K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.
Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.
Virtual caches are often located next to famous landmarks, and can be useful in helping you get to know a new place, or when planning a sightseeing route while traveling.
In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).
At that location, the doors were not particularly visible, so I had to get closer for this challenge. This meant I had to explain to my family about Thursday Doors. Fortunately, they’re used to weird mom things like that.
When doing something completely different from your usual way of life, there are certain to be some moments of self-discovery; travelling vast distances with a caravan for seven weeks around our amazing country revealed some new aspects of my character. Here are ten things I learned about myself on the Round Australia Road Trip.
1. I enjoy flying – but only in big planes. Our flight over the Bungle Bungles was in a 6 seater Cessna C10 and our very enthusiastic pilot Sam made sure we all got the best possible view …
In mid-January, I awoke to a cool 69 degrees in Toowoomba at my friend Carol’s house. We toured several gardens around the city, but I missed the grandeur of the spring gardens. Her pictures of vivid September flowers will amaze you.
The Queensland city of Toowoomba is perched on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, about 700 metres above sea level. Its location means that while much of Queensland has hot Summers and mild Winters, Toowoomba experiences four distinct seasons. For most residents, the favourite is Spring, which brings with it an unsurpassed floral display.
The rich volcanic soil of the area produces gardens vibrant with colour and Toowoomba is known across Australia as the Garden City. Each September, the city celebrates the Carnival of Flowers with a Grand Parade, arts and crafts exhibitions, garden competitions and a food and wine festival. The local parks and gardens, having been lovingly tended through the Winter months by a team of council gardeners, become a haven for locals and visitors alike.
This is a post by one of Leanne’s students who did some of the same things Carol and I did with Leanne. We did some night photography. Instead of a tripod, I used what anyone can use – a bridge, or fence post – whatever isn’t moving! You’ll see my pictures later. Meanwhile, enjoy Leanne’s and Alainne’s photos.
Alainne wrote about her experiences with Leanne.
Work Experience from the student’s point of view
by Leanne Cole on March 18, 2016
This last week has been interesting for me as I have had a work experience student, Alainne. She has been great and very willing to learn.
The first photographs we took were around the Eltham Library. We took some photos of the building and photos of the trains as well. The train driver actually stopped the train to tell us that we were supposedly trespassing and weren’t allowed to take photos. Despite that, I still managed to get a good shot of the train.
On Wednesday we ventured into the city early in the morning to go to the Melbourne International Flower and Garden show. I learned how to use the macro setting on my camera to take close up photos of the beautiful flowers that were on display. I got to see the effects of changing the ISO, aperture and shutter speed on the camera which helped me to understand what Leanne had taught me about them the previous day. I now know that to have a good photo you must have a perfect balance of all three settings on the camera.
We took long exposure photos of Flinders Street Station and photos of steel wool being lit and twirled in circles inside alley ways. It was so much fun and interesting to talk to that many photographers. It was good listening to them as they shared and compared tips and techniques. I used a tripod for the first time that Leanne was kind enough to lend me.
Read the rest of the post by clicking the link below.
You have to pick when you visit Australia because it is so vast. Native Australians often travel around the country on holidays. Here is the first of Carol’s 33 posts on her trip circumnavigating Australia. If you have ever thought about going to Australia, be sure to visit her blog to see the rest of the posts.
A couple of weeks ago my husband, aka Mr. ET, and our daughter set off on the first part of a great adventure.
They travelled from Toowoomba to Roma, Longreach, and Mount Isa, into the Northern Territory on the Barkly Highway, on to the Stuart Highway north to Mataranka, Katherine and Kakadu before arriving in Darwin. They covered 4046 kilometres in 11 days and saw many amazing sights along the way.
Leanne Cole, Carol, Chris Wilson (follow Chris on Instagram) and I spent an afternoon and evening at the Docklands on the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia. Both Leanne and Chris are professional photographers, so Carol and I had a wonderful time picking up tips and snagging some of these same shots with our cameras.
The photos were taken in the city last week. We started late in the afternoon and we went until it was dark. We spent our time along the river, which is always a great place for photos, especially at night.
All images were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens.
