Thursday, March 31, 2011

MR. Robinson

Waking up this morning I am headed off to do something that I've known was coming but wished wouldn't have ever happened.

We have the most lovely neighbors.  Each one.  Even though we don't know some as well as others.  We live in a fantastic neighborhood.  One that watches out for one another and while we all aren't overly social, we are all neighborly nosy.

Not in a bad way, just in an I am paying attention to make sure that you are alright way.  No gossip, just genuine concern.  It is simple really, we all like where we live and we like who lives by us.

And change for our little "hood" is hard.  This week it changed.  One of our oldest and most heroic and most loved neighbors has passed away. 

I can't help but think of his wife today, she is quite heroic herself.  Without going into more details, I will just simply say that in spite of everything, she was at her husbands side nearly everyday while he was in the nursing home eating meals with him and spending time with him.  It was a lovely thing to see.  It is a rare quality these days.  Maybe not for their generation, but for many to come it is going to be. 

I am lucky to have seen this first hand in my own life.  My grand parents did this as well as my parents.  I am the luckiest girl in the world that I have also found this amazing quality in my spouse. 

Change is hard.  It is hard when it happens fast and it is hard when it happens slow and you have time to plan.  I don't know which is worse. 

Change is ever constant.  The only security we really have is that we get choose how we feel and for the most part what we do in each moment as it passes.  All of the planing, dreaming, and saving for the future does nothing if your moments run out.

To survive the changes, to be proactive in setting your life up to change, you must be mentally prepared for it.  Or when it happens you must be willing to move on.  For some of us, it can take a while.  If you've been following my blog since the beginning you will know that I've not always been the most graceful at change.  I've fought it.  I've tried to hold on to the comforts of what I had planned and loved. 

In the end what I loved most was my marriage.  I still have that.  I let everything else go.  Sometimes there are choices to be made.  Prices to pay, when change happens.  I am still going through changes, we all are.  My neighbor will be going through some pretty big ones.  I sit here typing, and hoping that she will be strong enough to make it through them. 

I also sit here typing as my life is still changing, and I hope that I too will be strong enough to make it through the changes that are to come.  In a grace filled manner.  Grace is often something I find lacking in myself.  I am more like a bumbling bull in a china shop.  The harder I try to be careful the more I end up breaking.

When I earned my first MK car, I had to do a lot of changing.  The year my mother passed which was before this blog started was within the same time period of nine-eleven and when Mary Kay Ash also passed... That was an amazingly trying time for me.  But some how those things propelled me.  Forward to working harder and smarter and living a fuller life.

Mentally mostly, and in my actions as well, but it was mostly a mental game for me.  When I've lost my MK International business, I felt broken, lost and sick.  When I lost my U.S. MK business, I was nearly done for.  I lost my ability to control my body, my freedoms, and my mental awareness due to the amount of medications I was on to control my physical pain. 

Activities limited.  Life seemingly cut short.  Wanting to die myself.  I was in Hell.  The only thing that kept me going was that Jason was here for me.  While I really did not want to I finally did accept all of the changes that had taken place.  I did accept that my life might be lived from a bed lying flat for the rest of my life, and that my life might only involve trips to the Dr. and the ER. 

I held out hope, and it set out to start diminishing... I'd try this, and I'd try that...  Each suggestion offered I did not roll my eyes at, I just tried it. 

You might wonder why I am writing this now.  Well the heroic man who lived next door often found himself doing much of the same thing I am doing.  I am not calling him a hero for this, he truly was a decorated hero.  But I think he was one also for the consistent fight he showed in his life as well.  He went through unseen difficulties.  And literally so.  He didn't like where he was, but he was full of grace, most moments of the day.  He had learned to live with change, while he didn't like it may not have embraced it he did what he needed to do to survive it.  To do so with love in his life and love for those around him. 

I think that is one of the most courageous things. 

As far as change goes, as long as I am alive and far past the time I am gone there is one thing that is consistent and that is change.  I am trying to embrace it.  Sometimes I do this well and other times..

I may need some extra prayers.

Wishing you all of God's Grace and Mercy Mr. Robinson.

Pink Doberman

Monday, March 28, 2011

AgEd EyEs

How often do you revisit things you have done in the past?  Examine them, and take a fresh look? 

I don't mean second guessing, I just mean looking at something as it is through fresh eyes with and aged perspective.  You could have done it last week, six months ago or several years ago. 

I know most things don't need revisiting.  But often times I have found looking at things through different eyes having now been through different experiences, adjusts an outcome or a perception or a feeling.

It is easy for me to do this now with my photography. 

As it has been for years taking the picture actually snapping the shutter is only a small fraction of what it takes for a photo to really come to life. 

The next step is the development of the picture.  There are many ways, and infinite amount really of different techniques and different methods.  Ansel Adams a very famous photographer was genius at this.  When he was exposing his images to light he would adjust the length of time each area was exposed.  This subtle adjustment in the developing and printing stage was key in achieving the moody, emotional, evocative prints he sold.  As his negative projected he would hold up hand made tools that would help him to create his vision.  He charted what he did in notes that only he understood. 

