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Oh hello!

Just starting to come out of hibernation over here, and now fighting off a head cold that makes me want to go back to hiding under the covers 😛

But I wanted to share part of the reason for my absence.  Our new project. Go learn all about it over there!

And on February 28th, Offbeat Home goes live, with a guest post by me! 😀  (Also the first post on the blog link above)

I also was busy with a photo shoot for Valentine’s Day!

So I’m gonna hibernate a little more this weekend, but even while doing that we are laying some groundwork and doing our assignments for Digital Nomad Academy to make some big things happen soon.

Happy New Year

The days after the holiday craziness ended were not, as I had intended, full of catching up and productivity.  To-do lists were barely touched.  A head cold hit me, and it was a time of self care and reflection, of video games and juice, cuddling husband and petting crittters, resting up enough to celebrate New Years.  And it was perfect, in all it’s imperfection.

I don’t make resolutions anymore, though I do often recommit to modifying habits around this time of year, I avoid the pressure of promising to do them all at once.  I just wish the following for myself, my husband, our family and friends…

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.

(Neil Gaiman)

Lunar Eclipse

 

This is the lunar eclipse, just before the peak around 2:50 am EST on the winter solstice (December 21), from New Jersey.

I’ve been recovering from the holidays and a head cold, and even been offline a lot more than usual to rest and rejuvenate.  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and wish you a fantastic new year!

Reverb ___

So almost a week and I only did one reverb.  Allowing myself to 1) not beat myself up over that and 2) use that as an excuse to quit entirely.  Let’s see the options from the past few prompts:

December 15 Prompt

Author: Patti Digh
Creative is a Verb: If You’re Alive, You’re Creative
@pattidigh

Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

Sounds powerful and amazing, but too intense for when I’m multitasking, I’d need to know I wouldn’t have interruptions. (Cliff notes: Getting married. Bella and her legacy. The Pink Elephant. PEXfest (and that one workshop). Friends weddings. Our honeymoon. Everyone who helped make our wedding happen.)

December 16 Prompt

Author: Martha Mihalick
Editor at Harper Collins
@curiousmartha

Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

Hmm.  I had some interesting changes to or from friendships this year.  It’s helped me to both draw the line on what I consider acceptable behavior from a friend (ie, getting a backbone when I should), and to be more compassionate or empathetic, because I never know truly what’s going on in someone else’s life.  (The two, in relation to a friendship I dropped this year, seem contradictory.  But I think I was allowing too much compassion for circumstances, and I needed to look harder at the dynamics of our relationship then put respect for myself first and foremost.)

December 17 Prompt

Tara Weaver
The Butcher and the Vegetarian
@tea_austen

Prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

Do we ever really learn our lesson? (Aside from posting recipes on my blog so I can find them again later? :P)  It’s definitely more a work in progress, I hate to claim anything “learned” because, well, I’m a perfectionist.  The best lesson I worked on learning this year was to be true to myself through the planning of the wedding, to ask for help when needed, and to know that family and friends (the true ones) will always support me no matter what.  And if they don’t, it’s ok to release the good of what we had into the past and move into healthier futures separately.

 

ETA: And I finally learned you don’t need to be perfect to start.  Beginnings are almost always messy and beginningy, especially in hindsight.  So I started this year.  It’s not perfect, and I only started spreading word among friends who I know will be full of support and very little in the way of criticism, but it’s movement. 😀

Except for the cliff notes version of the first prompt, I’m going to consider touching all of them briefly as done.  And with that, I’m going to go and try to enjoy the chaos of this weekend 😀  Still lots of shopping to do, yes we are going to brave the mall the Saturday before Christmas (the reward is Tron in IMAX on Saturday afternoon!)  So please, keep us in your thoughts!!!

Reverb What Day Is It?

I was instant messaging with a friend and had a typo, xmad instead of xmas.  Somehow so much more fitting right?  Yesterday I was battling the xmad stress demon, so here’s the reverb prompts I’ve missed, and I’ll choose one to answer now.  (Will I do all? Probably not. And that’s OK. Though the ones we skip tell a story too, y’know.)

Remember to join in, check out reverb10.com!

