Working Towards 100

1-29-2013_003A few weeks back I wrote about my goal of making and sending 100 postcards. As I looked through my address book I realized there just weren’t 100 people. Okay, so send some people more than one seemed like the answer.

But it didn’t seem to be the answer. So I let it filter for a bit after the first batch of 10 went out.

Then, out of the blue I saw a piece inthe Jan/Feb issue of Cloth Paper Scissors (pg 20) about a group called Girls Love Mail. They  make/collect and send handmade cards off to cancer patients. Eureka! Just what I needed, right when I needed it. I love when that happens don’t you?! Anyhow, for any of you who are interested here is more info:

girlslovemail.com       (or)

Girls Love Mail

2330 E.Bidwell St. Suite 200

Folsom, CA 95630

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Tempus Fugit

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The old line is that no one has the epitaph on their gravestone of wishing they had spent more time at work. I suppose in our times it is equally as unlikely there will be ones stating the deceased wishes they had spent more time on facebook, or watching TV, or shopping. And yet for so many people it seems that is where they spend their time while claiming there “aren’t enough hours in the day” to do what needs to be done, much less to “have a life”. Not positive, but am pretty sure what “needs to be done” doesn’t really mean facebook, TV or shopping. I have to say I was feeling like the hours were too few some days and then I took a serious look at how I was using my time. To be honest, I was reading way too much. I am talking hours a day sometimes. Which while enjoyable, can get out of hand as with anything else. So I cut back to just a couple hours a day. Now you might say how could I find 2 hours a day for such a leisure time activity. It is actually pretty easy if you prioritize what you need to do, really need to do. I did this by having a book in the car for those down times when I am picking someone up or have an appointment that will require waiting room time. And I turned off the TV, all day and generally around 8 or 8:30 PM and read for an hour. TV was actually easy to dump as there truly is very little on, and we don’t have full cable anyhow.  But, I was still feeling rushed too often, and saying that I didn’t have enough time to get into my studio or out on the trail. I needed a bigger view of all the information of my days.

Then in December I read a book that caught my eye; You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too by Tammy Strobel. I liked it and made note of a title she mentioned, got it through my library and found it really hit the mark as far as what I had been trying to do. It is; 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think by Laura Vanderkam.  Now, to each his own as far as what you want to fit in both your life and your 168 hours. But, Vanderkam is correct when she says we all get the same number of hours in a day and week, it is how you use them that makes the difference between feeling harried and feeling like you have a life. I did her excel sheet and it is a great visual for how you use your time. I had made the commitment at New Year’s to create more and get in studio more, but was not sure how that would fit in. Three days a week in studio, three hikes a week, and an additional blog were the goals with the understanding that some weeks might see a ‘2 & 3’ or ‘3 & 2’ split as life would intervene in unexpected, and not always bad, ways.

So, the first month of 2103 is drawing to a close. Some weeks I have hit the ‘3&3’ putting in a decent number of hours in studio and on trail. And I still had more than enough free time to fill with fun stuff, or tackling put off chores. All it took was just a little perspective to see how best to use my 168.

In Which I am Surprised Again

November  22

 

Sunny and cool, thin clouds

 

In his drab gray overcoat,

unbuttoned and flying out behind,

a stocky, bullet-headed owl

with dirty claws and thick wrists

slowly flaps home

from working the night shift.

He is so tired he has forgotten

his lunchbox, his pay stub.

He will not be able to sleep

in his empty apartment

what with the neighboring blackbirds

flying into his face

but will stay awake all morning

round-shouldered and glassy-eyed

composing a poem about

paradise, perfectly woven

of mouse bones and moist pieces of fur.

 

 

Ted Kooser

Winter Morning Walks:

100 Postcards to Jim Harrison

 

A few weeks ago I wrote about my be unexplainably surprised about deer appearing in my backyard. I find myself surprised again over what I saw yesterday when I glanced out my back door to see…

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a big owl just chilling in the tree, scoping out the activity.

