Broken Snowflake

Any bets on whether or not my craft room actually gets finished today like it is supposed to? Yeah, I probably wouldn’t take that bet either, but I sure do have my fingers crossed.

Supposedly, the doors are getting installed today. One of which I had to change because, shocker! They didn’t get what I asked for ordered in time. I could either wait another week or just change what they installed. I opted to change it. I don’t love it, but I really want to be done. It might end up being a blessing in disguise, so I’m not overly upset, though I’m irritated as all hell that they waited so long to order when they knew this was coming up.

They are also supposed to finish up any other details like outlet covers and, I’m really hoping this is on them, installing the can lights. They also have an electrical issue they need to fix.

When they were getting all that in place before the drywall got put up, the outlet that our sump pump plugs into quit working because of something they did. They fixed it and it wasn’t a huge deal. Until we realized that another part of the electrical that runs through the basement also wasn’t working, but it isn’t something we use often so we didn’t catch it. I can only hope the issue is at the main breaker box and not some funky thing they did that is now hiding behind drywall.

Overall, it doesn’t make me feel too confident that I’m not going to have issues later after they are long gone.

I’m just hoping that today goes smoothly and I can get these people the hell out of my house once and for all.

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.

Broken Frozen Soap Bubble

This one is actually from a couple of years ago. I had really thought this was from last year, but I was shocked to realize it was back another year. I have this in the rotation of background images on my computer and I saw it pop up the other day. It is one of my favorites from that particular attempt to do frozen bubbles. I’m hoping to get a chance to try these out again this year if the weather cooperates.

Yesterday, they got all the electrical in place. The only thing left is to have the electrician do the main connections and work out the specifics of connecting the three way switches, which is happening today.

I’m also supposed to get the rough in inspection done today! I was told that the city is being wonky about showing up though, so it might not actually happen. Fingers crossed that there are no hiccups on that front.

By the end of the day today, if the inspection happens, all the electrical will be done and we will be ready for drywall. As of right now, that is scheduled to start on Monday and won’t take but a couple of days, so I’m in final countdown mode to the end of the contractor part of this project.

I wasn’t able to get any photos of the progress because there is no power in the space, which means no lighting. Not that there really is a whole lot to see, but having lights in there made a world of difference and I can’t wait to have my lights in place instead of the temporary ones they’ve got now.

Playing With Snowflakes

I’ve been wanting to play around with a better technique of getting really great shots of individual snowflakes and their crystalline structure. With the snow coming down like crazy and my front porch protected, I thought it’d be a great time to try to play.

Unfortunately, my first thought to capture the flakes individually didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. I’d taken a piece of glass outside and let it sit for a little while to try and acclimate to the temperatures, but either I didn’t let it sit long enough, or it pulled too much heat from my hands when I was trying to hold it out to capture the flakes because they melted too quickly for any of the individual flakes to last very long at all. I also noticed that they tended to break apart pretty quickly on that solid surface.

I’d had a towel with me to dry the glass off in between attempts and I noticed that any of the flakes that landed on the towel, and even my gloves, never really melted away or broke apart. I want to play with this idea more, but my battery died before I could explore it much and the few shots I got, while so much better, didn’t have great flakes to share.

This was the best from a too short play session. Sadly, I think the snow is now done for a while, so I’ll have to shift my focus to something else.

Maybe some more frozen bubbles if the weather decides to cooperate soon. It’s funny, MCG’s mom sent me a video of someone doing these asking me to do them sometime. I had a good laugh while pointing her to my photo albums that had the images of the ones I’ve done so far. I love the fact that I’m getting along so well with her as it looks more and more likely that she will become MC’s mother-in-law at some point in the next few years.

Makes life so much easier for everyone if I can manage to maintain that, but next year when MCG comes here for college will be a pretty hardcore test. I am really looking forward to having MCG here, though. Of course, so is MC. I’m pretty sure he is counting down the days.

New Year’s Snow

We are getting a really heavy snow storm today. Heavy for us anyway.

Even better, it seems to be on the dryer side so that means I get some detail on the flakes. These aren’t the really detailed crystalline flakes. These are more spiky, sharp flakes, but they are still cool to look at up close.

This is all great for photos, but it also kind of sucks because I’ve now had to cancel an appointment for a second Covid test. Still incredibly doubtful that’s what I’ve got, but the doctor wanted to be absolutely sure, especially since BG started doing her cough thing and that is what changed mine. She was also supposed to get one, so she is thrilled she doesn’t have to get a brain jab.

Not really sure where the timeline break is to no longer test positive if you had it, but I’m going to have to try and figure out how and when to reschedule since the guys will be back to work on the craft room on Monday and I’ll have to try and work around them a bit.

But hey! I finally got some snow, so I AM happy about that.

