Sea Blue Lens


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My Life in Pictures: 2016

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the calendar of photos I post at the end of each month. I’ve been using the Project 365 Pro iPhone app for over two years now. At the end of last year, I collected all twelve months into one blog post that summed up my whole year — my daily visual diary. I enjoyed seeing them together that way so much that I decided to do it again.

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2016-05

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What I especially like about this gathering of the parts into a whole is being able to scroll through the year, observing how the subjects, weather, activities, and colors change as the seasons roll by.

2016 was a difficult year in many respects, and I realize these photos don’t really reflect that. Instead they are my attempt to find moments of beauty, curiosity, and joy in my own small world despite often feeling overwhelmed and in despair about the happenings in the larger world around us all.

And last, when I revisited last year’s calendar post, I noticed that I’d ended with a selfie to start the new year. Hm, I’d forgotten about that. But a tradition is a tradition, so here you go, the current me, or at least me as of 20 minutes ago:

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I had a birthday in December, one of those big round numbers that make you stop and say, “NO, that can’t be right.” But it is right, and there’s no time to waste. I’d better go get out of my pajamas!

My Word for 2017 is Hope. I need it. The world needs it. I’m so grateful to have all of you in my life – whether we know each other in person or through this amazing online community that reaches around the world. Your kindness, love and friendship bring me joy – and hope – every single day.

Happy New Year, my friends. May it be a good one!


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A Lift and a Laugh

Our neighborhood supermarket is all decked out for Christmas. I popped in to pick up a few things after my fitness class this morning and I saw this:

img_1635Prettiest Poinsettia Ever

And then…this!

img_1636Ho, Ho, Ho!

I’ve never seen anything like it and was rather blown away. I wonder whose idea it was, who designed it, and who built it. A special team from the bottling company? A band of elves, perhaps? I’m picturing them standing on each other’s shoulders to reach the top, passing those cases up, up, up. I wish I could have been there to watch!

But I have a hunch that Santa still prefers milk with his cookies. That’s what he’ll find at our house, anyway.


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Summer’s End

I walked out to check the mail this afternoon, and on the way back from the mailbox I had a spur-of-the-moment impulse to explore the vacant lot where I photographed a field of dandelions last spring. It turned out that I was taking my life in my hands because the place was swarming with mosquitoes and other creepy crawlies. Nevertheless I made my way through the jungle photographing what was left of the wildflowers, and I have the battle scars to prove it. I have mosquito bites in places that I wouldn’t have thought they could reach, in one case through three layers of clothing! Next time I get such a harebrained idea I will go back to the apartment to cover myself with bug spray first.

But I enjoyed my little  expedition, anyway. Here’s a bit of what I saw.

IMG_3072It’s a Jungle Out There

IMG_3059Fireworks

IMG_3055Down But Not (Quite) Out

IMG_3065A Patch of Blue

IMG_3053Tattered Wing

IMG_3051Summer’s Last Wish

IMG_3044Ready or Not

I know it’s not officially fall yet, but — like it or not — the signs of its imminent arrival are clear to be seen. There’s still plenty of green around, but things are looking a bit battered and worn. There’s a cool freshness in the air that speaks to me of new beginnings. I’m not eager for the winter that will follow, but I plan to enjoy the pleasures of autumn to the fullest.


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Evening Out Back

Late afternoon. Something about the quality of the light through the window catches my eye and I head outside for a better look.

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The “golden hour” approaches — those last few minutes at the end of the day before the sun goes down. It’s one of my favorite times of day. I don’t need to go far, just down the stairs and around behind my building, to capture the interplay of glowing light on leaves and water.

IMG_0609The low-angled sunlight casts a beautiful sidelight on the trees at the edge of the river.

IMG_0607The mosses and ripples seem lighted from within.

IMG_0615Leaves glow against deep shadows.

IMG_0618Reflections dance quietly on the water.

The sun sets, the light fades and in moments is gone, and another day is done.


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Finding Focus

The warmer, longer days seem to have switched on a surge of energy in me, and I find myself wanting to Get Things Done. There are so many projects on my to-do list — where do I start? Also, it’s summer, and I want to have fun!

