Winter Melt

Good afternoon, boys and girls!  

I have four pictures of the lake for you today.  Two are from last Sunday and two are from this past Friday.  The difference (even though they’re not taken from quite the same vantage point) is astounding.  

It seems like almost the entire Northern Hemisphere has been under a deep freeze the last couple of months and it’s managed to freeze the Great Lakes.  Being on the coast of Lake Huron, I get to see that firsthand.  I love our beach all year long; which is not something I thought I would ever say!  Beaches are for summer.  Mostly naked bodies, hot sun, screaming children, volleyball; that’s the beach.  Not snow and ice and bone chilling breezes.

We went for a walk last Sunday.  It was a short walk, given how cold the wind was, but we went and I took a few pictures.  There are two I’m not sharing because they’ve been spoiled by something appearing in the picture that wasn’t there when I looked through the viewfinder.  

The first two pictures show all the ice and snow.  I did get to walk on the lake and, even though I fell on my ass, it was fun knowing that I was tromping around on top of deep(ish) water.  However, I took these pictures from the pier.  They are interesting, not only because you don’t know where the sky lake ends and the sky begins on the horizon but because of the effect.  I took the pictures on a bright, sunny, blindingly white day with my camera set on ‘Landscape’.  On my camera the pictures came out kind of dark and grey (over exposure much?).  When I put them in Photoshop and pressed Alt+Ctrl+Shift+L I got… well, it’s better to show you.

This is to the north of the pier. As you can see, the effect is, well, odd.

This is to the north of the pier. As you can see, the effect is, well, odd.

This is to the south of the pier.  The effect might be odd but it's also pretty cool.

This is to the south of the pier. The effect might be odd but it’s also pretty cool.

These next two pictures were taken on Friday.   The Boyfriend drove down to the beach on the way into town after picking me up because I was curious what the warmer weather had done.  I didn’t expect much difference really; after all, my roof hadn’t leaked.  Imagine my surprise when I saw this…

...as we were coming down the road.

…as we were coming down the road.

Oh my Gods!  Water!  And look how stunningly blue it is.

Took this from under the gazebo because it was simply far too windy to head out onto the pier.

Took this from under the gazebo because it was simply far too windy to head out onto the pier.

I wasn’t quite dressed properly either.  

The several FEET of snow and ice on top of the lake warmed up and melted pretty quickly.  We are so used to seeing this water as shades of green and brown that this rich, royal blue was quite a surprise.  

It’s definitely gorgeous but I will be glad when spring rolls around.

Have a wonderful afternoon, folks.

Muah!  

 

Congratulations Team Canada! 

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Good morning, my people!  

Hmm… that is kind of pretentious, calling you my people but hey, I’m in a possessive (but not pretentious) mood.  I spent Thursday night (through dawn on Friday) in a violent and messy food reaction which means that today I am in a lot of pain.  Surprisingly, my esophagus is still torn up enough that my voice is a hoarse whisper.  Annoying.   Usually that clears up by the following day.  Apparently, a gluten reaction is by far the worst for doing actual damage.  Hopefully this won’t go on too much longer.  

“You’re gluten intolerant!  Why the HELL would you eat something with gluten in it??”

Didn’t.  What I ate was a treat I shared with my daughter that we’ve had before.  Apparently they’ve changed their processing or something because there was most definitely gluten ON it.  Probably dusted the conveyor belt with flour.  She was at the grocery store for me and she’s really good about reading labels on NEW things; neither of us thought to read the label on this thing.  Should’ve listened to that bad vibe shimmer I had when I took the first bite.  

Anyway, I have some – shocker – WINTER pics to share with you.  I took a bunch of them.  I hate the cold because of the way it makes me ache but I love the way winter changes the face of my tiny corner of the planet.  I took a couple dozen pictures but there are only a very few that ended up coming out the way I wanted them too.  I think for pictures like these I’m going to have to adjust the ISO and white balance myself.  

