27 February 2010

Last night at the Glacier

Darwin and I went out to the glacier last night to do some homework for my photography class.  This week we are working on taking pictures in the dark and light painting.  There was nearly a full moon last night, so it wasn't  as dark as it could have been, but the pictures turned out pretty amazing.

I learned a little bit about taking pictures of the moon.  There is a rule called something like "Sunny 16"  Basically, you set your aperture to 16, your ISO to 100 and then leave the shutter open for a long time (I left the shutter open for a full minute for this shot).  I had to take several shots to get it to not look like a shining blob. =)

There was some event going on at the visitor's center and it was all lit up, so I turned the camera on it's side and got the moon and it in the same shot.  I wasn't as successful at getting the moon in focus on these, but if you notice, there was some fog last night, and it made a big ring of light around the moon...breath taking.  I don't have a wide enough angle lens (my widest angle lens is an 18-200 mm) to get the whole ring, but believe me, it was really pretty.

This is a shot I took before we started light painting.  We went out to photo point and set up the tripod.  This was taken at 9:31 pm.  I left the shutter open for 30 seconds at f/16 ISO 800.  If you click on the picture you will notice several red, blue, and green dots in the photo.  I learned last week that these spots are called "dead pixels" and are spots on my sensor that are sort of broken.  Interesting...I never knew that individual pixels could just go out.  The only way to "fix" them is to use photoshop to clone them out, or get a new camera! =)  From looking at this picture, I have a lot of dead pixels!


We got out the light sabers and a few flashlights and then had some fun.  I think if it would have been darker, the light sabers would have turned out cooler, but the LED bar flashlight (used to write Alaska), and the LED key chain light (used to write Juneau) we brought turned out really good!  I had fun spelling out words and then seeing if we could read them.

It was getting to be about 10:30 pm, so we decided to pack up and go get dessert before going home.  I thought I would try a few shots while walking of the sidewalk lights.  I took two long exposure shots of the lights and they both turned out black!  I was bummed because I thought they would turn out pretty neat.  Then Darwin casually says to me, "Is it because the lens cap is on?"   OH MY GOODNESS!  It was on!  No wonder the pictures were black!  hahahaha!!!

This is what I was hoping for!  We were already in the parking lot, so I just opened the shutter and waved the camera around.  You can see the sidewalk lights all in a row right on the left/center edge of the photo.  I wish I could have gone back and tried again running past them, but we were getting pretty cold.  We had been out for an hour and a half. =)  Maybe I will go back again soon.

Well, other than homework (which even I am sick of hearing about)...we are all doing good.  We got our new mattress delivered on Thursday.  We bought a Tempur-Pedic Cloud Supreme mattress last month, and it finally got here.  We've slept on it for two nights now, and I've slept like a log.  It is still a little weird...I think it feels like laying down in play-doh...hahaha...but it is very comfortable and I don't wake up at night because my hips or shoulders are numb.

We also found out on the 16th that we MIGHT be moving to Oahu THIS summer!  We should have orders by Monday or Tuesday.  We knew it might be a possibility that we'd have to move, but we had really hoped we could stay in Juneau for another year (or more).  Darwin and I both feel really good about the move...almost peaceful.  It is hard to describe, but I felt like I should be mad or angry or more stressed out, but I'm not.  I am really pretty excited...which I did not anticipate.  I always said I wouldn't ever want to live in Oahu, because it is a big city, and I like living in smaller places, so that is why I can't figure out why I am so excited.

There are two things that we are REALLY excited about for sure though.  We get to live by a temple!  How cool is that!  The last time we lived in a place that we could drive to a temple was in 2000 when we lived in Washington DC!  Ever since then, it has been a plane ride to go to one.  We are super excited that we will be able to drive to this one...and be able to go more than once a year!
The other cool thing about moving to Oahu, is that our amazing adoption worker, Sally Lee, is in Oahu.  She really is the sweetest lady and has kept in contact with us and presented us with options, even when we weren't her clients anymore...which is way more than our agency here did.  We are excited to call her after we get orders, and tell her we are coming!  She always says to us, every time we talk to her, "Oh!  I really want to do your placement!"  I was seriously thinking that if we had to move, there wasn't anyone who could convince me to go through another homestudy with LDSFS and pay another $500...I was ready to give up, seriously.  This is the only situation (that I totally didn't think was even a possibility) that I would continue with LDSFS.  I was pretty sure that we were just going to have to re-evaluate and try another way to find our missing baby.  I'm hoping that this time (the third time's the charm??) we can be done waiting to meet our child.