IMG_1904-2Summer Dreams

One of the problems with retirement, though it’s a delightful problem to have, is that you can have too much free time on your hands. In fact, it’s all free time. I’m a person who prefers spontaneity, who doesn’t like being regimented and scheduled. There’s always tomorrow, right? But recently I came across a line in a book I’m reading, Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, about establishing good habits and breaking bad ones. She wrote, “Something that can be done at any time often happens at no time.”

That line pierced me to the heart. I have always been a terrible procrastinator, and I suddenly, vividly, realized that I could easily spend the rest of my life doing, basically, nothing. Waiting until “tomorrow.” And while I hope and expect that I still have lots of tomorrows ahead of me, I don’t want to waste any of them!

IMG_0844-2Making Plans

So . . . I’ve bought a calendar/diary, the kind that shows a week at a time, that I plan to use to give my days a bit of structure and routine. I’m editing my Need-to-do list, prioritizing projects and breaking them down into steps. I’m making Want-to-do lists, too, of places to go and things to do for pleasure and adventure, of books to read, of photography classes, photo walks and projects to complete. All those things are going into the calendar.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Right now it’s time for…hm, let me check my calendar for Sunday.

Happy Feet 2Happy Feet

Oh, well. Baby steps! Enjoy the day, my friends. 🙂


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My Year in Pictures: 2015

I recently completed a 365 project (my second), and it’s been one of my favorite activities over the past year. In November of 2014 I downloaded an app called Project 365 Pro onto my iPhone. I take/choose one photo every day, which the app puts into a calendar format. It’s been fun, and on many days over the past year has been my saving grace. It’s the fact that it is so casual, so not serious, that makes it so therapeutic.

No matter my mood — happy or sad, energetic or tired, optimistic or discouraged — I remember I need a photo for my calendar. So I go outside and take a walk, or look around the house with fresh eyes, and find something to photograph. The activity itself is refreshing, and there’s something I find very satisfying about the small accomplishment of filling that day’s calendar square with an image. Other things might have gone wrong, but at least I did that!

At the end of each month, I’ve saved the calendar page and shared it on Facebook. And now I have a brief visual diary of the past year. Each image is a reminder of something that happened, or that I did or saw. And there’s a record of me as part of my own life, too, since I’ve included at least one self-portrait each month.

If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen these already. But here it is, my year collected in one place. It’s not necessarily Art, it’s just life.

2015-01

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2015-07

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2015-09

2015-10

2015-11

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I learned about the Project 365 Pro app from the lovely Carol Hart after seeing her post her own months of photos on Facebook. There are a number of similar apps, some with more features, available for iPhone and probably for Android phones, too. I like this one for its simplicity and ease of use.

Scrolling through all of these months, I’m shocked at how fast each one has gone by, how quickly one season rolls into the next. It reminds me that I want to be present in my life every day, no matter what that day may bring. I’m starting my new calendar right now  — with a new selfie for the New Year.

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Someone in a Facebook group I’m a member of referred to 2016 as “Sweet Sixteen.” I love that thought! I wish you all a happy, healthy, fulfilling, sweet new year!


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Be Still Weeks 40 and 41: Make and Take

It’s another Be Still twofer! For week 40, we were supposed to photograph making something that we would then include in a still life that we would photograph during week 41. I swear I’m not trying to be difficult, but once again I had a hard time with this assignment. I don’t do crafts. I don’t sew anymore. I can knit but haven’t in ages. I thought of something garden related — planting a dish garden, maybe? — but it’s still winter here and there aren’t any plants available yet.

I don’t cook much, either, but it was the only thing I could think of that I could photograph while making, and then photograph again when finished. And that’s the reason the two weeks are run together here, because the perishable nature of food meant the “making” project had to be followed immediately by the final still life “taking” project.

In honor of the first day of spring, and also to cheer myself up because we have snow predicted for the second day of spring, I decided to make strawberry shortcake. That’s usually an Easter tradition in my family, but Easter is late this year and I can’t wait!

Part 1, Making

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Part 2, Taking

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Part 3, Partaking!

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DSC_8788Yum!

It’s probably not necessary to explain which part I enjoyed the most! Actually, though, I really did enjoy setting up the tabletop still lifes. That shot from overhead is my favorite of the project. I think it captures that happy, springlike mood I wanted. It really does cheer me up to look at it.

Cleaning up afterwards was no chore at all!