photographer. artist. author. singer. songwriter. musician. teacher. student. humanitarian. visionary.

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Selfie Friday

Yep. (Gas station lighting.)

Zeiss Jena Flektogon film lens/35-2.8

LoveMJ2

Peach Wine, a Little Bit of Cussing and Heart Warming Sunshine

So Josh and I decided that we would spend the afternoon out doing something spontaneous and adventurous. Before I became a school drone, I used to go out and take pictures of abandoned buildings (and get cussed at and threatened and lots of times the police were involved) and stuff. So, we wanted to go and do new things today. The weather was absolutely stunning and what better place to go than to a winery in the country?

It was a bit past five and they closed at six so we blazed a path to Huber’s Orchard. This story just wouldn’t be typical if some type of cussing weren’t involved- that’s usually what happens when you’re minding your own business with your camera. Josh and I had bought two bottles of fresh wine: Peach, and Catawba Rose (the latter being our favourite). So we’d had a small cup each, and I parked my car on the side of the pumpkin patch and hopped out for a quick shot as we were leaving. I walked over to the edge of the road- close to our Rodeo/vehicle- and laid down on my belly to get a worm’s eye view of a bashed open pumpkin. Lo and behold, just above my camera view, a hayride truck was coming our way and I pointed my camera toward it as it approached us for a quick shot.

The driver yells at me, “The field is closed!” He’d slowed down to a complete stop with 15 people or so, all sitting on the back. He thought I was picking pumpkins. So I hopped up (literally, I hopped) and hopped again 3 big leaps (like a bunny rabbit) over to the actual road, and yelled, “I’m not in the field now!” I was actually laughing because I thought it was all a bit silly.

He looked at me, sort of quizzically, and drove off. That should’ve been the end of that.  I wasn’t breaking any rules. But no. No. No. No. A sassy-mouthed broad had to say- loud enough for me to here her- “I would have to slap that girl.”

Yep.

And so I flipped her off (naturally) and replied, “Here ya go, slap that!”

And that was the end of that.

But here’s some pics from the rest of the afternoon: warm country air, a lazy Sunday afternoon, a really beautiful man and some good fall wine. It really doesn’t get much better. :)

Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens/natural lighting/Canon Rebel XSI

mjcollageJosh

A Very Long Sabbatical

I’ve decided that after this semester’s over (in December), I’m going to take 1-2 years off from school. I’ve been pushing myself very hard for 4 years now (since the fall of 2010) with only one summer break. My brain hurts! I’m clawing at the fuzzy realization that it’s only two months away.

I remember the last day I worked at Dialamerica. I was a telemarketer (the woman everybody loved to hate!) and as I got out of the car, pregnant with my son, Brian, I put one foot on the pavement and it was all I could do to heave and ho and drag my other foot out. I hated every second of it. I thought to myself, “This is the last day I’ll come here. No more.” And that was it.

Well that’s how I’m starting to feel about school. I have chronic TMJ gnawing away at my head like a deranged hamster- the pain is gnawing at the pain, and it’s every day. Sleep is the only comfort I have because it’s the only time I’m not in pain. It’s making my schoolwork virtually unbearable. I just don’t feel good. I have the immune system of steel, I really do. I haven’t had the flu (or even a cold) in a year, and before that, it was another year. I seldom get sick, but I pay in pain in every other way.

As long as I’m convicted and driven by principle- I’m in it for the long haul. But this lukewarm romance with college is falling away and I’m scrutinizing the “balance” of it now. I have 3-4 years to go before I get my Master’s. By then, I’ll be 50! I don’t want to wait until I’m a burnt out shell to record my songs and work on my art and photography. (This is not a new song I’m singing. It was the same thing last year, and the year before.)

My mind is tired. The stress and hard work are taking their toll. For anybody who’s never been to college that might think it’s easy to be a full-time student year after year, not so! it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done, continually. I don’t have the best track record in the world either. I have many ambitions and dreams! I’ve followed through on a few of them. But I’m suffering, and I just need a good, long sabbatical. Like- 2 years. I’ll be able to get a “hardship deferral”, so that’s not a problem.

And if I’m honest, part of me doesn’t care if I never return. I’m just So. Burnt. Out. 

Josh is very supportive of this executive decision. It means that I won’t get my Bachelor’s in 2016, but I miss the clouds and my photo-walks and my editing and my guitar playing and my dreaming and I miss the wondering of what the next day brings!

