A Travellerspoint blog

empty nest syndrome

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well we're finally child free for the moment. My 19 year old son has been staying with us (my partner Vivian) and I since the end of December. He finally got three part time jobs, but could not get enough money to move out. He had applied for transitional housing, but was only 3rd or 4th on the list and wasn't going to be moving soon. Yesterday he was offered not one but two places to live. He picked the best one and moved in at 5 pm this evening. Apparently his place, Strahley House had been given tickets to Circ de Soleil for tonight and he left to see that at 7 pm. He has his own room (tiny) with a key. We'll see how it goes but wish him all the best in his new place. He fed us breakfast he had made this morning as a thank you for shelter and home all these months. Vivian's nephew is thinking of moving here soon and may stay with us for a couple of days. We're enjoying our young person free status for the moment though.

Posted by drque 00:00 Archived in USA Comments (0)

August 2009 - Reunion Cancelled!!! (Updated 5/4/09)

Please mark August 17 - 21, 2009 on your calander! I have booked rooms and a meeting hall at Fort Warden State Park in WA. This is an old Army Fort on the Straight of San Juan De Fuca - Beaches, Barracks and Fun!

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5/4/09 Update - Planed Reunion Cancelled
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Fort Warden is a wonderful place, but it does cost money to rent their facilities. Based on the responses to my recent mailing, we just don't have the headcount to justify renting these facilities. I cancelled the reservation today. Sorry we couldn't make this work, it would have been fun.

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4/26 Update - Added Photos
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Having just spent 7 months on the road, I wasn't really planning to take on another family reunion in 2008. It would be good to plan one for 2009 however and keep the good vibes going after visiting so many cool folks during our trip!

Normally this would seem too far out to start planning something like this - However, I've learned that Fort Warden is already filling up for 2009 - Yes, it's that popular!

I visited Fort Warden to check it out and now believe this could be the most awesome get together we've ever had! However because we will be in nicer accomidations, it will cost more than just renting a campground. Also, I need to get a commitment from a minimum of 32 people to qualify as a 'conference' for these facilities.

Here is a link to where you can get more information about Fort Warden and the facilities:

About Fort Warden

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NEW - Schedule: August 17 - 21, 2009

..... Note: this is one week earlier then previously set!!!

Cost: Will be approximately $150 to $200 per person for all four nights, excluding transportation of course. This is based on the total estimated cost of about $5,400 divided by estimated # of people (32-39). Range depends on the total number of people. We have to rent complete buildings so the better job we do of filling them up - the lower the average cost per person! These numbers only cover one meal per day, so food costs may increase this somewhat, depending on how we decide to approach meals.

Payments will be due to me by May 15, 2009 (by then we should have the final price set). (They require one conference coordinator, me, to handle the arrangements, including payments, keys, communications, etc.).

Facilities:

I've reserved the following facilities, which will accomodate as many as 39 people. If we need more, I have some options. Although there are some advantages/disadvantages to the duplexes vs the large bldg, I recommend we split the cost evenly between all participants regardless of which building they stay in. It would keep things simple and make it easier to allocate people where space is available. Most likely, large family units should have one of the duplexes (Becky's in one and Uncle Bob's in the other?), but if they don't have enough people to fill it, it would be good to be able to flex a little. Also, some people may prefer one vs the other? (I like the idea of being in the big bldg with more people personally).

Officers Row, 6E and 6W - These are duplexes with 4 bedrooms each. Three rooms have queen beds, one room has only a twin size bed. One additional rollaway is also available, so they list the total capacity of each unit as 8 people, or 16 for both units. (The cost per bedroom is actually cheaper for these duplexes then the NCO houses or barracks!). Each duplex has a Kitchen, Dining Room and Living Room. There is a nice view of the Straight of San Juan De Fuca from the porch.

