31 December 2007

Claire Elise

Claire NICU
OK, here is some good news. This is our new baby Claire Elise. She was born 29 December 2007. She is 18.5 inches long, and 6lbs 5oz. She wasn't doing very well inside mommy, so she needed to come out about a month early. Because she was born early, her breathing is not as good as the doctors would like on her own, so she is spending a few days in the NICU on O2. Otherwise, she and mommy are doing great, and we hope to bring Claire home soon.

15 December 2007

So turning 40 really sucks.

I have spent the last three weeks fighting Mononucleosis. The problem, is that until a week ago, we didn't know that. Between visits to the doctor's office and the ER, it took several procedures to eliminate all of the other possibilities, that included Leukemia, Meningitis, and some other long named virus that could put our unborn baby a risk. Oh yeah, and one of my first lab cultures got contaminated first thing, so they though I may have had a staph infection as well, bring on the antibiotics. The good news is that all I have is Mono. That's all that I ever had. I was presenting classic Flu-like symptoms, except that my fevers had been going on for more than ten days and they were getting worse, in the 102-103F range. The only way to rule out Meningitis, is with a spinal tap. I don't ever want another one. It took two different people five tries to finally get it. The average person requires a 3 1/2 " needle for a spinal tap. They had to get a longer one for me. I had eight chest x-rays, four sinus x-rays, and a CT scan. Even when I left the hospital on Monday night, Mono wasn't guaranteed, it was the only thing left. The University of Michigan is probably the best possible place to be for something like this, but it is a learning institution, and I really hate being a guinea pig.

Update: What I really have is Mono's evil twin: Cytomegalovirus. Just like Mono, only named different. It turns out that I was exposed at some point to mono, but not CMV, and CMV is what I really have. The same syptoms, the same treatment, the same duration, they are even from the same group of virus': Epstein-Barr.

29 November 2007

Fever 40

Fever 40

I turned 40 today.

I have been running a low grade fever all day.


I got a remote switch "shutter release" for my camera, the DVD Ratatouille, and a book: The Photographer's Eye, by Michael Freeman.

Now I need to get to bed.

10 November 2007

Daddy and Maddie Day

Thirty Seconds of Good Light
Mommy had to work today, so it was a stay at home, and do nothing kind of day.

03 November 2007

Lots of Fall Color

Moth to the Flame
Mostly really busy right now, that's the reason for my lack of kayaking and blogging. I have been able to get away for a couple of hours here and there, and usually just take my camera. This photo was taken on a Photowalk in Northville Michigan on the 28th of October. I met up with five other hobbyist photographers and we walked around a little historical museum, village type of park, taking pictures of whatever we liked. You can see more of those pictures here and here.

02 November 2007

Chicken Little

Chicken Little
I took this just before we left to go to the grandparents houses for Trick-or-Treat.

06 October 2007


It's a girl. We are going to call her Claire Elise when she is born sometime in January.

16 September 2007


Monarch Butterfly

Another Zoo pic. Haven't been out paddling in a long while. The baby is keeping me busy.

13 September 2007

04 August 2007

Long Overdue Update

Short list:
New baby on the way.
Just got back from vacation.
Photography is not a substitute for kayaking.
Zooomr rocks.

Yep, we have a new baby on the way. Due in January.
More details to follow as they become available. I know it is quick after the last baby, but we aren't getting any younger, we want two kids only, and might as well get through the diaper changing stage as quick as possible.

Vacation was a learning experience. We chose to rent a cottage for a week, only a couple of hours drive away, to make it as easy as possible with a little one. The cottage was a quaint little affair.Clean with lots of great amenities, short walk to the beach, access to an association swimming pool, what more could you ask for? How about air conditioning on the hottest week of the year. Temps every day were in the low 90F. This made for a very cranky baby. She did better than we expected at the pool. She didn't freak out, but was still only good for about twenty minutes tops. Probably just as well, we wouldn't want to have to deal with her getting sun-burnt.
What are you looking at?

I just got a new super-wide lens for my Canon 10D. A Sigma 10-20mm. I have been learning how to take some wide angle shots, and finding it to be a real challenge sometimes.

I did get out an paddle a little bit on vacation as well.
Tracks in the Sand

I think that I have made up my mind on the Zooomr vs Flickr debate. I like Zooomr a lot. I have formed a large group of contacts and some of my photos have found a little notoriety.

05 July 2007

Zooomr is Winning

Chelsea Public Library Light
Sorry, I haven't been kayaking much. The whole family has been fighting a cold. Just photography lately. Zooomr still has some bugs, but I like the member community better than Flickr. Check out some of my latest work here.

09 June 2007

OK, I Think Zooomr is Working Pretty Good Now

I have uploaded several photos and figured out what I have been doing wrong as well. If I rework a photo in Photoshop, I need to remember to re-save the file in the original RGB format. That should be no big deal, but the uploader was hanging up on every file that I switched to Black and White. The Zooomr team has been adding features back in a little at a time as well, so Zooomr is getting back to normal finally.

08 June 2007

03 June 2007

Zooomr is Back Up

Yvette, originally uploaded by rjsteih.

