Gift From Mother Nature

As much as I’ve complained this winter about not getting much snow, I’m going to take the timing of this as a gift. We aren’t supposed to get much and we are hovering on the edge of blizzard conditions with the wind, but it is snow, so I’m happy.

Though I will say that it is not at all uncommon to see snow on this day. I can remember numerous birthdays where there was so much snow on the ground, plans had to be canceled. I used to hate having a birthday this time of year, but this year, I’m gladly sitting here where it is warm and watching the snow blow around.

It may be the only peace I get for much of the day, so I’m taking it.

The drywall guys are supposed to be back today to do some more sanding and cleanup of what they did yesterday, so I’m not actually going to get my day free from people tromping in and out of the house. While they did fix and clean up most of the areas I pointed out, the existing area they were supposed to fix is still a long way from where I think it should be, but I’m done with them. Once everything is done and it is back on me, I’ll clean it up myself before I paint.

But that isn’t today. Today, I’m going to watch the snow and, later, indulge in some amazing creme brulee.

Bold January Sunset

It was a day behind our usual, but yesterday I spent the day getting all of our inside decorations taken down. It is always a little depressing seeing the house so bare again after a month of lights and colors.

It was only the inside that got done. The outside is still buried in snow, so that is going to wait. We talked about it and decided to most likely wait until the contractors are done in a couple of weeks because they will be working in that area and we will have to haul all of those bins back out after they are done to clean up all the drywall dust anyway. It saves some work and headache that way.

When I was at the point of doing some cleaning after all the stuff was packed away and Hubby was putting all the bins back, I glanced out the window and caught a hint of this stunning display. Of course, I had to try and capture it. It was so bold and vivid, it was almost unreal. The entire sky was doing some interesting things, no matter which direction you looked, but this was one of the best views.

Today, I get to go outside and play a little more because it got really foggy last night and froze on everything. We are a gorgeous white coated wonderland. I guess 2021 was willing to gift me with a beautiful winter that 2020 was being stingy with. Either that or there are some unnamed weather fairies up in the northern end of the continent that was willing to send me some of theirs, for which I’m extremely grateful.

Icy Lights

Today is our annual movie, games, and great foods day. It looks like we will also be ringing in the new year with a lovely winter storm. Depending on how it tracks, we will either get more ice and yuck or we will get upwards of 6 inches of snow, so it could be interesting and a very different kind of NYE entertainment.

Hoping you all have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve tonight! I invite you to join me in flipping this year the bird on its way out the door. May next year be kinder to all of us.

Winter Solstice

May the shortest day of the year remind you that the light will return. And that we are that much closer to kicking this year to the curb.

For any of you astronomy and star lovers, reminder that Jupiter and Saturn align tonight for the first time in over 800 years (the night part). Look to the southwest just after sunset.

Snowy Dreams

This year has proven that I really wouldn’t do well living in an area that didn’t get any snow. Other than the one extremely odd pre-Halloween snow, we have missed every single snow producing system that has made it way by. We haven’t even had a flurry.

A friend in NY posted a photo on FB of the massive amounts they’ve gotten and how much work it was taking to just get her front walk cleared in an attempt to dig out her car. The snow was up nearly to the top of the wheels. She was absolutely miserable and I felt horrible for her, but I was also a little jealous that we haven’t seen any.

We haven’t even had any rain.

While I really don’t wish for snow that would bring all kinds of negatives like power outages and dangerous roads, I do really wish we’d get snow. It is the only thing that makes the cold tolerable.

Photo is from 2019

Too Dark O’Clock

Being up early enough to get a sunrise shot is the pits, but it looks like I’ll get to see quite a few as long as I have contractors working. I’m going to be a zombie by the time this project is finished.

Mornings are made even more difficult when I have to herd the cats into rooms they can’t get out of so they stay out from under the feet of the guys working. Our older kitty, Cleo, is fine. She is the lovable one and has no problem getting picked up and loved on, which makes it easy to get her corralled. Our younger black cat, Midnight? She is a little bit evil and SO doesn’t like being messed with.

We had them in the same room yesterday but all I heard all day long was yowling. We are trying them in separate rooms today to see if that makes things better.

It took us nearly half an hour and all 4 of us to get Midnight into her room this morning, ending when MC picked her up after donning a nice thick sweatshirt to protect his arms. I’m going to have to seriously think about keeping her confined in that room completely until this project is done. Yesterday, we let the cats run free as soon as the guys were done for the day, but I don’t think we can do that and get her back in again tomorrow.

It might make things extremely complicated if we have to keep her confined completely for the duration.

What’s Left At The End Of The Day

It is difficult not to be exceptionally angry today. I’m angry at the ignorance and the unwillingness of those that are supposed to be in charge to actually DO something productive.

