Thursday, May 15, 2014

Feels like kindgergarten...

For the summer, I decided to take a drawing class. Yeah, a drawing class. I haven't done this since high school- and that was a while ago. So, class started and we got to take out easels (easels?? I have never used one before!!) and set them up because we started drawing the first class. Oh boy! 

So, after going over the syllabus, the teacher showed us how to hold our pencils. It's not like holding a pen or pencil to write, I would describe this more like holding a wand. And then she had us stand while drawing. Another first for me. Our first exercise was a blind contour (I think??). Anyways, we had to "draw" items that the teacher had laid out on the table without looking at our paper. 

Say what??? You don't want me to look?? How? Wha? Uhm…

So, I tried. I kept running off the paper, which is rather amusing. The hand-eye coordination is certainly not there. When we were done, I had ummm, I suppose it was a drawing? Anyways, it was interesting. Basically, mine looked like a mess. I was seriously impressed that some of the kids in the class actually managed to make it look like what was on the table. Maybe they looked? Maybe not? I don't know. 

After that, we got to draw the same thing, but this time we were able to look. It came out much better, but again, there is a certain childish look to mine. I lack the coordination. I try to get the pencil to do one thing, but I don't necessarily succeed. I guess that is part of the process! 

And finally the items were switched and we then practiced framing our drawings and seeing what came of it. All in all, interesting. And fun! I'm just letting it go, not trying to get it perfect but just get into the movement of drawing and moving and just having fun with it. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Third Time's a Charm??

Well,  here we go again.

A while ago, I once again hurt my knee (note to self, quit jumping off of stuff thinking you can handle it. You can, but your knees cannot. You are no longer 20 years old.)  Not having insurance at the time, I had to forego any doctor visits. This year I became eligible for coverage through my work and this is the first chance I've had to go see a doctor. In the time between, I've had the pleasure of experiencing things such as my knee swelling if I overdo things, feeling like there someone snapping a rubber band inside my knee, and shooting pain if I even attempt to ride my bicycle. I've had to start wearing a knee brace when I work because my knee gets angry and irritated when I am on my feet for hours on end, as I am at work.

So, we took some x-rays. The doctor said I have actually developed cysts where my previous surgeries were. He said it's common and that will be something to address. Also, there knee has less spacing, which is indicative of osteo-arthritis- not a surprise considering the situation. Of course, x-rays only show the dense bone tissue so I have an MRI scheduled for next week, which will show the full extent of the damage to my knee.

The doctor is thinking of possibly having to do two surgeries-one to fix the damage done from previous surgeries. He said that they would have to find the screws and take them out, scrape the junk out of the bone and then pack it to let the bone heal-and it could possibly come from my hipbone, "which could be quite painful." Then, after a few months of healing, the second surgery to repair the knee itself.

I told him, "Wow, that's scary."

He said we would figure it out once the MRI results came back. Driving home, of course, I was an emotional wreck at the condition of my poor knee and the thought of painful surgeries.

Now, however, as I start to calm down a bit, I'm starting to think. First, I am thankful that my friend recommended this doctor to me. I am thankful that he didn't sugarcoat it and that he looked at what was happening with the bone based on the other surgeries I've had. And, I have questions, already, but that will be as we discuss my options, but right now I am thinking that if I have to put up with pain for a few months in exchange for being able to use my knee normally again- to be able to ride my bike, walk, swim, and whatever else, then it could be worth it. It's definitely better than my knee continuing to deteriorate until I can hardly walk anymore. Also, if they go in to repair the bone, they might be able to do what they need to do so that I would actually be able to ride a bike in between the surgeries?? Maybe?? That would be good, to at least be able to resume some sort of activity that I love and haven't been able to do…

So, we'll see. Right now, it's all up in the air and a big question mark…So, next week will bring more news and options.. we shall see.

Saturday, March 01, 2014


This morning, I woke up when I heard a "Thunk!" against my window. I thought, "What was that?" and got to look. On my small balcony, I saw the source. It looked like a brown-grey blob that, to my unawake eye, seemed like a large seed or demolished toy of some sort. I figured someone threw it, but who and why? All sorts of strange thoughts- maybe it was something someone shot, not realizing it would hit someone's house? Maybe some neighborhood kid found this thing and just threw it, again, not realizing it would hit? All sorts of strange, sleepy thoughts. I decided to investigate.

After pulling my jeans on (after all someone could be out there, I don't need to flash the neighborhood), I stepped out on the balcony and there, in the cold pre-dawn, was my little blob--a tiny bird, just sitting there, dazed, probably wondering, "what the hell just happened??"

I scooped it up and it just sat in my hands, blinking up at me. It was a little warbler. I went downstairs and sat outside with it, waiting for it to recover from its shock. At least in my hands, it had warmth. We just sat there, it blinking up at me, me staring at it in wonderment.  A few times it closed its eyes and napped, but at my slightest movement would look back up at me.

