Sunday, August 27, 2006

A weekend of water...

Okay, so it wasn't like the entire weekend was filled with water, but we did put up a kiddy pool on Saturday when we were in town and set it up today. We also had the chance to use the screen room that Denise bought a while ago. It worked out really well and I think we would have baked had we not set it up. The kids really enjoyed playing in the water and it was nice to get outside. We put it up in the front yard instead of the back thinking that there was more of a view of from the front than the back, but we stayed out there the entire time so it didn't really matter.

I had another round of images accepted at Shutterstock and shortly after they posted they started selling! Pretty cool, though I did have a group of them rejected because I think I messed up the editing on them. Right now I have 11 sold on Shutterstock and still only 2 on iStock.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The week is over!

Well the week is over and again I didn't do a very good job of keeping up with the blog. I think I just haven't been able to get back into the work mode after being off for that week. Hopefully I will get in the grove soon. I also screwed up the photo shoot I did tonight with Deanna and this block. I messed up the exposure, white balance, and focus. I ended up re-shooting the block to just get it right. Anyway, Denise put this together from the blocks my mom embroidered before she brought the kids back. Denise sewed it together this week. It turned out pretty cool and I think it is a neat handmade toy!

Both Devin and Desirae did well in school this week and had a lot of fun. We did continue to have problems with the bus and today they decided to change the schedule and tried to drop Desirae off early, so when Denise arrived the bus was already there and Desirae was near tears. I am not sure what the hell the school is doing on this but it isn't right, especially with kids just starting out in school. I mean going to school for the first time is traumatic enough to do mess with the times and the locations that is really hard on a little kid who doesn't really understand what is going on and then add on top of that we have no idea what the bus driver is saying to her and everyone else while they are waiting. I am not sure what we are going to do and Denise is even considering just picking her up.

Monday, August 21, 2006

First day of school...

Today was the first day of school for the kids and the first day Desirae started school! They both were pretty excited about going. Because of logistical reasons Devin road the van and Denise took Desirae to school and got her settled in. Everything went well except for one problem when the bus brought Desirae home, they took her to the wrong bus stop and Denise was waiting for her at another stop. I got a call from the school and Denise at the same time. That was INCREDIBLY frustrating, but the got Desirae to the right place. That was a bit stressful for both Denise and Desirae and we were very worried that it would really spoil the school thing. Something similar happened to some friends of ours where their daughter was dropped off early and no one was home - because they were early... She (their daughter) still hasn't recovered from that. Desirae seems to have dealt with it pretty well though.

You know one thing that is kind of odd is I have been seeing tracers/floaters in my vision so I finally called the optometrist and setup an appointment, but the person on the phone said that it is common and nothing to worry about... I thought that was weird. At least being with a PPO I was able to just call and setup the appointment with the doctor.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Deanna's First Birthday!

Saturday was Deanna's 1st birthday! With Gene, Nana, and Max here we had a pretty good size crew to help with the celebration. Deanna was completely unaware of what the day was until the cake came out. She was pretty shocked with the cake and everyone yelling (singing) at her. But she had a HUGE smile on her face and was having a grand time. Since Denise's back was wrenched Max took up photog duties and I did cake duties. It was really kind of nice to be a participant instead of a viewer. She also got a good selection of presents but I don't think she really understood what that was all about either. As is typical she ended up playing with the paper and Devin and Desirae played with her new toys. I think it was Gene that said we should have just given her a big pack of post-it-notes and she would have been happy!

Earlier in the day Nana, Max and I took Devin and Desirae to the school to check out their new classrooms and new teachers. Desirae's teacher is the same one Devin had and she also let Desirae have a book to take home and keep. She spent a bit of time until she selected the one she is looking at here. The teacher figured that would be the one Desirae would like because of all the pink she was wearing. So Monday is the big first day of school and I think going this weekend will really help make things go a bit smoother.

OBTW - I am up to 6 sales on photos... Not enough money to do anything with, but considering I only have 19 images up that's not too bad!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Gene's Visit

First, I am WAY behind in updating the blog. Gene arrived this week and Denise and Deanna picked him up at Burbank Airport. I was in class so I wasn't able to take more time off from work to go down there with them. They did a bit of running around on the way back from the airport but for the most part they spent time around the house just visiting, which I think was the main point. Denise did tweak her back again so she wasn't really up for much moving around.

