the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


Ten things of thankful: ID4 2014 and more

I’ve started a new 43Things goal for Lizzi’s Ten Things of Thankful blog hop.
As always, I’ve added additional long-form edits to this WordPress crosspost.

This weekend brought so much to be thankful for.

1. Our daughter continues to work on her artistic skills. She was our principal photographer and videographer for our trip.

Photo credit: Bill 1939 B at Flickr, a.k.a. “Pop”. My father-in-law decided to take some shots of Princess at work

2. She has friends and family that are cheering her on!  Notably, they include:

the ever-lovely and generous Tahira “TJ” Lubrano

Bill 1939 (her maternal grandfather, as mentioned before)

I’ve been in touch with Dean at Dean’z Doodlez about starting some artistic, creative synergy with his work and the stuff that Cimmy, Princess and I do.  So far, the response has been fantastic!  Please do me a favor and check him out.

3. The gooseberry bush at my in-laws’ house is always ready to harvest (often more ready than my MIL’s liking) every July 4th. They allow us to come each year to pick gooseberries.

It wasn't TOO hot, but we took time during the hottest part of the day to remove the stems and blossoms.  Photo by Princess

It wasn’t TOO hot, but we took time during the hottest part of the day to remove the stems and blossoms. Photo by Princess

4. The Yakama Nation is less stringent about fireworks than our local municipalities, so we go to Toppenish to watch local displays. Although the casino didn’t have funds for a display this year, there was plenty to see from nearby stands.

Oh snap, Princess is better at capturing fireworks than I am!

Oh snap, Princess is better at capturing fireworks than I am!

5. Although we essentially get a free show, Cimmy and the kids have enjoyed lighting sparklers the past few years. Sparklers are banned in our home city.

Do you see now this girl has got talent?  Wow!

Do you see now this girl has got talent? Wow!

6. I spent some time to be mindful of the holiday and talked with my father-in-law about the reality of wartime military service that Friday. Specifically, he served Navy on a nuclear submarine during the Vietnam War.

7. I am grateful that my wife spent some loving and pleasant time with her youngest sister, with our daughter along.

8. I am very glad that my sister-in-law is doing well right now, and that she always welcomes my hugs.

9. Yakima and Toppenish were my other homes at one point. Returning is sometimes bittersweet, but I enjoy returning and recalling many memories.

10. I am grateful for the old highways (WA HWY 22, 241) that are less-traveled. They are a welcome respite from the freeways (SR 395, I-82) and the manner of their drivers.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

Please come visit Cimmorene and I at the Journal Jar for this week’s Photo Challenge at WP’s Daily Post. Comments are closed at the tao of jaklumen.

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jak & Cimmy's Journal Jar

From the four walls that currently surround you to the infinite potential of space, this week we’d like you to show us your take on room, rooms, or a room.

Our house has a family room that originally was a garage.  It had very few places to sit.

But in all our years of marriage, we just found modern couches too easily wrecked and destroyed.  As our son Boy got older, we needed to have something that would hold up.

We got lucky and chanced on a Craigslist ad for some outdoor patio furniture that the manager of a storage rental was selling, and for a nice price.  We figured if the cushions ever got destroyed, replacing them would be an easy matter.

Kids like the new family room setup The kids like the family room setup.

Boy photobombing the family room area This is Boy’s idea of a photobomb.

Princess photobombs the family room I’d say she’s a ham, but hams can be cured.

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Weekly Challenge (Feb. 28): Abandoned

I’m woefully behind on the photography challenges at the Daily Post.

The challenge two weeks ago just stumped me terribly.  Where was I going to find a photo of something abandoned?  To be honest, I wasn’t sure I had any.  I wasn’t sure if photos of our house (before we moved into it) would count, even though it had stood vacant for 1.5-2 years before we arrived (neighbor said 2 years, previous occupant said year and a half).

Then I remembered that a friend of mine (lydiafairy at Flickr) had some fantastic photos, any one that would fit this challenge perfectly.  Yesterday I got formal permission to share them:

You can totally post links to my images if you want to, Thank you for thinking them worthy of being seen 🙂

She’s too modest, really.

Anyways, here is one of my favorites, which was taken at a school closed and abandoned in 2001 (as best she remembers):

“light seeping in”, Lydia Selk, copyright 2013. All rights reserved

So many fascinating images.  I have a strong interest in urban exploration and I’ve looked into some really incredible stuff from around the world on this subject.  To those of your dear readers reading regularly I will try to dig up some of the stuff I’ve looked at if you so wish.  Please let me know, won’t you?  I find this subject so intriguing.

