Three Months In

I can’t believe it’s only been three months (nearly) since we moved into this house! I had to do the math twice because it seems like it’s been so much longer. But then I’ve had a pretty full 2022 so far.

January we spent packing, doing projects at the new house, and then moving.

February we had a Superbowl party two weeks after we moved in, stayed busy at work with Perchville USA (a very popular local winter festival), had an ice storm that took out our power for almost 24 hours (brrr), and visited our daughter and her family on the other side of the state in Holland. We also discovered we had some type of critter living in our living room wall.

March included a trip to Vegas with some girlfriends, going back to Holland to celebrate our grandson’s second birthday, emptying out our storage unit, hosting my dad for a week long visit, and oh yeah…we bought a real estate business! Had someone come out to help us with the critter situation.

In April we watched the annual Klondike Canoe race from our backyard, went downstate overnight to see our theater friends and watch their performance of The Producers, went to Bay City for furniture shopping, had the rest of the interior painting done in the house (which meant 5 days of chaos), were increasingly busy with Rotary club events and meetings, had an Easter egg hunt in the front yard with our granddaughter, AND spotted a raccoon on our squirrel feeder, a wild turkey in our yard, ducks playing in the creek and the fattest robin I’ve even seen repeatedly try to break into our house. After three visits, determined the uninvited houseguest was a chipmunk and hopefully remedied the situation.

Coming up in the next month we have basic yard clean up and a couple small outdoor projects but then it’s time to slow down and enjoy the next six months! That is the time of year where we stick as close to home as possible and enjoy it while we can. Afternoons on the beach, having friends come visit, bonfires and evenings in the backyard, summer concert series, Bikini’s beach bar, fishing, watching the sunset along the Au Sable River, country drives with the top down and music playing. It won’t be long now!

March Blahs

November and March are my least favorite months. I consider them both transitional weather months but since November at least starts with some foliage AND has Thanksgiving, it has a small advantage and thus, gives it a slight edge over March.

March feels like the longest month of the year, and not in a good way. Sure it’s one of our “31 day” months, but it feels like it drags on forever! Aside from the day when we wear green and a shamrock necklace, there isn’t much to celebrate here. Some reasons why March ranks #12 on my list:

1- THE WEATHER: One day we get 4 inches of snow and then the next it’s 50 degrees. We Michiganders literally have 3 seasons worth of outerwear and shoes ready to go at all times. Boots & gloves one day, spring jacket the very next. It’s not safe to pack away your winter stuff yet, but sometimes you need to break out the spring stuff instead. All of that leads to extra crowded mudrooms, backseats and garages.

2- OUR YARDS: When the snow melts the yard becomes a swampy, brown/green mess full of crap (literally) from last fall/winter. Even if you don’t own a pet, somehow you still have it in your yard! It’s too wet to rake or try to do much cleaning and the ground is still too hard to absorb the standing water. And just when the water finally dries, we get more snow! We will repeat the cycle of snow/melt/mud for weeks yet.

3- DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME: Sure we gain an hour of daylight at night and I am grateful for it. It takes weeks for me to adjust to it. I find myself oversleeping because it’s still dark in the morning and making dinner later in the evening. It doesn’t “feel” like time to make dinner even if it is 7:00!

4- POTHOLES: This is the worst time of year for these tire popping, crash causing, weaving-like-your-drunk nuisances. The constant frozen-thaw conditions plays havoc on our roads and try as they might, the road crews literally can’t keep up. A loose pile of asphalt piled in a pothole is not an uncommon sight, nor is the sound of it hitting the underside of your car. Or is it salt? It’s probably both!

April will be here soon and while the beginning of it may not look much different than March, it brings the promise of actual spring. By the middle of the month we will be opening our windows here and there to let in a fresh breeze, start seeing flowers pop up and hear birds singing. We can start cleaning our yards and putting out patio furniture. Maybe, just maybe we’ll even get a car wash that lasts for more than a day!

We just have to make it through the rest of this month first!

