Wow. Just wow.
The weather here is simply - breathtakingly beautiful. Light breeze, bright sun, crisp air. Temps yesterday never hit 80 and we are in for more of the same today. This - is my favorite kind of weather. Bright beautiful days and the nights? Well, they have been crisp and cool, bringing on some of the best sleep of the year.
Isn't the imagery in this video incredible?!
I did something impulsive yesterday (which, frankly isn't all that unusual...) and I joined an online photography contest - GuruShots. I stumbled across it thru my LinkedIn account and decided - what the heck.
It's free. There are multiple categories you can submit up to 2 images for each. I selected a pretty generic one - The Great Outdoors - and submitted one of my Milky Way images and one of the recent sunrises in Vermont. First prize in this category is $250 - not bad for a free service and the simple act of uploading images. They will even copyright the images for you.
What makes all this so exciting to me is this: the moderator of the forum is a photographer named Timothy Sutherland. He's very well-known; published in National Geographic, displays in places like the White House ... you know, not too big of a deal. :-)
Well - Mr. Sutherland commented on BOTH of my photographs and even asked me - ME! - what my settings were on the Milky Way image because he was having trouble getting nothing but a bunch of stars.
In case you didn't chase the link on his name...I'll tell you why this is such a big deal to me. Mr. Sutherland trained with - Ansel Adams.
Only one of the greatest outdoor photographers of all time. And I was praised for my work...by someone who worked with the great Adams.
I haven't come down from the cloud yet. I may never.
My boss - continues to be a changed leader for me. The shift that started 3 months ago appears to be permanent. He remains engaged, interested - sharing information with me that he's not shared in the past, including me on his observations about meetings, people and projects - even soliciting my opinions. My regularly scheduled one-on-one meetings have been held as scheduled - no random cancellations, no more blowing me off. And if he's even 5 minutes late - he apologizes to me. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop but I can also feel myself settling into my work-harness again - in a good way. It is amazing what being treated like you have value can do for your commitment to the tasks at hand.
In fact, it's so good and has been for long enough that I have suspended my search for another position within the company. Oh I'll keep my ears to the ground for opportunities - I'm not a fool - however I do love the people I work with and while there remain aspects of my position that don't light a fire underneath me, there is something to be said at this stage of my life for consistency and fewer surprises.
We believe we have, finally, halted the invasion of woodchucks. Yesterday, The Oracle and 2 of his closest buddies spent the majority of the day hacking, sawing and splitting the last wood pile left over from The Hurricane Irene Great Tree Debacle. This was by far the largest and most difficult pile to dig into. Much of this wood was from the base of the biggest tree that fell in the hurricane - a giant Oak with a 5 foot diameter base. Giant logs - some of them 3 feet long.
The Boys worked well together; I worked from home yesterday and had the privilege of hearing them joking and laughing as they worked themselves into some pretty righteous sweats. I also fed them well with scrumptious sandwiches from a local cafe. Happy boys mean good work.
In the end, as they rolled away one of the smaller base pieces, the woodchuck burrow entrance was revealed. Now - these critters have nowhere to hide. Oh there is still a good portion of the woodpile that remains, needing further attention. But with the bulk of the wood either removed or rolled aside and the burrow entrance fully exposed, we can now stuff netting into the hole and anchor it in place with a large rock. That's what has been recommended and we plan to do that by the end of the weekend.
And so - we've been busy, we've had some relaxation time too. This weekend will be the last one with both days free of commitments until the end of September. And that's OK - there is much coming up that will be good for our souls.
In the end - you can't ask for much more than that.