Fall Goings-On

It's been quite a while since I have laid down a blog post. I guess I just haven't felt creative, descriptive, angry, poetic, or any other of the number of reasons that usually fuel my blog. Actually, I still don't. I just thought that maybe--if I put something down--it just might actually turn into a blog post. Hey, it's happened before.

Ahh, where to start...

I recently started another blog that is geared toward the usual goings-on where I work, but that hasn't really taken anything away from this blog. At least I don't think so. It's more of a bland, descriptive record of things that take place there, occasionally peppered with a little comic relief or a picture or two. I created it for the amusement of a fellow worker that just retired recently. And for myself.

I could start with the weather I guess. After all, people talk about the weather at gas stations, bus stops, work, and everywhere else where they feel that they need to make conversation. We're in the full throes of fall here. Everything is happening to us much later than usual here this year. We finally have lots of trees with blazing yellow leaves intermixed with the usual green, but there is still an inordinate amount of trees with nothing but full green clothing on. We have been out and about here and there with the hope and intention of capturing some blazing yellows and reds of fall trees with our cameras but haven't experienced much. I think part of it (as Suzie mentioned the other day) is that we just don't have many of the trees that turn vivid colors as part of our native species. Everywhere that there are amazingly colorful leaves on trees they are either in housing developments, shopping areas, or business parks. In other words: planted by man.

This last Sunday we put the canoe in the truck and drove up to Seattle. It's getting harder and harder to make drives that direction without seriously considering routes these days. Between a toll on the 520 bridge (which I found starts this December) and now the Alaskan Way Viaduct being demolished, a person has to consider the route they drive very carefully. Anyway, our destination was the University of Washington/Arboretum area. The day was beautiful, and the water was very placid (sorry Suz... I know I overused that word already). There was lots of ducks, lots of geese, and a few turtles soaking up the last rays of the seasonal sun. There were some trees turning color, but even there, where there are so many varieties--not so much.

Sunday a week ago was work day. I rented a pressure washer from Home Depot and cleaned 12 years of moss from our roof. Normally, pressure washing is somewhat fun--probably because of the immediate results and gratification you get as you clean things. What I did, however, was not fun. I started at about 10am and finished at about 6pm with only a short break at one point. It should have been a two-day job, but when you rent something you're driven to completion. Nothing else matters but completing the task so you can return the thing to the store on time. By the time I finished, I was literally falling-down tired. My hands, my arms, and my lower back were screaming at me. Even though the day was cold and wet (but not raining), I had no problem with collapsing on the grass when I was finished. I didn't care if it was wet or not. The carnage when I was finished was unbelievable. There was moss and dirt on everything everywhere for 20 or 30 feet around the house. Suzie spent several hours the next day doing demoliton cleanup. I think she said she filled 3 wheelbarrows with moss. She worked as hard as I did the day before--no doubt about it.

So there you have it--A blog post. I guess it wasn't so hard. It's just like walking--you start off by putting one foot in front of the other, and before you know it you look behind you and realize you've covered some ground

Other People's Lives

I have been trying to figure out what it's called but I can't quite come up with it.  Maybe that's because I'm not educated enough in psychology or psychiatry or whatever ology teaches such things.

I thought, is it something like a form of "social" voyeurism?  Sue said, no, that's not what it is.

So what is it that make people like to peruse pictures from other people's lives?  When you see a big wall of pictures at work or at school, aren't you somehow drawn to it?  When you look at someone's Facebook page for the first time, aren't you always glad when you find they have a ton of pictures?  I know I am.  It's like we're intrigued by other people's lives.  We know what kind of stuff we like to do, but we want to see what they do.  We want to see how they live.  We want to see where they've gone on vacation.  We want to learn about them.

I'm a sucker for masses of pictures.  The time passes quickly when I'm interested in someone's life as portrayed in pictures.  I look at everything.  In addition to what they took the pictures of, I like to see people that have a photographic talent.

But to me I think it's mostly the 'peering into other people's private lives' that I find interesting.  Sometimes it's almost like I'm doing something naughty by looking at somebody's private pictures.  Does that stop me?  No... If anything it makes it even more fun.

