Thursday, March 31, 2011

The G11

I'm learning my old camera again! I have not used it in 4 months while I was trying to gain expertise with the 60D....there are lot of differences. I am missing some of them right now. The focus on the 60D is excellent. The lens has an autofocus feature that is hands down better than the lens on the G11. In addition, the viewfinder on the 60D shows 96% of the picture...and that's not the case with the G11. The difference is of course the DSLR lens. With a DSLR camera, what you see is what you get. With a point and shoot camera, what you see is some of what you get. Still, even though the quality is not the same, the size of the G11 is just so much better! Now, if someone would make a DSLR camera the size of the G11, I'd be a very happy camper!

Flowers after the storm

Most of March has been stormy and gray. It's amazing any flowers have survived the onslaught, but a few hardy individuals have persisted. The African Daisy is a surprise! I planted it last year on a whim and it made it thru the winter!

The ceanothus sounds like it is hovering over the ground as it's filled with bees. They have not had a chance to do their work with all the rain.

 The redbud has been battered by the wind yet a few blooms are clinging to the limbs. The trees only bloom 2 weeks a year, and this year, most of the blossoms were blown away.

 The firethorns are just starting. It will be awhile before their red berries appear.

 The rosemary are just starting to sprout their bluish purple buds. Soon they will "hover" like the ceanothus will their own flock of bees.

 The last flower to arrive is an iceplant. The bright golden yellow flower looks like a shining beacon in the garden.

 It's good to have the sun back! March came in like a Lion and it looks like it will go out like a Lamb. Tomorrow is April Fool's Day! I wonder what that will bring!?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Down Memory Lane

I was looking at old photo albums this morning and came across this picture of our original "freedom machine." This is our first RV, our only motorhome, and the great love of our RV life! We named her Rumblebunny, I have no idea why. I know that she sort of "rumbled" as we rolled down the road, but I don't know how the "bunny" part of the name was derived. All I know is we had Rumblebunny for 11 years, 125,000 miles and 5 valve jobs. She was not reliable...but she was a lot of fun!

So, here's Rumblebunny, copied from an old 3x3 photo with a matte finish! The picture was taken along the Natchez Trace Parkway in Tennessee, at Christmastime in 1976 (see the little Christmas tree in the window). It's fun to take a trip down memory lane every now and then.

Back to the Old

Well...after 4 months of learning how to use the Canon 60D I decided it was not the camera for me at this point in time! My nephew was looking for another camera as his "died" and now he is the proud owner of the 60D. He got a fantastic camera and I feel like a weight has been removed from my shoulders. The camera was wonderful. It took great pictures. It had one major drawback--size! The complete camera kit of lenses, cases, filters, tripod and extras was just too much to carry! Now I'm free from it.

I needed to buy the camera to see what it was all about. I now know. I also know I can use any type of camera AND I choose to use a point and shoot! All pictures from now on will be taken with my old reliable Canon G-11 or iPhone. They are perfect for me!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A few more scenes

I’m writing this on a very stormy day in northern California. The skies are a very dark gray. The wind is blowing. The rain is pelting down like there is no tomorrow and I’m looking at pictures of warm, sunny, tropical lands. I’d rather be there than here right now...but alas, that’s another story.

 These 2 pictures were taken near Hilo. What a beautiful day! In stark contrast to I’ll end here.
We are on “dry land” for the next few weeks. The next big trip will be on the Adriatic! In the meantime, I’ll have to get caught up on day to day life in the slow lane.


One of the longer stops that the ships make when they go to Hawaii is on the Oahu, for the city of Honolulu. While Hilo is quaint, and LaHaina is touristy, Honolulu is a city! It’s big. It has a feel that is very different from any other town in the islands.

I particularly like the Port of Entry. It is filled with murals that show what it was like to land in Hawaii during in the “old days.” My great aunt sailed to Hawaii on the Lurline back in the 30s and she told stories of being greeted with hula dancers; and walking along the white sand beaches; and staying in the pink palace on Waikiki. Nowadays, you are greeted with murals of those scenes. It was some place! It’s still “some place” but not as much of a WOW as it was in the 1930s.

It’s hard to miss the Aloha Tower. At one time it was the tallest building in Honolulu. It was built in 1926 and is probably the most recognizable building in Hawaii. I have no idea how many pictures I’ve taken of this tower over the just fascinates me.

The first time we went to the beach in Guam (when we lived there) I was surprised to see “tropical” fish in the tide pools. The same is true in Hawaii. As you leave the Aloha Tower, there is an area where you can see the fish...and guess what...they are tropical!
A few more scenes from the port area in Honolulu.

