60 Years -HUH? Ramblings and thoughts

60 Years! = Who would’ve thunk?

No make up, no fussing – just me. In my pj’s and relaxing.

Yes- some self reflection.

I turn 60 on November 3, 2017. Amazing! and not ashamed to claim it either.

I don’t feel like 60 years on this earth – in many ways I feel like I am just starting. I have so many things I still want to do and accomplish. What I do know now is to take it in and enjoy every minute while it is happening – no wishing time away.

And yet – so much has happened over the last 60 years.

  • Elementary school
  • Middle School
  • High School
  • Band, extra curricular activities
  • Bowling
  • Jobs
  • PEOPLE! So many who were and are and always will be a critical piece of my puzzle even if they are already in place and I don’t see anymore. Thank you! Each of you has been a part of my story.
  • People and connections in each of those stages
  • Family-  added and lost
  • Love, marriage, children, grandchild
  • Learning, creating
  • Making a difference
  • Working hard and hardly working….
  • Doing stupid things
  • Doing very smart things
  • Adding many new people to my circle and yet losing so many
  • so much!!!! I can’t even begin to bullet list it.

I can say every stage of life has been spectacular. Memories of all I have been a part of are strong and meaningful. There are no regrets. And while there is at times a feeling of loss – it is overcome by the feeling of knowing I had the experience or connection and it was a so important at the time. I look at not losing, but fortunate to have had the opportunity and the chance to be in a time and place when it was.

We can’t have things forever – so why not keep adding while not grieving, but rejoicing that we had something even if it was an instant.

What I have learned. Accepting others for who they are, rejoicing in their uniqueness and passions. Care and love is stronger than hate. No one should suffer and never suffer alone. Listening is important. The world does not revolve around ourselves. Sometimes others don’t have it figured out. Chocolate and turtle sundaes – and vodka are good. Hugs and snuggles are priceless. Family is number 1. Worry is wasted energy, but sometimes something that you have to do. Be happy with what you have.

Maintenance, upkeep and care go a long way. One act can change everything you know. There is no easy way to do anything and no one will do it for you. We are all better when just do it.

Health is important. Illness sucks.

So much yet to come….

enough reflection – it has been – looking ahead and not at my shoes….

Here’s to the next 60 years (or at least 30!) Hoping anyone reading this is a part of the journey….

yeah  – just beginning to realize how fortunate I have been and still am. Thank you to all who have been a part of it and to those yet to be added. The best gift of all – what others bring to my world and heart. Thank you.

Heaven has a new angel

Heaven has another first class angel.
My cousin…..Carol Rowland Stepek Doezema

I got the news from her younger sister Nancy thru a Facebook private message early Friday morning September 8th, 2017.

Kathy I hate sending these out but I wanted to let you know last night Carol passed away. She collapsed getting ready for bed and they couldn’t revive her.

My heart instantly sank and tears began to flow.

While many of my past memories are just that and have no artifacts to look back on – thanks to the digital age and sharing  I was able to put together some moments of the last few years for me to look back on of only the small slice of her life I knew and shared. It in no way tells her story. It is such a small slice, but it is the one that is special to me. It is pictures of Carol and also some pictures/video of family she chose as her highlights of recent life as mom and grandma to share with others. Carol won’t be forgotten and the lives she touched will forever be blessed.

Most of my sorrow though is not in just losing Carol in my life but in knowing her immediate family has lost her. I am a distant node in her constellation hub. Her loss creates a void that is large for me and it is hard to even imagine how much her loss is to them. She was a center for her mom, siblings, husband, and most of all her children and grandchildren. We will all carry Carol forever in our hearts.

We spent quality time together as kids even though it was not often being 600 miles apart. We sustained our connection by being pen pals in those days. Exchanging letters with news and our philosophy of life at that time. Extended stays for her in WI and me in MI. Cherry picking, shopping, teasing her brothers. Dreaming of the future, talking of boys and love. ConeLand stories, hanging out with our grandmas.

