Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It just keeps on coming.

I took the day off as a vacation day -- use it or lose it. Another winter storm came through. Probably another 5" and that was as of 4:00. I met a friend for lunch at Logan's Steakhouse. YUM. We spent about 2 hours there enjoying the food and conversation. From there I went to visit my folks and shopping. Then it was home and attack the driveway again.

The problem with the driveway is that when I blow the snow into the front yard, it fills in the sidewalk that leads up to the front steps so then I have to blow that out but I can't blow it high cuz it would go in the neighbor's driveway or my front sidewalk. As I looked out across the back yard, a lot of the snow is piled chest high (I'm 5'7"). It's DEEP.

Tomorrow they are calling for rain. NOT GOOD!!!!. I'd rather have the snow. Rain will bring on flooding and then ice when it freezes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Looking out my windows

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Looking out my front door.


Frost on the front door.

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I love the snow on my neighbor's side door. ( I love photographing doors.)

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Looking out my kitchen window.

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Looking out the back door.  This does not show the show that has since become an overhang.


Basically it is a nasty day.  They are saying on TV to please stay off the roads.  They have even pulled most of the snow plows because they can't keep up with the blowing snowing.  The airport is open but it is a challenge.  I'm glad I'm on the inside looking out.

Winter has officially arrived

Although here we think it arrived a month ago. Today it blew in with a vengence. It is snowing and blowing like crazy. I am afraid my driveway is going to be drifted full by the end of the day and tomorrow may be a challenge blowing it out before I can go to work.

I think all churches in Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties are closed. It is NASTY out there. And cold -- temp 16 with chill index of 2. Yup, a whole 2 degrees. I'm staying inside today for sure.

Friday, December 19, 2008


WOW, we got some snow today. It started about 3AM and by the time it stopped at around 2PM we had gotten at least 12 inches. The roads were pretty much ok until I got to my street. There were 2 vehicles -- a van and a panel truck -- stuck at the entrance. So I sat and waited wondering if my little car (Hyundai Sonnata) would be able to make it. The two vehicles finally made it out with lots of help and then the wife of the panel truck driver pulled in with her full-size car with front wheel drive. Yup, she got stuck too. After a few pushes she got to a neighbor's driveway that was blown out. So I tried my luck. My little car just plowed right through. I parked in front of the neighbor's house where he had blown out the street. I waded through knee-deep snow to get the snow blower out of the garage. An hour and a half later, I had my driveway, patio, sidewalks, half of the neighbor's driveway and the street in front of my house all blown out. Now I'll wait until the next storm -- Sunday. Total snow total for the season to date 41", normal average for the season 72". And Winter has not even arrived yet. Oh boy!!! I'm very thankful for my snowblower.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Half way through December almost

Today is Dec 14 and by the temperature you would not think so. More like the end of Oct, first of Nov. It is 44 degrees at 9PM. This is not really good news because the snow is melting and by tomorrow the temperature is supposed to plummet and we will have ice everywhere. I did manage to get a lot of the ice scraped off my driveway this afternoon. But there is still some left. Anything that is wet today will be ice by morning. I'm wondering how the roads will be for driving into work.

Tonight I was looking for some quilting patterns for a friend and came across my Coke Santa and Polar Bear picture. I'd forgotten about it. It is now hung in the living room. I really like that picture.

Christmas is just around the corner. I'm almost ready. Two more gifts to buy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


It's a day to reflect on all the blessings I have received this year.  Most of all I am thankful that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  The other things that are up there in the top 5, in no particular order, are a job I love, a great family, many wonderful and special friends, and good health.  I am truly blessed.

I spent the day with my folks and one of my brothers, 2 of his kids and his friend who has pretty much become a part of our family.  I did my first turkey today.  It was not all that hard.  I might try it someday on my own.  I probably should get a roasting pan first though.  Can't imagine doing one in those flimsy throw-away aluminum pans they have for them. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Winter already???

