I’ve been away from the Post-A-Week photo challenge, and from my blog, for a long time. (I’ve been almost totally silent since February, and — if I’m being honest — I went mostly-missing not long after last Halloween.) I was busy being overwhelmed and obsessive about the things that needed to be done so that we could move from Minnesota to North Carolina.
It was a long, scary, and stressful process — one that began as a dream, more than seven years ago; then became a goal, about four years ago; then became a plan, at the end of last year.
It shouldn’t have been so all-consuming. I know folks do this kind of thing all the time, but when I was a younger woman it would never have occurred to me that I would. I was a Minnesota girl, through and through. I was rooted. I expected my life to unspool like that of all my friends and family members, who did not just pick up and start all over again in an unfamiliar biome and an unfamiliar society.
But then life happened.
(I don’t want to write about the circumstances that are included in that “life happened” phrase tonight, but if you want an overview, you’ll find it a pretty good one in the middle of this post which I wrote a couple of years ago, when we were still in the goal stage.)
The point is we are now here, together, in warm, lush North Carolina, and it’s time to get back to taking photographs, and blogging, and writing … in short, it’s time to get back to living a life instead of planning for one.
I have two photos for the “spare” prompt:
First a very literal one. I had mentioned to my Ogre, on Friday night, the topic of this week’s photo challenge. A couple of mornings later, as we sat at the breakfast table doing our usual morning stuff, he suddenly looked up at me and said, “Wait, you need a photo for spare, right?” then he pushed his puzzle toward me. Slam!
This next one, though, is the photo that really captured something special about spare for me this week.
This is the pool at our new apartment community. We were relaxing in two of the loungers in the late afternoon. The sky was restless, with layers of clouds chasing each other about, and it was occasionally sprinkling us with soft, heavy, warm raindrops. We were talking about our new budget, and our new life, and about how much he’s enjoying his work, and how much I want to settle in to mine.
Then the rainbow came to delight us. A good omen.
The second bow? The one that came a few minutes later? That’s the spare one.
Here are some of my favorite entries for the “spare” prompt from others:
(I’ll add more as I have time to browse, so feel free to check back.)
The Simpler the Better | Once a Home | Iceland | spare tires | this reminds me of the paranormal hotel | a spare chair | love the way this is written | refreshing | bone | ooh, a creepy one | spare (ribs) | spare words |
Hi Folks. I suspect many of you have picked up on the fact that my life is changing dramatically, but I should have written a post about it more than a month ago. Apologies. (My mind is just completely overwhelmed these days.) Here’s the official announcement:
We are moving from Minnesota to North Carolina
at the beginning of April, 2016.
That’s 1,200 miles, give or take, and the logistics of the move are nightmarish. Consequently, I have to admit that I won’t be blogging until I can think about anything other than organization, transportation, and packing.
Long term readers will know that this has been our goal for the last four years. I can’t wait to get there, and I can’t wait until this part of the process is over!
Answers to questions you may have:
1 The Ogre (my husband) asked for a transfer to a North Carolina branch of the company, but local management said no, they couldn’t do without him.
Instead, they made him the happiest techie-introvert on the planet… he’ll be keeping the job he has, but he’ll be doing it out of an office we’ll set up in our apartment. (He’s a software engineer, and his company employs a number of 100% telecommuters. In fact, he already works daily, via teleconferencing, with some folks who live in other states and work from home. He just didn’t realize he could be one of them.) Isn’t the modern world a magical place?
2 We are taking the dog and the cat with us. (And hasn’t that complicated our travel plans exponentially?) We are not, however, taking most of our furniture. We’ll be living like newlyweds / college kids for a while. (Won’t that be fun?) We want to take our time finding pieces to replace the stuff we don’t want to drag across country. (Plus, to be honest, this whole process is expensive! We’d rather live on folding chairs than go into debt to furnish a new place.)
