Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Holidays!

I can't believe Thanksgiving has come and gone already. There was and is so much to be thankful for in my family this year. I think I had some angels watching over me.

I'm back at work now. The cardiologist was able to do an electro conversion on me and it was successful! My heart is back at its normal rhythm and I feel strong once again. Honest, 24 hours after the conversion, I felt almost as though the heart attack had never happened.


I'm being kept on the blood thinners for another few weeks to ward off the threat of any blood clots that may have been lurking around. I appreciate the protection, but the medicine is giving me some very bad headaches daily. I've never been one to have a continued problem with headaches. I can't take aspirin or any sinus medicine. In fact, I can't take anything that might even remotely help me with these headaches, so my defense has been to try and doze off as early as I can in my recliner each night. This doesn't leave a lot of time in the day or night to fool around on the computer.


I like the Holiday Season. This is one of my favorite times of the year. It's fun to watch Trenton get all excited about the prospect of Santa and the gifts under the tree. We're making lists at my house this year and we're checking them twice.


After my heart attack, all of the chores fell to Paulette. It's nice to be able to help her out around the house again. I also love all the aromas I'm starting to smell around the house, too.


Trenton is pitching in and doing his part to help out as well. This whole affair seems to have brought us all a little bit closer as a family and sure has given us a chance to see just how lucky we've been and how we've been truly blessed.Happy


Cold weather comes late here in Savannah, Georgia. This year, though, we've had a few cold snaps that were a little unexpected for so early in the season and record lows were set.

This is a shot of one of our lovely bushes the day after one of these cold fronts marched through. All the blossoms seemed to fall at once all together. We may be in for a long winter here this year. Of course I'm seeing the word "snow," pop up in a lot of the other blogs out there, so I guess I shouldn't complain too loudly, LOL.


This reminds me that it is time to go buy the family tree. I look forward to having Trenton here to help me decorate it this year. With Trenton here I know Paulette and Aunt Sandy will all chip in to put the ornaments on after Trenton and I finish with the lights. It will be another family event and a lifetime memory for us all. I'll be taking lots of pictures to share will Y'all.


Yes, for our family this will be a very special Holiday Season. Please keep your thoughts and prayers going for Donna over at D's Designs. Donna is recovering from a much more serious heart attack than the one I experienced. She's doing better, but recovery is always at a slow pace for what she's gone through. I know she will appreciate each and every thought and prayer.


As a final note for this post, I need to credit my Microsoft Publisher program for the clip art in this entry. The photo of the bush was one I took myself, or course.

Happy Holidays, everybody! I'll try to get around a little more and to post a little more often through the Holiday Season. See Ya soon!

Sam

Monday, November 3, 2008

On Hold Due To Some Health Issues

I just wanted to write a short entry to let everyone know why I haven't been posting or reading journals lately. After posting my last entry, I felt very weak and became out of breath easily. The next morning I drove myself to my doctor's office instead of going to work. He took one look at me and called an ambulance. It seems I suffered a very mild heart attack.

I spent three days and nights in the hospital while they did every test they could on me. The dye procedure showed that all my arteries are clean as a whistle and that there was no damage or loss to the muscles in either the upper or lower chamber of my heart. What I have is an atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heartbeat.

I'm currently on some heavy duty blood thinner medication to reduce the threat of blood clots. In a couple of weeks, the doctor will put me under and shock me back into a regular heart rhythm. If the procedure works, I should start feeling normal almost right away. Until then, I still get winded extremely easily and can feel pain in the chest area. The blood thinner makes me feel different… I don't know how to express it except to say things have a surreal quality to them and I don't do well at reading for long periods.

I'll start up here again once I have the procedure and feel my old self again. In the mean time, I hope you are all doing well.

Sam

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jan’s Birthday Celebration

My sister Jan celebrated her 60th birthday this past August.
Her husband, Dave, started laying plans many months in advance. Every year before Jan's birthday he calls me a month or two ahead of time and asks if I can come for a visit on Jan's birthday. I made it one year, about six or seven years ago. Because her birthday falls in August, it has proved impossible to attend in the last several years because of my job. He almost fell off his char this time when I said yes, I'll be there.

