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.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I told someone that I was going to write this, so I guess it’s time I actually got to writing.

I am proud of the work I did on Z-boy’s senior pictures. I didn’t know what to expect for my first senior session. My only hope was to end up with something good for Z-boy, because he deserved to have a keepsake of his senior year.

Mission accomplished. Apparently.

The photo book I made as a graduation gift for Z-boy was a BIG hit with his mom and her family. To be honest, that kind of caught me off guard. Hearing that his mom and grandmother were showing everyone his photo book just sounded so weird to me. But this was what I wanted to happen eventually with my business, right? I guess I just didn’t expect it to happen this soon.

Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

It didn’t stop there, though. Sunday was Z-boy’s graduation party, and the accolades kept coming. It was one thing to hear the compliments from a third-party, but to hear them straight from the horses’ mouths… was both flattering and awkward at the same time. Oh, I sincerely said “Thank you!” to each and every compliment, but it still felt so surreal doing it. Is that normal?

I don’t know, but it does lead me to real point of this post.

During the party, Tim walked back in after talking to some people outside, and told me that I might be asked to shoot a wedding.

Wait. Did he just say wedding?

Apparently, the topic of conversation outside was the upcoming wedding for a couple of the party guests. Z-boy’s grandmother threw MY name in as a potential photographer for their wedding. Tim told the group that if I was chosen as the photographer, it wouldn’t be for free.

There is just onnnnne problem, though. The thought of shooting a wedding terrifies me. I’m hoping that they decide to go with another photographer. Actually, I’m praying for that very thing.

I’ve mentioned on one social media outlet or another that I do not yet know what my niche is. I have pretty much figured out, though, that weddings are not it. And there is a very good reason for that. Being a wedding photographer has one major downside.

There is no do-over.

You cannot reshoot. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and I couldn’t bear the thought of, at best, not getting enough good images. And what if I fuck it all up? Yeah, let’s not even go there, ok?

So, I bet you’re wondering where we left it. Kind of in limbo, actually, since it was just a recommendation. I’ll just have to wait and see if they decide to hire me, and try to keep my anxiety on its leash until then. Oh, and maybe figure out what I might charge to do it.

It’s true what they say. Be careful what you wish for.

Hold me.

All the news that’s fit to print (and some that might be questionable).

I’m praying to the Monster gods this morning, but so far they don’t seem to be listening. When will I learn that three hours of sleep just does NOT cut it? Apparently never. Ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. Maybe I should just go with I might learn once Tim and I are no longer maintaining two households, I’m not fitting in my photography around a full-time job/school/family, I’m worrying about my health, I’m not worrying about Tim’s health, Tim’s out of school, I’m out of school, THE KIDS are out of school… Yeah, I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more I could add to that list, so perhaps it’s not that much of an exaggeration after all.

Ash passed on Schnoz Plague 2014 to me, because apparently she is all about giving to others right now. And this would, of course, be AFTER she killed our tissue reserves. So, I may be telling the therapist tonight that we need to rethink this whole “sharing” thing she has Ash working on. Sometimes you really can share too much, IMHO.

Graduation is next week for both Z-boy and Tim, which reminds me that I haven’t accomplished anywhere near what I wanted to this past month. I had an awesome list of all the things I wanted to get done before the arrival of Hurricane Tim’s Mom, like remove a layer (or two) of dust in my apartment, uncover the source of the eau de Marley that still plagues me (after what, a year now?), clear out the forest floor that is my balcony, and hit the gym. HARD. Sadly, none of those things have been done, especially that last one. I had a grand goal of being down at least ten pounds by now. Unfortunately, with everything we had going on this month, and my recent diverticulitis diagnosis, the gym has been one of the last things on my mind. So, last night, as I was figuring out my wardrobe for next week (bcuz even though I feel like crap, I am still going to look damn good for both events), I realized I have to become reacquainted with my old “friend” Spanx. And to be honest, I had hoped we cut our ties for good after the last time. *sigh*

My first senior session is nearly put to bed. YAY ME. I admit that I was thoroughly freaked out when I first started this project, even though it was 100% my idea (and my grad gift to the senior). After the first round of images was finished, I felt fairly positive about the session. But I also felt it needed more, like a new outfit, a new location, etc, so we scheduled a second round. Those images are nearly finished now, and my outlook on the session has gone from fairly positive to DAMN I’M GOOD. I had a blast working with this senior, and I honestly think I captured his personality. I also found areas of my work that could use some improvement, but I am taking them for what they are – learning tools. Some of you know what a perfectionist I am when it comes to my photography, so for me to accept a self-critique like that is HUGE.

