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A Slight Rant

I try not to rant very often on this blog, because I believe in positivity and making the world a better place.

However.

Even I have to shake my head sometimes and take a moment to say, “What the *bleep* were they THINKING?”

Today’s moment of stupidity comes directly from my home state. It’s one of the states that happens to be on fire at the moment. (Half the country is flooded, the other half wishes we could pipeline that water directly onto our forests.) Every year, Oregon gets a few wildfires. It’s just what happens. We’re a part of the high desert, which means that it’s extremely hot and dry. We get very little rain here, unlike the small pocket of our state up by Portland. Most of us have common sense when it comes to that. You take proper precautions when you go camping, always use safety when dealing with any sort of fires, and don’t go driving on grassy lands.

And up until a few days ago, all of the major fires that happened here were of natural causes. We had some decent thunderstorms come rolling through, and dry lightning sparked the huge ol’ wildfires that quickly took control of our beautiful state.

Then this happened. (Pardon the bits of language in it. Unfortunately, in this case I’m inclined to agree with the author.) Yeah. Some teenager decided to set off fireworks in the middle of the forest. FIREWORKS.

In. The. FOREST.

I feel like there’s a life lesson in this somewhere. Our words (and actions) do affect other people, whether we realize it or not. One person caused 153 hikers to be put into danger because they became stranded due to the sudden flames. (Thankfully, all hikers were accounted for and able to make it to safety.) Our poor firefighters, who are already so tired from trying to contain the other thousands of acres of burning forest now have another fire to wrestle.

People’s homes are being evacuated and threatened. And the trickle-down effect continues to even people like me. Not only are we having to deal with ash and smoke choking us, but actions like this still can cause damage to people in my new line of work. I’m focusing on becoming a landscape and nature photographer. I rely on being able to get out and get pictures in order to have an income. Sure, it’s small change compared to the poor people who are losing their homes, but the point is that it affects everyone and there are a ton of people who have to deal with the aftermath of this.

Now, I’m sure the kid who started this whole thing feels pretty darn bad about it. At least, I would HOPE he does. That’s a tough way to learn life right there. Yes, son, your actions do cause a reaction. Because science.

However, getting back to my other point, I kind of feel like our words and how we live are the same way. One negative comment or action can cause a wildfire of emotions in someone else. One spark was all it took for the forest to burn. A few words might be all it takes to send someone over the edge. We need to stay positive. Speak life. The world is already full of death. Bring it to life instead.

See? I managed to make it a mostly positive post after all. 😀

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So if you live in the United States, chances are pretty good that you heard about the Big Thing that happened earlier this week. That’s right. I’m talking about that fan-flipping-tastic eclipse.

Or, as we here in Central Oregon like to call it, the ApocEclipse.

Funny thing? It kind of ended up being Y2K all over again. You remember that, right? It was that moment where all the computers and electronics all over the world were going to die because the year was turning 2000 and suddenly life as we knew it was going to end. So everyone stock-piled their food, water and other rations like they would need to survive for months on end because the stores were going to be unavailable and … yeah. Nothing shut down, life went on as normal and we thought we learned our lesson. Well, this was pretty much the same thing.

We Central Oregonians were told to expect as many as 1 million people coming our way because we just so happened to be in the path of totality. So I dutifully did my shopping ahead of time, filled up my car before all the stations ran out of gas, got a couple of cases of water and felt pretty prepared. Only my little city ended up getting bypassed by most of the traffic, so we pretty much prepared for a bunch of nothing. Everyone hunkered down, expecting the worst, so stores were empty, restaurants sat open doing nothing, and the highways were clear apart from a few flurries.

We got a little traffic around the main days of the event, but nothing compared to my little hometown just a few miles away. Turns out, that’s where everyone was going, not here.

So to give a little visual of my area, my current city, Redmond, is surrounded by several other towns and one large-ish city. The town that I was raised in (and where most of my family still lives) is an easy 18 miles away. The population of that town, Prineville, is less than 10,000 people. (What, did you think I was kidding when I said it was small?) The cool thing about Prineville is that it’s just an hour or so away from some of the most beautiful forest Oregon has to offer, the Ochoco Mountains. While most of the forest is BLM property, there’s still some privately owned ranches out that direction. One of those ranches contains a HUGE grassland called Big Summit Prairie.

