Thursday, 30 April 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Memories

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

Haven't had much time to post this week. Been getting back into the swing of things at school,so been a bit tired.Plus, allergies have been kicking my butt. The scotch broom is in bloom:-(

These are photos from about 8 years ago.

We took my granddaughter,Sacha, skating for the first time....

Sadly,the photos aren't very good quality .... however, I think the sheer excitement on that little girl's face, absolutely shines through.:-)

Can't believe she's almost 12 now!!!

Skates on and already to get out on that ice !!! Look at that grin !!

Hanging on tight to Grandma's hand...

Still hanging on....

Bit braver now and hanging onto the side on her own. Mum (my daughter Christina)is keeping a watchful eye though....

Getting ready to let go of Mum.....

OOPS !!! This is a favourite photo of mine.I love the laughter on both their faces...

Have a great weekend!!

*Update*.... Off on a field trip,this morning, with 100+ second graders. Wish me luck !!! :-)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Weighty Matters Monday #5

Ahhhhh ... I'm happy. I lost 2 lbs this week. :-)

I think I need to eventually buy a better scale though .. as this one weighs in .5 of a lb increments. The other scale that I have, which weighs in .2 of a lb increments, is wildly inaccurate.

I did better this week at tracking what I ate and I think that made a big difference.

I've also worked at keeping my fluid intake up. I've notice that staying hydrated makes a huge difference in my energy levels. Now that the hot weather is upon us, staying hydrated becomes really important.

Back at school this past week, after a month long Spring Break.

A little bit nervous, as a number of our kids went down to visit relatives in Mexico during the holiday.

As you've probably heard on the news, there has been an outbreak of Swine Flu in Mexico.

Needless to say, I am washing my hands well !!!

Aims for this week, other than losing weight :-) .... keep on with the food tracking, water intake and getting exercise in !

And answer that million dollar question that Americans keep asking me..

Yes, there are McDonald's fast food joints, in New Zealand ... :-)

And ... like here in the US, they are not good for your diet..

However, they do have the McDonald's Kiwiburger, which you won't get here. :-)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Camera Critters - Morning Walk

aCamera Critters

From this morning's walk over to Virginia Lake...

Why am I loading a photo of the back end of the horse ??

Well .... because all the rest of the photos of the horse were x-rated ...

You know that Mae West quote 'Is that a gun in your pocket or are you pleased to see me?'

Well, I walked up to the fence, the horse gave this loud neigh and then proved not only was he a he, but he was also more than happy to see me ...

I couldn't get an angle, other than this one, that didn't look like I was shooting a porn pic !!

Snoozin' on a rock ....

'Got any food Lady???'

Spring is here and so are the babies. :-)

Now go to CAMERA CRITTERS and join in the fun.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - My Reno

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

I have a love/hate relationship with the little city that I currently live in.

There are parts of the city that I love and enjoy spending time in. The Truckee River is one such area.

There is a trail beside the river, that enables you to walk or bike from Reno through to Sparks and beyond. Eventually, they are hoping to extend the trail from Pyramid Lake through to Lake Tahoe. That will make for a wonderful ride or hike..

The river in downtown Reno, also has a Kayak park and there are areas for people to picnic and swim. In Summer. it's a very popular place..

This is a view along the Truckee River, looking towards downtown Reno.

It's from a roll of black & white film I shot a couple of weeks ago. I'm not sure what the camera shop did to it, when they were developing it, but the originals ended up all washed out. You could not make out the mountains in the background or the details of the clouds..

I played around with the photo, with some editing software and ended up with a sort of blue-grey tint to the photo. I rather like it, as it sort of gives a moody look to the photo, illustrating the transition from late winter to early spring..

Part of the River walk in downtown Reno.

Clicking on any of the photos in this post, will give you clearer detail. In this one, partially hidden by the trees, are a couple of the homeless characters that spend their days along the river, waiting for the shelter to open at night. When I walked past, they were sharing their food with some of the myriad bird life that also live along the river..

Reno is a city of contrasts in other ways. At one end of a street you can have a million dollar house and at the other end you can find a mobile home park..

Another thing that has always fascinated and repelled, at the same time, me about Reno
is the way that you can very quickly move from a very pretty area to a drab, dirty, run down stretch.

Our city fathers have been wondering why we are losing conventions and why the tourist trade is dropping.

This photo might be one of the answers.

This is an old motel and bar, directly across from one of our big Casinos. It's been in various states of disrepair for years. At one point, many years ago, it was a well known motel, where some of the rich and famous were rumoured to have stayed while waiting for their quickie Reno divorces.

