Monthly Archives: December 2016

Goodbye 2016

Goodbye 2016

Goodbye 2016!  It’s time to welcome a new year, and with that comes resolutions (goals).  While I’m all for setting goals, I don’t think it necessarily needs to be done on January 1st, but new year is a reminder for us to do better than the previous year(s).

We had a great family reunion in spite of only 3 children and their children attending.  In spite of rescheduling it so my brother’s family could attend, they didn’t attend.  While it could have been a letdown, it wasn’t.  We had a fun time (with the exception of Jennifer breaking her ankle).  As for me, I’m through trying to organize big get togethers.

So, here are mine for 2017:

2017 Goals

  • One Painting a week – at least start on one a week
    • create a directory structure for paintings
  • Submit 4 paintings to IPC
  • Submit 4 photos to IPC
  • Restrict FB to updating business pages only
  • Devote 1 day a month to yard/house projects
  • Drive Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. in 30 days (plus or minus)

Other Goals

I’m sure I’ll add other goals as I think about them.  I need to set goals for my photography mission, as well as goals for exercise and so forth.


Training Ourselves

Training Ourselves

Elizabethe and I are training ourselves on Corel Painter today.  Actually, I’m doing most of the training, but Elizabethe’s questions are forcing me to learn more about some of the aspects of Painter.  Most of the online training for Painter is lagging way behind.  I fault Corel for coming out with major releases so quickly.

After we went through the items she wanted to cover, we went through each brush.  I’d read off the brush category and brushes, and Elizabethe would put them on a spreadsheet.  We we get done, my plan is to add visual samples of each brush, thus creating a huge reference chart for Corel Painter 2017 brushes.

My Painting

When we finished doing that, I worked on my painting.

copyright 2016 db walton

Mermaid Painting

Looking at it small on the screen, I see the mermaid’s skin tones are kind of muddied (grayish) and the tail needs some more work.  Also, her face is kind of splotchy.

Elizabethe and I got in to a silly discussion on whether the shells should have some sort of string holding them on or not.  From there it went in to a discussion of whether the shells grow on them, or if they are add-on accessories, like clothes.  (Like I said… it was silly.)

Heel Healing

Heel Healing

My heel is healing slowly; I guess you can call it a heel healing.  I saw the doctor today and he said he hopes that by next month it will be all better.  As luck would have it, I hyperextended my heel trying to catch up with my grandchildren on Monday.  The good news is he said I didn’t snap anything.

We received a thin coating of “freezing drizzle” last night.  (The term this year for our cold weather is freezing drizzle.  It’s like very wet, slushy clumps of snow.)  It wasn’t enough to worry about.  But, on my weather blog I’ll count it as snow.


I spent the rest of the day painting.  I’m working on a painting of a mermaid.  To say I’m frustrated is an understatement, but I’ll keep trying.

By the end I’ll be an expert on mermaids.  (That’s a big of joke since they are make-believe beings.)

One of the books I got covers mermaids, so I spent the evening studying it.  The book mostly talks about drawing faeries, but many of the concepts of drawing faces, hair, hands, etc, still apply.

Elizabethe wants me to go over Corel Painter with her for different reasons.  We now have several licenses of several painting programs.  It’s too bad they don’t offer an an add-on license that incrementally increases for each PC in your household.  Oh, well.

Our plan is to spend Friday learning about Corel Painter 2017.  Elizabethe has one set of needs (line drawings for her book), and I have another (paintings), but we’ll both learn more about how to use it.


Organizing Files

Organizing Files

Organizing files on a computer is much easier than it is with paper.  I could not imaging organizing all of these photographs as prints and negatives.  It would drive me nuts.  Thank goodness for digital photography.

Painting Subjects

I need painting subjects.  Not every good photo merits painting.  In fact, a good photograph is just that… a good photograph.

copyright 2016 db walton

One of the Books Ordered

While I learn more about painting, I want to develop my own style.  Steve Hanks is too photo realistic for me.  Danae Pino and Anna Razumovskaya are more the style I want to develop.  Somewhat impressionistic and painterly.

I’ve ordered a few books.  My plan is to work daily and practice.


Tonight at the temple it was pretty busy in the baptistry.  I guess with school out a lot of people are taking advantage of their children being out of school.

A couple got married too.  I think they were the same couple who were here last Tuesday.


It’s getting warmer.  It was 50F last night.  As a result much of the snow has melted.  It is supposed to rain tonight.

You can actually see the lawn.  That is how much snow has melted, but this is what we’ve seen previous years except for the winter of 2014-15.



Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory

Those who follow me know that I’m big on customer service.  The Cheesecake Factory in Pittsford ranks at the top.  Our waitress provided excellent service.

We first went to Black and Blue and were met with glares as if to negatively say, “Oh, look, they brought children in here.”

We were asked if we had reservations, and were told they are by reservation only.  They said it would be about a 45 minute wait.  (The place was about 2/3rds empty.)  We left and went across the parking lot to Cheesecake Factory.  It was a good move.

My experience has taught me when a restaurant acts like you’re making them go out of their way, chances are the rest of the service is lousy.  I’m sorry to say I will never return to Black and Blue.  That’s just not the way you treat customers coming in from off the street.

The proper way to have handled us would have been to say, “We’re understaffed right now, and there might be a longer wait than normal.”

Museum of Play

Jennifer and Spencer drove up to spend the day.  We went to the Museum of Play, and then out to dinner.  It was fun to spend time with our grandchildren.