Like most, we drifted apart for some years as we started out our adult lives and built our own families. Yet we stayed connected thru our parents on milestones, successes and challenges for what now I have figured out was about 30 years of once a year Christmas greetings or an update or two when the parents would connect when driving to visit other relatives. Our grandmothers were another glue that we lost with their passing, which made more frequent connections get lost in our busy young adult lives.

Carol became interested in researching family history and ancestry. She connected with my mom with phone calls and letters. I again was hearing what was happening in her life. About 15 years ago, an old school style letter here and there began again, a couple of phone calls and then came Facebook. The online connection provided connection to sharing things in our present lives that so tied back to our youth of dreams and plans. We were not a part of each other’s daily lives, but still maintained a relationship that was real and in the present instead of just an old memory or wondering what ever happened or remember when? We were sharing the now again.

I knew she had created a wonderful life with Joe and had sons. She was so proud and happy to be Mom. She faced challenges in losing her first love to ALS and yet her heart was open and she was able to find love again with Marv. She was happy and felt blessed.

Carol was strong and a fighter – taking on Multiple Sclerosis and not letting it control her. She was always the responsible, hard-working one that was there for others. She was the big sister I never had for the times we were together but also the best friend during those visits and after as well. And as sensible and smart as she was – she knew to have a good time and enjoy life. To live in the moment and move towards the future by remembering the past, but not letting it hold you.

She had a wild side – but it was the kind that could take a tiger by the tail one minute and be back to the one who kept everything together in a heartbeat. She also was one to get it done – when something needed to happen she stepped up and made sure everyone got to it – especially if it was family.

Her humor – Gosh – her wit was so sharp. She had a way of saying things that made a point – but with a touch of humor or sarcasm so one knew to stop and think and that in the big picture not to take one’s self too seriously on the small things. Her smile and eyes with those one liners – I will never forget.

Her love of cooking and baking. I could always count on a new recipe recommendation being posted. And it was long before FB that she shared recipes – I have a few handwritten ones – she was sharing long ago – one with a note. 🙂

Carol's Recipe

I am so glad to have been able to have her in my life journey. Past and present.

I love getting to know her family thru online postings and messages. I cheer at each success and feel so lucky to see the events and how time passes with each new thing. To see the small glimpses of what caught her attention or what was special to her in her life. The joy, sorrow, pride, she had in the milestones and daily lives of her children, siblings and parents. Her children and grandchildren were the center of the universe for a mom and grandma. She was one proud and happy mom and grandma. I have never met her sons, Marv, or grandchildren in person but look forward to each new update whether it was from her, Steve or Nancy. I have come to know some things about them and learned to love them from a distance.

My thoughts go out to her immediate family and friends that will feel her loss so greatly. Together we can celebrate her life, her love, and our fortune in being touched by her. Our memories together will bring the story of the depth of her touch on so many lives and yet still never be able to tell it all.

Peace to all who loved her. She is watching over us all.

Obituary for Carol Ann Doezema

Carol Stepek Doezema, age 62 of Greenville, passed away unexpectedly at home on September 7th, 2017. Carol was born March 30th, 1955, grew up in Cascade, and later married Joseph Stepek and raised four boys in Lowell. After Joe’s death in 2001, Carol later met and married Marv Doezema, and was active in her church and community in Greenville.  Carol loved working with her hands and her quick intelligence allowed her to excel at whatever she put her mind to; over the years she taught herself everything from doll-making to tile cutting. Her passions for crafting and gardening influenced not only her own children and grandchildren but also all of the children she provided care to over the years. She leaves a lasting legacy. She took joy in her grandchildren and they will greatly miss their “Grandma Carol”. Despite living with Multiple Sclerosis for years, she remained active and future-focused, living out God’s love in her communities. Carol is survived by her mother Elaine Rowland; her husband Marvin; her children William Stepek, Steven (Erin) Stepek, Jeffrey Stepek, and Christopher Stepek; step-children Sarah (Jeff) Schatz, Jason (Terri) Doezema, and Joel (Ashley) Doezema; siblings Gerald (Lois) Boelter, James  (Denise) Rowland, Gary (Theresa) Rowland, Ronald (Sherri) Rowland, and Nancy (Dave) Bradley; parents-in-law Jay and Ruth Doezema; brother-in-law Lary Doezema; sister-in-law, Pat Rowland; and grandchildren Xander and Charlotte Stepek, Isaac and Levi Schatz, Jay and Jocelyn Doezema, Taylor Toman and Violet Doezema, and a new baby Doezema on the way. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald Rowland, first husband Joe Stepek, and siblings Richard, David, and Katherine. Funeral services will be held at 1:00 pm Tuesday, September 12, 2017 at Hurst Funeral Home, Greenville, with Rev. Robert Roush officiating.  Friends are invited to join the family for a time of visitation Monday from 5:00 to 8:00 pm at the funeral home. Memorial Contributions can be made to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and memories and messages of condolence may be shared at www.hurstfh.com.

