Saturday, July 29, 2017

Summer Reading

I love reading, but especially summer reading.

I've had a slew of books on hold for a couple months. It's crazy when they get released around the same time.  I like to think my late fees contribute to the library's income.

Of the three pictured, I just finished the Caitlyn Jenner book. Very interesting and enlightening. He was - and she is - such a kind, gentle, compassionate soul. But I still can't wrap my mind around this issue. One thing's for sure, it's a topic to generate hours of great discussion and deep introspection on "who are we, really?"

Jackie's Girl - is written by one of her personal assistants. I love reading about Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Shattered - I've been really looking forward to digging into this one. Originally it was to be the backstory of how Hillary won the White House. But that trajectory kinda changed last November.

pause for :)

Last week I finished Stephen King's 11/22/63 - a time travel story on how the world might have been different if someone went back in time and eliminated Oswald. If anyone ever complains to me that George R.R. Martin labors on & on in his descriptions, I will point them to this book. I'm not usually a skimmer, but I had to skim several pages of this one. The story is really good and picked up the pace near the end.

My other spring/summer reading consisted of:

  • Rising Star - about Obama's rise thru the ranks.
  • I'll Be Damned - Actor on The Young & Restless - Eric Braeden's auto-bio. It was so-so.
  • The Ascension Mysteries - mystical/spiritual insights by David Wilcox. Actually quite interesting!
  • The Fate of the Tearling - totally fun fiction. This is the 3rd in a trilogy by Erika Johansen. If you enjoy fantasy stories, try this series. 
  • JFK & the Reagan Revolution - super good info here, if you can wade through it, on economic history. Sadly, I could not wade through it. It was skimming only. But if you're a financial nerd of sorts, you'll find this informative.

Still to come:

  • A Little Thing Called Life - Linda Thompson, on her life with Elvis & Bruce Jenner (can you imagine?!)
  • Drain the Swamp - subtitle is "How Washington Corruption is Worse Than You Think"
  • Origin - another Robert Langdon thriller by Dan Brown
I think I can safely say my reading interests are rather broad!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Random Summer Pix

 Just some shots I've snagged recently.

 I've been getting some work doing real estate photography. (uh, no -- that's not someone's house above). On my way home from a shoot, I noticed the flag on top of the machinery. Is John Deere still American owned? Nice touch, nonetheless.

This birdhouse was in the garden of another home. I like the whimsy.

Evening sun was lighting my crepe myrtles in such a lovely way.

And what would a post be without a Khali update? Hubby took this with his iPad yesterday. I jazzed it up a little to cover the graininess. She had just had a bath, blow dry & brushout. My beautiful princess!! She continues to endlessly entertain, sometimes annoy, but always brings joy to the house.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fireworks Season Part 2

So for the 3rd year, my church planned a pretty good shindig for the small town community it's located in. Oklahoma weather tried it's best to rain on our parade, but not this time! It down-poured in the morning, but cleared up with intermittent threats throughout the day. 

Threats, but no rain, Hallelujah!! What it accomplished was to give us great cloud cover and cooler temps!

I made these flags for my previous church about 10 years ago. I contacted them last year to see if we could buy them back. I'm so glad they're still being used! They make a fun, colorful backdrop for the main stage.

Last year, the police estimated 12-13000 in attendance on the grounds and the neighboring parking lots. Haven't heard a headcount yet but according to Facebook, looks like everyone there had a great time.

There were a bunch of inflatable games for the kids. The fire dept. let them play in the spray and sit in the truck. There was face painting and just general running free in the big outdoors. What little kid doesn't love that?

Lots of "fair food" like kettle corn, bbq, turkey legs, etc.

Kettle corn - YUM!

A local bakery that specializes in bundt cakes sells "bundtlets" at festivals.

Looks like we had some OSU fans in attendance.

One of our guest speakers was Sen. James Lankford. I'm a fan and got to meet him by happenstance.
He gave a great speech. Other local politicians spoke and a swearing in induction ceremony for the military was held.

Then it was time for the fireworks show! I don't think I did as well getting pictures this time.  Just posting a few. Besides, when you've seen one set of fireworks pix, you've pretty much seen them all!

Happy Fourth, Everyone!
Be safe,
enjoy your family,
pray for our country
and protect our precious liberty.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fireworks Season!

In mid-June the fireworks stands pop up here on every corner like dandelions in spring!

Last night a good friend of ours had an early Independence Day party...

complete with live band...

 and a sizable professional fireworks show.

I haven't tried to take pix of fireworks before so this was a good opportunity to experiment & learn. For a first attempt, I'm fairly pleased with the results. Here's just a few:

I did some reading up on techniques. Certainly, it's a recipe involving shutter speed & timing. A tripod & remote shutter release are essential. Finally, just like real estate - location, location, location. Having something in the foreground gives some perspective. I used the trees on this property to frame some shots, however they got in the way of some good ones.

In this set of photos, I did play around with Lightroom to crop or enhance, just because it's fun.

There's no set of rules for how fireworks pix should look. I think it's interesting to see the trees framing the sparkles or the blur of slow shutter speed.

 The one below is my favorite. Classic explosion but the spirals show up really well, creating an interesting effect.

Next Friday is the huge annual celebration our church hosts for the community. Hopefully, my practice run last night will pay off!

Hope you all have a great Fourth of July holiday! Be safe; and remember - freedom isn't free.

Freedom is a fragile thing
and is never more than one generation away from extinction.
It is not ours by inheritance;
it must be fought for
and defended constantly by each generation,
for it comes only once to a people.
Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again.
~Ronald Reagan

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hot Air Balloons!

So, Tulsa had a little Balloon Festival...

It's actually not the first time. It's moved around over the years and I've never really gone. However, it was close by this time and I wanted to get at least a couple pictures.

As usual, Oklahoma weather tried to rain on our parade. Between the wind and a couple thunderstorms, they weren't able to fly until Sunday night. There were lots of other activities, though.

We drove over Sunday evening and watched them lift off. Some drove to another location and we could watch them fly back. There was a balloon glow at dusk but we didn't stay for that.

I love seeing hot air balloons! The first time I ever saw one was 1984. We had just moved to Broken Arrow; I went out to pick up the newspaper on a summer morning and saw a balloon coming down about a quarter mile away. It was all field in that area then. I put my little boy in the car & we zoomed over there, both of us still in pajamas. It was so cool!

So here's my hot air balloon pix 2017. It was a spontaneous fun kind of evening as we wound down our Father's Day celebrating.

I would love to see Albuquerque's balloon festival someday. This doesn't come anywhere near that, but hey.

I saw other pix of the balloon glow which showed several more balloons than I show here.

Up, up and awa-aay
in my beautiful
my beautiful