It’s beautiful out there. When the wildflowers are in bloom, it’s a sea of purple and yellow. Well, the owner of the ranch at Big Summit Prairie decided to make a bit of a profit from this whole eclipse thing, and got a permit that allowed him to rent out his property to an event called Symbiosis. I really don’t know much about Symbiosis other than it looks like basically a modern-day Woodstock. They planned for roughly 30,000 people to show up, and last I heard, the final numbers were closer to 50,000. What does that look like? This:

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That’s a lot of people. And unfortunately, there is literally only one way to get to the Ochocos – straight through Prineville. The good news is that most everyone coming through seemed to be pretty respectful, and it did help local businesses boost their profits a bit. It also provided for some hilarious memes:

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I could link to some of the pictures of random cars and buses that were rolling through my hometown, but there are too many to choose from. And while traffic in my neck of the woods wasn’t bad at all, Prineville was a whole different story.

As for me? Well, I suppose the photographer in me really wanted to get an epic shot of the eclipse. But I don’t have that kind of equipment yet, and quite frankly, I wanted to just enjoy the experience. So I sat in my backyard, put on my eclipse glasses and joined the cheers of my neighbors when the moment of totality was reached.

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Super cool.

And it really was amazing. I’d never gotten to experience anything like it before, so I felt privileged that I could just walk outside my house and get to see something like that. It is most certainly something that you never forget. I think one of the most important things that I’m learning is when to capture a moment and when to enjoy it. Sometimes it’s okay to put down the camera or cell phone and just be content with life. So yes, I didn’t get an epic shot of the eclipse. That’s okay. I still have memories of it, and I probably enjoyed it a lot more because I wasn’t stressed about getting it just right.

Enjoy life, friends. You only get one here on earth.

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A Long Hiatus…

Hello, Blog-World. It’s been a while.

It’s one of those moments where I’m not entirely sure where to begin, because a lot has changed in the last year. While I’ve tried to keep this blog a positive place, because I firmly believe that the world needs as many positive things in it as possible, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been rather absent lately. Well, unfortunately that absence was due to some negative situations that needed to be ironed out.

However.

I have learned many things while walking this journey. I’ve learned that sometimes we are given challenges that will shape us into the best people we could possibly be. I’ve learned how to say no. I’ve learned that there is always a lesson to be taught, whether it’s easy or not. I’ve learned that having dreams and desires isn’t easy for everyone else to understand. But most importantly?

I finally found my voice, and I learned how to forgive myself.

It’s really hard to stand up for yourself without feeling like you’re being selfish. (Especially when there are negative influences in your life that might tell you just how selfish you’re being.) But how are we supposed to love others if we have nothing to give them because we’ve no idea how to love ourselves? I don’t mean empowering self-centered mindsets, because it’s also rewarding (and good!) to put others before yourself. But I firmly believe that you must still be kind to yourself.

I beat myself up inside because I made some mistakes, some poor choices. I look back and see what I should have seen the first time around. I can either continue to chastise myself for going down that path, or I can remember that I was young and naive and grant myself some grace.

I know I’m being somewhat cryptic, and for that I apologize. I’m not quite ready to share my full story just yet. But I also know there are people out there who will understand. Remember, negatives can be turned into positives if you know how to look for it.

Last year ended in a way that was seen as very bad for many of the people looking in from the outside. I choose to see it as necessary. It brought about freedom and the chance to start over.

My hope is to continue blogging regularly again. I’ve missed it. Thank you to those who have remained faithful to this little piece of internet in a vast cyberspace. I hope to keep up this journey.

Blessings,

K.C.

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So I’ve mentioned my brother a few times now. He’s pretty cool for the most part, except when he makes fun of me. But name me one little brother who doesn’t pick on his sister from time to time? (Besides I usually deserve it. Don’t tell him I said that.)

Today, however, I got to actually get a good laugh at him. Poor kid had to work the day after Christmas, which he really wasn’t looking forward to in the first place, but he got ready and headed to his car to take off anyway.

My family has this tradition that we always wave to each other from the window or doorway. It’s a longtime ritual that first started with my grandma and grandpa. As my grandpa went to work each morning, he wanted my grandma’s face to be the last thing that he saw as he drove off, so every time he left the house, she was there at the window waving to him. If it was dark out, he would flash his lights a couple of times to show that he saw her. His other common signal was to hold up one finger, then four fingers, then just three, which meant “I love you.”  Two generations later, my family still carries this out even to this day. Whenever we leave, we always wave to each other, and my dad often gives the sign for “I love you,” just as his dad did.