While I was in Australia, I saw Lake Elizabeth on a map, but here you get to see it up close through Leanne Cole’s eyes. Leanne processes her photos to make them unique. Her website describes what she does and how she takes her photos, so you can learn something to help you where ever you go to take your photos.
These posts are from her WordPress.com site. Leanne has a new site now, which is her professional site.
Finding new places and catching up
by Leanne Cole on March 13, 2016
This next week is set to be a very busy time for me. I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and there are places to go and take photos. Though first let’s start where I always do.
Book on Banyule Flats
I went out the other morning and got my final images for the book. I have done nearly all I have to now. On the morning I went out I was greeted with the most beautiful sunrise, which I took photos of. I now have the cover shot for the book and I’m really happy about that. I did take some long exposures as well. Now I have to coordinate the book being put together and get it published.
We went to an amazing place up the back of Lorne called Lake Elizabeth. I have to say it was a lovely surprise. When we got to the car park I kept saying, are you sure there is a lake here, as we were in the middle of rainforest. We had to walk a bit, and do some not so nice uphill, but it was worth it. As I am sure you can see from the photos. Of course, plans are being made for a return trip. I believe camping was mentioned as well. Mmm, I’m doing some of that in a couple of weeks, will see how that goes first. The things we do for our photography.
The photos are the walk to and from the lake and the lake. I do love how the light comes through rainforests and catches foliage. All the images were taken with the Nikon 28-300mm lens, the perfect lens for a walk like this.
Carol and I traveled from Brisbane, Australia to Melbourne then to the gold mines of Ballarat for about ten days. While we were there, we met our blogging friend, Leanne Cole, a fantastic photographer and artist. We had several excursions together, which I will “get sorted” when I get back to the United States. I’ll create my series of posts then. Meanwhile, I’m working on my Australian dictionary!
While I’m away you have been enjoying The Eternal Traveller’s posts about Australia on the odd numbered days. Leanne has given me permission to publicize her posts on my blog as well. So you can find those on the even days.
Please click over to her blog to catch all the photos.
Walkabout Around the City
by Leanne Cole on March 28, 2016
Usually I do this post with a catch up and let you know what I’m up to, but to be honest, time is running out this weekend. I’m off tomorrow on a small camping trip. I know, hard to believe, but yes I’m camping. Nothing too much just overnight. I will tell you more when I get back.
Waistlines Go West I think means spread out! I’ll be at the east coast of Australia from Dec. 26-Jan 16. I’m starting with my western waist from birthdays and Christmas feasting. I can’t imagine what is going to happen if my waistline goes any farther west!
Another Great Eternal Traveler Post
The bounty of the Margaret River region of south-west Western Australia is renowned for its quality, freshness and lack of food miles. There are more than 120 wineries, eight breweries …
How often do you get inside a cockpit? Even though this small Leer jet is about 40 years old, it still looks pretty complicated. It is not odd to think of flying as being complicated.
As Simple As This?
This cockpit seems like it is missing a few things. Well, maybe a roof to start. It does have a windshield. If you come to Woodlake to the Runway Cafe and you meet George Benson there, then maybe… You can go for private a tour of his hanger.
Can you guess this plane’s birth year?
The American Pickers would love this plane. It actually flies.
If you have any posts showing the cockpits, please post a link. It would be interesting to see how planes have changed over the years. Have you seen a less complicated cockpit than this one?
These two brave vets, Angelica Cabrera & Angel Gomez, came back to Woodlake to start their new franchise business, Goin’ Postal.
Today they cut the ribbon, and made the grand opening official.
The office is beautiful and clean inside, and they will offer a variety of useful services. Since Woodlake is 20 miles from the larger town, Visalia, it will save residents a lot of time if they want to use Fed X or other services.
The new business will also have computers available for people to use, if they need a place to do business.
Angie and Angel offer notary and immigration services as well.
With support of two Chambers of Commerce Angie and Angel hope business will be booming for the holiday season.
Chambers of Commerce welcome the new business.
And finally, they cut the ribbon. Goin Postal has gone public.
When I think of the best documentaries of chaos, I think American Pickers and some of the hoarders they visit. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of hoarders. The closest I can come to chaos is the old church in Delaware that begs for restoration.
