Goin' digital

June 16, 2002

Glenn winds up for a Frisbee toss during a game with Ben at the Oakley-Antioch Regional Shoreline. Photo by Roni.
It has been awhile since we posted a newsletter in the middle of the month, but then we haven't had much news as things have tended to be rather routine at the Gehlke homestead for the first half of the year. We got a little extra incentive this month when we purchased our first digital camera, which has renewed our interest in photography and given us a new excuse to head out for weekend adventures.

We decided on an Olympus C-720-UZ, a 3.0 megapixel camera that will see plenty of use not only for family photography, but also with Roni's newsletter design work. It got its first real workout last week when she assembled the summer issue of the Ironhouse Sanitary District's newsletter. Turnaround time on the job was greatly improved, thanks to not having to run to Costco to process 35 mm print film. The camera has some awesome features, including an 8x optical zoom lens and a QuickTime movie mode that allows short video clips.

We purchased a 128-megabyte SmartMedia storage card when we bought the camera, thinking it would give us more than ample capacity for all the photos we planned to shoot. That theory was disproved when we took the camera with us on a picnic June 15 to the Antioch-Oakley Regional Shoreline, where we maxed out the card in the space of a couple of hours between photos of Ben playing Frisbee on the lawn and exploring the shoreline, and shots of the Antioch Bridge and fishing pier. Now we are eager to get a couple more cards in anticipation of more activities and vacation plans.

For the purposes of these periodic family updates, having a digital camera increases the likelihood that we will have more photos to share with you as we won't have to go through the laborious process of first making film prints and then scanning them in. This could become an addictive habit.

Love is a rose (but you better not pick it!). Our front yard is abloom. Photo by Glenn.
As with any new electronic gizmo, we wanted to test it out. After tiring of shots of the three of us lounging around the house and before we had time for our picnic to the shoreline, the next closest subject seemed to be our yard. Unfortunately, the past year has not been kind to our garden or conducive to outdoor upkeep. Our electric lawnmower died on us last fall, and a strong wind storm during the winter knocked over some landscaping timbers we had propped against the back wall onto our garden faucet with enough force to crack our main sprinkler line. As a result, the front lawn had gone without a good mowing for nearly nine months and the back lawn has been reduced to a prairie of prickly brown straw and weeds.

On June 9, we solved the lawnmower situation by purchasing a small gas mower during a grand opening sale at the new Orchard Supply Hardware in Antioch. Glenn gassed it up and put it through its paces on Flag Day. We preferred the electric mower, but the gas mower cost only slightly more than it would have cost to fix the problems with the old mower. Ah, the joys of a disposable world. This weekend, Glenn got the parts he needed to tackle a repair of the back yard sprinkler line. With luck, we can begin reversing the damage done by a dry, hot spring. At least the front yard roses are blooming nicely, as they seem to every year with very little effort on our part.

Next up, we need to repair the screens on our windows and doors, which our cats Eevee and Ariel have torn apart in their zeal to get outdoors and escape the heat in our house. Glenn has a new idea for patio screen doors that open outward rather than slide on tracks, hoping that will prolong the doors' lifespans in our sandy environment. Now if we could only figure out a way to get the big doors home in our Toyota Corollas.

The Lawnmower Man is hard at work giving the front lawn a much-needed trim. Photo by Roni.
Ben began his summer vacation a little earlier than his classmates as we opted to home school him for the last couple weeks of the semester following completion of STAR testing. He has been using the time to read and work on his writing skills. He begins third grade in early July. He has been enjoying the extra time at home and has even struck up some new friendships with some of the neighbor children. He spent most of Father's Day engaged in heavy-duty Pokémon trades at a friend's house.

Glenn's noveling continues to progress, now at 112,000 words and counting. Maybe by the time NaNoWriMo rolls around again in November he'll be finished and ready to start something shorter. (50,000 words suddenly doesn't seem all that daunting!) Roni is splitting time between writing the outline of her second novel and reading those of published authors, her current favorite being Jayne Ann Krentz.

You keep reading, we'll keep writing, and we'll have more to share in July.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

Return to Friends and Family Corner