Family Photos

My visit to my sister’s home in South Carolina included a stop at my niece’s home. Suzanne built this home with her own hands as a part of Habitat For Humanity. I couldn’t be more proud of her for the hard work she put in to qualify and then pitch in to build her family’s home.

During my visit yesterday I got to meet her three doggies as well as reacquaint myself with her two sons, Lucas & Ethan. We gathered both inside and outside for family pictures. Remember, the boys were little kids 11 years ago when I last saw them.

Suzanne works at an animal shelter that supplied her 3 dogs. The Cocker Spaniel was abandoned when it’s owner discovered it must have surgery to remove an infected eye. Suz was given the dog after the surgery by the clinic.

So, below are a couple of family photos taken during my visit to Suz’s house. I had a great time!






Bob With Niece & Great Nephews

Here’s a memorable shot. It’s my niece with her two sons, Lucas & Ethan. They’ve grown to be men in the 11 years since I’d last seen them. This is a nice family photo.


Sweet Kitty

My vacation is going marvelously. Today is church time as I join my sister in attending services at her church. There will be plenty of introductions along with reunions with members of my old church that no longer exists. In my 13 years of living in Aiken I made plenty of church friends, some of whom I’m sure to see today, eleven years older. That should prove to be interesting.

I’ll be carrying my Nexus 7 tablet so I’ve got plenty of pictures to share if the opportunity presents itself. I look forward to meeting this church’s new pastor as Barb has spoken highly of him.

Yesterday was chore day. I managed to fix my sister’s garbage disposal, weed whacker and a sticky bathroom door. Barb is still raving about having her disposal work fine again. It’s been broken for many months.

I still have lots of training to do teaching my sister the basics of Photoshop. We also have a major project to accomplish using Photoshop. We’ll be copying Barb’s wedding photos so she can take them off the wall. Her first husband passed away and she has remarried so this will allow new photos to be mounted in the same space.

In the meantime I’m happily snapping away, trying to capture good images of everything. Goodness time is flying. I’ll only be here a week and have so very much to do. I’ve accomplished a lot already but there’s 6 years of neglect to deal with in the remaining 4 days I have here. I’m hooking up with my best friend, Marion, on Wednesday and spending that day with him. He and his new wife, Mae, drove to Oregon and spent 3-4 days with me as I showed them the wondrous scenery in Oregon.

So below I’m posting two pictures of Pixie. She can’t meow but she sort of squeaks. It’s very cute. I caught her lying next to me on her favorite pillow perch. I hope you enjoy the photos and I will be checking in again soon with more of my adventures. Of course I’ll be carrying my camera to church! πŸ™‚


Pixie 02.jpg



First Family Photo

I started taking pictures yesterday of my family members. At the top of that list would have to be Blanka, a Lab/Rottie mix that is the sweetest puppy on earth. We hit it off at first sight. She’s been by my side constantly since that moment.

There are four other pets that some people would call cats. Chubby, Eli & Pixie are all loving animals that basically run the household. I missed the fourth cat so I don’t know its name yet. My first night I discovered Eli likes to sleep under my bed. I didn’t know this when I retired for the night but soon heard purring along with a thump on my bed when he jump up there to get closer to me. Chubbs is always next to me in the living room when I’m sitting on the couch. He prefers the armrest to my right as he demands constant petting.

Once Blanka has her share of attention she settles down on her own couch which is where she was when I captured the picture seen below. I spent a full day working on my sister’s laptop removing obsolete software and installing new AVG security software on her computer. I then began the process of downloading Adobe Photoshop and Bridge graphics software. My sister struggles with most computer tasks so unknown to me she hadn’t completed the download and setup of Photoshop that I bought her as a Christmas gift last year. I suppose that’s what brothers are for! πŸ™‚

No everything is running smoothly and I can begin teaching Barb how to use Photoshop, or should I say how to use the tutorials that are supplied for free with her subscription. I’ve been using the software for nearly 20 years and I’m still learning all the time.

So enjoy this first photo of Blanka and know that I’m quite busy having fun helping my sister around the house. Today I load new line in her weed whacker, repair a sticky bathroom door and go shopping. What fun!


