The most beautiful rain is falling outside right now. I awoke an hour or so ago to the rain falling on my tin roof in a most beautiful enveloping wall of sound. The rain is my favourite thing ever because I feel like God is corralling me off. It satisfies the intense hermit in me that wants to shut my door and windows and seal off the world. The rain says it’s ok to slow it all down to a crawl and not have to be bothered with the things outside my door. The rain sings a most beautiful song. 🙂
I suppose as I grow older (am I really going to be 50 this fall?!), I’m giving in more to my hidden persona; the Jane Goodall-like hippie that wants nothing more than to spend the entire day in the forest, taking macros of little things in their little worlds- up close. I can’t believe I’ve been in school for an entire decade now! I’m so ready to be finished with it all so I can finally- finally- focus on my art, photography, and music. I’m looking forward to closing the books once and for all (along with my many, MANY research papers) and buy an Epson professional printer and set up a small area of our new home (to be, soon); a proper print shop.
It’s going to take a lot of dedication and time, but I’m so looking forward to it. I’ll be afforded the luxury- after school- of not having to work. Even for several years, or never at all, if I want. I can stay home and go out and about and take all the pics I want- go where I like, and do virtually anything I want. When I’m ready, I can put on that periwinkle suit and Addiction Counselor hat (if I so choose) and make my mark on the world as a counselor. But first, I’ll explore my art. It’s an exciting thing to be able to wake up early in the morning and head out with my camera and collection of vintage film lenses in my Nat. Geo. bag. People who aren’t photographers probably don’t get it.
It’s such a rush to be able to go out into the world and see what only I can see. I can shape my perspective in a unique way and be a storyteller without words. To lay in the plush green mossy ground on the forest floor in the warm, afternoon sunshine and spend hours focusing my lens on tiny little things on leaves. I’m a visitor in their world. It’s an incredible thing to be able to make the tiniest corner of a leaf come into focus, making the rest of the leaf the size of a house, by comparison. Ants become giants and mushrooms- stadiums. It’s exhilarating!
But the real rush is taking the loot home and going through all of the images: Sizing up what stays or what gets tossed out. Whittling the pile down until only a few remaining “money shots” remain and those are the ones which will be edited and post processed. A full day’s shoot- and many hours- for 3 or 4 shots in the end. It’s the experience of it all, from loading up the bag to editing the chosen few to submitting or uploading the shots. And it’s all free! You really can’t beat that. It’s therapy. Photo-therapy at its finest.
Although my latest course Addiction Counseling and Families essentially began yesterday, my Discussion Board posts aren’t due until Thursday. Ever the procrastinator, I think I’ll spend the day lounging in my insanely plush (new) pillow top queen bed (that I um…bought Josh for Christmas. That’s right…it’s all for him! 🙂 ) and edit a new batch of pics from our Thanksgiving trip in the Smokey Mountains. Yes, my life ha been so busy and crazy that I’m only now getting around to editing my Thanksgiving shots from 2018!
Despite having 6 vintage (imported) Bulgarian and Romanian film lenses, only the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 (my favourite lens ever) was used- throughout the entire trip. It never left my camera. These are two of many I’ll be editing over the next few days:
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens (Canon Rebel t3i) – An interesting tree I found on the way up to Clingmans Dome, in Smoky Mountain National Park, in southeastern Tennessee and North Carolina, U.S.
This one is Josh’s. (His capture, my edit.) The Appalachian Trail sign at the base of Clingmans Dome in the Smokies. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon film lens 35/2.8- Canon Rebel t3i
I feel…SO pregnant. My tubes were cut, tied, and burned 20+ years ago, and while it’s rare to conceive a child after all that, it does happen. I really do believe I’ve had a number of ectopic pregnancies in the past 5 years or so, given the evidence at the time. That’s not uncommon. Most ectopic pregnancies self-abort, and although it all happens without much incident, the emotions (of being pregnant) are very real and very much the same. I’m now caught in a semi-pseudo- (or not) preggers limbo of sorts- the kind that many women dread and for good reason. Home pregnancy tests (HPT) are negative while having every symptom of pregnancy known to man. The problem with this scenario is that the body is not yet producing enough HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) to result in a positive HPT, so the woman is left feeling as if it’s all in her head and the symptoms are merely phantom. It can really mess with the head.
