Photographing memories, off-season and on.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you probably already know that I’ve been taking more photographs lately. (It’s easy to take a lot of pictures in the good seasons–any season except winter that is–because I actually go out and about instead of huddling like a post-apocalyptic survivor in my home.)

My new (nearly) daily practice makes me more aware of my surroundings and it entertains my muse. Some of the shots are artistic, some are just personally meaningful, but they all capture something about my life that I’d like to remember.

Today I started a Flickr album just for those pictures, because I realized they will get buried in my social media feeds and eventually disappear. I might do something with them here at the blog too, but for now–if you want to see them all in one place–feel free to pop over to my hauntingphotoaday album at Flickr.

I’ve been getting so much satisfaction from this practice that I’ve decided to plunge in just a little bit deeper, by starting to participate in the WordPress sponsored photo a week challenge, which you can read about here:

I'm part of Post A Week 2015

Click the badge to go to the homepage.

“Off-Season” is this week’s photo prompt, which gives me a fine opportunity to embarrass myself. I would have liked to start off with something more like actual photography than the following very-snapshot-y pics, but you get what you get when you’re responding to a prompt.

When I was organizing photos last week, I came across one, taken back in April, in which I am giving the photographer (probably Ogre) The Look. It’s not one of my favorite photos of me, but it nails that particular expression we are all guilty of. It amused me, so I put it up on my personal Facebook page. Here it is:

The Look

Within seconds, I got this comment from a woman I went to high school with: “Is it still Christmas at your house?”

That’s when I saw, for the first time in months, that gold garland hanging on the wall. Oops.

Regular readers know that I’m not a fan of holidays (other than Halloween) and that our family doesn’t do much in the way of decorating for Christmas. This last Christmas, though, I got caught up in the holiday spirit and spent a whole day lining the ceiling in our living room with multi-colored “firefly” blinky lights and garland.

We fell in love with the way the lights reflected off the ceiling and made the room glow when all the lamps were turned off. After Christmas, we still wanted and needed the cheerful lights to get through the winter. So we left them up. When spring came, we discovered we STILL liked the way they looked at night, when we were curled up watching TV or working on our individual projects.

Now it’s summer, and they are still up.

off season

Last night, we noticed that one of the strings is dying. In the next couple of days, I will take them down, because there’s little more depressing than a half-dead string of twinkle lights. If they were still burning brightly, though, I wouldn’t touch them.

So how’s that for off-season?

Edit: I’m doing the neighborly thing and taking a peek at other participant’s responses. Here are some of my favorites:

Off course | And in walks …(An artistic) Christmas Lights in June | Doormats | California Polar Bear Plunge | Off-Season DQ | East Harlem | Long Beach Island in September (These remind me of NC.) | Last of the summer blooms | Chicken Season | Frost Rose | “A rose garden is a still, expectant place in England in late May.” | Lonely Sailor | Germany’s North CoastCougar feasting on carcass (reminds me of working at the wolf center) | TomatoesSummer Cabins, Closed for Winter | South England | Rain Gauge in the Sierra Nevada Foothills |

And the challenge led me to a blog that features “Life & Death in a Small Town (including cemetery photos.)


Friday Night Picture Show: 1894 Hinckley, MN Firestorm

This is the first entry in my new blog feature, the Friday Night Picture Show.

In the future, I expect to post a photograph or photo set most of the time, but it seemed right to start things off with something weightier, to anchor the feature.

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Friday Night Picture Show

#FNPS


Take your pick.

Shiny paranormally pictures here:

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Not so shiny bipolary naval-gazing here:

I try not to write too much about my mood swings here at the blog. Still, my tagline does include Finessing bipolarity, so I’ll allow myself a post on the topic.Tonight I find myself unable to work up any enthusiasm for a paranormal- or Halloween-themed post, which is a little weird, because I did have plans in place, and I do have (just enough) time to craft something. I simply don’t want to.

That attitude has been creeping up on me, I think, over the last couple of days. Remember that night I didn’t manage to post until after midnight? That really took the wind out of my sails. Or it was an early warning sign that the wind was dying. I don’t think I’ve been manic in these last weeks. (My energy levels haven’t been that high; the writing hasn’t been coming to me easily, the way it does when I’m up.) I am concerned, however, because today’s crash does feel like the coming-down-from-manic stage.

I think my mood has been even (“normal”) for weeks. I’ve had a few awfully happy days – mostly when I’m out and about and taking pictures, but I’ve settled down as soon as my day off was done. I’ve had a few days where I felt tired and/or under the weather, but I’ve bounced back. (Sometimes a depressive skid pretends to be an illness, so I watch that sort of thing carefully.) Perhaps today will be like that. The problem is that I don’t have any physical complaints. I just feel … mentally tired. Also, my anxiety is eager to rise up, if I give it half a chance. (I’ve had a couple of long drives lately, and that seems to enable surges of anxiety. Drives gives me time to think about the legitimate stressors in my life.) Rising anxiety is a clear indicator of an impending depression for me.

Tonight I am mentally sorting through the factors that have been known to trigger sudden mood shifts. Alcohol is supposed to be a depressant, but I had barely a beer last night when we went out. I’d be surprised if that’s enough to mess me up. The weather has turned cold, and a little gray, but it hasn’t been terrible. Weather must remain a contender though, because I tend to be very sensitive to it. In fact this might be more about sliding toward the dreaded winter season than the actual temperature. There’s no way to deny that fall is past its peak now, here in Minnesota.

Maybe I am just depleted. My husband, who is a classic introvert, seems to think that I’m a natural extrovert, but I know better. Last night, at the zombie pub crawl we attended, I had to approach strangers to ask for permission to take their photographs and for them to sign a publishing release. (I’m paranoid about getting sued someday.) Everyone was friendly and receptive and cooperative, but each encounter took more out of me than anyone knows. As for other energy sappers, we all know I’ve been working a lot, and I’m only just now starting to feel competent at the new hotel. In the last months, there’s been an awful lot of me stepping out of my comfort zone and a lot of being on my best behavior … for readers, for guests at the hotels, for coworkers, for my bosses, even for my friends and family, who don’t need to have me falling apart during this 9+ month time of stress for us.

So, it’s really no mystery what’s going on – I just have to figure out what to do about it. For now, tonight, I’ll give myself this break from being “on”, as well as permission to see what happens tomorrow. I almost didn’t post at all tonight, but I don’t want to lose the pretty-darn-good streak of daily blogging I’m on if this is just a bad day. There’s nothing that keeps me even and grounded like achieving something I set out to do.