What is the deal?  Last week up through Thursday it was shirt-sleeve weather.  In fact, we set a record for 4 70-degree days in a row in Nov.  By Saturday evening we had snow on the ground!  It didn't go away until yesterday during the day.  Tonight we are having sleet. 

The good news from the weekend is that Calvin Women's Soccer team are MIAA champions!!!  They beat Alma 4-0 for the championship.  Regionals start Friday on their home field.  It is always good to have home field advantage.  I just hope the weather is better than last weekend.  They won the championship in COLD rain.  Go KNIGHTS!!!

I did see something kind of cute yesterday.  Geese usually fly in a V.  Well, they walk in a line.  There were about 30 of them walking across the field at work all in a nice line.  I sure wished I would have had my camera.  Got to get one to carry in my car or pocket.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Early bird gets the picture

This morning (Saturday) I got up kind of early (somehow I turned off my alarm without waking up) and headed to Holland State Park on Lake Michigan.  I wanted to get some pictures of Big Red (the lighthouse) without shooting into the sun like I would do if I went in the evening. 

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This one, although the composition is not so great, excited me because I was there when the tug was pushing out two barges.  I've never seen that before at this location. 


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Monday, October 13, 2008

Milkweeds - A memory from childhood


Sunday as I was driving along I kept seeing these white cottony things growing in the fields.  I couldn't figure out what they were but I decided they would make a great picture.  Kind of made me think of what cotton might look like.  Finally my curiosity got the best of me and I stopped at this field.

When I realized what it was, I was immediately taken back to my childhood when we had these growing in our field.  I have not seen these in a hundred years at least.   When they are still green and you break them open you get a sticky white milky substance all over your hands.  That would be the reason they are called milkweeds.


Once they dry they are so pretty.  Many people use the pods in floral arrangements once the seeds have all blown out. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A beautiful day for a color tour

Today was an absolutely beautiful summer day but with color.  It was 82 today.  Amazing for this time of year.  I wandered up north about an hour to visit my former pastor and his wife at their church.  I love that church.  They actually sing hymns!!!  We then went out for dinner.  They had another commitment so I headed out toward Mancelona.  Never made it.  The color was so pretty around their area. 

Decided I'd try the self-portrait thing.  It sort of worked. 

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Indian Summer

Yes, this is it for sure.  It has been absolutely beautiful yesterday and today.  And tomorrow is supposed to be almost 80.  Monday will still be nice but cooler and a few clouds.  I think it will be a wonderful day for going to a college JV football game.  I'll go watch my girlfriend's grandson play. 

Today I got some laundry done, and took the folks on a few errands.  I'm sure glad they have gotten moved and are enjoying it.  I had lunch with them at their dining hall.  It was really good.  Came home and was getting the mower out of the garage.  I heard someone yell "Hey Skinny!"  They were talking about me!!!  Sure made my day.

Tomorrow I plan on going to the metropolis of Sylvester and attend church at my former pastor's church.  I've not heard him preach since he left over 4 years ago.  In fact, I have hardly seen them.  I miss them terribly.  We'll go out to dinner after church and then I'll head homeward and hopefully get some more pictures.

I wish this weather could go on all winter.  In the 40's at night and then maybe mid 60s to 70 during the day.  Perfect.  I know, dream on.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Grayling weekend

This weekend I was invited up to Grayling to visit my quilting friend Rebecca and her husband John from San Diego.  They were visiting John's father, Grant.  We had a great time playing cards and going on a great color tour which was also revisiting places from John's and his father's pasts. 

Saturday we headed out toward Gaylord and then west to East Jordan and Mancelona.  I saw many places that needed to be photographed but I didn't want to impose on them to stop because I knew it could add up to a lot of time.  Our first stop where Grant wanted to take us was Deadman's Hill.  It overlooks the Jordan River Valley from 430 feet up.  Unfortunately the colors were just starting to turn but it was absolutely beautiful.  Thanks Grant, for taking us up there.

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While Rebecca and I were walking around up there we came across this leaf.  I just love it when you can find leaves or spider webs or flowers with dew drops on them.