Well, I think that is all I can think of right now.  I'll blog at you all later! =)

17 February 2010

Some Stuff

I am still just barely keeping up with my homework, but I have to take a break from it.  (24 photography assignments, 7 economics assignments, and 2 accounting assignments).  This picture was for my photography class.  We have to take one picture of each color in the color wheel (light, not paint wheel)...so that would be red, green, blue, yellow, cyan, and magenta.  This is for my magenta photo.

Anyhow, in way more exciting news...WE PAID OFF OUR VAN!!!!  I had to get our taxes done asap (so I could file for the FAFSA and some scholarships before Feb 15th)...and we ended up getting a nice return.  We decided to pay off my van and buy a new mattress for our bed (we are both having our arms/legs/hips go numb during the night...getting old is fun).  We had about a year left to pay on the van, but it was so exciting to just get it done early!  I got the title for it on Saturday!  We are going to apply the money we were paying for the van towards our boat now...I think it is called a snowball payment or something...anyway, so we will be able to pay that off faster now (especially since the van payment is more than twice what we are paying monthly for the boat)!  I am super excited to be actually paying off debt in a productive way.  It is a great feeling!  When the boat is done, we are going to put the van and boat payments into the truck payment and see if that can go away as well!  I'm hoping to have those paid off in the next two and a half to three years.

All the kids are doing good...Darwin is good.  London's gerbil had six more babies on the 8th!  We gave three gerbils to the Pierces on the 6th (Saturday) and I took the dad and the one baby boy out of the tank then too (since Toto was looking really fat again and they mate as soon as the female gives birth).  I thought I would have at least a week before she gave birth, but two days later Brooklin was trying to pet Toto, and I heard her yelled, "EWWW!  There are babies in here!"  The first set of babies were only 37 days old!  Anyway, we gave another two away on Monday of this week, so now we have one baby girl and the dad left to find homes for, for now...and then six more babies in four and a half weeks.  Isaiah is keeping one of the first babies (a tan girl) to replace his boy gerbil.  The factory has been turned off! thank goodness!  I think he named his new baby gerbil Peanut Butter...but he isn't sure he wants that name for her...lol.

Well, that is all I can think of.  I love school, but it is sure harder this semester than I thought it was going to be!

09 February 2010


There isn't much for me to write about.  I feel like I'm in over my head this week.  I have 20 assignments due between now and next Monday (15 of them are for Photography).  I also had activity days tonight which is fun, but I didn't have any time to plan anything for them to do!  Last night my Superman came swooping in and calmed me down (I was kind of panicking) and fixed everything for me.  I don't know what I would do without him.  He listened to me and all of the things I was worried and stressing over, and then he just took them from me.  He didn't do my homework...but he got on the internet and searched and printed everything I was going to need for activity days tonight while I took a shower.  I felt a giant weight lift off of me, and I am so grateful for him and his willingness to help me.  I spent two hours last night doing photography homework (this photo is one of my assignments), and then spent five hours this morning working on Economics and Accounting homework.  I finished three Economics assignments (but there are eight more assignments due by next Friday) and I got one of the two Accounting homeworks done.  I'm not out of the deep end yet, but I am feeling much better about being there.

...oh, and I forgot to mention that all six of us are speaking in church on Sunday...and my talk isn't even started!

03 February 2010

February Goals

Today is the 3rd??...and there are only 28 days to begin with?! I better made these new goals quick and easy! =)

1. Update my giant "family pictures" frame. I have two giant picture frames in my living room with pictures of each of our combined 13 siblings and their families and a big family picture of each...one for Strassers and one for Jensens. I bought these frames at Costco about four years ago...and I have (almost) never updated the pictures! There have been many new people added to our family in the last four years. Let's see...I think I came up with nine babies that have joined our families that are not in the pictures on my wall!  I have almost all of the updated pictures for the frame, I just need to put them in.  I'm not going to sabotage my goal by requiring that if I don't have an updated picture then the goal hasn't been met.  (Although, it would be really great if you all could send me an updated picture.  I will definitely be stealing from all your facebook albums and blogs if I don't have a hard copy for some of you).

