Core Story: #reverb10 Day 31

Today’s prompt: What central story is at the core of you, and how do you share it with the world?

No tree too big to climb

You see that tree over there? One of these days I’m going to climb that tree.

Like my niece shown in the picture here, I’m always picking out the biggest trees to climb. Other kids might find a low hanging branch on a sweet little crape myrtle and be done with it, but as for me, if there’s a bigger oak nearby, I’m going to worry around it until I think of a way to at least get a foothold on it. Some might call that unrealistic. I just like to think of it as imaginative.

I am prone to flights of fancy. That’s what makes me think I’m a writer. That’s what makes me think I’m a photographer. That’s what makes me think nothing is worth doing if it isn’t worth overdoing.

This post completes my 2010 365 blog project. I have not missed a day of blogging since January 1, 2010. Some days I posted very little. Some days I went wordless and posted only a photograph. One day I think I posted something like “I have thirty seconds left to post something to my blog today.”

But I did it. I posted something to this blog every single day for the past 365 days. I didn’t think I would. I actually just set out to see how many days in a row I could post something to the blog without missing a day. I thought I might make it six weeks or so. When I surpassed that, I still threatened to quit fairly often up until the point that I realized I was three-quarters through a year. Then the idea of finishing a complete year caught my fancy. I was bound and determined to see it through.

I don’t really know what I’ve proven. Probably nothing. But the blog in itself has been a pleasure to me. I’m happy to say I’ve stuck it out.

This is the last day I’m posting here to this particular blog, but if you come back tomorrow, you will still find me here. I’m going to rebuild the blog tomorrow (or at least start rebuilding). I’ve been planning to do a reinstall on WordPress for some time because I have some corruptions in my current installation. I just wanted to finish my year first. I don’t think I will have to miss a day of blogging in order to reinstall, but catastrophes sometimes happen, and I didn’t want to take a chance on disrupting my year.

The 2010 blog will be archived in its entirety. I may never finish another 365 blog in my life. I want to keep this one on display just in case.

Meanwhile, we move on. Tomorrow I will build a new blog and set out to see how many days in a row I can post something to it. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I pick any given tree to climb. Because it’s there, I suppose. And because it tickles my fancy to think I can.

That’s my story, and I believe I’ll just stick to it.

Responsible Adult Act of the Day #reverb10

A couple of days ago, I said that one thing I want to accomplish in the coming year is to trim excess bills (#7 on my list). Today I went to the Comcast office and chose a cheaper cable package, trimming about $40 off my monthly bill. I probably should have canceled it altogether, but I’m not that good or brave yet. I need to work on myself a little more first.

Now if I can only find a few more places to trim out $40 a month I might be able to make up the difference in my increased insurance costs. Regardless, I feel about as responsible as I’m capable of being today. The next step will have to wait for tomorrow. Meanwhile, maybe I’ll drag out a bank statement and comb through it looking for bills to cut. Would that count as a responsible adult act in and of itself, or would it just be a pre-responsibility planning activity? I have to pace myself on this. If I overdo it, there’s no telling when I might get back to it.

Diet Hack: Box It Up

This is what half my dinner from last night looked like when I got it out to warm it up today. I ate this half for lunch after skipping breakfast. I felt too full even so. That makes it extra embarrassing to admit that I ordered the same meal a couple of weeks ago and finished the whole thing in one sitting.

This brings us today’s diet version of the life hack. Box that extra food up before you start eating. It’s too easy to start talking and fail to notice when you’ve eaten too much. It might be a little embarrassing to ask for a to go box before you’ve ever lifted your fork, but that’s nothing compared to eating four cups of pasta at once.

*photo from my iPhone. No processing.

Defining Moment: #reverb10 Day 28

Today’s prompt:  Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.

What to say? What to say? I’ve already talked about the new baby in the family. I’ve already talked about buying a camera. I’ve probably talked about going on a diet. It is getting harder for me to think up things I haven’t already said in response to previous reverb prompts. I think I’ll just have to dial back to earlier in the year then.

One defining moment for me this year was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I put together a photo essay about my response to the book. I’ll just let the photo essay be my reverb today.

Achieve: #reverb10 Day 28

Today’s prompt: What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.

I’m starting to feel like I’m repeating myself too much on these prompts, and I’ve missed a good number of them. What do I want to achieve? Isn’t that what I already talked about when I said what I want to try?