August is not only a busy month for us at the marina, but in the past few years, they have been moving the start date for the local school system up earlier each year. I lose my high school summer staff now around August 10th and my college staffers leave around August 5th.

This year, though, was special. Not only was it Jan's Sixtieth, but she and Dave have just moved back in from having to completely rebuild their home after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina three years ago. That's not all, though.

Jan has just retired from the Army Reserves as a full colonel, after four years of active duty. I hadn't seen Jan in over Seven years, so I talked to my boss and we found a way for me to attend. I'm sure glad I did.

I arrived on a Thursday morning and Jan picked me up at the airport. It was a pretty laid back day. The big party wasn't until Saturday night, but guests would be arriving from out of town over the next couple of days.
Dave was at the marina checking on their vessel, "Winter Solstice." It's a Carver Motor Yacht and a key piece of the puzzle for their retirement years. This boat was found in a very obscure parking lot after Katrina by Dave's son. The entire family had been searching New Orleans for a couple of weeks following the storm before its location and fate were discovered. The boat has been refitted and is just now being put back into service. Dave arrived back at the house as Jan took off for the airport again to pick up her son, Evan.


I hadn't seen Evan in over a decade and was pleased to find he had matured into a pleasant and thoughtful young man. Evan and I stayed up late that first night catching up with each other and doing some male bonding.


With Dave was Phil, a friend of his from his Army days. Phil works for FEMA and had some very interesting experiences to share with us over the next couple of days. Phil and I lounged around the pool for the rest of the afternoon, and were joined later by my nephew Evan. You can just make out Phil at the far end of the pool deep in relaxation, LOL.

The next day, Jan and Dave's friends Bob and Mary arrived. They are a delightful couple and also Army Alumni with Jan and Dave. Bob worked with Dave in a training division and a few years later, Jan worked with Bob's wife Mary in a medical outfit. Later in the day, the seven of us took off in the "Winter Solstice" for an afternoon of cruising across Lake Pontchartrain. Here's Bob and Mary sitting with Jan on the aft deck of "Winter Solstice."


I must admit that the theme from Gilligan's Island ran through my head as we set off for the horizon that day.










I had any doubts put to bed early by Dave's competence at the helm. It was fun joining Dave at the steering station. Yep. Two guys just out for a good time!












Here's a shot of Phil having way too much fun! Lake Pontchartrain is one big lake and you can't see the other side when you leave port. Our destination was all the way across the lake to Madisonville where we would be treated to a great meal at a local seafood restaurant. The distance involved gave us a lot of time to enjoy cruising on the boat.











Yep! That's me with Jan, the Birthday Girl.

Every one eventually made it up to the steering station.








































Well, with one exception. Mary didn't make it up there, so we all went down to the aft deck to see her and Jan, too.








Of course, I was in charge of seeing to the needs of the captain, so I was in constant motion; at least




when my drink started to get low, anyways, LOL. As we reached the other side of the lake, we started seeing some very typical examples of just how beautiful Southern Louisiana really is.



I really loved the beauty and serenity of the lake over by

Madisonville! We were able to tie up at a dock along a sea wall almost directly in front of the restaurant.



A short walk across the street brought us to Morton's Sea Food Restaurant.


Here, we enjoyed a casual dining atmosphere and some great Sea Food.

Here's a shot of Jan and I after we finished our meal and before we boarded "Winter Solstice" for a very peaceful and pleasant voyage home. I was going to include more about the weekend, but I've put so many pictures in this entry that it is getting quite long. I'll do another, shorter, entry later to finish out my visit and her party.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Arrival: Star Date 10-13-08

When I heard that AOL was canceling the Journals, I was shocked, just like all the others who used the service. It took a week before I decided my plan of action. I decided to save all of my entries into a word processing program and store them on my hard drive. During that process I weighed all the options and finally decided to wait and see if AOL really could transfer our journals successfully to another service. Imagine my surprise when they succeeded. So, here I am at my new home and wondering, "What now?"

