Posts Tagged 'trees'

Making Do On the Lunch Hour Walk

lunchtime lake

I like to get out and take a walk at lunch when possible. I’ve done that at every location I’ve ever worked. Before my current location, I worked in a very nice office park. There was a lake, the lake had turtles, wading birds (crane, egret, whatever it was), lots of green grass, pebbled paths for pedestrians, and of course wonderful coworkers (I have to put that in – I know some of them read this *grin*). Not only was it lovely right in front of our building, but I could walk through the trees behind our parking lot into another area with paths and trees. It really made for a lovely stroll.
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Well, nothing lasts forever. It wasn’t wedding bells that broke up the old gang but cost efficiencies. First they told us we should/could all work from home and they closed the office. (I don’t LIKE not having a place to be with my coworkers so I kept nudging and nagging until I got an assigned desk in a new location, close to my home.) Shortly after they kicked everyone out, they decided that everyone had to be co-located. I was already relocated, but the rest of my group would be relocated to another state. As you might imagine, by now most of them have relocated to other companies or retirement.
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I, however, continue to work and continue to come in to the office (a lot, if not always). I still like to walk at lunch when the weather and my schedule permit. But the current scenery is a far cry from that to which I’d become accustomed. (Speaking of cries – remind me to come back to THAT.) As you can see from the photos, I walk around the parking lot. Yes, I walked around the parking lots before as well, but they were surrounded by lovely trees and green grass. This parking lot is surrounded by fences and warehouses and storage facilities. The parking lot itself could serve as a set for a post-apocalypse movie. I mean – LOOK at the plant above. Doesn’t that look as if it has been exposed to some kind of radiation? It certainly does not convey an image of health and serenity.
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One of the neighboring facilities is a warehouse with large openings for trucks to back in and unload. Unearthly pterodactyl-like screeches sound irregularly from that facility (okay, I don’t KNOW that they are pterodactyl-like sounds but they sound the way you’d THINK a pterodactyl would sound). The sounds are triggered by sensors in order to keep birds from flying into the warehouse. I have no idea how effective they are as bird-deterrents but they enhance the post-apocalyptic sensation wonderfully. I debated recording it for you but that required more patience than I had. 🙂 Not to mention that I didn’t want to stand around too long and become pterodactyl lunch. Maybe they aren’t recordings.
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But still, I get outside and I do get to walk, and there are some interesting leaves. In the spring there is even a row of day lilies along one of the sides of the building. I have no idea what trees are shown in my photos. I know that one of those things looks exactly like the enormous 12 foot tall weed growing outside my dining room window. I usually try to pull it before it reaches the berry stage but I gave up on weeding this year. Can any of YOU identify it? I don’t know what the fern-y tree is either, but I like the pretty orange things on it (seed pods? leaves?). I walk up and down the aisles of the lot, looking at the cars, trying to find attractive distractions. To date my best distraction from the walking and the post-apocalyptic blues has been YOU – I write posts in my head until I get back to my desk! Thanks for reading!!!! 🙂
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Balancing Act

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I have a dead tree behind my garage. It sits right on the property line, between my garage and the garage behind us. I got an estimate for taking it down. In my town I need a permit to have someone take down a dead tree (even one that is a hazard to property). It turns out that because it is on the property line, I need the permission of the other landowner. I left a note saying the tree was dead, I’d contracted to have it removed, I wasn’t asking for money. I got a voice mail asking me to please NOT remove the tree until after July 31. She was selling the house and closing was July 31 and please contact the new owners after that date. She didn’t want to risk something going “wrong”. I said fine, let’s hope the tree cooperates with that timing. So I’ve been watching the tree for over a month, picking up branches after rain storms.
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It seems that I’ve been watching the wrong tree. I looked out my window the other day and notice that my next-door neighbor’s tree had a cracked branch, and it was resting on my garage and was still partially attached to the tree. We’ve had a LOT of summer rain storms, with wind and driving rain. Between the weather and the squirrels running all over creation, the branch cracked completely. It has begun to shift. The dead leaves end used to rest on my garage roof facing my house. Somewhere in the last few days, when the branch cracked through, it is now balanced on the point of my garage roof. 🙂 I’m watching it. I moved my car out of my driveway. We approach the garage through the side door. You see – until I can get the NEW neighbors to move in and agree to let me pay for taking down a dead tree that threatens their NEW property, there is NO point in my contacting my tree service to say “Oh by the way, I have MORE deadness to remove”.
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You have NO idea how tempted I am to try to knock that branch down. 🙂 I think it would be so satisfying. In the meantime… I wait to meet the new neighbors.
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Office Reflections

winter skyline

distant mountains.

