Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow & Holiday

Many years ago I moved to the Pacific Northwest from the Midwest. Growing up in the Midwest I experienced a few blizzards, many snowstorms, being stuck on a train for 2 days, shoveling driveways and sidewalks, wearing multiple layers of clothes to keep warm and being stuck in the car for hours just to get to work or back home.

So when I moved to the Northwest I knew my dealings with snow and ice would be limited. If I wanted snow badly enough I always knew that I could travel to the nearby mountains. But I never got into the skiing or snowboarding thing so I don't go to the mountains in the winter.

So last week when the weather started turning bad we spent a lot of time watching the news, waiting; looking; sometimes wishing for snow to hit. So when school was cancelled in the Will Valley Mon & Tues (12/15 & 16) we weren't sure how the rest of the week before winter break would pan out. We made it back to school for Wed & Thurs. I was glad we had school on Thursday as we had a school wide craft hour planned and many of us had gone to a great deal of planning to get our crafts ready. We did get to start our winter break 1 day early by having a snow day that Friday. I did get outside a bit and (of course) took a few pictures.

We kept track of the weather by watching multiple local TV stations. Watching how areas north of us were getting hit hard. Salem, Portland and even further north - Seattle area! State highways closed due to heavy snow and ice. Local streets closed as no access was available, or too steep for cars and buses to climb. Hubby needed to know how roads were going to be for trucking and DD was getting anxious as she was leaving on the 26th for Boston to attend an APO convention.

On Christmas Eve - DD and I spent part of the day getting the last of the food and running misc errands, making crab wonton purses, deviled eggs, ham roll-ups, and banana wonton rolls.

After we had dinner we put together a Gingerbread house. We had fun and it turned out cute. After that time to wrap gifts. By the time I went to bed at midnight every bone and muscle in my body screamed in exhaustion.

Christmas Day - I still love to watch the kids open their gifts. I still love to take their picture while they enjoy their gift. Of course as DS gets older he thinks of more interesting ways to avoid his shots. One of the best gifts of the day was when DH opened his gift of tickets to an upcoming CCR Revisited concert.

Dinner - if I do say so - turned out wonderful. The roast done perfectly!!! So yummy. A smaller group than normal and minus DH; yes he wasn't home for dinner. He had to leave for a delivery @ 3:30 the next AM. We sure missed him.

After people left and I was straightening up; DD's friends that were driving up to P-Town with us showed up. We discussed when we needed to leave for the airport. We weren't sure how long it would take as there would be frost on the roads and maybe all the roads wouldn't be clear. 2 AM!! OMG that was in just 3 hours.

None of us got alot of rest but - off we went @ 2AM. Thankfully we made it to the airport and got the kids checked in. I sure wished I had my camera in the airport because 1 of DD's friends was wonderfully hilarious while checking to see if his carry on bag fit in the rack to see if it could be considered "carry-on".

Last night I enjoyed hanging out with DS,
his housemate and his parents and a small group of friends for dinner, drinks and a few games. I love when the guys include me. They are all great people.
The kids that joined us are real sweet and very cute! I had a good time.
I hope everyone had a great Christmas and hope the New Year looks promising.
All the best to you.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

OSU Civil War Tailgate

For the first time in a long time I took up #1 son's offer to join him, his roommate and friends tailgating at the Oregon State football game. I wanted to go as it was Civil War and it sounded fun. No - I didn't have tickets to the game but I thought it would be fun to tailgate.

I would be taking DD and her friend . With #1 son and hubby being avid Oregon State Beaver fans and DD being a U of Oregon Duck; we have our own Civil War at home. :)
We brought some good food, good comfy chairs, big smiles and lots of enthusiasm.

Trying to get a good picture of my Civil War kids was an effort. Son is not a big fan of mom taking his picture. I am limited as to how many pictures I can take of him at any given event. I have to try and get sneaky about how and when I take his picture. But I really want to capture the fun and special moments of his life.