It was really GREAT that he made the time to come out here. It was VERY special for Denise! The really funny part about this is that a few months ago she had started talking more about Gene and wanting to connect with him more so it was really great that he just out of the blue called and said that he wanted to come out. I probably should elaborate on this a bit, Gene NEVER calls so when he did it kind of freaked Denise out because she thought that something was wrong. She was EXTREMELY EXCITED that the call was to setup coming out here. The really neat part is that Gene said that he was going to see his sister one way or another - and if that meant he had to bring her back to Oklahoma he would have. I thought that was pretty cool!

The only "issue" if you could call it that is he didn't realize where we lived in comparison to the airport, we are about 2 hours away from it, and he was really concerned about how far it was and how much of a problem it is to get here. The thing is we are so used to driving EVERYWHERE around here that 2 hours doesn't seem to us to be that big of a deal.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

End of the line...

Today is my last day of leave - well considering it is the weekend I guess that doesn't count. Either way I have to go back to work tomorrow. It has been really nice having the last week off and I wish that I had more time but I am also kind of looking forward to going back. I have a class this week so I am still out of pocket so to speak. Denise and I setup the studio equipment and took some sewing type photographs. I kind of like this one posted above. Everything turned out well and it was kind of fun going through the motions. Denise even snapped some of the images tonight. Pretty cool!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Relaxing Saturday...

It has been VERY nice to stay at home today. The only trip out was a quick one to our little market here for some stuff for dinner. Otherwise it was a nice quiet day at home! When I was feeding Deanna she was being very cute and I couldn’t help myself from taking some snaps. It is really difficult to kept the cuteness going with a big black Nikon in her face.

I spent most of the time editing and uploading some more stock photographs. So far I haven’t had any hits on anything but considering the nature of this type of photography that is to be expected. The other issue is how LONG it is taking iStock to check and approve images. Right now I have 5 approved with another 21 waiting to be checked. I have also started uploading images to Shutterstock and their approval process is MUCH quicker and they don’t reject as much as iStock. I don’t mind the rejections because they tell you why – my biggest problem not is logos and trademarks that are visible in the images. So this is helping me look at the entire frame during composition.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I know - lets drive some more...

I know lets get back in the car and drive down below! Okay it seemed like a much better idea before we TRIED to come home. There was brush fire on the highway about halfway home and we basically had to sit on the freeway for about an hour. An hour wouldn’t have been so bad had it not been 2200 hours at the time. Once we finally got through the stoppage we still had another hour to go before we arrived home! I suppose on the way down when we passed the flipped car we should have realized it was going to be a long day, but on that one the traffic wasn’t that bad.

The idea for today was to drive down to the Los Angeles area and hit a couple of stores. Our primary destination was Ikea. Without Devin and Desirae with us we were able to really go through the entire store and look at all the different stuff. The last time we went down there the kids got bored pretty quickly. Denise found ALMOST everything that she was looking for but it was still cool and it really is an interesting store. At least this time we knew what to expect so we weren’t so freaked out by it.

Since we were in that generally area we ate dinner across the street at Chevy’s. The food was pretty good there and I am still not missing not eating at our local Mexican restaurants. From there we walked over to Barnes and Noble and bought a couple of books, then went upstairs to check out CompUSA, and finally we went back to the car to feed Deanna and decide our next plan of attack.

I kind of wanted to go to an Apple store so I called and got directions to the Glendale Apple store. We ended up driving the surface streets to just see if we could find it that way – and amazingly enough we ended up picking the right road and made it there.

Once we parked and got situated there we ended up going to the Lego store first instead of the Apple store. I only mention this because when I called I was asking to see if they had the new wireless Mighty Mouse (without cape) that they did. I didn’t think about it and figured we could look around at other places before heading over to the Apple store. Well, that turned out to be a mistake because when we got there they had sold out their last one about 5 minutes before and I was just SOL. It was kind of disappointing but oh well. If I really decide to get one I can just order it online.

The finally stop in the Glendale Galleria was to See’s Candy. Denise happened to see someone with a bag walking through the mall so we searched out and found it. So we ended up getting mints, chocolate mints, and chocolate balls. They also gave us some samples of various kind of chocolates.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Denise's Birthday!

