2015 Recap

I’m well aware that we are already five days into 2016, but when have you known me to do anything like this on time?

2015 Events

  • Pounds lost: -20 (and I think I may be understating that amount, as I refuse to get on the scale right now)
  • 4-legged furries adopted: 1
  • New cars purchased: 1
  • School semesters completed: 0
  • Bills paid off: 3? (I think)
  • Custody cases won: 1
  • Major photo equipment purchased: 2
  • Portrait sessions completed: 1
  • Portrait sessions for which I was paid: 0
  • Jobs lost, but not really lost, but just transferred to another department (without my consent): 1
  • Photo contests entered: 2
  • Photo awards won: 1
  • Number of times I was too hard on myself: too numerous to count

Goals for 2016

  • Complete the 52-week savings challenge
  • Go to the gym at least twice a week
  • Go out shooting at least twice a month
  • Find a new home in the kids’ school boundary
  • Review my career goals and options
  • Teach a 16-year old toddler to grow up (thus, preventing a homicide)
  • Take two weekend photography trips
  • Take a week-long family vacation
  • Start paying back The Ex
  • Purchase camera lighting and remote equipment
  • Enter five photo contests
  • CUT. MYSELF. A. BREAK.

 

Death is Hard

Earlier this week, I had to tell Ash that her aunt and uncle were killed. She took it pretty hard; harder than I expected actually. All I could do was hold her and let her cry it out. The Ex and I both knew I was better equipped to deliver the bad news to her, but if I never have to do that again, it will be too soon

The next couple of days were filled with discussions about how all the different emotions she was feeling were totally normal, but that life still goes on, whether we like it or not. And that her aunt and uncle wouldn’t want her to be completely consumed by sadness, but would want her to focus on the good memories she had of them and keep them alive in her heart.

We are still waiting for the bodies to be brought back the US and find out when the memorial service will be held. There will be no true closure for anyone until that happens.

The driver of the SUV was injured in the accident, but he survived. Just days after the accident, he was charged with multiple counts of careless driving and was levied with a $4500 fine, which must be paid before he can leave New Zealand. I imagine the fine is really nothing compared to the constant reminder that his killed his wife and two friends. That is punishment enough to me.

Knowing The Ex as I do, though, I texted that he needs to forgive the driver. I doubt he will.

This is what actually comes out when I try to work on a Friday.

 I’m feeling very crafty lately, for some reason. I have TONS of ideas floating around in my head, some of which I’ve researched and definitely want to do. The transition of those ideas to completed projects, however, still remains elusive. Notice I said completed projects. My latest start showed up on Instagram yesterday, and as of bedtime last night, was coming along nicely. I wish I could say that actually meant something. For now, I will just say yesterday was a good craft day. 



A change is coming. One that I’m still struggling with. A LOT. I don’t know if I’m ready to say it out loud just yet, at least not with any real conviction. I know that as soon as I do say it out loud, I will be thrown into the stocks and pelted with rotten vegetables until the Crown Prince comes to announce that I am descendant of an ancient royal line and therefore above this kind of treatment. Sheesh, my mind is such a volatile place. 

My new camera has been an absolute BLAST. I can’t believe just how quiet it is. AND FAST OMG. I may actually be able to take fewer shots of an image to make sure I get a good one. Then again, I may just keep shooting. And shooting. And shooting. I am hoping for really good weather this weekend, so I can try to get the shot(s) of Tim and me that I want. It’s time to change Tim’s FB cover photo, so his friends and family will stop thinking his BFF is his GF. [sigh] Sometimes I am just an overly awesome photog.

Will Social Media and I ever be able to repair our relationship? I really don’t know. For now, I’ve been hiding over in the twitter corner, because I think I seem so much less pathetic at 140 characters or less. [shrugs]

Motivation. I has none. Is it 5 yet?      

I find this funny.

Not funny, ha-HA. Funny strange, if anything.

Acct Info Sys prof sent an email today saying that she added 10 points to our chapter 2 test scores because we only had 60 minutes to take the test, instead of the 90 minutes we were supposed to have. Which does me no good, because I aced the test.

She then went on to say that the averages scores on the tests for chapters 1 and 2 were 80.5% and 73.5%, respectively. A similar email went out today from my Int Acct prof saying that the average test score on the chapter 1 test was 85%.

Seriously?

These classes are major course REQUIREMENTS, and the average test scores so far are a B, a B-, and a C-? That’s scary.

And it makes me wonder, what is so different about me? I honestly don’t know. I am just doing my best. Isn’t that what everyone does?

Apparently not.

I have GOT to stop thinking my work is shit.

I don’t know if I mentioned this before, but two of my classes this semester are retakes, Intro to Photo and Acct Info Sys. I’m retaking those classes for two reasons: 1) to remove the “drop” from the calculation and get my GPA up from a 2.79 and 2) to actually finish those classes. Those E’s on my transcript haunt me. Every. Day. To go from A’s and B’s to basically nothing? It’s killing me. I have to fix it. After this semester, I only have one more retake left, Object Oriented Programming II (basically Java II).

