It’s Saturday morning. I just got back from Brueggers where I had breakfast and spent some time reading Twyla Tharp’s new book on creativity. The book is timely for me because it focuses early on discipline, habit, and ritual, things sorely lack in my life, and because I have just come to the conclusion that I need some sort of plan for getting back on track. I was doing well with my life until late winter. At that point, because of shin splints, I stopped exercising and then everything else fell apart. I was derailed – actually, I derailed myself. Now I need to get back on track.
If it isn’t obvious already, I come down on the side of hard work. That’s why this book is called The Creative Habit. Creativity is a habit, and the best creativity is a result of good work habits. That’s it in a nutshell.
Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.
The mailman delivered my new chin strap today. I hope it helps. It would be so, so wonderful if I could get a good night’s sleep and wake up in the morning feeling better – instead of much worse – than when I went to bed.
I didn’t feel much like taking pictures tonight, so I put my
new set of colored pencils to use again. I took two photos using my new tripod then edited two keepers.
‘I have never had a feeling politically that did not spring from the sentiments embodied in the Declaration of Independence’, he [Lincoln] said in 1861. Those sentiments sprang from one single, animating idea: that the most ordinary of people had been created with the same set of natural rights as the most extraordinary, that no one was born either with crowns upon their heads or saddles upon their backs.
Over the last two days, I’ve been focusing on the color theme for the camera club. It has been a bit hard because I’ve been so fatigued from lack of sleep. The sleep apnea is getting to be too much. A technician at the sleep center once suggested that I wasn’t getting benefit from the CPAP machine because I was breathing through my mouth while sleeping. When I was originally fitted with CPAP they told me that it was virtually impossible to breathe through your mouth when using the machine because of the direction of flow of the pressurized air. Well I have almost certainly been breathing through my mouth. I decided today to do something about it. I first have ordered a chin strap that is supposed to prevent mouth breathing. It wasn’t very expensive. If that doesn’t work I will try a full face mask. The ones I have used so far cover only the nose. A full mask covers nose and mouth. A full face mask is more expensive than just a chin strap, but they’re only half as expensive as I thought they would be. I haven’t been concerned thus far about the cost of CPAP equipment because it has been covered (80%) by insurance. This latest purchase and a full mask if I go that route will be my expense because I’m not working through my primary-care physician. I am diagnosing and prescribing for myself.
I took a break from walking today, and yesterday I didn’t reach my goal of 15,000 steps. I only did about 12,000. It has become too much of a challenge to walk so much every day. The spirit is willing but the flesh is sleep-deprived. I was able to finish my Sunday chores today: laundry (two weeks worth) and groceries.
Here are my photos from the last couple of days.
Saturday, August 10
Sunday, August 11
The Ties That Bind
My New Colored Pencils
More on Sunday Night
The beer I’m drinking is much foamier than any beer I’ve ever drunk. I thought something was wrong with it, but it turns out to be good. And, it’s brewed by a company with a sense of humor, or schmaltz. The brand is He’Brew, The Chosen Beer, the name is Genesis.
Well, it is Friday. I didn’t do much today. I did about 12,000 steps. I read a lot. I’m reading and enjoying the most recent book about the Gettysburg campaign.
This crab apple looks like it’s suffering from something – I don’t know what. It looked intriguing so I took a picture. It is one of only two shots I ended up with today. The other is a blighted leaf from the same tree.
I went through a second bad night in a row, so I stayed home again. I don’t regret doing so. I suspect I’m getting a reputation as being unreliable at work. I can’t deal with the sleep apnea on a day-to-day basis. Sometimes I’m so exhausted in the morning that I can’t generate the resolve to go to work. I can carry on and enjoy life in spite of the sleep apnea, but I can’t always get to work.
I was able to take a long ramble around town. I came upon a community garden on the North Hill that I didn’t know existed. I found a lot of photo opportunities. I also took some photos behind the co-op. I was chasing a wasp that was feeding – I think – on some flowers. Although wasps are carnivores, so maybe this was a fly masquerading as a wasp. In any event, I haven’t been able to identify the wasp, or fly. The wasp didn’t stay still very long so getting a good shot was a challenge. I enlarged considerably the best of the wasp photos. Here it is along with the rest of today’s selects.
