Taken yesterday. Lensbaby Composer f/4.
The obligatory selfie/taken yesterday/Lensbaby Composer
Taken yesterday. Lensbaby Composer f/4.
The obligatory selfie/taken yesterday/Lensbaby Composer
So I set out to treat Josh like a king this weekend. :) He’s been working long, hard hours lately and has been dealing with some back pain. Last night I lit some sandalwood incense (my favourite), put on some soft, pan flute and guitar music over background ocean waves, and gave him a deep, gingered-up back and foot massage. He sailed off to sweet, blissful sleep after serving him the best homemade ceviche we’ve ever had:
Ladies, this is how to keep your man HAPPY, believe me.
My personal Recipe:
1 lb of thawed jumbo shrimp (shells and tail still on)
1 lb of thawed talapia
1/2 of a large red onion
2 whole cubed avocados
1 large bunch of cilantro
1 large cucumber (peeled)
2 medium tomatoes
1 & 1/2 (or so) cups of bottled real lime juice from concentrate + 6 whole limes
pinch of sea salt
Sriracha sauce (it’s a must)
1 bag of yellow, blue, or white corn tortilla chips
This dish comes with a warning: Your man WILL try to devour you after eating this. It really is that good and it really does make him that happy. ;)
Before you start with the seafood, juice the 6 limes and mix that with the bottled lime juice. Have that close by in a bowl or storage container. You can use fresh, whole limes only, but of course that will take much longer. The bottled lime juice is perfectly sufficient for this ceviche. (I like to include at least 6 limes so it gives it that extra pop of freshness.)
On to the shrimp!
It’s alright to use frozen fish and shrimp- just not precooked. I prefer to use shrimp that still have their tails and shells on, because they’re often fresher (even if frozen) and juicier. Technically, anything with their shells still on or their bones still in will be fresher than if not. You will need to devein the shrimp, however; but that’s fairly easy. You’ll just need to cut a long, vertical line down the back of the shrimp after removing its shell entirely, and then open it up a bit and remove the very small, long vein that runs lengthwise throughout its body.
It’ll be important to place each shrimp into a semi-large container (I use Tupperware) after deshelling it so it won’t dry out and also, to keep it as fresh as possible. Deshelling shrimp can be a slow process.
After you’ve finished with the shrimp, you’ll need to cube them in pieces the size of a nickel- or thereabouts. Next, you’ll need to cube the tilapias the same size as well.
I use Tupperware so that I can easily put a lid on it and place it in the fridge for 1 to 2 hours. Some recipes call for 30 minutes, some for 4 hours. It really depends on your ingredients and the quantity, etc. For this particular batch of ceviche, I go with 2 hours. You’re looking for the seafood to take on an opaque colour. The acids in the lime juice “cook” the fish and shrimp. After it’s finished, it’s so delicious and juicy and tender. It really is the perfect dish and makes a divine Sunday brunch in bed- such as today. :)
After the seafood is finished bathing in its “tiger’s milk” as its called, you’re ready to add the other ingredients. Chop up the (peeled) cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro (leaves only), avocados, halved red onion, and the pinch of sea salt and mix it into the dish of seafood. Stir it gently until well mixed and top with sriracha. Best served with yellow, blue, or white corn tortilla chips and DIG IN.
Because this dish is so healthy, you can eat tons of the stuff. The going price for a large serving of ceviche-for-one in a restaurant is $20.
This recipe serves 4-6 people and is equal to $50 worth of restaurant ceviche. The total price for all of the ingredients is $25, so that’s a saving of 50%. Not too bad. :)
Josh and I are little piggies so we ate it all ourselves. (It goes fast.) I’m off to make our fennel tea with organic, raw honey.
The first post of the year. :)
I can hardly believe I’ve had this blog for four years now:
I originally came here because I’d seen another photographer with a “Last Day of the Year” post and she’d had a gazillion pics up for that whole year’s compilation and wanted to do the same. Somehow, I’ve morphed from being “just a photographer/artist” to being almost nothing but a full-time psych student. I set out to make my blog mostly photo and art stuff, but I’m a mouthy dame with a lot to say and needed an outlet: this was perfect.
