Anatomy of a Bike Ride

Recently I was riding my bike before work—a morning far too beautiful to spend in the gym. Suddenly, I realized I was aware of only my music, my heartbeat, and my hard but steady breathing. It was as if I was riding with blinders on, totally unaware of the landscape, houses, or traffic on either side of me. I was literally going through the motions, just trying to complete my ride.

I was riding like a machine, but this workout was only accomplishing the caloric burn-off goal. No joy. Stress, supposedly released through the pedals. But shoulders to my ears said otherwise.

Breathe out. Phewwww. I slowed up slightly, came back to the reality of what I was doing, then continued moving forward.

I thought about how our weekend rides with friends are much more relaxing, longer, and fun. We ride but can talk, laugh, stop for a few photos. Yes, this ride was shorter in distance, time, and purpose…. but it should be enjoyed too.

Becoming AWARE of my thoughts, my ride, my motions, my morning, my job, my conversations, my night, it makes them all much more real. So busy, it is easy to forget to live the minutes, the details. Sometimes it takes a moment like on my bike to remember that.

Some times we all want to pass fast. Now, without thinking. But when we continually move too quickly we can miss the subtle moments, the quiet ones, some critical ones. We become sloppy, often unaware of the larger picture, thinking only of the task or situation right in front of us.

We should remember that it’s the single moments that make up our life, not just the motions. The Blur.

The journey continues.

C

New Orleans Scenes

A bit delayed, but here are a few shots of the characters and character of New Orleans.

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Great people watching–anything goes! 
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Louisiana Loom Works has a myriad of cats, working looms, and amazing pieces.  Worth a visit!
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Daytime street view of never-ending live music. 

IMGP4859Next trip I should have better plan of what to focus on.  We were so busy with varied days this visit it was hard to have a single shooting goal….other than the pre-wedding pics from last post.

The journey continues.

C

Pre-Wedding Shots

IMGP5031IMGP4971The day before the wedding we attended last weekend in New Orleans, I got a call asking if I wanted to shoot pictures of the girls in the bridal party getting ready for their Big Event.

Gulp–that’s a lot of pressure.  But always up for a photo adventure, my daughter Tara and I had an impromptu photo shoot while Devon (my other daughter) and the rest of the girls primped and prepped.

What fun we had!  Tara also has a very artistic eye, so we took turns acting as assistant, shooting the girls and still lifes of the flowers, the dresses, the house.  We tested lighting and aperture settings, and I explained some of the technical adjustments you can make with the DSLR.

What fun we had! So, take on that new challenge presented to you.  You never know what you might learn, and hopefully the experience will exceed your expectations.

I will send Alexie and Will–the new couple–the photos this week.  But, here is a sneak peek of a few that I think came out well.  Enjoy.

C

Note: all photos copyrighted by me, Cindy Kennedy.

Tuesday, Bluesday

IMGP4519Over the last couple months, I realized that Tuesday is the hardest day of the week for me to focus.

I used to think it was Monday that I dreaded. I muddled through Sunday night: I double-checked the upcoming family and work schedule, sorted through weekend emails, planned the week. But by Monday morning, I found I am often invigorated to start the work week. It’s usually filled with calls, meetings, travel, a few social gatherings.

Then Tuesday hits. Blah. I finally realized there was a negative Tuesday power in my routine. The work week isn’t half over, my energy is sapped. And why, why are there are more Tuesday problems than ANY other day in the week? That is my drag day, filling spare moments in the kitchen, longing to flatline that stress.

I decided–let’s change it! To conquer my Bluesday, I am going to try to change up how I approach that day. I am going to schedule time to work with a friend or at the library, meet someone for lunch, specifically work on a fun, new project, set aside time to write or take pictures, vary my exercise routine. Today’s visit to the dentist does not count.

Hopefully this positive attitude will spike the Tuesday mood, flow into Wednesday and the rest of the week. I think the key to successfully working solo most of the time is figuring the triggers to anti-productive, negative attitudes and behavior. Then change it.

