Monday, July 27, 2009

A day at the Beach

We spent most of this past Sunday at a friend's cabin in Dansville. No, the town's not really know for its beaches, but we had what I consider a fun "beach" day - splashing around in the stream, collecting rocks and taking pictures. Here are a few for ya. Enjoy!

My favorite shot of the day...
Some cool rocks - I love the copper color of the triangle rock (from rust??)

Found some wild wildflowers, too...

Driftwood was everywhere.
Then a bit of a surprise...

For most of the day the weather was perfect (rained a bit in the later afternoon). We brought a few creek stones home to use in the garden and I got sunburned on my shoulders, but all-in-all it was a very nice day.

The word of the day...

... is BALANCE.
This is what we all need to be happy. I'm sure of it.

I know. You're thinking "All I need to be happy is chocolate." "... or more time." "... or money." But think about this...

Did you ever eat SO much chocolate that you feel sick to your stomach and swear you never want to see chocolate again?
Time is another one... some days I have barely enough time to get the essentials done. Other days, time drags on so slowly it feels like eternity.
I've never had the problem of too much money, but I wonder... does money really buy happiness or just drag along other problems that you have to deal with?

Think about this, too...
Stress is a good thing, to a point. It challenges us, pushes us out of our comfort zone, helps us to change and grow.
Not enough stress and you go insane from lack of stimulation.
Too much stress (for too long) and you blow a mental fuse.

THIS is why we all need balance.

Balance will give us just the right amount of everything so that we can are satisfied. "Just right" as Goldilocks said. But how to we achieve balance? It's easy to talk (blog) about, right? What about putting it into practice.

First things first... priorities?
What are yours?
I made a list. I know what's important to me. REALLY important to me... none of that 'this is what society tells me is important to my demographic.' I sat down and figured out what drives me (at this point in my life - it may change down the road).

Second... how do these all fit together?
That's the challenge we face. With every choice, there is often a trade off. If I want to bring home more money do I have to work longer hours? If so, am I willing to give up time with my family to do that? Would I be happier if I had quality time at work and home but earned less?

What if I want to achieve ULTIMATE satisfaction with how I spend my (work) day... could I find a job I could truly be passionate about -OR- should I be okay with a job and find another outlet for things love doing?

I try to make choices to create balance.

But let's be real for a minute:
Life gets out of balance sometimes. Maybe a day is crazy-insane busy. Maybe it's a weekend. Maybe it's a year. Will the scales come back into balance? Eventually, yes. But I truly believe that we play a role in how long or short the imbalance is... with our choices.

There will always be things in life that are beyond our control. But so much of our own lives can be ever-so-slightly modified based on the choices we make. I'm going to try to balance my world the best I can.... so I am happy (most of the time) with where and who I am.

So, on that note... I have some work to do, then I'm going to snuggle with the kids and relax.

Find your balance.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Body Worlds

Blood Vessel Configuration of the Thoracic Organs
Copyright: Gunther von Hagens, Institute for Plastination, Heidelberg, Germany,


My education has included a number of biology-related courses and texts, but NOTHING compares to this. Better than any video or model, Body Worlds is an amazing anatomy lesson!

From the Body Worlds website (HERE) the purpose of the exhibit is: "The BODY WORLDS exhibitions aim to educate the public about the inner workings of the human body and show the effects of poor health, good health and lifestyle choices. They are also meant to create interest in and increase knowledge of anatomy and physiology among the public."

If you don't already know - these are REAL bodies. Humans (and animals) have donated their bodies upon death to be turned into educational exhibits. Dr. Gunther von Hagens uses a process called Plastination on the subjects to preserve each and every fiber or tissue or vessel.

I was incredibly impressed with this exhibit. Not only was the science evident, but it was presented in an artful way. I was drawn to each specimen - wanting to see each of the intricacies it presented. The whole bodies were fascinating! Musculature, nerve endings, connective tissue - all there to see in their real shapes and colors. But my favorite part had to be the blood vessels. Never before have I been able to SEE capillaries in their proper perspective. Yes, I know - some capillaries are so small that only one red blood cell can pass through at a time - but what does that look like? This weekend, I saw what it looks like "in real life".

About a quarter of the way through the exhibit, I asked "why aren't there any fat people? What about defective parts? All these bodies are perfect"... then I came to the various examples of diseased or "destroyed" body parts. Things like: the black lungs of a smoker, livers destroyed by cirrhosis, and then the cross-section of a morbidly obese man (I learned today, when visiting the Body Worlds website to write this blog, that skin and fat are usually eliminated during the Plastination process; so they wouldn't be found in the "statues" in the exhibit).

I could probably go on for a lot longer, but I need to stop now and get on with my day. However... If this exhibit is traveling through your town, GO SEE IT! It's a wonderful display - enjoyable as well as highly educational.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Guest Room

It's almost done!
And, it's to a point where I want to share photos with "the world".
It needs some finishing touches - bedside tables, pictures/shelves on the walls, etc - but at least you don't want to throw-up when you walk into the room and see it's hideousness.

Here's a link so you can see the transformation.... Enjoy!
- Jill

Sunday, July 12, 2009

12-of-12: July 2009

This month's 12-of-12 is an expansion of the theme from June... mainly, all the nature that surrounds me. I played around with the macro setting on my camera this time, so I got some pretty close-up shots (well, close-up for an 18-55 mm lens).

Photos were taken at my home and at my parents' place - about 30 minutes north of me. I started shooting around 11am and quit just before 5pm.

In the last shot, take a close look into my pup's eye. Funny - I'm the photographer... it's not very often when I'm the subject!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My summer vacation (so far)

Weird start to the summer... it reminds me of our first year in our house (2004)... some very nice days, but lots of rain. Today was no exception. It started out sunny, then by 11:30 was thundering and lightening and raining cats and dogs. Now - almost 5pm - it's sunny again and the weather man says tomorrow should be very nice - "Sunny, 72".

So far this summer I've been relatively lazy. Not working out very much (altho this past Monday I walked almost 3 miles with the kids) so I've got to step it up a bit. This seems to be a summer trend for me. I don't deal well with the heat. Going to start the 100 push-ups challenge again - took the pre-test today - and start each day off with some upper-body stuff.

One project I'm VERY happy with is the guest bedroom. I started painting it at the end of June and finished on July 4th. Some people go on picnics on Independence Day... I finish painting and move furniture. It looks GREAT! I will upload pictures as soon as I find a bedspread and "finish" the room. I expect that will be this week since Emma wants to plan a sleepover.

Made strawberry jam during June-July, too. WOW, it's amazing. I'm not sure if I've figured out the secret to exceptional jam or it it's because I made it within days of the fruit being picked... or both. Couple pats on the back for me!