November 30, 2008
1 - speak up for the little guys
2 - welcome debate
3 - dream big
4 - have faith
5 - don't underestimate evil
6 - be forgiving
7 - put friends first
8 - stay in touch
9 - keep it real
10 - fight for justice
November 27, 2008
happy thanksgiving to you and your loved ones - may it be filled with love and warmth and happiness. embrace your life and smile at the good. shed tears when you need to and know deep within that the tears will not last forever - even when it seems as though they will. forgive even when the bitterness is there - it will be the best present you give yourself. and love deeper than you ever have before. not the love of a relationship - but the love of another human - whatever their relationship to you because in the loving, everything else will be better.
November 25, 2008
yesterday I had lunch with a dear friend and mentor in my life. have you had a mentor before? honestly, this person changed my life in 1992 when she blazed through my door saying, "I hear you're looking for more work to do." Since that time, we have forged a bond as both employer/employee and dearest of friends. as we sat after lunch, she personally e-mailed my resume to over 20 people with a personal note attached. It was touching and powerful to see what she did for me...and has always done for me.
e-mails, phone calls, lunches, websites - keep them coming - I'm positive and ready for the positive.
November 23, 2008
The year I turned eleven I got a bike. It was a typical girlie bike for a then untypical girl. At that time I had not discovered all the lipsticks and shoes that I would embrace at thirteen. At that time I still wore my hair in pigtails, took apples in my pockets and went on bicycle grand avenues. It was the 70's and I could still do things like that. I could leave the house in the morning and not appear until the sun disappeared from the sky. It was the last spring before Chuck got sick.
The bike was white and teal with a wide banana seat. I called it "Love Bug" after well, the Disney movie. Mom borrowed my brother's model airplane paint and carefully painted the names of our bikes on them. Chuck got a red bike which he promptly named the "Red Baron". He was always obsessed with Snoopy and the gang. He did the best impression of Snoopy as a vulture. Somehow it would always crack me up.
I rode everywhere on that bike. Miles and miles and miles and miles. Often I would ride to a park in a giant field in the next neighborhood over. I can remember gnats buzzing lazily around my head as I sat reading book after book. I became obsessed with biographies for some reason and plowed through that shelf like a great white. I never could get Amelia Earheart out of my head. The mystery of her never being found haunted me. She was so brave and so daring. I imagined how sad it would be to die alone with no one knowing where she was. But…I still found her heroic and strong.
We would ride to what seemed like a vast bamboo jungle in deepest China. We would hide in the jungle (it was really more like an abandoned lot) only to jump out to scare the bejeezus out of each other. There was a lake in the back but I was forbidden to go there. Knowing the wrath of my mother's house slipper, I obeyed … most of the time. There also was a park where we would swing for hours and hours. Remember swinging so high as a child. Stretching and reaching. Higher and higher. Until you reach the top of the apex? You fling out the tips of your toes and it feels like you're touching the sun. The laws of physics jerk you back into the back arc and you reach again. Then remember being a dumbass and flinging yourself out of the swing at the peak? And falling on your ass, tumbling and rolling. You had skinned elbows and knees but laughed and did it again.
Would that we could still live life that way. Being the adventurer. Being the dreamer. The hero and strong. Running through the jungles of our dreams - exploring exotic lands. Bending the rules once in a while. Reaching for the brightest star that seemed right in your grasp. As if you flung yourself at it…and missed. You rolled with the punches, dusted off and tried again.
Too often I've stopped reaching because it was just too hard. Hurt too bad. Could never live up to my heroes. But then…I found out, we are our own heroes if we chose to be. We don't have to look up to anyone because we can look up to ourselves. And then, we can aspire to be heroes to someone else. We can always try to go beyond our grasp. We can be.
At times it's hard. At times we fail. At times we cry and rage. Those are the hardest and best times. Those are the ones that make us the very strongest. Those give us backbones of steel. Those backbones help hold you up when you feel as though nothing can. Those painful, horrible caves of despair and loneliness. Those tunneled, hollowed, ending struggles. The slough of pain. During the darkest, most haunting period of my life my mantra was "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger". I used to laugh with a friend who traveled the road with me…we always said, "then we are the strongest bitches in the world" because we had survived so much.
So…I'm a strong, powerful, resilient person. I bounce back so well my butt must be made of rubber. As I approach this new decade in my life, I feel as if I've finally come into my own. Have I achieved all of my goals? Not by a long shot. Have I "arrived"? Hell no because I keep changing my destination. But…I finally respect myself. It took me almost four decades to be able to say that. But…all in all - I wouldn't have missed the ride for the world. All of it. And that my friend, that is a good thing indeed.
