The sky was so pretty last night. Of course, I forgot to take my camera with me to dance, so I had to scurry home and grab it before I could even attempt to capture it. The color fade was so subtle in the east that I couldn’t get it to really show on my camera. I was able to grab a few shots of the more dramatic colors in the west, though.
I had hoped to get it while it was still mostly a vibrant orange on the horizon, but it took just a bit too long to get my stuff and get back out. I still love the colors in this even if it isn’t what I had in mind.
So, I’m still playing and trying to learn more of the ins and outs of the new software, though I don’t have nearly enough time each day to play as much as I’d like. The above image is the altered version of the photo below. I wanted to see how much better I could make a not great photo.
I don’t think this was the best choice as part of the reason this wasn’t great was the focus was off in addition to a lot of other factors. Still, I’m surprised I was able to get it to look as good as I did. It will be interesting to try this with a photo that had other issues to see if I can turn a meh image into a really good one.
While I’m loving that I have a lot more options, I’ve always been kind of a purist when it came to photography. I liked the challenge of getting an amazing photo with only my camera, with no additional help other than a simple crop or shift to black and white along the way. Yes, being able to manipulate a photo with software still takes a certain skill, but it kind of felt like cheating a bit.
I’m torn, but I love the idea that I can end up with photos that are so much better than what I’ve done so far or that I can potentially take a photo that would have been amazing “if only… ” and still get that amazing through software instead.
Here is another moody one from the series of photos I got “accidentally”. It fits my mood at the moment. Can you believe that my cough is actually worse after having gone to the doctor? And not in that “it sometimes gets worse before it gets better” kind of way, either. For this reason alone, I’m ready for spring and warmer temps. This crap is… well… crap.
Today is the first day that everyone is back to a normal routine after the holidays. Hubby is back to work. The kids are back in school. And it is so quiet in the house.
Well, at least it is in between the moments when I’m desperately trying to cough up a lung (thank you so much my old friend bronchitis, I thought you’d decided to leave me alone this winter), something I’ve been trying hard to do on an off since around Thanksgiving. It is hard to try and get back into any kind of normal routine when you feel like crap.
The longer than normal break has allowed MC’s birthday to sneak up on me. He will be turning 18 and that is such a mixed bag of emotions. We keep joking that we are kicking him out now that he is an adult. He just keeps laughing at us.
Because of his birthday, Death by Chocolate is in my future. The fun of having birthdays so close to the holidays (both MC’s and mine) is that it feels like the holidays don’t just stop, but trickle away slowly. That goes for all the food and goodies.
I have a day to try and get up the energy to do everything I need to for that and I’m going to spend it with my nose buried in a book, eating cough drops like candy and trying not to nap with the hope that I’ll actually be tired enough to sleep through the coughing for a change.
I’m not really big on setting major goals or resolutions. I’d rather focus on just noting the things that are important to me to maybe focus on or to try and the things to look forward to. It is part of my need to focus on the positive things rather than the negative.
This is going to be one of those really big, notable years for me. So much of that focus will be around MC because he will graduate from high school in the spring and then will start college in the fall. BG will add her smaller but still important events by getting her driver’s license and by being in a much larger part of her dance recital by being in the oldest group of girls for the first time and as an assistant. Hubby will turn 50 this year. All major changes, but all things I’m mostly excited about.
I really want to continue to try and focus on the good and the things that bring me joy. While many of the major events this year will be amazing, they will come with that bitter sweetness that most major changes bring, so that positive focus will sometimes be easier said than done. My plan is to add some things to that list of events that help tip the balance.
While there will always be lots of books to read, I really want to spend more time this year doing more creative things. I’ve started playing with one aspect to see if it is going to work for me. I have a few other ideas, but I still need to see if they will fall into the “I’m doing this for fun” side of things or “This is more work than fun” side. Since the goal is to focus on the positive and the joy, it needs to stay on that fun side.
I really want to spend more time out taking photos. Partly for the photos and partly because I really need to be more active than I am. I didn’t spend nearly enough time walking and reading this year as I have in years past, so I need to make some changes to that.
Really, other than the things that are happening this year, this isn’t a whole lot different than what I’d looked to focus on this last year, finding the joy and the things that make me happy.
And it is stupid cold. If it weren’t windy, I could be out trying to photograph frozen bubbles. It is snowing heavy enough that it was a challenge to get a pic of my front Maple that wasn’t blurry. I didn’t quite manage it.
I’m hoping the snow stops soon and gives the streets a chance to melt off because MC drove to school today and he has never driven in snow. It wouldn’t bother me if he were a few short miles from home, but we live really close to the farthest edge of the district, which means a good 20 minute drive on 50+ MPH highways and a few side roads. We did tell him to take the bus home if it was still bad when school lets out. Now we get to see how well he listened.
Oh, and a bit of a brag moment… MC got accepted into his top 2 colleges. We are now in wait and see mode on any scholarships.
