Sunday, February 27, 2011


335/365 - Buddha
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I was in Dallas, Texas last week for my company's annual sales conference. The venue for Wednesday was the new Cowboy Stadium, in Arlington, TX. It's a state of the art facility and the perfect location for a Super Bowl....too bad the Cowboys were watching it on TV this year.

The new Cowboy's coach, Jason Garrett, was the guest speaker. As part of his presentation, he told a story of a Buddhist monk. Here's a seriously paraphrased version, courtesy of my very bad memory.

A Buddhist monk was walking through the woods, when he came across a pride of lions and tigers. The lions and tigers started chasing him, and he ran like crazy until he came to the edge of the cliff. He looked down and there were poisonous snakes at the bottom of the cliff. He looked back up and the lions and tigers were charging. Snakes, lions and tigers, snakes, lions and tigers...finally he decides to jump. On the long drop down, he reaches out and grabs a twig. He notices a strawberry at the end of the twig, picks it, and starts eating it. A passerby, noticing the monk's dire situation, asks the monk why he's smiling. The monk says, "because the strawberry is sweet."

So what's the moral of the story? Well, life is full of trials and tribulations, and other challenges. But, rather than stress over the lions, tigers, and snakes, you should look for the positives and be happy with the small a sweet strawberry.

This story was a gentle reminder for me. Lately, things have been tough at work, but I'm going to try to focus on the positives.

Here's a shot of the big screen monitor at Cowboy Stadium.

Cowboy Stadium

The theme for my photography project this week is "shoes." Here's a picture of my gardener's size 13 shoe. I love my gardener....he does a wonderful job maintaining the yard....and even makes coffee for me and the old lady in the mornings!

338/365 - These Shoes are Made for Raking

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Until We Meet Again, Mr. Owyang

337/365 - Daffodil
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Mr. Owyang courageously battled cancer for two years, but the Lord called him home. Today was his Celebration of Life service. It was a beautiful service and based on the number of people in attendance and the touching comments, he was clearly loved by many. He lead his life with honor, love, caring, and a commitment to God.

While he will be missed on earth, I know we will meet again when it's my time....but God, no rush, I still have lots to do down here.

As I drove home from the service, I couldn't help but notice the incredible, fluffy clouds in the wonderfully blue sky. The beauty of His creation always amazes me. I'm looking forward to my next trip into the wilderness...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Belated President's Day

333/365 - Nick & Nora
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
Happy belated President's Day! I would have written this yesterday, but I was busy airing out my gear from the weekend trip to the Lava Beds National Monument. I also spent some time putting my gear away. I've been out in the wilderness quite a bit this year and have been leaving my gear at the foot of the bed between trips. My wife calls it lazy, sloppy, messy, and a few other things I can't write in a Rated PG blog. I call it "efficient"....I mean, why put it away when it has to be taken out in a couple weeks again? Anyway, I put my gear away. I've been married long enough to know that an ice axe stuck in the forehead is not a pleasurable sensation....well, it might be for the person delivering the blow...

The theme for my photography project this week is "Detail." The idea is to take a photograph of a portion of something, to show the detail. For today's shot, I snapped Kami's Nick & Nora house slippers. I've never heard of Nick & Nora, but I saw it printed on the button "eyes" and then googled it.

Disclaimer: Although this is a President's Day post, any resemblance of these slippers to the current president is purely coincidental and unintentional. Besides, I think the president has bigger ears....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lava Beds National Monument

Crystal Ice Cave
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I had the pleasure of visiting the Lava Beds National Monument near the California-Oregon border and touring the Crystal Ice Cave. The National Park Service rangers lead tours of the cave on Saturdays during the months of December though March. Because of the sensitive nature of the ice cave, the tour group is limited to six people. In other words, I was one of about one hundred people lucky enough to see the cave this year. So, thanks Faye for dragging my butt up to the Oregon border for a once in a lifetime opportunity!

We drove up from the Bay Area at o'dark thirty on Saturday morning, joined the tour at 1 PM, and then camped overnight on the park grounds. On Sunday, we did a self-lead tour of Merrill Cave, and then headed home.

Photography inside the Crystal Ice Cave was challenging because it's dark and being a ranger guided tour, I didn't want to hold up the entire group while I was positioning my off-camera flash unit. I did, however, have a chance to play with my flash at the Merrill Cave. Outside the cave, the lighting was obviously better, but it was snowing and overcast...not ideal light for landscape photography.

Here are a few photos at the Lava Beds National Monument and along the drive home. Much thanks to Faye for supporting my requests to "pull over, right here," so I could photograph the pretty landscape....making the long drive home a bit longer...

Exploring the Crystal Ice Cave

330/365 - Crystal Ice Cave

Traversing the Ice

Last Bus South

331/365 - Water Tower in Dorris, California

Unidentified Bump in the Landscape

Sunday, February 13, 2011


I've taken a photo each day for the last 324 days straight. One thing I've determined in the last ten and a half months is I enjoy being in the outdoors and I enjoy photography in the outdoors.

My master plan is to quit my crummy telecommunications job and work at REI in ten years. In ten years, the kids should be out of college and the house will be paid off. I'll work at REI, earn a modest income (and health care benefits), and interact with outdoor-minded people all day. On my days off, I'll hike, backpack, snowshoe, paddle, and snap some photos in the great outdoors. I may even spend my free time as a volunteer for the East Bay Regional Park District...

324/365 - Guard Duty

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Desolation Wilderness

Lake Aloha Starburst
Originally uploaded by Wayne-K
I went backpacking with Faye in the Desolation Wilderness this past weekend. The weather was incredible and it was wonderful, trekking through the fresh snow. We parked at the Echo Lake Sno Park and snowshoed over Echo Lake toward Lake Aloha. We settled into camp somewhere near Tamarack Lake.

Aside from the snowshoes, most of my standard three season backpacking gear is perfect for winter backpacking. I do, however, need a warmer sleeping bag, some proper snow boots, and perhaps a down jacket.

Here are a few photos from the trip. I love winter photography because the trees and rocks contrast nicely against the white snow. I'm convinced Helen Keller could have come away with some incredible shots....

318/365 - Echo Lake Cabin


317/365 - Peak

316/365 - Sunset

Friday, February 4, 2011

Happy Belated Chinese New Year!

Happy belated Chinese New Year! I would have written this yesterday, but I was busy shopping and packing for my backpacking trip this weekend, and totally forgot. Heading to the Desolation Wilderness for three days of snowshoeing. Oops, sorry for running off on a tangent....back to the topic.

Yesterday, this Chinese lady in the office came over and wished me a happy Chinese New Year. I said, "oh thanks, I didn't know it was today...but I knew it was sometime in February...."

She was surprised I didn't celebrate Chinese New Years. I was like, "duhhh, I'm not Chinese." She said most Asians celebrate the Lunar Year. I said, "wow, didn't know that. I'm fourth generation Japanese-American, so I'm not necessarily aware of all my Asian responsibilities (except bad driving, playing the piano, and being smart)." Just kidding, I didn't really say that.

Okay, so anyway, happy day after Chinese New Years! Coincidentally, we had Chinese take-out for dinner last night. Well, that's assuming kung pao chicken and sweet and sour pork qualifies as Chinese food. I'm thinking it's like calling Chef Boyardee Spaghetti-O's Italian food....but that's another story....