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House of Pain

For the life of me, I don’t understand why a man chooses to  view pornography when he has a beautiful, FAITHFUL woman who loves him. I’ll never understand. No amount of words that he may utter from his lips could ever make enough sense for me to understand.

I just returned from Texas, from my Aunt’s memorial service. She died of a heart attack as soon as she got into her car, following her work day. She and her husband had been married for 63 years. It was a beautiful service and I was finally able to meet all of my extended relatives in Texas (my native home state in which I was born). That made it especially bittersweet, that I was able to meet them for the first time, as a result of my Aunt’s death. In that way, I’ll consider it her parting gift- and her sacrifice.

I had left my home, and my guy was here alone for a week. We’ve had many (too many to count) “situations” in which he views pornography as soon as I so much as walk out of the room. He’s quite addicted. And in some cases, he’s admitted to viewing pornography with me sitting right in the same room. What kind of man can lust after naked women with his lady right in the freaking room?! An animal. That’s what kind. A crude beast- without a heart or any measure of decency. And he professes to be a Christian! That’s the kicker.

And so, as I was travelling to Texas last week, a little (Spiritual) birdie flew into the car and let me know that he was at it again. I tried to put it out of my mind, because really, I’ve given too many years (10) to this and have given him too many chances. At some point, I simply must take a stand for myself and say “Enough is enough; you blew it, kiddo.”

And so I came home yesterday, to a filthy house (in more ways than one)- every dish in the house- stacked up on the table- nothing had been done. Dog feces on my bedroom floor. I had left this bedroom clean as a whistle for him, before I left. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this man doesn’t care much for me. Isn’t it funny how we tell ourselves things? And we believe them. Because the truth is just too painful. We choose to believe a fairy tale lie because it hurts far less than the brutal truth.

Well I’m tired of his lies, and I’m tired of lying to myself- thinking that he loves me. No. If he loved me, he would have made different choices. I don’t have the patience or the ignorance any more to believe that he looks at porn but he REALLY loves me too. The problem is that he may love me “a bit”, but he just doesn’t love me ENOUGH to choose our love over porn. Every choice has a consequence. And you just can’t have your cake and eat it too. Not anymore.

A man that is constantly cheating on his woman (over the years) doesn’t deserve a good woman. He deserves a trashy tramp- somebody with no self-respect. That’s what he deserves. Not somebody who loves him with all of her heart and never so much as even thinks about looking in the opposite direction. He doesn’t deserve that woman’s love.

And so now this is my life. I find myself feeling frozen, in a strange and cold tundra. I’m numb. And I’m tired of crying. My eyes are swollen from crying for hours. Everything I thought I had is gone. Shattered. In shambles. 10 years with this man- down the drain. I’m so tempted to simply lie here on my bed and crawl inside myself and disappear. It hurts too much to move and think and feel. But I can’t do that. I made myself get up out of bed and go make coffee. I made oat meal- I even made a bowl for him and left it on the counter. I think it’s important to choose compassion when somebody’s done you dirty. It builds character.

Anyway, I’ve lost 7 lbs. I wanted to have lost 10 already, but no go. I’ll just have to start taking my daily mile walks again. I’m forcing myself to stay busy all day long- and active. I need to stay distracted- at least during these first few initial weeks. It will do me no good at all to lay down and die inside. And so I’ll continue to work and clean and scrub and not give any thought to the situation at hand.

And I’ll continue to pray, and ask God to give me the strength to endure these painful days and lonely nights. I’ll continue to ask God to help me to forgive my offender. And to not hate. It’s too easy to hate right now. I really do believe that God has all things in His hands. And if I ask him to share His love and grace with me, I know He will. He’ll give me the love I need to carry on. Just because I’m alone now doesn’t mean I’m loveless. God loves me. So I’ll dwell on that, and heal.

Saltillo, Texas- 5 pic panorama (Photo-merge)- Carl Zeiss Sonnar DDR- film lens + Canon Rebel XSI
cowpano

More Texas pics (83 degrees in January- barefooted)texas-barn-28mm-i-think
country-road
old-barn-texas
fence2
steer
mushroom-in-back-of-aunt-marthass-yard


Operation 55

It’s incredible the difference one day can make. Only yesterday, I felt directionless…stuck, and bland. Since then, I’ve cleaned my place up, and have cut my sugar consumption down by 90%, and even took my Sigma 21-35 (film) lens out for a spin, which is what I’ve been wanting to do for weeks.

