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Posts Tagged ‘Inspiration’

I’ve heard the commentary many times. This morning I took it to heart. “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time.” The question and answer were dancing around in my mind as I worked.

It wasn’t the first time I had decided to do it. In the past, I’ve tried negative scanners and flatbed scanners and completely overwhelmed myself with trying the do-it-yourself route a couple of times. I would work really hard on it for a little while and then wander off because it really wasn’t easy the way I was doing it. Then I had a hard drive crash that lost them all.

I reminded myself of the end result I was looking for: I want to digitize all of the negatives from my days of 35mm photography and before. So that I can share them with my children and even my ex husband. There are a lot of moments in those snapshots.

I broke it down into steps. First I called the local Walgreens and asked them “What does it cost to have you convert a 36 roll of film to digital format?” She checked and replied “It’s about $6.22 per roll.”

I wrote the amount on a post it note and stuck it where it was in my view all the time. Every time I looked at it, I thought about what I wanted to do.

I tossed around various ways and means to accomplish my goal. This morning, I broke it down.

Step 1: Determine the number of rolls to be digitized.
Step 2: Calculate the cost per and then total cost.
Step 3: Break it down into manageable pieces.

This is how I attack elephant projects, always. I see the picture of the end result and then work my way backwards.

I started counting…. first there was the album of negatives from 1985. All neatly in sleeves with a typewritten page folded in the bottom. 3/85, Brandon’s birth…..2/86 Jacob Gibbons baptism…. moments and memories in carefully typewritten notes. I was impressed with my notes. I must have really had it together then.

I counted all the rolls in that album. Somewhere around 60 from the mid 80’s. Then I collected the two tupperware boxes bulging with negatives. I counted out the rolls in the first one. Somewhere around 50 rolls. I looked at the second box and decided to estimate. To complete my task I would have to process about 200 rolls of film. I punched up the calculator. $1244.00. Whew!

This could be an expensive undertaking. I then looked at how many rolls I could do each week and not hurt myself. I had originally estimated 10, today I decided to be conservative and say 5ish.

I pulled the first page out of the album and also gathered the few strays that never got returned to their places and drove up to Walgreens. The gentleman behind the counter was slightly whelmed when I told him what I needed. He wasn’t sure of the cost. I told him “It’s 6.22 for each 36 roll.” He looked suprised. I explained to him what my project is and noted that he’d be seeing me every week for some time. He sorted the negatives into about 7 rolls and handed me the slip.

Hesitantly, he asked “And when do you want these back?” I told him there’s no big hurry, tomorrow would be fine. After all, these negatives are close to 25 years old, another day won’t hurt.

And so it begins, this task of eating an elephant. One byte at a time. Or, in this case, 7.

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I awoke this morning to the sound of loud singing. Not from people, they’re all still snoozing. It was the birds. It’s one of those things that I noticed right away when I moved into this house – there are birds that start their singing early in the morning. On sunny mornings, they seem to be a little more loud and boisterous. I can relate, I tend to get that way myself when the sun comes out.

This morning was the first bit of sunshine I’ve seen for a while. It was creeping through the front window, making a halo of sorts around the cats sleeping there. My hand reached for the camera, as always. I stood on the front porch and captured the first few rays sneaking over the horizon.

Then I returned to my desk. After a few moments, it became suddenly brighter in the room and I felt compelled to look again. From my vantage point in the window, I could see the huge ball of fire that was the source for the little rays I had photographed.

I reached for my camera again and stepped onto the front porch. In that moment, I had a deep appreciation for the beauty of the world. The birds were singing loudly, the sun was making a blazing arrival on the horizon. There was a slight chill in the air, but it wasn’t so cold that I needed to bundle up. The old Beatles song “Here comes the sun” began playing in my head and I smiled.

It’s a beautiful day. Make it a great one!

The Birds were singing.

The sun sneaking up.

Sunrise!

