Category: Photography

2020 Update on my Level-10 Life. Reflections & future plans.

All right, I realize that I haven’t posted a level-10 check-in since July of last year. I did do a level-10 check-in in December 2019, May 2020, and then this most recent one—beginning of September 2020; but two of those three were only in the journal.

So, just a quick reminder of what a Level-10 life check-in is:

There are 10 areas of life: family & friends, personal development, spirituality, finances, career (and I also include professional development here as well), social life, fun & recreation, giving & contribution, physical environment, and then finally health & fitness.

You then rank each area on a scale of 1-to-10, quickly and without thinking too hard on each one. Then you can compare your most recent Level-10 to the previous one and see how (or if) each area changed. Then depending on how you score them, and the change you can set up goals for each for the coming cycle.

Instead of doing three months, I stretched it into four months this year—because it’s 2020. Usually areas have been either staying constant, or just going up or down a little.

Though, with this check-in there were two areas that had slightly higher ups and downs.

Those two areas were finances, and the physical environment. My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my finances went down 1.5—due largely to my impulsive e-book buying (and therefore a slightly larger than normal amazon bill). My ‘happiness/appreciation’ of my physical environment went up 1.5—due mainly to me keeping things better organized than I have in the past.

So what are my goals for the last four months of 2020? These goals are going to encompass basically seven out of the ten areas—leaving out family/friends, giving/contributions & social life. Not that I don’t care about those two—but 1) we’re still currently in a pandemic, so if I want to socialize with people, it will have to be online (or a minimum of 12 feet apart); 2) I try to keep in semi-touch with family/friends via social media; 3) there may be things to be donated or given away—just not sure on that particular point.

1) Finish the following workout programs:

            Morning Meltdown 100—I should be finishing my first round of the program on 9/15/2020

            Yoga Booty Ballet & LIIFT4—I should finish this combo by 11/15/2020 (marking the first finish for Yoga Booty Ballet-Abs & Butt Makeover & the 2nd time through LIIFT4)

            10 Rounds—I should then finish this program by Christmas (and it will be my first round of this program).

            I will then start either Muscle Burns Fat & then Muscle Burns Fat Advance or another round of 21-Day Fix and 21-Day Fix Extreme (either of these will then carry me into 2021).

2) Finish the following professional development courses:

            Data Science Syndicate (finish by the end of September; only 1 ½ modules left; actually finished this on 9/3/2020).

            Medical Writers Organization (by the end of October)

            Management Consultant Firm (by the end of November)

            Project Management Consortium (by the end of December)

3) Start learning python (tied with #4 and #2)

4) Finish at least 6 other short e-courses

5) Read at least 8 personal/professional developments books and write short reviews

6) Daily mediation and tarot/oracle card readings (bi-weekly or monthly oracle card review on blog)

7) Learn a new hobby (try my hand at cross-stitching). Also get more yarn and start another afghan possibly.

8) Determine way(s) of earning extra money (or free-lancing options)

9) Start building up a varied portfolio for looking into free-lancing/remote/on-line job options.

10) Go to the storage unit and start repacking boxes that need it, plus maybe start seeing what I don’t need.

No Comments Book ReviewsBooksbullet journalfinancesfitnessHealthLevel 10 Lifemoney saving challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflectionsspirituality

Expanded Challenge: Now 150 goals to be completed in 2002 days

100+ Goals to accomplish in 2002 Days

Start Date: July 19, 2020

End Date: January 10, 2026

Well I realized that since we’re over half way through July—that means there are less than six months left in 2020. I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to complete the 101 goals in 1001 days wasn’t going to work. For me it is due to the fact that I will only open the word document every so often—which makes it difficult to figure out which goal(s) I’m doing well on and which ones I’m not doing so well on meeting. Therefore, I am thinking of stretching out the time frame for this project and increasing the total number of goals to 150-200. There are numerous goals that are on hold (traveling), and will be at the bottom of the list. There are two reasons why the traveling goals are going to be at the bottom of the list: 1) we’re still in the middle of the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. Cases aren’t going down really in the US (though there are some states, where they are decreasing—OK isn’t one of them) and 2) several countries (namely the EU) have banned travelers from the US—in other words if you try to fly into any EU country, you may be put right back on a plane for the US, since they’re flattening their curves—they don’t want potential virus carriers showing up and spiking cases.