While saving all my journals onto Microsoft Word 2007 documents, I realized that there was a template option I had never tried before. It was a template for a Blog Post. I have decided today to try it and see if doing this in Word is going to be any easier that the other method of posting. Once I chose this template option, I had to register this Blog with Microsoft and also my Photo Bucket account in order to display pictures. It was easier than I thought it would be and I'm excited to see how this comes out once I save it and post it.

As for any news my way, let's just say we are all adjusting to the rhythms of the school year for a fourth grader and looking forward to the Haunted Halloween Trail Cub Scout Camp Out at the end of the month. All the camping gear has been purchased or pulled out of storage and a costume has been selected thanks to Aunt Jan's generous donation to the cause. Thanks Sis! I won't spoil the surprise but I will promise a picture of Trenton in full costume before we hit the "Trail."

I have a lot to do to spiff up the place here at Blog Spot, but that will come in time. In the meantime, I will do a post, I hope, tomorrow all about my trip to New Orleans and my sister's birthday party celebrations. There will be many pictures, (too many, perhaps), and it will be interesting to see how that all works out with this new system. Thanks to all who followed my link from AOL Journals over here and welcome to any others that happened by and stayed to read.

It will be nice if we can preserve our sense of community as we migrate over to here and other locations. Perhaps we can even expand on it now that we are in a bigger blogging domain.

Monday, September 22, 2008

You want me to sleep Where???

The date on both the entries tells me it’s been two weeks since I, and I quote, “revved up this journal.”  Yet, it seems like only a few days.  Life is being lived at warp speed compared to just a few months ago.  Just this morning Paulette told me before she left for work that we had been getting, “too old too fast,” and that this was God’s way of bringing us back to a more active and youthful lifestyle.   Yawn… personally, I’m ready for a nap, LOL!

Some might suggest that the title for this journal be changed from “Dock Lines…” to “The Trenton Chronicles.”  When I think about why I started this journal originally, that would suit me just fine.  However, in a more philosophical look at “the bigger picture,” I realize that no matter what the title, I have chosen to write about my life and this is a chapter that, though unexpected, I admit I am looking forward to write.  I’m thrilled to have the little guy around for the full year and to be a close part of his life in these formative years.

His first week at school found Trenton bringing home a plethora of information about the coming school year including events and activities.  Amongst the info was a pamphlet on the local Cub Scout Pack.  I ended up taking him to the general sign up meeting two weeks ago and last Thursday Night we went to the first Pack Meeting.  This Thursday night will be the first Den Meeting.  By now you get the picture, Cub Scout meetings from now on every Thursday night.  It’s not like the Boy Scouts where you drop them off and pick them up later.  No, a parent or guardian must stay with the child during the meeting times and also must accompany the child on any camping trips that are scheduled.

                    

I went through scouting as I grew up and loved the program.  Now it is different in many ways.  When I was in Cub Scouts it was run by mothers.  We had Den Mothers and your parents did not stay for the meetings, but dropped you off.  There wasn’t a Den Mother to be found at our first Pack Meeting.  Nope, the men have taken over Cub Scout leadership. 

To get the kids fired up about the coming year, the scout leaders were constantly touting how much fun the kids were going to have on the scout camping trips through the year.  I started camping when I was eight years old with my family as we toured Europe.  Dad was stationed in France and every break we got from school just about was spent visiting another country in Europe.  We found that camping grounds were clean and friendly and heavy on the amenities throughout Europe in those days.  They were far cheaper than hotels and camping afforded us the opportunity of meeting some really great families at the camp grounds.

I enjoyed camping in Florida as an adult.  My best friend Ken and I outfitted ourselves with all the necessary gear and camped on all the barrier islands we could in the Tampa Bay area.  We would set up camp sites anyone would be envious of and spend entire weekends on the islands leaving only to fish or scuba dive.

