A Walk With Mom

Playing with my favorite toy - the squeaky soccer ball

Playing with my favorite toy – the squeaky soccer ball

Dear kind and gentle readers – yes, it’s once again me, the beagle.

I’m really liking Mom being home during the day.  Why?  Because she’s taking me for a walk nearly every day.  Oh such joy – I get to check pee mail!  Poop on the neighbors lawns!  And best of all, I’m finding all kinds of things to eat.

I go along, nose to the ground, when suddenly I get a whiff of something.  The other day at the park, I took off into the woods, shuffling through leaves that were nearly halfway up my short little legs.  Mom let the retractable leash out, not dreaming that I was on the scent of something yummy until I snatched up a stale bun.  Whoa – did she ever reel me in.  Worse yet, she dug it out of my mouth and told me I was a bad boy.  Then she threw it back into the woods.  I got the last laugh though.  As we walked away, I turned around, snatched it back up and nearly got it down before she dug it out of my mouth again.  ** sigh **  I was so close to eating it too.

I’m keeping a pretty good trot out there!  Mom’s getting a brisk walk in and so am I.  In fact, the other day she texted Dad that I was acting wild.  So she walked me around the entire park.  THE WHOLE PARK.  I could barely make it back to the car!  In fact, we were nearly there and I just ran out of mojo.  She finally coaxed me back to the car and then – this is so embarrassing – she had to boost my butt up into the car because I was too tired to hop in.

Where's the beagle next door?  I'll find him yet!

Where’s the beagle next door? I’ll find him yet!

For some reason, her and Dad found it incredibly funny when we get home.  Just because I stood there in the hallway, swaying on my feet and trying to sleep while keeping an eye on Mom.  Because I knew she was getting ready to take my brother, the Vizsla, out for his walk.  How dare she?  Those walks are for ME.  NOT him.  She left despite my vigilance and I made sure to howl and sob so she could hear me all the way out to the street.  Yeah, until Dad yelled at me to stop.  Hey!  I’m entitled to ALL the walks!  Who knows what I’m missing out there!?!?!

I slept the rest of the day.  In fact, I might have been snoring.  Dad complained about having trouble hearing the television, although more likely it was my brother.  I’m sure it couldn’t have been me.

Read More


The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher.  Do you have a treat?

New Year, New Routines

The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher.  Do you have a treat?

The beagle, Vizsla and miniature pinscher. Do you have a treat?

This week’s photo challenge is new – something new for me in 2015 (to see how other photographers interpret it, click here).

What better for this than a picture taken New Year’s Day?  One of the first of the year.  I didn’t have much time for it – just seconds later, they were running over to see if I had a treat to share with them, like this:

Oh the joys of photographing pets!

As I settle into unemployment and looking for a new job, I’m developing new routines.  I haven’t written about routines for a while (see my last post here).  What I like about routines is the structure it gives to a day and how the many small decisions that are needed don’t have to take up much  mental space.  At the same time, routines need adjustment to keep them useful.  So along with job searching, what else is new in my routine?

Read More


Common Enchantment

Vizsla sleeping on the couch, where he is NOT supposed to be.

Vizsla sleeping on the couch, where he is NOT supposed to be.

We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is full of common enchantment waiting for our alchemist’s eye to notice.
– Jacob Nordby / Author, Speaker, Coach

We had a wonderful time visiting the kids in Atlanta.  My daughter is doing well, sprouting along in her 7th month of pregnancy.  My son-in-law is also doing well and like good husband’s everywhere, has learned to let it slide when his wife’s hormones kick in and she snaps at him.  Her father also got snapped at and he too just backed away.

As for me, she complained about how uncomfortable she is, how bad her heartburn is, and how junior won’t stop kicking her, especially at night.  As nicely as I could, I turned around, put a pleasant look on my face and said, “payback’s a bitch”.  She was not amused.

I started some steps towards a job search before I left and spent today doing a great deal more.  I’m still not settled into a routine nor have I been nurturing my creativity.  But late last night I wanted a simple project, so I processed up a sleeping dog.  The Vizsla is getting so gray!  He turned ten years old this month, so there is a reason for all the gray.

I was looking for a quote to match the picture, when I found the one above.  One thing my blog is full of are ordinary moments in a day.  Dog pictures, the backyard, walking at the local botanical garden are all part of my portfolio.  I have some spectacular pictures too – Acadia National Park, Harper’s Ferry (West Virginia), Charleston (South Carolina).  But my life is limited by my job and my time.  If I don’t find enchantment right here where I’m at, my life will be small and miserable.  I love the high magic as much as anyone, but it’s not realistic nor is it something to be seeking.

