Sunday, April 30, 2006

Camping world...

You know with doing the camping thing on Friday and coming back on Saturday it really makes the weekend feel long. Today after finishing some yard word we decided to drive into town and head over to Camping World to get a couple of things. Our trip yesterday was pretty enjoyable but it reminded us about some items we were missing. It did seem kind of crazy to drive all the way into town (about an hour) just to make a camping world trip but it was fun and we found just about everything we were looking for.

Oh the one thing I did forget to mention yesterday was the dumping accident that I had on Saturday. I am not sure why but for some reason the black tank valve didn't seal correctly and when I took off the cap I was greeted with sewage water. Fortunately I slammed the drain line as quickly as possible but not before making a mess. Fortunately right before I did everything Denise reminded me to put on my gloves otherwise it would have been more gross (if that was possible) than it was. So during our trip today I purchased a couple of blank tank items (like a wand and grey tank hose). I am still not sure what really happened unless maybe I just didn't close the valve correctly during out last outing. It wasn't a lot and I think it was just from leaking - but it was still nasty...

Deanna is really eating a lot now and is moving on to solid foods. She still nurses after her cereal but she is eating quite a bit now. It is really amazing how quickly babies grow and we can really see the difference in her face.

Oh, I finally gave up on Charter cable and have ordered DSL again. I should receive the gear on Thursday and the service should be active on Friday. I am not sure how this is all going to work out - but I HOPE that it is better than what I have now. I really just want to call Charter and tell them to cancel my service. If the DSL thing does work out it will save me money as DSL is $29 a month and cable is $44... All in all it is VERY IRRITATING! I mean I have been uploading a 120kb picture file for the last 10 minute... This is crazy...

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Red Rock Canyon - day trip

Well, we have been talking about going on another weekend trip for a while and with the weatherdock reporting that we should have clear skies this weekend we decided to head out after work and take a quick trip! Denise loaded everything up while I was at work and when I got home it was just a matter of pulling out the hitch, raising the trailer, backing the truck to the trailer, lowering the trailer, raising the trailer again because we were off, moving the truck again, lowering the trailer, connecting the hitch, raising the trailer, putting on the weight distribution bars, lowering the trailer, putting everything way (whew) and pulling out...

Devin was really into his coloring and as a result all he wanted to do was color on his picture. We did finally get him outside to color and he seemed to have fun with that. Desirae did her normal "dirt" thing though she did get a bit bored with it after a while. We did try to walk around but Devin wasn't really up for it so shortly after we left I came back with him so he could use the bathroom. Denise and Desirae did have a chance to walk around the campground a bit and said hello to a couple of our neighbors.

We did have this little visitor who kept coming into our camp. Desirae would chase her away when she would get close. For the most part there were not too many critters around. I think the weather hasn't heated up enough for all the bugs and snakes and stuff but it is only a matter of time.

We are really glad that we went though. The one consistent thing about camping is that once you get there, even if only for an overnight trip, it is VERY RELAXING! I think that really surprises us both on that!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Made it home...

Well it was a LONG drive home but I made it. I also made pretty good time. The entire trip was just long and boring with a lot of scenery like the shot above. The worst part is I have to go back to work tomorrow, but at least it is only for a couple of days. We also have a going away tomorrow here in town so that should break up the day pretty good. The section chiefs pitched in and got what I think is a pretty cool gift - I just hope the guy likes it. Anyway I am just beat and I think I am going to call it an early night!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Let the recovery begin…

So today was pretty good and Mom felt better than I think everyone expected. I know she still is in pain but she has mobility and is able to move her arm around more than I thought she would have been able too. From what the doctor said I thought it would have been much worse. I am sure the pain medication is helping though.

I did do some running around and finally got to the bank. I checked around for a new tire for the truck but I think I am just going to wait until I get home and just order one online. For some reason not too many places have the American General tires so my options are limited. So as long as I don’t get a flat on the way home I will be okay!

Speaking of home, tomorrow I head back. At least with leaving in the middle of the week the traffic shouldn’t be too bad and hopefully it will be a nice uneventful trip!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Surgery is over…

It was a LONG day but everything went well and without any problem. There was a bit of a delay before they took my mom into surgery but it wasn’t too bad. The worst part was just the waiting around. She had to be there by 0900 hours to get some pre-injections (radiation and dyes), then headed over to admitting, and then up to check in. The surgery was supposed to start at 1230 hours but was delayed until almost 1430 hours. From there it was about an hour and a half for the surgery to complete, another hour and a half in recovery, and finally about another hour or so before she was cleared to leave.