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Although I still miss the lake and the trees at my previous location, this office can enchant. Whether it’s when I walk in on Monday morning and am greeted by the distant mountains at the end of the hall, or when the sun breaks through after a rainy day, casting late-day shadows on cubicle walls, I’m grateful to have glimpses of nature.

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schflera shadowI do prefer lots of long days of sunshine, but there is pleasure to be had walking out of the office at sunset on a winter’s day. The sky is filled with color, and the windows capture the flames.

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office windows at sunset

Kohelet

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
What profit has a woman of all her labor which she takes under the sun?
Ecclesiastes/Kohelet 1.2-3

So, perhaps you remember my garden? Remember my project leader J??? Remember how J always ultimately undoes my garden? *smile* Whether by making me pull the plants, or by removing the region or by returning them to my lost and found, J has a way of reminding me that all is vanity, nothing lasts. Funny, I never pegged J as a traditionalist, but this IS the season when we read Kohelet. And this is the season when J has yet again begun to remove my gardens, my trees, my work.

“Your object ‘Weeping Cherry Tree’ has been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J from parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 42, 242
Your 7 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 3, 179.
Your 4 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 2, 221.
Your 8 objects have been returned to your inventory lost and found folder by J near parcel ‘Room A’ at Room A 61, 249 due to parcel owner return.”

Sigh. Mene mene tekel upharsin. My trees have been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Maybe if I’d learned to make better shadows? /me mutters several things under my breath that I’d prefer not to have overheard. *grin* Okay. Everytime J does this to me, she ultimately finds a better project for me. Or gives me a garden of my own in which to play. So I’m going to hope for the best here. And remember that I not only have my own region elsewhere, but I actually have my own opensim grid.

BUT. On one thing I stand firm: Touch my ducks, J, and you will be very very very sorry. 🙂 After all – YOU are the one who insisted on arming me. *grin*

4Q09

As most of you know, I spent a good part of the 4th quarter working on landscaping a major project. I wish I were a better photographer. I wish I could show you everyone else’s work. I really REALLY wish I could bring you all into my world so you could experience it yourselves. The folk who built that world did an amazing job. But you will have to make do with my pictures and you will have to trust me as to the rest. Perhaps sometime photos will be released and I can direct you there.

My first assignment (after the team song) you might remember was to landscape an island overnight. I’ve already posted about that and Dale riding to be my companion in creation. I did not have my full inventory of textures at that point so I did go back at a later date and add to it. Please note the ducks. *grin* You will know you are at an authentic Ahuva build when there are ducks in the water. I learned a lot on this, as I did on everything I attempted on this project. I am quite pleased with the rocks in the water. They were one of my first attempts at creating my own texture. Yes, I see areas now where they could be improved, but as a beginning effort, they are not that bad. The chairs and table were already posted, but you can see the overall effect now. This was to be a garden social area – for relaxed meetings and a place for conversation. I had a lot of fun working with rocks. Actually, I always have a lot of fun shaping and placing rocks. And yes – I really do place every rock and plant individually and turn and rotate each one. I almost never take groups and repeat them.

We tried to make every place interesting as we figured newbies would end up all over the world – whether intentionally or not. *grin* We had many interesting sites under the water but alas – most were not my build and so I can’t show them to you here. I can tell you that the ruins and the diner were big hits. I added some benches and a tree in case anyone found themselves lost and in need of a rest as they tried to find their way back to the main action.

There were many big open spaces. There was one that I nicknamed The Great Lawn. There was another area that I thought of as the Lesser Meadow. That is what you see here. The Lesser Meadow inspired me to figure out a way to have meadow flowers. Okay – this is an area where I did indeed make clumps of flowers and copy the clumps. But uneven ground forces you to place each clump somewhat differently. I’m not sure that I like realistic terraforming anymore. *grin* I didn’t want to cram every inch with flora – life doesn’t work that way. Also, there were some nice views – I didn’t want trees blocking the sight lines. I tried throughout to balance small clumps of flowers, as you might find in rocky terrain, with larger groves of trees.

