what i did on my summer vacation, part 4

when i left off last time, i was exiting Henrietta, NY for camp- formally known as Holiday Shores on Fourth Lake in the Fulton chain, between Old Forge and Inlet, in the Adirondack State Park, for a week of catching up with assorted Pelkeys old and new, former Pelkeys, etc. in all nearly 50 of us showed up on my Uncle Jim and Aunt Penny's doorstep to take advantage of their hospitality, and the proximity to the lake and other attractions in the area. as i mentioned previously, i was basically glued to my camera the whole trip, and it's going to take me a while to get to conventionalizing all those pics and videos- but i've managed to make it through the ones from our first day there, picked out the best of 'em, and reformatted them for this forum. here they are. as always, feel free to skip my steadily babbling brook of drivel and skim the pics.

by the way, if i'm spelling anyone's name wrong, write me and tell me. i'd rather start correcting it now, before i finish conventionalizing 600+ more files, than fix them all after the fact. and if i find out i'm wrong, knowing me, i'll prob'ly be obsessed and compelled to fix 'em. argh.

Loren and i shared a place with Mom, Dad, Chris, Nichole, Ethan, and Cole for about a week. i liked having a bed and a shower. Loren liked having a TV and an outlet to charge up his DS. i was totally due for a vacation! time out of work sitting at home with no money doesn't count in my book. it's been years and years since i took a trip anywhere, since the last time i was in NY, which i think was in 1989. Loren was due too, and not only did he get to meet a lot of family he hadn't seen before, but this was the longest stretch of time he's spent with Mom and Dad in years- a nice plus for all of us. i think my dad took this shot.

2005. (NY time until further notice)
Loren and me chillin' in our pad-for-a-week.

Loren's part fish: when he gets in the water he stays in for a long time. and he likes lakes, so this place was a natural for him. it was plenty warm when we got there too. nothing like a little help from the weather. didn't have to ask him twice go jump in when he got up in the morning.

Loren coolin' his jets...

...and then drying off...

...while expounding philosophically about something or other.

this is another example of the difference between my new camera and my old one. the autofocus on my Kodak (DX7590) is really discriminating- it pinpoints things more accurately than my Fuji camera did. it's a double edged sword really; the Fuji would likely have given me an image somewhere between how blurry Chris is and how sharp the focus is on Taylor, but balanced out the shot. Taylor's my 2nd cousin, i think, being the son of my cousin Crystal and her husband Derrick. this was the first time i ever met Taylor, who's a nice kid (kinda runs in the family), and pretty much your all-around AAA Little League stud. from the number of times Taylor and Derrick left camp for baseball scrimmages and games i think Derrick deserves a trophy as much as Taylor! pretty high level of dedication there, and the results to match. Taylor's closer to Loren's age than any of the other cousins present, which was khoul.

Taylor and Chris

Taylor, full sized crop from the original- love being able to do that.

later on we went back to our place for lunch, and sat around on the deck chewing the fat (so to speak). i like the way Nichole's wedding ring sits kinda center stage in this shot; it kinda adds a flavor to the picture that i wasn't expecting.

closeup of Nichole

it occured to Chris and me a little earlier that something was lacking.....beer! so we cruised for beer and chips and salsa and and and- you get the point. Chris always goes for the Genesee first thing when he's in NY; i'm with him: whatever you can't get back home is what to get when in Rome. this boiled down to Genesee in cans and Saranac (mostly Black Forest), though i'll cop to buying some Sam Adams too. hey i just remembered- i never had a red beer the whole time i was there....actually that sounds good.....not sure how it would taste in the Kona Brewing Co. Longboard Lager i'm workin' on at the moment....

Chris indicating he's on his fourth beer. i didn't plan for the label to show so perfectly; if Chris did it on purpose i didn't catch it.

Mom and Dad were ready to do a little relaxing i think.

not that i was really keeping track, but once Chris mentioned it, i had to admit i was keeping up with him. Loren took this one of me doing my best Chris impression. don't worry, i'm keepin' the day job.

my fourth too

camp's a long established tradition, especially for Uncle Jim and Aunt Penny. at 6:30 everyone around gets together for food at their house- i'm glad i didn't have to cook for 50 of us. a different family takes care of the food each night, but other people (read: mostly the amazing women of the clan) pitch in. Aunt Penny gets honorable mention here- she always seems involved (after all, it's her kitchen!). what a lot of work! it takes a mountain of food to feed this army, but it sure is fun. during the day, pretty much anything goes, everyone goes off doing whatever they're doing, but at 6:30 it's all about food. and then it's all about dessert. and this next picture definitely takes the "longest caption ever" award.