Pretty much the waiting game included a lot of sukudo or whatever that number game is and just waiting… I did leave for a bit to walk over to a camera store that I had found online. I thought I might have been able to find another Domke camera strap but as it turned out they didn’t have any Domke and very limited Nikon stuff. Probably better that way anyway. At least I did move around a bit and ended up walking a couple of miles.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Today was a pretty good day, except for the programming help that I ended up giving Max on some homework. It has been a while since I have done any programming and it took me a while to remember enough to be able to provide any help. In the end I think I figured out what she needed to do and got it done… Thank god!

Max picked up Wanda at the airport today we all did some catching up. Here Max is showing Wanda the information on the trailer they are thinking about getting. I am still amazed at how nice that trailer was and considering it is a pop-up trailer makes it even cooler. I still don’t know if they are going to get one but the brochure sure is nice!

We also did some running around in town and ended up going by Wal-Mart and got to see Michael at work. Max was pretty happy about that and asked me to snap a couple of pictures of him working. We also ended up going to the mall and since there is an Apple store there we had to go by there… I just can’t help myself but I was talking up Macs to Wanda just like a cool-aid drinking nut… Oh well…

So tomorrow is the surgery. We are going to head out early and we will be in town for quite a while. So if anyone would like to send “good vibes” or prayer our way please do!

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Road trip and trailer...

Well I made the trip up to Livermore without too much problems. It was a long and early trip, leaving at 0420 and getting there around 1030 hours. My mom and Max have been thinking about getting a trailer so we could all go camping together and they finally found a dealer for the pop-up trailer they were thinking about. So after a short pause I got back into a vehicle and we made the trek over to the Trail Manor dealer. I really thought the trailer would be a bit cheesy but it was really neat and folded out into a larger size trailer. I am not sure if they are ultimately going to order one, but if they do it will be really neat for all of us to meet up to go camping!

I spoke to Denise earlier today and everyone seems to be doing good. She did not go to the Poppy Festival today because the weather wasn’t really good for it and with me not being there it would be difficult to herd all of the kids around.

Anyway I am really beat and I am probably going to call it a day fairly soon! More to come tomorrow!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Best laid plans...

Well the week is finally over. I had hoped to get off work a bit early and get out of here early but it didn't work out. Things kept coming up so I wasn't able to leave on time, let along early. I decided to just load everything up and leave early in the morning. Devin was playing with Deanna while I was trying to pack things up.

I did get the spare tire mounted on the good rim and the bad tire is now under the truck. I need to find a place to replace the spare. However, for now I will have no spare. At least the spare was a real tire... Hopefully I can find the right tire during the next couple of days so I can just get the problem completely resolved!

Still no improvement on the network... So maybe I can find someplace else to upload images and start my new "thing".

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New cellphones

Well, I may have mentioned this before but NEXTEL really torqued me off when I was trying to change Denise's rate plan. They wanted a 2 year commitment for changing the plan with nothing in the way of an incentive to make the deal. Denise was kind of wanting a new cellphone and with having to re-up a contract with them after being with them for YEARS I decided to just go someplace else, which turned out to be Cingular. I would have liked to report that the transaction went smoothly, but it didn't. It wasn't that big of a deal though and Cingular worked everything out this week. The problem was that we went through 3rd party dealer. We ended up getting more for our money and for less but we had to deal with a few problems. Not too bad though.

I have made no progress with Charter and our network but I am now calling them every day to get a status update. When I get back from my trip next week I will probably just order DSL and cancel my cable. I really hate to do that with the problems I had with Verizon but I really need something that works - and Verizon is cheaper...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Network troubles

Okay, Charter is really starting to kill me. For the last few weeks I have had VERY SLOW network upload speeds that have been not much faster than 8 kbps. As a result I have not been able to upload any large pictures for the blog, complete my college application to sign up for classes or upload images to istock for potential sales... So I am VERY frustrated with this!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Flat tire

Would you believe it? I have had the truck for a bit over a month and yesterday morning after leaving my 0830 meeting I come out to find my front right tire flat! I park in the dirt in the back of the building, where a lot of other folks part too, and somewhere along the way I poked a hole in the side wall of the tire, ruining it... Unfortunately yesterday morning was pretty windy so the entire time I was doing the tire-change-thing I was getting sand blasted. Luckily I had a jacket in the truck so that helped. The one good thing is the spare was the same full size tire that is normally on the truck so at least it doesn't drive funny now. I tried to find a replacement yesterday with no luck - so I have to find someplace that sells a matching tire or order one online... What a pain...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Again, Happy Easter everyone! Denise and the kids colored eggs today. She didn't find a coloring kit anywhere (they were all sold out) so she searched the internet and found instructions to make it. It turned out pretty good and everyone had fun. We haven't done the egg hunt yet and with the wind blowing the way it is we may just do it inside.