The birds kept coming to the feeder and hopping along the ground, seemingly unconcerned about the owl.

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and even

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the squirrel seemd more curious than afraid.

The owl seemed very content to look around or doze in the feeble winter sun.

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1-25-2013_014(possibly he is storing up what warmth there is like the woman on the beach in my previous post!)

He perched  there contentedly for at least the hour I watched, and probably would have stayed longer

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had he not spotted my cat joining me at the window.

And with a great flap of his wings he was gone in a flash to a distant perch.

Warming the Soul

It is hard sometimes on bitter cold days to think warm weather will return even though we know it will. Cold weather always shocks the system and clears the head,scattering cobwebs that have taken up residence. Things seem to sharpen and crystallize on the brittle air, and a strange sense of invigoration takes hold.  And yet…we long to feel the warmth of the sun seeping into our bones. Sunny summer days nourish us and we store up the warmth for the cold stretches of winter. In  Leo Lionni’s Frederick, readers are shown how Frederick sets aside what he knows will be needed for winter in just this way. Setting aside portions of sun, and colors, and the feelings of summer to draw upon when needed. When I took this photograph, it seemed to me that this woman was doing just that so on cold winter days she too could call upon those stores to warm her soul.

warmth

May the warmth of other days come to warm your soul.

Metamorphosis

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The mill where my studio is undergoing another stage of “metamorphisation” , the top 2 floors on the ‘A’ mill side are complete and all but 2 studios are occupied. The big change now is…the basement. The whole space is being cleared out and transformed into studios. The bricked up windows in the ‘A’ side will be restored and a courtyard space outside the entrance put in. The work on the C/D mill is in progress with much noise and energy. I did not hear about the offer to go in and get things from the space before work began, but did get a few of the old spools for display. And I got to see what has been done so far with the offer to check in regularly and see the progress. Anyone who has been inside a mill will know what I mean when I say “space”. The expansiveness of these old buildings for the equipment they used to house is amazing. The light from the old windows equally so, and though I don’t want to romanticize the hard work the employees had for the wages they received, the buildings are just beautiful to behold. Here in New England there are still so many mills, both converted to living and business, and  some just empty. It always makes me sad when one goes up in flames, usually an empty one, but sometimes not. The Saco-Biddeford (Maine) mills have recently been bought, electric blankets were once made there, I think by Westinghouse. DownEast  magazine ran an article on the building,  the history and the plans for its future. Once again the space was amazing to see, and in this case the special paint used inside gave a pristine feeling to the images. I am excited to see the transition as the new spaces at the Western Ave Studios takes place over the next few months. It invigorates the place, sending a current of energy through the building as if it too knows the efforts to bring it back to full usefulness. I will post more images as I get them so you can share in the progress.

The Movement of Clouds

I was lucky to get out Monday to enjoy the beautiful 55 degree weather before winter returned with snow. This is along one of my favorite hiking trails, favorite because the parking lot is large and plowed, all you have to do is dodge the dog piles people don’t clean up in the lot and start of the trail. Once you are passed the trees it opens up to a large meadow pond that is slowly filling in. Usually I don’t take a stack of exposures to blend in HDR but this time I did to see what I got. I like the way the clouds seems to be discretely trying to slide away in this image, as if sneaking out the back of a luncheon and hoping to make it out unnoticed.

The movement of clouds

Can’t we all relate to that?

Today there is 5 inches of new snow on the ground so this view would look more like this-

snowy day

It was a windy day when I was out and most of the snow had been blown off the trees, and small, loose clouds were scudding by. I like to get out in the woods or along water on hikes, it invigorates me and ensures a good sleep at night. I hope to get out on a hike to take advantage of the snow, we’ll see how the roads are, and that the regular places will have parking available or at least snowbanks low enough to somewhat easily scramble over! If not my own backyard will provide ample opportunities for images, and maybe even a snow angel or two!