An Observation: Inspiration

My friends will often stop me mid-conversation and ask, “Gee, Meticulously Observant Observer. Where do you get your inspiration?”

Then I wake up and realize that I’m dreaming. (Possibly daydreaming…although I don’t know when I would have the time for that. The fact that most people call me by my real name is a dead giveaway that I’m making up this entire conversation.)

If anyone did ask me that question, though, I’d have to say that most of my inspiration can be gathered from my favorite set of right-handed ink pens.

I love this brand. It works particularly well in my right hand.
I love this brand. It works particularly well in my right hand.

Although they aren’t marketed as such, they still serve a right-handed function when I pick them up. Hence, they are my favorite right-handed ink pens.

“But, how can a pen possibly provide you with inspiration?”

Well, since you (most likely didn’t) ask, I’ll just say that it’s a whole lot easier for me to pick up my favorite right-handed ink pen and write something when I have an idea than it is to wait for my computer to get going.

“But…the pen really didn’t provide any inspiration then, did it? It was just…there.”

True. I suppose I’m much more likely to turn an idea into an inspired idea when I have my favorite set of right-handed ink pens with me, though. Otherwise, the idea might just float away, gone forever.

“You’re confusing me. Can we talk about something else?

O…kay. Did I mention that I won more ribbons at the fair this year for photography?

If you don't like the beach, we might not be able to be friends.
This one won first place! It’s for sale in my Etsy shop. www.etsy.com/shop/MeticulousObserver
Second place in black and white still life.
Second place in black and white still life. The sandals were just waiting there.

“Oh, that’s nice. So…where do you get your inspiration for the photos?”

I have this great right-handed camera…

A Recollection: What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Summer always seems to be the shortest season in terms of perceived available days for relaxation versus actual days for relaxation…but the longest season in terms of “it’s-going-to-be-hot-for-six-months-so-you’d-better-get-used-to-it.”

So, here I am, sitting at my computer on the eve of another academic year, and I thought I’d complete that “old-as-the-hills” assignment that we used to do in school entitled “What I Did On My Summer Vacation.” (Or, in my case, “What I Did With Approximately Two Weeks.” Three months off is a myth, folks.)

My first major vacation-y event was something I probably could have done in any season, but one of my all-time favorite bands happened to be touring close by during the summer…hence, it became part of my summer vacation. I say I could have gone to this concert during any season, but since I’d been trying to get to one of their concerts for, say, eleven years, I suppose I was just kidding myself. So, in June, I finally went to a Steely Dan concert. My apologies to anyone who had to listen to me sing along with them at the top of my lungs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.

And it was good.

I’ve become pretty good at squeezing little side trips into a packed schedule, but this year I wanted to go on a real trip. I addressed it in my previous blog post, but never included some of the stunning scenes I woke up to every day on beautiful St. George Island, Florida. It was my first trip to that particular beach and my first trip to ANY beach in four years. My apologies to anyone who had to stop dead in their tracks while I took photographs, but, by golly, I’d waited a while for it.

And it was good.

If you don't like the beach, we might not be able to be friends.
If you don’t like the beach, we might not be able to be friends.
Cape St. George Light. I also have a t-shirt to prove that I was there.
Cape St. George Lighthouse. I also have a t-shirt to prove that I was there.

On the way back, I did the nerdiest thing I have ever done in my life–stopped in Seaside, Florida to seek out the “Truman House.” One of my favorite movies ever is “The Truman Show,” and it was filmed in Seaside. I found it, had a nerd moment, and grinned for a week. Twelve hours later, I was back in Arkansas.

Then, it was back to work.

Tomorrow is the first day of school (although, technically, it’s the fourth week of the new academic year for me).

And the weird dreams have already started. I’m trying to forget last night’s brain cornucopia. I was trying to run a rehearsal with a potluck going on next door, all while people felt the need to keep pulling me aside to tell me I was crazy. (Something about my sense of humor…) I tried to argue with them, but it was hard to hold my ground as I went through the potluck line and put beef stew, fried rice, Lucky Charms, and milk on the same plate. I finally got fed up (haha) and took off in my car, driving in reverse over swinging bridges constructed of thin rowboat paddles and shouting something about trying to break the Olympic record.

(Figure that one out, Freud.)

And that’s what I did on my summer vacation.

And it was good.

With that, here’s to a great academic year for all!

