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Saturday, March 21, 2015


"Have you been able to rest at all? If you need help, I can probably pack up my things and come up."

Now, that's a friend. 

I'll get back to that soon, but let's rewind to the beginning.

Sunday my week started pretty awesome, or so I thought. FaceTime, in real life no less, with someone I view as an interesting part of my life's landscape for almost two decades, a beautiful sunset once I got home, and dinner with flowers from another newer friend...she was wanting to spoil me a bit. She's known for going above and beyond for others. 
Flowers from T.
Playing with Zoom & Twist with that amazing sunset in my backyard!

The week seemed to he starting off fairly grand, but we know grand can change in a snap.

If I give my days a report card for Mon-Fri, this is how it goes:

Mon: C+
Tues: D+
Wed: F
Thurs: D
Fri: F

That report card would get ya grounded, eh? And, it did for me! Grounded in many ways.

Grounded to my house sick as can be most of the week.

Grounded in that I am once again reminded that "time marches on" and it stops for nobody.

Grounded in knowing that my #1. priority needs to be Faith - which has been a little rocky this month...that way I can focus (with His help) on parenting/raising my daughter to reach her true potential (which is a challenge). 
A little walk in Robertsville State Park two weeks ago.
Grounded in knowing the fragility of life and our time here. Yes, Michelle, it's time to stop delaying satisfaction. Not that I need to go blow thousands of dollars or follow Dave Grohl on the road (that's extreme), but I guiltily admit my camera body is outdated. Very outdated. I finally ordered a new one so my work will continue to grow. That's one example of an itch I plan to scratch this year. 
I am so bad at parting with $, but it's time!
PS The camera bag I got for it is AMAZING (and so me).
Grounded in saying enough is enough with the buzzing & dinging of personal Facebook notifications on my phone. Buzz buzz. Ding Ding. I deleted my personal FB app (kept biz pages & messenger) off my phone. I have to log into a web browser to see it now. Now I can nap, listen to tunes I stream through my phone to my speaker system, have a conversation on my phone, etc - without Facebook personal push notifications distracting the hell out of me. I may add the app back when I travel from time to time for ease, but I am not missing it so far.
Oh, and grounded in that I am reminded of who my real friends are. Ya know, not the flirty playful constant jokesters who entertain me, but the ones like Kris who takes care of kids all day, as well as her family, who sent me this message...

"Have you been able to rest at all? If you need help, I can probably pack up my things and come up."
Kris may kill me for this scanned photo from college days! 
Thank you, Kris. It's not that bad you gotta haul it here from Columbia, Mo. That you'd do that for me means so much. Luckily, I got Terri and Tyann bringing me bland food, medicine, Gatorade, etc. 

That's what friends do, right? Keep you grounded, even when your grade card for the week was atrocious. 

Oh, and the F on Friday was capped off with a wonderful sunset. As long as I still notice the sunsets, I know that I am ok. :) 
Friday's "F" day, ended with an A sunset! 
Signing off for now... while still slightly grounded in Missouri listening to the Soul Patrol on Planet Radio as I compose this first draft of this blog post (note: you'll see a revision!)... 

Much love, ~M

PS Enjoy this: 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Creative Slumps, Dreams, Body Shaming, and Mo State J Teacher... WHAT? :-)

I feel like I have aged a decade in about a four week time frame. My to-do list keeps growing in length and the check marks by items done can't seem to keep up. There's been some personal issues with my daughter I will not discuss here, but one I will - the flu. Yuck. Between work and home, personal and public, and every nook and cranny -- I've felt "spent" and pretty worn out. 

I could use a day or five at a winery or in a tent or just enjoying the company of someone who is low-drama and soothing to the soul. 

The big thing about all this is that my creativity is on zero. Zilch. Nadda. Empty. Gone. Not an ounce. 
I can't seem to get motivated to blog, photograph, edit images, finish a TON of half-done art projects and home DIY creations. Just typing this is taking great effort. 