That’s okay. I know I sound like it sometimes, but I really don’t have a one track mind. I can sustain more than one goal in my head at a time. In fact, I usually have a few too many going on. I’m just balking because I’m currently trying to figure out how to keep life a little simpler. I don’t want to come up with any extra goals. I hope to discard a few. Hey…maybe that’s it. Maybe keeping it simple is what I hope to achieve. If so, once I’ve done this, what I hope to feel is relaxed. I’m looking to unload some stress.

How can I do this?

1. Eat mostly simple meals of fresh vegetables. I want to eat healthy without having to make a production out of mealtimes.

2. Go on a cash-only financial diet. I need to curb impulse purchases. Even small random spending adds up. I think if I make myself pay cash (not debit or check, but actual cash), I’ll pay more attention to how much everything costs.

3. Turn down excess work. This is truly a goal of mine, but I don’t even know where to begin. I need the money, you see.

4. Haul off excess stuff. Seriously. I have a hard time keeping up with housework. I keep thinking if I get rid of enough stuff it will all be easier.

5. Acquire skills, not possessions. I don’t need a big screen TV. I could use some photo editing skills, though. I can develop those for far less expense that any TV I might pick out. And if I’m busy learning I won’t have time for TV anyway.

6. Invest in experiences, not accomplishments. One you reach a certain point where you have your job and your house and your professional validations, achievements are somewhat overrated. The pursuit of achievement has future ulcer written all over it. I don’t have anything much to prove right now. I want to accomplish things. Sure, I do. I just want to do so on my own terms without the stress normally associated with the drive to success. Forget constant meetings. I want to go hiking instead.

7. Trim excess bills. See #3. If I could cut out some bills, maybe I could cut out some work.

8. Walk. Snap. Smile. Yeah, the camera had to show up somewhere in this post. If, as per #7, I cancel my gym membership, I’ll need to seek exercise in the form of outdoor activities. While I’m skipping meetings and hiking, I’ll also be saving money by traveling on foot power. While I’m at it, I might as well take a few pictures. They relax me.

9. Embrace technology silences. I am saturated with technology. I work in front of a computer all day and blog in the evenings. I don’t want to give up the blog, and I don’t see my work habits changing any time soon either, but I need some time every day cut off from the matrix. Walk. Snap. Smile. Plus…Sit. Think. Breathe.

10. Practice collaborative consumption. That’s just a fancy term for trade and share that I heard recently. I think it is a grand idea. I pay way too much to have HBO only because I want to watch True Blood that only comes on for a few months out of the year. I have a friend doing the same thing. Why couldn’t we both cancel our extra channels and then go together to purchase the season of True Blood? We’d pay a fraction of what we pay now, and when we were done with it, we could probably sell it on EBay. You can’t say that for your HBO subscription.

This is just a random sampling. I could go on, but I was only asked for 10 ideas, and I could really use some technology silence now. Goodnight, all.

Ordinary Joy: #reverb10 Day 27

Today’s prompt: Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?

I think my response to about half the prompts so far in Reverb 10 has been “my camera.” I’ll just keep things simple and go with that again today. Chase Jarvis has this book called The Best Camera is the One That’s With You. I just discovered that phrase this week. I plan to attempt a 365 project for 2011. I’m sure I’ll have to rely heavily on the philosophy to see me through.

I also suspect that the best moment of joy is the one that’s with you too. That’s why I want to say that my ordinary joy is just the day I had today. Today was the day after a big family holiday dinner. It was calm and uneventful–as opposed to the chaos and excitement and even at times trauma of the past week.

My mother got a couple of digital photo frames for Christmas. I spent some time helping her set them up. My mother and I chatted and sorted through pictures of her great-grandchildren in the process. We didn’t always know exactly what we were doing, but we got the job done in the end. A good time had by all.

She also got an orchid for Christmas. I’m sure most of the family looked at it and thought “how pretty.” I looked at it and thought “hey, there’s an opportunity to try that shot I’ve been wanting to try.”

And here it is. The old flower in the dark trick.


This picture is a moment of ordinary joy for me because it gave me pleasure to take it, and it gave me pleasure to see how it came out. I’m a beginner in the DSLR world. I have a simple little entry-level Canon T1i. I’m sure a professional could do a better job. I hope that in six months I’ll be able to do a better job. But this particular picture taken today with my humble camera and the kit lens it came with (and an old brown blanket draped over my mother’s china cabinet as a backdrop) represents the best job I could do today. That’s my ordinary joy.