#1 son's housemate has no problem posing for me in the shirt son made and printed up for his friends. I love how he did pose with Jack. I like Jack - he is a great guy, lots of fun and was the first to offer me a ride on a four-wheeler this spring.

These guys make tailgating fun!
I was amazed at the spot they had gotten for tailgating. Really close to the stadium.
I walked all around the outside of the stadium and was so amazed at the amount of people that hang out before the game. WOW!!!

All in all I had a good time and took lots of shots. If you want to see more - go to my Webshots album.
Thanks guys for letting me join you.

Oh - here is DD the Duck carefully placed between two Beaver flags. HAHAHAHA

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Final Fall Day Trip

I just love day trips. I love the ride in the car, music playing, window open for fresh air and the beautiful scenery that I am blessed to see.
Knowing that I was off for a long weekend on the 8th, I decided to take 2 small day trips. One to the west toward Tillamook and the second was to the east toward Warm Springs. I knew that I wanted to check out the routes to these places for future 2 day trips for taking pictures.

I was lucky for fairly nice weather. You know it is fall in Oregon so there will be some clouds and rain. The ride toward Tillamook had some really pretty areas to look at. As there had been rain previously I saw this small little waterfall along the side of the road. I got a few shots of it. Then I saw this barn with lots of overgrown foliage. I turned it to black and white for a different effect, I like it. :) There was a small park that I also stopped at that led to the river. By then it was pouring down rain, but i did try to take a picture of this red berry with a large drop of water hanging from it. I wanted to try and shoot it as the drop was falling but I just couldn't get it.
Finally I made it to Tillamook!! I really wanted to go to the cheese factory. Unfortunately there weren't making cheese that day. Oh well, I loved the little tasting they give you, the line that feeds you into the cheese store, the people looking at the cheeses and the fun foody knick knacks they have. They also have the long line to get your wonderful ice cream. I chose to get their waffle cone with the German Chocolate ice cream. It was great! After enjoying my cone I went into their gift shop. They have many things Tillamook and Oregon. There were some fun t-shirts playing off the cheese theme. The red shirt is just 1 I liked.
The next day I just hung around the house. Went to one of the local parks to take pictures of the fall leaves. Bright colors, large sized beautiful leaves. Softly, gently falling to the ground, with little sound as they land on top of the other. Some taking longer flights than others. But to watch them slowly float is relaxing. It was nice to see a gentleman just sitting on one of the benches enjoying the beautiful fall day. The man spending time with his sons, having a small picnic at one of the tables. Enjoying their time together. Me wanting to catch that moment forever, but not wanting to invade their space. So I settled for leaves on the ground, the leaves on a bench and other shots.
The day trip to the east was interesting. I probably spent more time driving than I thought I would. But I also knew that this trip was for me to scope out what I could do this summer and where I could stop and take pictures next year. I know I want to stop longer in the Sisters area, definitely check out the new lodge they have there, Five Pines. Owned by the parents of our former neighbors Greg & Deb.
There are some great areas I found to shoot. Places I want to see better. Some of the rocky formations, rugged landscapes, raging water. I did spot this fly fisherman along the river. I sure hope he caught a fish.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Last Roloff Blip Of The Year

OK - So this year I went to Roloff Farms twice, I had a great time at both visits.

I really think its nice to see local people doing what they love to do. It was amazing to see the major house renovation. Wow! What a change from last year, the colors and size of the house have changed dramatically. You will notice this more as their show runs this season. Also changes in the way the pumpkin season worked, lines running a bit smoother, two different types of tours, smoother running of the checkout area, Zootopia, Sven's House and the ever changing Zipline.

Our local paper has a section that you can submit a picture of what you or someone in your family has done fun/interesting. So on Monday I submitted the photo of the girls and I with Amy Roloff. The next day (shockingly) the photo appeared in the paper. So of course I cut it out and will add that to DD's ever growing scrapbook.