Fiscal Year Change Remnants=Create Surge!

Not sure what it is. When working June 30 was the end of the fiscal year and July 1 was the new year. The time for new beginnings and a chance to maybe get it right for once. It seems to be hope.

While I am now no longer a retiree rookie and starting year 4 (where did that time go?) there still is that sense of new year and hope. New goals, new energy.

I have been active – just not public.  Following a 13 month old and trying to capture family memories, the everlasting challenge of trying to organize workflow and photos/videos!

I am headstrong – making inroads to photo/video management. I have started a weekly family update in a private section of the family blog to capture our history as it happens. That is going well. It will allow me to keep up as well as have the opportunity to better do the main events of our lives.

I also realized I had become functional vs creative. Things were getting done – but not really creating. So I have signed up for an iPhone Photo Academy online course to improve my use of that camera because it is the one that is always with me. OMG! The talent in the participants! This is a good thing. It will push me and inspire me.

Part of this is getting back to creating each day – so a photo post a day will be the goal. I have also come out of my room at Hotel DS106 (you can check out but never leave) and reaching out to have some playtime with others in creating things. I missed the 30 day Daily Create Challenge in June 2017 when energy was high – hopefully there are still a few who are running fast and will hang around for a while longer.

Time to get back with others again.

Here is my photo for today – July 3, 2017. Pig Wash and Dry. This was mostly practice in how to hold the phone in a better way for pictures. Simple but important.

Pig Wash

 

Photo Avalanches and Hocus Pocus

tdc1427-2

Digital life brings file management hell! It is SO necessary. I find the longer you have been in this the more you have to change…..those just starting are able to leap ahead from our lessons learned. Clean up is tedious – but necessary. In some ways it is like our new home – we have lots of things that are important to us or have history and still in great condition -but it would be so much easier to start from scratch than try and work with what we have.

But you can’t escape – so it is figuring out how to make what you have work and improve on it. Much like collaboration on creative pieces – building and tweaking on what is already there…..hmmnnn – another DS106 thread of life.

I embarked on the DS106 path in January of 2015- 6 months after retirement. My goal was to organize myself and learn in order to document family. As I have gone thru iterations, I have found wealth. As I approach my 3 year mark, it is time to reflect.

I have improved my skills and learned new things. I have met new people. I have expanded my global view.

While DS106 is many things- it has made me think about learning and teaching.

I have always been one to think learning is personalized. You get out what you put in. I never quite figure out how others do it differently. How can you not want to put things in order and figure out how they work?

Part of my personal journey is to keep family first. Figuring out how to make sure my kids and their kids know who we are, where we came from, and how great they are in carrying us into the future.

I have inherited the family photo albums. We have 30K in digital pics! We have our first grandchild who prompts us to create even more to document!

After 2+ years of trying to figure out Lightroom I fell into a format by accident.

I have been following and reading bloggers by the numbers on how to organize and manage. I saw a common thread of saving by date and then using collections. It all sound great- but how.

I deleted what I had set up in Lightroom. I was working with only current photos. On a lazy Sunday, I started a new catalog from all of my photos that were on my hard drive. I didn’t realize I had set up Lightroom for certain import specs. By accident I got it right. All my photos imported by date!

This did create MANY folders. but it was okay. It was better than going photo by photo.

I began reorganizing by year to make the tree structure smaller. This was also a time to get rid of all the duplicates. It actually went smoother than I would have expected.

