Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Goodbye 2014

I'm so thankful it's December. It signifies the close of one of the hardest years of my life.

Nothing extraordinary happened. Not in the way of birth, death, disease, or ultimate catastrophe... and yet, EVERYTHING seemed to change.

I knew it was going to be difficult to transition from military to civilian life. We prepared for it. SAVED for it (and thank god we did). Tried to tie up the loose ends so that when it happened, things would continue on as easily as it possibly could. In the end the transition was as difficult as expected, and yet, somehow more so.

Nothing was a surprise. I know myself, so I knew where I'd have hangups. I thrive on security. Need it like I need air. Predictability, structure, and balance are my friends. I like that everything has a place and a purpose.

When your family is jobless (there was the retirement, but let's be real, I like to afford more than healthcare and food), living in a space that is not theirs (as in not MY furniture, and not MY things), it takes a toll. And while those things came back to me, it was never fast enough to make me feel comfortable. The unease lasted most of the year. It was a constant mantra in my head of, "It's going to be okay. We're fine. We have a roof, food, and electricity. What more do we need?"

Things have evened out to the point where I feel like I'm stable again.

Everything is a learning experience. I want to look back to make sure I learned whatever lesson it was I had to learn, so that I'm prepared to do it better next time, if there is a next time.

Did I personally change? I don't know. I feel like the same person I was before. I hope that I've grown, though. And I'm even more thankful that my relationship with my husband is extremely easy. We communicate well and don't fight. I adore that man to the moon and back.

Because if I had that to deal with relationship issues on top of all the other crap, I don't know how I would have survived that.

There was a point last month where I looked at my husband and said, "Do you realize we've spent every day of this last year together? A whole three hundred and sixty-five consecutive days." That had never happened our entire marriage.

Realistically, it probably won't again because I'm all for girls/guys trips, or visiting parents with the kids if he has to work. But those will be OUR choices, not someone else's.

It's an empowering thought.

That is the crux, I think, of the changes I see in my husband. Because while I don't think I've changed at all, he's changed in unfathomable ways.

At first, it was the typical military-to-civilian things like growing a homeless man beard.

After a time, I think it began to sink in that he could make his own choices about everything. While he doesn't actually make life-altering decisions alone (we are a partnership, after all), I've seen him become protective of others making choices that affect our family. He's a lot more ready to push back against those entreaties (work, family) rather than giving into them to keep the peace.

Which I think is brilliant. ;)

He has literally said, "I don't have to say 'yes' anymore," several times in the last year. Followed then by a huge smile.

I love that.

Perhaps this is my apology (if I need one, I haven't decided) and an explantation of where I've been. You see, I'm honest here. This, these words on the screen, they're the real me. I consciously stopped posting this year without warning. It was a decision. It wasn't that one day I stopped coming back and well... oops! Months have passed.

No. I decided I wasn't in a good place to put myself out there, so I didn't. I felt too exposed. It felt like too many eyes were seeing everything inside my head, while I didn't have a solid ground to stand on. That felt like it was too much at the time.

I'm good now. I'm not sure what I want this space to be. How I want to use it. Or even how often I'll write here. But I do know I'd like to post again. It's been too long.

Friday, June 27, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 24

Hello!

I'm finally making my way through pictures from two weeks ago.

There's fewer pictures in this set not because I didn't take more, rather that I didn't like the majority of what I shot. For some reason I used my mirrorless camera exclusively during week 24. I don't know if that's because I was on the go, or what. But I find when I use that camera that I never pull it out of my purse all that often. And when I do, the auto focus is a touch too slow, so I miss things. Ugh.




Life has been a bit slow this week. I'm trying to get laundry done (I know, super fun! You're all excited for me) and generally getting my life together. I get all out of sync when people visit.

I also have to get prepared for a trip to visit my new niece when she's born. I don't want to be out of clean clothes when they call to tell me my sister has officially gone into labor. Then I thought: I'll be away from my main computer too! Which made me think of this blog and the fact that I need to catch up with photos if I have any hope of staying on top of it.

Um...

I don't really have any other update stuff. Sheesh. I need some excitement in my life. The good kind. I deserve it. *GRIN*


Monday, June 16, 2014

2014: Photo Project, week 23

The sickness is all squared away (hopefully for the rest of the year), so it's officially pool time. Woot! Which is awesome because Vegas is HOT.

