A Monday Blog

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I was going to just pop in here and talk about a market basket I bought on Saturday (I’ll get to that later) but then I started going through my photos (from my phone) and I realized I do have quite a few photos to share. I’m kind of sad that I’m the photo-sharing kind of blog and not the written word kind of blog but it is how it’s morphed to be over time. I used to write long rants and stories but now I start with photos and when I get down to writing I sort of peter off, distracted by all the pretty colors or something. Also life is different now. I can’t just rant about any old thing. I do have a lot of things on my mind that I’d love to rant about but this is not a private blog and people have a way of finding things you write about them. Also time is different now. I don’t find myself with hours and hours of time to rattle off into space. I think I use that time up with scrolling instead. Anyway! That’s neither here nor there. We all struggle with time.

This last Saturday was such a strange day. I’ve been a ball of anxiousness lately (what else is new?) and I had big shoot at the beach at the end of the day. There is nothing better to ruin your day than plans later. All day I stressed about that shoot. Did I need to? No! It’s not like my clients were difficult or that I haven’t shot people at the beach before. But if I have enough time I will use every minute of it to stress. It’s just something I do. I probably would do better if this photoshoot was sprung on me and I had no time to prepare. I prepare myself silly.

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Finally, the the hour to go down to the beach neared. I went early because I like being early and I was quite stressed about finding parking. The beach at sunset is typically crowded and my worst nightmare is rushing to a shoot and missing golden hour because you are parked too far away. It’s kind of like that feeling you have as a kid rushing home before the streetlights go on. So I rushed and I made it with plenty of time to spare but just as I was coming over the hill to descend onto the beach, I was met with a big puffy wall of clouds. No!!!!! Not bad weather! My heart sank.

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However, I also know that clouds can also produce the softest light and that is good for skin tones. A moody beach can be very photogenic beach. Sometimes even better than a sunny beach. So I found parking and set off to explore potential locations.

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It was crowded. People were everywhere. Thankfully, I have a pretty good lens that can blur out the background and some photoshop skills so it wasn’t too terrible. The sun lowered and what do you know, it peaked beneath the clouds! So I had soft light from the clouds, dynamic skies AND golden hour!!! What good luck! All that stress for nothing.

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But that’s how I roll. All the stress all the time. I don’t have any photos from actual golden hour to share because those belong to the client but let me tell you they turned out soooooooooooooo good. I’m really happy with them. I will be spending the rest of today photoshopping out people and hopefully send them off to the client soon and maybe if she loves them, she’ll give me permission to share a few in my portfolio. Wait, do I have a photography portfolio? No, I do not! But I should get one. I do find myself doing more and more photoshoots these days. I should at least try and make this camera pay for itself.

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All of these photos are just regular life photos taken by my phone. Phones take great photos these days! Won’t it be weird when we start paying photographers and they show up with nothing but their phone? I swear I could do just as good of a shoot with my phone these days as I could with my big-lensed camera. In many ways my phone is smarter than I am with a camera. The way it takes moving pictures and then averages the light between the lightest and the darkest shot to create a perfect shot where nothing is too bright or too dark?? That’s hours and hours of photoshop in the old days.

I digress. I’m sharing these photos because I’ve been taking more and more photos of myself and my crazy gray hair. I’m as confused by my new identity as you are. Who is this gray-haired forty-something and what is her style? Is she old, is she old trying to look young? Who knows! Do I lean into the gray hair grandma style or try to hold onto the patriarchal stereotypes of the sexy midlife fifty-something? Both?  Everyday I’m changing. Kind of like puberty all over again.

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What else is new? My parents brought my sister-in-law out to visit me. It was so good to see her! We haven’t seen each other in years and the pandemic makes any kind of get-together feel like finding a long lost friend. It makes my heart hurt how much I miss people. Yes, you say, didn’t you just shoot someone at the beach? I did but I wore a mask the whole time and it’s not the same. It’s hard to really talk with a mask on your face. It was really good to see her and hang out. She and my brother are splitting up which is terrible but they’ve had a good long run so maybe marriages have expiration dates. I don’t know. I’m just glad we are all staying close no matter what.

Oh and my car broke. Sigh. It is fifteen years old after all. It’s also had a good long run. I’ve been hanging onto it to give to Bug when she drives next year. YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT. BUG WILL BE DRIVING NEXT YEAR!!!! Toby and I bought that little car when she was six months old. And now they are both fifteen, turning SIXTEEN!!!  I love that car. It has been so good to me. I remember when I bought it everyone shook their head and said I was going to have so many problems with a high-maintenance German car but guess what? They were wrong! This car has been a dream to drive. It’s had very little maintenance (maybe I’m genuinely blocking it out) and I couldn’t love it more. So I’m taking this latest bad turn with thankfulness. I was due for some car trouble. I’ve had way too many years getting off Scott free.