If you’d like to see more pictures like this, please visit my friend at Flickr and check out her neglected or forgotten photoset.  There are many wonderful photos–

There are some photos I can take, now that I think of it, and some more ideas I could share, but that will be another time.  Take care and thank you again for reading.

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Lawn & Garden 2014

Electric Chipper/ShredderThe mulch on the treeJak and Boy in front of the tree

Lawn & Garden 2014, a set on Flickr.

This is what I got done this past weekend.

I’m sorry the format isn’t better– I’m using Flickr’s existing share code to post this quickly, because I just don’t have the energy.

Via Flickr:
With the month of March comes preparation for spring, including getting the lawn and garden ready.

We had a mild winter this year, so I don’t think any delays (i.e., things normally done in the fall) should affect things too much.

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Lingering on the surreal for a moment.

Remember this picture?  It was on my Daily Prompt: Twilight Zone post.


This is what my in-laws had to say about it:

Why would my father-in-law like this image so much?  You'll see why in a minute.

Why would my father-in-law like this image so much? You’ll see why in a minute.

Bill really likes photo manipulations.  Here are a few examples:

Bill says: “Our bathtub just seemed to be a natural place for a wall to go.”

“Space art, a photo manipulation made from one of my own photos and a public domain NASA photo.” I think his photo is from a Scout camping trip, during his days as a Scoutmaster.

“A manipulation of one of my photos and a public domain NASA photo.”

Clicking on any of these images will take you to their respective entries at Flickr, as well as reference the photosets he’s filed them under.  (I often say ‘looking for one of Bill’s photos in his photostream is like looking for a drop in the ocean’.  Be aware if you explore, it’s 40+ years’ worth of pictures.)

A gentle request: Bill has graciously given me permission to share his photos but he has been burnt in the past before– please honor the copyrights on these images, and refrain from downloading them, or worse, pass them off as your own.  I would hope that goes without saying, so I thank you for your kind consideration in advance.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie (Ouch!)

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In a new post created specifically for this challenge, share a selfie.

It hurts.

Although I used this image for my Gravatar for a little while, I still feel a bit awkward sharing it, although I really wanted to show my Flickr followers that I was in so much pain to the point of tears– and this was during the summer.

Princess gets another shiner (eyes open)

Princess gets another shiner (eyes open)

Because I’ve shown my daughter’s photography before, I thought I’d add this gutsy selfie she took of herself.  Now Cimmorene had thought she’d doodled on her eye with a black marker, but I knew better.   I found her quietly crying in her bedroom a little while before, and she said she’d hit her head on her loft bed.  This is by no means her first black eye– after getting clocked in the face with a baseball bat wielded by a neighbor kid, she smiled for a photo that my father-in-law took… and then there were other accidents.  She’s my tough right-hand-girl, all right.


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Candle in the window


Candle in the window by jaklumen & family
Candle in the window, a photo by jaklumen & family on Flickr.

I love you, my dear, every time I go

You have a way to let me know

No matter how upset I may be

I know when I return, I can always see

That signal waiting home for me

Welcoming me home with light so low

That sign so warm, that candle in the window.

A candle in the window like this always let me know that it was okay to come home, after an argument.

EDIT 19 Sept. 2016: R.I.P. Bill Hamilton.  So far, that good friend of mine is beating T-cell lymphoma, just like Mr. T.

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Weekly Photo Challenge Bonus: Toy Modifications

I considered some other photographs for the challenge, and here were two that brought back warm memories for me.  They involve modifications to toys!

My pickaxe!

Princess wanted her pickaxe to look like a diamond one

This modification was done by my daughter, who is positively obsessed with Minecraft, and wanted this foam toy made by ThinkGeek to look more upgraded.  If you click through the photo to see the image at Flickr, you’ll find the description to find out how she did it; she wrote it up herself.

Now, I take full responsibility for the next obsession and modification.

Slimer Mr. Potato Head

I modified a spare Mr. Potato Head body with fluorescent green paint so it would look like Slimer from the Real Ghostbusters series.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Object

I love these photography challenges at WordPress.  It’s a wonderful journey to revisit our archives at Flickr to meet these challenges.  (Our?  Sure!  It’s a family account, and Cimmorene, myself, and our daughter Princess are the principal photographers.)

This week, in a post created specifically for this challenge, share a photo of one object.

This photo was suggested by my lovely wife Cimmorene, who also took the capture:

Tomato Jack o' lantern

Tomato Jack o’ lantern

This was in response to Noah Scalin’s 365: A Daily Creativity Journal: Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! almost three years ago on February 26, 2011.

