For the first time in many months, I’m behind in my work. My large-ish assignment was due yesterday evening, but when I awoke from my deep slumber, it was 41 degrees in my house. I could almost see my breath. I huddled under my (Egyptian cotton) flannel sheets, like I was in a tee-pee, and texted my professor on my cell phone. There’s no way I can work in those conditions. She’s amazingly supportive, so she afforded me as much time as I’d like.
I had a good run for a while without my 3 day migraines. There were times when I didn’t get one for months in a row. But recently, they’ve been visiting me more often. And when I say visiting, I mean like a drunken husband that grabs you by the throat and slings you around mercilessly for 72 hours, incessantly. Now try to imagine that, truly, and now try to imagine eating a sandwich while that’s going on…or sleeping at all. Right.
Last week, I could feel some very unusual hairline fracture pain, coursing through my cranium. It feels like it’s the diameter of a hair. So tiny and thin, but so brutal in nature. It’s savage. One minute, all is well, calm, and peaceful. The next moment, I’m gripped in electrifying pain that quite literally takes my breath immediately. All I can do is squeeze my eyes tightly together, and cringe, as I wait for the moment to pass. This is nothing like my usual migraines. I’m used to a specific course of actions. This is all new territory.
Luke Perry just died from a massive stroke. No warning of any kind. That’s terrifying! He complained of head pain, and was taken in to the E.R. He was heavily sedated so the physicians could try and get the attack under control. For several days he lay there, sedated, surrounded by his loved ones. And then he slipped away- never to return again.
When I think about that, and then I think about just how many 3 day migraines I’ve endured, which is accompanied by blurred vision and slurred speech, and tingling in my left hand and arm, I wonder just how much time is left on my clock. I can’t help but think about death. When you feel like you’re living on borrowed breath, believe me, you think about death just as much, if not more, than you think about life.
People are ridiculous. They think they have all the time in the world, and they carry grudges and choose to not forgive others. All of that anger means absolutely nothing in the end! It’s all wasted energy. Useless. It serves the ego only. There’s no reward there. And it’s a fool’s meal and they eat it up with every angry chomp!
It’s sad, really. And it’s funny how, some people would rather stop talking to you altogether than simply say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” And that’s a tragedy.
As for me, there’s no one person in the world who I wouldn’t feed or clothe or hug tightly if they showed up on my doorstep. I’ve been tried already in the fires of hell itself. It wasn’t always easy, but I chose to forgive. I forgave every single person who ever wronged, hurt, or abused me. Not only did I forgive them, I chose to love them too. I CAN back up my words with a long history of action. Unfortunately, the ones who’ve turned their backs on me cannot say the same. They have no idea how to swallow their pride and choose love over anger. I pray that God will find them in the Way before it’s too late. because we all are only given so much time, and then we don’t get any more time to try and make things better.
Today one of the greatest things happened to me. I was called to my son and daughter-in-law’s house as they had some news they wanted to share with me. When Josh and I got there, my son’s sweet little gal showed me her pregnancy test, and it was positive! I’m going to finally be a grandmother! Oh happy day! I’ve had to sit silently in the shadows of all of my friends, as they post pics of themselves with their grandkids. I’ve always felt like Queen Elizabeth, but not in a royal way. She was known as the “Virgin Queen” (and that’s a total farce, because she was a trifling ho, actually, who even had her lover’s wife murdered so she could have him- Robert Dudley- all to herself. That’s how big her ego was.) But no, I always felt like the “Virgin Grandma”. But no longer! 🙂
And so after some thought, Josh had a good laugh and suggested “Gam Gam” for my royal title, and then Gabbie chuckled too and sanctioned it, officially. So, yes, I will soon be known as Gam Gam. I love it. 🙂
It feels good to be editing again. I edited a pic of my son, brian, and his gal, Gabbie, from our trip to the Smoky Mountains, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Thanksgiving of last year. It was shot in colour, but I did some work on it- cleaned it up in Photoshop- as well as did some contrast and gamma adjustments and mixed the exposure- midtones/shadows/and highlights. I added some grain (which I adore) and hit it with a gaussian blur + selective unsharp mask and mastered the overall RGB curves, then each channel individually, aaaaaand mixed the colour balance channels, individually- shadows, midtones, and highlights there as well.
You may think when you see a pic of mine that I hit one or two tabs to edit it in post processing- like most everybody does these days on their phones- ha. If you only knew. Many of my photos are usually a combination of 15+ channels, mixed, blended, erased, flattened (wash, rinse, repeat 5 or 10 more times) so by the end, it’s entirely mastered in practically every area. I make it look easy, but I’ve had a good 15 years at this now.
Brian & Gabbie- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 vintage film lens/Canon Rebel t3i
“Oh my goodness, I have a screaming migraine and it’s that time of the month. Is there anything else worse than that for a woman?” I asked.
“Is there anything worse than that for a man?!” Josh answered.
He has a valid point.
