Sunday, October 31, 2010

Half Grumping and Half Appreciating

Crater Lake, Oregon: October 2010

Excuse me for venting …. But life has been too dastardly busy for the past three weeks. I thought when the rains came my life would simplify, but my stars have been out of alignment. There was one more drawing I wanted to do for this post, but I give up. …… Maybe I’ll do it as a postscript. … and maybe, after a couple of more weeks of rain, I’ll finally finish my Yellowstone posts that I’m looking forward to working on. (For those of you who are new to this blog, I don’t blog while in Yellowstone, so it takes me a while, a long while, to get all caught up after I get home. Fortunately my journal is scribbled full of notes).

The stars out of alignment started with a star in place …. We purchased a better camera, a CANON 7D. It is wonderful! Among other things it seems to snap to life on flying birds and we have more control over focusing in general.

Then the stars started shifting. I’ll make it sort of brief. I help my neighbor and my husband, Dale, with their computers and related stuff (Dale is the camera man and helps me when it comes to cameras). First my neighbor’s VCR died and it was a struggle for me to figure out old TVs don’t support new VCR’s … but Cable TV offers a DVR box which will record. We suffered through four installations before the correct box was installed and I had to learn to use a remote control so I could teach her (Dale has done all our clicking for years). Meanwhile we switched to ‘bundled’ TV, internet and phone for ourselves. Two more installations (these all average over 2 hours each). I got to make one phone call before my phone went dead. … not impressed. During this my neighbor’s computer died so I took it into my favorite shop where they pronounced it a lost cause. Fortunately her far away son-in-law took over her computer issues. BUT, by then it was dawning on me that Dale was spending half his life tolerating a slow computer. Once his images are downloaded and the thumbnails are up, it takes 20 second per image to see it full size. Ugh. 100 images equals half an hour of thumb twiddling, and we often take 300 or more photos in a day. So we danced the PC versus Apple waltz for the third time in fifteen years.

We now have an Apple, but those stars are still in ‘lets drive Elva crazy mode.’ They forgot to install the extra RAM, to give us the word processing software we ordered, and even forgot the gizmo that allows us to attach the digital projector. But worse, they assured us we could happily live with one PC and one Apple and that our external hard drives would be fine. Ha! Eventually maybe. First each Hard drive has to be emptied onto another, reformatted to talk to both computers, and then filled up again. Hours and hours of moving pixels. Each of his externals holds more than the Mac so I can’t just dump everything on the Mac.

We can look at images on the new Mac. … and can hardly believe our eyes. Wow! The Mac’s display is awesome and the speed is a dream. I think about 10 PM tomorrow Dale will actually be working on the Mac and I can begin to think about learning to use the new camera.

Somewhere in all this we did squeeze in a one night camping trip to the Klamath Basin. Sleeping out under the stars at Lava Beds National Monument is a rare treat. The high desert air was so clear we can see ranch lights sparkling twenty miles away across the basin. The monument campground keeps their lights to the barest minimum, so the sky above twinkles in full glory. The moon was nearly full. The Big Dipper slowly rotated around the North Star during the night. And quiet. Only one other camper in our loop.

Morning brought lots and lots of lazy ducks and geese out on Tule Lake (they were supposed to be flying over us so we could practice with the new camera), mule deer, California quail, and even otter.

The most striking wildlife was spiders! We had left the refuge and were driving north in the flat ranch land at the upper end of the Klamath Basin. The lowering sun was backlighting zillions of spider threads. I believe there is a little spider that disperses by sending out a long line and drifting in the breeze. There must have been millions, if not billions of them.

Some lines had tangled with each other and resulted in drifting gobs.

We dawdled long enough so we could be on top of Crater Lake at sunset. To the east the sky was clear. The moon was huge, but not quite full, so it rose before the sky was totally dark…. Thus my painting at the beginning of this post.

To the west the setting sun filtered through a thin layer of smoke, a well dispersed layer created by slash burning and at least one controlled burn. Layers and layers of ridges disappeared into the western sky between Crater Lake and the Pacific Ocean. There is a special exhilaration to standing on the top of the earth and looking out over the earth. I tried painting this too, but the photo says it far better than my painting.


  1. Just talking (reading) about computers, hookups, boxes etc makes my head spin. No wonder you needed to vent. UGH... I hope you feel better. I enjoy seeing big ole evergreens in the moonlight. You have a lovely illio here.

  2. Dear Elva,
    Thank you for wonderful photos and the very interesting post. I read the story of spiders, but this is the first time to see it in photos. Amazing. Keep up this wonderful blog.
    Kind regards,

  3. Okay... I can relate! computer problems, VCR problems, etc are almost as bad as having a child home from school with the flu! They drive me nuts! But... your photo of Crater lake (and especially the drawing) are beautiful! I was there many years ago before it was filled with tourist and until visiting the seas surrounding Greece, had never seen water so blue! A very special land indeed!
    Hope everything lines up well for you this next week! I'm your newest follower and looking forward to your future postings!

  4. Just mumble to yourself "that which does not kill me, makes me stronger!!"

    That's what I do—I feel your pain with the electronics. They're a necessary evil in this digital, modern world, but the artwork and photos are gorgeous.......and grounding.

    Hang in there!

  5. Thank you all. I feel comforted ... and I needed it. I jumped into "I'm going to conquer that Mac mode" as soon as I got up, have called support at least 6 times, and have decided my brain has shrived to a prune. The little pixels hiccuped during the night and quit moving .... Maybe tomorrow I'll have them moved, or maybe the day after. I think tomorrow is going to be sunny and we'll get outside and replenish my soul.

    Laure's advice is espcially to the point!

  6. I can also feel your pain Elva as I got a new Mac Pro laptop last fall, took all the classes and now I totally love it. Course it is my only computer. Then when we got back this time I got a new modem (just because the other was old and ready to die) then I did the 'tearing hair thing' trying to get the wireless printer set up. Four calls later to techs it is finally up and running. What I hate is the time it takes to do all these things. I hope life if settling down now like mine.
    Wow, love those photos!!!