For my friend: All the Avenues Look Ugly.
I know you hate the world, I do too sometimes, and I know you want to die and think about it a lot. I want to tell you while there’s still time that you are a beautiful person! We all shine in different ways. Some of us are happy, bubbly, people that refuse to see negativity in the world, and some of us see the wreckage because we know it’s there.
I wish I had something profound and life-changing to say. But I really want to say that even dead flowers in a jar can be beautiful, and the point to all of this is that I care. You are loved, friend.
So I’ve been sitting here doing homework for the past (30 hours with a sleep break) few hours, and have decided to do the self-challenge that I’ve wanted to do for years: I’m going to leave my camera in monochrome for a whole year. After my next birthday, I’ll take my first coloured photograph. The majority of everything looks better to me in black and white anyway, and when I compose a shot in monochrome- as opposed to colour- it always tells a story.
I can twist the lighting any way I want and distort and change my image: pancakes become mountains- the syrrup the sea- and the edge of the syrup-filled pancake looks like a gashed-open knee. I love the way the light fades off into the syrrupy-darkness.
Clearly, I’ve done too much schoolwork and am creating little worlds now in my plate of food.
Back to the schoolwork.
“Why does this bathroom smell like pee?” says Josh. Well I don’t know Josh. Why would a bathroom smell like pee?
I’m obviously in one of my sardonic moods. Perhaps I’m tired of lying on the living room floor, bleeding profusely. Silly me, I didn’t factor in that Black Seed Oil actually accelerates blood circulation. Black Seed Oil is a essentially a panacea that is extracted from black cumin. It’s said to “cure everything but death”. (And PMS.) Because well, I’m still a &^%$#!
But as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” Except I don’t think it will because I’ve noticed that I’ve been a &^%$# for quite some time now. I’m hoping this goes away after I graduate.
In other parts of the world, apparently, “simming in sea” is good for “blood pressure people”. I’m guessing it’s also good for “blood sugar people” and “heart and lung people”. I honestly don’t know how people find my blog sometimes but I swear, one day, I’m going to put together a post strictly on key word searches.
At least I’m not like “Bitter Ben” who is always bitter about everything. (You’re my here, Bitter Ben.)
I’ve managed to wipe out 3 major Lifetime Fitness and Wellness assignments (PMS-style- flat on my back) as well as a 5 page Criminology report, a Discussion Board posting and am getting ready to dive in to my Therapeutic Intervention with Substance Abusers II report. I’ve discovered that wine makes all of this better. Especially the last one. (Catawba Rose, to be precise.) We had a bottle left over from our trip and well, we’re just not going to let that sit around in the fridge with all this homework going on.
Josh is in the kitchen, knocking out a web page design assignment and I’m getting ready to study for my 4 chapter Criminology test that I must take tonight- after-
“HOW MUCH WINE DO WE HAVE LEFT?”
“Probably another cup,” Josh replies.
– after another cup perhaps.
Brian Bob has been gone for weeks now. 😦 He pops in from time to time to re-up on smokes, money, food, and then he’s out again. I miss him so much! He’s my only son- the big seventeen. I remember being his age though. I wanted to be with my boyfriend- what 17 year old girl just wants to hang out with her Dad?! So, Dad let me go. I moved in with my boyfriend’s family early on. I didn’t think about how my Dad would feel- not really. And now I do, with a bittersweet smile and tears in my eyes. Life has come a full circle. Bob is spending most of his time with his girlfriend, Amanda, and I am happy for him, and her too. Doesn’t life have a funny way of catching up with you? Brian Bob and his little lady (So busted- behind the bushes).
Jellies at the Aquarium of the Smokies- Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Canon G3/manual)
Today is my birthday; I’m 44!
I have a roaring migraine.
But, given the circumstances, it’s not surprising. I could write a book on the (mis) adventures of our vacation in the Smokies, but my head won’t let me and I have to start on homework soon. Right- on my birthday-with a migraine. I’ll keep things short.
As we were leaving Maggie Valley in North Carolina on the 15th (Sunday), putting along down the interstate, my Mom’s car died. On the interstate. We pulled over off the highway and sat on the roadside. (It was 3:00 p.m. or so.) Numerous calls were made to AAA- hours went by- my daughter, Heidi, was violently ill and my Mom, who is almost 70, was exhausted. People needed to pee and we were making very little progress with AAA. More time passed. More calls were made. (More waiting. More calls.)
Finally, after being stranded on the interstate for 7+ hours, our guy pulls up in a (very) small tow truck. He then tells us that he can’t tow more than two people and we were basically screwed. I was able to pull a few strings and he called his buddy (unbeknownst to AAA) who owned a double cab who promised to come and tow us to a hotel and auto body shop.
More time passed. It was now pitch dark and we were on the side of the highway in a black car and a dead cell phone. Nice.
Finally, after much cussing and praying, our 2nd guy pulls up and tows us to safety and a Comfort Inn in Ashville, N.C. After hanging out on a small hill the following day, among the sweet smelling pines for several hours, we were told that the mechanics had found the problem and we would be on our way soon.
