Another Month Slipped By


It's been a full, but great month!  Our fourth daughter graduated and with that were all the end of the year activities that go along with May.  Plus, there was moving our son into another apartment and other family events.  We also were able to meet another great niece and I took a few pictures of her.

I thought I'd post a few of them here. 

The most incredible light was filtering in through the nursery window and I saw an opportunity for beautiful silhouettes!

A little tiny baby yawn.  So sweet!

She is a beautiful baby.

They have a clothesline in their backyard so I seized that opportunity for a fun photo!  Pretty sure they are dryer people like me and her little clothes won't hang out there regularly.  I'd like to have a clothesline. I keep looking for poles and I know where there is a set, but haven't asked about them yet. But truthfully, I'd only use it for photos!

I hope to be back here before another month goes by.  Our youngest daughter will be having surgery next week to remove a cyst from one of her kidneys.  They anticipate her needing to spend one to two nights in the hospital.  I will be really happy when we are on the other side of that surgery and back home.  There isn't a concern about it being anything serious, but it needs to be removed to prevent infections and stones in the future. She's nervous about it as you can imagine. 

  I hope you have a nice Memorial Day weekend!

Moody Spring Buds

Yesterday, I was working outside and when I was coming in for a short break I thought I'll take a few minutes to clip some budding branches and see how they looked arranged.

This little arrangement is quite cheery in the dining room.

The days are finally getting a bit warmer here.

The more red buds here are from a small branch off of a Purpleleaf Sand Cherry Tree.  Last fall as I was pruning like a crazy woman, I accidentally pruned, from the bottom, one big pillar of the one of the small trees we have outside our lawn.  Oops.  I've saved said pruned branch, thinking that dried sand cherry wood could be pretty.  We'll see.

Each season is so special in it's own way. Spring, full of potential. I think the moody edit of these photos emphasize that.

It was fun to use my macro lens since it's been tucked away in my camera bag for awhile.

I hope you allow yourself to take a break too from your "gotta get done" list to enjoy what is before you.

A Short Break From Graduation Prep

We celebrated our oldest granddaughter's 6th birthday on Sunday.  I want to keep in practice so filmed just enough to put together a little film, but not too much that it would take me forever to sift through, because there "is stuff to get done"! I'm not much of a list maker any longer, but I foresee lists made in this next month.

It felt good to go back into this software and remember what I've learned so far. Mostly.  Had to "relearn" a little.  Just a few weeks away from a new skill and you can lose it.

RORY'S BIRTHDAY from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.

I'm also trying to remember what I've learned from watching our older home movies that I've mentioned on here before, to film the adults and the others who are present at whatever event I am taping. The whole room is part of the story.

The sun is shining here today!!

An Invitation

It's Holy Thursday.  After Mass tonight will be a time of adoration.  The Blessed Sacrament is moved to the side altar as the main altar has been stripped at the end of Mass.  We are asked to come back and sit in adoration.  The way I understand it, this is the time that we are the disciples who sit with Jesus as he prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Since becoming Catholic, for me, this has been a poignant time in the Church year.

You go back to the church in the dark.  There are only a handful of people there.
The church is dim except for the lights on the side altar.

It's so quiet.  So quiet that every movement on the pew makes a noise that sounds amplified.  If you cough or clear your throat, you are sure it echoes out into the street.

It makes you aware of yourself. Not in a vainglory kind of way.  And not in a self conscious oh everyone is looking at me kind of way.  Just an awareness of yourself. 
And --- in your role as a disciple of Jesus.

Tonight we sit with Him.

It makes me relive the times I've waited. 

During this wait I get tired, as it's bedtime.  It's quiet and dark around me, it's bedtime, and I get tired.  Sometimes I've dozed off just a bit.

Just like the disciples who couldn't stay awake while He was praying in the garden.  just. like. them.

When my time is done there, I get up and drive home in the dark finding that my time waiting with Him has deepened, just a little, a place of stillness in my heart allowing me to just be.

So....That Month Slipped Away!

It's been a full month with family things and such.  I've still been making videos, but they are too long to share here.  I still need to explore all the options for online sharing.  I made one for my daughter's graduation party and one from clips I took back in 2012 for my husband's family.  Now that we have all our old films in a digital format, I was able to combine video with photos for Claire's graduation.  THAT was so fun to make!  The other one that I was happy, but sad to do, was my father in law's last Christmas with us in 2012.  

