Friday, October 29, 2010

Alphabet Challenge M-Z

The rest of the alphabet, as seen through my lens.

(on my Flickr)

M is for Mint, N is for Necklace, O is for Ornaments, P is for Pulleys, Q is for Quill, R is for Rocks and  Rusty Red Wagon and Radio Flyer, S is for Soccer and Shin guards and Secrets, T is for Teeth, U is for Uno, V is for Very unusual bike, W is for Water sprinkler, X is for X Factor, Y is for Yarn, and Z is for Zzzzzzz.

That was a fun, and thankfully short, little project.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Mrs. Vanderbilt Didn't Prepare Us for This

When I began recording passing thoughts on a blog it was a solitary, anonymous act.  I didn't think anyone but internet weirdos would find me and was very surprised when anyone responded to anything I did.  It was big fun.

But after joining a few Flickr communties and following several blogs I found the comments, inclusions into projects,  and web correspondence a daily thing.  It's still surprising, big fun and I'm grateful for it.  But, as some days just uploading a 365 is almost more than I have time for, I fear my responses are slow and inadequate. 

 Of course the only space in my life for this is the wee hours after homework, housework, etc when I hole up in my room and become the Flickr zombie.  The exhaustion is worth nurturing the unleashing of creativity I've had recently and watching other people unleash their's too.   

Walking dead or not, I want to respond to this in other people, to comment and encourage honestly like others have for me (and really, how else can you be held accountable with 365?)  
So somewhere, within my late night Flickr sessions, I try to carve out room for reflecting on their work- openly. 
Which brings me to the real problem.  Flickr comments are like answering machine messages.  I sound stupid on all of them.

(365 Day 288)

 Here I am bombarded by wonderful images of all types by hundreds of strangers who share the same love of photography that I do.  Then, there's the recent uploads of my fantastic contacts that I've been following through their photographic journey, seeing their skills and interests change over the last year so much that I feel as if I know them 
and all I can think of to say is, "Too cool."

I try to express my thoughts about what I'm seeing or the feelings it produces in me succinctly, but then I find myself saying something with "intangible quality" or "indefinable" in it and do some serious backspacing.  Often I just leave the comment space blank and think of it as a good deed.  Well, it's not that bad - I haven't used words like "perhaps" and "nevertheless" yet.

All of my life, I was never good about thank you notes, but always intensely thankful for kindness.  It's true, even if it sounds flakey.  And since my generation is where thank you notes seem to have died off, it is an easily forgiven oversight.   But I want to remedy that.

So I looked to a book from my great grandmother's generation about manners and social graces for a little advice today:  Amy Vanderbilt's New Complete Book of Etiquette where along with in-depth instructions on eating lobster in public and making non fitted sheets fit, one can find directions for writing every single type of note there is to write.  

(example: Bread and Butter letters, thank-yous for gifts, thank- yous for entertainment, letters to public officials, and letters of introduction ) 

But there really isn't anything to compare with the need for quick, to- the- point discourse with millions of people all typing away about the same thing at the same time.  

However, I did find a bit where her son wanted to write to the author af a new children's book to tell him how much he enjoyed it, and she encouraged him to do so.  Within two days he recieved "a charming reply" from the author thanking him for writing.  The book was Stuart Little by E.B. White.

(365 Day 290)

Mrs. Vanderbilt continues to say that "No writer, author, public office holder, artist, musician, or other person singled out because of his accomplishment is ever offended by your words of praise, oral, or written.  He may even be stimulated by or interested in your criticisms decently given..."

But how would he feel about, "Wowie, wow, wow!"?

"He may actually not have time to take care of such correspondence, especially if he has no secretary. "

Tell me about it.

"But don't hesitate through  diffidence to express yourself, if you feel you have something you'd like to say to such people... Everyone, i am sure, enjoys appreciation of what he is trying to do if the words he hears or reads are sincere and given without thought of possible benefit to the giver of them.  You need never feel constrained to keep your reactions to yourself."

(365 Day 291)

There you go, straight from the authority of grace and manners.  Now,  I am making a conscious effort to remark on the things I see and love on Flickr as much as I can, though I'll never be able to completely.

  So if I leave you a comment that sounds like the millionth "Wow" of the day,  or psuedo-intellectual ramblings about subtleties, or a bad 80's surf movie: "Dude!",  just know that it comes from my heart.   

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alphabet Challenge: A - L

The challenge was to take a picture of an object that's name starts with the letter of the day.  

A few have two images.  Arizona, Bad dog, Cannisters and Canoes, Dragons and more Dragons, Excited, Foot, Grass, Horse and Honeysuckle, Ice, Jumprope, Kitsch and more Kitsch, and Lunchtrays.

Best Way to Spend the Day

This is it:  

(365 Day 287)

Making quick work of my more appropriately colored oatmeal pullover,  I watched an hour of the new Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House on the Prairie.  It's really well scripted, directed,acted, etc.  But I'm not an impartial critic,  since I grew up watching Little House on tv and, even now, hearing a few bars from the theme song makes tears stream instantly down my face.  I'd think it was because I used to watch it with my mother and it's a sentimental link to her, but then I see my husband choking up next to me. Probably subliminal messages.

