Saturday, September 29, 2007

OK, OK...

This family across the street from us must be moving soon. Both of the cars in their driveway are for sale. This guy obviously has the nads to put a sign on his car with different prices according to your military rank.

So if you're an O-4 (Major) or greater, you have to pay $12K for the car. E-7 to O-3 (Gunnery Sergeant to Captain) you're paying $11K, and E-6 or below (Staff Sergeant or lower enlisted) you pay $10K. Really, this is comical - I'm sure those of you who understood it laughed at it. We passed it on the way back from dinner last night and laughed pretty hard. Serious nads.

And Ryan - you don't check your Yahoo! mail so please send me your work email so I have a way to write you? Glad you got the package. 

Last night I honestly went to watch some newly downloaded TV (season premier of The Office and ER) so I uploaded those pictures and forgot to write about Logan - so I did caption the 2 pictures of Mia and her friend below.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Seen In My Neighbor's Driveway

Mia and Logan (one of what is now 4 children in the Neathery family across the street. Logan's in kindergarten too. They ride the bus together.
They walked & skipped down the road the whole way to Gordie's burger joint. So cute.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Picture Perfect

Today is picture day at school for our almost-6-year-old kid. At dinner after soccer practice last night, her dad said, "When we get home, after your shower, we're going to pick out what clothes you're wearing for your pictures tomorrow, ok?"
"Yeah - so that we don't argue about it in the morning."

She had her yearly physical yesterday, which wasn't really all that because we'd just done a lot of it for her school immunizations and her sports physical to play soccer. She's 47.3 lbs and 45 3/4" tall. Doing great in every way, and told the doctor that she "eats broccoli now" and that in school she's "learning to listen well". Gotta love it.

Here she is mugging for me before she went to school:

We might put her in an Aikido class we just heard about. Craig insists it's time she start training to fight the boys off. I can't say I disagree.

In other news- I had a FANTASTIC dive yesterday with my original dive buddy, Scott. He was nice enough to rent gear for us ($15 for tank, BCD, regulator & weights) and we easily had more than $15 worth of FUN. Among other things, we saw a moray eel, a cuttlefish (seriously one of the COOLEST things I've ever seen, we followed it for 10 minutes), lots of sea snakes (yeah, I kept my distance), a very friendly clown fish that was playing around Scott's hand (and another that was peeking in and out of the anemone below), several puffer fish, and tons of other tropical goodies in every color of the rainbow on a beautiful great visibility dive just a 5-minute swim from the sea wall at the end of my street.

Another one of my favorite things out there is the christmas tree worm:
They come in every bright color you can think of, and when you swim up and reach to touch them, they suck down into the coral really quickly. For a video of this, if you care, click here.

I'm off to continue my busy week!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Playing at Toguchi Beach

Yes - there are so many dragonflies here that they make it into my pictures constantly. one photogenic guy in particular made it into my latest album - I didn't edit him out because I thought it was kind of cool.

Enjoy the latest pictures of Toguchi - Mia played on the playground and then we proceeded on to the beach & rocky area. Very cool, right at pre-sunset time, so you can see the golden light & long shadows. Enjoy! And also - you may have noticed the new "Web Gallery" thing - I've yet to realize this new feature of iPhoto to its full potential, but it sure does make sharing pictures easier! What do you think of it? (I prefer the "mosaic" viewing option myself.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

We Spent - But It Was Worth It!

My scuba buddy from my certification class just got promoted to Chief. Scott is a corpsman here, and their lovely family invited me to the pinning ceremony on Friday at 11am. Friday it was raining. No - that's truly an understatement. It was like a monsoon. And I wasn't really too jazzed about running from the car to the Camp Foster movie theater with my brand new Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens.

But as I sat in the car at 10:40, contemplating my course of action, and really upset about the weather because I REALLY wanted to play with the new lens, the rain let up. Just enough for me to dash inside with the camera bag. The room was full of people - families, men & women in uniform, and lots of those people had cameras. Point and shoot cameras, flashes flickering, and I thought to myself how disappointed they'd all be when they saw their dark shots at home.

I unsheathed my beast of a lens in a seat about halfway back in the theater, behind a railing I could lean on to use as a bit of stability if I needed to.

The Camp Foster movie theater is very dimly lit by ugly fluorescent lights, possibly only out-uglied by the dark mustard-colored curtain. I used my Expo Disc to establish the proper white balance in that - did I mention dimly lit and ugly room? - and snapped a shot or two at 1600 ISO and 2.8f. I looked at them in my viewfinder (which on that 40D is now HUGE compared to the last one) and almost yelled out loud! WOW! What a difference a lens makes!

IT was my first pinning ceremony, and it was very interesting. First a lovely Chief sang the National Anthem. Then a man came up to the podium and started to speak after a brief prayer from the Chaplain. A few minutes in, the Chief who sang came on stage and whispered to the man - who subsequently told us we could take our seats (yes, we were still standing!). Picture # 12 in the album shows the moment following the realization that we could sit down!

34 people were promoted to Chief that day, and they had family and close friends and mentors pin them and put on their new covers. I found myself tearing up watching the first few people who did it - and I didn't know them from Adam. Scott's last name is Cyr, so because they pinned people in alphabetical order by last name, he was pretty early on. Before his turn, I hopped out of my seat and furtively (or not so furtively thanks to heels and a really big lens) dashed up front to capture the moment. It wasn't easy - and I had no idea if the ideas I had were going to turn out well when I got home to look, but it felt great to be up there. And Scott's wife, Michelle, was so appreciative.

Anyway - thanks so much, Michelle and Scott, for inviting me and letting me share in the big day - and thank you for giving me permission to share your pictures with my friends & family and whoever else might stop by my blog. Even though you don't know them, this is a good example of how far I've come with my photography. I'm really proud of these shots.
Oh - the kids' names are Austin (the son, 11 years old) and Tyler (the daughter, 13). I edited the shots, and when Michelle saw them her response was:

All those shots are amazing! I immediately shared the link with our family and friends. Everyone is raving over your talent. Laura is cursing you were not around back in the day when her husband was pinned, and Linda wants you to take their pics." She also lamented that every shot she took was dark, so she was so happy to have these. You're so welcome, Michelle - it was my pleasure!

At the ceremony, one of the men who was pinned came up and the man calling the names said he was with 7th Communications Battalion - that's Craig's unit! I called him when I got home, still yelling and gasping about the quality of the pictures, and he said, "Yeah - that's Chief (so and so), I barbecued with him at the family picnic this summer. Super nice guy."

When he got home, Craig told me that another guy from his unit was the one who came to put on his cover for him during the ceremony - and Craig said that I was taking pictures for our friend there. Apparently, the guy said, "Curly-haired brunette with a really BIG tan and black lens? Yeah - I saw her." Inconspicuous it ain't - but that's ok. I was never the wallflower type anyway.