Zodiac Time-lapse Project

Back in May of 2012 I wrote a post about a cool time-lapse project. It inspired me to try my own time-lapse project with Zodiac. I did pretty good at getting a video clip of Zodiac most weeks while he was growing up. I didn’t get a chance to work on it before he left and it was on the back burner all summer until we got the news he was doing in-home training. That pushed it to the urgent category on my to do list.

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click on photo to link to video


I’ve never done any video editing so I had lots to learn. I first tried to use the slide show software that I have but that couldn’t handle the project at all. I have a very old version of Adobe Premiere Pro so I installed that I started reading the manual. Premiere Pro was surprisingly intuitive and most of the basics was pretty easy to figure out. I didn’t try to get fancy with anything but it came out pretty good considering my lack of experience, the quality of the video (just shot with my basic digital camera) and the not so good lighting or set up I had.

I didn’t try to do this for Dune (which I’m kind of sad about) but I want to do something for Pup “E” coming next Friday. I’m just not sure how I want to do it. I don’t want to do it the same way. While I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it isn’t really what I was hoping for. I want a way to capture how the puppies grow and change over the year that we have them. I’ve got seven days to come up with a plan. Anybody have any suggestions?


A Little Bittle of Summer

image from Blurb.com

I came across this writing exercise from Blurb’s August Newsletter today and wanted to share it here. They suggest writing about your summer but you could also use this approach on any subject or person you having been wanting to do a story project about.

Here’s a brand-new writing exercise to help you capture the summer of 2013 and inspire a bit of a creative energy. As the season fades and we head indoors to hibernate for the winter, this exercise can help you get the most from your memories and make sure they’re not lost forever.

Visual references can be powerful catalysts for writing; photographs, illustrations, and visuals can often help to overcome writer’s block. A train or bus ticket, a menu, a business card, an eye-catching flyer—these are just a few examples of the visual references we collect as we move around in the world. When combined with the images we deliberately record with our cameras, these accidental souvenirs can serve as powerful reminders of particular moments in time.

Using visual cues like these in your writing exercises is a great way to get started on a book—or to just ignite the spark that gets your creative fire burning.

  • Select several of your most treasured objects, accidental souvenirs, and images from your summer activities.
  • Play with some ideas. Will this piece of writing document an event or set of events? Is it a poem, a short story, or something else? Decide on your approach, process, and genre.
  • Write for a fixed amount of time, say 20 to 30 minutes, and see where it takes you. Repeat until you feel you’ve captured what’s in your head on the page (or screen).
  • Refine the results. Keep editing and refining until you’re satisfied with the words and then dive straight into making your book. Now is the time to weave in your visual cues. Get your photographs, drawings, artifacts—whatever inspired you—into digital format and import them into your book project.
  • Explore different layouts to create the best combinations of your words and images

It may take it a week or two—or if you’re incredibly efficient, an hour or two—but once your Summer 2013 book is finished you’ll have secured some special memories in print. (You can also create an ebook version in a flash.) After all, as Henry David Thoreau once said, “One must maintain a little bittle of summer, even in the middle of winter.”

Now I just need to carve out a few minutes and try this exercise. It’s a good friend’s daughter passed away and they are asking for memories to put together for her brand new baby so that he will know about his mother. This would be a great things to do for that project.

Are you up to a writing challenge too? If I can do it so can you. Writing is one of my big mental blocks.


RootsTech 2014 – registration now open

Registration is now open for RootsTech 2014, which will be held February 6­-8, 2014 at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. This annual family history conference, hosted by FamilySearch, is a unique global event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. Over the past three years, RootsTech has grown in popularity with attendees to become the largest family history event in the United States!

Whether attendees are just beginning their family history, an avid hobbyist, or an experienced researcher, RootsTech has something for everyone:

  • Classes and Computer Labs —Over 200 classes and computer labs taught by knowledgeable experts and enthusiasts in family history.
  • Getting Started Track —A track of over 30 classes designed to help beginners start their family tree. Passes start at only $19.
  • Developer Day —A preconference event on Wednesday, February 5, for developers to innovate and collaborate with other engineers and family history industry experts.
  • Expo Hall —A huge expo with over 100 informative vendors and interactive booths where attendees can record a family story, scan a book or photo, or create a visual family tree.
  • Family Discovery Day —New! A day of free inspirational classes for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to learn more about strengthening family relationships across generations through family history.

Pass Pricing and Discounts

Various pass options are available, with pricing set to make RootsTech an affordable experience. Early Bird pricing discounts for a Full Access Pass ($159) and a Getting Started Pass ($39) are available until January 6, 2014.

An additional $20 discount is available for a limited time. Attendees can get a Full Access Pass for just $139 simply by using the promotional code RT14EXCLSV before September 9, 2013.

To get more information and register, visit rootstech.org.


25% off Blurb Books

Here is a great discount from Blurb.com!

Close the book on summer with 25% off any print book

25 percent. That’s about how much of the year is left. And that means summer’s almost over. Yeah, we’re not too thrilled about it either. Because we had a great summer here at Blurb.

We made books, read books, sold books. It was a summer for the books, you might say. (Well, you might not say it, but we did.)

So to commemorate our amazing summer—and yours, we hope—we’re going to do something special to help you fall into autumn (see what we did there?) with a finished book that you made yourself. We’re having a Summer Sunset Flash Sale.

Get 25% off ANY print book. Five days only. Use code SUNSET25 at checkout.

Say goodbye to summer and hello to a great book. Yours. Five days only: August 27–31. Use code
SUNSET25 at checkout.

For the next five days, you can take 25 percent off any print book. Already started one? Finish it and take 25 percent off. Been meaning to start one? Gather up those summer photos, make an instant book, and take 25 percent off. Just use code SUNSET25 at checkout.