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Sunday afternoons are usually spent entertaining the children.  This weekend that included sledding and playing online games (I’m now puppy sitting a virtual chihuahua during the week for the princess).  Usually towards mid afternoon, we start gearing up to take Mike’s children back to their mother’s house.

This weekend was no different.  As the afternoon wore on, we found ourselves sitting all sitting in the living room just enjoying each others’ company.  I happened to glance out the front door and then looked harder.  There was a squirrel on my front porch rail.  That’s not unusual in itself, because I have several squirrels that live in my trees.  What was unusual was what he had in his mouth.

I pointed it out to the children “Hey, what does that squirrel have in his mouth?  Is that a pancake?”  It was huge, compared to the squirrel.  I reached for my camera.  By the time I got to the front door, he had scurried up the tree, out of my sight.

I sat back down at my desk and we went back to deciding how to spend the rest of our time together.  Suddenly Derrick called out “There he is again.”  This time, the squirrel had half of a donut.

We watched as he scurried up the tree with the donut that was almost as big as he was.  I guess he was stocking up for the cold as well.
Ambitious Squirrel

We should all be so resourceful!

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It was the early 90’s and I was in the midst of divorcing the man with whom I’d planned on spending the rest of my life.  It wasn’t a pretty time.  We fought with the same passion we’d had in loving each other.  The lawyers became our only method of communication.

At some point, things began to settle down and life as we knew it fell into a pattern.  I worked, attended classes, raised the boys to the best of my ability.  He took the boys every other weekend.  At some point, my ex-husband and I became civil to one another.  He got into a relationship with someone else and so did I.

One afternoon my phone rang and it was him.  It was odd for him to call me and I assumed it was something to do with the children.  Instead, he asked a question that rather caught me by surprise.  “Could I get your recipes for some of my favorite meals to give to my girlfriend?”

I chuckled to myself and made copies for him.  And, in spite of encouragement from my friends to not include everything, I copied them as exactly as I could.

I thought of him today, when Mike’s son returned from a visit with his aunt and grandparents.  We were sitting down to dinner when they arrived.  It was one of my quick meals – tuna casserole, green beans and garlic bread.

When they came in, I asked if they had eaten and they said they had.  I fed the others and wandered back and forth between the kitchen and living room, alternating between supervising the meal and visiting with the family.

When the children were done eating I went into the kitchen to clear off the table and put away any leftovers.  And there I found Mike’s younger son, with a plate of tuna casserole in front of him.

I grinned.  “I thought you just ate before you came home.”  He grinned back.  “I did, but you know I love your cheesy tuna casserole.”

After dinner, I peeled and chopped potatoes and an onion for tomorrow’s potato soup.  I put them on to cook and continued with my other little projects.  Before I knew it, there were three children at the table.  “Whatcha’ cooking?”  “Potato soup for tomorrow’s lunch.”  “Oh.  It sure smells good.”  In that moment, I felt like I’d received the ultimate compliment again.

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I had just returned from a trip for work and was sharing the pictures I had taken with a friend.  I had visited Las Vegas, NV and wandered out to Red Rock canyon and then Mount Charleston in my spare time.

She looked through the pictures and made sounds of appreciation for the beauty I had captured with my camera.  After a while, she sighed and said “Oh you go to such beautiful places!”  I contemplated her assumption for a moment, but before I could respond she commented again.

“Or is it that you find beauty wherever you go?”

What do you see when you look at the world?  Do you find beauty wherever you go?  If you don’t , you should try it sometime.  It has brought me many joyful moments in my life.

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Flashback to the last big snow. . . .December 16, 2007

I woke up this morning to a snow covered world – it was beautiful and peaceful and the snow was pristine – having floated from the heavens and landed softly on the yards, trees, houses, cars & fences all over my neighborhood. There were no tracks in it at all – not even dog prints. Herc had begged to come in last night and spent the night in the garage next to the radiant heater. Sorry, pal, it’s the best I can do for the moment.

