Wow.

Ok, now I have seen everything. YETI-brand 5-gallon buckets. $40 a piece! 😮 If you want a lid, that’s $20 more dollars. Wow.

After the sales clerk told me how much they were, he smiled and added, “Yeah, I know, you may as well just get one at Home Depot.”

A big-girl camera!

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Monte has nurtured my love of photography over the years; starting with the gift of my first 35mm film SLR camera – a Nikon FM10.   On it, I learned the basics:  how to manually adjust aperture, shutter speed, film speed, focus, depth of field, flash… everything.  It was the only camera we brought on our honeymoon, to capture all those once-in-a-lifetime moments – a bit risky since we wouldn’t be able to see how they turned out until we got home.   I was thrilled to see that they all turned out to be beautifully captured images after getting the film developed.

Then he got me my first digital camera – a Nikon Coolpix 7600 point and shoot.  It was his first experience w/ digital photography as well.

Once we started making regular sailing trips in the Caribbean, I bought a Canon PowerShot D10 for underwater photography.  It turned out to be such a great camera that it has been my main, go-to camera on land or sea, and it sparked my desire to start this photoblog almost 6 years ago.

In the last year or two, pure laziness has led me to use my iPhone camera for many of the shots I post here, though I still drag the Canon along everywhere I go.

But my wish all along has been to get a “real” and quality digital camera – a big-girl camera – one that might allow me to take my photography to the next level.

Last week, since I had a whole week off of work, Monte took me camera shopping.  He helped me pick out The One – an Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II.   Along with two lenses, this is the latest (and best!) gift of photography equipment from him to indulge my hobby; for which I cannot thank him enough.

All of a sudden I feel like a real photographer!

The camera is amazing.   I am taking the time to study the 170 page manual to learn about each of its features in the range of all-automatic to all-manual operational modes.   I’m only taking practice shots for now, but with the rain and lack of sunny days lately, I haven’t yet taken it for a real spin outside.

I can’t wait to see what develops.  🙂

 

 

Little buddy.

Last year I went on a girls’ trip to Washington, D.C. and we walked EVERYWHERE!   One of my friends had a fitbit One (electronic fitness / health tracking gadget) which intrigued me, and I ordered one for myself before I even got back home.  I’ve been using it for almost a year now and I love it.

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As you can see, it is small, it clips onto your clothes (bra, waistband, etc) and Along with its dashboard tracks calories expended, distance walked, vertical steps climbed, sleep pattern, food (calories in), weight gain/loss.  I found it to be a good tool to incent, remind, and update me on where I am versus where I want to be.   It doesn’t work magic – when I don’t expend more calories than I take in, I gain weight.   But my experience has been that if i use it that way I’m supposed to (i.e., keep the food tracker updated and actively try to achieve my daily targets, every day) I am a better fit-izen  🙂

My 2 cents on why I love my fitbit:

  • Usability:  It is easy to wear and forget about.  I clip it onto my bra (sports or frilly) and it usually is undetectable.  It is very easy to keep continually on my person 🙂  I’ve even forgotten about it and worn it through a TSA checkpoint at the airport several times – without getting stopped.  I tried using the little wristband it comes with to wear the fitbit at night but gave up and now just clip it to what I’m wearing to bed.  I don’t even know it’s there.
  • Durability:  It’s water-resistant.  It’s definitely not bothered by lots of sweat.  It is not advertised as being water proof.   BUT it did go through the washing machine once and still works.  My washer is a High-Efficiency one wrt how much water it uses – maybe that’s why my fitbit thankfully didn’t drown.  But, you should have seen the number of steps I logged during the spin cycle overnight!
  • Battery life:  I have found that the battery lasts two weeks or more for me on a given charge.  It warns you when it is low.  And to charge it just requires using the short cord in the picture above – USB on one end, and attaching to the end of the fit bit with the adapter on the other end.
  • Ease and flexibility of uploading data from the device:   You can choose to sync the bits of data from the fitbit device to the dashboard for viewing by either (or both) of two methods.  The fitbit One can talk to/sync with the fitbit Connect application (that runs on your laptop) via the smaller USB wireless sync dongle thingie in the picture above.    And/or it can talk to/sync with the fitbit mobile app (that runs on your phone) via a bluetooth-enabled interface with your phone.  I use both.  I like that if i go on a trip where I don’t want to lug my laptop, I can still sync with my phone for the time I am gone and view the dashboard from there.   Syncing is where things might get a little less intuitive, but there are lots of FAQs to explain the ins and outs of syncing.
  • User interface:  The web dashboard can be accessed via either a web browser on a laptop, or through their mobile app.  Both are easy to use, customize, and display lots of info to glean. 
  • Customer service:  I have found most of my questions are easily answered by info found in fitbit’s online help, or the fitbit community forums.   I did have a problem recently where my wireless syncing dongle simply stopped working.  I quickly found the phone number online – it’s posted on their twitter feed(877) 623-4997.  (I’m old fashioned – there are online methods to get support here).  After less than 10 minutes on the phone with the support person I had an email in my inbox documenting that a replacement fitbit wireless sync dongle was on its way to me – free of charge.  I was back in business a few days later.
  • Value:  for me, it’s worth it.  I’ve worn it pretty much every day for almost a year.   I’ve actively used it the way I should for probably 75% of that time.  I fall off the wagon from time to time.   I think I paid a little under $100 dollars for my fitbit One.  But I struggle with my weight, and any tool that helps me stay on the path to fitness is worth it.  And that’s what my fitbit One helps me do.

Oh, one more thing….I did misplace my fitbit once.  I knew it couldn’t have gone far, though.   I googled online for an app that communicates with bluetooth devices nearby… and it was able to pick up the signal from my fitbit One and eventually zero in on its location under the couch about 10 feet away.  The free iphone app I used was called Bluetooth Smart Scanner, but there are others out there that should work as well.

