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Human, Woman, Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend & Aspiring Unicorn Breeder

3.18.2014

Empty Nests and Such.

When your first kid moves out of the house to strike out on their own for the very first time, it's almost like a break up in a weird sort of way. "Why?! Why do that want to leave - is it so terrible here?!?!" Like I could literally feel a little piece of my heart break.

Our oldest son, age 18, moved out yesterday to live with his girlfriend. For better or for worse we have completed the process of raising a human being. He has now been set loose upon the world to succeed or fail on his own.

As I laid in bed sobbing last night, my dear, sweet husband chuckled softly and reminded me that we too once wanted to spread our wings and jump out of the nest. It had nothing to do with our parents, and everything to do with feeling the need to prove to ourselves, and the world, that we were now officially adults.

I get that, I really do. But I think maybe it's different for mothers. I'm not trying to downplay fatherhood in any way, but I really do think it's different. It's why he can chuckle while all I can do is cry. It why he helps push them out of the nest while I open my arms and yell "Come back when you need to!"

When you become pregnant you feel their life inside of you... It's one of the most amazing feelings ever. Your blood mingles with theirs. Their DNA is literally stamped inside of your brain. You are closer than you will be with any other human, ever, because you are literally two beings in one.

And when the time finally comes, and you prepare to bring this child into the world with more pain and fear and anxiety than you've ever experienced... and BAM... you give the world a new person.... the most venerable parts of yourself come out with them. And that vulnerability is placed inside of this tiny, new person the moment they're put in your arms for the first time. All of your biggest fears, hopes, dreams,  wishes, everything, are now toddling around in them.

You love and nurture this being, protect them with an insane fierceness you didn't even know existed until they came along... you watch, often times helplessly, as they grow, and you fight like hell with the elements to try and keep them growing on a straight path. And then one day, out of nowhere it seems, they leave and take it all with them. Only you're no longer around to protect them. Your heart is now walking around outside of your body, unprotected, in a big scary world and there's not a fucking thing you can do but pray and hope you prepared them enough.

No one tells you this before you have kids, and even if they did you simply aren't capable of understanding it until you do. Of course by the time you've figured it out, you've already spent your teenage years treating your own parents like shit and raised a kid who has probably treated you like shit (at least once or twice, don't lie), oh and now that kid is gone. So really, in the end, all you're left with is guilt and immense worry... It's AWFUL!

I know I should be all happy and blah blah whatever because my kid wants to strike out on his own. But I'm not. Fuckin-a... it just sucks. But I hear being a grandparent is our reward for all of this heartache. I hope that's true - just not true anytime soon!!!

Obligatory Sad Artsy Picture
By: Sad Me

3.10.2014

Palindrome 33.

This is my entry for the very last Trifecta Writing Challenge... and what a challenge it was: exactly 33 words AND use a palindrome to boot! Well I decided to use nothing BUT palindromes. It was difficult, to say the least, and I feel I should explain this piece... even though a good writer shouldn't have to. But since I'm not a good writer, here's an explanation: This piece is about people who have been pushed down, what they will do to rise above their situation, and how they fare in the end. So here you have it, my Palindrome 33:

Name now one man, 
did live not on evil.
Dered, defied top spot,
we few did borrow or rob. 
Reviled I deliver, never odd or even.
Now I won, I did. Did I? 

Farewell, Trifecta Writing Challenge, it's been grand!
Art By: My Eldest Son 
Pic of Art By: Me
  

3.07.2014

Selfie Tutorial

There is nothing more annoying than a selfie, huh? It's such a smug, conceited thing to do, posting a picture of yourself online that you took and saying, "Hey world! Look at ME!!!" You're just screeching for attention, aren't you?? You attention whore, you... You must have low self-esteem.

Well pish-posh and whatevs!

I, for one, fucking love them.
I love taking them and I love looking at other peoples selfies.

I love them because they're a way to connect to people online. It puts a face to all of those status updates and microblogs you see daily. Twitter me this - Isn't it nice to be able to look at the face of a friend you rarely get to see, or even the face of someone you're connected to online but haven't yet had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, and keep up with the changes in their appearance/life? Yes, yes it is! It brings a kind of closeness with that person that a status update of their toe infection or picture of their artistically arranged McDonald's breakfast burrito just can't give you.

But let's be honest, taking a good-looking, natural pic is a tricky thing. That's why we have so many jacked-up internet memes.

You don't want to present to the world  a fake, ridiculously photo shopped version of yourself, but at the same time you don't want to present the version of yourself that's just rolled out of bed and has sleep-drool crusted on your cheek... um, not that that's ever happened to me before or anything...

