Stepping Outside of His Comfort Zone

Centerfold by Hayden

 

Hayden came to me this morning, and said, “Mom, I want to try something different.” Of course, his statement piqued my curiosity, so I asked him to clarify what he meant by “different”.  He replied, “I want to do something risque. Something outside of my comfort zone.”  Okay. I was not in the least bit opposed to fulfilling his request. However, given where we live, I knew it would be a little tricky. So we got to work.

The outfit was my idea. I just didn’t feel he needed to do a full nude this early in his portfolio. And the modesty patch was for, well… you know. You’re welcome.

 

Disclaimer: Please disregard the paint paraphernalia that T regularly leaves out, along with the dead pansies I have yet to discard (which is another post altogether).

 

Truth in Advertising

Dear Cosmetics Companies,

Instead of advertising mascara with fine print included that the model(s) is(are) wearing false lashes, how about you show us what the product will actually do for the large percentage of your customer base who cannot afford/have no time to mess with/are scared of/do not have a clue about false lashes and who would just like to have their natural lashes be at least somewhat visible on their face.
Regards,

Someone who strongly desires a 5-minute morning routine,

aka The Utah Hostage

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.

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