I don't know if I noticed last year, but it's nearly impossible to photograph outside in Vegas during the summer. From about 8am till I'd say 3pm -- forget it. The sun is way too harsh. It's forcing me to get creative on the pool shots. First starting later in the afternoon (always helps no matter what time of the year), but also not fighting the deep shadows during editing.

And lucky for me, this was the first time blogger has posted my black and white pictures correctly in months.  I feel so special. :)






My parents are visiting for the week. Yesterday (Father's Day) my dad and Steven took the kids boating. Hum... the fathers taking the kids and leaving my mom and I to a quiet lunch? Father's Day may be my new favorite holiday!!!! :)

Today we are going to watch How To Train Your Dragon 2. Non-stop adventures around here, peeps. LOL!!!!

I just realized I haven't taken pictures for this week yet. I should get on that.

See ya in a few. Later.

Friday, June 13, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 22

At the time I'm posting this... The kids have been out of school now for just over a week. This was their last day of school picture:

The summer has been pretty eventful so far. In the final week of school Seth had a chair pulled out from under him in class. He sustained a concussion and ended up missing several days of school. Which ruined his perfect attendance for the final trimester. He was more pissed off about that than being wobbly for a few days. LOL.

I'm just glad he's fine.







On the first day of summer Bekah woke up with a raging fever. That lasted almost a week. We're fine now (thankfully), but we missed several pool days. That does not make for a happy almost 10-yr-old. :)


Annnnnnd I'll try to get this last weeks' pictures up tomorrow. Perhaps with a few more words (although that may not happen. LOL).

Later, Peeps.

Friday, May 23, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 20

And with this post I am:

1. Finally back in my house WITH my furniture... YAY!!!!!!!

2. Caught back up on my photo project.

I know, I know, you're all amazed with my ability to pull my life together. I AM TOO!!! HAHA


AHEM.

Anyhoodle.

I still have a lot of unpacking and decorating to do. But it's coming together nicely. I need to keep the drive to finish. I just HATE the parts that are left (my office, the kids playroom, and the garage). It's the worst. Which is why those areas languish every time we move.

I also have an area where Steven needs to build me a bookshelf. I know, lucky him (muahahaha). It's probably (most likely) a pain to be married to me. First, I have an endless supply of "projects" I need done. None of which I am willing to work on any part of (as in building, painting and assembling custom bookcases). Second, I love buying, creating, and hanging complicated wall pieces. Add to that I'm a wee bit (a LOT) OCD. People, it's a comedy show when I "direct" him how to hang stuff.

He's a good sport about it. Which is why I like being married to him. I'm not so sure he gets the same benefit out of our relationship. Though, he assures me that I'm amazing and that he is so, so lucky.

To which I walk away and snort at the snow job I pulled. haha. *pat myself on the back*




Even with my life finally coming together, I don't feel like things have settled yet. It's a strange space to be. Normally I move, get my furniture placed, and go forward with barely a hiccup. This time I'm still out of sync.

I have no idea why that is.

It does get better every day. My hope is that within the next year I'll feel that "click" of my life becoming normal again. Or at least predictable, because I'd totally take that at this point.


Wow. A whole blog WITH WORDS. Who knew I could still manage that? :)

See you next time, peeps! Later.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 19

These pictures were from the last week we spent at my parents' house. The pictures are... well... they ARE. I guess that's all I can say for them. I need to get back into my grove.

I am feeling that might actually happen in the coming week.

I do still have boxes left to unpack (and a garage that needs to be cleaned out) but for the most part I feel I'm in a place where I can try to write several hours a day. And I'm also going to be more diligent about picking up my camera. At least that's the plan, man.

Sleep is on that list too.

*grin*

My parents should be here in an hour or two. Which means: If I have any hope of catching up on this blog I should download this last week's pictures off my camera and edit them real quick.

Hasta luego, peeps.






Tuesday, May 20, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 18

Considering how busy I've been, the fact that I'm only three weeks behind is pretty good! ;)

These pictures were taken when we were still camping out at my parents' new house while our floor was being finished. At some point I may put together a blog post showing my floor transformation (don't hold your breath, though, I still need to catch up with the photo project first!).

We are now back in our house. Our furniture was delivered last Monday and we're now digging ourselves out from under the boxes. Last night I finally got my desktop hooked up. I'm making a point to try to catch up with the blog posts by the end of day on Sunday.

ALTHOUGH.

I also know that my parents are in town for the long weekend (and maybe other family members). That means that I may not have time. All I can do is try!

