Getting it Done.

Wow! Time sure flies!  It’s been almost 2 weeks since my last post. For those who have been following my journey, I apologize.  I’m still recovering from this stupid bug.  Whatever the heck you call it, it’s a doozy! But, I have a million and one things to look after with the closing of this house, clearing mom and dad’s and finalizing all the projects that I’ve been involved in.

Speaking of which, I had a lovely surprise last week. The Town of Dalhousie presented me with a certificate of Appreciation and a bouquet of flowers at their last Council Meeting. I say last because we are heading into a Municipal Election.  Anyway, the certificate reads:

On behalf of myself, Council and the citizens of the Town of Dalhousie, it gives me great pleasure to express our appreciation for your leadership, service and contribution. Thank you for being an exceptional citizen, for your commitment and dedication. Your presence will be missed. Enjoy this special moment in your life!    Signed: Clement Tremblay, Mayor

A very nice gesture, I thought.  Made my week even if there wasn’t anyone there to see it except the Mayor, Council and the lone reporter covering the meeting. That’s what the governing body of this Town has had to contend with for years. People complain, but they don’t show up when it matters to question the people who can make the difference.

Ok, so back to my activity.

We finally managed to sell our Side by Side, a 2012 Can-Am Commander.  We had LOTS of adventures with that ATV including this one:
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You can just make out my hand on the grab bar. I’m leaning as far right as I can go just to help the vehicle not flip onto its side in that mud hole.  And is this my sort of thing? Nope. It was scary stuff and I’m not into scary at all.  But it was something I will never forget.  My favourite part of the ATV world was going places with it that you couldn’t get to by car or truck. The views from mountain tops.. breathtaking! Pictures? Unfortunately, we were usually in those places at the wrong time of the day.

I digress ..again!

We’ve been clearing out the contents of mom and dad’s house and the workshop.
All I can say is OMG!  If you are the type to save every piece of paper forever…. please, for the love of your executor, stop! And there is no reason to have 3 sets of pots and pans, no reason to own 50 files and rasps, 10 mallets, 18 hammers and I have lost count of axes and ax heads.  Really.  If you haven’t used it in 6 months or a year at the most, then find a new home for it. Someone will use it.  One of the things that this has brought home to me, is purge is necessary. I’ve taken to going through my own cupboards and placing unused items in a box for yard sale or donation.  We’ve spent weeks going through the house and the workshop and are only now feeling like we’ve made progress.  Thanks goodness that we’re retired and have time to do this.  Of course, we live in a community that doesn’t have estate services like auctioneers or appraisers, so that has slowed things considerably.  We’ve probably undervalued their collections, but for convenience sake, we’ve let it go.

That has been a hard lesson for me.  I figured that because mom and dad placed value on it, it must be valuable.  I had to accept that it held value to them because they liked it and that was it. Now if only I can remember that!

So, that part is getting there. Now if only we can find a buyer for the house. That would be another huge burden lifted and we could just look forward to the coming move. I admit, the thought of waking everyday and enjoying a morning tea on the back deck or the dock, watching the sun come up over the water keeps me going.  And I’m anxious to get the free time to pursue my hobby again.  It will happen soon enough. Patience grasshopper.

It hasn’t been all work. We’ve finally order HBO and caught up on Game of Thrones in time to catch the latest Season.  “Survivor” is nothing compared to the Game of Thrones cast. Holy heck! But I can’t stop watching either program. LOL  I’ve also been following The Catch, Big Bang Theory (of course!), Elementary, Blindspot (although that’s starting to wear thin), and Madame Secretary (yes!).  Oh and Lucifer! Awesome program. I see that next week, the final season of Persons of Interest is airing. I’ll definitely be watching that.

In addition, I’ve been knitting up a storm and finished a lap blanket for my granddaughter, two lace scarves/cowls, a shawl, a hat and … am in the second part of working my poncho. If only I could convince myself to start an exercise program too, I would be set.  I think that’s something I’ll aim for when everything here is done.

I think that catches me up on action for the last two weeks.  Thanks for following along.