These days, my idea of camping out summons up a vision of a quaint A-Frame Chalet in the mountains with a log fire going in the huge fireplace, retiring to a bed filled with eiderdown, and eating out at the local restaurants.  Imagine my surprise to find myself in the camping aisle at Walmart shopping for a tent and air mattresses.

              

Scouting is not cheap.  My mother used to tell me this as a child and I had no idea of what she was speaking about.  Well, brother, let me tell you, I do now!  Just the scout shirt Trenton needs is over thirty dollars.  There are about a gazillion patches and numbers and insignias and each one brings a dear price.  Then there’s the neckerchief and the neckerchief clasp or holder, whatever it’s called.  They have two part pants now.  You unzip them and they are shorts for the summer and zipped up are long pants for the winter.  One must rob Ft. Knox to own a pair.  Oh, and don’t forget the books, they are a MUST!

Paulette bought him the book with what remains of her pay check and I bought half of the camping gear with what I had left over from my pay check.  Next pay day I’ll get sleeping bags and whatever we lack as far as flashlights or lanterns are concerned.  I’ve been told that at these campouts we will eat in a communal fashion and the food will be cooked at the Boy Scout Camp cafeteria.  Thank goodness!  I’d hate to be buying propane stoves and camp tables as well.  Oh, Paulette will start assembling the uniform with HER next pay check.  Disposable income is a thing of the past in THIS household!

                  

Trenton is having a blast with the other kids in the barely controlled chaos they call meetings.  He can’t stop talking about the first planned campout of the year, The Haunted Trail Camp Out scheduled for October 31st.  The kids are supposed to bring their Halloween costumes and will go through what I’ve been told is the most complete and elaborate and scary Haunted House the scout masters have ever seen.

So voila… I’m now a Cub Scout again.  Let’s all say the pledge together.  “I promise to do my duty, to God and my county, to help other people, and to obey the laws of the pack!” 

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Summertime, and the living is EASY???

Hello again, my friends.  Summer is over and it’s time to either shut this journal down or rev it up again.  I’ve decided to rev it up again.  This may turn out to be my only link to a semblance of sanity for the coming winter.  I’ll explain that statement in a little while.

I’m not going to recount the entire summer in one entry.  I’ll touch on the high points and then revisit some of them in subsequent entries in more detail.  We did get to Disney World and had a great time.  I did go to my Sister’s birthday party just outside of New Orleans in Slidell, Louisiana.   They finally completed rebuilding their home three years after Katrina and had moved back in.  What a great job they did with the place.  It looked beautiful.  I got out of Slidell a few days before Gustav took aim on the area and Jan and Dave had to evacuate once again.  This time the damage was so slight it’s not worth mentioning.  I’m glad; no one realizes how stressful that whole process has to be for the ones who went through Katrina.  Glad you guys made it through okay this time, Jan!

I put a lot of energy into this summer.  As most of you know we had Trenton, my nine year old grandson, stay with us for the summer.  So, out came the bicycles, we joined the community pool, and we took him to Disney World, MGM Studios, and Universal Studios Theme Park.

 

                       

I had been worried about Trenton learning how to swim as the summer began.  It turns out he learned how to swim like a fish and was diving off the high dive in short order.  Before the summer was through, he could do flips off the diving board.  They even asked him to join the swimming team.  So, mission accomplished … Trenton learned how to swim.

 

                              

When the summer was over, I was feeling pretty good.  We got through it in one piece, although I gained all my weight back.  Trenton left us to return to Michigan with a ton of lifetime type memories and quite a haul of toys and videos we spoiled him with.  Time to lay back and recoup … you know, return to the peaceful routine we have all grown accustom to in this household.

Then it came time for me to fly to my sister’s in Slidell.  It was less than ten days since Trenton had left.  My flight was very inexpensive, but was at an unbelievably early hour in the morning.  I was to get up at Three Thirty A.M. to get ready.  The phone rang at Three A.M. that morning.  Not good!

