2009/07/07

PROMPTuesday #63 – Don’t Look Back

DaGoddess @ 21:46

Packing and moving is at the top of Deb’s list right now, about which she’s none too thrilled. I can’t say as I blame her. While there’s a certain cleansing aspect of moving (shedding the old, embracing the new), it’s really a big ol’ pain in the ass most of the time. I don’t know anyone who relishes the thought of packing up a whole household and uprooting one’s family. I feel for military families who end up doing this every couple of years.

Anyhow, in Debbie’s PROMPT this week, she gets all fuzzy and touchy-feely, asking us: “If you could live one year of your life over again in the identical way, which year would it be and why?”

My answer is this:

I’d live them all over again, however they unfold. I don’t think anything would be exactly the same nor do I think I’d want it to be. There’s no percentage in looking back and wishing for the “good old days” simply because nothing is ever as good as we remember it being. Our memories are faulty at best. There are always parts of the past we forget, either because we must (out of preservation of self) or because it works to our advantage to not remember (saving face — our personal walk of shame best not discussed). Plus, you have to consider that going backwards prevents us from going forward. Sounds so cliché, doesn’t it? But think about it. To live it all over again, exactly as you’ve done means that you’ve either learned nothing and are bound to repeat mistakes, and/or to deny who you are, how far you’ve come.

Despite all the mistakes I’ve made in life, I’d like to think given the opportunity to relive a part of my life that I’d make a few different choices. Nothing major, mind you. Just little things like not allowing a former best friend take care of my daughter (and neglect her in favor of drinking), not allowing certain people entrée to my life, my world (some introduced to me by that same former best friend). Otherwise, how could I really want to change much? Whatever big decisions I’ve made have brought my children into being, have allowed me the opportunities I’ve had to see and do things I’d not have had to chance to see and do otherwise.

That sounds like a lot of doublespeak, doesn’t it?

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t spend a lot of time looking back. I can’t change anything I’ve done in the past nor can I really change how I remember things happening. The past is what it is and it’s best left where it is (same principle that applies to ex-boyfriends, ex-lovers, ex-husbands, ex-friends). All you can do is look forward, taking with you what you’ve learned along the way.

It may not make sense to anyone else, but it makes all the sense in the world to me.

Well-Earned Downtime and Deadliest Catch

DaGoddess @ 14:14

I’ve earned my “day off” today. Yesterday was long and hot and pretty damn wonderful, but it was exhausting. Tomorrow, while another homecoming, won’t be nearly so complicated nor as long. Of course, there’s the added pressure of shooting another photographer’s family during homecoming, but I think I’ll be okay. She’s seen my work. She knows what I’m about.

Got up a little earlier than I normally would have today, but for a good reason. My friend TSgt and his family were in town. We’d missed getting together yesterday since homecoming ran long and they had another engagement last evening. We made up for it this morning with breakfast and a quick shoot in the park. They weren’t expecting that, but there was no way I was going to let them get away with photos. The kids have grown so much and they all look so good, I just had to!

And now it’s time to unwind. I’ll take a little nap. Follow that with a nosh of leftover spaghetti or Top Ramen or something. Then I’ll spend my evening with the Bad Boys of the Bering Sea while I edit photos. After that, I’ll curl up and enjoy a good night’s sleep before I start the insanity all over again.

I’m kinda lovin’ it. I just wish this were the money-making part. That’ll come soon enough though, right?

2009/07/06

Must’ve Been the Heat

DaGoddess @ 20:12

I have a killer headache. I had one yesterday, too. I think it’s from the heat and the sun. So much sun. I’m plenty hydrated, but I think the sun did a number on me.

Still…

I had a blast at today’s homecoming. I was out the door before 6am, and my Marine wife and her son and I were down at North Island, in place, before 7:30. I predicted the sun would be out by 11am. It was. It was hot and bright, but not nearly as bright as the smiles on the faces of those who were welcoming home their loved ones.

When the ship rounded the corner, a huge cheer went up from the crowd. The deck of the carrier was lined with sailors and Marines and family who’d joined the crew for a Tiger Cruise. When the ship finally moored, the crowd got even louder. And it was fantastic!