The first handful of years I’d posted mostly personal things; lots of informative posts and migraine-related stuff; family stuff, etc. But after so many postings, I’ve sort of grown a bit protective of my privacy, seeing how I’ve discovered several “overly-enthusiastic” followers (stalkers) who watch my every move, which has become…a bit more than unsettling. I don’t have a Facebook page, and I’m certain that if I did, they’d be hunting me down on there.
One of my most devoted followers (stalkers) resides in California and owns an art site. He’s been shadowing me for years now and is more than a bit obsessed with me, so say his own attorneys! It’s a bit creepy.
Alas, he’s not the first, and I’m sure he won’t be the last. In all of this, my blog has become little more than an update on my progress with school, as my children are all grown and I feel very protective of them as well. Josh and I are still together- 10 years strong!- and I’m equally (if not more) protective of him too.
So really, there’s not much to report, apart from my grades and the occasional batch of pictures from my rare outings. Once my final undergrad. semester begins (in just over a week) I’ll be virtually MIA and will be devoted to only school. I’ll still keep my blog, of course, but will use it mostly for a base for my academic progress as I continue on in this life-changing journey.
I’m determined to become a prison psychologist. I can’t explain it! I feel the winds of destiny blowing gently on my face and I believe when you know you’re calling, you have a responsibility to fulfill it. Your steps toward that place depend not only on your own life, but the lives of those who you will touch along the way. In that altruistic way, I can look forward to my future with great love and excitement, knowing I’ll be making necessary changes in the world for the better.
But today, I’ll start with myself. :)
Josh and I are off to explore some flea markets. I’m picking up a 40 in. flat screen TV for his (belated) Christmas present. (We’re serious gamers around here.)
I hope 2016 brings loads of laughter, cheer, good-will, love, and purpose to everyone who reads this. May you always shine your light, bright and clear. x
I’m pretty excited that I only have one semester remaining before obtaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m almost there!
Here are just a few of the obstacles I’ve overcome since my academic journey began 5 years ago:
It’s definitely been an uphill battle, and what should have taken me many more years to complete, I was able to complete in just 3 years. (Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences and a CPC/Certification in Substance Abuse.)
I’ve worked so hard and have fought through hell and back to be able to get to this point- relentlessly– and can finally see the finish line just ahead. My final semester begins in two weeks; and my last 5 courses are:
After I graduate in May (2016), I’ll have the summer off before beginning my Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Things are looking pretty good. :) I received all A’s last semester so this next semester, it will be extremely important to make mostly A’s as well so that I can get into my Master’s program.
The years are flying by! Another year is gone. This year was the hardest year of my life. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a much better year on many levels.
I’m coming for you Bipolar Barbie-Q!
Early edit from 2009, from my Photoshopping days (friend’s daughter)
I remember when I was in the 4th grade; my teacher, Mrs. Ledford, would read from the Bible (KJV/ King James Version) out loud, every day. I didn’t go to a private Christian school; this was the public school system back in the ’70’s. She would read to the classroom- out loud- one chapter a day from the Bible. It was part of our daily learning, and it was not uncommon at the time.
Before we ate our daily lunches in the cafeteria, our teachers would instruct us to bow our heads at the table as we all joined together to pray over our food. Back then, the Iranian hostage crisis was still gaining momentum, and so we all wore cloths tied around our arms in support of our American hostages that were being held, and sometimes beaten, daily. I was too young to really understand the situation much; but I wasn’t unfamiliar with prayer- having been raised in a Pentecostal family. Prayer was, and still is, a very important part of my life. We stood with our hands over our hearts in the auditorium, pledging allegiance to our flag- and our country. I had a reason to feel proud of my country back then. Now, I’m filled with shame and disgust that our country has virtually banned God (and Jesus) from the classroom. I’m no longer proud of my country.