As we were going down a gravel road to see John's uncle's cabin in the woods I saw some beautiful trees along the road.  John was kind enough to stop on our way back so I could take some pics.


Sunday on my way home I decided to take some of the same route we had taken the day before.  This first picture was along old US27 between Grayling and Gaylord overlooking Otsego Lake.  Don't those benches look really inviting?

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This is a very unusual barn in that it is ALL stone.  Most barns that have stone work have it only on the bottom.  This is along M-32 between Gaylord and East Jordan.  The sheep were a bonus.

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My dream cabin is below.  It even had a plastic chair sitting in the "living room".   I think it may be just tad breezy for winter though.  Notice you can even see between the logs.



I came across this Catholic church also on M-32.  It is just a few miles west of the stone barn.  It was built in early 1890's out of wood.  In the early 1900's it was covered with stone using a cement that has a pinkish cast.  As I was pulling up there was a man getting out of his car.  I asked if it was his church and he said yes.  He and his wife are the caretakers of it.  They were so kind as to open it up and let me go inside and take pictures and tell me some of the history of the church. 

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The statue of John the Baptist on the right was carved in 1894.  The statue of the Virgin Mary on the left was carved in about 1920.  The Stations of the Cross on the walls date back to 1890s.  I was so thrilled to be able to go inside.  I love photographing churches and the inside of Catholic churches are usually so beautiful.

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Jan, the church door picture is for you.  I love this door.  I think it is one my favorite door pictures.

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Down the gravel road from the church was another barn that got my attention.  Barns really get my attention fast.  This was in a cluster of 3 and was my favorite.

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As I continued toward East Jordan I saw a sign for a fiber and yarn shop.  Well, my car did a quick 100 degree right turn and just up the road I found this great place.  The owners live in an old log house with quite a few great outbuilding.  I'll just show the yarn shop and one of their critters.  Her yarns, which are beautiful, are all spun from the wool of their sheep.  Almost all their critters (long-haired goats, geese, chickens, burros) except the sheep, roam around loose.  Therefore, I was real careful where I stepped.  Anyway this guy(girl?) wanted its picture taken. 

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This is a neat piece of equipment that I found just to the left of the yarn shop.  It was in great shape.

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How for a few other pictures that will make you think Fall.

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Ever seen white pumpkin?  I never had.




Okay, I think I'm done.  Not that it is all my pics.  I could go on and on forever.  Well, maybe not forever.  I only took 155 pics and some I deleted. Thanks to anyone who made it this far.  I hope you enjoyed them at least half as much as I enjoyed taking them.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Elements 6

While I was on vacation, my copy of Photoshop Elements 6 arrived at my office.  Today is the first time I've had time to play.  A OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         lady I met at the photo weekend a few weeks ago had made up a book for Elements.  So today I've tried one of the exercises.   It took a couple tries before I got it like I wanted but I am happy with the results.  I can't wait to try some of the other exercises.

As you can see it is the same picture on both layers but the back layer is lightened and the top layer has more saturation.

This picture was taken at Meijer Gardens back in the Spring.  That place is a photographer's paradise.  And that reminds me that I need to make a return trip.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Vacation and golf

Do you ever come to the place when it is just time for a vacation? Now? Well, it is that time. I think I will play with some friends. Maybe even get a picture or two.

As for golf. Well, today was league day. I started out like gang-busters. I had two pars. I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. Best start I've ever had. Next hole was not too bad -- bogey. The first 5 holes I was hitting the ball really long and straight. It was so fun. My ending score was an OK one but I would have liked better especially the way I started. All in all, it was a great day on the course and our team is still in 1st place. Only 2 more weeks to go. I hope we can hold on cuz the prize is a really good one -- two rounds of 18 on a REALLY nice course north of town.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Trying to get artsy

P7242814While I was at the Photo weekend, I took 6 hours of Photoshop Elements 6. Once I got home, I decided to take one of my pictures that I took and see what I could do with it. I like what I came up with. Lots of fun.