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Another Day Closer

I’ve been down with a cold / flu for the last 8 days. Today was the first day that I felt human.  Of course, I couldn’t just take it easy for another day, since work is piling up and we’re 2 months to the day when the movers will be here to load the truck. I have stuff to set aside in this house for a yard sale, and mom and dad’s house next door to finish clearing for that sale.  So, this afternoon, after a quick nap, I grabbed the camera, tripod and my phone, and trudged next door.

It still feels strange walking into mom and dad’s place unannounced, and then to go through all their stuff – I really feel like I’m snooping and invading their privacy.  Silly isn’t it? Mom has been gone for almost 3 years and Dad will be gone a year next month.  But I still open that door and the smell that was “them” rushes to greet me.  I didn’t grow up in this house. It was a camp that we held our graduation from high school party – complete with underage drinking for some.  That was back in the days when parents allowed it because they knew where their kids were and that they were not going to be driving.  All in all, we were a pretty tame group. I digress.  What I was getting at is that this place doesn’t hold the same memories for me as our family home. My parents moved into this place in 1999.  But the furniture that is there is stuff that i remember using as a child. Some of it heralds from the days of my grandparents! So, going through the house today, I notified hubby which pieces were coming with us.  The ladies dressing table from the alcove in mom and dad’s bedroom.  It belonged to my memere. I remember it being in her bedroom and I was always playing there pretending to be a princess.  Just pieces of furniture – but linked inextricably in my memories. And I’m not willing to let those go.

Another silly thing – I love photography. But I don’t have many pictures of family strewn about my home.  I have a collage of pictures of my granddaughter and niece held to the side of the fridge with magnets.  I have some small pictures of my son and daughter-in-law tucked into the decor, and a beautiful family photo that they gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago hanging on the wall in the hall – but that’s it.  Am I strange?  I go to other places and people have all kinds of photos of friends and family everywhere.  And I think maybe I should do that too. But the thought is gone before I get home.  Hmm, maybe I’ll do that in the new house.

Anyway, back to the investigation of mom and dad’s…  One of the things that comes about when one has to do this sort of thing, is that we learn a bit more about who they were as people, and not just as mom as dad. For instance, dad was once an avid photographer. I come by it honestly I guess.  He didn’t identify anyone in his pictures though so I have no idea who or where they were taken.  That made me realize that I should start properly documenting the people and places in the photos of my portfolio, so that when I pass and someone is going though my stuff they will know who is who and what is what.  I discovered that mom was a worry wart.  She had an amazingly morbid imagination and would come to the worst possible outcome in any scenario and then go into a spin and start shaking.  She and dad had some pretty harrowing adventures and I can just imagine the state she would be in.  But other than that, mom didn’t appear to have any passions.  She was not an easy woman to know. Very private.  I read her journal entries from the years that she and dad went to their camp in the woods. Invariable, she would report on the weather, animal sightings, food and health. Very little that was of a personal nature.  I wish that I had known her better.  Ah well, we can’t change the past. We can only learn from it and hopefully, try to be better going forward.

Anywho – that was pretty much my first day of feeling better after the cold from hell.  I hope that I didn’t do too much and that tomorrow I will better still.  And because words are sometimes not enough, here’s a photo of one of the things that mom loved – her antiques.

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She would watch every Antiques show on TV, and she had stacks of books and magazines on the subject.  But, they didn’t have a lot of them.  I’m not sure where they went or if they even had that many to start.  Still, I’m happy to know that she had a hobby that kept her happy. And that makes me happy.

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Moving Along

Right then.  So life goes on, and after a year of living in a vacuum, (by the way, there is still dust inside the vacuum.  Actually, I think that there’s a LOT more dust.) it is time to decide what to do.  So, we’ve sold our house here, have listed mom and dad’s, and have purchased a home by the water in Porters Lake Nova Scotia.  As much as we loved our home and property here in picturesque Dalhousie New Brunswick, it always lacked that water view.  It’s been a long time dream to have waterfront – and well, life has shown us that it’s precious and to make the most of it. So, we’re biting the bullet and getting a mortgage again.  YIKES!