At W.R. Castle Elementary school, in Johnson County Kentucky, students are participating in the traditional “A Charlie Brown Christmas” play. What makes this particular Christmas program so important and so special, is that its creator, Charles Schultz, realized that few programs during the time of its creation were focusing on what Christmas is truly about- the miraculous birth and celebration of Jesus Christ- the Son of God.
Mr. Schultz stated that he purposely included a passage from the Bible that explains just exactly what Christmas is really about. Not Santa Claus. Not toys. Not the commercialism and hubbub of what it’s become over the years- but rather, the moving Christmas story that accompanies Jesus’ Holy birth at the manger, among lowly farm animals, and the 3 Magi who were guided to the manger by following the bright star in the night sky.
The telling of this story has been a Christmas tradition for many years and I remember my teachers telling this story to me every year in my classrooms at school. There was a feeling of charity and warmth in the air as we all learned about Jesus’ birth, as several teachers discussed the precious oils (Frankincense and Myrrh) and other gifts that the Magi/Wise men brought with them to give to Jesus.
Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the ever-driven “politically correct” God-banners are having none of this. They petitioned the school board at W.R. Castle Elementary school and are fighting to have the Bible passages- and all references pertaining to Jesus– removed from this Christmas play.
FYI, to whom it may concern, Jesus isn’t merely part of a Christmas story– Jesus IS the Christmas story. In the Charlie Brown Christmas story, Linus explains the meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown, who is under the impression that Christmas is about a tree and other synonymous symbols. Charles Schultz went on to create this necessary and important conversation between Linus and Charlie Brown:
Charlie Brown: “I guess you were right, Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree. Everything I do turns into a disaster. I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about. Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”
Linus: “Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.”
(Linus) Taken from the Bible/Luke 8: 2-14: “And there were (in the same country) shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Linus: “That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
I can understand disallowing students (or school officials) from forcefully pushing an agenda onto other students–who may not be interested in that agenda–but this is not the case. We’re talking about elementary school children who have a right to learn about the birth of Jesus Christ in an educational and historical context. They have a right to know and learn this information!
Since when did it become “o.k.” to alter historical content in such a way? It is altogether evil to ban “the story of Jesus’ birth”- from a Christmas play during Christmas time.
We’ve reached a new low in this country.
Taken from an interview with Charlie Brown creator, Charles. M. Schultz:
I agree, Mr. Schultz.
Lying here in the muted candle light, the sound of Josh writing a song on our electric stage piano has a tranquil, sedating effect. I feel mildly euphoric, despite having a wicked migraine. It’s noteworthy to add that I haven’t had a migraine in many weeks. I became my own lab rat when I experimented with a variety of medicinal, herbal, natural pain modifiers and thankfully, discovered something that worked for me. It’s such an effective medicine, that it not only eliminated my 3 day migraines altogether, but doubled as natural Adderall; increasing my ability to focus and concentrate by more than 60%. As a result, my grades shot up and I became an honor roll student virtually overnight. And, as a result of the medicine, I’ve been able to eliminate my doctor visits 100%. No need for pharmaceutical pain medication, no need for nerve pills, no need for Ambien to help me sleep. It’s been my panacea and it works. (Unfortunately, I’ve been without that medicine for 3 weeks now.)
I realize finding a cure-all on this level is slim to none. Even doctors and therapists are unable to “fix” people for the most part. Why else do people continue seeing a therapist after 20 years and so on? You’d think that there’d be nothing left to discuss. Ahh…but what they don’t and won’t tell you, is that they will help you to perpetuate your own disorder; it’s called job security.
You would think that I, of all people– a psychologist-in-training– would be hesitant to talk openly about this seldom-disclosed medical deception, but I’m not. Because it’s disgusting how Big Pharma and (many) doctors and therapists are all in bed together, and they work incessantly to keep people sick- year after year- and benefit from it.
Disclaimer: there are people who genuinely need therapy and benefit from it, and absolutely should continue on with it and take the proper medications. I’m not talking about those people.