There is so much work here to create order from chaos. I wonder whether the organization raising money for restoration will ever reconstruct order from chaos. In order to document this building, I journeyed beyond the road, even ventured past the caution barricade and the quick snapshot. I used my Canon XTi Rebel and not my iPhone. The zoom lens creates higher quality photos than the iPhone.
With every passing day the chaos increases due to weather eroding the mortar that holds the structure together. If nothing happens to make the repairs, soon there will be nothing left standing. The weather is not the only force that erodes. Humans have already done their part in the building’s demise. They might continue the demolition work they started.
During the week I spent in Delaware in September, the weather treated the chaotic church kindly. The clouds threatened, but they did nothing but add charm to the old building. I captured these shots during the golden hour before sunset.
This scene looks like broken Humpty Dumpty to me, only it is the wall not the good old egg. To make it more menacing and artistic I could have darkened it and added filters, but I chose to document only and not become artistic.
What are some of your chaotic moments? Please share!
My neighbor’s grandfather, Mr. Haury, started the “modern” market in the “resort” town of Woodlake, CA in the early 1900s. In 1961 the Gongs were looking for a business they could manage with their family helping. They bought the market and the theater and hired contractors to begin the remodel.
Another of my neighbors reported that he used to swim in the basement of the theater, so it probably had some structural issues. The senior Gongs removed the deteriorating theater and turned that area into a much-needed parking lot.
What makes this photo fun is that the bench looks at the blank wall rather than at the street.
Gene Gong told me, “We are a neighborhood store.” The Woodlake Chamber of Commerce recognized Gene and Ray Gong, sons of the original owners, who now manage the store for their longevity serving this community with this full-service market and their community service.
Congratulations on your successful business, Ray and Gene Gong.
The narrow road through the stout trees should have alerted us that the final challenge would narrow down ever further.
Sure enough. It did. Such a narrow passage, we had to fold in our mirrors.
If you are planning a trip to the Redwoods, the Northern California or Southern Oregon coast, you might be interested in more pictures of our road trip three years ago. To read about our Accidental Vacation click any of the links below. What started as a disaster ended up to be one of our favorite trips.
But it can, and yesterday I found out why and how.
Yesterday I met with blogger guru, Steve Woods, from Tulare County Office of Education. Steve has been an editor of a site that advised bloggers on how to build successful blogs. We are going to write Because of Blogging together and contacting on some of you for quotes of your opinions and advice, too.
So, why have more than one blog, in the first insane place?
Steve pointed out that this blog, Marsha Lee’s Steaming Thoughts, is like my own personal house. Vince does not live here. It’s all about me. Most people do not see the inside of my house. Well, unless I invite them in. So, the point Steve made is, that if I am going to write a book about non-professional blogs, I’d better keep this blog going. I put my feet on the couch to trim my toenails. I don’t mind if there’s a clean pan left on the stove for a bit. I’ll put it away shortly. My best friends come over and can put up their feet too.
OK, I accept that. This IS my home. It’s not a professional blog, and it represents four years of my life.
In the process of talking, Steve suggested that everyone who blogs probably needs a blog like this one, which is their home. This is where I write everything. Thoughts right out of my head, some not so polished. OK, I’ll correct that. All not so refined! As one spammer put it, “Your blog is rife with errors!”
Ouch! Come on, I proofread like crazy!
Since I live here, I must spend a little time cleaning it up, organizing it, repainting once in a while. I don’t have to clean every day, but Steve convinced me not to give it up. I wanted to write a post about Seder at Elaine’s. I thought I would post it on my new blog.
Steve shook his head no. I talked about flirting with Ralph in Spain while I was awake all night on a long train to Portland, Oregon. He grinned. He only knows me professionally. He said to write it down, but keep it on my home blog. Some things just don’t fit on my new blog.
My new blog, Just Write, is where I work, my office. Right now I’m spending a lot of time over there, building and decorating it. It works like a business, email campaigns, guest blog posts, interview with famous bloggers, authors, and photographers – in other words, my friends from here and others.
