Saturday, November 22, 2014

Catching up, and what's next

Well, it's true, I've neglected this blog in favor of my photo project, which has been an interesting and enlightening run. I've learned a lot about photography, what I like and don't like to shoot, how I like to go about the shoot and the processing, and that I get itchy and disappointed when I don't have something amazing to shoot (and let's face it, that can't happen every day). I still have a lot to learn, of course, but this journey is the best I've been on in a while.

So that project ends at the end of the year, and since I've stuck to that and neglected this, maybe a better idea is to merge the two. I could commit to a blog post a day. This way, when I don't feel like I have a thing to say, I can post a photo. When I don't have time to shoot, I'll have to think of something to say. And some days I might have lots to say or lots of photos to post. And if I've got nothing to say and nothing to shoot... I don't know, a haiku? Short video? Bad drawing? I'll have to sort that one out. But stay tuned if you're so inclined.

I'll admit, part of my neglecting this blog is that I don't have much to say that feels important enough to write about. Not that nothing going on in my life is important--not at all. My kids are doing some pretty awesome things, but those stories are their stories, not mine. I've been fortunate in that the people I'm lucky enough to have in my life are well and healthy. So, okay, I could mention that our roof sprung a leak in the spring and our basement flooded in the summer. And that my youngest moved to a city apartment and started college, sending me into a weird funk for a couple of weeks (totally over it, but it's still weird that both my kids are gone). But those are completely normal, everyday life things. I had a terrific summer; I'm still trying to get to every new restaurant in Detroit (there are so many! and really fantastic ones!); I caught up with some old friends in Chicago for a very whirlwind weekend this fall; I re-did my office, which has made me infinitely happy; I've seen quite a bit of my dad and also got to see my brother in person recently; I still don't feel comfortable dancing (but wish that I did).

Last I wrote here it was high summer. I had a good stretch at the cottage in early summer, but then had to vacate for renters again, so I missed some of the best of the summer. I was back on and off in August, but again rented a few weekends in September so I wasn't there as much as I wanted to be, and a few October weekends had to suffice. And now, well, it's just about Thanksgiving and the house will be closed up soon and I'll start obsessing about when I can be there again. That's just the normal order of things.

So I've just been living. And I don't mean to sound apathetic--I'm really not. I'm happier than I've been in a long time. Maybe I'm afraid of advertising that, like saying it louder than a whisper or something will make it all go away. So, let's keep it under our hats and all.

But here's what I've been doing this fall.

The eagle that hangs out on our beach, Labor Day weekend
Labor Day sunset over Lake Michigan
Sunset over Detroit from Belle Isle in September
Late September, camp boathouse on Stony Lake
Edison's Lab in Greenfield Village, early October
Firestone Farm pig, Greenfield Village, early October
Unloved home in Boyne, October
Country road exploring with my friend Jane, October
Abandoned silos in the sun, October
Late fall, the little lake behind the cottage
Farmland near the cottage, late fall
Art Institute, Chicago, early November
Tourist stuff, downtown Chicago, early November
More exploring with Jane, mid-November

And there you have it, my fall in a nutshell.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Hi, summer (or, high summer)

How does time sneak away from me like this? Too easily, apparently.

Tell me you're just like me--you can't keep up. You have trouble remembering the last time you sat and read a book in the sun. Did you pay that bill? You haven't even started on all the projects you intended to get done this summer. Please, please, we're so alike, right?

I don't know how normal people do it, but I'm still trying to figure it out. Busy, busy, too busy. Let's all take a breather.

So I spent just shy of four weeks at the cottage and went back to suburbia in mid-late July. Then a quick overnight back at the cottage, and now a little more time here before I have to leave my beloved cottage again for a few weeks.

Thus far this summer I've worried while my youngest and some of his buddies drove to Yellowstone (he made it safely back). Now the oldest has an opportunity to also see Yellowstone and she leaves upcoming week's end, so I'll have that to worry about as well. Of course I'm thrilled for them both and even a bit jealous--but they are at those ages where you have to do these things, explore and travel. And I'm settling in to my new job. So, yeah, that's where summer has gone.

But, it's high summer now and the best things about that are:
  • Sweltering, oozing heat
  • Peaches
  • Queen Anne's Lace, absolutely everywhere
  • Bees (not the stinging part)
  • An excuse for wearing very little
  • Sweat (what??? It's good to sweat)
  • Overflowing farmers markets
  • Sun tea
There's lots more, of course. But I'm sitting on a deck under a market umbrella; music drifts out from the house; a jet ski hums; I hear laughter and conversation from next door; only the gentlest breeze makes the heat not too much to bear. For the first time in a while, I've no desire to do anything more than this, just what I'm doing. It's enough.

This is just a little of what I've seen and experienced thus far this summer. Still lots left to see and do.


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Happy one year, cedar suite entries!

Oh, cedar suite entries, how I've neglected you! In May, you celebrated your one year anniversary and I missed the opportunity to write about it.

When I started this blog in May 2013, I wanted to try to post at least three times per month. And now I've gone and only posted once in April, and not even once in May. "Tsk, tsk, for shame," as my mother would say (she'd say it slowly, in a low voice, and she'd add a stink eye so you'd know you were really in for it).