December 11 Prompt

Author: Sam Davidson
50 Things Your Life Doesn’t Need
@samdavidson

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

I love lists.  Lists save my sanity during this season. I love Susannah’s and may steal copy her #9. (Also? Totally haven’t shaved my legs since it got cold.  With our poor heating and dropping below freezing, you’re lucky if I showered. I would turn into an icicle on some days. Sorry but it’s the truth! I promise to be clean for Christmas :P)

December 12 Prompt

Author: Patrick Reynolds
The Knowledge Workers Survival Guide
@patrickcantype

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

Hmm. That’s a reaallly tough one.  Nothing that was in 2010 springs to mind.

December 13 Prompt

Author: Scott Belsky
Making Ideas Happen
@scottbelsky

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?

Hmm again. The things I most want to take action on keep being put on hold. After wedding. After holidays. After after after. It’s a holding pattern here.

December 14 Prompt

Author: Victoria Klein
27 Things to Know About Yoga
@victoriaklein

Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?

Husband, family, friends, cats, yaddayaddayadda. Yawn.  (Not over them, but over how boring my writing about it would be.)

 

December 11th for the win!

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

1. I no longer need to listen to the voice that tells me nothing I do is ever good enough.  (Thanks Susannah. This just hit the nail on the head.)

2. I no longer need to beat myself up when I don’t live up to the grandiose plans I wanted to accomplish.  They are awesome for creativity and inspiration, but it’s ok to re-evaluate and look at what is important and what can be let go.

3. I no longer need to live up to others expectations of me.  I only need to do my best, in an honest and respectful way, and let their reactions be their responsibility – not mine.

4. I no longer need to compare. Things or relationships.  Comparison is the thief of joy.

5. I no longer need to react to feeling left out or included.  These are emotional reactions in me that don’t necessarily reflect the truth of any situation – I can acknowledge the feeling without it being fact.

6. I no longer need clutter.  This is a battle that will go well beyond 2011, but particularly apt for this year.

7. I no longer need to prove any internet trolls wrong, because that’s a completely useless battle, even when it hits my issue buttons.  I can walk away from a conversation without replying and be better off for it.

8. I no longer need a reason.  Just because I want to.  Or don’t want to.  Because it’s Tuesday.

9. I no longer need to do it all myself.  I can ask for help.

10. I no longer need to follow all the rules.

11.

😀

Crunch Week

It’s Holiday crunch time.  Sure, the week before Christmas has lots of running around too, but there are many deadlines this week.  Getting things ordered to be delivered in time without paying for overnight, shipping things off to family.  I’m in a whirlwind of cookie baking and online shopping and secret santa activities right now.

I hope to post at least one reverb post today, but I gotta go place some orders and do some planning first!

In the meantime, two things I came across that caught my attention today and I wanted to share:

Tiny Buddha’s post about productivity and happiness – as I struggle to not be stressed out about lack of productivity for the holidays, this really is year round advice.

Similarly, the 5 most common regrets at the end of one’s life is another great reminder.

I was a ball of stress yesterday (helllo mercury retrograde! thanks for frakking things up!) and had my mini-meltdown over it.  I tried “leaning into it” but didn’t really know what the hell that means 😛 but I admitted defeat on getting one gift (for multiple family members) done on time – they’ll get an IOU and it will be here in January.  I had hoped to surprise Random on Yule with the gift we planned to get ourselves after Christmas, but it’s sold out or overpriced so I had to admit it to him, and tell him to keep an eye out for it as well.

I also came out of the secret santa closet for something that I had been doing anonymously for a friend’s kid.  In order to relieve the stress of that task, I had to know that it would be appreciated and get some input on it – and who knew, maybe someone else was doing the same thing all these years and I could step back.  As it turns out, it is something that is appreciated, and the recipient is just getting old enough to understand it.  Armed with more information, I still rushed and had to pay extra to send it overnight (yet again) this year, but I didn’t stress as much as I would have if I had kept it to myself.

I’ve got a plan and lists, and deadlines still.  The most important being getting cookies to my dad, since I’ve tried to send him our favorites every year after my grandma passed and the post office lost his last year 😦

But they are mostly self imposed guidelines.   When I was honest with myself yesterday, I was stressed because I wanted to make Christmas miracles happen for everyone I love.  Well, I love a hell of a lot of people, I’m one person with a full time job, and hello? it’s the craziest time of year.  I may feel like I’m admitting defeat, but it can still be a successful Christmas even if I don’t pull off every miracle I hoped to.  It’s the thought and not material items that matter most.