And so the problem with this scenario is that she can truly be very pregnant, but her hormone levels are still too low to trigger a positive, and for whatever reason (mostly, if it’s eptopic), has a miscarriage, which is then perceived as a late period- just heavier than usual. So it’s its own little hell- all of it. I’m laid up on the couch with a heating pad on my lower right kidney; I can’t tell if it’s a bum kidney or a pulled muscle. Whatever it is hurts like the dickens. Also, I skipped my period last month, altogether, which never happens, and I haven’t had one this month either- but the HPT I just took read negative (of course!).
Because of my age (48), there’s a new uninvited guest who crashes this little party I’m having here and it’s called perimenopause. Now, the hot flashes that I’m having (which are also a sign of early pregnancy) and sudden weight gain (ditto) aaaaand heart palpitations (yep, those too) can all be ticked off in either category, so that makes it super fun and mysterious!
And I swear I’ve been feeling little thuds deep within my being, very much like little kicks or movements which are not gas. Any fetus at this stage would be developing its CNS, so little shocks are flushing through its system, which accounts for the little jerks and thuds that are felt. I’ve waited 25 years to go back to school and begin my career. I put my kids first, always, and now it’s finally “my turn”.
Or is it?!
So I asked Josh to make me some mushroom rice last night. This is what he bright me:
And some pics from our mushroom hunt the other day at Henryville Forestry/Clark State Forest, after the rain. Shot in monochrome/experimental high ISO (3200) f/18 using the Super Tak SMC f/4 50 MM vintage film lens.
Until next time, WP. Back to “Behind Mansion Walls”.
And some random pics of my guy, Josh, over the years. My best friend and THE love of my life. ❤
(Cue romantic music)
Josh and I have been making some serious changes to our lifestyles. We watched the Netflix documentary What the Health two weeks ago, and were absolutely livid at how the animals are treated as they’re “super-raised”. Most all meat manufacturers (and “growers”) admitted that they pack their animals in so tightly that they can barely move around, and it’s not uncommon at all for many of them to be inundated in their own waste. In fact, many of them stand in several feet of their waste, and many of their neighboring animals were sick and diseased; those who weren’t sick and dying were already dead.
Watching that document opened a dialogue in which we discussed not only animal cruelty and our desire to omit all meats from our diets, but our desires to take better care of our bodies. I saw videos of people who were fighting cancer who decided to switch to a plant-based diet. After consuming a plant-based diet consistently for a year or so, one particular woman was able to eradicate cancer altogether. Today, she is healthy, happy, strong, and cancer free. Also, we learned that when a person eats meats- especially the unhealthy kinds- there are lipids and certain compounds that actually attack the arterial walls; not unlike a dart which sticks in the side of something. Over time, that dart changes the molecular structure of the artery so that it thickens up, ultimately causing it to harden.
Josh and I decided together that we would cut out all meats from our diet. Also though, we learned that milk manufacturers, and paid dairies, add hormones and other awful things to cow’s milk so that it contains puss and hormone-packed mucus that also contributes to unhealthy fats attacking our arteries. (Not to mention, milk does a number on both of our internal systems.) So, we tossed out milk as well. But then we learned that 1 egg yolk is equal to 5 cigarettes in the bad cholesterol department. So, bye bye eggs! As long as we’re cleaning house, we wanted to cover all of our bases.
That pretty much puts us level with vegans. Except, vegans don’t eat honey- seeing how honey is considered “animal-based”. But honey is where I draw the line. I consider raw honey somewhat of a super food, seeing how our it’s fantastic for boosting and protecting the immune system. Nope. Honey and I will never part. Besides, I don’t like to be labeled, and as far as I’m concerned, Josh and I are “plant-based” in our diet choices. We can eat anything we want, at any time. We just choose not to. And for me, having that allowance open at all times, but choosing not to will only continue to fortify our resolve.
