Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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An arty evening

Our instructor in the beautifully painted art room.

Last fall I was looking for a local acrylic painting class and I stumbled across something called art journaling. That particular month the description included instructions for people to bring their favorite pair of old shoes to class.

I, not knowing what art journaling was, found the request for shoes intriguing.

I emailed the instructor and asked if she planned on having the participants walking or jogging or perhaps doing calisthenics while doing some sort of art project? She replied with a lot of lols.

No, the participants would be drawing their shoes and embellishing them with bits of paper or scraps of poems, maybe photographs, to describe memories or events that made these their favorite shoes.

Arranging bits of my holiday.

They do this in a journal, and month after month they meet to create different projects, explore different memories, all the while making art.

Well that sounded fun.

So I went, way back in September to one session and had a good time, and then travel and other life events interfered and I missed the next meeting. And then the holidays hit and I accidentally fell asleep the evening of the November session.

A little bit of Christmas.

So here it is January, and we met again, this time having collected bits of paper that reflected our lives. During the class we tore that paper up, doodled on it and glued it all back together again.

Well hello Dolly!

These photos were taken in bad light with my phone, but you get the idea. The whole two page collage represents what I did during the holidays. I saw the musical Dolly, I volunteered with Little Brothers at Thanksgiving, I wrapped gifts for Christmas.

It’s not great art, but it’s fun art and very relaxing. Plus the other women there are all funny, smart, welcoming and happy.

The finished project.

Just the perfect way to spend a dark winter evening in the middle of January.

Detail of the art on the wall.


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Hope = smiles

This week I had plenty of reasons to smile. After all I’m retired; I don’t have to get up in the dark and drive on congested construction strewn roads to work and then do it all again the next day.

That in itself makes for automatic smiles.

Visiting Lansing, the Capitol of Michigan, on a cold Sunday afternoon.

But if I had to pick one thing that made me smile this week it would be Sunday afternoon when my husband and I attended the ceremonial swearing in of our new Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin.

I keep insisting that I’m not political, I don’t like politics, I don’t have the patience for all the talk and lack of action, for the arguing, for the lack of empathetic listening, the insensitivity. I hate that neither party even tries to hear an opinion outisde their own dogma.

But this year the candidate challenging my district’s incumbant Congressman caught my attention. She actually sat down with my husband and me and listened intently to our truck safety issues. So I became involved in her campaign, canvasing and talking politics to strangers, which was very scary for me. She won by 13,000 votes and attending her ceremonial swearing in made me smile.

Photo from Slotkin’s webpage. Senator Stabenow, Congresswoman Slotkin and her husband, retired Colonel David Moore.

Presiding over the ceremony was Michigan’s Senior Senator who has also been very open to our issues, which made me smile broader.

But the biggest smile during the event was reserved for the Sexton High School choir who sang for us. A group of young people, diverse in ethnicity and culture, sang of hope and change to a huge ballroom filled with mostly middle aged white people.

Lansing’s Sexton High School Choir rocked it!

They sang from their hearts and we listened with ours, knowing that we were on the cusp of change for our district, filled with hope for a more responsive government. And when they finished we rose in a standing ovation before their last note ended, which made them smile.

“If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself and then make a change.”
(lyrics from Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror)

After the event, while we were all milling around talking I noticed one of the young singers standing behind me. I turned around and told him how beautiful the music had been. He nodded his head respectfully, then burst out into a wide grin and swallowed me up in a hug.

Seems smiles were the order of the day.

The gears of change grind slowly.

What’s made you smile? Tell us about it and link to Trent’s blog, he’ll recap for us next Monday!

Note: Follow the link above about Elissa to read a short article about the ceremony which contains a few quotes from her speech. I think they’ll give you hope too.

Something to smile about in Lansing last Sunday.


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Shedding light on Lightroom

Saturday I attended an all day class intended to up my skill level in the photo editing software Lightroom. The first half of the day was spent learning about cataloging your inventory of photos within Lightroom.

Mama! Don’t you see this stupid stick right next to me?

Much of that went right over my head. I have a system to keep track of my photos, and though it isn’t perfect and would probably make little sense to anyone but me, I am not sure I’m ready to change.

Well, if you don’t look too close, that’s a little better mama. And I like the light!

After all, change is hard.

Cheerful little guy.

The second half of the day was spent in the development module, and was the reason I was there. Though I tried very hard to focus and listen while at the same time playing along on my laptop, some of it still escaped me.

Sitting in a spot of make believe sunshine.

But I learned a lot of the basics, and as I practice I’m sure I’ll get better.

Sunset at the park.

The photos in this blog were taken in the past week with the new Nikon Z6 camera. I’m posting the original, out of the camera image and then the adjusted, messed around with image.

A bit over the top.

Sometimes the changes are subtle, sometimes I’ve over adjusted just to see how far I could take it.

This little guy wanted a treat.

I still have so much to learn…but at least I have hope that I can learn, little by little, photo by photo I’m going to figure it out.

Still hungry.

