Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ctrl-alt-delete  Forced to Reboot

  I feel like I am in the front seat of one of the greatest roller coaster rides ever, which has now slowed down to a slow crawl as it has reached the top of the highest and last peak of this wild ride. Leaning forward, I can see the the drop off. It is straight down to ground level, and I realize that I can raise my arms in the air and scream with exuberance all the way down, or I can start panicking and throw-up on myself as I descend. It has been suggested by a close friend of mine, that knowing me as well as she does, I will probably do both.

 Life was going along really well. We had become very comfortable in our life, taking vacations throughout the world, enjoying weekend getaways, attending great entertainment events, and buying what we wanted when we wanted. So what I am about to share with you has been a wake up call. We are literally being forced to  'reboot'.

  A couple of weeks ago my husband received a call from his boss informing him the company was laying off 108 employees in the next two days and unfortunately he was one of them. In fact, neither his boss nor her entire department were spared. The termination was unceremonious and abrupt. There weren't even any exit interviews conducted. The term they used was "reorganizing". We had been with this company for almost 18 years and within minutes after the call it felt like we had lost our entire family.  For the next two days we had phone call after phone call from others with their own layoff news. Presidents, Vice President, Directors, Engineers, and Sales and Marketing executives were caught in the cross hairs. Some of these people had 40 yrs. with the company. Many had spent their entire working life as part of this organization. We sat in shock as the calls came in and realized our lives had just changed forever.

  The one thing in life I have learned is you cannot quit, you have to get up and move forward. For me I have gone into "emergency mode", which is to plug every financial hole or leak I can find in our budget. This included dropping such luxuries as cable and gym memberships, as well as any other non-essential services we could do without, bringing our budget down as low as we possibly can.

  There are some hidden blessings in this reboot time. For one thing, it is forcing us to look into all of our investments. We came to the realization we could change a lot of things for our retirement. We found a financial planner who has helped us greatly, a CPA that works along side us to keep us on the right path. That, I wish I had done 20 yrs. ago.

  Getting another job like my husband had will take time, months probably. So I have cried a few tears, felt sick to my stomach, and had sleepless nights. The holidays are upon us, children are coming home for Christmas, we have a son getting married next month, and yes I can scream with joy for these things, yet still feel like throwing up because of the timing of this layoff. So here's to the beginning of the ctrl-alt-delete of our lives. Literally we are rebooting our lives again.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

What's With Pier 39 And Sea Lions?

   We had heard on the news that Astoria, Oregon was having an unusual amount of sea lions on their docks, in fact over 2,300 of them.  Never having been to Astoria my husband and I decided to go and spend the weekend there and see this unusual event. Upon arriving at our hotel's lobby we noticed a basket full of ear plugs for the guests, I asked "what's the ear plugs for?" the clerk answered "seal plugs". This might cause concern for some folks about a noisy stay, but it made me giggle with excitement to experience our weekend here.
   Our room was located on the top floor, facing Pier 39,and the last room on the end. From our balcony I could see the sea lions lying on the docks, and the sound of them barking was amazing. Yes, some folks  might run to put in their ear plugs in at this point, but I rather enjoyed those dog faced looking Sea Lions just barking away, twenty four hours a day. My husband even commented during the night that somebody had quite the party going on. "Yes, those boys are sure the partyers." I replied.
   Turns out, all the Sea Lions here are all males. Scientists who study these guys  have  branded their backs with numbers so as to keep up with them. They come every year to feed on the smelt and salmon fish, but this year there was a bumper crop of smelt fish so instead of the 300-400 normal amount of sea lions, they got thousands.
   What is really interesting is these sea lions go from this Pier 39 and travel down to San Francisco's Pier 39 to meet up with the females! Once they do their business of meeting up with the females they travel back up the coast bringing back all the little males that are ready to leave their momma's.    
   Astoria sits on a hill spotted with colorful Victorian houses that over looks the Pacific Ocean and the mouth of the 1200 mile long Columbia River. It is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies. It is a beautiful little town with a rich history, such as Lewis and Clark's winter in 1805, bustling fish canneries, shanghaied sailors, and of course who hasn't seen the movie "The Goonies" filmed here in 1984. Hollywood has been making movies in this area since 1908, movies like: Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, and Free Willy II.
    I learned something from these Sea Lions, they know where the best Piers are to hangout at on the Pacific Northwest, and like them we too will return to Pier 39.

Free ear plugs for the guest.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Supernova seen by CWU physics students - Daily Record: Members


Ernest Skousen

Hans Berghoff

Posted: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 2:00 pm

In the observatory above Lind Hall, Ernest Skousen hunkered down with his coffee, cold-weather gear and the telescope’s computer late in the evening Jan. 31. “We were ready for the all-nighter,” he said.

   Skousen, along with Hans Berghoff, another physics major at Central Washington University, and physics professor Michael Braunstein were trying to find a supernova in a galaxy more than 11 million light years away.