By this point, I had incredibly bad “highway hair” and could feel my head slowly cracking; I just wanted to prevent “the migraine”.
After returning home that evening, I was informed that our dog, Chance, had run out when Brianna left that morning. Naturally, I couldn’t receive text messages on the road because my cell phone had died hours before. After I was told that he had run outside 10 hours earlier, I was crushed. Josh and I spent the next few hours combing the city; whistling, calling…we didn’t find him. I was devastated. I couldn’t blame Brianna, of course. Chance no doubt wanted to be with us and might have run out to try and find us, but really, he’s a “bolter”. He loves to get out and run- full blast!
I didn’t get much sleep that night and cried, so much. Chance is my baby. I’ve trained him to fetch things, to give me a kiss, and he’ll chew on Josh’s beard, as if to groom him; it’s totally adorable. He’s been our baby for 10 months now, which makes it especially weird when I received an email from his former owner’s girlfriend, telling me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up (when we were broken down in N.C.) and at first, I was glad to see her email, as we have stayed in contact with each other, remotely. She has written me several times asking for updates on “Willy” (his previous name). I had felt a bit uncomfortable with her wanting to stay in contact with us (regarding Chance), but didn’t see any reason not to send her a few shots of Josh and Chance out at parks, etc. and share some information on how he’s doing. (Big mistake.)
After spending the night searching for Chance, crying- exhausted from being stranded on the highway and just exhausted in general from not eating and sleeping properly because of the whole chaotic “stranded situation”, I continued reading her email, and quickly became outraged. She had the audacity to tell me that they received a call that Chance had been picked up, and that she and her boyfriend were going to go and get him on Thursday (tomorrow), and that, “We are going to pick Willy up from LHS thursday and he will not be given back to your custody.”
After keeping her updated on his well-being and even sending her cute little pics of him? What the hell is wrong with people? They’ve lost their decency and ability to exhibit a smidgeon of compassion anymore it seems. She had no idea we were stranded, or that we’d all just been through 2 days of highway hell. (Yeah, and his name is not “Willy” lady! It’s Chance. Get it straight!)
When Josh and I got Chance from her and her boyfriend (also named Josh), they failed to mention that we would need to register Chance’s microchip with us. They gave us no information on it at all. It’s not absolutely mandatory and it has no bearing overall on actual and legal “ownership”. It’s a good idea for new owners to do that, but if the new owners choose not to, that doesn’t mean that the dog still belongs to the previous owners simply because his microchip number still bears their contact information. She could have chosen to contact us in a civil manner rather than outright threatening us. Not the best idea.
After researching microchip ownership and conferring with an attorney, I discovered that many animal shelters refuse to let a new owner register the animal’s microchip in his or her name, because often, the animal will wind up right back in the shelter and the shelter gets tired of having to (re) register the new contact information over and over again.
I would have been completely willing to continue to apprise the former owner of Chance’s well being and maybe even share a few more pics, but certainly not now. I believe she’s a bit unstable and out of touch with reality. Who would give you a dog and then tell you almost a year later that your dog is still named what they named him?
Things are slowly returning back to normal now; Josh is in the living room playing the guitar and singing, our feline and canine family are lounging around enjoying the music, and Bob is at the table with me- he wanted to come and see me for my birthday- it’s a treat. :0)
In other news, Carl is losing his fight against feline AIDS and although he’s still eating voraciously, the food is just going through him so quickly- like water- he’s wasting away. Brianna has made the executive decision to have him put to sleep tomorrow; she doesn’t want him to suffer further. She’s being incredibly strong right now and I’m so very proud of her.
Even with the migraine, the crazy mishaps in the mountains of North Carolina, and the psycho- former owner of my dog threatening to “dognap” him, I can say that all is well still: I’m alive and still carry a smile.
(selfie in the Smokies)
Tickles the cat.
Canon G3/manual/RAW/natural lighting
Heidi is here with us now; she’s hacking and coughing but still going to the Smokies with us; she’s a trooper. We leave in the morning. I’ve just finished an assignment (at 1:30 a.m.) and just want to shower and collapse. Unfortunately, I’ll have to take my laptop with me and complete several assignments overlooking the mountains on the cabin deck. Lovely.
I’ve purchased our Ripley’s Believe It or Not oddities museum and Aquarium tickets and have printed them out; they’re tucked away snugly in my purse. Josh says we’re both “overpreparers”. I can’t disgree- we spend more time preparing for a trip than we do actually on a trip. Brianna won’t be able to come along because she has to work.
It’s way past my bedtime.
Next time I write, I’ll be in the mountains. I hope the sunrise out on the deck with be misty and majestic. I’m craving coffee just thinking about it. Man I’m getting old…
Can’t beat it for less than $50 (including shipping and handling).
Does it get any better than NAT GEO?
No. It does not.