Today was Denise's birthday and this morning she was greeted with birthday cards from Devin, Desirae, and Nana/Max. It was pretty cool but it was also kind of weird to be away from the kids on our birthdays (mine was on the 7th). On the way back Denise did receive a telephone call from them singing happy birthday and she also received calls and messages from her mom and brother.

The only real bad thing about today was the trip back. Traveling on your birthday isn't fun (we started our trip on mine) and kind of takes some of the enjoyment out of it. We packed everything up this morning and got the trailer ready for travel mode so we could get gas and go back into town for a few minutes of last minute shopping (and eating). We got back, hooked everything up, and were leaving just a few minutes after noon so we did pretty good. On the return trip we went through Paso Robles which turned out to be a MUCH better route.

On the way back we checked our messages and found out that Stiers had the stuff to repair the trailer in so we called to see if we could drop the trailer off on our way back. They said that was fine so we made the trip over there. The only bad thing about this is that we have to unload everything out of the trailer and into the truck for the return trip. That was a bit of a pain - and it was FREAKING HOT in Bakersfield. Anyway, they have the trailer and will get it fixed up though they are not sure when we will get it back - because there is another problem they are going to have to order parts for. Either way at least it is going to get fixed!

Yesterday one of the things that we did was stop by a candy shop and they were making taffy. We had driven by the place earlier in the week and Denise really wanted to go back. So we made our way back there and they were running some molasses through the machine and they let me take some photographs of them. It was pretty cool stuff and Denise really enjoyed herself.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Temp Entry

This is going to be a quick entry. We did get moved to our new spot and did some stuff around town but I just haven't had the chance to download the pictures and do anything to get them online. I will try to do that tomorrow morning before we hitch up and get back on the road. So more to come!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Long Day...

We drove into Morro Bay today to check out that area. The water there looked much better than in Pismo so we put Deanna's foot in her first ocean. She didn't really know what to think about it but it was pretty cool. She had fun, we had fun, so it all worked out.

Before we went to Morro Bay we decided to walk into town for breakfast this morning. Turned out to be not such a good idea and our restaurant choice was VERY poor. They basically forgot about us and we had to go track a server down to get any service. However from there we did make a trip down their pier which was pretty cool, even if I did have my heights problem going on. So Denise took command of the camera and got some good snaps.

After we made it back to camp we hugh out at the trailer for a while, took naps, and just tried to relax for a bit before our next outing. When we did get moving that was when we made the trip to Morro Bay. That was pretty cool mainly because of the stuff mentioned above, but we also walked (again) down the boardwalk there and checked out the different shops. It was pretty neat and we ended up buying a wind spiny thing and Denise bought a bunch of shells at the shell shop. It was probably a pretty good thing the kids were not with us today because I don't think they would have dealt well with all of the walking.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Pismo Coast Village...

Well, after following the wrong directions again we FINALLY made it to Pismo. Just in case you are wondering, don't take a travel trailer down highway 58 toward Pismo. It was a very windy up and down path that was very SLOW. So we made it there, checked in and got our space. As it turns out we also got another day though we may have to move though they are going to try to make it so we don't have to move. We did walk down toward the beach and Denise was able to make her first trek through the sand. We took the stroller so I waited with Deanna while Denise walked over to the beach. Tomorrow we will do some more exploring. So far we like this place - tomorrow will be fun!

I took this picture yesterday with my D70 (I used that today so I downloaded the pictures today). Oh - I also had my 3rd picture accepted to iStock. Still haven't sold anything but at least I am not being rejected.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pre-trip boondoggle...

I know, driving to Bakersfield the day before we drive - THROUGH - Bakersfield probably isn't the best idea but I really wanted to get out of the house today. I tried for a good amount of time on Saturday trying to pull together plans to enable us to leave on today, but as it turned out EVERYTHING was booked and our only other option would have been to stay a Wal-Mart until we could check on Monday at 1600... So it was kind of pointless so we made a trip into town and to Camping World and some other places.

