Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Door To Paradise

Last summer, when my daughter graduated high school, we took a little road trip. She and I had been kinda growing distant with all of the problems we had going on in our lives. In an attempt to avoid the pain of the separation and pending divorce, she just stayed gone all the time. Out with her boyfriend, or gone with friends. Anyplace was better than being at home for her at that time. 

So after graduation, we packed up and took a road trip to Pensacola Beach, Florida. It was a two day drive down and a two day drive back. We listened to great tunes, we laughed, we saw country we had never seen before and we reconnected and got to know each other again. And it was great. 

One of my favorite parts of any trip is throwing open the hotel room door and seeing the place that I will call home for however many days. Sometimes I am so disappointed that I can barely breathe, but then sometimes I see a view like this one. And I sigh and smile and realize that for a few days, I will be surrounded by beauty. This was by far the best view I have ever had on vacation. 

I would love to go back there today...and stay forever.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Conversations in the Night

"Beneath the light of the street lamps, conversation was held in hushed and muted tones. Wary eyes darted around to see if they were being watched by any of the inhabitants of the building where they had currently resided for a few months. 
Satisfied that no one was watching, the exchange was made in slow movements so the cameras would not pick them up. Once completed, they both smiled in the darkness. Each had what they wanted. One held a pocket full of money, the other a handful of pills. The transaction was complete and once again they had outwitted "the man" who sat at the top of the hill watching the monitors. 
Ahhh... rehab." ~~
........once you've been a rehab nurse, the mentality always sticks. You always see people trying to get the best of you even if they really aren't. Suspicion becomes the norm and it really never leaves.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The End of All I Know

Well, it's official. Or if it isn't now, it will be very soon. I will be one of those people who woke up with nothing but the clothes on their back and sits shaking their head wondering, how the hell did this happen to me?
On March 28th, the lovely folks who pretend to give a shit and want to help people, also known as the USDA Rural Development began foreclosure on my home. This is the home that my Mother had built for her and myself in 1983. No one but my family has ever lived in this house. All of the memories that linger within these walls belong to me, my children, my Mother and my ex. We have loved this house, been trapped by it, been proud of it. My Mother never dreamed she would have a house like this. It's a modest little brick home. Charming and simple. When she got approved for the loan from the FHA her world was brimming with happiness and possibility. She had her first ever house warming party from her friends at the bank where she worked. I was a teen and clueless as teens are but even I could see how proud she was. She felt like finally after so many years of everything going wrong, being married to a sometimes abusive alcoholic who couldn't keep a job for so many years, finally she had come into a little slice of happiness. 
I went to high school while living here. Got married and "blessed" my Mother with a beautiful blonde haired green eyed granddaughter who made her last years of living as happy as they could be. 
I graduated nursing school while my Mother lived here and gave her another granddaughter to love shortly thereafter.  And then not even a six months later, I became my Mother's nurse when she had her heart attack and went into renal failure. My little family moved in here and took care of my Mother in this little house. We surrounded her with love and made sure that she knew in her final days that we loved her and wanted her and would never have dreamed of tucking her away to be forgotten in a nursing home. 
After she died, only two months after the death of my father from a sudden heart attack, my little family took over the loan on this house and moved in here for good. 
My daughters grew up here. We lived and breathed school and acting and band and cheerleading and happy and sad moments. I found out that my oldest daughter was going to make me a grandmother in the very same room that I told my Mother that she was going to be a grandmother. 
Every bit of my life from the age of 14 until 42 has been lived in these walls. My marriage fell apart here, slowly. And when we finally couldn't breathe new life back into it one more time, we let it go, and he left and I stayed my home...because it is all I've ever known. 
And now, due to some poor choices and some stolen money that I had put back for a rainy day only to find out it is I am going to lose my little home that I love. 
My youngest daughter and I still live here. We still share our hopes and dreams, although anymore the only hope I have is that somehow someway I will stumble across something of value while I am packing away all of my treasures to be put in storage. I pray and pray and pray to God to send me a financial blessing, to help me get back on my feet. I have no family, no friends with money. No one I can ask for that little loan that helps you get back on your feet when life has robbed you of your dignity. I have nothing. 
All of my job applications are not going through, all of the good Christians I know in my field won't even take the time to answer back when I call about possible jobs. And all of the online "charities"....I never thought I would be considered a charity case...all of them just refer me to someone if chasing my tail for hours at a time before being told it's hopeless is something productive for me to do. 
I am so sorry that I counted on that money that was "there" only to find out when I needed it most that it was long gone. 
I need a miracle. I need a chance. And if I happen to not live through the night, I need to know that my kids will be taken care of by my stupid ex husbands family. The one good thing this has proven to me is that I do...oh so much...want to live to see my grandkids grow up and still have a home for them to come to and play in.
I am not going to be online too much at all. No time to take pictures and do anything except keep beating the pavement and putting in job apps. Yes in a field where they claim you can always get a job, I can't seem to. So don't believe everything you hear. Things are tough all over.
All of my friends, I hope you will pray for me and my kid. She at least has a fiance' she could move in with if we do lose the house. I have no one. It sucks not having family. It sucks having your nest egg stolen. It sucks fighting this fight alone all day every day. When all hope is gone, there ain't much left.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

