DATE DAY: Where: Tacoma Point Defiance Zoo Links: Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (PDZA) https://www.pdza.org/ Date: November 10, 2018.
We have really been wanting to go see the zoo since we moved here in July, but with my jobs switching around and just the stress of transition we haven’t gotten out. Finally we decided to go anyways.
The zoo was sadly smaller than anticipated, but I loved the jellyfish and Dari the tiger the most. However, pretty much everything came over to check us out. According to the worker, Musk Ox had never gotten that close or walked towards people that she saw before.
The arctic foxes were cool enough, but their area was full of plastic garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely sure they were there for a purpose, to entertain them. I also realize that they don’t have the budget of the Woodland Park Zoo. That being said it still was uncomfortable to watch (same with penguins).
The jellyfish photos came out better than I expected. The rest of my fish pictures sucked (and got tossed), except for the “disapproving fish”. I need to learn better techniques and get additional equipment for aquarium photos.
Dari the tiger however was my favorite. She is a gorgeous animal and was intently interested in a toddler and then me… is that saying something about me? If I wasn’t color blind I would have played with the color levels to get the picture even better, but that is the last thing anyone needs me to do.
I don’t think we will visit in the short term again. If we get money up (I am now going to be unemployed) I want to hit the other sites around first. Still, we had a great time and some of the animals were awesome.
(video clips below that)
She noticed a toddler across from her
Dari is a beautiful creature
She noticed me
Just as she arrived
The jellyfish just looked awesome
Most of the elephant pictures game out too sad, this one was the best
She was staring at a family
Only one pic of them came out and not very good, made me sad.
Disapproving fish captured my heart
Well, maybe hubby captured it more
Through a piece of glass
Never seen Muskox or OomingMak as they are called by others.
First let us make it clear at the time of this I am not a photoshop expert. I learn by showing others, so this is my inaugural photoshop trick/lesson. This time we are going to be trying to recover an old faded photo (misnomer, it is actually compacted, but faded is what everyone catches innately). This is done in less than 10 minutes (probably less than 5). There are multiple ways to do this, this is the one I know at this time and is pretty simple. I will also touch it up a little at the end.
Setup: In order to setup, make sure your image is scanned with the highest pixel count you can get (this photo is 600px scanning resolution), and scan it as RGB.
Select yourself a nice faded photo for your use. Here is my grandfather and his mother in 1952
You will need to edit out the entire border area, the extra white space will from the photo will cause problems, so just crop it out.
The first thing you will do is make an adjustment using the levels tool located usually on the right of your workspace. Click it open and you will see how will show a histogram.
The histogram graph should stretch from 0 to 255, but in older photos the black gets pushed into the middle, leaving it almost zero before and after the histogram in the middle. This effects how your photo looks. This is why it is actually not a faded photo, but the information has been compressed and doesn’t fully stretch out. From here it is going to be simple, select Adjust Levels, then where it says RGB click on the drop down menu and you will want to do this for each of the three levels, the R, the G, and the B.
You will want to pull the arrows on the bottom to be at the start of the actual histogram and the end of the histogram. The result is you would drag the left arrow until you get to the start of the histogram on the left, and drag the bottom arrow on the right (under 255) towards the left until you get them to be at the start of both ends of the histograms. Once you are done it should look like this:
From there I utilized the spot healing tool to do some cleanup on the photo (there was a couple of fold marks. However that isn’t required and I will cover how to use that in another quick tip. I just wanted to show you how I got rid of some of the bends if you noticed them.
This is the final image, it is less than 10 minutes work (that includes a quick healing tool use.
This is a comparison photo between the two for the difference. I was actually shocked at how easy it was. I also found having to order it in a written blog format made it easier for me to remember as well. So be prepared for future things.
So there it is, my first quick photoshop tutorial. I love suggestions, comments or tips.
One quick note!!! This logic works on other things as well, such as Mac’s Photos apps too. So I would follow same logic, same tools if you can and that should work if you don’t have photoshop.
Last night I had a lot of dreams, most of which I can’t remember. There was an anxiety to those dreams that I suspect comes from my toothache and my foot fracture both hurting (yes, they found out Friday my foot is still broken from October).
The one dream I remember has to do with my dad. He was a bit younger, maybe in mid-late fifties and he was just chatting at me. He was concerned about something for me and we just kept talking in what I think was a living room in a house.
