Posted in education, know better do better, mindset, parenting

Handy Smurf

A combination of misc details from around life recently…

We have Smurf glasses (think 80s McDonalds collectibles) and The Kid was asking about Smurfs.

One of the glasses features Handy Smurf which got me to thinking about how he was my favorite, and how I would pretend to be him when I was a kid, walking around with my invisible tool belt on and building invisible things. (This also gave me a little bit of insight about my kid playing similar solitary imaginative games. I had forgotten about doing this specifically.)

When I was in late elementary school, my parents put an addition onto the house. My grandfather did some of the work (mainly electrical, as I recall, but it was a long time ago), and I wanted to watch and/or help.

No. Girls don’t do that. (Which is weird, honestly, because my mom and her two sisters worked with him when they were kids.)

I did my science project that year on electrical circuits. (And got a mediocre grade on the presentation because I stood with my back to the class too much. The things that stick…)

What if those interests were cultivated?

(I would still love to be able to build things out of wood. And of course I would love to be able to change some of the questionable electrical at the house.)

A friend posted a lovely story about her kid on Facebook and said that the kid came like that (meaning it’s not her parenting that bestowed these good qualities in the kid).

My response was that while the kid might have shown up with those factory settings, as the parent, she has cultivated—or left space and given guidance for the child to cultivate—those qualities.

It seems that everyone has some spark in them that their parents or societal expectations have tried to extinguish, possibly have turned it into a point of shame. I know so many people who are working to own some piece of themselves that was consistently degraded. Something that they now always dismiss or second-guess or have that subtle constant underlying doubt or would love to do but “can’t.”

If you have no examples in our own life, you’re lucky!

Do a favor for the next generation.

Let them try. Let them explore. You never know where it will lead … even if it’s simply to an adult with less baggage.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 5July20

A new month! The passage of time remains weird. For you, too?

I took a walk with Sir Nikolas Cameron—something I was doing very regularly, then stopped.

Why did I stop? A little bit because walking in the same places was getting a little tiresome, though I found enough new things to shoot in old places that this wasn’t too much an issue.

I had some issues with my heels/ankles getting tight and when I started running regularly again, I apparently wasn’t stretching enough and this problem started again. Walking agitated it once it was bothered, so my morning runs and afternoon walks stopped for a while.

It got way hotter. First thing in the morning or dusk or later in the evening are the best times now to do anything on foot outside. Dusk or later doesn’t get me very far from my house before it’s too dark to get good shots, and that time of day tends to be busy on the home front. I’ve not been going to bed early enough to feel decent when I wake up (and I seem to have lost the ability to sleep in), so many first-thing-in-the-morning activities have been replaced with relocating from bed to couch.


I went for a walk and took some pictures. And it was hot. And it was fun.


Some things were backlit that aren’t usually. Well, “usually” according to when I’m usually out. In reality, they’re backlit every morning.


I took a lot of pictures of flowers. Mostly alive ones. Most of the shots were fine—basics of lighting and focus were in place—they just weren’t that interesting. These are the two that I liked from the batch.


In a nearby front yard, I noticed a cactus had fallen. And then I noticed a path of pavers. The sun glare off the pavers was intense, but the shot came out OK anyway. Do you like better the color or the black and white?


At the end of the week, I did some learning about taking shots of fireworks.

Our town’s fireworks weren’t cancelled. Instead, they were at an abandoned mall a mile and change from here (where people could go park in the lot, stay in their cars, listen to music on the appropriate local station, enjoy the show with whomever was in their car). I figured we’d be able to see them from here pretty well—thinking both that they were in a different direction and that they’d be higher.

We could see them low to the horizon through the neighborhood trees. Not ideal for watching or for photos.

An hour before that, though, the neighbor was setting them off in the cul-de-sac. Silver lining was I could get a few shots.

That first one, of course, isn’t well-placed within the shot, but it otherwise looks nice, so I’m sharing it anyway.

I love the squiggles in this one.


This last one isn’t a great one of fireworks; I thought the silhouetted trees in front of them made for an interesting shot.


Have a great week! Might as well…

What creative projects are you working on now?

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 28June20

The Climbing Daddy and The Kid were in the pool the other evening (read: every evening). As usual, I was cold and got out before they did.

“Are you able not to splash for 10 minutes if I bring out the Nikon?”

They complied.

Just trying to get the texture of the water with the underwater lights on.



And then a few of the lights on the porch, including this one and the lead image.



I’m getting better at shots in low light, but I have not gotten the hang of portraits if there’s not enough light. Getting better. Still not good.

Posted in mental health, mindset

The COVID opportunity

So much going on, both inside and outside of my brain. I’ve had a lot to say and it all bleeds together and nothing has come out clearly, so I’ve been quiet here on the writing front.

I decided to be productive (in terms of writing) by transcribing onto the computer some pieces for my book that I had written by hand a while back.

I wrote one bit about change and about how we typically require a traumatic life event before we evaluate where we are and what we’re doing. (And how that’s really too bad.) Also about the fork in the post-trauma road—some people take the opportunity to do better, to be better (for whatever that means to them), while others become bitter or closed off. I wonder why. (I’m sure people have researched this, and I’m sure I’d be interested to read about it, and I’m sure that I already have more on my plate than I can do and I will not add that right now.)

It was really interesting reading my thoughts about all that at this time.

We’re experiencing a world-wide trauma. Narrowing focus to just our country, people have been in various degrees of shelter-in-place for, at most, three to four months.

Some people have accepted it but are wilting within it. Some accepted and are thriving. (Those variations have as much to do with who’s in your house and how they interact—if there are others—as much as who you are.) Many haven’t accepted it.

It’s an opportunity to reevaluate what we’re doing day to day without thinking about it. Daily habits.

It’s an opportunity to change spending and saving habits.

It’s an opportunity to clean out the house and get rid of internal elements that are sucking up energy. (I used to be a “yeah it’s a mess but I know where everything is” kind of person and would not have believed that I would feel better with everything neat, uncluttered, tidy … and yet here I am, tangibly more peaceful when my house is tidy.)

It’s an opportunity to help others. (You don’t always need to be in proximity to a person to be helpful.)

It’s an opportunity to cook new things or read new things or explore new things (or old things that got set aside).

It’s an opportunity to be creative, whether literally (the arts, woodworking, app creation, LEGO building without directions, etc.) or in figuring out what to do with the kids … or with yourself.

It’s an opportunity to learn how to meditate. To breathe. To stretch.

Sure, you can argue that we shouldn’t have to shelter-in-place, that money is more important than people, that it’s all fiction, etc., but you’re denying yourself the opportunity to grow.

Is it hard? Of course it is. But you can do hard things.




*Of course it’s not possible in this moment for everyone. Nothing is. But it’s possible for an awful lot of people right now.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 21June20

Not many photos this week. I did some good learning, though, and know how to change a few more settings on the camera (and why and when I would change them). I’m pleased to be remembering much of what I’m learning.

The course I joined back in the fall has turned out to be good. Going through it as I might in a real class (but with the ability to pause to take notes, or rewind, etc.), writing things down, trying them with the camera in hand when it’s possible, I’m soaking up quite a bit.

I took these shots just messing around and practicing with some settings.


The lead photo is of a baby lizard that lives in the yard. We believe it’s from an egg that was in a tree stump and is usually spotted on the block wall. It was on our screen door for several hours today. (All those photos are back lit and didn’t come out well.) Then when The Climbing Daddy and I were out in the yard talking about good things to come, we saw the lizard on the pool deck. Much better photo op! (That one’s with my phone. I don’t happen to have the other camera on me all the time.)

I love lizards!