Monthly Archives: December 2011

New Camera NewTechniques

Something strange has just happened. The link to add to my media files to my blog seems to be covered with word, symbols and other  things so that actually uploading my fun new photos from this evening is not available.

Ohhhh, duhhhh. There on a skinny menu bar on the left side are the icons. Other strangeness, there is a right hand sidebar that covers half of my words. Don’t I always claim to like surprises??? Well, most of the time. Tonight it is late and the old and familiar would have been better.

I just can’t wait to share this slide show. Discovering new possibilities for creative endeavors just keeps getting better. Please tell me what you think about this little collection.

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I did have to shut down and re-open WordPress and all was back to normal. However it did delay Dec 29th posts by a few minutes.

Happy New Year.




Filed under Holiday, Photography, The Great Outdoors

NEW Camera!!!

Oh, my, what a Christmas gift. Hubs decided I needed a NEW camera. He said all photographers need 6, yes SIX, different cameras. He researched, looking for one with a very fast auto focus. He said this conversation has happened way too often: “Did you get it?” “Nope, it couldn’t focus fast enough and I missed the shot.”

So under the tree was a tiny Olympus E-PM1 with two lenses and hundreds of functions. A new camera?? No time to play with it?? Company coming for dinner?? Are you kidding me??

So shoot I did. I took random photos. I put it through its paces, indoor, no flash, up close. I looked out the kitchen window and in the branch was a bird I had rarely ever seen. I grabbed my new friend and attached the big 300mm zoom lens and out the door I ran.

Any of you who are photographers know it is impossible to hand hold a camera with 300mm at full extension and get a clear photo. My Canon with its 300mm was hogging the tripod and time was of the essence, so out I went and took the chance. Unbelievable, the photos are clear, amazing and every hair on the squirrel is sharp.

Everything for dinner was ready when guests arrived, except me. I was still in my jeans and tee-shirt. But what photographer out there would not understand my priorities.

Here are my first few photos with this amazing new camera I didn’t even know I needed. My love said, “Maybe you didn’t need it, but Random Shez absolutely NEEDED it.”

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So today, Boxing Day I have been reading the book and getting comfortable with my new toy. Yesterday, Christmas, I forgot it is a REAL camera and does not have a built-in flash. I left the flash in the box. It was amazing even last night’s very low light photos are better than average. I can’t imagine how awesome they would have been if I had remembered the flash, but still they were fun photos of the family. Probably best saved to share on a day I run out of  random thoughts.

Oh, and did I mention the E-PM1 can take movies in HD just by pressing a different button AND it will also take a photo while it is filming. What wonders in such a tiny, tiny package.

Considering I had not even hinted at wanting anything, because I really couldn’t think of anything I needed or wanted, I am spoiled, very spoiled. What a gift.




Filed under Holiday, Nature, Photography, Random

Wonders of Frozen Fog

This photo essay holds all the beauty, this brief comment is to let you know how and when I was in this fairy-like atmosphere of amazing beauty and sparkle.

Our unusual weather patterns continue, just as they have throughout most of the world. December arrived colder and drier than normal, but foggy. In the valley where we live, fog comes in occasionally but it has never made a habit of sticking around for days.

Last Saturday morning we made an early trip to the grocery store arriving about 10am. I know, those of you who hop out of bed at 5 am will think I’m a lazy bum, but the truth is my internal clock just runs its own strange schedule. Bedtime around midnight, up around 6 during the week, sleep in to 7 or 8 on Saturday. But I digress. The point is, I was in an amazing land of frozen wonders.

With no further yapping, here is what I captured with my cell phone. What amazing photos these could have been IF I had my point and shoot. They would have been spectacular with my Canon and a tripod.

These photos are taken in full color. Fog and ice reduce things to a near perfect gray-scale. Put on you favorite soft music and enjoy the views.

