Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 298 - Oct 29th

The two youngest lighting the pumpkins tonight. I was so tired - after they got ready to go to bed, I sat down to read them a story and made it through the first library book, then got two pages into the second one. Shortly afterwards, my wife asked Sophia why they were upstairs and not down with daddy. "Daddy's asleep on the couch. I covered him with a blanket." I woke up about an hour or so later.

My throat is scratchy. I'm hoping it was because I did a lot of phone conference calls today for the main job. We're supa-busy!

Day 297 - Oct 28th

Day 3 of night pics. It started raining pretty hard, so I didn't really want to set up the tripod and stand out there so I started driving home. I rounded the corner to our neighborhood and the headlights illuminated the trees. So I tried various settings and this one came out pretty well.

Day 296 - Oct 27th

Day 2 of night photography. I took a couple photo's of what I thought was going to turn out well, but they didn't. Then when I came home, the half moon was shining through the thick fog and there were these dark trees - such a fall scene! Tough to photograph, though. The moon's reflective light was refracted in the fog and kept wanting to blind out the light sensor. Finally got this one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 295 - Oct 26th

I have decided to try a little night photography. My camera (a Pentax K10D) has a pretty darned good light sensor and lots of options. So coming home from work last night, I stopped by an alley. It was dark. I took my portable tripod and attached it, set the camera to Bulb mode and snapped a few pictures with the camera balanced on my hood. I didn't have my remote trigger so I just held down the button for random amounts of time. I was shocked by how much light came in. Below is how my eye saw the alley. But the moon was half full and there were street lights behind me. The below picture had an exposure time of .16 seconds. The above was 1.43 seconds. Amazing the amount of detail it picked up!

I look forward to a couple more nights of experiments.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 294 - Oct 25th

The three youngest anxiously awaiting for a ride in daddy's car.

Day 293 - Oct 24th

Two months to go until Christmas Eve! Wowsers!

So I took this photo with my iPhone of the Christmas light display at Fred Meyer.

Day 292 - Oct 23rd

Maranda started horseback riding lessons today and according to the teacher did quite well! We don't have a real "horse" helmet or boots, but we are making do :)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 291 - Oct 22nd

Last night at work, my friend Carmen came in and I got to hold little Anthony for a while. Then while she was chatting with some folks, I used my iPhone to capture a couple images. I like this one. It amazes me that my giant paws are the same size as his head.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 290 - Oct 21st

Spiderwebs annoy yet fascinate me. A good breeze can knock them apart but a struggling insect is trapped. Such fragile little things can hold many times their weight in water. And spiders can produce different types of webbing. Just endless variation, endless fascination.

Day 289 - Oct 20th

The most vibrantly colorful leaves in our yard are, curiously enough, our blueberry bushes. They are a brilliant redish-pinkish-purplish color. We hardly got any successful blueberries this year - the bushes were damaged by the snows and some of the branches snapped under the weight. But they sure are pretty now!

Day 288 - Oct 19th

Alexander is entering a Lego Bionicle contest - designing your own Glatorian. I don't really even know what a Bionicle is, but he's had fun! This is the group picture. All original Alexander creations.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 287 - Oct 18th

Went to the library today with the two youngest. We love the library - use it at least once a week. We are a family of readers - I just checked and we have 96 books/DVD's checked out from our local library :)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 286 - Oct 17th

Today we took a 2-1/2 hour hike in a nearby park. It started out raining pretty good. It stopped and got pleasant. The park we chose was a hilly one and we enjoyed it. We went to Beaver Lake, but it was our first time in this park and I found out later that we went to the wrong side! D'oh! Next time we'll see those beavers.

Day 285 - Oct 16th

Part of our Halloween decorations...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 284 - Oct 15th

Maranda playing Lego Indiana Jones on the Wii on her lunch break. She's about to recover the Ark.

Why show this? Because Tuesday night we got Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull from the library and watched it. You know, the new one - the fourth one. Yeah. I think the kids enjoyed it ok. Personally? I thought it was the worst movie I had seen in a long time. I would probably return it if we had purchased it. Blech. I will spend time trying to scrub the memories of that movie out of my mind so I can enjoy the original three without the taint of the fourth. But, of course, that's just my opinion :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 283 - Oct 14th

Stormy weather today. After the winds of yesterday, there are those helicopter seeds (Maple) everywhere! Today the rains - big fat drops over lunch. Anybody figure out what this is a picture of?

Day 282 - Oct 13th

Sophia doing her schoolwork. She's six years old and this is first grade math. She's doing well!

Tuesday started out with quite the windstorm. We lost power a few times and then at 8:00 am lost it and heard a bang. Comcast (our Internet and phone provider) was out for 6.5 hours after that.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 281 - Oct 12th

Inspired by a poem by RebeccaRose

Pressed against the window glass,
I look upon the wild garden.
The summer sun illuminates the flowers,
As they stand tall and beautiful.
But amoungst the shrubbery I catch a glimpse of a bud,
still curled up and hiding away from world.
The season passes and autumn arrives,
Bringing with it the shimmering rain.
The garden becomes a golden wonderland,
And the subtle season colours flood in.
Once more I gaze upon garden,
And it is then I finally notice.
Out amoungst the shrubbery,
No longer cowers a bud.
Instead a radiant flower stands pround,
The deepest shade of red.
For it is now a single autumn rose,
A late bloomer.
When the garden was thriving,
It hid away, too afraid to emerge.
It was so small and delicate,
But all it needed was a little time.
Time was given,
And the bud became beautiful.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 280 - Oct 11th

Last night was our firt frost of the season. Our still producing cucumber plant....said goodnight. 'Twas a wonderful, full blooming plant that provided us with many a good cucumber. Alas, it is no more. Thanks for all the yummies this year, garden, and we'll see you in the spring. :)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 279 - Oct 10th

On Friday, my computer just started acting weird. I lost the ability to pull pictures off my SD card. Then it crashed. Rebooted five times. Then I lost all my saved tabs in Firefox. Then crashed. Frustrating.