The other plus was the work I had done previously in Lightroom or in tagging etc. all carried forward!

The first thought was to get my catalog smaller in case Lightroom would start to freeze etc because the catalog had 30K+ photos. But more research points towards the fact that it is a database and not actual storage and many have not yet found the breaking point.

Next steps will be to go in and create the collections. I now know to keep folders with originals and dates move forward from there. With tagging I can create collections for special events or times.

I am almost finished up to the current date. Ironic in that 2017 is the most difficult. Seems I was saving and making sure I had pictures so I have 5-6 of the same picture to go thru. My sister also scanned all her hard photos and shared them with me so I have 1K that say 2017 when they are really the last 30 years. They are all tagged by her name – so I will create a collection and a folder that says Sandy’s Pics to separate them.

There are also all the ones I have downloaded from family via Facebook, messenger, texts. Those don’t always come thru with good metadata – so there is now a folder of Unsorted that will need attention.

All in all – so far it is feeling a whole lot more manageable. I found my notes from more than a year ago a workflow. I have changed it up a little to actually be less tedious.

  1. only download on desktop and directly into Apple Photos
  2. Title, tag, add descriptions etc. in Apple Photos
  3. Export to an auto import folder on my desktop so when LR opens they import with all the tags and metadata. (at least once a week or as needed)
  4. Optimize SmartFolders for Collections to pull in by tags.
  5. Set Time Machine up to back up hard drive so that Photos and Pictures folder are backed up. I know I have pictures in two places – but now I can back up the photos library and and the hard drive in two different places so that I know I will have redundancy.
  6. Set up Flickr for album uploads to share with family (also another back up)

Along with this new workflow I am also doing a weekly update in a private family blog. My first direction was to create the stories – but with so much coming in and limited time – I have been missing milestones and become buried in content. The weekly updates will offer a slice and still allow me to do the creations for events and milestones – but hopefully have more organized and ready to use. Plus it eliminates the urge to include everything in a creation – because now the content is still somewhere and available as narrative.

As I was cleaning up these files I also cleaned up my music files. Two older iPods are now music only and have all of our music on them. New music can be added easily now. It is backed up as well. Two years to get to this point – including ripping all of our CDs!

Can you see me doing a happy dance? It has made sticking to a walking regimen easier too. Just hope the new neighbors don’t laugh too hard if I start singing out loud while walking.

Yes – I guess Spring is the time to get organized!

The photo is from a ds106 Daily Create. It is a self portrait in a mirror and using photo editing to eliminate the camera. It took a little longer than 20 minutes but was a great creation process. #TDC1427

Balance Acts

Holy mackerel! No posts since December 2016! What gives? Well-  trying to figure out the balance act of life and allowing self to take some detours to expand experiences.  I also forgot that I had set up the blog to Tweet when I publish – so now everyone is seeing my catch up frenzy! After this rush – I am pointed to just find the balance between this personal blog and a private family blog.

I am finding that a comfort zone and close circle is wealth in life – but it grows richer when one travels a bit outside the trail to circle back. I am starting to see life as a path that goes forward and back – ahead and around. It is not a one way direction. One step forward – 2 steps back. To me it is like Billy’s maps in the Bill Keane comic “Family Circus”.

Did you ever look back at something you did and wonder “who was that person that did all this?”

The ds106 path seems that way for me and now helps me understand when new participants dive in that personal expectations could drown you. There is so much to sample, explore, create. DS106 has no “rules” about how much effort or production one does. But the gem is that so many have added and built upon it as well as continue to add to it that the opportunities to have a path that has markers and resources upon it – doubled with a diverse community who will jump in at a moments notice. It really is like having part of your life in Hotel 106 – you can check out – but you never leave.

Hotel 106 - TDC1585

I am so pleased I committed to myself and started the open course in Jan of 2015 – hitching onto ds106 Noir and expanding into open collaborations with the Burgerons, Prisoner, FairyTale Festival, and ds106Western – I think I even had a small touch of Tales of Open DS106. The experiences opened up discovery, skill building and a sense of creative community. The online world has connected me to others who also practice paying it forward, but without the drama. Individuals who are confident in self and find success in seeing others successful. The selfish, the needy – the ones that see themselves the center of the universe are still there. I think what I find in the online communities is that the introverted extroverts have a place to be heard and to know they are not alone. Now – friends  I am not labeling you! But I have discovered many of you who have highest self expectations but also the heart and soul to support others without enabling.