A Smart House

For the last three years we lived in a third floor, secured building and before that, a three story townhouse with adjoining homes. Our new neighborhood is a fine neighborhood don’t get me wrong, but there is something a bit unsettling about having your bedroom windows on ground level again after all that time. I suggested investing in cameras facing the front and back yard that will allow me to be alerted and see the video when someone approaches the house. It would come in handy for deliveries, when we are out of town, etc. They are pretty common place these days.

That conversation led to inviting Alexa into our house. I had some misgivings because I hate the idea of “someone” listening in at all times. It already happens with my phone and Google. Why would I want or need an Alexa device? I’m capable of turning my own lights on and off, etc. My husband loved the idea and started adding things to his Amazon cart so I shrugged and let him run with it.

We now have a smart thermostat which I have to admit, IS a cool feature. It lets us set a schedule so we aren’t heating the house as much when we aren’t there. I can use my app to turn it down during the day and then turn it back up as I leave work so that when I get home in twenty minutes it is nice and toasty. Although I have YET to actually remember to do that! Luckily it doesn’t take that long to warm up the house.

The thermostat made sense to be. Getting smart bulbs and plugs did not seem necessary. How lazy has our society become that we can’t turn on and off a lamp? Fast forward a month and I haven’t touched a lamp switch in my living room since the day we put the bulbs in! First of all, they are dimmable. How cool is THAT? The lamps themselves are just standard lamps but now they can magically be dimmed. I can say “Alexa, lights at 50%” and the room darkens for tv viewing. Need more light? “Alexa, lights at 100%” and instantly both lamps adjust. We have a lamp in the upstairs loft on the same network so I don’t have to go up and down the stairs just to avoid having it be a dark void up there. It’s also nice to use the app and have the lights on when we pull in the driveway at night. Who likes to come home to a dark house?!

She has some pretty cool features including a “guard” feature which will alert us to the sound of a smoke alarm or breaking glass, she can add items to our Amazon cart and remind us that it’s time to order a reoccurring item, and will play any genre of music upon request (something I use frequently). My favorite feature though are the routines. I can say “Alexa, goodnight” and she will turn off the lamps and lower the thermostat. My husband has his own “Good Morning” routine. He also likes to ask her about the daily forecast, top news stories, and occasionally a good “dad” joke.

I tend to say “please” and “thank you” when asking her to do things. It just feels like the right thing to do. She will usually say “you’re welcome” and has even sang it to me before. She’s told me to have a nice day or she hopes I had a good weekend. She even pronounces my name correctly. It’s like having a very polite roommate around.

I may have had my doubts in the beginning but now I can’t imagine living without her. I suspect we will be adding more smart items over time. I know there is a way to connect her to our Roku and I will probably add more lamps as well. I’m holding out hope that one day I’ll be able to have her start dinner for me!

Settling In

It’s been just over two weeks since we moved into our new house and it already feels like home to me. The move went smoothly, no catastrophes or casualties! The movers did a good job and were unloaded by noon that Saturday. All three kids were here after that (plus two significant others) and by 6pm we had the kitchen and bathrooms unpacked, the furniture in place and electronics set up. Later than night with sleepy eyes and a grateful heart, I watched the kids tease each other and laugh as they played video games and told stories from their childhood. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our adult kids enjoy each other’s company. Our oldest lives less than 5 minutes away and the other two stayed the night before heading out in the morning to their respective homes. As I said goodnight to them and watched them head to bed, I knew in my heart that we had made a good decision with this house. I think having them all here that first night really made it feel like a family home. I want our kids and their families to feel comfortable when they visit and for us to make plenty of special memories with them here.

Chad and I took the next few days off work to finish unpacking and working on projects. By the time we went back to work, we had everything unpacked, organized and nearly everything crossed off the “to do” list I had made before we moved. It was a good feeling to be able to come home after work and just enjoy our home. Naturally we just started a new “to do” list but at least we made it through the first one!