My hotmail account has been closed down by Microsoft. I am quite frustrated by what has happened. Apparently somebody hacked my e-mail. Lia got an e-mail from my account on Monday that she said was something I wouldn’t have sent, and I didn’t send it. So I guess Microsoft did the right thing even though I was quite upset because they treated me as if I were the hacker. So I have bolted to Gmail.
I had a restless night last night that, combined with my chronic apnea, left me feeling awful this morning. So I called in sick and stayed home. I’ve still managed to get in my walking. Doing so turned out to be surprisingly easy since the day was so pleasant. I ended up with three selects.
The last few days I’ve been hearing birds cries from the woods just east of the house. I didn’t know what they were, but didn’t pay much attention to them. With half my mind I thought maybe they were young starlings. This evening I was in the yard taking photos and heard the birds again. This time I realized that what I was hearing was some type of raptor, so I went to explore. There were two big hawks hanging around. They were aware of my presence and wouldn’t let me get too close. They also wouldn’t leave the area. They would move from limb to limb and make their single-syllable cries, but they didn’t leave. I got a few photos but they weren’t very close. The one I’ve posted has been blown up so much that it’s not very clear. It is clear enough to allow me to identify the hawks as accipiters. They behaviour indicated that anyway, accipiters being woodland hawks. They were either Sharp-Shinned Hawks, Cooper’s Hawks, or Goshawks. We are south of the goshawks range although the Peterson guide says that they are extending their range south. I lean toward them being Goshawks because of the marking on their head, but the ID is not conclusive.
My other photos of the day were of flowers found in the front yard.
Nothing is actually going down, but that lyric from a Kris Kristofferson song popped into my head as I started this post. So I’m using it for the title. And, the morning is almost over. I just started laundry and haven’t done much else this morning besides getting breakfast at Brueggers and starting a new book on Antietam. Yesterday I finished Rick Atkinson’s final volume of his trilogy on the U.S. Army in the WW II campaigns against Germany. A very good book and a very good trilogy. The Guns At Last Light presents the readers with a vivid account of the costs of the war. 70 millions deaths. Total destruction of Germany. Massive destruction in the Soviet Union and other parts of Eastern Europe. At that’s just the war against Germany. There was also the war against Japan. Impossible to adequately explain how something so devastating could have happened.
Atkinson calls it the “greatest catastrophe in human history“. He quotes a WW II soldier as saying the war “was a savage, insensate affair, barely conceivable to the well-conducted imagination. The real war was tragic and ironic, beyond the power of any literary or philosophic analysis to suggest“.
Yesterday I ended up with only three photos. One of the photos is of Long Lake, one of my frequent photo subjects. My daily walking route is around Long Lake. The light, clouds, weather, color are constantly changing. I’ve probably taken more pictures of Long Lake over the past few months than any other locale. I keep seeing opportunities.
As I sit at my desk next to an open window doing this blip, I’m hearing the wail of loons from off the lake.
Long Lake Summer & Clouds
New Green Apple
I hiked through the Brown’s Creek area this afternoon and took about 150 photos; deleted all but about 35; and then edited about a dozen. Below are the selects for the day.
I’m a bit backed up, not having posted anything for a few days. The big news is that for the first time in about 6 weeks I didn’t do 10,000 steps in a day. That was Wednesday. I recovered quickly on Thursday when I walked about 12,000 steps. So I’m starting another streak.
I have been spending a lot of time learning Photoshop Lightroom. Before buying Lightroom I used three different softwares in my workflow: Windows Live Photo Gallery, Snapseed, and – sometimes – Gimp. Now I will need only Lightroom and occasionally Gimp. I was surprised to find out that I can use Lightshop to completely replace both Windows Live Photo Gallery and Snapseed and to allow me to do many things that I had been only able to do in Gimp such as spot removal and repairs. I will only have to use Gimp if I want to use layers or paths. Thus far I have rarely done so and have rarely had the need to do so. I may actually be able to do away with using Gimp. I could take the position that if there is something I can’t do in Lightroom, it is something that moves to far away from the original image. I want to be more of a field photographer and less of an editor.
Below is a show with images from the days I’ve missed, the 23rd, 24th, and 25th.