And maybe I’ll reorganize all those thousands of photos I already have in my catalog.

Just remember who’s most beautiful around here mama.


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Cee’s Black & White photo challenge: Music

A few years ago we had a mother/daughter duo playing clarinet in our community band. I took this image just before a concert, for another of Cee’s black and white challenges, that time for two of anthing.

I’ve always liked it, and so did they. I gave them a framed copy.

The daughter was in high school at the time, and now she’s graduated from college. Time flies, but connections made through music last forever.


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2019’s interesting, stupendous and fun stuff to do

I guess the time has come to stop thinking about what might be on this list and actually write some things down.

After all, 2019 will march along whether I get organized or not.

And without a list some of this stuff might not have a shot at happening. Not to say I’ll get to do it all, but certainly I’ll forget to even try if it’s not written down.

That’s what happens to me lately, I forget stuff not written down and I doubt that I am alone in that regard, especially among people my age.

So (drum roll please) here’s the list in no particular order:

2019 Interesting, Stupendous and Fun Things

*Visit the Point Betsie lighthouse in the winter to see the ice formations.

*Camping in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (not in winter).

*Try acrylic painting.

*Find someone willing to teach me what it’s like to make a sound on a cello.

*Gain confidence on the new Nikon camera, and figure out what the optimum lens is.

*Improve night photography skills.

*Spend a week in the Southwest.

*Visit husband’s family in Norway.

*Walk the CRIM 10 mile race in August.

*Spend a month or more in Alabama, invite friends to visit while I’m there.

*Look into the purchase of a 2nd kayak for the lake.

*Read 50 books, and try at least one from a genre I don’t usually read.

*Ride my bike on some of the rail-to-trails around here, maybe a one day bike trip complete with lunch along the way, maybe with a local bike group.

*Walk and photograph the Dequindre Cut here in Detroit.

*Meetup with sheltie mom(s) for adventure.

My plan is to check in on this list every month, and add items as they occur to me. No rule says January is the only month to dream, right?

What interesting, stupendous or fun things do you plan on doing in 2019?

Does any of this involve TREATS mama?


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Sunshine makes me smile

Sunshine makes everything prettier.


We’ve had days and days of dark sky, rain and cold wind. Though we haven’t had snow or even temps as cold as usual for early January, it’s been pretty miserable.

And then the sun came out.

Hurry mama! We have to enjoy the sun while it’s here!

The temperatures climbed into the fifties and it smelled like spring. For a brief moment I felt the unfurling of joy at the thought winter was over.

And then I remembered it was only January and I laughed at myself.

Moss glowing deep in the woods.

We had two lovely days of sunshine and warm temperatures. That and my Katie-girl made me smile.

What made you smile this past week?

Smiling in January.


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Resolution, bucket list, or….??

As usual this January there’s been a lot of talk about resolutions, bucket lists, and goals. Some people are setting expectations while others are happier letting 2019 evolve organically.

It was 51degrees in January, the sheep were loving the sun.

I’m still contemplating the whole issue.

I definitely don’t like resolutions, have never kept one in my life. But I do think that I would like to have a written idea of things I want to do this year.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Not a ‘to-do’ list per se. But something in writing to remind me of good (or who knows, maybe not so good) ideas. Things that occur to me as I’m reading, or driving, or dreaming, that I might forget over time.

Nothing that I have to do. Just things that I think I’d like to do. Or maybe something I might like to explore. Or even something I just want to research while I decide if it’s bucket list worthy.

Winter can wear a barn down.

Some people object to the term bucket list, inferring it’s a list of things to get done prior to death. I can see that. Maybe I’ll rename it. Maybe it can be “My list of interesting, fun and stupendous stuff to try in 2019.’

Yea. That sounds better.

No snow protects these fields. Yet.

So, what’s going to be on this list of stupendous stuff? I’m still working that out, but it’s beginning to occur to me that it can be ever changing. After all, stupendous doesn’t reveal itself only in January.

Sweet little barn sits alone.

Photos for this post were done today as I was practicing with my new long lens. I didn’t find a lot of barns on this exploration, but enough to get the feel of it.

I’m pretty sure some of my stupendous list will revolve around learning more about what this new camera can do.

And to find more barns.

Sunshine, new camera and barns.


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2019 Bucket list

Donna, over at My OBT (My One Best Thing), put together her 2019 bucket list.

What a great idea!

Blue sky and clouds, perfect for contemplation.

Of course this kind of thing takes some thought. She has 14 items, I don’t know if I have that many things I’d like to do or accomplish in 2019.

Which makes me wonder if I’m being lazy. Or maybe I’m just enjoying retirement’s freedom to do anything or nothing at all.

Evening light is good for contemplation too.

Anyway…

What should be on my bucket list for 2019? Things that are substantial enough to be noticed, but not unattainable.

Ideas are incoming!

I’m not at all sure I can get that list together before tomorrow, the first of January, the beginning of 2019. But I think early January is a good goal.

What’s on your 2019 bucket list?

2019, a long and winding road.