*I also started an Etsy shop this summer. I’m updating listings as I create more work, but right now it’s primarily for my landscape photography. I am selling 8×10 prints. Please take a look! You can buy photographs here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MeticulousObserver

A View: All This Nature

The Natural State really lives up to its name. We have no shortage of stunning views and opportunities for immersion in the outdoors. I recently had the chance to take a brief evening trip up to a place I’ve enjoyed many times over the years.

Petit Jean Mountain is a highly unique geographic feature of the Arkansas landscape. My little car had a few Casey Junior “I-Think-I-Can” moments as it chugged its way up the twisting road (even though I wasn’t pulling several cars full of elephants…it’s a steep highway and the horses under the hood probably would have been terribly winded trying to hike it, much less approach the speed limit…but I digress…).

She'll be coming 'round the mountain...together, now!
She’ll be coming ’round the mountain…all together, now!

I’m always impressed with the views from atop Petit Jean. Even a cloudy or hazy or BLAZING HOT day is worth the trip. (For the record, it was a hazy, BLAZING HOT day.) I’ll admit, while I knew I was unprepared to do any serious hiking, I was also unprepared just to simply walk around in the heat. It was a last-minute decision to actually make the little road trip, and I ran off without my water bottle. By the time I made it to the lodge, I parked and went directly towards the vending machines. As luck would have it, the machine spent a lot of time spinning its wheels only to tell me that everything was sold out. Fortunately, it refunded my paper money–in the form of quarters and nickels–and I went into the lodge to buy a bottle of ice cold water with change (my apologies to the clerk).

If I hadn't been so thirsty, I might not have stuck around too long to capture this photo. Thank you, Arkansas humidity!
If I hadn’t been so thirsty, I might not have stuck around the lodge long enough to capture this photo. Thank you, Arkansas humidity!

Of course, with it being the summer tourist season, I wasn’t the only person sightseeing–far from it. When I reached the overlook, a few other cars pulled into the parking lot, including a family of awestruck adults and two very bored small children. I can only assume that the kids were suffering from acute electronics withdrawal…a common syndrome these days.

Lost Phone Meme
This is just an assumption…but the struggle is real.

The parents were gazing down across the breathtaking landscape, taking in the view. The kids were less than impressed.

The conversation cracked me up.

Kid No. 1: “Why did Petit Jean wanna come all the way up here?”

Mom: Silence…snaps photo of river.

Kid No. 2: “Moooooom! Why did Petit Jean want to come all the way up here?”

Mom: “I don’t know. Maybe she liked it here.”

Kid No. 1: “What are we doing all the way up here?”

Dad: “We’re looking at all this nature.”

I suppressed my laughter, spent a few more minutes looking at “all this nature,” and rolled back down the mountain, becoming a mere speck on the landscape to the spectators on top of Petit Jean.

(A boring little speck, I’m sure…)

An Obvious Observation (And More Photographs)

You’ve all heard the saying about how it’s safe to under-promise and over-deliver. Regardless of how far you go with that philosophy, you would have to agree that if you’re offering one service, one menu item, one ANYTHING, it would be wise to actually provide it.

(NOTE: On some mobile devices, the photo below appears to be sideways. I’m not sure why that’s happening. It seems to be just fine on my laptop. If it bothers you too much…well, just tilt your head until it looks normal. Sorry…and oops.)

It's true that pay phones are dinosaurs, but the sign said "Phone Here." (Maybe those quotation marks an attempt at sarcasm...?)
It’s true that pay phones are dinosaurs, but the sign said “Phone Here.” I expected to see a phone…here. (Maybe those quotation marks are an attempt at sarcasm…?)

I said I would post photographs; therefore, I’m going to post them. I had a nice outing along the Little Red River feeding my photography addiction. If you have the chance to visit the area, it’s a great place to relax, especially during this incredible heat wave. While you wouldn’t want to attempt swimming due to the cold water temperatures, the cold water temperatures have the bonus effect of cooling the air at the banks.

I have added the new landscapes to the photo gallery and included a link below for your viewing convenience. Check this one out and click the link for more of my work! Enjoy!

Cow Shoals Black and White Watermark

Photo Gallery–Updated!

A Gallery: Photography

Why, yes…I did mention photography!

I’ve updated the menu on this page and added a Photo Gallery. Please browse through some of my original landscapes and nature photographs. This gallery is currently for display only. More detailsĀ  about purchasing photographs will be coming in the future.

Click below for an easy link to the page!

Photo Gallery

Hayrake 2015 Watermark