So today I cleaned it. Pulled it apart and thoroughly cleaned all the fans, checked all the connections and cleaned those. Just did internal maintenance.

And now it's working fine and happy. Sometimes ya just gotta do a little maintenance.

Day 278 - Oct 9th

Today's post may tick some of my friends off. So be it. I'm tired. These all came this past week.

Most people would describe me as leaning towards the conservative side of many things although I've drifted lately. But one area I'm disagreeing more and more with my church and many of my friends is healthcare reform. The current situation appalls me. But I jump ahead.

I work two jobs and both have "very good" insurance. I'm lucky - I have friends that have been out of work or their jobs don't give them any insurance. One, a very conservative, evangelical Christian middle aged woman fell and broke her wrist. There were complications. Except...her husband had lost his job and they were uninsured. Now they are worried about the bills - they are mounting rapidly. What does a person do when they have $10K or $20K of medical bills? Trully it is something that jolts me awake some nights with worry. Is this America truly? Where someone has to risk bankruptcy over a broken wrist?

Two jobs, two insurances. And with the deductibles and the copays and the "that's not covered" and the pre-existing conditions...we've had no major medical issues this year, thank God. And yet, we've had to write checks for over $3500 for medical, dental and prescriptions. One of Jill's eye drops has a copay of $60 a refill! Peters trip to the doctor for his arm cost us just shy of $250. And I have TWO full blown insurances! Maranda got strep throat earlier in the year - TOO BAD! We had to pay most of that one too. Insurance basically only fully covers well-child checks. Get sick, pay money. When people say they can't afford to have kids, they don't know the half of it.

I just had to tell my oldest daughter we have to put off her getting braces until after the holiday season. Braces are considered "cosmetic" and will cost $6,300 per child - and both our oldest girls need them. Between the two insurances, they'll pay $3,000 each (LIFETIME max for ortho). So I'll "only" owe $6,600. Where will I get that money?

I have friends in Canada and England that oppose their existing systems. And I have far more that support it. L in Toronto has never paid a copay, never had a medical bill. She's never had to wait for any doctor or procedure. Never had to force-choose a "primary physician". And never felt the need to come to America for any medical anything. She's appalled by our system and I don't blame her.

When Jill's father got pancreatic cancer and Johns Hopkins had a procedure, Kaiser denied it (hopefully I'm getting all the names and events proper here). It was his best hope but at his age/condition, the procedure was deemed too risky. Talk about your "DEATH PANELS"!! We already have them and they are called insurance companies. Fortunately, Jill's mom is a tenacious fighter and eventually got them to cover it. But she's had to fight for SO much! For what? FOR LIFE. So her beloved husband could continue living and being a father to his three children. "Too risky"? Too risky to their bottom line and their CEO's $6Million income. To be fair, though, he did recently call for "health care for all" and that he supports universal care.

I know, long winded, meandering post. I've been following my friend Ken's ordeal since the beginning. $100,000 for a drug that ended up NOT stopping Bennett's seizures? Seriously? Thank goodness for the Cleveland Clinic.

My biggest complaint about the current healthcare reform legislation is that they caved to the pharmaceutical companies that have so many politicians in their pockets. The lobbyists are destroying meaningful reform. Ban them, I wish. I also just read this Wikipedia article and it just saddens me - our system is broken. And if you still are reading this, watch Keith Olbermann's hour long Special Comment. It's superb.

That's all I had to vent out today.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 277 - Oct 8th

Macro lens to the wasp!

10x Macro lens, f5.6, 55mm lens

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 276 - Oct 7th

Peter doing preschool. Working on the number 2.

Day 275 - Oct 6th

Look! It's a gourd!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 274 - Oct 5th

Tonight, we all went to Stockings Farm near Sultan and went through their 9-acre corn maze and bought some more pumpkins and some other fresh veggies. Here's Alexander and Sophia running back from a dead end. We had a wonderful family time.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 273 - Oct 4th

Peter and my hands. I desaturated, toughened up the midtones and applied a warming filter in Photoshop. I kind of like it :)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 272 - Oct 3rd

How can you tell how many friends are over playing? By the number of scooters and bicycles strewn about the yard...

Friday, October 2, 2009

Day 271 - Oct 2nd

Preparing for a science experiment on inertia and velocity.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 270 - Oct 1st

I recently hung some more metal pieces on parts of the fence. For some reason, cheesy or not, I like them. And since one of our friends (and one of Maranda and Lydia'ss favorite friends to go to) recently had a BEAR in her driveway! Well, I decided to show the bear family piece. I would much rather have a metal bear on my fence than a big, real life, sharp teethed bear in my driveway.