Saturday, May 31, 2008

Our Pride and Joy

As most of you who read my blog know, my oldest son, Nicholas, is a member of the United States Air Force. During a deployment in 2003, he and his crew flew this flag from their aircraft and Nick subsequently presented it to Randey and me with a certificate. The certificate says this:
The accompanying American Flag was proudly flown aboard MC-130E Combat Talon I during Operation Enduring Freedom on 7 June 2003, in support of US Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. Commitment
I am the American Flag. I have flown over every conflict since my inception into this world. I have seen the grassy fields of Gettysburg, the waters in the Pacific, the sands of Iraq, the skies over Yugoslavia , and the mountains of Afghanistan. The mere site of me invokes tears of joy, pride, and dedication in those who believe in what I stand for. I also provoke fear into the heart of nations of those who oppose me. I know no gender or race and accept all who will accept me. I am no God, but hold a bond over men and women who serve under me that is equal. I have no voice, but people listen. I cover a nation with hope and vision, and sadly blanket those who have given us the same. Of all the nations and all the flags, none makes its presence known as I. I am a leader among leaders. I encompass the lives of friends and family, brothers and sisters, the living and the dead. I will continue to give hope to those who do not understand, and meaning to those who do. In return for all I can give, I ask for but one thing. This I cannot tell you, it is something that only you will come to know. I do ask that you be patient for I am young, and stern for I am old. Proudly display me for all the world to see, and look to me, and I will show you the past, the present and the future. I am committed to you, the children of my country. I am the American Flag.
In memory of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

I finally got this wonderful flag and certificate framed in a shadow box. It will be proudly displayed in our living room.

To Nick:

Thanks, baby. Randey and I both love and appreciate the gift of this flag. It means the world to us. Sorry it took so long to get it displayed.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Picture Taking 101: Next Attempt

I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, but the pictures seem to be getting better. lol Here's a close up of a rose rock. Are ya'll familiar with these? Growing up in Oklahoma, we'd find them everywhere. Nowadays they sell them in stores. This one looks like a rose from certain angles, but I've seen some that look like an actual rose dipped in red/brown paint. Anyway, moving on...I was able to get a close up shot of these glass items on one of the book shelves. That's a glass doorknob there in the middle. I have no idea why it's lying there on it's "head" like that...
Here's another one of our "Believe" signs. Annie's a big fan of the "believe" concept!! I can never look at that word without thinking of her and Izzy.
Here's a shot of my mister (and I'm not talkin' about Randey). I love this thing. Well, I love Randey, too, but this is about the mist making mister, not Big Daddy. *smile* I know these mist makers are "so last year", but I still enjoy mine...the way the mist rolls over the side is just cool.
Here's my Oklahoma paver. This isn't one of my better pictures, I just wanted to show off my paver. lol
Here's a picture of our confetti lantana. I love lantana. Randey? Not so much. I love the way it spills out of the flowerbeds onto the walkway or the grass. Randey thinks I should allow him to trim it up even with the edge of the bed. Goob.
Here's my Esperanza. I absolutely LOVE this plant. It's a perennial and every year, I look forward to seeing it bloom like this. It will bloom even more profusely as the year progresses and will continue to bloom until the weather cools down and stays cooled down. Don't you love these flowers? They're so bright and happy!
These next two are Randey's favorites of today's batch of pictures. I'm pretty proud of them myself. (Okay, so my standards are fairly low at this point, bear with me!)
The purple blooms are on our Rose of Sharon tree (also known as an Althea tree).
I was trying to get fancy with this next shot. It might have worked if I'd gotten lower with my perspective. I wanted the foreground lily to be out of focus with the back bloom being sharply in focus. I think if I had been at a lower angle, it might have turned out better.
So what do you think? Am I improving? Or is this just wishful thinking? lol

This is embarrassing...

I took my big honkin' camera off the dining room table (where I thought it looked quite nice, thank you) and attempted to take pictures around our house. I was "practicing" you see. Because practice makes perfect, right? I took pictures of flowers and trees, as well as random things inside the house. Afterwards, I raced upstairs, downloaded the chip and had a moment of utter confusion. 110 pictures?? I didn't take 110 pictures. Maybe 25 or 30, but 110? No way. Well...way. If you count the ones I took at Christmas when I was "practicing" back then, too. I just forgot to delete those at the time. So here it is, almost the end of May, and here's what was in my camera:

Hard to enjoy the magic that's the Christmas season when the temperatures are over 90, you know what I mean? And of the 25 or 30 pictures I took yesterday, here's 3 that came out almost alright. Yes. Three. That means my "success rate" is at what? 10 percent? Geez.