We did the coloring in the back room but before we could go back there we had to get our little feathered visitor out of there. This small little bird, not sure what kind it was, had flown into the back room and couldn't figure out how to get out. I ended up just opening the door more for him/her and ultimately it founds it's way out. I took bunch of shots and I happened to get one capture in flight, I was kind of surprised about that!

We decided to setup the LRS again and this time try a white background. I still have a hard time lighting a white background, I think I need another light. I ended up selling one of my Nikon SB800 so I think I should be able to buy another Alien Bee to help me with this type of shot. The first shot is just a really fun shot and I liked how it turned out. The second one really shows off Denise's new haircut. I think we both really like it and this might be something that Denise sticks with. At least now she is having fun with it and we both thing it looks good!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Road (photo) trip...

Okay, well this wasn't really a major road trip or anything. I was on a mission to replace Denise's DVD player that died. According to the online stores from Circuit City the closest store that actually had the player she wanted was in Bakersfield. Since I was going that way anyway I loaded up the camera gear in case I ran across a scene that would make a good photograph. The weather was also unusual today and on the way back this area looked pretty interesting too me so I pulled off the freeway to take some shots. I suppose I probably shouldn't have mixed color and black and white but I thought they both worked well together. When i finished "developing" the close-up on the fence I thought it need to be black and white.

Oh, my internet provider (Charter Cable) still hasn't fixed my internet connection so I am still down sizing all of my images so I can get them onto Smugmug... If I don't they won't load... Hopefully they (Charter) will get this resolved soon!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


The kids are starting to feel better, and Devin hasn't had a bad relapse, so she took the kids in the front yard for a bit today. Wasn't too long but just enough to get them some fresh air and outside. The weather was pretty good today so it worked out well. Either way any plans we might have had for the weekend have self-destructed with everyone being sick. End result - no camping this weekend! Oh well...

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Always have your camera...

Okay, so I get this email from my buddy Kris that just says "Always have your camera". Now when I first saw the subject line I figured it was going to be something interesting, maybe a car crash or something like that. I didn't expect it to be a pictures of Tom Cruise and his (Kris') wife Gail. So as it turns out Kris and his wife were hanging around Fox Field in Lancaster (Kris likes to take photographs of the planes) when this P-51 Mustang come in. So he took a bunch of shots of the plane coming in and didn't know who was the pilot until he landed and got out. He (Tom Cruise) was doing something for MTV for a new movie and ended up leaving. Kris - being intuitive person that he is figured that Tom would need to come back for his really freaking cool plane so he headed home, printed up the picture, and then came back and waited for a bit to see if he would return. He did, in a helicopter no less, and before he loaded back up in his plane he autographed the picture Kris took earlier. The really amazing thing is how nice and down to earth Kris said he was. I really expected him to say he was a jerk or something but he said he was very friendly, nice, and gracious.

Needless to say Kris really drove home the "always have your camera" with you point really well and jabbed his good buddy Duane right in the eye. Heck even just his pictures of the plane were REALLY good (I hate that lens of his).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Well today was okay so far. Devin is doing okay and hasn't had a relapse. We have him on a ton of medication now and the big test is going to be tonight. For some reason this always seems to really get bad in the middle of the night. So we will just have to wait and see what happens. Denise made mention the other day that we need to re-do the hospital grab bag for me instead of her because if something happens she won't be able to go. So I suppose I should pull something together for that just in case. Like I said yesterday Devin did an excellent job of keeping calm and did not start crying and stuff so though it was bad he was able to control it. It is incredibly frustrating watching your child for any change in color and trying to gauge when it is time to make the call. It is all the more difficult here since the hospital is 45 minutes away. I get really tired calling 911...

Late night breathing treatment

Well, Denise guess right tonight. When we went to bed she thought Devin was going to have a problem. Around 0034 hrs Devin woke up having a VERY difficult time breathing. We gave him what we could (at that point) and then moved to the front door to get some of the cool night air into his system. That helped but at 0130 hrs he was still having problems so we moved the nebulizer and gave him a breathing treatment. It seems like things have stabilized for now and we are just watching him to see how he is doing. Devin did really well holding it together and didn't allow himself to really get upset. I think he really understands that if he can keep it together then it minimizes the chance for another ambulance ride. I must admit I did think we were heading that way...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

LRS Sunday

Well I said yesterday that I wanted to setup the living room studio again and I got around to in later in the day. The entire thing started out as a shoot to take some portraits of Denise and turned into a family portrait session. It was kind of funny really because it started with Denise, then Desirae got into the shoot, and then Devin wanted to get into it. Ultimately we took the above shot with everyone in it. I ended up using the remote and self timer (at 2 seconds) to make the shots.

