid there's been a lot going on - and there are photos of nearly every thing! As I mentioned the last time, Eden and I got a chance to go on a battle sail with Nick on the 10th, but in point of fact I actually went out on the 9th to try and catch the ship. I didn't get to the ship, but I did get a few good shots of boaters on the river that day.

20090510-Gunner-Mechanic Nick - Fire!Once we got on the ship, the next day, we spent a very pleasant three hours or so drifting up and down the river. I got a chance to play around with people shots, and had a lot of fun with it. Since the crew was used to cameras being around, I got some great photos, although I still got some of the best shots aiming from one end of the ship to the other with full zoom. The crew did an amazing job of being exactly where they needed to be, even when half the tourists were in their way. They even made a respectable effort to let some of the kids work the lines. Later that night, we took Nick out to the new Star Trek, which we all enjoyed immensely. It's definitely a different Trek, but it's good.

20090510-Guerrilla GardeningWe also spent the morning celebrating Mother's day with the Scheans family. Unfortunately, Suzanne could not be with us, as she is currently out on a job in northern Washington, but we kept her in our hearts at Dim Sum, and afterward when we visited the guerrilla gardening tree they had planted earlier in honor of Grandpa Dan. So far no one has objected to the planting, which is nice.

20090513-Active shooter alert 3The 12th was a little interesting for me. Half an hour into my A & P lab, an "active shooter" alert got called in and the entire campus essentially shut down for 45 minutes. Shades get drawn and we're all moved away from the windows. As you can see in the photos, no one really took it seriously; it was more of an interruption than a concern. Apparently the call came in that there was a suicidal man with a gun wandering around the campus. Police found nothing, which probably means that someone just wanted to skip a test.

20090516-Saturday Market Move - Parade Dancers 1On the 16th we went to market to see the new site, which is actually pretty spiffy. The place was swarmed, and people were actually making a lot of money. Eden was still recovering, and so wasn't selling, but it was really good to see all of her friends there. We also got to see a mini-parade celebrating the move. Not much in the way of good shots there, as we were a bit late showing up, although I did get a few of the dancers.

20090520-Group Black and WhiteWe also got a chance to go see Circled by Hounds for the first time in at least a month, which was awesome. Unfortunately, the lighting in the bar was far too dim for my current camera, even at maximum sensitivity and a fairly long exposure. A couple of photos were semi-salvageable with extensive processing, but that's out of perhaps a hundred or so.

20090517-Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens - Flowers 10On the 17th we went up to Woodland to see the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens. The flowers were pretty amazing, but unfortunately I forgot to reset my camera's sensitivity from the night before, which killed about half of the shots. After that, we went up to the old Cedar Creek Grist Mill and got some great shots there too. Eden had some luck there as well, from what I've seen over her shoulder.

20090521-Cannon Beach - Kite 3Yesterday was an eventful day as well - we set out for the coast around noon, but were stopped by a blowout of one of Eden's tires... one of the ones that wasn't showing excessive wear. We'd been putting off replacing her tires for a while, but it was obviously time to get around to it, so we went to Costco and threw money at the problem (successfully). After that, we headed down to Manzanita beach. Wonderful views, but the wind was just too darn high - at least 30-40 mph. You can see in the photos that it was nearly blowing the sailcarter over. Given all that, we went back up to Cannon beach and tried out Eden's new kite. She had a whole lot of fun with it, and I captured a number of her smiles (which I unfortunately can't share right now). On the other hand, other subjects, such as the kite itself, were very photogenic.

20090509-Ice Cream - Strawberry20090511-Ice Cream - PeachTwo more bits to share before I close - I stumbled across a recipe for a quick and simple ice cream analog that's really quite tasty. So far we've done strawberry (incredible... just awesome!) and peach (not quite as good - comes out as a cross between creamsicle and peach.) If you have a few moments, you should really whip up a batch to enjoy. A cherry version will be next, as soon as we have room in the freezer.

