Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Pal O' Mine

Tomorrow, Oct. 1, is the first day of our group commitment to take and post at least one photo a day, but since I already wanted to try that, I needed a photo for today. I had to work at the office and then I had some unavoidable chores after that. So by the time I got home, made dinner, did the dishes, finished some work on the computer (also unavoidable), I realized I hadn't taken any photos to post.

So meet my pal--she sits on my printer next to my computer. Poor thing doesn't have a name yet, and probably never will. But she's adorable and she makes me smile while I'm at the computer. (ps. I don't have to feed or walk her and she never barks--my kind of pet).

Monday, September 29, 2008

Road Trip!

Today I had to go to Herkimer for some business. I decided that I would make a road trip/photo excursion out of it. Unfortunately, the sky was an ugly white but I took the photos anyway.

After finishing my work, I drove down the street and found some great old buildings just waiting for me. Even though I enjoyed the session, it's obvious I didn't feel too creative. I did, however, take some multiple exposures of a couple of scenes, in order to do some HDR with them. I might post them another time.

Andy Rooney wisdom-- I learned: That opportunities are never lost, someone will take the ones you missed.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Second Day of Our Church Anniversary Celebration

Well, it's over!!! It was a great weekend, but what a relief that it's done. Our first pastor, from 30 years ago was there today and he gave the message. It was as if he hadn't been gone all these past 25 years. That's the way it is (and should be) among friends--just pick up as though no time has passed...

I considered going out this afternoon to do some photography, but it got very cloudy and then the skies opened up and it poured for a long time. So I took a nap, which was awesome, and then started working on getting this slide show set up. I don't usually think of myself as an air-head, but today was an exception.

It took me all afternoon to get this thing put together and then posted on the blog. I just couldn't seem to get the hang of it, and then my computer decided to work as slowly as it possibly could without actually crashing. But, as you can see, I finally got it going. Maybe it won't take me as long next time I try it.

Andy Rooney wisdom: I've learned that being kind is more important that being right.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Our Church's 30th Anniversary

This weekend is the celebration of our church's 30th anniversary. What a relief that it's finally here and will soon be over. It's quite a milestone, but the work leading up to it has been overwhelmning.

We've come a long way in these past 30 years. From sharing a building with small church on Teller St, to meeting in the living room of the pastor, to meeting in the Amsterdam YMCA, to sharing the building with Trinity Reformed church, and finally to purchasing that same building and calling it our own. People have come and gone, but the Lord remains faithful and He has prospered us as a congregation and a group of believers who love Him and each other.

It started out by several ladies beginning the preparations on Friday afternoon, and then we continued the food preparations on Sat. morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Teaching a Thing or Two, or Not!

Early this evening, my friends from my photo group and I got together. The group is MVP (Mohawk Valley Photographers). We had a lesson in how to create a blog. Everyone got it in spite of me, but you'd a thought I had never done it before.

We decided that as a group, we would commit to putting up at least one photo and short post each day. That commitment really does encourage the creative juices to flow. Below are Leslie, Phil, and ever the teacher Steve, with Trish.

Knowing them as I do, I'm sure their blogs are going to be something I'll enjoy and look forward to.

To my surprise, Steve gave me a belated birthday present. A journal with a totally funky cover. I love it. It's even got that soft paper (kind of like newsprint) that I really enjoy writing on. Can't wait to get started. But what do I do--blog or journal, journal or blog? It's a conundrum--I love doing both--hopefully it will work out. Now there are two things I have to be sure to have on my person at all times--the camera and the journal!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Birthday Lunch

Today my friends, Cindy and Jean took me out for lunch for my birthday. We went to Panera;s in Schenectady. It was an incredibly beautiful day, and we chose to eat outside. By the time we got there, it wasn't too crowded, so we pretty much had the "deck" to ourselves.

I got my favorite--the chicken sesame salad. We had a nice, long, leisurely lunch. It was hard to finally get up and leave, it was so beautiful.

I've often seen people taking their own photos with their point and shoot cameras, so I tried it today. This is the first and only shot I took, not too bad... These are my friends, Cindy on the left and Jean in the middle.

As we were getting ready to leave, Cindy took one last, parting shot of Jean and I.

The end of a good day with good friends.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I heard a great song on the radio tonight on my way home from Amsterdam. I was listening to the Delilah show on 95.5. She played the song in response to a request called in from a mom to her daughters. It's called "Never Alone" by Jim Brickman w/Sarah Evans--on the Escape CD.

I LOVE music. It's one of the greatest blessings the Lord has given us.