He insisted that I needed to learn how to fold the blankets and he handed me some of the blankets we used when I was a child. It was really important for him. For some reason that made me sad
There was a part of me of course wondering in the superstitious part of my mind if he was trying to tell me something, but I know logically the only thing that might have been telling myself something was my subconscious.
Either way it wasn’t a bad dream, just a bit anxious. I am sure it has to do with my health stuff and coming up and the anniversary of my dad passing. Either way, this morning is going pretty well if a little tired. Full of me looking at what to do in the future.
The last three days were a little stressful, but mostly unassuming. First let’s cover our Ghost cat status. Torie was kind enough to feed him.
The hubby and I went to his final pre-op appointment on Tuesday, where we waited for the doc to get caught up. Finally we met, talked and things looked good for the surgery.
We then went to the surgical center, where he would stay a day before being released. Once again we waited, and about an hour after surgery was supposed to start our doc arrived for that (are you seeing a pattern yet). Hubby was incredibly happy to get it started.
The day ended with the hubby getting out of surgery, being rolled back to his room and resulted in me visiting with him for a few hours before going back to the hotel room.
I arrived early (after having a great waffle breakfast at my La Quinta hotel) and prepared for the hubby to be released. His initial schedule was somewhere between 10-11am. We eventually checked him out at 5:30pm (see that pattern) and this was without even seeing the doc. We were told to check with the office on Friday for when they will want to see hubby to pull his drain out.
We went to bed and finally woke up today (Friday). We went and had a great waffle breakfast which made him very happy. We then moved on to more laying in bed while he heals. We tried getting a hold of the office but found not only were they closed, but their phones were disconnected…
We left a message on the nurse’s separate line and she called back eventually, arranging us an 8:30 am appt on Monday that is right before our flight. Unsatisifying to me, but I will take what we can get.
Finally I had realized I had forgotten my battery I use to charge my iPad/iPhone at the hospital so I picked it up, picked up some Red Robin burgers for the hubby and now here I am sitting in the room letting him heal. So that is it for this report. Stay tuned there will be more updates and I will eventually write a full review of this experience 🙂
Well today we went up to Bellingham to do a few things.
Drop off some tupperware with my brother’s family.
We went up to get pictures of all of Wolsey’s old places he lived at.
Went up to place a wreath on my parents grave for the holidays, along with stringing some lights.
I do have to say though, the travel up to Bellingham and back was unprecedentedly smooth. It is a 112+ mile trip each way and we were up within 2.5 hours after stopping three times for bathroom attempts… Hubby couldn’t find a stall to use… and only 2 hours coming home with us doing shopping at Target for the cat. There are a lot of pictures of places the hubby has lived, and like the photos I took of where I lived I will have in depth postings about those places and why they are important.
First we stopped by my brother’s place, we saw his kids and their mother and hung out for a little while. Wolsey dropped off some of his jewelry from pre-transition to Kristen our niece while I gave Tupperware to Monica. Hopefully they will find uses for all of those. Fortunately the family seems to be doing pretty well. We got some ideas for the kids for Christmas and it was nice to just see my brother sober.
Then we were off to see Wolsey’s childhood places he had lived at. We went over through the Alderwood/Birchwood area and hit up a few places. Things went well on this leg of the journey except for an old man coming out of one of the houses we went by and we had to take stealth pictures of it, so as not to alarm him.
We then went up to Toad Lake area and saw the first home his parents built. It is also near where his grandparents lived, so we swung by there. The house is obviously still owned by his sister, and we saw a white SUV in the driveway which means his mother was probably there as well, so we were in ultra-stealth mode to avoid contact.
Although I really wanted to take him up to the door, and when Debbie and Toni answered (Debbie is mom, Toni sister) I would be excited, give Debbie a hug saying I found Clark’s long lost son (Clark is Wolsey’s dad) and pull Wolsey in front of me. I can only imagine the reaction, and yes it isn’t a fully positive thing that I would love to see the confusion and then the apoplectic shock.
After we snuck away, we then went down to the Gladstone/James street homes. These are some of the places where he lived as a gutter punk and where I watched him do a photo shoot with a flower and nothing else. I thought he was so beautiful (and he was still my best friend then, although this was pre-transition for him). I do find it a bit humorous though, the whole time I had a crush on him, he wanted to be with me and would have dropped anyone he was with to see if it would work between us.
Then we went to the Blue Dolphin and had a very nice lunch, however we forgot to hit his parents home (last place in Bellingham he lived at that I didn’t) because of the food induced dementia. It is ok though, it was already stressful enough at his sister’s/grandparent’s house so it was a good idea for a break.