I’m talking more about people that really don’t need medication or therapy at all…like children who are excitable, and are simply being children. They wiggle in their seats with anticipation and raw energy. But do you know what the teachers are doing in most all schools now? They’re being conditioned and programmed–like militants–to report ANY children who exhibit signs of “excitability”, and they’re mandated to report these “excitable children” to school officials, CPS workers, CASA workers (who are merely average Joes and Janes who volunteer to work with children, despite their lack of any kind of training whatsoever- scary), and a plethora of other workers.
What happens next is nothing short of societal rape. They then tell the parents that their child needs to be medicated, because he or she is exhibiting signs of ADHD- which is a “catch-all disorder” for a child simply being a child! Big Pharma has created this disorder in the last 20 years or so, and has pimped it out to society at large, and the whole world has swallowed it up- tail and all- because they’re told it’s true.
This is scary crap. For real.
School teachers- who have absolutely no psychological training whatsoever, are reporting children to case workers, who then report those children to “other officials”- who in turn, report them to CPS- the baby snatchers and the family destroyers. Why? Why would they do such a thing?
I’ll tell you why. Because every child in the public school system who is put on some type of behavioral disorder medicine receives bonus money for that school. For every kid that’s diagnosed–by a freakin’ teacher–and reported- the school’s bankroll gets fatter. And now that school district has a sweet chunk o’ change rolling in, no matter where that kid goes (as long as he’s medicated and the “problem” persists- and oh believe me, it will) and that kid becomes a “lifer” most of the time. Meaning, that child will be told it needs medicine year after year, for many years, and sometimes it lasts for the rest of their lives. Because after 10- 20 years of pharmaceutical medications, a host of side effects and other disorders have now been created (and are real), because of that one prescribed medication during the child’s most formidable, impressionable years.
Look it up. Knowledge is power, they say. Kids are being altogether destroyed at an alarming rate in the U.S. and parents are frightened into obeying, because they’e told that their child has “a disorder”. They’re threatened if they don’t take their kid to a therapist and worse, they’e threatened if they refuse to medicate their child.
This is a sick, twisted business. It’s absolutely horrific and yet it continues on, year after year.
I watched this documentary called The Drugging of Our Children and it blew my head off. Seriously. It scared the crap out of me. I could not believe that our system is that perverted. Well, yes I can, but don’t get me started on that.
Alas. I really didn’t want to rant on about all of that. This is just free association.
I really wanted to write about something else entirely. My migraine, and pain in general. I’ve noticed that when I’m in extreme pain, especially for 72 hours relentlessly, that any little comfort feels reeeeeeeeeally good. Way better than normal. Take for example, stretching my muscles. By nature, I really can’t stand to work out. It’s boring and repetitive and sort of pointless to me. I can think of many fun ways to get exercise, rather than spin around on a wheel like a sad hamster.
But a few moments ago, I noticed that when I stretched my leg muscle, it felt incredibly good. More so than if I didn’t have a migraine and it got me thinking: What’s the correlation between pain and good feelings? Is it possible that pain actually releases endorphins?
And then I found this article that stated that not only pain releases feely-good endorphins, but so does stress. Hold on- let that sink in a minute.
Stress (chaos, worry, contention, strife, bad traffic, an ugly altercation, hard donuts, etc.) releases endorphins. A while back, I wrote a post about a theory that I posited, called The Chaos Theory. There’s already a chaos theory in math, but not in psychology. Well, now there is. :)
My theory is this: In childhood and adolescence, some of us are thrown into derision and pain, or, chaos, and not unlike adaptation, we get used to crazy crap happening to us all of the time. (Sorry, I get tired of writing academic research sometimes and my rebellion is being able to dumb it down- teetering dangerously on the edge of slang.) In short, if the chaos ceases for any length of time outside of what we’re familiar with, we’ll create our own chaos, because then, at least we know what to expect.
In this way, we condone and accept self-induced chaos more readily than foreign peace.
Heavy words, but not untrue. As with anything else, each person’s experience will vary, and this hypothetical scenario is individuated and subjective. In other words, it’s not the same for everybody.
In the article I pointed out up there, it states that our stress and pain activate our opioid receptors; very much like drugs do. However, it stated that we do not become addicted to pain and stress as we would with drugs.