I’m settling into my new routine as well, as mentioned in my previous post. In bed by midnight, 20-30 minutes every morning for yoga/meditation, a weekly group exercise class of some type. I haven’t been on a good walk in the last two weeks, my walking buddy has been laid up and it’s been bitterly cold. But this week I’m going even if I’m on my own! I’ve also been setting aside time each week to reach out to people and for reading/journaling/blogging. It may sound more complicated to set time aside and keep track of it for these things, but it actually makes it much simpler. I find I don’t waste as much time on social media or my phone either if I have a plan!

Living here as been an adjustment for sure. We haven’t lived in a single family house in almost eight years. We spent five years in a three story townhouse and then another almost three years in a third floor apartment. Having ground floor windows, trees, a driveway and so much space has been great. Grocery shopping is so much easier without dealing with stairs or an elevator! I look out our windows and see trees, squirrels and the creek instead of parking lots and buildings. We even have our own full size mailbox and garbage pick up again.

We had our first weekend guests and a party during Superbowl weekend and everything went smoothly. The kitchen layout works well for get togethers and we had enough seating and plenty of parking. The house passed the test! Our next party probably won’t be until spring when we have the backyard set up. I can’t wait to fire up the grill, relax in my lounge chair with a drink in my hand as I watch the action on the water. I saw my first kayaker the other day!

It will take awhile to fully get used to the changes (watch for a blog about our new Alexa!), but so far so good. Sure we’ve had to shovel snow and now have a 20 minute commute to work. But it’s a small price to pay for having a home of our own.

Making time for self care

As I sit here surrounded by moving boxes and to do lists, I realize that moving into a new house is a perfect time to establish new routines.  New space, fresh start! I am someone that loves structure, which makes me question how I let myself fall out of an established routine in the first place.  Maybe it was the freedom of the empty nest life?  When we moved here, I wasn’t working anymore and suddenly could do pretty much what I wanted, when I wanted.  It was fun for a couple of years. Who wouldn’t love having 7 bars and restaurants in walking distance, especially on warm summer nights when a band is playing?!  We were like newlyweds all over again, but this time with money! I didn’t have an alarm clock to wake up to or set schedule to keep. I was staying up way too late and sleeping in until I felt like getting up.  I had been home with my babies in my early 20’s so it wasn’t until my 40’s that I even visited bars and stay out late on a regular basis!  It felt like a permanent vacation, especially when my friends came to visit.  It was a great life and I was living it to the fullest.

But as tends to happen, I feel like that phase has run its course. There are a few things that I think contributed to this.

A global pandemic that made it more appealing to spend time at home and with small groups. After two years of living with this virus I pay a lot more attention to the number of people in the crowd and who I am going to be spending time with afterwards. My cozy pajamas, comfortable couch and thousands of streaming options can a be pretty tempting alternative!

It’s been nearly six years since our first visit here and we are still discovering new places in the area. New trails to hike, more local businesses to support, fun events we haven’t been to. This is a beautiful place to live and there are so many great things to do! We love just taking drives with no idea where we will end up.

Working a part time job which does require getting out of bed before 10am. It isn’t nearly as much fun staying out until 1am when you have to work the next morning!

These days our weekly trivia night with local friends is enough excitement for me most of the time. I am more likely to suggest we stay home and spend the evening watching British baking shows and House Hunters International than go out drinking and dancing. Which isn’t to say we don’t enjoy a good karaoke night or getting giggly with our friends now and then, we just don’t need it on a weekly basis anymore. I promise I’m not going to start complaining about the music being too loud or “kids these days”! I’m not getting too old to stay out late, but rather less inclined to feel the need to, if that makes sense.