I also figured out how to access a Hawaiian radio station on my computer. Hooray!! It's Hawaiian105. I listened to that station most of the time I was in Hawaii when I was in the car. It was always a toss-up between the country music station, the Hawaiian music station and the Christian music station. I pretty much played "station-roulette" when driving--every time a commercial came on, I turned the station.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

God's Grace Abounds

Be advised, this is going to be a long post. If you can't read the entire post at once, at least go to the end and read the last few paragraphs. (And by the way, don't forget to check out the sidebar on this blog--I add to it, change it and revise it regularly. Also, take the poll and check out the "thought to ponder". Don't forget, there's a place to leave comments at the end of each post--I check that frequently and would love to see some comments about the posts--good, bad, indifferent--I will reply if necessary).

Here we go. Friday morning I left the house at 5:45 am to catch the Greyhound bus in Amsterdam in order to get back to Maine to retrieve my car. The bus stopped in Schenectady and then Albany, where there was about a 1 1/2 hour layover. Okay--Question: what does one do when stuck in the bus terminal in Albany. (Anyone ever there? It's not the most exciting terminal I've ever been in.) Answer: get out the camera and start taking photos (of course) . So I wandered around, and then I saw some sculptures outside...

I love this sculpture, I just think it's too bad that there's no other landscaping around it to make it look better.

Once we were traveling on the bus, there was a girl across the aisle and up one row who was knitting. I knit too, so it was pretty interesting to watch her, since her technique is different than mine.

The first stop was in Worcester, MA. A nice little depot. While waiting on the bus, I took a few shots out the window.

We arrived at Boston's South Station around 1:15. It was a beautiful day. I was beginning to journal in my head. Although I usually carry pen and paper with me, I didn't have an iota of paper this time, so I bought a little spiral and began jotting thoughts and ideas in it. The following is verbatum what I wrote during the remainder of the day.

"This trip is a hoot! Haven't done this since college when it would take me 36 hours to get to North Dakota by bus.

Wonderful People-watching opportunities. Some very strange sights. I always think, 'there goes someone who was some mother's precious, sweet baby just a few years ago...' I know you can't judge a person's heart, soul or spiritual condition by their clothes, body piercings or hair, but it seems to point in certain directions.

South Station in Boston is quite the place. It has umpteen bus terminals, several floors, a food court, guards all over and warnings about 'unknown persons and suspicious packages'. There are people all over--a good number of them are students.

It's a photo-rich environment, just the facility itself, never mind the people milling around.

Our MVP (Mohawk Valley Photographers) upcoming assignment is to make pre-determined words out of objects we see. Find objects that resemble each letter in the word--my words are 'wish' and 'hope'. I think I managed to find a 'w', an 's' and an 'i' during my layover in Albany.

Oh, by the way, as I mentioned earlier, my bus left from Amsterdam at 6:20 am. If I had checked the complete schedule I would have discovered that I could have left my house at 8:45 am and still caught the bus in Albany on time. Oh well, just think of all the photos I would have missed, and I wouldn't have gotten my three letters. There's a silver lining behind every cloud/mistake if you just look for it.

What are two rules every photographer should follow unceasingly??? You've heard this before:

1. Always, always carry your camera with you and

2. Always look behind you to see where you've come from and to see what you can see. Sometimes the best shots are seen when you turn around.

I'm sitting outside the Boston terminal as I write this. The sun is shining, the breeze is blowing and the temperature is invigorating. It reminds me a lot of downtown Manhattan on a Fall day.

It's 2:30--my bus doesn't leave till 5:15

I started walking down the street toward what looked like Chinatown--many street vendors selling fruits/vegetables, some selling trinkets.

I passed a nice looking restaurant and decided to look at the menu they had conveniently posted in the window. Wonderful. I treated myself to Stir-fry Sweet and Sour chicken. Yum!

As I was waiting for my food order, I once again realized that God is good. What a treat this day is turning out to be, considering it's such an imposition--a 14 hour bus trip to retrieve my car, which cost a fortune to fix, considering Frank probably could have repaired it for a fraction of that cost had it broken down at home--and considering the trip by car is only about 6 1/2 hours long.

While wandering around Chinatown I came upon this group (one of several) of men watching others play what looked like Checkers. They were in a small park-like area where there were several tables and chairs available for these games. I've heard of this type of thing happening in various places--parks in Manhattan, Central Park, etc., so it was fun to see it in person.