So the world has been in the grasp of the SARS-CoV2 virus for seven months (probably a little longer than that for the countries that are neighboring China), and we’re still learning about the virus each day. While there are several vaccines that are being pushed into various clinical trial phases—a real contender may still not be ready for another 6 to 18 months. Vaccine development is a slow and tedious process that the world is currently rushing because everyone wants to get back to ‘normal’. Hate to break it to everyone but the ‘old normal’ needs to be left in the past and we all need to work together to develop a ‘new normal’.

Truthfully, even if there is a vaccine out by the end of the year—I will probably still continue to shelter in place and wait at least an additional 8 to 12 months before I’m willing to get the vaccine (just to see how efficient the vaccine(s) are). Though based on the current news, we could end up with needing seasonal shots, as it has been shown that with people who “recover” from SARS-CoV2 the antibodies against the virus slowly disappear over time.

So I’ve been self-reflecting over the past six months (though maybe not that much during April—I was too pissed at the world for how bad the pandemic was getting, and now that we’re into July, I can say I’m still pissed but trying to get back into a routine of doing other things that I can control the outcomes of)) and have decided a few things:

            Try to organize the challenge list into categories

            If needing to restart (and I am)—any day of the week can become day 1 again

            Balance is needed

            I want to balance using my strengths (learner, intellection, input, achiever, deliberative/ideation/arranger) with working on my weaknesses (communication, self-regulation, bravery, zest, love)

            The only person I should be competing with is who I was yesterday

            Always strive for progress over perfection

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories). I’m going to extend the time frame to 2002 days (which is not quite 5 ½ years—but considering 2020 has started the decade off with a global pandemic—this a good time frame).

I’ve also decided that since I’m basically restarting the challenge (instead of just extending it), that some of the things I’ve accomplished so far this year probably shouldn’t count towards it (such as reading 12 personal/professional development books, and the fact that I would be on day 42 of Morning Meltdown 100, tomorrow—the last 59 days of the workout would count towards my 2000 days of Beachbody workouts-just not the first 41 days).

More goals may be added over the years as I re-evaluate this list and see what may need to be removed, what has been finished, and where I think I could possibly push myself more.

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (probably remote/online or freelancing at this point to start); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language (python or R—ties in with #6)

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

                        6. Data Scientist Syndicate

                        7. Project Management Consortium

                        8. Management Consulting Firm

                        9. All other courses—see additional lists in the journal.

            10. More interacting on Linkedin

                        11. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        12. Commenting on posts

                        13. Giving/Asking for recommendations

                        14. Start writing my own posts

            15. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals

            16. Renew professional memberships

Both Personal and Professional Development

            17. Become fluent in Spanish

            18. Become fluent in German

            19. Become proficient in French, Norwegian, or Swedish

20. Read at least 300 personal/professional development books

            21. Finish the books on scientific writing

            22. Start building up a portfolio of work (writing/data analysis/plus other ideas)

            23. Develop a daily writing habit (tied with several goals below)

            24. Write a letter to my future self

Personal development and hobbies

            25. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            26. More photography

                        27. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        28. Update photography pages on blog

            29. Make my own jewelry

            30. Learn to cross-stitch

            31. Get a new sewing machine

                        32. Make a new quilt (or this may wait until I move)

                        33. Make a set of drapes for the bedroom (for backdrop for any zoom calls)

            34. Start a new afghan (write a post on finishing the other)

            35. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            36. Start writing a book

            37. Learn Photoshop

            38. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            39. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            40. Learn basic sign language

            41. Start a virtual book club

Finances

            42. Create monthly budgets

            43. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

            44. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            45. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

            46. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

            47. Continue doing the small surveys as a way of earning a little extra cash

            48. Finish the various financial e-courses, and decide when/how to start investing

Fitness & Health

            49. Get into the best shape of my life

            50. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            51. Manage at least 2000 days of Beachbody workouts

                        Finish the following programs (some will probably be more than 1 or 2 times)