Thus I was at the window this morning, ready to wave to my brother as he went off to work. This was how I was able to witness the glorious moment when he carefully looked over his shoulder, slowly backed his car up….and ran straight into our garbage cans.

I’m pretty sure that I laughed for a solid ten minutes straight.

He looked very sheepish as he got out of the car, fixed the cans and proceeded to drive off. I was kicking myself for not having my cell phone ready and in my hand, but I still chuckled about it all day.

However, I started to feel kind of bad as the day wore on. Brother had already been kinda down about having to go to work, plus Life had given both of us a swift kick in the @$% recently. In fact, we had just been talking about how we were feeling kinda bummed before our awesome family came over for Christmas and cheered us up.

So I braved the after-Christmas crowds and did my best to make it up to him:

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What you can’t see behind my note is a couple of keychains he’d been wanting too. See, I’m a good big sister. Most of the time.

Harley Quinn makes everything better, right? I think I made the world right again. *puffs chest out*

Incidentally, if you haven’t seen Suicide Squad yet, DO IT. Disclaimer: It’s super dark (obviously) and really not a very wholesome movie. But it’s freaking awesome and probably one of my favorites of the year. Won’t be for everyone, but if you want to see a great action flick (and get some Harley Quinn eye candy) give it a go.

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Change Ahead

EDIT TO ADD: Holy moly, WordPress just informed me that this is my 100th post. Nice! Actually, it seems kind of fitting that I’m starting a whole new chapter of my blog while starting a whole new chapter of my life. 🙂

Original:

Well, it looks like there are big changes a-coming for this little author right here. As you might remember, Husband and I are currently in limbo house-wise. We sold our house back in October, with the anticipation of buying the house right down the street. That fell through, so we continued our house hunt with no luck whatsoever. Oh, there are many houses for sale in our area, but a lot of them were far overpriced. It didn’t seem prudent to pay more than a house was worth, since there was no guarantee we would be able to break even if we wanted to sell again later.

Sooooo…we waited. And waited. And looked. And waited some more. We put in a few offers only to have them fall through at the last minute, which meant waiting again.

Then Husband received a phone call one day, from a friend of his who works in various locations across the country. Husband had worked with this friend many times before on different jobs, ranging everywhere from Washington to Hawaii. Turns out that Friend’s latest job has been steady pay and is looking to be somewhat long-term, as there are a series of houses that need to be built or re-built, and he wanted to make Husband a permanent job offer.

In Monterey, California.

I won’t lie, I had (and still have, if I’m honest) no desire to live in California. It was simply never on my radar of possibilities, despite the fact that Husband was born and raised there, and he didn’t have any real desire to return there either. We both enjoy Oregon and everything it has to offer. We had looked in different areas within Oregon, since it’s such a large state with so many different landscapes. We’d looked at Idaho, Montana and even considered Utah at one point. (I absolutely ADORE the Rocky Mountains, so I was kind of voting for western Montana.)

But California? Hadn’t even considered it.

Life, however, has a way of taking to places that we’d normally never go, and after visiting Monterey for a short week, since I had never been there before, Husband and I had a serious talk.

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Part of the Monterey shoreline.

 

We prayed. We weighed the pros and cons. And in the end, Husband decided that he really wanted to take the job. It would mean steady work year-round and good pay. I have no qualms about moving to a different location. I’ve lived in the same small town my whole life and always knew I would end up somewhere else someday. Perhaps California wasn’t my first pick, but both of us know in our heart of hearts that our ultimate goal will be to get back up to Oregon. Doesn’t really matter what part of Oregon, far as I’m concerned, long as I can keep my roots there. For all its faults, I really love my beautiful home state.

I will miss my mountains. I love seeing our beautiful portion of the Cascade Mountain Range.

 

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Hard to see because it was cloudy this day, but from the left is the last part of the Three Sisters, Mt. Washington, Black Butte and Three Fingered Jack.

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Mt. Jefferson, one of the higher peaks in our portion of the Cascades.