As of this morning I’m still sitting in limbo on my book. The 24Symbols platform via Draft2Digital still has not managed to get me delisted 10 days after I put in my initial request. I have been off all other platforms with the exception of Kindle since about 8 days ago.
I’m not so frustrated by the fact that I’m losing out on potential sales from those platforms I’m no longer listed on because I hadn’t actually sold any through them in the first place. I am frustrated because I’m potentially missing out on readers through Kindle Unlimited because I can’t set it up until I’m completely off all other platforms with the ebook and I HAVE gotten all my sales through Amazon.
I emailed D2D again yesterday and they said they were working with 24S to get this straightened out. If someone were to ask me today, I’d probably have to say they should avoid the 24Symbols platform at all costs. It seems to be problematic as they were also one of the ones that took the longest to publish out to. I don’t have anything negative to say about D2D at this point as they have done a good job of responding to my emails and may be working to help this along, though that doesn’t do much for my frustration levels.
Yes, I may have just hit the unlucky spot with my timing and this isn’t actually normal for them, but trying to market a self-published book is hard enough without these kinds of roadblocks and speed bumps dropped along the way.
Our first hike of the trip was the 2 mile Eagle Trail. I really wanted to do this one in particular because of some of the pictures I’d seen online. They had shown that it had a lot of different interesting features. What I didn’t pay any attention do was the difficulty. Difficulty isn’t something that I’d ever really paid a whole lot of attention to, mostly because there isn’t anything like that around here.
For this trail, the difficulty wasn’t in incline or altitude change so much as how uneven a surface you were walking on. If it wasn’t a woven crisscross of roots, it was haphazard rocks. There were a couple of points near the water’s edge where the trail got incredibly narrow, which was fun when you ran into people hiking in the other direction.
The first third or so of this trail was heavily wooded with a few smaller rock formations along the way. It was such a rich, dark vivid green, it was almost unreal. I hate that none of my photos even come close to doing it justice.
It sort of reminded me of the kind of scenery you’d see in some fantasy movie with an enchanted forest, but not the dark, creepy kind. It was so pretty there under the trees. I could have spent hours in there just taking pictures and would have if it had just been me and not the entire family.
Once you got closer to the water’s edge, there were a lot more rocks and the landscape and feel of the space really changed, becoming harsher. Even though we were really close to the water, sometimes within a few feet, there weren’t a lot of places to see out onto the water because it was still really heavily treed.
One of the things that was really fascinating along this hike were all of these little cave like areas. Some were way bigger than others, able to hold multiple people and others would have been barely large enough for a small animal den. None of them went very deep into the rock, but were enough to give a sense of space and wonder. These were some of the kids favorite places to explore along the way.
The middle third of the hike was this really rocky area along the base of the bluff and the water’s edge. This was one of the most difficult areas of the hike because of all the rocks and how many narrow paths you had to take. There were more points where you could see out across the water, but there were still a lot of trees along the shoreline, which is something that kind of surprised me in general about the peninsula.
By the time we got past the last of the bluff area, things got back to being similar to how the hike started before thinning out even more. Even though it was only about a 2 mile hike in all, it was still pretty intense. I didn’t get any pictures after the rocks. Mostly because I’d already taken way too many and what I was seeing wasn’t much different, but also because I was about out of gas and getting cranky. I discovered the backpack I was using had a rough spot that rubbed on the skin on my shoulder since I was wearing a tank top and had to have my hand around the strap to protect it. We were all pretty wiped out at that point and were more concerned about just getting done. As exhausting as it was, it was an amazing hike.
The chokecherry is probably one of my favorite trees and I’ve posted about it before because of that. This year, the timing was perfect to have the windows open for a couple of days when this was in full bloom, meaning I could sit here and just be enveloped in the absolutely wonderful smell those blooms produce. Sadly, they only lasted those few days. Now we are down to the bloom/seed stalks left after all those gorgeous petals have been blown away.
I’m also hugely saddened that my second tree is struggling this year and it looks like half or a little better died off over the winter. It had almost no blooms on it because such a small part of it made it to spring. We’ve had that one in the ground for probably 3 years now, so it really hurts to lose so much of its size.
So yesterday was apparently no exception to the pattern my life seems to be on lately and crazy was the theme. Early in the day, I made a cool connection to help promote my book. Maybe. Fingers still crossed on that and I will have an update when I know more.
I am ready to be done with snow and winter. I’m ready for sun. And warmth. And flowers. But that isn’t happening. We have yet another winter storm headed our way for the weekend. My kids have now missed so much school they will be going later than I ever remember them going. They only have a handful of days left to miss before they are no longer required to make up any more. I didn’t even realize that was a thing. BG has also missed so many dance classes because of the weather, they’ve had to make up a special schedule for make up classes or these poor kids won’t know their routines for recital.
I try really hard to not wish for tomorrow to get here. Trying instead to enjoy the day I have in front of me, but the cold and the dreary are starting to get to me. Even as pretty as winter has been, giving me loads of wonderful opportunities for photos, I’m beyond ready to get to the point I can open my windows again.