Tuesday, June 28, 2011

For women only, our exclusive club.

There are days when a Woman just feels Blah. The house, blah. The car, blah. Shopping, blah. Talking, blah. TV, blah. The computer, blah. Family, blah. A book, blah. For me- photography, blah. Blah, blah, blah.

A sort of dark mental cloud brims and it envelops our mind. Nothing feels good, not even eating. It's normally a day or two when a woman just wants to crawl back into bed, bring the blanket up to her chin and close her eyes indefinitely, at least until someone yanks the blanket back and yells "you! it's time to get moving!!' be it a small child, significant other, or her inner voice, every woman has days like this, it's a shared thing. We all know that day, it's overly common, from age 13 to 100, and there is nothing, honestly, we want to do about it.

So when this day takes hold of me, I usually retreat to a comfortable spot, the bed is one place, the back lawn is another, the couch is always welcoming, it really depends on the weather. With children, its definitely harder for these days to be peaceful, they don't get why mommy is curled up, looking into space, detached from them. I take comfort in that my daughters will know this feeling of Blah, and hopefully they will reflect and say, " yep, I know how mom felt on those days" I get now why my mother had these days, and I'm sure she understands her own mother's day's of Blah, and so on.

The Blah's only last about one to two days, it's nothing to be worried about. Unless a woman is prone to long lasting depression, the average gal will have these days once a month every year of her life when the cycle of life starts. By that, you know, the cycle is something that women are exclusive too, it mystifies men, and we don't really care. No matter what differences women have, no matter what disagreements we might have, we all agree that our exclusive cycle club is something that is ours and we do what we want with it. So the men in our lives, dad's, brothers, husbands, everyday dudes, just have to deal with it, and know it something they can't change, nor should want too. The war of the sexes is something that has raged since the dawn of the thinking human, but women have always won the Blah battles. What battle has the man won exclusively? I can't think of any.

Around two days after the Blahs have evaporated, renewed energy surges and we feel like we can change our world. A Mental clean-up takes charge and everything looks brighter. New projects start, things get done, and we are ready to start afresh.

I for one like the days of Blah, not until after they are over mind you, because while in them, I don't want to think about anything good or happy, I don't want to think at all. I mean, recovered from the days of Blah, I'll write again. I wake up early eager to go. I pick up my camera and take some photos. I talk with my children about what we are going to do, and who we should go see. I feel like I can clean the house in one shot, and organize the closet. I want to clip coupons and shop and feel savvy about saving money. I want to take charge, and I suppose that is what the days of Blah is supposed to do, a metal break for feeling good the rest of the month.

So, as my daughters grow, and get closer to the days of Blah, I will brace myself for it. Three women in the house with the Blahs? uh oh. no matter, I will be there to offer my daughters the blanket, climb in next to them and tuck it up under our chins.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

if only money DID grow on trees

That old saying "money doesn't grow on trees" is now more surreal than it ever has been in my entire life. It seems money is the root of nearly everything, at least ALL things material. And some things emotional too.

Our daughter is in Kindergarten, and we have one going into Kindergarten in the fall. We have chosen to send them to a public school, we never even considered private and or charter schools. That would mean sending our children and money to a For-profit organization, when there is no guarantee the education would be any different from a public non-profit institution. Never mind the fact that I don't trust For-profit institutions (College though, is a different blog, and we aren't near that stage yet), all the money seems to go to a fancy this or that and seems to pad the pocket of a superintendent who lives in a wealthy neighborhood. I mean how does a brand new book differ from a book that is years old but contains the same information? What is that telling our children, that they need new stuff for absolutely everything? I got tired old books growing up, but I learned the same thing any of my peers from a private school learned. Talking to people throughout my life, I found no difference in the education we shared as a whole, the difference was always the name of the school, prestiegious vs public sector. I also learned personalities were shifted depending on where a person attended school, i.e. public, more likely to be humble and friendly, (or sometimes not so friendly or even unambitious). Private, pretentious, driven, and most likely friendly too, but there is a certain "air" about a person who feels they are entitled to all things new. It's just been my observation. We prefer our kids grow up without that certain "air" about them.

