Looking Deep Inside….

Recently, I saw a man I had a great deal of respect for laying in a casket. His time here is over. Now, I am a firm believer that respect is earned, it not automatically given. Much like trust and loyalty, I hold this in high regard so if I respect, trust and am loyal to you, you have to be something special.

I have been very quite over the past week. I have been deep in thought and taking some time for introspection through this process. What am I doing with my life? If I die today, was my life worth living?

I have decided that some changes need to take place. Very few noticed that  I haven’t been talking as much. So if no one misses what you have to say, it really must not matter, so stop talking. If anyone wants to know what you are thinking, they will ask at some point, then I will talk until , just say nothing. If you implode, maybe they will realize that what you said mattered.

I am going to stop promoting a business that is not working for me right now. I will not bore people with what I am working on, I will continue working but once again in silence. I will only share it with those who care about it, not the public.  When you feel like you have little support, you do it for yourself not for others. You make what you like. You enjoy what you are doing even if no one stands and applauds. That is passion.

I am going to make the most of the days I have remaining. As I heard two days ago, we are all one step away from death. Do I want to spend the rest of my time chasing dreams that may not happen or am I going to do those things that stir my soul? I would rather stir my soul. If people like it cool, if not, that’s okay too.

I want passion, fun, life. I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about what I am doing wrong. I don’t want to try to measure up to what others think I should be, being the perfect daughter, sister, aunt, employee whatever…. I will never be the perfect anything. I promised myself a long time ago, no regrets, I don’t intend to have any. I will use the words “I love you” more. I will follow my passions. I will not allow myself to settle. I will be happy with who I am, what I look like at any given moment, what I love to do and who I want to be with. It is my life and I want to live every moment of it. I like the rush I get from trying new things. I like it when I am busy and my mind is racing a hundred miles a minute on something creative or constructive. I love that feeling. It is like jumping out of an airplane and free falling.

I want to live every moment, not just exist because, some day, someone will be standing over me and reminding people that this is coming to all of us some day.

I Will Always Love You….

My girls (my great nieces) are growing up so very fast, the oldest one just turned 13 in May. An actual teenager in Earth years but she has one of those old souls.

She is so wise for her age, wiser than me some days, as she proved to me today as we had a conversation driving up the road.

We were doing a photo shoot for her new CD. Everybody’s first response is that she is beautiful. She is, no doubt about it; she is gorgeous. She is also, smart, talented, funny, goofy, wise beyond her years, a loving person who wants to see good in everyone. She is strong in her faith. She will not do anything she finds distasteful. She is focused. She is driven. She will not put her name on something she is not proud of. She is so much more than what people see.

They simply do not know her like I do. She always tells her other sisters that I love her more because I have loved her longer. I love them all, in different ways. They are all so very unique. They all have their strengths and very singular personalities. I give them the attention each needs. It’s just that right now the focus is on the older one getting her CD done.

We were alone on one of my favorite crooked country roads. It is the second round of photos for the project.  Her parents leaving her in my care,  had left us  to do what we do because they had to take care of some other things. We were fighting for time, there was a thunderstorm not so far away.

We did the shots and as always, I had music playing from an old cell phone. The song “Forever Country”, which is a mashup of some classic country songs sang by some of the greatest voices from the past and the present,  came on. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9gAXwYZtfk

We were looking at the shots we had just taken, she has to proof each of them. As we stood there flipping through pictures, we began singing along with the song. At the end of the song the last song they blend in is “I Will Always Love You” came on. As they began to sing that part, she laid her head over on my shoulder and sang to me.

Of course, I cried. In that moment, I knew that I was loved as deeply and as innocently as anyone could ever be. She wanted nothing but to in her way tell me she loves me. She does all the time but that time was a little more special than all the times before. No one saw it, no one was supposed. It was a moment but one that I will hold in my heart forever.

Comfort…

I need to be in a place of comfort. If that be a space, a relationship, clothing and shoes, hobbies, when I sleep,  all things.

Now having said that, I do a lot of activities in the confines of my home. I dress for comfort. When I am working in my work room, honestly it is very scant. I am there in usually a tee shirt, underwear and my apron.

When I am writing, it kind of depends on what I am writing. I am trying to be tactful here so I am not going to go into much detail. Let’s just say I dress for the part.

It is part of my creative process. I need to feel what it would feel like to actually feel the part that I am writing about. It is something that makes me feel ummmm, desirable which is good when I am writing about my desires.

When I am making jewelry, I don’t worry about how I look, I wear the afore mention workroom clothing. When I am trying to promote my product, I want to look like a business woman. When I am photographing an event, I dress differently than when I am doing nature photography. When I am hiking different clothing and shoes. When I go to work the uniform. To church, dresses or skirts.