Then it became one of the 'weekly' motels for the homeless and the bar became a biker type hang out.

In more recent years it has been boarded up. There was a tragic fire there about two years ago, in which two homeless men, who had broken into it seeking shelter, died.

They finally pulled it down last week, but the resulting vacant lot is almost just as much an eyesore..

So many contrasts, this city has...

Thursday, 23 April 2009

On The Truckee River

One of my favourite things to do on a hot Spring day .... wander down to the Truckee River and watch the antics of the kayaks..

Getting ready to chance the rapids...

Here we go !!

Whooooooohoooooooooo !!!

Going under !!

Gone !!!

I really want to do that ! :-)

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Watching The World Go By ....

Like this goose, do you like to just sit and watch the world go by...

I also like to people watch ...

Do you ?

The photo was taken down at the Truckee River in Reno. One of my first attempts at playing around with a type of Black & White 35mm film. It's not quite true B&W.

Monday, 20 April 2009

Weighty Matters Monday #4

The scales are still going in the correct direction ...that being ... down.

However, again it was only a .4 loss. Better that nothing..

Spring Break is over, so I'm back into normal routine this week, which means back at school three days a week, plus picking Taylor up, taking her to Karate, etc.

I'm going to walk there and back, most days. It's about a 2 mile (3.2 km) walk, one way, so that will give me a bit of a work out !! :-)

I've also been a little slack about tracking my food intake. So my goal this week, is to journal everything that I eat.

I'll use the WW points system, as that tends to be a little easier than working out calories.

The clip below really has nothing to do with weight loss, though I sometimes feel like reacting, just the way the kid does, when I see a bag of chippies. :-)

Also, I figure the amount of giggling I do, when I watch this commercial, must count for something in the weight loss department.

Laughing burns calories, doesn't it ??? :-)

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Camera Critters - Birds and a Marmot

aCamera Critters

Took these first four shots a couple of months ago, shortly after getting my 35 mm SLR. In fact, I think it might have been the first roll of film I shot..

Such tranquil scenes...

Some of the bird life at Virginia Lake in Reno, NV. I'm lucky enough to live about a 10 minute walk away, so it's a favourite place of mine to go..

That little island, in the second photo, is known as Seagull Island and usually just resembles a large blob of gulls. I think most of them were out on the lake, the day I took that photo..

My first attempt at taking a shot of geese in flight. Definitely a tad shaky. They don't look quite as blurry on the originals, but seemed to have developed it on the upload.

I think that a telephoto lens is definitely on my shopping list .... along with a macro lens :-)

How long away is Christmas??? :-)

This was taken the other day, when I walked up to a field about a mile and half away from us. It has a colony of marmots living there, who are a source of endless entertainment.

Both photos were taken with my small point and shoot digital. I also shot two rolls of 35mm, but they're currently away being developed. Apparently, the old two day service is now a five day service!!

Sending them out to be developed, is a little cheaper than the 1 hour option.

Time to look into developing my own, methinks !! :-)

This might look like a field of rocks, but it ain't :-)

If you look about the center of the shot, you'll see the marmots head poking out of it's burrow. We spent quite a bit of time eyeballing each other !

I'm hoping the 35mm shots, will show it up a bit better..

Mr Marmot scampering around..

Well, I'm pretty sure they are marmots. Perhaps someone could verify that for me?

Now go to CAMERA CRITTERS and join in the fun.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Sacha

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

One of my favourite photos of my eldest granddaughter, Sacha. (Click on the photo to get a larger version.)

It was taken, about 2 years ago, at a wedding in New Zealand. She was the proud flower girl.

I made the dress she is wearing and sent it over to her.

It almost didn't arrive, thanks to USPS. However, thanks to the courier company, that USPS uses, who went above and beyond what they had to, it made it in time..

Happily scattering flowers. :-)

This one cracks me up, every time I look at it.

My son-in-law, Chris, is doing his bit in getting Sacha ready for the wedding, by painting her toenails..

A lovely Father/Daughter moment :-)

Don't you just love that look of concentration :-)

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Monday, 13 April 2009

Go Forth Woman And Get On Yer Bike !!

But ... do not overdo it, especially when you're just getting back into the exercise thing !!

Yesterday, I walked about 1 1/2 miles up to this field so I could photograph some Yellow Bellied Marmots, that live there and then I walked home again. About 3 miles in all.

Then I biked over to a friend's house, who is away for a couple of days, so I could feed their dog, then I biked home again. About 4 miles in total.

Then we took our dogs for a short walk..

This morning I'm feeling it !!!

Meet my pretty pink lady.

I haven't named her yet, any suggestions ??

