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

Archive for December, 2014

Empty Nest

So the last of the Mohican’s is gone. My youngest daughter moved out a few days ago and Josh and I are now left to our own devices! It’s really quiet around here now: This is going to take some getting used to.

We spent Christmas with his family, which was really nice. I no longer spend the holidays with my own (extended) family because my sister and I really can’t stand each other and haven’t spoken in more than two years. I’ve made 3 separate attempts to wave the olive branch but she’s perpetually bitter and refuses to make any efforts to mend our broken relationship. Each Thanksgiving, she continues to “host” the Thanksgiving dinner for all of our siblings while purposely not inviting Josh and me. It’s beyond tacky. She’s truly the coldest, most hateful person I’ve ever known in my life. (But technically speaking, she has narcissistic, histrionic personality disorder.)

So then, we choose to celebrate the holidays with Josh’s family instead. They’re great people and we always have a great time. We’re planning on taking over Brianna’s former room and have decided to paint it Granny Smith Apple green. That colour looks great with chocolate brown accents and so for Josh’s late Christmas gift, I’m buying him a Queen sized chocolate brown bed. It’s gorgeous.

[sample pic]

bed picMJ

It’s a great deal for $250 and I love the large panels.

Nothing new to report. Time to watch Snapped! Hope all are well tonight.

AlienMJ

leafMJ

foliageMJ

appleMJ

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Tea and Candles

There’s really no such thing as too much tea:

teaMJ

I picked up some tea this afternoon. On the list are:

Oriental White Tea
Honey Lemon Ginseng Green Tea
Passion Fruit and Papaya Black Tea
Acai Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea
Rooibos Red Tea
and Chamomile, of course.

And I saw the most amazing sunset driving home:

PanoMJ

Yeah…I think I’m going to like this “no school” thing. 🙂


By the Skin of My Teeth

Dean's List

My first semester at Indiana University East: I made the Dean’s List!

Now I can collapse.


To All of You

…who are just finishing up your semesters- students and teachers alike- congratz to you!

And although I’m bowing out of the academic race to pursue my photography/art, I do hope that each of you continues to do well in your studies and teachings. All of my final grades are in and it’s going to be a close call, but I think I might’ve made the Dean’s List. More on that later.

Maggie, congratzs to you, and Y, you too. WE DID IT. 🙂

PortabellasMJ


It’s Over

Josh and I have been having a bit of a party around here because my semester is finally over. Although I was aiming for mostly A’s, I think I got away with two A’s and 2 B’s in the end. For me, that’s slacking, but I’m pleased that I finished at all this round. I really haven’t had a break in over 4 years!

Josh and I are talking about saving up for our trip to Puerto Rico. I need two strong sales and that would cover our chalet in the rain forest, round trip flights- the whole shebang. But instead, we’re planning our vacation like everybody else: we’re going to save up $200 each for 4 months. I’ve been researching Puerto Rico for 5 year now. I spoke with Sue in the El Yunque rain forest and she has the cutest chalets there, in the jungle. A private waterfall lagoon that you can swim in is only a 15 minute walk away and the white sand beaches of Luquillo are 10 minutes away also; kisosks pepper the beaches that are loaded with tapas and such. Most importantly, it’s not too far away from Dead Man’s Chest island, which is a private island that houses an old abandoned lighthouse- a photographer’s dream come true.

By April, if we’re diligent, we’ll be able to fly out for a 4 night 5 day stay there. We’re not setting it in stone, but we’re certainly making plans for it. And now that school is out, I’ll be able to lounge around doing absolutely nothing at all but nomming on snacks, watching Netflix, reading biographies, playing adventure games and taking leisurely photo walks. Not a bad life. 🙂

Rain_794y2rpsbd_detail
Macro: raindrops on a window screen/SOOTC- straight out of the camera


TWC: You Rock! (And Latasha, you still suck.)

So I called my internet.cable/phone company in July to terminate my cable services, because:

a.) I can’t justify paying $35 per month when Netflix is $8. And
b.) I never watch it anyway.

Usually, I listen to Baroque or Big Band/Swing on the TV and that’s the most I have to do with it. The rep (back in July) that I spoke with, Iris, promised that she would “take care of me”. I’m not keen on special promos and ratings etc.- I simply don’t care much and so when she rebundled me, she swore that my rates would be lower and I’d be saving money in the long run. I still wanted to cancel my cable however ,so she snagged me by offering me a $300 Visa gift card that could be used anywhere. It’s not Monopoly money; it’s a real Visa. Ok. Sign me up! So she did.

But what she didn’t do is inform me that if I defaulted on my payment or was late even once, the deal would cancel itself out. Thanks Iris. So I waited. Weeks drew on and no Visa. I had called in to get a 6 day extension on my TWC account, which they gave me- which canceled out my Visa gift card. Guh.

Fast forward another month. Another round of phone calls to TWC (Time Warner Cable) and two reps and one supervisor later, I was told that my Visa would definitely be on its way. Still, they failed to tell me why it had been cancelled to begin with- they only made promises that the situation had been rectified. K.

Another month goes by- no Visa. Another round of phone calls and two reps later, another hollow promise of the elusive Visa gift card that had apparently been sucked into a big space of nothingness. Another month. Another round of phone calls- and still- no plausible explanation as to where the gift card was or why it continued going MIA! Maddening!

Last week, I spoke with a rep, Latasha, who was utterly useless and tacky to boot. I’m a former top rep and customer service is “my thing”. I know all about the top offers and sales tricks- I know every trick in the book- I speak the language. So, it’s really hard to get something over on me on the phone.. Still, I was left clueless and more frustrated with each phone call. I told Latasha how useless she was as a rep and manager because by now, it’s December and I’ve still got cable and have still been paying an additional $35 per month from trusting Iris.