We both feel so much better and far more energetic! It makes perfect sense, really. Eating meats (with all of its unhealthy fats) attack not only the arterial walls, but the brain itself. It’s not uncommon for individuals to experience a “clearing of the mind” when going Veganish, and that clearly happened to us as well. We’re alert, and focused and have even noticed that looking at lights and their auras seem so much brighter too. Everything is brighter! Josh has lost 10 lbs. in only two weeks and I’ve lost 7. We’re not even exercising yet, apart from the occasional mile walk at the park with our dogs, or the trip down to the river on the rocks. We’ve decided to join a gym, however, and are looking forward to starting that.
School is going terrific. I’m halfway through my 2nd semester. My two classes for now are: Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice, and Psychology of Addiction. Grad. studies are much different than I thought they would be! This stuff is not easy. I’m seriously giving some thought to obtaining my R.N. license in Nursing, after receiving my Master”s in Addiction Counseling, simply because I’m thinking about having a dual-license. I could work in Rehab as a nurse or an addictions counselor, but that’s so far down the road. And, as it goes with other things, that may not pan out at all. It’s all part of tossing ideas around until it gels and feels right. For now though, I’m focusing on Addiction Counseling.
I would have written here again sooner, but it was the holidays and Josh and I had to endure yet one more year of my sister inviting the entire family unit to her house for Christmas and purposely leaving us out. This has been going on every year for many years now. I’ve told her on more than one occasion that what she’s doing is extremely hurtful. It’s simply neither fair nor “right” to host the most family-focused event of the year at your house if you and another sibling are not speaking. What hurts the most, however, is that my mother knows that it cuts our hearts out, yet she continues to go over there- year after year- knowing that Josh and I are not welcome. It would have helped, tremendously, if my Mom chose to have the family gather at her house instead. That way nobody would feel left out and all would feel welcome, but that didn’t happen, so, we’ll forge ahead, Josh and I, alone.
Close the door and move on.
Meyer-Optik Görlitz Diaplan 80/2.8
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.
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.
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!
That pretty much sizes up my mood right now. I think I’ve reached my serial killer threshold.
My alternator finally died (for good) and so I had little choice but to sell my lenses. Not my camera! Just the lenses. The good side is that I’ve fixed my car. The bad side is that I’m stuck with one 28 MM film lens which doesn’t even attach to my camera. Yeah. Hard times!
Nevertheless, I force myself to see this as a positive situation; with much everything else. Having to hold my lens up to my camera, I discovered that I can bend the light in Hitchcockian fashion, if I do it juuuuust right. I get a good amount of blur (which I love) and heavier in-camera contrast. Not a bad thing. The downside is that it really sucks having to hold your lens up to your camera manually.
Alas, it served its purpose, which was to distract me from having to write my 6 page term paper today. About…you guessed it! Serial killers. I can’t believe I’m actually looking forward to beginning my psychology classes again next month. A person can handle studying only so many paraphiliacs before the brain begins to involuntarily shut down.
Which is what’s happening in my case.
On to my paper…
This time, it was with the cherry blossoms outside of a church down the street from my Mom’s house:
I can’t explain what was happening when I was taking pics today. I felt high, literally. I’ve always been really drawn to these blossoms. When I’m underneath them and zooming in close and there are hundreds of them swirling all around my head in the breeze, it’s like a drug to me. The bokeh (blurry stuff in a pic) goes in and out of focus all around the blossoms when I see them through the lens- it’s a really heady experience.
And speaking of falling in love, I think it’s funny, that expression, “falling in love”. People generally mean with another person. But I was thinking today as I was driving, “Why do we have to fall in love with a person? Why can’t we fall in love with the sky? Or cherry blossoms?”
I’m betting just being around all of these blossoms (in the light drizzling rain) released loads of endorphins. I was smiling and felt like a kid again. So yeah. I’m pretty sure I fell in love with these blossoms today. 🙂
I also noticed when I was driving today that I don’t really think about Josh any more. Days go by and he won’t even cross my mind. I’m soooooo happy about that. It doesn’t hurt any more.
Yeah. I’ve been crazy happy lately. Not sure how long this is going to last, but it’s so good to be feeling ALIVE again.