Thursday, October 15, 2009

Cool New Canon Powershot

Oh yes! I'm doing the happy dance over this new digital camera. The old Panasonic Lumix was a terrific little pocket-sized number with great color and adequate zoom and clarity... right up until the day it went floating in the salt water puddle (in the dinghy, no less!). RL soaked the Lumix in fresh water, dried it out in the engine room, and voila! the little devil worked, but now sports a black blob in all photos.

It would have been easy to replace the old unit with a new Lumix. In fact, that almost happened, right up to the hands-on demo at a local camera store. The Canon PowerShot SX-20 IS feels SO good in the hand, the zoom is an amazing 35 mm equivalent of 28mm-560mm range, and the online reviews are very positive.

Now I'm back to feeling like a novice, trying to familiarize myself with all of the very different buttons, dials, menus, etc. in time for an Amtrak adventure next week. The manual comes on a CD, which is totally frustrating to access when you're out shooting, so today was the day to print out all 180 pages. No problem, except for the three ink cartridges that needed replacing at different times during this exercise..., and the time it took to print, change ink, print, change ink..., and the fun of 3-hole punching all 180 sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 paper with a flimsy hole punch..., and now I have a 3-ring binder for a manual instead of a small pamphlet that might fit in a camera bag or backpack. RL spoiled me and saved the day by plowing through the manual and presetting a lot of the basic items for me. Thanks honey.

All that's left is for me to take scores of photos each day until it feels comfortable and natural. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Samantha's Seattle Tour

February 27, 2009
An Auntie's tale

Day 1: Late in the afternoon we piled into the car and  headed downtown to the ferry terminal. We spent a lot of time in the car during this 3-day visit and Samantha and Mom Monica decided we lived 20-minutes from everywhere.

Voicemail? what voicemail? Grammy Kathy was all smiles after her cellphone was re-programmed.

A ferry ride to Bainbridge Island topped Samantha's activity list. The view from the sundeck was terrific, but the best entertainment came from watching the passengers.  A group of teens handfed french fries to the squadron of seagulls that maneuvered in tight formation  alongside the sun deck. 

Chocolate ice cream cones on the ferry were a big hit with Samantha - and her uncle.  

We spent some time exploring the toy store in town, checking out the stuffed animals, jigsaw puzzles and games. Grammy and Samantha selected a charm bracelet and the perfect first charm. The puzzle (below) was colorful but no challenge for this crew.

Day 2: Saturday Samantha introduced Uncle Ron to Special K with chocolate bits - he only managed one bowl while she ate 5! Then it was time to head to waterfront and the aquarium... another 20-minute drive from home.

Lots to see and do here, but the otter pool was everyone's favorite.

We grabbed a quick lunch at a University Village noodle bar and finished up the afternoon at the Woodland Park Zoo. Samantha used the zoo map to chart our course and kept us on the move. An animal charm was added to the bracelet.

Pizza at Pulcinella's for dinner (yum) was followed by a quiet evening at home. We introduced Samantha to Mexican Train, a domino game. Wow! this girl is good and plans strategy like a pro.

Day 3: Sunday morning Chef Samantha made Swedish pancakes from scratch, creating an interesting zoo of animal shapes on the griddle, and organizing her kitchen assistants like a master chef. 

We played more Mexican Train, and then headed out to ogle the Fremont Troll, cruise the floating bridge, browse Bellevue Square…stop! Time for a late lunch at PF Chang’s, Samantha's favorite restaurant, where we enjoyed crispy green beans and other tasty treats. Yum! Then it was home and time for more Mexican Train. Sammy and mom Monica win again! Late in the evening we toured Samantha’s online Webkinz house and met her pets - who knew this virtual world existed?!

Day 4: Sammy cajoled us into “just one more game” of Mexican Train, and once again she and her mom took top honors. Then it was off to the airport for the flight home.

Samantha, we miss you and your energy already!
My favorite quotes of the weekend were…
            “Is your house twenty minutes from everywhere?”  (pretty much)
            “Is he kidding me again?”