I am going to see if I can get in a walk around the lake without getting rained on. Maybe I will bring an umbrella.
Always remember that the future comes one day at a time.
Dean Acheson, quote printed on the spine of the magazine Real Simple
I made it around the lake without getting wet. It sprinkled just enough to notice but not enough to actually wet anything down. It’s been mostly a lazy day today although I’m at 12,000 steps and have gotten a few good photos, edited them in Lightroom, and posted my POTD on Blipfoto. Wonderful weather today with pleasant temperatures and brief, sharp showers followed by sun. At one point I just had to stop my car on the shoulder of the road and hop out to get a photo of the sky and clouds. A truck happened to be passing and became part of the picture. And the rest of my selects from today are below.
I think I need to do some blogging earlier in the day. On days like today I don’t always feel like blogging – or doing much other than reading – when it gets much beyond 8:00 PM. I’m not going to write much today except to say that I purchased Photoshop Lightroom and already like what of seen of it. I developed all of my raw files from the camera using Lightroom. For some of them, that was enough. For others, I went to Gimp particularly for touch up work. Lightroom is mainly for adjustments to an entire image as opposed to sections of the image. The workflow is to develop raw files in Lightroom and pass them on to Gimp is necessary. I did all of the work for my POTD in Lightroom (note especially the vignetting). I’ve posted my other keepers for the day below. I tried and failed to identify the insects in today’s photos. I’m close to giving up trying to ID insects. For me, it’s much harder than identifying birds.
I just finished the longest walk I’ve taken in a long time – about 9,000 steps and about 4.5 miles. I did the Long Lake loop with extensions. Before leaving I liberally spayed my cap with OFF and sprayed the back of my head and neck. The flies were still around but not as great a nuisance as yesterday. I would have finished my walk more quickly except that many times I dawdled to pick and gobble wild blackberries. I finally stopped when I felt I was becoming a berry glutton. I think I ate at least one serving of fruit.
I logged 20,786 steps which is 9.78 miles. I was hoping to get my Fitbit 25,000 step medal today, but I’ve exhausted myself. I suppose I could do another 4,500 steps today, but I don’t think it would be worth doing. I might end up with heat exhaustion. I don’t know if 20,789 is a personal record. I will still log more steps before bed. I might at least go out for a slow, slow and short stroll after dark. I can at least exceed 21,000. I fell pretty good about the walking I’ve been doing given the following charts. The second chart shows that I’m in the 97th percentile of steps walked per day for men of all ages.
I picked up the photos I had printed for the county fair competition. They all look great. I feel good about my chances to win a ribbon. Vicky Sarner says the competition at Washington County will be greater than at Ramsey County which is a small, rather bare-bones county fair.
I’m still learning Gimp. Here is an experiment in combining two images, one with a rather lackluster sky and the other of only clouds, but rather dramatic clouds.
Today is my birthday. I have just one more year until retirement. So I’m going to set a couple goals.
Get my weight under 200 lbs.
Be able to easily walk 10 strenuous miles in a day.
Just two simple goals. I could list a lot more goals, but I haven’t been successful when I load two many goals on myself at the same time. For the rest of this month, also two goals:
Get my weight under 230 lbs.
Walk an average of 10,000 steps per day.
I just finished giving Penzu a final look. It will not work. Uploading a photo took way too long. Once the photo was uploaded, I couldn’t figure out how to re-size it and it was difficult to move. This is the second time I’ve tried and rejected Penzu. I need to remember not to try it again. Now my e-journaling candidates are Blogger, WordPress, and OneNote, my old reliable. I like Blogger except for its printing function which I need to explore a bit more.
I just tried saving to PDF. The results were not as good as with OneNote, but acceptable.
I’m wondering if I should switch to WordPress for my daily journaling. I an currently using OneNote, but there are formatting problems with one note that are time consuming and irritation. So I going to use WordPress for a while to see if I might like it better than OneNote. The most important issues that I need to resolve are the costs of data on my Verizon wireless account and formatting ease. I will use this blog as a photo and text blog plus images copied from other places on the Internet, particularly Google Images. Here is my first photo post. I was easy to do. Now I want to re-position the photo, but I don’t seem to be able to do.