November 30, 2008

A fair walk for a fine day.

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:26 pm by czygyny

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I thought I would break my long silence with the results of a nice three hour hike taken today. Above is one of my favorite cottonwood trees with Bass and Saddleback mountains in the background. What a beautiful day it was today, mid 70s, no wind, deep blue skies. Very nice.

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mudcrak

I could not pass up this drying, checking mud, with its geometric shapes and peeling layers. This image comes complete with dog prints.

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bear-mnt

I love Bear Mountain, and I never pass up a chance for another picture, especially if I can get the lookout. I hope to go up there, someday.

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knothole

This snaggle-tooth mouth shaped knothole made me laugh. it looks like a lamprey mouth or laughing alien creature.

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dying-tree

This tree is slowly losing it’s life. It stands ever starker and barer as time pulls the spirit of the tree. It hangs over a tall bank looming with its grasping branches.

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buckwheat

These orange spotted Eriogonum stems are almost shockingly bright for such muted early winter colors that abound right now.

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Here is the last leg of the journey, just before we get back to our unpaved road. It was a good time for dogs, who wallowed in the mud and explored all over and for me who just enjoyed the quiet and beauty and muted colors of an autumn near ended and a winter near come, that are right in my back yard.

I am so blessed.  🙂

sam

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April 7, 2008

The end enriches the beginning

Posted in blogging, photography tagged , , , , , , , at 7:39 pm by czygyny

This peculiar, and somewhat macabre image is where someone dumped the carcass of a cow last year. When we first saw it, it was still intact and still very identifiable. We marveled at the grisly sight then forgot about it until I went for a lengthy hike with my new camera, yesterday.

It made me think about what has transpired in the last year of my life. The death of something, its demise becoming the enrichment for something new. Look how rich and green and lush the grass is where the body was. Look at the bright buttercups surrounding the bones.

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Today, I paid off all my debt. I went to each bank and paid in full. My car, my credit card, odd and ends–zero balance. I took of the old to prepare for the new. It was a liberating feeling, and I knew I had done well.  No, it was better than that, it was quite satisfying and joyous. The funeral of my debt becomes the seeds to ensure tomorrow.

The dying past plowed into the furrows of the future.

 

 

 

April 4, 2008

The ‘Awww’ factor

Posted in photography tagged , , , , , , , at 4:57 pm by czygyny

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There are few things cuter and more endearing than baby chicks! Perhaps this is why we came home with six little fluff balls, instead of fencing material, when we went to the Tractor Supply Store, yesterday.

Of course it just didn’t stop at the chicks, then came the 25 lb. sack of feed, a waterer and feeder. $29.95 out the door, thank you. I ‘really’ need six more animals to care for! *sigh* 

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These chicks are bantam chicks. They are miniature chickens that can lay blue, green or brown eggs. Tiny little eggs, sort of a 3 to 1 ratio for an omelet. But, these chickens are an amiable, friendly and hardy breed.

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These chicks are ‘straight-run’, which means a 50/50 ratio of male and female. I am hoping for more girls than boys! Too many roosters are trouble, and we have a big black one, already. And, eating them would be too much trouble for such a small meal. Yes, I could kill and eat them, if I had to, but they end up being too much of a pet.

 

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They are temporarily living in a box with a heat-lamp on my kitchen counter. I have had guinea pigs in the bathtub, cows in the swimming pool, and sheep in my car, so I guess it is business as usual for me. (I had a hummingbird in my freezer, once, but that is a story for another day).

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Part of the joy of raising chicks, especially mixed colors like this, is waiting to see how they’ll look when they’re mature. There is no telling what we’ll end up with.

The last time I raised chicks I started with 25 straight-run Aracaunas. They can lay pink, brown, green and blue eggs, too, but full sized. I used to sit on the bales of hay, early in the morning, and sing to my chickens while I fed them. They would sit on my knees and sometimes try to get on my shoulder, but since they ‘drop the goods’ wherever they are, I stopped the ‘shoulder thing’ very quickly! Sadly, only one of those chickens remains, Ol’ Rusty, and the rooster, Victor, son of another hen.

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Now, tell me, don’t lie, don’t you just want to pick those little fuzzy, puffy chicks up in your hands and just cuddle them? You know you want to do it!

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I had one hen from that earlier batch I called ‘Lucille’ and would sing a corny country-western song to her every morning

“You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille.

Four hungry children and a crop in the field.

I’ve had some sad times, lived through some bad times, but this time your hurtin’ won’t heal.

You picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille!”

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It never failed to make me smile, even if I was sitting there in tears, which I often was at that time. It was during the last awful years of my marriage, when I was weary, frightened and full of anxiety, everything was spiraling out of control. Ah, but that too, is another story for another time. Now, I choose to remember the silly songs with the sun streaming low through the barn door,  the narrow beam of morning light swirled with golden dust motes, chickens milling around my feet, the sweet smell of hay and a hope for tomorrow.