We waited. We waited some more. Then we waited a bit longer. And we waited even more. Finally, my Marine family was reunited and it was a beautiful sight to see.

I have many photos to sort through and will happily do so tomorrow. For now, I’m going to baby my head until the aching stops. Then I’ll do this all over again on Wednesday for another family.

Chatanika

DaGoddess @ 04:00

A quick stop at Chatanika Lodge proved to be rather pretty and colorful. And the bright red was the perfect counterpart to the incredibly lush greens that were found around the bend. The outhouse, Old Faithful, has been a regular contender in the Chatanika Days Outhouse Races. All I could think to say was, “why not?”

Old Faithful

Chatanika Lodge

Chatanika Lodge 2

Green Leaves

Gorgeous green trees

I wish my photos could do justice to the depth of the various green hues. There’s just no way, though. It was beyond amazing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many different greens in my life.

2009/07/04

Independence Day

DaGoddess @ 19:00

I’m normally out photographing fireworks and such at the moment, but yesterday was a big day and the aches and pains I feel today were well worth it.

It’s because of men, women, and families like those I met yesterday that we have the freedom we enjoy today. It’s always been because of those who sacrifice their comfort of home and the everyday joys that we live in Liberty, pursuing our happiness, whatever that might be.

Instead of posting photos of flags and fireworks, I give you some of today’s faces of Freedom.

OpLove Session

OpLove Session

OpLove Session

OpLove Session

There are many ways to celebrate our Independence, usually we spend the day with family and friends. The military, though, don’t always get that opportunity. So, as we party the day away, please take a moment to think of those who have made it all possible.

2009/07/03

Alaskan Flowers, Part I

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Just a few flowers I found around Healy. There are more. Many more. I have a partial post written, but I ran out of time. I hope to finish it this weekend sometime.

Fireweed

Gorgeous

Delicate

Long stalks

Dark and intense, which I rather liked.

Buds

And then it got bright and cheery.

Bright and cheery

My Pen Has Run Dry

DaGoddess @ 02:43

The words have gone from my pen
The ink remains
But it’s as if my pen has run dry
Free of well-crafted phrases
And clever word play

The words have gone from my pen
The ink remains

I wonder if I lit a fire beneath the tip
Would that loosen the grip the pen has on my words?
Or would ink simply pour forth in a messy way?
Would the words fight me if they were still there?
Would they resent being exposed to the elements too soon?

Perhaps I’m the one hiding behind the plastic and ink
It’s my creative well that has come up dry
My words have flown free from my brain, my lips, my fingertips
The alphabet world in which I played so happily
Is now a rusted and broken slide, a swing dangling by one chain

The words have gone from my pen
My pen has run dry

Yeah, I think I’ll stick with that excuse.

My First Moose

DaGoddess @ 00:44

Very bad photo of my first moose spotting. I don’t care. It’s still a moose. And I was there! (Pathetic, but there ya go.)

Moose

2009/07/02

Alaska Day 1 Photos

DaGoddess @ 04:00

Don’t ask me why I didn’t take photos as the plan approached Fairbanks International. I’m going to say it was because I was overwhelmed by the beauty and plumb forgot. I did, however, take photos from the plane as we flew over Mt. Lassen (or Mt. Shasta) and Crater Lake.

At least, I’m 90% certain the first image is Lassen. Or Mt. Shasta. I don’t know. I do know the nice striations in the sky were courtesy of Alaska Air’s plane windows.

I think this is Lassen or Shasta

I KNOW without a doubt that this image is Crater Lake. Kind of hard to miss.

Crater Lake

And this is the North Pole, Alaska Visitor center, which was next door to where we had dinner that evening. Calzones bigger than your head. Pretty good, too.

That’s an honest to God sod roof there, complete with flowers growing. Awesome!

North Pole Visitor and Information Center

Believe it or not, the photo immediately above was taken at 21:44 Friday (that’s 9:44pm for those who don’t keep 24hr time).

Fifteen photos taken that day. I think that’s a new record low. Go figure.