We also had swung by my parents’ grave. We noted that the wind chimes were gone. It has been super stormy lately so it could very well have been blown off. Also, the cemetery often has teenagers that prowl it, they might have grabbed it. Either way it doesn’t bother me at all. If it was the wind, it was totally expected and it probably made some cool sounds as it blew away, and if it was teenagers/college kids I hope they are enjoying the tinkling sound it makes.
Either way we will replace it next time we go up. We knew the stuff we place on the grave isn’t permanent.We also noticed no one had been to their grave since we went last time. The remains of decayed flowers we had planted were still there. We cleaned it up, and the ever inventive Wolsey found some stuff to wipe it down with. I figure next time I will bring a small cleaning kit just in case.
Even with all this, Wolsey was kind enough to set up the new solar powered christmas lights along the shepherds crook and we set up a wreath. My parents always loved Xmas (well at least my mom, and my dad did anything my mom asked of him).
I noticed “Angel Eyes” a statue of an angel as part of a family grave about 50 feet down from where they are was there and a bit worn looking. Angel Eyes is sort of a cemetery icon, and as teenagers we would run up to her at night and dear each other to sleep on the “death bed” beside her. I had remembered earlier this week I had scanned a photo of Angel Eyes from 1994 so I present to you the passing of 23 years (1994 to 2017). It is amazing how time slips by. I think I might have to do a photo session with the graveyard itself, it is still the most beautiful one I have seen ever.
The only thing that really bothered me and still bothers me is that it was obvious no one had visited their grave. I suspect I am the only one that visits, which is ok in the end. Wolsey pointed out we were the only ones that tried to take care of them when they were alive, somehow it seems fitting it is only us now. Even though I understand that, it still makes me angry, especially with my sister who has done nothing, not offered to help with anything and was the source of a lot of real grief when both parents passed (that is part of the upcoming continuing posts of my parents passing, still so angry I can’t write it).
So there it was, a fairly easy going trip up to Bellingham and then back home.
It was a seemingly innocuous dream, but for some reason it bothered me a lot.
The hubby and I were with a group of people, some of whom we know from other larping events. We were all discussing a new larp and we found that it really wasn’t a very interesting thing. The weird thing is hubby was still my hubby (yes still Wolsey), but I can’t remember if this was pre-transition hubby or my new improved hubby. All I remember was he had short blonde hair and I still remembered him as my husband, not my wife.
Then all of us plus a bunch of new people were sitting at a restaurant, it appeared like some sort of Denny’s or Sharis. It was sunny outside, not super warm, but warm enough that no one was bundled in hats or heavy coats.
Hubby was still there talking, and I was working on something about a larp, or maybe it was tabletop, but I do think it was a larp with a map. I was marking a map indicating how we the group should travel. It started somewhere southwest, went west to the coast, then up the west coast and into Canada.
I couldn’t tell you why but I was so pissed about something. Nothing had happened in the dream, but it was there.
All of a sudden hubby got up with a group of people and started walking away down the street. He hadn’t said a word to me and I was confused. I started to get up but he indicated not to make it a big deal and let him walk off.
So I just grabbed my backpack and started walking the other direction super pissed. Even in the dream I wasn’t sure why he was walking off, for some reason though I absolutely hated the group he was walking off with, no explanation in dream why.
That is when I woke up.
Overall the dream lasted most of the night, although I did get a good amount of sleep. The annoyance I felt in the dream was reminiscent of some of my larping times. Mostly it was when the hubby (pre-transition) would wander off with a specific player/character at a game. That player, let’s call him E, was a douchebag to women.
It wasn’t that I was jealous of my then wife roleplaying dating someone else at the time, it was specifically him that set off everything.
Wolsey had in-game dated others and it never bothered me, but for some reason this dream set off the feelings of dislike I had for this one gentleman, even though there was nothing about dating at all in the dream.
I think I will unpack this today and maybe post something reflective later.
Well the final day of the surgery came and went. It started out hopeful, the hubby woke up feeling pretty good, the swelling was down, our hopes were up and life was good.
The checkout went smooth, took a final couple of pictures and then we went to Dr. Meltzer’s for our final appointment with him and Dr. Ley. It went very well, both doctors thought the hubby was looking very good for the time in healing he had. It was about now that being up and moving for the first time in almost a week, he was feeling sort of rough.
