Thursday, July 20, 2006

Catching Up

Obviously, it’s been a while since I wrote. Since the trip to Hawaii in April, life has been quite busy. Hawaii was a lot of fun. We spent 5 days on the Big Island and 5 days on Kauai. I thought Kauai was much more scenic than the Big Island, but both locations were a lot of fun.

On the Big Island we hiked in Volcano National Park and drove down the Chain of Craters to the shore where the lava was flowing into the sea. Although we couldn’t get close enough to see the actual hot lava hitting the sea, the steam cloud and the lava cliffs were quite impressive.

We also went to a traditional luau with pit roasted pig and all the trimmings. This was followed by a demonstration of local and South Pacific dances. A couple of days later we went on a dinner cruise along the Kona Coast. I was able to shoot the sunset from the ship as well as the shoreline in the evening light.

I think the best activity, though, was snorkeling in Kealakekua Bay. This is the bay where Captain Cook was killed, and indeed there is a monument to his memory located on the shore. The entire bay is an underwater wildlife preserve, and there was lots to be seen.

On Kauai the highlights were the helicopter tour we took around the island, and our ride up to Wamea Canyon. We stayed in a lovely condo overlooking a garden, and we found that the beaches in Kauai were much prettier than those on the Big Island.

On the return from Hawaii, it was time to get the yards and the house ready for summer activities. The deck had to be washed and painted, the hot tub drained and refilled, new flower beds built in the yards, a new grill to break in (yeah!), new window shades to hang, a bench had to be pulled out and replaced and new decorations for the yard had to be purchased and hung. The kitchen got new tile, the garage got a total overhaul, new sprinkler heads were installed in the in-ground system, and then everything was ready for our first event.

That event was a baby shower for our youngest daughter. We had quite a few people over for the shower, and we all had a really good time.

In June, our first grandchild was born (after 29 hours of labor and finally a c-section). Her name is Makayla Ann Nicole and she is, of course, adorable. A lot of my time has been spent getting to know her.

The 4th of July meant we held our annual Independence Day Cookout. This was the largest one ever. We had 31 adults and 8 children in attendance, with lots of food and drinks. Many of us tried a game of Ultimate Frisbee, but we wore ourselves out after about 30 minutes and had to switch to a game we call “500”.

Well, that gets us up to the Oregon Country Fair weekend, and I want to write about that separately. I’ll add some photos later.

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

Back to Work

I made it back to the office today. It was actually nice to be sitting at my desk, fielding phone calls, running meetings, and preparing for the intellectual challenges of the new business year. Today wasn’t terribly busy. My department usually ramps up slowly after the Christmas holidays, simply due to the nature of our business (training). So I had plenty of time to collect my thoughts and ponder the changes I want to make in my programs in the near future.

I also thought about changes I wanted to make in my personal life as well. I didn’t make any formal resolutions, but there are things I would like to do differently this year, such as:

1. Get out more during the winter. Normally when the days are short and it’s wet and windy outside, we hibernate. By that I mean, once we get home from work, we turn on the tv and basically vegetate for the rest of the evening. I just hate that. So, I want to get out more. We can still go out for coffee, or to the bookstore, or to the gym. There’s no need to just come inside and hide.
2. I want to take more, better and varied photographs this year. I want to do more that just go to the fairs and festivals. We do have a trip to Hawaii planned, and I’m sure I’ll get lots of photos then, but more importantly, I want to be a more frequent photographer. I want to get out twice or thrice a week with camera in hand to photograph scenery, people, places, and nature. I need to expand my skills and challenge myself with new assignments.
3. I want to complete at least two photo expeditions this year (not including Hawaii). One of those will be to return to Crater Lake National Park and to travel around the rim photographing the sites from several angles. I’m not sure what the other expedition will be, but I’m thinking it will be to photograph at least 6 new waterfalls somewhere in the state (not any of the falls in the Columbia River Gorge or in Silver Falls State park).
4. I want to complete at least two significant hikes - Dog Mountain and Eagle Creek come to mind, but Saddle Mountain in the Coastal Range would be nice too.
5. I want to photograph in the following areas this year: The Columbia River Gorge, Silver Falls State Park, Ecola Point, Cannon Beach, Seaside, Astoria, Brandon Beach, Munsie Falls, and the Mt Hood Wilderness area.

So, I think my expectations are reasonable. Maybe at the end of the year I’ll post a review to see how well I did against the list.