Excited? Yes! Scared? You bet!  It feels good to feel again.:-)

I’ve been neglecting my photography. Oh every now and then I would take the camera out, but I just didn’t have the patience to properly “see” creatively.  Now, I’m looking at things again and am starting to be anxious for the snow to melt enough that I can get out again.

The Valley of home

The Valley of home

We did get out walking some trails this winter. This one is in the valley across the road from our house in Dalhousie. The walk begins with skirting the edge of a small dam by clinging precariously to a rope strung tautly between trees. One slip and you fall straight down into the muddy and icy water of the dam.  Not a good idea at any time of the year.  The rest of the hike follows the stream on a gently climbing slope up to Cigar Falls.  On this particular day, I was accompanied by my hubby and our trusty dog, Annie.  She certainly keeps things interesting.  I have no idea what she finds so exciting about those walks along the familiar trails, but she would suddenly leap boisterously 3 feet off the trail into the soft and previously unmarked snow, sink 2 feet and then laboriously circle around until she met up with us on the firmly packed path again, push past us and run around the next bend until the urge took her to jump off again.  I was exhausted just watching her, but her antics were a ray of sunshine.

Frozen Falls

Frozen Falls

So this is the winter view of Cigar Falls. Some people have lived in the area all their lives and have never seen this beautiful cascade in any season.  In spring, it’s a torrent of water spraying down the cliff face … (ok. Torrent is relative – saying that it’s a larger amount than usual lacks a certain finesse.) .. in summer it’s a refreshing constant and in a particularly dry fall, a mere trickle. One thing for sure, regardless of the season, it’s a very pretty and relaxing scene, more precious by the process and effort of reaching it.  I will miss our daily walks to this little haven, but know that the trails and hidden jewels of Nova Scotia await our arrival. We;ll find new treasures and favourites. I can hardly wait.

 

 

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Hello Old Friend.. Goodbyes and Tears

It has been too long since my last confession … I mean “post”

I admit that I’ve stayed away from the blog for several reasons. First and foremost, I was worried that I had nothing of interest to say. And secondly, life happened.  This is not one of my previous lighthearted posts. I will get back to those, (I hope). I’m writing because I need too.

An awful lot has transpired since 2011.  Interesting choice of the word “awful” to describe events in my life over the last 4 years.   If used as an adjective it could denote something nasty or unpleasant.  In this case it’s an adverb but has an underpinning of the adjective.

But, while it has been very challenging, there has been good too.  I just have to search harder to find the “good” stuff.  Every cloud has its silver lining they say.  Mine is that I’ve learned new things, discovered truths about myself that make me stronger, if not a little harder.  Funny how as we age, we discover that our patience is not as long as it once was.  And that we find ourselves less likely to give others the “benefit of doubt” opting instead to .. and here I come to a loss for words.  I guess that I am more inclined to feel affronted first, only soothing my ruffled feathers when others assure me that I have taken things the wrong way.  I am unsure when all this came about, but it has inexorably wormed itself into my psyche.   Perhaps I am still reeling over the death of my mother 2013. I think that’s when I retreated into this brittle shell, and now I have to figure a way out.  Writing helps! I should have come back to this blog ages ago.  She and my Mother-in-Law were laid to rest on the same day. So my hubby and I couldn’t even be together as we were in different provinces doing the same thing.  Yeah, his mom passed away Dec 2012 on my mom’s birthday. And then my mother passes away in June.  It’s been super tough on Dad.

I’ve continued with my photography and knitting. They are really the glue that holds me together and the place I go to “decompress”.  I am realizing that I need more.  More challenges, more opening.. so I’m spreading the wings and launching off the edge. Hoping for a soft and safe landing after an exhilarating flight when I’m more myself.  I’m tired now, will come back to this when I’ve slept on it.

So, I wrote the above entry in February of 2015 – and I didn’t “post” it. Thinking, that I would add more and then post it.  Sigh.  I’m sitting here and shaking my head at myself.

Life added more for me.. much more.