So as we head out of the school for summer, I reflect on the school year that has gone by, we spent a lot of money. I mean more that I figured for a public school. Before the school started, parents are given a list of classroom supplies needed for the school year. Further more, the teacher sets a post outside the classroom, a list of needed supplies bigger than crayons/pencils/paper/kleenex...etc. That might include certain engagement tools, games, even pieces of furniture and area rugs. Parents can donate these items, tax-deductible of course, but who counts a $10 game on their tax returns? Then, in addition to the class supplies, the school sends out an tax-deductible donation envelop to keep assured programs in place: music, art, sports, etc. So, the parent is encouraged to give the maximum amount asked for, and too, most employers can match the donation for a further tax-deductible benefit. Then not too long into the school year, naturally the children get to go on field trips. So little notes come home with the children that field trip does cost, and if we don't pay, the child will be left behind in the school library or the such. How unfair would it be for the child not to go on the fun trip? so we pay the $7 to $10 per trip. The posts for class supplies continue to be put up outside the classroom periodically, a new game or set of books is requested, again, tax-deductible. Then there are the various fundraisers, pumpkins and christmas trees, restaurants and Haircuts, places you spend money, they will donate a pre-determined amount to the school. Then there is my least favorite, SCRIPT ( I have never bought anything from SCRIPT and never will). I didn't even mention the other supplies associated with school, clothing, lunches, home school material.

Now, I will say for the most part I don't mind all this. It's all good for the long run. It's good for everyone. We signed up for this sort of thing when we became parents. We knew full well it would be an expensive venture, my husband and I embraced it, as well as our children. But it really does seem like a lot. And being a one income family, the familiar and well documented stress of family budget tightens and we have to go without things we had before having kids. I reckon the expense doesn't stop. If and when I get a job again, the money situation will ease slightly, I look forward to that.

It all adds up fast. I've spent nearly $1000 just writing this blog. I wish money really did grow on trees.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Friends come, Friends go. Some friends stay in your mind, some friends stay in your heart. Some friends are around for a short amount of time in life, some friends are around forever, whether you want them to be or not.

Recently I was going through old photos, of me and some of my early childhood friends. Snapshots taken at various times, birthdays, play-dates, school gatherings, etc, you know, the usual get- togethers children congregate for. I recognized all the faces, and memories hit me like bricks, stuff I hadn't thought of in years. I looked at each face, and realized, maybe not for the first time, the who and what kind of people shaped my individual life.

  • There were my cousins, first and foremost, not only because they are family, but because we got along, and love (for the most part) flowed evenly.
  • There was the girl next door, who if not for her in our early childhood, I think I would have been lonely, because my older brother and her older brother didn't want us hanging around them and their friends.
  • There was the girl down the street, "the girl with the pointy glasses" as my cousin used to call her, who if not for her, I don't think I would have learned to draw and be just the little artistic that I am.
  • There was the girl who lived around the corner, who if not for her, I wouldn't have learned the meaning of humility, after I stepped into her house and witnessed her entire family screaming with sorrow over the loss of a pet bird.
  • There was the girl who's family was poor, who if not for her, I wouldn't have learned what it meant to be scraping by with dignity.
  • There was the girl, who if not for her, I wouldn't have learned what it meant to accept people with a disability, her mom suffered from Cebral Palsy.
  • There was the girl who, if not for her, I would not know the meaning of guilt. I left her, because of the fight her brother and mine got into. She was a good friend, but because of some stupid allegiance to my brother, I dumped our friendship with no explanation. That still haunts me today, and I wish I could go back.
Then there were pictures of life after early childhood, the teenage years. In School we all make friends, most people make friends for life, I wasn't so lucky. After grade school, any chance of lasting friendship, went downhill in lieu of a boyfriend that started in my sophomore year of High School, and he became my world. Friends dotted the landscape, mostly his friends, people I wanted them to like me, because I liked him. But there were no solid relationships, nothing I can look back on and remember fondly, only as a matter of fact. For that matter, the only real friends I counted on were the same age(ish) cousins, who lived 3 hours from my home, they probably kept me in check when I needed the kind of friends everyone else had. When I started to drive, I found myself driving that 3 hour trek, just to be around them, because I needed them, even if they didn't need me. I had a desire to know I had friendship, I needed to talk with them about stuff everyone else was talking about. I needed my cousins just to hang and feel better about teenage angst.

So I don't have a lot of pictures today of my current friendships, which is funny, given my love of photography. Right now, there are a few friends who mean the world to me.