I've really been eager to finish some knits lately.  Maybe it's because winter's approaching and so is the end of my 365 Project.   Whatever the reason, I was so happy to find a couple of new wool collections at our local hobby store:  Patons Classic Wool and Debbie Stroller's Stitch Nation.  There's alpaca, bamboo, and merino in enough colors to do some serious fair isle.  I thought about pulling it all out of the bins into a pile on the aisle floor so I could roll around and swim in it, but...nah,  I just stared at the non-acrylic fibers like they were in a carnival freak show.  

You see, I live in a knitting wasteland.  When I see fellow knitters living sort of nearby on Ravelry, its like the Robinson family realizing there are neighbors in the tree next door.  

Was considering The Mrs. Darcy Cardigan next, but the real pattern I had saved in my Ravelry library has been removed and all I have left are the circular modifications I would've tried.  I don't know if I'm up to winging something like that.  So, if not, it's the Liliane Sweater Coat

Friday, October 22, 2010

Deep Breath

By the looks of these 365's I live a life of leisure.  

(365 Day 285)

But actually, this is just the crumpled and collapsed version of me at the end of the day, because October is always crazy.  

  But these moments were still good ones, even if brief.   

(365 Day 286)

And it's nice to be reminded by 365 to be still and take a deep breath.  

I'd like to record something more meaningful with these images but my son is breathing down my neck right now, waiting for his turn on the computer so...adios.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What to DO...

I just received Aperture 3 and started piddling with it.  Piddling for hours, that is, and reading all the reviews I should've read before ordering it.

imperfected, on my Flickr

I'm not really into spending lots of time in front of the computer, so this is a big bummer for me to have to figure it out.  Plus, I let my husband, who doesn't use the camera, research this purchase for me - due to the same loathing- sitting -in- front- of- the- computer thing.  Now I am not sure if it was the right decision.   Maybe Lightroom is better (you get what you pay for), but if that's the case would Photoshop CS be the way to go?  I don't have any real interest in manipulating the life out of a photo, though, so... it might be like buying a hummer when all I really need is a bike, or a pair of shoes.

Any opinions are welcomed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's Play Catch Up

I've been behind in posting, but not in taking, yay!
I've just been up late finishing Full Metal Alchemist and working on stuff around here like this.

(365 Day 280)

Don't I look happy and sleepy up there?
But here I am feeling tired of hateful mid-term election Facebook posts.

But then, after a soccer game and marching contest,  I got new yarn (sigh) and the next day my husband and I went on a date and got the bestest cd (no more dependence on Grooveshark) that I heard about here.

And today I just did a ttv alphabet photo and threw the old feet in to double as a 365, cause I'm lazy like that.

The end.

Mystery Garden Bits

Just little bits left to summer's mystery garden.  I never know what will work and what won't.  I may even get stuff I didn't plant.  I still have bell peppers- don't know what's up with that- and a few spinach plants.   

 I waited on fall planting for our well to be installed, but we've ran into a problem with the pump (it was used and may have to put in a different one, also used) so I waited too long to plant some things. However,  I did plant lettuce, spinach, brocolli, chives, chamomile, and mustard greens.

The well isn't as much of a necessity at this time of year, but in the spring it will be vital if we really want to produce enough for food.    
The well digging was like an amish barn raising, remember the scene in Witness?  Only it was just my husband,  dad, uncle, and a friend in out tiny backyard taking turns with a borrowed auger on a very hot day while our little dog went crazy trying to bite the water.  Our only expenses were pipe and fittings so it was old fashioned, neighborly kindness that I will truly appreciate when my water bill drops next summer.     

Aah next summer...that will be my best garden ever!  I may actually do the huge garden in the side yard that I wanted this last year.  Or maybe not.  As usual with the mystery garden, we'll have to wait and see what develops.

Friday, October 15, 2010

What I Learned from My Daughter

Look at my face in this picture (I'm on the left.)  That is the expression of someone feeling very blessed to know her own child.
(Watchman Trail, Zion Park, Utah)

Aside from looking alike- and everyone tells us we look alike, except that she's taller, to which she sighs, we have a lot in common too:  our tastes, sense of humor, sentimentality, etc.   Maybe I taught her a lot of that, but we both know where the similarities end (yes, they do end.)  For one thing, she is much more confident than I was at her age.

When she was born, my greatest desire was to make sure she knew her creator and knew that she was valuable and loved.   I was only 21 and those were the things I needed then.

I didn't want my little girl to pick up on my weak confidence and feel the same way by conditioning, so I forced myself  to be more sociable.  I took more chances, spoke up in a group, and volunteered my abilities.  I (who could happily die a hermit in the woods) became less painfully shy, so that she would see a healthy woman with healthy relationships.

I didn't want her to doubt God's love for her, so I couldn't doubt His love for me.   I spoke of it and treated myself like someone worthy of love.  In other words I "faked it 'til I make(d) it."  And I remember one day I was literally sweating over meeting some people because I felt so shy but was determined to be friendly and talk to other people when I really just wanted to evaporate and fade into the walls.

