Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 26July20


The sunsets here are nearly always fantastic, but we’re finally into the part of the year where we have such lovely clouds.

I went out to shoot clouds a few evenings and ended up with shots that were … decent. Not what I was hoping for, but some that were at least sharable. (3 photos in the slideshow)

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After the views from a local park weren’t as good as I’d hoped, I set up on the sidewalk and still didn’t get much from the sky. Then I saw oscillating sprinklers along sidewalk’s edge, so I thought a long-exposure shot might be cool. Alas, the combination of the darkness (beyond dusk by this point) and not good background led to the shot not coming out good at all.

I noticed that lights from an idling bus down the street were reflecting in the wet sidewalk.


And then in the foreground (not visible in the pic above), I noticed a cool shadow pattern on the sidewalk, the product of the lit basketball court and posts on sidewalk’s edge. This is my favorite shot from the outing.


Finally, in going in the back yard (again, in pursuit of clouds), I tried a few shots in the pool area. None that involved water came out well, but I like this one.


I have access to Adobe editing tools now and when I have brain energy and make time, I’m going to dive into editing. But work starts this week and it’s all online so that’s likely to consume time and brain energy. Always more to learn than time and energy to learn it…

Have a good week! Next time, it will be August!

Posted in ebb & flow, podcasts

What are your monthly expenses?

Today’s post is really just fluff. We’re not going to talk about yours (or my) monthly expenses. I just heard a little tidbit that gave me pause and I thought I’d chat with you about it.

I was listening to a podcast that isn’t about budgeting at all and they mentioned that Shaq’s monthly expenses amount to $825,000. (It was an episode of Under the Influence, a super-interesting Canadian-based podcast about marketing, and I can’t find which episode. It’s not where I thought it was…)

That’s … more than teaching has paid me cumulatively in my career. I can’t empathize with needing to do commercials so that I can pay the bills when the bills are that extensive.

I mean, I understand it on a very basic money-in-money-out way. And picking up odd jobs to make money. But on a much smaller scale.

What do you think?



Posted in about me, ebb & flow, mindset, motivation, parenting

Keeping The Kid engaged

I have a trait. (Whether it’s a blessing or a curse is up for grabs.) I’m interested in a lot of things. There are many skills I would like to attempt to acquire.

As a result, there is way more to do than time (or sometimes energy) to do it.

The down side? I often feel time-deprived. And I sometimes (not always) have trouble sticking with a task when it’s at a hard part (learning new skills always has hard parts) because there’s something else I could work on instead.

The up side? I’m never bored.

The Kid has some of this same quality about him. There are things he can talk about longer than you can listen (space and space travel, Minecraft, LEGO) and many many other things that he shows passing interest in.

Because we didn’t go to camps this summer, I decided to try to give him some “slow and steady” perseverance in skill acquisition. The badge system worked well for certain things for a while, but it wasn’t going to work for this.

So I made a chart. We all participated.


It’s in a frame so we can use dry erase on it. Each day as we do one of the things, we cross it off. Doesn’t have to be a ton of time. A little bit of attention each day.

Each day that the entire list gets marked off, one of the pictures at the bottom gets crossed off. (I had just discovered those pictures when I was making the chart, and that system was born entirely inadvertently as I picked out ones I thought The Kid would love and/or laugh at.)

We did seven days on then a day off (so these were weeks but not Sunday-to-Saturday weeks), and while he needed to be reminded sometimes (often), he did it.

So did I. It was great for giving me a kick in the butt on days when I didn’t feel like doing stuff.

(The Climbing Daddy did it the week he took off and many weekend days, but not on work days, which is to be expected.)

Yesterday was Trophy Day. The Kid was so excited coming up on Trophy Day. (He’s the one who made it more like a holiday and less like that’s just the picture you cross off that day.)

I didn’t know what I was going to do when the board was complete, if anything, so I just took all the symbols and made a certificate. He was thrilled!

In making the certificate, I named the “event” the New Skills Challenge. It hadn’t had a name before. He was extra-excited to complete a “challenge.”


He did the typing test in his typing “game;” improved accuracy 7% and WPM by 1 since taking the same test near the end of the school year.

He can play a little bit more on his trumpet; mostly, he sounds better on the same songs. (The Climbing Daddy had to start over on a new instrument, as we no longer had a sax to use, so The Kid started over with him.)

He crochets single stitches quickly and feels ready to try a granny square. (He is learning this from a friend and from YouTube—I don’t know how to crochet.) He is excited to have a jellyfish kit waiting for him when he has a bit more skill.

He is learning to write in cursive. Needs to trace words still and is doing much better with forming the letters than when he started. (Kids should learn cursive for a bunch of reasons that I’m not going to tangent into right now. It’s not a useless skill.)

Between typing and cursive, his spacing issues in printing have decreased. (The typing error he made most often was not using the space bar. When I told him that it’s the SPACE bar and it should be his favorite, he rolled his eyes.)

We’re working on Spanish together and he’s picked up a few words, but he’s pretty resistant to it.

He reads often anyway, so that was on the list as an easy win every day.

After receiving his trophy certificate, I told him we have two more weeks until school starts—do you want to do two more weeks?


I think we’re going to set some small goals and see if he can work towards them, instead of practicing aimlessly. I don’t know if that will be helpful or initiate a bunch of negative emotions (anxiety, frustration, pressure). We’ll talk about it and see where it goes.

In the mean time, he’s proud of himself for the work he’s put in and the skills he’s started to hone.

And I haven’t heard “I’m bored” yet.

(Me? I’ve been playing piano, trombone, ukulele. You see a bit of my writing. Also writing the book and in a journal. Definitely not all three any day. Spanish through a website and books and talking to The Climbing Daddy. Photography you see the results of here—some days it’s taking pictures and some days it’s just working through my online course. Soon to add editing. Exercise has been running, strength training, sometimes pool-related. This list will be pared down next week when work starts again. How am I going to pare it down? I still want to do it all…)