  • One stems from knowing each other in early childhood, not because we were great friends at the time, but because we connected later in life and realized we should be friends. She means a whole lot to me, even though we don't see each other as much as I'd like, just knowing that we can connect at any minute, sits in my heart like a bright beautiful rainbow.
  • One stems from a job we had together. This friendship was unexpected, our lives were thrown together because of a mutual set of acquaintances. Suddenly we shared a daily commute to and from that work, and we had some awesome conversations, shared some magnificent epiphanies, and laughed a great deal. It hurts that she lives so far away now, that our one on one time is now confined to a brief visit. In fact I just saw her, and when we parted, I walked away crying, because we both know its useless to try anything else.
  • One stems from new motherhood. She and I have daughters about the same age. She and I connected in a natural way, just getting each other. It's a nice, and easy friendship, I completely appreciate her, and I think she appreciates me too.
  • Of course there are other friends that I adore. I love to be around them, gather news, learn about their lives, know what's new. And I think of them often and would love to get together more, but our lives are busy, I understand that. I appreciate when they think of me, and I hear of something we can do together, it's always lovely in so many ways.
  • And the most wonderful, fulfilling, loving friendship of all, is my family. My parents, my brother, my husband and daughters. It's a different kind of friendship truly, but the best of all.
Friendship is bigger than we think, I wonder how many people take these friendships we have for granted? I try not too, because it's part of who I am as a person. From the that first baby your mom sat you down next too, to the person you sit across from at the local coffee bar today, it's someone to connect with, someone to share, laugh or cry with, it's a person like you, or even the opposite of you, that makes life full.

It's still shaping my individual life.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Politics, no change?

Here's something I never thought I would delve into, Politics. wow.

For the most part of my life I did not pay attention to the world of Politics, because frankly, every time I've listened to any politician, they all sound exactly the same. They all promise the same things, do the same things, look the same way. There really isn't much deviation. I mean, I have always voted, because I can, and vote which way I do because of which party I signed onto . And truth be told, I followed the majority of my family, because I didn't know any better, and figured if it was good enough for them, its good enough for me. I never sat down, outside my Civics class in High School, and those fun little cartoons from the 70's (I'm just a Bill, and I sit here on Capitol Hill...) and learned about the intricacies of politics, who was doing what, what party stood for what, who was more criminal than his or her counterpart. As I said, they all sounded just alike, they all look alike. I think part of me wished they could all be as cute as that little Bill who sat on Capitol Hill, all sweet, humble and full of sorrow.

But with this last Presidential Election, I finally sat up straight and paid attention. Probably for the first time in my life, I believed that someone could finally make a difference. There was so much hope, A first Woman President, A first African American President, anybody besides someone who threw America into a nonsense war, or another just like him who would most likely do the same thing. Maybe someone who would get the USA back on track and save us from a Depression, or worse. A woman, intelligent, brilliantly situated and seasoned, ready to embrace the future, I really pulled for her. Then as she lost the Primary, here was this AA dude, likable and smart. He picked up from where she trailed off, and I listened to him. Unfortunately he did look like any other politician, said the same tired lines any Presidential Hopeful has said in the past. But still, it was like a wave of change was coming. At least that's what I wanted to see, we all wanted to see it I think. I was happy that he won, my daughter was very young, I remember holding her in front of the TV saying, "if he did it, you can too". The tide has finally shifted, I thought maybe we can put all the stupidity behind us and walk into the future with open opportunity.

Well, Social networking has become a huge part of our lives, no one can deny it. So on Facebook, Twitter, even my beloved Flickr, I find that my hopes for putting stupidity behind us isn't reality. There are too many people who fight change, I just don't understand why. Our President today is in turmoil, not because he's a bad President, but simply people can't agree that what he is doing, working hard and putting policy in place to make life better, necessary for the greater good. For them, who oppose him, It's scary, to pass laws that change the way things have always been. It's scary, to have someone who believes in the Average American, not Military to bring us out of helpless economic downturn. It's scary, to look forward, with our head up, and step aside the fear that forces us to look down, staying on the straight and narrow. For me it's not all that scary, I like change, I've said it, I'll keep saying it. But what is scary, is the frightened folks who are willing to do whatever necessary to keep others from stepping away from the narrow path.

Because the more it seems we fight over the stupidity of situations, the less appealing it is to see if anything will come of it. Which in the end, nothing ever does, or not to a point where everyone is satisfied. I recently read that one single Bill, a simple Bill, to lower the volume on TV commercials took over 30 years to pass. Was that the Bill the little guy on the step of the Capitol was waiting for? If it took so long for this seemingly simple Bill to even come up in the Senate, what about all the tough problems? How long will the tough ones take?

So, Now, I look at Politics, and wonder if I should go back into my mode of not paying attention, just voting my party, rather than my conscience. It's not going to change no matter what I or others want. There are good things and bad things that come out of the world of Politics, but it all remains the same, for the most part.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

It's not easy.

Being a photographer is not easy business like some people think.

I am inclined to believe people who are not interested in the dynamics of photography,.... other than, say, looking at a beautiful photograph, ...think taking the picture itself is easy and they could probably do it if they wanted too. I mean, they see a photo of a beautiful mountain with an outstanding skyscape surrounding the mountain, and think "pheh! easy"...

