The Sunday Post: Bridges

Bridge in Alum Spring Park, Fredericksburg, Virginia

I’ve tried to start this post multiple times now, the blinking cursor asking me what it is exactly that I want to say. I haven’t figured it out still, which might mean the words aren’t quite ready to be committed to paper, so to speak. I wanted to use this image as the starting point. It would be my entry in the “bridges” photo challenge and the beginning of a story. But I don’t know the end of the story yet, or even at what stage of the story we’re in. Is it the middle? Or are we still setting the scene waiting for the plot to thicken?

I have hopes that this bridge is leading somewhere. That it hasn’t been burned down to ashes just yet.

********************

Since I’m not quite ready to cross this first bridge, I have a different photo submission on this theme, one that I don’t have so much internal conflict over. I’ve tried to challenge myself recently: to be positive, to try to stay above the fray, and to concentrate instead on creative pursuits. I write about this often but must confess that much of the time it’s much easier to talk about it (or write about it) than to actually do it.

I’ve said for weeks now that I need to get up early one day and head down to the river and try to capture a sunrise shot over the Rappahannock, maybe from the Chatham Bridge (the furthest bridge in the second picture below). Some days I even wake up and think to myself: “Get up and go” but just can’t make myself. Today I got up. I brushed my teeth and pulled on some clothes. Didn’t brush my hair — that would have taken too long — and grabbed keys, phone, and my camera and left. I was afraid I was too late. The sun had been up for a few minutes already, and I wasn’t even sure where my best vantage point would be. Turns out I should have headed to the city dock instead of heading to the bridge first. Hard to shoot the bridge while you’re standing on it, but I thought I could shoot in the other direction, toward the railroad trestle. My photos from the bridge aren’t great, but I kind of like a couple of the other ones. And while there aren’t bridges in all of these shots, I’m sharing them with you here anyway. Because maybe they represent a different kind of bridge; one that will help me cross back into the creative world.

Rappahannock River

Bridges over the Rappahannock River in Fredericksburg, Virginia

 

And I even used one of this morning’s shots for a Daily Prompt post – bonus!

The Sunday Post: Making Paper Airplanes

Some time ago Doug wrote a song about the writing process. If you’re a songwriter or a playwright you can probably relate to the lyrics telling tales of a growing paper air force. Countless hours spent putting words on paper, only to be launched into the air in frustration.

This unique interpretation (below) of Paper Airplanes is by Doug’s youngest son. The panels highlight some of the different stops along Doug’s musical journey, many of them with details you will only appreciate if you know the whole story. This collage hangs in our home and serves as a reminder of roads traveled, choices made, and new possibilities.

Paper Airplanes

Paper Airplanes

The video below is of Doug performing this song at an Open Mic night a couple of years ago.

One Quarter Down

Just found this in my drafts. Guess events of the past couple weeks caused me to forget about it and not post this. I’m leaving it as is and hoping for the best.

Can you believe March is almost over and we’ve just about finished the first quarter of 2017? It’s been a busy few months and there’s little indication that the pace will be slowing down anytime soon.

When I last wrote I was hoping to find a way to get back on track with creative pursuits and a renewed effort to get back to my goal weight. I’m still struggling with both of these goals but I guess I’m making a little progress.

I took a pottery class in February and had a lot of fun shaping a slab of clay into something that resembles a bowl.

I also made this utensil crock and I’m being a little selective as to what goes in it.

 

We have also started the moving process. Much of the house is packed up already and we were fortunate to find a home after a few frustrating weeks.

This is just a small sample of all the art we’re packing up.

I have also ventured into the world of bullet journaling. I’ve heard the term before but didn’t really know what it was. Now I’m hooked but still very much intimidated by the endless supply of “inspiration” found on Pinterest and YouTube.  You won’t see me posting my layouts and pages on Instagram or Pinterest, but here’s what I will share:

I’m enjoying sitting down with my journal and pens, and colored pencils too, and planning out my weeks and days and getting my to-do lists organized. It’s a good way to decompress after a long day while checking in to see what I accomplished each day. I’m enjoying doodling and coloring even though my pages are not as pretty as those I’ve seen online. They never will be and that’s OK.

The Sunday Post: Rambling on into 2017

Ever sit down to write, knowing what you want to say, but just can’t get your thoughts organized enough to write them down in a way that makes sense to anyone else? That’s kind of where I am right now. So maybe I’ll try something different with this first post of the year: just write whatever comes to mind and worry about organizing it later. Please forgive the rambling if I don’t get around to the organizing part.

