Friday, October 30, 2015

breathing the sky

the mind breathes
in and out
swelling with yesterday
exhaling today.
pausing for one split second
on tomorrow

for a while
I can breathe

here in the safety of 1:00 am
where nothing is asked
and there is time
to drift and linger
beneath a fat moon
breathing in the ocean tide

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Book Review: Q&A a day, 4-year journal for creatives

This is a fun and unique book, set up to be completed over a four year period.

Each page (starting with January 1st, ending on December 31st) has a small prompt which you are supposed to explore, by adding a small doodle/sketch/painting to the page.  There are four rather small (about 3"x3") squares in which to add your sketch each year.

The prompts are sometimes silly, sometimes thoughtful.
Here are some examples from the journal:
What does boiling water look like?
Try to draw darkness.
Draw a sculpture or statue.
Create your to-do list as graffiti art.

Though there is not much space in which to draw, these prompts may also just get your creative juices flowing, so that you can
go from the book's pages to maybe a greater, more elaborate project.

Covering the span of 4 years, this is quite a commitment, but as I said, it doesn't really ask for a whole lot from you, so it would probably be pretty easy to accomplish.

The paper is not really suitable for heavy markers or watercolor, both of which would bleed through the page. It's more suitable for crayons, and colored pencils.

I think I will have fun with this book over the years.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

For further info, visit the following links:

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  • Sunday, October 18, 2015

    Book Review: You First; Journal Your Way to Your Best Life

    This book, You First; Journal Your Way to Your Best Life, by Lea Michele, is presented in four sections:  You, Ambition, Relationships, and Happiness.  Each section has three parts, set up with open ended questions designed to let you explore the sections.  There are lots of blank pages (with lines) for you to write in.
    Perhaps if I was younger this book would have more impact for me. But, I am 61 years old, and much of this stuff is just unrelatable for me.
    I found the first part, with emphasis on fitness, diet/nutrition, rather boring, as I'm just not into listing all the foods I eat over a couple of weeks time.  Nor am I interested in journaling my exercise routine for weeks. Being on a fixed income, I am unable to really purchase the best of foods for myself.  Being disabled, I am unable to exercise to any great degree.  So, the first part of the book was left essentially blank.
    It may be a worthwhile book for people in their 20's and 30's, but if you're senior, I would say don't waste your time.
    The questions asked did not really inspire me to write a whole page of answers.
    I think a blank journal is more worthwhile, for me, at least.
    There is a half dust-jacket on the book...  taking it off reveals a nicely designed front cover sans the author's face-shot, making it seem more like a personal journal.
    If you feel a need to map out your life and its possibilities, then this book may benefit you.
    I received this book from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.

    For more information, click on the following links:
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  • Thursday, October 8, 2015

    7 year blog anniversary

    Today I am entering my 8th year of blogging.  Really hard to believe.  I know for the past couple of years I have hardly blogged at all due to a larger preoccupation with breast cancer, and pain management, but hopefully that will change over the ensuing year.

    Thanks to all of you who are still following my blog, and making comments.  I really appreciate all of you, and enjoy continuing to read your blogs, too.

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015

    Book Review: Learning To See Creatively; Design, Color, and Composition in Photography

    This is the 3rd edition of Bryan Peterson's book, Learning to See Creatively.  Filled with all new images, and focusing on the new world of digital photography.
    The book is designed to help you view the images in front of you in a new manner.  It deals with the elements of design: line, shape, form, texture, pattern, and color.  Concentrating on these elements will force the eye in new directions, thus making for new and exciting images.
    In the Composition section, it teaches about the important "rule of thirds", teaching you how to compose a striking picture.  More importantly, maybe, is the idea of breaking all these rules and being a maverick when composing your own shot.
    There's a section on "the magic of light", suggesting the same picture be taken at different times of day, producing different results.
    Also, at the end, there is a small section which deals with Photoshop, and some how-tos associated with that.
    I can't say that everything in this book is new and exciting to me.  As a photographer for the past 40 years, I have explored many of these things along the way.  It is a nice book to share with your photo group, if you have one, giving suggestions that would be appropriate for a photowalk where you concentrate on a particular subject, like textures, or color.
    The photoshop tips at the end seem a bit cheesy to me, and the subsequent photos are a bit overdone.
    It is a good book to refresh old ideas you may have had.  If you are a novice, it steers you in the right direction for creative photography.
    For more information about the book and author, please click on the following links.

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    I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
  • selfies

    I don't take selfies.  I don't own a cell phone, so don't have one of those small gadgets to hold in front of my face to snap away. Not sure I would even do that if I had one!  I shoot with one of the heavier dslr's, the Nikon D800.  Pretty impossible to hold that with outstretched arm to capture selfies.  Once in a while, when I'm with Melissa, I will hand her the camera and ask her to take a picture of me with Logan or some such, just so I can have a remembrance of the day/event, etc.  I believe a photographers place is behind the camera, not in front of it.
    People seem to be a little obsessed with taking pictures of themselves.  I see now that they even sell these sticks to place your cell phone camera on, to get a wider view.  I can understand maybe taking a pic of yourself with a friend or child..... at least someone else, but what's with all these self absorbed people shooting themselves?  Are you really that interesting?
    I've seen pictures of people shooting smiling selfies when visiting the memorial space at ground zero of the WTC.  What the hell, people?  Have you no common decency for sacred ground?  What are you smiling about?  I can understand taking a photo of the place itself, as a remembrance, to show you've been there.  But get out of the picture!  Use some common sense.  Do people take smiling selfies while standing next to gas chambers at Auschwitz? I'm afraid they probably do.
    I'm glad I'm not part of the madness.

    Thursday, October 1, 2015

    It's that time again

    Past midnight now, and so it is October 1st.  I am fully aware that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Of course, I have been aware of breast cancer each day of my life for the past two years. It started with my diagnosis of Stage 3 breast cancer in September 2013.   It is two years ago this month (the 11th) that I had my double mastectomy, with 21 lymph nodes removed on the right (affected) side.  I chose to have my left breast removed as well, as a prophalactic measure, and because I knew that reconstruction would be more "even" if both breasts were "made" the same way.
    I was aware of breast cancer throughout my many months of chemotherapy, when sleep was my only savior.  I was aware of victory over cancer when my PET scan came back clear after chemotherapy.  Still, with 19 out of 21 lymph nodes positive for cancer, I had to have 35 rounds of radiation.  I was concientious and persevered to get there every day, five days a week, rain or shine, and there was a lot of rain.
    I was aware of breast cancer in the ensuing months, awaiting my reconstruction time, during which I endured the major discomfort of "expanders", rigid against my chest wall, stretching my chest skin, to accomodate the eventual placement of breasts.  It was like wearing a 3 sizes to small underwire bra, 24/7.
    I was aware of breast cancer as the surgeons drew on my naked body with sharpies (or maybe something not so indelible) just moments before my 7 hour surgery for reconstruction.
    Aware of breast cancer as I woke up, still intubated, in SICU, having suffered acute respiratory failure, moments after my operation.
    Aware of breast cancer each and every day since that operation, as I am one of the unfortunates who is suffering pain and severe discomfort even this many months after. 
    Aware of breast cancer each time I look at my right arm and hand, swollen from lymphedema.
    Aware of breast cancer when I look in the mirror.
    Aware of breast cancer every 8 hours when I take my cocktail of meds designed to ease some of the pain.
    So, do yourself a favor.   Get a mammogram.  Examine your breasts every month.  I pray that YOUR awareness need only happen once a month, and on a yearly basis.  The odds of becoming free of cancer are amazing, especially if caught early, but I hope you never have to travel that road.