November 21, 2008
The company that bought notified us this week that they will no longer support our office functions as of January 1st. Of course we will try to find a way to keep our lights on...but we were told today that no one's feelings will be hurt if we found something in the meantime. I think that's a clear message, yes?
Of course I'm scared and frightened. I've planned for this in the back of my head but didn't think it would really come to pass....I used to be a damn good assistant - I can do that again. I hate starting over one more time.
November 20, 2008
and....not to fret people - I'm okay, yes, I've been grieving over the week and since the holidays are approaching but it's not like the unshakeable depression I had in January.
I'm yawning my head off because I woke up at 4:00 a.m. this morning after a dream about posing people for a shoot. I wrote down some of the ideas as they might work out. *fingers crossed* In the meantime...I'm still searching for a ballerina for a study I want to do. Even Craig's list does not yield results.
During the initial period, it's easier to deal with grief as there are lots of people to help you through. You can laugh and smile - put on the stoic mask of a "good face" and people will whisper among themselves, "oh she's handling it so very well." You spend each day thinking to yourself, though it's painful and almost unbearable, it's worse to impose your grief on these well-meaning friends. You feel a bit guilty and wonder if you should be "okay" when the person that you held closely and loved dearly are gone. You may even laugh and then duck your head. And people are so grateful that they are not there holding this sobbing, studdering blob of sodden tissues and snot.
And you think of other people that knew the deceased. And you think, you have to be strong and be the support for them. You see them, after friends have left and they sitting there, silently sobbing - shoulders shaking and quiet tears run down their face. How can you place a burden on them by adding to their grief? So you try to be the strong one.
You run out of words - really, how many times can you say "thank you", or "they would have wanted it that way?" And you find yourself in this place where you don't want to talk. At all. There are no words to describe your grief...so, you don't talk. You convince yourself that no one wants to hear it. You feel this time limit - where you are being selfish to continue to talk about the pain. You're alone in a crowd of people.
The grief seems to be more than you can bear and you're wrapped in this cocoon of bricks and gravel that used to be your life. Shattered now and broken apart in pieces. And along with that comes a sense of our own life and .... eventual death. You think of things that needed to be changed - the things that you wish you had changed with that person when they were still alive. Guilt, regret, remorse. All of the lashes that we beat against our back. The rocks we place in our backpack as we attempt to climb the mountain out of this pit we've fallen into.
But, eventually it happens. You rejoin the land of the living. And though overcome from time to time by your grief, you live. Each and every day the living comes a bit easier and though the hole may never be completely filled and there is not a day that you don't think about that person...you live. You remember the good times. You laugh again and smile. You bless the blessings that person gave to you. And again, you live.
November 18, 2008
One - the really shot pictures my mom had of her family. Through a series of tragedies, my mom lost most of her family when she was young. She only had one picture of her mother, who died in childbirth along with a brother to my mom. And she had a few pictures of her father who abandoned not one, but two separate families before disappearing into the ether of never heard from again. Those old shots taken so long ago intrigued me.
Two - National Geographic. Cheesy, yes I know...but the look of the photographs and the subjects always drew me in. These days I realize my style is nothing like a NG photograph and I certainly am too fond of my creature comforts to live the life these photographers live, but I pay tribute to the influence their photography had on me.
Three - well, you could count it as three and four. Ansel Adams and Annie Leibovitz. Both very different but profound. I saw their images and stopped in my tracks. I wanted to be able to do that - make people stop in their tracks and show them something through my eyes. And, I'm working, stretching and growing. Now, I know that artists of that magnitude are rare...but I've stumbled upon some that inspire me just as much with their photography. I've widened my tastes and found more to be dazzled by.
Photography for me is like the child's bicycle on Christmas morning - always beloved, cherished and shiny new. Always evolving, always pleasing. It takes me to places I want to go, it makes me see things in a new way. And I think it will always be that way.
November 17, 2008
That is saying a lot in these scary times. Though there is an air of hope after the election - the market and the economy are still taking a wild ride in Mr. Toad's car with no real guarantees of where we all will end up. Needless to say, I think the economic bubble of easier times and easier credit are gone like Scarlett's Tara...but out of it all, like Scarlett, we will build what we need to survive. And I know for some that will be easier than for others. Me, my hope that that I survive 2009 with a job intact. That is secretly - or not so secretly, my biggest fear.
