I’m quite sure that I enjoy pulling all-nighters because it’s the closest thing to getting high that I do these days. (For the record, I stopped smoking pot/getting high a decade ago. So these days, catching a natural sleep-deprived buzz is about all the “partying” that I do any more.) I do love my sleep, I really do, but there’s just something about romancing that space at the edge of dreams…walking in that head-space…that I really love. When coming upon the 28th hour or so without sleep, things start getting a little goofy and slap-happy. It’s so much easier to smile in that place. And smile I do. 🙂
It’s only been about 23 hours without sleep so far; not so bad, really. I know that if I were to come back to this post in a few years, I’d have no recollection of writing this (right now) at all. Well, now that I’ve pointed that out and have just retrieved those encoded thoughts from my episodic memory- I sort of screwed that up, haven’t I? Too late for that thought cluster. (At this point, I’m wondering just how much of this rubbish monologue that I’ll even be able to comprehend later on down the road.) My eyelids feel like they’re made of concrete, but I’m more rebellious than sleepy, so I’ll check back in a bit and see if I’m still making sense.
Things have been going SO well lately. My semester has just ended- I’ve added two more A’s to my grades- whew! I’ll be honest; I thought getting my Master’s degree was going to be a cake walk, I really did. But DANG if I don’t have to write 15 pages of APA-stuffed papers weekly. This is so writing intensive. Two more classes and I’ll have wrapped up my first year. I can hardly believe it! Time is just flying by.
My next two classes will be Substance Abuse Prevention and Neurobiology of Addiction. I’m going to absolutely devour the latter one. I’ve waited patiently for that class and am really excited about taking that one. I love most anything to do with neurobiology, but especially addiction issues.
Josh doesn’t work for Calvin any more. He’s worked for him (off and on) for 11 years. He realized that as long as he stayed with him there, he’d never advance and grow and blossom and all of that good stuff that he’s needed to do for the longest time. So he called another flooring company and it just so happened that the owner had a position on a small crew that had an immediate opening, and in fact, they needed another man. Right on the spot, Josh was offered a position with that company at $3 per hour more than what he was making with Calvin. We couldn’t believe it! Proof that when God opens doors, He lets you know that it’s Him– without a doubt. He makes it so that all you have to do is simply walk through that open door. We complicate things, we humans- we really do. We put up fleeces and practically dare God. As if we’re challenging Him, or playing a game of some kind. But really, all we need to do is cry out to Him, seek His will in the matter, be willing to accept a “no” just as much as a “yes”, and wait patiently on Him.
God is the ultimate mathematician, and artist, and linguist, and everything else one can think of. We just need to trust Him.
So Josh and I are starting a brand, new chapter in our lives. We’re so excited! We’ll have a lot more money, and the fact that Josh is making decent money now means that I’ll be able to sock away some $$$ into my savings account without touching it. I can live with that. 😉
Well I can hear the sheep bleating over the hilltops; they’re coming for me!
I won’t fight ’em off this time…
Lensbaby Composer- Somewhere in the woods
Everything looks better in black and white. 🙂 (I know a few hundred people who’d agree.)
Spring Mill Park- Mitchell, Indiana – a warm day in February, on a day trip with Josh and Brianna- very little editing/Lensbaby Composer/ f/5.6
This is the sunset that almost got me arrested yesterday:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI + golden hour lighting
Josh and I were out driving through the beautiful country of Starlight, Indiana. We’d had a glass of Apple Spice wine from the orchard and were enjoying the sunshine. I glanced over through the trees and saw the sun beaming through and knew I had to get that shot (shown above). I didn’t alter any colours in it: it’s SOOTC (Straight Out Of the Camera). What you see is how it looked in person. It was incredibly beautiful.
So I parked the car a quarter of a mile down on the side of the road, and as I tiptoed through the field (barefooted, naturally), I happened to notice there was a man standing on the road directly to my left. He didn’t speak, he just watched me. If I could count the times strange people just showed up to watch me shoot. Grrr.
I took my cue to go, and as I was going, he said, “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright.”
That translates to, “I live right down the road and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let you take a picture of this here field.”
I showed him the shot and let him know I was harmlessly taking a pic, and skidaddled off to our Rodeo Isuzu. Not even 45 seconds later, we passed a cop car going in the direction of where we had just come. Jimbob had called the law.