                                    52. Morning Meltdown 100 (will probably do this 2-3 times, as I’m currently doing this program right now—07/19/2020)

                                    53. Yoga Booty Ballet—Abs & Butt

                                    54. 10 Rounds

                                    55. Barre Blend

                                    56. Insanity Max 30

                                    57. LIIFT4–all three phases (have already done this program once)

                                    58. 22 Minute Hard Corps

                                    59. T20

                                    60. Insanity

                                    61. Insanity: Asylum 1

                                    62. Insanity: Asylum 2

                                    63. 4 weeks of Prep

                                    64. 6 weeks of the work

                                    65. T25 (have already done this program once)

                                    66. Brazil Butt Lift

                                    67. 21-Day Fix (Already done this program once)

                                    68. 21-Day Fix Extreme (Already done this program once)

                                    69. Country Heat (already done this program once)

                                    70. CIZE

                                    71. Muscle Burns Fat

                                    72. Muscle Burns Fat Advanced

                                    73. 30-Day Breakaway (this is a maybe—it’s running based)

                                    74. 9-week control freak

                                    75. Shawn Week

            Plus any other possible Beachbody program that is coming out that I may want to add.

            76. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            77. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            78.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            79.  Hold a 90 second plank

            80.  Meditate nightly

            81.  Start jogging (as another way to try to keep my mental health up)—may tie this in with #73

            82.  60-80 oz of water a day

            83.  Stretch daily

            84. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            85. Get at least 10,010,000 steps (breaks down to 5K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            86.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            87.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            88.  Finish blog to biz course

            89.  Launch a YouTube channel

            90. Launch an online course

            91. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            92. Rebrand myself (?)

            93. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            94. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            95. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            96. Publish at least two blog series

            97.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        98. Blog

                        99. Instagram

                        100. Facebook pages

                        101. Twitter

            102. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            103. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            104. Various top 10 author lists

            105. Various top 10 book series lists

            106. Launch a podcast

Spirituality

            107. Full/New Moon Goals

            108.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            109. Weekly (or daily) tarot/oracle card readings

            110. 15 minutes outdoors in the morning (coffee only) weather permitting

Others

            111. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            112. Design a science based board game

            113. Create and update digital vision board

            114. Reorganize my storage unit

            115. Put in at least one flower garden around the house (backyard, and/or front yard)

            116. Help put up partial privacy fence in backyard

            117. Start downsizing clothes and creating different “minimum” wardrobes (work/professional/casual; home/casual/working out)

            118. Develop at least 10 different 100-day challenges

            119. Start downsizing rest of my belongs as well—would like to probably be able to live comfortably in a smallish size apartment (or house) where ever I move for the next job.

TV shows to binge watch

            120. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            121. Grimm

            122. The Librarians

            123. Once Upon A Time

            124. Blacklist

            125. Numbers

Goals on hold due to the global coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak (either because they require traveling, going into a large store, and/or being around large groups of people):

            126. Re-pierce my ears

127. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        128. Present at a scientific conference

            129. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            130. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

            131. Visit at least 3 new countries

            132. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            133. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            134. Visit at least one new zoo

            135. Visit at least one new aquarium

            136. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            137. Visit at least one new city

            138. Visit at least one new state

            139. See the northern lights

            140. Attend at least one blogging conference

            141. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            142. Swim with whale sharks

            143. Parasailing

            144. Run a 5K (connects back to goals #73 & #81)

Once I move:

            145. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            146. New couch & chair for living room

            147. New dresser for bedroom

            148. New mattress & box spring for bed and/or a new bed set

            149. New TV & stand

            150. New desk/craft workstation

So I now have roughly 150 goals to accomplish in 2002 days. Some of the goals may be accomplished well before the 2002 days are up—others may be up to the end (namely the fitness workouts and steps). So how will I accomplish these 150 goals??? Well, there are 25 goals that are “on-hold” until the virus is under control (goals #126-150)—so these may not be looked at for the first 500+ days (though I will probably be checking the stats on the pandemic more often).

In terms of the other 125 goals—I already have some ‘habits’ in place—I have set up monthly calendar/check-ins for my steps, daily workouts, and spending, plus I do a monthly money check-in when I set up payments for various bills. So what I’m going to be doing is adding in additional trackers (e-courses, photography, tarot/oracle card readings) and seeing tracking that ways helps me move through things better. Also in terms of the e-courses, I’m going to be trying to take better notes so that I can post little recaps on the blog as well (all of this will also help me possibly finally design and keep up with editorial calendars as well).