When he would make the "same" picture after a period of years his style would have adjusted, when he may have preferred dark gray tones to black ones earlier in his life and as he aged his perspective shifted and so did his art. 

I have found this to be the case with my workings as well.  What I liked at one time, and I created at one moment, has in a future date and place shifted with age, experience, perspective, education, emotions... really an infinite amount of things come into play when creating something. 

One day while working on a photo my mood may have been somber.  Or I may have been medicated and feeling much pain, I may have been happy or I may have just been overwhelmed by the beauty of an image. 

I occasionally will find that I am spent.  I have nothing left to give, no perspective, no vision.  I just stare.  That is when Jason being the smart man that he is tells me to go buy some shoes, or we do something different.

Being such a visual person, I find it difficult to relay what I am thinking to Jason...  in many cases he is my shutter pusher.  In many cases he is his own shutter pusher.  I am often my own shutter pusher.  We have distinct styles.  He can see them clearly, in my minds eye they blur together a bit more.  I am influenced by his likings and he has been influenced by mine.  

I don't know that we will ever see through the same eyes, but I hope that we never do.  Different perspective is a gift.  He offers what I would have never seen and vice-versa.  In one moment we have two different aged views.  I don't have to wait another moment to gain a fresh set of eyes. 

A while back he and a buddy went to Yellowstone.  Of course he took his camera.   It was not a trip for me.  Hiking and such.. he'd really love to take me so I could see for my own eyes the grandeur and feel what he felt while he was there.  But getting to see what he saw through his camera lens was also incredible.  He took pictures he recorded his sights to share with me.  He froze moments in time in an effort to relay what he was feeling at these moments and to share what he was seeing. 

Can a picture do Yellowstone justice.  I highly doubt it.  It can however convey some of the emotion that you may have felt standing there.  For him, seeing the pictures again, especially now that we've gotten a couple of them on canvas, he can channel the feelings that he personally felt when standing there and gazing at the marvelous scene before him.

While I was not there, I have never been there.  I have watched television shows on Yellowstone, but with out seeing it in person I don't have those memories etched in my mind.  When I work on those photographs as I am now doing for the second time...  I look at each image with a fresh eye.  I start from the negative that was given when the shutter went off. 

I take all that the camera recorded and then I begin sculpting it to make it my own.  To make this image into something that I feel has a soul, that offers someone who views it a perspective, an emotion, an interest, or a feeling to want to know more.  Maybe a sense of peace... possibilities are once again endless.. 

Someone may even have a negative reaction to what I have done.  That is good too.  Allowing people to feel something, to realize something to be alive enough to cause a reaction.

I find that in comparing how I chose to expose an image before and how I am choosing to expose an image now to be a dichotomy of sorts.  The one image that comes to mind that I just worked on compared side to side with the same image I had exposed nearly a year or so ago.. you of course can tell it is the same image.  However at the time I had originally worked on it I had focused on the sky.  When I did it this time I was drawn to focus the attention on the land. 

All I can tell you about why I changed is that today the image with the focus on the land made me feel more grounded.  More steady.  Maybe right now today I am more grounded than I was a year ago.  Maybe there is no more need to read into this any more than I just liked it better this way now. 

I don't know, but it struck me as I put the final touches on it that the image was made stronger for having the focus on the land.  However when looking at the image from before, I felt a sense of lightness as well. 

Funny huh?  Deep? Probably just a little loony. 

I wanted to take some time to explain what I went through while working on this picture.  I have a whole series left to get through.  I am creating our gallery.

Tomorrow Jason and I will have more pictures to take.  He's got some amazing ideas too, I can't wait to see what he see's through his eyes.

Take some time to look at something in your life through fresh eyes.

Pink Doberman

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

PiNk DoBeRmAn = ArTiSt

Some things are not dramatic.  I think that is just fine.  Sometimes the simple things that cause no notice are the absolute best. 

I am all about fashion of course, I have been that way since I could speak.  However these days I really gravitate toward the simple classic things that you can wear over time.  I started doing this about 10 years ago, as taught by my Mary Kay Mentor Joyce.  (I secretly think she knows everything)  Well mostly so anyway. 

At any rate, as I go through my life I realized when it came to choosing what went in my life at least for the long term was going to be a classic.  Car's excluded... My first car that I purchased was a little sporty Nissan with a sunroof two doors, and about as much room inside as a carry on suitcase.  It was black had headlights that flipped up and I adored it.  Needless to say my father was less than proud of my purchase, as he prefers white cars and would always choose the stable variety over the sporty one. 

Those were the days when my taste in clothing, men, and, pretty much everything else changed every five seconds.  =)  Impulsive, carefree, delighted, living on a cloud... my life was glorious. 

I remember who I was then, I carry her with me still, if I am not careful she'll explode and pop out and create all sorts of messes!  Happy ones! 

Practicality can be boring, but consistency does breed security.  While many people including myself strive for a life that goes great all of the time, the consistent moments can easily all blur into a moment and you will feel as if you've never lived.  Mixing life up adding the creative side to the practical side makes my life so much richer. 