Not that we were doing anything wrong. But out in redneck country, you’re either going to get shot at, or have to outrun the police like we did. And so began our hurried exit, snaking through every jijagged turn we could make, and flying back to the city. Believe me when I say, photography is not a boring hobby! “Dealing” with the cops is part of the package.
Alas, it was worth it. 🙂
And a few more from the day:
Modified Lensbaby Composer + Canon Rebel XSI
And last, but not least, my partners in crime!
Life is whirling by way too fast these days!
Josh and I just returned from a late steak dinner (or early, depending on which end of the clock you’re watching) and I probably shouldn’t have had almost 3 cups of coffee this late. I’ve been working at a frenzied pace, finishing up my semester, and taking on side projects as well, for others, mostly. I have to say, life is pretty sweet these days. 🙂
I want to get back to my art, but that too will be on hold for another 6 months or so. I’m salivating at the thought of taking a year off for my art and music before beginning work on my Master’s degree. There just aren’t enough arms on my body or hours in the day.
I’m dabbling with the idea of opening a semi-organic lollipop shop; it’s still just a thought as an embryonic idea, but I could see it growing over the next few years. And then there’s my children’s book. (Sigh.) I really wanted to move that around a bit but I’ve been so busy with school- it’s practically consumed my life for five years.
I think five years in is a good time to take a break, however. After next (spring) semester, I’ll be able to take some down time, relax, and just make art. Josh, being the genius that he is, modified my Lensbaby (as if a Lensbaby needs any more modification) adding a disc-shaped cardboard cutout- replicating a pinhole a bit, causing the edges of the frame to be less exaggerated but heavier on the in-cam blur.
The result is a dreamy, romantic quality to the sides of the frames, such as seen in this river pic from last week:
Time for late night cuddles with my baby. ♥
(7:00 a.m. comes way too early.)
Sometimes, when I don’t have the words of comfort that I’m looking for, I take pictures instead. This is for you, Y, and your friend. I wanted to take pictures of flowers for you, and I changed my mind at the last minute. I took a few pics of the riverside instead.
I hope you like them. xo
Unknown couple, sharing an intimate moment
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
Josh existing my mother’s house after dropping off his homemade burgers
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
Second Street bridge- joining Indiana and Kentucky
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass/f/2.8
“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained …”
Lately, life seems to be flying by. This is what things look like to me right now: Museum of Modern Art/man studying exhibit/New York, New York
Canon Rebel XSI/Sigma 17-70/Handheld/manual focus/manual exposure
I’ve recently discovered that I’ve been grossly misplaced and put in the wrong class at my school, Vincennes University. I was signed up for Public Speaking (via advisor) and added to a course whose professor is now retired, and has been for some time. When I went to submit my assignment, I was told that one of the professor’s cohorts had taken over. When I shared this with the staff that misplaced me, I was told that the replacement class was full.
(Here we go.)
Needless to say, I straightened out the mess, and although I am now officially eight weeks behind in the new class (again, erroneously on the school’s part and at no fault of my own), I am somehow the first in my class to submit my 13 question and answer discussion on various parts of the speech and communication process. I’m not sure if that’s pretty darn impressive on my part or pretty pathetic where my classmates are concerned. Eight weeks in and not one assignment submitted to the discussion board? (I’m hoping I’ve screwed something up somewhere, but that’s not likely.)
Either way, I’m excited to be assigned a professor who is not only proficient at his job, but he’s a little tougher than most, and I love that. High-pressured, extensive assignments are what drive me. I actually asked to be moved out of a class once because the professor stated in his syllabus that a “book” wasn’t necessary in his course, and instead of using any academic references, he chopped his syllabus into six sections and asked that we use that as our “material” for the duration of the class. I reported him immediately and was told that several other students had done the same thing. I wasted no time in being moved into a more challenging class.
I’m also going to be scheduling three book readings for my children’s book, Peanut Butter Soup, in the local tri-city area: all cities that I went to school in. Tomorrow is the actual Read Across America Day, which coincides with Dr. Seuss’ birthday, and while I would love to do the book readings then, I’m so crunched for time I’m going to have to set back the dates to the following week. I ordered three paperback copies today that are being overnighted to me. I’ll be able to sign them and contribute one book per school library. School readings aren’t the time or place to promote your book. (That’s what book signings and media taps are for.) School readings are all about connecting with the kids, planting some very important seeds, and shining the spotlight on the kids and listening to them. It’s also the time to remind yourself (if you’re an author, such as me) that you are not a rock star and it is not about you. It’s all about the kids.