Well – loads of life and transitions that is what has happened over the last 8-12months. As the circle of the hamster wheel (or is it hedgehog) turns, other things come up and consume one’s life. The ebbs and flow of what should be. I have moved to a new region of our state, bought a home, sold a home, a daughter’s wedding, the birth and first year of first grandchild, taken on some part-time consulting work.

A large part of relocation planning and managing and doing was on my plate due to health limitations of my husband. The blessing of early retirement has allowed for the time and attention needed to work through things in a comfortable (although sometimes lengthy) pace.

I am ds106 #4life – but it is now becoming integrated into life and not the focused and concentrated learning that leaves the rest of ones experiences wedging themselves in. I find the true barometer is how your connections can be intense and focused for a time. You set up the threads of common beliefs and interests, work on things grand and mediocre. But you can not sustain. The sustainability is in knowing and living that you can have the rush of the moments and common path and then take a turn and cross again without feeling like there has been an absence or neglect. Bringing what you gather from the time apart back and never missing a beat.

I had a short obsession with an online FB group of HGTV Fixer Upper Fans. A community page focusing on Farmhouse decor style of Joanna Gaines. It was like being able to tour people’s homes and see their creations. Great advice – some dreaming and interesting to see how no matter what a budget or place – people take pride in their homes. It really is a group who make houses homes. It also was a positive space during the months of first tension due to political climate in the USA. A great escape from the extremes -but also showing that in general people of all different backgrounds and beliefs can find common ground and be nice. I still scan and take part but have “balanced”.

I have been immersed in settling into a new community, caring for family, welcoming a new grandchild and watching him over the last year. I still watch and scan what others are doing and where their new paths are taking them. I know I do not have to be a part of every inch of another’s life to still feel connected to them, still support them and still call them friend.

So – Ronald_2008 – is expanding his art skills and creating some fantastic creations as well as still being the #1 daily create participant. He even authored a book!!!

Our book in the classroom

@johnjohnston is back in the classroom (I think) and making a difference for kids but also still expanding his support of educators and his futzing with how things work. I love that he has found some of his own balance.

Mariana Funes – @mvdfunes –  is finding her balance and together with John are on the airwaves again for all of us to enjoy and break open new thoughts in our brains thru their broadcasts and discussions. Mariana also models how to interconnect all these online spaces. I am excited and intrigued to see how her different online spaces come together and the strategies she has developed to keep immersed, but balanced.

John and Mariana stayed true to their promise to their 1M listeners of the 106Bullets radio broadcast and are back at it with a monthly session of Loose Learners. I missed the first ones due to erratic scanning of feeds – but it is on my calendar for June!  I encourage you to join in. Just look at this awesome poster Mariana created to tell about it! The conversation and tweet along is a must do! And for those in the USA – 1pm EST/2pmCST etc. Check out the archive episodes.

@cogdog expanding our understanding of the alchemy of the narrative online world and sheparding thoughts and directions of Creative Commons. Most of all sharing Felix with us! I love this dog! Such a soul.

You Rang?

flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

@jimgroom traveling the world and teaming with @timmyboy in providing reliable, affordable access and domain of one so that we may all connect. Thanks Reclaim Hosting.

So many others who are active and doing things and I can’t mention them all in this post or what they are doing and really – most of you know what they are doing because you do keep up! I know they will come up in future posts. 🙂

I see hedgehogs, stepping out for a concert and Twitter as the date, finding WA state beauty and running for the ds106 Athletic team, research and teaching, creating beautiful daily creates and art, traveling, gardening, grandkids, great things for kids in education led by many of my media specialist friends, classroom teachers with astounding energy and devotion to their students and selves through continued growth and practice, hard working being done in transforming public education from the ground up in SE Wisconsin.

Thanks to all that share and allowing me to learn from you and for your support in my loopy journey of life.

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