I just need sleep, right?
Could that be why more and more of my dreams these days include sleep in them? Even those dreams rated for "Mature Audiences" always involve sleep. When one dreams of sleep, is that a sign they are running on empty? Could be.
And, yes, I do remember my dreams. 

I have had that blessing (and curse) of being able to vividly remember my dreams for pretty much my whole life. I still remember a dream I had over and over as a young child involving my biological father... oversleeping... and I can't get to school because I overslept, too. I wake up, run to the bed he is in and keep shaking him... green comforter on the bed... has this striped/ribbed texture to it... I can still feel it when I think about touching it as I try to shake him awake to take me to school. A very vivid dream indeed. 

Could that be why I set so many alarms and triple and quadruple check them on school nights to this day? I am wired the same way and could easily oversleep and not make it to school... Maybe I am afraid of that dream really happening to me as an adult? Perhaps. Or maybe some psycho-babble would say my alarm obsession is some mental disorder? Who knows?

Despite the situations lately... I can say there's been some amazing moments lately...

I was named the MIPA Missouri State Journalism Teacher of the Year 2015. 
I rarely mix my "day job" with my art/photo blog, but this time I will. Here's a link to the article my school wrote. Very nice and humbling:

Tonight I picked up three images from the Framations Photography Exhibit I was juried into and then hustled to STL, despite a few wrong turns, to celebrate the opening of a show I am juried into (along with my friend Slava! at Soulard Art Market. It's a self-portrait show and this really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Slava is more versed in this. I am not. 
I am not necessarily comfortable in FRONT of the lens, especially if it is full body. I haven't felt comfortable full body in front of cameras since I had my daughter. She'll be 10 in April. I keep thinking I'll do something about that, but I never seem to.  In time I have to either "accept" this is "me" now, or get serious about what I eat and working out. I have tried a few times and at one point lost a LOT of weight, but it was short lived... and of course it all came back (and more). 

In fact last spring when two of the sweetest kids I have ever had in class asked me to pose for a photo with them at Mizzou JDay, and it was FULL BODY - well, I was shocked it came out as one I liked. I actually love this photo and don't feel too embarrased by it at all. 
The funny thing is I don't care if I am out in a swimsuit at the creek or ocean... or any place... until I see photos. It's a bit shocking to me because that's not the "girl" I remember. I am sure I am not the only woman with this issue, but as much as you hear "love your body" it's hard to when the person you envsion yourself as - is not what looks back at you in images. 
I am unsure if men ever deal with this problem or if it's just women, but based on things I know of a few of my male friends... I think some do. I know a perfectly fine young man who will post before and after images of himself since his workout lifestyle has kicked in. I honestly think his before photos look fine. I see nothing wrong with how he was. However, he did... and he did something about it. 

The more I learn about body shaming and the impact it has upon people, it's overwhelming. I am too fat and chunky, he is too skinny, she is too this, he is too that. I hate that we all do it. And, yes I am saying we ALL do it. The people who say they don't are (in my opinion) lying. 
I am not sure what the answer is, but the fact that Kelly Clarkson (who is just adorable!) is being bashed for her weight gain since having her child... it hits really close to home for me. I beat myself enough up as it is about my body since having my daughter, I can't imagine having a public media circus jumping on the "let's tease the chubby girl" train. 
All I know is that number on the scale or on the tag of my clothes didn't keep me from being Missouri Journalism Teacher of the Year. It didn't make me "lazy" by any means. It also didn't keep me from being juried into an art show that started tonight that was based on self-portaits. Maybe it's time to just accept this is what I look like (or try that diet thing again, lol) and get over it.
And, maybe it's time I try to get some sleep so my "creative" mind can start churning again! I do have a full day at the art gallery in the morning, but I don't have to be in New Haven until 11am... so... maybe I can set two alarms and not four. Take that vivid dreams!

Good night, or is it good morning?

~ michelle of MK Designs Photography 2015 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Into the Darkness? No, more like: Into the Light.

Should the passing of a man or woman you have never met upset you?

