Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Great Adventure - Part 1

I know a few people have asked me to blog about our massive road trip adventure while we are on it, and I'll do my best!  We are staying with some awesome people tonight (friends of friends) and are using their wifi.  We also bought an American SIM card for Nick's phone this afternoon so that we have text, talk and data while we travel (under an American number) so I might be able to do some uploading from the car from time to time as well.

We left afterwork yesterday and got to the boarder by about 5pm.  Unfortunately, the website I was looking at was incorrect and we were stuck in a 1-2 hour wait.  We pulled out some pillows and our books on tape and settled in nice and snug while the rain pounded down outside.  I thought it was pretty awesome that almost every iconic symbol on the "Welcome" sign was one we planned on seeing!


We were greeted by the most cheerful border guard I have ever met who even went out of his way to make small talk with us.  We crossed with no problems and grabbed some quick Subway and filled up with cheap gas.  Unfortunately, we still had a good half-day's drive down to Portland, so with full stomachs and our story playing through the speakers, we were off.  (We also were smart and brought along some empty milk jugs to fill with water and juice mix.  It seems like a great idea until I tried to spoon the mixture in and dumped sugar all over our new car only 4 hours into the trip!

We continued South in the dreary weather.  As we went I pulled out a book and started reading something to Nick, when he suddenly said, "the sky is getting cool".  I looked up and he was right.  The entire world was orange and glowing.  It got brighter and brighter and we couldn't figure out why.  We realized that after the torrential down pour, the sun must be breaking through in some sort of amazing sunset.

Suddenly we broke out of the trees and were met with rolling fields covered in mist with literally, I mean LITERALLY, the most gorgeous sunset I have EVER seen.  I took a picture, but I promise you it no where NEAR does it justice.  The camera just couldn't capture the blues and the yellows and oranges the same way.  Or the massive rainbow opposite us.  It was still absolutely POURING outside as we looked for a place to pull off the highway and quickly grabbed our coats and cameras.  This is exactly what I wanted this road trip to be about.  I wanted it to be about having an adventure, experiencing the world together, and taking TIME.  I remember actually thinking to myself the previous week - "I want to take the time to sit and capture all the sunsets that pass me by as I run from one job to the next, week after week".  How amazing that our very first night we were met with this!  (The subway bag came in handy as I punched a hole through the bottom of it and slipped my camera inside after realizing how dangerously soaked it was getting along with me).

We piled back in the car and it took a good couple hours to dry out after that.  You can't tell because I cleaned it up a bit, but the photo above had quit a few rain drops all over it from my lens getting soaked.

Nick drove on and on into the night, right through Seattle, continuing towards Portland:





We were pretty exhausted when we finally arrived at our destination just after 11:30pm.  My friend Tara hooked us up with some wonderful friends of hers who let us stay with them that night and are doing so again tonight.  We're meeting so many cool people.  We even had a lady from the online photography 365 group I run drive up to Portland and have dinner with us today so we would meet in real life.  I have to say, Portland folk are pretty darn hospitable and friendly.

Okay, back to this morning.  We woke up not-so-early after such a late night, but were ready to play tourist.  We were greeted by a beautiful sunny day that didn't even require us to wear our coats.  I took about 20 minutes this morning to stretch and do my exercises and, while my footwear is still tacky, my feet seem to be holding up so far.  We'll see how they do as the trip goes on.


We met up with the lady we're staying with downtown and grabbed some Starbucks (courtesy of a very thoughtful piano family I teach that gave me a $40 Starbucks card just for our trip).  We walked over and explored the famous Powell's books.  Nick was in his glory and is curled up with a book beside me as I blog right now.





Next we walked down to the also famous "Voodoo Doughnut" shop.  I really didn't want one, but we couldn't pass up seeing what was causing people to literally line up for almost half the block!

Nick picked out one of the "tamer" flavours and went with Oreo.

Next we drove across town, picked up a few things, and spotted a lovely park.  We, of course, had a car full of snacks and blankets, so we loaded up and went to lay in the sun for a bit.  We hot-spotted our computer (with the new data plan we picked up for our time in the States), and booked our hotels in LA for next week since we had some time to do a bit of deal shopping.

Then we met up with a photography online friend for dinner, and later met our hosts at a little pub that had the walls lined with books and games.  We played a few rounds of Munchkins and then headed back to the house to relax (and blog, obviously!).