On Thursday I stayed home from work because I wasn't feeling well. I usually don't take off work but I figured I really need to get healthy as I have a sleep study I am doing tonight and can't be ill for it. So - Thursday morning I was checking my email and changing channels when I stopped on the local station ending their piece on the Roloff Farm. As I listened to the last 15 seconds I realized this was the piece they were filming on October 10th when I to the farm by myself. I went to the TV channels website and could not locate the segment. So I emailed the station asking how I could view the segment. Within minutes I received a reply from the anchor woman leading me a different site. So I watched the video; to my amazement I appeared in the video! Wow. I laughed at that. I am only there for less than a second and it happens fast; at 27 seconds into the piece. I am including a link so you can laugh to. I think its funny, because right after you see me, the interviewer Brooke asks Matt about people taking pictures of him and I know I am taking about 7 or 8 pictures of him, Brooke and the cameraman.

Roloff Farm Video from Better TV

Roloff Farm Video from You Tube (same segment)

Enjoy the laughs and Happy Fall

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Roloff Farm - 2nd Visit - 10/24/08

Friday was a great day! I have had it planned for a couple of weeks and was looking forward to it.
I was planning to take my daughter and 2 of her college friends to Roloff Farms, The Cheesecake Factory and the NW Women's Show. I knew it was going to be a really long day but felt that it would be filled with laughter, lots of pictures and some good food.

The plan was we would leave the house early so that we could get to Roloff Farm by 10 when the gates opened. I wasn't sure what traffic to the farm would be like and thankfully we got there about 20 minutes before the gates opened. Surprisingly, we weren't the first ones at the gate! There were 3 cars in front of us. Wow!
We got out of the car and took a few pictures. The man at the gate even offered to take our picture so I could be in it too. Thank You!!

After we parked we went to get our tickets for the Town tour. The girls were excited as none of them had ever been there before. When we were waiting in line I noticed that the bike on the zip line had a new addition - a large pumpkin with sunglasses on it. I said hello to Karen, the lady who did 1 of the tours I took 2 weeks ago. She said she remembered me and was glad that I came back. I introduced my DD (darling daughter) and her 2 friends. She is so nice. A good representation of the people who work at the farm.

While we were waiting for the tractor to fill up the Roloff's dog Rocky came to our little seating area and got some love from the girls and the other people sitting with us. He is such a sweet dog and the girls just loved him. He stayed with us until we got to the "Town" then off he went in search of squirrels.

After the tour we walked around the pumpkin patch. I noticed that there were several guy around the trebuchet, then I noticed that Amy was talking with them. But I was more interested in the trebuchet and what they were doing with it. Then one guy was climbing it and clipping something onto the top of it. As I continued to watch I heard and saw the trebuchet move. The men working with the trebuchet were just seeing if the electrical was working. I heard one man say that they didn't want to keep moving it as people on the field might think they were going to launch pumpkins.

As I was walking away I saw Amy walking up the gravel patch near the tour lines. I greeted her and asked if she could pause for a real quick picture, she was kind and did stop. Thanks Amy!! She said she had to rush, she was going to pick up her son from school. I thanked her and told her she made my day. I told her that we were going to the NW Women's Show and asked her if she wanted to join us. She said she'd love to but she had to stick around the farm and work. But it sure sounded fun. I wish she couldhave joined us. It would have been so much more fun with her with us.

The girls loved having their pictures taken in front of the wagon and on the sofa in the gift barn. We paid for our purchases and started heading to the car when Karen asked if we wanted to take pictures with Amy. "Of Course!!!" Karen wanted me/us to get that done after Amy took pictures with this nice group of men from South Carolina. They did their pictures and 1 of the guys called his wife and asked Amy to say hi to her. She was kind enough and did it. You could tell that the wife was really surprised.

