Friday, November 30, 2012

Happiness Is...

Happiness is ... being re-united with my family.  The first photo was snapped within a hour of my arrival, with me being awake for about 24 straight hours by that time.  As much as I tried, I just couldn't sleep on the plane.  The 2nd photo after I had a much needed 3 hour nap.  As you can see, School Boy is thrilled!  Me too.  Well, the traveling bit is not so fun, but it is worth it!  My poor feet swelled up like lemons on either side this trip, ugh.  Laying down never felt so good and after a day, I felt much better.  Still struggling with jet lag though, but then again, I have only been here 2 days.
Yesterday DH and I went to the DR together.  He had his routine cancer screen done and was nervous about it so was waiting for my arrival to get the results.  Happiness is... another cancer-free scan!  Three years and counting now.  They have now decided to do the scan 1X a year, so he has graduated to the next level of recovery.  This is great news - because his tumor was 3 kg they thought it was a very fast growing tumor and have really kept an eye on him these past few years.  But now, 3 years clear - they are starting to relax.  There have been long-term, lingering side effects, but compared to cancer, well, it is something we can accept.
If you are buying anything on Amazon, please use my blog links!  In case you are curious, after 1 month, I am happy to report that I had earned enough in commission to pay for the taxi from the airport.  So, obviously, I am not getting rich, but every little bit does help.  Last year I waited over an hour for the bus - it is a round-about route and finally gets me to the train station, where I transfer to a city tram and that lets me off about a 10 minute walk from home.  The taxi this year was such an improvement - zip, zip and no lugging of my bags.  So for those of you who placed an order, thank you very much!  Your order helped make my life so much easier in the final leg of my trip.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Sailing Wives of Sea Captains

That's me standing next to whale jaw bones.  They are in front of a successful whaling captain's home from the 1850's on Cape Cod.  Captain Penniman built his beautiful home after his 4th whaling trip.
His wife "Gustie" often went with him on the long journeys, as well as his children!  Gustie was infamous because she wore... trousers, gasp!  You can read more about Cpt. Penniman on this website here:  Cpt. Penniman House .

My photos from my "Big Sky" post a few posts back were taken on the same day and show the view.

I have read several excellent books about sea captain wives, plus have gone to museums and various sites.  I started this post this morning and I wanted to reference a particular book and could not find it anywhere on the internet.  Hummm.  I know exactly where the book is at my own home - being on the move all the time can be frustrating.  So tonight, I asked my sister about it and - she has the exact same book as I wanted. It often happens between my sisters and myself that we have the same things, it is too funny!  I love this book.  It is called "Sail Away Ladies, Stories of Cape Cod Women in the Age of Sail" by Jim Coogan.  I noticed that my sister's copy is autographed by the author.  I just love local history and this book brings it to life so vividly.  Don't miss the story about poor Viola Fish Cook of Provincetown who went nuts after NINE years on a whaling boat, overwintering in the arctic because the boat kept getting stuck in the ice (can you imagine?).  Understandably, she went nuts and that was just the way it was.  The book is filled with other short stories too and many photographs, illustrations and maps that bring it all to life.
Another great, great book (this one a historical fiction novel) is by Beth Powning, is called "The Sea Captain's Wife".  Beth went to museums and spent a long time getting the period details accurate.  She led a writer's workshop that I was fortunate enough to attend several years ago before the book came out and she was telling us a little bit about it, so of course, as soon as it came out I snatched it right up and was not disappointed!  It is a lengthy novel and easy to loose yourself in a totally different time period.
If you have read either book - feel free to leave a comment telling everyone else how you liked it!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Birds Are Playing

I was at the beach the other day and the birds were playing in the waves.  There were plenty of birds out further in the water away from the wave break, but this particular group were "playing".  They did it over and over again and then would get out of the water, shake off their feathers, dry off a bit, and then hop back into the water!

The little shore birds were scurrying around too...

A little further down the beach, the seagulls were looking for food!  They love it when the tide goes out a bit and the seaweed full of shellfish is left behind for easy pickings.
Along the beach, some of the houses are up on stilts.
Just don't go out that front door!  They still have to build the deck - so I guess they just recently raised this one.  Do you blame them - look how close they are too the water!
Do you like bird watching?  I never thought I was much of a bird watcher, but I guess I really am - now I just need to learn all their names!  In my family, almost all of us have a pair of binoculars in our car - never know when you might want to see something up a little bit closer!  I wish I had mine with me the other day, but I was still able to get pretty close and use the zoom on my little pocket camera.  May I suggest a bird watching book or a pair of binoculars?  Please use my Amazon links below for anything that you might be considering about purchasing!  Thank you!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Coupons and Small Pocket Cameras

One thing about my little point-and-shoot camera is that I almost always have it with me.  It fits into my jacket pocket, my purse, my beach bag, etc. with no worries.  I don't have to worry about lens covers, different lenses, how big and heavy it might be.  If I am at an event - I don't even have to worry about where to put it because it fits into my jeans pocket!  Generally, I have it with me.  Yes, cell phones do take photos and those photos look great on the phone screen, but just try enlarging those photos to 5X7 or 8X10.  It doesn't come out too clearly.  So, a little pocket camera is the way to go if you think you might ever want to make enlargements.  And - it is GREAT for capturing funny little things that you come across during your day.  Such as...
Yesterday I was in the grocery store and came across... a coupon for tea - stuck to the tea with scotch tape.  But that's not all...

Lots of items had coupons taped to them - toothbrushes, shampoos, canned goods, cereals...