God Beams

I am hoping that God is going to start shining some of His benevolence down on me.
I think if He did it might look like this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wandering in the Darkness

Many times in my life, I have felt lost. After my parents died in 1994, only two months and a few days apart, I felt adrift and alone despite having a "supportive"husband and two small children. I was 24 when they died. I was an only child. I was strong beyond my years ...then.  I carried the burden of so many horrible things on my shoulders almost effortlessly...then. I had to do at 24 what I see people of fifty and sixty wailing about. Watch my parents die in front of me...go to the funeral home and buy caskets and plan funerals...bury them... watch as they were separated from me and mine forever when the dirt covered up those caskets. Cry as it rained the first night my Mother stayed beneath the Earth wondering if she was going to get wet...fearing for her even tho nothing in this mortal world could touch her and even if it did, it would only upset dead flesh. Not the Mother I knew...not the woman who loved me and cared for me. Not the one who always had my back. Not the one who made the best birthday meals for me because she genuinely loved me. Not the one whose hugs could erase a thousand mean words. Not the one that actually cared what I thought and how I felt and asked me about it often. But still it hurt me to know that the rain was falling on the Earth she now resided under.

I feel lost now...once again. I am adrift with no real plan or purpose in this world. Sometimes I wonder if I belong here at all. And then I tell myself how lucky I am to have two wonderful children and two wonderful granddaughters. I tell myself that it would be awful to leave this world without meeting the "peanut" my daughter is carrying...the number 3 grandchild. I tell myself that Kourtnei Kay needs me to be her Grammy or "Mimi" as she calls me, because Chance's Mother didn't have the opportunity to live to see her born and be her Grammy. 

But still...some nights... when I hear the hateful words of those who pretended to love me echo in my ears... sometimes I just feel the urge to let go... and to fly up to my Mother and have her hug me again. Yeah...I know it wouldn't happen that way. Hell would be my destination. A front row seat to fire and brimstone. But it doesn't hurt to dream of seeing her once again...of feeling her loving arms wrapped around me... of hearing her say my name and say to me that she loves me. I dream of sitting at the table and watching her drink coffee out of the cup I saved from all those years ago. I dream of talking to her as if no time has passed and that she still is my best friend and still knows my heart as she always did. I dream of showing her all the pictures on my iPad and telling her about all the things that I know she would love that have happened since she left me.
And maybe most of all... I want to tell her about my sorrows, and how he hurt me and have her wrap her arms around me and tell me it's okay and that I never really needed him and that everything will be alright.

I remember the day that she begged him to take care of me and he swore that he would. But he was a liar... and a thief and a bastard. And I have nothing to show for 25 years but scars on my heart and two daughters that I believe hung the moon. 