I may as well put it all in one post and then move on.
I mentioned above how my mom passing was really hard on Dad.  He never stopped missing her and I had no idea the strain he was under trying to put on that brave front and carrying on.  His health began to deteriorate but he figured it was a cold.  Turns out it was a lot more than that.  Dad passed away in May 2015.

I really, really miss them both.

My girlfriend showed up on my doorstep and gave me one of her signature bear hugs. The kind that you feel right to your toes because she puts so much of herself into it.  She really helped.  I still think  back to the day of the Funeral.  My brother and sister were with me in the receiving line and my girlfriend showed up with her husband to pay their respects.  With every person she hugged along the way, she left a trail of tears.  We had to laugh.  She was a one woman army and she made even the most stoic of us reach for a wad of tissue.  Ah – how I miss her.

Yup. You read right. I miss her.  That was May 17th at the funeral. On May 29th I got a call. She and her husband had been killed in a motorcycle accident.  My beautiful friend. Gone.

So, here it is now, almost a full year later.  I’m resolved to resurrect this blog.  First because I think that writing helps me to heal. I have always enjoyed the process of creating pictures. Not just with a camera or a computer, but also with words.  Some days the picture is clear, and others, it’s more of a Picasso.  But the documenting and process of creating is cathartic.  So, I take the plunge and say, I’m back.  Although I may change this to a “Dear Diary”.  Imagine the silly tidbits with that!  More tomorrow about the new direction of my life now that I’ve resurfaced from mourning and grief.  The tears will always be close, but the need to enter the land of the living is strong.

 

Dad at the Eel River Bar Beach

Rest in Peace Dad Joseph Edward Poirier May 13 2015

Rest in Peace Carole and Ron de Groot May 29 2015

Rest in Peace Carole and Ron de Groot May 29 2015

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The Magic of Photo Crops

I liked this image right out of the camera first time I saw it. There was just something about the light and the depth that appealed to me. But the longer I looked at it, the more I got thinking, “Gee. I wish that I could see more of the Nuthatch.” If I blew up the image full size on my monitor, I could see how cute the expression was and the fact that I had eye contact. I almost shrugged my shoulders and said “Oh well.”

But then it hit me. Why not crop it. Not only did I crop it, I also did a Topaz treatment that simulates the look of a painting or watercolour. I can’t help it! It’s like an addiction I have to turn everything into a painting these days. Maybe after the novelty wears off I’ll leave well enough alone. But in the meantime, I just love the effect and this little cutie is no different.

The thing to remember about crops is that your image has to be sharp to begin with. If you have ghosts or too much noise, you’re better off to leave the image larger. I know that new software can “sharpen” images these days. (It’s amazing how far the digital manipulations have come in only a year!) And if the image is only slightly blurred, then the software does a fairly good job. But serious over sharpening can cause a myriad of other issues to “crop” up.
Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
Over sharpening leads to attenuated noise in the photo and there’s no amount of treatment that will get rid of it. You would spend less time in trying to redo the shot than squinting at the monitor trying to clone out or brush out the problems. Of course, there are some instances where the shot is a “one time only” deal. In which case, I suggest cropping in only so far and stopping before the noise issues and sharpening become glaringly obvious. As a hobbyist, we have to learn to get brutally honest with ourselves about what constitutes a “keeper” and what is an, “Oh I can fix that in PS”. I’m speaking from personal experience. I saved all my images even though there was no way in heck I could “crop” anything off them. Yes, they were that bad. But they looked “cool” so I saved them. 3 years later, I’ve learned. If they can’t hold up to the old 1:1 view, then they better have some other redeeming quality in order to make the grade. For instance, a shot of a UFO …. kidding.

But that would be SO cool!

Anyway. Give the idea of cropping your photos another thought if you haven’t already. Sometimes, what we thought was just an OK picture, with a slight crop can suddenly become the money shot for you. Also, take into consideration, if you had a landscape layout – there’s no reason you can’t crop portrait style:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah. I had to play with this one too. There’s just so many opportunities with photo editing software these days! And what else am I going to do with this bad back but play with pictures?:-)

Enjoy!

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