Here's the thing: You CAN take a gorgeous picture of yourself. You can. I do it all the time and I'm not really all that gorgeous. However, I get complimented on my selfies quite a bit. "Oh you have the best skin!" or "You just can't take a bad picture!" Yes, oh lawdy yes, I appreciate those sentiments so very much, but it's not exactly true. While I do have pretty nice skin, it's nice skin for a middle-aged woman. And as you will see shortly, I can take a really terrible picture... I just rarely post those! Which is why everyone thinks I photograph so well. Haha, joke's on y'all!! I simply know the techniques to taking a good photo. So I thought I would share them with you all today.

Keep in mind that the first three items on the list are of utmost importance when taking a selfie. The other two just help to enhance an already good picture. Ok, so here goes!

1. Lighting: This seriously makes more of a difference than probably anything else. All of the filters on Instagram won't fix the travesty your face becomes due to bad lighting. But good lighting will erase blemishes and give the illusion of smooth, bright, healthy skin. Position yourself so that your light source is shining toward or on your face. If the light source comes from behind you (or in some cases beside you), it will darken the picture and cast shadows, highlighting any imperfections on your face. Also you will get better results from natural light (i.e. sunlight) than you will from your bathroom light. So stop with the bathroom mirror selfies!
 
Left: terrible lighting = enhanced flaws
Right: good lighting = luminous skin 

2. Angles: This makes the second most difference in the world. You can be 7 feet tall and 105 pounds, but if you hold the camera at too low of an angle you're going to look like a pregnant manatee. If you overdo the up-angle, you'll look like a bug-eyed alien. What you want to do is this: hold your camera at arms length, directly in front of your face. Now raise your arm up about three to four inches. Finally tilt the top of the phone toward you ever-so-slightly, not even an inch. Now click the damn button. I'm an overweight, short person with a couple of double chins, but when you look at me in a photo (of my posting) I appear slim and with good facial proportions.
Well, except these...
Too high = Alien head
Too low = Mr. Chin
Eeek! More awful lighting.   

3. Posing: There is a pose my selfie-queen cousins and I do we like to call "turkey neck" (I'm renaming it "the turtle"). At any rate most folks lift their chin when they take a pic, thinking that by stretching their neck up their double chin will melt away. No, no, no. Unless you want to look like a moon pie I don't suggest this. What you really want to do is this: jut your head out straight in front you (just a little), kind of like a turtle peaking out from his shell, and then lower your chin slightly. This actually conceals a double-chin and slims your face. Add a head tilt/turn so that you're no longer directly facing the camera. Now lift your eyes up and look right into the camera... VOILA, you're golden! 
No facing straight at the camera!!

4. Makeup: If you're a female slap some on, seriously! You don't need much and, if applied correctly, it will enhance your already pretty features! A little powder, blush, lip gloss, and mascara - (and eyeliner, I can't live without eyeliner) - will work wonders in a picture. Think of your face as a delicate canvas and treat it as such. Be in control of your appearance! This one little touch will really make your photos POP!
See? I told you so. Makeup is your friend.
Left: bad light, bad camera angle, bad pose, no makeup
Right: good light, good camera angle, good pose, yes makeup
#nofilter btw

As you can see, I have a heavy arsenal of war-paint.
  
5. Filters: Everyone can take brilliant photographs now, thanks to filter apps. Yes I know 'real' photographers hate them blah blah blah, but since most of us can't afford to go to these real photographers anyway, it helps to have them around. The key is choosing a filter that makes you look NATURAL. On Instagram I've found that the best natural-looking filters for people are Amaro, Rise, Hudson, and Valencia. I've included examples of them so you can get an idea of what they look like when used with a photo that's been taken in good lighting. But look around and play with different apps. App stores are filled with a zillion different apps to enhance a photo - take advantage of them!
Amaro & Rise

Valencia & Hudson

 Ok, so there you have it. You now have all the tools you need to take a good selfie! Don't feel silly experimenting with different lighting sources (I've found the best place in my home is next to my bathroom window), and practicing different poses (except duck face - do not do duck face), and taking shots at different angles (work it, girl, work it). And don't ever let anyone make you feel bad about taking a picture of your beautiful self and posting it. After all, you ARE beautiful and you want to present that lovely side of yourself to the rest of the world, right? Right! Happy snapping!

The finished product. Good times.
Selfie By: Myselfie

3.05.2014

Words and Fists.

"And how did it feel?" she asked him. He thought he saw the hint of a smirk on her lips and, he swore, a flash of fire flickering in her bored eyes. Although how she could be bored was beyond him, but he supposed even the goriest of gore and the sickest of sick fucks became nothing more than "the daily grind" when you dealt with it on a never ending basis.

