Thursday, August 24, 2006

We had an incredible storm today! It even took the weathermen by surprise. We don't normally have storms in the morning during monsoon season, but this was right around 9 a.m. and it was totally amazing.

Take a look at this tree! I'm not sure the exact cause, but it was in our office parking lot and was either struck by lightening or blown apart by the wind. Either way it was quite twisted and damaged. Apparently there was a car parked under it when it happened. The rain was coming down in buckets and several people were also tranded in their cars because they tried to cross washes that were too deep...stupid people. Someone's home was struck by lightening in the east valley and caught on fire...very sad. I immediately thought that if our house caught on fire I'd probably lose all my pictures. That would be REALLY sad for me...all those fun pictures of family and friends gone... Well, I'd better get busy getting copies to Amy so she has my backups and vice versa.

Speaking of preserving pictures, my brother Pat has been here several times over the last few weeks bringing all of his pictures so we can store them for him while he goes on his next adventure. He plans to ride his bike along the gulf coast from Corpus Cristi, TX to Fort Meyers, FL. Yes, he's really gonna do it! He leaves 1 week from today. Oh my brother, Pat...that's a very long story...maybe I'll get into it another day...I'm too tired now. I'm going to relax a little...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The flurries are past...

It looks like the initial flurry of blog posts have died down since several of my friends must be either too busy or already bored with their new blogs. I guess I'll attribute it to the start of the school year for many. It doesn't impact us too much since the kids are grown and out of the house. We won't see as much of our daughter Amy and her husband Andrew, because she starts back to ASU this week working on her Master's, but then we don't see them enough anyway.

I've added some friend's blog links on the right. Take a look at Antje's. She's got some links to some of her great photography. She's my friend (and former boss's wife) from California and both are originally from Germany. She's so sweet. I'm glad she keeps in touch once in a while since Uli's not so good at it. Sometime I'll have to write about Uli. He's a kick! He was very kind to me when I worked for him. I treasure their friendship.

I'm going to a photography workshop this weekend! I can't wait! These are the guys who are teaching.

BOB KRIST: World-renowned photographer Bob Krist is frequently on assignment for magazines like National Geographic Traveler, Smithsonian and Islands. He serves as a contributing editor for both National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer. With his travel photographs he’s earned awards in competitions like Pictures of the Year, Communication Arts and World Press Photo. He’s also been named “Travel Photographer of the Year” by the Society of American Travel Writers. One of his photography books, “Tuscany,” spent a month on the New York Times bestseller list. Share in his expertise of all seven continents, their photographic offerings and the techniques that have made Krist so successful.

BRUCE DALE: With over two thousand photographs published by National Geographic alone, Bruce Dale's vision and creativity have twice earned him the title “Magazine Photographer of the Year.” Dale has photographed in over 75 countries throughout the world and the world itself, on board the NASA Voyager spacecraft. His innovative work with digital imaging has earned him honors from the Smithsonian Institution. A unique, coveted style of natural spontaneity serves as a signature to his photos. In the field, Dale exemplifies patience, problem-solving ability and experience in working with “real people” and, accordingly, can teach how to create astounding images.

...Pretty impressive, huh? So next week, my pics should be absolutely amazing...just kidding-give me a few weeks...I can tell you that I'll be even more ready to travel once I'm done though...not that I could be any more ready than I already am. We started a top 10 list of places that we want to go soon...not too exotic yet, and some we've already been to, but some places we liked enough to want to go back and stay longer. Here's the list at this moment in no particular changes often.

  • Australia/New Zealand (can't go all that way to just one of them)
  • Ireland/England/Scotland
  • Germany, well most of Europe
  • New England in the Fall
  • Hawaii (I've been there, but Terry never has...I'd like to go back too)
  • Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park, Glacier National Park
  • Mediterranean region
  • Florida/Key West, etc.
  • Alaska again...some friends just moved to Kodiak Island!
  • Terry wants to go down the Amazon, but that's pretty far down on MY list, like 100
Oh, the photo is just another awesome Arizona sunset taken tonight.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


Hey I read about this site in Money magazine under the title:

How to Cut $150 off your Grocery Bill

Check it out :

I used to do a lot of this without a website in our younger poorer days, but it looks like these guys do all the research and information gathering for you and it looks pretty reasonable…

These days I find it hard to squeeze in time to sit down and make my grocery list from the items on sale this week and cut the coupons, sort them, etc. I know it would save money, but since we just need groceries for two of us, I feel like my time is more valuable than the money we would save. Of course at some point that will probably change again. Oh, I'm still a bargain shopper and won't buy something if it's not on sale or within my acceptable range, but I splurge more often just to have a great meal and don't feel too guilty about it.

Speaking of food, I bought one of those designer "personal" watermelons the other day (because they were on sale) and it was REALLY DELICIOUS !! That smaller size melon actually works well for Terry and I because a big one goes bad before we can eat it all unless we have people over. Anyway when I cut it open, I realized that the smell of watermelon instantly reminds me of summer. I don't know about you, but I've been really aware lateley of how I'm so thankful that God gave us a sense of SMELL. There are so many scents that flood my mind with good memories and connect me to happy thoughts. Unfortunately, I can't post the smell of the watermelon, but decided to post the pics and let you imagine the smell.

A few other things that provoke strong memories for me are apple cider, caramel apples and the SMELL and sight of fall leaves. Whenever I smell fall leaves this little memory clip runs through my head. I can clearly recall my elementary school teacher (in Vermilion, Ohio) taking the whole class out to walk around the huge yard area around our school in the Fall. We talked about how the leaves looked and smelled and even sounded under our feet. It was such a blast! I encourage you to experience that someday when you're in a place where the leaves are falling, or better yet, take your kids out and walk in the leaves with them. Rake them into huge piles and run, jump, roll around, throw them in the air, cover yourself, hide, and enjoy. I'm so thankful that the wonderful sights, sounds and smells of Fall will always be indelibly etched in my mind. Thank you God!

