A Week In My Life

“I think daily life is the most beautiful and wonderful thing that anyone can have.” – Ana Tijoux

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Week 2 with A Month of Multiples (Kim Klassen) had several assignments, including documenting everyday life and real (raw) life. I combined them together to a week in my life.

This includes:

Walking at the local park – I love going here. It has paved paths which is nice when it’s rainy or I’m tired. The dirt paths give my feet and ankles a great workout, although I have to be careful not to trip. Best of all, it’s only a 5 minute drive from the house!

A day trip to do some photography – We drove to the western edge of Virginia to a town called Dayton. It was cute, we had a nice lunch at a local restaurant, chatted with a number of locals (our cameras and tripods created a lot of curiosity), and got some nice pictures. In this picture, the Blue Ridge Mountains are in the background.

Reading on the deck with a clingy old dog – He’s getting even more tumors and instead of being squishy, they’re rock hard. He’s not breathing right either. But when I go outside to read on the deck, he wants to be there with me. I’m loving him as much as possible while I still have him.

Trimming nails for the same old dog – Since he doesn’t go outside much anymore, his nails grow long really fast. I think it’s easier for him to walk if they’re short, but since he hates getting them cut, I’ve let them get longer. It’s not ideal, but I don’t want to argue with him over it anymore. It’s not fun for either one of us.

Taking a walk around the neighborhood – Between our subdivision and the sidewalks on the main roads, I can go a good long ways. I usually turn around at this corner, but I always enjoy taking a minute to enjoy how pretty it is.

Our crepe myrtle came in bloom a second time! – All the crepe myrtles came back in bloom recently and they’re even more lush than they were in July. We’ve never had that happen before, but they must be liking the cooler weather and rain.

Walking an old beagle twice a day – His walks are mostly sniffing for cats in the storm sewers these days, so he gets his own walk separate from mine. On the days it’s super hot or he’s limping, our walks consist of checking out the side and front yard. It makes him happy and helps him sleep better.

So that’s my raw and real life! Thanks for coming along and having a chuckle at how awesome my days are.

Missing: A Personality

20160301-366 Water Color 4 Blog
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in March

I seem to have lost my personality recently.

My “part-time” job has been fairly high stress due to some turnover and I’ve been working a lot of hours to transition, streamline, and meet tax due dates. I’ll get those hours back, but not for a while.

If you want to discuss Excel functions and formulas, downloads from the general ledger, and strengthening the accounting around the tax filings, I’m your man! Or person, as it would be.

But if you want to discuss what I’m reading lately (all the  J.D. Robb’s starting with the first one), what television shows I’m watching (reruns of Numb3rs), and what hobbies I’ve been enjoying (none), forget about it.

Continue reading “Missing: A Personality”

The Muse Has Left The Building

My chair and it's comfy pads along with a pile of books and my notebook.
My chair and it’s comfy pads along with a pile of books and my notebook.

Remember on the old Frazier show, how it would always end with “Frazier has left the building“, a riff of course on the phrase, “Elvis has left the building“. Well, in response to weekly photo challenge for this week on muse, I find it hard to show what’s calling to me because nothing is.

The muse has left the building.

Continue reading “The Muse Has Left The Building”

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?

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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.

 

Naming My Emotions

Walking with my Vizsla
Walking with my Vizsla

I was laid off on Wednesday.  Outsourced.  Bye-bye.  7 years of my life over just like that for myself and my entire team, all of whom had been with me for over 5 years.

Whew!  There.  I finally told it.

My former employer left me in good shape, so I have time to thoughtfully look for another job, for which I’m glad.  But I’m also upset for all the hard work and effort I’ve put in.  I expect that in a very short time, all of that will be gone.  Outsourcers tend to use the cheapest labor they can find, which does not equate to experienced.

Each morning I’ve woken up with a different set of emotions about this whole chain of events.

Thursday I was elated.  Free time!  Time to do what I want!  No year end!  I can enjoy the holidays instead of working late most nights in December!!  I made lists and lists of all the things I want to get done while I’m out of work.  Five pages of lists in fact – I have a lot of catching up to do with my life.

Friday morning though found me sad.  I went back after hours on Thursday to clean out my desk and it was hard.  My favorite boy toy was with me to help out and the HR rep was compassionate about the whole thing.  She was (thankfully) someone I’ve known almost since my first day there.  I was glad for that and glad for her understanding, but it was still hard.  All those years reduced to a few boxes.  Packing up my desk was as upsetting as being told to leave.  I was also sad that I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to people.  I had a lot of good friends at work and there was no closure.

Saturday was fear.  Fear of the unknown.  What’s going to happen now?  Will we have to move again?  I don’t want to move.  Are there jobs out there?  What will I do?

Sunday was fear again, but a different type.  I don’t want a bad boss – I’ve had several in my career and they really wreck one’s life.  I don’t want a ball busting job.  I want a better work / life balance, something I’ve had very little of with my last few jobs.  And I don’t feel like cleaning up yet another mess.  I’ve cleaned up too many of them in my career.  It’s no fun and there’s no glory in it, as no one wants to admit things were so bad before I came.  In fact, the job that I just left had been outsourced for two years before I came and the files and positions were non-existent, along with numerous errors that took me years to clean up.

I don’t know what my new routine will be yet.  The Vizsla is getting a long walk every day.  He’s gotten excessively clingy again and keeping him tired means we don’t have a dog jumping the gates at 2 am to come visiting, which he did Thursday night.  It took several hours and numerous tries to convince him that he was staying downstairs and not in our bed.  Thankfully the beagle slept through most of it and I didn’t have to contend with two of them refusing to go back downstairs!

I’m drinking more tea.  I sit at the kitchen table, looking out the windows and enjoying being quiet as I sip it.  Sometimes I read, sometimes I just daydream.  It’s nice to be able to leave my brain off even if for just a few minutes.

I’m finding a nap each afternoon to be good for me.  It doesn’t matter if I’m not sleeping as well as I should if I can make it up later.

I’ve gone back to taking daily pictures.  I enjoy it and it records my life for me even if they aren’t high art.  The silhouette above was taken with my cell phone during our walk at the woods.  I look like a lump in my winter coat (it’s been that cold here!) but I liked the way my grey muzzled puppy was looking at me.  That stick in my hand is actually a retractable leash.  His recall isn’t the best, especially if we walk past another dog, so I keep him tethered to me like the park requires.

After Thanksgiving, I’ll be contacting people and start the process to find another job.  For this week, I plan to enjoy time with my family.  My daughter says she finally looks pregnant, so I hope to get some baby bump pictures to show everyone.

 

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.

Continue reading “Fixing A Dog Photo”

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