Astronomy students in England happened along the supernova — a profoundly energetic explosion which can expel more energy in a few months than the sun will through its entire multi-billion year lifespan — catching the object in their scopes Jan. 21.
Berghoff, also a senior, was already doing research work on asteroids when he caught a news item about the supernova, called SN 2014J on Facebook.
“Sure, I maybe should be focusing on asteroids,” he recalled thinking. “But this is too cool.”
The two, who have a few classes together, brought it to Braunstein’s attention.
Even though the weather had been cloudy, they knew SN 2014J might be bright enough to pick up with Lind Hall’s telescope, so they decided to try.
Skousen, who studied meteorology in community college before coming to Central, kept an eye on the weather, thinking Friday, Jan. 31 was their night.
Slightly ahead of plans, the skies were clear Jan. 29. He got out of lab, ate dinner, and went to meet the others, to find that Braunstein had sent the computer they were to use in for repairs to get ready.
Luckily the weather held when Friday came around, Skousen said.
They headed up to the observatory and started the computer.
It froze.
They turned it off and on. It froze again.
They fiddled with the mouse and the keyboard. Still no luck.
The repairs made to the computer involved cloning the entire hard drive to another computer. When the technicians did that, it seemed they used a wireless mouse and keyboard.
Skousen said they ran out to scavenge a standard, plug-in keyboard and mouse, and things started working again.
You know you’re doing good science when everything’s going wrong, he joked.
Science isn’t all just lab work and data crunching, he said.
“Most of the science is problem solving, when you want to do something as cool as that,” he said, such as looking at an exploding star in another galaxy.
They were able to get a bead on the supernova, a faint glitter of light in galaxy M82, another faint, yet slightly larger blob of light.
The Lind Hall observatory telescope can only gather so much helpful data, Braunstein said, but there’s still useful information to find.
Supernovae can help as a yardstick to determining long astronomical distances, he said.
“In astronomy, in some sense, that’s the most fundamental measure you can take,” he said, and it can be a difficult number to find.
A star millions of times brighter than the sun looks like a small point here on Earth since it’s so far away.
“We need these distances to start finding out the other properties of these astronomical objects,” he said.
Getting the distances right helps toward answering other questions, such as an object’s composition and brightness.
“Because this is such a close supernova and so many people are able to collect data on it, it’s going to be able to refine our models of supernovae,” he said.
Skousen gave all the credit to Braunstein for his help tracking the supernova, and helping through last-minute repairs.
“The guy’s smart and resourceful enough to be some company billionaire,” Skousen said. “But he absolutely and throughly enjoys being a teacher.”
The group recorded images of the supernova using different filters, and were able to put those together to create a false-color approximation of the image.
“There is something very primordial about this picture, about this supernova,” Skousen said.
That supernova happened 11 million years ago, and its light only now travelled far enough for us to see it.
Skousen said he can get philosophical about science at times.
“All the heavier elements in our bodies were born in these super nuclear furnaces. … We are made from the very process that we are seeing in that telescope,” he said.
“That’s our creation right there, and so studying that is helping us along those answers of where do we come from, why are we here, where are we going.”

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Field of Flowers Painting

Well, what do you think? This is an acrylic painting on a 20 x 16 canvas. Any thoughts or suggestions? I tried painting on a larger area than I am used to, considering I have been painting on 8 x 10's, so this was a little scary to go a larger scale. I do love the purple's in it.

Friday, January 17, 2014

I just love Van Gogh!

Van Gogh's
My painting

One of my own.

 Here is another picture I painted of one of Van Gogh's still life's. I so love his work. This picture is probably one of my favorites. After I paint a piece, I like to leave it up on my painting easel for a few days so I can decide if I want to add, or take away anything from what I have painted. The painting of the flowers in the vase is my favorite, because I found at different times of the day the light from outside hit it differently and the colors and shadows changed so wonderfully. Vincent was so good. Love his stuff, and now I have my own painting that really pleases me.

The  bottom picture here  was one that  felt like it would be in France.  Brings back happy memories of Paris to me.

Hope you like them. Oh! By the way I have been actually selling copies of my paintings, so if you would like to purchase any of the things I have painted let me know. You can 'friend' me on FB and get a message to me that way.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Happened To You In Paris?

This was my third painting I  finished and I had painted it on a 10 x 12 acrylic  paper. Because it was just on paper I wanted to have it heat set to a foam board to keep the paper from curling up on the sides. I took this and another painting down to a local frame shop and when they called my name to come pick it up there was a woman and her husband there at the counter also having some pictures framed. When the clerk handed me my paintings the woman exclaimed "Oh my! Those are Van Gogh's". I smiled and said "Well, yes they are, my copycat of them anyway". She took the paintings from me and studied them and then asked, "Can I buy these? Are they for sale?" I was taken aback for a moment, and said that one may be sold already but she could buy this one. She asked how much and I told her the price. She actually offered me twenty more than I asked, but I said "no" because I had already given her a price.

Turns out she is an art collector! When I explained that this was only my third painting, she said that there was real passion in my painting and she was excited to have it. That's when I turned to the sales clerk to pay for my purchase, and said "I guess Van Gogh's go!" So I painted a few more of his. I have made copies so at least I have something to show for myself. Life is funny.

When I came home and told my husband he asked "What happened to you in Paris?" Life is funny. Go to Paris and come home and become an artist. Who knew.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Trying to paint like Van Gogh

My painting

Flowering Garden with Path   July 1888
   Since I've been home from Paris my heart has been yearning for more art, so I went to the library and picked up a book on Van Gogh, and his complete paintings. As I looked through the book I saw this picture and it inspired me, so I thought to myself ...... "um I think I'll try painting this." Now the interesting thing is, I don't draw or paint. I tried  painting for the first time the other day and did a version of Starry Night. This was my second try at painting and I found I really enjoyed doing it. When I finished I told my husband "man this looks nothing like his". He laughed and said, "you know honey, he was a master painter".