Personal observations - these are considered the nicer accomidations on Fort Warden as they were refurbished a few years back. I don't think they're as nice as some hotels, but they are pretty decent. They have more character then a hotel, as the buildings date from the early 1900's. All bedrooms are up a flight of stairs

Officer_Duplex.jpgFort_Warde..plex_DR.jpgFort_Warde..lex_Kit.jpgFort_Warde..plex_LR.jpgFort_Warde..ex_Bdrm.jpgFort_Warde..ex_View.jpg

Madrona Vista - A Separate building with 11 bedrooms, 10 have queen size beds and 1 has three twin beds. There is a large kitchen, dining room (or ???), a ping pong table, fussball, and a couple of living rooms. There four baths with two showers each, one for each group of 3 bedrooms. Total capacity is 23 people. There is a nice view of the Straight of San Juan De Fuca from the building.

Personal observations - all 11 bedrooms are in a single, two store building. This is considered more rustic and less luxury than the officers quarters, but I found it to be adequate. The bedrooms don't have desks, but do have bedside tables (lamp stands?), closets and a dresser. I also think having separate rooms in a single building will be fun, lots of places and opportunities to network & visit. While there are rooms on both the first and second floor, there is also a steep climb up to the building, so none of the facilities I've rented so far are ADA compliant. If stairs/climbing is out of the question, please let me know ASAP as I will need to reserve different qtrs.

Fort_Warde..a_Vista.jpgFort_Warde..sc_Room.jpgFort_Warde..sta_Kit.jpgFort_Warde..ista_DR.jpgFort_Warde..ta_Bdrm.jpgFort_Warde..ta_View.jpg

The Old Chapel - This is used now as one of the rental halls. I've rented this for four days (M-Th), it has a stage area that can be used for presentations, a talent show (or no-talent as the case may be). We can also use this as a staging area since we can get it as of 8:30 AM on Monday, but won't be getting the keys to the other buildings until Monday afternoon. This is also the first building you come to when you arrive at Fort Warden, so is the perfect place to set up as our reunion HQ.

Fort_Warden_-_Chapel.jpgFort_Warde..nterior.jpg

These shots are of the tennis courts, the 'commons', where the food service is located and the lighthouse, which is down near the Marine Science Center. The Port Townsend School of Woodworking is located on Fort Warden and welcomes drop in visitors or would be happy to schedule visitors for classes of course.

Fort_Warde.._Courts.jpgFort_Warden_-_Commons.jpgFort_Warde..hthouse.jpg

Risks: In order to qualify as a 'conference', we must have at least 32 warm bodies show up for this! If I can't commit to this by this August, 2008, I can cancel ($100 penalty). So if it looks like there aren't enough people interested, we'll incur the penalty and just schedule the get together at my house (Fun, but not nearly as nice - especially if more than 20 people show up. Plan on tenting...)

Food: A little confusing, but I'll take a stab at explaining. There is a food service on Fort Warden (in the old mess hall of all places). It is possible to eat three meals a day there - but not cheap ($10 - 15/meal). They do have vegan and vegetarian options. Each of the living quarters we are renting also has kitchens and dining areas - however, the contract for holding a conference at Fort Warden requires that we commit to spending a minimum of $11/day/person with their food services. We have a great deal of flexibility as to how we want to do this - as long as we spend the minimum amount. We could do all one big, fancy meal at the end, some people may prefer to eat all or none of their meals in the cafeterea (commons)? I am open to your suggestions.

Activities: While it's too early to nail this down a lot, here are some things to consider. This is a great place for bicycles. There are very nice tennis courts (recently resurfaced). The parade ground is great for flying kites, playing softball (or whiffle ball?) or other open field activities. There are two miles of beaches, both sandy beaches and rocky beaches. There are a lot of hiking trails available. etc., etc., etc. Of course, the Fort also has a museum, a lighthouse, Marine Science Center, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, a Yoga/Fitness business ($12 per drop in) and old concrete fortifications.

Since we've got a hall available for the duration (the Old Chapel), we might want to put up tables where people can display a craft or hobby?

Uncle Bob has done a lot of work on our family's genealogy. I'm trying to add a bit here and there, including quite a few old family photo's. Between us, I'll commit to having a pretty good presentation ready for the reunion as well as copies people can take home.

Please feel free to add comments, ideas, suggestions or other feedback. If you don't have a travellerspoint user id yet - easy to get and they're free (check out the Welcome page in this blog).