I've pretty much done nothing else but move. I feel disconnected in a way I haven't felt in years. Take away writing and photography (because let me tell you, despite how it looks, I rarely picked up the camera in these last few weeks) and I'm lost. There's no form of self-expression left. I'm about to implode.






Monday, May 5, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 17

Seriously, Google, why do my black and white pictures on blogger always come out funky shades of sepia?! I'm going crazy about this.

These two pictures:



ARE THE EXACT SAME COLOR. WHY ARE THEY SHOWING UP DIFFERENT?!

At least the third time I loaded the second picture it changed from a brown to more of a brownish/silverish whatever that color is.

*inhale.*
*exhale*

Anyway.

I didn't know if I had any pictures at all from this week. It's the week we moved. And honestly, I survived. That's all that matters. I thought today was going to be my first day with only a mild bit of craziness.

Then.

We've had electrical issues this morning.


I'm going to focus on the bright side:

  • All of the crazy stuff will eventually end.
  • The movers couldn't get our household goods on the truck today. Which is a REALLY GOOD THING!!!!! considering the floor guys are nowhere (and I mean NOWHERE) near finished with the installation. This buys us at least two days. So YAY!!!!!
  • The electrical issues are at the other house (that I'll eventually live in), not the one I'm staying in, so that means I have internet. It's the little things that mean so much. Ha!


This picture above... It's of my night guard.

Can we get chatty for a second?

Exactly a year ago my teeth were perfect. Then I moved to Vegas and have been living in stress ever since.

Fast forward to 6 months ago where I found out that I'd started grinding/clinching my teeth (during the day as well as the night!) and had broken two them at the root.

Horrible and annoying, but not the end of the world.

Fast forward again to two weeks ago at my next checkup. I've now ground/clinched enough to break through five roots and I've cracked four teeth.

So.

The dentist said I had to wear my night guard religiously (during the day if I have to) or in another six months I'll have to cap most of my teeth.

That, my friends, is some serious stress. HA! I really need to get it under control. I have since taken to wearing my guard all the time. You know, now that I've been threatened with being toothless!

I could also look into some yoga classes. Or a form of zen mastery of some sort. Ooooh, or a daily massage. Now THAT is a possibility. ;)

Hopefully I can get a post up on time this week (Wed or Thurs). We'll see.

Until later, peeps!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 16

Shall I always be playing catch up?

I haven't had the opportunity to get on my computer for almost three weeks. LOTS of stuff happening around here.

  • My parents bought the house next door.
  • They had stuff done inside it (paint, etc...) that I had to be available for.
  • We packed up the current house and then moved all their furniture.
  • My family packed up our stuff and moved as well because we started carpets and tile in the old house. Which means we're living in the new house for two weeks. Plus our household goods aren't here yet.
  • Internet had an issue with the new house. :)
  • While moving, we discovered that my parents dining room table won't fit together without the leaf. I had to be available for the repair guy, and now the new table when it comes.
  • In the interim of the move, we got a notice from the association that the outside of the house I'll eventually live in needs paint. So... that happened.
  • When the paint guys got on the roof they realized that (1) the roof was sliding off and (2) I had birds living in it. So, yeah. There was that.

Hum... anything else? It's difficult to remember.

*tapping finger*

It may come to me in the next post. We'll see. haha.

Let's go back in time to before the move...






Sunday, April 20, 2014

Writing Updatery

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a post not based on my week’s pictures. Or even a writing post for that matter. So here’s a little updatery for that.



I’ve finally gotten my edit list together on the book I’ve been futzing with for the last year.

A little background for those that skim my writing posts: It was finished and edited (not polished), but I knew that there was something wrong with it. MAJOR wrong with it. So it kind of lingered forever in this space of… BLAH.

I’ve learned from experience that sometimes I can’t rush things. And sometimes I have finish before I can see where I went wrong. It’s frustrating because where I go wrong is always OBVIOUS and GLARING once I see it.

*Looking at my nails*
*looking at the computer screen*
*looking at my nails*
*whistle*

I knew there were problems. Obviously. Hence the reason I was like: la-la-laaaaa I’ll just continue forward with it but I’m not showing anyone or talking about it. Because knowing that you need to fix stuff, and knowing WHAT TO FIX, are two different things.

I think sometimes people know they have issues with their book and they dive in “with all the FIXZ” way too soon. Or they get someone else's opinion too early before they figure it out on their own. That generally leads to the plot becoming a jumbled mess. Like word soup. Everything devolves and then the characters start to act schizophrenic…

I may know a little bit about that.