3 We’re moving into a large three-bedroom apartment in a lovely complex. (We need that extra room for Ogre’s office.) On the property, there’s even a pool, a real fitness gym, and a dog run with agility obstacles. (Bonus: I’ll have my own washer and dryer again.)
4 We are done with snow, and ice, and cold … and feeling like we age a few decades, and become shut-ins, for four or five months out of each year.
5 We’ll be joining our daughter (aka Pooka) and her beau, who have been living in NC for almost seven years. In fact, our new place is very close to theirs. Our 20 year old son is relocating with us. Our little family will be reunited.
6 The plan is to for Ogre and me to take at least a year to explore NC in a quest to find a town or neighborhood to settle in — one that we will love as much as we have loved White Bear Lake, MN. (Which would be perfect, if only it weren’t in MN and subject to so freakin’ much winter.)
7 Our son is leveling up to roommate status. He’ll continue to work and save money, and look into his college options, while he is establishing his residency for in-state tuition. He already has his AA Degree, so he’ll basically be a junior when he can go back to school in 2017. (Not too far off the planned trajectory, age-wise.)
8 Finally, I expect I’ll be clear-headed enough to start blogging and writing again by mid-May. Maybe sooner, if things go well. I miss it.
So. Did I forget anything? Ask anything you like in the comments … and wish me sanity and fine weather for the cross-country caravan trip that is coming.
We’re going home!
~YOUR MUSICAL INTERLUDE~
My Christmas gift to you:
We are hardwired to get along, you know.
Christmas isn’t really my season, but I miss you all so I took a look a what’s available this week. I’m pretty excited to share two things in particular:
I’ll be back to regular blogging soon.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS, EVERYBODY!
The Ref (1994) R
Available streaming on Netflix.
I was so excited to see that this is available on streaming this year, so I could recommend it to you. I’m going to give you a fan-made trailer here, because the professional one is just dumb. This is perhaps my favorite modern Christmas movie. Dennis Leary and Kevin Spacey are terrific. Dark. Funny. Satisfying.
On IMDb here.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (2003) PG
Most of my other modern favorites are NOT available on streaming right now, but in case you have alternative ways to access them, here’s the list:
White Christmas (1954)
Available streaming on Netflix.
My go-to classic. I’ve actually seen it playing on a variety of cable channels, but if you’re looking for a pure, commercial-free, watch, queue it up on Netflix. (I have a huge crush on Danny Kaye.)
On IMDb here.
The Twilight Zone “The Night of the Meek” | METV | Christmas Eve at 2:30AM/1:30C
Here’s the first five minutes of the episode:
Art Carney as a down and out Santa who finds a magical sack of gifts and seeks his redemption. Set you recorder. This is a great one. It has its own IMDb listing here. EDIT: When I set my DVR, I found the program description says this is a REMAKE of the classic episode. It’s possible the guide is just wrong. I hope the guide is just wrong!
ABC’s The Year: 2015 | ABC | Tuesday | 9/8c
A year in review news show. I’m betting there will be a ton of commercials, so I think I’ll record it and watch it on time delay.
The Jinx | HBO | On Demand
Nothing Christmas-y about this one at all, but I just marathoned it and enjoyed it immensely. If you need a break from holiday cheer, you could do worse than this documentary.
I don’t recommend a lot of premium cable shows. We often confine ourselves to a basic cable package, so I don’t have reliable access. Our provider screwed something up recently, though, so they gave us a few months of HBO.
I made a bee-line for the six-part documentary, Jinx, which I’d heard about and coveted. It was well worth the time investment. The first episode is the weakest, but I found myself intrigued anyway. By mid-way through the second episode, I was hooked. Over the hours, I developed an opinion, changed my mind, changed my mind again, and got literal goosebumps at the end.
The color of the title is keyed as follows:
Black = Have not yet experienced. I’m interested … or I think you’ll be interested.
Red = Have experienced. Not recommended. Worse than the reviews or buzz indicated.