Bob On Vacation – The Journey

I actually left for South Carolina a day early and surprised my sister with a phonecall when I was an hour from her home. The 1000 mile drive was uneventful as my trusty Tom Tom GPS lead me flawlessly to my destination. I drove 500 miles a day using primarily Interstate highways like I-84, I-81, I-77 & finally I-20. My little SmartCar performed flawlessly, getting in excess of 47 mpg at 70 mph on the open interstate. My 8 have

Lon tank only had to use about 22 gallons of gas as it willingly ran for 10 hours a day. I stopped for a night’s rest at a Comfort Inn in Woodstock, WV. I was able to get a veteran’s discount on a King size bed for $89 a night. Of course with all the taxes and fees it turned out to be closer to $100 by the time I checked out 4:00 a.m. the following morning. Had I stuck around until 6:00 there would have been a full breakfast for free but I had another 500 mile drive to reach my destination so I settled for a hot cup of coffee for the open road. I put 100 miles on my car before stopping for breakfast at an Omelet Shack along the road. I do love a good Omelet.

As I continued South the temperature rose as did the humidity. The air conditioning in my SmartCar performed flawlessly until it reached 95 with high humidity late into the afternoon. At that point the sunlight glaring through my large windshield simply heated Β the cabin of my two seater and became a tad bit uncomfortable. It was certainly bearable but noticeably warm.

I made sure to keep well hydrated as I drove, stopping at interstate rest stops to refill my drinking cup. I enjoyed the view as the miles rode by. The scenery was simple but elegant. Mother Nature is hard to beat when it comes to pure beauty.

I arrived at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon Thursday. My sister was so very excited to see me when I pulled up in her driveway. Remember that I lived in South Carolina for 13 years so when I hit the Columbia area I knew my way around. Traffic was heavy during the final hour’s drive to my destination, Aiken, SC.

I hugged my sister, grabbed a refill on my water glass and used the bathroom before jumping in her car to accompany her on a client run previously scheduled. Then it was a quick drive back to my sister’s home to continue out conversation and begin catching up on the 11 years that had passed since we were close together.

I got to meet her 4 pets, a dog and 3 housecats. All greeted me individually. They certainly were not shy. I must close the door to my bedroom or I’d most assuredly have all 4 in my bed for the night. As I type this post I have a cat on my right arm, the dog on the sofa next to me and a second cat on my left side. I think they like me? πŸ™‚

So that pretty much wraps up the trip and safe arrival on my vacation. I have already worked on installing a security software program on Barb’s laptop with no hope for her old desktop. The are too many virus issue running rampant on that computer. I recommended a hard drive wipe and starting over. 😦

I’ll try and post updates as I get the opportunity. I have no idea what’s on the agenda for today as I am a day early you recall. Take care my faithful followers and simply know that all is well with Bob.

Final Preparations

gone-fishingTime is winding down for my vacation road trip. I’ve been taking care of the small details the past few days, getting a haircut and visiting the Senior Center in Uxbridge to meet with old friends. My one year anniversary date of October 3rd will be here shortly after I return from my trip. Hard to believe I’ve lived in Uxbridge a full year already.

It’s great fun having friends all over the country. Living most of my life in the Midwest followed by 13 years in South Carolina and 10 years in Portland, Oregon creates a list of friends made for life. My email list grows exponentially. Throw in a few hundred blogging friends that are regulars and there’s never a dull moment in my life.

I’ve already said goodbye to my new church friends as they know why I’ll be gone for nearly two weeks. A lot of people are praying for a safe trip and return. I’m almost completely packed, having done a final load of laundry yesterday. I even managed to squeeze in lunch at the Senior Center and getting a fresh haircut.

Today there’s a trip to the Dollar Tree for a manual toothbrush and travel snacks. My little cooler is ready as are the tiny bottles of water and ice packs. It’s only a two day drive so I can refreeze those packs in the motel when I stop for the night. I love it when a plan comes together.

Wednesday, the final day before departure, I’ll spend topping off my gas tank and checking tire pressures one final time. With the return to cooler weather that’s an automatic chore, especially before a long road trip. Then it’s just a matter of packing all the non-perishables into the back of my SmartCar so that I can leave early Thursday morning just before sunrise at 6 a.m.. My cooler and camera bag will be placed on my passenger set and I’ll activate my gps travel plan before hitting the road out of town.

I’ll try and get as many pictures along the way as I can. I need to cover 500 miles each day so I don’t plan to stop long in any location. There will be shots taken as I drive. See you when I return in 10 days or so. It’s a flexible itinerary, one of the advantages of being single and retired.

