Stress relief and iPhoto

I have iphoto hanging out on my computer… and yet, i very rarely use it for anything other than importing into nice little dated folders, or quickly scanning through thumbnails to figure out where a certain pic is hiding in said folders.

Not really anything against it, just had other programs I was used to using to do more detailed things… so used them usually even just for cropping and color changing.

But I had it open after importing about three different sd cards of pics in…. including some pics of kiddo taken at the zoo by mom borrowing my camera. (The local zoo has an awesome 2 buck admission day on wednesdays from November until March.. as opposed to usually 20 bucks or so to take an adult and one child)

So I decided to play with it… instead of moving them over to gimp or rebooting to xp to get into photoshop.

It didn’t do too bad really.

(I got a bit fuzzy edge happy… which I regretted shortly afterwards… but ah well…)

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The last quarter

3 months.

Roughly 3 months left until the expected move.

I checked the box on the paper today essentially asking to be unemployed in about 3 weeks.

In spite of knowing it’s crazy… especially with all of the crazy economic twists that have hit since the feeling sirst started this summer… I know it’s what I need to do.

And yet, while nervous… I have an odd sort of confidence. And I think a good part of it goes back to the thoughts in the last post releasing some of the fear of what ifs.

But it’s a bit strange too, in that I feel surprisingly free.

In an awful housing market, I own no home. My choices aren’t locked by whether or not I can sell one, or get a loan in a crazy loan market.

In a job cutting market, I have no deep loyalty or no locked in career. Call centers are everywhere, easy work to get with some experience, and while not big bucks will normally pay the bills about anywhere you look.

No significant other means no working with another’s career and needs and preferences.

Family ties are not close, frequently not beneficial, and especially strained and drama prone as of late even for our family. Mom does travel jobs half the time anyway, and has been discussing more lately. One brother has talked of moving away himself. I lived 10 hours away from nearest family for 5 years previously. Proximity is not an issue.

And if it all fails? What do I lose? The effort spent in trying? If it fails, I end up right back where I am now.

Right now, in the middle of crazy times… the lack of the very ties once sought creates freedom not sought but appreciated anyway.

Strangely… I feel more nervous about the process of moving itself than I do about the future once moved.

I have no clue what the path holds. But I know it holds something, if only given by my choice of that path. So I guess we will see.

3 months.

The left turn has never existed.

Once upon a time, I made a list of the biggest wrong decisions I’ve made in my life.

It was long.

It ran from career decisions, to school decisions, to a few billion relationship and friendship decisions, to just random life decisions.

I messed around with it a bit… narrowed it down to some of the more critical ones… labeled them… figured out that I was roughly on plan xyz by now, plans a and b and every other single letter label being long forgotten memories.

I can’t even remember now exactly what my point was in making the list.

It was some time later when I was thinking back with loneliness and regret over a past relationship, and the time gone by. I found myself realizing that had things gone according to the original plans, we’d have been married for so many years already. And wondering of the kids we would have had. And where we would have been by now.

And then it goes, as it often does, into the guilt and what ifs. The realization in hindsight that the major issues came unraveled about a year after the end… and would have been long gone by now had we only made it work a bit longer. If only I had done this. If only I hadn’t done that.

Then I get even harder on myself, and wonder what would have happened by now in the ministry involved. How many more people might have been helped if only I’d made better choices. How many people might be in problems now that might have been helped if things hadn’t fallen apart.

How many people might have been cured of cancer as a result of the brilliant doctor that was never born because we gave up too soon?

The logic in me knows that this isn’t being realistic, it isn’t being fair, it isn’t even being helpful. And yet, the emotional side still mourns over the losses, and wallows in sorrow over things that never could have been predicted from where I stood at the time decisions were made. Beating myself up may not be productive, but at least it feels like appropriate punishment to somehow try to prevent future occurrences.

But it was during one of these times… about the time I was asking forgiveness for the dead orphans who never got a home (of course completely because of my failure on something only very very distantly related), that I got a nudge.

“The orphans never existed” it said.

This was weird. Of course orphans existed. Millions of them exist all over the place. Lots of them die. And of course maybe had I made certain decisions something might have somehow been related to helping a few. And so I tried to argue.

But still was the clear nudge…. they never existed.

This actually took me a bit to really get it.

Embarrassingly long actually. And I’m still not sure how well I can really explain it.

But really… they never exist. They never would have existed.

Neither do the supposed children that would have been born. The people who would be helped. Even the husband that would have been. The jobs that would have been. They only exist in my own imagination.

The entire path and life had I followed that path? None of it would have ever existed in any form.

Part of this is simply because it’s just dreaming. Reality never matches up to plans and hopes.

But I realized… it goes a lot deeper than that.

I have a God that knows all, and I have a loving God.

He knew what choices I would face, and he knew the choices I would make, long before I even had the capacity to know what a choice even was.

When I looked on from the point of decision, I saw two (or more) paths… and sometimes a short ways ahead on each.

I’ve seen the road I took, and all it held, so its tempting to think back and wonder what I missed on the other path.

But the other path wasn’t there. At all. Even the short bit I thought I saw was an illusion.

Why? Because it was already known that I wasn’t going to take that choice, even if it was the better road to take.

Why would there be plans depending on something it was already known I would never do? Why would God have orphans dependent on something that He knew was never going to come through for them? Why would he have the lives of people waiting particularly on a help that he knew would get off track and never make it to them?

I do believe there are certain things in life that are planned out for certain people to accomplish. But I don’t think I’ve been as good at realizing that things that were not to be, would have never been anyway.