2009-05-22 Picdump [Show image locations on map] [Fullscreen slideshow]

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Life on the edge

Eden has continued to get marginally better each day this week. There's definite progress being made, as she's actually approaching comfort for a reasonable portion of the day. At this point there's hope that she might be able to go to the new Star Trek movie with friends this weekend, though that's not sure at all. We'll see.

We also got a bit of a surprise today, as Cassie's boyfriend, Nick, showed up out of the blue. Apparently his ship will be down at the marina over the weekend, and he had the day off today. He decided to hop on his bike (which was down in the hold... somehow this just wasn't in my picture of gear for a tourist-based tall ship) and head on over. It was really nice to see him, even for a little while. To some extent, it felt like a piece of reality sliding back into place to have a good friend come visit. Eden and I have been pretty isolated, especially this past week. We just haven't been getting the chance to visit with those we love, and Vancouver is just far enough out of Portland that we don't spend a lot of time down there, other than errands and school.

As for myself, the week has been fairly sedentary, other than studying and taking care of Eden. During spare time, I'm continuing to explore (and study, in various forums, videos, and ebooks) photography. I'm really enjoying it, although the more I learn about how the processes work, the more I'm wishing that I had an obscene amount of money to spend on gear. The camera I'm working with right now falls into the category of "prosumer", which is to say, it takes wonderful pictures and actually gives me a lot of control over manual and semi-manual settings (Even more so with the CHDK hack), but it's a single collapsable lens, rather than a true SLR.

It's very cool to me to be learning this - I can feel it changing the way I look at things, and often, bring out details in scenery that I might otherwise miss (Eden will confirm, I am NOT the most observant person, by nature). It kind of feels like I'm tapping into a creative aspect of myself that I haven't had access to before. I'm sure I'm already driving Eden up the wall with this semi-obsession, but it's just a whole lot of fun to play with. Among other things, it's giving me a full measure of appreciation for the sheer volume of mechanical and mental adjustments our eyes and brains make automatically.

I was lucky enough to have some time today to take advantage of a nice sunny hour or so, as well as a clear night with a full moon. I took the car out just to drive and look for interesting things to shoot. The first stop was a kind of marsh created by a new housing development having moved around spare dirt and tree stumps - the place was just fenced off, apparently until the developer wanted to add another sheaf of houses. In the meantime, a small ecosystem has sprung up. Unfortunately, the numerous birds in the area declined to pose long enough for me to focus, other than one long distance shot you'll see below. After that stop, I found a beautiful abandoned barn up by 189th ave & 87th st. Seems to me that a lot of the damage might be from the incredible windstorms we've had over the last few years. Finally, I spent some time tonight playing with exposures shooting at the moon. Even at full 10x zoom, it didn't fill up terribly much of the image, so the four shots you see below are just cropped down to 800x600. I'll have to wait until I can get a better camera to get more detail.

Exploring 05-07-09
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Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Catching up

The last few weeks have been extremely busy, and stressful, so I haven't been blogging nearly as much as I should have, or wanted to. Most of my responsibilities are finally caught up for the moment, and I'm just keeping Eden company, so I thought I'd bring you up to speed.

Eden and I went down to Klamath Falls a few weekends ago for the welcoming event at OIT. For most things, it just confirmed what we already knew or suspected. The foremost of these items is the thought that Eden will not be living with me down there - it's extremely isolated; perhaps 2 hours or more to get to any major city (Eugene would be the closest) and not a whole lot actually there. Honestly, if it weren't for the college and Crater Lake nearby, I don't think that the city would be much of a blip on the map. Regardless, I should be fine while I'm there, as I'll have no choice but to concentrate on school, which I think is a good thing, and Eden will be staying with her parents. It's not ideal, but it'll do for the moment.

We arrived late on Friday, and spent the evening at the Majestic Inn and Suites. It was an incredibly disappointing and upsetting experience - the rooms were awful, the bathrooms a joke (toilet impossible to access, shower tiny with a 30 second heat supply at most) and apparently the rooms had just been flea bombed. As Eden is allergic to such chemicals, this was a big big problem. Given how late it was and the fact that we'd prepaid through Expedia, we had to put up with it for sleep, but we checked out immediately in the morning. I simply can't imagine how many people they had to bribe to get the reviews they have online.

