Thursday, February 28, 2008

Ahhh...

Wishing you all a day like this. And I also wish myself a day like this. lol.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Cannon Beach - Oregon

My parents just got back from a weekend at the Oregon Coast. My dad has a love for photography and took some really amazing shots while they were there. I just had to share them with everyone because they are so beautiful! You should be able to click on each photo to see them fullsize.


I asked him the info on what he used and this was his response, for any of you interested in photography:


"I use a Nikon D200 camera. Most of the pictures were taken with Carl Zeiss lenses and somewith my Nikon lenses. I only use two types of filters. One, is a polarizing filter that has, the same effect as your sunglasses do. It reduces glare, increases contrast and helps to enhance color saturation.

The other filter I regularly use is a "neutral density filter" (ND). I have a variety of ND filters to choose from depending on how bright the light is in a scene that I am trying to adjust. The ND filter serves to lower the intensity of the light in a certain part of the scene (usually it is the sky that is too bright). It has no effect on color or anything else, just lowers the bright area's down so that the scene is more evenly balanced for correct exposure.

FYI, our eyes are able to see 5 - 7 stops difference in exposure values. Thus, when we look at a scene that goes all the way from sunny parts to deep shadows our eyes are able to adjust for that variance and we see it. The problem is with photography is that both digital sensors, as well as film, can only record 3 stops of light intensity difference. Thus, taking pictures similar to the ones I sent you and not using a ND filter, you would end up with a picture where either the foreground is exposed correctly and the sky is washed out. Or, the sky is exposed correctly and the foreground is too dark to see much detail. With the ND filter lowering the brightness in one part of the scene to> more closely match the brightness in another part, you end up with a picture where you are able to see the detail in all parts of the photo. Other than those two types of filters, I use no in-camera or post photo manipulation of the photo's. The ones I sent you are the way they came out of the camera." - Ron Southworth






















Friday, February 22, 2008

I finally understand his obession.

Or maybe I just got a glimpse into understanding it - Will's passion/obsession for running outrageously long foot races.

Last night Will and I went to go see the independent film "The Spirit of the Marathon". This was a 2 and 1/2 hour documentary on 6 unique individuals training for the Chicago Marathon.


It was actually really good! Even if I did relate more to the people in the crowd than those who were the stars of the movie. Haha. I particularly liked the one sign that a bystander was holding during the marathon that said "You're All Crazy!!". That would totally be like me to hold a sign like that.


I have just never really understood it.


Why does a person torture themselves by putting on a pair of running shoes...

And then go run 26.2 miles...

Sometimes even 32 miles....

Or then sometimes even 197 mile relay races?

Is it to impress the ladies?

Or because its one of the only times you will actually get through all of the songs on your iPod?

Or is it the commadary with others who smell just as sweet as you?

Or maybe it's that you get to try out new running shoes.

Or for the finishing medals?


Nahhhhhhhhhhhh. I'm convinced its for one reason and one reason only!


The Tshirts.

Will, I promise to run a 5K with you by the end of this year. I really want a tshirt too.

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good

With the goal of putting together a last-minute, low-budget weekend get-away, we accepted Daniel and Dalynn's (Will's brother and wife) invitation to drive to Vancouver for the weekend and visit them.

We were excited to get out of town, to see them (since we hadn't visited them in over a year and a half), and to enjoy a little time away from the usual.

We went to the park, ate yummy food, and of course the boys played a few hours of "Settlers". (Above: Will pushing Mika in the swing, with Daniel in front. Dalynn pushing Ember).

(Right - Me trying to stay warm and taking photos of everyone swinging).

(Below - A familiar site - two brothers battling at "Settlers". Daniel won.)


The Bad - the trip to Vancouver


Well, we tried to get out of Seattle early but that didn't happen. Thanks to me (I was late picking up Will from work). After only sitting in rush hour traffic for an hour or so, I needed to go to the bathroom. So we pulled off the freeway somewhere around Des Moines and found a BurgerKing. It took us like 30 min to get there because of how much traffic there was.

45 minutes later, we were finally back on the freeway. Inching along.

