Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Bits of March

Apparently, I only took 3 photos with my phone in March. I took less photos in general last month, and I don't think I made a single thing. I did read a lot and think a lot, but it's somehow unsatisfying to have nothing tangible come out of all that reading and thinking.

I still haven't recovered my files; professional data recovery is too expensive for my meager budget, so I'm just letting it go for now. Starting from scratch on a lot of things is hard and painful and tedious, but maybe it's for the best. Maybe my work will be better for it.

March wasn't all somber though. Good things happened, like...

1. Warmer days and walks in lovely places.
2. An afternoon at the National Gallery (I actually did take photos on this day and will probably post soon).
3. A trip to the nursery and new plant babies, which I already started repotting...hopefully I'll finish this weekend.
4. Ordering a new chair (It's supposed to arrive today and I'm excited. It's pink!)
5. Fixing the microwave door ourselves so we don't have to pay someone else or buy a new one.
6. Going to IKEA for plant pots and getting inspired to revamp my studio space at some point.
7. Donating a bag full of grooming products and toys to an animal rescue.
8. Cleaning out lots more stuff to give to Goodwill.
9. Finding the beginning signs of tulips coming up randomly in our yard. We get them every year in different spots...don't know exactly where the seeds are coming from as we've never planted them, but it's a nice surprise.
10. I started exercising again in earnest after a long hiatus. I'm looking forward to feeling strong and healthy.

I think the best thing that happened in March was that I sort of felt a sense of possibility opening up before me again after a couple months of setbacks, which is a really good feeling. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Exploring Wetlands

We spent most of last weekend running errands and doing other boring things, which I didn't mind so much because the weather was rainy and windy and gross, i.e., not the best weather for taking photos. But Sunday afternoon, the clouds parted, and we decided to get out and stretch our legs and find a new place to explore.

Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA
Huntley Meadows Park
Huntley Meadows Park in Fairfax County
Huntley Meadows Park

Huntley Meadows Park is 1,500 acres of trails and wetlands in south Alexandria, which is only about 25 minutes away from us. Walking on the trails, all you can see, for what seems like miles, are trees and trees. It's almost impossible to believe this area is nestled right in the middle of a very congested area, full of busy roads and strip malls.

We saw lots of birds, huge turtles, and evidence of beavers everywhere. Apparently, you can also sometimes see deer here, though none were out on our visit.

All the trees and plants look brown and sparse right now, of course, so I'm looking forward to going back later in spring or summer when everything's lush and green. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Let's Take a Walk

The weather warmed up on Sunday, and we ended up taking a really long walk because it just felt amazing outside. You can see in these photos that winter hasn't left us completely; the birds below are standing atop a frozen river and there are still clumps of snow here and there, but it's definitely starting to feel a lot more like spring, which is the best news ever. :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bits of February

I don't have a lot of pics to share from Instagram in February. Don't let that photo on the bottom left fool you; we've had lots of snow and ice and yucky winter weather that's made it difficult to get out and take pictures or do anything fun really. And honestly, even when we did go out, I was too cold to bother with much of anything other than walking as quickly as I could to our destination.

Actually, February was not awesome for a lot of reasons, not least of which is that my computer died, hence the crickets heard here on the blog. I tried to fix it for a couple of days but was unsuccessful. I ended up wiping my hard drive and restoring it back to factory settings to get it up and running (albeit slowly) as a bare bones machine until we could get a new computer, which we did last week,

I was super excited to finally have a new computer, but in the process of getting it all set up, I discovered that the external hard drive I'd been backing up to for the past couple of years failed to recover anything after about July 2013. I tried two different data recovery programs and contacted the manufacturer for help as well. I'm afraid my only option at this point is a professional data recovery service, and they are pretty expensive. I looked at one near us, and they charge $149 just for the initial analysis, and I'm not sure how much they charge for the actual data recovery, but I know it's not cheap.

Ultimately, if the drive failed to back up in the first place, if it stopped working at some point even though it kept showing "backup successful" each time, then data recovery won't help. They can't recover what was never saved to begin with, right?

I know I'm not the first person this has happened to, but it is pretty devastating to lose a year and a half of work as well as personal documents and photos. I lost so many photos from last summer in particular--ones that I'd never shared here--that were really important to me. So yeah, it sucks. I'm trying to just make peace with it and move forward.

By the way, they aren't kidding when they say that you should back up everything in at least 2 places outside your computer. I used to do that and then just got out of the habit at some point. It's ironic that the data that was successfully retrieved from my external hard drive is the same data I already had backed up elsewhere, and the data it failed to retrieve from the last year and a half was only saved on the external hard drive and my computer, which both failed at the same time.

I know I only have myself to blame for that, but if you can learn from my mistakes, please do! I wouldn't want this to happen to anyone else.

Anyway, here's hoping March looks a little brighter. xo, Mary

Thursday, February 12, 2015

First Pics from the Pentax

I mentioned a little while ago that I had a new-to-me camera, a Pentax K1000, and was waiting for my first roll of film to be developed. Cut to a month or so later, and here are my first snaps.

I did edit these very minimally...just adjusted the contrast slightly in a couple of photos and straightened one photo that came out crooked. But I have to say, these photos looked pretty great straight out of the camera. I shot a roll of 24 and all the photos came out nice, which has not been my experience with other vintage manual cameras, but that could just be user error. There was one photo that had a pink haze on the side of it...

...not sure what happened here. Weird, right? I've had other cameras do this a lot, but it would be on almost every photo because light was leaking in the back of the camera due to old or cracked seals. That doesn't seem to be the case here.

Anyway, I will say that the Pentax seems way easier to use than my other manual cameras. I can see why many people learn how to shoot on this camera in their first photography classes.

I'm excited to take this camera out exploring when the weather gets warmer. Come on spring! Hurry up and get here! :)

Anyone else have experience with this camera and would like to share or offer tips? Please do! xo, Mary

P.S. I shot these on Fuji Superia 400, if anyone's curious.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Field Trip to the Botanic Garden

Here are a few pics, as promised, from our latest trip to the US Botanic Garden. My absolute favorite time to visit is in winter because as we discovered last year, it's maybe the warmest spot in DC. It really does feel like walking into a warm tropical jungle or a hot desert, depending on the room, which is like heaven when it's 20 degrees outside. Plus, it's so nice to see vibrant, blooming flowers in the dead of winter. It's like a little pick-me-up when you're tired of everything being brown and grey outside.

There was a little terrarium tucked into a corner, and it was so cute! There were little fairies inside, and a miniature tricycle and garden table and lots of plants, of course. I don't know why, but the little potted plants killed me. I love miniature things in general, but I tend to get overexcited when I come across things like this unexpectedly. Wouldn't it be so great to have a sunroom or a little conservatory of your own and recreate something like this inside? I'll just file that away in my "future dream home" plans.

Anyway, if you are currently feeling winter blues, I highly recommend seeking out any type of conservatory or botanical garden in your area. You won't regret it. :)