See, I've never been without a job since I started working at age 15. Never. Today I have three or four friends that have been laid off and have yet to find a job....some have been that way for over a year. I can't even imagine. I have nightmares about being a door greeter at Wal-Mart (another of my dreaded places) as I'm at the indelicate age of not being young...but not old enough for retirement or social security.
*Breathes deep* I'm not putting negative energy out there. I know that I'm good at my job and I have value as being the only person that knows regulations like I do. They call that job security and I hope I have it. But still, I feel as though I'm walking along the highway in California with fires on one side and the ocean on the other. And if I should fall off a cliff, perhaps I will fly. Which reminds me of that BNL song:
If I Should Fall
I look straight in the window, try not to look below
Pretend I’m not up here, try counting sheep
But the sheep seem to shower off this office tower
It’s nine-point-eight straight down
I can’t stop my knees
I wish I could fly
From this building
From this wall
And if I should try
Would you catch me
If I fall?
November 15, 2008
The wind was insane again today driving in this cold front. I went to the grocery and got the makings for chili tomorrow (I puttered around too late today to make it).
My favorite shot today:
The melting pot of urban decay and renewal, death and birth stirred together with steel i-beams, concrete and the oppressive closed heat of bricks stacked recklessly around me. I hear no gentle nature sounds. I cannot ponder the breezes through the pines or grasses. No night birds, except the pigeons asleep in the crevasses of the campus. No croaking frogs. No fireflies to chase. Instead my lullaby is sirens and tejano music pulsing from the neighbor's truck.
Cars rush back and forth along the street and stars are obscured by the thick gravy of the day's buildup of smog. Sirens wail a song of misery in the cacophony of the city. The moon still smiles at me through the full pecan tree, though she seems quite shy to show all of her glory. As I sit on the stoop, I can hear the murmur of the neighbors punctuated now and again with laughter or "duuuuuuuuudeeee". They seem so far away but they are just a couple doors down. I smell the faint fragrance of the grill and can almost detect the beers as their laughter becomes more frequent.
It's not Walden – it's the Southside. I do not spy the pond or the poplar trees. But like Thoreau my serenity is rippled but not ruffled in the night. All of these things touch me….but seem distant. They are a reflection in my world, my circle.
reposted from a previous blog id - but it was one of my better efforts
November 14, 2008
Tonight - I ordered a pizza - it was a weird Hawaiian pizza but it also suited my mood of whimsy instead of ordering the same exact pizza I always do - sausage, mushrooms and green olives. It was good and I expect I will not want a Hawaiian pizza again for a very long time. But we should all do this then and again - the unexpected.
It's really been a bad week for a lot of people that I love...but tomorrow is the birthday of two people I hold dear. So...despite the crap week, I hope they have the most beautiful days ever. Of course, I blundered around again and didn't send birthday cards. Because I am like that as I said. *sigh* Maybe I need a daily list - one of those cute notebooks to carry with me.
I slept horribly last night....no reason but this weird weather I guess. It's cold and then it's hot. Right now I could turn on the air conditioner to sleep but it's November and then by Sunday it's supposed to be freezing. No wonder my sinsuses have been insane. But, every day seems a bit better.
So, my shots were all dreary yesterday -- I'll end on a pretty note...and the quote that goes along with it....Listen to what you know instead of what you fear...
November 13, 2008
One year ago I held her hands .... today I still miss her
to all of you that have lost someone you love, my heart is with you too...the empty becomes easier to bear but never gets filled.
November 10, 2008
in the days that I'm used to a GPS - I can still read a map
in the days of loving wine and fancy cheese - Kraft singles still do the job
in the days of liking little bottles of soda - I can get 2 liters for $1
in the days of loving take out - Ham sandwiches are just fine
in the days of being alone - Popcorn, a bottle of wine and a cat curled in my lap are ok too
in the days of plenty - Being grateful for the little is the bigger gift
in the days of freedom - Thank a soldier, it was not his choice always to go but he serves
in the days of gas and large vehicles - Enjoy the walk sometimes
in the days of illness - Be grateful for the sunrise
in the days of darkness - I will always try to light a candle to find my way back home
Gratitude: Caring friends.
Feeling: Still sleepy.
Weather: Absolutely freaking stupendous gorgeous weather.
Song: Tears of a Clown - covered by Kevin Mahogany
Photograph: See previous blog.