On the way back to the terminal I came upon this scene. There were several fire truck, many firemen, and a lot of people standing around watching. Was there a fire or not??? Never got the answer, but it was interesting to watch them. Sure wish I had had my "real" camera for this situation...

Shooting the people watching is fun too.

Okay, so continuing on my way, just outside the terminal was this bike (or part of) chained to a pole. Check out the battery sitting on the ground next to it. Could the owner be confused about the real method of getting the bike started? I don't know much about mechanics, but I know enough to realize that the battery won't get the bike going--a little comic relief I thought.

Moving along--I found a place to sit and eat my stir fry and I was reading my photo magazine. Here's a question for all you photographers...What's the best camera to use? ANS: The one you have with you at the time.

Okay, when boarding the bus, there were headsets on the front seat and I noticed that people were just taking them, so I did too. On the back of the seat in front of us were connections for music. Okay, let's try this. The first station was country--wow, uninterrupted country music. Euraka!!!! After a while we stopped at a terminal for a short break. As I returned to the bus, there was a cart just outside the bus door that had complimentary bottles of water and bags of pretzels.

Do you recall one of my previous posts when I mentioned that Portland deferred my parking ticket? Now I was being treated to complimentary water, pretzels and headsets. (Doesn't sound like much, but it sure is good PR.) Okay--find me a place in NY where that would happen. I knew I liked New England--too bad their politics are so liberal.

Well, by now it was dark. It gets dark too early... The bus began making more frequent stops at smaller terminals--smaller as in --pull off to the side of the road, and maybe there will be a store nearby. So I began wondering how I was going to find the service station where my car was. The repairman had told me that he thought the bus stop was about 1/4 mile from the repair shop. Okay, not a bad walk, good weather, small town (not exactly a high crime area). The question was, do I go left or right once I get off the bus?

I guess I'm too dumb to be worried--I figured there must be someone else on the bus who would be getting off when I did. By now it was 9:15 pm. Sure enough, a young lady got off with me. I asked her if she lived in the area and she said she lived in S. Bristol (ironically the exact town we had stayed in just last week). But she didn't know where I wanted to go because she was new to the area. I was trying to figure out what to do next, when her friend walked up--she showed up to give her friend a ride home.

She knew exactly where I needed to go, but she said it was a bit more than 1/4 mile--"Okay, I said, can you point me in the right direction? " God said, through her, "Well, I'll just give you a ride". I laughed out loud. The icing on the cake of my great day, was God's grace abounding through this girl in the form of a totally unexpected ride, which, by the way, was at least 1/2 mile--not an awful distance, but far enough at that time of night and my level of fatigue.

Well, I got my car, started home, and felt so good that I drove straight through, arriving home at 4 am.

Throughout the day, knowing that God was in control of the entire situation, I kept thinking of that saying, "when someone gives you lemons, just make lemonade out of them". Not the most spiritual way of putting it, but true nonetheless.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise

Last Saturday, when we were driving home from our place in Maine, we stopped in Portland. We parked on the main street in a spot with a parking meter. We didn't think we'd be long, and there was some time on the meter, so none of us bothered to put any more money in the meter. Scott wanted to go to a certain store, and Cindy, Jean and I found a really neat kitchen supply place. We all took our time and just wandered around for a while.

You probably know where this is going. When we got back to the car, sure enough, there was a ticket on the windshield because the meter time had run out. Sigh... I hate having to pay money for something that's my fault that could have been prevented. Anyway, I just stuck the ticket in my purse and didn't think about it until today.

When I was getting ready to pay it online, I read it first (always a good idea), and discovered that Portland, Maine is an AWESOME place. You can read it for yourself, maybe, but it says "The city of Portland values your visit. The city will automatically void your first ticket" every six months and it requires no action on your part. How amazing is that? Can you imagine seeing that anywhere in NY????

So, if you ever get to Maine, be sure and stop off at Portland and spend some money there. It won't be difficult to do that because it's a nice city--the main street has a lot of great shops, and it's just a nice place to be.

Thought for the day, from Andy Rooney:

I've learned---that you should never say no to a gift from a child.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pemaquid Light

We drove home from Maine today. My car stayed there at the doctor's (repair shop), and we all squeezed into Cindy's vehicle--John was nice enough to transport my huge suitcase and I'll get it from him at the kick-off meeting on Wed. Cindy's car looked like a can of sardines, and we were squished in, but it worked. Thanks, Cindy.

The plan is that at the end of the week I'll take a bus back to Damariscotta to get the car and drive back. Financially that's the cheapest plan...

