Thankful Thursday

[Don’t mind my old watermark… I’m too lazy to fix it.]
1. My younger sister, D. I don’t talk as much about D because she is not really online and doesn’t follow my blog. But today is her special day, so I wanted to mention her! Happy birthday, D! D is the social butterfly of the family, with a carefree personality, even in hard times. She’s also super photogenic and always willing to let me practice on her. (Unfortunately, both of my sisters and their families live about 1,300 miles away from me, so I don’t get to practice on them very often. 😦 )

Recently I was remembering a story my mom always tells about something D said as a little girl. Apparently we were at a gas station and there was a woman wearing a very small shirt–possibly a halter top? So D, age 3, shouts out the window: “Hey, lady! Is that a swimmin’ suit or a shirt?”* Ha! And she’s still very willing to talk to strangers. She takes after my dad and will do a sales pitch to someone in the store when they are considering a product she loves.

*Only, in her little 3-year-old voice it was more like, “Hey, rady…” and “shirt” was said with a sort of New York accent.

[D and me. That was probably the last time I was taller than her. :P]

2. Time off. I’m not in choir this year, and yesterday I was reflecting on how it changes my Wednesdays–and really, my entire week–when I don’t have that evening commitment. I’m pretty greedy when it comes to down time, but that’s because it’s never really “down.” I always have lots of stuff to catch up on in my home and online (which probably sounds lame), and when I have too many outside commitments I feel cheated and stressed. I’m so much happier when I have open evenings after work. Do I always use my time wisely once home? Hardly! But it changes my attitude and I begin to be more productive when I feel I can afford to.

3. A great weekend. Last weekend went really well. The weather was fairly cooperative, my drive home went smoothly, and overall it was just a happy time.

4. Sunshine. We’ve still had decent weather. I guess since summer began late, it’s staying later. Fine by me!

5. Getting dreadful tasks over with. This week I finally got something done that I had been putting off for months, and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders! Also–and of course–it wasn’t as bad as I had feared.

6. Games. I love playing fun games. 🙂 (I’m sure I’m repeating myself a lot in this list.)

7. Getting caught up at work. Hopefully I’m not speaking too soon!

8. Getting a monitor calibration system at work. Hey, it’s something I’ve been wanting forever, so it’s nice that we finally made the purchase. It’s going to help a lot.

9. Starbucks iced tea.

10. Motivation. I often lack it, so it’s awesome when I have some. I don’t even know where it comes from half the time, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Now I’ll go back in the archives and dig out a September photo from two years ago, just to add some color to this post.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

I mentioned that I was in the Seattle area over the weekend. One of my outings while there was to the Bellevue Botanical Garden (I’m sorry to say it, but that site needs work). I’d been once before and was anxious to go back. The awesomest part about it is that it’s free!

WARNING: There are bees in several of the following photos. I know that bothers some people, for whatever reason. I promise they won’t sting you.

Aren’t these images so fall-like? 😉

On the left is an interesting bush I’ve never seen. Brownish black?

There are lots of paths through wooded areas.

This part of it is styled as a Japanese garden.

I’d love to take someone’s portraits here!

A guy pointed out a woodpecker that had flown by. It was really hard to get a decent shot of him–this was the best I could do. I appreciated the heads up, though. I love when strangers alert me to cool photo ops.

Thanks for looking!


I felt like saying hi. 🙂 I had a good weekend. I have several photos, but here’s just one from the Bellevue Botanical Garden in Washington.

I went up to the Seattle area to celebrate my friend’s birthday. I played a lot of games, won a couple of them, ate at The Cheesecake Factory (I haven’t been in probably 1.5 years!), went to that garden and had a very good time overall. I’m sad that I have to go back to work tomorrow. And right now I’m very sleepy and I think I’ll go to bed early.

How was your weekend?

Project 52 (14)

Zesting! This was for some non-key lime pie fudge I made for a friend. It didn’t really turn out like fudge, though… I need to work on the recipe.

Bonus picture!

Thankful Thursday

I don’t really have any new photos to post here, and this will have to be fairly quick, but these are the goods:

1. My sister. Happy birthday, R! Thank you for being patient, very generous, a great listener, and a devoted wife and mother. This is R in a tunnel in Virginia City last year. (You can read more about R over on her blog!)

2. The weather lately. AWESOME.

3. Little pretty moments, like when a flock of birds flies up from the road you’re driving on, or when the lake has more vivid reflections, or backlighting when the sun is in just the right position, or wrapping gifts in fun paper. I always feel corny mentioning that stuff, but I do notice it.

4. Fun weekend plans. I have some! Maybe I’ll tell you about it later.

5. Audiobooks. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I loooove having stories to listen to while I drive. It’s not the same without them.

6. On that note, libraries! Probably another re-mention, but who cares? Free books! Free audiobooks. Those things are expensive.

7. My slowcooker. Crockpot, whatever. It’s one of my favorite purchases of the year. That’s another topic I may address again later.

8. Target.

9. Finishing projects. Work has been very busy, so every completed project is that much more of a relief.

10. Thank-you gifts. My friend gave me a gift certificate for one of my favorite restaurants as a thank-you present! I wasn’t expecting anything and was perfectly fine with that, but now, thanks to her, I get to have lunch with a couple of my friends next week!

Travel: Vancouver Island

Lately I’ve had traveling on the brain, so you might hear from me about it from time to time. While I consider myself a homebody for the most part, I do love to travel a bit, and I daydream about the places I’d like to go and take pictures.