Being the oldest child I have serious control issues - I like the be the boss of me thank you very much and recent being bossed around. You can ask me to do something and I'm happy but don't tell me. I know, old territory right? Well, I also have a problem keeping my mouth shut from time to time. I'm pretty vocal once you know me and have an opinion about everything. But the good news on that forefront is that, I expect you to have opinions too - even opinions that differ from mine. I have no problem playing the devil's advocate....I just love open, fun and honest debate.
But....back to the issue at hand. I work with a person that had a baby last year. One that her husband made her a "deal" that they could have another child but she would have to lose all of her baby weight and then some after the birth. (first issue - what? are you kidding me?) Let me preface this by saying, yes, she's not skinny and wasn't skinny before she got pregnant - but by no means was she unhealthy. Unfortunately she is height challenged and every curve shows.
So, she hasn't lost the "and then some" by the first birthday so her husband has taken over her training regimen. He calls every day after lunch to see what she did on her workout and what did she eat. I've sat there with her during lunch watching her count the "one calorie" pumps of her salad spritzer. It drives me insane and I can't say a word. It makes me very sad for her. But, she is over the top in love with this man so, there is nothing I should say really - it's none of my business but to me this is emotional abuse. She gets upset if she doesn't get five workouts during the week as she has to go home and cook for the husband, mother-in-law and three children - she doesn't have time to work out after work.
How do you reconcile what you perceive as abuse with a lifestyle that someone has chosen? At what point are you enabling or being nosy? I'm at a loss.
November 6, 2008
Gratitude: The ability to love deeply and unconditionally
Feeling: Sleepy and tired
Weather: Could the day get any prettier? I think not.
Song: Chasing Pavements - Adele
Photograph: An old one since I haven't been able to go shoot in three weeks!
The mind is willing but the body is so weak. You know what I suck at? Following through on really good intentions. I bought Christmas cards last year with the full intentions of mailing them out - they sit unaddressed on my home desk. I have photographs I've blown up into presents and they sit on my desk at work. My friend Lisa loves red - I have an old coach purse boxed and ready to be mailed to her for the last two years. I remember birthdays, but forget to call or buy presents in time. I have e-mails in my inbox that I'm now too embarrassed to answer as days ticked by before I could frame a proper, thoughtful and well written response.
I remember now that I promised my nephews some cash for Halloween and forgot to go by the bank. *sigh* I suck.
November 4, 2008
A vacation in an hour - sipping tea sweetened with dark brown sugar. I nibble shortbread back at my desk and I am satisfied for today. Coffee is waiting for me in the kitchen, my work is spread before me waiting for attention. The pace is slow and languid and I move at the speed of a turtle. I conquer nothing but everything. I turn and sigh.
Overhead the vent is making rhymthic rattles as the ballast in the light vibrates from the throes of the hvac unit. One day Tim will find me standing on my desk beating the light fixture with a baseball bat and my respite is shattered. Then I hear voices in the hallway - lunch is over, done, beaten to a pulp. Goodbye France, Goodbye Jorge.....hello hell.
Gratitude: Dr. Pepper
Feeling: Maintaining an even strain.
Weather: I wish I could take the day and wrap it in a yellow cloth to save it for a rainy gray day in February.
Song: Under the Bridge - Red Hot Chili Peppers
It does a heart good to see people standing in line to vote - to be a "part of history"....however, why doesn't everyone know they could be a part of history every day? Why can't people be this empassioned about issues before we fall into an abyss?
November 3, 2008
Gratitude: Understanding bosses - seriously.
Feeling: Better every day. Still coughing but at least it's loosened up.
Weather: Glorious. Fall is the perfect time of year.
Song: You'll Think of Me - Keith Urban
God love my sister - she puts up with so much from me. Of course I went to Montgomery sick this weekend as it was my darling ME's birthday. (See above, yes, adorable I know) I'm glad I went. I have been seriously sick for about three weeks now - never stopping to take the time to take care of myself. You know it's bad when my nephew asks from the other room if I had left because he hasn't heard me cough in a while.
If I get a bit mauldin in the next couple of weeks, most of you will know why. It's the first anniversary of my mother's death and, close family as we are, we all miss her so very much.
In the past I fussed that Thanksgiving gets overlooked in the Christmas rush...but, the day after Halloween they started playing Christmas music on the cable channels. Soon, I will be compiling my christmas list on my July birthday weekend. It's insane. And yes, I know - the sellers are in a panic about what disaster Christmas sales will be - but I don't think the solution is to make me hate the sales even more by starting early.
If I don't get outside soon - besides driving to and from places, I'm going to go crazy.