I feel like I’ve gotten a bit off topic but the point I was trying to make was, I’ve been craving more structure in my routine. Once we move (two more weeks), I plan to make some changes. I’d like to get myself used to going to sleep before midnight and waking up by 7:30 without an alarm clock. This is the sunrise side after all and I would like to see it more often! I also want to create a self-care checklist to incorporate into my regular routine that I can check off each day.  I LOVE crossing things off a list, it’s just so satisfying!  This is what I am currently thinking:

– 20 minutes each morning for stretching/meditation

-Two writing sessions a week to work on my blog/journaling

-A weekly hike with my walking buddy

-A weekly group exercise activity (yoga, cardio drumming, line dancing, group workout, etc.)

-Dedicated time each week to work on my correspondence (sounds old fashioned I know, but how many times do we THINK about reaching out to someone but don’t actually do it)

-10 minutes before bedtime for skin care.  I use moisturizer every day but am hit and miss with other products. I need to make myself a priority and take the time to take care of myself! I have a drawer full of Fab, Fit and Fun products that I should actually use!

In addition to all of this I’ll still be working part time, volunteering with my groups, helping to manage our household, and having fun with friends and family both at home and late nights on the town. It will be a full life. One that I want to take the time to appreciate. Preferably while meditating on my yoga mat overlooking my peaceful, new backyard. 

I’ll let you know how it goes. If you have tried a self care check list of your own and want to offer suggestions or tips please be sure to leave a comment.

A New House!

We bought a house!! We’ve worked a long time to get to this point, a journey which many friends have taken with me. To sum it up very briefly; we built a successful business and had a huge house with lots of toys and then everything crashed in 2008/2009 and it all disappeared. All. OF. IT. We had a few rough years dealing with the ramifications of all of it. But then we decided to make a plan and we stuck to it. It’s taken a lot of work but we climbed our way back up and once again became homeowners. But this time we did it smarter.

This time we bought a house well below the top end of our price range. This time we recognize that sometimes things happen beyond our control and we need to be prepared for it. Unfortunately we learned that the hard way but hopefully our adult kids can benefit from it and save themselves some heartache.

When we moved up here full time in 2019, we knew we wanted to rent for awhile and get to know that area. I was so sure of what I wanted back then. A 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo on the beach. I didn’t want a yard to maintain. Who wants to rake and shovel and mow? I would sacrifice privacy and space for the convenience of being on the beach and watching the sunrise from my living room. Chad would come home from work and we’d take off for a walk on the beach. It would be like a permanent vacation. We didn’t need room for big gatherings or more than one overnight guest. I was so sure this is what I wanted that I wasn’t even open to other ideas. I plugged my criteria into Zillow and Realtor.com and would get notifications of new listings. Whenever a condo went up for sale we would go see it so we could decide which development we wanted to live in. We looked at quite a few in the Tawases and Oscoda. I just knew when the time was right we would be going that route.

Then came the fire. Our oldest daughter and her fiancé where at our place for Easter dinner in 2021 and the call came that their rental house two miles away was on fire. It was devastating. Our family hadn’t been through anything like that and within an hour our two other adult kids were on the road to come help. One from 4 hours away and one from 2.5 hours. For the next few days we all crammed into our little 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment. 6 adults, a cat and an ever growing pile of donations. And we were all so happy to be together that we didn’t mind the chaos. It felt good to just be together. And in that moment I knew that this mattered more than being on the beach. Having a home where our kids and their families could gather for good times and bad, THAT was what “home” meant.

There are very few condo complexes in our area and even fewer with three bedrooms. So I opened my search to include 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom waterfront single family homes. I didn’t want to give up on Lake Huron quite yet. I updated my criteria and my real estate broker husband and I officially started house hunting in July 2021.

It was finally happening. We were looking at houses for the first time in over a decade and I was so excited. We looked at some small cottages on Lake Huron. They were at the top of our price range and all needed major remodeling, some needed garages and some didn’t even have real access to the water. While I’m not afraid of a little work, I knew if we overspent on the house it would be a long time before we would be able to make changes. This would be a good time to mention that we wanted city water and sewer, a decent phone signal and we didn’t want to be right on top of US 23? Anyone who knows our area knows that can be a big challenge once you get away from town! There was also historically low inventory affecting real estate all over the country, home prices were way up and sellers were accepting offers the same day the house was listed. Bidding wars were common place. All in all, not a great year to buy a home. But I was persistent. I was tired of being a renter and wanted the security of home ownership.

