I feel like I’ve finally turned a corner. Tomorrow makes a whole month that my little brother has been gone. I’m so comforted by the fact that he’s in Heaven with my Dad, my Pastor (Rev. Hicks), and my grandparents. The first few weeks were absolutely brutal, but I’m feeling life again. I’m allowing myself to laugh again. Death is part of life, after all.
Soon, it’ll be a new season. Josh and I will be moving into a new house, leaving this place behind. I’m so ready for a new start; a new beginning. My kids are all grown and have flown the coop. I’m still studying, and as I mentioned not long ago, I have a year or so left and I’ll have my Master’s in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. This degree has not been easy! I’ve had to do continual research and writing 7-10 long page research papers weekly. It’s hard to stay motivated sometimes, but I push on. I’ve been in college for ten straight years! It’s so hard to believe. After I graduate, I’ll take a couple of years off. Maybe do a bit of traveling. Maybe write that memoir, finally.
For now, I’ll continue playing my adventure games during my 2 week break from school. Josh and I recently bought our HTC VIVE/virtual reality headset. My laptop is an HP Omen- it’s already VR-ready. I just finished the game Lone Echo- made for Oculus (Rift) but I “revived” it so I could play it on my Vive. It was an awesome game. 🙂 “Red Matter” is next on my list. (Currently playing “Before the Storm” again, after replaying “Life is Strange” again.) Nothing new to report. Perhaps I’ll go on a photoshoot in the next few days and throw some new pics up. “Photo Therapy”. ❤
Carl Zeiss Jena Flekton 35/2.8 Clingman’s Dome- Smokey Mountain State Park- Tennessee- Thanksgiving 2018
Fire in the pie hole, that is. Initially, I stopped blogging for a while because I have a crazy sibling who stalks my every move here at my blog, and after discovering her footprints all over the place here (such as, seeing her key word searches that she used- which were disturbing, to say the least) – I just really grew disgusted at the notion that she poured over my every word, and it really just creeped me out, altogether. I began feeling like my posts were going directly to her, rather than feeling liberated and being able to express myself freely. (She has a long history as a stalker, and I’m betting she’s changed very little in the past 5 years.)
Alas, I can’t live my life based on other people.- especially her. So I’ll pick up where I left off and simply do what I’ve always done: document my life in words and pictures so that my children and others will have a digital “life album” that they can access, both now and in the future. Apart from that, blogging is really healthy, and sometimes, getting those feelings out through writing is the only way to move past them. So, I’m going to try and blog every day again, and the purpose is not to entertain others; if I wanted to do that I’d just be a You Tuber instead. I don’t really care if I’m blogging about peas, just as long as I keep writing. I’ll only be able to free up emotional space if I’ve made room for new things. So, if you’re here and reading this, be warned- you may eventually be reading about peas.
Since switching to a plant-based diet, Josh and I have considered our options where “meat” is concerned. We’ve been researching meat alternatives, and came across a protein-rich, wheat-based, gluten-heavy protein called tempeh. Basically, tempeh is fermented soy beans that have been fried into small “cakes”. It’s packed with gluten, because gluten is the part of wheat that’s thick and sticky and keeps the bread together. Tempeh is a concentration of the sticky parts, so if you’re eating Tofurkey– which is a vegan meat substitute- you’re eating a gluten-bomb.
I thought I’d be o.k. eating it, because I’ve never had signs of being gluten-sensitive before and have eaten wheat all of my life. But almost immediately after making spaghetti with Tofurkey, my tongue began to burn on its underside. At first, it felt like I’d been burned, and then it progressed into a full-scale attack in which the top of the bottom (of my tongue) felt and looked like it was split open. It clearly had swollen and split apart and appeared to be growing in both size and intensity. Before long, my right ear felt pressurized and my right eye began to burn as well. Within 12 hours, I couldn’t talk and it hurt so badly it took my breath away. When I woke up this morning, I was in excruciating pain and could barely chew my food.
