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

Posts tagged “new year

Back to the Grindstone

Wow. 2020 was the year that ate my life. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to update my blog! Do people even blog anymore or is that an ancient practice by now? Either way, I’m compelled to write, so write I shall! Last year I was moderately depressed. After I graduated from Aspen University with my Master’s degree, I had grown so used to scrambling to meet deadlines, research papers, cramming, rushing, checking off one thing after the next. No matter what, always achieving.

After graduation, I intended to take a few months to decompress, but only a few. I graduated in April, but by June I was still exhaling. I had become so tightly wound as a student, for 10 long years, it literally took me the rest of the year to unwind. Not to mention, the pandemic. Once that $#!+show began, it snowballed, eating every good thing in its path.

I’ve decided to make 2021 “The Year of Preparation”, and 2022, “The Year of Transformation”. Yep, I’ve absolutely got the next two years of my life mapped out, per the usual. For the longest time I’ve quizzically arranged and rearranged the pieces of my life in quasi -interesting patterns. I continually tossed around multiple career paths, blindly grabbing at whatever seemed to work itself into the mix. I had never settled on any one career though. I went from being a possible business major, to sociologist, to social worker, to criminologist, to forensic anthropologist, to psychologist – dear God, you name it, I entertained it!

It’s funny how we have our own ideas of how our lives will be, and then God has HIS ideas of how our lives will be. My Dad taught me something that I carry daily in my life; he said, “listen to the whistle in the wind.” At first I didn’t understand what that meant. But after he explained it, I got it. He said you need to be very quiet and very still to be able to hear that “little whistle” that is carried in the wind. Not a natural wind, of course, a Spiritual one. If we’re too loud or too busy with our own ideas, thoughts, and plans, we won’t be able to hear that ever-soft whistle, or, God’s voice, basically. I love that. Out of all of my siblings, I spent more time with my Dad than anybody. I will always be so grateful for that! I was his life student, and he taught me so much. As I grow older, I can see that I’m more like my Dad than anyone else, and for that I’m grateful too.

I feel like I was floating through 2020, aimlessly- free falling. No ambition, no direction. Just cryogenically in a state of artificial existence. An automaton, going through the motions; content to just simply be. Now that it’s a new year, I’m excited to have gained my direction once again. This year, I’ll prepare for all of the changes that will come in 2022. I’m so excited! I’ve always seen myself working with children, as a teacher. Not a grade school teacher or a standard school teacher. I’ve always seen me working with multicultural children in a foreign land, like Africa, or South America. I didn’t know how I could make that happen though. I thought perhaps I’d end up volunteering at a run down school in a third world country. Now I see the picture crystal clear.

Last year, I purchased a top TEFL program. TEFL means “Teaching English as a Foreign Language”. It’s also known as TESOL- Teaching English as a Second Language. There are other names that are used, but those are the two main ones. Once the program is completed, a certification is granted which allows the certificate-holder to begin teaching English to foreign students, either online or by traveling to their country. Understandably, this is a highly sought after career plan. Who wouldn’t want to travel to a foreign country and experience the culture, cuisine, art scene and familial lifestyles? I’m giddy just thinking about it. 🙂 It’s possible to begin teaching with a TEFL certification only, and the pay is pretty good at that level. But, if you have a bachelor’s degree also, you jump up to another tier entirely, by which the pay is much better, as are the career opportunities. So, it gives me great pleasure to know that my hard work in academia will pay off in more ways than one.

So, I’ve had this program for 8 months now. As I said, I needed to take additional time to decompress. Now that I have, I’m excited to begin my TEFL studies. It usually takes a person 6 to 8 months to complete the necessary courses to become TEFL/TESOL certified. Naturally, I would be teaching students on my laptop, and online, at first, given the state of things with the pandemic. At some point down the road, however, I indent to do a bit of traveling to other countries, here and there, to really soak up the experience.