Take for instance a website I found on the internet called Found Film.  The guy is a collector of cameras, but he is also a seasoned veteran at developing any kind of film himself.  If he ever finds a camera for sale that has film in it, he has to buy it so he can develop it and see what kind of treasure it holds!  I think it's cool.

Or in another example, the guy that bought boxes upon boxes of negatives (over 20,000) at an estate auction, only to find that he had stumbled upon one of the biggest treasure troves of great pictures by the late Vivian Maier, who was just an ordinary lady that liked taking pictures.

Where am I going with this?

Yesterday I went out and bought myself another camera.  This time, I bought a small Canon A560 point & shoot camera--small enough to carry in my pocket.  It was a Craigslist find, and it was only $40.  I bought it from an Asian gentleman with broken English.  When I got it home and really started messing with it in more depth I found that it contained 65 pictures and two little video clips.  Upon investigation, we found that it must have been used by the sons and his friends during a trip to China.  How did I figure that out?  By the crown jewel of the whole bunch:

Sue like this first one the next best I think, but here are a few others from the bunch:

There were a lot of the school pictures.  It appeared that they had visited two grades of kids.  I noticed that cellphones seemed to be in everyone's hands in one picture or another.
As far as the bicycle, don't you wonder what the story is behind that?  They don't seem very concerned do they?


Anyway, that's just a little bit of what I'm talking about.  It's fun taking a peek into other people's lives to see what they're up to isn't it?  Had I not, I would never have known that it's apparently okay to have a slightly racially-sensitive email address (if it's your race that is) like John does:

Not Quite Your Ordinary Weekend

My early years of learning were spent at Algona elementary school.  While the school itself is unfortunately gone, what does live on are a few of my friends from that era.  Although I am somewhat connected with a few of the people from that day and age via Facebook, there is only one of them I ever manage to see in person from time to time, and that's Karla Cruz.  Being the musician she is (she's also a published author) I get to see her sing and play guitar every now and then.

Friday night she played at a place in Renton called Luther's Table.  Near as I can tell, It's some sort of a 'church - bar & restaurant.  Their website paints a picture of a church that serves food and drink, but my opinion of it was that it is most definitely first and foremost a bar and restaurant.  It's a really nice place--nearly new and very stylish and elegant.  They even have covered parking.  At any rate, there was enough uncertainty that Suzie decided against going, and went instead with Shirley, Rachyl, and Keith on their Friday night adventure.

I've seen her play only once before and it was nothing like Friday night.  That first time was an outdoor venue (Renton River Days) with a full, electric band.  Friday night it was just her--Karla at her best--just she and her guitar.  It was excellent sound, excellent music, great ambiance--it was just an all around great experience.   When she sang To Sir, With Love I had to put my camera down.  It was a blast from the past that completely reeled me in with her flawless rendition.  I loved it!

Yesterday was very different.

It started out very ordinary.  I had promised to stop by my folks' house to fix their privacy gate that leads from their back yard out to the alley, so that was my first order of business.  That went without a hitch.  It was a very easy repair, and I visited with them for a while afterwards.  We all just basically stood around back by the gate talking about stuff.  It was a nice, sunny day so it was enjoyable.

Not long after I got home, we hopped into my car and went to Snoqualmie Falls.  Why?  Well, plainly a case of guerrilla photography, we planned to stalk and document a very important event that was about to unfold there:  Dane proposing marriage to Chelsea.  You couldn't have asked for a more perfect day for it.  There was lots of sun, and the weather was in the upper 60's easily.  We meandered around, scoping out the grounds, noting places and access to viewing that Dane might choose.  What made it weird was that we didn't know when they were getting there or where they were actually headed to on the grounds.  We finally decided that Suz would hang out at this certain spot up near one of the falls viewing areas and I went down near the parking lot areas.  I found myself a spot where I could see cars coming into the nearside parking lot as well as being able to see foot traffic coming over the bridge from the far-side parking lot.  After not too long I saw them and called Sue.  Dane had placed a blindfold over Chelsea's eyes and was carefully leading her while two female friends followed behind--one capturing the entire thing on video.  I felt like a sniper as I hurried from sidewalk to sidewalk while keeping parallel to them on the upper pathway they were on.  It went well.