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.

Night Of Lights

This is another photo from last year.

Tonight will be our annual drive to look at lights. I’m kind of shocked that my 16 year old AND my 18 year old think this is still something awesome to do and are excited to do it. I honestly thought by now that they would think it was childish or that they had much better things to do, but they have both been bugging  me about when we are going to do it this year.

So, as is tradition, I will make a big pot of hot chocolate. The kids will either get into cozy PJs or grab a blanket. We will grab some snacks and get the Christmas music going. Then head out for about 2 hours or so just driving around and looking at houses decorated for the holidays.

Even though we will most likely go and see all the same houses we always see and the decorations will all mostly be the same as previous years, we still go and look at them all. We goof around and laugh and sing along, sometimes with our own lyrics, which ALWAYS ends up in more laughing and ridiculousness. Then when the drinks and snacks are gone and we’ve heard all the same songs at least a couple of times, we will head back home.

I’m definitely going to savor it as much as possible this year because I know this tradition has an expiration as my kids get older. Next year may see an addition with MCG coming along or it may see MC finally deciding he has more important things to do with MCG here. I’m pretty sure that once MC decides he is done, then BG will follow quickly behind as it won’t be the same for her without her big brother.

Their continued excitement for this and some of our other traditions makes me infinitely grateful that my kids are who they are and that they still think time spent with their parents is something they enjoy.

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

Chunky Snowflake

This snowflake was a little different than the typical ones you see in detail that are intricate and delicate. It has that distinct outer shape, but lacks the inner delicacies. It hadn’t melted, so it wasn’t that it had lost it shape that way. It was probably because this was a more wet, sticky snow, but I thought it was interesting. Normally when you can pick out the snowflakes individually, there are always the tiny details.

Yesterday, my goal was to get started on some of the pre-projects I needed to get done before anything happens on the craft room. The big one being getting a comfortably usable workspace set up in the garage for me to be able to work on the cabinets.

The plan there was to add wheels to a couple of smaller cabinets I already have in the garage and attach my current workbench top to them both creating a movable, sturdy workbench. So far, I’ve got the wheels on, which was much easier and also much harder than I anticipated, but it is done. Today, I have to work on setting the top and figuring out how to secure it.

The other piece I needed to get done yesterday was getting my HVAC people out to do the ventilation in the new space. The plan for them is to add new vents and a return to where that room is going, creating a new zone and then to add an exhaust fan.

I call my guy to let him know we were ready to move forward and I find out he is sick. With THE sick, apparently. Of course, I scrambled to double and triple check my calendar to see when he was out to give me my bid. Thankfully, it was out of the danger time frame, but it still made me pause and really think about all of this.

I know that doing this adds another risk point for us. That piece really concerns me. My bronchitis is settling in nice and nasty already, so the idea of getting hit with ANYTHING else is kind of terrifying, let alone getting Covid-19. It is why we still pretty much keep things to Hubby taking care of the essential only, with the very rare other (even then it is very low risk/low contact) when I go out.

For a long time, it has sort of felt like we are living in a bubble because the numbers around us where I live have stayed really low. In comparison, we are still extremely low. Areas around us are much higher, but not quite to the point where hospitals are getting overwhelmed, though they are being watched closely as we are starting to see those numbers climb.

I know I fall into the extremely cautious category of personalities, but this concerns me. I have no way of ensuring that the people coming into my house are practicing safe measures outside of my house and that bothers me. Yes, they will be wearing masks or they can leave. I will be wearing a mask at all times when anyone else is in my house even if they aren’t in the same space. Both Hubby and BG will be around, but work in their own office or room and I’ll make sure they don’t come out without a mask on as well. Same goes for MC if he is home.

That is my current plan anyway. We do have an air scrubber (UV light) as part of our HVAC system which, theoretically, should help. I also plan to be ridiculous on cleaning surfaces. I just wonder if this is the best move right now.

I’m already worried about BG getting exposed through dance because of the number of different school districts represented in the students. I’m less worried about MC at college because almost all of his stuff is online and he is only out of his room for classes maybe a couple of hours a week.

Right now, I’m going to cautiously move forward, but I will be keeping a close eye on everything. Especially if this isn’t getting started until after Thanksgiving.

Snowy Rose

It feels like we should be getting ready to put up (or already have up) Christmas decorations, not that we are only a couple of days away from Halloween.

Not only did we get snow the other day (just enough to coat everything), but it stayed cold enough for it to hang around. Now we are supposed to get a mix of nasty today. Depending on how quickly we warm up, that mix may actually mean ice.

And with this oh, so wonderful blast of winter, came my equally wonderful annual bronchitis. This is going to be such a lovely winter! It is going to be epically entertaining to see how well I can operate power tools while in the middle of a coughing fit.

