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Showing posts from 2012

Where Are All The Bugs?

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Usually when I go out to take pictures, I try to avoid the bugs. Not today though. I was actively seeking them out .. then when I found some I was right down there on the ground with 'em.

It almost makes me feel like I'm 10 again. When I was a kid, I loved bugs, lizards, fish; pretty much anything I could find and capture. I had nets, tanks and terrariums .. and they were always full of something. The worst restriction I ever got as a kid was one time when my friends and I were trying to catch geckos, and we tore up the flowers lining the sidewalk of one of the neighbors houses. I wasn't allowed to play with bugs or any sort of wildlife for a week. It was torture!

Now, I like to "capture" most forms of wildlife in a different way ...

With my camera.

Which is what I was doing this morning. Out playing with a new toy. I'm not saying that life always works like this way (in fact more often than not it doesn't), but occasionally asking is the first s…

Military Plane Spotting

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I've always enjoyed watching planes take off and land; and being around the military my entire life, I've had plenty of opportunities to do just that. Apparently when I was a little kid, I used to be able tell people what type of aircraft was flying overhead ... oddly enough, the picture above is of a plane that's been around long enough that I remember it from my childhood.

Now let me just be clear about the title of my post. Technically, just seeing aircraft flying over and taking pictures is not really "plane spotting". There are people who take this stuff way more seriously than that: Aircraft Spotting. In fact, when I was a teenager in England, there used to be a small parking lot just outside the end of the runway that was jokingly referred to as "spy corner". At the time, the SR-71 was stationed at RAF Mildenhall, and it wasn't really much of an exaggeration to believe that some of the people who sat out there every day seemed to know th…

The goal of giving Thanks

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I was going to try to write something wise for Thanksgiving, then I realized that I really tend to benefit from just going back and reading stuff I've already written in the past. Here's an oldy but goody originally from Thanksgiving 2007.

Ok, so now that we're all done stuffing ourselves with turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie it's time for a little reflection. Did you take a few minutes today to think about the some of things you're truly thankful for?

If you're doing it right, today should not have been an abnormal day in the giving thanks department.

Giving thanks for all the good things you already have in your life is an integral part of successful goal setting. Every entry on my dreamboard starts with a list of the things I'm thankful for today. Not surprisingly, many of the same things tend to show up on a daily basis ... family, friends, health, etc..

Even when it comes building my home business; thinking back, the most success I've had …

I Really Want A Macro Lens

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For as long as I've had a dSLR I've always wished I had a Macro lens. In fact, specifically, I really want the Tamron 90mm Macro lens. Funny thing is, as lenses go, it's not even that expensive so I'm not totally sure why I don't already have one.



I suppose it probably comes down to the fact that it's not a lens that I've ever really "needed" ... it's always been much more of a want. I've heard that in addition to macro use, the Tamron also works really well as a portrait lens. But between my Canon baby L 70-200, and a sharp Tamron 28-75, I think got portrait range pretty well covered.

Over the years, I've actually had relatively good luck shooting macro type scenes using a long zoom lens, such as my Sigma 50-500 "Bigma". But obviously it's not ideal. I want to be able to get right up there next to the bugs. ;-)

Here are a couple of shots I took today with my Canon 70-200 F4L. They're not bad, but don't…

Arizona Nature Walk

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I was getting tired of sitting in my hotel room, so I grabbed my camera this evening and went for a walk ... in the little field behind the hotel. It wasn't much of a hike, but I got a couple of pictures. :-)

It's Arizona, so of course the first thing I took a picture of was cactus.


This little guy was kind of interesting.


There were lots of little rabbits running around. This one sat still long enough for a portrait.


Looking up, there's a cardinal.


And just because it was sunset ..


Not the greatest pictures in the world. But hey, I got up and out of the hotel room for a bit. This was just practice for my upcoming hikes in the mountains.

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

The Real Value of Experience

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Everything I've done up until this point, has prepared me for what I'm about to do.

I'm paraphrasing a little bit, but I heard this on an interview I listened to yesterday. It really resonated with me. The interview was about business; and since I'm considering making a pretty significant shift in my business strategy here in the near future, I found the quote encouraging.

It's not just about business though ...

Pretty much applies to life in general. Everything we've done, every experience we've had, and especially every mistake we've made, has gotten us ready for whatever it is we're about to do next.

In a way, if you've lived a charmed life, and haven't had to deal with adversities or failures, you may actually be at a disadvantage when compared to the rest of us poor slobs. :-)



Fail forward.

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

The Power of Negative Self Talk

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For years now, anytime I talk about running, I tell people that I don't really like to run, and even if I did, I'm really slow.

As you can probably guess, both of those statements are 100% true.

They're also 100% dumb.

It's almost a self-fulfilling prophesy. Because I tell myself that I'm slow and I don't like to run, during those times when I have to run, invariably, I'm usually not very happy about it ... and it takes longer than I wish it did.

The sad part is, I know that running is good for me. And I also know plenty of people who do like to run. This really is a case of "maybe it's just me".

So I got to thinking ...