Once he was given the full approval by both doctors we headed to what would be the trial for the day, our flight home. We arrived almost three hours early just in case. In that time we encountered the following issues that started by dropping the car off at Alamo. It seemed to take forever, then it was a long ass walk for the husband over to the bus, then to the terminal. Especially with his need to utilize the restroom frequently due to spasms from the surgery, and his first time walking in a week it was so rough for him, I felt really bad.
Once we arrived at security things just went downhill from there. We got pulled over for TSA inspection. We forgot in the journey to the empty his water bottle, and of course the couple in front of us threw a fit and because of that fit, they got hauled to the side and inspected by the officers. The TSA agent behind the scanner then seemed to pick out the next three groups in retaliation, which included us and two people in wheel chairs. All of us got scanned, and thats where the TSA agent found our water bottle and we had to throw it away. It wasn’t a big deal, but we lost a nice $14 water bottle because of that dick.
We then arrived at the gate and waited almost two hours, to find out our flight got moved to a different gate. When they landed they couldn’t board because they had to wait for maintenance to refill an O2 canister for a medkit. AN HOUR LATER they announced we would be almost 90 minutes late boarding. I don’t blame the pilot/crew, they were arguing with maintenance over getting it done quick enough, but damn it sucked.
Once we got on to the plane (over 90 minutes late) we settled into a super hot plane that had been sitting on the tarmac in 107 degree heat. Evidently the battery used to power the AC when the plane was powered down was missing, so there was no AC when we got on board. Poor hubby was suffering really bad, all of this, plus the exertion had hit him hard, also his pain meds had worn off.
We flew back to Seattle, with W and I watching Cuthroat Island on his iPad. It was a great distraction, and nice to bond with the hubby even when everyone else was around us. We landed after having a semi-decent cold dinner.
Once we landed, we immediately found a cab available (Lyft had too long of a wait, and I won’t give a dime to Uber). The cab took us home, but it also didn’t have AC on and we almost died in that car from heat stroke (ok, that may be hyperbole, but you will never get me to admit it).
Once we got home, we had to spend about 30 minutes with the cat, he thought we had abandoned him. He hadn’t gone without both of us for that long ever. However, he was quick to fall back in love with us. While W bonded with the cat, I went and got us some Panda Express, because dear god I am not cooking when it was almost 8pm and we were exhausted.
We ended up the night in our bed for the first time in 9 days. It was glorious, although the trip itself was definitely worth it as well. Also, the hubby and the cat spent some important time together.
Our first day of surgery was fairly exciting and long both at the same time.
We arrived at the airport at 5:00am. Surprisingly both the hubby and I were both fairly good mood. We were pretty excited because this is the first time we had ever flown first class (was done because he doesn’t need to be in coach when he flies back post surgery). The airport security line was short and we were in and getting our coffee before we knew it.
Ghost knew something was up.
Early morning outside the apt.
Got past security quick.
Last Seattle caffeine.
Hubby in relatively good mood for 5am
Yep, I was pretty tired as well.
We sat and waited for the plane, and when it arrived we found out it was an Embaer 175. I have never flown a non-Boeing plane before so it was a new thing for me. It turns out the plane itself is some sort of commuter type plane, about half the size of a 747. Even so when we sat down in first class it was pretty good. The seats were bigger than I had sat in, and it was the first time I could sit by the window (my legs are too long and shoulders too wide to fit in coach that way).
We were amazed at the difference of treatment between First class and coach. I am not used to an attendant focused on us. She talked with us regularly (enough so I was uncomfortable), and kept asking if she could get us stuff (also enough to make me uncomfortable). She did seems slightly annoyed we didn’t have our food trays out, until she realized we had never sat in first class before and then she was happy to tell us how to do it.
We got off the plane and went over to the Alamo rental car kiosk. We sat in line for awhile and listened to the sales rep try to talk this family in front of us into extra insurance, satellite, etc. Seriously made me cringe because it was excessive and long winded. I did not look forward to dealing with it.
When we got in, he started in on the same diatribe. Telling us how Arizona is a pay while its out of action state and we need to consider paying the $25 a day walk away insurance. The rough part is we are only paying $45 or so a day as it is, I don’t want to almost double my cost for an extra $250. However, the hubby did something wonderful, when we were talking he referenced me as “sweetie” and the representative immediately looked at us, stopped any excessive sale and barely said a word as we finished up. It is the first time that homophobia worked out for me that I can tell. He just wanted us away.
On our way out, we ended up going to the Papago Park, located in Phoenix. First I need to say it was too damn hot. The dryness I think is better than Atlanta humidity, but I still couldn’t live here. We saw bicyclists (and it was almost 100 degrees) and I was in awe. So the hubby and I wandered around for about 15 minutes, then we called it good.