I beg to differ.
And I bring your attention back to my Chaos Theory. I believe some of us seek out chaos, not because we like it, but because we’re trying to alter our brain chemistry. Stress produces endorphins! When we experience prolonged stress, our brain dispatches the EMT/ambulance (little neurotransmitters- endorphins) to patch up the damage. This is likened to taking a hit off of an opium pipe. Not enough to knock you down, no, and maybe not enough to even notice- on a conscious level.
But what’s happening behind the scenes is that as the stress is increasing, and the sympathetic nervous system throws the body into “fight or flight” mode, our endorphins are being pumped out from the pituitary gland and are circulated throughout the body via the bloodstream, certain neural pathways in our brain are being rewarded with those feely-good hormones. It’s very much like biological classical conditioning.
This is bad though, because it teaches the person that “heightened stress” is rewarded.
[Another “let that sink in” moment.]
In this way, we absolutely can, and sometimes do become addicted to stress, and our own chaos- because it’s what we’ve learned to do in order to “fix ourselves”- not unlike a junkie.
I’d like to conduct a few research studies in the future in this area. But for now, I’m going to get my own fix; listening to Josh play and sing, as I lay here in the candle’s warm glow with the smell of pumpkin spice filling up the room sweetly.
Interestingly enough, my migraine has dissipated almost entirely.
I’m sitting here in a semi-daze, stunned. I’m not used to receiving phenomenally good news. Actually, it’s usually the opposite. Life has been a little crazy lately. As I previously mentioned, I’ve had to file several appeals with my university, because I was initially told that almost 90 credit hours would be accepted as transfers-in. That would’ve meant that I could’ve graduated in May of 2016- a bit earlier than what would’ve been considered “standard”. (By about a year.) So I was pretty excited by that news a year ago, and that was part of the reason why I chose my school: IU East. It’s a top-notch school- one of the best in the state, in fact.
So again, when my adviser told me (only 4 months ago) that my previous advisers had made a mistake, and that they would now have to take away almost 30 of my credit hours, I lost it, understandably. I don’t have $11,000 for the remaining credit hours. Plus, it would’ve meant that I would have had to put off my graduation date by another year. Needless to say, all of this has taken away my academic shine and I began thinking that taking a year off was probably in store for me in the immediate future. In short, I was disenchanted altogether- to say the least.
My adviser told me that she had tried to plead with the graduation board on my behalf, but came back with the news that they “never make an exception”. I may as well not even try, and count my losses with my wins along the way in this academic journey. And, for a little while, I felt myself giving up. I just didn’t have it in me to put up a fight, really. At least, in the beginning. But as time drew on, I became angry. I couldn’t believe that a school could commit such an egregious oversight and tell me to clean up the mess, as it were. It just didn’t seem fair!
Really, I was supposed to contact my adviser and go through that channel. But when things get serious, I like to handle matters myself. So, I filed an appeal. I didn’t even tell my adviser. I just did it. I pleaded my case and provided documents to substantiate my claims. And then I waited.
That was several weeks ago. I had already decided to drop my Statistics course a few weeks ago, and then filed a refund appeal, because I felt my professor was entirely incompetent. I lost the appeal due to “insufficient evidence”, although I provided the committee with 9 accompanying documents. Perhaps that was a bit much. Live and learn!
That was an $800 loss, no biggie. So when I checked my school email today, I wasn’t expecting to find what I did. I heard back from the 2nd appeal committee and they relayed to me that they had decided to make an exception (!) and shaved 6 classes off of my advising worksheet/audit, meaning, instead of needing to take 11 more classes to graduate, right now, I only need 5. This is a huge victory!
From what I know, this has never happened in the history of this school. It’s unbelievable. That will save me roughly $6,000- $7,000 off my tuition. I have a total of $4,100 for my spring semester, so that means that I’ll need to pitch in a grand or so for my remaining class, and if I push for the summit and take 5 classes in the spring (January-May of 2016), I’ll be able to graduate with my B.S. in Psychology then, in May, and begin working on my Master’s in Forensic Psychology the following semester, in August of 2016.