I just want to feel comfortable in what I wear, how may hair looks; currently, it has blue highlights. I have mermaid hair.

I don’t wear any of this for anyone else. I change my hair, put on makeup, dress as I wish because it makes me feel good. When I feel good, apparently it is obvious. People notice and I’m not looking to get noticed. I was actually told the other day by someone that they were watching me. Not sure what they meant by it, didn’t ask. I don’t really care anymore who is looking or watching. I am gonna do me. Blue hair and all.

Simple…

I am not hard to understand. I like simple. My mind is busy, but not complicated.

This morning, after finishing a 12 hour shift, I went for a walk. I enjoyed the smell of the fresh morning air. I looked at the dew as it lay on the blades of grass. I got into my music as I walked. I twisted my lower torso to get more effect of the walking. I did a dance with a robin that would hop along in front of me just a few paces ahead, it would fly just a bit and land back in front of me, we did this for a good while.

After he got bored with the game. He flew off.

I went home and I slept. I slept until I woke up. No alarm needed. No phone call from my mom. I woke up feeling refreshed. I didn’t sleep as  much as yesterday. Yesterday I slept all night and the whole day. I needed rest. I was tired.  Today, I was rested.

I wanted fresh air and sunshine. It was my late day to come in. I went and took some of the best photos I have taken in a while. I actually shot in manual and took more control over the camera than I have in a good long time. I spent over an hour trying to get a good photo of a dragonfly darting about. I didn’t get it but I tried. I got some good practice in. I got to understand what I can do without the camera doing it for me.

As the sun set, nobody knew where I was. When I had spoken to my  mom, I was going to get dinner. When I had spoken to my best friend I was going home to get dressed for work. My person, he had no clue where I was.

Where I was, was standing in the middle of a cemetery where my grandparents are buried. It was the best place to get the photos of the sunset I was seeing. I paid respect to them while I was there but the sunset was what had drawn me to this place.

Once again, I shot with the “M”. This mode scares a lot of people. You have to do the thinking. It is in my mind, a dividing line. I would shoot, adjust, shoot again, adjust again. It was a learning exercise for me. When did it get grainy? What are the limits I could push it to and still get an acceptable shot.

I enjoyed my day and I did that thing I love to do. With no thought of what was going to happen with  the images. I am not taking them for monetary gain. I am taking them for me. Most people will never even know they exist. They don’ t need to.

When I got to work, I got into a conversation with one of my co-workers about life. He is newly married and he doesn’t realize that it is a world of compromise. He told me some things and I asked him some questions. The most common phrase I heard was I never looked at it that way. I was just asking questions. It was up to him to make his own assessment of the situation.

It was a simple day. It was a day of reflection and not loneliness.

I don’t need the world. Looking at my little corner of it in a way that no one else sees it, that has to be enough for me, for now.

Life is simple we make it complicated. A place to relax, someone to love, something to be passionate about, a roof over our head and food in our belly. Those are the “simple” things in life that are the grand things.

Return on Investment

I am in a slump right now. Not saying much about it, trying not to let anything show.

I have written many time about my jewelry making business and my photography business. They are both kind of hit and miss. Right now it is a miss.  The photography is more of a hobby with an occasional paying gig from time to time.

The jewelry is different. I would like to see it grow and prosper on its own.

I get excited when someone expresses interest in a piece. When my person looks at and sees a comparison to a beautiful piece of art or speaks about what makes the piece special, I kind of blush and I am speechless. Nothing I do can compare to what he does.

Just today, I got three inquires about new posts. I got excited. Every time my phone made a sound I checked it. Bad, bad idea. I was so hoping for sales that I was jumpy about it. That is not the way I should be.

I should just relax, let things work out as they will and enjoying the process of making. The new things I am learning. The things I learn from my mistakes. Those moments when I look at a piece and realize that it is actually pretty and I made it. I should revel in that, not in what might sale and what won’t.

Being human, I would like to get a return on my investment. I would like people to put there money down and say that something  that I made is pretty enough to buy it.

I want people to want to share my items. Only my best friend usually shares my posts with her friends on social media to try and help me out.

It is a struggle for me to do the business end of things. I love the creative part. The business, I feel like I am charging too much or not enough. I don’t know how to do stuff like this.

I don’t want to seem pushy but I would like to see it succeed.

I got taught a lesson last night by a six year old. She wanted to build a “ghost buster pack”. She had a large frisbee from the back of my car. She got paper and scotch tape. She cut small strips of paper to make the straps. Well, I knew it wasn’t going to work but she was sure it was. Well, we tried it. It was not going to hold. I explained to her why it didn’t work.