But above else, I need to remember the following phrases: Aim for progress and not perfection, work hard in silence, let your success by your noise, and make it happen, shock everyone.

No Comments 101 GoalsBookscareerfinancesfitnessFitness ChallengesHealthjob searchingLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesno spend challengesPandemic2020Personal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflectionsspiritualitytarot cardstravel

Update on Reboot Break

So I’m about a month into my reboot break, and am still trying to figure out the best routine. One thing I’ve noticed after going through notes that I’ve taken over the past couple of years—I need to try to find (or actually rediscover) my “voice” or who I am. I’ve realized that I’ve spent the past couple of years just drifting along, and when it comes to trying to answer personal/professional development questions such as “who are you” or “what is the difference between you and someone else for this role”—I can almost generically answer the first one, but can’t come up with answers of what makes me unique for roles. I realize that I’ve spent years blending in with my surroundings and trying to stay in the background unnoticed. This all comes from childhood and being a victim of bullying—not of which was physical, and I learned it was better to pretend to be invisible and blend into the background than draw attention to the situation.

While it is nice that I’ve identified the problem (my unconscious moves to blend into the background), now I need to work on breaking those patterns. I need to rediscover things that I enjoy doing (things that make me uniquely me), and then determine the best ways of weaving those hobbies into “transferable skills” for job interviews. I would say that I’m fairly confident that I should move R&D scientist down the list on interesting job titles (as it is more or less my comfort zone), and start trying to step outside of what I’m use to doing to see what grabs my interest in terms of the other possible job titles.

I’m thinking that the list is going to now look something like this:

            Health Economist

            Market Research Analyst

            Scientific/Medical Writer

            Market Communications Specialist

            Clinical Data Analyst/Manager

            Quantitative Analyst

            Patent Analyst

            R&D scientist (up to R&D manager)

Though the top seven are more or less fluid (I just rearranged a few from how I’ve previously listed them).

So this week is going to be spent getting back into a workout routine, spending some time practicing photography, puppy training (I adopted a puppy just before Christmas), reading, working a rough draft of everything that I would like to accomplish this year, and looking more into the above roles.

Once I remember (or better yet remind myself) of things I like to do, that aren’t related to work, I will be that much further on my path to finding the optimal industry position to transition into this year.

No Comments 101 Goalscareerjob searchingLifestyle Challengesno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPetsPhotographyprofessional developmentRebootBreakReflections

Take Three of the 101 goals in 1001 days

So in one of my many self reflection periods this past month, I realized that I hadn’t been looking at my 101 goal list and seeing how close I was to any of the goals (with the exception of my step goal). I also realized looking at the list, it was all jumbled together and that made it hard to see which goals could “feed” off of each other in terms of the daily/weekly/monthly goals that I should be setting to reach them.

Therefore, I took the time and rewrote my list—this time grouping things into different categories. I’m going to be hitting restart on the time, to where if I start on November 2, 2019—I should then be finishing up around July 29, 2022.

So below are my goals—but broken up into different categories (such as professional development/career, personal development, both personal/professional development, travel, health & fitness to name a few categories).

Professional development and career:

            1. Transition into an industry position (tied to latest self reflections post); there will be several posts on this goal

            2. Learn a programming language

            3. Finish various e-courses that I’ve bought, but in particular:

                        4. Dream Job Hack

                        5. Medical Writers Organization

            6. More interacting on Linkedin

                        7. Sharing articles from various biotech pages, and other science pages

                        8. Commenting on posts

                        9. Giving/Asking for recommendations

            10. Creating monthly/weekly/daily calendars for above goals

            11. Go to at least 1 scientific conference

                        12. Present at a scientific conference

            13. Go to at least 2 professional networking events

            14. Renew professional memberships

            15. Move to a new (or maybe not new) city for job

Both Personal and Professional Development

            16. Become fluent in Spanish

            17. Become fluent in German (or maybe French)

            18. Read at least 100 personal/professional development books

            19. Finish the books on scientific writing

Personal development and hobbies

            20. Paint and frame at least one original painting

            21. More photography

                        22. 365-Day Challenge (aim for 365 different pictures)