The ignition broke. It just locked up and wouldn’t budge while Heather and I were parked in a Wahoo’s parking lot. Two TripleA technicians were called and nobody could get it out of gear. Finally, after some fancy fifty-two-point backing-up ballet, a tow truck towed it to the nearest Audi dealership and she’s sitting there waiting for a new part from Germany. It won’t be cheap but I should get her back this week sometime. Sigh…

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There is the market basket! See that thing? I don’t know if I’m a farmers market sucker or it it really is the most beautiful basket ever. I’ve seen them at farmers markets for years and always wanted one. I figured they were good for carrying all your produce because it’s a bit stiff and things can sit on the bottom and keep from getting smushed into each other like the usual plastic bags do. So I bought one. It cost me fifty big smackaroos. I think it was probably handmade in Africa so I hope some of that money is going back to whomever made it. But as I bought it and sucked on my green juice with a paper straw stuck under my mask, I saw two twenty-something boys staring at me and laughing. Were they laughing at me? Was I fulfilling some farmers market stereotype with my gray hair and my sloppy workout pants stuffed into Ugg boots? I probably was but they also were probably just laughing about a fart joke or something  because NOT EVERYTHING IS ABOUT YOU LITTLE HOO! Sigh… Anyway, I love it. I plan to go to the farmers market every Saturday from now on and get my money’s worth out of that pretty basket.

The rest of these photos are me trying out new styles with my new fifty-shades of gray coloring. I follow a mom style blog, The Mom Edit. Do you know it? It’s a fun way to halfway stay up to date with what all the kids are doing without embarrassing yourself completely. Although the older I get the more I am embracing embarrassing myself. Who cares about trends! Wear whatever you like! If you have confidence you can rock anything!

But when you don’t have confidence with silly things like, why do bootleg jeans look completely stupid with boots then The Mom Edit comes in handy with all kinds of tips. It’s good to know I’m not the only one struggling with certain styles. Like the no-socks trend!!! I am so glad it’s cool to wear socks again. I was sick and tired of cold ankles. It figures that when I’ve finally gotten rid of all my scrunchy thick socks and replaced them with those tiny no-see-em socks, it’s time to start buying regular socks all over again. I should have stuck to what I liked all along.

That’s all I got!

Happy Monday!

Everyday is the End of the World as We Know It

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Lately I’ve been waking up at 3 in the morning to worry. Not on purpose of course. It’s probably that I’ve gotten back in the habit of drinking a few cups of coffee in the afternoon AND having a glass of wine when I’m cooking dinner at night. This is not good for me. Coffee and wine mess with my sleep but sadly, I’m not always on my best behavior and sometimes these vices, disguised as treats, sneak in. Sometimes might be all the time.

Super early yesterday morning, after ruminating in the dark for what seemed like hours, I finally just got up and decided to walk the dogs at dawn. I love doing this because there are less people out and lately it seems like there are people everywhere. Running into people with three not-so-well-behaved dogs (I still have my mom’s dog, Spreckles) AND navigating social distancing etiquette is challenging. I’m always finding myself taking weird routes I had no intention of taking just to avoid people. Hello, stranger. I guess I’ll just take a right turn here to avoid you!  Doesn’t it seem like everyone is always out these days? Not that I blame anyone. I’m sick of my house too and sunshine and space are all that’s keeping us sane these days.

I often listen to books on Audible while I walk. I also listen to podcasts and I call my dad regularly. This is a good thing and a bad thing. The books I’m reading are often stories about social injustice and while they are super educational and meaningful, they often make my habit of over-worrying even worse. Podcasts are great too but the health and wellness spectrum that I often find myself in also tends to make me over-worry. And even though I love my dad to pieces, sometimes talking to him and absorbing his problems ALSO makes me worry too much. I am just the worriest worry wart there ever was.

This worrying tendency makes me think of my grandma who passed away forever ago. She was known as the worry wart of the family. I miss her so much. I wish we could talk about this worrying habit. But maybe it’s good she’s not around today to see all the things that are going down. It is not a good time to be a worrier.

The other day, I walked out into the orange light of mid day (due to all the fires burning in California) and there on the wall of our entryway was the biggest green bug I have ever seen. I looked it up and I think it’s a green Katydid. I’ve seen small bugs like this a lot. Small finger-nail sized versions but this thing was HUGE! It was as big as my palm. And then later I walked out into the backyard and there in the track of our sliding glass door was the hugest slug I have ever seen. All I could think was, it’s the end of the world! Giant bugs, heat waves, weird orange light, pandemics, crazy political scenes, the country on the brink of a civil war… I just wanted to hide like Chicken Little.

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I decided books and podcasts and phone calls were just too much for my poor stressed-out brain. (I know. Eye-roll-worthy.)  I often walk without listening to anything but I decided to turn on my favorite “chill” playlist and a Moby song came on.  I don’t know why I don’t use music to calm myself more often. I don’t remember which song it was but as the softly repeating base line echoed around the inside of my head, I felt my cortisol levels lower. I gazed up at the trees that line the sidewalk path and I started to notice how they were pruned.

Every tree was pruned differently. I know a lot of this is dependent on the tree and how it grows but the more I examined the branches of each tree, the more I thought they looked like individual works of art! Some were trimmed to flay out symmetrically in all directions. Other trees were pruned to turn in on themselves in spirals. Some were weirdly pruned to grow over the sidewalk…It got me to thinking about who pruned them.  I bet there is a tree-trimmer on our neighborhood route who decided to create his own masterpieces on every tree he comes across! How cool is that?!

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I’ve always thought our neighborhood was a little over-aggressive with their gardening (seriously, it seems like every day is a new and different very loud gardening task: blowing, edging, trimming, mowing…) but today I actually appreciated it. In a community where everything looks the same, I thought, how cool that it actually isn’t!

Then I started to imagine the cool animated graphic I would create with long willowy purple trunks and branches spiraling around each other to pretty music and wished I was an animator with 3d graphics skills. But that’s just a typical Brenda rabbit hole to fall down.

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But let me tell you, it’s a whole lot better than all the other worry rabbit holes I’ve been falling down lately! A whole lot better than worrying about civil war!!!