*cough*

Which is why I do not edit without fully understanding the problem and having a concrete plan.

Plus, my life has been nuts (let’s not forget that). So it’s not like I tried very hard to figure out the issues with my novel. Writing has been back-burner while I focused on the rest of my life.

Only so much brainpower to go around, yo.

It’s funny how everything snaps back into place like dominos. Life problems work themselves out… I begin to move forward… My brain starts to function again… My creativity unlocks…

AND BAM!

I finally realized where I went wrong. Plus, there was another area of the book that I knew I had to improve (it had always been on the To Edit List, but I’d put off fixing it because I knew I’d have a major revision anyway). Figuring out those two items led to several others that needed to be revised – because isn’t that the way it is? Edits are like an octopus, spreading its tentacles.

Squeezing my brain.

Drowning. Me.

My edit list turned into fourteen single-spaced pages.

FOURTEEN.

UGH!!!!

*exhale*

Hahaha.

On a good note: I’m so happy that I’ve finally unlocked this book. Now it’s just a matter of doing the work and making it amazing.

Easy enough.

Wink. Wink. Wink.

There are two notes I’m still thinking about/ruminating on that affect the end of the book. Not a big deal at this point. I’ll worry about it when I get there and reevaluate based on how the novel changed/grew.

So that’s where I am. It was difficult but so worth it!

Because now I’m giddy excited about it. It’s gone from a “book with potential” to “Oh. Em. Gee. I LOVE!”

Knowing me that feeling will last a week. LOL!

See you on the flipside, peeps.


Thursday, April 17, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 15

Since I've been so behind for the last few weeks I thought I'd spend some time writing a proper blog. You know, WITH WORDS. LOL! Time and words are such a rarity lately. It's nice to have a little of both on occasion.


I love these three people. They like to hang out together in the same room. Which is very sweet.

This last week has been Spring Break for us. It's the most mellow, yet busiest, spring break EVER. I've had an appointment (or three) every day. Today was my one day off. Then my dad called and said, "Hey, so-and-so is coming by at ten to give a bid."

Of course he is.

There went my one non-appointment day. LOL! But now that's over and I have a little bit of time.

On the plus side, my kids have been extraordinarily good. Or lazy… I guess that's two sides of the coin. Ha. They've pretty much entertained themselves this week.

Even with how busy I've been, this is the calm before the storm. The next few weeks are going to be chaos. I'm going to be a vagabond again, camping in my parents' new house (next door!) while work is being done here. And then we should get our stuff sometime in May. So it looks like I'll have to pack my things one more time and then one big unpacking before I can finally walk away from this lifestyle and say: I'M NEVER MOVING AGAIN. NOT. EVER.



Have I talked about my vegan journey? I have a label on here for it, so I suppose I have. :)

It's been going well. I feel better, that's the main thing. Actually, I feel AMAZING. I'm surprised at how different everything is, and that I was living in an existence where my body felt bloated and tired all the time.

Am I 100% vegan at this point? No. At home it isn't a problem. I've cleaned my life to where there isn't much in the way of meat products to tempt me. I have non-dairy substitutes for things like butter, milk and cheese.

Steven still grills himself a steak occasionally. Bekah will eat that with him. But Seth (who never liked meat to begin with) is thrilled not to have to eat it. Bekah, on the other hand, has always hated cheese. She's excited that it's not ever on the dinner menu. And both kids prefer Silk over milk. It has been a relatively easy switch.

My issue comes with restaurants (mainly when my parents are in town because that's when we eat out). Here's something to think about: If meat (and animal byproduct) should not exceed 10% of your daily intake of food, it's a huge problem that there is some form of animal byproduct in EVERYTHING (milk, eggs, cheese, butter). You don't notice it till you look for it, and then: wow. Not good.

Now take that and apply it to restaurants. Even their "vegetarian menu" is loaded with eggs, cheese and dairy. There's usually not a single item on the menu that you can order to fit a vegan lifestyle. And that, my friends, concerns me. Why are we so hooked on animals when things that grow from the ground are so much healthier for you?

When I originally started this journey I labeled myself as "vegan-ish." Meaning: I wasn't planning on sticking to this diet 100% of the time. That has come true in the sense that, while I do eat vegan 100% at home, when I'm out I'll take the broiled fish option (really, my only choice in most cases).