At the end of July, after only a few weeks of looking we found a great house. It was small, only 1200 square feet, but it had a separate little guest house and was across the street from Lake Huron. There were a lot of cons but I was willing to overlook them for it’s access to the lake. Our offer was accepted and we thought it was pretty much a done deal. Until the appraisal, that took over a month to get back, came in significantly lower than it needed to. I wasn’t as upset as I expected to be, and that told me everything I needed to know. It wasn’t the right house for us.

We looked at a few more house but nothing felt right. We had seen EVERY house that fit our criteria and even some that didn’t. Then one day a listing popped up that caught my eye. I had seen this listing before but then it has disappeared and I assumed it had sold quickly just like so many others had been. Turns out it had been briefly listed for sale by owner and now was back on the market through an agent. It wasn’t on Lake Huron and I wasn’t sure how I felt about the location. It intrigued me though so we made an appointment to go see it the next day. The house is on a dead end street at the back of a neighborhood full of small, modest homes. I liked it the minute we drove up and as soon as we walked in the front door, I felt like I was home. Chad said he could see it in my face and knew we were going to be buying this house.

It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a loft for even more sleeping space when needed. It’s on a half acre lot backing up to a creek. I could picture my family there for Thanksgiving and cookouts. I could see evenings with friends around a bonfire in the backyard or playing cards in the three season room. What it lacked in beachfront it more than made up for with charm and character. Lake Huron is less than a mile away. It’s only five minutes to my favorite beach and even less than that to our oldest daughter’s new house. It has city water and sewer, is newly remodeled and has a huge porch. It’s a twenty minute drive to work for us and we both have the ability to work from home if need be in bad weather. It’s not perfect, but it’s perfect for US!

As part of our offer, we gave the sellers a month to move out after closing. We get our keys next week and hope to move in the last weekend of January.

Taking the Good with the Bad

So much has happened since my last post!

First the GOOD stuff:

Work is going really well. I only work about 20 hours a week and I can set my own schedule. I enjoy what I’m doing and hopefully making a difference. I REALLY like earning a paycheck again, even if only a part time one. My day consists of promoting our current Chamber members and talking to potential new members. I do our twice a month newsletter, help plan events, answer the phone and greet our visitors. It is REALLY nice to have some events to plan again!

Which leads me to the next good stuff. Our beach town WILL have some events this summer. We aren’t sure yet about some of the bigger events and how they may look. But our weekly street dance, community band concerts, farm market and our arts & crafts shows are all happening. I’m part of the fireworks committee and that is going well too. In the past the show was fairly short and generated a lot of grumbling in the community. So our group is working to increase funding for the show in hopes of a longer, dazzling show. It’s nice to be part of a group that is willing to give up some of their time to help make our area a better place!

I am fully vaccinated now. I’ll admit I wasn’t crazy about the idea of getting it. I would be a lot more comfortable waiting a couple of years before getting a new vaccine. But I wanted to do my part to help try to get the country back to normal. Besides, all of our kids got vaccinated so if it turns out there is a problem with them down the road, then at least we will all face it together! I had the Pfizer vaccine. The first one was no problem. The 2nd one left me with a good size knot on my arm It’s been 6 days now and it is still there. I was also a big headachy for a couple of days. The BIGGEST thing I noticed was the fatigue. I was exhausted for days. In truth, I still don’t have a lot of energy. I know this is temporary though and it will pass.

I have a few framed photographs in a new art gallery/gift shop in Oscoda. It’s a cute shop and hopefully someone will enjoy them enough to want to buy them. It is VERY intimidating to have those out there to be judged and critiqued by everyone. It was a big step, one I am hoping I don’t end up regretting!