Finally, it flittered a few feet away to an empty plant pot on the table, and studied me from there. Sitting in the cold morning air, my nose started betraying me and, as much as I tried to stifle it, I sneezed, startling my little friend to the fence, a little further away.

Now, knowing it was recovering, I slowly got up and grabbed my camera. It wasn't afraid, and sat there looking at me while I took some photos of it as the sun came up. Finally, it recovered enough to fly off into the nearby trees.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Baby it's cold outside...

As January progresses, we are finally getting some winter-ish weather down here in South Florida. Of course, the rest of the country is having a much colder time of it than we are, with many areas dipping into the single digits and negatives (and mind you we're talking fahrenheit…32F = 0C!), which is quite unusual.
During the five years I lived in Maryland, the coldest I saw was 14F, and that was more than enough for this Florida girl, thank you very much. Now, if you look at the map above, the light purple area is the coldest…and if you're not familiar with the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, they are the two upper states in the middle almost completely light purple.  That's cold country, folks.

And my first year moving from Florida to Maryland, my work actually sent me to that cold country in December. I arrived at night, and the pilot was announcing the weather as we were landing, -27F.  They then warned of frostbite for any uncovered skin in less than 5 minutes. Oh boy! Lucky me!

By the time we landed and I had to go outside to get my rental car, I had hat, coat, gloves, and my scarf wrapped around my face, with only my eyes visible. Hey! I can do this!!  I had to give myself extra time in the morning to go turn the car on, let it warm up and scrape any ice that might be on the windshield. Yes, winter is so much fun.

However, a strange thing happened. I was there all week. By the end of the week, it had warmed up to a balmy -1F, and I actually was able to dodge the coat and go for a walk wearing just jeans, tee under a turtleneck and hat and gloves! Miracle of miracles! I wasn't even cold. It was actually quite beautiful.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

New Year's Day

On New Year's Day, my family convened for the annual family New Year's meal involving lots and lots of food and drink! The night before, celebrating with my friends, I made my New Year's resolutions (which I usually eschew, just on principle) which were to spend more time outdoors and at the beach, and more time with my friends and family!

After we'd all eaten and sat around talking and laughing and the table was clear and the dishes were in the dishwasher, I took a stroll down to the beach in an effort to not break at least one of my New Year's resolutions on the first day of the year! To the north lay bright blue skies; to the south, an ominous black cloud, which looked like it was heading our way. Common sense told me to turn around before the rain started, and I thought, "BAH! I'm not turning around till I see the damn beach!" And on I walked. On the boardwalk, I could feel the sprinkling rain beginning, like the spray from a sprinkler when the wind blows. Undeterred, I walked on…

And there, right on the beach, a rainbow emerging right out of the ocean.  And so, here it was, the beginning of the year, and I was able to see a rainbow being born out of the water. I'll take that as a good sign.

**(And in case you were wondering, yes, it started raining harder. I figured I'd get drenched walking home, but who should pull up in the car to give me a ride home but one of my sisters! Yes!)

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year! Welcome 2014!

I hope you all had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year, wherever you may be!

All I can say is that if last night was a portent of the year to come, 2014 will be a great year, filled with friends. love and laughter!

I've been putting in a lot of hours at work lately, which is great, but the whole life/work balance can get a bit skewed. I wasn't sure what I would do last night, as I told a friend of mine, "I just want to go to the beach," but I knew I didn't want to go alone, that would have been a drag, no?

I ended up with the next best thing-friends of mine play in a band, and they were scheduled to play in a little town north of here, and it happened to be right on the water!

So, I got to spend time with friends I adore, listening to great music, and being able to look out on the water, with all the lights twinkling! Yes!!

So, Happy New Year to all!! May 2014 bring great memories!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

digital vs. film again

I've been shooting digitally for years now. There are great things about it-you can instantly see what you did! You can change things! If you made a (minor) mistake, it can be photoshopped! nice! 

And yet…

I miss the touch and suspense of film. There is something about shooting film that engages my soul, more so than shooting digitally and sitting in front of the computer all day manipulating images. I realized a little while ago that I actually do not enjoy computer editing quite so much. Just sitting there. Only the fingers moving. The rest of me still and sedentary. Oh, it's definitely much more flexible, but maybe I'm just old-school. 

I enjoy the tactile sense of clicking and either forwarding the film myself or hearing the whirr as the camera forwards the frame. And then the mystery and suspense of whether you go it or not, which is kind of ironic as you'd think digital would be hog-heaven for this girl that likes to read the end of the story first, and then go back and find out how it got there. And that is a nice thing about digital…instant gratification. 

But, yet…something is missing. I need to re-connect. I need to shoot some film.