I am quite sure one of my new chickens will be called ‘Lucille’.

I have a silly song to sing to her.

 

March 31, 2008

A gift to myself.

Posted in blogging, garden, photography, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 4:22 pm by czygyny

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I bought myself a gift today.

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It is a Canon EOS 40D digital camera with an awesome 18-200mm lens.

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I have taken about a hundred images in just a few hours.

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And there was an AWESOME 22° halo that was a perfect picture frame for my oak. For a time it had an upper tangent arc and parahelia with tails, and a brief circumzenithal arc.

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Also takes great indoor images like my terrarium, without flash! (hey,  that is a real running waterfall in there)

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And showcases my large cactus collection quite well. I am having a blast!

Stay tuned for more…

March 28, 2008

Fulcrum

Posted in blogging, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:41 pm by czygyny

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5:30 am.  I wake early, realizing that this is THE day. It’s easy to get up this dark, cold morning. I get warmly dressed, grab my big Mag-light and take the dogs out the dark path down the road to get the paper. How poignant, the last day I will ever contribute to the making of this paper, not that I had any real impact on in for quite some time.

The walk in the dark always helps me wake up for a new day, I look for my familar stars, hope for a moon, it’s a waning half moon this morning, low in the southern sky. It illuminates my way enough so that the flashlight remains off. I relish this early dark. Time for my eyes to clear, time for the morning grumps to pass, the cold invigorates me.

I feed the sheep and sit out on the picnic table for my morning prayer. I am thankful for what I have been given, grateful that the biggest storms have, hopefully, passed through my life by this point. Hardship can often be used constructively to build on the future, if you allow it.

Time to get ready. Time to ‘sally forth’ into my day of days.

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6:00pm. I’m home. Home for good. No more driving that same beat up old back road, no more pulling in to my favorite parking space. I’ll miss my ‘cathedral trees’, those blue oaks that would glow in back-light, in spring that lovely translucent green, in fall, the burnished golds and oranges, when the sun was just right. I never again will have to walk up those stairs with a sigh, and enter in to what has become a nightmare.

My friends and coworkers came to my going away lunch party at a pizza parlor that is close by. I was pleased to see them all, and I was surprised with my very own Philbert card!! How many years have Phil and I made cards for people leaving, and now, I have one of my very own. Thanks Phil! Don’t forget to send me those pictures!

The day was bitter sweet, filled with hugs and fare-wells, time to double check my cabinets and drawers, make sure I have retrieved all my files from my computer, my fan, my pens and pencils (I bought), all the little things that make a day at work easier. My spot looked so empty and without personality. ‘Me’ was taken out of it, just the dust, dead leaves and stray paperclips remain.

It was a cold, gloomy, wet day, fitting for such an end. I held up well all day, but when it came time to tell my best of friends, Syndi, goodbye, then the sadness began to slip in. 26 years of shared experiences, of upheavals, changes, celebrations, growth. It started out with just us two, but was not to end with us leaving together. She is still going to have to face the unnecessary and pointless daily urgencies and stress-filled days. It’s time to get out, friend, nothing good is here for you. I will miss all of you.

The Company was generous to me, and sent me off with a fitting gift for my years of tenure, it will be a great help for me to move on to my next chapter of my life. It has made this departure easier and my future more sure.

My face is turned to a new direction, and my life takes the fork in the road to a different path.

I am ready.

March 24, 2008

The last week winds down

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , at 7:31 pm by czygyny

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Old chapter

close to end.

New chapter

round the bend.

Coming quick,

it seems so strange.

Tension thick,

can’t stop the change.

Switch those gears

sails tack.

Place those fears,

behind your back.

We’ll see it thru

me and you.

And all those involved

find problems solved.

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March 17, 2008

First up to the chopping block

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, outsourcing tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:11 pm by czygyny

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Yes, I know, it is a bit melodramatic, but, I just received the official word today, I am being laid off!

First up to the chopping block.

What a pivotal time in my life.

For half of my life I have worked for this company, learning, growing, building up my skills and talents. I have purchased my own car, my own house, taken care of myself, taken care of others with the money I made here, and was comfortable in the security of it all.

Then I watched as things morphed, mutated, into something very unpleasant and rather dark. Harsh personalities show up, carpet baggers, hatchet men, people with a career agenda and no empathy or care other than catching the brass ring of the next promotion. Folks with different ethics and a different concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. People who give lip service, but hearts far away from the public they serve.

While I am not at liberty to go into details, my last day will be Friday, March 28.

I have to admit, my heart is light and I am in anticipation of the future. The worries may creep in later, but right now, I am happy.

It’s truly been a long time since I could truthfully say that.

And, I finally get to spend a spring at home. Now…that is something special.

Praise He who has authored us all, Faithful and True.