At some point, I plan on incorporating my children’s book, Peanut Butter Soup, into the curriculum. I also have major plans of developing a music program, and using my acoustic guitar to teach the children basic chord progressions. It doesn’t take much to teach basic chords and songwriting methodologies to children. Children are so eager to learn and therefore make excellent music students. Although we won’t speak the same language, we’ll be able to share a universal language, which is music.

I do have big plans for 2022! I’m so ready for this new stage in my life. Because I’ll probably end up in South America at some point down the line, I’m also beginning to study Spanish in earnest, in tandem with my TEFL studies. It’s important to be bilingual in this line of work. It’s not exactly necessary, but complimentary.

It’s good to be back in the saddle!
It’s going to be a good year. ❤

Self portrait/Ohio River/Jeffersonville, Indiana


Fresh Paint- Fresh Life

Josh and I are absolutely ecstatic. We’ve moved into Brianna’s former room and are sleeping like kings and queens! I decided to not go with the brown, multi-paneled section bed that I was going to give Josh for Christmas, and instead, bought him this [not my pic]:

bedmj

It retails for $1,200 (new) and it’s almost identical to the one I bought him- down to the ornate carvings.  I, however, (being the cheapskate that I am) only paid $100 for mine on Craig’s List. It’s in excellent shape! I gave my son, BrianBob, $30 to go and fetch it with me and assemble it in Josh’s and my new (freshly painted Granny Smith Apple green) room as a surprise for him. The posts are so high we had to unscrew the very tops because they went up and into the ceiling. It doesn’t take away from the overall aesthetics however. Josh and i were able to find a mint condition queen sized box spring and pillow top mattress (barely used) for $105. Unbelievable. Lucky for us, Mary and Gerry- the mattress sellers from Craig’s List- had a small lumber yard right in their back yard, as Gerry was a carpenter, so we were able to pick up 3 bed slats while we were there. We threw in an extra $20 because Gerry helped us load it all onto our Rodeo with his twine, out in the cold.

So then, the total price for a like-new queen sized 4 poster bed with like-new queen sized box spring and pillow top mattresses comes to a whopping $205. That’s an insanely good deal. 🙂

Being the smart woman that I am, I know to get my guy something for Christmas that I can enjoy too. (Did I mention the cheapskate thing?) Josh was really happy with his gift. His back had been hurting from our beat up twin–sized bed, so it was long past due.

I just found some brand new, queen sized Egyptian cotton steel blue w/brown accents sheets (still in their original package) on Craig’s list for $15 that we’re going to go snag tonight. I also ordered a microplush (chocolate brown) comforter set and 6 pillows (2 king- 4 jumbo) along with a thick, queen sized memory foam mattress pad + a gorgeous chocolate brown microfiber queen sized sheet set and  pillow cases from Ebay- all new.

Eventually, I’m going to add adjoining bars at the top and canopy drapes on all sides. It’s going to be the world’s most awesome bed when I’m done with it- guaranteed. As for now, it’s so high up that I have to actually jump just to get onto it. Our super fat cat, Meatball, climbed onto it last night and hasn’t moved since. He went to the kitchen to eat and came straight back to this bed. I believe he’s claimed his spot!

As much as I love Christmas, etc. I’m relieved it’s all over and I can begin my new life. I’m going to set up my office in the sunny kitchen area- phone/fax/etc. and give myself another week of lounging around before getting good and busy with my art/photography.

Happy 2015 to all. x


Ringing in the New Year

I wandered around the streets of my hometown on New Year’s Eve in search of “subjects”. I wanted to shoot people but the place was like a ghost town! I’m so drawn to shadows and still life, I’m wondering how I will ever break out of this pattern if I want to venture into street photography. I don’t want to be a simple point-snd-shooter. Composition means everything to me, as do strong lines. I drove to Times Square once, in New York City, and shot street photography at night. My bags had been packed and waiting by the door to go to Texas (from Indiana). my Aunt had been sick and my daughter and I were on our way to see them. They cancelled at the last minute, and so we found ourselves with packed bags, $1,000 and no where to go. I told my daughter to pick a place, anywhere in the U.S. and that’s where we would go. She said, “What about New York?” And so, the next day, we found ourselves driving straight into the belly of the beast: Times Square.  Here are some of my photos from that trip: (All photos are shot in manual + natural lighting/no flash.)