Mom and Dad talking with Chantalle and Ginger (off camera). that's my cousin Michelle, her daugher Natalie and Grey's wife Leslie in a clump in the background behind 'em. Aunt Carol's almost unseeable in the back on the far left. my Great Aunt & Uncle were there, this night only. i can't remember their names, but he's the one farthest to the back on the left- if you squint right you can just make out his right ear, though the rest of his face is obscured by the back of (best guess) (my "cousin-by-marriage's-husband"?) Bill's head. with Aunt Carol's geneology software i'm sure i'd find the proper familial association to be something more graceful than my attempt, and likely find my Great Aunt and Uncle's names too. i suppose i have a choice between feeling bad about not remembering them, or accepting that with so many people in our family, and being rather remotely located, i couldn't possibly know everyone well. all things being equal, when faced with two choices of attitude i highly recommend choosing the one that alleviates guilt. in the meantime, please feel free to email me as chastisingly as you feel is appropriate- provided you can embue me with a clue.

getting good crops out of huge originals is almost too easy

this is the aforementioned other half of my folks' conversation:

my cousin Chantalle (couch, left) and her mom, my Aunt Ginger (couch, right), with my cousin Eva and her boyfriend Tom chillin' with Nichole and Chris's youngest, Cole.

after dinner, those so inclined headed down to the dock for a little evening fishing. they'll have to get bigger ones than this to feed our army....

Chris, Ethan and Cole are always up for a little fishin'. that's my cousin Grey with his back turned.

little tighter shot of Chris and Cole. one step backwards on Ethan's part and this would've been a better shot. you can fix some picture flaws easily, some take a lot of work....but bad composition is tough to do anything about.

i got to spend some time with my cousin Jim, which i'm pretty happy about, and met his girlfriend Laurie (sp?), who's really nice. i got a couple shots with her in 'em so she'll pop up here sooner or later. this shot's a good example of not watching out for backlighting. i'll either learn or i'll keep having to edit pictures. too dark, right? like i said before, some things are fixable with good tools. (photoshop beats the hell out of anything else i've used.) to fix this picture took about half an hour, mostly to accurately select the area(s) of the picture to modify. time well spent...but i think i went brain dead on this one and didn't save the full size edited version, only the cropped one- which means i'll prob'ly end up doing it again. glad i don't make that mistake too often.

Jim relaxing on the dock with a beer. (orig)


i know my cousin Eva better than any of my cousins, due in large part to her coming out and staying with my folks after high school for a year, not to mention coming out for my sister Melissa's wedding, and visiting her family a lot when i was a kid, since they lived close to my Gramma and Grampa Pelkey. but those are other stories. Eva's a lot of fun, and a goofball :) that's her boyfriend Tom; i was glad to get to meet him on this trip, he's a great guy.

Eva and Tom. it's a good bet that stickin' yer tongue out'll get yer pic posted.

meanwhile, someone caught one (i doubt it was the first one, they were practically jumping out the water). i don't know if Uncle Jim (holding the pole) caught this one or Ethan (front and center with the fish) did. that's Chris holding the other pole, and Jim's son-in-law Bill (the Giants fan). almost hiding in the back there is Kelley, Jim's granddaughter. this shot's proof that size does matter. shrunk down you can barely make out Kelley, not to mention the fish.

nothing succeeds like success

after awhile i started figuring out that the more people are in a shot, the harder it is to get a good picture of all of 'em. composition again. i'll learn.

(clockwise from left) Tom, Jim, Bill (holding Billy), and Uncle Jim on the dock.

it's a pretty good bet that if you're totally crackin' up yer pic'll get posted too.

Chris and Jim

now this shot is the one-in-literally-87 picture that makes snapping a million pictures worthwhile. they just don't get much better than this. this copy isn't really cropped, just shrunk way down. awesome. the best caption sent to me gets to replace the one i'm putting in for now:

a little guy exacting some retribution from Grey, who abducted almost everyone in his school. (sorry...that's all i got).

here's another one that looks better full size, but this is good composition (yay!) that's my cousin Michelle's oldest boy Rob in the (killer, vintage-style) black T-shirt, and Grey's son Josh in the orange. first time i ever met either of those fine young gentlemen too. i did my best to give 'em a run for their money in a playground-style basketball game Loren calls Bump; i forget what Josh calls it. and who knows what them strange East Coast folk're thinkin' anyway....it's like a whole 'nother world. the game was a good suggestion on Josh's part though- Loren's always up for it, and he enjoyed it almost as much as i did. but that's for another post.....