So I'm alone in the forest at midnight... and danger is everywhere. Will I find my way out? I guess only time will tell. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Photography Blogging?

I see a lot of hype out there about whether photographers should have a blog or not. I obviously do have one or you would not be reading this. However, according to an article I read today, I am doing everything completely wrong. Imagine my surprise at that since I've always been perfect. (That was laced with sarcasm...that is my primary mode of communication.)

Anyway, the article today stated that while it's fine for us photographers to "showcase" our work via our blog, it suggests that you, our avid readers, want more. You want photography tips, you want how to's, you want to know how we set up the shot that we took that you like so much. Inquiring minds want to know, it seems. 

Well, I don't consider myself a pro up there with the likes of Trey Ratcliff, Lotus Carroll, Mike Shaw, and the like. I would LOVE to be as talented and creative and completely wonderful as they are since they are a few of my photographic heroes, but I'm limited. Not so much limited in my ability to take good photographs or should I say make good photographs, but rather in my geographic location. I'm pretty sure if I was jetsetting all over the globe like Trey I could make some pretty fine photographs of those areas, but I am not famous, nor do I have any corporate sponsorship, nor any money to travel on so that I could take those fantastic images. In fact, I barely still have a house over my head, but that is fodder for a different blog. 

My point here is this, we cannot all take or make images that live up to that grandeur. There's nothing wrong with us. We shouldn't want to plummet off a cliff every time we have an idea about an image that we set out to take that in the end doesn't quite come up to par in our eyes. What we should be doing is asking ourselves to look at our work objectively, to evaluate what goal we had in mind (if any) when we took the shot, to determine if we are conveying the message that we wanted, be it simple or very complex. But even more basic than that, remove our emotion from the piece and look at it as if it were the work of a stranger. Assess it for the rule of thirds, for items that stand out that we didn't see when we took it, things that detract from the central idea of the photograph.

Take for instance the above image I took many years ago. I stopped at a roadside park in rural North Texas, got out my camera, stretched out on my belly in my nursing uniform on the cool wet grass and snapped this shot. 

Even when I got it home and processed it I was gleefully happy at my capture. I was, that is, until that nagging little tall weed sticking out of the center began to taunt and mock me. How could I have not noticed it? And the more I looked at it, the more annoying it became. Ridiculous little weed, standing there all defiant and proud above my beautiful little Indian Paintbrush. 

Of course, in the days of film, to put it nicely, I would have been screwed. But not now. Not in this modern day and age with so many wonderful digital darkroom tools available. Lament that fact all you want film people, I don't care! I love my digital darkroom!

So I fixed it. Just now, in fact. For the purpose of entertaining my readers. You're welcome. :-) LOL.

So you see, if we all look at our own work as if we have one of the greats examining it, perhaps we will learn to see things better the first time around. Ultimately, it's all about evolving and learning and seeing the world in a new way. At least it is to me. 

And that's how I see it..."through my lens..."

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yesterday's Dream Life

Sometimes I wonder when I see places like this who lived there long ago. Were they overjoyed at building their "dream home" on the prarie? How many children grew up there? Did the wife and Mother cook and clean and chase the children while the Daddy was out working the cows or mending fences? When the day was done did they sit around a table and eat fried chicken or pork chops and good ol' fashioned mashed potatoes and drink sweet iced tea? Were they happy back in those days before television and the internet? I like to think they were.
I like to think they worked a hard days work and lived a simple life and enjoyed their days on this earth. I like to imagine stair stepped children with long curls and little boys in overalls playing in the mud, gathering eggs as part of their chores, finding frogs and turtles down by the creek. Maybe they had a little dog who ran beside them all of their days and slept in their bed with them at night.
Such nostalgic thoughts run through my head when I see places such as this. So ...I just wonder. :-)
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Out of the Ordinary

I posted this shot recently on Facebook and asked folks where in the world they thought it was.
My daughter, not realizing I had taken it, voiced her first thought as Asia. I thought that was pretty interesting. It does look a little different from most of the shots I take.
For those of you who don't know me on Facebook and therefore know the answer, what do you think? Does it look Asian? Do you know where it is?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Small Town Night Life