Trace, Trenton’s father in Michigan, had been missing for over twenty four hours.  It was his fiancĂ© letting us know that she had reported him to the police as a missing person and that Trenton had been left alone in the house for the duration with no adult supervision.  I had to really think about whether to get on that plane that morning or stay with a badly shaken Paulette.  She insisted I get on the plane.

Much later that day riding from the airport to my sister’s house, I learned Trace had finally turned up.  He claims it was a gambling jag at a casino, but we will never know if drugs were also involved.  Paulette was going to call me again when she had more information.

To make a long story short, DEFAX, (family services), in Michigan began searching for Trenton and were going to place him in a foster care situation until they could evaluate whether to let him live with his father again or not.  Paulette used the emergency credit card and that Sunday morning, while I was still in Slidell, Trenton arrived back in Savannah.

Georgia recently enacted a Grandparent’s Emergency Custody Act.  Because of this new act, we were able to cut through a lot of red tape and get him enrolled in fourth grade within a matter of a couple of days.  He has just completed the first full week of the school year and likes his teacher and the school.

During the summer Trenton slept on the couch in the Living Room because we had set up a big TV and DVD player in a wall unit in that room.  Now that he was going to be with us the entire school year, he would need his own room.  Immediately upon my arrival back in Savannah, I started shopping for a twin bed and changed around some wall units and moved the TV and DVD player and wall unit into what had been our computer room/office.  We moved furniture out and moved furniture in.  The net result is that Trenton has his own room now.   I’m exhausted.  We are all exhausted.  It is no accident that humans bear their children when they are young and have the energy for it.

But, we are a family and we take care of our own.  We come together in emergencies and provide what we must to get through it as a family. 

I now get up at 4:30 A.M. in order to get ready and not be tripping over both Paulette and Trenton as they prepare for their day at the time I USED to get up and get ready.  That means that I now fall asleep at night between 8:30 and 9:00PM.  Honest… it just doesn’t seem real, but that is what’s going on in my world.  Not complaining, mind you, just letting my friends and family catch up with this old Dock Master and the ever changing circumstances that life tosses my way.

I’m back, but making the rounds very slowly.  Bear with me; I haven’t turned any alerts back on yet.  I plan to do that gradually over the next couple of weeks.  Meanwhile, I’m getting used to a parenting role that is so unexpected, but so very necessary.  Paulette and I are exhausted at the end of every day now, but we are holding our own, hanging tight, and will make it through all of this. 


I send my thanks to all of my family in Louisiana that has been sending so much love and emotional support our way.  My thanks to all of you, my friends, for wading through this long post and for all the emotional support I know in advance you will lend.  That’s just the way J-Land is and I’m so very glad to be back with you all.

Sam

 

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Taking a Break For Awhile!

As you all can see, I've been on a break from journaling.  I just wanted to let you all know that I am fine and all is well in my world at the moment.  I will be continuing this journal, but must take a break from journals for at least the first half of this summer.

With all the price increases in fuel, who would have thought that the marina is busier than it has ever been in it's history?  I think the high price of fuel may be causing folks to stay home instead of taking trips this summer, so they are using the money saved to fuel their boats.  At any rate I have my hands full at work.

On the good news front is the fact that our Grandson Trenton will be arriving by plane this afternoon around 5 PM for a visit.  We will be able to enjoy his company for six weeks before sending him back to his father.  I can't possibly tell you how excited we are and how much preparation we have been doing leading up to this visit.

Trenton is now nine years old and he has never been to Disney Land or Disney World.  We plan to remedy that by taking him to Disney World in Orlando later this month.  If we survive the trip, LOL, I'll have pictures to post when I resume this journal again in July.

We also joined the commnity pool association so that Trenton will be able to go to the swimming pool while he is here.  I just found out that he still does not know how to swim.  As a former competitive swimmer, I will not let him leave here without knowing how to swim this summer.  It could save his life!

  It was really tough for me to get some time off in the summer because its our busiest time of year.  I'm lucky that I have a very understanding boss and that I was able to hire enough help this summer to cover for me while I am gone. 