So we ended up going to Camping World, StarBucks, Toys-R-Us, Dollar Tree, Dollar Store, CompUSA, Wal-Mart, Babys-R-Us, and finally Red Lobster. Kind of a whirlwind day but a lot of fun. We did end up talking to a couple at Red Lobster that were married in Jun and they struck up a conversation because of Deanna. Sometimes it is neat to talk to people you would never meet and get a tiny bit of insight into a different world/life. All in all it was a pretty cool day and now we just have to finish getting everything loaded up tomorrow and get on the road. The place we are going is suppose to have wireless internet so I should be able to continue blogging and uploading my stock shots.

I know this blogging thing can seem pretty goofy but I sure do like them. Brad, Denise's brother continues to keep his up and it is really neat to read about the antics that are going on in his part of the world. It is really kind of odd how something as simple (and stupid) as a blog can keep people connected and the illusion that they are still close (in proximity). That is how this has worked with my mom too - she keeps a pretty active blog and it really makes you feel like you are there - and the pictures help too! However - we haven't seen any pictures of the kids since they have gone up there.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Woo Whooo Vacation!

Vacation is upon us!!! Denise made it back safe today and I made it through the day, although the Freqs (Frequency Management) tried to give me a stroke toward the end of the day! At least it made the last few hours FLY by! So the kids are safely at Nana and Max's house and tomorrow we can load up the trailer and get it ready to go. The plan is to leave Sunday and either stop at a rest area, Wal-Mart, or whatever until we can check on on Monday. I think we might even try a state park Sunday to see if we can have a real spot to park on Sunday. Either way I am REALLY looking forward to this trip. This will be the first vacation Denise and I will have, with something planned, since oh maybe before we left Spain - which was what ahhh 2003 1993!!!!! So this is going to be GREAT!!!! We still have Deanna, but she is pretty calm and quiet.

Oh, that other smaller bag I bought through eBay came in today too! Pretty cool, didn't really want the ballistic nylon (wanted to stick with canvas) but it was pretty darn nice and I think it will work out well. I didn't really think the whole thing through though. I figured, hey a smaller bag will weigh less... That only works if you PUT LESS in the darn bag. Either way this will be a good grab and go bag and it is just a bit bigger than the Domke F5 bag.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Devin's turn

Denise and I have been talking about taking some specific shots to capture Devin's disability so this evening we set up the LRS and took a series of shots. Devin got tired pretty quickly but I was able to get a couple of good shots and my favorite is the one posted above. I ended up using some techniques I read about in a new blog I found yesterday (Strobist) and some information suggestions from the LightSource Flickr Group. It is really amazing how much good information is available on the net!

The other benefit from doing this shoot it got my mind off those damn cuts. I shouldn't have waited so long to take care of those things because they would have been MUCH smaller!!!

Oh, Auction Sniper helped me again. I ended up sniping a Photoflex MultiDisc 42" Reflector Kit. I ended up saving more than $60 on it so I am VERY happy about that!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

New hair day...

Denise and Deanna got their hair cut yesterday and it didn't go very well. Actually Denise's hair turned out good but the lady did a really bad job on Deanna. I am not sure what the deal was, if it was that she was moving or something, but it is crooked and just doesn't look right. Denise tried to get back in today to see if she could get it fixed, but the lady is not at work today and won't be back until Thursday. However, Denise is taking the kids to my mom's on Thursday so she won't be here to do it.

Deanna is also getting in her top front teeth too. So that explains why she is in a bit of a mood the last couple of days. She is really fun and is moving around a lot. Hopefully she will be good while we are on vacation next week. Either way it should be too bad because she is a lot calmer than the other two!

My first image has been accepted into Stock! I guess it just takes a week for them to do anything because they have not reviewed any of my other images. At least I can stay that I have a 100% acceptance rating! :) I doubt that I will be able to maintain it. Either way it was cool to have my first image accepted. I do not really expect anything "sales" up front, but it sure would be nice if there was!

I finally got in to see a doctor about those not-so-good moles today. It was a bit frustrating with amount of people that were there but I got in and he took care of them. I get the impression that if they were odd looking he would have set me up for appointment when he would have gotten back from vacation, but he didn't like the looks of them and wanted to get them off now and get them checked. So now I just wait for a telephone call if there is anything "wrong" with them. I still have a few more appointments to get from my physical it has just been slow going...