Friday, January 31, 2014

Blue Sky Remedy

It has been a long week, an even longer month plagued by gray days. I got out of the office mid-week and was surprised by a beautiful blue sky. I carry my cell phone with me all the time, more for shooting random photos than anything else. I know I wasn't the only one who noticed the instant color, it was the hot topic right after lunch hour.
I'm a watcher of people and have noticed I'm not the only one who suffers from seasonal affective disorder. If a shrink sat outside the Target store and took surveys, I'm certain the percentage of bonafide sufferers would be high.
The cure? For me, there is nothing quite like a blue, clear sky. I have a light box and I take a little orange pill every morning but nothing works as well and instantly as natural light and color.
On my way to the bus stop yesterday morning, I shot this hopeful image. It was super cold but I felt warm and amazingly happy as I saw hope for the day. The sun eventually shined and I'm pretty sure I saw a shift in the overall mood of the peeps in my office.
Glancing out the window this morning, I see we have the promise of another blue sky day.
While the rest of the country is sitting in front of the tube and stuffing themselves with bad food, I think I'll take a road trip and see what I've been missing.
Are you affected by the weather?
love, susan

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Take Five

I really dig the rust on this.
Hubby got me out of the house today just about 2 minutes before I went stark raving mad. I don't like to be such a bore about the weather but honestly the gray skies need to just move on now.

A while back I blogged about a guy who was on a quest to take a million photos. I had decided back then to try just taking five. I ran across that post this morning and it got me out of the house today.

I thought, "what if I just take my new camera and see if I can find 5 things to shoot"?

Look what I found! Okay, this may not mean much to you, but I'm still just getting acquainted with my new Nikon. We're warming up to each other and I haven't left the safeness of automatic yet. I'm still getting accustomed to a much larger piece of equipment around my neck.
We often see stray dogs when we are out. Doesn't he look
like a little fox?

Seems when I really look for it, I can find signs of life even in this abyss.

BONUS: When I got home, a friend called and asked me to meet her for some frozen yogurt and girl talk.

My otherwise drab and gray day has turned out to be full of color and joy beyond anything I could have imagined.

love, susan

An empty bird next, so beautiful in design.
Not everything is dead!

We got a skiff of snow last night.
Can you see it on the pine cone?

Friday, January 24, 2014

Brighter Days

Reminiscing about brighter, warmer days this week. I can't help it. We've had seven+ days of gray skies and looking at my summer photos seems to be the only cheap trick I have up my sleeve for beating the winter blues. It works for a minute or two, and I'll take it.
I don't know about you but the older I get it seems there is definitely less room in my memory bank. Early on in my relationship with my hubby, we traveled far more than we do now.  In between my temp jobs, we rolled any chance we could. One summer we traveled 22,000 miles, taking in Alaska, Canada and a whole lot of states. Our destination was West Virginia. I didn't have a digital camera back then (2002) and I was stingy with the film. Oh, if could do that over ... just once.  
You see, photos connect me to that place in my mind where the memories are stored. When I pull up a set of pics I have carefully filed by month and year, I am magically transported to that place and time.
I learned how to do this when I was on a trip to Hilo, Hawaii right after high school. My BFF was attending college there and invited me over. I spent a couple weeks hanging with her and the locals. I was laying out on the grass one day and I closed my eyes and captured the feel of the island breeze, the sounds, the smells, everything. To this day, I can ring that up.
I have used that technique often since then. The difference now is that I need the visual props to get me there.

How do you get through the long winter months?

love, susan

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Mind Traveling

Going backwards a year in my post yesterday worked so well for getting me through the day, I decided to try it again this morning.
I shot this photo in Newport, Oregon last year down on the docks.  Newport is a sleepy little town in the winter. We parked the car and walked the main street  running into only one other couple who were visiting from another state, or it could have been Canada. I do remember they had a dog that looked a bit like ours, which is always a nice ice breaker for me. My husband doesn't need an icebreaker to talk with strangers. I wish I had that knack.
There were fishermen on the docks and in the fish processing plant. As we walked by, the smell of ocean and dead fish reminded me of where I went to high school in Alaska.  I have forgotten many things in my life but there are some things embedded that make me wonder about the mind. Why smelly fish guts?
The sea lions are hated by the fishermen. But I gotta tell you ... who couldn't love a face like this?  Isn't he just the cutest thing you've ever seen?
With that, I'm heading on out into Thursday and see what kind of fun I can find today.
What do you remember about where you grew up?  Tell me!
love, susan

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Past Future Tripping

So, I decided this morning that I gotta get out of this winter funk I find myself wallowing in.  It does me no good to write about the gray and it certainly is not inspiring to anyone else.

The best way I know how to cheer myself is to do what has worked before.  This morning I went into my 2013 February archives and pulled out this pic from a trip we took to Newport, Oregon last year.

