Lemons to Lemonade: a different approach

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This is a bit of a departure from my my other postings in that it will be a little more personal. I feel like that it is important for me to document these thoughts, not only for myself, but in hopes that you will find some encouragement from my experiences.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of how this current situation came to pass because they really don’t matter so much and they wouldn’t benefit the spirit of this posting. I have been given a 3-day unpaid suspension from work. Considering the nature of the issue that led to this outcome, I believe it to be an excessive penalty. This has left me to question my self-worth as a person and a librarian. I have been left with a deep mistrust of my employer. I fear losing my job after 15 years with the same library system. I have tried to remain as positive I as I can throughout the process, but reality hit me this weekend. What would happen if I lost my job? What would I do after that? No amount of positive thinking would bring me peace of mind, Heaven forbid that these things should ever come to pass. It’s a very unsettling and upsetting feeling, to say the least. I had been handed some nasty, bitter lemons.

Then I went to Mass this morning with one of my best friends and had an encounter with the Great Lemonade Maker! I heard the themes of faith and courage throughout the service. The Maker himself assured me that everything would be OK and that He would protect me. I could hand over all of those nasty, bitter lemons and trust that He will make the sweetest, best tasting lemonade.

I don’t know exactly how that lemonade is going to taste just yet. In the meantime, I’m going to take these 3 imposed days off and take care of myself. I have some things that I want to do that will be positive for my body, mind, and spirit. This will be a time of renewal.

With that, I trust that The Maker will deal accordingly with those who dumped the lemons onto me to begin with. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sock heels–new thoughts…

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1st Afterthought Heel Socks

Many a knitter has sung the praises of the afterthought heel on handknit socks. You knit a tube with shaping for the toes and then add the heel afterwards by either unraveling a piece of waste yarn previously knitted in or by (gasp!) cutting your knitting at a spot just past your ankle bone on the back side of the sock and taking a needle(s) and picking up the live stitches and knitting what essentially is another toe.

To me, it was appealing and intimidating at the same time. I mean, what would happen if I lost my live stitches and my sock became a tangled mess? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I finally got up enough courage to attempt it when I decided to take some leftover Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn–about 190 yards worth, and knit some socks. Since 190 yards probably wouldn’t be enough for both socks, I picked up a skein of Cascade 220 Sport Superwash in a matching color to knit the toes, heels, and top ribbing with. Originally, I was going to knit my fall-back toe-up gusset heel pattern, but realized that the gusset was probably going to eat up more yarn than I wanted it to. That’s when the afterthought heel came in.

When knitting the first sock, I did learn a couple of things that will make future socks easier. One is that I only have to knit 1 inch beyond the length I normally knit my toe-up socks before needing to put the waste yarn in–definitely less knitting than with putting in a gusset. Secondly, the waste yarn needs to be a contrasting color to the color of the sock. When taking out the waste yarn on the first sock, I accidentally pulled on the wrong yarn and dropped a good many stitches. While annoying, I was able to fix it, though.

As I continued to work on my socks, a few things dawned on me. My husband adores the handknit socks I knit for him, but he has a tendency to blow out the heels. Perhaps I should knit all of his socks with afterthought heels so that when he blows out a heel, I can just simply replace the heel rather than having to ditch the whole sock. Another thing is that since I’m knitting a tube, more intricate patterns will be easier to deal with since there is no gusset involved. I also really like the concept of 2-at-a-time socks. I’ve tried them both toe-up and top-down, but never could figure out traditional heels, so I gave up. Since I’m basically knitting a tube then adding the heel later, 2AAT with afterthought heels is definitely do-able. In other words, this has opened up a new avenue of sock knitting possibilities to me.

I am a happy camper. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’m back–hopefully to stay!

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Over the last couple of years, I’ve really struggled to maintain any sort of photo mojo. It’s due to a variety of factors, both physical and emotional. I’ve been feeling a bit guilty and have started to miss going out on my photo adventures.

I think what really got me to thinking about it again was a trip to Daytona Beach the hubs and I took weekend before last. I generally like to take a camera with me, but I couldn’t decide between my Canon S90 or my Pentax K5 with the compliment of lenses. Obviously there is a great difference in size and features, size ultimately won out. I really do like my S90 as it does a lot of what a DSLR can, but the one thing I don’t like about it is that there is nowhere to mount a circular polarizer. I did use it, but at the same time, I was kicking myself in the butt for not bringing the Pentax. That got me to thinking…what about a micro 4/3s camera and lenses?