Zooomr may be back up, but its kinda finicky. I have also started a Flickr account, but I have maxed out my upload for this month. So in the next few months, I plan to evaluate both services, and try to decide which I like better. I have placed a link in the column to the right. Look them over and feel free to let me know which you like better.

30 May 2007

Zooomr is Down....Still

Zooomr is down and I am bummed. I don't know when it will be back up, and I am considering switching to Flickr. It seems like everybody with photos on the web has a Flickr account, but I like Thomas and Kris, the guys that run Zooomr. I like their photographic style, and general "coolness", but even they have Flickr acounts, which doesn't say too much for Zooomr. I guess I'm going to hold my breath for a couple more days and see what happens.

28 May 2007

Holiday Paddle

I got out of the house finally this evening, and paddled to the east, down to the yacht club. I spent about two hours total on the water tonight. It was much more subdued on this little cottage lake than I had expected. I could hear a lot of powerboat traffic all weekend long. Must be everybody packed up and went home earlier today. It was good to get out of the house for a little while. Being a holiday weekend, my wife was scheduled to work, and the baby has been feeling a little under the weather, so I spent the last four days taking care of her, so mommy could get plenty of sleep. This is a nice picture of the small sailboats at the yacht club.

I Saw My Father in my Reflection

I was standing in the back yard, and I caught a glimpse of my father in my reflection in the sliding glass window. I had been mowing the lawn, a job that I don't particularly like, when my wife yelled at me that she needed some help. So then she handed me the leash with the dog attached and I got to do another little job that I dislike. As I was standing by the dog's favorite tree, I felt a little like the fool that closes the barn door after the horse has gotten out. Anyway, my wife was in the house cleaning up the dog's "deliberate", lately they have not been accidents, but deliberates, because he is jealous of the baby. So its hot and humid, I'm sweaty and tired, I have a grumpy scowl on my face, wearing my tired old worn-out boots, my jeans that are baggy in the butt, and my denim shirt is untucked, and the blurry reflection in the sliding glass door looks just like my dad, twenty five years ago. Only difference is he had a smart-alack teenager to put up with, I on the other hand have a teenage dog to put up with.

20 May 2007

Jackson Area Paddle and Wildlife Viewing Session

Beautiful weather this morning on my paddle to the west on my local lakes. I was on the water by 10am and spent about three hours total. I paddled to the west toward the less developed lakes, so as to hopefully find more wildlife to view. I was rewarded well for my choice.

Mute Swans: Several pairs, some with signets swimming along with the adults.

Canada Geese: Can't walk without stepping in their "leavins".

Red Tailed Hawks: Chased everywhere by crows and red-winged blackbirds.

Blue Herons: They go unnoticed until they jump into the air.

Sand Hill Cranes: Huge birds with almost silent flight, but a real alarm klaxon for a voice.

Muskrats: Lazily swimming in tight circles, completely aloof to my presence.

A little snake: I don't know what kind, but it liked swimming around my kayak when I took a break at the halfway point.

Tom Turkey: I didn't see him, but I heard him and by the location I believe him to be wild.

Rooster Pheasant: Didn't see him either, but could not miss his crow.

Total distance today was only about five miles, for three hours, a very leisure pace.

19 May 2007

See My Feet

I have been taking more pictures lately than kayaking, so check out my Zooomr pics to see what I've been up to.

28 April 2007

Paddle Season has Begun!

Well for me at least. The water temp was about 60 deg F...too cold to go for a swim, but survivable, if I did. I had a chance to try out my new NRS Mambas. They work really well. My hands stayed very warm. So warm in fact, I took them off after a while.

I paddled for about three and a half hours total today. I didn't break any speed records, but I did paddle further than I had originally planned. I investigated a part of Michigan Center lake that I have not paddled before. It was like paddling at a totally new lake for me. I almost had the entire place to myself today. I saw a couple of fishermen, a small family out in a little Zodiac, and two teenagers in kayaks. Of course the teenagers were dressed for the air temp and not the water. I remember being young and stupid....how did I survive?

I felt pretty good today. My back didn't start hurting, and the kayak didn't feel unstable to me either. Both were concerns when I planned earlier this week to go paddle today. The kayak did however feel very tight. The back band and foot pegs were still in the same locations that I had left them in from last fall. Like Alex, I felt very slow and heavy, after a long cold winter.

I did see a lot of wild life today. Spring is in full swing and there were a lot of birds on nests. I saw a Sand Hill Crane sitting a nest...a first for me. There were also Mute Swans and Canada Geese sitting nests as well. While paddling I had to be very careful not to get too close to them.

20 April 2007

First Ride

Last night was my first ride this year. The weather was perfect. The weather wasn't really holding me back until now, but with all of the back problems that I had this winter, I figured that I would just take it easy. This happens to be the put-in that I use when I paddle near home. I just had to stop and dip my fingers in the water. It is still pretty cold. We had snow flurries just last week, and we haven't had any warm rain to warm up the lakes yet. The back feels good now, and this weekend is forecast to be warm and sunny.....Finally.