What tricks do you have to break up the week?

The journey continues.

C

5 Reasons Why I Should Never Read a Mystery Novel

When I visit my local ELA Library, I usually do a quick pass through the New Mystery section. If the latest Alex Delaware (by Jonathan Kellerman) or Kinsey Milhone (by Sue Grafton) novel is available….YES. Mine, grabbing it like a child and holding it close.

I then put aside whatever I am reading and delve into those books.

Most genres I can set aside at the appropriate times. But, when I get engrossed in a mystery, forget it. The details, the short section breaks, the quickening pace, keep the pages turning long after they should.

Here are a few of the reasons why I should not even start a mystery, unless I have a day to focus on it:

  1. Dinner -what dinner? Are you really hungry tonight?
  2. These woeful eyes staring when their walks are delayed.IMG_4713
  3. Pages might get warped near the shower.
  4. At 11 pm I will resolve to read “one more chapter”; suddenly it is 2 am. And I have to be up in 4 hours for work!
  5. Can’t read it when at the gym. So postpone the workouts, right?

The same often happens with the latest Stephen King or a few other authors, but it always happens with a tight mystery.

The journey continues.

C

Note: feel free to substitute “binge watch the latest HOT series”, “start a puzzle”, “search online for cheap airfares” in the title, depending on your tastes.

One True Sentence

There are exercises we can do to practice and improve our writing skills. And I think that the writing process itself can be a mental exercise. Occasionally it is physical exercise: when we pace the room, walk our dogs to help ideas ferment, or we frustratingly throw our ideas at the wall.

In 2016 my resolution was to work on my writing or photography for 10 minutes a day. Those structured minutes often blossomed into 50, 60 minutes as I got engrossed in my daily project. I updated both my personal and work blogs frequently, explored other blogs, conversed online with fellow writers, read works by a variety of authors, and started to head into unexpected areas.

This year, without a specific plan, I recently realized that I am filling that allotted time with additional work tasks. I miss my creative outlet. Ideas remain spinning in my brain, wisps of characters evolving then vanishing, months without poetry.

I am going to mentally slot that time back into my day. It is a gift to myself—just 10 minutes a day.

In A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway said:

You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.

And then you can keep moving forward.

The journey continues.

C

My Book Club Basics 3/3, Choosing Books!

 

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What books are on your nightstand now? (or in your line up on your electronic device)  Share!

Books, Books and more Books! With an overwhelming selection of enticing-poorly written-predictable-and keep-you-up-all-night reads today, how do you choose books for your book club? For our club, each host gets to pick their book and shape their meetings around the selection.

We have a few members who get stressed (and hilarious) when it comes time to make their book selections.  Just stay calm, since there are a myriad of resources to find your selections.

Here are a few ideas for you to help you pick your next read:

  • Talk to other people who love to read!
  • Ask your librarian—our local ELA Library has an entire book club selection area with ideas. Library websites also include lists, such as Chicago Public Library’s top 2016 rentals.  
  • Browse your local bookstore. Pick up a book, read the jacket, sample a page. Ask an employee what they liked recently.
  • Many newspapers and magazines, from People to The New York Times to Vanity Fair, include new book releases on a regular basis.
  • Goodreads website  gives you a place to find books, fellow readers, research genres.
  • Bookbrowse is an online booklover’s magazine. They have a “First Impressions” you can join where they send 5-6 books a year to either write a review or join a discussion, for a small fee.
  • You can Google many topics for book lists. Be careful, it’s easy to get lost doing this: top historical fiction, history, chick lit, novels, young adult, science fiction.

It can be overwhelming, so keep it simple. Remember, it is a BOOK CLUB choice–happy reading!

This is the 3rd and final post I have shared for now about starting, organizing, or changing up your book Club.  Read the others here: My Book Club Basics, 1 of 3 and My Book Club Basics, 2 of 3.

The journey continues.

Cindy, the WBL Book Club Wrangler

P.S. With all the new books out, it is easy to overlook the classics. Refresh your list with some timeless (or dated) literature.