It’s been almost 24 hours now and the pain hasn’t let up at all. I’m guessing I’m gluten-sensitive! Josh got some Orajel for me and it’s helped relieve some of the pain. So, I’ll be adding that to the list as well:
Thank God for Almond milk ice cream! Adopting a (mostly) vegan diet doesn’t mean food has to be boring. I’ve been making my own cashew milk too. It’s amazing! Josh discovered that almond milk has the nutrition of only 28 almonds, so we found a great cashew milk recipe that’s simple as well as wholesome and delicious. None of the pulp is thrown out, so nothing goes to waste. It’s actually tastier than cow’s milk. Lately, cow’s milk had begun to taste like water, so it’s nice to have a creamy milk that is rich in flavour and nutrients.
I’m taking the day off and resting in bed. I can’t believe January is almost gone! One month left of the cold and then the spring will be here again. ❤
Lewis and Clark’s cabin- overlooking the Ohio River
-Click on print to purchase-
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 $1,300. I don’t have many options, and so I’ve decided to finally open my ETSY shop so that I can sell my work and pay down my school balance. I’m hoping to be able to do this by May of 2017 (4 months from now). That’s a pretty tall order, and once again, I’m racing against the clock. If I don’t do this now, I’ll have to take another 6 months to do it (which means I’d have to wait until January 2018 to return to school), but I really can’t afford to do that.
Once my transcript is released, I’ll be able to apply to Fort Hays University, where I’ll be working on my Master’s degree in Educational Psychology. A lot is riding on this! So, I have a heck of a motivator to get out and get some fresh shots 3 times per week. I’m aiming to add 300 pics or so to my ETSY collection over the next few months. In short, I’m going to be pretty busy. 😉
I’m looking forward to popping in to everyone’s place and seeing what you all have been up to. Sure have missed everyone and I hope everyone has a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS! ♥
“Why does this bathroom smell like pee?” says Josh. Well I don’t know Josh. Why would a bathroom smell like pee?
I’m obviously in one of my sardonic moods. Perhaps I’m tired of lying on the living room floor, bleeding profusely. Silly me, I didn’t factor in that Black Seed Oil actually accelerates blood circulation. Black Seed Oil is a essentially a panacea that is extracted from black cumin. It’s said to “cure everything but death”. (And PMS.) Because well, I’m still a &^%$#!
But as the saying goes, “this too shall pass.” Except I don’t think it will because I’ve noticed that I’ve been a &^%$# for quite some time now. I’m hoping this goes away after I graduate.
In other parts of the world, apparently, “simming in sea” is good for “blood pressure people”. I’m guessing it’s also good for “blood sugar people” and “heart and lung people”. I honestly don’t know how people find my blog sometimes but I swear, one day, I’m going to put together a post strictly on key word searches.
At least I’m not like “Bitter Ben” who is always bitter about everything. (You’re my here, Bitter Ben.)
I’ve managed to wipe out 3 major Lifetime Fitness and Wellness assignments (PMS-style- flat on my back) as well as a 5 page Criminology report, a Discussion Board posting and am getting ready to dive in to my Therapeutic Intervention with Substance Abusers II report. I’ve discovered that wine makes all of this better. Especially the last one. (Catawba Rose, to be precise.) We had a bottle left over from our trip and well, we’re just not going to let that sit around in the fridge with all this homework going on.
Josh is in the kitchen, knocking out a web page design assignment and I’m getting ready to study for my 4 chapter Criminology test that I must take tonight- after-
“HOW MUCH WINE DO WE HAVE LEFT?”
“Probably another cup,” Josh replies.
– after another cup perhaps.
Brian Bob has been gone for weeks now. 😦 He pops in from time to time to re-up on smokes, money, food, and then he’s out again. I miss him so much! He’s my only son- the big seventeen. I remember being his age though. I wanted to be with my boyfriend- what 17 year old girl just wants to hang out with her Dad?! So, Dad let me go. I moved in with my boyfriend’s family early on. I didn’t think about how my Dad would feel- not really. And now I do, with a bittersweet smile and tears in my eyes. Life has come a full circle. Bob is spending most of his time with his girlfriend, Amanda, and I am happy for him, and her too. Doesn’t life have a funny way of catching up with you? Brian Bob and his little lady (So busted- behind the bushes).
