I use the "straighten" feature on iPhoto all the time, since it seems I almost never take a picture without a two-degree list to the right. Once I download my photos, I make the horizon level and fix the exposure if needed. Pictures taken with my cellphone are a little better, but even though I use the helpful grid to indicate level, they still list to the right. About the only time I don't have to correct is when someone else takes the picture, so it's something about the way I hold the camera. Is my right arm attached lower than the left? I doubt it. I notice in pictures of myself, I often have my head tilted, so the world must not look normal to me straight on.
I'm reading two books at once right now. Both of them are really fascinating but neither one is the kind of book you can't put down. My sister was reading one and another blogger recommended the other. I've seen Neil deGrasse Tyson on TV before, but I had never picked up any of his numerous books. This one is Death by Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries. It's a collection of essays written by an astrophysicist; who would have guessed that it would be interesting? But it really is, and he makes me think and occasionally smile as I read it.
The other book, completely different, is written by Dan Koeppel, To See Every Bird on Earth: A Father, a Son, and a Lifelong Obsession. I started reading it yesterday and find it very fascinating to learn about the world of birding, or "listers" as they call themselves. My blogging friend Red wrote a review of the book on his blog, so I went right over to my online library app and placed a hold on it. Someone else was obviously reading it, because it took a couple of weeks. When the email appeared in my inbox, I had forgotten why I had ordered that particular book, but once I picked it up, I remembered Red's book review. I haven't gotten to some of the parts Red mentions, which he refers to as "warts and all." If you describe or show someone or something warts and all, you do not try to hide the bad things. I wonder if Dan Koeppel's father is still alive and has read the book.
Ah, there it is: the correct title of this post: "Warts and all." That's what you get when you read this blog, because I don't think I've hidden any of the uncomfortable facts about myself. Of course, this blog has been going on now for several years, and nobody goes back and reads old posts, not very often anyway. When I first started writing here, I began by chronicling the events of my life that have led me to this place, to right here, tapping away on my laptop in a small apartment in Bellingham, Washington on a dark Sunday morning. I distinctly remember cringing as I composed some of the early posts. Warts and all. But there is so much more than the bad and the uncomfortable, which are part of every single person's life.
I was walking somewhere yesterday, and I felt myself smiling for no good reason. I just felt like smiling, the sun was even peeking out every now and then from behind a cloud, and it felt good to be alive. But it was a little surprising to find myself walking along the street (I was on my way to the library, I remember now) with a spring in my step and a smile on my face without any particular reason for it. There are times when I feel low for no good reason, too. I like this side of the equation better, but if I could only remember that it's all ephemeral and ride the waves, the ups and downs with equanimity, maybe this state of ebullience would last longer.
One of my warts is my tendency toward worrying about every little thing. My sister has often told me, when I would be recounting to her some nebulous concern or other, that worry is a misuse of the imagination. While that may be true, and I can attest to the fact that most of the things I worry about never come to pass, is it possible to simply stop? I doubt it, but maybe that's because I consider myself to be a world-class worrier. I come from a long and distinguished line of worriers, after all. My sister herself is not immune, but it's different when you're listening to someone else's concerns. It's easy to stand back and see the larger picture.
However, the worry that I had when I began this post has evaporated. I've been able to find a balance between what I have to say and what comes out of my brain so that I can get it all down, and my Sunday morning routine has begun. First the tea, then the post, and soon I'll get up and start the rest of my day. Thinking about all my blogging friends and how much you add to my life reminds me that I've got a few new posts to read, to find out how my online community is faring, warts and all.