Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 28Feb21

Finally! I pulled the Nikon back out! It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve actually taken pictures with something besides my phone, though I do get some good shots when it’s all I have and there’s a shot to be had. Like these:

It’s not the camera that takes the pictures, it’s the photographer (for better or for worse), but there are some things the phone’s camera can’t do.

Those are The Climbing Daddy’s bonsai (my favorite of the shots was not in crisp focus, sadly), a desert rose that hasn’t bloomed again but we haven’t killed it either, a spiderwort that The Climbing Daddy propagated from a clipping, and a succulent that is really cool-looking but I don’t know the name of it.

My struggle with focus is sometimes light-related. When it’s sunny, as it was when I took these shots, it’s hard to see them on the screen on my camera—same as trying to look at any backlit screen. I have tools in the camera to know if they’re bright enough (usually), but the focus is a bit of a crap shoot.

Also, we have all these cool plants and more and no great ideas for what to do with the yard. The Bermuda grass takes over wherever there’s water, growing around and then up into pots, and it’s maddening.

Anyway, while I was out there, the pooches were out there. They’re nearly always where we are, when they can be. And, of course, they followed me in.

Posted in mindset

Making space

Earlier in pandemic, we bought a treadmill. Even in the nice weather, one of us uses it most days, and when the weather is uncooperative, it gets used multiple times each day.

Each week, I have a handful of Zooms, and I participate in most of them while walking on the treadmill. (If I’m going to need to be taking notes, I don’t walk, because walking and typing is not yet in my multi-tasking skill set.)

“I wish we had a treadmill. We don’t have space for it,” a Zoomer said to me.

Neither did we. We got rid of a couch, moved the papasan to another room, and then there was space for it. 

This ties in with so many different areas of life with the same theme: you have to decide it’s important, then you have to make space for it.

Space and time and emotional energy and money are all finite. It’s somewhere between inconvenient and really difficult to sort out “would be nice”s from priorities and act accordingly.

Where are people going to sit when they come over? There’s a pandemic, and we’re taking precautions seriously. We’re not having people over inside the house. My physical health (and, by extension, mental health) is substantially more important than seating for imaginary guests. The last global pandemic lasted two years; I’ll assume this one is the same, plan accordingly, and be pleasantly surprised if I’m wrong.

Posted in differences, know better do better, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

It’s not just about the weather

We have a serious game of one-up-manship going on. It’s everywhere and completely lacks empathy.

An easy example, one that likely isn’t triggering to most people, is weather.

Right now, Texas is just starting to thaw a bit. People went for days without electricity and/or running water. It’s killing people. Homes are flooding. Drinking water is scarce. Many foods are in short supply. 

People from other parts of the country where snow is common are smack talking.

This isn’t to say that the overwhelming response is “So? We got way more snow than that this weekend,” but that the response is big enough to be noticeable is troubling.

It’s not the same. Can we agree it’s not the same?

If we can’t show empathy about things that truly are not about us at all (except maybe to say that we’re tougher because we regularly live through what we believe you’re complaining about?), how can we have compassion for people in situations that actually push our buttons?

We need to do better. Not just about the weather.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 21Feb21

This week, I’ve taken photos that I previously shot and messed with them in Photoshop.

Some were of people who wish not to be shared (which I respect), but I was pretty excited that I was able to cut out the background and move a person with a good-looking end result.

I got an Apple pencil for Christmas, and doing the fine detail work on taking out the background is the perfect combination of “requires focus” and “doesn’t require brainpower.” It was a great break from writing.

I enjoy messing with the color filters and then routinely can’t decide which result I like best. (Either that, or I don’t like any of them.) So I take them and collage them in different ways. I don’t think collage is a verb. Or it wasn’t, until just now.

Here’s a bit of what I came up with in those meanderings.

Posted in audience participation, connections, socializing, thoughtfulness

Pleasant people plus one

I was in a writing group. We were generally friendly, offered feedback to each other on our work with both give and take on “negative” feedback. (So grateful for that. Can’t get better without constructive criticism, and we, culturally, are extremely averse to it.)

One person in the group was extremely unpleasant. Would talk much longer than anyone wanted to listen, offered advice on things people didn’t want or need advice for. (In my “welcome to the group, tell us about yourself” bit, I mentioned I was a band teacher and was doing bucket drumming with my classes. Upon hearing this—after being acquainted for less than five minutes—he offered me some suggestions for how I could do band instead because it’s really important for the kids to play their instruments. He was not a teacher, not an instrumentalist, had no children, and my classes loved playing the buckets.)

I talked to the facilitator about his abrasiveness, and she agreed that he was difficult and some people had left the group because of him but *shrug*

A similar thing is happening in a different group I’m part of now.

In talking to a friend about the current situation, she told me a parallel story.

Why do we let these people destroy what would be pleasant, productive communities? How many opportunities to connect have we missed out on because one person ruined it for everyone?

And how do we fix it?

“Use your words” comes to mind, but how do you tell someone that they’re socially atrocious? If someone can finesse and deliver the message and the recipient doesn’t reject it, how do they socialize after receiving it without being self-conscious all the time?

There’s a difference between self-conscious and self-aware, and I’m not sure that replacing the vacuum of neither with self-consciousness is great. And I’m also not sure it would solve the problem anyway.

Kick them out? Make it unpleasant for them so they quit? None of these feels good to me, but I’m not sure there’s a solution that does feel good to me…

Have you had a situation like this that was successfully resolved? (For whatever “successfully” means to you?)