Posted by jl98584 23:04 Archived in USA Tagged events Comments (5)

No video

I don't have a video camera, but I can type (sort of)

semi-overcast

Ok, I am using the new entry function to try it out. So far so good. Charlie and Heidi and Penny, are you all in LA yet? if so, how do you like it? Although there are some ok areas, I pretty much don't really like Southern CA, but many people seem to. At least a whole lotta them live there... Well, so far, so good. I guess it works. We'll see when I submit. Que

I'm pacticing uploading pix, this is one we saw on the street. Kind of sweet, I thought.

small_heart_truck.jpg

Posted by drque 21:23 Archived in USA Tagged preparation Comments (1)

How to Set Up IrfanView Initially

This only needs to be done the first time you use this product - so I split these instructions from the ones on how to actually edit your photo's on a normal, ongoing basis. This entry is just to Set Up IrfanView...

Note: I'll be moving all the 'how to' articles to the Travel Guide/About section within the next few weeks (that is, as soon as I have some spare time...)
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I use a Freeware program to edit photo's called IrfanView. You can learn more about this and download it here:

IrfanView Homepage

1. On your PC, set up a separate folder for pictures you want to upload to Travellerspoint.

When you're done with your upload, delete these to keep this folder clean for the next upload. (Remember to Empty your Recycle bin from time to time!)

This also helps keep your pictures to upload separate from the original files. I recommend you leave the original photo files alone (other then renaming them). You can always use them to Print or Edit differently later. When you are ready to upload to Travellerspoint, all your edited photo's will be in one place and easier to grab for the bulk uploader. Note: By "Edit", I mostly mean Resize. This is the single most important edit you want to make to your pictures before uploading

2. Open IrfanView (You can use other photo editing software, these instructions are just for this product).

Set up the Batch Conversion windows for your needs. IrfanView will remember the output folder and Advanced options - so you only need to do this the first time you use this software.

From the Main Menu, select File Batch Conversion/Rename.

TP_-_Irfan..version1.jpg

3. Set up your Output Directory:

The right hand side of the Batch Conversion window looks like this:

TP_-_Irfan.._Folder.jpg

On the top, Look In, is where you will add the photo's that you'll be editing (there is a separate How To entry for this.)

Find the Output Directory lower in the panel.

Use the Browse button to navigate to the folder where you want to save your photos after they are ready to upload (See the Step 1 at the top of this entry!)

4. Setup your Advanced Settings (to output a default photo size of 800 x 600 pixals).

Remember, once you've done this, IrfanView will remember your settings and you shouldn't need to do it again!

Click the button on the lower right of the Batch Conversion Window, Set Advanced Options.

Click the Resize box

Click the option for Set long side to and enter 800 in the box.

Click the option for pixals.

Click the box that says Preserve aspect ratio (proportional)

Your settings should look like this:

TP_-_Irfan..dvanced.jpg

Click Save Settings, then OK to go back to the main conversion screen.

Once these steps are complete, you are ready to start converting your photo's to 800 x 600 to upload into Travellerspoint. That's really all there is to it!

Posted by jl98584 15:51 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (0)

How to Add Photo's from FLICKR

If you've already uploaded Photo's to Flickr, you can include them in your blog entries in Travellers Point. Here is how to do this.

Note 1: I'll be moving all the 'how to' articles to the Travel Guide/About section within the next few weeks (that is, as soon as I have some spare time...)
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Note 2: This assumes you've already set up an account on Flickr and have uploaded or are uploading photo's there.

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In Flickr:

Select a photo you want to embed in your Travellerspoint blog.

Click on the All Sizes option (above the photo)

Select the size that you want to display in Travellerspoint (this allows you to post a picture that is larger then the 800 x 600 pixal size allowed in TP. However, you may want to avoid using the largest size as it may not fit in the blog very well.)

Scroll down below the photo to the Box 2: Grab the photo's URL:

In the box, highlight all the text.

Press Crtl C (to Copy the text to your Clipboard)

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2403782715_ac910a1eb2_o.jpg

That's it! Don't worry if it starts looking a little cryptic at the end, the process works and really just requires a few clicks.

Click the Preview button at the bottom of your blog entry to check and make sure it looks OK. (You may want to play around with the Flickr image sizes a bit.)

Posted by jl98584 12:13 Archived in USA Tagged educational Comments (7)

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