And now it's almost 1:00 in the morning again (for the second night in a row) and everyone is heading to bed, so I think I'll do the same!  Good night!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 86 - 99)

Well, I guess I'm a couple days late posting this week.  Between my current online photography course, being sick, and changes at work, I've been pretty busy.  So busy, in fact, that our vacation crept up on me and is suddenly one week away today!  Very excited.  Here's a little glimpse at the hectic previous week.

Wednesday, I made dinner of whatever I could find in the fridge (eggs and toast works for me!) and combined it with my homework assignment to shoot spirals.  It's a little more involved that that, of course, that that's the gist of it.  The round frying pan did the trick, once I cropped it to fit the overlay we were matching up with.  Then I cleaned up the house and went to bed.  Nick came home later in the evening to help me finish cleaning.  He had to work that night and I was home so late from teaching (since he had the car) that we both didn't end up going to Life Group.  

Thursday I ran out in the rain during my lunch break to quickly complete another homework assignment.  This time I found the spiral in the front area of these buildings.  It comes in from the bottom right edge, follows the stairs around and ends on the trees.  It's not exactly the most inspired photo....

I feel like I should give more of a visual of what I'm talking about, so here are the pics darkened with the spiral overlays:


Friday I was supposed to go out for dinner with a co-worker, but I was coming down with something, so I immediately got home, put on the warmest thing I could find, took this picture, and then crawled into bed:

Saturday I was all out-sick.  I didn't even leave bed to take my photo.  I think I went through an entire roll of toilette paper and multiple packs of Halls.

Sunday I still felt pretty sick, but I was booked to shoot a birthday party that afternoon, so I pulled myself together and went out for a few hours.  I came home right after and spent the rest of the night in bed editing the shoot:

Monday was a typical day at work, followed by teaching, followed by a late-night homework assignment.  Nick was also working late into the night to try and get on top of all the work he has to do before we leave next week.  I think we both finished around 11:30pm and watched a quick show.  (We stay up way too late...).

My homework assignment was to create a portfolio and host it on-line.  It was kind of a hack job, and I didn't manage to label any of my files properly, but here's the temporary end result:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/120409901@N02/sets/72157643683678365/

Tuesday I had just enough energy after work and teaching to lay on the floor and take a super, uncreative photo of my shoes.  I think I was still getting over my sickness from the weekend and the late night on Monday:

Wednesday I was teaching down in the adjacent city again.  It wasn't my usual week to do this, but since one of the families was going on holidays next week, this was their make-up lesson.  Nick was working down town and couldn't pick me up, so I had to take the sky train / bus home which made me super late for Life Group.  Missing the first train on purpose to grab this shot also didn't help....  Nor did stopping at Burger King on the way, but I have learned that staying out til after 10:30pm combined with skipping dinner makes me way too grumpy, so it was a necessary delay.

And today, I haven't taken my photo yet.  I have a couple back-up ones on my camera that I grabbed on my way to pick up lunch in case nothing better comes along, but I think I'll wait because they're pretty lame.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 85 - 91)

Wednesday Nick was feeling pretty rough.  This is the second time in all the years that I've known him, that I've seen him get this sick.  Some late night tea after Life Group to still the coughing was in order:

Thursday I was really starting to feel it, too.  I taught all morning at work, and spent a couple hours at my desk, but I was home and asleep by 4pm.  After a nap and some aspirin and I was feeling a bit better later in the evening, but not so much for Nick....

Friday Nick picked me up from a friend's home after work in order for me to make it home in time for the video team meeting at our place that evening.  (Not that I'm a part of the video team - I just wanted to be there for the food, ha!).  I was walking along the road waiting for him to pull up, but found myself under a tree in a sudden, unexpected downpour a few minutes later.  Once it cleared, the weather was quite ominous and foreboding, and looked like this as we neared home:

Saturday was worship practice.  While everyone heading down stairs for pizza, I quickly slipped behind Nick's drum set to grab a photo.  This weekend relied pretty heavily on the piano, which stresses me out, but also makes it that much more fun.  Playing with Nick also makes it awesome and our favourite sound guy was on that weekend too.  I may have ended up laughing so hard I started crying when we were supposed to be paying attention during practice.

Sunday I took a photo of our "kids".  The competition theme for my 365 group for March is "a-day-in-the-life" and I wanted this particular shot for the collage I was making.  Sunday afternoon Nick had a work meeting, but I laid on rug in front of the fire and worked on homework for the photography class I'm currently doing.  It was wonderful and the most relaxed I'd felt all week.

