Monday, January 31, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 31

I've never been a big fan of turning the camera on me so this is reaching outside of the box for me.  I had another shot chosen for today's photograph but decided that going with that one would be the 'safe' thing to do.  Anyway, here goes. 

Tired

Tired

Sunday, January 30, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 30

Mexican Train!

Mexican Train!

Some friends and I got together this evening to play Mexican Train Dominoes.  It's one of our favorite things to do while we hang out, drink beer and shoot the shit. 

A Gift of Words

shallow breathing the days
in the space we occupy
ticking through time

until colors are brighter
the tastes, a bit sweeter
nights aren't as long

we wait.

the heart knows where it lives.

-l.w.

A few years ago one of my dear friends sent me this poem in a beautiful card.  I can't get it out of my head.  But, then again.  Why would I want to?  It's beauty in words.  I felt the need to share it with you.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 29

Painted Sky

Painted Sky

What Is My Definition of Success?


Two weeks ago I started a new temp gig with a local printing company.  The hours are great, the people are nice, the job is not difficult at all aside from being on my feet for 10 hours a day 4 days a week, and the pay is decent.  At the end of February they’ll put me on the swing shift and my hours will then be perfect. 

After two weeks of working for this company I’ve decided that I would love to work for them permanently.  Everyone that I’ve talked to there loves working for the family who owns the company, the benefits are good and the family cares about the people who work for them.  There’s no time clock to punch, breaks are taken whenever you feel you need it and you take your lunch when you’re hungry.  Besides the start time and end time, nothing is set in stone.  People are treated like adults and respected.  There’s even the occasional banter mixed in to lighten up the day. 

One day last week the CEO of the company was in the inspection area (where I work) and saw my tattoo on my forearm.  She asked me about it so I told her the story of it being a memorial to my dog, who passed away in 2009.  She then proceeded to show me the angel that she had tattooed on her shoulder for one of her pets who passed.  I knew in that moment that I wanted to work for her and her family.  Permanently.  That night I sent an email to the temp agency rep letting him know that I am very interested in being brought on permanently so if they ask him, please let them know. 

Fingers crossed. 

My struggle lately has been with the idea of, or the definition of, success and exactly how that’s measured in life.  I know in my heart that, at least for me, happiness, contentment and peace are the biggest measures of success in my life yet I still struggle with the idea that success is measured by how much money you make or whether your bills or paid or if your credit score is good.  Those things that society expects and the rules they place upon you. 

Money and happiness can also go together.  If you’re stressed about money and the bills you need to pay then it can affect your happiness.  But is that really the big picture in all of this?  At the end of my life am I going to look back and say, “I really wish I’d paid that bill” or “..made more money”? 

I realized this past week that I still have a lot of reprogramming to do.  I spent a lot of time being negative with myself because I enjoy a low paying, low stress job that doesn’t require a ton of thinking.  Honestly, I spent a good part of last week belittling myself because of it until I finally realized exactly what I was doing. 

Then I asked myself, “Am I happy with who I am?”  The answer was “yes”.  Yes.  I am happy with the person I’ve become.  The writer.  The photographer.  The Mom.  The Friend.  The Volunteer.  It’s those aspects of me that contribute to my happiness.  Not the amount of money that I make or what my credit score is. 

If it seems as though I’m trying to convince myself of this constantly, it’s true.  I am.  It’s part of the reprogramming of my brain and the way I see things.  I’m constantly trying to find the point in things, in life.  If I don’t continue to remind myself that it’s about happiness and experiences and relationships then I may as well pull the knife out of my pocket and call it good.  The reminders and the convincing keep me here on this planet and in this life with you. 

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection".   - Buddha

Friday, January 28, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 28

Dust Collector

Dust Collector

My football helmet is now my very own paper weight/dust collector.

I'm still helping out with the team this year.  I was inventorying shoulder pads and helmets today and realized how much I miss being on the field.  Those few seconds before the snap when I was down and set were, at times, the most focused and in the moment times I've ever experienced.  There was nothing else in the world that existed during those few seconds.  Everything, every thought, disappeared.  I miss those moments.