07 April 2007


My wife is pretty cool. I got these in my Easter basket this year. With the weather being as cold as it is so far this spring, I am probably going to get a lot of good use out of them too. Thanks, dear.

05 April 2007


Jeez, ya just gotta love Michigan in the spring time.
Snow on the ground.
Black ice on the road. It is gonna get warm some day isn't it?

02 April 2007

30 March 2007

First Flower of Spring

Woo hoo! The first flower of spring. This little beauty is growing in the flower bed in front of the house. Its been warm outside too. The ice melted off the lakes last week. The water is still cold, but it won't be long until I can go paddle.

24 March 2007


Look at this! I just might have to order one of these.

20 March 2007

On My Desk

I found a blog (via boing boing) where creative people submit photos of their workspaces. It's kind of funny to see what kind of stuff other people collect. All three of these are of my desk at work. Clearly we creative people function best in a slightly cluttered environment.

16 March 2007

Friday Funny

The day after his wife disappeared in a kayaking accident, an Anchorage man answered his door to find two grim-faced Alaska State Troopers. "We're sorry Mr. Wilkens, but we have some information about your wife," said one trooper. "Tell me! Did you find her?" Wilkens shouted. The troopers looked at each other. One said, "We have some bad news, some good news, and some really great news. Which do you want to hear first?" Fearing the worst, an ashen Mr. Wilkens said, "Give me the bad news first." The trooper said, "I'm sorry to tell you, sir, but this morning we found your wife's body inKachemak Bay ." "Oh my God!" exclaimed Wilkens. Swallowing hard, he asked, "What's the good news?" The trooper continued, "When we pulled her up, she had 12 twenty-five pound king crabs and 6 good-size Dungeness crabs clinging to her." Stunned, Mr. Wilkens demanded, "If that's the good news, what's the great news?" The trooper said, "We're going to pull her up again tomorrow."

06 March 2007

Cabin Fever and Muscle Atrophy

The month of February was a tough one for me. The baby is getting heavier, and I was too. My back just couldn't take it any more. My sciatic nerve was the worst part. My whole leg would cramp up and my right foot felt a little numb. In the middle of February, I had my wife take me to the emergency room, because I couldn't take the pain any more. I was in pain for four weeks straight, but I only missed two days of work. Now I am in physical therapy, and I am doing much better. I don't think that I like the traction though....think medieval rack.

Winter in the mid-west is terrible...at least I think so now. When I was a kid, we used to go outside and play in the snow all the time. Now that I am getting older, I just worry about slipping on the ice and breaking something. It is cold and dark outside when I am not at work, so getting good physical activity is hard to find. I really hate exercise equipment, the view never changes.

Sunday is the time change. The change to Daylight Savings Time means that it will still be light out at 7:30 pm. This glorious little event is going to happen 3 weeks sooner this year. My only worry is that it will still be too cold to ride the bike. I am looking forward to getting out of this house that I have been cooped-up in all winter long.

I want to feel the warm sun on my face again.

05 March 2007

Quiet Water Symposium

Unlike the much heralded "kayak show" in Wisconsin. The Quiet Water Symposium is a much smaller, more intimite setting. I attended the show this year on March 3rd on the MSU campus in East Lansing, Michigan. I had intended it to help relieve some of my cabin fever, but I think it had the opposite effect. I purchased the video Greenland Rolling with Dubside, and I have viewed it only once so far. I plan to study it much more closely in the near future. I really enjoyed the shot of Dubside rolling the huge triple cockpit kayak. It looked like he really had to "put his *ss into" the task of dumping it over to begin.

There were many booths this year with water conservancy groups, and artists, photographers, writers,instructors, and clubs that all have one thing in common. They all enjoy the lakes and rivers in there own unique way - they don't use motors. Kayaks, canoes, dog sleds, ice boats, snowshoes, fly fishing, there were even some hiking and mountain climbing groups there.

I really want to get outside now. It was 5 degrees F outside this morning. Only three more weeks till April.

01 March 2007


Maddie was baptised on 25 Feb 2007 at Immanuel Lutheran Church. Aunt Cindy (my sister) and Uncle Josh (Yvette's brother) were sponsors. Family photo...look at that red hair and those blue eyes.
Photo with Granny and Papa.
Photo with Grandma and Grandpa.
I have been busy with lots of non-kayaking aspects to life. Good thing too, it has been cold and nasty outside this winter, and the lakes are frozen over, so no kayaking. I get to look at my lonesome Gulfstream hang on the garage wall every day as leave for work, and then again when I return. About one month to go with the cold weather yet. April is always better, although today is March 1st, and it came in like a lion, with thunder and lightening even, so maybe March will go out like a lamb. Keeping my hopes up for an early spring.

21 January 2007

Big City

My first time in New York. A business trip. Did a little site seeing. It was a great opportunity for this packaging designer to see some great inspirations. Toured the Museum of Modern Art, 5th Ave window "shopping", the Empire State Building, a couple of big design firms, the Paramount Hotel, Times Square, Moss, Karim Rashid, FAO Schwartz, the Apple store, St. Peters Cathedral. Lots of walking, more than I am used to anyway. I rode a subway, and hailed a cab, all by myself.