If I have to smell the air of indifference one more day I’m going to break. I’m watching the world spin from under my microscope and I get to be part of it when I go to the store. Yay! It’s not enough. I’m dying inside and I can’t let myself turn into an old, predictable, flaccid curmudgeon! So I’m counting down the days before I’m set free of this academic cocoon.

Today, I was sitting at a red light. I surveyed the scene and it was flat and dull. Cars turned and moved and sat and beeped and it was all very “normal”. I didn’t feel the least bit inspired by anything and felt stale inside. And then I realized why. My “photographic eye” has been asleep for months! When I’m actively taking pictures, daily, then I’m burning with fire inside- I’m alive. My eye is sharp and keen- like a hawk- and it’s quick and I see shots everywhere. I hear stories everywhere. People “speak” just in their gestures and I’m the storyteller, or, my camera is.

Today I was looking at the world through non-photographic eyes and it scared the crap out of me. As I’ve said before, school is choking the artist in me, and I have to do something different for a while. Besides, I want to focus more on my writing. Poetry, memoir, who knows? It’s yet to be explored and that excites me. :0)

But more than anything- I want to take pictures again and wander around with my camera- lost in the moment. That sounds like Heaven…

Weary

Sunflowers

Fresh sunflowers from my guy…

1MJ
2MJ
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8

Another Head-Crushing Migraine and Sweet, Sweet Rain

TreeMJ

I’m in so much pain I can’t find adequate words to describe it. It started  with my TMJ, combined with the dental work I had done last week. I believe the dentist sawed a few nerves in half that shouldn’t have been severed. It’s like no tooth pain I’ve ever felt before. The pain is so acute and shrill- it’s dizzying. As a matter of fact, having a baby (all natural) wasn’t this painful, and I’ve had 3 natural births!

No, this feels like somebody has bashed my head on my right side and it’s beginning to envelop my right eye socket in a sick, orbital frenzy. The vessels surrounding my (right) temporal and occipital region are pregnant with pain- threatening to burst, they feel like. My lymph node under the right side of my chin is swollen, indicating that i may have an accompanying infection of some sort. This is far worse than a normal unilateral migraine, because this includes TMJ pain and damaged nerves. It’s literally taking my breath away.

It’d do me no good to go to the ER- they’d just shoot me up with a demerol cocktail and while that would end this excruciating pain temporarily, it’d do nothing for me in the long run. It boils my blood that Medicaid won’t cover TMJ! They feel that it’s not “necessary”, nor are any procedures affiliated with it. This is the worst pain I’ve ever been in in my life- and it’s only just begun. If I don’t manage to knock this pain out FAST, it’ll take me down for the next 2 to 3 days and I cannot afford that during midterms.

Time to log off before I vomit.
Thank God for the rain dancing on my roof…

Midterms

I’m starting to feel the stress of midterms; two if which are due by Monday. I made my guys (Josh and Brian) a delicious supper of oven-roasted turkey, polenta squares, fresh collard greens, shells-n-cheddar, over-sized baked yams, green onions w/sliced grape tomatoes + lemon ginger tea for Josh and Honey Vanilla Chamomile for Brian- along with freshly made cinnamon rolls. I love my guys! I hear them laughing as they play Gary’s Mod. in the living room: I’m very happy. :)

I have a massive Excel assignment due in my Research Methods class (where we’ll be working with Analyses of Sample Demographics) which I was supposed to already have started on, another research topic proposal due in my Cross-Cultural Communications class, and worst of all, I’m supposed to take my midterm in Everyday Psychology- but get this: it’s 132 multiple choice questions + short essay and we only have 1 hour and 15 minutes- for a 132 question exam! That’s sheer insanity. I don’t think my professor has any idea what he’s asking. There’s just no way to accomplish a 132 question psychology exam in 75 minutes. It’s not even a realistic expectation. I’ve written him and asked him to change the allotted time to at least two hours. At this point, I still have a 100% (A) in the class, but after an exam like that, I could drop a whole letter grade. Short essay too? That’s insane!

Still, I’m in good spirits and am feeling content and relaxed. I’m still holding on to my strong A’s in 3 of my classes and am trying hard to recover my grade in Ethics. I’m fighting to keep my B; it’s a really difficult course. It’s my first semester at my new university and I’m really fighting hard to make the Dean’s List! I won’t know for a bit yet, but I’ve been on the Dean’s List at both my other schools (Ivy Tech and Vincennes University) and although this school is much harder, I’m putting my best foot forward and am working really hard this semester.