This bird is getting ready to fly…

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March 11, 2008

Stormy weather

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, painting tagged , , , , , , , at 7:54 pm by czygyny

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I have been feeling as if the waters have come up around me and are lapping at the last bit of dry land around my feet. Job loss, troubled children, money woes, too many irons in the fire, worrying about the future, etc.

I am holding up well enough, but I sketched this drawing today, and thought it worthy to experiment with some PhotoPaint tricks. And, yes, PhotoPaint. I love it. I love CorelDraw, too. Illustrator and PhotoShop are like speaking a different language to me. Ick.

Its a bit dark and grim, but I hope you enjoy my experiment, ‘Stormy Weather’.

March 5, 2008

Would you ask your plumber for medical advice?

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing, outsourcing, Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , , at 7:39 pm by czygyny

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Would you? Would you ask someone who is obviously an expert in his field, a man who knows the ins and outs of the watery world of pipes and knows the difference between PVC and HDPE, for advice on what to do about your back pain?

Ludicrous? Ill-advised? Just plain dumb?

Why is it, then, that supervisors who know little about how a product is created, even though it is in flux and transition, would ask someone who is well-versed in their own, separate, unrelated field, how to run something they know nothing about?

Why is it that decisions are being made about the future of  decades of advertising archives, many of which are the only files of customers’ logos and ads, by removing the tools which are used to access and utilize them. Even if it is to only gather the necessary information for outsourcing the product, how foolish it is to cut off a very labor saving, and for some aspects-irreplaceable-part of the work flow? There are scores of CD, DVD and archive files, enough to fill many computer’s hard-drives, that can only be accessed by CorelDraw, not the industry standard Adobe products we are now in the process of learning and converting everything over to.

When you remove the graphics programs that have been utilized by the company for over 15 years, you hobble what has already become a faulty, inefficient system. Keeping the graphics programs cost you nothing, removing them will cost you plenty in time and lost revenue, and causing even more work for staff already stretched thin.

What is the point?

Leave the CorelDraw on the computers! Don’t limit our font resources to a ridiculously low number. Don’t make this whole fiasco any more difficult than it has to be.

Research your solutions with people who know what they are talking about. Listen to them, they are not trying to stymie you, they are trying to make the best of the worst situation. They’ve been here longer than some of you have been alive. Use the knowledge. Be wise. This sort of thing has happened in the past, where someone totally removed from the situation was the decision maker and the changes implemented caused many hours of lost time, bottlenecked workflow, and errors at printing time.

Come on, pony up show some real leadership skills, that is your job description and duty. Make wise decisions. And, not just for your career…for those around you who have put so much of themselves into a quality product, and oh yes, your CUSTOMERS.

February 19, 2008

Not enough hours in a day

Posted in blogging, cartoon, drawing tagged , , , , , at 8:46 pm by czygyny

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Here’s another project I’ve been working on…a graphic novel. Trouble is, it takes me a week to do one page, and that is working on it every day. The story has become so complex that I am considering just writing it out in novel form and illustrating it. I also might try making the style a bit less detail intensive, something like my nephew’s Naruto illustrations, bold and simple.

Trouble is, I just love to keep drawing it in, hatching, pointillism, braceleting, shading!  I just keep on keeping on! So far, I have only four pages of finished story (sans dialog), but a whole binder of sketches I’ve made over the years. Both these sketches from from my binder:

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The story ranges from Naia as a little girl, all the way through her life. Below Naia meets up with the mysterious Rook.naia-and-rook02.jpg

There was no time tonight to work on it or any other art project, tonight I had two troublesome 12 year olds to deal with; Dave is getting Ds in some of his subjects at school, and Stephanie got caught texting during a field trip. Both have been in trouble a lot at school, recently, adding to my woe. These kids are my brother’s, taken from their alcoholic/drug abusive parents at the age of five.

My mother is finding it more and more difficult to deal with their misbehavior, she was in tears, again, tonight. Stephanie also left a gate open in the barn that allowed the sheep to get into the hay and ruin a lot of it, so her punishment was helping me clean the stalls. I do so love working all day and coming home to clean animal stalls. I had a point to make.

I think she will tend to remember to shut all gates she opens, after this. Sheep stalls stink.

Dave will be a harder one to deal with. I can’t be there when they come home to assure them doing their homework, so I will have to find a way to deal with it after I get home.

If we had not intervened in these kid’s lives, they would be out living on the streets like their older half-sister and mother, or their dad, wherever he is. Snatched out of the fire.

I consider it one of the most noble things someone can  do is to raise children, and to take on someone else’s children is a special honor. It isn’t what I would have chosen to do, but it still is, perhaps, the most important thing I can do with my life.

It just isn’t easy.

It’s 8:45pm and I have to get back over next door to make sure they’re ready for bed. Then, when I’ve made sure their settled in, I’ll be hitting the sack about 9:00.  5:30 comes ’round awfully early.

Like I said, not enough hours in a day.

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