The not so good stuff:

Our oldest daughter and her fiancé lost their house to a fire on Easter Sunday. We had just finished dinner and were playing a game when we got the news. They only live a few miles away so we got there really quickly. I can’t even describe my emotions when I was on the scene. My daughter literally crumbled to the ground crying because their newly adopted cat was inside and everyone said there is no way she had survived because she was on the second floor with the raging fire. It was agonizing. After an hour, and to everyone’s amazement, a firefighter came out of the door carrying the cat! She was cleared by the vet and a month later you would never know she was in a fire. It really was an Easter Miracle! They have since found a new rental home, though it is 20 minutes away. It’s more expensive and a longer commute, but there weren’t a lot of options. We are just glad to have them safe. Thanks to their renter’s insurance and help from our AMAZING friends, family, and community, they have clothes, furniture and all of the basics they need to set up their new home. A vast majority of their childhood memories and collections were gone and we will all continue to mourn those things that are irreplaceable.

Another thing that qualifies as “not so great” (at US at least) is that the real estate market is very tight right now. Home are snapped up the minute they hit the market, often above asking price and with no seller concessions. Forget about asking for closing costs and them to fix something wrong with an inspection! It is a terrible time to try to buy a house, yet here we are. I’m trying to find my perfect beach house in the middle of the best seller’s market in decades. Those that know me that testify that patience is not my strong suit. When I know what I want, I want it now. I’m a bit obsessed with the housing market in our county, I can tell you every waterfront listing in Iosco County and I’ve seen about half of them. I’d really like to be settled into a place of our own by the end of the year. Hopefully the right place will come along at the right time.

I guess that’s it for now. I hope all of you are well and as always, thanks for reading!

Friday Night

Living in the heart of our little town, I get to do a lot of people watching. As we get closer to spring more people are out walking around town during the day. They are shopping, exercising, meeting friends for lunch. They are beginning to stop into the Chamber of Commerce for maps and visitor guides. Everyone is looking forward to warm summer days and evenings around the bonfire.

Things are still pretty quiet in town at night though, even on the weekends. The Mexican restaurant on the block does good business, both dine in and carry out. Not much else happening right now. The little theater hasn’t reopened yet and the bars have to close by 11.

I’m looking forward to the day when bars can bring back live music, dancing and karaoke! When the streets are full of people laughing and having fun. When my Friday night isn’t spent reorganizing my closet and falling asleep before midnight!

We are less than 2 months away from bringing out the balcony furniture, having the first spring flowers push their way up through the ground, having 8:30pm sunsets. I wonder what those Friday nights will look like.

Life in 2021

When I started this blog I fully intended to write once or twice a week. I did well for awhile but let’s face it, 2020 was rough! The only thing people talked about ALL YEAR was Covid and politics and those were not topics I wanted to spend even more time thinking about! I’m still not sure I have enough to write about this year, but I just renewed my annual subscription for this site so I might as well use it! This is my attempt to catch you up with what is happening in my life at the moment…

Going back to work. A little over 2 years ago I quit my full time job. I needed knee surgery, I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my mom who was in hospice, and we were getting ready for our move up north. I never intended to “retire” from working permanently. I figured I’d concentrate on other things for a few years until we started our own business and then I’d be working again. My knee healed, I spent a lot of time with my mom before we lost her, and we successfully relocated to East Tawas. I became active in the community and volunteered with a few local groups.

One of those volunteer jobs was at the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce. I helped out once a week taking calls, answering emails, greeting visitors and helping with social media. It was a good way to get to know community members and keep up with the latest town news. I recently accepted a paid part time position with them, starting next week! I wasn’t planning on going back to work quite yet but I am excited about the opportunity. The hours are flexible so I can have weekends with my friends, time for the beach and still earn a paycheck!

Selling my photographs. My last post was about the new artist gallery opening up in the next town. My prints are ready to be hung and it looks like the gallery should open in about 3 weeks. I have no idea if any of them will sell. If they don’t then a few lucky people are getting nice Christmas gifts from me this year!