I've also been busy "catching up" in our basement.  Hoping to make some better semblance of what I decide to keep while also hauling a lot out of here.  I'm getting there! Spring cleaning at it's best!

I ordered a Shutterfly book for my daughter with her pictures and I have invitations ready to go too.  I asked my son to come and look at the book before I ordered it to see if he would have any suggestions to tweak it...three hours later, we ordered it.  Tweak we did!  It's so nice to have a second set of eyes look at something some days.

I posted one Senior picture back in September, and never got back to posting more so here are a few.

She loves to read.  

Actually, she lives to read.

You may have guessed we went to the farm to take pictures also.

There are quite a few more in this series too.  ♥ silhouettes!

This captures her pretty perfectly. 



These last ones were taken back at our place.

I just love a moody photo.  And she does too.

Our pond as a backdrop.

She drives our old pick up which was Jim's which we bought in 1997.  ♥ So we took a few pictures with it too.

Now, with only a little over a week until Easter I'm trying not to let the busyness take over the beautiful reflective time of Lent that we can enjoy.

~have a great week~

Turning 54: A Film

While my son is on the job hunt, he found a video transfer device for me to buy so he could transfer all of our old VHS tapes, and 8mm tapes to a digital format.  He is done!  And I couldn't be happier to have this completed.  This is the one I bought and it seems to have worked well.
One thing I have noted as we watched bits and pieces of these tapes: I wish I would have recorded more of the places and the adults. (I mention that too in the last little film)  The adults shy away or we just put the camera on the toddler learning to walk.  And while yes, that is cute and I'm enjoying re-watching my kids learning to walk,  we all agree that we sure wish we could see more of the adults at the birthday parties and family gatherings.  I suppose it really just hits home because of losing Jim and now both of my parents.  I realize how much Jim didn't talk when the camera was on because no one likes to hear their own voices on tape. 

  Tape yourself.  Tape the other adults too.  Your kids you are taping will also love to see their aunts and uncles, grandparents, and of course parents when they were younger.

Here is a bit of an attempt.  But, I'm not talking on it yet. Ha!  Baby steps.

I didn't tape too much because the big problem with getting in front of the camera is that you aren't behind the camera, so it takes more planning and effort. 

Turning 54 from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.

Who doesn't love the drop and pick up game played with a one year old?!

Happy Monday!

Moving Day: A Short Film

We moved our son a few weeks ago out of his apartment.  By the time we came to help, he had already dismantled much of it. I tried to get a little bit of the place to help him remember it.  I think it would be great fun if I could go back and watch a video of the apartments and houses I lived in through college!  People often don't think to tape or photograph the things and places of their lives.  Of course we want to see people, but it's so fun to see the rest of the story as time goes on too.  I haven't done a lot of that in the past, but some.  I'm trying to do more of it.  This was all shot on my phone.  It was cold, beginning to snow, and get dark, so there wasn't going to be a lot of dilly dallying around to get good video shots.  It's a good memory piece.

My Not So Little Dancers

Our dance recital isn't until the end of April, but they have already had "picture day". 

This year, since I have my little studio space in my basement I could take their pictures myself. Of course they still go down to the studio for the group pictures.

I really need a bigger space and back drop than I have as they are getting so tall!

They were such willing participants, it was so much fun.

I had other ideas to to try, but I didn't allot enough time on this day for experimentation.

They are in separate tap/jazz classes, but are in the same ballet class.  The costumes are soooooo pretty this year!

A Little Known Fact

So I had another birthday....and I guess that always makes a person reminisce. And, go dig through old papers. This is kind of a fun trip down memory lane and something few would know about me.  

I played a horse in Equus in 1990!  It was in a community theater in Sioux Falls, SD, but none the less...I had a part!

Now, I announce this fact like you all know about the 1970s psychosexual play that won a Tony and had Daniel Radcliffe star in it in the 80s

And, maybe you do.  I do now, but truthfully, I had no idea what it was about when I went to audition for it.

No idea whatsoever.  

My first baby was about 6 months old and we had just moved to a new city, new state right before her birth.  I had started a new job and Jim had started his Family Practice residency all in the past 8 months.  Apparently, I thought that all wasn't enough adventure and decided to try to get a part in a play.  