I have the opportunity now to enjoy both, where as when I was younger I don't think I would have grasped the duality in such a blending manner.  It isn't as I have set out to follow my life along a certain path.  I have at some points, mainly I've focused on setting goals that help me to achieve dreams. 

For some time now I've not been a very good dreamer.  I've struggled with finding a dream that I feel I can make come true.  Wishing for my past paths is not going to get me anywhere, and finding a new one has been a challenge that has taken me years. 

I have gifts and skills, I am blessed, I know this.  I am grateful.  But when you are given gifts at least in my case I have a guilt inside if I am not utilizing them at least in some degree.  God doesn't make junk!

So I've been looking for a way to turn my gifts into something realistically achievable with my current physical and mental abilities and stamina.  It didn't really click for me until Jason wanted a camera again.  (I've always loved taking pictures, I did so as a child, in 4-H)  I enjoyed it.  I can't say I was ever that good at it, but I had fun with it.  Over the years I improved.  I even dabbled in a bit of editing that I picked up through my sister.

At any rate, he started going crazy with taking the pictures, bringing his prizes back to show me after his morning adventures.  I've had a bird feeder for some time out my window, and I began grabbing the camera for a few shots of the birds.  (couldn't hold it for much longer than that)

What do you know, I improved, my strength holding the camera improved and well.. my hubby enjoyed it and I enjoyed it.. so we've now created our own little "hobby business".

I am an artist.  A Photographer. 

I am able to combine my classic with my artistic, and continue living my life in a way that interests and excites me.  I will venture to say that I won't be becoming a millionaire..  But I'll be giving my mind something positive to focus on and creating art that people can enjoy. 

These past 6+ years I have only been able to banter around in my home or lay in bed in my room much of the time.. the art on my walls and the birds outside my window, have been a great distraction and interest for me.  When your body stops being able to move easily, your mind finds other ways of looking at life.  (If you let it.)

What I used to never notice or pay attention to I now am able to spend more time studying, and really seeing what is around me.  Listening to what things have to say, feeling an emotion when I see an image, really take the time to appreciate something instead of quickly glossing over something and never really comprehending the beauty, the thought behind it, or the intention of it. 

My grandmothers both shared this side of life with me.  In different ways.  One grandmother was all about photos and family history, the other was about the birds, and butterflies outside her window.  Both took the time to really understand and to soak in what it means to be apart of this life.

The pictures I take are not really the important part of the equation, the important part is what you feel when you are in their presence. 

I hope you take some time to appreciate the beauty of the things around you.  Feel what it is saying to you.

Pink Doberman

Saturday, March 12, 2011

My HeArT On A StRiNg

I've met many people in many ways over many days.  None of them struck me as he did that day.  We'd gone out before this, and had fun, mildly awkwardly so.  Interesting but not overwhelmingly so.  Similar in familiar ways but something was different this day.

His guard came down, he was real with me.  So real.  The special kind of real that you can feel the sincerity and the moment lives on forever through that one space and time.  It a feeling of symbiosis of clarity, of no barriers, no hidden moments. 

Where everything has laid itself out there on the line.  The worst and the best all at the same time.  No one had ever been that frankly honest.  Shared what he shared and in the way that he shared it that day.

It was special, the moments were special and after these moments and this time it was all going to change.  I knew it.  I felt it.  I had been in so many moments before where the walls were gated and held tight with every ounce of energy one could muster.  Other times moments would show cracks. 

No moment had crumbled before me so sincerely before and my breath was taken away.  I remember lying there.  Listening.  Listening.  His voice softly sharing his soul and his secrets.  I could feel his pain through his words and his soul shown through his eyes and his cracking voice.

It was only the fifth time I had ever been in his presence or he in mine.  I knew then what I know now.  That he would have my heart on a string from that moment on. 

Pink Doberman

Saturday, March 5, 2011

RoUgH TiMe, BuT a GoOd TiMe NoNeThELeSs.

Well since I fell the other week things have been going a little rougher than usual.  Not exactly what I had hoped for but par for the course I guess. 

Migraines have stepped up exponentially and keeping them under control has been a relatively difficult task once again.  They have yet to reach previous standards Thank Goodness!  But have been highly persistant and successful at stopping many activities I have been trying to do. 

I was sad that today I couldn't handle watching my favorite web training as well. and while the training they were offering today wasn't what I am physically capable of doing, I do learn a lot and can use those ideas in other ways.  Hoping that tomorrow is a better day.  I have managed to make it to lunch with Jason's folks, tour a new grocery store, as well as visit a friend.  While that has tuckered me out for the last couple days paired with migraines.. it was worth it to get out of the house and have some fun with great people. 

Didn't take Luka, which was a good thing as he ended up getting sick.  =( 

Won't be typing long tonight as it is still hurting to sit up.  My neck and upper back are pissed off and evidently need some more lying flat time.  Grrr.  I've got things I need to do!  On the list for tomorrow for sure is a bath! 

Good news is ready or not my ideas on being an artist are starting to take shape. 

Pink Doberman