I’m not complaining…but…

Today I had a doctor’s appointment for some blood work. It’s time for my yearly checkup and they wanted to do the labs before they sat down with me to discuss all the ways my body is falling apart at 47. Really, it has been falling apart since I was 19, but who’s counting?

After getting my blood drawn, taking care of some emails, and doing some other things, I looked outside this afternoon and saw just how beautiful the light was on the mountains. It has been nearly two weeks since my dog was spayed, so I decided to load her up and take a trip with the camera to get some shots of the mountains before days like this are just a memory again.

We went west of town to a place called Delaney Buttes. It’s a popular area with the fishermen who visit the county. I don’t fish, so the experience is lost on me. It’s not that I suck at fishing, I just don’t like eating them, and I could think of about ten other things I would rather be doing than standing on the edge of a lake, throwing a baited hook into the water over and over again to catch some elusive, boney animal I will never eat. I can cut out the middleman and just be outside enjoying myself without impaling worms and hoping the hooks don’t set too deep into a fish that is just going to die a short while after I let it go again.

So, we climbed the Butte and did some photography.

The aspens are changing on the Park Range and the clouds were doing a great job at diffusing the light in all sorts of ways. Delaney Butte isn’t all that tough of a hike, but weaving through the sage brush to get there from the trailhead was tougher than I hoped. Penny did great and didn’t have any problems after. We got some great shots and I felt like I got my excercise.

But by the time I got home, I could feel it deep in my joints and muscles. Even after a long soak with a bath bomb, I still ached. Maybe that’s a sign I need to exercise more regularly, or maybe it’s a sign of my body slowing down at 47. Fifty isn’t all that far away. There’s a twenty plus year chunk of my life I feel like could have been used a little bit better. And even in the last five or six years, I noticed I no longer do the mountain biking o the long hikes like I used to. I top out now at about eight miles. I did three today.

The last time I made this climb, I was with my dad. It was later in the year. Or maybe earlier. There were no leaves on the trees and little flecks of snow blew past us as we hiked. At the time, he would have been younger than me. I have no way of knowing how well he did that day compared to how well I did today. All I know is five years ago, this would have been a little easier. I wouldn’t have had that fear of rolling my ankle like I did today. Walking carefully through the sage brush, following game trails and taking my time.

It reminds me of that dream where you are running, but it feels like you are running in sand.

I don’t mean to complain, but getting older kinda sucks. My body is definitely lagging a little from the last time I used it. Maybe that was what a two year slack fest with Covid did, or maybe I’m just (gasp) slowing down. I can’t help but wonder how long I can keep up with this pace. Barring any injuries, I think I can maintain and still be pretty active. But as I go, I can’t help but recognize that some things have fallen off from my list of interests. The mountain biking. The long hikes. Swimming. Running (at ALL). There are times I can feel my ACL and miniscus stretching nearly to the point where things would get interesting and I usually call it. Nope.

Anyway, here are some shots I got today. I hope you enjoy them.

Creatively Overwhelmed

Today was a day that I needed to use to get out of town, so my mom and I went to Steamboat for Pho. She had never had it before, and there is just something about it that hits the spot when it comes to…soup. It’s soup, but the broth has so many other levels of aromatics that I get a craving for it once in a while. And I also enjoy exposing people to new things they haven’t tried.

She enjoyed the Pho with rare steak, so yay! Sometimes I’ll try to show my folks something they haven’t tried and they can be a little like Mikey from Life Cereal. He won’t eat it! He hates everything!

I still don’t get that commercial nearly forty years lately. If Mikey hated everything, why did they try giving him the cereal?

Yesterday I gave myself some minor frostbite on my toes while shoveling snow off my sidewalk. Two of them are still purple and sting. At least they sting. That’s a good sign.

Today was a day of some setbacks otherwise, and some victories. After Pho, we checked out a thrift store on the outskirts of town, and I picked up a nearly new tripod for my digital camera. A Giottos Pro aluminum tripod with spirit levels and a ball mount, quick releases, and it goes up to about 70″. $25. Yes. You read that right. I also got a churchkey bottle opener and a DVD of Good Will Hunting for a buck.

When I got home, I set about to write some paid content and was met with a piece of bad news. one of the clients I was going to write for unceremoniously ditched me. They pulled four assignments, two of which I had already written. They blocked me and said, “Didn’t follow our guidelines.” This setback happens sometimes, especially with the more flakey clients who expect $1/word writing but only want to pay ten cents per word. It was a disppointment, and a loss for me of more than I’d like to think about.

A good metric of telling who is going to do this is someone who provides three pages of guidelines and 300 words of keywords for a 1500 word assignment. And when they don’t even look at your submission for a week or two after the deadline. I’d rather just not write for people like that.

So, I got on YouTube and went down the photography rabbit hole to try to teach myself more fundamentals of using my OM-D Olympus camera. I tried out a bunch of shots with the tripod and I think I’m beginning to figure out manual settings for Aperture, Shutter Speed, and things like depth of field and focus. The jargon can get overwhelming. Focus length, this and that in milimeters, all of it. Now I’ve got this tripod thing to figure out, which is actually pretty exciting. I wish I had taken photography, but as a previous artist (pencils, etc.) I understand composition pretty well. What I need to figure out now is color theory and all that technical crap that gives us pictures we like.

A few weeks ago, I applied for an assignement taking pictures of Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska during the upcoming spring migration in North Platte, but they selected someone else today. It was to be a press trip/story/photography opportunity, but that gives me more time to practice and get better at photography for another project. Now that I’m accumulating better equipment, I still feel like an imposter, but less of one.

I’m writing this post tonight and drinking coffee in hopes that I can actually work on the book. A couple setbacks like this can be daunting, plus there is the ongoing struggle I have with the book. I’m getting into the short rows for the end, and I an also seeing how much the book needs in the middle, and how many spots I have either missed or had inadventantly re-written.

Writing a literary type story is difficult for me because I used to write mostly genre fiction like fantasy or SF. It has taken me a long time to change my mindset that unless there is a dragon burning down a village or robots replacing people, a story about someone’s life just isn’t all that interesting. Especially if a lot of it is based on a true story.

Who really cares?

What I know is the story wants to be written, and at this point, no other story is going to get into that feeder trough. I’m hoping to print off a first draft within a few days. Until then, I have plenty of coffee to sustain me and my itch to get the hell out of town has been satiated for a few days at least.

I have a lot of chainsaws in the air at once right now, and I’m hoping that something works out.