Glimpses of everyday

The project - to photograph glimpses of everyday. The only thing that came to mind was "morning coffee" - whether at home, on the beach, on in a kayak - I photographed that morning cup of joe.

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“All shall be well,

"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well" - words that came to me while feeling anxious and uncertain - bringing stillness.

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morning

I am not really a morning person - at least, I've never thought of myself as one. Quite possibly, though, my aversion had something to do with that early morning alarm. Ever since turning it off, I am finding that mornings are - well - pretty awesome. Yeah, really - who knew? Or maybe it was all the rushing around - frantically searching my closet for something to wear. The forest doesn't care what I wear on our early walk up the mountain - and neither does Chessie. Or maybe I just prefer a quiet cup of coffee, unhurried, outdoors - at least until the weather gets too cold. It's the perfect me-time. Hummingbirds are my regular morning visitors as I sit writing in my journal. They will often hover quite near me as if to wish me a good morning. I've given up trying to take their photo, and simply pause to watch as they fly from flower to flower. They are a symbol of finding joy in the little things - I'm okay with that. Last week, I celebrated one of those big round number birthdays - ummmm yeah, I really don't want to talk about it... Needless to say, though, my family spoiled me and it is always wonderful when we can all be together - I am now learning to use my new camera (great big smile) which happily coincides with joining a photography course taught Kim Klassen. Rediscovering my joy for clicking is a fantastic feeling. Also bringing joy - this little peanut. I can't believe how quickly she is growing into a little person with her own big personality. I am finally cleaning out my email boxes, unsubscribing and unsubscribing and unsubscribing, and figuring out where all those obnoxious alerts on my phone are coming from - is it just me, or do random alerts make you nuts, too? I have been ignoring my old work email - as a retiree, keeping my email account is both a blessing and a curse. I told myself that I would give it two weeks before taking a look - but then two weeks flew by and I'm like "nahhhh, girl, you can make it three." I'm on a bit of a digital detox... And so - time is flying by. I really can't believe that Labor Day is upon us - where has the summer gone? Remember all those mountains to be hiked and bike adventures to be had? Yeah... Life truly is what happens while you're busy making plans. And now - it's your turn - curious minds want to know - are you a morning person? Do you mind digital clutter? Have a system for keeping it neat? I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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Artist date – mural walk

Beyond Walls - Lynn, Massachusetts This is a walk I've been wanting to make - camera in hand -  ever since I began noticing murals adorning the walls of downtown Lynn, Massachusetts. From the seat of my commuter train, I could view several murals, making me curious - what was this all about? I had little idea how extensive this project is. Lynn, Lynn, the city of sin... much to the resident's chagrin, the old rhyme endures. Lynn - a little bit gritty, a lot diverse - this small industrial city has its share of poverty and illegal drugs, as well as people who care - deeply. Only a few miles up the coast from Boston, Lynn is one of the few remaining cities in the area where millennials can "afford" to live. During my months of transition, I spent a fair amount of time in Lynn, living with my daughter and walking to the train station each day. Last week I seized upon the opportunity to take my long-desired photo walk. Heading out first thing in the morning provided the opportunity to witness the city as it awakened. I wandered aimlessly on this gray morning - surprised by so many murals at every turn. I observed as the community came to life. Eyed wearily by some, others offered me a tentative smile; the man in the photo below was determined to assist me in finding as many murals as possible. He was actually quite helpful - locating a mural for me, that I had only been able to find from the platform of the train station. The mural, above, is my new favorite. I love everything about it - especially the little bird. Although the lace on the girl's dress and the light shining through the window aren't too shabby, either. This one is enormous - I am showing only a small piece because I got a kick out of the little boy who kept running back and forth in front. It celebrates the history and diversity of the city. I finished my "artist date" by sitting on the sidewalk of a local coffee shop, enjoying an iced coffee as I scrolled through my photos and doodled. And - because you know how I love my journals, I made myself a new one - pocket sized to take along on future excursions. And yes, there will most definitely be future artist dates. Really, I shouldn't be surprised by how much I enjoyed this outing - exploring the community, appreciating the art - unscheduled and unhurried. Beyond Walls is a non-profit organization that strives to bring communities together through art. I like that, too. I am not sure how many murals there are altogether - many, many more.. And so, my first week of retirement kicked off with a rousing start - I'm not hating it! Your…