Christmas Day 2016

Christmas Day 2016

It’s Christmas Day 2016 and I’m up early to fix breakfast for the full-time missionaries.  I’m creating a breakfast sandwich bar with eggs, sausage, bacon, ham, hash browns, 3 types of cheeses, various sauces, and 4 types of bread (including San Francisco Sour Dough).  No surprise, but the Elders were on time. (There’s food involved.)

copyright 2016 db walton

Missionaries: Elders Smith and Mills, Sisters Larson, Ingersoll, Crofts and Barrett

After breakfast we retired to the sitting room.  Each missionary was given a stocking full of goodies that missionaries can use (and not a bunch of candy.)  A hair comb, toothbrush, mittens, stocking cap, socks, hand sanitizer, and more filled their stockings.

copyright 2016 db walton

Sisters Crofts and Barrett ready to open their stockings


They moved church to 11am today because it is Christmas.  It was soooo noisy before church started I couldn’t hear the organ.  I guess it was all the Christmas excitement.

They choir sang and they had several special musical numbers.  Of course, the hymns all had to do with the birth of the Savior — including the Sacrament Hymn – Jesus Once of Humble Birth (my favorite sacrament hymn).

After Church

After church we came home and took a nap.  When we woke, Elizabethe and I exchanged presents.  I gave her her lap desk I made.  She was very excited about it.

Elizabeth gave me a tiny LED camera on the end of a 16 foot cord.  I plan to use it when doing repairs in hard to see places.  She also gave me a speed light for my Fujifilm cameras, however, it isn’t here yet so she gave me a picture of it.  In addition, she gave me some Cokin filters with wallets to hold them.


2016 Missionary Party

2016 Missionary Party

There are about 60,000 missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving throughout the world.  These young men and women leave their homes for 18 or 24 months.  They serve at their own expense, and volunteer their time and talents.  At the 2016 Missionary Party today I had the privilege of photographing the group serving in the New York Rochester Mission.

Being away from home for Christmas, many for their first time, is a hard thing.  This little Christmas Party eases the pain of being away from friends and family.  I’m glad they do this each year, and I’m happy they ask me to come photograph them.


copyright 2016 db walton

Christmas Party Mission Picture

Elizabethe and I stuck around so I could grab a few candid photos.  Their gift exchange is always funny.  My favorite was a Barry Manilow album.   (It’s funny to me because I think he’s a cheesy performer.  I used to joke I suffer from Manilowphobia.)

Getting Ready

Getting ready for Christmas morning was the next task on the list.  One of our roomers wanted to fix Christmas Eve dinner, and asked if I’d make a dessert.  I made a chocolate mousse.

After dinner the topic of Israel came up, so they asked if I’d show them a slide show.  We spent the next 90 minutes looking at photos of Israel.


Project Completions

Project Completions

While I wore myself out, I was able to see some project completions.  I completed Elizabethe’s present, mine (okay, I made myself something too), and a passive solar heater.  The solar heater has been in the making for 2 years now.

Solar Heater

A couple years ago I got this idea to build a solar heater using re-purposed tin cans.  We started saving cans from various canned foods.  After removing both the top and bottom, I joined the cans together end-to-end.

Each tub is about 2′ long and painted black.  5 of these tubes are housed in a 20x30x4 inch box that is clear on one side, and the other side has an intake vent and output vent.  The intake vent has a reed-valve that keeps fold air from coming out the intake and assures that only hot air exits the box.

It took so long because it took a long time to save that many tin cans.  Actual construction time was minimal.  The cost was about $30 for paint, aluminum tape and foam-core board.  I still need to pickup a 20×30″ sheet of lexan.

I’ll take a picture when it is installed and running.


While Elizabethe knows what I’m building, she hasn’t seen it yet. I made myself one too.  The wood came in a sheet big enough to build two, so… why not?

Best Cookies

Best Cookies

I made the best cookies ever.  I like oatmeal cookies thin, but chewy inside, with a little crispness outside.  I’ve been studying how this is done, and I think I’ve got it now… I know I’ve got this.

  • Cream together…
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 2 cups raw sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • Then, add and mix…
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1 cup raisins
  • form in to golf-ball sized balls, bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F

I’m serious, these are the best oatmeal cookies I’ve ever had… or made.


I’m still working on my projects – i.e. the presents I’m building for Elizabethe.  The basement stinks of varnish.  If I walk by you, no, I have not been sniffing glue or spray paint.  I’ve been working in the basement shop.

One of them would look really cool with gold trim.  The problem would be it rubbing off.  If I were skilled in working with brass, then I’d add brass trim.  Consequently, it doesn’t look like I’ll do either one, but it would look nice.


Have Jobs

Have Jobs

Do they have jobs?

I went shopping today figuring people would be at work and the stores wouldn’t be crowded.  Boy, was I wrong.  Do these people have jobs?


“Excuse me sir, may I ask you a question?” a young lady asked.

This 30-something young lady says to me that I’m about the same age as her dad, “Old, but not real old.”

She then asked if I thought her dad would be offended if she gave him Laptops for Senior Dummies.  She explained she was giving him a laptop, but he’d need a book to explain how to use it.  I looked at the shelf in front of us and there was the book, but next to it was a book titled Laptops for Dummies.  I pointed it and said, “This one might be better.”

Realizing the word “seniors” might send the wrong message, she grabbed the other book and thanked me.

More Stops

I had more stops to make.  By the time I got done it was dark and dinner time.  There is nothing like a $5 service station pizza to save the evening.  Yes, the Sunoco Station in Macedon has $5 pepperoni pizzas (freshly prepared and baked!)  Can’t beat that for a large pizza.