I played a lot with black & white this time.  Not just in “revert to greyscale” but by turning the Saturation all the way down to -100%, or close to it.    I also played with the Curves option and the Brightness/Colour option to get the best out of the contrasts.  My pictures are almost entirely about light and shadow this week.  I have nine of them loaded into my media library.  Let’s see if they all make it in, shall we?

(Yeah, Okay.  I see it.  Leetle bit of pretentiousness in the ‘shall we?’. 😉 )

Let’s start with the macro and work our way out.  

This first one was hard for me to decide on.  I have a hard time distinguishing the details with my glasses on or off and yet, I still like the picture.  I like the blurred light and shadow in the background and the frostiness of the icy snow on the twig.  Still, it messes with my eyes.  *laughs*

Macro shot, -100% hue, little tweaking with the contrast

Macro shot, -100% hue, little tweaking with the contrast

 

Heavily laden with that heavy, icy snow, our large snowball bush was bowed towards the ground.  I thought it was kind of ironic that the bush that displays such lavish, snowy flowers in the late spring should wear such large snowballs now.  I have a twisted sense of irony, I know.  

-100% saturation, played with light levels in Curves

-100% saturation, played with light levels in Curves

I did eventually take a big stick to it to knock most of the snow off.  I love the bush and didn’t want to see it breaking.

I was walking along the deck, watching my footing (icicles drip from the gutters and create sheets and hillocks of ice) when I noticed these holes in the snow, in a relatively straight line too.  The house wasn’t dripping there.  It didn’t seem like there was a source of the water.  Until I looked up, that is.  There’s a power line that runs overhead and it was dripping.  

Heightened contrast (done carefully so as not to obliterate the center)

Heightened contrast (done carefully so as not to obliterate the center)

 

Meet my gender ambiguous snowperson!  Val said “Make me a snowman with a leaf for a hat!”  She’s not usually so demanding…. no, wait, yes she is!  But I did it anyway.  I made it with big boobs, intending it to be a woman, however she sees a fat man so we’ll stick with the label of “gender ambiguous”.  Or neutral.  Whatever floats your boat. 🙂

Made this by request.

Cute, no?

This next picture was intended to be of the leaf, all alone amidst all the branches of the trees that line the walkway to the beach stairs.  However, it shows the ice and snow on the water better than any of the other pictures I took did.  And now the ice and snow is about as far as the eye can see. If you look out the window at the lake you see snow then horizon.  That’s it.    

I do like the lonely leaf though.  Poor thing.

Toyed with the contrast some and sharpened it but mostly left it as is

Toyed with the contrast some and sharpened it but mostly left it as is.

Last, but definitely not least, my two favourite pictures.  They were both taken within a minute of each other.  Just one didn’t have the flash on (second one taken, first one shown) and the other did.  I had forgotten the flash was on when I took the picture and was quite surprised by the result.  I didn’t do anything to these pictures except my (to me) prerequisite Auto-contrast.   After that, nothing was needed.  (I need to figure out how to take a picture that doesn’t need the auto-contrast!)  The light was dim and it amazes me how much difference the flash makes sometimes.  Without it, the camera took all the light that was available and made it look like 10 am, rather than 7 or so.  With the flash, it looks like the middle of the night.

Actually, I didn't do anything to this.  I like it as is.

Actually, I didn’t do anything to this. I like it as is.

Morning snow

Lovely, isn’t it?

I’m out, folks.  Have a wonderful weekend!   I will be doing more work on the website.  Almost done the covers and blurbs and THEN I can get back to writing and editing.  

Muah!

(Remember, if you can’t leave a comment, get a clean link by deleting everything after ‘winter/’ in the link and pressing enter.)

Winter

Patience/Impatience

Since I am having trouble focusing today, due to stupidly high pain levels, I am reading a book I can only read little bits of at a time – Wherever You Go There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life by Jon Kabat-Zinn.