It made me smile! So did the blog post from that trip.

For some reason, we have always hit super good weather on the Oregon coast in February. We have a trip planned next month out to Cape Lookout for an overnight in a yurt with the grandkids.  It will be a first ... staying in a yurt and in February. 

No matter the weather, a day at the beach trumps everything. It's something to look forward to. I need to "future trip" sometimes.

How do you get through the long winter days?

love, susan

Monday, January 20, 2014

Anywhere But Here

I think the genetics of being Irish are that you sort of prefer when it's rainy and cloudy. It's just genetic. ~ Kate Flannery

Whatever you say, Kate Flannery.

I may be Irish but I was born in California and I am not intended for this kind of weather. It has been gray for four days in a row and I am about to go stir crazy. Cabin fever has set in. We did get out today to take a family member to the airport. I shot this picture on the way home.
I don't often feel this way, but today I'd rather be anywhere but here. The gray, drizzling fog/rain makes my bones ache and awakens a hungry monster that never seems to get enough to eat. I found myself fanaticizing about my old workplace in Arizona calling me and begging me to come back. I'm pretty sure at the peak of today, I would have gone.
This girl needs some sunshine ... soon.
love, susan

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Something Out of Nothing

The best thing about going on a road trip with a friend is that you both see different things. My friend pictured below loves old junk. She can make something out of nothing.  
We walked around an old, brick warehouse and found many treasures in the back. Among them were a couple of old wooden crates that people pay good money for at antique sales.  Just laying there, aging to perfection.
While the above photo means nothing to anyone, it's what I'm looking for.  I love light. While she was lovin' on the junk, I was checking out the shadows and textures. I believe I have a grace period with my new camera where I can take photos with no worry of content and be forgiven. Yes?
There are many places to visit around here with reckless abandon and I think I may have the perfect friend for finding them!
Do you have those kinds of friends?  Where do you go? What kinds of things do you do together?  Do tell!

love, susan

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Screw Fear

Here is another shot I took while on my Sunday road trip. It was super cold and windy so I simply stopped the car and took this out of my opened window.
While writing in my journal this morning, a reoccurring thought found its way from pen to paper. I must get over my fear of looking ridiculous while carrying my camera. I regret not taking my new equipment into the coffee shop while visiting with my friend on Sunday. The whole time we were sitting there, I fought off the thought to run back out to the car to get it.  What is wrong with me?  (giggles) 
I have many regrets when it comes to shooting photos.  It's always the ones I see with my eyes but fear lifting my camera. Fear of some voice saying "what the hell do you see in that?" 
I will go to my grave with a shot in my mind that I didn't take when we were in Mexico City.  Three guys playing cards on the trunk of a taxi cab. It was the sweetest moment and I let fear prevent me from lifting my camera.
Screw fear.
love, susan

Monday, January 13, 2014

Road Tripping

I got a new camera last week. I've been sitting on buying a new one for over a year now and finally a great deal came along and the timing was right.
It's a little scary because the expectation is that I'll take better photos, be able to get out there a little further with a bigger lens, etc.
Yesterday I spent a couple hours with a friend, taking a road trip out to Prosser. The wind from the day before was forecasted to be gone but it wasn't. We stopped for coffee at a place on the main drag. My friend showed me her recent photos from her trip to Hawaii while we lounged on the comfy couch in the café. I could tell that those photos will be a comfort to her in the next couple of weeks as winter bears down on us. This time of year we'd all like to be anywhere but here.
The thing is, we are here. And for me, it's important to try to find the beauty wherever I am. So we left the warmth and kindness of the friendly barrista and headed back home via Benton City. I don't why but I love driving through that little town. Turns out, my friend wanted to stop and get a closer look at an old abandoned warehouse built of bricks. I whipped out my camera and the photo here was my first shot. I have a long lens on and I had no idea what it would do as I leaned up against the building to get a shot of the texture.  This may not be exciting to anyone else but me. I have not had anything but a point and shoot for so long that it's going to be a blast figuring out what I can do with my new equipment.
My friend talked about how she'd love to buy that old building and she painted me a wonderful picture in her mind of how she would convert it. There was an open door and if we weren't such law abiding citizens it wouldn't have taken much for us to duck inside and check the place out. Oh, I can only imagine what my camera would have seen inside.
From there, we headed down the road and ended up at another favorite stand-by for stretching my legs, the cemetery.  The swans are always there and good for a photo op. He had his feathers up and I can see that I really need to do some studying on this new camera and get to manual settings quick. I should have had a better shot than this but I have no idea what I'm doing.
Turns out my friend has some places to show me where I've never been. I can hardly wait to go!
love, susan

Catching Up: A July Life List

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks. We were in Alaska last week for 8 days and before that I can't even tell you what happened.  T...