What if I could simply "trick" my brain into thinking that I DO Like running .. and that I CAN be faster ???

I do have some precedence for this. With some of my other workouts, particularly the Cross-fit that we sometimes do at morning PT, I've gone from something I used to hate, to something I very much lo…

First Day Back To School

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Today was the first day of school here in Copperas Cove Texas. Momma got the girls cute little matching outfits, so of course Dad had to get out the camera ...

[caption id="attachment_4585" align="alignnone" width="500"] Jaiden and Jasmine posing in the front yard with their new outfits on. [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4586" align="alignnone" width="466"] Jasmine sitting on the couch showing off here new clothes. [/caption]

[caption id="attachment_4587" align="alignnone" width="466"] Jaiden posing in her new threads[/caption]

I took more pictures, but have to run to work, so I'll try to upload them to flickr, and add the link here later.

Hope you're having a FuN day!

[todd-sig]

A Bouncy Castle Birthday

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[caption id="attachment_4578" align="alignnone" width="500"] Joey can't wait til it's time to go jump in the bouncy castle. [/caption]

My wife throws a much better party than I do, especially when it comes to the kids. I don't know how it is that I ever became such a cheap skate, but my first reaction when Ana told me that we'd rented a bouncy castle for Jaiden's birthday party wasn't exactly to jump for joy.

It was more like "umm, how much is that costing me?" ;-)

As it turns out, it really wasn't that expensive. And since our neighbors behind us just rented the same one last week, we've actually had it our yard since Tuesday. It was easier (and cheaper) for the rental company to just leave it with us, rather than packing it up, driving all the way back to Temple, then bring it back out again on Friday.

I'm just getting ready now to go pop the hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill. In a little over an hou…

That's Not Justin Bieber On Your Shirt

Jaiden turned 4 today, so we figured it was time to tell her the truth about one of her favorite sleep shirts ...



Keep havin FuN!
Todd

Hugs Not Hits

Sisters will inevitably fight sometimes, especially when they're both preschoolers. But I'm a pretty creative dad. Whenever I hear them fighting I called them both into the room and ask them isn't hugging much better than hitting?

I tell them both: go hug your sister and say "hugs not hits".

It usually ends up looking something like this ...





Walk A Little Slower Daddy - Jaiden's Footprint

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I got a Father's Day present from school this year!



"Walk a little slower Daddy"
said the child so small,
"I'm following in you footsteps
and I don't want to fall.

Sometimes your steps are very fast,
Sometimes they're hard to see;
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For you are leading me.

Someday when I'm all grown up,
You're what I want to be;
Then I will have a little child
Who'll want to follow me.

And I would want to lead just right,
And know that I was true,
So walk a little slower, Daddy,
For I must follow you."

Thanks, Happy Father's Day ;-)

[todd-sig]

My Pretty In Pink Girls

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Mom had an appointment this morning, so the girls were hanging with dad (note: I've been told it's not "babysitting", because they're my kids). I had a bit of running around to do myself, so we kept the van, and made our way about town for a couple of hours.

The first stop was the Killeen airport, where we went to see Capt. Hock return from Afghanistan. The flight came in early, so everybody was already at the luggage claim by the time we arrived. We stayed for 29 minutes .. I know this because when we left the parking lot, the girl commented that we'd just barely saved our buck (parking is free for < 30 minutes). Before we left though, I had to get my first picture of the day ... if for no other reason than to prove that the girls don't always look like hobos when I dress them. ;-)



Everybody was really good at the airport. They played with each other, sang and danced a little, but no fights or crying at all. I'd love to say that I have some b…

National Flip Flop Day

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Holy cow, I didn't even know there was a national flip flop day. But now that I do, I'm definitely celebrating it. As long as it's warn enough outside, I wear flip flops almost everywhere I go. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I lived nearly 1/3 of my life in Hawaii, where it's almost acceptable to wear your "slippahs" even to a fancy restaurant.

Or maybe I just like getting a little sun on my toes.

Either way, if it's summer, spring or fall, you're probably going to find me wearing shorts and a pair of flip flops anytime I'm out and about. :-)

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

Don't Forget The Sunscreen

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I don't know how it is where you live, but here in Texas, the sun is getting pretty strong this time of year. Since the kids are spending a lot of time out in the back yard pool, the first step before they even go out the door is always getting spayed down with a generous coat of sunscreen.

Sometimes it's tempting to just let them skip the sunscreen and go swim, since all but Joey have naturally dark skin. But while it is true that they are less susceptible to getting sunburned, apparently it's a bit of a myth that darker skinned people don't get skin cancer. So it's definitely a "better safe than sorry" situation.

Unlike when I was a kid, and sunscreen involved a lot of messy lotion that needed rubbing in, today they pretty much just line up in front of me to get sprayed. 5 seconds on the front, turn around, 5 seconds on the back, and out the door they go. There's really almost no excuse to send them out unprotected.

I guess I could probably be a …

Any Excuse Will Do

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When it comes to exercise, and really life in general, your excuses don't have to be "good", or even rational. They just have to sound better at that time than whatever it is you don't want to do.