We tried again. This time using paper, because in her mind, the paper was going to work only this time we used duct tape. Once again, it didn’t work.

The third time, we used a plastic bag cut into strips and used duct tape. By the time we were finished, she could actually slip her arms through it and wear her “ghost busters pack”.

She wasn’t making anything to sell. She was just using her imagination. She knew what she wanted and had a general idea how to do it. She just needed a little help.

Maybe that is my legacy. Maybe it is not what I sell that will be the return on investment. Maybe it is the fact that these girls see me take chances, that they see me never quit. That the know that I work through problems one step at a time. Maybe that is much more important than anything I could ever sell.

So, it may be time to put on the black dress I wear for photographing formal occasions, put on my soft soled shoes and go unnoticed for a while. I will continue to make. I just won’t put it out there for the world to see. I will make for the joy of making. I will bask in the silence of doing without expecting a sell. I will just try to relax and let my imagination take over.

A True Artist Knows No Limits….

My friend, my person, is an artist in the truest sense of the word. If you have read this blog very much, you know I have referred to him as such many times.

Often is the time I have studied his hands, he has the hands of an artist.

He has the soul of an artist. I told him today that he was a natural born artist and I had to sneak up on it. He then reminded me that I have been singing all my life and telling stories to children, that is creative. True. Busted!! I was talking more about visual art.

He is a painter, a sculptor, a designer, a photographer and so much more. He does them all well. Much better than I. As a matter of fact, he has been my mentor on a great many things. He is my muse. (Don’t tell him I said that).

I have seen photographs he has taken of athletes that look like they are dancing. I have seen photos of dancers that show the strength of an Olympic athlete while maintaining the grace of a swan. He has this uncanny ability to see beauty in all things and capture it.

I learn from him every time we are together. I feel like he loses brain cells talking to me sometimes. He can say something and it is followed up with twenty questions.

It is not that I am trying to “build up his ego” as he said today, it is just he has so much knowledge on so many subjects that I want to know more.

On the MBTI scale, he is a thinker; I am a feeler.

He has to understand the puzzle and solve it. I must at some point question why the puzzle is there in the first place. I need to know the why. I have to study on it, think about it, which ultimately leads to me overthinking, which leads to me doubting myself and putting roadblocks in my own way.

He reaches out and does his own thing with ease, I tend to compare myself with others, who have been doing it longer and planting seeds of doubt about my own work. He is a visionary and I, well, I piddle. I play with squares and rectangles of glass with smaller squares and rectangles on top. Nothing ground breaking there. If I am feeling especially frisky, I might try a circle.

He can spend countless hours learning something. If I don’t get it in 10 minutes, in my mind, I am the dumbest person on the planet and should be dragging my knuckles on the ground.

It is just a difference in us. I am envious of how talented and knowledgeable he is.

He did point out somethings to me today that enlightened me, about me. He has a way of doing that.

He pointed out that just because he uses lights, motors, actuators to enhance other art forms does not make him “the tech guy”, that he is an artist. He is simply using those things to enhance the beauty that is already there. It is a tool, like a paint brush, sculpting tools or a grinder. You are using another tool to add to the loveliness that already exist.

Not meaning to refer to him as “the tech guy”, yet doing so, my inner Beetle Bailey steps to the front and says I’ll take it from here. At this point I am unable to articulate clearly what I am trying to say, (I babbled).

This made me even more frustrated with myself, which made the babbling worse. At one point the voices in my head were screaming for my inner Beetle to shut the %*^*  up. He didn’t.

Having lived in rural Southern Appalachia for my entire life,  he pointed out that I have some cultural bias. There are guy things and there are girl things. I above all people should know that roles in life are not gender specific. I have never been the fragile little thing. I grew up on a farm where you worked as hard as a man.

There are very few guys here who take dance, paint or even sing until they at some point pick up a banjo.

He has lived in large cities and seen places that I would love to see. He has had contact with different people and cultures that I have not. He has photographed models and help design buildings schools and hospitals. I ……well….went to work, in a factory,  in the same hometown I have always lived in.

In our maker group we saw a divide. The females gravitated toward the jewelry and the painting. They guys toward technology. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. We both tried to bridge the gap, with no success. He couldn’t make us understand that it is just a new tool to work with. I can only speak for myself, but I made it harder than it was. I still do. I need to close that divide in my brain that they are two different things. They are the same thing. I need to see it as a new type of paintbrush or a new kind of glass I am learning to work with. I am going to work on that.