I knew it was too good to be true that I wouldn’t get a migraine, especially after mentioning it only yesterday. I awoke this morning with a skull-crushing migraine. it’s 1:15 a.m. and it’s now been almost 24 hours (straight) that I’ve had this. And that’s with pain medication. After several years of battling these things, you really do learn to live with them. I shop, cook, clean, write, do schoolwork- I do everything with a migraine and there really are no words to describe the pain. “Intense” just doesn’t do it and keep in mind that I chose to give birth to 3 children “naturally”, so I would know a thing or two about serious pain. This pain is far worse than childbirth. I didn’t cry or scream when I gave birth to my children. I went in like a soldier- no baby stuff! (Well, ok, “baby stuff” but no “sissy stuff”.) When I delivered my oldest daughter, Heidi, the woman down the hall was screaming her head off. I politely asked the nurse to ask her if she could be a bit quieter because she was distracting me. (Yep, true story, I’m afraid.)
My point is that I believe in “mind over matter”. I went in believing I could control my own pain during childbirth and I certainly did, or at least I psyched myself out to believe that I didn’t have to yell or scream or fall apart during it. (It worked.) So yes, I can take some massive pain. These migraines are no joke! I cry. Lots. I can’t liken it to any other pain I’ve ever known. Because this kind of pain comes with nausea, so it’s not enough that you feel as if your head is being sawn in half (from the back) but also, you get the added benefits of feeling like you’re going to barf continuously. Without ceasing. For 24 and 48 hours straight. It’s there when you go to sleep and it’s there when you wake up and it turns your dreams into night terrors.
Barfing and babies and pain and stuff really does have something to do with praying down the rain. That’s coming up.
In all of this pain, I can be grateful that my prayers were answered. I was in the kitchen yesterday and was so hot and miserable. I said a little prayer: “God, please let it cool down. Send the rain, Lord,” I said. And that was it. No big prayer meeting. It was said in one breath and with little after thought.
I woke up this morning and immediately was surprised. It was almost cold in the room! I looked out the window and the sky was grey and congested. My prayers had been answered, speedily. But it seems I traded in my “speed dial” prayer for a heavy dose of pain. I got the cool air and the rain, but my head was a total mess.
I remember a time when it was raining torrentially and Josh and I were helping a friend move. I was in a pickup truck and there was nobody around.
“God, could you hold off the rain so we can get this stuff moved?” I asked.
It didn’t rain for almost two months afterwards. We had one of the biggest droughts we’d had in years. And another time, I was walking home with a few bags of groceries. Not sure what the car story (or lack of it) was at the time, I just remember walking about a mile or so in the rain. No picnic.
“Lord, please make the rain stop.” And that was all I said. It stopped within the next 2 minutes. I could hardly believe it.
So yes. Now we have rain.
My head is screaming so badly at the moment. I have to go and lie down. The pain is reaching the “maddening” stage and I feel like I could smash glass. 24 hours of relentless pain is right up there with torture. I’m simply exhausted.
The peppermint tea is a small comfort.
Josh made homemade chicken soup.
That was a huge comfort.
Time to collapse.
I’m realizing only today why I’m so creative. Because I’ve had to improvize my whole life. Having next to nothing to work with, forces you to try harder. You have no choice but to experiment because you really don’t know what else to do. Over time, your style becomes defined, refined, and unmistakable.
Having to sell my rig, more than once, I was left with only my Canon G3. It’s a 4 MP dinosaur. Because I had nothing else, I decided to not only learn how to shoot in B&W + manual, but revel in it.
That was about two years ago. I’ve been shooting for about 7, but B&W rules me. I’m completely infatuated with the marriage between light and shadows. To me, black and white is already a story. The images within an image become the actors on the stage, or props, I suppose, but even if you have only one blank wall, and a cheap camera set up to photograph that wall, with a bit of natural window lighting hitting it (through parted curtains, say), then the clouds passing over the sun become the filters. The passing clouds increase and decrease the gamma and contrast naturally.
The story of B&W is one of masculinity and femininity. Life and death. Hot and cold. Love and hate. When stripped down to their very elements, they are in their most powerful state. I have little interest at the moment in HDR, filters of this or that kind- and while they’re great (and I have experience in those as well) I can’t escape the beauty of being stripped down to almost nothing, and simply working with what ya got.
That’s not to say I photograph things in the nude.
I’m experimenting with a new webcam I got. It’s a cheapie $18.00 Logitech. But it’s capable of shooting in B&W (Heaven……….!) and so I’ve been sitting here in my computer chair, painting shadow swans on my wall with my hands. When I move my hands back and forth to and away from my chest, the shadows become elongated horizontally. Such a simple action. But it changes the dynamics of everything.
And here are some snappies:
This is generally how I feel several times a week.
“Ahhh…..close the curtains!”
(Migraines make the light absolutely unbearable.) Oh, and I wasn’t faking it. I did indeed wake up with a migraine.
I intentionally bleached the lighting, and jacked up the gamma so the blacks would be double heavy.
Choppy, grainy, bleeding contrast, toasted exposure- what’s not to love?
(Yes, yes, I’m kidding.) But the shadows on my neck from my fingers are intentional.
It’s a fair statement to say that I am obsessed with shadows.
Perhaps I’ll post a video today.