Not sure I know the answer to that, but I believe it does… it has… I am sure it will again.

I remember crying when Elvis died. What was I? Maybe 3 or 4? More recently, when June Carter-Cash and then Johnny Cash passed, I found myself in that same sad state. George Harrison, oh my. No words. This past fall when Robin Williams died, I didn’t weep as much – but I felt odd. Empty. Just a bit dazed. I think when (and if) Betty White passes (that lady keeps going!) I will be impacted on that day, too.

This past week, it was the loss of Leonard Nimoy. I am taken back by his passing…and we’ve never even met.
How can it be that the loss of a man I have never met made me weep this week?

He was a welcome visitor in my life. A daily friend at times. I have memories of growing up in southern Missouri in the late 70s / early 80s. Antenna perched high in the air attempting to pick up any signal possible for our viewing pleasure. Turned one way with the right weather conditions we could get up to 3 or 4 stations! However, most days there were 2 that came in the strongest.

Captain Kangaroo, HeeHaw, the Mandrell Sisters, Days of Our Lives, and Star Trek. Lots of Star Trek. It was on daily, sometimes more than once a day. After school, before bed, in the morning before school even at times. One year it was on before lunch for a month or two in the summer. (Kids today have no clue! lol)

I have to say that Spock was my favorite of the cast. The few episodes in which he caved in to his human side and had an emotion always took me off guard. I loved his dry wit, his calmness in any situation, and ability to pinch a neck and knock someone out. I will admit I attempted that Vulcan move a few times only to really tick off my aunts and classmates. Cute and endearing it was not.

To this day I am still a Sci-Fi nerd. I specifically love the new Star Trek movies, the old ones, the MANY versions of the shows… I just Netflixed "Into the Darkness" a few minutes ago for my viewing pleasure. 

But the movie that impacted me the most? The Wrath of Khan. I was so young. When Spock died, I felt like someone I loved was dying right in front of me. THE GOOD OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE ONE? I didn’t care. I just didn’t want to see that on the big screen in front of me. I remember the tears on MY face.

I don’t think a movie to that date had made me cry like that. I would sneak into my room and cry over it well past the initial movie viewing date. I think it could have been my first lesson in what death really was, which came in handy. I had no idea that death was going to come knocking in real life shortly after that film came out… (Grandpa and my Great Grandma).

Over the years I have realized that Spock was more than a character or even an actor, he was a real person. He was a great photographer. He’s one of the main speakers in a History of Photography film I show. He was a child to immigrants, in the military, a teacher, an artist, an author, (at times a singer!), a father, a husband, a friend… many, many things to many people. I think in a lot of ways he was what we label a “Renaissance man” – a jack-of-all-trades. I even read once he was a private pilot! (So, he did actually fly?) His list of what he could do and what he had done was so long!

I think one of the most touching things (and true sign of his spirit) about him is that it was Mr. Nimoy that came up with the “Live Long and Prosper” Vulcan hand sign. He felt that Vulcans needed to be “Humanized” – just as we say Hello and Goodbye, they needed that tradition, too.

Did you know that hand symbol actually has meaning? I read about it a few times over the years. We aren’t just flashing a Vulcan sign when we do that. It’s a blessing. A Jewish-Yiddish blessing that he snuck a peek at during a ceremony in his youth.

I could go on and on about this man… and I never even met him. I will miss him though. I will miss seeing new endeavors in his writing and photography… I will miss him popping in from time to time on those silly PriceLine commercials with the Shat. I will miss his sense of “class” he wore naturally.

He’s someone a lot of today’s “celebrities” could learn from. What mark will they leave on the world? As someone in the limelight, are they living a life that would inspire a 41 year old woman with a photography/art blog in Union, MO to write a full entry about them? 

Live long and prosper.

Or, in other words, Bless You… with a hand symbol that means “Lord.”

Mr. Nimoy, thank you. Now go rest with the Lord and prosper in his Kingdom.

You've earned it. 
Words by Michelle, of this little MK Designs project. 

March 1, 2015.