Frosted in Fog: The Evergreen Trees

Frosted in Fog: The Boughs Mid Range

Frosted in Fog: The Tips of the Evergreen Look Like a Diamond Pendant Designed for a Princess

Frosted in Fog: The Ornamental Grass Mounds Are Frozen Fireworks

Frozen in Fog: Ornamental Grass

Frozen Fog: Up Close of the Grass Seeds

Frozen Fog Clings to the Late Fall Leaves Almost Like Crystal Ornaments

Frozen Against the Fog: This Loan and Bare Tree Stands Tall Against the Encroaching Fog. Do you have any favorites among these photos? (For reasons I do not understand, the only way I can conclude this post is to tag it onto this caption. All other actions add my comments back at the top, so please put up with my ignorance on how to return to paragraph form. ) I did want to have your reactions, comments, and suggestions about this series of photos. I was quite excited about them because an event like this is uncommon in our area. Merry Christmas to many of you, Happy Holidays to the rest of you, and good blessings to all. G' Nite, Shez


Filed under Holiday, Nature, Photography, The Great Outdoors

The Luncheon

I promised this post on an odd day, but here it is a day late. It happens. Sometimes business comes before pleasure and I do own a company that I need to promote. I decided letting people know about it would be a step in the right directions. How better to do that than with a WordPress blog, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account. So that is what I have done the past couple of days, or mostly evenings after work.  My hope is all my followers and friends will at least check them out and “like” or “follow” or most of all “share” my company with everyone they know. I will share lunch details and get back to business at the end of lunch. ;D

Aside from overcooking the turkey, the result of which was the very well-known bad thing about turkey, it turned mean and got dry. I’m so sorry, all who were here. But on to the good stuff.

This was 3 gallons of fruit, whittled down to a couple of cups.

Team and friends

The team and some guests squeeze in around the table.

Her Uncle Paul, bad timing with his blink.

l-r: Mom, Chris, Becky, Greta, & Sherrey

iPad with brother Chris, cousin Greta and Aunt Sherrey.

Uncle Doug & Aunt Sherrey

In no time at all our wonderful day drew to a close. The team wanted a chance to see something of Portland before they had to be at the airport. Last I heard they were headed to VooDoo Doughnuts.

That is an event not be missed if you ever venture to PDX. You know the town proudly displays tee shirts and bumper stickers that say “Keep Portland Weird.” That pretty much sums that up.

Uncle Doug and Aunt Sherrey headed home to Seattle a place where people are not that weird and pride themselves on some rather cultural events and things like the Space Needle and Pike Street Market.

There you have it all.




Filed under Family, Food, Random

Colorado College Women’s Basketball Team

Our Girl is behind the the girl in white.

Game 1 vs George Fox

I may (may?? maybe only a few hundred times) have mentioned that my wonderful granddaughter is a senior at Colorado College this year. She has started every game for all four years. This year CC scheduled a two game trip to Oregon. They have not played here in years. What an exciting gift to be able to drive to two games.

The first game was Friday night at George Fox University in Newberg Oregon.

The Action Was Fierce and Brutal our girl was double teamed throughout.

What a game. I was amazed the girls stayed for the end. I have never seen so many fresh bruises on a group of young women. CC lost the game, in fact it was one of those games everyone wants to forget quickly. Here are a few pictures from that game, our women are in black.


(RATS. Here I spent a long time making three separate slide shows, only to have three identical slide shows simultaneously mixing

Elbows Fly, white gets away with it. (Home cooking)

the photos randomly. So I will simply show the individual photos until I figure out what, exactly made it not work. Probably something simple that my overly tired brain just didn’t comprehend last night. I knew better than to preview, I wanted to go to bed “thinking” it was a great post. HUMILITY is good for a person. Update Monday Dec 12, 2011)

The Fans were there in support.

Colorado Fans include granddad, uncle, cousins and the pretty lady in the background is her mom.

It was not a happy game to watch. Colorado College Women were simply overpowered by a team that averaged an eight inch height advantage across the board. It started with the tip off, the CC forward is a great leaper at 5’11” by not quite able to out reach their 6’5″ post. Our forward at a stretched 5’4″ had her hands full with a 5’10” guard.

Her Aunt and Uncle came from Seattle, one grandmother's pink coat is in the background, her brothers girlfriend is the dark haired beauty and her father is at the extreme right.

We remained a loyal fan base of about 10 people out of the reported 500 who showed up to watch this game. Colorado never gave up, and they proved they are scrappy, but against a much larger in numbers team with such a huge height advantage, this didn’t have much of a chance from the opening tip off to the final buzzer. The one thing the girls did receive is the largest number and most impressive bruises ever.

(Whew, even though this has not been without technical details, at least it is an improvement.)

Game Two Saturday Night vs Linfield 

The Opposition Has Demon Eyes

So moving right on to Saturday night’s game at Linfield College in McMinnville, we had a good game. It was close throughout. Intentional fouls at the end only increased the lead, but the girls enjoyed a good game. They were not badly disappointed by the loss.