I also made this photograph of Denise wearing my wedding ring around her neck. I may have mentioned this once before but I am not really a jewelry person and as such I don't wear a watch or necklaces. I started wearing a wedding ring a few years ago when I moved into management and accepted the fact that I don't get to do technician work anymore. Even with that I only wear my ring when I leave for the morning and take it off when I get home.

Well we did more yard work today and I fixed, at least I think I fixed, the sprinkler system in the back. The valves were leaking and the control solenoids were pretty bad on a couple of them. I ran everything through a cycle and all seemed to work good. Now I just have to check the area tomorrow to see if it has turned into quicksand. If that happens then I will have to dig everything up (again) and figure out which pipe broke this time.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A trip to nowhere...

After some yard work and such we decided to take a trip out in the middle of nowhere. One of the guys I work with mentioned that doing dry camping just outside of town was pretty cool and easy to get to. We figured before we loaded everything up and made a trip out there we should scope the area out. The thing that really blew us away was the amount of people that were already out there and the development that has been done. There is a new park with restrooms and showers along with water and covered picnic tables. A little bit farther out there was a developed motocross track. There was also A LOT of people who had their toy haulers out there and a bunch of ATVs.

We also drove out to Silver Saddle and drove around the resort area there. It has been a long while since we made the trek out there and I am not sure if it was different, but it sure felt different. They were some new things out there including an RV park and it looked like they had full hookups. We are going to have to check that more and see what it costs and stuff like that. They have a really nice park with a small lake and everything was maintained very well.

Devin started reading out loud today. He read me a complete book and he did a very good job at it. It was really neat to see he work through the works and articulate everything correctly. He spent a good portion of the day just reading. I am going to try to video it tomorrow, I just forgot about it today. The only problem will be our network connection being so bad right now I don't think I will be able to upload it.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Hair today - gone tomorrow

Denise decided to cut her hair today. I wasn't feeling well and left work a couple of hours early so when I got home she called to see if she could get an appointment. So an hour later, with magazine in hand with example photos, she left to get her new hair cut. They did it pretty quick and she was home much sooner than I thought she would been. I am not sure if she is really happy with it but I like it. The main thing is it will be easier to manage for a while and it will always grow out if she really hates it. Sometimes change is good.

One problem I have been having, for weeks now, is my cable modem connection. For some reason Charter has really messed up the network here in town and my download and upload rates have been horrible. I generally get just a wee bit over dial-up speeds and that is about it. As a result of this I have reduced the size of the images that are on the blog and posted on the smugmug account. If I don't shrink them down they just take too long to upload or it will fail because it times out. I am not sure when they will get this fixed but I sure hope it is soon!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Workin' outside

Well the weeds have really taken over around here with all the rain and such lately. So they are growing EVERYWHERE. We thought about just pulling the weeds along the side of the house but in the end I fired up the weed wacker and went at it with that. It was a real mess and we still need to scrape the ground. The weeds in the other parts of the yard are easier to get because the ground is a little softer and they haven't grown so closely together.

We finally got Devin out of the house because he wanted to see the Lady Bugs. So he spent a good amount of time out there just playing with them. It is amazing but generally it is really difficult to get Devin to go outside and then he never wants to come back in. That was the case today and he really didn't want to stop.

I was running the grill so he just sat over there with me and helped pull some weeds while I was weeding there. The ground on this side is pretty soft so they come up pretty good. I filled up one of those metal trash cans just from that side - not including everything else that we did. We still have a lot to do but at least it is forward progress!

Denise bought a book a few weeks ago about Spanish (Spain) cooking so she made some bread (that turned out pretty good) and we had grilled chicken, potatoes smothered in olive oil, and tuna stuffed olives (imported from Spain). It was pretty neat to have a pretty good typical Spanish dinner that we used to have when we lived in Spain. The bread really made it and that has been the long pole in the tent since we came back in 1993. Anyway it was pretty good!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Gimme my free gas please...

I received my GMC survey yesterday in the mail so I gave a call back to the dealer. They said the typical, "If you bring it back we will give you a free tank of gas!" Generally I don't really think much about that however, with gas pricing at $2.75 a gallon and the fact the truck was empty I figured WHY NOT! So we loaded everyone up and headed into town with the truck on fumes. I did stop and put $3 in before we left but went we pulled into the dealership the range was screaming LOW, the range said 24.3 (out of 25) gallons used, and the fuel lamp was glowing. I really wasn't sure if we were going make it without running out of gas but we did!

While we were waiting we checked out a couple of different SUV and Vans. Denise did seem to like the Envoy the most out of all the vehicles we looked at but in the end we just took our fueled up truck and left. So from there we ended up going to Circuit City, then Olive Garden for lunch, Wal-Mart for Wal-Marty stuff, and then headed home.