Before I got into photography, I went a lot of nice places that I wish I could revisit. Then there are places I’ve been since I’ve gotten into photography, but before this blog. Here’s one:

I’ve been to Vancouver Island twice, but the first time was back in 2000 when I just had a small film camera. Those photos are in albums in the storage closet. The second time was in 2007. My friend Dania and I drove up to the ferry that leaves from Port Angeles, WA and spent a couple of nights in Victoria.

The trip started off a little iffy when we happened to arrive on Canada Day amidst crowds and pub crawls. But things got better by the next day, and we visited the popular spots like the parliament buildings, Craigdarroch Castle, Butchart Gardens and the butterfly garden.

I’d really like to spend more time up there–it’s beautiful and there’s a lot to see. I have a lot more pictures to take. The above are just a selection from that trip (hint: so-so photos look better when put together in a collage with other so-so photos).

Later I might tell you about some other trips. We’ll see.

Project 52 (13)

If I were into puns, I’d mention something about this being a mug shot, but I’m not, so I won’t.

Just in time for fall, these are some of my favorite mugs. And yes, some tea bags scattered to and fro! I don’t know if I’ve ever purchased a mug for myself because they are such popular gifts that I have plenty from other people. I love my little selection!

L to R: The one with the dragonfly inside is from Tina. The elephant is from my aunt and uncle (K & F) because I used to collect elephants. Polka dots is Tina again–she finds some cute mugs! The boat is one I’ve had since I was a kid. I don’t remember the story behind it, but I know it relates to my grandpa since he worked on a boat. My mom will know the background on that mug better than I do. The green one was a gift from a coworker after I coincidentally designed materials for her event in that same color and pattern. The Little Mermaid was also from K & F, and I love it so. It’s just very cheerful and bold, and it’s probably my most-used mug. The other elephant one is part of a pair, and it’s also from K & F.

Now you should describe your favorite mug in the comments!

Journaling and blogging

For over ten years, I’ve been journaling elsewhere on the web, in a more secure environment. It’s more comfortable to write there, knowing only certain people can read my posts. My many, many, MANY posts. I’m quite the Chatty Cathy there.

I wish posting here were as easy. I tend to get a little paralyzed by the fact that anyone can read this blog. Not because I want to share my darkest secrets, but I just feel more vulnerable to criticism. I feel like I need to check my facts and grammar much more closely here, for instance. I’m not sure what I’m afraid of–some stranger commenting about my poor sentence structure?

Also, I feel I have to think about future photography clients (if they exist), and be choosy about which photos I post and how I conduct myself. It’s difficult to find the balance between professionalism and personalization. Add that to the fact that I feel pressure to keep my focus on photography. I guess I don’t feel the freedom to just talk about life unless I’m incorporating decent photos.

But I’m probably being silly and making unreasonable rules for myself. As a result, I’m afraid I may err on the impersonal side, which often translates into blandness.

So. What’s the point of this? It’s just me being me, and you being okay with that. 😉 I am hoping to give myself a little more freedom here, which might mean more text and fewer pictures. It might mean topics that aren’t photography-related. It might mean I post more than you want me to.

Or I might chicken out and leave everything the same.

Thankful Thursday

Yesterday, my coworker told me about a wasp nest near our office. I took some pictures with the work camera, but wasn’t happy with them since the lens wasn’t great. I made a point to bring my own camera today so I could use my telephoto lens.

I was having a bit of a grouchy morning (mostly my bad attitude, I’m sure), and decided to grab my camera and take some nest photos. As I was walking there, I saw two striped tails bobbing along. I realized they were raccoons and tried to get some photos of them retreating. I was so glad to have my long lens all ready to go, but was a little bummed that I had just missed a closer shot.

But then they must’ve heard someone coming from the other side, because they turned around and ran toward me! I was snapping photos like crazy.

Then they realized I was there and stopped and seemed a little uncertain about where they should go. This gave me the perfect opportunity to get some sharper photos, as they were an ideal distance away and facing me.

🙂 🙂 🙂

I was sooooo happy for this encounter, and as silly as this might sound, I feel like it was a present from God. He knows I love seeing animals in the wild–it always turns my mood around. And what are the chances I’d cross paths with these two raccoons in the middle of the day in the few minutes when I left my office? AND have the right lens on my camera? AND, as Tina pointed out, have the perfect lighting? AND that they would run closer to me and stop and face me for photos? I love that. It’s so rewarding to get decent wildlife photos when the sightings are few and far between. (I know some of you probably see raccoons a lot and even hate them, but the only other time I’ve seen them in real life was in Texas, in some trees.)

So that was my happy morning. 🙂

Here’s another photo of the wasp nest from the other side. Doesn’t it look like a head/face? And there’s a wasp going into the mouth.

And earlier this week we had an orange moon!

What were your happy moments this week?

(By the way, do my photos take forever to load up? I don’t always remember to change the resolution and I’m wondering if that’s okay or not.)

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Project 52 (12)

My friend (and coworker) Tina and I went to delicious Padington’s for lunch and she agreed to let me take pictures of her for this project! She’s so cooperative.

Tina’s photo idea. 🙂 She loves her some Mt. Dew.

Today is 9/10/11! Do something special today. Like count! That would be appropriate on such a date as this. (Yes, I did force the time on this entry to be 9:10.) Annnnnnd: just over two months until the lovely 11/11/11 (how great would it be to get married or be born on that day?!).