Oh and evidently there are “active bees” in the area, what the fuck are active bees?
After the museum we went to Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles. I have avoided eating chicken and waffles up to this time. I am very glad I relented. I had my first chicken and waffles ever, and it was pretty darn good. Of course I paid for it with indigestion later, but it was definitely worth it.
The rest of the night we planted ourselves in the hotel room, ran to the grocery store, and watched Shark Tank marathon.
I haven’t really gotten to play with my new camera much. I have taken a bunch of random photos, but not really discovered what I am doing with it yet. I do plan on adding a photography portfolio here, but until then I figure I will just do regular posts.
Lesson 1: Low light photography not as easy as you would think.
I woke up on May 21st just at sunrise. I hadn’t ever really attempted pre-dawn photography before other than quick snaps with my phone. I kept two pics to remind me what I need to learn. Which is a lot btw.
I didn’t realize that the camera keeps the shutter open longer to gather in light if there isn’t a lot of light around it. It is rather straightforward when you think about it, but I hadn’t considered it at all. The second part of my lesson is how heavy and awkward that camera is when you are waiting for it to take in enough light. Here you can see where my hands shook.
It had dawned on me that I may actually need the tripod. While I appreciate the squiggly lines, I of course wanted to take a clean picture. Sadly, my tripod was put away, so I placed my camera on the porch balcony. It resulted in a better picture, but still not what I wanted.
So it turns out that I will need to brace the camera. I will take that more seriously now and keep the tripod where I can set it up. The shot isn’t as clear as I want, but I couldn’t point it directly at anything since it was sitting on the balcony. I know it is similar if I try and take a photo of the moon or stars, with the light. I guess I will be utilizing my tripod now :).
Also I think that is Mars to the left and down low on the horizon.
The last two days in Los Angles were quiet. There wasn’t much to say except I went to class on Thursday, went back to the hotel and talked with the hubby for about an hour. Even though I found Yum Yum donuts the night before, I have to say it was still way better talking with my husband then eating heaven on earth.
Friday was a 3/4 day of work. Don’t get me wrong, there has been things I have learned, however it is called a “work session” and so there were many hours of just rerunning programs with no real goal. The highlight of this last work session day was going to lunch at chipotle across the street. It was like a contest, it had been raining heavily all day, and I had not realized that L.A. does not have the same kind of drainage that Seattle does and the streets were literally flooded 3-4 inches deep. The topper for our trip out, on the way back a truck slammed into a mud puddle beside my supervisor and I and a wave of water 4 foot high (no, that is not hyperbole) swept across us. The annoying part is I heard and saw him coming, but it was slow motion and I couldn’t get out of the way.
We finally got back to the class and I was soaked. I couldn’t dry off either because my clothes were packed in the car a couple of blocks away. So I sat there in the class for three hours and dripped. Funny enough my lightweight coat was soaked the whole flight. So by the time we left Friday I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. We ended up driving back to the airport and it only took about 35 minutes on the freeways, so we were fortunate.
Once at the airport I had time to look around. The first thing I noticed was how run down the terminal. It was a bit dirty everywhere, things seemed to be falling apart and it was lacking in any real food/store selection. The Sea-Tac and Atlanta airports both have several stores, restaurants and fast food. There wasn’t any fast food at all in the terminal I was in at all. The biggest disappointment though was the swag in the airport shops. I tried to find the hubby his travel spoon from Los Angeles but no luck. There was only two shops in the area to begin with and they were bare of almost anything I was interested in. That was a real disappointment and the first time I couldn’t find a spoon.
The flight back was ok. It was very short (only about 2 hours and 12 minutes in the air) but this was a Boeing 717 which means absolutely no leg room. Seriously I never once could touch the ground with my feet when my legs were straight forward. The flight was short though, and I had the aisle so I did survive it.
Finally I rolled into the Sea-Tac Airport and the hubby picked me up. I can’t tell you how much I missed him. We crawled in bed, talked for a long time then fell asleep. He definitely made everything all right.
There are probably a few little stories I forgot to tell. I will probably bring them up later. However, overall my trip wasn’t the worst. I definitely like Los Angeles better than Atlanta. The people are very similar to Pacific Northwest, with a bit of gun loving that was a surprise. Tomorrow morning (today is the Saturday after coming home) I fly back down to San Diego. I will post more about that as I go.