Then, as we were conversing, we started to notice that the road sounded funny. "It must be the pavement", Will said, as we heard the thump-thump, thump-thump sound. "Ummmm...let's change lanes to be sure." I said. So we switched, and the sound was still there. "Honey, I think we have a flat."

So we pulled all the way over to the right and got off on the side of the freeway. Sure enough, our front right tire was flat. Great.

By this time, it was about 7:15pm. (We had left Bellevue at 5pm) Will got everything out of the trunk, put it in the backseat, and got out the spare tire and changing tools. A few minutes later he comes up to me and says, "Well, the spare is flat. Luckily I have a pump, so I'm going to pump it up and see if it will hold."

7:40pm - Will the amazing, gets everything together and we are back on the freeway, again inching along with traffic. We get off on the next exit. Of course now its too late for any Les Schwabs to be open, but fortunately we find a Walmart that took us right before they closed at 8pm.

9:30pm - We have a new front tire and we are finally back on the freeway again. We finally arrive in Vancouver around 11pm.

The next day, Will finds a Walmart in Vancouver because we still need to replace the flat spare. The guy working there tells Will that our new tire is not the correct spec for our Jetta and we need to get a different and more expensive tire. Fortunately, Will explained that it was Walmart who sold us the tire in the first place - so 3 hours later, we had TWO new tires (nice ones) for the same price as the cheaper tires.

The Ugly - The trip home to Seattle

Sunday morning, we are excited to take a nice scenic trip home along the coast (instead of the freeway). It is sunny outside and beautiful.

After about 2 hours on the road, we make it over towards the coastal mountain range and we notice a herd of Elk in a field on the side of the road. So we stop, turn around, and go back to look at them. We see a gravel road, so we take it in the hopes that we will get a closer look at the elk.

Dang elk.

Next thing, we hear this screeching scratching sound and realize that the ground clearance on our car is too low for this gravel road and we had hit some rocks. It didn't sound good at all, and I'm sitting there cringing as Will backs up and attempts to get around it. We just kept hearing the sound. But we did make it closer to the elk before they got spooked and ran off.

We got back on the highway and about a 1/2 mile down the road, we see a historical marker so we pull over to read it. "What is that smell?", we both said. I jokingly said to Will, "Maybe you should get out and check out the gigantic hole that you put on the bottom of the car!"

He backs the car up so we are in the sun more, and we both notice a huge puddle of fluid where the car was parked just a moment ago. That is not good. Will gets out, walks up to it and sticks his finger in it and we both just look at each other.

It's oil.

Will quickly calculates how long it would take to drain out 5 quarts of oil at the rate it was spewing out. He determined that we had about 20 minutes to find a place to get it fixed.

Problem is - It was Sunday, and we were in the middle of no where.

We sped down the highway and about 20 miles later we found a tiny town called South Bend, found an Exxon and pulled in. I went in to use the bathroom, and Will found a phonebook and a local person.

Apparently South Bend doesn't have a mechanic in town, but they gave us the number for a tow truck. We went back out to the car and could see the oil spewing out from underneath the car.

We call the towtruck guy, who shows up 45 minutes later. His tow truck is like a 1960's Chevy. lol. But he was really nice. He said he would look at the problem to see if he could fix it.

So while he's jacking up the car, I'm inside calling Geico to see if our insurance covered towing service, and where the nearest Volkswagon dealership is.

The guy tells us that he can't fix it, we're going to need a new oilpan, but he can tow us to Olympia and it would cost us about $400.00.

And this was supposed to be a low-budget weekend getaway. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Will pleads with him to see if he could patch it up, even with ducttape. The guy says he would try. So he leaves to go get supplies. An hour later, he comes back with crayons and some patch putty. Yes - crayons. Apparently to seal the crack, and wisk away the oil.

3 hours later, he's got us patched up. Fortunately he only charged us $60 too - what a nice guy. Will gave him the cash and also one of my Cds (although he didn't look like the type to listen to my type of music lol).

We were on our way, it was dark, we missed our scenic opportunity, but we did find a DQ and got a sweet deal on some hamburgers and enjoyed a cookie dough blizzard as we made our way home, stopping every once in a while to check the patch job. It held.

