Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Life Line

At the time I was reading Ekhart Tolle's book, 'A New Earth', I also was searching through our slides for a photograph I wanted to use on a different topic. Out of looking through so many life stages, reading his book, a serendipitous idea was born. What if I found ones that would illustrate the aging process through one woman's life-- mine.

What got me (besides killing my back), as I sorted through many, many slide boxes, was how much I had been changing all along. I expected to see it in the toddler or child, but then came full adult where it hadn't seemed as much was happening. The photos showed that wasn't so. I was changing from year to year. It wasn't just hair style, clothes, or weight but a real process as to who I was. Was I on my way somewhere or there? Was I confident I was fulfilling my life purpose for that time or did I have doubts? The changes in the woman were often subtle, but through them I could see internal changes sometimes just as they were beginning.

Many of my earlier photos were with family, most specifically my children. I felt if I scanned those images, given the topic is aging, I'd have to find them also that took my children to the age they are today. Where it would be interesting to illustrate their aging process, it would also add complexity (not to mention I don't use their photos here). Where would that stop? Many of theirs are with their children. There is indeed a cycle of life that keeps giving.

When I finally had sorted through enough, I had way too many to use in Rainy Day Thoughts. I selected four closeups for the topic of aging, but a fuller view would have to go elsewhere.

My photo gathering was off and on from April. Although I had looked around a bit for a system that would let me show a timeline, it wasn't until July that I literally stumbled across Dipity (which I learned had only been created in March). At Dipity, photos can be easily downloaded, captioned, and dates added. Other links can be included to illustrate something more. Besides a life line it has many other possible uses like showing process or illustrating a trip.

So, click on this link: [A Life] to see how Dipity works with my timeline. To see the whole line at once, click on the small camera in the lower left-hand corner and then 'show all' in the upper right. If you have time and are interested in following the line, you start with 1944, which I chose as it was when I was beginning to walk; but it's possible to begin anywhere. Click on a plus or a photo box and it will expand for descriptions and sometimes an extra link. Clicking on next, in the upper right corner, takes you down the line. Also when you run into a YouTube, sometimes below it will be a picture and caption.

Dipity allows embedding but in my version of blogger, I had problems getting it small enough to use. I tried cutting it down to fit, which was great right up until the entire blog I had written kept disappearing. It would be there and a second later vanish completely. Given how Blogger auto saves every so many minutes, I thought I was about to lose everything I'd written. Several times I went back out and tried to copy it before it disappeared. Finally I moved fast enough (seconds is all I had), selected all, copied and got out with my writing before it again vanished. That is where I gave up on the embedding idea and deleted the corrupted blog before it swallowed my entire site.

Dipity is new; so they are still tweaking things. I didn't like their addition of maps whenever I used a geographic term as they were often not where that place was. To date, I have found no way to eliminate the maps and am guessing they are because of Dipity's link to Google. I can't complain though as it's free (at least for now). The timeline tool they have created has made possible what I had hoped.

I didn't choose photos from significant events and avoided any with someone else in them. These are pieces of my life-- not just getting old but also the places and sometimes ideas that are part of who I am. I may continue to expand it as I think of more elements that illustrate a feeling or place.

Not everyone has time for a project like this. Since I got the idea, I worked on it off and on when I had time or energy to sort photos. I was fortunate (or maybe not as it made a lot of work) to have many photos from which to choose. From the time I found Dipity, it went very fast because I had already done most of the work.

What a timeline does, I think, is help put a life into perspective-- most especially if, like me, you are someone who doesn't often look back. It's not the whole picture, but it is a enough to remember feelings that may have been forgotten. I knew me, but it still surprised me to see the patterns and direction which showed up. It reminded me of things and led me to think where I was then and to what was I heading. I think doing it has had value for my life today.

(The paintings here are by Parapluie. They are reflections of me but then so are all photographs. Parapluie painted the top one as I posed on my deck in 1993 when we were both 50.

This one was from our apartment complex in Tucson, Arizona, summer 1966. A neighboring lady was a sculptor. She offered if I would pose for her, she would give me the sculpture. We were to pay for firing it. I think I was about 6 months pregnant. Parapluie thought it would make an interesting painting. Her painting of artist, model and art is on the wall behind me. I also still have the sculpture-- somewhere. When we had it fired, the top of the head came off but fortunately was easily glued back on.)


Sylvia K said...

Good morning Rain,
I enjoyed your blog as always. I'm always amazed at the discoveries about myself and the world that I discover as I thread my way through the aging process. Sometimes it's fun, sometimes not, but it's always intersting.
But the sun is shining again today so aging can be dealt with.

robin andrea said...

I went over to Dipity and took a look around at your time line. I was absolutely surprised by how much you still look like the school photo from 1955. That smile, those eyes. You have always been who you are.

Incredible labor of love there, rain. Well done.

Sylvia K said...

Isn't this interesting! I heard from Brian last night and we exchanged several emails about Tai Chi and the tango etc. This is just getting more fun by the day!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I have to have more time to really take in "Dipity" and the timeline...
I am interested in what you use to scan in your slides...! I have thousands of slides I'd like to scan but my scanner does not do them...I need something really good...Any suggestions will be much appreciated.

LOVE The paintings of you by Parapluie...!

Rain said...

What I use to scan slides is probably not still available given the way technology constantly changes, but it's an HP Photosmart 3210 All in one Printer, Scanner Copier and I bought it because it does do slides because I had the same problem. Taking them into a photo shop is expensive; plus doing them myself enables me to do adjustments if they don't seem clear enough or have aged and lost color. It's easy to use as you take out a white board and use a small holder that can do 4 slides at once.

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Wow, Rain. You commented at my blog about Dipity, but I had never heard of it. And now you have fully introduced me to its potential via your own timeline. You are such a beautiful and interesting woman, Rain--a farmer, a wife and mom, a grandma, an artist, a traveler, seeker.

I will definitely play around with Dipity when I've got time. But, I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting yours tonight. In fact, I'm going to write about you at my blog tonight.

Kay Dennison said...

These photos are so great!!! I'd like to try to see what I can do with some old photos and Dipity looks like fun!!!!! Thank you!!! You are --and always have been-- aq real cutie!!!

Parapluie said...

Rain for publishing my paintings of you. Thank you "oldoldlady of the hills for your kind encouraging words. I will also in my blog add a link to this post. Dippity is a great tool when I get my pictures together.

Mary Lou said...

I tried to go to Dipity but it wasnt there. But I went to your timeline just fine I need to explore this some more.

I have an HP 3150 but it does not do slides. My HP SCANNER did but not well. and this 3-1 does not. DARN!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh, this was really cool. I enjoyed looking at all your photos. And I LOVED that song. Never heard of Maria McKee, but of course now I'll have to check her out. And I can't remember if you were the one that introduced me to Enigma here on your blog too.