I was told by one of the school’s staff at the last book reading, that she had never seen her class respond to anyone before in such a way. She said it was like therapy for the kids. 🙂 That’s the best compliment that a children’s book author can possibly receive- it was for me, anyway. They also gave me a round of free tickets to the school’s play, and a bouquet of fresh wildflowers. It was the school I went to as a child, and I was incredibly honoured to be able to go back 34 years later and share my life with those kids.
“Are you rich?” One of the kids asked me. (I laughed.)
“Are you?” I asked him.
“No, but you wrote a book. You’re not rich?”
“No,” I said to him, smiling. “In fact, I’ve never been rich, and barely had any money at all when I wrote this book.” I said. “You don’t have to have a lot of money to do things you want to do in life. You just have to have the desire and willpower,” I said.
By the time I left one classroom and made my way to the next one, the class had already heard that I sing too, and yes, they made me sing a song, A capella, which I did, gladly.
“Why aren’t you on American Idol?! Dang! You can sing!” One of the girls said.
“Because then I would be all rich and famous and I wouldn’t be here with you. And I’d rather be here with you.” I answered.
It wasn’t a “book reading”, it was an event. I’ve never had a better time in my life.
Tonight Josh and I are headed out of town for some much needed R&R. My mom is under the weather and I’ll be fixing her a delicious meal, finishing up a Behavioral health (model) project, enjoying some ginger & lemon tea with an unhealthy dose of pre-calculus, and cramming in some Jeopardy. (Yes, that’s how I relax…)
If somebody were to have told me (twenty years ago) that I would be writing reports on drug prevention on a hot Friday night, I would have belted out a hearty laugh, followed by a shot of straight Tequila.
My typical Friday nights were spent in one of two ways:
a.) I was in church with my friends and family
b.) I was out running the streets, higher than a kite and no doubt on my way to becoming quite smashed.
Sometimes in that order.
If I didn’t puke, I generally wasn’t having a good time. This went on for a good twenty years. I suppose that my extensive experience on the subject fuels my passion for it. I know many people who think you can’t touch a drop to drink (or you’re a raging alkie) or that if you smoke a joint, you’re on your way to harder drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, seeing how pot is considered a “gateway drug”.
But I don’t think this is so. Many things change the brain’s chemistry and can cause addiction- not just drugs. I’ve had many Twinkie battles (when I had a chronic case of the munchies) and I was certain the Twinkie would win, but again, not so. Will power and a solid education go a long way. “Just Say No” simply doesn’t work, and the DARE program was an epic failure.
So what’s the answer?
I ponder these things. Drugs and alcohol littered my youth- they were my second skin.
Now, I haven’t smoked a joint in six years, and haven’t had hard liquor in six as well. I don’t care much for the taste of alcohol these days- that’s not to say I can’t have a beer or two, or a glass of wine with a salad. I just fell out of love with it, that’s all.
Photography has taken the place of drugs I believe. My art is satisfying enough for me.
When I’m excited- I take pics.
When I’m sad- I take pics.
When I’m stressed- I take pics.
When I’m angry- I take pics.
By doing so, I alleviate much of the stress associated with these intense emotions. I can add descriptions to my work so that the viewer can perhaps step into my shoes. It’s absolutely therapeutic. I remember the day I quit smoking cigarettes (six years ago also). I was wondering what in the world I would do when I was stressed. No weed- no whiskey- no smokes! Where’s the fun?!
Then I picked up a camera. 🙂
Maybe someday I’ll design a program for kids and teens, that incorporates “phototherapy” into their lives. It’s not too expensive- everybody has a camera these days, and they can express their pent up emotions through their art.
Good grief, am I really rambling on about drug prevention on a Friday night?!
Yes. I’m afraid I am…
And here’s the Executive Summary I turned in today:
(Copying, “borrowing”, or outright stealing this work for the use of plagiarism is absolutely prohibited and any breach of this written warning could result in prosecution.)