On page 48 I found the following paragraph:

“Patience is an ever present alternative to the mind’s endemic restlessness and impatience. Scratch the surface of impatiences and what you will find beneath it, subtly or not so subtly, is anger. It’s the strong energy of not wanting things to be the way they are and blaming someone (often yourself) or something for it.”

It totally rang a bell in me. Most of my impatience is indeed because I’m angry.  

Take today for instance.  Every Thursday (nearly) I dogsit Girlkid’s dog because The Ex goes to London to spend the night with his girlfriend.  Normally, I don’t mind.  The dog and I have fun (I’m learning about dog puzzles and dog brains. Interesting stuff) and it gets me out of the house, usually a couple times.  We have fun on our walks too.  (Most times the second walk ends up being too much for me but I’d rather do that than clean up a mess, ya know?)

Yesterday afternoon I asked Girlkid to ask her father to make other arrangements for the dog.  Because she waited well over an hour to deliver the message the best he could do is arrange to have her picked up at noon.   Now I catch myself glaring at the clock, impatient and worried.  

The Boyfriend is coming to take her for a walk though.  Isn’t that awesome?  He has to drive around 45 minutes (round trip) just to do that.  This is how well I am loved.  

It is because I am loved that several options were looked at last night to try to make it easier on me today.  My back is locked up so bad I can barely stand, I get three maybe four minutes before the nerve pain gets severe.  I’m having trouble sitting for long periods of time and lying down hurts too so I am getting up and moving around regularly.  I am looking after myself (though Val would argue that doing the dishes is NOT looking after myself even though I sat down to do them) and I know that walking the dog would make things exponentially worse.

Because I was pissed last night – at myself for not being able to do the things I need to do (and for forgetting yesterday was Wednesday), at my body for making it impossible, at Girlkid for not speaking to her father sooner and, yes, a little at him for not being able to find a way – I am impatient this morning.  I am trying NOT to be so every time I catch myself glaring at the clock I take a deep breath and live in the moment.

So it was fortuitous that today’s reading in this book is about patience.  It’s a good reminder.  

How are you at living in the moment?  At resolving unnecessary anger? At resolving justified anger?  What is your patience level?

I am going to put the kettle on and enjoy living in the aroma of a good herbal tea.  Have a good day my lovelies!  

Muah!

Exercise Update

This is what I feel like some days, only less happy. ;)  (Image courtesy of www.creativeexpeditions.com)

This is what I feel like some days, only less happy. 😉 (Image courtesy of http://www.creativeexpeditions.com)

Phew!

I have to remember that I am not always going to see progress.  Sometimes things in my life conspire to make me hurt more.  Some of them are things I have no control over, some are things I choose to do – whether because I feel I have to or because it’s something I want to do.  

Last week was an insanely busy week for me and I caught my daughter’s cold.  This week it’s left me hurting – yesterday I could barely stand and had to skip all but the final stretches (and even most of those).  Then last night I helped my daughter learn to touch her toes.  … Well, it was about learning to relax into the stretches and movements but it amounted to the same thing.

My goals are to strive to do them every day Monday – Friday and to increase them every week.  Last week I added 2 minutes to my elliptical time and, when I can get on it this week, that is still holding up, even if there are very slow moments.   I’m mostly doing 35-40 rpms, which makes me happy and gets my heart rate up into the 90s.  Resting heart rate is in the mid-60s and, given my age, weight and near sedentary lifestyle, that’s pretty spectacular.

Then again, I get monster headaches when my blood pressure goes up and I make a concentrated effort to keep my blood pressure and heart rate down.  I’m hoping to be able to get rid of the medication some day.  Bio-feedback is an excellent way to help with it too.  

Reminds me.  I should ask my doctor about making it a necessary part of my health regime and prescribing one for me.  

And I have to remember that I have to listen to my body.  I HAVE to.  I want to stay out of a wheelchair and that means being smarter about my physical care.  I just turned 40 and I’m at risk for losing my ability to walk.  It’s time, past time, to fix that.

To check where your heart rate is and where it should be check out this site.

Now…  How are YOU doing with your health goals?