                        23. Update photography pages on blog

            24. Make my own jewelry

            25. Learn to cross-stitch

            26. Finish my latest afghan

            27. Show case crafts on blog (possibly a weekly update?)

            28. Start writing a book

            29. Learn Photoshop

            30. Write in journal daily (answer questions/prompts from journaling books and free thought)

            31. Create my own coffee-table photography book

            32. Learn basic sign language

Finances

            33. Create monthly budgets

            34. Credit card debts down and hopefully paid off monthly

            35. Declutter the house (way of earning extra cash)

            36. Savings account up another 20K (hopefully)

            37. Talk with financial person about short-term investment possibilities

Travel

            38. Visit at least 3 new countries

            39. Visit at least one new national and/or state park

            40. Visit at least one new national and/or state monument

            41. Visit at least one new zoo

            42. Visit at least one new aquarium

            43. Fly out and/or land at 3 new (to me) airports

            44. Visit at least one new city

            45. Visit at least one new state

            46. See the northern lights

            47. Attend at least one blogging conference

            48. Attend at least one author-reader conference

            49. Attend Beachbody Coach Summit 2020

Fitness & Health

            50. Get into the best shape of my life

            51. Multivitamin and supplements daily

            52. Manage at least 250 days of Beachbody workouts

            53. Manage 5 push-ups on my toes

            54. Manage 10 push-ups on my toes

            55.  Hold a two-minute forearm plank

            56.  Hold a 90 second plank

            57.  Meditate nightly

            58.  30-day Zumba challenge

            59.  60-80 oz of water a day

            60.  Stretch daily

            61. Go one weekend a month with no social media (no scrolling through social media pages; may still post on the sites)

            62. Get at least 14,014,000 steps (breaks down to 14K/day)

Blog and Social Media

            63.  Finish YouTube for bosses course

            64.  Finish YouTube course creation for bosses course

            65.  Finish blog to biz course

            66.  Launch a YouTube channel

            67. Launch an online course

            68. Get blog traffic to 500+ views a day

            69. Rebrand myself (?)

            70. Get Instagram followers to constant 800+

            71. Get pintrest followers to constant 400+

            72. Get twitter followers to constant 1000+

            73. Publish at least two blog series

            74.  Editorial calendars (monthly/weekly/daily)

                        75. Blog

                        76. Instagram

                        77. Facebook pages

            78. Get Fit with Jessi to 1000+ likes/follows

            79. Get becomingJessi (or new name if I change) to 1000+ likes/follows

            80. Various top 10 author lists

            81. Various top 10 book series lists

Spirituality

            82. Full/New Moon Goals

            83.  Create my own altar (wicca/pagan)

            84. Weekly tarot/oracle card readings

Others

            85. Keep at least 3 plants alive

            86. Design a science based board game

            87. Create and update a digital vision board

            88. Re-pierce my ears

            89. Reorganize my storage unit

Once I move:

            90. Get a new sewing machine

                        91. Make a new quilt

                        92. Get fabric and foam and make new cushions for chairs

            93. New couch & chair for living room

            94. New dresser for bedroom

            95. New mattress & box spring for bed

            96. New TV & stand

TV shows to binge watch

            97. Hawaii 5-0 (latest remake)

            98. Grimm

            99. The Librarians

            100. Once Upon A Time

            101. Blacklist

So that is my update and “organized” 101 goals in 1001 days. This time I’m trying to balance things out—personal and professional development, career and then just odds and ends. Hopefully with it being organized, I will be better at tracking how close I am to completing certain items and which items when completed will flow into another one being started.

No Comments 101 GoalsCraftsfinancesFitness ChallengesFull Moon GoalsHealthLifestyle Challengesmoney saving challengesNew Moon Goalsno spend challengesPersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentspiritualitytarot cardstravelZoos/Aquariums

Photography Challenge Day 208: Spider webs

The winner of today’s photography challenge are spider webs. They were chosen mainly because I liked how all the water droplets looked on them in the fog.

Spiderweb

So one of the places I head every week to try to get pictures of the egrets, herons, and other birds is the dock. Every morning, there are numerous spiderwebs strung between the supports on the dock. Sometimes I see the spider on the web, but most often I just see the webs.