Actually, having another blog, and still keeping this one frees me up a little. Yes, I’m going to spend more time there for a while. But I have this place where I can still come home and relax. I’m going to learn a lot because I have to, so that should make maintaining my home a little easier. I’m going to be trolling the reader to visit more like-minded people and inviting them over to my house.
Because of Blogging is not about the professional blogger, but in the process of writing it, I’m learning how to be a professional blogger. Steve suggested that if I am writing about the non-professional blogger, I’d better not let my main blog, the one I love dearly, fall into disrepair.
Sometimes I love being told what to do. It takes the pressure off. So this is what Steve suggested to me.
Treat your blogs like a hobby. Spend money to get the right equipment. You spend $30 for a lunch out with your friend, do not be afraid to buy a premium theme and get WP support. That just saved hours. If you go self-hosted, buy the plugins you need to make it work effectively.
Treat your blogs like a job. Work on them regularly. You do not have to work every day, but you need to develop consistency.
Treat your blogs like your home. Repair them, weed them out, organize them. They represent you.
Make your blogs unique. Do not repost news posts, food pictures, or flower garden posts just to fill up your blog.
Keep notes for a future blog post along with the pictures to go with it in a Google folder. Note also how you felt on that occasion about the activity or the post. Then you can pull it out on a rainy day, and create a new post.
Calm down! Do not blog every day for the wrong reason. Recently, I read this advice from Dries Conje from Smart Blogging,
“But posting daily just doesn’t work for you. You don’t meet your traffic and income goals, you don’t get a flood of visitors, and your subscriber numbers stagnate. Now you’re doubting your ability to be a successful blogger, and you feel like a sweatshop worker, working super-hard with no real reward. The post-every-day strategy takes all the fun out of blogging. Deep down, you suspect this strategy is downright dangerous.”
If you do those six things, you blogging life will get more manageable. You will see other bloggers in their homes. You will build meaningful relationships, and you won’t wear out. Does that sound sane? Do you have some advice for us? Beware, we may contact you and ask for permission to use it in Because of Blogging.
Meanwhile, if you’d like my free book, So You Think You Can Blog?, click on Manny, and I’ll send it.
March marked the beginning of my fourth year of blogging. This site has brought me many friends, fun and opportunities. It’s like the cartoon says.
More than that I love my blog because my friends live in it. Not only do my friends live at tchistorygal.net, but my memories are here too. I remember all the times that my friends stuck with me when I got stuck in their spam folders. I panicked because for weeks I could not solve the problem, so I wrote about it, and eventually it worked out.
Another time I completely lost my site. Blinded I wrote to WordPress and told them I was not a spam site. I was not even selling anything. I did not use bad language, or show naked or violent pictures. A picture of Manny, my teddy, taking a bubble bath is the highest level of adult content as this site ever reached.
I love this site, and it will continue for a year because I just paid for the domain name and service with WordPress. This is the site on which I cut my teeth experimenting with blogging, and making friends around the world.
However, most of my personal efforts are going into developing a self-hosted site called Marsha Just Writes.com. My experiment needs to step up a notch because I have turned many of my blogging posts from this site into a book, called Because of Blogging, which I hope will come out in June. Last week I published an e-book, So You Think You Can Blog? which I am using to jumpstart my email list for a regular newsletter. I’d love to have you sign up for it. A few of your comments are featured in it.
Besides being able to promote books and other materials I plan to publish, the other reason I signed up for a self-hosted site is to take experimenting to an all new level. I may have a new, very exciting job building a blogging community of over 100,000 teachers, depending on whether or not a colleague of mine gets a grant approved. I’ll keep you informed when I know more. Because of that, I need experience growing a professional blog. As usual I’m experimenting with my blog, and I hope you will join me on it. If I can pull in all of my sites – except Manny’s site, it will make it easier for me to manage everything.
In addition I accepted the challenge of building a new website for San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies. I’m moving the old site off and the new site into its location with a launch date of May 12th, what would have been my mom’s 90th birthday.
I hope you all will move with me. You will automatically receive the posts on WP reader, but to continue getting email notifications, you will have to sign up for emails on that site. Thank you all so much for your support. Hope to see you on the other site! 🙂