Ok, I guess it’s time to get back to work. Short work weeks have their pros and cons, that’s for sure. As I wrap up this latest edition of This is My Life – It Could Always be Worse*, I’ll leave you with this parting thought:

Lately, I wonder what shower sex looks like with a height difference.

For a friend.

 

*Not a real thing. Or a real thought. I actually think my life is pretty great right now.

An Interesting Night

I went out for a while tonight for one reason and one reason only… to shoot the moon. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way I wanted. In more ways than one.

I’ll admit last night would have been a better night to do this. The moon rose an hour earlier, well before sunset. The sky was clear and a beautiful blue. With snow still on the tops of the Wasatch it would have been a great image! But nooooo! I just had to be not paying attention until it was too late and the moon was too high in the sky to get anything I would have wanted. Craaaaap.

After driving a bit without a clear destination, I decided to give the downtown public library a shot. Since I was arriving after they closed, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I wanted to use their amazing sweeping stairs attached to the building for my setup. Well, that didn’t happen, as that area was already closed off for the night. Not to be deterred, I wandered around for a few seconds, choose a “meh, it will do” spot, set up the tripod, changed lenses on my camera, figured out where the moon would rise over the mountains, and waited for the “money shot.”

I was still in the same clothes I wore to work, because up until the minute I walked out the door I was still trying to convince myself to not go. My outfit wasn’t anything big, though. Jeans, a shirt, and cowboy boots. WOW. And on top of that I had my tripod and camera bags all over me to keep them close. But apparently, I might as well have been wearing hooker heels and spandex, because guys starting coming up to me! Da fuq?

What exactly about me screamed, “Yeah, I’m out, at night, with a camera and tripod, working away, not talking to anyone, wanting to get my shots and get the hell outta Dodge, but please PLEASE come up to me and try to start a conversation”? They are just lucky the only thing that happened was me yelling at them to leave me alone. They have no idea I was ready to swing my tripod on them. WITH my camera still attached. Idiots.

Some may think I overreacted to the situation. However, given the time of night, where I was, and what I was doing, I don’t think so. I think I handled it just right. Regardless, Tim is not going to be happy with me when he finds out what I did.

To top it all off, I didn’t get anything remotely good out my camera.

Yeah, last night definitely would have been a better night.

Does Size Really Matter?

This post is not about what you might think it is. Trust me.

My company had product that was damaged while it was in transport from one of our factories to one of our warehouses. The walls of the containers had holes, which allowed water inside. You can just imagine what that water did to the cardboard packaging, as well as our wood furniture. Needless to say, it wasn’t pretty.

I was tasked with compiling and sending the freight damage claim to the carrier. At the time, I was still fairly new here, but it still seemed an easy enough task. I gathered all the documentation and photos, wrote the letters (for which I received kudos from my boss), and sent the claims to the carrier.

Fast forward a couple of months. I hadn’t heard anything as to whether the claims were resolved or not. My boss called me into his office on Monday and let me know that the carrier was claiming they never received the emails. When my boss tried to resend the emails to them, he received an error message. The emails were too big; their mail server wouldn’t accept them. Huh? And why didn’t I see anything when the claims were initially submitted? On top of that, the files weren’t that big! I didn’t get it. With the current state of technology, and with email becoming the more common form of business communication, there are still organizations out there that have those kinds of limits? Um, ok.

So, my boss gave me a new task: reduce the file size and resend the claims. Loverly. But, I did it, and received confirmation of receipt from the carrier. Whew, that was over.

Or so I thought.

The next day, we were notified by the carrier that my calculation of pro-rated freight was incorrect. They clarified that it needed to be based on the number of cartons damaged, as opposed to cubic feet (or cube) damaged, because the bill of lading is listed in carton quantities. That seemed simple enough to me, so I revised the claims to match their calculations.

My boss thinks otherwise. He thinks it should be based on cube, because the carton sizes vary by product. And he wants to fight it.

I’m not saying he’s wrong (after all, I’m still the newbie here). I do, however, think he’s fighting a fight he won’t be able to win. The shipping documentation is listed in quantity of cartons, not cube. This is the information that is filed with U.S. Customs for entry into this country. What recourse do we really have to change how they calculate pro-rated freight?

I recognize that I could, in fact, be the one who is wrong. Maybe the fight is worth it. Maybe the carrier will agree. Maybe they will change their calculations.

Or maybe he’s trying to save face after the $56,000.00 anti-dumping duty fiasco.

Who knows.

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