She's a girl's bike, 'cos I'm short and I have short legs! :-)

She's a little bit fancy, with dual suspension.

That means she has this suspension spring here and also some in the front forks ... which makes going over bumps, etc ...very nice..

And best of all, it has a lovely, big, comfortable seat, with these gel insets. Very cushy !!

In fact, this morning, my bum is about the only part of me that doesn't hurt !!

However, perseverance is the key and I know that I will eventually get back to the fitness level where stiffness, after exercising, will be fleeting.

Not that I'm going to be climbing mountains anytime soon, but you get the picture :-)

Weighty Matters Monday #3

I had a .4 of a pound , weight loss this week.

Not great, but I'll take it. At least the scales were moving in the right direction !!

I'm still fighting the comfort eating urge. I'm pretty stressed right now, for various reasons.

J, is still job hunting. He has a job interview, this morning, that he's hopeful about. I'm trying to not get too hopeful and excited about it, but at the same time be supportive. It's a very tough job market, right now..

It's also difficult having him home all the time. Don't get me wrong, I like spending time with him, but I also like my solitary time. Most of my time is spent with people and that usually involves me doing something for them or listening to them. There is not much time when I can just unwind or be quiet within me.

I am extremely homesick. I really, really want to go home. I miss my kids and I very much miss my grand kids. I haven't been very good at staying in contact, lately. Mainly because I find myself feeling a little depressed because I'm here and not there. It hurts. It's also something that I'm going to have to overcome, because not having contact is just as bad !

I'm also not very good at letting people know how I feel. I guess it's a hangup from my childhood, where I wasn't allowed to express emotion, where I was constantly told that I was no good, would never amount to anything and needed to stop whining because there were people worse off than I was..

Boy, I didn't mean to write that much..I guess there is a bit bottled up in there !! I will admit, that I am very tempted to delete most of the above, however, that again is something that I need to stop doing. Keeping it all inside me is not helping my stress levels, which in turn is playing havoc with my weight loss and my health..

Writing this down is one way of figuring out what is going on with me and how to strategise it..

I've been doing a little reading lately, about stress and it's affect on weight. This article has a lot of interesting information and links in it, on why stress may lead to weight gain and how to begin to combat that. I'm going to work on following some of the suggestions. Interestingly, journaling is one of them and writing down some of the stuff that is bugging me, is certainly helpful..

Janine, a blogger I follow, at Journey To A Mini Me is a real inspiration to me. She has lost an impressive amount of weight after WLS. Way to go, Janine !!!

Recently, she challenged her readers to make four promises to themselves. There were four beginning statements, that were the base of these promises. They could be about weight loss or other things in your life. So these are mine. The beginning statements are in red .

I CAN lose weight and achieve my goals in life.

I WILL take steps, even if they are small ones, each day to achieve those goals.

I WANT to move forward and get out of this rut I'm currently in. I know that I CAN do this because I AM stronger than I give myself credit for.

I WON'T let myself down anymore.

I now challenge you to write 4 statements about yourself, using the first two red words, in each statement. You can also add 'I' statements, as I did in the third one :-)

Okay, now I'm off to have a shower and then I'm going to walk up to this area,

Which is about a mile and a half, from where I live and photograph a colony of marmots that live there.

What have you planned for your day ?

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Camera Critters - At The River

aCamera Critters

I recently bought myself a OM-G SLR 35mm camera and have set myself the challenge of going back to the basics and learning good, old-fashioned film photography.

Unfortunately there is not much in the way of classes for 35mm in our area, as people are turning to digital, so it's turning out to be very much trial and error !!!

But I'm having fun doing it :-)

The following photos are all unedited, except for some cropping on one. My next challenge will be figuring out how to use GIMP... :-)

The details come out better if you click on them to enlarge .... I found things I'd missed the first time..

These were all taken down at the Truckee River, in Reno.

I had the aperture set wrong on this one, which is why I think the ducks are so dark. However I love the way it's captured the choppy water and the reflection of the buildings above..

Watched these two for awhile. They were catching and eating something in the water. It was fascinating watching them ride the wind stirred water...

The Truckee River is very cold at this time of the year, as it is fed by snow melt from the mountains surrounding us.

Despite that, this young lady was having the time of her life chasing stones that her master would skim across the water for her.

I had to laugh at the look on her face though, when she realised that the stone that he had just thrown her, was indistinguishable from all the rest in the river bed. :-)

She went bounding through the water, kicking up clouds of white spray. So enthusiastic.

When I was looking at the photo after I'd clicked on it, I noticed that there is a goose standing on the other side of the river, keeping an eye on what is going on.

