Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Graduation from Nursing School

A week before graduation Thomas and I attended a Holiday dinner. We were all smiles because RN school was officially over.

On December 18, 2011 I marched up the stage with my nursing school colleagues to participate in our pinning ceremony. It was a nice event attended by my close family and friends.

We had a chance to thank those that helped us in the last two years. RN school has been the hardest thing I have ever done. Thanks goes to EVERYONE in my life, especially because I haven't been very present in my relationships. There were so many family dinners I missed, birthdays I forgot, meetings I didn't attend and conversations I was too tired to have. Awful, I know.

It was a happy moment to stand there on stage. I kept thinking..."This is it, I did it!"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A picture can say it all

This week I have been a bit off my game. It also happens to be the last week of nursing school. There are so many things happening this week (clinical rotation ended, last lecture, Mom went home, test on Friday, preceptorship starts on Saturday) and there are so many feelings I am experiencing. I am also feeling so much pressure as I get ready to take the last and final exam. This is it, I am done with school on Friday. Does that mean I am a nurse? Not yet, but I am so close yet so far.

So when I saw this picture on the National Geographic Your Shot Weekly Wrapper webpage I could relate. A picture can say it all!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Thomas and I are party poopers. We haven't dressed up for Halloween in a long, long time. However we love watching the kids dress up and get into the holiday.

This is my neighbor Maeli and she is a firefighter for Halloween.

May I not forget to mention she is a fashionable firefighter. She wore her glossy red boots on the night we saw her.

What are you dressing up as?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Harvesting in our backyard and in our community

October is almost over and I am still harvesting from my garden. We harvested eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers.

Thomas and I are are very resourceful in finding free food and we often turn to our community to get what we cannot or don't grow ourselves. People also know I am happy taking free food and will can or preserve what I cannot eat right away. As a result we often get free food from friends and neighbors.

Our neighbors Ron & Lucy cleaned out two of their five raised beds this weekend and shared their harvest. We got yummy bok choy, two butternut squash, zucchini and some tomatoes.

In July and August I harvested lavender from the corner shopping center behind our house. I called the owner and asked permission and he was more than happy to share his lavender with me. The shopping center parking lot has over 20 plants. He loves the lavender and I could help myself as long as I took a little from each plant and left some behind. I hope to make lavender stuffed hearts for the mom's and babies at Sutter Hospital.

These delicious golden delicious apples came from a nurse friend from Memorial Hospital. She has 8 trees--maybe more. We took three 5 gallon buckets full and we are welcomed back anytime. These mild apples will make delicious apple juice--which we will freeze for later and dried apple snacks.

These are pineapple guavas. There is a row of about 7 trees in the back parking lot at Coddingtown. The fruit just falls to the ground and rots. It is a shame! We found the trees and picked to our delight. We did take turns looking out for the security guards from the mall. I am sure it would have been alright, but we did hop on the fence to get to the top of the trees. I hope to make some jam following this recipe.

The figs were from a tree near an industrial park in Santa Rosa. This tree is huge and no one picks the fruit. Sadly we got to it towards the end of its season. The ground was full of dried figs just lost to neglect. Next year I'll hit it earlier in the season. We might eat all of the figs we harvested if not, I'll make jam.

The walnuts came from the neighborhood behind RR Square. There are a number of English walnuts in this area and most of the fruit is left for the birds and squirrels. Thomas did some tree shaking while I picked the fruit off the ground. We dried these in the oven and they are supper tasty. I am sure to be cruising the area every other day since the season for walnuts has just begun.

We attended the last Occidental farmers' market of the year on Friday night. A kind and tall farmer gave us this beautiful pumpkin for free. He had grown so many pumpkins he didn't want to load them all back in the truck, so he was giving some away. I am telling you at times I do feel like a free food magnet.

Last week our friend Michael dropped off a huge bag of hot peppers from his garden. What do you do with too many peppers? You preserved them for a later day. I pickled these following this recipe. It was easy to think about what to do because I followed Tigress in a Pickle while she hosted tigress' can jam. She started a canvolution and I am a devoted follower!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week #4: Halloween

It was a happy day on Saturday when I checked the winners of Photoberfest. There were so many great 'action' entries and I was delighted to learn I got 'honorable mention' for my sunflowers/bee photograph. YEAH!

It is Week #4 and I am sad Photoberfest is almost over : (
Thank you Katie for a spectacular month of photos, creativity and inspiration. I am already a better photographer for it.
My entries for this week are...

These our our friend Russ' huge pumpkins. This year he reached a personal record at 1700+ pounds. Go Russ!

Entry #1

As the days get shorter and colder this broken leaf is a reminder that October is here and the winter months are coming.

Entry #2

This is a beautiful picture of an ugly bird. As October winds down turkey day is coming.