(left to right) Tom, Rob, Josh and Jim

i didn't get very many shots of Aunt Carol, but this is a decent profile. the lighting needs a little work though. flash error (read: pilot error). if it was the foreground messed up i would have fixed this one- gotta pick my battles though. if i'm not buried with more by the time i get done with these pictures, i'll prob'ly fix it. unless someone wants a better one of it, of course, in which case i'll hop right on it, lemme know.

Eva and Aunt Carol.

it all boils down to having to sleep sooner or later. for most of us that means winding down first, and Loren's no exception. i think he's about as wound down as he gets right here.

Loren sinkin' in.

that's it for now, next post more pics! unless i get an urge to write about the last few weeks first....



what i did on my summer vacation, part 3

after visiting Gramma, we went back to the Tougas's for dinner, pizza and wings as it turned out. i think once you've had pizza in NY you're pretty much spoiled for pizza everywhere else. and buffalo wings? fugeddabahdit. add a little beer, and the Yankees game on TV....a definite NY flavor to the evening. they lost, by the way. i was beat, having flown all the previous night; i mighta caught a couple Zs on the plane but not much. Loren was too, he only slept a few hours on the plane. we crashed out like big dogs on the sofa in the room where Wayne's bar used to be.

in the morning my cousin Brad came by. he has a painting business called Ultimate Painting, and his brother Scott works for him. Brad and Uncle Wayne showed me some pictures of a job Brad completed recently, a nice property, and a job well done. painting businesses go gangbusters in the summer and Brad's is no exception; he was busy that day and he had to get back to work, so he couldn't stick around too long. still he looked good and it was great to see him.

Dad, Loren, Mom, Brad and Aunt Susie under the same big ol' maple from earlier. it was 10am and already plenty warm- gotta like that. Loren earned the right to look like he just woke up....because he just did.

a few minutes later i got this one of everyone enduring the morning glare. Loren looks like he's getting about the worst of it:

another meeting of the Painfully Glaring White Shirt Society, and their mascot:
Uncle Wayne, Aunt Sue, Brad, Loren, Mom and Dad

the next one Brad took and sent to me. nice job, Brad! i cropped out the watermarked date stamp because it was wrong. personally i hate watermarks on original pictures (don't mind them on copies). the 'date picture taken' information is usually stored as part of the actual file nowadays (with digital cameras) and is easily accessible using windows XP anyway. in my own filing system i use the date/time info as the beginning of the actual file names, which is a layer of redundancy that allows me to do things like correct for jumping time zones and forgetting to change the time on my camera (like on this last trip) and correcting erroneous information from other peoples' cameras (which i find all the time, by the way). my fears concerning jumping camera brands were confirmed when i figured out that Kodak's camera firmware doesn't store the time information down to the second (necessary to keep files in chronological order in a folder in my filing scheme). it's a good thing i'd also developed a redundant system to take care of that too- usually used when people send me pictures which have no date/time info stored in the files themselves, or for scanned images for which no clear date exists.....i shoulda been a librarian or a secretary or something, i spend so much time filing.

....now that's a big ramble for a small payoff. plenty good payoff for me, though- i love to see Mom this happy. it's the Return of The Painfully Glaring White Shirt Society, and their mascot, and a conscientious objector.

Dad, Mom, Loren, Aunt Sue and me

we went to see Gramma again, one more time before we left. Aunt Sue and Mom were both concerned very soon after we arrived at the nursing home, since Gramma was cold and not breathing right, obviously not feeling well. she was very congested and the Douillet women wasted no time getting someone to come and take a look at her. it's a hard fact that people who work in nursing homes aren't as vigilant as family when it comes to looking after someone. soon they had the attendants checking her out, and finally the nurse came. it was a little busy and Gramma was obviously in some distress so i didn't take pictures in her room- i didn't want to make things worse for her. they checked her out and it seemed there definitely was something abnormally wrong with her, she was having a hard time getting air. i couldn't help but wonder if we'd precipitated her turn with our visit, maybe carried in a new bug or stressed her out with our presence or something, but Mom and Dad had been there for a week, and i'm betting they visited Gramma every day, so it's hard to tell. Mom was pretty sad when it was time to go that day, i think we all were.

