Why are you here?

Big question, I know. Yesterday, Justine Musk posted a lovely post (poem?) titled “You are not here to play it safe.”

You are here to name the lost animals
. . .
You are here to look behind you in the dark

It’s an inspiring post, and I recommend reading it in full.

On the flip side, there’s something to be said for the quiet differences people can be here for — planting a garden, nurturing a child, easing some of the friction in life, or making the tools that others used in their endeavors.

I don’t believe everyone has one single purpose in life to discover and if they don’t do it, they’re a failure, not living up to their full potential. I think we all have many things we can do.

We only have to answer are we making a difference, in some fashion?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to steal apples from a goddess.

The latest challenge

No, not NaNoWriMo.

One of the things I’ve learned through living in different areas of the United States is that most communities have things that they do that they simply assume everyone does because that’s the way it is around there. A simple example: I went shopping the other day for a recipe my son wants to cook, and I asked the lady at the seafood store for baby shrimp. She looked like she’d never heard of such a thing, and she asked me what count. When I told her 300 count, she looked at me like I had two heads. Evidently, here, they think shrimp don’t come any smaller than 41-50 per pound.

We ran into other assumptions when we were first looking for a home in Pennsylvania. Our real estate agent believed that all gas furnaces are deathtraps, due to explode within two or three years of installation, so she did her best to steer us away from houses with them. Which, being from the West Coast, we thought was ridiculous because natural gas was everywhere. Here, oil furnaces are more common. And since people here are used to them, no one ever explained to us what sort of maintenance would be necessary. We figured clean the air filters, and we’re good, right? Continue reading

Long weekend

I’ve missed a few posts — Friday flash, my monthly post for the Merry-Go-Round Tour, my Monday gratitude post. I was off spending time with my family and relaxing, as one does on holiday weekends — or should, anyway.

Today, it’s back nose-to-grindstone as I juggle three different paying work projects, finishing a novella, outlining a novel, and making notes on some other series ideas. Also, I shall resume blogging; expect a post Thursday about the latest novelette I’ve put up for sale. Tomorrow, the next time management series post will be up.

What have you been up to? Any fun over the weekend?

Back in a flash?

I used to post flash once a week. There’s a group being organized that’ll post flash fiction on Fridays. (Not a new idea — Twitter has a #FlashFriday tag, and Chuck Wendig periodically does flash challenges on Fridays.) I’m trying to decide whether to join in.

Do you like reading fiction in a blog? Does it encourage you to read more? Or would you rather see other types of posts?

I’d rather be gardening

Bed of plants

My "shade bed."

Today’s a lovely day — high 60s, low 70s, sunny with no thunderstorm on the horizon yet. It’s rained almost every day for the past month, which means the plants are green, the weeds are blooming, and the ground is soft. In other words, today would be a perfect day to be outside.

When we first moved in, I thought our house faced due north. I’m used to houses that face cardinal directions, and it didn’t occur to me that with the house on the curve of the street, we probably didn’t. In fact, our house faces northeast. However, thinking that the front of the house was north and would thus be shady all day, especially with the large maple tree in the yard), I planned and planted a shade bed. Continue reading

Spring is here

What do you mean, I’m a month early? Tell that to the 50+ degree temperatures (or the 60+ it’s supposed to be on Friday). I’m sitting here with the windows open, letting the fresh air in. And here are the first spring pictures from the yard: Continue reading

Playing with color

So a few days ago, I ran across a link to Kuriositas — specifically, a post on selective color photography. I’m completely blanking on the artist who I’ve seen these by (Mom? A little help?), but I’ve always thought the results striking.

I decided to experiment.

I do all my photo manipulation on-line, using Pixlr’s photo editor. The process is simple: open your photo, duplicate it, desaturate the duplicate, then erase the parts of the duplicate where you want the color to show through. (Okay, that’s the tough part, since you have to watch your edges.)

And the results of my first experiment:

Selective color photograph of red boats.

Boats at Emerald Lake.

I probably won’t play with it much more any time soon, since Pixlr is Flash based, and Flash causes issues with this computer, but it’s nice to know that the theory is so simple for such a striking result. (Also, yes, I know I didn’t get all the edges done — see previous comment about Flash.)