It’s New Year’s Day of 2017 and I’m feeling a bit of relief that 2016 is finally over. We survived it. There were so many struggles on various fronts, at home, at work, and out in the world at large. There’s not much I can say about the presidential election that hasn’t been said already. The huge sense of doom and loss that I felt the morning after still lingers, it’s just kind of simmering on the back burner though because there are other issues demanding my attention so they don’t boil over.

As a music fan, it was a horrible year. The hits to the gut just seemed to keep on coming all year long, and then my heart broke on Christmas Day when I heard the news that George Michael was gone as well. I was a Wham fan and then an even bigger George Michael fan. I remember my boyfriend used to tell me “You know he’s probably gay, don’t you?” That never made a difference to me. I was lucky enough to see him at the first stop in the US leg of the Faith tour in 1988. Still can’t believe he’s gone.

In 2016 Doug started playing music again, as part of the acoustic duo The Adaptations. They played about a dozen shows in town last year and hope to have the opportunity to keep at it in 2017. I’ve enjoyed being a small part of that but I’ve realized that somewhere along the way I pretty much lost track of my own artistic pursuits. I haven’t written much, and I haven’t taken my camera out to continue my pursuit of capturing “the shot”. So I need to get that back on track.

IMG_5193And speaking of getting back on track, I need to return to the healthy lifestyle track that we took a little detour from last year.  Now that Mother Nature seems to be taking care of the health issues that sidelined me for a little while, I need to work on shedding those extra pounds that found their way back to my body. Tracking our food seemed to make a big difference when we lost weight so I think we’ll be going back to that. We’re considering “No Beer in 2017” as a resolution, but realize that’s probably not going to last long. So maybe we’ll change that to “No Beer in the House in 2017” and see how that works (or doesn’t). I need to get back to walking, get back to doing Zumba more than just once a week. And speaking of Zumba, I’d like to thank Kyong at Wow! Dance Fit once again for being a strong force of positive energy. Kyong and her family are moving away but leaving behind them a team ready to carry the Zumba torch in Fredericksburg. We’ll miss your smile, Kyong, and wish you well in your new home.

We’ve got to move this year as well. Again. Our lease is up in six months and we don’t know where we’ll go. But we’ve started the preparations. We’ve sold some furniture we won’t need, and we’ve got more listed for sale (anyone looking for a dining room table and chairs?) which will hopefully be gone before long. We’re trying to downsize and this time actually mean it when we say we want to live a simpler life.

Jeremy graduates in June. What’s next for him? That’s the million-dollar question. I guess we’ll see.

What else should I ramble on about? I’ve covered politics, resolutions, music, weight loss, moving, graduation. There is so much else on my mind and some of it I can’t really talk about (or write about). I’m hoping that most of those things will stop being stressors this year.

I’ve got some important steps to take in the coming days, weeks, and months. Hopefully those steps will not only help me shed some real pounds, but also lighten the load on our shoulders.Here’s to lighter loads for us all in 2017 – Happy New Year!

The Sunday Post: The Road to Relaxation

We all lead hectic lives and finding time to relax is not always easy. Whether it’s fitting it into a busy schedule, finding wiggle room in the budget to afford it, peace and relaxation just seems to get the lowest priority on the weekend checklist.

image

Weekend drive

A few weeks ago we took a short road trip to Newport News to visit family. Rather than taking the interstate we took back roads and this made our trip much more relaxed. We spent the weekend just hanging out, enjoying each other’s company. Definitely something we need to bump up near the top of the to-do list as often as we can.

Happy Birthday Jeremy!

I’ve been working on my nostalgia photo posts (as you may have already seen) and as I was thinking about my options one thought kept circling back around: it’s Jeremy’s 18th birthday. If this photo doesn’t make this mom feel nostalgic nothing else will.
img_4848

As we prepare to celebrate this milestone with him, there are so many things I want to say to him. Mostly I need to convince him that his future starts now. I don’t expect him to answer  all the “what do you want to be when you grow up” questions that adults always have. Some of us still don’t know the answer to that. We’ve been told to “follow your passion and you will be happy” but maybe we haven’t figured out what we’re passionate about. I saw a video a little while back on this subject, or rather, on not taking that route. The speaker believes that success fuels passion, even creates it.

