Yawn....! January really ought to be a month of hibernation. We had the fiery re-entry back into school last week, and still, this morning, I was unprepared for the alarm clock, and the having to get up in the early AM. The kids were already up - they get up at dawn, like their father, but me? I'm a vampire from so far back, even having kids hasn't made me much of an early riser. The hubster was telling me the other morning that one day last week was the latest sunrise of the year - no wonder I don't want to get up in January - neither does the sun, apparently!
I had a great birthday weekend - slept in, played all weekend, and still got the Christmas tree down and out of the house on Sunday, so that can be checked off the list.
Bea gave me a tube of the much-sought after burnt umber, along with a gift certificate to the grooviest art supply store in Raleigh (Askew-Taylor, FYI), and made me an awesome cake! She also took me out last night, as part of our continuing series of Sunday Denial - isn't she the best? Her birthday is coming up in about three months, so I better get busy planning...!
The Big Gorilla Man gave me a fabulous new camera for my birthday, but he had to give it to me early, as I was throwing a bit (!!) of a tantrum on Christmas Eve. So you could say, part of his gift to me is just putting up with my bullshit. He has been an awfully good husband lately - I don't know the where and why of it, but I am grateful - Christmas and my birthday, hard on it's heels, isn't my best time of year ever, really, so I'm just happy to be through with it for another year with minimal stress and/or freakouts.
On Sunday we headed out to Raven Rock Park again, for a nice little hike. The weather is so pretty, its a crime to be indoors! I took my trusty new camera and had a lot of fun taking pictures at the park. We took a different trail this time and the boys loved discovering new terrain. There was a lot of quartz on this trail; some of it quite large, though most of it wasn't of the crystalline quality. Here are the intrepid explorers: I lagged behind a lot on the hike, looking for oddities to photograph. I was struck by this log composition; the intricate branches in the background, the moss and the very graphic rings and cut-out of the log were wonderful. I can almost see some of my sister's little fairy dolls peeping out of this!
Down by the Cape Fear River, we followed the trail along to it's point of no return. Of course, I had to tell the guys that this was "The End Of The Trail", like it was time to go or something. Only the Big Fella got it, but then he's sharp like that.
I started playing with these in photoshop, mostly just cropping or punching up the color/contrast, but when I got to this one I had a bit of fun. They looked like a trio of women dancing, these trees, but when I was looking at the picture it didn't have the drama I had seen in the woods. So I was messing around and decided to try them as a colored pencil look - voila! Now they have drama! Winter is definitely the time of year to shoot tree branches.
My drive-by shootings were the usual hit-or-miss, but upon looking at them, I was struck by how barren and poor it looked alongside highway 401 - you would have thought I was scoping for a location to film a depression-era film. Because they're drive-bys, some of them are a bit blurry, but wow - you just don't realize how close abject poverty is to your own doorstep. Some of these are just old houses on farms, where the family has built another, newer house nearby, but some of them, like this last picture, is strongly reminiscent of 1930s era Dust Bowl pictures, only in color. The fate of the little farmer breaks my heart - I try and buy locally as much as I can, but the bleeding Walmarts and Superstores just roll over us all, destroying the little Mom and Pop businesses, and decimating the little farms, all in favor of a damn concrete warehouse that supports slave labor in third world countries, and reduces our little hard-working farmers to this. And this is an economically strong area; but only if you're from somewhere else and educated.
Sigh...don't let me get started....I'm trying to stay up this month.