In Love with Minolta 50mm f1.2

November 13, 2018

That pretty much says it all. I am in love with this Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f1.2 lens. It makes me so happy.



Photography continues to save my life. I am so fortunate to have access to the tools I have to be able to do my hobby– which is more than a hobby. It is my lifeline to happiness.

Depression: What Helps

August 21, 2018

As I have said in multiple spaces including here, I am depressed at the moment. There are several things keeping me afloat during this time and I am thankful for each one:

  • A wonderful partner is integral to my being able to take care of myself. When I get like this, I am not the most attentive parent and Jared is fantastic to pick up the slack, particularly with early mornings and getting the kids ready for school when I am feeling draggy.
  • A good relationship with my psychiatrist is of utmost importance. I am so grateful that I have a good working relationship with my current psychiatrist and I feel comfortable speaking up when things don’t feel quite right.
  • I am not regularly on an antidepressant (though I have been prescribed one now). I am thankful for the medication journey I have been on over the years. It would have been easy to throw my hands up and give up when the first two or three antidepressants didn’t work. As it turns out, my particular antidepressant is a fourth-line antidepressant and it works well enough when it is necessary.
  • I have wonderful friends I can turn to when needed.
  • My morning coffee grounds me in times like this. It’s not just the act of drinking the coffee. There is something about the tactile routine of my pour-over system and the anticipation of that fresh coffee.
  • I am so grateful for my paper journal. As much as I like to write here, there is no substitute for my private journaling journey.
  • My yoga mat is serving as a gentle place to stretch when I feel up to it.

I don’t know how long this depressive episode will last, of course. I’m thankful the depression isn’t as severe as it has been in previous seasons. For now, I’m just hanging on for the ride and fighting it as best I can.

How My Camera Saves My Life

August 15, 2018

I’ve been depressed the past few days.

This is how my unique brand of disability works. I was in the bed for three days straight this week over the particular situation that has me upset. I realize that isn’t normal—- but that is the reason it is a disability– my body and brain don’t respond normally to situations like this.

So, I got the camera out for an afternoon. I am slowly getting back to the place where I really feel like the camera is a tool for dealing with my condition, rather than feeling like I have to push to be more or make more of my photography. I am taking more pictures for me, and it feels great.

spindles on steps
Yesterday was a better day and I am firmly convinced that part of that reason it was a better day is because I had used my camera the day before. It is hard to describe but visually seeing the photographs I take and the reality I am surrounded by in pictures that I have taken does something to flip a switch in my brain. It really does change the way I view my reality.

Yes, I happen to think that the pictures I take are not bad pictures. But that idea is separate from what this exercise does for my brain. The art itself is a separate issue from the therapeutic value of the camera. A photo doesn’t have to be anything to write home about in order to have a positive effect on my mental state.

My camera is a great tool for fighting my depression. When I look out at my surroundings, all the information my brain receives directly from my eyes is colored with whatever feelings I am consumed by as a result of my emotional state of the time. As a result, my feelings about my reality end up colored by mental illness at times. However, something about the act of taking a picture and looking at the photograph after the fact disconnects the first-hand emotion behind what my eyes saw when I took the photograph. It allows me to remember the beautiful around me without the lingering emotional residue of mental illness. Photography allows me to see what my eyes see without the emotional attachment of things that often have little to do with my direct reality.

I can’t explain why photography works this way but it’s magic and it has literally saved my life more than once. It’s miraculous. It’s why regardless of whatever I ever decide about photography as a business, I will always have a camera.

New Starts

August 5, 2018

I’m depressed. I’m trying hard not to be and I know it’s the phase of change– I always get depressed when change happens. With the start of school, we have big change in our lives– in my life and in Oliver’s life. Oliver is having a great time with school. He has asked repeatedly this weekend when he gets to get on the school bus again. So it’s just me that’s depressed.

I need to reinvest in my house but I have been reluctant to do so. Besides loathing the cleaning, I really know I need to do big projects like painting in order to be satisfied with the house and I haven’t been so successful with my more recent attempts at painting. I need badly to succeed at something.

I’ll start simple today. Like washing Oliver’s nap blanket/towel from school (already in the wash), doing dishes, and vacuuming at least the foyer area. And cleaning off both kitchen and dining room tables. That’s a good goal.

Showing Myself Grace

July 25, 2018

Ending the summer with a depressive episode is hard. I am okay and it certainly isn’t as bad as it could be, but it’s been bad enough that I broke out the light therapy for mornings. I haven’t been in-the-bed-paralyzed depressed, but I’ve been more paralyzed than I like to be.