This was one of those moments: (photo by Andy Redford)

365 Day Photo Project - Day 27

Soul Tuning

Soul Tuning

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Illness Got Me

I don't follow the trends of sicknesses very much but I guess there's a bug going around in the area and it seems to have found me.  Between being sick and working again all I have had time to do is eat, sleep and work Monday through Thursday.  Last weekend somehow became incredibly busy, as well.  Anyway, I'm still taking a photo a day.  Just haven't posted it everyday.  As far as writing...not so much is happening in that department, unfortunately.  My intention for the weekend is to lay low and rest so the writing will come.

For now, here are my last two days of photos:

Healing Water

Healing Water

Good Food

Good Food

This last one is my version of fast food.  Oh, and I started eating a bit of fish again to help with my protein intake.  I'm still mostly vegetarian so I guess that now makes me a pescetarian.  It was a bit of an adjustment and I'll never eat it without first taking a moment to thank the fish for it's sacrifice.  I would still like to remain mindful of what I'm eating.

Hope everyone stays well.  I'll be back soon.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 21

Leftover Christmas

Leftover Christmas

I took this photo yesterday while I was making my breakfast.  After a busy day I returned home quite early this morning so I didn't have time to post it, so here is yesterday's photo of the day.

So Much Beauty In One Little Soul

My Goddaughter is an amazingly beautiful soul.  Since she has arrived in this lifetime she has brought me peace, joy and so much laughter.  She's now 2 years-old and beginning to talk more and more.  She's also wicked smart and very musical.  Yesterday I spent some time with her and shot this video with my phone while she sang a song from Annie.  I just had to share.  She's so stinkin' cute.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Forever & Ever, Amen


Self Portrait – January 16, 2011

"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." – Anatole France

I haven’t been saying much on the social media sites lately.  Nor on this blog, either, honestly.  I feel a bit withdrawn and very quiet lately.  I’m working through some things in my head about myself, my past, my present and my future.  I’m finding that I want very much to write about it but am having a really hard time finding the words to express what’s going on with me. 

It’s taken some time for me to start writing those love letters to myself.  I started thinking about exactly why that was.  Why haven’t I written more love letters to myself? 

The answers that I began to hear were self-defeating and deprecating.  Loving myself is not something that I know how to do.  It was never something I learned.  I learned how to take care of others and put others needs before mine.  I learned that very well.  But, loving myself and putting my needs first is not only going to take some getting used to, it’s going to take some work. 

Yesterday I posted on facebook as one of my status updates, “Stopped believing in forever.”  As in, I’ve stopped believing in ‘The One’.  The idea that there is one person out there who will fall in love with me and I with her and we’ll ride off into the sunset and love each other forever and ever, Amen.  Then one of my friends posted this in her beautiful comment about holding on to that belief, that idea, “And there is one person in this world who will always love and cherish you if you let them. Its YOU.” 

How amazingly brilliant and simple is that?  No matter what, I will always be with me so if I always love and cherish myself then I will be forever loved and cherished. 

I am my own ‘forever and ever, Amen’. 

365 Day Photo Project - Day 16

Sumatra

Sumatra

Sumatra is on my mind and in my heart tonight.  She was such a blessing to my life.  I miss her and am  grateful that we had so much time together.

365 Day Photo Project - Day 15

Finding Peace

Finding Peace

Saturday, January 15, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 14

Vita!

Vita!

I spent the late afternoon at the Vita Cafe with a friend before heading off to Portland's X rated open mic at In Other Words.  If you're ever in Portland on the second Friday of the month check out Dirty Queer. It's been happening here for the past 4 years and it's pretty frickin' rad.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Learning To Love Myself - The Beginning

During my workout this morning I started thinking about this idea of loving myself and doing things for me.  Usually during workouts my motivation comes from thinking about being on the field and pushing forward with my team.  After thinking about that and asking myself 'why' I came to the conclusion that my workouts were for the team.  Which can be a good thing if you're playing on a team, of course.  But, what happens when you aren't or when you can't any longer?

If I'm not working out for my team, then why even bother? 

My workouts should be for me.  I should push hard and bust out that last rep for me.  Because I love and care about myself and my body and my own mental health. 