Finally it was our turn!! Karen took a really great picture for us. Thanks alot Karen. That was wonderful and the girls and I are really thrilled to have had that chance.
We will be back next year.

To see more of the shots I took check out my album - Roloff Farm - 2nd Visit

Next was lunch at the Cheesecake Factory - so, so yummy. And I hope that waiter calls DD. LOL
We had a great time at the Women's Show and the girls want to go again next year.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Blinded By The Light - Night

About 3 months ago I was checking out the local casinos concerts that I would really like to see. I was thrilled when I saw that Foreigner was coming to Chinook Winds. They were doing a 2 night sow. I chose Saturday night instead of Friday so I could be more relaxed and not have to come directly from work.

I remember listening to them after I graduated high school. I love their music. Many a day I would crank up the stereo rockin' to the sounds of Foreigner, Boston, Chicago, Queen, Steve Miller and more. Driving in the car with the windows down in the summer was the best! I could sing out loud and not bother anyone with my off key, skipped word singing.

I was glad when I ordered my ticket. Knowing I would be sitting on the end of an aisle. Hoping that I would be able to get some good pictures. But, knowing all along, that the day or two before I went to the concert I would have to check with the casino if cameras would be allowed.

I had the day planned. I would leave town about 2, head to Lincoln City to the outlet mall, look for new shoes. (Love those white Reeboks) and check out the cost of a new lens for the Canon digi cam. Go to the casino, gamble a bit, have dinner, gamble and then the concert.

Not wanting to spend a lot on gambling I took out a $5 bill and put it into a machine. Thankfully the machine was kind. I would go up, then go down, then back up a bit again. At a point I was up $30. Yeah!!!!

Dinner was delicious. I got there just before it got crowed and you would have to wait a long time to get your food. Plenty of choices.

With the concert starting at 8pm the doors would open at 7. I headed downstairs looked at the choices of shirts and CD's for sale. I have really never been a person to purchase stuff at the few concerts I have attended. But I did splurge and get a t-shirt and CD. But the catch on the CD purchase was you also got a raffle ticket for the drawing at the end of the night for a signed guitar. OK - I honestly knew the chances of my winning were slim I did it anyway.

After I got my shirt and CD I went to the car to change shirts, wanted to wear the new Foreigner shirt at the concert, and leave the CD; didn't want it to get lost or broken. When I came back they were letting out the VIP people who got to have a meet & greet with the band. I got to chat with this really nice couple who showed me their signed CD. I really liked them. Bid goodbye to them when the doors opened.
I found my seat, a bit further back from the stage than I had originally thought. Bummer, I might have a hard time taking good pictures. The nice lady usher and I chatted while I waited for the concert to start. I noticed the stage had a beautiful guitar set up center stage. Took out the camera to take a shot of it and the usherette said that cameras weren't allowed. The band said that only cell phone cameras would be allowed. She told me I could check it out with the head security guy. His answer was the same.
After the concert started I took the camera out and tried taking pictures. Thankfully no security telling me or anyone else to put the cameras away. YEAH!!!! I enjoyed watching the band sing, dance and flip their hair. I especially enjoyed it when lead singer Kelly Hansen jumped off the stage and onto the railing 1 row down from me, walked and danced on the table or railing.
As the concert was drawing to a close I went up closer to the stage to get some better shots. Hoping that I would be able to get some sort of souvenir from the concert. I almost had my hand on a drumstick. Rats I am too short. But I did get 2 guitar picks!!! Yippee
I got home downloaded the shots I took - can you believe it, over 250 pics and 3 videos.
I had such an awesome time.
Now to wait until this Friday (10/24) when DD and her 2 friends and go to Roloff Farms, Cheesecake Factory and the NW Women's show. It will be soooo fun and another day of photo ops.
If you want to see more of my shots from the concert ...
Hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

My Pumpkin Patch Trip

Well - October is here. I was thankful for this 4 day weekend. Time to refocus myself. Ahhhhh I can feel those brain cells relaxing. I wanted to something fun on Friday so I decided I was going to go off to Roloff Farms. See how long it takes to get there for when DD and I go to the NW Women's show we can stop there first.

