Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Half of my Heart's Got a Grip on the Situation

Soooo...it's me. Don't act like you don't know me. ... Hey you! Yah you! Come back her and keep reading.

Sheesh...the things I do for fans.

Anywhoooo...the weekend before last was the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer 3 Day 60 Mile walk - what a mouth full.  We all know going into this that this weekend would be so emotionally charged that we'd likely be fried by the end. And we were right.

BigBro was missed dearly.  Yet, he was somehow there with us the entire time. f

First a shout out to The Wrack Pack for raising a whoppin' $16,416!!! That's amazingly good for a 3 person team. Way to go team! Their goal, albeit a late goal, was $20K, but hell what they did was fantastic.

Now, on to the weekend.

It started at Opening ceremony where a bunch of us surprised Seattle SIL by showing up in Team Ric shirts. The Niece had these specially made and kept it a secret from her mom.  The plan was for all of us to meet with the shirt on and when Seattle SIL showed up she'd be surprised.  There was some concern about just how this surprise was going to be taken from her, and I can say that she kept it together...mostly.

Seattle SIL and the Niece were both chosen to carry flags during the opening ceremonies. We nominated Seattle SIL to carry the MY HUSBAND flag because BigBro was such a HUGE part of the 3Day. We thought this would be an appropriate tribute to him and maybe a bit healing for the rest of us. Turns out it was a big ol cry fest.  And I mean ugly cry. The moment I saw Seattle SIL up on stage and knowing she'd be speaking...I lost it. I "heard" what she said, but I was too busy balling to really hear what she said.

I made the mistake of glancing back to a few friends who were standing with us, and realized when I saw all them crying that I probably should have just stared forward. Good grief.

It was clear that BigBro was truly loved by so many people. I can't even begin to express in words how much seeing people with these Team Ric shirts on meant to me. Each one showing their tribute to a man who personified the cause. Just beautiful.


Anyhow, we set the walkers loose and The Other Niece (hence forth known as Bob-Orissa) and I took off for coffee and some car decorating.

Sparky was the bell of the ball this year. Bob-Orissa was in charge of most of the decorations and she out did herself.


Day 1 was relatively uneventful. The walkers did well and we welcomed them home a bit later than normal.

Day 2 we dropped off the Niece to meet Blueberry and Seattle SIL at camp. Off they went. Meanwhile, Bob-Orissa and I went to find, you got it, coffee. Well I needed coffee. Bob-Orissa doesn't drink coffee which makes me wonder what's wrong with her.

As our day progressed, we picked up a hitchhiker who needed a ride. My pal H was hurting and after some serious discussion we finally got her in the car. So many of these walkers are soooo dedicated to NOT taking a ride. They feel they told their donors they were walking60 miles, and by God they're going to.  In some cases, like with H, we had to show her if she continued she may not get to walk Day 3.
Picking up my hitch hiker - H
Friend R met us on the route to cheer on the walkers!

Is that your shadow or are you just happy to see me?


Again, the walkers made it in - a bit later than usual. No biggy though. I went out and got KFC for the team since Day 2 food is questionable.

Day 3 we had to head across the lake to deposit the walkers at UW. The sun wasn't even up yet - and I don't think any of us were awake...still Bob-Orissa sent the walkers on their way. 

We found a spot at Gasworks Park for Spark and us to cheer. We may or may not have pulled up a pole to park Sparky here...I'm sure it's legal.

Day 3 has a BIG hill in it, so after getting cheering the team through Gasworks we took off to find this hill. We parked and met our team at a Grab n Go and then drove Sparky up and down this monster hill cheering on the walkers. It dawned on me that some walkers may not find our cheering as amusing as we do. I mean I'm yelling out, "You've got this." and "this hill is nothing to a 3 day walker" all the while DRIVING up the hill. Still I'm sure they appreciated the music to keep them going.

We parked ourselves up the hill and cheered the walkers there - giving them something to look forward to. At least that's what I tell myself.

And closing was, as always, emotional.  Cheering in these walkers who have just finished walking 60 miles...the look of pride and emotion coming out of them always gets me teared up.

Our walkers made it and looked just as proud as they do every year. I'm so proud of all of them for raising so much $$ and for really getting out there to spread the word about breast cancer.


The gaggle of women I adore at the 3day: Me, The Niece, Bob-Orissa, Blueberry, Princess Lori, Princess Carla and Seattle SIL

Closing ceremonies found me on the field. We may or may not have printed off another set of credentials so I could be on the field with Bob-Orissa. The Niece and Seattle SIL were, again, going to be flag bearers on stage. Seattle SIL was carrying the My Husband flag and the Niece joined her on stage.  I, and the other friends around me, we on the field sobbing. We missed BigBro though the entire event and this just really solidified it.


Such love and grief in this photo. Thanks Joan for taking it.

We salute the Survivors as they come in with a "Tennis Shoe Salute"

I know, right? TEARS!!!!

It should be mentioned too that BigBro was in the Remembrance Tent. I visit this tent every year and was not expecting to see this.

There's a white tent in the remembrance tent for people to sign. I signed for my BigBro

But he was truly loved by the 3Day community so I shouldn't have been surprised. 

So another 3day is over. Bob-Orissa and I have a list for next year and some ideas for decorations and cheering.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

In a blink of the eye...

Wah BAM...just like that 10 days has past since I last posted.  Golly...where have I been? And more importantly what else have I been doing? **rushes to find her calendar cuz she can't remember**


It appears that I've not been overly busy and thus have no reason for not blogging. Unless you figure doing things means blogging. But as we all know, I can make sh*t up for this blog.

Right, so the week following my last post was full of food. No big shock there, I mean I do socialize around food.