We had what we called the House of Wonders. A phenomenal build. It was intended to help people master SL keyboard and camera skills. I had the job of landscaping the outside. Again, I did not want to do monumental landscaping. The building and its patio spoke for themselves. I reused the meadow flowers. They are even MORE annoying to place on a sloping hillside, trust me. I created the benches, thinking of Greek antiquities and relics. Somehow the cool white and simplicity seemed in place with the steep mountain. Likewise just the scattered rocks and a few weeping cherry trees. When the trees were still allowed to be flexi (let’s NOT revisit that horrible decision), I imagined the sea breeze blowing up the hillside, rustling the tree limbs and the flowers.

To the side of one of the major theaters was some lawn and then a sharp drop to the sea. The theater itself was very reminiscent of Greek amphitheaters or a Maxfield Parrish picture. It made me think of romance and myth. I decided that a rowan grove was appropriate. The rowan tree has been considered magical by many cultures. Celtic tradition held that a rowan tree could offer protection against evil spirits. We all know that our computers are prone to attack by malicious malignant spirits. I did what I could to assure the success of this build. I’m not sure what my teammates would think if they knew my reasoning, but it’s too late now. The grove is planted. AND to the best of MY knowledge – all the presentations in THAT theater went well. So there, too.

This landscaping was my absolute favorite of the project. The build itself underwent several texture changes. It was originally wood, then stone and finally copper. The copper was perfect. I love copper. I have a lot of it in my fl home. Once the structures went to copper, I knew exactly what I wanted planted: fire. I wanted flowers on fire. Red. Orange. Yellow. My favorite colors for flowers. I took time with this but it went very quickly because I was so in love with it. You may not like it, but for me – this may be the best landscaping I’ve done, as far as suiting the environment and the colors. I KNOW that it was a good job because my project leader, who very rarely had any comments, actually said “This is nice”. /me closes eyes briefly in pain at “nice”. But the point was that it was worth comment. *grin* You have to learn to read between the silence.

There was much more. I’ve tried to show you the areas that were special to me in one way or another. Or, How I Spent My Autumn Vacation. *grin*

Building 101

my working nurserySo. I’ve been building. Wow. There’s a lot more to this building stuff than just rezzing a box. As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have joined the Impossible Missions Force. *grin* The Incredible Metaverse Force? The Intrepid Magicians Force? Actually, our mission is not impossible at all – there are some absolutely amazing builders/scripters on this team (present company excluded) It’s just that I keep hearing the IMF theme song playing in my head as I login to face that day’s “mission”. I rather doubt I need to worry about being captured or killed in the line of duty, but I do wonder why they were never warned of death by exhaustion and lack of sleep. *grin* I wonder if this post will self-destruct in 5 seconds?

My 2nd tree - the small chestnutI whined to you about the textures. I can’t do that anymore. I have been supplied with some magnificent textures. It’s up to me to do them justice. I started with the landscaping assignment. (Technically my first challenge was the scrum song but, sigh, no one actually wanted those results. Bigger sigh. You and I – we did SUCH a great job on those songs.) Anyway, landscaping that island went well. I was asked to make trees. Sculpty trees. I have never worked with sculpty anythings before. weeping willowSo, back to my good friend and unofficial mentor, Honour. HELP! 🙂 Crash course in tree building. Here is something that I suspect many of you will not believe or understand. I have GREAT difficulty in visualizing 3D. I know SL gives us arrows, etc. Sometimes I understand and the object moves as I suspect it will. But mostly – it is totally hit or miss. If I am not in the groove – I can over shoot my target repeatedly for 10 minutes or more. The mega rowanI just can’t SEE it. I can only see one dimension at a time. So sometimes building is incredibly frustrating. Editing is frustrating. Believe me when I say that building a 3D object is a major challenge to me visually, not just creatively and technically. So I built a tree, a weeping Japanese cherry, under Honour’s eye. Because SOMEONE needed to be able to see. *Grin*. It was not bad (you can see it front and center in the first picture above). I showed my tree. It passed El Exigente’s approval. *grin* So – the verdict was delivered: build more trees. my 3rd tree - the oakGulp. I foolishly promised 3 trees within 2 days. Tree 2, a small chestnut, was okay. Went relatively smoothly. Then, as several of you know, I was building like crazy and getting nowhere. I put up a very snarly “busy”message. Kudos to Oura here. She broke through the snarl and offered to help. She served as my eyes because I was in one of my blind to multiple dimensions states. I managed to build the frames for a weeping willow and for an oak. I got the oak done by the deadline. I had a weeping willow done. But it was “eh”. It looked good head-on, but if you camm’ed up, and looked down, oh my oh my. Anyway, I managed to get that done the DAY I said it would be done (rebuilt that foliage 4 times) but I didn’t make it by the daily team meet. So what was my reward? “Ahuva – keep building sculpty trees. And if you could do some mega-sized ones as well, that would be awesome”. Awesome. mega chestnutHow can you resist a challenge like that???? I can’t. Sigh. So, I returned to churning out trees. As you may have noticed by a prior post, *grin*, it had its ups and downs. But – I learned to build trees. I did get better. Yes – I see things that need to be fixed on the weeping willow. Yes – of course J found the one bare branch in my beautiful oak. But… I am learning, I am getting there. My mega-chestnut is, imho, beautiful. The rowan is quite spectacular, but I did have people critique it along the way. So I don’t consider it 100% “mine”. Only the mega-chestnut. That is “mine”. *grin*