Yesterday I felt like deep-fried death: today, I feel like twice-baked LIFE. 🙂 Yes, that’s cheesy, I know. But I’m cheesy when I’m happy. So now that I’ve shifted my perspective and have adjusted my  “life lens”, I can see just how bent out of shape I am. My BMI is through the roof- it’s grotesque. I’m officially overweight. 😦

I’ve created a document folder called “Operation 55” because I’m going to lose 55 lbs. I’m currently right at 180 lbs. That’s whale territory in my book. (If anybody reads that and finds it offensive, keep in mind I’m referring to myself and nobody else. If you’re STILL offended after reading that, you may have some bigger issues going on that insecurity. 😉 )

Moving on!

Within my special document folder, I have subfolders which are titled “Goals” and “Info”. I’m categorizing and documenting everything. I’m being just as anal regarding losing weight as I am concerning my school work- when I’m doing the student thing, that is. This is only day 1, but I’m already making strides towards major change. I’m practicing what we call (in psychology) “contingency contracting”, which is an impressive way of saying, “I’m telling somebody about my plans so I can be held accountable.”

So…I’m adding a time-ticker/counter, which will count down the days of my weight loss journey. I’m giving myself 6 months. No crash diets here. The healthy and realistic amount of expected weight loss per week is right at 2 lbs, or 8- 10 lbs per month.. Anything faster than that will most likely not stay off and will end up being put right back on.

I think losing 55 lbs. in 6 months is a fair trade and an obtainable goal. My intentions are not to merely “lose weight”. If that’s all I was trying to achieve, it’d be pointless. I’m going after a complete lifestyle change instead. For example, today I traded a slice of cherry cheesecake (which I didn’t eat) for 1 large piece of raw ginger, 1 large (raw) garlic clove, 1 large piece of turmeric, 1 large bunch of fresh parsley (chopped up) + 1 bottle of lemon water (which I did eat). I’m trading an unhealthy behavior for a healthy, positive one. And I’ll try to make 3 (ish) new trades per week. As long as I’m moving forward in my body and mind, then I’m on the right track and will see incredible results.

I’m excited. I’m driven. And I’m encouraged.

I’m hopeful and I know I can do this. 🙂

DreamscapeMJ


Black Days are Here Again

It’s been so long since I’ve been into my (almost) daily groove of writing. Usually, I’m in a end-of-year funk that lasts until February, roughly. It doesn’t have anything to do with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) because I love rain, snow, the cold, and bleak days. But usually, it begins to creep in just before Thanksgiving and lasts into the New Year and every year I’m just so glad when it’s all over. (I know I’m not alone in how I feel.)

I really thought that I’d be loving my time away from school, but the truth is, I love the pressure cooker! I love the grind and the deadlines and the small goals that I check off to feel like I’m accomplishing stuff. Lately, I’ve barely taken any pics or have done anything significant or worthwhile, and I’ve been extremely depressed. I’ve taken my anger out on Josh and that’s just not o.k. God knows I’ve had/studied enough psychology to know how to fix things, and so I’ve taken out my camera, and have decided to practice my “Photo Therapy”, once again.

Usually, when I’m depressed (which isn’t often), it’s because I’ve been looking through a twisted perspective. Anger or sorrow bends the truth in matters and leaves me with a shattered view of how things truly are. But they’re not really like that. It’s just my damaged filter. And so, I know that I need to change my perspective- both emotionally and literally. First, I like to change up my environment. If the house is semi-trashed; I’ll go on a cleaning spree and do some deep-cleaning and disinfecting, etc. I like things super clean, but I don’t have any problem with allowing things be a bit “lived in” too.

After that, I break out my gear (camera, multiple lenses, etc.) and try to learn something new regarding photography. I’m aching to get back to my roots: black and white; and I’m tempted to put my camera in my monochrome setting and leave it there for an entire year. This is something that I’ve wanted to do for the longest time- but I always back out of it after a few weeks. I always tell myself that I’ll rob myself of hundreds of beautiful colored shots and wimp out. But I know that unless I stick to it, I’m never going to grow as a black and white photographer! So, I’m going to do my very best to do just that: throw my camera into monochrome- and leave it there for a whole year (starting yesterday). Not everybody sees everyday life in black and white (and is able to do that even without a camera), but I’m one of those people who can. Also, when you shoot in black and white, you’re not basing your shot on colour and colour schemes, you’re basing it on tones, lines, textures, and lighting. It changes everything. 