More photos and stories to come. I have lots to do in preparation for tomorrow’s big OpLove shoot.

2009/07/01

Catching Up, Part I

DaGoddess @ 10:00

Hi there! Long time, no see. Sure, I popped in a couple of times to post and run while I was in the wilds of Alaska, but that hardly rates as quality time, does it? No. So here I am.

Let me tell you a bit more about my trip and the fun I had.

First, the trip up was quite good. Only two different planes and NO turbulence.

Flying over the area surrounding Fairbanks, I marveled at the verdant waves the trees created on the hills. Occasionally, a streak of black road would appear and then it would disappear into the trees or turn to pale gray or dun. Water sparkled in lakes and rivers, winking as if they knew secrets they’d gladly share if only I would come closer once on land. The hills rolled below the mountains, light giggles leading up to full belly laughs of nature. Or maybe it was stern parents overseeing the hills and their childish ways. I couldn’t be sure from up where I was. Another mystery to unravel once on the ground.

Arriving in Fairbanks, it was a touch overcast, but not overly so. And I didn’t much care because once I saw a bald eagle in flight over the parking lot, I was ooohing and aaahing to beat the band. The airport itself, well, it’s rather small and charming. It’s the sort of place you feel welcomed. Even lowly tourists (I refuse to use the other word) felt welcomed.

The sun eventually broke through the clouds and by the time we’d had dinner (at 10pm), I was in utter awe and deeply smitten by the place. There’s a certain sweetness to Fairbanks that goes beyond “small town charm”. It’s a proper city, just more or less a city on its own terms, like most of its inhabitants.

The people all seem to know one another. I guess that’s to be expected in such a cozy place. If one is in sales or perhaps works at the local grocery store, I’m sure you learn who everyone is quickly enough.

Dwellings range from trailers, trailers encased in buildings, tiny homes, grand homes. Whatever seems to fit those choosing to call the structure “home”. Yards tell as much about those inside the houses as the houses do. Some hide down long driveways, while others barely have three feet between them and the road.

The few stoplights seemed quick to me. Not so to my chauffeur. “It takes forever!” And the few cars we passed were gone in the blink of an eye. Again, not so to my chauffeur. “I hate this traffic!” Hell to one is Heaven to another, I suppose. Though, it’s obvious this grumbling was all for my amusement. It worked.

As I mentioned before, dinner at a late hour — with the sun shining — was intriguing. And the late light allowed us to see a few more sights before heading to a warm, comfortable sleep, which I desperately needed.

Morning came quickly, but it was welcome as I was eager to get started. There was much to do and I couldn’t wait to get at it. A walk with the dog, a warm bagel and some cranberry juice, and a quick stop to get supplies, and we were on the road to adventure. Tame adventure, sure enough, but still…it was Alaska! And this, my friends, is where I leave you as I dig through photos to share with you later.

P.S. I finally added a travel category. Please bear with me as I eventually work back and add that to previous posts. Don’t expect miracles anytime soon though.

PROMPTuesday #62 – If I Had a Real Life, It Might Be This Interesting

DaGoddess @ 03:55

Back in time to participate in this week’s Prompt. Thankfully, I just read Wicked and the phrase Deb asked us to use fits with something I had brewing in my head.

And with that, here we go:

I’m continually living somewhere between Here and There. I shuffle between worlds of my own imagining and that created by others. It’s not a bad way to be if one’s an artist, I suppose, but it certainly doesn’t make it easy on those around me. So, is it any wonder that a fight erupted between me and another, the sort of fight that causes one to go flying through the streets like a trail of fiery rage that quickly burns out of sight?

It all began innocently enough. There I was, minding my own business, working on a project that simply had to be finished on time when the client stormed into my studio. She was one of THOSE. You know, the kind of woman who has too much money and time on her hands, and far too little taste or any sense of reality. Okay, I could relate to the last bit, but the rest was beyond my comprehension. As was the idea of treating anyone in the manner she chose to treat me that day. From the moment she commissioned me to create not only a stunning family portrait (consisting of her sour face and those of her equally lemon-sucking offspring and a husband who appeared terribly constipated), she also wanted me to design a family crest for her, I knew she was trouble. It was written all over her face. Privilege and entitlement were her designer “labels” of choice. But being a painter and possessing the ability to use my imagination amply, I worked diligently for the last several months, adding smiles where there were none originally, bringing an air of class where there was but a snobby, wrinkled nose. There were constant “consults” from the client, as well as frequent requests for changes to the painting as well as the crest. I needed the money and she had plenty of it, though it often crossed my mind that I was in over my head.