I'm going to be taking advantage of those two factors again in late August when I fly to New Orleans to attend my sister's 60th birthday party.  I haven't seen Jan in at least six years and I am really looking forward to the trip.  By the time I arrive she will have retired from the Army Reserves as a full Colonel and will be enjoying a much deserved period of rest in her life.

So, that's that!  I am fine, the family's fine, but I'm outa here for a while longer.  I can't bring myself to shut this journal down, it still means a lot to me to be a part of this community.  So, please bear with me and my eccentric writing schedules for yet another year.  I look forward to spending a great fall and winter sharing photos and news and just being here with you all once again.

I had to turn my alerts off sometime last month because my mailbox topped out a few times at 999 and I hate to just delete Journal Alerts from my friends.  I'll try and get around from time to time during my hiatus to read and comment if I can, but those instances may be sparse, so please forgive! 

I wish you all a great summer and I pray for everyone to be safe and sound until we can meet up here again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Showdown at the Back Porch Door!

The famous “ Docklines …” opening:  “It’s been a while …,”  or, “I can’t believe it’s been so long since my last post.”  Take your pick; these lines seem to have become interchangeable for this journal in recent years.   I almost always have good reasons.  Never excuses, mind you, but reasons.  This time is no different.

Since my last post I have been very busy.  I lost one of my full-time employees, (my Assistant Dock Master joined the U.S. Coast Guard and gave his notice), and I hired a new hand and worked many overtime hours because I wanted to train this one myself.  I have also been attending concerts.  Yes, I said concerts, LOL.

The Savannah Music Festival kicked off on Thursday March 20th at the brand new Charles H. Morris Center with a concert by Brazilian Jazz musicians Daniel Santiago and Gabriel Grossi.  Santiago’s fluid fretwork on the guitar was matched by Grossi’s masterful technique on the chromatic harmonica.  It was a brilliant performance and, because it was the first concert ever at this new venue as well as the first event of the festival, it was heavily covered by the local media.  My picture was on the front page of the Savannah Morning News the next day as I was sitting front and center at the performance.  That’s me sitting there in the middle of the photo wearing the red and black jacket.

The next concert I attended was the following Wednesday night, also at the Charles H. Morris Center.  The first concert was by the blues trio of Eric Culbertson, followed by a concert by another blues trio fronted by Sean Costello.  Each artist was masterful in their own right, each with their different styles of the blues.  The blues doesn’t get any better than it did that night!

I was fortunate on Friday night to have the pleasure of seeing Bruce Hornsby and Ricky Skaggs in concert.  These two recorded an album together a while back and have performed together many times since the release of the CD.  I thought it was an unusual pairing, but was not prepared for the shear mastery and perfect blending of these two talents.  Ricky had his Kentucky Thunder Band on stage with him and Bruce Hornsby’s piano was another addition to the band for the evening.  They played some of Bruce’s hits and some of Ricky’s hits and some hits they did together.  Then Ricky did some of Bruce’s songs and Bruce sang some of Ricky’s songs.  The way these two voices blended you would have thought they were brothers.

Tomorrow night after work, I get to see The Derek Trucks Band.  Derek is one of today’s foremost guitar players and just got back from his tour with Eric Clapton.  He is also married to Blues guitar artist and star, Susan Tedeshi.  It promises to be one heck of a concert.  Thursday night I will see a performance by slide guitarists from around the world.  Derek Trucks will be one of the four performing artists in that show; he is one of the most respected slide guitarists in our nation.

So, there you have it.  The stress of losing an employee, the hiring and training of a new one, the burning the candle at both ends by indulging my passion for music at night, and reporting to a regular job by day.   Oh, and add to that the fact I had to go in on my day off yesterday due to the fact that it was the last day of the month and I had to do the month end inventory for the Ship’s Store and the monthly walk-through of my wet and dry boat storage areas.

When I got home from work yesterday, I was in my bedroom changing back into shorts and tee shirt to kick around the house in and I noticed some activity out on the porch.  I did a double take when I peeked out there.  There was a full grown peacock staring at little Miss Emmie through the glass door on the other end of the porch.  I quickly made my way out there with camera in hand.  The peacock, a female, was not fazed by my presence and continued to examine Emmie as though she might be a future meal, LOL.