Yes, I could be talking on the larger scale as that absolutely applies as well, but I’m talking a little lower down the power rung. Our idiotic governor, who just got reelected, much to my horror, just put out a decision stating that as long as masks are worn properly at the time of exposure, schools no longer need to issue quarantines for those that might have been exposed.

What the ever loving fuck?!

The same day, one major university announced they were going full virtual after Thanksgiving and a local high school was also having to go all virtual because of the number of cases. But the brain trust in charge of our entire state decided, against ALL CDC and health department recommendations, that quarantines are no longer needed.

This was immediately followed by our mayor stating that our city would not be following those guidelines. Sadly, BG’s school district isn’t inside the city limits and aren’t bound by city rules. They did put out a statement that they will be considering what this means for them and give more information later.

It is hard enough to send her to the school to take her proctored exams as it is. Knowing she will be going if the school follows our governor’s guidelines pisses me off. I have her doing online for a reason.

This also makes it significantly more concerning to send her to dance because there are SO many school districts represented at the studio and I have no way of knowing which schools will be following those guidelines and which ones won’t.

I am sick to death of people that don’t know squat thinking they know more than the experts and putting so many people at risk. I simply do not understand whatever twisted rationale they used to make such a stupid, risky decision.  Schools are already having a hard enough time with outbreaks, but this dipshit thinks this is a good idea and that things will be better?

Oh, and this is the same dipshit that cut funding for schools in the spring.

The only mitigating factor in this at all is that, so far, our district has followed city guidelines for the most part. It is still going to impact so many other areas of my state, though. So many people are going to die because there is an idiot at the helm who refuses to listen to the real doctors with real experience and the CDC and the health departments. You know, the ones who’s jobs it is to know this stuff.

Rainbowed Sunset Behind A Tree

I finally got my test results back yesterday afternoon. It took longer than the 24 hours I was originally told, but I got the expected negative so I’m good to go to take the meds I need to kick this bronchitis in the butt.

Even better, I noticed that the amazing, saintly doctor I spoke to not only gave me a generous size bottle of the desperately needed cough medicine, but he gave me 2 refills on it as well! Every past doctor I’ve seen with the exception of the one while I was pregnant with BG that took pity on me and gave me enough to last about 2 years has treated that stuff like it was liquid gold.

I do get why, but it just makes it that much harder to get enough to get this under control normally, which means I have to go in multiple times every year. I really wasn’t looking forward to that this year so I did a little happy dance when I saw the number marked in the refills box on the label.

Fingers and toes crossed that all of this is enough to knock this out early this year.

Meandering Path

We went for a walk and a drive around this weekend. The hope was that the trees were in full color and to get some photos. Of course, where I live, we don’t really get a “full color” like you’d see in other areas. We sort of get stages.

One week may be the yellow trees. Another week or two later, after those leaves have already fallen, you might get a red or an orange popping up here and there (though we don’t have a lot of those). It just seems like we can’t manage to get all the colors to line up at the same time, though every once in a great while, the trees will put on an amazing show, but it may only last for a day or two.

Right now, we are still way more green than I expected based on the trees in my neighborhood. There are some yellows that are already quickly turning to brown and the rare splash of orange peeking through, but not much else.

It was still nice to get out. I managed to, of course, get some photos of the kids being the absolute goofballs they are. I’d wanted some nice shots, but I’m just going to be grateful that both of them still want to go and do those things with us.

Today I’ve got Misogyny guy coming out to give me a bid. I honestly don’t know what I’m hoping for at this point. I do really want to get at least one more figure for how much this plan might cost me. I’d kind of love for that whole conversation to have just been an honest mistake and the guy is a decent guy that I’d consider working with. Based on the luck I’ve had so far, I’m not holding my breath for it.

I can dream, though, right?

Sunset Clouds and Reflections

I nearly missed this brilliant display last night. I managed to run out, nab these few shots and then the colors were already beginning to fade. While the colors were at their peak, they were just stunningly vivid. If I hadn’t looked outside when I did, I would have completely missed it.

Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset
Water Reflection of Orangey Pink Clouds At Sunset

Dusty Sunset

The last couple of days we’ve had some amazing sunsets thanks in part to the Saharan dust in the air.

Yesterday in particular. All day you could see the haze in the air, so I knew if the majority of the clouds dispersed, we would have another beautiful one. I was not disappointed in the least. Obviously, because I couldn’t just choose one to share today.