“I want the children to be taller so they don’t seem so…diminutive,” she sniffed.

“How much taller would you like Muffy and Chas? After all, I can only stretch a four and six year old so much before they begin to look…odd.” I replied.

“Well, I certainly can’t be made to appear any shorter! Heaven forbid someone should see me as anything less than statuesque!” She really and truly said that to me. At 5’4″, she was scarcely statuesque. She’d also requested a more regal bearing. Oh well, it was her fantasy. My own involved wrapping my hands around her carefully reconstructed (read: wattle-removed) neck and constricting quickly.

The crest itself underwent multiple morphs as her interests and her husband’s portfolio changed. Every color of the rainbow served as the background at some point. And the placement of each symbol was altered so many times it was impossible to count the reams of sketch paper involved. However, since the client was paying and the client was always supposed to be right, I went along with her requests.

That is, until today. As she stood before me, threatening to sue me, threatening to withhold further payment, my head began to pound. I tried to find an escape hatch to whisk me off to There, but the only ones I found were double bolted from the other side. As her pitch went higher and higher, my face began to burn and the urge to throttle her grew stronger.

When she reached the point where she asked me to scrap everything I’d done thus far and start anew, I’d reached critical mass. Eruption was imminent. Destruction not far behind.

Had I not desperately needed the two remaining payments, had I not already turned down other commissions, had I only trusted my initial gut reaction and said no in the first place, I wouldn’t be on the verge of becoming a cartoon character with a lobster red face and steam coming out of my ears. But I hadn’t and I was one word away from ricocheting like a crazed pinball through the studio.

“You incompetent fool! You idiot! Hack! I insist,” she began, following those words quickly enough with a string of expletives…and that was it. She crossed the line.

Suddenly, I was the Wicked Witch of the West. Yes, how trite, I know. But really, that’s how I felt and there really isn’t any better example of fury, is there? I imagined fireballs zinging from my fingertips, my eyes burning red with rage, and my body shaking with an intense hatred I’d never felt in my life.

“Get. out. NOW.”

She stood, stammering, “but, but, I need this done in time for the party!”

“Get. out. Before I unleash the hounds of Hell on you.”

“How dare you! Do you know to whom you speak?” she bellowed.

“I know you’re nothing but an ungrateful and unreasonable biddy, incapable of tact or kindness. Leave. LEAVE! LEEEEEEEAVE!” I screamed. I half expected her to wither under my glare, but she just stood there, mouth flapping like some bloated and dying fish. “GET OUT!”

“You miserable beast, you! You’ll never work in this town again! I’ll make sure your name is…”

“GOOOOOOOOOO!” And in one long stride, I was across the room, going after her, grabbing her arm, spinning her around, pushing her out of the room. With a final slam, the door shook and the small window shattered. Through it, I could see her face hardened with hostility, her mouth still agape.

“Get out of here, you old cow! Get!” Bile was rising in my throat as I rushed the door. I saw her cringe and knew I’d won this battle. She cringed, then ran as fast as her tight skirt and designer heels allowed, face pinched and unsure of what to do. I got the feeling no one had ever said no to her, never told her off.

My anger continued to boil and bubble over. I grabbed my car keys and flung the door open, charging down the stairs. The client saw me and I’m sure she thought I was in hot pursuit. Fortunately for her, I just wanted out. Out of the building, away from her, away from the toxic environment she’d created in my studio, my haven.

She screamed, “Leave me alone, you bitch! Help! HELP! Someone help me!”

“Shut up! Get the hell out of my way!” I reached the bottom of the stairs, gripped the handle of the door, and stepped into There…

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