Orange = Have experienced. Recommended, with reservations or cautions.
Green = Have experienced. Recommended. A good movie that lives up to its reputation.
A young friend of mine, who may or may not be bipolar, recently described one feature of depression as a dimming of the colors. Though I’d never thought about it that way before, I was immediately struck with the truth of the statement … in both a literal and figurative sense.
Today I snapped a photo simply because I actually noticed the depth and vibrancy of the colors:
To find and notice color in mid-November, in Minnesota, is a good thing, especially on a rainy day.
(And, by the way, it’s a miracle that we’ve only had rain and not snow … a miracle that I appreciate very much.)
When I uploaded the above image from my phone to my PC, I noticed a backlog of unnamed, unsorted, un-posted files, including the following shots, which I took almost exactly a month ago, at the height of leaf season:
I took the photographs because I could objectively see how lovely the colors were, and I had good intentions of posting them somewhere, but I don’t think I ever did.
Isn’t it funny how that drab view of a clump of wet sticks caught me by the heart today and inspired this quick post, when that golden tree failed to move me to action just a month ago?
Maybe I’m coming out of the worst of this thing … though I am tired of resolving to feel better, so today I’m just letting whatever happens happen. Instead of fighting, I’m trying to make peace with my black dog.
This blog hiatus I’m on was actually planned. By mid-October, I knew I was going to need a break as soon as Halloween was out of the way. (November is a terrible month for a paranormal-themed blog anyway.) I did intend to come in and made some kind of announcement about taking November off, but I didn’t quite make it before I crashed. So this is that belated announcement. I may be back before December, but right now I’m not really planning on resuming regular posting (or being much engaged with social media) until then.
And on that awkward note, I’m out for now. My Ogre has come home and we’ve got plans to go stock up on soda while the prices are low.
(Hey, I’m a little surprised I decided to write anything, to be honest. The words aren’t coming
easily at all lately.)
Another week has flown by. I hope you all are having a great season so far.
I’m still not at 100%, but today I’m heading out for a whole day with a friend. Our plan is to go hunting at the Goodwill, then drink too much coffee and talk our heads off on a patio somewhere, (if the sun will come out!) then, after dark, venture into the Alchemist bar.
Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. Time is running out for participating in this year’s hunt. It’s a perfect weekend to print off a list and go out taking pictures for an artist date (solo) or a game (with friends.) Now’s the time to catch all the fall colors and decorations, while they are in full-bloom (so to speak.) I’d love to display your results.
Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:
I’m almost done … except for those bleeping black areas. To complete it, I’ll need a bright, sunny day. Because I’m old. (Black on black is a challenge for 40-something eyes.) Meanwhile, I’m designing my next project … which I think will be a sampler. Gotta tell you, I’m a bit shocked I’ve actually made so much progress in about five weeks.
What have you been doing to celebrate the season?
Another week has flown by. What have you been doing to celebrate the season?
Me? I’ve been having a bad spell. It seems inevitable that I will go down for the count at some point every October, and this has been that week. I’ve been sleeping a lot more than usual. I’ve been watching movies and catching up on TV shows. I’ve been cross stitching … kind of obsessively.
My son turned 20 this week(!) so we had some guests over and ate more pineapple upside down cake than is reasonable. We also managed an outing to the pumpkin farm / petting zoo that we have visited so often in the last decade or so. (When we were home schooling, we used to take his lessons there so he could spend the day working near the goats and chickens, usually with a cat in his lap.) This week, we were very aware that it was probably our last trip to the farm.
Yeah. I’ve got some melancholy going on.
Here at the blog, great photos are still coming into The 2015 Halloween Photo Hunt. (I’m going to have to take a day when I feel more up to it to go out and get a bunch of pics for my own album.)
Here’s this week’s cross stitch project progress photo:
Don’t forget to check out my daughter’s cool Halloween buttons, there’s still time for them to arrive so you can hand them out at Halloween.
I hope you all are having a great season so far.