Kudos to The North Face.

I recently posted about Kohler being a great company to work with because of their customer service. Today, I’m posting a shout out for The North Face…. Several years ago I bought rain jackets for both monte and myself.  But recently my jacket’s waterproof lining began tearing at the neck, rendering it no longer waterproof.

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I remembered that The North Face has a lifetime warranty for their togs, so about 6 weeks ago I followed their instructions and sent my ruined jacket to their warranty department requesting a replacement.  Well, today with no other communication or notice, I received a brand new jacket from TNF. Its a slightly different color, but still the great North Face product.
THANK YOU North Face for standing behind your warranty. I’ll be back.

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And….again!

Oh so pretty. I didn’t have a window seat today. It’s just as well, though, because I would have been hogging/blocking the view the whole time. 🙂
So I asked my seat-neighbor to snap one for me, instead.

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Now, that’s weird.

A week or so ago I was driving through a parking lot at a nearby store and saw this:

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I couldn’t help but wonder where the person that needed the walker went … without the walker.   Ok, so i just chalked that up to a chance encounter with an abandoned walking aid.   But then about a week later, I was in a different parking lot, and saw this:

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Now I think someone is trying to tell me something.   I just don’t know what it is.

🙂

Abaco sea glass.

Found objects.
Found objects.

Maybe because I’ve been dabbling with beads to make earrings and bracelets, I remembered the other day that I brought home a bunch of sea glass from our trip to the Abacos in 2009.  But I couldn’t remember where I stowed it.  I guess you can find sea glass along the shore of many beaches.   But, I had heard ahead of time that there are certain stretches of beach in the Abacos that are covered with it.   It’s kind of sad to think that this is all trash – bottles broken up by the tides over many years.   But for some reason the currents deposit a treasure trove of it along the islands.

Well, I found my stash!  Can’t wait to go back for more.

 

 

What’s in your pocket?

1959 silver dime.

I was absentmindedly sorting coins that were weighing down my wallet today.   I lined up, on edge, the nickels, pennies, dimes, quarters…. then I noticed one of the dimes was all silver.  It is not often that I find a silver coin in my pocket anymore.  When I was a kid it happened much more frequently.  I guess more of them were in circulation (way) back then.

Anyway, when I zoomed in to take this macro shot I noticed initials “JS” under Roosevelt’s head.  Google tells me those are the initials of the guy that designed the front and back of the coin, John Sinnock.  He was Chief Engraver for the United States Mint, and also designed the Franklin half-dollar.    You really can learn something new every day!   You just have to take the time to look around 🙂

More numis-trivia:  this dime is 90% silver, is worth about $2 today, and is one of 85 million minted in 1959.   There you have it.

Scenes from the wayback.

A caption for this shot escapes me — you’ll have to supply your own

On one of my trips out to the shop in the wayback part of the yard today to see what Monte was up to, I encountered this little art exhibit.

He’s been talking about wanting to make a sundial.  But I don’t think this is it.

The story behind the shot:  Monte is very fond of colored bandanas / hankies, and won’t get dressed without having one or two of these in his pocket.   He uses them for pretty much everything.  Well, last weekend he declared that he was running low and came back from a shopping run with a couple dozen bright, crisp, new colored bandanas.   They bleed profusely, though for the first 5 – 10 washes.  So he’s taken to washing them in a bucket of saltwater to set the colors.  This is apparently the drying cycle for the latest batch.  🙂

The old and the new.

We’re gonna do it.

The marine survey was scheduled for today.  I took the day off work so that I could be there with Monte for it.  The marine surveyor was fantastic.  He spent about 10 hours on the boat with us, inspecting virtually everything on the boat while explaining how everything worked as he went along.  He didn’t find much wrong, and no surprises.  So, pending getting the final report from him, I think we will be upgrading from our beloved, homebuilt wooden catboat that we’ve been playing on for the last 8 years, to a big-kid, plastic boat that we will be enjoying for the next 15 or so years.  🙂

Moving on up?

Cupholder II?

We went to the lake today early, to finalize an offer we’ve made on a new boat.  It’s not a done deal – we still have to take it out for a sea trial and have a marine surveyor inspect it, but if there are not problems found, this may be our new ride in a couple weeks.

We have infinitely enjoyed sailing and playing aboard our unique, homebuilt wooden catboat for eight years.  We treasure the friends we have made at the marina in those 8 years, too.   We are not ones to make big decisions lightly.  But we recently decided to make a move up to a bigger boat, and this is the one that presented itself.    If it doesn’t work out, no biggie, we’ll wait for the next one that feels right.  If it does work out, I look forward to another 10-15 years of fun aboard this boat on our beautiful lake with our sailing friends.

I’ll keep you posted!

The perfect omni-tool.

The Tourist.

One of Monte’s vast array of swiss army knives is missing.  Probably in a bilge, or perhaps at the bottom of a cove.  So we ordered another, which arrived today.  Did you know that there are about 100 different models of swiss army knives, with different combos and numbers of gadgets attached?  This one is called The Tourist.  Upon opening the box, Monte declared it the “perfect” swiss army knife.  So, go get you one!

You have to check out this one though:  http://www.amazon.com/Wenger-16999-Giant-Swiss-Knife/dp/B001DZTJRQ    Monte doesn’t have *it* yet.  🙂

Plyboo?


Our friend John has been working in the shop all week on a desk for a client.  Monte’s been out there making tables.  It is a magnificent shop, if i must say so myself. 🙂

The material that John is using to make the desk sides and top is a plywood made out of bamboo, called plyboo.  Pretty cool looking.