Entry #3

Monday, October 24, 2011

My wish list got a check mark today

For the last three years I have wanted to capture a hummingbird in action but just couldn't. Believe me I have tried but my efforts yielded nothing but disappointment. Today, I got my wish. Over the weekend I noticed a pair of hummingbirds visiting our purple salvia bush in the front yard. My Aunt Lilly was able to get a great picture of one of them. Her success fueled my desire to get my turn. So, when I got home from school, I grabbed my camera and patiently waited by the garage door. The beautiful hummingbird appeared, she flew around the bush taking nectar for about 3 minutes before she took off. It was just perfect. Check-mark: picture of a hummingbird. Done! What do you think?

Of course there were some bad shots or misses.

The hummingbird changed colors depending on what angle you captured. Pretty cool. Next time I'll try to get closer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week #3: Action

The party is still happening over at Photoberfest.

These are my entries for Week #3.

This picture was taken a few summers ago. This butterfly just wouldn't hold still but I managed to click just at the right time.
Entry #1

Thomas and I keep bees. We have four hives in our back yard. We love watching them and it has been a personal challenge to snap a good flying shot.
Entry #2

Go Thomas Go!
Running the Healdsburg Half Marathon.
Entry 3#

Thanks Katie for the guest post. Action pictures are fun, fun, fun, fun. Now I'll have more courage to click, click away.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Photoberfest Week 2: Kids

Happy dance, happy dance!
I won "honorable mention" (scroll down to October 8th entry) for our purple potato photo over at Photoberfest. The consideration is a true honor for this hobby photographer. The picture got me a free copy of Katie Evan's e-book The Key To Taking Pictures Like A Photographer. Wow, how serendipitous, I was just rambling about my photography.

This week I am submitting three photos of... KIDS!

This little guy was attending last years Vineman Triathlon event here in Northern CA with his father. I was standing at the corner waiting for some of the pro's to get out of the swim-bike transition area. Of course I look down to see him walking around at his dad's feet and then he bent down to pick something up and well I had to take a picture of him. Sorry little man but you are too cute.

This is Miss Fifi and she is adorable. We were out on a cool morning playing in the park. She is all smiles.

We were up early watching my husband Thomas and my brother-in-law run a marathon in Healdsburg. Maya was up early with us. While we waited we thought it would be a good idea to stop and get some coffee and muffins. Between the counter and the table Maya cried because she wanted her muffin now. I caught her with mouth full of crumbs and tears in her eyes but happy. PHOTO #3

You can see why she really wanted that muffin, can't blame a girl for knowing what she wants.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Random moments on my journey to better photography

These days my camera stays at home and is often not in use because I am feeling stuck with my photography. Is it time for a class? A new challenge? An equipment upgrade?

I am at times really surprise when I capture a moment in time that tells a good story or turns out better than what I set out to do. I love how the color pops Oscars' eye and I feel like I have his point of view.

Capturing deep colors like reds and blues is still hard for me. With this picture I wanted to get a close-up of the color and detail but every time I tried (6 times with different settings and times of day) all I got was a blurry mess of red. This was the best pic. Not bad but not what I wanted. Frustration!

I have been able to play around with the focus subject of the picture to capture a different perspective. It works.

Almost every time but I desire to get even closer. I wanted that lady bug to be 2x or 3x bigger. So it is time for a new lens.

I still stink at taking good indoor pics. This is as good as it gets at times. Lots of shades, a tinge of yellow halo on everything and if I change a thing it becomes overexposed. So, yeah I do need some more instruction.
Thomas is harvesting honey from our hives. It was a deliciously delicate honey this year.

This year I have been working on letting other people take the picture, that way I am included in the action. I like asking others, most people are very happy to oblige.
This was a swarm catch and I stopped a few strangers that were more than happy to chronicle the entire catch. They were visiting from Oregon and asked me to email them the pics.
Now that I have mastered asking others to take the picture I want the courage to take pictures of strangers. I love taking photos of people but don't dare. Oh, I think that is my new challenge! D go out into the world and take photos of strangers at least one a week for 52 weeks.

Eager to catch a good pic I forget about shadows. The good thing is that I review my pics on the camera screen and for the most part am able to catch the mistake and re-take the shot. Got to love DIGITAL!

We are still doing a bit of 'long arm photography'. For some time I was trying to change my ways but we kind of like these awkward photo moments. So now we take them on purpose. We also take foot shots when we go hiking and shadow shots when the sun is setting. The collection of these moments is growing and I see an art project in my near future.

I do hang on to a lot of pictures that don't really need. When I captured this moment I took 13 other pictures of the same thing as I was trying to get it just right. Well I still haven't deleted the 12 that didn't really work. So my computer is loaded with pictures that are meant for the trash. This task will be added to my next to do list. "Delete obsolete photos STAT"