(365 Day 279)

It's amazing what mercy for another can do to overcome our fears.    Like with Beth in Little Women, who suddenly found strength to rush and hug stern old Mr. Lawrence next door because she realized he missed his own grand-daughter,  mercy has worked this way repeatedly in mine and my children's lives.  It has given us boldness to speak out for another's sake at times.  Other days, it lends forgiveness or humility.

One day, when she was 3 or 4, I realized that I really... truly... believed... deep down... that I was worthy of love and precious to God.  A few uncomfortable years and BAM! It was done.  That's what my daughter taught me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Headband How- To

Thought I'd share one of my favorite heirlooms and how I made my own.  This one is a no-brainer and so simple.  

This button necklace belonged to my great- grandmother.  I think I can remember her wearing it with various green and brown polyester dresses.   It's a memory link to her, which is why I was so honored when my grandmother gave it to me a few years ago.

 The pearl buttons were strung together with thread.  Simple but striking.

(365 Day 276)

     It was my inspiration for another necklace and this headband. 

For the headband I used four different types of buttons in browns and cream from the hobby store.  

 I strung them with transparent elastic thread, the kind used in little girls' stretchy bracelets.

The thread moves from a button on the near side, through the button on the opposite side back to the next button on the near side.

 Every fifth button the color pattern repeats, creating a different pattern of two alternating colors on each side of the band.   But it's just as cool when they're all mixed up.  Size it to fit comfortably without stretching to reveal gaps between the buttons, and you're good to go.

(365 Day 278)

Friday, October 8, 2010

My Texas

See these very Texan images?  I love how a photo can create a whole atmosphere that may belie reality.   

 (H is for Horse and Honeysuckle vine)

The horse and I, we're not out on a ranch watching the sun go down.  I live on a small lot next to other small lots and this little guy doesn't have much more pasture than that to roam on.

I run to create open space.  These runs regularly take me past the crumbling old homes of my neighborhood to see him, calmly grazing with an egret trailing behind him.  

(365 Day 274)

Once his owner drove up while I ran by, and the horse came to life, galloping across the field with tail and mane trailing, for the gate.  I kept running, soaking up this little bit of country because, like him, I patiently pace around the perimeter of my life, ready for something in my own quiet way.  

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Big Plans

I'm completely unmotivated to get anything done today.   

(365 Day 270)

 I just got in from running and then having coffee with my father.  All the animals danced around me like crazy as if to say, "Oh hurray you're back!  She's home! She's home! Now we can all go back to sleep."  Then they collapsed into their usual lazy postures, draped over the rug, chairs, or the bed.   It's inspiring.  Instant silence, except for the hum of construction on the street.  

I'm posting these then I'm going to ignore my computer the rest of the day. 
 I can listen to a tv show while I finish this sweater (Finally!)  Then read The Hitchhiker's Guide til I join my crazies in a nap, with the machinery outside as white noise.  

(365 Day 273)

If I set my alarm to 3:20 I'll have exactly 10 minutes to pick my son up from school, then the rushing and chaos can begin.  I'll accomplish something then. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

B Sides

Whenever this 365 Days project is over I should do another 365 of only B sides, you know the multitude of rotten shots that the decent ones are nestled between on my memory card.  I've found that for every decent photo I post there is an equally horrible one.

 I'm like Jerry's girlfriend on Seinfeld who seemed normal enough until the light hit her from a different angle in such a way that Kramer would fall backward to get away from her.   The lens distortion makes my close ups look like a drunken peasant with a large, red nose from a bad tv movie about the French Revolution shouting, "Off wi' his head!" in a British accent.  

(E is for Excited, Day 272)

A simple photo of myself relaxing on the floor morphs into The Grudge with a shutter click.   And, oh 365 you are showing my age!  If the camera dips below my jawline, I look like I'm holding a flashlight under my chin, telling ghost stories around a campfire.   Not that I'm looking for the most flattering angle- these aren't headshots, but, geez Louise, I don't want my children to be frightened as they upload!  

(365 Day 271)

B Sides.  Maybe next January...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What's the Deal with Purple Shoes?

I joined happy purple tuesday a few weeks ago, but had yet to contribute so I took these.  (I like how washed out it looks.)  

Then, Friday, I tried to get a 365 in purple before rushing off to a high school football game (our team's color happens to be purple.)   Like this.   I didn't even wear purple when I was a student there. 

 (365 Day 268)

Then I see Kirsten Mckee's photo of a purple converse sneaker. 

Then I saw lots of photos of purple shoes and I wondered: what's the deal with purple shoes and when did I become a purple shoe person?

Just thinking out loud, here.

Monday, October 4, 2010

If I were in my son's class...

...I would think he was the coolest,


even if he does have a dragon fixation

and gets fussed at for doodling all over his assignments.

Good Driving Music


This is Why I'm a 365/ Blogging Slacker

I am also my son's school project assistant,

 my daughter's semi- conscious chauffeur,

and family party planner and head chef.

(365 Days 266-269)

All very satisfying distractions.