I didn't get the chance to take any photos today, so, this is the light in Pemaquid lighthouse. Pretty impressive.

The view through the window of the oil house.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Last Day--Trivia question #4 & 5

Ques. #4--Which state has the most lighthouses of all?
Ques. #5--What was the first west coast lighthouse?
Ans--Alcatraz Lighthouse (1854)

This is our final day here in S. Bristol. The morning dawned cloudy, windy and cool, so we decided to head over to Pemaquid Lighthouse right away to beat the rain. We were there for a couple of hours, and it was just beginning to drizzle lightly when we left. Good timing.

I went up in the lighthouse tower were the light actually is. Great view and the light itself is very interesting. I found out that the light can be seen 14 miles out to sea. When looking at it while standing at its base, you can't imagine that it can be seen that far. The light flashes once every 6 seconds.

The Ghosts of Pemaquid

The tower itself isn't haunted, but "supposedly the cries of souls lost at sea can be heard near the lighthouse, and the shivering ghost of a red-haired lady wearing a shawl has been seen near the fireplace in the Fisherman's Museum.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Attack of the Lobster

Another lobster dinner. We got back to the house just in time to order lobsters before the place closed. There were only 4 of us around at dinner time. Scott, Cindy and Jean had another opportunity to have lobsters for dinner. I ate chicken.

Even though there was a struggle between Scott and the lobster, rest assured that Scott won.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pemaquid at Sunset

Today was another slow starting/slow moving day. We took our time getting going this morning and after lunch we decided to drive to Bath and have a look around the town. Sweet little place, but I didn't take many photos there.

We came home, and I took a nap while the others played scrabble. Then we headed back out to get to Pemaquid Lighthouse before sunset. It was a beautiful day today, and when we got to the lighthouse, the sun was beginning to set. The light was great, a soft breeze was blowing and it was peaceful because there were hardly any people there.

Scott and I wandered around taking photos while Jean sat watching the water and Cindy did a little exploring. As the sun set, the sky turned a beautiful orange at the horizon, and a great collection of clouds made their way across the sky.

As it got darker, the light came on in the lighthouse and I took several shots with and without the light showing from many different vantage points. It wasn't easy to leave--it was so beautiful. But it was getting dark, and the mosquitoes were having a feast, so we packed it up and tried to head home.

I say "tried" because when I turned on the car and tried to back up, I could tell the steering was acting funny. The battery icon was lit on the dashboard, uh oh!!! Scott thought it might be a belt, so I drove down the road anyway because everything else seemed to be working okay, found a local convenience store (Maine style) and asked for help. Sure enough, a belt (can't tell you the name of it) was broken and would have to be replaced. On the way home, my main concern was that the engine would overheat or the battery would go dead and we wouldn't have any lights--wouldn't you know that this would happen on the one and only day we chose to be out after dark!!! Well, to solve the overheating problem, I put the car in neutral and coasted as much as I could.

As we pulled into the driveway, without encountering any further mishaps, Leah called (amazing that I had cell service, because I never have had any at this house before) to tell me that she's made her decision to go into the Peace Corps and spend the next 27 months in Kenya.

So ended another good day!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Camden, Maine

We decided to take a trip to Camden after spending the morning and lunchtime at the house just taking our time, reading and relaxing. Camden is about an hour from our place--the drive was nice, the weather was FANTASTIC. (Again, the "one-photo-a-day has kind of gone to h.... in a handbasket... ) I have many I want to post today, but I've controlled my impulses and only posted a small number.

Camden is a sweet little Maine town right on the marina. Lots of boats and activity. We walked around for a while, then Jean and Cindy decided to sit and relax.

Scott and I wandered around-we saw a great library building not far from the marina. There were some benches in a small garden area, and this is what they looked like. Very original.

Some random shots of the town.

I loved this sign outside a small restaurant.

At one point Scott saw some crew members embark from this huge private ship. He questioned them about the cost of of the ship. I guessed $3 million--I was low by $13 million. Yes, this is a private ship, no a corporation doesn't own it and yes there quite a few "staff" on this privately owned, $16 million ship. Seems a little excessive to me, huh?

Scott also found out, from his boss' brother, who is an under-captain on a ship like this, what the pay is for the under-captain and captain. Not too shabby...$1,000/foot of ship. So if the ship is 100 feet long, the yearly salary is $100,000/year. Okay... The captain make 2 to 3 times that much. hmmmm

All right, on to the kayaks...

These next two shots are some of the shops in Camden.

So we ended our excursion to Camden by heading home in time to make dinner and settle in for the evening.