I just knew that I was going to suddenly be able to take magnificent pictures when I picked up that camera yesterday. But alas, looks like there's no way out of it...I gotta hit the books after all. This "practice" session wasn't a total waste, though. I have mastered the "delete" function. (Baby steps, steps.)
P.S. Today is the boys' last day of school! Yippee! Right? This is a "yippee" moment, isn't it? Yes, it is. I'm sure of it. We're going to have a great summer. And I mean it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Way Over My Head

Last summer, I fussed and fussed about wanting a nicer camera. I wanted to be able to take pictures like a pro. My little point and shoot camera just wasn't up to the task. Actually, in retrospect, I think the operator of my little point and shoot camera wasn't up to the task but hindsight ain't helping me now. 'Cause now, thanks to my big mouth, I have a much bigger problem. Almost a year ago - yes! One. Whole. Year. Ago. - Randey bought me this: Isn't it something? A Nikon D80 - a truly magnificent piece of machinery. And that's not all. He also bought me this:
Lenses and gadgets galore. Woo-hoo! Unfortunately, Randey forgot that he's married to a technologically challenged individual who can't even program a microwave or TiVo with any degree of accuracy. I've had this entire set up all this time and I still don't know how to use this darn camera. I was overjoyed when I saw that our local community education office was offering a 6 week digital photography class for beginners. And then I found out that the class starts the week we leave for vacation. Ugh! However, my wonderful neighbor, Brian, loaned me a few books on photography so all is not lost. Sure, he loaned them to me months ago, but my procastination has prevented me from taking advantage of them until now (so it's not my fault, see?). But now the time has come. Our vacation is fast approaching so I can't put this off any longer...I'm going to have to break down and crack open those books. And hope Kaleb's around to interpret the tech-y stuff for me. (You don't suppose it's possible to actually electrocute yourself with a honkin' camera like this, do 'ya?)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Not Much Fizz to the Dr. Pepper Tour but Indiana Jones is Still the Man

Bright and early Saturday morning (if you consider 9:00 bright and early, that is) we headed to Dublin, Texas to check out the Dublin Dr. Pepper Bottling Company and Museum. We opted not to go to the Waco D.P. museum because it would have meant a total of 5 hours driving time to include both Dublin and Waco and we wanted to check out Indiana Jones 4 that afternoon, too. Anywho...I'm thinking that this will go down in our family history as a "been there, done that, don't need to do it again" sort of thing. The Famous "Old Doc's Soda Shop" wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Not much there at all, really. They sold t-shirts and other Dr. Pepper emblazoned items and the soda counter offered all manner of D.P. and even some sandwiches and stuff. The tour of the bottling plant, however, made the the soda shop look downright cool. Our 'tour guide' was a young, probably teen-aged, girl who used "um" and "like" in every single sentence she spoke, sometimes even several times within the same sentence, during the 20 minute tour thru the bottling facility and the three room "museum". And if she scraped her hair back behind her ears once, she did it a hundred times. Note to Dublin Dr. Pepper Management: Make sure tour guides can speak proper English, advise them to keep their hands out of their hair, especially when standing next to the bottling machinery and explain to them that stopping their schpeil in the middle of a sentence to explain to the tour how it is they always get confused when trying to pronounce so and so's name doesn't exactly convey a feeling of "ah...she knows what she's talking about!".
We bought the boys a t-shirt each, just so we wouldn't feel like the day was wasted (ha) and we bought Maddy Moose and Kara little Dr. Pepper shirts, too (see below). The coolest thing was this giant Dr. Pepper can that's located down at the end of the block from the museum. Here's Randey and I, poking each other in the ribs as Kaleb took our picture.
(How come he looks normal when I'm poking him, but I look like a stumbling drunk or something??). This next picture is of Kaleb and Jacob next to the "can". They first stood there about 2 feet apart until I told them to "act like they knew each other". This is the pose they gave me for my efforts:
And here's Randey and the boys. After we left Dublin, we drove up thru Granbury and had lunch at Babe's. Don't even get me started on the food at Babe's. Yum-O! Their smoked chicken is the best! Once we got lunch out of the way, we headed back home (had to drop off Randey's left-overs) and then on to the movie theater where we saw Indiana Jones 4.
I wish I hadn't of listened to the critics take on this movie...I spent too much time "thinking" about it instead of just enjoying it. I think I'm going to go see it again. I mean I liked it, I liked it a lot, I just think I missed too much of it because I was trying to see what the critics had pointed out in their reviews. Dumb critics. Don't know why I ever even bother to read a review from the likes of them.
Before I stop for today, I want to clarify why I asked if anyone knew the definition of "curmudgeon" in my last post. And no, people, it's not because someone called me one nor was it because I didn't have enough sense to look it up in a dictionary. I asked because I was surprised that my own teenage sons had never heard the word before. A couple of months ago, we were at a reception hosted by Texas Tech. It was one of those college recruitment things for Kaleb. While there, one of the speakers said something about not promising the students that they wouldn't run into the occasional "curmudgeon" within the ranks of the professors and then she said "Ah. Curmudgeon. Our vocabulary word of the day.". I sort of laughed and said "Like everyone in this room doesn't already know what a curmudgeon is" and Kaleb and Jacob both looked at me and said they'd never heard the word before. What the heck? I thought they would have learned that already, either through vocabulary testing and/or English lit. I know it's not a word we use here at home often (although if Randey's attitude keeps deteriorating, that could change. lololol). When I expressed my shock that my boys didn't know that word, I was informed (and I won't say who was doing the informing) that it wasn't a very "common" word and most people probably didn't know what it meant. Bull-hockey, I say! So I was asking you guys if you knew the meaning. (Wow. Talk about a long, drawn out story to explain something, huh?) Anyway, that's why the question was asked. So don't start sending me e-mail addressed to "Ms. Curmudgeon", thinking that's become my new nick-name, okie-dokie?
The rest of this post is for the scrapbookers out there. I wanted to show you my Mini-Moon booklet. It'll serve as a forever reminder of what goober pet owners Randey and I are. lol
And finally...may you all take the time to think about and remember those who have given their lives so that we may have our freedoms. Memorial Day is for them. May God Bless their souls.

(Click to enlarge photos)