It doesn’t make my bad choices any less bad. I wish that I would have taken lots of the other paths…. that those paths would have existed rather than my actual path.

But it helps greatly to realize that this is plan a. Always was, and still is. It’s not the greatest plan, and its far from the easiest plan… but it’s where I am, and where He knew I would be, and its where the future roads will come from.

Why would he have put them on an imaginary road He knew I would never take?

When it leads me through the desert, even if its a surprise and disappointment to me, it was already known and planned into the scheme of things long before I ever got to the turn. The things I’m supposed to do and the things I’m supposed to see and the people I’m supposed to meet and the dreams I’m supposed to fulfill were all planted in their places knowing where I would be.

It’s easy to grieve over the things I imagine were lost on the untaken path… especially when feeling a bit lost on the current path. But I grieve over shadows and mirages, figments of my imagination and guilt.

The reality that does exist, and will exist, is waiting for me to get over it.

Anyone know of a daily check-off site?

Does anyone happen to have a link sitting around for an online daily checkbox?

I’ve got links for like weight trackers and blood sugar trackers, and of course online to do lists you can check off… but I don’t really need it to keep track of a number… I just want it to keep track of yes or no, checked or unchecked, for a particular date.

I find that these sorts of random things are always online somewhere, its just a matter of my not knowing exactly what precise words I need to pick to google to pull it up. But I figure with it being the season for nanoblomo, someone might have one sitting around that they use to keep track of that.

Actually, what I’m wanting to use it for is marking one year plan bible readings. I know I miss days, and would like to have somewhere with it tracked as to which ones I missed on their “right” days to be able to come back at some random point and get missed ones read and checked off. Preferably online so it doesn’t matter whether or not I’m at home at the time.

But I’m thinking something designed for other uses is more likely to be sitting around that will do that just fine. Just a matter of wondering words what the person who made it said on their site to describe it… lol

Stress relief on a lone day off, in photos

sculpey is my friend…. sometimes.

our friendship was having a rough day, but we got close enough for a round 1.

the amazing ancient retro-oven.

you can’t tell sculpey is done by looks…. you know its done when it starts to make your kitchen reek.

this is gonda the chicken by the way.

you smoosh the yellow ball and white ball together like playdough, smash it over something… and end up with a food grade silicone mold. crazy… but fun.

i randomly grabbed a bag of weird red colored chips only because they looked pretty. they didn’t melt very well… stayed too think and made air pockets. and i’m not sure i’m a fan of the taste.

some of the first few rounds drying a bit. barely pictured:pb chip that turned into a disaster almost instantly

moving on…. gummy recipe

after the second red goop was melted down. (i guess you can see a few of the milk choc guys in the corner since they didn’t make it into the other pics… and a few milk choc smudges on the table.. you can ignore those… lol)

things went a bit rough from here so camera got tossed aside. they did set up at the right texture for gummys…. only to turn to rubber a few days of storage later (after they were already on the way to their destination). not pictured: green.

Who does google know, and who does it think I am?

I’ve been chilling out late this evening…. with some down time waiting for molds to cure (another post.. sometime soon).

and i decided to go onto google reader, and after clearing out some backlog…. i decided to go through the “top recommended” section.

i do this off and on, just to see what they give me. and, it’s really interesting.

for some reason, it really likes to give me stuff related to colorado. no matter how many times i click the no thanks button on these, they come back. i think this is probably related to searches done on various colorado cities when narrowing down places to move… but it doesn’t do it with any of the other areas i’ve searched for. just colorado.

maybe google is trying to hint it thinks i should be in colorado…. but i’m thinking that might well be a sign that i probably don’t want to be in colorado if google thinks i should be. google also seems to think my post about wanting to rip up some of my carpet makes for a good match to someone searching for “how to rip up carpet” and puts it on the first page of responses, so its opinion is obviously a bit off.

anyway… some of the other recommendations are kind of interesting to notice what it has picked up on as trends from the pile of blogs i read. things i hadn’t really noticed like how many of them are trying to conceive, and how many are large families and/or quiverfull (does that have 1 L or 2?), and how many of them are mentioning themes like weight loss, haiti, and medical stuff.

its just sort of interesting to see the trends i hadnt paid much attention to previously by noticing the trends in the recommendations.

but… its starting to freak me out a bit.

because several times… i’ve been reading along…. wondering why its giving me a certain person. and all of the sudden… i know who they are.

they are someone that one of my read bloggers knows in real life!

tonight i figured out from pictures that someone was the sister of one of my favorite bloggers. but the really odd thing is.. i’ve never once seen this person comment. she’s not linked anywhere obvious. if you were to read this favorite blog and pick people who frequent that blog to point out to me, from the surface level, this sister would be nowhere ever remotely close to the top of the list.

and there really isnt much similarity between the content.. they live in different areas, and are at very different places in their lives with very different discussions.

and yet… somehow google is sending her to me.

i would really love to know why. or how.

i sort of suspect that she probably also uses reader… and it was a blogger blog. and so they know how often she reads her sister’s blog, know how often i read it, and linked us up that way.

but i think that creeps me out more honestly. i know google does things and keeps records of things… but i prefer not to see evidence beyond its trying to sell me garden gnomes at half price in my gmail message mentioning a gnome.

but while the sister was the least-content-related blog connection… its been doing this to me for a while.

i’ve seen the blogs of a pastor of a favorite, the spouse of the same favorite, a coworker of another, a random irl friend of a favorite, and a random neighbor of one.

and it really strikes me as odd each time it happens.

and it makes me wonder who it thinks i am, and who it wold send me out to.