In any case, we made it to campus on time and got a rundown of what things might look like in the fall. I'm going to have to take the full 4 year experience, even as a transfer student, which ends up being both good and bad. The good is that I'll be able to space out some of the supporting classes, the bad is that I'll be away from Eden so much and may actually have to be out of state for my 4th year externship. I did get a bit more detail on the specialties, and it's looking more and more like MRI is where I'd like to head, although I won't have to make that decision for sure for a couple of years. We got a chance to look at the dorms as well - they're pretty run down, but I think they'll be the best choice for now, at least for the first term - maybe a shared apartment in the city after I make some friends.

We took the time to go and see Crater Lake after the session, and didn't regret it at all. The views were amazing, as you can see below. There was also a huge amount of snow, for it being mid-April. We went and watched "17 again" at the local theater for a low impact evening, then went to the Aspen Inn Motel, a charming little place that Eden found. The two ladies that ran it were very personable and friendly, and we felt very welcomed. The little cabins were impressively efficient. The only complaint might have been for the stiffness of the mattress, but really, it netted out as a very positive experience. The inn was actually just a few miles south of Crater Lake and as you can see, the area is very peaceful. It's reassuring to know that at least there'll be an escape available in range, when I need it. It also seems like I'll have plenty to play with in learning more about photography.

We actually didn't get a chance to get too very many pictures while we were there, thanks in part to a nasty experience Eden had with some stinging nettles in trying to get a shot of some old telephone poles in Klamath Lake. On the other hand, we got a bunch of great photos on the way back at a rest stop in Oakridge, of all places. There were hordes of butterflies taking in the sun and it was just a very serene place. It didn't hurt our moods any that the local Dairy Queen had hand dipped Dilly Bars as well.

Later that week I got a chance to introduce Eden to my mother's sister, Betsy, which is something I've been looking forward to for a long time. They're both just such neat, crafty people that I knew they'd get along great. I even got to take a few pictures of my lovely wife after the meal at Rose's, which is something she very, very rarely lets me do. Perhaps after I get more of a chance to practice at portraiture.

Last weekend was Eden's first time back to market, which went pretty well for it being such a very slow weekend overall. It was nice to get to hang out with friends for a while and the pace wasn't too hectic. Among other things, we got to see the cutest little girl tethered to her father by a monkey on her back (see photo) - she was incredibly energetic, just running in a straight line until her dad picked her up and turned her around, then back the other way. Of course this continued for most of her visit.

This last week has been pretty hard on Eden, as she'd had a migraine starting on Monday that just kept on getting worse and worse until we finally had to take her into the ER (without insurance!) on Friday. After 10 hours, a CAT scan, urinalysis, blood cultures, and finally a spinal tap, we found out that she almost definitely has viral meningitis. We're still waiting on a couple of cultures to come back on Monday to rule out bacterial meningitis, which is a potentially deadly variant, but for the moment we're assuming it's viral. Unfortunately, there's no cure for such things other than the body's natural defenses, so we're working with narcotics and anti-nausea meds for the next week or so. The painkillers she's on don't actually do much to dull the pain, but they do seem to pull that nice trick of making the pain less important. Functionally this means that Eden is isolated upstairs in her sister's room, holed up with as many episodes of Power Puff girls and Steel Angel Kurumi as she can stand. Fortunately the meds are encouraging her to sleep intermittently, which hopefully helps the time pass a little more easily for her.

We were actually supposed to spend the weekend at her Aunt Pat's, taking care of her pets while she's out of town, but requisite bedrest has changed the plan a bit. Yesterday Lucky spent most of the day up in Washington hanging out with Fizgig, and today I spent some time down south in the garden with the pets and a camera. I think I got some great shots, especially of Lucy-Fur, but you folks can be the judge. Regardless, I got to spend some time in Pat's hammock, so it's been a pretty good day.

Pet Sitting at Pat's [Show image locations on map] [Fullscreen slideshow]

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