I miss the really deep, introspective writing that I’m used to; I just don’t have time to do that these days! My days are flying by and already, we’re getting ready to kiss this year goodbye. Time to fold the clothes and watch Intervention.

Flowers in Kentucky/Bluegrass state- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8(film)/natural lighting/all manual

FlowersMJ

Rainy Day Brunch and Comfy Socks

The rain is falling down in soft patterns that make me happy. It was a raging torrent earlier but has now fallen back to gentle solace. The house is clean so I’ve decided to stay in bed and knock back my Ethics assignment, which is due by midnight. Looks like a great time waiting to happen! (Note the sarcasm.) Take, for example:

  1. In Everyday Morality, Martin considers Ruth Benedict as representing the philosophical view of ethical conventionalism (pp. 53-54).  What does she say in the excerpt from her Anthropology and the Abnormal (in Resources) that would support ethical conventionalism?
  2. Although not included in the excerpt, Benedict ends her paper with these words:  “It is as it is in ethics:  all our local conventions of moral behavior and of immoral are without absolute validity, and yet it is quite possible that a modicum of what is considered right and what wrong could be disentangled that is shared by the hole human race” (quoted in Rosenstand, p. 147).  Does this statement contradict what she said in the excerpt from Anthropology and the Abnormal that you read?  Why or why not?  Does this statement contradict the perspective of ethical conventionalism?  Why or why not?
  3. According to the excerpts you have read, what do The Poisonwood Bible and Possessing the Secret of Joy have in common?  What are their major differences?  Which of these two approaches to diversity and relativism do you find more compelling?  Explain.
  4. What would each of the various perspectives Martin discusses in chapter 4 (ethical conventionalism, ethical pluralism, two versions of conceptual relativism, two definitions of multiculturalism) say about female genital mutilation?   In your view, would female genital mutilation be morally right (permissible or obligatory) or morally wrong (impermissible)?  Why or why not?

Ethical conventionalism, perspectivism, universalism, ethical pluralism, etc. 

Blah.

My TMJ pain is making me crazy: it’s unrelenting! It feels like somebody’s pulling my jaw (continuously) out if its socket. Medicaid will not cover TMJ because they think that surgical procedures for chronic TMJ (such as I have) are not “necessary”. Don’t you love it? So now I’m in constant pain and have one of two choices: do nothing and suffer, or double up on my (homeopathic, all natural) pain meds. I really don’t want to do that but damn if I’m going to sit here and try to get work done with little, evil elves digging out my jaw meat with pitchforks. (Double up on pain meds it is.)

I have an exceptional brunch of fried ham, brown eggs, English muffin w/cream cheese & cherry preserves + lemon ginger tea.

brunchMJ

And my comfy socks.

comfysoxMJ
Thanks again to my son’s little lady- Many tator tots- who is a total sweetheart! :)

Gaming Saturday!

It’s a cold, rainy day, and I’m tucked into my bed in my jammies- pile of schoolbooks semi-stacked in a sloppy pile beside me. I awoke with a feeling of accomplishments over the past week: caught up on schoolwork (early), cleaned the house meticulously, spent some quality time with my mother and took care of my bad tooth. Saturdays usually mean writing another report with a gazillion citations + reading chapters on bivariate coordinates and chipping away at research topic proposals (I’m juggling two at the moment) and catching up on work that’s been put off until the last minute.

But this week, I made some personal habit changes and have begun to do my work early so that I can scale back on stress.

Rule # 1: Get your work done early!

And so I’ve followed this rule adherently. Alas, all of this responsibility has made me want to be wild and willy, so Josh and I have renamed this day Gaming Saturday! There will be no schoolwork (for me) or housework (for either). I’ve made a fresh pot of lemon ginger tea and we’ll stay in bed and game all day: he on his desktop and me on my laptop.

I’m downloading The Raven- Legacy of a Master Thief [move up queue- check! Bandwidth allocation set to high- check! Go!] and he’ll be playing Gary’s Mod. no doubt, but this is what we’ll be doing ’til 1 or 2 am or so: it’s how we blow off steam. Is there any better way?

Red River Gorge (Slade, Kentucky)- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon- 35/2.8/natural lighting/manual
VacayPixMJ
RedRiverGorgeMJ

Snapshot

Busy.
Busy.
Busy.