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After ------>

Sunday, July 27, 2008

My Photography Weekend

Oh WOW!  Talk about photography overload.  From Thursday late afternoon until noon today (Sunday) I was immersed in photography.  I didn't want the weekend to end.  Not only because of all the learning but because I also was spending it with a couple from Indiana who have become friends. (We met at the event last year and have kept in touch.)

Thursday night was Birds of Prey shoot at a local nature center which cares for injured birds and also has other animals.  They bring them out special for us to photograph.

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          Here is a female elk.                                        And a male.

These next ones are a golden eagle.  His only problem was he had lost the "thumb" of his right claw.  Still looks pretty dangerous to me.

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               Now for a couple owls.
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Some flowers just because.

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Here is a snake having his supper (a frog).  The one on the right is titled "a frog in my throat"


And a really pretty Box Turtle.P7242780 (Large)


 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA           Another cute owl.

And I just have to have a barn which I took on the way back from the bird shoot.


I'm not sure why I couldn't line up these pictures better.   Maybe I will try again later.  Right now, I just wanted to get them posted.  I will work on posting some other pictures later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Where is the Summer going?

I can't believe it is July 20 already.  Seems like the Summer just started.  But the temp and humidity is telling me that Summer is WELL under way. 

I had a great evening yesterday.  A friend and I went to The Barn Theater in the little village of Augusta to see the play West Side Story.  That was a favorite movie of mine when I was much younger.  And I think I've worn out the soundtrack album.  That was back when they put songs on LPs.  Remember them? 

The Barn Theater is Michigan's oldest resident Summer Stock theater.  This is the 62nd season.  The first time I went was with the high school dance band.  We saw The Unsinkable Molly Brown.  Then I went a few years later to see On A Clear Day.  I love plays in small theaters.  I don't know why I don't go more often.  We did get tickets for Shenandoah for next month.  Another musical.

This coming weekend is my 2nd SWMCCC photographic weekend at Hope College.  I'm so looking forward to it.  I'm excited to meet up with friends I met last year.  There are so many great sessions it's going to be hard to pick.  I do know I'm going on a Wild Birds of Prey shoot.  I got some great pics last year.  I know one of my friends is going on the shoot too.  Will be fun.

Been playing golf on the ministry league this summer.  I've had some really great holes,  quite a few great shots, and I'm getting my money's worth.  LOL  It's fun though.  Leaves lots of room for improvement.  LOL

Until next time...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4th weekend

I can't believe it is almost over with.  So far the weather had been absolutely perfect.  Once this weekend is over, it always seems like Summer is half over even though it only officially started about 2 weeks ago.

Yesterday I went over to Lake MI and observed all the crowded beaches.  Then it was on to my brother's for supper followed by a sail almost the whole length of Lake Macatawa (about 3 miles) to watch the fireworks.  There is nothing like watching fireworks from a sailboat in the middle of the lake.  There is the glow above and the reflection in the water.  Our biggest challenge was finding our way back to the marina in the dark.  Thankfully they have lighted buoys every half mile or so.  Gotta watch out for the unlit ones though.  (We did.)

Today I took my 13 year old nephew fishing.  What a great day.  We probably caught close to a dozen fish.  We are sport fishermen -- we throw them back.  We were out for about 2 hours.  This was his 2nd time fishing and he loves it.  Just have to get him taking his fish off his hook. 

Tomorrow is, hopefully, a game of golf with a young man I just met yesterday.  He is up here visiting from NC.  He is a friend of a friend of mine. 

Tonight I watched a terrific movie -- August Rush.  It came highly recommended and I loved it.  I might watch it again before I return it.

If I get the golf in, it will be a perfect weekend. 

Happy Birthday, USA!!!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A great day!

