Monday, June 25, 2012

Getting Away From It All

I have now learned that heading to a National Park like Zions is not necessarily getting away from anything. I guess on the one hand, I was away from home. And internet and cell service. At least, I was. But on the other hand, instead of being surrounded by friends and family and neighbors, I found myself surrounded by thousands of other people, 90% of them the fit and tan hikers who were there for the millionth time and knew all the paths and did them all in their short-shorts and bikini tops. (I am fairly certain the park rangers who drive the trams really love their jobs.)

All in all it was a good trip, a memory builder. The kids got to spend time with their cousins, Rob got to spend time with his siblings, and I got to take hundreds of pictures of the faces in the mountains. Because we had little kids who were not big fans of the 95+ degree weather or hiking in it, we didn't do long hikes. We went to the Emerald Pools. Which, um, well, I didn't even bother taking a picture of them, they looked like stagnant water. The waterfalls that fed them and the rocks the kids could climb on to stand in the waterfalls was much more interesting and pretty.

Odd story with this picture here. I was trying to capture one of the waterfalls in the distance, but my lens is just the one that came with my camera, so it doesn't have the uber powerfullly super fantastic zoom that the guy standing next to me had. I noticed his camera was the same model as mine, and I also noticed that every time he pushed the button, his camera would take three pictures. So I asked him if he'd set his camera to automatically bracket. (I learned about bracketing in my photography class. It means going up two stops and down two stops from the center area to make sure you get the best exposure. Often what the camera thinks the right exposure is, isn't.) I haven't yet figured out how to set my camera to bracket automatically, and I wondered if he had. I don't think he knew what I was asking him, though. He went off on a very passionate verbal essay on why photographers should always shoot in P mode because the automatic settings were just blech (he seriously gagged and shuddered) And then he'd shoot a series of pictures then look at his camera and tell me what settings he'd used. I thanked him for his advice and went on my way, catching up to my party. I wasn't sure what he'd say or if he'd even hear me if I told him I shot on M mode so I had to make all of my adjustments manually. Or if he'd make gagging noises and shudder again.

The point of my story? That there are all kinds of people in the park that are more than happy to share their expertise on cameras, parenting, families, family size, fitness, and nature. One doesn't go to a National Park to "Get Away." You go to see squirrels and fabulous scenery and spend time with the people you came with in brain meltingly hot weather.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The fire within?

Some days I'm full of piss and vinegar, just raring to go and feeling like I can conquer the world. And other days... not so much. This week, being a birthday week, has been one of those ohmygoshIcan'tgoonanotherday kind of weeks. Today I MADE myself get up and mow the lawn because really, I don't live in a jungle. And as much as I want to be lazy, I'm sure the neighbors will eventually get fed up when the grass gets so tall my house is no longer visible. I thought I'd have enough energy to go back out and weed-whack or clear dead weeds after a short nap. My back muscles and body mutinied quite loudly when I attempted to get up off the couch.

But, I do have lots of other non-aerobic interests. I did go to school and learn a bunch of fun computer programs. So I decided to play around the rest of the day in Photoshop and my kids sat around and watched as I applied layer after layer and made the magic happen. I ran through some basic tutorials to re-familiarize myself with layer options and styles. The original in the tutorial looks much cooler than this one, and when I showed it to my mom, she thought I'd put dancing imps in the flames. Which makes me think that I probably should have; I can see them now that she pointed them out. I may work on that now that I can see it... anyway... While this is not at the professional level I'd like to be at, at least I remembered enough to get this far. Progress!

This is a Photoshop tutorial from PSD Tuts only instead of using pictures of actual fire, I played around with fire brushes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Growing Old Gracefully???

I have six kids, all of whom LOVE their birthdays and love to have parties and presents and decorations and have fusses made over them. I love my kids, therefore I do my best to give them attention and parties and things. Well, kinda. If I figure I can get away with a cake and a play-date with the grandparents who take them shopping, I totally go for that instead of inviting a thousand neighborhood kids over. The kids will probably never know how difficult it is for me to plan parties, but I do it because I am glad they were born and I am glad they are here.

I have never been one for celebrating birthdays. It is just not my thing. For many years I would lash out or cry when people even dared mention that it was my birthday. I was fine after midnight, but the week prior to and the day of, it was crazy-fest in my head. I'm still not entirely sure why. For a while in my early thirties I actually tried to celebrate my birthday... and that didn't last long. I think it only lasted a couple of years because I'd scared everyone so badly in all the years prior they didn't dare to say anything. To be fair, it's really awkward and hard for me to accept the attention. It triggers some inner panic and makes me want to run and hide. So I can see why the celebrations never really took off. So I'm trying to relax about things, you know?

Not my picture, and even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else, it totally matches how I feel about today.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Confession

I have an admission of sorts; a guilty pleasure if you will. I love the smell of cigarette smoke. It envelops me in its warm spicy scent, holding just enough hint of sweetness that it makes my nerves tingle all the way to my toes like the gentleness of a first kiss. 

This may seem quite odd to those of you who know me. I have very strong adverse reactions to the smell of coffee (it makes me more nauseated than pregnancy does. And when I was pregnant even the smell of fake coffee made me want to curl in a ball and die.) Most assume that because of my religion or because of whatever other reasons they may assume about me that I would react similarly to cigarettes.

Monday, June 4, 2012

It's All About The Journey

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to go rock climbing with two of my girls, several of their friends, and my nephew. The cliff face we chose to climb was in shadow from the sun after 4pm, and the hike up wasn't terrible. I wouldn't want to do the hike in sandals, like some of the moms did, but that part of the journey was relatively easy.

Life is kind of like that, isn't it? When we start off on our quests, the road is flat or has a gentle upward or downward slope. We don't hit the big bumps or obstacles until we've traveled for a bit. But it's usually the obstacles and the bumps that determine the course of our journey. There's never a straight line from point A to point B.

Saturday, June 2, 2012


Some days I could talk forever. Some days I don't have anything to say. And while there are many many things going on in my household today, I don't have any ideas to string together today into a cohesive essay. So instead I played in Photoshop and InDesign.

I firmly believe that the ideas behind "The Secret" and "Ask And It Is Given" are true because I believe that God is serious when He says that through faith all things are possible. ALL things.

So even when we have bad days, down days, or bad things happen despite all that we have tried to do, giving up is not an option. If we have a dream, and we believe that dream can be realized, it will be. The "how" of things don't matter, what matters is that we believe it.