It’s 4:52 a.m. and I’m typing very quietly so I don’t wake Josh. The past 24 hours have been astronomically crazy. I can’t get into the intricate details because a lot of it has to do with his family members, and for confidentiality sake, I can’t divulge that information.
But I can say that the police showed up at my door, having received a report that Josh was a “missing person” (yeah, from me too lately!) and I discovered that it was a concerned relative who hadn’t heard from him in a while that had reported him. Things are straightened out now, but boy-wasn’t that fun?
And on that note, I’m so very happy today. Josh and I have restored our closeness and our bond. I have a big, goofy grin on my face- I have my BFF back! I was a complete and utter mess without him. When relationships break down, it’s common to paint oneself in a positive light and make the other person out to be the villain. I did the same thing at first- I wanted to blame him for everything that had gone wrong. It took many days of agony, silence, tears, and absolute heartbreak to see how wrong I was in my own faults and failures. I was angry and always picking at him. I treated him so unfairly (I hear him snoring so I can type louder) really, I did. No man can live under a woman’s tyrannical thumb: it had become unbearable between us. The split did us both some good. He had moved in with friends and on the positive side, had started going to church and stuff. On the negative side, he was being monitored heavily by his friend’s wife who was a boarding type of landlord who controlled what he watched on TV even down to how he dressed- um, that’s taking “tyrannical” to a whole ‘nother level and in the end, he felt as if he were a foster kid all over again. She thought she was helping him really, but he’s had enough of people in his life telling him what he does and doesn’t need to do.
I want him to have his own space and so we’ll be setting up a small construction trailer on the property here so he can have his own area- I feel strongly that he needs that- apart from me even- his own “home” with a door that he can lock and have his privacy. He’s never had that! He’s always lived with people and been under their rules, including me, and I’ve always been very protective of him in his life- he’s been through the wringer- so it’s high time he have his own place to call home in this world. I’m happy for him. :0) He’s happy too.
Neither of us want to jump right back into the relationship we were in, because it was a damaged and broken relationship. It does neither party any good when you hook back up and “pick up where you left off”- especially if that was a bad place. But Josh and I have the unique ability to shape ourselves around each others’ feelings, needs, and sensitivities and above all- remain friends, no matter what. So, if we have a bit of a breakdown in our friendship/relationship, when we do reunite, it’s with a whole new respect and appreciation for one another.
It’s been a long day and I’m going to hit the hay. We have to move much of his stuff to his new place and I’m wiped out. I love this picture of Josh that I took out at Pounds Hollow Lake in Southern Illinois from our recent camping trip. Seldom have I seen him look so naturally happy such as he was here. It’s one of my favourite pics of him. xo
I grew tired of being afraid of the gargoyles on Spring street. Maybe “afraid” isn’t the right word; intimidated is closer to how they make me feel. I’ve seen those gargoyles there (at Industrial Nightmare– a haunted house attraction) for the better part of a decade and I’ve looked away every time I see them. They’re hideous. Lately, because I’ve been a bleeding wound from the breakdown of my relationship with J- it’s made everything seem worse than it actually is. Red lights seem longer, curious and inquisitive glances seem harsh and judgmental, time drags on painfully.
As I was driving by today, I saw the gargoyles. I practiced exposure therapy on myself- and it worked! I got out of my car, camera in hand (Lensbaby attached), put on my hazard lights, got out of my car and walked out into the street (yes, actually in the street) and stood below the gargoyle. I studied it briefly then fired off a round of shots. (I reasoned with myself: I’m not afraid to go into abandoned houses, quite the contrary- I love the “ache” that fills the gutted-out space and the stories they sometimes tell. I feel right at home in an abandoned house so there’s no reason why a gargoyle should intimidate me.)