As of late, I've been exploring my small town at night. Armed with only my camera and the will to somehow make this one horse town look beautiful, out I go into the darkness hoping to find the shot that makes my night. 
Bowie is a little town that time forgot. It is about 30 miles from the Oklahoma border. With a  population of a little over 5 thousand, more people exist beneath the ground at Elmwood Cemetery than are walking around this place. 
Pictured above, is Smythe Street. It is one of our main downtown streets. Ironically enough, we do not have a "Main Street". The street is made of bricks which gives it a very interesting texture for night shots. If it were wet, even better, but I've yet to get out and do rain shots there. One of these nights, I shall. 

Sweet Boys Diner, above, is relatively new to Bowie. The family had previously owned a different restaurant and taken a small break when it burned down. Now, they are back with this diner smack dab in the middle of down town. I love what the neon sign has done to transform the look of Mason Street. 

Further down Mason Street, you will find Nostalgia. It's an Antiques store and old fashioned soda fountain. You can go inside there for a wonderful lunch and spend hours just looking around all the explosion of antiques wall to wall, ceiling to floor. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Favorite Austin Shot

I've been digging around through some older photos so that I can reprocess them with some of my newer tools. 
This is my very favorite Austin, Texas image ever. It is the Frost Bank Building and I think it's just beautiful at any time of day.
However this night, we came out of the Old Spaghetti Warehouse and it was just misting a little. The building was all lit up so pretty and the mist was illuminated by the lights. The streets were damp so they were all shiny and reflective. 

Too bad I only had my crappy little camera with me. But I still love this shot. And I hope you do too. 

Here is another shot of it in the daylight from a different street obviously. The Frost Bank Building is my favorite building. Period. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

When It All Goes Wrong

I was dragged all over hell and half of Georgia (that's one of them there Texas sayins  I reckon) by my youngest daughter yesterday afternoon looking for "weddin stuff" and I was determined to get some shots with my stupid little cell camera since all the antique stores in town have such unusual junk in them. 

The original of this old thing was not so hot, but I had a "vision" of what I wanted it to be. And I worked on it...for over an hour...maybe more. And it still sucks. But by Golly I'm gonna post it, because if I put that much time into it (and that IS alot of time for ME to spend on one photo) then I'm gonna post it. 

I know you won't enjoy this one. I actually hate it. But as I said...after that much it is. 

Shot with a Droid Incredible and processed in CS5 with Nik. (I loooooove Nik!!)

Horton Motor Co., Nocona, Tx.

I went North last night to the great small town of Nocona, Texas.  While I was not actively going just to take pictures, I did take my camera and venture "downtown" in hopes that some of the newly renovated buildings might appeal to my love of night shots. 
As I turned a dark corner, I saw this shining from about a block away. I was far enough away that with my ....ahem...less than perfect vision, I couldn't really see what it was. I pondered as I waited for one lone car to get the hell out of my way, what could it be???
But this was not what I imagined. 
I plan to go back when it gets a bit warmer. And when I have a tripod and the wherewithal to use it. 
But meanwhile I just thought it was a pretty damn cool little place. 

I used CS5 and Nik to fix it up a little. 

Hope you enjoy it. :-)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Above It All

I took this picture from the restaurant in the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio. I was using some random crazy color thing on my tiny little sure shot Canon camera which is why all the buildings in the background appear orange. 
Me and the idiot enjoyed our dinner up there. We spent almost $150 bux on wine and steaks and beer but it was a great dinner. The mushrooms were to die for. 
Ahhhhh San Antonio!!! I miss you!!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Grass Skirt Goddess

Can't sleep, so figured I would randomly choose some little old photo that had not been processed and mess around with it. 

I decided to pick this little grass skirt goddess from the car show last year. She is just cute to me. There was a bunch of crap I didn't really care for cluttering up the corners on both sides so I thought "fine time to try out the whole square thing..."