At least we can say we saw some elk. Which, by the way, we saw PLENTY more of on the way home. lol.

What an adventure. At least we had each other to laugh about it with.

In the video below you can see how bad the leak was.

video

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentines Date - and 6 months down!

Will and I celebrated our 5th Valentine's Day together last night! Can you believe it?

We've kept the tradition of making each other homemade cards - can you guess who's is who? LOL

Okay I'll just tell you that Will's actually looked way better than mine. He even went to a paper store and bought the velum cover (his is on the right in case you didn't guess by now). All the sparkly beads started falling off the glue on mine. LOL I think mine looks like it was made by a child. Haha.

Here is us before heading off to Piatti's Italian Restaurant. Man - I just want to say this angle is not good on me. LOL I look 9 months pregnant instead of 6. So see next picture to get correct perspective.

And then last but not least - today I am officially 6 months pregnant!

Crazy huh? Here are the belly shots. The one in the dress is obviously from last night, and then the other one is from today to give a better idea (I thought the dress made me look bigger, but now that I'm looking at them side by side, I take that back).


Just about 3 months and 3 weeks to go and we'll have a son. Little baby Preston Thomas. :)













Monday, February 11, 2008

Musical Mayhem

You would think that as a professional musician AND a teacher, I would be more organized. Nope!
For the past who-even-knows how many years, my music collection has slowly turned into one huge chaotic mess!


AND I married a man who also plays the piano, and so the music library practically doubled. Our music books have been spread out from the piano bench, underneath my digital keyboards, in a sachel box by the piano, to a storage bin in the storage room. I've have no idea what is where, and its been frustrating (and embarrassing) when trying to go look for something when a piano student is here.


So this was my Saturday's project this past weekend. And the picture (above) is even after I got organized. That is what is left for me to work on this week - which is going through all that copied music, seperating it into genres and putting them in protective sheets and binders(don't worry, the originals are somewhere so I'm not a pirate, and besides you can copy music for the purpose of teaching just fyi).

Since we don't have a bookshelf yet, here (above) is my proud display of my somewhat finished project - all along the floor along the wall next to the piano. :)


Notice the fabulous categorization by genre, and even the Classical composers got alphabetized. Yes, I am good.

I was surprised (or maybe shocked is a better word) that Will's collection of pianobooks mostly consisted of late 80/early 90 rock music. He even had a song in there from Meatloaf? And Bette Midler "The Wind Beneath My Wings"? LOL I remember singing that for my 7th grade choir concert. I was almost embarrassed to merge our collections. lol. (Don't worry I still love you, honey!)

The piano - still a mess, but improving.

And the music studio has recently turned into a place to store bills-to-be-paid and other random papers LOL

Friday, February 8, 2008

For Will

I know it's a few days early, but...

video

I love you!

XOXO, Jenni

(Just a short collage of memories from the past few years)

Music - "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds Five

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Fun-in-law

We had a fun weekend with Sandy in town (Will's mom - if he were writing this blog then perhaps it would be titled "mother" lol). She was in town for a speech pathology conference and stayed with us for part of the weekend.

Friday night I decided to paint my nails, and Will willingly tried on colors for me. I think he had too much fun.
Don't worry - any said nail polish applied upon Will's fingers was successfully removed later that night.
I ended up painting little flowers on my thumbs - which is the first time I'd ever done that. I thought they turned out pretty good for the first time.

Saturday we went for a leisurly walk around our humble neighborhood. (Recap: We live in the guesthouse of a million dollar estate, and the street next to our's was at one time the 'Street of Dreams'. Yeah. We definitely could never afford one of these homes but nevertheless, these are our neighbors).

Here is us drawing mucho attention to our backsides by smacking them for the camera. Just nevermind the huge butt I have right now. I keep telling myself that my backside is actually shrinking, but actually its just because my belly is getting bigger - thus making my butt only appear smaller. Dangitt!
This is the pond next to our place, and then our driveway. Gotta love the NW with all its greenery.