Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Warm sunlight, cold snow

Pat noticed the way the very warm setting sun was kissing the trees to the east of our park with light yesterday afternoon, and called me to come see. I tried taking a few photos of the scene and will post three of them here. The sunlight looks warm but the temperature was right about freezing level so the warmth is just an illusion.

LME winter 01
This first photo is what Pat noticed while wrapping gifts at our kitchen table, looking to the east. The house is our neighbors across the street, the trees are on the hill behind our park up where the condominiums are located near the golf course. I doubt there is much golf being played now- we have something like 16 inches of snow.

LME winter 02
This is Little Mountain, just to the south of our park. It is a telephoto shot so the distances have been compressed- it is not really this close. If you look carefully you can see the RVs that are on the storage lot in the right lower corner of the photo. Ours is one of those lumps of snow.

LME winter 03
Here is the view to the north with the foothills in the distance. The poplar trees are bare of leaves but their branches are dense enough that they reflect this very warm sunlight. The snow on the evergreens almost looks warm. It isn't.

The light you find from just before sunrise to an hour or so after and in the hour before sunset to just after is almost magic. The challenge with a camera is trying to keep that magic in the light. I think it will be a lifelong learning experience for me but I do enjoy it. I just wish this snow would go away and we'd get back to our more normal weather pattern!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


Christmas lighting and Snow

Winter came to us this week. Over the last weekend we got about four inches of snow which isn't too bad, but then it turned cold and we had a couple of days when the temperature didn't get above freezing. The roads got cleared fairly well as the humidity was down and the city did get sand out. I had our driveway and sidewalk cleared and it was in good shape. Up to when we went to bed Tuesday night.

Then Tuesday evening it started snowing again. Hard. It kept it up until about 16:00 today at which point we had over a foot of snow. That is very unusual for our area as we normally have none over an average winter. Now our friends in Canada are sending another mass of very cold air south so it will clear up and be sunny but we'll have night temps in the teens and daily highs only up to the mid 20s for the next couple of days. On Sunday it is supposed to warm up a bit but then we will also get more snow.

Our house in the snow 01
Here is a photo of our house taken today about 17:00 just after I got home from getting my mocha at Starbucks (some things you just have to do, regardless of the weather.) I should have cleared the snow off the little snowmen, and the bush at the right side of the house has so much snow on it that many of the lights there do not show well in this photo, but you can see what was done by Mother Nature.

We just stayed home yesterday with me clearing the driveway and sidewalk about five times, only to have it fill back in with snow. We have something over a foot of the stuff now. I really don't like snow but we have a lot less than my brother who lives east of the mountains in Spokane. They set a new record for the amount of snow that fell in a 24-hour period, over 19 inches. They currently have more than two feet of the stuff and it has almost brought the city to a standstill. I guess things could be worse here!

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Friday, December 12, 2008


Christmas parties and computers

Every year our community holds a Christmas Party for the residents on the second Tuesday of December. This was the third one for Pat and I to attend together and she was one of the table hosts. I don't have a lot of photos to post but here are a couple taken this year:

Christmas party 2008 00
This shows the room before the party started. It is held in what we call the Mirror Room. The decorations and table settings were beautiful. There is enough room for eight tables, each set for eight to be seated. The party committee members prepared turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy while the other foods were brought by those who attended in potluck style. There was plenty of food.

Christmas party 2008 01
Here the tables are filled with happy people, eating a great meal. The table in the foreground is the one Pat hosted and if you look carefully you can almost see her in the lower right corner of the photo. It was a fun evening and I think everyone was home by 21:00, after cleaning up.

I've fallen a bit behind on posting here but we have been busy. I've got my new computer up and working- I'm using it now to write this. I love the machine- it is very fast, even at downloading files from the camera memory cards. It came with a program called PC Move that involved hooking a special cable between the two machines through their USB ports that transferred not only data but program code and the necessary registry information. I have had some struggles to get some of the programs working and still haven't tried my two flight simulators. It may turn out that I'll want to remove them and reinstall each in order to have them work right. I did order the machine with Windows XP as I am not fond of Vista after fighting with it on my newer laptop. I've made the jump from Microsoft Office XP (2002) to MS Office 2007. It is a lot different but so far hasn't been as much of a problem as I was afraid it would be. You know the idea of trying to teach an old guy new tricks. Well, the menus are different but so far, even with MS Word which has more changes than about any other of the programs, they seem to be pretty obvious. I'd say that there are definitely some things I like better about it. I almost have my other computer ready for Pat to move to it, probably will have that completed by the end of this weekend. Now to go wrap some more gift packages.

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Kite flying from our ocean RV trip

One of the things we did while at the ocean on our RV trip to Ocean Mist RV Resort at Ocean City, Washington last August was take our kites along and fly them. Here at home the winds seemed a bit fickle whenever we wanted to go kite flying but there is usually a steady breeze on the coast that comes off the ocean. The day these were taken was no exception.

Kite flying 01
Here is Pat flying my kite. Hers is a frog but my owl was up so I asked her to take its controls while I took some photos. This patch of grass is behind the RVs that were across the roadway from ours and between the RV park and the ocean itself. It was a great place for kites what with the steady wind, no trees nearby and plenty of open space.

Kite flying 02
A closer view of my kite. They are pretty inexpensive kites but actually fly pretty well when there is enough wind and it is fairly steady. I think she got them at Walmart for $5 each and that included the string. Pretty cheap fun!

My new computer that I ordered from Costco.com came last Wednesday. The monitor to go with it came a week sooner but it only came from California while the computer itself came from New Jersey. I ordered an extra 500GB hard drive and an extra DVD player/writer from Amazon.com and of course they came from different places and the HD didn't arrive until Monday this week. I only wanted to crack the case once so waited for both of them to arrive before installing either. I started setting it up on Friday, installed the two drives yesterday and finally got Microsoft Office 2007 installed last night and just today got Outlook setup with my addresses, past emails, etc. from the other machine. I have this new one sitting on a small RV table beside the other one but am about ready to swap the two machines. I'll put the other one on the laptop counter near Pat's computer to move her things to it, then put it in place on her computer desk. One of her daughters will take her old one home so all of them will be in use. I've now got enormous storage space with almost 2 terabytes of storage on hard disks, counting the external drives. What a change from 25 years ago when I first started playing with computers!

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