I need to notice the enchantment that is around me right where I’m at.  I need to enjoy and appreciate my life, whether buying groceries with my husband or talking to a recruiter about possible job opportunities here in town.  What better way to enjoy the little things than to pet a sleeping dog, stroke those soft ears, and maybe even get a little grunt of contentment from him?

Life is good.

To see other photos of the Vizsla, click here.

 


Happy Thanksgiving!

Dogs Getting Fed

Dogs Getting Fed

It’s feeding time at the zoo, although the miniature pinscher is more intent on scratching himself than what’s happening at the sink with the food bowls!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your food as much as my boys do.  Do eat a little more slowly though and actually taste your food :)


Vizsla adjusted with Topaz Black and White

Fixing A Dog Photo

Vizsla adjusted with Topaz Black and White

Vizsla portrait adjusted with Topaz Black and White

As I was playing around with the 100mm macro lens that my favorite boy toy lent me, I took pictures of all kinds of things (you can see more of them here and here).  Because I was learning to use it, at one point I switched back to my regular zoom lens for comparison and in the process, took a picture of the Vizsla on the deck.  The lighting was all off, but when I reviewed it later, the composition was good and I decided to see if I could salvage it.

So here’s the original:

Original

Original Vizsla head shot

Whatever I was metering from, the dog is too dark and the background is too light.  I should have changed over to spot metering and blown out the background.

Read More


Belly Laughs Help Everything

Laughter helps everything, including my creativity.  It takes me outside of myself, resets my mind, and makes me happier.

So to help you laugh, here are some old pictures of not one, but two – count them TWO – baby Vizslas.  The one with the red collar belonged to my daughter and was just a few months older than ours.  This is from the weekend she brought her Dad his new twelve-week-old puppy.  The two dogs played like crazy and as you can see in the picture where my favorite boy toy is getting licked, one puppy was so tired he fell over in his Daddy’s lap and went to sleep.

The right picture, second from the top, is my daughter’s Vizsla.  His face is considerably different than the puppy that was ours.  See yesterday’s post for a close-up of our puppy.  Click here to see our Vizsla over the last few years.

To see bigger pictures, double click on a picture to start a slide show.

To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.

To see what others are doing with their 31 Days project, click here.

#write31days


Chaos Is Inevitable – Part 1

The beagle is three months old; the Vizsla is ten months old even though he looks full-grown

The beagle is three months old; the Vizsla is ten months old even though he looks full-grown

In chaos, all is possible. 
Every incoming idea is welcomed, with no regard for reality. 
Forget time, money or reason; embrace a brimming universe!
Because if you start with rules, your creation will be stillborn.
Philippe Petit in “Creativity: The Perfect Crime”

Along with the learning curve is the inevitable chaos that accompanies it.  It’s just not possible to start something – anything new – without there being a mess.

It’s not just photography or writing.  Over the years of working as an accountant, many of my projects were new from scratch.  There was no prior trail to follow.  I had to come up with a methodology from scratch, tame data, and make it presentable to a vice-president who had limited time and attention to devote to my problem.

The easiest way for me to do this is to just jump in and start.  I can spend time trying to plan it out, design my spreadsheet, and determine if the data available was adequate (and if not, what else could I get).  I’ve found though that pre-planning it didn’t shorten the process – actually, it made it take longer.  By pre-planning too extensively, I got locked into this had to work this way and no other way.  It didn’t give my mind the flexibility to change course and backtrack where needed.

So now, I just jump in.  I assess my data, start the spreadsheet, make changes, get more data if possible, change the spreadsheet again.  I might go back and redefine the parameters of the project because what was requested isn’t going to give the answers needed or the data is not obtainable or something better can / should be done instead.  Sometimes I’ll get halfway through before inspiration strikes and I start all over again with a better idea.

So why should my photography and writing be any different?  I didn’t wait for my blog to be perfect before I started it.  I picked a theme and went with it.  I blogged for several months before I realized I could change the header and put my own picture in it!  But if I’d waited for my blog to look gorgeous before I started blogging, I would have missed six months of getting experience putting together posts and photographs.

My blog today is considerably different as I’ve gained experience and found my voice.  I’ve learned to downsize my pictures, add tags and categories, and create links.  Click here to see one of my first posts – oh look, a baby beagle!   And he’s looking for a treat.  Gosh, what a surprise.  The beagle has since gone on to write some of his own posts, which can be found here.

So a reminder to myself in nurturing my creativity – jump in and try it.  Don’t wait for it to be perfect.  It might not even be right.  But I’ll learn better and faster if I just do it.  If I have to redo it later, that’s how it goes.

To see everything I’m doing with my 31 Days of Nurturing My Creativity, click here.

To see what others are doing with their 31 Days project, click here.

#write31days