At least, that’s the story I’m sticking to when I give Random a half knit/crocheted gift on Yule.  (Hey, it’s entertainment for him to watch me finish it right?)

 

Reverb Day 10

December 10 Prompt

Author: Susannah Conway
Unravelling
@photobird

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

(YAY Susannah!  I took her unravelling course and love her writing and photography!)

I had no idea what to reply to this, and thought an answer came to me.  However I misremembered the prompt, the decision part was all I remembered, and it is not an example of wisdom, except that hindsight is often 20/20 😛

SO…. off the cuff now… I am going to say the decision to follow big dreams.

Again – insert the vague reference to the Grand Adventure 😛  Sorry, I wanna spill the beans, but can’t quite yet! That is not playing out yet either, except for giving us hope in getting through situations which are temporary.

The other big decision was that I decided to step up with my photography, with the idea that maybe, eventually, I can generate a little money from it.  Right now, I’d love to just make enough to pour back into better equipment.  But it’s more about improving my skill so that I enjoy the results.

I have NO clue where my photography journey is taking me – there are a million ways this could pan out, I don’t know my photo “voice” or specialty subject yet.  All I know is that I’m walking that journey, and I am dedicating myself to following where it leads me.  At least until the day that it no longer brings me any joy!

 

(Oh yeah, the decision to say “I do” was a very wise one as well, though technically it was made in 2009 :D)

Reverb Day 9

December 9 Prompt

Author: Shauna Reid
The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl
@shauna

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

Of course our wedding was the best party of 2010!  The place was full of friends and family.  Everyone tried to help out when the DJ’s equipment failed, piano man Danny saved the day by both playing during dinner and dismantling his piano from his truck (see the bottom entry here for an explanation!)  Eventually the dance music was playing, people were dancing and hula hooping.  We took a break to watch fire performers, friends of ours who really honored us with that gift!! The food was pretty good, the cake and pie were delicious, everyone looked amazing!  We were so grateful to the people who made it possible and especially to our friends and family who helped out.  From stringing balloons with LED lights to being a wedding day ninja, the reason we love “burners” so much is that they jump in and do what needs to be done.  I’ve always been like that, and I really appreciate that in other people now 😀

The second best party of the year was on our honeymoon.  Fall Playa Del Fuego, we debuted our own theme camp – a speakeasy casino called “The Pink Elephant”.  Random and his “bromance” best man, Joe, came up with the idea and 90% of the planning and work!  I was busier with wedding plans, and helped confirm the big things that needed to happen – mainly, get our RV on site, and have SOMETHING to offer.
We had SOMETHING in spades, it turns out!  With the awesome assistance of everyone who camped with us, the place looked and sounded amazing.  The music was swinging, the drinks were pouring, the people were betting!  Poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette in this tiny pink corner – sandwiched between big sound camps playing house and techno – seemed to provide just the right amount of relief from the standard PDF activities.  Cigarette girls handed out cigars, cigarettes, and pretzels or peanuts.  The prizes were popular, and a few dedicated women tried to win the top prize of a hula hoop – with a lucky winner who won big time on roulette the last night of the event.

It blew me away, what we created and how much it was enjoyed and appreciated.  It was a blast and I am looking forward to next time.  Joe is trying to bring it to Frostburn, but I am wayyyy to much of a wimp to camp in winter, plus we are saving up our money and time off for spring PDF (and the Grand Adventure of course!)

And I’d show you pics but my PDF pics are still not online.  My self imposed deadline means I should have them up around New Years though 😛 (crossing fingers!)

Reverb Day 8

December 8 Prompt

Author: Karen Walrond
The Beauty of Different
@chookooloonks

Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Today was the most difficult prompt so far.

Different, I can handle.  I like different.  I dislike same.  Being unique tells a story.  When I make choices that are true to me yet they fall in line with what is expected/common/standard, it makes me question those choices.  I like different.

But to think about what I do that lights people up…. Oh wow.  This blogger said it well -(and you should go read all of her post!)

I’ve always been uncomfortable with praise.  It makes me itchy, like woolen sweaters.  I don’t particularly care for it. I just like to sort of exist, and if I can just get the work done that is called Life, then that’s even better. So when I’m asked to self-praise, then that is sort of condemning me to a life time of woolen jumpsuits and not just sweaters. To me, we live in a world of game-playing when it comes to praise.  People use it as Monopoly-style currency.  All fake and easily stolen from the banker.  It rarely means anything, and so I don’t trust it.  I don’t like knowing where I stand with people, therefore instead of stuffing me with compliments just tell me what you appreciate about me.  Tell me things that are authentic.  Real.

