Finding Calm Amidst the Pines

The Orange trail Spring was really trying to push Winter off center stage the last few weeks, and in doing so, the spring fever kicked in something fierce. I'd already been having a tough time sitting down in front of the computer to complete work, and the sunny, warmer days were not helping one teeny-tiny bit. All I wanted was to be outside, which is exactly what I did last weekend and right up until it turned cold again this week. The boys and I have had some wonderful long walks, one of which was at Sand Ridge. They were troopers, finishing the day with nearly 9 miles after our usual morning walk, hiking the Brown trail, then hiking a bit of the Orange trail. I liked the Orange trail so much I went back the next day and hiked alone. I wanted to slow down and take some pictures of the trail and its surroundings. They say nature is the cure for what ails you, and I completely agree. The hush amidst the pines. The softness of the ground covered with pine needles. The flit of the ch

Taking My Health Into My Own Hands (Cuz My Doc Certainly Isn't All That Helpful)

After a month of tracking my glucose levels, I've learned a few things, the most important being I need to have something sweet in the evenings. An orange. A fruit smoothie. A vegan chocolate chip cookie. When I don't, my glucose dips with each consecutive morning after not having something sweet, the monitor showing my glucose going lower and lower. While I never went below 79, I was inching lower each morning after not having something sweet the evening before. So now, I make sure I have fruit or a smoothie with dinner. Every now and then I'll have an orange juice mid-day just because. While I don't think a month is long enough to really know if my glucose levels were the culprit for the tachycardia, I have felt so much better. The weird feeling I'd been experiencing when the tachycardia was happening has not happened. The waves of heat that would wash over me, causing me to peel off my sweatshirt or sweater even though my house is at 65 degrees haven't happen

Looking Forward to 2024

2023 was okay. I really have nothing to complain about regarding life in general throughout 2023.  Well . . . then again . . . that's not entirely true. Mostly true, but there was that one thing . . .. The thing that happened on April 1st. Of all days, it had to happen on this day. This was the day I drove myself to the ER that's 40 minutes away, after standing up from my recliner and feeling my heart take off. It was like I had just run the 100 meter dash, giving my all to cross that finish line first. Only I didn't run the 100 meter dash. I merely stood up from my recliner. I was on my way to take a shower, so I continued to do so, hoping my heart would slow down and go back to my usual 70ish heart rate. In the shower, my heart just kept on, and the more it didn't slow down, the more scared I became. So I finished the shower, got dressed, and drove myself to the ER. That drive was surreal. I just kept thinking: if I pass out, I hope I veer off to the right, into the b

Writing With Light

I couldn't believe how nervous I was as I poured the developer into the canister. My hands were literally shaking. You'd think I was performing some important surgery. No. I was developing my first black and white film in many years. Many, many years. I've been working towards this moment for the last three years. Every time I took a step forward, I ended up taking two backwards. I was so afraid I was going to royally mess up the process and not have any frames worth printing (or in today's world, scanning to the computer). My mindset was I'd rather not try if it meant failing. How dumb is that? Thankfully Lovely Beautiful Daughter told me to just stop. It wouldn't matter if I did fail. It's just film and chemicals. Both can be bought and the process can be tried again. And again until I get it right. I used to develop film all the time. The muscle memory would kick in sooner or later. The fails would be less and less.  I'm so glad I listened to her. Whi

Like I Really Need Another Camera

Got myself another toy today. I know absolutely nothing about this camera, but I thought it would be fun to play with (if it actually works).  I took it out of its case and started fiddling with it. I could tell there was a roll of film in it. I absolutely love getting an old camera that still has film in it. I couldn't get the rewind to work since I didn't really know what I was doing, so then the question became: Should I open it? For the next ten minutes I went back and forth. I had no idea what kind of film was in it. I had no idea how long it had been in it. It'd be cool to develop it and see what pictures the owner (who I was told was 92) had taken. But I didn't know this person and the likelihood of the images coming out decently was pretty slim. So I opened the camera.   Inside was a roll of Tri X Pan, circa the mid 1980's. I was really kicking myself for not taking more time to figure out the rewind feature, as I could have developed this roll myself and no

back in MY day . . .

I've been working on getting my darkroom up and running for three years. Actually longer if you consider the year I bought the enlarger and had it sit in the garage attic. More like fifteen years. When I brought the enlarger home and set it up in the basement of the house I was then living in, it wasn't going to work because I couldn't raise the enlarger far enough up to focus the image onto the paper. Hence why the enlarger went into the garage attic.  Fast forward twelve years and me buying my adorable little house in a little village out in the middle of corn and soy bean fields. This house has a lovely basement. I started my darkroom the summer of 2020, getting everything in place except for making the room light tight. I turned my attention to other things, leaving the darkroom to sit until this summer. This summer I returned to that social media platform I'd left five years ago. Five years of not knowing what others were doing. Five years of learning that it's

Being a Student

I'm taking two grad classes this semester. A better idea would have been to take one, but hey, when I decide to do something I figure jump in all the way.  So far, I'm staying afloat. Barely. Teaching five composition classes and being a part of "develop a new course" group is a lot. And then there's Teddie on top of all this. Teddie the sweetie. Teddie the needy. Teddie the terrible (but just every now and then, never all the time, thank goodness). I haven't been this busy in my life since the kids lived at home and were involved in their activities. I'd gotten used to the slowing down, the free time to do absolutely nothing.  Now, if I don't put what needs to be completed on the calendar, it doesn't get remembered or completed.  But I'm afloat.  One goal I am determined to achieve is get the darkroom done. DONE! It's been three years in the making, with nearly everything I need to develop the first roll of film, but I've dragged my fe