Canon G3/manual/RAW/4 MP
Pours into the mouth
No matter how tight it may be
Murky depths and water
Flood the slitted eyes
Death in its black and hollow cave
Extends a hand, quickly
Slapped back by the light
Which is growing yellow
Fat and bright
Wraps itself around the scene
Like a cobra
Shedding its last skin
The breath which was muted
Comes fast and loud and rough
Eyes burst open
Liquid spills and rolls down little hills
A final sigh as breath is held
Smiles are passed around like Cuban cigars
In the other room
Filling and spilling from eyes
The baby cries
-B. Lindsey (original)
I awoke yesterday morning to this beautiful sight: shadows on my tent wall. I can’t describe my semi-obsession with shadows, even still- after years of photographing and studying them. When I’m surrounded by them, or even in their presence, I feel as if I’m with friends. They move and change and shift and breathe and swell and grow; so many times I’ve been too full of words to say anything and I’ve sat silently among them- as still as a stone- and they moved for me.
They tell stories. They have seen thousands of years and they speak- but not with words. In pictures.
Lately, I’ve been battling this inner identity war: the artist vs. the academic. My mind tells me that I must finish my degree and then pursue a second one in Criminology and Law. It’s my destiny: I’m going to help people. I’m going to stack up a few more certificates along the way (perhaps) and continue to strive in my work so that I can be of some value to others. But the academic is murdering the artist. The artist is now anorexic and throwing fits and lashing out- and really, do I really want to wait until I’m in my 50’s before I do gallery showings and such? Probably 80% of my closest friends have had numerous juried-in showings, publishings, and commercial successes. I want to work on my “Habitat” series and future showing, probably in New York, but I won’t ever do that as long as I’m in school. I simply cannot do both. I’m the first person to go to college in my family- at least on this side of Texas- and then there is only one who has beside me. I come from a family of women who believe that their roles
do not cannot extend further than the bedroom and the kitchen, and then those roles are still firmly instilled into them by a man, or, patriarch.
My free-thinking, wild, Bohemian daughter (Heidi) opened my eyes to exactly how medieval that all is, and she is my strongest influence and inspiration over the years. She’s had her brow and septum pierced, sports a rather large tattoo on her left shoulder, has died her hair pink, green, yellow and blue (was blue in there too?) and I couldn’t be more proud of her.
I know that I’ll probably be in school for another three years at least, and then what? Will I be fulfilled as a parole officer? A probation officer? My “artist self” is throwing a fit. I want to take pictures! I want to edit. I want to write poetry again- something I haven’t done in almost two decades. The artist isn’t dying, only sleeping, but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. I want to record my songs and produce again- so many things I want to do that will simply have to wait.
And so I will.
Josh and I were driving back from seeing his family in Shelbyville and we saw the most beautiful double rainbow. The skies had broken out in a split panoramic light show of epic proportions: oversized rays were spilling out onto either side of the highway and we thought we were in for a storm. Midway through our return, a rainbow broke out into the sky. We talked about his mother and family and what a great time we’d had; the rainbow agreed and it duplicated itself- making us both smile as it followed us all the way home.
(Taken with 2 MP crap-cell phone.)
Life is back to its busy self; I’m lost in my studies, teetering back and forth between Criminology and Therapeutic Interventions with Substance Abusers II- but I love it. I’ve bought a new laptop and have turned it into my essay writing machine, loading it up with Microsoft Office (Pro) and a plethora of other goodies. I’ve paid close to $4,000 in bills and things in the past few days alone, which included a $900 car debt my mother couldn’t pay. I was honoured to be able to do that for her. We haven’t two pennies to rub together hardly, but everbody’s paid and I’ve managed to book one of the most sought after cabins in all of Tennessee for our little getaway, a little place called “Unforgettable”. (Yes, the cabin is actually called “Unforgettable”.) I’ll be posting pics and updates on that at the end of September. I’ll be taking my Mom and Heidi, my oldest daughter, along with Josh. The cabin, along with the cleaning fee + taxes is $441 for two nights; an unbelievable steal for a multi-level luxury cabin in the Smokies with not one but two hot tubs overlooking the mountains, one of them being outdoors on the deck.
It looks a little something like this (website pics):
Definitely one of the nicer cabins I’ve ever seen and the reviews are incredible. We can’t wait! We’re fortunate that so many people are superstitious about Friday 13th- September was booked solid for the entire month, but the 13th and 14th were open so I snagged them immediately. (13 is my favourite number so that works well for me.) We’ll probably go to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum also; this is a dream come true as I’ve been wanting to take Heidi to the Smokey mountains for over 10 years. Well, my Mom too.
I have more to write- some things not so grand- but I’m tired and will be returning to my bed to continue reading Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath. I was far too busy to finish it a year or so ago when I checked it out at the library: I’m much more eager to do so this time, in between essays and drug and crime reports.
Josh is whistling at his computer like a deranged bird, rubbing a metal “this or that” between his lips to make a warbled sound. I can tell by his fixed gaze on his laptop game that he’s happy- his belly, fat with mesquite-grilled barbecue that we slow cooked out on the deck yesterday. There’s a pleasant buzz in the air lately. Carl is still with us and our morale has been reestablished, if not altogether fortified.
And now I’m off to bed.