I was out taking photos for about an hour and took over a hundred photos, most of them turning out really wonderful with only slight differences between each image, hence the difficulty in deciding which ones to share.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

I tested out a new sunset spot and, for the most part, I really like it because I can get the whole sky. I’m not a huge fan of the power lines, but I’m not going to be too picky.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

When the sun got to right at the horizon line, it started to get this awesome ombre look.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

Some of my favorite skies are the ones that look almost like they were painted. There were a couple of points through this sunset that the sky definitely came close last night.

Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset
Saharan Dust Sunset

End Of The Day

Dance picture day yesterday turned into “take all the pictures” day.

I always take photos of BG in her costumes at home, or as much as I can without making her change a billion times. For the first time, she allowed me to also take some outside the studio where they have their dancer silhouette on the wall. It is the standard parent kind of shot, but she’s never let me get one before, so I was really excited to finally be able to.

And, DAMN!! Those are some of the best photos I’ve take of her. I’m talking, a couple of them at least, look like the kind of shots you’d see on a magazine cover. It makes me so damn tempted to break my “no photos of the kids” rule here on my blog just to share it.

It helps that two of the costumes in those photos are some of my favorite ever, the top one being the costume for opening tap this year. It is this phenomenal get up and she absolutely rocks the hell out of it. I cannot get over how stunning she looks in it. He teacher even stole the image (with permission) and posted it on the studio’s page because it is so classic for the look and feel they try to get with that performance.

Since I was already deep into photo mode, I was keeping a close eye on the weather and lighting as I still had another set of photos MC wanted me to take to include in his “senior photo package” we’ve been working on. Shockingly, everything came together and we had a gorgeous evening with a long golden hour that was absolutely perfect.

I dragged both him and BG out because I also wanted to try and get a good one of the two of them together and we spent probably an hour taking photos. I took nearly 400 pictures in all yesterday (and no, they weren’t all good, not by a long shot) and, I think, managed to finish up the pictures that MC wanted. Hopefully. I did also manage to get a couple of really good ones of the two of them together so I have some new photos for my family photo walls.

Of course, because I was already there and the sky was gorgeous, I made them wait just a little longer after we were done before we could go home so I could grab a couple of sunset shots as well.

MC made it abundantly clear that he would prefer that if I had my camera nearby that someone else should be in the driver’s seat of the car because I spend as much time trying to see what’s going on with the sky as I do the road. He was teasing, but… he also isn’t entirely wrong. It is such a joy to drive with two newish driving teenagers in the car pointing out every single thing you do that isn’t strictly by the book.

In all, it was a great day. BG got her dance photos out of the way (I nailed the car dressing room perfectly). I was able to finish up with MC’s photos and got a few fun ones of my own along the way.

Of course, it was also a typical roulette wheel of “What New Random Loop Is Going To Get Thrown At You Today” kind of day as well because our mayor announced a mandatory mask requirement for all indoor public spaces (with a few strict exceptions) that is going to last for at least the next couple of weeks. This covers the time frame for recital, so I have zero clue how the studio is going to work that one out as it includes the dancers on stage.

I’m in “wait and see” mode again, but I still have to make sure she has everything that she needs, including new tights and a few extra small things. It is so odd waiting on things I ordered knowing there is a high chance they won’t be used, at least not this year. We may hear more today when she goes to the studio for her last ballet class before recital.

At least I have pictures!

Strawberry Moon

I made the time last night to attempt to get shots of the strawberry moon. I lucked out in so many ways!

I found a new amazing spot to get moon shots. In the process, I also found a new amazing spot for sunsets, but that’s for another post. The sunset spot is in a different location, but I was stoked to finally find places nearby with a phenomenal horizon view that wasn’t on a busy road. The location for these wasn’t quite ideal, but it was still so much better than most I’ve attempted.

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

 

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

While these aren’t perfect, I was still impressed with what I got as I really kind of wasn’t prepared and I felt rushed. It gives me a place to start doing more of this.

Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon
Strawberry Full Moon

And…

I got to do this with Hubby which was amazing and reminded me of what we used to do very early on when we got together. I was taking a beginner photography class at the community college at the time. He would drive around while I took photos. Multiple times those drives sent us chasing after hot air balloons in an effort to get close enough to get some good photos. It was this amazingly fun time and something we both loved to do, but because we started on kids right away since we wanted to keep them close in age with my oldest, our photo outings didn’t last terribly long.

It was so much fun last night to do this with him. I think it just might be something we try to do more often now that we are actually in a position to do so again. We had so many reasons not to for years and kind of forgot how much we both enjoyed this, even if all he did was drive me around and follow my crazy prompts of “Oh!! Stop here! No! A little more that way!” all while watching for other cars to be able to actually do those things.

It wasn’t quite as wild as some of our adventures in trying to get me in position for just the right shot, but it reminded us of a really simple pleasure, which is exactly what we needed.