I'm pretty sure it was actually just the opposite.  Life was too much and I needed an outlet.  

I came home from the auditions laughing and told my husband "Apparently there is normally a nude scene for the lead actor, but this director decided to do it clothed!"  I remember sitting there as the director announced all of this with my best poker face on.  Trying to be cool like the other kids, knowing all about famous plays and all.  When they asked me which role I'd be auditioning for, I mumbled something about being open to any of them???  Apparently you should know such a thing before going in for an audition.  Poker face again.  I believe I was good at that face.  That's called acting.  hahaha!!  When I got a call to be in the chorus which included being a horse, "a customer" with two lines!,  and a "theater goer", I was thrilled. 

My husband went to one performance and thought it was agonizing!  We had a tape of it somewhere and he joked that we would use it as a punishment for the kids to have to watch someday.
Trust me when I say he didn't insult me.  All the acting was actually quite good, that wasn't his complaint.  It was the drama of it. Not our cup of tea.

That's me!  Jill Martin then.

Page 2 of "that's me"!

From the newspaper then.  Look at the awesome horse heads that were constructed for us!  They were a great likeness of those used on Broadway.  

That's me on the left. :) 

Of course, when this has come up in conversation over the years...
Me: "I played a horse in Equus"  
Every other person: "Really, which end of it??"

Another Film!

We were in "the city" a week or so ago for some appointments and had to drop off something to my daughter.  So.....having videos on my mind, I took along my camera.  So much I want to say about how this should be better (and it is better thanks to input from my son and daughter!) but once again,  if I aim too high at the beginning, I won't even start.  So here we go again.  :)  By the way, my daughter had tried a new TexMex crock pot dinner that her oldest two didn't like. 

I could watch that little toddler granddaughter of ours toddle all day long! ♥

The next project up is "Moving Day" from when we moved our son out of his apartment on Sunday.  I bought the app for my phone from the same company as my Desktop program, hoping to tape and edit on my phone for the times when there isn't time.  As on a moving day in January. Arg...there has been a big hiccup in the program that I'm still trying to iron out with the technical support people.

Snow Days

After two days off of school and my husband stuck at the farm, we are back to our more routine life.  The snow we got on Monday morning was truly beautiful albeit a bit annoying for those who had to get out in it.  ( farmer husband)

I decided our snow days would make for a fun home movie.  I've been inspired by Xanthe Berkeley for years with her Time Capsules and Mini Movies and hope in the near future to take a course from her.  But, first I had to learn to use some software and the video aspect of my camera.  My first project was a little film of a visit to my new great niece.  For me when I'm learning something new, it's better to have a focus on a specific project that I for sure want to bring to completion.  When we knew Sunday that the snow was coming early Monday morning I had the focus to do this film and was ready to begin filming.

There is so so much to learn and some more equipment to acquire to help improve the video quality,  but if  a person waits for perfection, you won't get started.

So I've started.

Here is a glimpse into our two snow days:
(There is music if you want to turn on your sound.)

I see a heart in the hot chocolate. See if you do too!

SNOW DAYS from Jill Ruskamp on Vimeo.

If you were wondering, my daughter was working on posters for her speech for the upcoming high school speech contests.  Also, we could use a bigger hill around here!

Before I got started with this film making endeavor, there was much reading and debate with myself (I actually paced the floor for awhile.) about which software to use and how to find music that I could license. I ended up buying PowerDirector 16 by Cyber Link for the video editing and subscribing to Soundstripe for music.  I have been so very pleased with both of them.  Xanthe recommended Soundstripe and has a discount on her blog.

I hope this is just a beginning of many more and eventually improved films.  

I Fish You'd Read This

Last year about this time, I became a little obsessed with fish.

I made a wire fish, a fish sachet, and these.  Valentine fish. ♥  For my family and a friend.

I'm still obsessed, just haven't made any recently.  I cut these little "sweethearts" out of lathe boards on my scroll saw and then I wood burned and painted them.  All along while making them I was thinking about fish puns.  To send along with my Fish Valentines. It was hours of entertaining myself. :) 

So these little cards went along with a stringer of three fish to my Valentine's.

I didn't know I would think a stringer of little wood fish would be so fun!

I just thought of another one!

"Don't string me along, will you be mine?"

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