I picked up an old Sigma 21-35 film lens that I’ve been itching to take for a spin. maybe I’ll do that this week. Josh and I had a bit of Pecan Pie moonshine last night and went for a late night trip to the waterfront down at the Ohio River.

Sigma 21-35/handheld/ISO 1600/1/25 sh. sp.

ohioriver

The shot would have been SO much better with a tripod, and perhaps a few shots less of moonshine, alas, for handheld using a a tank of a lens; it’s perhaps not too shabby.

Regarding my health, I’m happy to report that I’m no longer a migraine sufferer. I no longer get migraines- at all. Not even that rare once-a-month one. I’ve just begun to experience the beginning stages of perimenopause (which is a bucket of fun, let me tell you), and I suspect that that too is contributing to my depression, but perhaps it’s contributing to y lack of migraines as well, and that’s a trade I’m willing to make.

No matter what, when I do begin to experience depression, I know what to do to change things. So, today I’ll clean the house and prepare to go on a photoshoot in the rain with my camera’s new rain coat. 🙂 Although I really don’t have much to say, I’m a firm believer in journaling, and even if I’m just farting around and writing about my toenails, I’m still writing; and that helps too.


Bottlecap Pies

Josh and I have the best time making these little bottlecap pies magnets. 🙂

We use white earthen clay to form the tiny cherries and blueberries. We then hand-paint them and gently mold them into our bottlecap “pie shells”. Afterwards, we give them a coating of Sun and Moon diamond Glaze (the best out there) and then attach an ultra-strong Rare Earth magnet to the backs and voila! Kawaii pies. There’s something really therapeutic about making these pies: It’s both fun and relaxing.

You can find these cherry and blueberry pies in our Etsy shop, Early Perfection. (Our shop is currently a mishmash of all sorts of things. There’s no rhyme or reason, really. We make little things like these and then list them.)

We list these as 2 for $10, but O, if you’re reading this, you get our special “super cool person special”, which is 3 for $10. 😉

pie2
pie1


Five Months Later…

I can hardly believe it’s been five months since I’ve been away. Where has the time gone?!

I’d like to say that I’ve been off doing great and honourable things since graduating from college back in May, alas; I’ve merely caught up on 300 crime shows and have picked up a nasty sugar addiction. I’m talking- waxing 3 bags of bubble gum in 4 hours- no kidding. SHAMEFUL.

But let’s not focus on that. 😉

Today is Christmas, and Josh and I are pulling another all-nighter. He’s at his computer station, and I at mine. He’s gaming, and I’m working on editing some pics for my new Etsy shop. I’ve wanted to open an Etsy shop for almost ten years now. At first, I didn’t have enough inventory, and quite frankly, I wasn’t up to the standard of photography that I was utterly pleased with- not enough to sell my work. (But that was 10 years ago.) And then “school happened”. Now, more than 20,000 pics are held hostage on more than 5 disk drives. I could dig through the heap and salvage years of work, or, I could start all over and create a whole new body of work: I’ve chosen to do the latter.

It might seem crazy to want to start all over- especially having spent the last decade developing my  personal style and techniques, but for me, my art does more than mark a time in my life. My pics/images tell stories. (You artists and photogs out there know what I mean.) I want the stories to reflect who I am at that time. I’m not the same person I was even five years ago. So, I want to start over. I feel like I’ve grown as a person and an artist, and so I want my pics to reflect that.

I’ve added a new TAB at the top of my page ^up there^- it’s my ETSY tab. Clicking on the pic there will go directly to my ETSY site where I’m offering my prints for sale. In the past, I wanted to sell prints for the generalized reason of “simply wanting to”. Now it’s a matter of being able to return to school or not. My school is withholding my transcript until I pay down the current balance, which is just under $1,300. I don’t have many options, and so I’ve decided to finally open my ETSY shop so that I can sell my work and pay down my school balance. I’m hoping to be able to do this by May of 2017 (4 months from now). That’s a pretty tall order, and once again, I’m racing against the clock. If I don’t do this now, I’ll have to take another 6 months to do it (which means I’d have to wait until January 2018 to return to school), but I really can’t afford to do that.