 Nothing is more romantic than sailing out of the port of Honolulu at night! It’s a sight to behold!
I could take pictures of the sandy beaches and the water, but every one does that!

I Found Them

I found my pictures! They were in another copy of’s not nice to trick me like that! are few flowers. I won’t try to identify them...they are just pretty and unusual.
 This strange flower looks like a string of firecrackers!
 Another type of Torch Ginger

 A few whimsical orchids

And finally, a bed of bouganvillas. The trademark flower of the Pacific.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

They are Lost

You might not believe this...but I cannot find my pictures from Hawaii! They are on the computer somewhere, but I don’t know where! I’ve been looking...does anyone have any clues on how I can find them?

That’s why I’ve not written on the new pictures!

In the meantime, spring has not arrived. It’s cold, windy, rainy and gray. The redbuds are in bloom, but it’s hard to enjoy them when the wind is gusting at 25 mph. The daffodils are afraid to bloom as I have a lot of “blind” ones this year! Not a good spring.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Musings: Back Home (part 1, maybe)

We are back home after being away for 11 weeks! Folks wonder how we can be gone for so long, but it’s not hard...pack up and go! Which is what we did. For 9 of those 11 weeks we were in Southern CA, for the remaining 2 we were on a cruise to Hawaii.
This dainty ship, aka The Golden Princess, was our floating hotel for 14 days. She’s a bit bigger than I like, with a full contingent of 2600 passengers, but she is pretty. By the way, that "flying wedge” atop the back of the boat is a night club by night and really quiet place to sit back and look at the water during the day.

We’ve cruised to Hawaii several times, yet it’s still fun to visit the lovely garden isles. Late February in the Islands was perfect...not too hot,  not too cold, not too much rain, not too much humidity, and not that many tourists. Folks tend to visit Hawaii during the Christmas and Easter holidays but not in between. We were in that 'tween season and it was good. Lucky for us we were off the sea by the time the tsunami from Japan raked the islands. I wonder what a large cruise ship feels like as it sails through a tsunami?

I have divided cruises into “easy” and “hard” water varieties. An easy water cruise is calm, and frankly there are not too many of them. What you see above is an easy water day. When the water looks like this, you do not know you are moving 18-20 knots per hour. A cruise through the inside passage to Alaska is an easy water cruise. There’s land on both sides, and that tends to keep the water calm or least not too rocky. Generally speaking, a cruise in the Caribbean is of the easy water variety too (except during hurricane season). The water is usually clear and still. Sailing around the Hawaiian Islands is an easy water cruise too. Only NCLA has that cruise now. These 3 cruises are good for folks who have never been cruising, are subject to seasickness or want a calm ride.

A hard water cruise is just the opposite. The ultimate hard water cruise is sailing the Drake Passage from Ushuaia to the Antarctic Peninsula. This picture is of the Drake after it calmed down a bit! That’s some bumpy water! The North Atlantic can be hard water. AND, the water off the coast of LA is hard. The general pattern for a 14 day Hawaii RT cruise from San Pedro has the following flow: the first day out is rough with seasick bags by the elevators and the stairs. The second day is less rough and only a few seasick bags are located in the public areas, the third day will be less rough and there are no seasick bags to be found (I wonder if they have run out of them by then) and the 4th day will be perfect. There are then 5 days of smooth sailing. The waters around the Islands are easy as is the first day back to the US Mainland. Then, just repeat the water pattern from less rough to very rough. The day before landing in San Pedro, the ship stops in Ensenada for 4 hours. That’s usually pretty calm, but the crawl up the coast to San Pedro can get a bit choppy.

We’ve been on the this cruise and had 4 bad days out and 4 days back OR 1 bad day out and back. There will always be one bad day in each direction. For the weak of tummy, take Bonine or Dramamine or wear a patch or wear a bracelet or take your ginger (whatever works for you) and enjoy the cruise. We’ve been on far too many cruises and we take Bonine and we don’t get seasick. I don’t know what would happen if we did not take Bonine, but I don’t want to find out either.

In Hawaii I was able to feast my eyes (and camera lens) on flowers! As you know, I love capturing flower images and Hawaii is a perfect place to do that. We visited a garden on the Big Island that was filled with beautiful flora and I was in camera heaven. I’ll post more pictures later, but here’s a teaser.

In the meantime, I’ve become more connected than ever before. I own a Verizon iPhone now; along with an iPad, an iTouch and a MacBook. I’m one of the older members of the iGeneration...I don’t think they give folks my age general admission, but maybe they will let me sit on the sidelines and participate a little bit. I’m learning how to text, which is great fun. I might get an iPad2 as the other DrC thinks he’s ready for the iPad, first edition. We’ll see. I do like toys and Apple makes some pretty ones. Watch this space to see what happens next.