Getting Healthier. Since May of 2020 I have been making my health a priority. I’m drinking protein shakes, not eating between meals and drinking more water. I’ve lost a little over 50 pounds, dropped a few sizes and have increased my energy/stamina. While it does feel good to see the number on the scale going down, my main focus is health. It FEELS GOOD to not be as out of breath and be able to push myself further. I have a long way to go but I am proud of the progress I’m making. Slow and steady!

Our kids are doing well. Our oldest daughter is recently engaged, making new friends and enjoying her job. Our middle daughter and her husband bought their first house, have good jobs and their adorable son will be ONE next month. Our youngest son is now a full time firefighter, almost done with his paramedic course and seems to be enjoying his grown up life. I definitely miss the kids and wish we saw them more often, but I am proud of them and the lives they are living. They are all happy and thriving, what else could a parent ask for?

I am hoping now that things are slowly returning to normal and I am not spending as much time on the couch, I will have more to write about!

Blue Ice formation south of Tawas City

A New Adventure

People have been telling me for a long time that I should sell some of my photography. My whole life I’ve loved taking pictures. When I was eight I got a second hand Polaroid camera and did extra chores to pay for the film. I upgraded to a 110 film camera when I was around twelve. I still remember the flashbulb sticks and not wanting to waste a flash! I remember how excited I was when I got my first 35mm. I used babysitting money to pay for film developing. Anyone else remember the double print specials? For years I printed pictures almost weekly and headed off to Meijer to search through the alphabetized racks looking for my envelopes. I made over 40 full size photo albums in the first 20 years of my adulthood! I was a holdout when digital cameras first came out on the market. I loved my multi lens Canon Rebel EOS and didn’t like the idea of not using real film. I eventually got a little Canon Sure Shot pocket digital camera and then later a multi lens digital Canon Rebel. It took me years to get out of the habit of taking every picture twice in case someone blinked! Around 2009/2010 I switched fully to the digital world and just last year scanned all the pictures from my albums and created new digital albums. With each new camera I marvel at how much better the photo quality is. I now have a Canon T7i and am very happy with it, though I am still learning all of the settings and features.

I did two of my kid’s senior pictures and my daughter’s wedding pictures but I never wanted to get into portrait/event photography. That’s a lot of pressure! I enjoy landscape/nature photography. Michigan is a photographers dream, it is gorgeous all year long and we have 4 full seasons. There is always something interesting to take a picture of. I can’t tell you how often we go to the same places and I have to pause to get a picture, even though I’ve taken pictures there dozens of times before.

It’s always just been a hobby, something I have done for fun. I decorate my home with my prints and occasionally gift some to other people. I have never sold anything and if I am being honest, never really thought anyone would be interested. There are so many people that take pictures and so many websites now that make it easy to have your own prints made. I talked myself out of it for years. I told myself that if it became a “job” then it would take the joy out of it. There was always an excuse not to try. After all, I can’t “fail” if I don’t try, right?

Part of this empty nest journey for me is figuring out who I am other than a wife and a mom. What are my interests? What can I see myself doing with my future? Do I have the courage to put myself out there in a new way? I’ve been kicking around the idea of trying to sell my photography since we moved up here. Other than my volunteer work, my schedule is pretty open. I have the time, I have a little extra money to get started. I am finally saying out loud that I believe I have the talent. Now can I actually make it happen?

There is a new artist space opening in Oscoda early next year and I’ve been in contact with the owner about selling a few pieces there. I’ll start with a 4 or 5 piece collection and see what happens. Right now I am ordering different prints from different companies to try to find a good fit. I’ll do the framing and matting myself. I may try a couple of canvas pieces too if I can find a company that can do them in a quality I am happy with. Once I find the right company to do my printing and am happy with the results then I can look into selling them on my own as well.

I’m not looking to make a living from this. Just selling a print every now and then would make a world of difference to my confidence, and maybe help pay for new camera equipment. Even if it doesn’t end up working out, at least I will know I gave it a shot. And for me, that is a big step.

Stay tuned!