Once my transcript is released, I’ll be able to apply to Fort Hays University, where I’ll be working on my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. A lot is riding on this! So, I have a heck of a motivator to get out and get some fresh shots 3 times per week. I’m aiming to add 300 pics or so to my ETSY collection over the next few months. In short, I’m going to be pretty busy. 😉

I’m looking forward to popping in to everyone’s place and seeing what you all have been up to. Sure have missed everyone and I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS! ♥

Etsy Shop: Monochromejunkie

etsy-collage

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Second Etsy shop: Early Perfection

etsy-store


The Green Fairy

So Josh and I finally decided to try Absynthe:

Absynthe

It’s a liquor that was banned for almost 100 years due to its psychoactive properties (which are brought on by the wormwood that it contains) and a curiously high percentage of alcohol by volume. In other words, it’s a rich man’s moonshine. You’re supposed to drizzle cold water over a sugar cube into 2 oz. of absynthe until there’s a  1:1 ratio of each. We’d never tried it before so we decided to test out a small bottle- lest we find ourselves running naked through the streets after giving it a whirl.

After the solutions are mixed, the lime green colour gives way to a milky white- opaque sort of greenish concoction that’s quite pretty. We really didn’t have enough to judge accurately, but after we’d both had 2 oz., we were pretty laid back. It didn’t make us feel tipsy at all in an alcohol-induced way- but we were strangely subdued. (Josh took the gorgeous pic above with the Lensbaby.)

I’ve been MIA from my blog for quite some time. I haven’t had much to say, but really, I’ve been on a serious sabbatical since graduating in May! And this will be a short entry due to my raging migraine at the moment. (Nothing to do with the absynthe. It’s hormonal.)

I pictured my extended vacation (before graduating) and I saw myself doing a lot of lounging around, catching up on Netflix and just being a glorified beach bum (sans the beach + a dirty river instead). In fact, I’ve done very little of that. I’ve already opened up my first Etsy shop- selling anything and everything that Josh and I make art-wise. He makes clay African heads which are totally badass and also some pretty freaking awesome computer chip earrings and necklaces made from old motherboards. I’m so impressed with his creativity. 🙂 We’ve worked super hard on opening the shop, gathering inventory, and working on our packaging/branding. I won’t announce it here- not yet- because we’re not where I want it to be yet. We’ve only got 15 items listed, so we’re not quite ready to roll out a grand opening. Soon! Also, we’re working on our 2nd shop, which will be nothing like the first one. The first one is a catch-all for anything that strikes our fancy, but the 2nd one is deliberate and focused. So, we’ll be announcing both shops at once in the next few months. And, as much as I hate FB- with every drop in my body (and haven’t been there in 6 years)- I’ve decided to rejoin so that I can do my necessary PR and networking for our shops. Without social media, any business is dead in the water, and you have to PR the shit out of something if you want it to sell- it’s just that simple.

So- in several months, we’ll be linking our two shops here, and also on Facebook and Twitter and all of that good stuff. It won’t be a “fan” account at FB, it’ll be my own name and personal account, but it will double as a PR machine for new pieces we add here and there.

We’re pretty excited about this new direction we’re taking. I knew I wouldn’t be able to freaking lay around doing nothing! That doesn’t really exist in my world.

More on everything later. I currently have a rabid (invisible) critter gnawing at my head and the only thing that’ll help at this stage is to fall blissfully into unconsiousness. So, be well all. I miss everyone. x

 

 


Date Night

Josh and I popped into our favourite Mexican restaurant last night- a little place called La Loma on Eastern Blvd. which sells authentic Mexican tacos (and ice cold Coronas). Afterwards, we went to see Alice: Through the Looking Glass in 3D at the theater. It was pretty phenomenal. 🙂

Critics are panning it but I’m wagering that many of them are curmudgeony old farts who’ve long forgotten how to connect with their inner child. Josh and I were laughing and crying and fascinated by all of the pretty colours and CGI. (We clearly need to get out more.) 

I’ve been out of school for just over 3 weeks now, and I’m happy to say that I haven’t done a darn thing. At all. I’ve downloaded around 7 different games and have a large stack of library books on the table that I’m positive I won’t read. I’ve discovered that I have a thing for acquisition as opposed to actually reading. That said, I think I’m still decompressing because I’m really quite the bookworm. Normally, I don’t like to go more  than two days without accomplishing something or checking off goals on a list, so the fact that I’ve done nothing at all (and don’t care whatsoever) is a good sign! I’m learning to relax.

I did pick up this really awesome graduation present for myself though:
GradPresent

I absolutely love it. It’s a heavy duty copper and bronze homemade poppy necklace from an online shop called Mama Peacock. I think it’s a steal for $26. It sits heavy around the neck and is supported by a steel ball chain necklace. I especially love the stacked nickel and bronze ringlets wrapped around a solid steel pole that connects the ball chain to the pendant. This thing is just badass.