when we got back to Aunt Sue and Uncle Wayne's, my cousin Scott was there. it was great to get to see him too, glad he made it out to shake my hand, and he looks good as well. this is a shot of him setting up a Kerplunk game for his son and daughter (i'm ashamed i can't remember their names, though this was the first time i met them), and Loren, who took to them right off. Loren's pretty much built for new family- as far as he's concerned, the more the merrier. can't imagine a healthier attitude, and it makes me proud that no one had to teach him to be open and accepting like that. so: anyone wanna email me Scott's kids' names so i can give 'em their due? while you're at it you can re-clue me in on the dog in the background's name too- mind like a steel sieve on me. i must be getting old. they told me that dog was wary of everyone, but she came right to me. oh, and that was the first electronic Kerplunk game i've ever seen....not sure that makes it better for the kids, but i bet it makes it more expensive, which is better for the toy company hehehehe. always liked that game :)

clockwise from top left: Scott, his son, Loren, and his daughter, setting up a little Kerplunk.

before i move forward into the pictures from camp, i suppose i'll end our tour of Tougas Palace with the last shot i took before we headed out.

Uncle Wayne, right before we did the big bear-hug-g'bye thing.

next post begins the pics from camp!


what i did on my summer vacation, part 2

while we stayed at Uncle Wayne and Aunt Sue's house, i got the opportunity to go see my Gramma (Corinne) Douillet, my mom's mom. she'd been in a nursing home for many years, with senile dementia, as well as a number of other problems. she was basically noncommunicative, though she did respond to the environment around her somewhat. when we walked in the room she lit up and became very animated for a few moments- she seemed very excited. the first thought that went through my head was that i look very much like her husband (my Grampa (Roger) Douillet, my mom's dad). but who knows, it's just as likely that she recognized my mom, or even me for that matter. i know she didn't recognize Loren, he'd never met her before, and her condition probably kept her from recognizing him in any pictures she might have been shown. Gramma took a turn for the worse while we were there, the day after the following pictures were taken, and never recovered from that. she passed away a few days ago. i'm really happy her suffering is over, and that i got to see her before she died, and that Mom did, and that Loren got to meet her too. i got to say goodbye to her, as it was at least somewhat likely she would be gone before i could get back to NY. it had been 15 years since the last time i was in NY, and more like 20 since i'd seen her- never thought she'd pass away a week after we left though. i want to mention how very much we all appreciate the care and attention Aunt Sue gave Gramma for her years in the nursing home, despite having serious health complications of her own. she's made of some serious stuff! i truly doubt i'd be as strong as her faced with similar circumstances. Gramma was, and the rest of us are, very lucky to have her.

these are some of the better shots i took in the nursing home, made even more precious since they're the last ones i had the opportunity to take. they may be the last ones anyone took, unless Aunt Sue took some during the week after my family left for camp. none of the pictures i took in the nursing home came out great- the lighting wasn't good, i was still figuring out the new camera, and i didn't want to disturb Gramma with the flash too much- but thankfully some things are somewhat correctable with decent software.

2005. (NY time until further notice)
Mom kissing Gramma on the forehead. i really like this shot.

closeup of Mom and Gramma- see the resemblance?

four generations. this will remain the only picture of Loren and Gramma. and it's the only one i know of with Gramma and me.

Aunt Sue opening Gramma's curtains

as always, the full size pics are available to anyone that wants 'em. i'll send 'em on request. when i get everything assimilated i'll burn it all to CD and then i can make copies of that easily. i'm not going to crow about my online photo album (or should i call it my offline photo album?) until i'm sure it's up and running again, which takes outside help, because XP handles local traffic (read: from my computer) differently than it does outside traffic. there's no way to check if it's working from here. there was a window last night when it was working for someone 70 miles from here, and i haven't changed the setup at all, but the contents of the folders displayed has changed. it would be stupid to have to re-create the folder structure every time something in it changed, and i don't believe that to be the case....so i'm still working on it. growlz.

that's all for now i guess. editing these pictures has burned a lot of daylight. i'm feeling a lot better (been sick all week) so i'm going to try to put a dent in the chores for awhile.

more later when i have time to go through more pictures. only about 20 or 30 more to go through before i get to posting some from camp. then there's about 650 of those to go through....



what i did on my summer vacation, part 1

much to my annoyance, my online photo album continues to be uncooperative for the moment. honest it really has worked in the past, and for some reason it was working last night and now it's not again....and i haven't changed anything....i'm a little baffled at this point. in any case i'll manage to get it working again- it's one of the main reasons for this site in the first place. i took well over 700 pictures and video whilst in NY (story to follow below) and processing them all to work with this blog just ain't gonna happen; i'm going to have to settle for posting some of the better shots here. Kodak's DX7590 is a great camera for the money, but their software leaves much to be desired. i was hoping for something better than i had with my old Fuji camera, but it's more like a step backwards. why is it that so many companies that make great hardware either have crappy software, or crappy documentation, or both? well.... that's enough ranting.