Congratulations Dane and Chelsea!

The Selfish Man

I'm apparently a selfish man.  Not with everything though.

It comes from my being the oldest I suppose.  I do share things pretty well, but I'd rather not.  I've reported over and over again about how I couldn't wait to leave home when I was growing up.  I wanted to be out on my own, living my own life and doing as I pleased.  I don't know if there was a certain event during my childhood that caused it or not, but regardless--it's the way things are.

Back to my selfishness.  I'm somewhat selfish with my time, but not so much.  I usually don't have a problem giving someone else some of my time when they need it.  Sure, it's usually an inconvenience, but that's usually the extent of it.  This part of my selfishness is usually nothing more than just a sigh before offering my time or assistance.  Hardly worth mentioning.

What I do seem to place a certain level of importance on is space.  I like my space.  I need my space.  Sometimes I need to go out to the garage and putter around to escape.  Maybe I'm not in the mood for a certain noise or chaos or whatever and I just want some solitude.  Sometimes I might take a ride on the Harley to get away--Even in the dead of winter (although that hasn't happened in a while).

I need space for myself.  I need space for my stuff.  I need to know that nobody is going to mess with my stuff.  When I put something somewhere or some way, I like to know to expect it to be there next time I need it.

Maybe it's the fact that when I was growing up in Algona our whole family was crammed into one little one-bedroom house.  There was no privacy.  There was no "me" time.  There was no peace and quiet.  There was nowhere you could have anything of your own that wouldn't get messed with by someone.  I remember I did have a little box of 'treasures' when I was growing up.  I think it was smaller than a shoebox, but I can't begin to tell you what was in it.  I have no idea.  I just remember it was about the only "me" space I could claim as my own--a little box.

Now I'm older and I do have some stuff of my own.  When I was newly divorced I took pride in amassing new stuff.  Finding myself single again was the perfect excuse to gather the things I wanted to gather.  I enjoyed it.  I didn't have to ask anyone else's approval, I didn't have to wonder about anyone else but me when I chose something.  I took pride in keeping things nice, keeping things orderly, and basically just keeping things as my comfort of ownership.  I felt I really had everything I needed, and liked everything I had.  When I married Suzie, that got somewhat turned upside down.  A lot of my things were disposed of.  Most were discussed--a few maybe not.  After all the turmoil, I resigned myself to only having a certain level of ownership here in this house.  Basically, I live in the spare bedroom that used to belong to Dane.  I don't sleep there, but all my clothes are there, and all of my possessions are there.  I don't have a place to hang any of my pictures, but I still own them.  Suzie said I could hang them any time I wanted but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like they just didn't belong.  Like it was the wrong house or something.  Most of what is back there in that room is junk to anyone but myself.  Some of it is junk to me as well--I just don't want to part with it yet.

Now thanks our country's financial woes, so many people are struggling to find work that it is common for people to be moving back home.  Across the street from us there are multiple families living under one roof.  Sons, daughters, grandkids--whatever.  Keith continues to live here of course (when he's not at his dads house) but now, through no fault of his own, Dane will most likely be moving back in.  I like Dane.  He left because he was uncomfortable with me moving in.  I suppose it was partly that I was a new guy and was with his mom, but mostly because I am not a Witness.  Dane is very active within his congregation and here I come along--an outsider.  He left then, and to his credit has done a very admirable job of staying employed doing anything and everything he could and working hard at it.  He's a smart kid though, and he should be working at a better career than the manual labor he has been slaving at during his years working with tile and construction.

Now I have to give up that room.  That's where all my clothes are.  That's where I get dressed in the morning at 0-dark thirty every day before work.  That's where all my useless treasures live.  It's a more than a little unnerving.  I know I'll get used to it, but I can see myself needing to escape from time to time.

I guess nothing in life ever stays the same does it?