At least I’ll have a project to work on during the nasty. I confirmed the go ahead on the bid from this contractor to start on the craft room project. I’m sure I’ll have a contract to sign and other little side things before they can start work, but just being able to say “Let’s do this” made me giddy.

I have a smallish project in the garage to get that space more usable for a workspace while I’m doing the cabinets that I have to get done soon. Once that is done, I’m back to playing and honing my tool skills so I’m ready to go.

Hubby is going to be mad at me when I steal his little space heater so I can actually work in that cold garage. Poor guy is just going to have to layer up in the one room in our house that is surrounded by exterior walls and has a crappy window that doesn’t do squat for the insulation in that room.

See what happens when you steal my office? I get a new room and you get to be cold. Ha!

 

 

Snowy Tree In Black & White

I really need to get off my butt and get some new photos, but I just haven’t had much time. I’m not sure when I will, either, so… there might be a few repeats that I use to see what I can do with all the fun new features in Photoshop.

Switching to black and white isn’t all that hard. Even getting the higher contrast isn’t a big deal. What I like about this one is the fact that it really brings out and highlights all the tiny details. If that was ever a feature or ability in the old version, I never tripped across it.

I didn’t use it here, but this also allows you to to go to the other end and lower the amount of detail to get a much softer look without really blurring out a photo, something I was never able to quite pull off with the old version.

So far, I’m really loving what I’ve found. That said, it does allow a less skilled photographer to end up with a great photo if they know enough to use the software. Not a bad thing exactly, but I wonder if knowing I have the ability to fix a lot more mistakes will lead to me being a bit lazier. I really hope not.

Last Of The Snow?

It is still way too early to tell. As of right now, we don’t have any more in the forecast. It is one of the reasons why I hauled MC out yesterday afternoon to try and get a few more photos for his senior pictures because he was adamant he wanted some done in the snow (because that is SO him, the gamer guy that rarely leaves his lair to venture into nature).

We’d had a beautiful, if cold, perfectly clear sky, sunny day. All day. I’d been watching the light trying to figure out the best time to try and get my shots. Just as we walked out the door, clouds came rushing in from the west and killed the light. Of course it did!

I still managed to get a few good ones, but I need to do some editing on them as they aren’t quite good enough. MC said he wants to do some with a range of backgrounds like sunset or even in the spring when the flowers are in bloom. I actually think it is a brilliant idea as I’ll have been taking pictures of him all throughout his senior year. Talk about putting together a true senior portrait package!

They won’t look all perfect and professional, because doing portraits is so not my thing. But… I have several that are really good already. I’m going to have a hell of a time trying to decide which one(s) I’m going to want to print to hang on the wall. I may have to come up with something really creative and do something like a large collage with all of them. I don’t know yet, but something.

On a side note, I’ll be editing my private post with the most current update on that situation for those that chimed in.

A Pretty Kind of Snow

We are getting another snow. Thankfully, this is one of the pretty ones that is wet and sticky and coats everything it touches. I am hoping that it stays that step or two above freezing until everyone is home safe, though. As of right now, the roads are the only thing the snow isn’t coating.

I think it is supposed to snow even more later, so I hope I get a chance to get out and take pictures tomorrow. I’m not moving today. I always forget how much of a work out it is to kneed fondant and you have to do a ton of that to work in the color. I need to remember to maybe try and add color while I’m mixing the batch in the mixer so I can save my arms and chest. That is so much easier than actually working out those muscles so I don’ fee like an out of shape noodle every time I work with fondant.

Maybe if I go lay in the snow, everything will quit hurting. I may be numb and get frostbite, but at least I won’t hurt!

Snow & Ice

I am hopefully wrapping up my work on a graphics project sometime today and will have the amazing finished project to share soon. I’m really excited about what I’ve been working on and that I got the chance to do it.

I had honestly thought that things wouldn’t really start getting crazy around here until at least next month, but things have popped up and seem to be just cramming themselves into my schedule. I’m going to be a giddy mess in a few weeks if things work out because I’ll get to take BG to see Swan Lake performed. I have never seen it and thought it would be a perfect time since their pointe performance this year is to one of the songs from Swan Lake. I’m just waiting on confirmation from her dance friend’s mom that they are going with us.

I also have MC’s scholarship awards ceremony coming up in a few weeks. I’ve shuffled things and made arrangements so I actually get to go. There was a conflict with dance, but our dance friend will be taking BG to class for me that night so I can see MC being rewarded for all of his hard work and determination.

I may complain left and right about feeling like crap with this stupid cough, but… when I stop and look at all that is going on and what my kids are doing, the amazing guy I pulled on all the lucky stars to get, I’m one seriously happy girl and I’m surrounded by some incredible people that keep the joy flowing all around.