Josh and I have been up all night. After coming home from our date, I finished up some work for a client and he’s been gaming for most of the night. I could get used to this pace of life. No rushing, no demands, no deadlines- well…no serious ones.

Alas, as much as I love loafing around being a beach bum (sans the beach), I’m already working on a business model for a shop of my own. I won’t reveal it until it’s close to being finished, but I’m so excited with the direction I’m going in. I’ll be able to work from home and enjoy doing what I love to do. (And that’s all I’ll say about that.)

I’m off to heat up our leftovers. Tacos for breakfast!


My Final Day

And it’s called that because it’s my last day of my bachelor’s (in Psychology) program today, and I’m taking my last final exam in the morning. I can’t believe I’ve made it through! As I mentioned earlier, I’ll be graduating with honours and I’ve finally been fully inducted into the Society of Leadership and Success.

I’m so excited to be getting my life back. Everything feels SO GOOD right now and I’m beyond ecstatic. There’s a certain feeling a woman has after giving birth. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a feeling of indescribable triumph. As if she made it through death itself and escaped with her life.

Well that’s how I feel. 🙂

Anyway, I didn’t want to go on about all of that again. Just had to jot these feelings down while they’re here, because God knows that those dark clouds are just over the hill and they’ll be rolling in soon enough.

But today, it was beautiful. The sun was shining down and there was a golden-grey glow covering everything in sight, despite the cool rain falling down and splashing on me…

Lensbaby Composer/ f/ 5.6-Spring Mill Park
MJ

 


I Too am Boycotting Target

So Target has now begun allowing transgender individuals to enter into the restroom that they identify with by the gender of their choice, rather than biologically. Tough call, all the way around, and no matter what, somebody’s going to be offended. But what that means is that if a man begins to identify with feeling like a woman, he’ll be allowed to waltz right on into the women’s restroom- no questions asked. And vice versa for women.

I think a pretty simple solution would be to offer up a unisex bathroom for transgender individuals. That may seem course to some people, but heterosexual people have rights too. Heterosexual individuals have rights to feel safe in public restrooms. Not everybody is down with sharing a bathroom with the opposite sex, publicly.

I don’t have any issues with transgender individuals wanting special bathroom privileges. For them, they feel infringed upon being made to use the bathrooms that they’ve been forced to use all their lives. I can understand them not wanting to have to use the bathroom that they belong to “biologically”. And they have rights too. But that doesn’t mean that heterosexuals need to have their rights stripped away in the process!

This opens up the door for every sexual predator to have instant and immediate access to their victims. And that’s the problem I have with this whole thing. What about the rights of children? What about the rights of adolescents or tweens who are old enough to be in a bathroom without their parents, but not old (or strong) enough to fight off a sexual predator who has been given total access to the women’s restrooms? All they have to do is say that they identify with being a woman. Period. It’s that easy.

I watch a lot of crime shows, and have noticed a trend in many of these shows. For some reason, predators tend to prefer Target department stores, following women out to their cars and kidnapping them in broad daylight. Well now they will no longer have to. They can walk right into the women’s restrooms!

Way to go, Target.

Today I signed the boycott against Target stores, along with more than 375,000 other people, and am inviting any of you who read this to do the same.

You can sign the boycott against Target here. 

 


Regression

This is what my screen looks like at 5:25 a.m.:

Regression

Yep. Good ole linear regression. It’s the fun stuff I get to do in between bivariate correlations and my final exam.

Josh had me on lockdown- snoring a heap of Zzzz’s into my face- as I lay there listening to the early morning birds, thinking about…you guessed it: multiple regression and p values. I’m so impressed with my professor, Dr. Kraha. She’s brilliant, to say the least. She breaks everything down into very easy-to-understand concepts. And I love her voice. She’s without a doubt the best professor I’ve ever had and truth be told, I’m going to miss her!

She’s helped bring my grade from a C in Statistics (coming in to her class), to a strong A. Even now, I still have an A in her class and really have 1 assignment and my final exam to go. If I do well in those areas, I’ll maintain my A.

I have a 30 slide Power Point presentation on Darwin (with voiceover) as well as a 15 page research paper on the levels of anger in prisoners and their causes + a 5 page paper in Psych. of Personality- all due 3 days from now.

Sigh. My life..

Back to the grind!