'Same fucking question, every fucking time' was the response on the tip of his tongue. His fists clenched involuntarily. He smoothed his palms out flat against his thighs and pondered the question, unsure if he had sufficient words this time.

Words tried to escape him, outrun his mouth. They always had. Maybe that was part of his problem, why he used his fists instead. His mama always told him to use his words, but he never did. Not at first anyway. It wasn't that he didn't listen, he just couldn't do it. Eventually though, (usually after fists had flown), he'd catch up with those words and they'd come spewing out of him like vomit. It couldn't be helped. Happened every time. Too bad it was always too late. Too bad it's what got him in the end... His stupid god damned words.

Still, he hated talking and he hated these "therapy" sessions. Would they ever end? This part of it all was even worse than the god damn procedure. He hated reliving it. But there'd be no worming his way out of this. He knew he would relive it again and again... and again. 

He let out a long sigh.

After several ear-pounding heartbeats he replied sarcastically, "Like hell."

She chuckled softly, "How appropriate."

"Well," he continued, irritation edging his voice, "if you want the honest to God truth, again, I suppose it felt a bit like my insides had been carved out." Fists clenched tight again, body filled with heat. 

Another smirk. "Honest to god truth?" Another flash of fire, then the shadow of a smile. "Go on." she prodded, nodding her head knowingly. 

Here the words came, spilling out. "When they strap me to the table.. first, always, there's the terror. But when they open me up, when they opened up my chest the pain replaced everything. It's like, it's like what a tooth feels like during a root canal, but with no sedative, no anesthetic. Nothing. Nothing to numb the... pain as brilliant as the sun." He stopped for a moment shuddering at the thought. "It felt like the tender pulp of my very being had been ripped out, excruciatingly slowly, and the husk of me was filled with molten lead. Burning away at my raw edges and poisoning me, replacing the sharp pain of my frayed nerves with something horribly unimaginable... pain. Pain. Only for me now it's not unimaginable and the fire inside, it never cools..." He trailed off, unable to continue.  

She shifted slightly in her chair, leaning toward him, "What a way with words you have. Almost hard to believe you're so quick to violence. Normally people with such tendencies are lacking in that department..." Her head tilted, inquiring. "And now?" she asked, one delicate eyebrow quirking up as if she didn't already know the answer.

"And now, what?" he shot back tersely. 

She smiled somewhat sadly, "How does it feel?"

"The same. The exact fucking same." He glanced down at his chest. It looked perfect. No scars, no nothing. But he could feel it. He'd never stop feeling it and he knew it. Tears brimmed his lids and threatened to spill over, but he wouldn't give them that. Fuck them, he thought, they can all go to... His train of thought stopped cold.

She stared at him, waiting for him to continue.

"When will this end?" he asked, his voice barely a whisper.

She laughed then. A cold piercing laugh that tangled up with the never ending heat that was once his soul. It was beyond anything humanly bearable.

"Oh I think you know the answer to that." she replied, icy laughter still tinkling in her voice. "When will it end? How did it end for your wife?"

Merriment lit up her eyes and he felt himself shrink in his chair. 

"Let me ask you, my dear client, how you think your sweet, young wife felt as you bashed her skull in with those fists that I see you've still got balled up, hmm? How do you think she felt when she realized her life was slipping away, knowing there was absolutely nothing she could do to save the budding human inside of her? The tiny soul you yourself put there. You really should have used your words that day, Jackson." -Was that his mama's voice he heard? "What exactly did you think would happen after he blew a hole through you after your sordid little confession to him? That you'd float up to Heaven on a fluffy cloud? Apologize to your wife and child and skip through the pearly gates together, one big happy family? Perhaps you shouldn't have used your words that day. I have to admit though, I find it immensely humorous that your baby brother secured his spot in Heaven for essentially the same thing... well, almost the same thing. That has to smart, huh? Your own brother offing you. Anyway, tit-for-tat and all that." Yet another laugh. "This is Hell, darling. There is no end to this for you anytime soon."

He sat, slack jawed.
Defeated.
Once again.

"The Doctor will be in to retrieve you for your daily soul-cleansing procedure tomorrow morning at 7:30 sharp and we will continue our therapy session directly after, so get some sleep!" she said cheerily, dismissing him to his coming nightmares with a flick of her hand.

He sat perfectly still, unable to move, wishing his fate far, far away. 

Turn of the century lithograph I bought (and love).
Pic of the Pic By: Me

Submitted to the Trifecta Writing Challenge
http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2014/03/trifecta-week-113
This week's word is the 3rd definition of "WORM"
**I didn't count my words, they just came out.**