Our granddaughter had a total of 20 fans in the stands which included  grandparents, aunts, uncles, hometown friends, even friends from pre-school.

More Action

The Action was fast, the other team of normal size.

Action, the girls play hard




















Girls Play Hard ,Fast and Tough

Women Basketball is a Hard, Fast, and Tough Game

Triple Teaming Luetjen

Luetjen Scores

Luetjen scores from down town!!

Time Out for Bloody Nose-Elbow to Luetjen's Nose

Time Out is Called for a Blood, Elbow to Luetjen's Nose

Luetjen Shoots and Scores

At the foul line Luetjen shoots, it's good.

Nothing But Net

Nothing but net!!




















































The girls  women had a solid game, they were down three with under a minute, the intentional fouls didn’t work out. Linfield women were on their game and didn’t choke. They made their foul shots and won. They get knocked to the hardwood while running full speed. I wouldn’t survive the bounce on the hardwood, they simply get up, try to get even, and continue to play.

Saving the Best for Last

Then the very best part was today, Sunday. We were privileged to host the Colorado College Women’s Team at our house for lunch. They are a group of young women that the college  and their parents must be very proud of. In all we had 26 team members, family and friends of Ms Luetjen here. It was an amazing day.

After being up until 2AM and then back up at 7:30 to get the turkey in the oven, I was in a near panic as I looked at my list. Nothing there was difficult, just an impossible time frame to accomplish it. A few minutes later in walked my daughter (among her management job skills is a catering manager at a large hotel). She picked up my list and pitched in. In the next two hours everything was finished and ready, the van pulled in as we put the rolls in the oven to warm. I had even had time to get change from my pajamas and was ready. We were calm, cool and collected and ready to great our guests.

What did we serve? More on the next odd day on our dinner, if you are interested in what I cooked to feed that many. It’s past bedtime for two exhausted hosts. I don’t think I mentioned hubs washed all the windows inside and out, vacuumed and a million other things on Saturday afternoon between shopping for food for the luncheon and leaving for the game. He was amazing, while I worked on food prep and a million other jobs that needed to be done for the house to look like Christmas and “company ready.”



PS.   OH Dear! We are exhausted and hubs went into the bedroom…the sheets are in the dryer (I did laundry after I got all the dishes done and the food put away) AND THEY ARE NOT DRY. We may both cry, too tired to deal with this. At least this catastrophe only affects we two. The two who worked their butts off accomplished nothing short of a miracle to get it done. We need a warm bed NOW!

PSS This is Monday morning. We  survived, the sheets were warm and dry and the bed toasty when we climbed in just after midnight. The sun is shining today!!



Filed under Family, Food, Holiday, Photography, Random

An Odd Day 10 Minute Post


It has been a very busy week. The first basketball game did not go well for my granddaughter’s college team against the number 3 ranked team in the US. They looked so discouraged as they left the court. Also they were battered and bruised against a team that had 9 players much taller than our team.

Tomorrows game should go better for the team. But even if it doesn’t, we will have a great luncheon here at out house on Sunday. Hubs and I need another day to pull off a total spotless house with all the Christmas decorations completed.

Tonight I will post photos of our three kitties. Actually they are not really kitties, they are big cats. Duke measures 37 inches from tip to tail, his mom Jasmine is the smallest of them all and very petite at about 9 pounds. Rosey is a large cat that is hard to get a picture of. She gets so excited when I get the camera, she thinks it must be full of treats and immediately jumps up and remains in constant motion rubbing me, rolling around, bouncing and being silly. I need the camcorder for her.

So here they are.


It was love at first sight for these two.

This is of course showing off my own mailbox. You can tell it is mine, it has my name right there on it.

I’d didn’t get my post done in 10 minutes and now it’s after midnight, except in Alaska. Since everything remains so cold and frozen here, I will pretend I am in Alaska and even though this will show I posted it at 12:11 am, it is really only 11:12 pm in Alaska. In South Africa it is about 22h:12, but I am not sure what day. It is Friday here (in reality it is barely Saturday). And I am tired, so tired I just confused myself.

You can see, the tree is almost finished in the photos, that was yesterday, today it is done.

G’ Night,






Filed under Holiday, Pets Domestic Animals, Photography, Random

Total Random Thoughts

Random #1:  The Opposite of Shadow

The master bath has frosted glass, giving up-close views out the window, creating a screen so we do not need either blinds or curtains, and letting in a lot of light. Yesterday I was up early and the sun broke through the fog and presented this picture on the wall.