Time Is Flying By

I look at the date on my computer screen in amazement at how fast time moves along.It’s Monday morning already with my roadtrip just 3 days away. I can’t believe it has been three days since I last entered a post here. Somehow my life is changing as well as my priorities.

I haven’t been to the zoo in months as I’ve spent most of my time at home just surviving this Summer’s record heat, drought and humidity. Remember, I spent the previous 10 years living in the Pacific Northwest with a much milder climate. Granted, my last Summer in Portland I experienced the hottest Summer on record as well. Global warming is for real folks.

Today is laundry day. I have just one load to do but it takes just as much time as doing my normal two loads. I’ll be packing my travel bag after the laundry is dry rather than hanging the clothes in my closet. I’ll be gone a week so basically I’ll carry 5-7 shirts, sock and undies. My sister already reminded me of her washer and dryer being available for use before returning home. That sure beats stuffing dirty clothes in a travel bag.

The weather forecast looks exceptionally perfect for Thursday’s departure. The high should be 70 with the low dropping to 49. It’s still quite hot in South Carolina so my Summer clothes are appropriate. My long term planning for the time of this trip seems to be working out beautifully. I’ll be in between hurricanes, heat waves and snowfall. πŸ™‚

I’ll be carrying my camera gear on the trip so I can capture part of the journey. I’m staying away from super slab driving by taking the inland route to South Carolina. There will be plenty of driving through beautiful mountain roads like I-77 through Virginia. I look forward to it. I’ll have my Nexus 7 tablet with me and wi-fi available at my sister’s home so I may put up a post or two while away. See you on the road! Leaving Thursday morning.

In The “You Never Know” File

I received a long distance phone call from a lady I met over two years ago somewhere in the Portland area. I don’t remember her but she remembered me because she kept my business card and used it to call me. She said we had a conversation two years ago about digital cameras as I showed her my tablet collection of animal portraits. It seems I made an impression on her as she is finally ready to buy a better camera and called to find out which one I would recommend to her. I explained my experience with Nikon & Canon and that I’d discovered my Fuji X-E1 mirrorless cameras took superior quality picture to the two biggest sellers. I explained how Coke & Pepsi control the soft drink market without necessarily being the best soft drinks out there. Nikon & Canon spend a lot of advertising dollars promoting their brands. That doesn’t make them the best, IMHO.

So I gave her the details of what a good Fuji X-E1 can still be had for and recommended to steal one for $689. The lens alone is $699. πŸ™‚

I explained she better grab one of the few new ones still for sale. I just checked and that deal is still out there but they’re showing only 2 left in stock. I have no way of knowing if the lady that called me got one. Her loss if she hesitated. I have two! πŸ™‚



First Photo Gracing My Walls

The photo seen below is the first photograph mounted and displayed on the walls of my new home. Maybe that will cause me to actually remain here for many years to come. If possible I’d like to make this my “forever” home. It’s one of the reasons I sought out public housing to begin with, stability.

I have 6 more animal prints waiting for mounting, matting, framing and hanging. I have the prints, supplies, tools and substrates to hang them all. Now I just await nice weather to take the job outside where I must work to get them all finished.

5 of the prints are 12″x12″ and fit perfectly on the Russian Baltic Birch Plywood squares I have awaiting them. My first finished artwork is mounted on such a medium. The 3M 77 spray adhesive if quite toxic so must be applied outside and set up for 30 seconds before being mounted. I want to mount others to thick beveled foam board and either hang directly or placed in a wooden frame. I need to build and finish these frames. Since the photos are all uniform in size I want to make 3-6 uniform frames to go with them or future shots I have printed. Again, the frame building is an outside job.

So I know this is just one picture but there must be a first, a beginning to every project. I hope to grace my walls with many more. I used 3M Command picture strips to handle the plywood substrate to the wall. Two strips easily support the weight and can be removed without damage to the wall in seconds.


“Living High On The Hog”

Ok, so it’s an old saying whose origin is dubious at best. It simply means I’m moving up in the world and doing better. After 6 months of living in my public housing unit I now have a brand new temperature knob for my ancient GE Hotpoint range. To date I’ve only turned that oven on once to try and make a cardboard frozen pizza. Because I had to guess at the temperature with a dial without numbers I burnt it badly in just 15 minutes. Stubbornly I ate it anyway but have not used that oven since. The work order that was created all those months ago was finally completed when one of the maintenance guys came over with a new light bulb for my kitchen ceiling light fixture. He handled both work orders at the same time. Woo Hoo!