Two hours later, much of the snowfall was stll intact. Our front yard, however, was obviously the scene of an all out war. Tracks led here and there, hither and yon. Big holes of empty air had replaced much of the smooth blanket of snow, where children (of all ages) had scooped up the snow, pressed it into a snowball and launched it at one of the others doing much the same.

By noon, Jordan and Chaney had been invited to join – and the yard and driveway looked more and more like a war zone. I left to get a soda and made a secret stop at KMart where I bought the last sled they had – 66″ of plastic toboggan. The luge sled, it was labeled. And hats, and gloves so that when the ones we were wearing got soaked, we could throw them in the dryer, put on dry ones and just keep having fun!

Two cars were required to go to Ellis school – I took the sleds – the new toboggan, the little yellow disk sled left over from Brian’s youth (WOW, say the children THIS YELLOW ONE GOES FAST!). And three from Jordan and Chaney’s house.

Mike took all the children – Derrick, Bradley, Makayla, Jordan and Chaney. And the sledding adventure began. It had to happen, you see, because I found out this morning that Mike’s children have NEVER been sledding. Never. Bradley is 10 years old and today was his first time to ride a sled down a hill in the snow. I tried to wrap my brain around it – remembering my children on sleds going down Ellis hill before they were even old enough to attend the school. Brian in a snowsuit, 2 years old, sitting on his mother or father’s lap down the hill.

Derrick was perhaps the most fun to watch – awkwardly – arms and legs flailing here and there down the hill as fast as he could make it go, leaning this way and that trying to turn it. He took over the toboggan – it was big enough to hold his sixteen year old body and fast enough to please his 4 or 5 year old mind.

Bradley took the yellow one. Of course, it goes fast. And Makayla took the little red disk with the built in handles on the side. I got a shot of them running, dragging their sleds behind them, towards Ellis hill. Except for Bradley, he was too close to me to get in the pictures. I did my best to stay at the top of the hill and get pictures of them streaking down the hill. Mike is prone to belly flopping onto the sled and launching it as fast and far as he can. I tried it, with a lifetime of memories flooding through my brain. Trying to imagine my life without sledding. I can’t.

I am thankful for the snow. I am thankful for the people in my world that put me on a sled and launched me down a hill when I could barely walk. I’m thankful for this day in time, when I can pass that on to the Fabulous Five children in my world. Apparently Chaney and Jordan aren’t very experienced sledders either.

And so, if you haven’t done so lately, I highly recommend grabbing a sled, or a snow shovel, or a piece of flat plastic anything and standing at the top of a big hill, throwing yourself onto the sled or whatever and careening down the hill. It is still fun!!

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Today it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside.  And the windchill was 9 below.  I made certain I had enough kerosene to keep the garage warm for my poor old arthritic dog.

I was surprised when he asked to go outside this morning.  I was more surprised when he stayed out.  It’s only been a couple of days and he hasn’t been eating the pain pill laced ham I left for him.  There is no way that dog should be moving around like he is.

And yet, there he was, trotting back and forth at the edge of the yard.  Grumbling at the dog next door.  I stood in the cold and shivered, waiting for him to return.  He didn’t.

Instead, he went to his old spot in front of the shed.  Where the sun shines most of the day, uninterrupted by the tree branches.   He curled up at his post of many years and stayed there.

When I called to him to come back in the garage, he looked at me and then put his head back down.  It became obvious to me that he was not interested in returning to the semi warm garage with the comfy pile of blankets and space heater.

Instead, he stood his post as he’s always done.  Guarding the yard against possible intruders.  Barking warnings at the squirrels that race back and forth across the yard.

I was humbled.  Another life lesson from the dog.  I read somewhere that a true professional is someone who does the job even when they don’t feel like it.  I’ve determined that Hercules is officially a professional watch dog now.  And I’ve stopped hovering.

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