So maybe nothing at school has inspired you to pursue a particular subject any further. Working at a grocery store may not have motivated you to pursue a career in retail. But I hope that having a little money in your pocket will lead to wanting a little more money in your pocket. Enough money so you can have a car, pay for insurance, put gas in the tank. Which would lead to better jobs because you can now drive yourself to work, which could lead to more money in your pocket and in the bank, and who knows, maybe even a job you love.

You’ve reached adulthood, young man. It’s a big world out there and it’s yours for the taking. You know the possibilities are endless. But only if you do something … make it happen. It’s not going to come to you. Get out there!
Untitled

The Sunday Post & Weekend Coffee Share

If we were having coffee, it would probably be at Hyperion Espresso and we would be sitting outside, enjoying today’s beautiful spring weather. We wouldn’t be sitting outside at my house because there we’d have to listen to all the power equipment being used by my neighbors. Because it is such a nice day and so everyone is catching up on yard work. Or cutting down all the trees in their yard for some reason.

No, if we were having coffee it would have to be somewhere downtown where we could sit and relax and do a lot of people-watching. I love to try to guess whether someone is a local or from out of town. And by “out of town” I mean not a city resident. I’ve been both so I’m not saying one is better than the other. It’s kind of funny but there are so many people who live not far from “downtown” and they have no idea how to get around in our tiny little downtown area. I used to be one of them until not too long ago.

I lived in the downtown area for about 5 years. Before that I was in the suburbs, and that’s where I am now. I’m in a great big subdivision with amenities like a pool, tennis courts, lots of trees, and schools almost in our back yard. Those amenities are great, but we’ve never used them. As much as I love swimming pools you would think I would spend a great part of my summer at the pool. But at the risk of sounding quite a bit elitist, I much prefer a private pool. Without a bunch of kids splashing and yelling, and no one there to wonder at my nerve to wear a bikini. I used to think I wanted to live in a neighborhood like this, where we could make friends with the neighbors and have each other over for dinner. But if your neighbors aren’t friendly, or maybe they feel a sense of loyalty to the previous residents of our home (who still own the house), then you’re just living in a place where you have to put up with loud neighbors and their loud mowers and weeders.

In just over a year we have to move. Our landlords gave us a three-year lease and they plan to come back their house at the end of the term. So we know we’re moving. The big question is where to go. Back downtown? It would be great to be able to walk to the library, the coffee shop, the butcher, our favorite restaurants and bars. Choices are limited downtown though. Parking is very limited. And that’s no small issue. You’re probably familiar with some of the videos that go viral every once in a while showing a woman trying to park. Stereotypical and unfair to most women, yes. But they kind of apply to me and my parking skills. So we need a place with either off-street parking, or some kind of designated parking area. For two cars (for now, anyway). And when we lived downtown we did complain about parade traffic, football game traffic, and the neighbors there weren’t always the greatest (although it did get a little better when one particular neighbor was forced to change his address to one behind bars).

So our other choice is not in another suburb, but “out in the country.” We could end up somewhere a little out of the way but with an easy drive to and from work. A little house with lots of privacy and space between us and our neighbors. A small place that wouldn’t take all day to clean. But then we would be back to having to drive everywhere.

I think when it’s time to get serious about looking for a new place it’s going to come down to the house (or apartment). As long as it has all the basic elements we’re looking for, the location will end up being secondary. I guess that’s the downside of renting a home. We could be moving quite a few more times, so we’ve already started thinking about downsizing our “stuff” and paring down furniture. When we moved here we got more “stuff” because we had more rooms and needed to fill those rooms. But we moved here for my son, who is still in school. This location put him near his school and his friends. He’s graduating the same month our lease is up.

This time next year is going to hectic and stressful. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it. And I know the next twelve months will be gone in a flash. Wish us luck.

 

 

The Sunday Post: Where has the time gone?

This week’s photo challenge is all about time. As I thought about how I wanted to interpret time, I looked through both new and old pictures and I could definitely see the passage of time; the photographs of my kids are the most obvious reminder that we’re all getting older. Time is not standing still for any of us.

So is it possible to stop time with a kiss, or escape it with music, as suggested by author Matt Haig in Reasons to Stay Alive? I hope so. I know our time in this world is not infinite, but maybe if we fill every day of the time that we do have with a lot of love and music, plus tons of laughter, we’ll find that we have more time to breathe, relax, and enjoy each precious day that we do have with our family and friends.