Candy Window Update

partly constructed doghouse

I started on Step Four: build following the DOABLE approach to story projects. We picked up a 4×8 sheet of 1/2″ thick Styrofoam insulation to build the doghouse. Bill asked me if I didn’t need two sheets. I replied that the doghouse wasn’t that big so one should be enough. I was wrong. I was missing one side and half the roof. I patched two pieces together to make the side but there isn’t nearly enough to make the other roof panel. That’s what happens when you don’t plan very well. Now it will take another trip to the store. I guess I was being lazy.

I’ve glued together the four sides of the doghouse so they will be set when I get the rest of the roof cut. I also made a little wreath to hang above the door on the end. One item is ready to go. I even have candy that will work for the wreath. It is exciting to be starting on the actual building part of my window! My first big goal is to get the structure done (hopefully before our new puppy comes next Friday).

Joy Jar

  • P1040284
  • French toast
  • Jordan River trail
  • cooler temperatures
  • rain
  • Bill’s working getting a new contract
  • Zodiac officially being a guide dog
  • hanging out with Tricia
  • finally getting a confirmation code for Amazon search inside
  • walking along the Jordan River
  • the internet
  • chatting with Karen
  • sleep
  • Dune
  • learning new things
  • finishing Zodiac’s book
  • Dune maturing
  • finding my map
  • getting my candy window started
  • photos of Zodiac and David
  • cooler summer evenings
  • Karen’s help with Facebook
  • strawberries and yogurt

Zodiac Book – final page

We have loved having Zodiac as part of our family for just over a year. He will always have a special place in our hearts. While we miss his happy outlook on life, we are excited that he has chosen to be a guide dog. With his exuberance we know he has a great life ahead of him. He has a good heart and Zodiac will effect all who come into his life in positive ways. At under 18 months at the start of his career, maturing is bound to bring out the best in this sweet boy. We look forward to hearing about all the new adventures.

Liebster Award Nomination

Jessica of The Way Eye See the World has nominated me for a Liebster Award. Pop on over to her blog about her experiences with retinitis pigmentosa and the guide dog lifestyle. Here are her questions for nominees:

1. What got you into blogging?

I got into blogging as a way to explore ways to share family stories in more interesting ways to make what I learn available to others. Plus it is fun to share about the puppies I raise for Guide Dogs for the Blind.

2. Who has been the most inspirational person in your life?

That is a tough question. The short answer would be Jesus Christ. The longer answer with a “regular” person would be my friend Tricia. She is a great example to me of being a great mom, friend and leader even when times are challenging.

3. How has a specific animal impacted your life?

Our pet dog Shadow taught me the basics of training a dog and when he crossed over I couldn’t imagine doing that end of life process again. But I wanted to have dogs in my life. So I started raising puppies for GDB. That has made a huge impact on my life. I’ve learned so much more about service dog and I’ve gotten to know so many people that I otherwise wouldn’t have known.

4. Where is the coolest place in the world you have been?

Once many years ago I got the chance to visit the 16 Lakes region in what was then known as Yugoslavia. It was amazing and I loved just walking around and enjoying the color of the water and the beauty of the scenery.

5. What is your favorite book or movie?

My standard answer for my favorite movie is “Man From Snowy River”. I love the scenery, the music and the horses.

6. How did you find out about my blog?

I know you from GDB Lounge and from your visits to my blog.

7. What is your favorite and least favorite thing to do around the house?

The housework I mind the least is probably laundry. My least favorite is dishes and/or cleaning.

8. What are you most talented at? 

Probably creative problem solving is my biggest talent.

9. What would you leave in your will for the person you most care about?

I have no idea. I’ve never thought about that before. Maybe all the histories and books I’ve created over the years. I guess I’d better think about that some more.

10. If you were just given a boat, what would you name it? 

Another question that I’ve never thought about before. Let’s see . . . now about “Shadow” after our pet dog.

11. What is your favorite song and why?

I love lots and lots of songs. My favorite changes all the time. Today my favorite is “This Little Light of Mine” by the Lower Lights because I’ve been listening to it because it is the sound track I’m using for the time-lapse project I’m doing on Zodiac’s puppyhood.

Thanks Jessica, that was fun and a good stretch for my thought processes. But I’m sorry to say that I won’t be doing the rest of the nomination process of nominating other blogs. It is a fun idea but the process is very time consuming I it just isn’t where I feel I should be spending my time right now. Sorry about that.

Zodiac Book – Zero Hour (the second time)

On August 5th I got the call telling us that Zodiac had been chosen for in-home training and would be leaving on the weekend. A few days later we made a quick trip to Oregon to see Zodiac before he left for Missouri.  We didn’t recognize him at first with all his new chest muscles but he recognized us. Zodiac had continued to mature in the almost three months since he left. It was so much fun to see Zodiac for a couple of hours. We walked around campus and on the Oregon Trail and he got to romp with Dune. My favorite time was the four of us just hanging out together in the paddock. The day was very different than a graduation day. It was strange to be sending him off to be a guide without having met his new partner.

Zodiac Book – Zenith

Michelle Cliborn and Zodiac traveled to Missouri for Zodiac’s in-home training with David Pinkley. On Monday, August 13, 2013, Zodiac and David met for the first time and started their training together.

We were so excited when Toni (in her words),  David’s other half, sent us photos of their first route together. More photos followed and as we got to know David and Toni better the more confident we felt that GDB had made a great match for Zodiac. There is no doubt that Zodiac will be loved and well cared for. In return we hope that Zodiac will be a great guide for David, giving him the freedom to travel independently and to do so in safety for many, many years to come.