My first view of the opposite of shadow.

It took me a moment to figure out where the light was coming from, add to the strange illusion is the angle of the sun and the strange upward angle of the wall. Beneath the angled wall is an alcove which provides a place for a storage chest in the bathroom.

Light play has created the Opposite of Shadow

From a different angle it remains an intriguing photo.

Opposite of Shadow Pimped out with Reflections

The storage chest is glass-topped. It doubled up the image.

Opposite of Shadow with Reflection and Shadow of Flowers

It didn’t take long for the sun to add more light which high-lighted the vase of flowers, showcased the reflections, and added a shadow from the flowers. That is a lot of play from the sun coming through a window.

Random #2:  Cats and Christmas

For those of you with animals they do sense the excitement of the holidays. It begins subtly enough. For us a new book The Christmas Village*  (see asterisk at end of post) written by a friend had just arrived and was sitting on the counter. Our cat Duke, also known as the ruler of the house, spied the book and was more than a little interested. I picked it up to read and he kept head butting me until I had to set it down.


When are  you going to read it to me?? We can sit on the sofa by the fire. Let’s go. Let’s go, seemed to be his attitude as he zipped off the make himself comfy on the sofa and he waited. Ran back and forth between the kitchen and sofa meowing at me on each trip.  He repeated that several times until I went in sat down and petted him.  I got into the book by the first couple of pages and quickly read the first few chapters.

Random #3:  The Tree

Hubs came home with a tree. Duke and the other two cats were excited. Hubs got it set up and Duke was not exactly happy. He approached cautiously and was not impressed. Clearly something was wrong.

You sure this is the right tree? Kind of skinny don't you think?

Duke was clearly concerned. Where exactly were the ornaments supposed to hang? How could he climb up into the tree and unhook all the ornaments and drop them on the floor when it was shaped like this? Something is very wrong here, although it does have that wonderful noble fir flavored water at the base. Our, we three cats’,  favorite flavor.

I don't trust what you are doing with that twig thing you call a tree.

Duke is very serious and keeping his eye on things. Will they get better? Are we stuck with this?

Random #4: Diversions

This is a fun diversion, though one I probably should not have tackled right this week. I had mentioned that we had fallen well behind with housework and home projects while mom was sick and all our available time was devoted to her, a job we both were happy to do. However, in October of 2010 I had made a list of jobs to tackle. The only job I had actually completed was a Halloween fairy costume for my little granddaughter.

The list was filled with little things like mending, making curtains for the small guest room, and sprucing up the look; all remained untouched on my TODO list. All were supposed to begin as soon as the bathroom was finished and we anticipated completing that a year ago. We got the bathroom finished last weekend and I moved onto my list and started with the curtains. After they were finished, there was quite a bit of fabric left over. I got to looking at this pretty, random, one way strip and thought about the possibility of turning those into quilt squares.

Distractions, scraps from re-purposed new curtains in guest bedroom.

Before I could stop it, my brain had gone off into diversionary randomness, contemplated the number of patterns that could be completed  and lo and behold a new quilt is in progress. But what could I do, I had been unable to come close to a compatible color and was tired of returning things. For the moment, I do have to pick up the pieces and it’ll have to hide out for a few days. After the lunch on Sunday which has grown to 23 or more, I will be finishing up the quilt.

Random #5: The Road Less Traveled

And last but not least I saw how beautiful the sky was last Friday. It was  in the morning and the sun was penetrating the fog and clouds  on The Road Less Traveled.  A simple and blissful scene for you to meditate with.

Amazing blue sky on The Road Less Traveled

Thanks for stopping by. I love getting your comments.

G’ Day


* The Christmas Village, written by Melissa Ann Goodwin, was just published in Aug to great reviews. It is for middle school kids, but has appeal to adults and young children as a family story. Just right to snuggle on the sofa and read aloud to all. I purchased mine from Amazon and can hardly wait to share it with my grandchildren.

When our children were young our Christmas tradition was to all sit together on the sofa while Hubs read The Night Before Christmas, The Nativity Story of Christmas, and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer. Afterwards we hung up stockings and we had cookies and hot cocoa. Perhaps we’ll be starting a new tradition this year with the grandchildren.


Filed under Holiday, Humor, Pets Domestic Animals, Photography, Random