I came across such a person recently in a gallery we were walking through. We were standing side by side looking at a photo of a Sand Cave in New Mexico. The red sand was shining, and a beam of light cascaded from the roof of the cave, sand glitter sparkled in the sunshine, the photographer clearly used a Fisheye lens to capture the greatness of the scene. She causally said " this is gorgeous! but what makes it so special? I could do this if I was standing in this spot". I stood there but didn't say anything about her remark. As we moved from photo to photo, she was exclaiming with enthusiasm about each image, clearly enjoying each shot for it's beauty. But I could also hear her sigh under her breath, and I wondered if she was thinking the same thing, that she could take that shot if she were the one taking that exact image.

At the end of the gallery, the manager came over and asked if we enjoyed the gallery, if we had any questions, and so forth. The woman next to me, as if to prove my observation of her, said, " Why are these photo's so expensive?, I've seen the same type of photo's on-line and I can get them inexpensively or even free" The manger was gracious and didn't flinch, I had to wonder if she was used to this line of query. The manager went on to explain the photographer's impressive resume, the work that goes into each image on the wall, framing and such, and that his work is quite sought after. The woman nodded, and smiled easily. The manger asked this woman if she was a photographer, and if she was interested in the workshops this gallery provides. The woman answered that she only had a Sony point and shoot camera, and that no she wasn't interested in the workshop, she didn't think she had a good enough camera. Then she thanked the manager, and had to leave. It was lunch time.

So, when a person looks at a beautiful photograph,....a work of art the photographer intended to make other people ohhh and ahhh over,....and think they can do the same thing, I wish they would just try.

Like, go to that sand cave in New Mexico, get up at the right time in the morning, chase the light as it's called, trek into the cave and find the right, tight, spot, decide on the correct lens, the right composition, the angle, the right aperture and shutter speed, then take about 3 or 4 dozen shots to get that exact final shot. Meanwhile hoping the light doesn't shift while getting the shot.

Yep, it's that easy to get that shot up on a Gallery wall, and have a person with a P&S say she could do the same thing if she were standing in the same spot. not.

I am interested in the photo workshops this Gallery offers, I would love to know the secrets of getting the most amazing images. I have a blast with photography, I love that it's come into my life. At this point, I have a decent enough camera, but there is so much more to it, so much to learn and do with that camera. I for one, know it's not easy.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It makes for a lousy next day

Some days are harder than others. I mean, you know the days, when you wake up after dreaming about something tragic in your life. It's far beyond the spider nightmare, the falling nightmare, the running naked through the mall nightmare.

It's a memory that creeps into your head when you have no force to push it out, and there it is, in your dream. It could be a deceased person or pet, that meant a lot to you. A car accident that changed your life. Some kind of abuse you endured. A child's illness that was horrific, you wondered if that child would make it. The list goes on, you know the dream, we all have them.

It's all there in your head, no matter what you've done to get past it. No matter how long ago it was in your life from today. It happened, you were there, no one, nothing, stopped it from happening. So you wake up crying, or wincing, or sweating, or cramped up, or get up and gently sit beside your child and give them a kiss on the forehead. Crawling back into bed, you swear your dreams will be better for the rest of the night, and then you just don't sleep until the wee hours of the morning, and end up sleeping hard.

It makes for a lousy next day.

I had one of those such dreams recently. I dreamt about the Car crash I was in at age 24, that changed my life forever. Prior to the crash, I had just found my love for exercise, I was in the best shape of my life, and life was very positive. I had everything going for me, a great job, a place of my own, a new kitten, taking college courses and was having a blast just dating in the 20 something world. Then some guy, doing whatever he was doing in his big pick-up truck, slammed into still traffic injuring 5 people in one instant. I don't even remember the actual accident really. I remember though, the aftermath, a whole bunch of people coming up to my car, checking to see if I was OK. The police coming up, asking questions, and the EMT's checking for any outstanding injuries, and seeing one of the drivers all bloody in the face, and being taken away in the ambulance. Then the Ray of Light after that. My Father, My Dad, My Daddy, driving northbound on Highway 101, saw me standing by the side of the road. Somehow he was beside me in mere minutes, even in the heavy traffic.

I don't remember the rest of that day, except my dad took me back his house and put me to bed. I slept. And woke up the next morning with whiplash and a messed up back.
My exercising, the level I was at, diminished. I lost out on a lot of work because of the doctor appointments. My outlook and fun times went from happy! to eh, and my college studies suffered. I wonder how the lives of the other victims panned out? I'll never know. All because that guy wasn't paying attention.

I wonder if those other people dream about the accident too, actually I'm pretty sure they do.

Friday, January 21, 2011

To do, or not to do, that is the question.

Pet Portraiture. KFrench Photography.
To do or not to do.
I love it, I want to do it.
Get started Karen. Damn nerves.