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Stillness-Part I

I finally made it, transitioning my work over the past two months - and arriving at that uncharted territory called "retirement" "So, what are your plans?" numerous colleagues asked during my last week in the office. Me: "Ummmmm, I don't really have any" Colleagues: blank stares, apprehension Me: "Well, we moved to Vermont" Colleagues: visible relief, smiles, nods - "That's great! Vermont is so pretty!" I don't know - does moving to Vermont constitute having a plan? And, isn't the whole point of retirement to not have plans? - No calendar filled with endless meetings, no barrage of emails, no panicked last minute tasks to fix whatever avoidable problem happens to arise... That was my plan. Creating a plan Driving home from my office for the last time, I pondered my apparent lack of a "plan" - and created one (well - kind of, sort of) Turn off the early morning alarm Wake up early, anyway Load the kayaks in the truck and head to our favorite pond Grab my much neglected camera - check to make sure the battery is fully charged, neglect checking the memory card Paddle to the middle of the pond, savor a hot cup of coffee and revel in the stillness that surrounds me Be graced by the presence of two bald eagles, calling to each other across a peaceful cove (not actually part of the plan - but I am immeasurably grateful that this happened!) Rediscover the joy of snapping random photos (until the memory card is full) Feel at peace with the world, then carry on with a plan-less day What next? Seriously, though, what's next? Well, I am resuming my photo challenge where I left off - "stillness". The month of August will be devoted to stillness - in my photos, my art, as well as my life. Art journaling - I've joined Summer Studio and look forward to delving into the lessons. Maybe I will even be active in the social media that accompanies it - who knows? I signed up for a couple of classes offered by Laura Horn. And then - there are mountains to be hiked, bicycle adventures to be had, family to be visited, a giant stack of books to be read, and more minimizing (so much more minimizing)... Boredom is not in my immediate future. It is time to decompress. Yes - sooner or later, I assume that I will add a little more structure to my days. So many ideas rattling around my head - all on hold, waiting for my okay to move forward. For now, my current lack of plans fills me with contentment. How about you? Do you prefer to have set plans, or do you enjoy making them as you go - letting things unfold?

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Life in motion

Life - always in motion, and oh boy - rough week - enough said about that I choose joy (I tell myself - again and again) and so I do I had a great time with my camera during the month of February. My photography challenge for the month - motion. Life - it is always moving; and I quickly realized this topic is much too broad -  so many types of motion and so many ways to capture it. Greg and Ella were good sports and humored me at my train station. This wasn't really the shot I was going for when I saw the blue jay on my deck. He made a quick exit as I approached with my camera. I chose motion as my topic for February, knowing I would be spending time with Ella. A little bundle of motion, I can always count on her to provide me with opportunities to add to my collection of blurry photos. This little sweetie is happy and she knows it! Clap, clap! Stomp, stomp! Nature is always in motion, too. I was working on negative space when I took this photo. Frustrated at first, I quickly saw the beauty in the movement of the cattails as a storm was brewing. Fortunately, we were at the end of our hike. And speaking of my blurry photo collection - no study of motion would be complete without photos of Chessie This crazy pup does a happy dance all her own when she is allowed to run on the frozen lake. In my little motion challenge, I focused mainly on stopping motion, and allowing blur. I plan to add a completely separate challenge for panning. But really, in life, there are so many types of motion - like moving forward. Greg and I are taking the first baby steps in putting our next "phase" into motion, and we are sooooo excited! More on this in the not-too-distant-future (hopefully) - baby steps... For March, I am going to do an about-face. My topic will be "stillness". And really - I love stillness. It will be a challenge, though. Stillness, to me, seems like more of a feeling than a thing. As always - I wish you all a wonderful week. March is here (already!) - what kind of things do you have in motion?

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