After pondering all of this I came up with the idea of taking self portraits throughout the year as a way to learn to love myself and this body I inhabit.  So, along with the letters to myself I'm going to attempt to turn the camera towards me every now and then and post those photographs here.  Being open and honest with you helps me to be open and honest with myself.  I hadn't realized this until now but this self love stuff takes a lot of courage.  A lot of courage.  Here goes. 

The first photograph I want to post is one I took back in 2008.  It's the last time I was in this dark place and trying to find my way out of it.  I think it would be good to start with this one because it reminds me of that time and the fact that I did climb out of that place. 






I've always felt that my back is the strongest part of my body.  It carries quite a bit.  Maybe this will help with letting those things go. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 13

Dear Me

Dear Me

It's been a long time coming but I finally wrote a love letter to myself. 

This is going to be difficult.

Looking Back

I've been a bit quiet lately. Not just here but on the social networking sites, as well. I think it's my way of going within and figuring some things out about myself.

This afternoon I spent some time looking through my paper journal and reading through things I wrote shortly after quitting the accounting profession. Some were good, some not so good and others were sort of 'pick-me-ups'. A rally with myself to continue forward on the path. Something similar to what athletes do to 'power through' when they're tired and it's the 4th quarter and their team is down by a touchdown. Power through and don't stop until the last whistle because the game is not over until then. Never give up.

One of those writings stood out for me today. I wrote it while sitting on a bench in a park in North Portland that overlooks the Willamette River. I want to share it with you and at the same time, remind myself.

9.24.10

I am a solitary creature by nature. An introvert. One who communes with nature quite often. The soil beneath my feet, the tree standing next to me and the butterfly fluttering around me are my friends. Long-time companions who've traveled with me from one life to the next. I speak of them as if they are separate from me but they are not. We are one in the same. The same molecules of energy floating in the same space. Moving from one form to the next. Constantly changing. Always vibrating. You ground me, give me strength and keep me present in this place in time. While I sleep, my soul travels to other places, other times. Spreading love, consoling, reconciling and checking in on those I love. My energy is strong. Everyone and everything feels it, whether they know it or not. We are all one.

Finding solitude at Cathedral Park this afternoon I became witness to a new water skier. Once I got past the idea that he was floating in the Willamette I realized as I watched him try over and over again to stand up that my being witness to this event was a metaphor for exactly where I'm sitting in life right now. I watched him try over and over again to stand up as the boat revved up. Over and over again he fell until finally he did it. I could hear cheers and screams from the boat congratulating and celebrating for and with him. I could feel myself quietly celebrating for him.

It's a simple metaphor for life. Learning something new is not always going to be easy. There will be a lot of falls and set backs but with strength, focus, determination and basically a 'want' to do something you will eventually do it. Are you going to let those falls and set backs hold you down or are you going to hang in there, push past the defeats and break through to reach your goal?

365 Day Photo Project - Day 12

Lined Up & Shinning

Lined Up & Shinning

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 11

Treats?

Treats?

Since quitting the soul sucking job I've taken on lots of house and pet sitting gigs and a few dog walking gigs, as well. These two beautiful beasts are part of my walks a few days a week and I love them.

The joy you get from a dog when you walk in the door and say hello to them is immeasurable. After spending some time with these two today I went over to the Oregon Humane Society and spent some time walking the dogs who currently call that wonderful facility their home. Better yet, their 'transitional' home.

Needless to say, my day was filled with lots of joy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 10

Humility

Humility

This evening I bowed to the powers of Mother Nature as I rode my motorcycle across town from Beaverton to Northeast Portland where I stowed it away in anticipation of the snow storm that is expected. That was one cold ride.

Although I know that this symbol is for humility, this is also the way I felt once I arrived at my destination. I wanted to curl up into a ball for warmth.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 9

Winding Down

Winding Down

Enjoying a glass of red wine after a long and emotional day of packing my stuff.

After moving so much throughout my life I pared down quite a bit a few years ago so it's not like I'm packing a house full of things anymore. I just got tired of moving it all.

The thing that was difficult about today were the memories. Memories that seem to attach themselves to places and things. Memories that I found myself trying to hold on to, almost, for dear life. After falling to the floor under their weight I finally realized that it's time to let them go. They've served their purpose both then and now.