I started investigating my options and found an extremely good deal on a new Olympus E-PL2 + 14-42 kit lens for $299 at Adorama. Sure, it’s not the newest model, but it’s a good way to get my feet wet in m4/3 without too much expense. I finally pulled the trigger on Monday of this week and I’m anxiously awaiting it’s arrival. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the course of my investigation into the m4/3 mount, I discovered a site devoted to it:http://www.mu-43.com/. Of course I joined right away; I’m HeatherWB there. Since joining, I’ve learned that the m4/3s mount is one of the most adaptable mounts to other mounts, including Pentax. I’ve since ordered an adapter and I’m looking forward to seeing how well my Pentax lenses work with the Oly.

I’ve really come to understand that the best camera is the one that I will actually use. I’m hoping that this Olympus will be that “just right” camera–not too big, not too small and does the things I need it to do well.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get out with the Pentax and do some shooting this weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now the waiting continues…

A new look and a new direction

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Just a short post to say that I’m expanding the scope of my blog. I’ve got other creative pursuits that I’d like to share with you besides photography and thought it would be a good thing to combine them all into one blog. Besides photography, my creative pursuits have branched out into the fiber arts, namely knitting and spinning (with a spinning wheel!) and I think it’s time to share them with you. Obviously, this page is still under construction, but watch for improvements.

A pleasant surprise!

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For those of you who have followed me for a while,ย  you know that I’m a Pentax to Canon convert. While I don’t regret making the move in terms of my gear, one of the things I have missed the most about Pentax has been the best-known and busiest of the Pentax-related online discussion groups– PentaxForums. While I’ve posted on other sites such as FredMiranda and POTN, it just wasn’t the same. After being active on PentaxForums for about a year and a half before switching to Canon, that special group of people had become almost like family to me–that’s the type of camaraderie that you’ll find there.

Even though I’ve switched, it’s been this type of camaraderie that’s kept me coming back and checking in every once in a while. Adam, the site’s founder, had even established an “Off-Brand” forum, where many folks like me tended to congregate. Last weekend, much to my pleasant surprise, I ran into this thread while perusing PentaxForums. No, it definitely wasn’t an early April Fool’s joke designed to freak out some of the die-hard Pentaxians. ๐Ÿ˜€

The new site for Canon and Nikon users is now up and running, as of today. Check it out at:

http://www.canikonforums.com/forums/

Many kudos to Adam for putting the hard work into creatingย  this the site! ๐Ÿ˜€

I’ve already registered–find me under “hwblanks”. I’ve already found several people that I recognize from PentaxForums, so I’m very hopeful that the family spirit will be alive and well, as site continues to grow in users. ๐Ÿ™‚

Once you’ve checked out the site and determine that you like it, please register and become part of this great community. Please get the word out to your other photographer friends so that they’ll come check us out. Of course, if you’re a Pentax user and haven’t checked out PentaxForums, I would most definitely encourage you to do so.

Singing the wintertime blues…sigh…

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It’s mid February and I’m now getting around to making the first post of the new year. It’s been too long!

As you well know, this winter has been an usually cold one. Even though I haven’t had to dig myself out of the snow (being in Florida), it has still been too cold and/or rainy to go out and do a lot of shooting. Needless to say, I have gotten out a few times to brave the weather, though. I think that I’ve gotten a bit of photographer’s cabin fever, as I’ve been taking more pics of my indoor cats lately. ๐Ÿ™‚ My camera gear sits in my office beckoning me to come use it. Spring is only about a month away and I’m really looking forward to getting out and capturing the blooming flowers, green grass, and budding trees.

Fortunately, I will be going on vacation week after next, so that should bring some relief to my cabin fever. For our 10th Anniversary, my husband is taking me on a cruise to Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize, which should bring some great photo ops my way; there will also be some great photo ops on the ship itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a shot that I got at Burgess Falls, Tennessee while visiting my parents in December. The temperatures didn’t get out of the 30s that day, but I think this shot was worth braving the cold for.

In upcoming posts, I’m planning on sharing my thoughts on my cruise vacation (both gear and creative ends), shooting car shows, and close-up filters. ๐Ÿ™‚

One last thing: since my last post, I’ve switched from Flickr to Smugmug as the host of my pics and have gotten my own domain name. Check out my new site at http://www.heatherslightbox.com.