Revisiting Icicles 2018

Today I’ll be working on doing some clean up in the new space (SO much drywall dust!!) and making an attempt to close of the section under the lower landing on the stairs from the cat room.

Of course, I’ve gotten so used to the cats being shut in a room during the day, I didn’t even think when I went to check progress yesterday and left the basement door open. And also of course, our introverted kitty snuck down and immediately wiggled her way into that space and hid.

Everyone attempted to coax her out, but she refused, so we had to leave the basement door open, hoping she would eventually come out to eat or use the litter box that is still in another room. It took several hours, but she finally came back upstairs. Now I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again.

The closer this gets to being done, the more antsy I get to start working on something creative. It is kind of driving me nuts at the moment. I know that doing all the parts I need to do – the painting, floor, and cabinets – is going to help with that, but I don’t think it is going to soothe it enough. Even more so now that I have stuff to go in that space, like my amazing new speakers for my computer that Hubby got me for my birthday.

I’m seriously considering taking them down there while I work today, just because. That and neither one of the kids have classes today so I won’t get scolded for turning it up too loud!

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.

More Frozen Fog Spikes

Today starts MC’s second semester in college. While almost all of his classes are from home, he is going to be spending a large chunk of time almost every day at the school for his eSports practice.

It does make me nervous, but there are protocols in place. Everyone on the team had to take a Covid test before they could participate and they have the space in their gaming zone for plenty of spacing and distancing.

The amount of time he has to be there for practice also means that he won’t be home at dinner time most of the week. While that isn’t different than when he was on campus last semester, it is still going to feel a little weird. It is also throwing one hell of a wrench in the car situation as there are conflicts between when he needs it and when BG needs it for dance. It is possible I’m going to have to go back to taking her and sitting in the car for the entire time she’s there.

It may be that things get a little crazy around here until we can settle into a new routine. At least the contractors should be done this week, removing that mess and stress from the mix.

3 days.

I’m counting.

And planning.

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.

Frozen Fog Spikes

The frozen fog yesterday was absolutely stunning. I was very limited on my time because by the time I got my camera and got out there, the wind was picking up and starting to knock all the spikes off of everything. At one point, it looked like it was snowing with how much was falling. I did manage to get in quite a few really good shots, so it was a successful little outing.

I was beginning to think that I was going to get a shot at two days of frozen fog to take photos of, but even though we had fog again last night, it wasn’t quite cold enough to freeze it and coat everything this morning.

That’s probably a good thing since we are back to having contractors working on my craft room today. The main guy from the original crew is here, but he’s by himself. He also wasn’t aware that the main guy told us that he’d be the one running the wiring. So… yeah. I’m ready to be done with that part of this project. The upside is that he will most likely be done with the remaining framing today.

At least I got some pretty pictures!

 

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.

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 Ice

Was I just complaining about not getting any winter weather? I really just meant snow. At least this ice won’t get to hang around for too long as we are warming up throughout the day.

I’m still battling this nasty cold thing. I just can’t seem to really shake it. It is still clinging pretty hard to BG as well though I don’t think it is kicking her butt like it is me. I really thought I’d caught a glimpse of the back end of it and had felt better, for all of a day, but slid back hard the next day.

I haven’t gotten anything at all done because of it. Getting out for the maybe 10 minutes I did to get a couple of not great shots (this one is the best) wiped out whatever energy I had. I really think I’m already ready for winter to be over and we haven’t even gotten a decent snow. Only because I know that spring will kick all of this nastiness out the door until next winter.

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

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night: On Redbubble

I again didn’t have the energy to do much of anything yesterday, but I did feel up to playing a bit and this was the result. As with most of these, I have this up on Redbubble if anyone is interested.

I’m apparently ready for the holidays!

Snowman On A Starry Winter Night

Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Apron
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Card
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask
Starry Winter Snowman Fitted Mask

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.

Now I’ve Done It

I finally caved.

I’ve been using an old version of Photoshop. In software terms, it could probably be considered an antique because of how many new versions have come out since my version was released. I had originally bought the suite when I had intended to do graphic design. It had all the programs I wanted to play with, but any Adobe products are expensive as hell. Worth it if you are going to be doing that kind of work.

Years later and I’m not doing graphics work. I have still used many of the products to work on any number of projects over the years, but almost all of them were for fun stuff, not make money stuff, so I’ve never been able to justify upgrading. What I had still worked great and the version of files I was using didn’t matter, so I saw no real need to fork over the cost. Especially since they moved to a subscription model.

With the work I’ve done for Envie! and as into photography as I’ve gotten lately, I’ve been incredibly tempted, but still couldn’t justify how much that stuff costs. Especially because there are 3 different programs in particular that I’d really want, so would be forced to do the entire suite of programs for the full price.

I’m beginning to think that Adobe can read minds now because I got an email offering an incredible discount for a year and I absolutely caved. I now have the latest and greatest products.

I haven’t had a ton of time to play just yet, but the little I’ve seen, especially with Photoshop… I feel like I’ve been trying to create a masterpiece using crayon. It could probably be done, but with a crap ton more talent and work than really necessary. I’m really kind of blown away. I knew it was different to an extent, but not to this extent.

I’m crazy excited to dig in deeper. I haven’t even had a chance to look at the other programs yet. It is going to take me a bit to figure out all the differences and all the fun new things I can do. The photo above was just me messing around trying to learn some of that. Below is the one I posted before so you can see the difference.

Dried Up Maple Leaf
Dried Up Maple Leaf