In 1983, Daryl F. Gates founded the Drug Abuse Resistance Program, or DARE. The program offered a ten week, in-school, interactive learning module taught by local law enforcement officers and others. Authorized workers and guest speakers were to undergo 80 hours of training in the areas of childhood development, communication skills, and other interpersonal tools. Funding for the organization was based on certain criteria being met: The information was to be research-based, and effective. In 1998, funding for the program was cut as a result of failing to meet the required regulations. The Department of Education (DOE) has withdrawn from the program completely and refuses to give DARE any future funding. Recent scientific studies have proven DARE to not only be ineffective, but counterproductive as well. It is difficult to say whether the law enforcement officers’ lack of therapeutic qualifications played a part in the failure of DARE’s program. Perhaps it was a combination of factors that simply weren’t cohesive. Some of the teenagers in the program may have viewed the police officers as a threat. It is a fair assessment to say that minorities and inner-city kids may have been preconditioned to fear police officers, especially if they might have been told the same division put a parent or family member behind bars. Perhaps too, the overexposure to a variety of drugs gave the young DARE members more temptations than they might have had without the program.
Attempts at primary prevention education have been challenging over the years as well. Targeting grade-schoolers, many programs have used catchy slogans, such as, “Just Say No,” without reaping necessary and expected benefits. A major problem with this technique that must be taken into consideration is the exposure to a host of new drugs that many children are not aware of beforehand. By announcing the dangers of these items, children are being tantalized and seduced by an idea, “the forbidden fruit”.
Scare tactics is another method that has been ineffective. When presenting exaggerated effects of drugs to children and teens, but especially teens, they will often discredit the material altogether. When teenagers are shown dramatic images of horrific drug-related events, the emotional connection and fear are more temporal than long lasting. Children lack the foresight to understand what 20 years of hard drinking may do to the body, even knowing, he or she may not care. Connecting with these kids on his or her level is crucial. Targeting a demographic is necessary, but so is having the precision and ability to actually reach these children.
Another aspect to consider when using scare tactics is the often romantic appeal of a thing when it is presented as “off limits”. That is not to say legalization of drugs or underage drinking should be an option, but perhaps emphasizing nausea as an effect, rather than euphoria, may tarnish its overall attraction. The effects of drug and alcohol use are tempting to children and teens because they like to feel good. Toddlers spin in circles to mimic euphoria, even before they are old enough to form sentences, much less understand the concept of drugs and alcohol and their effects on the body. No matter how well packaged or distributed antidrug campaigns may be, unless the parents or caregivers of the child are reinforcing, in the home, what he or she is learning in school, the whole of it will be counterproductive.
Programs like the Child Development Project (CDP) have been shown to significantly reduce drinking and drug use among adolescents and teens between the ages of 5-12. The CDP strives to promote closer bonds between students and their peers, teachers and students, and students and parents. Another useful prevention program is Class Action, which is a universal school-based alcohol-related learning module. Class Action targets children between the ages of 9-12. This program in particular has proven to reduce the onset of drinking among school kids, and has reduced binge drinking among high school students.
One reason for the success of Class Action is the interactive peer-led relationships between the students and their mentors, or speakers. The representatives focus on turning negative peer pressure into positive peer pressure; thereby changing the messages of alcohol uses and abuse altogether. Students who heed the warnings will perceive drinking as something that might be shunned by their peers, in turn, molding their choices into healthier actions. Unlike DARE, which is a tertiary prevention program, the CPD and Class Action are primary and secondary prevention programs.
Avoid using scare tactics in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. The fear-related material can be effective in creating a necessary protective boundary in grade-schoolers. The same fear may compound stress in teenagers, causing them to actually want to try drugs or alcohol, and the same could be said in tertiary programs. Scare tactics are best used during primary prevention, when children are most impressionable.
Avoid using law enforcement officers in secondary and tertiary prevention programs. They may induce rebellion in teens, and resentment among addicts. Again, law enforcement officers are presented and often perceived as “the good guys” to grade-schoolers. A two step interactive transitional program is recommended that would bridge the gap from grade-school over to middle school, and then middle school to high school, promoting the positive images of law enforcement officers. Telling children to “stay away from bad things” simply does not work. Law enforcement officers would be encouraged to engage in activities that children and teens participate in most: gaming, texting, and hanging out at their favorite hot spots.
Abstinence rewards in school is another recommendation.