I’m trying to sever a relationship that is toxic, but it’s a years-long “friendship” which is hard to let go of. That letting go is part of what is bringing me down even though I know I am better off without this particular person in my life.

I’m also down that my time with Oliver at home is coming to an end, as he starts Pre-K in a week.

Even though I am not feeling the best emotionally, I am doing what I can to take care of myself physically. Here’s what’s saving me right now:

I get up in the morning and put my teapot full of water on to boil, for my pour-over coffee.

I take my medicines and supplements. In addition to my Synthroid and my Lo Loestrin FE, my current supplement regimen includes a One-A-Day for Women’s vitamin, Fish Oil, Co-Q-10, Biotin, and Alfa-Max alfalfa capsules. The fish oil and alfalfa capsules happen 3 times a day with meals. My Latuda is a nighttime medicine.

I sit down for light therapy for 45 minutes. I don’t sit exclusively for all this time– I usually make breakfast for the boys in the mix of this, too. So I am probably getting closer to 35 minutes of light therapy time.

While I sit for light therapy, I do a financial check in and check my regular blog and news haunts.

I do stretches. I have severe scoliosis and while the majority of my back is fused, the fusion does not include my neck and the scoliosis is creeping up my neck. Plus, with the fusion where it is, my shoulder blades need an extra workout to stay in shape. I also do modified crunches and arm strength training with little weights.

I’ve got a pretty luxurious hygiene routine at the moment:

  • At the recommendation of a friend, I am brushing my teeth with Cali White Activated Charcoal toothpaste in Pacific Mint.
  • I am toying with oil pulling with coconut oil once and sometimes twice a day.
  • I am getting better about flossing.
  • I am using Mother Dirt shampoo and Honest Company conditioner. I use the conditioner first and then shampoo the conditioner out. Once a week, usually on Sunday or Monday, I also use coconut oil as a pre-wash conditioner.
  • I just invested in some Vitamine Vitamin C serum for my face post-shower. I’ve only used it once so we’ll see over the next few weeks how it works out.
  • Post-shower while my hair is still wet, I use Briogeo heat protectant creme. I love the way this stuff makes my hair feel. I use it every day, whether I use the hair dryer or not. It doesn’t make my hair feel greasy at all and I do feel like it does what it is supposed to do. Plus, it smells really great.

I also invested in a new journal. I cannot give up paper journaling; it seems to be integral to my good self-care regimen. Typing out words doesn’t give the same tactile sensation to my brain. I was trying to fill up all my old journals first before I bought a new one but I found myself going back to old mental spaces when I read old journal entries. So a new start, it had to be.

That’s it for now. Simple grace, one day at a time.

Remembering My Craft

July 12, 2018

Sometimes, being a photographer is like this for me. It can take weeks to recover from a wedding, where I don’t feel like picking up the camera at all. And then all of a sudden, I’m in a funk. And I don’t feel like picking up the camera, either. Uninspired, not at all remembering the joy behind just clicking the shutter button. Feeling like I see nothing of value worth documenting.

But that’s not true, is it? Because everything around me is special to me– the people around me are special to me– so everything is worth photographing. J also says my eye doesn’t see things the way his sees them, so that’s something that makes the photography worth it to him, too. So, this is evidence that the depression is lying to me.

I’m on my second morning of light therapy and today I’ve decided is a good day for reformatting all the memory cards and getting some good shots of the boys.

It sounds silly, but sometimes I’ll just sit with the camera in the living room and put it up to my eye and click whatever I see right in front of me. Just to remember that I am, indeed, a photographer. The scenes are ordinary, but they’re mine and sometimes this exercise leads to a spurt of creativity where something else comes out of just sitting there– where I get up and go outside, or get up and find something still-life to photograph. The exercise is a jumping off point. Not intentionally but almost always a jumping off point.

moving forward

May 5, 2018

mood: relaxed

I am working on closure and feel like I am making good progress to that end. I’m journaling a lot and have started investing more time in my art for art’s sake.

Today is all about forward momentum. I have ignored my house and keeping it up for a while now. So today, I will work a lot on that. I will work on my art some. I will journal some. Hopefully, there will be time for a walk or a run.

I’m feeling slightly melancholy today, but not paralyzingly so. That gives me hope for the rest of the day.

Time to live in the moment. The past is past, now is important. I can make today a great day.

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