So Where Did We Leave Off?

Oh yeah.

I said I was leaving Utah and moving to the Midwest.

That was over two years ago and quite a bit has changed since then. I would love to say that I got my happy ending, at least in some form or fashion. Sadly, that didn’t happen.

In fact, next week will be the one-year anniversary of me moving out and into my own apartment. And that says enough to where I could actually end this post right there. I’m sure you can guess, though, that there is a whole lot more beneath the surface of that statement.

The obvious question then becomes, “What happened?” Well, long story short, I finally recognized that the two of us just did not approach our relationship with the same intent or vision.

I can promise you that I do not feel blasé about the breakup as that simple explanation might lead you to believe. In fact, before I made the decision to move into my own space last year, the depth of the unhappiness and heartache I felt was overwhelming. I felt like I was drowning and that my own home was not a safe space. Top that with living in a state where I had no emotional ties, outside of my partner, and no support structure of my own. My circle of friends, spread out across the country, didn’t know much more than the few frustrations I shared back then. I retreated from them, as I often do when things get really difficult.

I was lost.

Thankfully, I made the decision to get help, and will always be grateful for finding an amazing therapist right off the bat. She provided the safe space I needed to scream and cry and brain dump everything I was feeling. Working with her allowed me to actually process what was going in the relationship. She mentioned once that she didn’t really do a lot for me, but I respectfully agree to disagree with her on that.

Now, therapy did not push me to move out. In fact, I still tried to make the relationship work for months after my first therapy appointment. I shared the work I was doing and the things I discovered about myself, in an effort to encourage my ex to finally open up. He had sought out his own therapist by that time. While I assured him that he was under no obligation to share anything with me from his sessions, I hoped he would. I was desperate to find some way for us to finally start connecting and communicating more effectively. Unfortunately, he only shared vague pieces of his sessions, and repeatedly told me his therapist wasn’t giving him any “homework”. Sigh.

When the day came that I realized I needed my own space, I STILL wasn’t actually ending the relationship. I just knew I needed a place where I could get back what I had lost by putting all my effort into building a relationship with this man. I needed a place where I could find some peace and joy in my life again.

Two months after I moved into my own space, however, I ended the relationship.

To be continued…

Crisis Ended

For a long time, I never thought the day would arrive when I could say these next words, but…

After almost 20 years of captivity, I am finally being released from Utah.

Let me back up a little. Okay. Let me back up A LOT.

When the decision was made, back in 2002, to move to Utah, it was only supposed to be temporary. Yeah. Supposed to be.

My husband at the time, now EH2 (ex-husband #2), was a victim of a downturn in the technology market and was laid off when his company decided to close the fab where he worked. He had already enrolled in college and was going to be starting classes that fall when the layoffs were announced. While we started scrambling to figure out what to do next to support our family, EH2 still wanted to get his degree and make him more marketable in the workforce.

After a lot of discussion, we decided that we would move to Utah. EH2 grew up there, and a large part of his family was still there, which would give us an immediate support system. This would allow him to go to school full-time, as opposed to taking classes around his work schedule, and he could finish his degree faster. The goal was to: get in (to Utah), get his degree, and get the fuck out.

Yeah. That didn’t happen.

When EH2 got his degree, he received a job offer in, you guessed it, Utah. Oy.

By then, sadly, our marriage was on its last leg. It would be another few years, however, before I actually filed for divorce. Once the divorce was final, EH2 was certain that I would ‘get the hell out of Dodge’. But I couldn’t afford to do that. When I filed, I split our debt equally in the petition. He took his and I took mine. The only problem with that was my wage was considerably less than his. So, I asked for just enough alimony to offset the difference. I was never trying to screw him. And when all was said and done, I had enough money to live and support our child, but nowhere near enough to finance relocating to another state.

So I stayed in Utah. Ugh.

To be honest, living in Utah has not been ALL bad. Oh, don’t get me wrong, Utah is plenty bad! We are talking about a highly conservative state, heavily financed by an organization that makes many ask the question, “What happened to separation of Church and State?” It is also a highly populated state, to the point of so very often feeling like there is nowhere to go to get away. And don’t even get me started on the level of ignorance, selfishness, and prejudice I have witnessed during my time here.

What was good, you might ask? Well, I must admit to the beauty of this place, for starters. For being essentially a desert state, you can find so many different topographic examples: red rock cliffs, salt flats, mountains, lakes… I live in a corner of the Salt Lake valley with a stunning mountain view from my patio, which I will miss.

Utah also holds a lot of history. Not just American history (You’ve heard of Promontory Point, right? That’s here. And I finally visited it!), but also personal history. My great grandparents emigrated here from Finland and ran a boarding house in Bingham Canyon in the early days of the Kennecott Copper Mine. How cool is that?

I also found my career path here. I will admit that, when I first moved to Utah, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I had various jobs, but not enough experience in any of them to see a real path forward. I eventually received an opportunity to move into an accounting support position. That was the moment that the heavens opened and the angels sang out to me. I finally saw a field for which I have an aptitude and could use my existing skillset. WIN WIN!

And then, of course, there is TM (The Man). Had I left Utah when I was ‘supposed to’, or never even come here at all, the odds are high that I would likely have never met him (and we have discussed many times about how we could have still met if the Universe wanted to bring us together). In September, we will have been together for nine years. WHAT????? And he is still alive, can you believe it? Trust me, he counts his blessings every day that I have not killed him yet.

So, see? Not all bad.

In a little over a week, however, I will depart for the Midwest. And as I write that, I realize just how weird that sounds for me.

Throughout my time in Utah, I figured that, someday, I would eventually get back home. After all, I am a Cali girl through and through. And the nearly two decades I spent here were never considered as actually being ‘home’. It was just a really long layover on my way to somewhere else. For many of those years, California and Texas were at the top of a very short list. If I couldn’t afford to move back home, which looked more and more likely with each passing year due to California’s economy, Texas was a perfect second choice. And somewhere along the way, Washington got added to the list, but that is a whole other story.

So, The Utah Hostage now becomes The Midwesterner? Hmmm… Maybe I should just take a celebrity cue and become The Woman Formerly Known As The Utah Hostage.

I think it might still need work.

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.

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


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?