These two webs were pretty close together, and I liked how the water droplets clung to the silk strands of the web.

Spiderweb and flowers

Then I saw these pink/purple flowers that had a spiderweb woven between them, but again–I didn’t see the spider, just it’s web.

Spiderweb in a tree

Then as I was heading towards the other side of the lake, I noticed that there were several spiderwebs in the trees. They didn’t necessarily have water droplets sticking to them–they were insulated from that, but I liked how they looked.

Flowers, a web and it’s spider

So I didn’t realize that I actually managed to get a picture of a spider on it’s web while on my walk. I think at this time I was focused on the flowers, but also managed to get the picture of the orb spider on it’s web.

The seasons will soon be changing–Monday is the fall equinox (first day of fall), and that means that the temperatures will start to fall. Probably slowly for a month or so (we are talking climate change after all–and we still have quite a few flowers that haven’t opened yet on numerous Rose of Sharon bushes), and then quickly until we hit winter temperatures.

That means that the spiders are already starting to prepare for the next year–those that only live a year, are looking for mates, and then the females are looking for areas that will withstand the cold, winter temperatures so they can lay their eggs. The young spiders may or may not hatch, if they do–they’ll spend winter together and disperse in the spring; others will wait to hatch until the spring and then disperse to find new homes.

I think that I’ll continue taking pictures of the webs until they’re gone, and then I’ll keep an eye out for them in the spring. I’ll also keep an eye out in the spring for the wolf spiders that will be coming out of “hibernation” as well.

No Comments naturePhotography

Photography Challenge Days 206 and 207: Butterflies and a spider

So the next couple of winners are some butterflies and a spider that I saw on my walk on Sunday.

The first is of a pale yellow-brown butterfly with eyespots on it’s upper wings. I haven’t quite figured out what butterfly it is—one possibility is the common buckeye butterfly, but this one doesn’t have eyespots on the lower portion of the wings.

Butterfly

I managed to get two pictures of this butterfly before it flew off.

Butterfly closing it wings..

Well, it might have some pale eyespots on the bottom portion of it’s wings. That might help a little more in narrowing down the identification. I’m going to continue trying to figure out what butterfly it is, even if I have to go ask someone in entomology for help in the identification of the butterfly.

Spider crawling on it’s web.

The second winner is a spider—again I have no idea what type of spider it is. While I managed to get a couple of decent pictures, I didn’t get any good ones with identification marks to compare to pictures to get an identification of it—I just know that I’m very careful in walking around trees and bushes at the lake in the morning so that I hopefully don’t walk through any spider webs.

A side view of the spider on it’s web

This spider had made it’s web in between branches on a tree that close to the water. Nice place to catch evening bugs. And then the final winner is….

Viceroy butterfly

The third winner is another viceroy butterfly that was flying around one of the points at the lake. The way to tell the difference between the viceroy and the monarch butterfly is that the viceroy butterfly has the black stripe on the bottom part of it’s wings (monarchs lack that stripe).

Hopefully the weather will behave and I will be able to walk around Boomer Lake again this coming weekend and see what birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects are round this coming weekend.

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Photography Challenge Day 204 & 205: The Green Heron is still around

So the winner of the next double photography challenge is the green heron. This one (or these two) haven’t started their migration south yet, though they should be heading off within the next couple of weeks. Green herons migrate south anywhere from the end of August through October.

Well–we’re a little over halfway through September, so there is basically now six weeks until Halloween. I’m hoping to possibly get a few more pictures of them this fall before they head south, since I never seem to be able to get good pictures of them in the springtime.

Green Heron flying in the fog.

I managed to see them both mornings that I walked at Boomer Lake, though I saw them on opposite sides of the lake. On Saturday, I startled this one, and it flew past me to head into the little cove. Due to the fog, I lost sight of it once I turned around to follow it.

These guys blend right in with the dreary landscape, and if it had sat still and ignored me–I would have completely missed seeing it.