I can only offer up these (fairly valid) excuses. My youngest is in the last bits of high school and making plans for moving onto a college campus. That business takes thought and planning, plus all the "stuff" that happens end-of-year for high school seniors. I know I'm no mother of the year, but I like to be around for as much of that as I can.

Maybe bigger is that I started a new job at the beginning of May, and not to put a glowing, golden-rosy hue on it but it really is the job of my dreams. The company is growing, values the input of its people, and is run by smart, talented people. I work closely with a great guy--a former co-worker with whom I already had an unmatched working relationship. Yep, almost a month after my start date I'm still pinching myself. It's that terrific.

Beyond all that goodness, because of the rough winter and too many things going on, we didn't get to open our beloved Cedar Suite until mid-May. The first visit of the season there felt like, as usual, a homecoming.

Of course, because of that other project I've tasked myself with and that I'm really sticking to, I'm out every day at whatever time I can squeeze in with my camera. So while I'm forgetting sometimes to document with words, I'm documenting with images. It's something. I'll take it.

So here are some photos from Cedar Suite just last weekend, and happy birthday to this blog!

First beach walk, my daughter's feet on blackened sand

The dune grasses, starting to green up

Not happy about posing, as usual

From the deck

Neighbor's cool driftwood, my selective-focus lens

Selective-focus sunset

Coloring session, my daughter and the neighbor

My kids

My dancing daughter

My two, plus one

Sunset kendama session

Faffing in the meadow

The "Keep Out!" house still stands! Barely.

Dog footprints

Because I'm never sick of sunset shots


Monday, April 21, 2014

Nest nearly empty

It's been an odd month.

It began as a way-too-busy month. As my workload started to clear up a bit, though, I realized that I am starting to feel, well, for lack of a better term... old. My youngest turned 18 at the very end of last month. My oldest turned 20 in the middle of this month. Those are such hugely transitional ages, you know? Transitional for parents, too, as we have to navigate a new way of parenting our newly-minted adult children.


If you're not far past those ages yourself, you know what I mean. You probably felt suddenly on your own, or at least more in charge of your choices and decisions somewhere around 18, 19, 20. But in some ways you still really need your parents. And if you are the parent of young children or burgeoning teens, you know these days are coming but you don't want to think about them just yet. Your kids won't need you so much some day. It's a fact.

Athough it's been a while, I vividly remember my own transition to adulthood. At 18 I went away to college, and then at 19 switched gears (and colleges) and moved to Chicago. I remember talking on the phone (long before cell phones) to my mom almost every day. I couldn't wait to get away from her--and once I was gone I realized just how much I really needed her. Anything good that happened, I couldn't wait to call her. And she was the first one I called when anything went wrong. When I got tricked out of all the money I had in the world ($80) on the elevated train on my way to school one day, I called her, sobbing hysterically. I could practically feel her hugging me through the phone and it didn't seem so horrible after that.

Although it was my mom I counted on for emotional support, I knew my dad was right there with her. And he has more than taken over as consummate supporter in my mother's absence. I do know how lucky I am to have him around, especially as my children move into adulthood. I don't know what we'd do without him.

As a parent of young adults, I know now that my mom probably had to fight back multiple urges to come to Chicago and rescue me every time I called her with even the hint of a sob in my voice. I bet it was a Herculean effort for her, because that woman was a rescuer (injured birds, lame squirrels, wounded bats, etc.). Thank goodness for that trait. I sure knew I was loved.

Anyway. I hope my kids know that they are loved, even if I don't do it all correctly as we transition into these new relationships with each other. It's interesting, challenging, a little sad, a lot of wonderful.


Monday, March 31, 2014

Spring. Finally! (Still crossing fingers, though)

I have been fairly plowed under by the lengthy winter (boo hiss) and by a steady stream of work (yippee!) this month, but I am starting to think about when we can get across state and get the cottage opened. I know the ice is starting to melt on Lake Michigan, but I don't trust it's safe enough to get the plumbing going just yet. I know the heartache of burst pipes and wish never to experience that again! But it's almost time, and I really can't wait.

But until then I've been shooting outside as much as possible. Even in suburban settings like metro Detroit there is beauty and nature, and I'm trying to be out in it, and really see it, as much as possible.

There's a nature preserve in the neighboring city and it's actually really beautiful. They've done a nice job of boardwalks over the marshiest areas, and little scenic outlooks and an occasional bench. It's small, but there's lots to see. I've ventured in twice in the past week, once with a friend on a bitter day with a somewhat menacing sky; the other on an evening just before my photography class at a local high school--very convenient since the preserve is on the grounds of the school.

And to the south is Lake Erie Metropark. Larger, still marshy, with paved trails for biking, running and walking. This, too, is really beautiful and highly explorable. I've never slowed down as much as I have been lately to look beyond the first view of something. It's worthwhile stuff, this slowing down.

I spent a few hours here as an escape from work on an early evening this week, then came back with my daughter over the weekend. She makes a great subject.

So, the thaw has begun. I saw some green things poking out of the ground in the last few days--the early crocuses, I think. Spring really is coming, and after that, summer. Summer! I can't wait.