I think she turned out ok. Might be cool to have her view of the world. But then again, maybe not. It would seem she is always looking where she has been and never seeing where she is going. Wow. Maybe that's why I like her. She's got the same plight as me.

Hang in there grass skirt goddess...We will figure it out. How hard could it be to just turn around???

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 365 Project Always Kicks My Ass

I live in the most horrible area of Texas to take pics in the winter. And that is if it's sunny and beautiful outside. Combine with that my illness of the past couple of weeks (possible pneumonia) and the fact that yesterday and today were rainy and cold and you have a recipe for disaster for the photographically challenged. 

I promised my pact buddy that I will shoot a pic every day. Every single day. And I have. But as I said, I'm challenged. 

This was tonight's concentrated effort at finding something half interesting inside my house. 

"Shipwrecked" is a pic of my little zen garden with a boat and some star fishies and some dirty sand that my granddaughter just loooooves to play in. 

Processed in Nik Color Efex 4 with Bleach Bypass and Vintage Film Efex.

Hope you enjoy. :)

Nostalgia Bowie, Texas

If, for some ungodly reason, you ever end up having to visit the small town of Bowie, Texas, you should stop in at Nostalgia for a bite to eat. Their food is pretty good, they have a nice little daily special and the ambiance of the place is so ...well....nostalgic. 
From wall to wall, ceiling to floor, antiques are everywhere. Hanging from the ceiling, stacked on the floor, in display cabinets and on shelves, they fill every square inch of the old building. Every time I go there seems like the first time because there is always some new cool "old" stuff to see. My favorite part is keeping an eye out for things I might have owned as a child or seen at my grandparent's house. When I find something it brings back those sweet memories of times gone by. 
Oh...and just for the record...I would always go with the bread pudding for dessert. You just can't go wrong with it. :-)

This is an image from the My Town series I am working on. Hope you enjoy. :-)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Straight Out of Camera = Sooc

Yesterday afternoon I did something I seldom do, but that I'm going to try to do more often. 
I grabbed my camera with my new Christmas lens (Tamron 18-200) attached, grabbed my purse and a diet Dr. Pepper and got in my car. I was not entirely sure which way to go, but ultimately I decided I needed some alone time and think time. I headed out to the lake lot because I knew it would be extremely unlikely anyone would be there and I could just wander and snap random things and wait for the sunset. It was in the upper 60's when I arrived so it seemed like nice weather to do so. 
The lake is down perilously low. I could walk out further than I ever have in my life. And I enjoyed feeling the soft feel of the earth that has never been walked on fluffing under my feet. 
I took a ton of shots of nothing, ducks in flight, a boat going by, old trees, shells, rocks. The usual fare from this sad little lake. 
When I was done, I made my way back to the dock, which now sits quite a ways from the waters edge. I sat down, and watched the sun drop lower and lower. Snapping those historical shots of the actual setting of the sun. was gone but it still colored the sky and the water and I loved watching it go from gold, to pink to that dark muddy almost death color of night. 
I felt so content and so happy to have gotten some great shots. 
So happy in fact that when I reached the red light I turned left and headed up town to take some twilight shots of big Bowie, Texas. 
They turned out really well. Not all but some because I didn't want to lug my tripod. Indeed my plan was just to snap a few from the car window but before I knew it I had parked by an abandoned building and begun walking this town that I hate so much. That was a big step for me. Being seen out doing my thing is something I hate. But I did it and I'm proud of me for doing it. 
I will post those shots later on. One is live on my G+ profile. 
Anyway, it's time to get myself dressed and out the door to my little job. 
Peace out people! Take pics! Share the love of photography!!