Today has been an absolutely perfect day.  A friend called and asked if I wanted to go for a bike ride  I said sure.  Well, we had a ride!  A little over 23 miles in 2.75 hours ride time. (Not bad for only the 3rd ride of the season.)  We rode on a a bike trail the whole way.  What a nice way to ride.  We rode about 5 or 6 miles along the Grand River.  Our destination was the town of Rockford which was having their Summer Festival.  Heard a really good band who were doing a lot of songs from the 60's .  They were really good.  Then we shared a chicken sandwich and Jicama slaw.   Delish.  Then it was back on the bikes for the return trip.  By the time we got back to parking lot where we started my back side was really sore.  I don't think I'll go for a bike ride tomorrow.  LOL  I think I'll sleep well tonight.  Hope I can walk tomorrow.  LOL

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Tuesday night I attended a meeting for a group I belong to.  The lead-off question was: On a scale of 1 - 10, where do you rate the importance of your own health?  Think about it and answer for yourself.

Now based on your answer,
1 - How much time/effort do you put into maintaining and improving your health?
2 - How much money do you spend on maintaining and improving your health?

Do they match your answer for the importance of your health?  Many in attendance had to say no to that answer.  I was able to say I am really working on it. 

I've been walking about 30-45 minutes several times a week.  I've hauled out the bicycle and ridden a couple of good rides.  I even walked while playing 9 holes of golf the other day.  But I've also started eating much better and begun working on detoxifying my body. 

Think of the toxins/chemicals we come into contact with every day in the air, water and our foods.  Think of how rampant disease is compared to 50 years ago.  It is scary and I believe there is a link between toxins and disease.  I've decided I want to live a healthier life. So more and more, organic food is finding its way into my diet and I started the Isagenix program a little over 5 weeks ago.  I love it.  My weight is going down and I've lost inches!  I also feel more energetic and I can focus better.   For more information click here .

What are you doing to improve your health?

Golf ? ! ? !

Tell me why we play this crazy game. Actually I love playing but oh, if I could only be consistent!

Last Friday I went out to play in the first game of the season for the league at work. Oh I did just great. NOT! I got the highest score of the group. Don't you get a prize for that? Then Tuesday I took the day off the play with my nephew who is on leave between graduating from the Coast Guard Academy and reporting to his first duty station in FL. I taught him to play 6 or 7 years ago and he's never beaten me. Until Tuesday. By one stroke. He started out great but fell apart on 2 holes. I fell apart on more than that.

Well, after two rounds like I had, I decided lesson(s) were in order. I went to a local golf course that was running a special and signed up for 2. Was able to take one that afternoon. I now know what my problem is and how to solve it. Doing it is a WHOLE 'nother thing. So I went to the driving range and hit more balls. Bottom line -- Chiropractor says I'm not 20 anymore!!!!!! Man, was I sore. Needed an adjustment that night. I'm better today. And I need to head out to the driving range before league on Friday afternoon. Hopefully I can remember what he told me and put it into practice.

In the meantime, if you see me on the course, I'm yelling FORE before I even hit the ball. LOL

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tulip Time in MI

Sunday afternoon and then again this afternoon/evening I spent time roaming the city of Holland and it's tulip gardens.  Talk about God being an artist -- Wow.  How did he come up with all those colors for the tulips and flowering trees... and daffodils ... and hyacinths... and even buffalo.  What a Creator He is!



I have no idea who these people are but I just had to  take the picture.  They were posing so nice for daddy.






I just love the beds of multi-color tulips.






  And lavender ones.






And enjoying the gardens along with so many people.





  Even the buffalo were enjoying the   scenery.  Oh wait, he was looking at me! I think it was a stare-down!  I won, cuz he left.




There was even an original windmill from the old country.  Each piece was numbered, it was taken apart, shipped over here, reassembled and it works perfectly.  They actually make flour there.





The windmill is located just off to the left of this Dutch village.






This really is a tulip.  It is a peony tulip.





Isn't this one cool!  I love the pointy petals.







And I just have to show another red tulip, fringed this time,  just cuz I can!





And then there are these variegated ones.






And then these here just got the tips gently bushed with white.




   And I can't forget the daffodils











  I think these are are flowering crab. The one below is on Hope College campus.











  This forsythia is also on Hope's campus.





Between the two visits to Holland I took 340+ pictures.  Did I say I love digital?!?! These are just a tip of the iceberg.  But you get the idea.   And I'll be going again Saturday for the parade and a cookout.