As I currently work my butt off trying to get in half-decent shape, I can't help but reflect on some of the really good excuses I came up with during my recent deployment, which "helped" me get this way in the first place.

The mother of all excuses was my hurt back. On the surface, it seems perfectly logical to take a "rest" from exercise in hopes that it would help make things better. But the reality was that I was just as sore after taking months of "rest" as I had been when I was at least attempting to workout from time to time.

Another really good one was my eating schedule. If it turned out that I was really hungry after I got off work, and had to stop by the DFAC on the way home, well that pretty much ruled out the gym. I mean rea…

We Love To Swing

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Pushing the girls on the swing, that pretty well answers the question: "so what have you been doing during your 2 weeks off after coming home from Afghanistan?"

Throw in a bit of "swimming in the pool", "watching Nick Jr", with a bit of playing "Tickle Monster" and all-in-all it's been a pretty good little break.

Tomorrow I'm back to work.

That does have it's benefits as well though. It will definitely make my 2 workouts a day a little bit easier ... seeing as how I get to do PT every morning. Since I've been home, I actually did a lot better with the exercising than I expected to, but still didn't manage 2 workouts every single day.

The girls will just have to make due with mommy until I make it home each evening ;-)

Keep havin FuN!
[todd-sig]

Jaiden's Pre-K Ceremony

Today was Jaiden's last day of school for the year, but not her last day of Pre-K ... she gets to go again next year. Even so, they had a nice little ceremony, where she got called up to the front of the room and received her certificates.

I recorded two videos. This first one is of the class singing an alphabet song with a good message:
http://youtu.be/4zEoLlq7PyU

And this is Jaiden getting her certificates:
http://youtu.be/kAfGJIctv0w

Mommy and Joey kind of stole her spotlight a little. :-)

Well that's that .. let the Summer Fun begin!

[todd-sig]

Surprise Welcome Home From Afghanistan

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Ok, so it's not some elaborate set-up worthy of that Welcome Home tv show, but I still thought it was a neat idea when my wife Ana suggested that my 19 year old son Justin pick me up from the airport so that I could surprise my daughters by knocking on the front door. Justin recorded the event with my phone.

This is the result:



My little peanut (aka Joey) got over her confusion pretty quickly. By later that afternoon, I was getting hugs and kisses pretty much on request .. and they continue a week later. I got a couple of weeks off to get settled in. The main "event" we have planned, is lots of swimming in the back yard pool.

Til next time ...

[todd-sig]

Goodbye Out Of Shape Todd

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For just over a year now, I've had a great excuse to "take it easy" when it comes to exercise. Last year, Feb, when I was down at camp blanding, I got a little to ambitious trying to lift boxes of .50 caliber ammo, and tweaked my back. I've had a few trips to the doctors/chiropractor, but with no real results. I also decided that because of the pain I couldn't run or do push-up. As a result the last time I ran more than a mile or did more than 20 push-ups in a row was before I hurt my back.

If taking this time off from exercise was resulting in less aches and pains, I might be tempted to think it was worthwhile.

Unfortunately ...

I wake up sore every single day, whether I worked out or not.

In otherwords, I've gotten absolutely no benefit from my "lazy" year.

And in fact ...

I just can't get the thought out of my head that since I'm now weaker in my core than I was before I got hurt (for example I can't do anywhere near as many sit-u…

Daddy Dressed Me

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This unhappy toddler picture is from back when Jaiden was about 2. She doesn't appear to be a happy camper .. I wonder why?

I didn't do it ... It wasn't me. :-)

[todd-sig]

Something Hairy at Home

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It seems like every time I go away on a "military sponsored vacation" we end up with new dogs in our house. Mind you, they don't always stay for long. But my wife Ana seems to be a magnet for dogs that are either "lost", or have owners who will be taking vacations.

Like I said, most end up moving on to bigger and better places, after their temporary pit stop at the Morris house. However, it just struck me as odd that new dogs (especially puppies) only seem to show up on our doorstep when I'm away.

So I asked my wife about it ...

Well apparently, even when I'm not gone, she has friends begging her to dog sit. But she almost always turns them down, because:


I already have something hairy at home that can get on my nerves:-)


I suppose that's what I get for asking. ;-)

Keep havin FuN!

[todd-sig]

My Last Military "Vacation"

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In 2 weeks or so, I'll be about halfway through my current deployment to Afghanistan. (.. and the crowd Cheers!)

After over 22 years in the Air Force, this will be my last "vacation" or "camping trip" .. depending on whether you want to use my wife Ana's or 3-year old daughter Jaiden's euphemism. I'm not retiring just yet. But once I get back to Fort Hood in May, I'll definitely be on the downward glidepath.

In the mean-time, I really don't have much to complain about ...

For some reason I keep getting sent to relatively "quiet" locations for these "vacations". Seriously, the next time I expect to wear my body armor or helmet is on the plane ride home.
This time I've got a rather nice view ... the picture above was taken right outside my tent door. That's part of the Hindu Kush mountain range.
I live in a tent ... but I have a sleeping bag, several warm blankets, and the whole thing has a "climate control…