I insisted that not only did I not get the $300 gift card, I now had spent an additional $200+ on cable that I didn’t want and had tried to cancel repeatedly. Latasha offered my a $45 credit to my account and offered to rebundle me for $120 per month- no dice. $45? That’s a joke! I told Latasha that I wouldn’t settle for anything less  than $150- $200. Period.

We haggled tirelessly like two Marrakesh street vendors in the market place; she wouldn’t budge and neither would I. I asked to speak to her supervisor and asked for her supervisor’s name. I could actually hear Latasha laughing with her coworkers. Party foul. Totally unacceptable. The call didn’t end well.

I called right back, now in tears, and spoke with a different supervisor, Eric. Eric was awesome. By now, I was on a first name basis with most of TWC’s reps and Eric was super friendly who clued me in on what to do. Thanks Eric- you rock! Eric was able to put $45 back into my account- right off- and told me to wait a few days, and then call back and speak with customer solutions. They’re the ones who want to really keep you as a customer and are willing to wheel and deal (with $) in order to do just that. Sounded good to me!

So I did. I just got off the phone with TWC. Brian was the customer solutions rep I spoke with and he was just the best. Brian rebundled me so that my phone, internet and cable would be reduced to $93 per month- before taxes ($102 afterwards) and he would also increase our internet speed to “Extreme” at no additional charge- “it’s on the house”. But that’s not all! I told Brian that I would be willing to keep my cable if I could recoup some of my money that I’d lost over the past 6 months. (That was my bargaining chip and it worked.) Eric spoke with his supervisor and when he returned, he offered me a $150 credit back to my account. Ba tah bing! Triumph!

So then, in the past week alone, I’ve been able to recoup $200 back to my account and as it stands right now, I not only don’t have a bill at the moment, I have a $70 credit for next months bill, making my phone/internet/cable bill next month $30. That’s doable. 🙂 For whoever may be reading this, if you’re with TWC and you’ve payed your bill for 3 months consecutively without being late, you’re entitled to a $300 Visa gift card. It’s yours, and it’s your right as a customer to have that. So go on and getcha some!

The moral to this story is: never give up. Always fight for what’s yours!

And Latasha, you still suck.


Time to Celebrate!

Usually, I don’t celebrate before my final exams, but in the past two days, I’ve just finished up my 5 page psych. paper (APA, of course + 5 peer reviewed journal references) + Cross Cultural Communication Powerpoint prezi (with audio) along with 14 forum postings. Whew!

So yeah, it’s time to celebrate. I only have 3 final exams remaining- I’ve finished my last homework assignment tonight. The worst is over! Everything else is gravy.

I’m really excited to begin a new chapter in my life and feed the artist in me that’s been dying to get out for so long. I’m venturing into new artistic territory by converting my RAW high quality photos into digitally rendered imapstos & gauche oils as well as watercolours. Here are two examples:

Water Lilies
Water LiliesMJ

And Joshua’s tree
JoshuasTreeMJ

Josh and I did the last one together, hence the title. Off to make green tea and feed my guy. Au Voir!


Monet: Museum of Modern Art

This is for you, Al. :0) I wanted to share with you my processes for the resulting canvas print.

I first started with an original print of museum-goers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, New York, who were admiring Monet’s Water Lilies. I took the pic back in 2010 on a trip to Manhattan/Times Square with my youngest daughter, Brianna. I was admiring the museum-goers as they were admiring Monet’s Water Lilies, which were enormous prints that covered each wall around the entire room. So, I snapped their pic with a wide angle lens. (They never even knew I was there.)

From there, I converted it into a B&W and did a basic colour hue shift on Monet’s Water Lilies. They were originally blue and green, but I preferred pumpkin orange. 😉 I incorporated several textures to give it a broken/damaged vibe (which I adore) and so the final result was this:

Monet_i8iussdk4v_detail

The people below aren’t the exact same, but the process is. (Only the group of people have changed.) From there, I ran it through various programs and tweaked it severely so that it would resemble a fauvist oil painting. I distorted the people a la Munch’s “The Scream” and gave the image bright, citrus Van Gogh colours. The final result became this:

monet

And that is the extra large (60 x 38) 5 foot canvas print that was purchased for $1,138. Once I cut out the middle man, I will sell the print right at $1,000 roughly and double my royalty, but as you said, were it not for the middleman to begin with! (Hope you enjoyed the art show!) x


Winter, Come

  Winter, Come [self portrait]

Winter Come_cezfe8n2fl_detail

I woke up this morning, checked my email and almost fell over. I sold an extra large canvas print (60×38) for a whopping $1,139. Gasp! My royalty is $405. I can’t wait until I can cut out the middle man and outsource the prints myself and keep 100% of the profits. It’s my work- I should reap the benefits rather than a company which prints and ships the art. Still, I’m incredibly grateful! The new printer I want is $550- refurbished it’s $350, so from this one print sale, I’ll be able to purchase the wide format printer so that I’ll be able to ship the large prints from my house, myself. It makes me both proud and happy that I’m able to put my money from my art work back into my art work.

I have only two weeks left of school. A few lingering assignments this week and then my finals next week. I still have a shot at making the Dean’s List. We’ll see!

I’m off to make Thanksgiving dinner # 2 (because 1 just isn’t enough)- complete with homemade apple pie and whipped cream. I’m absolutely beside myself with the canvas sale. 🙂

Happy birthday, Y! I love you, GF. x