Reward middle and high school students who abstain from alcohol and drugs.
Develop a program specifically for middle and high school students offering monthly voluntary drug testing. Rather than spend money on building more incarceration facilities, increase funding for voluntary drug testing in schools. Rewards include: Ipods, clothing cards from their local malls, and ITunes cards that allow unlimited downloading of songs. By associating positive material gain (rewards) with abstinence, the fear and anxiety associated with drug testing would be diminished, if not altogether diffused, and kids and teens would develop an appreciation for drug testing that could possibly carry over into adulthood. Just as word-of-mouth among peer groups is drugs and alcohol’s number one promoter, so too, the Abstinence Reward Program (ARP) could be widely spread and promoted by peers among peers.
Catwalk/My daughter, Heidi./Lensbaby Composer pro-Double Glass Ops./Manual ex./RAW/GIMP
So my assignments are stacking up already.
Fill out proctor forms/fax back to instructors
Read 28 pages in Nutrition/take first quiz
Finish up reading in Alcohol and Other Drug Problems- type out 2 page report as a treatment center assistant, specializing in prevention
Prepare for my first speech
They’re not due until next Monday, so…there’s time.
I’m tempted to go play hookie. Down at the river. With my camera. Maybe- maybe I could do research of some kind. For school. Or something.
With my camera.
Josh is frustrated. He’s on his laptop rambling on about his inconsiderate teacher.
I really didn’t hear a word he said.
“Is that your Spanish class?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he said, seemingly appeased.
Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops./RAW/Manual [Rebel xti]
Public of your Past/Canon G3/self portrait
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
Falls of the Ohio/Water
The Hiding Place/My daughter, Brianna-reworked(added film filter + mastered levels and hues)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Thirty one Hours/ My daughter, Heidi,Reworked
Lensbaby Composer Pro/ Double Glass/Canon Rebel Xti
Times Square/New York, New York
Multiple Exposure/Sigma 17-70
Warhol/ Warhol exhibition (Campbell’s soup cans)
Museum of Modern Art- New York, New York
Warsaw/ Abandoned Government Facility
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass Ops.
My daughter, Heidi/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
He’s Leaving Again/Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Interrogation/ My kitchen chair in natural window lighting (my favourite lighting)
Lensbaby Composer Pro/Double Glass
Self Portrait/Long exposure experiment/Canon G3/manual (8 secs.)
Shadows and Leaves/Harvest Homecoming/Canon G3/Manual
I can’t believe school starts tomorrow. My summer vacation is officially over.
Heidi emailed me and asked if she might come to live with us until February. I’m ecstatic! We’ll be moving into a new house before September 10th. The $5,280 in school grants and loans will be a big help. Josh will be going full-time this semester as well. He’ll be receiving less than $4,000, but between the both of us, we’ll pay for five months of rent up front, which will take some of the pressure off. Because Heidi will be with us, we’ll probably go with a four bedroom house. When she’s back in Bloomington (here and there), we’ll use the room as an office.
I’m a bit weirded out by my Speech class. I’ve put that class off for two years. (Sigh.) I’ll also be going into my fourth semester of college math. I was going to break up my classes and only go part-time, but decided to bite the bullet and face all of my fears at once and simply get it over with. I’m saddened that I will have to put my photography on the back burner once again, but excited by the fact that I’ll be simultaneously working on my online gallery.
I was also just juried in to Sojie 18:
Birgitta, hi, your image below was nominated for SoJie 18 –
Solo’s Juried Invitational Exhibition on “Abstracts”
- deadline is Friday, August 24, 2012, 8AM New York time!
- judging starts immediately after the deadline
- show opens Monday, August 27th!
SoJie 18 – exhibition space and instructions
Use the special “Easy Button” linked in the intro to get image code to copy/paste into a comment.
There is the link, and an illustration in the intro on how to use the Easy Button, 1-2-3.
p.s. Below is your nominated image. You will see your nomination sticker in the comments. Click it, or the above link for instructions.
I took the shot with a Lensbaby Composer Pro (Double Glass)- slow shutter sp./ Night shot (about 8 seconds or so).
RAW/manual/Canon Rebel Xti
I love to bend the light. This image is almost SOOTC/straight out of the camera.
I did a slight level adjustment, but apart from that- it is.
It’s a prestigious nomination. I’m pleased. 🙂