It's time to move on.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 8

Fighting Fillies: Take 2

Fighting Fillies: Take 2

This morning I watched my old football team, the Portland Fighting Fillies practice. While I'm out of the game for good, it was still good to see the rookies there learning the skills needed to play the sport.

I do miss it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 6

Coffee Chat

Coffee Chat

January 6, 2011

A mid-morning coffee chat with the one of the other founding members of the Kali clan.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 5

Relaxing Cassie Style

Relaxing

January 5, 2011

My cat, Cassie, enjoying the new to us bed in our new space.

Focusing On The Good

I've been working on putting some blank note card sets together with my photographs on the fronts of them and now have about 12 sets put together and posted on my Etsy storefront. So far I've had 11 sales since opening the shop a few months ago. While that isn't a lot of sales, it's most definitely a start and I'm excited about the possibilities.

Yesterday I took my set of St. Johns Bridge note cards to the St. Johns Booksellers and the owner said that she would like to sell 3 of them in her shop! I am very excited about this because not only am I getting my stuff out there, I'm also beginning to form partnerships with small businesses around town.

This morning I created a Facebook advertisement for my photography page in hopes of gaining more traffic to the page and, thereby, more traffic to my Etsy shop. It's been a productive day already.

Things are moving along with respect to my photography. I am happy about that.

Breakdown


I am a writer who is intimidated by the blank page at the moment.  This is something that I know I need to get used to but it’s still disappointing.  This sense of uneasiness in writing is difficult to deal with during this period of darkness. 

I go through these periods every so often and, to be honest, should probably be on some sort of chemical balancing tool in order to stay out of this space for longer periods of time.  Instead, I remain chemical free and out of balance. 

New Years Day brought with it a major breakdown for me and I found myself a sopping wet pile of emotion in front of a friend.  This is the sort of ‘show and tell’ that I don’t like to share with others.  It made the breakdown even more difficult for me.  Luckily, the night ended on a good note that involved beer, laughter, a portabella mushroom burger and French fries at a local pub.  In the end I was glad she was there to hand me tissues. 

I’ve struggled all of my life with actually feeling emotions.  There are times when I’m sure I’ve felt them but wasn’t totally sure of what it was I was feeling.  There are also times when I know I should be feeling something but don’t.  The lesson I learned in pushing them deep down inside was one I apparently learned a little too well.  What sort of life do you live outside of emotions and feelings?  Isn’t that what living is about? 

I have got to find a way to tap into that deep well inside me.  The one that holds all that I’ve pushed and tucked away.  There has to be a way. 

I need to feel again.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 4

Dinner

Dinner

January 4, 2011

An avocado with soy sauce and a glass of red wine.  The dinner of champions. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 3

DSC_0009

My entire life is in transition at the moment.  Normally when this happens I at least have my daily job that I can go to where things are basically the same every day.  This time, I don't so it's a bit more difficult to move through this period of transition. 

These are a few reminders that I set up for myself in my new space to remind me that change is good and can, in itself, be inspiring. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

365 Day Photo Project - Day 2

Sunday Night

I spent tonight at a friends house watching the last Sunday Night Football game of the regular season in HD on their really large flat screen.  Oh, I had a beer and ate some pizza, too.

My New Photo Project - Day 1

Home Brew

I've been contemplating beginning a 365 Day Photo Project this year and decided yesterday to go ahead with it.  Since it was January 1st, it seemed like a good day to begin.  Each day I will take and post at least one photo documenting my year in pictures.  I'm late posting this due to a major meltdown last night so you will see another post later tonight when I have today's photo ready.

I'm determined to stick with it as a way to practice and perfect my craft.  It will also be a good way to journal this year and help me find my focus.  I will still continue with my regular blog posts about life and my journey along the way.  It's just that now you'll get at least one post a day.

The above photo was shot at my friends house yesterday afternoon.  They invited me over to brew beer with them and I jumped at the opportunity.  My one and only venture into brewing beer at home didn't turn out so well so I was willing to learn exactly how it's done with fresh base, hops and yeast.  I'm looking forward to tasting the outcome of it in February when they plan to have a party and share it with friends.