Thursday, January 5, 2012


 This was taken at a photo shoot a couple of years ago. I was originally only shooting my granddaughter Lorelai, but she wanted to have some pics made with "Aunt Aly" so Lyssa stretched out in the window and Lorelai climbed up into her lap and proceeded to give her the biggest most genuine hug. 
I love the look of pure love and adoration on the face of my little Lorelai. She's the sweetest little girl in the world... well now days she is one of two. But back then she was the only apple of my eye. 
Family is the most important thing in the world. Friends and even "life partners" will betray you in the blink of an eye, but family... MY family, MY two daughters and my two granddaughters are the most important people in my life. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Texas Gulley Cat

I can't really explain my love for this picture. It's obviously not the subject. I think those things are just the ugliest things ever created. To find beauty in that would be simply insane which, lets all face it, I am. But still. 
I think there are two things about it...first I love the processing. This is one of the first images I processed using Nik Color Efex. I really just love so much about that. I'm still in my trial and trying to decide if I can spend the bux on it in my extremely poor state. Starving artist doesn't even begin to cover what I'm doing lately. 
The other thing I love about it is the memory it conjures up. When my oldest daughter was a little less than two years old we still lived at the hell hole in the country. A horrid single wide trailer that was just freakin' awful. It was the Jordan starter trailer and every Jordan who ever got married for the wrong reasons was doomed to spend the beginning of their marriage there. 
My mother and my grandmother would often come out to visit and sometimes we would come back to town with them for a bit. Always on the ride back home, when looking out across the weedy, dry, dusty field between that road and my house, my grandmother would ask my daughter "Do you see any gulley cats?" She meant some sort of wild animal. Just a joke really. But my daughter always saw a pump jack and therefore she began to assume that those old rusty noisy pumpjacks were the "gulley cats" of my grandmother's vivid imagination. 
So I do like this picture, because it brings back to me all those memories of when times were "so hard" but seemingly now so simple. 

The Faded Glow of Memory

As the candle burned deeper into the night, the memories became more vivid and she prayed for the morning light to return and fade the glow of memory.

On A Clear Day

This boring little shot was taken as part of my 365 pact. This is the gun range where I go to shoot BIG GUNS! And little ones. The "hills" in the distance are at 100, 200 and 300 yards. The wonderful marksman that I'm dating can hit dead on the targets at 300 yards all day long. I...cannot.
But to the left where you can't see is the pistol range littered with little orange clay pigeons that I have blown the shit out of. (I pretend each one has my ex-husbands face on it.) :-)  Said marksman worries a little about my thoughts when I am shooting. I told him ...just don't make me mad, silly man. Lol.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 ...One of My Fave Pics

Downtown Ft. Worth in the Fall. My daughter and son in law and I went to wander about and take some pics...they wander...I take pics. 
They didn't enjoy stopping all the time but I enjoyed many of the shots I got. The two large buildings flanking the smaller in the middle made me think of family, like big brothers watching over a little sister or something. 
It's one of my favorite images from 2011. :-)

New Year, New Photography Blog!!

I've tried to stay away from photography blogs. Why? I don't have the faintest idea. I love photography. And for the last six months, ever since G+ opened to the public, I have done nothing but breathe, eat and sleep photography. My work has gotten much better. You won't be able to tell it by this post, but that's okay. 
If you follow me on G+ , you already know my work. If you hang around here long enough, you will get a feel for what I can do. 
Photography has been, for me, a lot like the rest of my life. Hit or miss. Sometimes I have great successes and sometimes I get the wind knocked out of me. But my New Years resolution this year is to not let the tide of negativity wash me out. I will keep coming back. Every day. 
I will get up and I will go to work and I will love my family and I will build my new life and nothing or no one will stop me. And every single day...I will shoot. 

Cow Lot Sunset on New Years Day 2012

I shot this picture tonight when I went out to my daughters to have our traditional but totally improved New Years Day dinner. 

This is the first year in I don't even know how many that we have not had black eyed peas for luck and cabbage for money. We figured we are still poor and haven't had the best luck so we will just eat what we like. :-) 

I have started a pact with a dear friend of mine online to do a 365 Project. Last year I tried to do one and I got 3 days. This year, with his help and possibly harassment, I hope to complete the year. You will find them all here, as well as on my Google Plus profile. And I will randomly post other things that I have shot that I enjoy. 

Photography is my love. I will pursue it. :-) Happy New Year folks!