Some might think it’s weird for me to be taking an introduction to photography class. It’s really not, though. Two years ago when I was enrolled in the same class, I was just starting out with my business. I was still shooting in Auto. I was still shooting JPG images. I was enrolled in that class long enough to have two assignments graded, before I dropped, and in those two assignments, I learned A TON. I haven’t shot in any mode BUT Manual ever since. Shortly after that, I realized the benefits of shooting RAW, and have never looked back. (Side note: I’ve had to change back to JPG for this class, which I need to remember before I shoot my next session.)

The professor for this photo class is even better than the professor I had two years ago, and I thought he was pretty damn good. Tri has related really well with everyone in the class. This is a gen ed class, but I can tell that he really wants us to learn. He doesn’t talk down to anyone when he answers questions and he explains the terminology in layman’s terms. Plus, he clearly knows his shit. And when he not only described his wife as a “nerd,” but showed pride in his wife’s geek status, he moved up even farther on my scale.

We turned in our first assignment yesterday. It was the exact same assignment I completed two years ago, and it dealt with understanding how your camera worked. We did some images to understand aperture, some for shutter speed, some for camera shake, some panning (THOSE. ARE. HARD.), and some for color shifts from indoor lighting. I was interested to see the difference between the two sets of images, although I still haven’t compared them side-by-side yet. I did notice that, while I certainly don’t know everything about it, I am MUCH more familiar with my camera than I was back then. I was even able to help some of my fellow students figure out theirs. But at the same time, I learned something new. Good times.

When I got my assignment together, I felt pretty good about it. But then the thing happened that usually does with me, I started to panic. The images weren’t good enough, not by a long shot. In my mind, I fully expected Tri to give them back to me and say, “Not even close, moron. Try again.” Yes, I do know he would never actually say something like that, but at the time, my mind was going into negative overdrive. Logic was completely ignored.

Once everyone uploaded their images, Tri chose some (names redacted, of course) to give us a better understanding of what he’s looking for when grading. His comments were very constructive, not hurtful at all, and yet I still sat in the back repeating the same phrase over and over in my mind. “Please don’t pick mine. Please don’t pick mine. Please don’t pick mine. PLEASE DON’T PICK MINE.”

He picked mine.

My first thought was, “Crap.” Then as he went through them, I realized he wasn’t tearing them to shreds. Then I looked more closely at the images on the screen. The exposure looked pretty damn close in most of the images. Since we were working on equivalent exposure, I started to relax about how well I completed the assignment. Tri laughed at the images of Ash doing jumping jacks (shutter speed images to show blur/freeze action), commenting on the things we ask our kids to do to get shots. A fellow student also told me they were good pictures. It will be interesting to see what my grade is on the assignment. Then I will have to dig out the old one and compare.

Next assignment due is on depth of field. Not as many technical components this time. Not as many images required either. Now I get to play.

Recap

I haven’t written here in a while. Quite a while, in fact. My many unfinished posts didn’t show any real signs of finishing, so here they all are in one big recap.

Tomorrow (Thursday) is a milestone. And a pretty big one too. I still can’t believe it’s here. Kind of crazy, huh? And yes, I’m being vague on purpose. But don’t worry, you’ll find out soon enough. You only have to wait a few more hours. Think of how long I’VE been waiting!

It’s been over a month, and I still haven’t found my go-to style for this haircut yet. That is why you haven’t seen many pics of it. Well, that’s one reason why anyway. An A-line bob should be easy to style, right? I guess it is easy to style, but none of the ones I’ve tried so far scream, “YES, YES, YES!” In fact, most of them scream, “MILE-HIGH FOREHEAD!” I have figured out that my conservative choices for an easier transition from long to short is just not cutting it (pun very much intended). My next appointment will be me telling my stylist, “Stack that shit! STACK IT! AH! AH! AHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Speaking of my hair, we’ve reached the start of the “visible root” phase of this latest color. Which means in about a week or so, I will post a pic holding it out, threatening to chop it all off and go for a brunette Susan Powter look. If you’re old enough to know who she is, say it with me… “Stop the Insanity!” If not, Google people. If it’s not your best friend yet, pfft!

So, mah boys. Pretty good showing in the first (season) game under new management, right? Well, I was pretty happy with it. And at least I got to watch most of the second half (gawd damned greedy college and their stinkin LHN). Unfortunately, the celebration was short-lived, though, because there is no rest for the wicked. Especially when next Saturday’s game is against BYU. And your QB is out for concussion symptoms. And two of your offensive tackles are suspended for violation of team rules. What. The. Fuck. We are so screwed.

Oh, and by the way? I’m a Bruin again. I know that you know that I’m back in school this semester. And you know that I know that you know I’m back in school. But did you know that SLCC’s mascot is a BEAR? Well now you know. Kind of fitting when you think about it actually. Especially during a certain time of the month.

School is going pretty well, even though it’s only been a couple of weeks. I’ve gotten ahead in both of my accounting courses, so that I make sure to not get behind. What I mean by that is I have completed all homework due through this Sunday in those two classes. It was done over last weekend. But that’s not enough. After two years of homework every weekend, I want more of them freed up. I will pretty much have photography homework every weekend during this semester, which is fine. I just want to stay way in the black on my accounting homework. I’m figuring out if I can work ahead even further. Just not sure yet if it will be possible.