Loren and i spent the first week of July visiting NY, Loren for the first time, and me for the first time in about 15 years. our first stop after leaving Sea-Tac was Chicago's O'Hare airport, where we had a 4 hour layover at 5am local time. 10 feet from the gate was a McDonald's (Loren's favorite place to eat breakfast) which we took all of about 10 minutes to take advantage of, and then we settled in to wait for our next flight.

2005. (chicago time until further notice)
Loren playing a game after breakfast

heading out from O'Hare, Loren took a shot out the window with his new (my old) camera. not to be outdone, i had to also. i'll help Loren post his own pics on his own blog. i like the shadows from the clouds in this shot- i think it was Loren that noticed those. i thought it must be khoul to be a pilot, taking off from airports on sunny days. i wonder if they have time to appreciate the view. i imagine it would be a hard job to get bored with.

Chicago and Lake Michigan from the air during takeoff

and zoomed in to 50%

and actual size

i have my display resolution set to 1280x1024- fairly high- and still have to zoom the pics from this 5mp camera to 50% to see the whole picture. i imagine the pictures should print out to 8x10 no problem. which would be great if i could get my spiffy photo printer to install.... i'm still getting the hang of the camera, but i'm like a blind squirrel: even i find a nut once in a while.

this shot's kinda dark but i still like it

when we got into Syracuse, the usual suspects were there to pick us up.

2005. (NY time until further notice)
Mom, Dad, and Loren outside Syracuse airport

we were in between lunch and my mom's sister Susan's house when a chunk of blown tire made a beeline straight underneath my folks' rented SUV. pretty soon i was smelling gas. i didn't think anything of it until my mom said something, but i knew she was right. she started watching the gas gauge. yep- we were leaking gas, about half a tank's worth in about 10 miles. Dad pulled off at a gas station before we ran out. Mom didn't want to park the car anywhere near the pumps with gas pouring out the bottom, and she really wanted to get everyone away from the vehicle quickly. Loren was more than happy to head into the convenience store, and Dad sorta followed Mom following Loren. gas was still pouring out even with the engine off, and i thought it might be a good idea to stop the leak before it was totally out of gas, if possible, so i crawled under the SUV and got as close to the leak as i could without getting gas in my eyes. there were three gas lines on the vehicle, one solid, and two with snap-on rubber boots. i couldn't look right at it, because gas was pouring down my arm when i could get my hand on the boot, but i could feel where it went and snapped it back together. voila, no more gas leak. chalk one up for ol' inf. i wanted to gas it up and go, but mom wanted to make sure everything was OK, and her vote's bigger than mine ;). she called AAA and had them send someone out to check it out. my shirt was soaked and turned out to be ruined. chalk one up for the SUV (growlz....i liked that shirt). it was hot enough that the gas sort of evaporated off me and i didn't totally reek of it when we got outta there about 40 minutes later. here's a couple shots i took while we waited for the AAA guy.

Mom, by the end of our 10 mile gas trail

the puddle of gas under the SUV- it goes to about the middle of the vehicle, and the dry pavement was just soakin' it up....it was a pretty good leak- but i stopped it pretty quickly too.

when we got into Henrietta, NY (outside Rochester), to my Aunt Sue & Uncle Wayne's house, it was plenty warm, but not hot as hell like it had been for the last week. everyone, including my folks (who'd been there for that week) was breathing a sigh of relief.

Uncle Wayne enjoying a break from the heat, in the shade of a big maple in his front yard

Loren, Dad & Mom sitting on the patio, and that's Aunt Susan grinnin' on the porch

couldn't really crop out sections of pictures from my old camera. this one's good for that though- this is full size from the same pic:

Loren gamin' it up

ok i think that's enough for one post...this takes more time than i'd like. i'll post more pics in the next one. by the way, you'll probably notice a lot of shots of Loren gamin' it up. i don't know if i mentioned this before, but he earned it, bringing up his GPA nearly a whole point, from about 2.18 to 3.1, and getting 2 As, 2 Bs, 2 B-s, and a C+. helluvan improvement. i told him to kill the DS a few times during the trip, but most of the time i let him enjoy his reinstated video game privilege at will.

it's officially Sunday morning now. time to walk away from this thing for awhile.

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