Description from Flickr:

The challenge with this one was to create something using the first fruit or vegetable encountered in the kitchen. Cimmy created this by hollowing out a tomato and carving a face in it the same way someone might carve a pumpkin. Side note: the original Jack o’ Lanterns were made from turnips.

For more of the photoset we did for the 365 challenge, see 365 Daily Creativity at Flickr.  If you like these photo challenges and would like to participate, here’s a quick link to the WP Daily Post and the photo challenges category:

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A leap ahead – Zero to Hero Days 9-12

Day 9 assignment: Follow five more blogs and/or topics.

Day 10 assignment: add and customize two widgets.

Day 11 assignment: leave comments on at least three blogs that you’ve never commented on before.

Day 12 assignment: write a post that builds on one of the comments you left yesterday. Don’t forget to link to the other blog!

Now normally, I wouldn’t try to blow through four challenges like this.  I’ve got a ways to go to catch up, actually; the challenge is currently on Day 21.

But I had to reiterate just how much Come for Company (C4C) is blowin’ up my blog, as well as continually prompting me to do stuff that easily aces all of these challenges.

You remember this one, right?  I heard it's coming back for Valentine's Day

You remember this one, right? I heard it’s coming back for Valentine’s Day

It started with rarasaur’s Come on, baby, spend Christmas with me!  At the time, C4C was known as “Come For Christmas”.

Now, let me briefly point out that Rara is a blogging powerhouse and does a lot of promotional posts– this is by no means her first.  I found that even partly following her whirlwind, I discovered a LOT of new blogs.  (Yes, I haven’t completely followed EVERY blog she promoted, or I’d be drowning in blogs by now.)

As I noted on my reblog of her post, this was good timing as neither my parents nor my in-laws would be with us at Christmas.  Both Cimmy and I decided to volunteer, which meant we were added as Contributors to that blog.  (If Zero to Hero makes mention of contributing to a blog… there you go.)

RuleofStupid gave instructions on how to set up a widget with the badge he designed for the site.  You can’t see it now, because I have it set to Inactive.  And even though he expanded his idea to cover other holidays as well as Christmas, no, I won’t count this widget twice.

The next holiday was New Year’s, so, I wrote C4C For New Year’s? It’s On Like Donkey Kong!

The bloggers I have met (or got to know better) by way of C4C:

and yes, I have left comments on EACH and EVERY single one of those blogs.  Some more than one.  Some I am slowly catching up to.  Yes, I am following all of them.

So that’s Day 9 and Day 11 challenges down.

Calamity Rae asked for a Follow Blog widget specifically.  I’d never really thought that following by e-mail would be necessary, except, well, I think it was when she just had a self-hosted blog at the time.

Then I decided it’d be more efficient to combine that widget with the widget I made for Zero to Hero Day 2: What’s this blog about, anyways? Or rather, I decided to take the text of that widget I made for the Day 2 Challenge and put it into the Follow Blog widget.

That’s not counting other widgets that I already added to this blog when I started, like the Flickr one.  Or the image widget I had when speaker7 mentioned Wordle.  And that’s not counting the widgets I marked inactive as they didn’t fit with the new theme I picked for Starting the transformation (Zero to Hero Day 5).

That’s Day 10 challenge down several times over.

I’m not sure if I left a post on The Matticus Kingdom before, but when I read The Return of the Official Matticus Kingdom Tug-of-War, I just KNEW I had to get involved and declare my support for Marvel Comics.

I mean, c’mon… I have an ENTIRE category posts regarding The Silver Surfer and how the story of his journey from Norrin Radd to Herald of Galactus and his meeting with the Fantastic Four follows the Hero’s Journey TWICE OVER.  (And I haven’t even gotten to the Infinity Gauntlet series that crossed over all Marvel comics, let alone that featured Surfer very prominently!)  I have blogged about The Silver Surfer consistently, from LiveJournal, to VOX, to WordPress.

I will probably write more posts, and link to Cimmorene’s posts for Team Marvel…

So that’s Day 12 Challenge down, at least in part.

But I’m sure I’ve done the Day 12 challenge several times– one of the finer points in blogging etiquette that I learned from liliales when I was at VOX– if I make a comment that gets too long on another blog, it’s usually best to make a post on my own blog about it (and link back).  While I’ve met a few bloggers that are okay with long comments, I have read a few posts that I figured it would be good to write my own post in response.  And then there are a few posts that inspired me to dig down into my archive (both of VOX, and of WordPress, which is all here).  And I’ve done a LOT of that lately, actually.

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