                                                                                                                                                 Times Square at night, New York, New york
                                                                                                                                                                  Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70

Modern Day Vintage w/ film grain- Canon Rebel XSI + Sigma 17-70
A mass of people simming in the city sea. W. 45th St.

Near Park Avenue, Manhattan, New York
Canon Rebel XSI Sigma 17-70
I had crawled up to this pigeon in the rain.
The guy was eating. I was watching him. The pigeon was watching me.
Then I was watching the pigeon.

Then the guy was watching me. Then he jumped out of the frame.
I smiled politely. Then I snapped away.

Hurley’s. Manhattan, New York and a little bit of GIMP.
Canon Rebel XSI/Sigma 17-70

   
Muesum of modern Art
New York, New York
A small crowd gathers to study Monet’s Water Lilies.
Canon Rebel XSI- Sigma 17-70
GIMP

Overlooking Broadway from the Crowne Plaza Times Square hotel. Nice place! Even if the eggs are $9.00.

Coffee for breakfast.


Hanging out on Broadway at Times Square. Everything sizzled with energy. The smell of hotdogs permeated everything and there really was steam coming out of the sewers. Just like in the movies. Horns honked. taxis were a streak of canary yellow and the rain drizzled lightly. It was another world. Swarms of people hustled about- headphones attached, eyes making no contact- disappearing into the night.

The beauty of motion blur/long exposure. One of my many passions in photography.

Broadway in classic “Old Hollywood” black and white.

I was almost laying in the street for this one. I like wide angle shots, and prefer verticals over horizontals. I’ve been shooting verticals for years- and my eye is trained for this type of composition. I feel so vulnerable regarding horizontal composition, in comparison. I’m hoping to practice up in that area over the next year.

 

As seen from my hotel window at night, overlooking Broadway. I was sitting on the executive office desk Indian style, lens pressed to the glass- full panoramic view. I could see the people in the buildings across from me working out at their office gyms, after hours. I wonder if they could see me.

I was fascinated that behind all of the glitz and glamour of Broadway, this is what it boils down to. The viewers arrived (on Broadway) around the corner in limousines, draped in diamonds, but the stars came in through this humble stage door, accompanied by the grimiest dumpster I had ever seen.

 

Museum of Modern Art
New York, New York
When I walked into the room, it was as if this guy had been waiting for me.
I immediately sunk to my knees and hunkered down to the floor as low as I could go, loweing the exposure so I could get a good silhouette.
I thought it called for a vintage texture (it’s actually about 7 textures combined) and lots and lots of GIMP. I titled the print “Therapy” and sold a matted canvas to a mystery buyer at Redbubble.com for $175.00.

That put a smile on my face.

 Museum of Modern Art. I was in the hallway and saw this guy walking up the stairs. It called for a diagonal composition. (Makes me think of Escher, one of my favourite artsits, second to Van Gogh only.)

New York just wouldn’t be the same without its generous splash of fire escapes throughout the city.

But I digress. 

Here are a few shots from my walk-around on New Years Eve. The shadows told me it was the right time to go out and shoot.

                                                                                                                         
Film noir/B&W-shadows- it’s where I live.
The streets were completely abandoned on New Year’s Eve. I loved it.

My mother and I rung in the New Year alone in her apartment. She was tucked into her comfy chair and I read to her for an hour out of my book: Anthology of American Poets. (Poe, Dickenson, Longfellow, Frost, and about twelve others.)  It was so old fashioned and simple. I took this shot of her two cats in the early afternoon on New Year’s Day. Both cats are black and white. So, this is a black and white shot in black and white of two black and white cats:

    

My mother’s lamp.
There’s almost nothing more beautiful to me than film grain with a dash of gaussian blur.
In black and white, of course. Heavy on the black.
Canon G3/natural lighting/manual exposure

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