Emmie held her ground and did some championship staring right back:

I went into the kitchen to get a shot of the bird from a different angle and was able to catch a shot of the only time the peacock spread her tail feathers:

After a while, the peacock wandered around the yard a bit and then just moseyed on off:

In what spare time I have had, I have also been practicing my guitar and trying to do the extra credit Photo Challenge presented by Marie last month.  The challenge was to do a photo project that you had never tried before and, after learning how to do it, present a tutorial on what you started with, what you ended up with, and what you did to get that result.  I have finished my project, now I just have to figure out how to present the tutorial.  I’ll get back to Ya’ll on that one.

I’m sorry I have not been around to read journal these past two weeks, but my whole sleep schedule has been thrown off and I find myself over sleeping in the mornings and I have not been home a lot at night.  I usually don’t get out much, so these night time forays are taking their toll on me.  I hope to get back to normal by the end of this week.  Until next time, take care!

Monday, March 3, 2008

AOL Community Photo Challenge - March into Spring {Advanced}

ADVANCED CATEGORY - MARCH INTO SPRING

This week's challenge is MARCH INTO SPRING...Is spring popping up in your neighborhood? Daffodils and crocuses popping up through the snow? However spring is arriving (or did in the past, if you're still snowbound), share it with us!

This week's Photo Challenge made me take a close look around and, sure enough, there it was!  Spring popping up right there in my yard.  Here is my entry for the March Into Spring Photo Challenge.  The top pic is the official entry, the second one I included because I thought it was a good shot and deserved to be seen, too.  There is still plenty of time to join the Challenge, all are welcome to participate.  Click the Photo Challenge banner above, or right here:  Community Photo Challenge.

I used a new set of close up filters that I recently purchased.  This is the first time I have tried using them.  There are three in the set with a magnification of 1X, 2X, and 4X.  They are stackable, so you could have the equivalent of 7X if you cared to.  For these two shots I stacked the 4X and the 2X.  I found I cold get closer and more detail with these filters than I could with the macro setting on my camera.  I shot some with that setting two, for later comparison, and I really did like the new filters better.  I did not crop these at all they are framed just as they were in my viewfinder.  I also played with contrast, color temperature and saturation when I developed the raw files.

The trip to Athens came and went without incident.  I did not get to shoot any pictures while I was there.  My fault more than anything else, but I'll blame horrible weather on the second day.  I spent the first day driving around the town and walking around the campus of the University of Georgia.  I fully expected to come back the next day and shoot anything of interest I had noted.  However, the skies opened up on that second day and it was not fit for man or beast outside.  I'll plan and execute better next year when we go to the same training seminar.

Well, I'm looking forward to getting around and seeing all the other entries in this week's Challenge.  I'm sure I'll be treated to a lot of good photography!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

New Extra Credit Photo Challenge

Creative Challenge-Collage

We have a new extra credit Challenge going right now:


Another Creative Challenge-COLLAGE

The Self Portrait Challenge seemed fun & successful, so I wanted to add another this
 week.  Again, you can enter anytime you want. 

The collage can be of anything...you decide, post it on your blog, come back here &
 leave a link. You can add a little explanation on what you did & why.   PLEASE
 follow GUIDELINES (use permalinks).  Like the last creative challenge, there will
 be no judging.

I have posted these collages in past entries, years apart.  I won't make you go back through the archives to find them, I am putting all three collage examples up here for this extra credit.  I have done other collages of sailboat regattas, too, but hey, that would just be overkill, LOL. 

I saw in another entry on this Extra Credit Challenge some editing techniques that are new to me and I want to spend some time learning how to create in a similar fashion.  Don't be surprised if you see more collage samples in the future.

This is the first collage I ever attempted with my digital camera which, at the time, was a Fujinon.  I was inspired by our newly acquired kittens.