Now go to CAMERA CRITTERS and join in the fun.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Friday Foto Finish Fiesta - Down By The River

It's Friday and it's a Fiesta !! At least it is, thanks to Candid Carrie ! :-)

Monday was a beautiful day, so after visiting the DMV, we meandered down to the Truckee River.

I had fun playing with with my 35mm SLR film camera. Still trying to get the hang of it, but I thought some of the shots came out fairly well, despite me having the F-stops wrong...

But, that's all the fun of learning !!!

For most of the photos, you can get better detail if you click on the photo.

The hubby looking contemplatively at the river.

I messed around with the colour on this one, with a photo editing program and still haven't got it right ...

We stood and watched these kayaks, for ages.

Isn't the water a beautiful blue !!

It was darn cold though as it is snow melt that feeds the river. Despite that there were a couple of kids playing in the river. BRRRRRRRRRRRR !!

Looking across at the kayaks playing in the water. It was fascinating watching them flip in the white water..

This fellow was taking quiet nap in the sun.

Sadly he is one of the many homeless that we have in the area.

Many of them are mentally ill and there are not enough beds in the shelters for them. Programs that were in place to help them, have now been discontinued because of the current economic climate.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Sometimes I just have to shake my head...

My Kiwi accent got me into trouble ... again ...

I stopped in at my local fast food joint, at lunch time, to get something to eat.

The ensuring conversation, between me and the counter person (CP) went something like this...

Me ... ' I'll have a Caesar Salad with FF French dressing and a bottle of water,

CP ... ' That will be $2.80, thank you. '

Simple. Right?

Then I noticed that he was filling one of their drink cups up with ice.

Me ... ' No, I didn't want it in a cup. I want bottled water. '

CP ... ' You want what? '

Me ... ' I want bottled water. '

CP ... ' Sorry, Ma'am I don't understand you. '

Me ... ' I want a bottle of water. '

At this point, one of his co-workers came over and asked me what I wanted ..

Me ... (feeling mildly frustrated) ' I want a bottle of water. '

They both looked at me blankly as though I was speaking a foreign language..

Me ... (very slowly and clearly) ' A__ B_O_T_T_L_E__ O_F __W_A_T_E_R .'

They both looked at each other..

CP2 ... 'You want the bathroom ?'

Me ... (wondering how I could pantomime a bottle of water) ' No, I want a bottle with water in it. '

More blank looks from both of them ...

Then I had a minor brain wave ..

Me ... (pointing at menu board) 'Look, Dasani bottled water - $1.49. '

Big smiles from CP 1 & 2 ...

CP ... ' You want a bottle of water. '

Sheeeesh ...Isn't that what I've been trying to tell you for the last five minutes!!

Mind you, it didn't end there. I phoned the hubby to tell him about the conversation and he thought I was saying 'Mushrooms and water' ...

Sighhhhh ... though I'll put that one down to cellphone reception and give him the benefit of the doubt...

Honestly, I don't think my accent is all that pronounced. This link takes you to a previous post of mine, where I was trying to tell a 911 operator where a DV incident was taking place.

It has a little video on it, where you can hear the sound of my voice. Admittedly, am speaking slowly and precisely...but .. well, you be the judge :-)

I Finished It !!!

I actually finished about three weeks ago, however, I hate sewing my knitting together, so that part has taken a little longer..

I'm not 100% happy with the way the collar sits, so I think I'll probably unpick the stitching and sew that part up again.

I've already started on my next project.

The yarn is a pretty Rose Heather 100% wool and the pattern is an interesting Arran. Fairly plain, but with an intricate cable knot..

I had started another sweater in the same yarn and had completed the front and one arm, but really wasn't enjoying knitting the pattern, so started this one instead.

I'd also love to master the Intarsia method of knitting. It's a little different than Fair Isle Knitting. It's sort of like making an mosaic or an inlaid floor..

Some of my favourites for this style are ....

Kaffe Fassett who uses a variety of colour in mainly geometric designs

Or Kim Hargreaves, who has some wonderful tapestry/painting like designs..

I'm a sucker for Dragons, so I'd love to do that jacket on the left...

Both of them use interesting textures in their designs as well. They're not knitted with just one particular yarn, but a variety that compliment each other..

I'm also pulling out my sewing machine, with the intention of finishing some sewing projects that I have sitting around ... and getting into quilting.

All with the aim of keeping my hands and mind busy, which should distract me from food!! :-)

So what craft projects have you got going on ?

Would appreciate prayers and good thoughts at the moment. The hubby is out putting his resume out for some jobs that look hopeful. It's been 4 months since he was laid off. Definitely a tough job market out there.. :-(