A foggy lens

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Yesterday I accidentally dropped my smartphone into the tub. Don’t ask how or why, I just did. I grabbed it out of the water almost immediately and was relieved to see that it still appeared to be working. Over the next few hours I realized that some moisture had found its way inside as the Sim card temporarily stopped working and needed some drying out. The phone also briefly thought I had headphones plugged in when I didn’t but otherwise it seemed fine.

Yesterday evening I was out walking with Jazz and my daughters and we came upon a raccoon in a tree. Something had woken it up and it was outside its tree hole home looking rather tired and confused. As I almost always do when I see something unusual or interesting, I pulled out my smartphone to take a picture. When the camera feature came up the picture was all foggy and when I looked closer at the camera lens I could see wetness inside it. My heart sunk.

I love taking pictures and even though no one sees a majority of them because they’re not overly interesting, the idea of not being able to take them with my conveniently handy phone was discouraging. I was unable to take a picture of the raccoon even as it looked out at us from its tree hole home on our way back and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to take pictures with my phone ever again.

Following some helpful advice, I turned my phone off and placed it in a bag of rice last night. I left it in that bag overnight and when I awoke this morning, I took it out of the bag and eagerly turned it back on. Once it fully booted up, I accessed the camera app and was thrilled to see that the lens was clear and free of the foggy moisture. The bag of rice had done the trick!

I was anxious to take a picture now that I could so I snapped a few shots when I put Jazzmin out this morning. I was able to capture the half moon in a turbulent sky and that made me very happy because I love the moon.

It’s fair to say that I’ve learned my lesson and will be keeping my phone away from tubs from now on. The upside of the experience was that I realized I’m more passionate about photography than I thought and that I need to keep taking pictures even if I’m the only one who ever seen them.

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A glimpse of a busy day

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My day in Boston was full of new adventures and fun but it only left me with enough energy to post some of the better photos I took with my phone. It will have to do until I get home and have the time and energy to write all about it.

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Creative Explorations

I’ve dabbled in many things trying to figure out what I want to be “when I grow up.” My father crafted amazing projects out of wood such as rocking animals (lions, giraffes and horses) and puzzles but my attempts to craft from wood in middle school shop class failed miserably. Not to mention that it’s not exactly safe for me to be around sharp, spinning things like saws.

I always loved art class in school but my work was overshadowed by artists far better than myself. Other students could draw realistic people and scenes while I did better with abstract and impressionistic pieces. My teachers seemed to have a higher appreciation for recognizable things than what I’d come up with so my work rarely made it into school art shows and displays.

In high school I took a computer programming class and discovered to my surprise that I was actually quite good at it! While my friends and fellow students kept getting stuck, I’d plow right through the steps and my program would run perfectly after I cleaned out a few bugs. I’d then help my friends with their code and I was impressed that my mind could work like that. I probably should have explored that area more because it had the potential to lead to a productive career but I didn’t.

I took a couple of computer art classes in school too. They didn’t call it graphic design but that’s what it was. Graphics on computers were pretty rudimentary back then but I was able to create things that impressed my teacher so much she wanted to use them on the school website. That never actually happened because I got sidetracked by trying to pass the classes I wasn’t very good at so I could graduate.

My father had a talent with a camera. Just about every photograph he took turned out perfect. People hired him to photograph work and social club events. He used his old Olympus SLR camera to take all the pictures and every shot was interesting. While I love taking photos and often snap several in a day, I don’t consider myself a photographer. I’m just someone who likes to take pictures. Being a photographer takes an eye and a skill I just don’t naturally possess.

When I was a stay-at-home mother I decided to expand my knowledge of graphic design, photography and photo editing by taking some online classes. It was fascinating learning about proper photo composition and where the eye is naturally drawn to. I went out and took several rolls of pictures with my father’s old Olympus camera but very few of them turned out well. I really enjoyed learning how to edit photos with Photoshop and bringing out details that were there in the scene but hadn’t been captured on film. Exploring graphic design with Illustrator was fun for me and while I created projects I liked, they just weren’t up to professional graphic design standards.

Graphic I made in the online Illustrator class

Graphic I made in the online Illustrator class

I’ve had to brush up on those Photoshop and graphic design skills recently as I work on the cover for my Boston story e-book. I dug out those three-ring binders and reread the lessons until it dusted off the correct memory files in my brain. Once I remember what I was doing, I had a lot of fun working on my cover…at first. The longer I work on it though, the less I like it. I imagine that happens to everyone after a while. I don’t know that I’ll ever be satisfied with the cover but I will eventually have to stop reworking it so I can publish my story. I’ll do my best and hope that people don’t glance at it, cringe and then keep browsing titles.

Potential cover in progress

Potential cover in progress

All of my creative explorations have taught me one thing: I am a writer. I can dabble in whatever I want to and I continue to paint, take photos and play with graphic design but my strongest ability is writing. I don’t profess to be a perfect writer and I never took any college courses in it so my grammar isn’t up to snuff but as every writer knows, writers write! I will always write, even if it’s about the most mundane-seeming things in the world. I am a storyteller and if I don’t get the words out of me, my entire creative essence suffers.

The Best Laid Plans…

I was supposed to be spending this weekend, Memorial Day weekend, in Amesbury, Massachusetts. I’d made the plans months ago and was eager for my return visit to the North Shore area. Alas, those plans fell through when my reasons for going slipped away. I’d been looking forward to returning to that beautiful area of Massachusetts all through the cold and miserable winter. The idea of the visit was all that made life in the bitter cold bearable some days. Life has shown me again and again that the best laid plans…should be crumpled up and tossed on the fire.

The Chain Bridge, Newburyport, MA

The Chain Bridge, Newburyport, MA

Last time I visited Amesbury, Newburyport and other North Shore towns was August of 2012. That was an unplanned visit, quite the adventure and something much bigger than can be told here. It only lasted 24 hours and I spent the night sleeping with Jazz in my car parked at Amesbury Park. I am grateful I wasn’t towed! While I was quite disheveled during my visit, I truly fell in love with the area and the people I encountered were very friendly and welcoming. I hope to return at the end of June now but I might have to change my reasons for going to make that a reality.

The bees at Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury, MA

The bees at Cider Hill Farm, Amesbury, MA

I would’ve been in Amesbury by around 4pm today but instead I was home napping. I would’ve been enjoying dinner at one of the local restaurants but instead I was home eating a pot pie and drinking a Sam Adams. I would’ve loved to walk the boardwalk at Newburyport this evening but instead I was washing dishes at my sink watching the bird couples come to eat, the males feeding the females with adorable affection. The weather in North Shore this weekend is supposed to be cool and rainy and sometimes I wonder if my mood affects the climate. A silly notion.

Jazzmin at Tendercrop Farm, Newbury, MA

Jazzmin at Tendercrop Farm, Newbury, MA

So I’m spending the holiday weekend home with Jazzmin. It will be business as usual with yard work, chores, writing and maybe some new paintings thrown in. I’ve learned to make the most of the curveballs life continually throws at me. The other choice is wallowing in misery and self-pity and I’m just not that kind of girl. I have this life I’ve built on my own and I have a lot to be proud of and grateful for. The best laid plans are the predictable ones I know will happen, like walks with Jazzmin and playing with my girls. Anything beyond that becomes a spontaneous adventure and is what makes this journey called life endlessly interesting.

Morning sun over the Merrimack River, Newburyport, MA

Morning sun over the Merrimack River, Newburyport, MA