Here’s a snapshot of my day:

  • Josh wakes me up with sweet, warm, coffee kisses, “Byeeee…”
  • Pop out of bed, make some strong, black Gevalia.. Take acidophilus, fish oil, milk thistle (best liver cleanser on the planet), two papaya enzymes (to aid degestion) + the standard two Ibuprofin gel caps.
  • Have some breakfast: vanilla Greek yogurt and some Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • Hop in shower
  • Get ready for dentist appointment
  • Dentist- full pano x-ray + cavity drilled and filled (raw nerves exposed- extremely painful)- xray results- TMJ “condo” area (cheek & jawbone joint on right side) is “not looking good”- is extremely swollen and may have bone mutation/deformation from chronic TMJ- may need surgery- TMJ specialist referral
  • Straight to Mom’s house- pick up grocery list/my treat- go shopping for both my Mom & I- ($300)
  • Drop off groceries/go home- Josh is home early- he helps put away groceries
  • Laundry/cleaning/dishes, etc.
  • Two more Ibuprofin gel caps because mouth hurts like a &^%$# and novacaine has worn off completely
  • Make dinner for Josh & i: steak, polenta, fresh collard greens, fresh portabella mushrooms, green onions, fingerling “smushed potatoes” w/sour cream/garlic & scallions
  • Put away laundry/wash another load
  • Dishes (again)
  • Give dog (Chance) a bath
  • Take another shower
  • Make hot Epson salt foot soak for Josh
  • Take dog for walk
  • Come home- finish up remaining dishes
  • Make Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea for Josh and I (w/honey- good stuff!)
  • Put clothes into dryer
  • Brush teeth & fall into bed early with stack of schoolbooks at 10:36 p.m.

Cringeworthy!

SnapshotMJ
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens + Canon Rebel XSI

Awesome Sale- Awful Vacation

I came back from my vacation with a notice that I made a sale: that’s always nice! Somebody bought a framed print of:

 The Longest Dream

flat,800x800,070,f.u3 It’s a nice feeling that somebody would pay almost $200 for one of my prints. So, to whoever the mystery buyer is, thank you deeply! That made my day.

Unfortunately, our vacation was like a bad SNL skit. It really was the vacation from hell. I blame both of us being overworked-like two highly pressurized pots that have been on the stove for far too long. The best part was sleeping in the car on the first night. We read books on our Androids on an air mattress- priceless! But then we got semi-lost the next day and all hell broke loose. I can’t go into detail, because I don’t want to paint anybody black. There was yelling and cussing and that’s all before we even got to the cabin!

The location was absolutely stunning. But then it all went downhill very quickly, starting with the two large dogs (the size of small horses) which jumped all over us as soon as we got out of the car. The owner, Fred (who took a liking to hanging over his front porch), failed to mention that he and his wife actually lived on the premises too. We weren’t going to be alone as the website indicated; their cabin was only feet away from ours. Strike one.

And then there was the whole no-WiFi thing. The website said there was Wifi- nope! Fred told us that the teens who had stayed there prior to our arriving had used it all up. (Fred conveniently neglected to tell us that part on the phone while booking with him just days before.) Strike two. But the worst part of all was those damn acorns. Not the dry kind that bounces off the roof quietly- no no- these were the heavy, green kind that hit the tin roof with an ear-shattering CRACK. CRACK. CRACK. Every 25-45 seconds- just like clock work, without fail. Strike three.

Kiss your sanity (and any hope of a good night sleep goodbye). I couldn’t go out on my front porch without seeing Fred on his. The entire time, Fred let his dogs roam free, up onto our deck when we were grilling ribs- it didn’t matter. Between the dogs, the lack of internet, and the blasted acorns, I really couldn’t wait to get back home. I did manage to get 10 gigs of beautiful shots. I was only able to edit a few, as it’s back to the grind! Josh is working 12 hours days and I’m back to my 5-7 page research papers. It’s intense, but at least it’s predictable!

Post trip- still sane!

selfieMJbnw

leavesonbridgeMJ
   Josh on the boat
Josh on boatMJ

picturesquej
shrillMJ

Reedsmj


Reflections of trees

reflectionthreemjimpressionisticMJ


Josh, rocking out on the suspension bridge at Red River Gorge
RockingOutOnSuspensionBridgeMJ2

Pics taken with Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/3.5 film lens + Canon Rebel XSI/natural lighting/manual

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