Green Heron flying across the lake

Sunday morning, I saw one of them flying from the little island towards the tall grasses that I had just passed. I knew that there wasn’t going to be any closer pictures this morning. Though I have to wonder where the other one is at–I’ve seen them as a pair this year. Even with the one I startled yesterday–I soon startled it’s mate/friend a few minutes later. I just wasn’t able to get a picture of it.

Though this is one thing that has made me happy this fall–being able to get a couple of good pictures of the green herons.

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Photography Challenge Days 202 & 203: The difference between sunny and foggy.

So the walks this weekend were polar opposites of each other—Saturday was totally foggy, and Sunday was sunny without a cloud in sight. Therefore the pictures for the weekend are going to somewhat showcase the difference between a sunny day and a totally foggy day.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Saturday

So the above picture was taken on Saturday, and I was actually surprised that I managed to see the heron through the fog sitting in the tree. Luckily I’ve been watching them enough that I knew where to look.

Great Blue Heron sitting in the tree on Sunday

Then basically the same location on Sunday, and either the same blue heron or another one was sitting in the tree deciding on when to go hunt for breakfast.

Then I managed to get a picture of an egret back in the creek area of the lake. This is one area that I want to explore a little more–but I need to get some hiking boots first, plus some decent pants as well (summer isn’t the time to be in the woods with shorts on).

Great Egret in the fog, on Saturday morning

So there is this one egret that I always see under this tree on the creek side, come fog or sunny weather.

Great Egret in sunny weather, on Sunday morning.

So even slightly unpleasant weather can lead to interesting pictures, especially when you can do an comparison shot within a few days afterwards. I probably could have tried to go back out Saturday afternoon and see what photographs I could have gotten–but these are roughly the same time but one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

Something new to aim for–getting certain photographs in certain areas at roughly the same time each day (or each week) and then compare them to each other………..

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Photography Challenge Day 201 (a few days late, and slightly short): The cottonwood borer

So I realized that I’m a few days behind on the photography challenge–there were internet connection issues on Thursday, and last night I was just too tired to log in and try to do a double post. Therefore I’m going to post Thursday’s winner today, and then I’ll do a couple of double posts over the next few days to play catch up yet again.

The winner of Thursday’s photography challenge is the cottonwood borer. I realized that it was a beetle that probably fed off of trees, and with a good guess, managed to figure out which “beetle pest” I was looking at.

Cottonwood borer crawling on grass.

What I find interesting—it wasn’t around any trees. It was crawling on the tall grass along the bank of Boomer Lake. I’m assuming it was trying to make its way to the closest cottonwood, poplar, or willow tree it could find.

Side view of the cottonwood borer climbing on the grass.

It is one of the largest insects in North America, and is found in the United States (east of the Rocky Mountains).

Look at those antennae

These are pests—though the larvae do the most damage when they hatch, by ingesting the inner portion of the tree, turning it into sawdust and pulp. I’ve seen numerous paths on cottonwood trees that we’ve taken down and the outer bark was removed, that the larvae took throughout the tree. Depending on how close the larvae hatch to the roots, they can also damage the root systems, killing the trees from the bottom as well as from the inside.

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Photography Challenge Day 200: The adult praying mantis (short post)

Wow, I’ve made it (more or less) two hundred days of posting a different photograph. Now if I can just start doing a more different themes, I’d be even more impressed with myself–but hey, that can possibly be the next challenge. That’s a good idea prompt–can I come up with a minimum of three hundred and sixty-five (or six) different ideas for pictures??

Anyway the winner of day two hundred–is an adult praying mantis. I’m pretty certain that it isn’t related to the one I saw the week before–unless it had gone through like six-to-eight metamorphoses in a very short period of time.

Adult praying mantis

So we were sitting outside Saturday, when I noticed that we had company on the inside of the umbrella. There was this adult praying mantis that was just hanging out on one of the support arms of the umbrella.

It moved a little

It started really moving around towards the end of the day, and I’m assuming that as the temperatures dropped down to a bearable range, it headed out to hunt for it’s meal.

Since I’ve started to pay more attention to my surroundings, trying to find unique things to photograph–I’ve seen more on the insect side of things than I normally would have paid attention to sitting outside. I’m sure I would have noticed the praying mantis, but I may not have taken it’s picture.

But since I’ve seen two this year, it will be interesting to keep an eye out and see how many will be making an appearance in the spring.

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