Having said that, he has made much more beautiful jewelry than I will ever make. He has been featured on some pretty high profile websites. I told him today that I would like for my jewelry to have a more finished look. When asked what I meant, I didn’t know the words to use. I just want it to look more complete, more presentable, more finished. He told me that the he thought the glass was, I think he used the word gorgeous, but I can’t be too sure of that. I take his opinion on my projects very seriously. I trust him. He is going to say what he thinks. He will give suggestions that if I follow them, I have a much better project. My way is not the only way, I always want to try to improve.

I was trying to explain to him today that I wanted to share his blog with you all and that is how this conversation got started and it was a pretty intense conversation. It shined a light on some of my own shortcomings and bias. Once again, I got schooled, in a good way.

He did give me permission to share. I hope you go and visit often. He has some pretty awesome thoughts that he wants to share with the world.

Here is the link.:::::      http://tangoofthegeeks.blogspot.com/, if you know someone in the maker community, turn them on to his site as well. They’ll be glad you did.

Until next time….Love, Peace and Cupcakes.

Live Like You Are Dying…

I didn’t realize how long it has been since I have written. Sorry about that. I have just been trying to deal with life. A great deal has been going on and honestly, I haven’t been writing in my journal the way I should. I am beginning to feel it.

I have been battling with what I wrote about in my last post. Feeling not good enough.

I am seeing some things I don’t understand and I am not saying anything. I just don’t get it. I am working on my jewelry more and getting more of it out in the world. I am not seeing the results that I would like to see at this moment but I will so until then I work.

I have some friends who are helping me promote it. So, I promote it myself. I am not so good at promoting myself. That don’t be prideful thing.

I have had some fun along the way, don’t get me wrong. I have had some pretty cool things happen since I last wrote.

I have ridden in a helicopter. I have walked into a burning building. I have (hopefully) given someone one of their best birthdays ever and I stood under a waterfall (sort of) just for shits and giggles.

I might should go back and explain some of this.

I work for an agency who deals with many different types of emergencies. Sometime the helicopter lands and our local hospital. Recently, we were allowed to take flight with one of the crews. I was so excited. Remember, I am learning to fly with this blog.  The only time before that I had ridden one, I was terrified to the point that I didn’t enjoy it. This time, I luxuriated in it. I took photos and video and I wanted to remember this with the awe it deserves.

Now walking to a burning building, I was a little more nervous about. I was facing one of my worst fears. Fire. There is a reason why I fear fire, my grandmothers neighbors died when their home burned down when I was a child. I don’t talk about it much.

So when I was invited to join a local fire department for a burn, I said yes. As the day grew nearer, it took more resolve on my part. I invited a guest to go along with me. They said no. I told those that mattered to me most what I would be doing and I set off on my way. Just in case something went wrong.

It was right comical to watch me put on the gear. It took the whole village dress the idiot. They kept saying it is your first time putting all this stuff on. One of the guys must have sensed that I was nervous because he asked me if I wanted him to go in with me. What a relief knowing that someone had my back when I felt very alone in a group of people. He was going to make sure I got out of this thing safely and more educated.

While inside the house, we had an visitor. A black snake. The guy who was there for me, told me to stand still, he would get the snake out. I learned that most firemen will run INTO a burning building and FROM a snake.

I learned about how gasses burned off, rollovers, how to turn off the beepers that go off if you don’t move enough inside the fire. I made human connections with people who hear me but never see me. These people appreciated my effort to understand them and what they do.

Then came the birthday day trip (let’s just say part one of the birthday trip) I say this because I am planning something else, I am keeping that one quite though. Haven’t mentioned it to a soul. Until now, I really can’t keep a secret.  Part one, we enjoyed food, laughter, found a new place to explore and at one point I even took him by him arm for a second.

Yesterday, it was rainy and cold here. We went to look at how high the water ways were in the area and we wound up at a place where the water was rolling off the rocks in water like fashion. I got some great photos and while he had the camera, I was debating with one thought, I want to be standing in that water. I want to see what it feels to stand in a waterfall. Although, this was not an actual waterfall per se.

Now, the air temperature was cool. That water had to be really cold. I let him do his thing and I talked myself through it. I would need to take my jacket off, I was within running or a very swift walk to the car, I had another jacket in the car, I really wanted to do this. I told him I wanted him to take the photos but he would have to be quick because as soon as I did what I was going to do, I would need to go directly to the car. With those words, I stepped into the surge of water cascading down the rock face.

It was flipping cold, I haven’t see any of the pics but I am sure the look on my face is awful. I enjoyed every second of it as long as I could. I was soaked. I was cold and I was happy as a clam.

No, I don’t have a death wish. I am (to quote the Tim McGraw song) living like I am dying. Because I am, we all are. Every day we are getting closer to what is inevitably going to happen to us all.

So I am less than a month from 49 and I feel like a kid.