But tell these things about me, from me?  How odd.

So I went to twitter for feedback.  The first response from a friend (L) was about how we met.  That has nothing to do with how I’m different, and how it lights people up!  She went on to other things, and I guess many of them I never thought of as different.  As much as I like different, I want everyone to treat their friends the way I do, to strive to behave with integrity, to have common sense.  I know how much that can be lacking in the world, but didn’t realize it was THAT different.

Because I can’t even find the way to say these things about myself, here’s more of her words:

You also make amazing cupcakes*, are generous for the sake of being generous…

You are supportive, sweet, always there for people in one capacity or another even though you have the busiest social calendar

Not to mention inspiring photog, poppet collector and defender of the underdog!

And another friend M replied:

I second all that L said! You truly make people smile just by being you!

So yeah.  I’m pretty bad sometimes about tooting my own horn, and about realizing how I impact others.  I guess that’s different from some people, and while being riddled with self doubt isn’t fun, I’d rather not be bragging and boasting.

I *gulp* welcome you to leave comments here.  What about me do you find different, in an awesome way?  And while praise for cupcakes, photos, and such are nice (and likely to get me to bake for you or take your pic sooner :P), I’d really like to focus more on personality traits and aspects of me other than just skills.  Anyone can learn a skill and with enough dedication perfect it.  Thanks!

* Dudes. It’s usually just a box mix! 😛

Reverb Day 7

ecember 7 Prompt

Author: Cali Harris
caligater.com
@caligater

Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

 

My first thought of community is always the burn community.  However, that was not new to 2010.  In the past year, I joined some new online communities – photography forums, the goddess circle, and some dedicated to those who live a more nomadic lifestyle.  I really hope to connect more with all of these in the next year.

The journeys with photo forums has been a rollercoaster.  I joined a few last year, however many of the more popular ones have a large percentage of members who are narrow minded, jaded, bigoted, self righteous jerks.  They (majority of members are male) often post sexist, sizeist, and other discriminatory remarks.  But they also post some good information.

I found a much more tolerable site, however no business related discussions can take place in the open section of the forum, and it will be a long time before I have a portfolio to get into the pre-pro forum.  Also, this forum is mostly populated by women, who mostly shoot families and babies.  My dream forum would be a combination of the two, with respectful postings by people who shoot a wider variety of images.  For now I still participate in both, and do my best to walk away when any of my hot buttons are triggered on the first site, because I know now that I’m in the minority on that site and will never have my opinion treated respectfully by most of the members.

I actually am dreaming of creating a new community, not a global internet one but a more regional one, for local budding photographers to gather and learn.  I do need to see what else is out there first, but we’ll see what happens with that idea.

At the same time, I feel my community (ie, all the friends/family in my life) has grown so large that I am hesitant to grow it bigger, though I know it will.  I feel stretched too thin and that I cannot provide for others in the way that I want to – including myself at times. So, I will be growing acquaintances online in specific areas of interest, but in 2011 I hope to focus on the DEPTH and QUALITY of friendships, and not worry about quantity.  It will probably mean some shifting and downsizing, but I will just have to trust that things will work out as they should. (I’m not closing any doors, except on relationships that cause more harm than good!)

I dislike feeling closed off to new opportunities, or that I’m being disloyal to people who were once close if we naturally drift apart…  I don’t know.  I have trouble living up to my own standards, and I feel guilty and like a failure for not being a better friend.  I guess what I’m saying is, I’m giving myself permission to not live up to those standards, or to lower them – and focus primarily on the community that is immediately around me: myself, my husband, our kitties :P, our families.

Beyond that, I will focus on trying to have more quality interactions with my friends rather than quantity.  And, because it’s something I struggle with, I want to ask more of my friends as well as give more – as in, asking for help when I need it and inviting people over when we are tired of running around to see everyone else.  (We totally are going to be doing more of this in the coming winter!  We want more visitors! Give us a holler if you feel like hanging out! :D)

Wow rambly post, and I don’t have the time now to edit.  My apologies if you couldn’t follow my train of thought 😛