For those of you who don't know - the Roloff's have their own show on the TLC network called "Little People Big World". It shows the family of 6, where 3 of the members have 2 types of dwarfism and how they cope on their 34 acre farm in Hillsboro. They open their farm up during pumpkin season. Many people from all over come and visit the farm during October.

They offer 2 types of tours; the Town Tour & Scenic Tour, have lots of pumpkins ready to take home, a few exotic animals, and lots of stuff for sale.

It was a bright chilly day. When I arrived it looked like it was just beginning to get busy. As I walked through the parking lot I spotted one of the farms "mules" (an all terrain vehicle) with an older gentleman on the passenger side. (Of course I had my camera with me) I thought it might be Matt's father so I took a picture. I immediately went and got tickets for the two tours. I decided to do the town tour first. Waiting is not always my best trait. Especially when I do things on my own. So - I waited for about 40 minutes. The farm was getting busy enough that they had to get another tractor/wagon started. It was a fun tour. The best part was the 10 minute stop at Western Town and being greeted by Matt's parents - Ron & Peg! Our tour guide was great! This wasn't her normal job but she did wonderful. She even told us that Matt was on the farm doing an interview. She asked if we wanted her to call and ask him to stop by and say hi. Yeah - we did!!

We got to have pics taken with Ron & Peg. As we boarding the tractor/wagon Matt Roloff and the interviewer, cameraman and another guy named Dustin showed up. Matt talked with us and we all took pics of him in his mule.

Back at the waiting area for the next tour. Ahh - more waiting. Just under an hour! The tour was interesting. Parts of the farm you wouldn't normally be able to see. Views were great of the distant mountain range and of the lower part of the farm.

After the tour I walked around the pumpkin patch taking pics. I checked on the animals and walked through the gift shop area. I did buy myself a t-shirt. But decided to wait to get my pumpkin until DD and I go together. As I was walking back to the car I saw three guys from the camera crew hanging out, I chatted with them for a bit. They were real nice and asked me questions about how I liked the tours. I told them I liked it but on the scenic tour Matt should think about trimming the trees fo a better view of the mountains, so you don't get random branches if your pics. They thought it was a great idea. All in all it was a great way to spend the day.

Hope you enjoy the shots.
Me with Ron & Peg Roloff

Matt in his Mule

Matt being filmed

Producer guy - Dustin

One of my favs of the day

Monday, September 29, 2008

Soon to Be Fall

Here it is - Sept 29th, just one more day until October. I am so not ready for fall. Not ready to wake up in the dark, not ready for the dreary looking days, not yet ready for the drizzle that lingers for days, and not ready for the holidays that tend to cause sadness in many people.

I have enjoyed spring and summer this year, I enjoyed the slight breezes that cooled me on those hot afternoons, the smells of fresh mowed grass (even though it made me sneeze and rub my eyes), being able to attend River Rhythms with good friends, sitting on the deck listening to the silence of the night and going to bed with the window open hearing the frogs and crickets sing their songs.

The last few months I have been able to take some good pictures. Mostly because I am taking my time composing them better and I am taking the camera with me more often. I am finding that I can't get my macro shots to come out as I see them in my head. Is it the camera, me or a combination of the two.

I went out Sunday afternoon and took some flower shots at the courthouse. I like some of the but the one I was really hoping would turn out didn't do as well. A small butterfly (?) sat on this marigold for the longest time, allowing me to take many shots. The amazing part is I watched as it fed on the flower, sticking the proboscis in and out, over and over again.

I was thrilled to be able to go to the Fall Festival with some friends. I love hanging out with them. They have such a great outlook. Make me feel welcome. Cooling down with snow cones and walking downtown was just great.