We’ve completed step one of Move 2014. One notice to vacate has been submitted; the other one will go in at the end of this month. We know the areas where we want to live, or I should say the areas we need to live to keep the kids’ transition to a minimum. Now it’s time to start looking. By the end of October, we will all be in one place together, as a family. We’re really here. Crap. Am I ready for this?

A friend of mine is going through a really rough patch right now, and is faced with making a very hard decision. I want so much to be able to hug her and tell her it will be ok. I hate the fact that she and I live so far away from each other. I will be there for her in anyway I can, though, just like she was for me when I went through it.

Lacy panties are totally the bomb. Enough said.

I keep dozing off while writing this, which probably means I should try and get some sleep. I keep reading what I’ve written so far, to make sure it sounds at least semi-coherent, and it does. I just wish it sounded as funny as it did in my head earlier today. Oh well.

P.S. I made pulled pork over the weekend. It was fantastic!

P.P.S. I also made coleslaw from scratch. Look at me, all Susie Homemaker and shit!

The Fear of the Unknown

I’m home after being gone for days. Not because I want to be, but because I need to be. That said, I have hated every minute since I stepped through my door tonight. It’s horribly quiet in here, even with everything going on around me right now.

It’s been a week since we had Ash hospitalized. Unfortunately, she is still there, and we don’t know for sure when she will be discharged. There was talk of possibly letting her out tomorrow, but her doctor let that cat out of the bag, against my wishes, which got in the way of the progress she was making. However, I have a feeling that the hospital is going to play the insurance card here sometime soon and she will come home.

A lot has happened this past week: I managed to piss Ash off during my first visit with her; I have spoken with her doctor and therapist quite a few different times; we have had two family therapy sessions; Ash, on her own, asked Tim to visit her up at the hospital; and Tim and The Ex physically met for the first time. So far, no one has died.

We all, the three “parents” in her life and her treatment team at the hospital, seem to be in agreement that the “voices” Ash claims to be hearing are not actually psychotic events, but more of the internal dialogue of thoughts in her head. We are all on the same page about not prescribing her any meds. We also all agree that she needs to focus on her coping skills, including getting better at identifying when she actually needs to use them.

I have been going through a number of emotions this week, as you can imagine. The most dominant ones right now are anger and fear. I am angry that she is still in the hospital. I am angry because I sometimes think she doesn’t really want to come home and gets in the way of her own progress. And I am afraid of what will happen once she actually does come home.

I am not sleeping well, no matter where I am. Tim mentioned this morning that the tension is practically radiating off me at night. He has been worried about me, while also dealing with his own feelings for Ash. I hate that I have added more stress to him when he is already dealing with so much. For that reason, along with others, I left him a few hours ago to come home, even though I really didn’t want to.

Things still need to be done, though. So I keep going, keep moving. I keep doing those inane things I must do: go to work, do laundry, keep my car running.

And one moment I’m fine, but the next I’m not. It’s a shitty way to be, let me tell you. I don’t wish it on anyone.

My daughter isn’t with me.

24 hours ago, those words meant something totally different than they do right now.

Ash was with The Ex this weekend; it was his normal weekend. But they were planning to leave for a week-long California trip on Tuesday, so she wasn’t going to come home tonight like she normally would. I wasn’t looking forward to her being gone. At the same time, though, I hoped she would have a good time.

The trip is now off.

Tim burst into the bedroom this morning to wake me because The Ex called him. Ash had apparently called a suicide hotline during the night, and two crisis counselors were at his house. Still not quite awake, I understandably started freaking out. And I couldn’t get out the door fast enough. I don’t even know exactly how long it took me to get to my child, but it wasn’t very long, I can promise you that.

After talking with Ash, The Ex, and the crisis counselors, we chose to make a decision on what to do next until after speaking with Ash’s therapist. My first thought, though, was to put her back inpatient. After all, my job is to protect my child, even if it means protecting her from herself. When the therapist called, she agreed that we needed to err on the side of caution, and at least get Ash assessed. So, we took her in.

And she was admitted.

I can’t tell you just how much I hated writing those words.

I also think there is more to this than meets the eye. Ash says that she has been hearing voices for the past few months, and they have been telling her to hurt herself. Funny, how she hasn’t mentioned any of this to me, or her father, or her therapist. In fact, she has been telling us the exact opposite. Plus, the timing seems too coincidental to rule out completely. I think that, again, there is something she doesn’t want to face, or talk about, and this is how she is handling it. Not the best way to go about it IMHO.

So now we wait. We wait to find out about her treatment team. We wait to find out just how much she is willing to work to get better. I wait to find a time when I can try to get the truth out of her. And I wait for The Ex to explode because he gets his little feelings hurt, which I’m sure will happen.

In some ways, dealing with Ash’s hospitalization last year without The Ex was a lot easier.

Writing about captivity and my bouts with Stockholm Syndrome since 2008.