They’ve been a part of my skyline since I was born, and it will be strange not to see them there anymore. Our view in Central Oregon goes all the way from Mt. Bachelor in the south to Mt. Hood in the north, with at least seven other mountains in between the two. I still have a personal goal of being able to say that I’ve hiked up all of them at one time or another. (So far I’ve only conquered two, Broken Top and Black Butte. Still have a ways to go…)

I will miss my friends and family. I will definitely miss hiking, since I’ve recently discovered a whole mess of new trails that I didn’t even know existed until this year. But I won’t miss the snow, or the blazing hot summers. I’ve been ready for moderate temperatures for a while now, and I have to admit that I love the coast. We likely won’t be able to afford living directly in Monterey, but there are many surrounding cities that are just a lovely, and the coastline in this particular area reminded me greatly of Oregon. (I’m definitely biased, but I believe the Oregon coast is one of the most beautiful in the world. It may not have sandy white beaches, but the rugged cliffs and rocky ridges more than make up for the wind and rain that’s usually there.)

It’s a new adventure. A new chapter. We can either feel panicked that things didn’t go the way we planned, or we can embrace the change and live it up. I’m choosing to do the latter, personally, and who knows what kinds of stories might come forth from such a lovely place?

Onward and upward!

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How I picture my interactions with Pandora Radio Station as I listen to it at work:

Me: Hmm, I’m kind of in the mood for something classical. *searches* Ooh, Classical Relaxation. Let’s try that.

Pandora: All right! Here’s Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major.

Me: Ick, no. *thumbs down* Something else, please.

Pandora: Oh, so you didn’t like that rendition. Here, try Pachelbel’s Canon played the exact same way by a different artist.

Me: Um, thanks but no thanks. *thumbs down* I said I don’t like that song.

Pandora: Ah, I get it. It’s in the wrong key. No problem. Here’s Pachelbel’s Canon in E Major instead.

Me: …

Pandora: You like?

Me: *thumbs down* NO.

Pandora: I see the dilemma. Let’s switch it up, then. Listen to this cool rendition of a U2 song, done instrumentally.

Me: Wow, that’s actually kind of cool…wait. This is sounding awfully familiar.

Pandora: Because it’s a mashup of U2 and Pachelbel’s Canon! See what I did there?

Me: I hate you.

Pandora: I’ve also got a piano version of Pachelbel’s Canon. Want to hear it?

Me: THOR’S HAMMER, PANDORA, I DO NOT LIKE PACHELBEL’S CANON. It’s the most repetitive song in the history of repetitive songs, and given what’s popular today, that’s saying something. It plays the same chords in the same order over and over again until you’re ready to stab yourself in the eye socket with a fork. Seriously. I would rather listen to Coolio for twelve hours in a pit of poisonous vipers then ever hear this song again. STAHP.

Pandora: Oh, you like Coolio? I can make that happen.

Me: Uh, I wasn’t actually serious about that…

Pandora: Here’s I’ll C U When U Get There. Isn’t it “coolio”?

Me: Sweet mother potato it’s freaking Pachelbel’s Canon. Only with Coolio. Just kill me now.

Pandora: I knew you’d like it!

Me: I’m uninstalling you and switching to Spotify.

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Man, had some FUNKY dreams last night. I’m one of those people who dreams a lot anyway, which is actually where several of my story ideas have come from, but this was a lot even for me. Sometimes my dreams have meaning…other times not so much. Last night was more along the “not so much” lines.

It was one of those nights where you have random panicky thoughts for no reason. Like, you dream that you’re setting up a photo shoot with some friends and everything’s just fine when you suddenly remember that YOU NEVER ACTUALLY ASKED FOR THE DAY OFF WORK WHICH MEANS THAT YOU JUST NEVER SHOWED UP AND ARE PROBABLY FIRED AND OMG WHERE’S MY PHONE.

Yeah. Panic.

Then I would get distracted by something else, remember that I still hadn’t called into work and panic all over again because I still couldn’t find my stupid phone. Then I remembered that I was supposed to wear a particular t-shirt and couldn’t find it, which caused MOAR PANIC.

Mario Panic

Needless to say, it resulted in really not feeling all that rested. And I had to frantically look through my phone once I actually woke up to make sure there wasn’t some appointment or something that my brain was subconsciously telling me about. (To my knowledge, there’s not. Guess I’ll find out later if there was.)

What did we ever do without smart phones? Seriously. I lived without one for 29 years, and now I can’t fathom how on earth I managed it. Google calendar FTW.

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