This is the best news I’ve received in a long time. :)
And I have to say it: IU East, you just changed my entire life’s course. THANK YOU.
And Al, if you’re reading this, a million thank you’s for encouraging me to file that appeal. You have no idea how much I appreciate your support. And, I wish you much continued success in the future and have no doubt that you’ll continue having many more successful solo exhibits. ;)
This is the sunset that almost got me arrested yesterday:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI + golden hour lighting
Josh and I were out driving through the beautiful country of Starlight, Indiana. We’d had a glass of Apple Spice wine from the orchard and were enjoying the sunshine. I glanced over through the trees and saw the sun beaming through and knew I had to get that shot (shown above). I didn’t alter any colours in it: it’s SOOTC (Straight Out Of the Camera). What you see is how it looked in person. It was incredibly beautiful.
So I parked the car a quarter of a mile down on the side of the road, and as I tiptoed through the field (barefooted, naturally), I happened to notice there was a man standing on the road directly to my left. He didn’t speak, he just watched me. If I could count the times strange people just showed up to watch me shoot. Grrr.
I took my cue to go, and as I was going, he said, “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
That translates to, “I live right down the road and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take a picture of this here field.”
I showed him the shot and let him know I was harmlessly taking a pic, and skidaddled off to our Rodeo Isuzu. Not even 45 seconds later, we passed a cop car going in the direction of where we had just come. Jimbob had called the law.
Not that we were doing anything wrong. But out in redneck country, you’re either going to get shot at, or have to outrun the police like we did. And so began our hurried exit, snaking through every jijagged turn we could make, and flying back to the city. Believe me when I say, photography is not a boring hobby! “Dealing” with the cops is part of the package.
Alas, it was worth it. :)
And a few more from the day:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI
And last, but not least, my partners in crime!
Life is whirling by way too fast these days!
Josh and I just returned from a late steak dinner (or early, depending on which end of the clock you’re watching) and I probably shouldn’t have had almost 3 cups of coffee this late. I’ve been working at a frenzied pace, finishing up my semester, and taking on side projects as well, for others, mostly. I have to say, life is pretty sweet these days. :)
I want to get back to my art, but that too will be on hold for another 6 months or so. I’m salivating at the thought of taking a year off for my art and music before beginning work on my Master’s degree. There just aren’t enough arms on my body or hours in the day.
I’m dabbling with the idea of opening a semi-organic lollipop shop; it’s still just a thought as an embryonic idea, but I could see it growing over the next few years. And then there’s my children’s book. (Sigh.) I really wanted to move that around a bit but I’ve been so busy with school- it’s practically consumed my life for five years.
I think five years in is a good time to take a break, however. After next (spring) semester, I’ll be able to take some down time, relax, and just make art. Josh, being the genius that he is, modified my Lensbaby (as if a Lensbaby needs any more modification) adding a disc-shaped cardboard cutout- replicating a pinhole a bit, causing the edges of the frame to be less exaggerated but heavier on the in-cam blur.
The result is a dreamy, romantic quality to the sides of the frames, such as seen in this river pic from last week:
Time for late night cuddles with my baby. ♥
(7:00 a.m. comes way too early.)
I. Hate. Statistics.
Lately, I’ve felt like my brain is utterly fried- doing 12 hours of statistics at a time. Some of the problems are 4 and 5 parts long and take nearly an hour- per problem. This class is harder than Algebra I & II and College Algebra combined. After a while, you feel like a rat’s chewing your brain out and rational thoughts cease to exist.
For example, after taking 23 pages of Statistic notes yesterday (z-scores, normal distributions, random variables and so on), I tried to sleep. My youngest daughter is staying with us for a bit, so Josh and I are piled up on the couch- his feet all twisted up on my lap. Rather than trying to continue to sleep, I decided to do some surfing around online. Where did I end up? Right back at my Statistics home site, doing miscellaneous problems- FOR FUN – at 5:00 a.m.
Pure madness. I think it’s winning.
Worst. Class. Ever. <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<———-