ahuva's_chairsI’ve learned other things as well. That trying to build what you see in RL is not as easy as you might think, no matter how simple the form appears. I took a picture of a chair that I thought would be perfect for the first island, a social gathering space. I did indeed build something very close. Ahuva-built garden furnitureThanks to PatriciaAnne for advice about the arms. I actually stumbled on one answer as she was responding, but she saved me much time by explaining the other issue. *grin* Love you, PatriciaAnne!!! I also learned that it really makes a difference where you put the root prim. 🙂

How it looked it edit modeBadges. LOL. I am making handouts and freebies for the people, too. I am not just a gardener anymore. I worked on a conference badge. It’s not that easy to make a shape that fits about a neck. Just think on that a bit. It must curve and bend and shape. It must be a tortured prim or a sculpti. Yes – I got help learning how to do that too. *grin* But I was extremely pleased with it. I figured out the textures all myself – got the logo on the lanyard, oriented correctly. 🙂 Then I wore the badge. Edited it to position it properly. Looked fine. Came out of edit and…. oh wow. I must not have SAVED my changes??? The badge went flying through my shoulder, instead of staying positioned in front. Repeat the edit, looked fine, come out. Repeat the badge through my shoulder. how it looked when my AO took overI sat and stared. And watch as the badge MOVED. ROFLMAO. I was trying to be clever. MANY items get attached to the chest of the avatar. I wanted to put the badge someplace it wouldn’t interfere, in case the people were wearing an attachment. So I attached it to …….. my nose. *giggle* Which was fine til my AO moved my avatar’s nose. The badge followed the nose. LOL. Okay, that just wasn’t going to work. At the moment – the badge is attached to the chest. *grin* I’m hoping that will be okay for most folks. It’s those little things that get you. The kind of thing that once you “know”, you never do again. But if you don’t know, it can be quite baffling.

shadowsJust for good measure, while I was still struggling with “more sculpty trees”, I was told to add shadows for realism. I had never seen/done a shadow. I got that it was a texture, but, confession: I have been really bad at making my own textures. I spent hours figuring out how to do an alpha texture of just TEXT!!!! It can’t get any simpler than that. Sometimes I really wonder if I should have stuck to scripting. Anyway, I was up til 12:30 am the other night struggling with 2 sculpty trees (hence my Apology to Joyce Kilmer. That post has a subtitle but I suspect my life is forfeit if I print that.) I woke at 4:30am to continue working. I made 2 shadows. Look – they might not be the best shadows. But they are mine. I made them. By myself. one good, one not so good shadowBy the meeting deadline. In the picture that shows trees with shadows – the shadow on the right foreground is not mine – was given to me by a teammate. The shadow on the left distance is one of mine, layered and copied. You can see that my shadows have a way to go. But, I AM doing this. I may not be the best and there might be flaws, but I am making my deadlines and meeting my commitments. I am doing the best I can. It seems to be okay.

So, for your viewing pleasure, I have included here my chairs, tables, badge, shadows and some trees. Happy Trees to you, until we meet again!

Apologies to Joyce Kilmer

Building a tree
I think that I shall never see
A thing I hate as much as trees.
I used to love them, this is true.
But now tonight I build and rue
The day I said that I would play
At building flowers, trees all day.
I cannot quit, nor can I stop
And still my mind whirls like a top.
You’d think I’d learn, perhaps grow wise,
And not keep giving in to pride.
Poems should be the work for me.
Who thought I should be building trees?


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