Hey here are some pics from Sedona, AZ that remind me of Fall. While looking for the apple pics I came across the adorable one of Andy & Julie above. They are just so cute and the fall leaves are amazing!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

So 3 posts in one week! That's a bit scary. I'm sitting here waiting for a photo card to print, which takes a little while, so I thought I'd post another little bit. I'm surprised that this wasn't my first subject since it's been so recently and we had such an awesome time. Here are just a couple of pics from our recent vacation in the Pacific Northwest. It's really hard to post JUST a few pics because I took about 800. Well, I got a new digital SLR camera a few weeks before we left and there was so much gorgeous scenery that I went a little crazy. If you want to see some of my favorites you can click the link on the right of this page for more photos. Warning there are LOTS of pictures of nature, flowers, mountains, favorite subjects, but you can leave the website whenever you get tired of looking at them and I'll never even know.

This first picture is of our friends Paul and Jane. Paul is pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Mabton, WA. He was also our pastor at Placerita Baptist Church in Santa Clarita, CA about 8-10 years ago and we fell in love with both of them and their sweet spirits and fun nature. We spent the first few days of our vacation with them at Mount Rainier and in Mabton. It was great fun and we were sad to leave them. We'll definitely go back before another 8 years passes by and hopefully they'll come to visit us soon as well.

Here's one of Terry and me at Butchart Gardens near Victoria, BC, Canada.

The next photo is called the Sunken Gardens and it's there as well. This is an amazing place with millions of flowers, plants, fountains, streams, gardens, etc.

If you're ever in the general vicinity of Vancouver Island it's definitely worth making a detour to go there, ESPECIALLY if you're a flower lover.

One strange thing on this trip was the fact that this was the first long vacation that Terry and I have taken since the kids moved out, so it was kind of odd that (besides the 4 friends that we saw in the first few days and the last day) he was my only familiar human photo subject for most of the trip. Plus we had to ask strangers to take our picture if we wanted any of us together, so of the 800 that I took, I'm guessing that less than 50 have people in them.

O.k. last photo for now. On the last night of our trip we had dinner and a great visit with Ernie and Johanna. Aren't they a cute couple? Ernie was an old friend from Vermilion High school. Well actually, to be more precise, he was an old boyfriend from high school. Yeah, it was a little strange for Terry and I'm sure for Johanna, but they were good sports and we really had a great evening catching up on where life has taken all of us over the last 30+ years. We also got to share news about all of our children, who are pretty much grown now.

We had an awesome meal of seafood at Salty's on the Columbia river. Unfortunately it was during a very hot spell in Portland and they didn't have A/C, but the food was delicious and our waiter was a kick. You would think he owned the place! He was great. We also got a beautiful twilight view of Multnomah Falls...another place not to be missed.

So those are the highlights of most of my people pictures from our trip. Maybe soon I'll fill you in on another series of encounters with Frank and Rosemary from Chandler, AZ but that will have to wait for another day...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

So it's Saturday and I have a bazillion things to do, but am deciding to do this. I'm feeling creative today and don't feel like cleaning or organizing. I may go to the Arizona Home and Building Expo later to get some inspiration for the house and the landscaping, but Terry's working in the yard now so hopefully we'll go later.

One of the things that I've grown to love about Arizona is the monsoon season. Sounds crazy, but it's one of the few times that we get to see any reasonable amount of clouds.

It's also one of the few times of the year where we have any consistent potential for rain with some great thunder and lightening in the storms. Although they're different, they remind me of the storms in Ohio. Maybe I'll have a chance to get some storm photos soon. I've been admiring the clouds every night on my way home from work, but never had my camera with me. I finally took these pictures the other night from the car on our way from north Phoenix to Tempe.

I really love the clouds that we get to see this time of year!
I remember when I was young...11 or 12, when I had a pony named Midget (yeah I know) ...anyway, my friend Nyoka (she was part American Indian from Oklahoma) and I would ride our horses without saddles out through the fields. We would lay back and look up at the clouds trying to imagine shapes like animals, people, objects. We had so much fun letting our imaginations go wild for what seemed like hours...What a great way to enjoy the lazy days of summer as a kid! Maybe that's why I like clouds so much.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

O.k. here we go... This is my first posting to my blog. I really have no idea how much I'll be able to keep up on this, but it's fun learning how to do it and seeing the results on the screen. As you'll find out, I love photography and travel, so you'll probably see many more photos from our adventures. Oh they're not scary or daring adventures, but just new places to explore and experience and new people to meet.

These are from a trip that we took to northern Arizona in March. We had no expectations to see snow, especially in Sedona, but it snowed about 2 feet that weekend at the higher elevations and quite a bit in Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. For those who don't live in Arizona, you may not realize how unusual that is. It was so awesome!

Growing up in Ohio, I had seen quite a bit of crazy weather in my youth, but I think it's been 10 years or more since I had seen the snow actually fall and to see so much of it in such an already gorgeous place was just incredible.

The last picture is of some of our most precious friends who made the trip with us. (Jay & Sharon and Andy & Julie) Some of them were a bit hesitant (to say the least) once we were traveling on the slick roads, but they braved it with our careful driver, Andy and came away unharmed.

It was the most fun I've had in a long time! The snow was so refreshing and beautiful. God's creation is absolutely amazing and I love to see all the different ways that he treats us with these unexpected surprises.