Most of my long time readers have come to know about our cat Emmie and the special bond that developed between the two of us.  This collage was inpired by Emmie.

This final collage was done over two years ago to demostrate the process of removing huge items of debris that gets trapped in our marina from time to time.  These items, if left in the river, would prove to be a danger to any boat.  They are hard to see and easy to hit.

I wish I had the time right now to experiment with the new techniques I have observed, but I must finish two loads of laundry that are both in progress and get ready for a road trip tomorrow.

Paulette has to attend a training seminar in Athens, Georgia, about a four and a half hour drive from here.  I have taken a few vacation days to drive her there.  I will take my PC with me, (the hotel advertises wireless internet), and my guitar as well as my camera.  I'll amuse myself each day while she is in her training sessions and I hope to return with some good photos.  The hotel is on the grounds of the University of Georgia, so I am gauranteed some interesting sights right off the bat!  We will return home on Wednesday.  For all the thieves and burglars out there, Sandy will be remaining at home.  (Just kidding J-Land, I have more trust in you than that, LOL).

If you see a guy on a street corner in Athens, Georgia over the next few days playing guitar with a cup on the ground in front of him, toss in a coin or two, it could be me and you know what the price of gas is these days.  (WINK)!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Photo Chalenge Extra Credit

 

The gang that is hosting the AOL Community Photo Challenge has challenged us to do a self portrait for extra credit.  This is just for fun so that we might get a glimpse of  those that are joining in on the Challenges.  Its fun to put a face to a screen name. 

At any rate, I am going to submit my self portrait, presented here in collage form.  All the shots in this collage were taken yesterday, 2/15/08.  I used a tripod and the timer setting on my camera and took off or put on different work jackets for the different colors.

I encourage everyone to click on this link to the challenge and go to the comments section to get the links to all the other self portraits of the Challenge Gang!  There are some really creative responses to this one and it is fun to see how each photographer responded.

AOL Community Photo Challenge:  Self Portrait 

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

AWARDS

First of all, I just want to say how excited I was to learn that Monica and I won first place awards for the recent AOL Community Photo Challenge.  I am humbled by the judges choices and I also want to say thank you to all who left me such nice comments about my photo.  I must say, Monica's photo was great, too, and I'm glad we are getting to share the award.  Interesting that a winner in the advanced Challenge and Nancy, the winner in the Beginners Challenge had a cat in the shot, LOL.  For a complete list of winners and links to see their entries click on this link:  AOL Community Photo Advanced Challenge

While I'm at it, let me add that I was really impressed with the photos in the Beginners Challenge.  We have some great photographers here in J-Land at all levels!  Click on this link to see the winners of the Beginners Challenge:  AOL Community Photo Beginners Challenge.

Now, while we are on the subject of awards.  There has been an award being passed around J-Land sinced the beginning of the month.  It is the Nice Matters award and it is really a great way to tell each other that we think they are nice and that someone appreciates them.  I want to thank those that have sent this award on to me and apologize about taking so long to post on the subject.  You will see my award proudly displayed now in my sidebar on the left.  There are two versions of the award, one for the ladies and one for the gents.

As I traveled around J-Land these last ten days or so, I have noticed that almost everyone already has recieved one of these.  So nice to see the widespread show of kindness.  Here are some very deserving folks who need to have one of these on their sidebar, too. First the ladies:

 
 
 
 
I have chosen one male to recieve this award from me.  He actually sent me one, but that is not why I chose to send him one back.  There is no one quite like Guido here in J-Land.  He has a heart big enough to fill two continents.  His compassion towards his fellow man is evident in almost all he writes.  He is ever vigilant to alert us to visit those who might need a little encouragement or comfort.  His sidebar should be filled with these awards.
 
 

Well, I'm off now to go on a little photo adventure.  If I'm successful at shooting the event I am about to go witness, I'm sure you will be seeing the results here in some future post.  I need to stop and get a haircut on the way there, so I'd better get a move on.  Take care everyone, I'll see you all next Monday or Tuesday for sure.