First I met my friend KA for breakfast. She had asked if I would take a head shot of her for her business. Of course I was happy to. And as is the case, when the subject is beautiful, the head shot is beautiful.  It was a blast getting caught up with her, as always.

Following that eating adventure, we had the September Dinner Club. Mr. Landlord was on point to pick the restaurant.  He picked Scotty Brown's in Bellevue. It's relatively new and I've gotta say, I wasn't overly impressed.

I was quite excited to taste their Orange Cosmo.  Turns out it tasted just like a Cosmo. I tasted no additional orange in it. It was still delicious, don't get me wrong, but I wouldn't classify it as "orange." 

I had their French dip Sammy and their twice cooked fries. They have some special name for them and when the waitress explained how they make them, I thought they sounded quite good. I would later determine that they were putting a whole lot of effort into making these fries that tasted like every other fry.

At any rate, the conversation was good and we did, as always, have a good time. SB's won't be getting my repeat business though...too many other restaurants to try.

It's my pick next month and my pick is taking us to Ballard - and if you're from Seattle you know that getting to Ballard on a week night is a bit of a struggle, so we're moving it to a Saturday.  And my pick? Oh I'm so glad you asked. I totally picked this restaurant because they have Muffaletta's on their menu.

So after dinner club last week I got a chance to have dinner with another friend to get caught up. R and I have had a heck of a time getting our schedules to sync. Finally we did and while sitting on the deck of The Beach CafĂ© we got all caught up.  I can't wait to get on her calendar again.

This past weekend came and went in a blur. I did almost nothing...and loved every single minute of it.  I like not over planning and it gave me a chance to get started on this month's book for book club.  It's another 400+ pager...we really need to stop picking such large books. 

This coming weekend is the 3Day. All week I will be prepping for the 3 long, glorious days.  The Niece and her wife come on Thursday and I need to get the house in order for them. It's going to be a tough 3 day without BigBro this year, and I'm sure we'll be filled with memories, good and bad, of him.  He lived and breathed the 3Day and all things breast cancer...he'll be with us I suppose.

Friday, September 05, 2014

The Smith Tower Photo Stroll

Its been awhile since I've been on a photo stroll. The PhotoGods have tried to get something going, but it seems everyone is ubber busy these days. This stroll was a somewhat unexpected stroll. I had intended on only going to the Smith Tower and instead had some time to kill.

Meg-A-Roonie and BeagleBabe (who's new nickname should probably be the Mad Scientist because she' got this new-ish blog called The Papercraft Lab and sadly no longer has a beagle.) were joining me to see the Smith Tower.  They both are photographers and like the PhotoGods we're all at different levels and all are eager to learn.

So why the Smith Tower? Many reasons the first of which is that it's a historic landmark in Seattle and once loomed over the downtown area. It's long since been dwarfed by other skyscrapers, but at one time it was the tallest building west of Chicago for a long time. It opened July 4, 1014 and is celebrating it's 100 years anniversary.  It reaches 522 feet to the sky and is full of beautiful old craftmanship.

On the 36th floor is the observation deck.  It gives you a 360 view of Seattle and the surrounding mountain ranges.

But before I get to those photos, let's talk about the photo stroll.

I didn't have anything specific I was aiming to shoot per se, but did want to work on taking decent photos in the middle of the day. I know. I know. ALL photography training says not to, but it's been my experience on most of my trips that I don't have a choice. I have to shoot when I can. And the middle of the day, in bright sun is usually the only time.

I had read some articles after our European trip that said, in bright sunlight to drop your f/stop down (make the number higher) to allow for less light to come in. It does mean that you'll have more in focus - so if you're trying for a blurry background, you won't get it. It's a trade off I suppose.

Anyhow, we had about an hour to kill so we strolled through Pioneer Square.

This is Meg-A-Roonie and I.

The Columbia Tower. It's the tallest skyscraper now in Seattle. One day I'll get to it's observation deck.

A practice in using a polarizer lens.  Takes out all the glare and reflections when looking into a window.

The "famous" Pioneer Square Pergula. It's been hit by cars and trucks so many times, I'm surprised it's still standing.

Spooky stair case. At least that was my intent.
 As we were walking through the area, we stumbled onto this alley that was filled with interactive art pieces.  The entire alley had such unique things in. I'm so glad we found it. This is a good example for me to take in for when a plan has to change, sometimes there's good things that comes out of it. Had we not had to wait for the Smith Tower to open, we never would have found this little gem.

 Once we were done with the area, we got back to Smith Tower. In lobby of this building was just beautiful to me. It immediately threw you back in time.

The 36th floor is also what they call the Chinese Room. It's dec'd out in some beautiful Chinese decorations. The ceiling is all teak and there are 776 semi-precious porcelain discs in the ceiling. I'm not sure what "semi-precious" really means, but they were pretty.

Anyhow, on the observation deck you can see the beautiful city of Seattle.

Looking Northwest ish...

Flash came with us to shoot the city. He wasn't very comfortable standing on this little ledge.


Eye spy...if you look closely you can see the Space Needle between all those buildings.

This is the "Sunken Ship" parking structure. Its were I park all the time in this area. Sparky is actually not shown here - boo. That tip top corner though is where we stood to get the full length photo of the Smith Tower that is the first one I posted.

Looking South. Quest Field and Safeco Field are right there.

That's the very tip top of the tower. The triangle top is an apartment that someone rents. That little tip top part is a reading nook for them (I saw it on TV - that's how I know). Could you imagine the view from there?
My other two photographer trouble makers...Meg-A-Roonie and The Mad Scientist.
So that's another Seattle touristy thing I got off my "bucket" list. There's an Irish pub at the bottom of the Smith Tower and so after that exhausting day of shooting we had to eat and drink.