I had never planned on being strict about this diet. But. Then. That all changed when I felt amazing. I can't deny the results. For the first time in my life I eat whatever the heck I want and the weight is shedding (not that I needed to lose any, but hey, I'll take it!!!). I don't count calories at all. Perhaps I should, because realistically you can't eat 100 oranges and not expect to gain weight. ha. I'm not eating 100 oranges, though. I'm eating normal. There is such a freedom to that: to enjoying food and having a healthy relationship with it instead of looking at it as if it's the enemy.

There are moments when I crave sugar. Refined sugar is bad anyway, but the bigger downside is that it usually goes hand-in-hand with butter fat. So. :(

But I can't help that craving.

I've put in some strategies that seem to help. I bought a blender for fruit smoothies. That's curbed the need a lot. And when that doesn't work, there's always the cookie dough from Whole Foods made from soy and natural sugar. And when the need is REALLY, REALLY bad? I can drive to Sprinkles and purchase (only one!) vegan cupcake. But that's only a last resort because it's a trek, man. Plus, I'm pretty sure they're using refunded sugar. NOTHING tastes that amazing without refined sugar. haha.





Let me start this set of pictures by going on a slight tangent about the Dr. Pepper. I banned soda from the house over a year ago. Maybe almost two years ago. This whole time Steven's been sneaking it, which is fine. Whatever. He's a grown man.

Then. We've had visitors these past few weeks and it's come to light that he has all manner of contraband hidden in the garage and his office. Uh, huh. He's now gotten bold and in two of these pictures you can see he's been drinking soda in the house. I need to crack down on that again.

Anyway.

Steven started his new job this week. We're all sad not to have him around during the day. I can't tell who's sadder: Yuki, the kids, or me. haha. We've gotten spoiled with daddy home!

This job may or may not be the next "forever" job. We'll see how it plays out. But it does have some huge perks. The best one being: he's home by 3:30! SO AWESOME!

BTW: that's my new kitchen table. I can't wait to see it in conjunction with the rest of my furniture. It's gonna look amazing! I'm really thrilled with it.


I’m so excited about this picture. It was a shot in the dark (literally).

Seth has decided that he loves hanging out underneath his bed. He’s made it into a little cave where he plays video games. It’s seriously random, I know. But it’s one of those things where I just roll my eyes and move on. Except for that time when the carpet guy was measuring and Seth popped out from underneath the bed and gave the dude a heart attack. Now THAT was funny!

Anyway. So he was under there, playing video games and I wanted a picture. The problem is I didn’t have a light to meter off. The only light source was from his iPad and I couldn’t meter that because his face was down, the light just peeking over the edges of the blanket. I was banking on the fact that when he heard me, he’d look up, thus lighting his face. So my settings? I guessed based on prior success/failure in other situations such as this one.

Like any wild animal in their natural habitat, you have to stalk your prey so they won’t disappear. I low-crawled down the hallway so that I was positioned outside his door, looking through the underside of his bed. I put my 24-70 on 70mm and hit the focus button.

… And that was a no-go. It was too dark to catch focus.

Now, I suck at manual focus on a good day. But: On my belly, camera at an angle, glasses pushed into my eyeball, in the dark? YEAH, RIGHT! Like that’s gonna happen.

Seth heard my lens struggle to focus and looked up.

Which meant I had seconds (!!!) to react before he’d disappear. I flipped my lens from auto focus to manual, shifted my focus ring to where I thought his eye was in focus.

Prayed and clicked.

I got one shot before he moved so that I could only see the top of his head. I then chimped my viewfinder.

When I realized I’d NAILED it against all odds, I started frantically crying, “I GOT IT! I GOT IT!!!!!” Not only was the exposure perfect (I didn’t change it at all in post), I’d managed to get it in focus, which was the greater accomplishment of the two, letmetellya.

Seth huffed, “Mom, you’re so WEIRD!” Then he grabbed that blanket and pulled it over him so he was hidden from view.


And that, my friends, is how you stalk an animal in the wild. BOYAH!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014: Photo Project, Week 14





Dear Google/ Blogger,

Why are the two photos above in sepia tint?! The files are NOT sepia. They are the exact same shade of black and white as the other three pictures. I've tried to upload the file three times and each time it's the some random shade of sepia!

A. Different. Shade. Each. Time. Like a multi-colored rainbow of DOOM!

I don't understand! HOW is that possible?! How (AND WHY!) are the colors changing?! Color should be static on a jpeg file, THAT'S THE POINT!

It's so bizarrely weird, I can't help but to comment on it.

Still scratching my head.

Sincerely,
Heather



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