So - soon fall will be upon us, gone will be the days of shorts and flip flops. Soon will be the days of jackets, long pants, possibly gloves and the days of constant rain. Soon will be the days of brightly colored leaves falling from the trees; covering the bright green grass that has sprung back to life. Grass that has been in a dormant state due to people deciding NOT to water their lawns in order to afford gas and groceries. Fall - the time of year for homecoming games, the first queen of the new school year, the time when people start worrying about the fastly approaching holidays.

May you enjoy the wonderful weather we have here in the valley. Remember - you could be living in a place that snows alot. That rain that has fallen for 3 days could equal many inches of snow in another state!!.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Up, Up & Away

I got to thinking the other day that I hadn't talked about the NW Art & Air Fest that Albany has held every August for the last 24 years.

It is the last fun summer thing I do before heading back to work.

I love this fest! So many beautiful balloons, nice people, fun activities and many photo opportunities. I have been interested in hot air balloons since we lived in Bothell, WA and saw some balloons flying in a nearby town. We chased those balloons and we were able to watch them deflate and pack up the balloon.

When we moved here in 1993 I was thrilled to see balloons flying over the house one morning. I made sure to get up real early the next morning and watched the balloons fill up with air from a fan and then the pilot ignite his burner to heat that air up, causing the envelope to rise up. Watching in amazement as they would load people into the baskets and with the push of a lever more heat would come from the burner allowing for the balloon to lift off the ground. Gently, quietly, lifting with grace the balloons would catch the slight wind currents and take off in unknown directions.

August 2001 Top of the CheckMate balloon

The next year I made sure to mark the 3 day weekend that the balloon fest would be happening. I got the kids up early and we went to the nearby high school were they were doing the liftoffs. We were thrilled when we got to help a pilot or two with their balloons. This same year we even chased the balloons and watched them land. How exciting!!

Somewhere along the line we signed up to be one the "crew", a group of volunteers who are assigned to help a pilot with his/her balloon for the weekend (or as much as you can). Both the kids were excited to do this.
As the years went on we continued to help, somewhere along the line, wonderful son dropped out of the scene and it ended up being just my daughter and I. Great bonding time, getting up at 4 or 4:30 to be on the field by 5:15 to 5:30 am. She is NOT a morning person. LOL

N and I at West A helping out! - 2003

Some pilots will even try and give a crew member a ride on the last day if they don't have passengers. I have been up 3 times, T has been up 4 or 5 times I think and N- 4 to 6 times.

But my best time going up was when N & I were able to go up together in 2006. I took my camera (duh!) and was able to take some great shots.
N & Mar holding done the basket before lift off - '06

A view from the balloon as we lift off

A beautiful shot of the pilot's brother's balloon

N looking out at the landscape

N & Mar enjoying time together
In the last couple of years my son has been helping out with the balloon fest - he and his housemate have been doing launch detail. This means that they tell the pilots when they have the clearance to lift off.

This summer marked my 12th or 13th year helping out. I ended up helping 2 pilots this year. The first one was Kevin from Louisiana and Eugene. Really nice guy, pretty balloon. He made it to Freeway Lakes where I was able to take a few shots of him over the calm lake. The day was overcast and the lighting was blah, but I did get a few good shots in. On Sat & Sun I was assigned to help Mick Vale and his wife. What a nice newlywed couple, they are a bit older than me. They askd me to help again next year, maybe. I was also asked by Kevin to help him next year and then there was Scott S. from 2 years ago, he asked for me too. WOW.
'08 - Over Freeway Lake

Count how many there are

One of my favs this year

My other fav!
I got a text from my son that Sunday of the fest. He was able to get a ride. Carrie was his pilot and he got to ride in her balloon "Ha Kunna Matta". Here she is pinning her balloon pin on son. He's even smiling!! He's so handsome, isn't he?

Hope you enjoyed the photos!!