The finished collage looked like this:

Monday night after teaching was done, Nick and I spent a couple hours on the couch each working on our own hobbies and watching Netflix.  After a super long day at work, and 4 students that night, it was a much needed reprieve:

Tuesday was a pretty typical day except that we had an orientation for a project at work that made it so I got home a little later.  I spent most of the evening after my piano students left working on the "golden triangle" rule for my photography course homework.  This shot is a little bit of a "snap shot" in nature.  It's grainy, the overhead lighting is poor, and Nick has a bed frame going through his head.  Oh, and if you didn't notice, there's an awkwardly placed bear.  BUT it fits the "golden triangle" rule.  So, that was hard enough on it's own!

In case you're wondering what that is, it looks like this:

A strong diagonal line implied (by their heads), with four triangles, and subjects placed where the triangles intersect.  Not so easy to do without a stuffed bear or two ;)

Friday, March 28, 2014

Weather Schizophrenia

From walking in the DRY evening taking some photos, to suddenly waiting under a tree for 15 minutes for Nick to come and rescue me from a torrential downpour, to the entire world going grey and foggy with it being almost impossible to see out the car windows, to brilliant golden light bursting through, I'm convinced the weather just threw an equivalent of a tantrum.







Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Photography 365 Project: (Days 78 - 84)

And suddenly I remember it's Tuesday and now it's late and I'm tired.  Thus, here's a very short recap of my week in photos.

Wednesday's shot was grabbed in the car between Burger King and dropping Nick off at Life Group so that I could go have a coffee date with my mentor.  I found out my hours at work are a bit later every Wednesday starting in April.  This is only going to destroy my life in terms of juggling work, teaching piano and then church group.  Thankfully summer holidays is coming soon and it won't matter.  In the meantime, Wednesdays just got a lot less appealing....

Thursday is brought to you by my caffeine addiction.  This entire week is a bit of a fog, but I can tell you that from the window sill that the cup is sitting in, I know I was in the training rooms at work that day teaching!  Other than that, not much of interest stands out in my memory about this day.

Friday's shot sums up my mood that day perfectly.  Nick thinks the fact that it's out of focus adds to the look.  I think I was not up to trying again by the time I got it on my computer and realized it was slightly blurry.  It's been a rough week.

Saturday evening was games' night downtown with some friends.  These are a couple of the custom-made pieces Nick is working on for them.  Before heading over there, we went and saw a matinee showing of Divergent.  It was pretty good.  Other than the fact that we booked our tickets for the wrong theatre, had to madly drive to the next city over, get our scene points refunded and then madly drive back just in time to catch the next showing.  We were a little late for games night after all that!

Sunday I started another online photography class - Composition and Creativity.  This week's assignment is to have your subject take up no more than 25% of the entire frame.  You're going to notice a theme for the next few pictures I'm sure!  Sunday was also the day God had mercy on my energy levels.  I was completely and utterly drained.  But then Nick got sick on Saturday night.  Nick NEVER gets sick.  This is the second time in 5 years that he's come down with something of significance.  It meant that we didn't go to church and we didn't have a family over for lunch that afternoon.  Then, to add to this, his work dinner called and cancelled, so he didn't have to go out that evening.  Thus, I called and cancelled my coffee date for that evening as well.  So instead of having four social engagements in one day between the two of us, we stayed in bed ALL DAY and made ice cream sundaes.  In bed.  Because why would you make them in the kitchen?  I feel SO much more ready to do life after that much needed day of rest.

Monday Nick got to hang out with his sister for the day while I worked, but then my last piano student of the day texted and asked to move their lesson to Wednesday, which I was more than happy to accommodate in this case because it meant I could jump in the car that evening and drive with them back to the ferry.

Tuesday I blogged (obviously).  I spent the evening teaching a couple students, having a phone date with a dear friend, and practicing for worship team this coming weekend since one of the pieces that I have never heard before in my life has extensive piano parts throughout and I cannot find any tutorials online.  So I'm figuring it out by ear, matching it with the audio file I have, and then transposing what I figured out into the key of B (which has 5 sharps just in case anyone was counting).  Needless to say, this one song is going to be the death of me.  Thankfully the other 4 are pretty straightforward and familiar!  And now I'm going to bed.  Or at least... heading in that general direction.  Maybe.  Tomorrow's photo may be of coffee again...

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