Monday, November 1, 2021

Housekeeping - Overcoming the Photo Block

 In my effort to revive the blog, I have to be honest. One of the reasons I tend to fall into long stretches of non-blogging is my utter lack of technical skills. Specifically, my lack of technical skills and confidence in the management of photos.

When I started blogging... ten years ago... I managed somehow to upload the photos I wanted to use, and then there came a time when the format of the photos had to change. The photo-hosting service I used to use I can't even remember the name of. And there was limited storage, and I had to learn how to transfer the photos from the camera to the computer, and then I had to crunch them down using photoscape. I'm not sure if I still have to do that, but I've been dutifully crunching my photos down in size using that program for years. But then I got an iPhone, and taking photos did become a lot easier. But getting them from the iCloud to my photo files on my computer is a pain, and by the time I download the ones I want I'm out of mental energy to process them and archive them properly. Surely, it is easier for some people, but I end up with zip files that I don't know how to deal with... am I sounding pathetic yet? 

As the technology for photo sharing has improved, I noticed I was sharing things on Facebook and Instagram because it was just plain easy. But of course, there are increasingly negative tradeoffs when that's the only format you use. 

Anyway, long story short, managing photos is a headache for me. I need to break the mental block and blog about the things I like. So here are some that I just snagged as representative of the year so far, and maybe I can skip the downsizing this time. In the interest of keeping blogging, with the occasional photo.

This is the Frolic quilt that was the 2019 Mystery quilt from Bonnie K. Hunter. I blogged about it a little while I was working on it. It became a wedding gift for my firstborn last May! Now, of course, I am still working on the Grassy Creek quilt and the Unity Quilt that Bonnie shared. They aren't finished yet. And the 2021 mystery will be starting up really soon. So, looking on the bright side, I will have plenty of pictures to share as I work through those.
This is the Frugal Patch quilt variation I've been envisioning for many years and working on sporadically. It's the kind of thing I have to pack away between sessions because it's too big to leave on the design wall. But I'm excited about the possibility.

A couple of the baby quilts I've been making during the pandemic. Basic 4" or 5" squares, no batting, backed with flannel that can be folded to the front and topstitched for a binding. All the babies of my acquaintance (or at least the firstborns) are starting to get them, and I can turn one out in a day or two.

Three or four years ago I bought a bunch of mini orchids at Grocery Outlet. I managed to keep most of them alive, and they even rebloom occasionally. This makes me quite happy, and I take pictures of them.

Cleverly Practical, the "Hermione" socks from the Harry Potter collection by Lisa Ross. I really like them.

So, it does seem I can share photos again, even though my blogging interface looks a bit different than it did over a year ago. And you can have a taste of what my social media circle has already seen that I've been doing lately, but I can write about it in my preferred conversational blog format.

I'll settle for that as progress.

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Reformation Day 2021 - 95 Theses, Simplified and Re-blogged

Note: This is a re-blog of a post I did back in 2018, which itself was inspired by an informal project of translation of Martin Luther's 95 Theses I worked on over the 500th anniversary of the event. I recently had a favorable comment on the post and revisited it. I think it's worth sharing again. The more I think about history, the more grateful I am for Martin Luther's courage all those centuries ago. He changed the world.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Life Update


I have let life pass too long without posting, and not for lack of things to say. I'm a writer, and I'm constantly writing, but when it stays in my head without getting into printed form one way or another, it's not good for me. When I verbally express myself to those closest to me, it helps me but may not necessarily help them to know my head is filled with such a whirl. And when it gets into printed form but it's only by private text or email, I tend not to bother with the more abstract thoughts because they aren't beneficial for the recipients. And when I post it on social media, it's like skipping rocks into a sea of mostly inane, revenue-generating (but not for me) videos. So, I am attempting to dust off my long-neglected little blog. Whoever wants to read, can read, and if not, I still get the same mental benefit. Solvitur scribendo.

But first, a life update.

Steve works from home since the very beginning of the pandemic. They keep talking about moving back to the office, but it won't happen for awhile. He bought a standing desk and stool from IKEA and added a reading chair; the former guest room is now his office, with bookshelves and a single bed so it can (and has been!) used as an extra guest room. He can teach design school from there when called upon to do so, and has phenomenal discipline to get up early and start work every morning about 6:00. We enjoy taking walks together over his lunchbreak. Our neighborhood is good for walking and is pretty safe. Our church's neighborhood in Portland, sadly, is another story, but that rant is for another time.

I am so grateful I got out of teaching when I did. I have a fear and loathing of Zoom teleconferencing which surpasses my fear and loathing of using the telephone. I would not have lasted a week of virtual teaching. I have thought a few times of offering to help start one of those homeschool "pods" that I hear about, but kick myself immediately after. I have subbed a few times at CT, and I love the energy and enthusiasm of the young folks. And slept the sleep of the utterly exhausted and too-old-to-keep-up-with-the-young-folks afterward. As the pandemic has wound on, I have come to realize that my life has changed and I am both an empty-nester and one whose nest is never quite empty. So I mentally exist in this sort of limbo where I can't really plan things, or get rid of things that need to be gotten rid of, and it's hard to do any deep cleaning (which is actually fine by me, but not so great for the overall quality of life of anyone who lives here). I fill my days nicely, but there is always something missing. I think it is the peace of mind that comes from knowing that we live in a free country. But that would be a "political Tuesdays" post. I quilt, knit a little, and have become quite fond of genealogy. I'll have to talk about WikiTree sometime, it's fabulous and I spend a lot of time there.

Our firstborn son is married, as of May, and lives with his beautiful bride in Virginia. He's able to work from home with the occasional travel week, and she is entering the clinical rotation phase of her Physician Assistant training. Their wedding was a beautiful event, and her family are lovely people. 

Our second son is serving his country abroad. He unfortunately had to miss being the best man at his brother's wedding, but at least he is in a safe enough place that I don't worry about him constantly. We are of course proud of the young man he has become and miss him a lot.

Our daughter is a "supersenior" at her transition education program. She had the graduation ceremony last year but is finally getting some on-site work experience training. She has learned to schedule her own paratransit rides. She works 3 days a week doing baking and general kitchen help at a retirement home, and one day at a comic shop.

Our youngest daughter is a sophomore at UW, where she is studying astronomy, physics and math. She received a scholarship, which is an incredible blessing for all of us, and is active in the Reformed University Fellowship group. She's learning to live quite independently and enjoys the city.

Steve and I have aging parents, which presents a new set of challenges that didn't really exist when I started this blog, and our children are adults starting to live their own lives, which is only appropriate, and so I'll focus less on the kids and more on... other things, yet to be determined, as I move forward. I did write, long ago, that the blog would be eclectic. I at least stand by that.