Perhaps the truth is that I see a bit of my own nature in this creature:
When I hurt like I’ve hurt this past month without Josh- the world seems colder. I was alright to simply die inside and I really didn’t care much any more. Love is a funny thing: with a bit of it tucked safely in your pocket, you can take on the world. Without it- it’s a chore to breathe.
Josh came by today. We went for a walk across the creek and up over the train tracks. I was so happy to see him! All of the blame and accusations that have been gnawing out my heart melted away and I became very aware of my own fragility: I had taken him for granted and it really is that simple. This is something that can only be realized after the fact; when all of the chaos has died down and words have ceased and there’s only the echo of your thoughts to contend with.
I came across this picture today:
Happiness was so easy back then! Was that really only eight months ago?
Time can seem so cruel.
I’ve been lost in a sea of pain, but there’s a new layer to me that I felt earlier, as I was folding the clothes: a quiet strength that I never knew I possessed. My strength has always been as loud as thunder- very present and very obvious. This came in a whisper and it said, “This is the way things are now. Pick yourself up and carry on.”
“Your absence is so loud,” I said to Josh.
He held me for a moment. It was enough.
Lensbaby Composer/Double Glass Ops./shot in monochrome/5.8.13/natural lighting/manual- taken on my walk along the creek
I’m thinking about setting my camera to monochrome and not shooting in colour (or allowing myself to) for one whole year. I know it sounds crazy but that’s the kind of thing I like to do. When I look out into the world, I see in black and white. I see lighting mostly- shadows and ranges of exposure- tonal ranges. I can stare off in a room full of people and be in my own little world (I’m sure it looks like I’m deep in thought) but really, I’m converting a branch, a table, a moving mouth into monochrome and watching the shadows and lighting change places in my mind.
This is what my creative eye is doing no matter where I go or who I’m with and I rarely deviate. When I went to Southern Illinois with Josh, he wanted to fish, so he fished; but I wanted nothing more than to run up into the hills with my camera. Blossoms were opening up everywhere and colour was shooting to life all around me but the most beautiful thing I saw was a stark branch, unadorned and unassuming.
I painted it black and white in my mind and it was so very beautiful. I gave it a pretty pink coat in Photoshop, but I shot it in monochrome in natural lighting- all manual, naturally.
I call it simply:
Specs: 50 MM 1.8 II/manual focus/manual exposure/natural lighting
Shot in monochrome/Canon Rebel T3i/Sh. sp.: 1/800th sec
F/ 1.8/ISO 100
I was inspired by the cranberry hue after seeing my friend, Ingz, from Redbubble (THE most amazing fine art site in the world- don’t waste your time at Fine Art America/FAA) do the same in one of her pieces. She’s an amazing artist- so clean and elegant. I’m expecting some new equiptment soon- particularly another Lensbaby and this time, it’s coming with the pinhole/zone plate. I could just cry. :0) (Thanks again for all of your prayers in that department, Soul Walker. XO)
Maybe I’ll accept my own monochrome challenge.
I am so very grateful today, for amazing friends (and foes alike) who have dropped me to my knees in prayer in gratitude (and agony), breathing encouraging words into me through emails, chats, and such. I can’t express my gratitude properly, but I feel new life and new love springing out of my heart today, and I can’t believe how fast it’s happened.
To everyone who’s walked me through the broken glass in the past few days, and whispered truth and love (and shared your own stories of betrayal, heartache, and ultimately, forgiveness and love- regardless), please accept my collective THANK YOU. I love you guys, and although I’ve been emotionally devastated recently, every email and talk has been another stitch in my bloody heart. I’ve made it through the storm, and I can see the shine on the horizon. :0)
I know it’s not much, but I often say “thank you” and “I love you” with photos and art. I saw this peculiar string tied around a tree in the forest the other day. I don’t know the story behind it, but it made me smile, and strangely, filled me up with joy.
Thanks again, everyone.
I love you guys.
She said, “Yes.”
Based on a true story.