2. I will refrain, cease, and desist from playing Mafia Wars and Farmville on Sunday.  I have a slight, nay consuming addiction to these two facebook games.  I don't think I am ready to say goodbye to facebook altogether on Sundays just yet, but I think can give up these two games for four days this month.  When Darwin and I were first married, I was really gung-ho about keeping the sabbath day holy...no TV (unless it was church related), no video games, and I was more focused on good activities.  I give all the credit to my mother who was a stickler for good Sunday activities... reading The New Era, writing to missionaries, writing in my journal, listening to church music, that kind of stuff.  (Thank you Mom!)  BUT, Darwin was not as into the no TV and video games thing (and I do realize that he reads this blog and may not agree with this) but I quit worrying about that part of keeping the sabbath day holy.  Now I'm feeling the need to be a little better at focusing on the Savior on Sundays...it is His day after all.  And just to clarify something...Darwin told me just last week that he didn't think we should watch The Soup (which is on late night cable for a reason) on Sunday evenings (I didn't see any reason not to) so he isn't as "lax" as I just made him sound.

3.  I will exercise for at least 30 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday.  Darwin's sisters recently decided to have a "biggest loser" competition.  They invited me to join them and they set up a blog.  I originally signed up for a core conditioning class this semester that was on Tue. and Thur. mornings, but because of another of my struggles...not being able to let things go, (I had a "power struggle" with the teacher last semester in the spinning class and am still not ready to let it go and fully forgive her) I dropped the class a week before school started.  It was the only class I was going to have on Tuesday or Thursday, so now I have two "free" days built into my school week.  It's actually really good I did, because the homework in my economics class takes several hours to complete and having "free" days to do it works out great.  On the downside, I am not "responsible" to be in class exercising twice a week, so I haven't been.  Typically, I don't make exercising/eating healthy goals, because I don't have anyone but myself to check if I'm doing it, but now that there are weigh in's each week, I feel the need to be a little more responsible.  I would love to have 15 lbs disappear...I'm just not in love with the work it takes to make them vanish.

So, these are my goals for February.  I hope I can make them happen.  I am going to continue working on the quilt and trying to read the lessons for church on Sunday...I just need to focus on some of my other areas for the next few weeks.

02 February 2010

January Resolution Summary

I just went back and reread my goals for January.  They were all reasonable, reachable goals but I did not make 100%.

1. Reorganize and declutter my filing cabinets I was able to clean out several files and revamp the way I was filing some of the everyday type of papers.  This was the main reason for the goal, and while I probably could have gone through many more files, I feel like I accomplished my original intention; which was to throw out things I didn't need to be keeping (old phone bills from Maui...) and make it easier to throw out stuff later on.  Instead of having a file folder for each little thing, I made six folders labeled Jan/Feb, Mar/Apr, May/June, etc (two months of "stuff" in each folder) so when the "stuff" is a year old, I can get rid of it for sure.

2. Read the lessons for Sunday School and Relief Society BEFORE Sunday. I accomplished this goal without fail for three weeks.  The fourth week I did read the lessons before class, but not before Sunday (I read the material before church on Sunday, which is an accomplishment in itself since we have 9 am church this year).  The final Sunday, I did not read either of the lessons.  I had been taking my scriptures and such with me to the girls' piano lessons but the last week of January I had some homework that needed attention, so I read my accounting book instead of the scriptures.  I think to further the establishment of this goal into a good habit, I should try to read the materials earlier in the week, because Saturday (the day after piano lessons) isn't really an option and is also the last minute possible...or procrastination...one of my many bad habits.

3.Finish a quilt for my bed.  The quilt is not finished.  I finished all sewing all 273 blocks (and 13 half blocks) needed for the quilt on Jan 14th.  I sewed all the blocks into 13 rows of 21 blocks (and one half block) by Jan 28th.  By Jan 31st, I had sewed 6 of the 13 rows together.  I still have to:  a) sew the remaining 7 rows together. b) cut and sew together a 6 1/2 inch boarder and then sew it to the quilt top.  c) get a backing piece together...i have the material, but i need to sew it together.  It is just a solid color, but the quilt top is bigger than regular width fabric, so I just need to sew two or three widths together.  That's it.  I will post pictures when i am finished and then again when it gets back from the quilter.  I definitely had enough time to complete this project.  I just applied a bad habit (procrastination again) and didn't get it done.  I will continue working on it...especially now that we are waiting for the new mattress we ordered this weekend to get here.  (Thank you tax refund...) =)

I will post my February Resolutions later today...stayed tuned!