I am a big fan of coupons - if it is something that you are going to use.  I often go on-line to the stores and print out a weekly coupon before I go shopping.  Saves money and every little bit adds up over time!  I recommend a coupon organizer!  My son is a great coupon fan too and the organizer helps him see what we have coupons for.  

I guess someone went into that store with their weekly coupons and a roll of scotch tape - hoping that maybe they could help someone else save a dollar or more.  Whoever the mysterious coupon clipper was - I think she/he was pretty generous to take the time to try to share.  And I was surprised that the store hadn't removed them.  Who knows - maybe it is a weekly event at this store - I had never been there before, but it seemed like a friendly place!
My sister asked me why I was taking these pictures and I told her that I was going to do a blog post about it.  I wish I had more time to blog - so basically, I have to MAKE more time to blog.  Do it instead of thinking about it.  I see so many interesting (at least to me) things that I would like to think that if I could be better about blogging I can be your eyes to my little part of the world.  OK, maybe not exactly interesting in an intellectual sort of way, but in a quirky, human nature sort of way!  
Please remember that if you are going to buy anything on Amazon to please use my links box at the top right of my blog.  Thank you for your support!  If you don't have a little point and shoot camera, I highly recommend having one.  I have no favorite brand in that department - my sisters and I all have different ones and each one has their good points and weaker points.  But the point is - it doesn't matter what camera you have - if you do not have it with you then you will miss some great photo opportunities!
Pocket Cameras!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Big Sky Days

I have been missing my camera lately and have been making an effort to make sure I have it when I go out somewhere.  Not my little, snappy camera (which is great, because I always have it , but my SLR).  Part of the issue is that it is 9 years old now and some of the technology just doesn't "talk" with the newer technology anymore!  Still, it is a great camera and takes such great photos!  My camera is a Canon Rebel DS6041, also known as the 300D.  The thing is a little tank and my son has been taking great photos with it for, um, years!  In other words - if my son can figure it out, so can you!  I am finding that as I get older, I am not liking things with little, itty, bitty buttons.  You can check out Canan cameras or any other kind of camera from Amazon using my link here:  

 I am linking to my style camera (not the same, exact model though), but using this link you can browse around and look at other things too!  
Canon EOS Rebel T3 12.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm IS II Lens and EOS HD Movie Mode (Black)

I have a fabulous, almost fish eye lens, that I just love.  Now mind you, the lens is slightly broken - for some reason it pops out of its housing - I have had it to the repair shop and it has  been glued, but it sill pops out.  The simple solution to this issue is just to be aware of it and push it back in place.

I seem rather taken with taking "big sky" photos lately.  Can you blame me, look at how beautiful it has been!
If you have a SLR, and are curious, my "big sky" photos are taken using a 19 - 35 mm lens (1:35 - 4.5).  It is called a wide-angle lens. You would have to check to see what would work with your camera, but here is a link to Canan wide angle lenses:  
Wide Angle Lenses

Just remember - any time you buy an expensive lens, spend a few extra dollars on the filter!  I have scratched filters before and the scratch would have been on the lens if it weren't for the filter!
  Lens Filters - Worth the Few Extra Dollars!  Because really, the camera doesn't cost as much as your collection of lenses (and you will start to want a few once you have this kind of camera!).  My rule is that when I buy a lens, I buy at least 2 filters.  That way I am never, ever tempted to use my lens without a filter!

I hope my links are working today!  I have gotten a few e-mails about some links not working - I think I have that fixed now.  And, I have received some e-mails that people are ordering from my links!  Thank you!!!  
For those of you that don't know - in addition to everything else that I squeeze into my day, I am also a college student.  Last year I went full time for 2 semesters; this semester I am taking 2 classes over the internet.  Mid-terms and report deadlines have just passed so now I hope to have a little bit more time to blog.  At least for the next few weeks until finals and more reports are due.  I am looking forward to this little lull in my schedule - I need a some time emotionally to go out and enjoy that "big sky".  

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

The Old Voting Box

I live in a small town and we tend to do things... the old fashioned way!  This is our ballot box... every ballot is hand cranked into the box and then the counter flips and tells you what voter number you are.  For this presidential election, I was #1184 right around lunch time (last presidential election I was in the mid 300's - and they let my son put the ballot in the box while I snapped the photo!).  Our town had a total of 2187 votes this election - so I would say - a much higher number of voters compared to last election.  Last census said we had 2749 residents and that includes all the children too so I would guess it is a high percentage of registered voters who voted.
But anyway - I know we ALL have heard enough about the election, this post is more about our very old ballot box, which I think is neat.   I know - someday I might be looking at it in a museum and wondering how that happened!  You never think that things you grow up with will end up in a museum.  They gave me permission again this year to take a photo of my ballot going into the box.  At the end of any election (town elections, presidential election, etc.) - all those votes are HANDCOUNTED.  Usually, the newspaper does not have our town results in by press time.  Because - they are still being handcounted.  Well, we don't have to worry about loosing data or malfunctioning machines.
We also still hold "town meetings".  I have mixed feelings about town meeting because these votes are counted by a show of hands. If it is a controversial issue, many people simply will not vote because they know everyone is looking around to see who has their hands up - while the vote counters click their tickers.  This is especially true for the business owners in town who do not want to alienate their lively good for the sake of voting.  However, ballot questions are "secret".  We have some voting booths with dividers in between, but we also have long table with no dividers!  Anyway, I just wanted to share this "living history" photo with you today, now that all the hub-bub has settled down a bit.