Posts Tagged ‘camera’

Got The Shot

November 17, 2017

Thank God.

For a minute today, and oh did I get to practice acceptance, I thought that I wasn’t going to be able to get the shot, but I did.

I did.

The shot I’m referring to is the professional photograph that the producers of People Who Usually Don’t Lecture requested.

They want a photograph for publicity purposes.

Eek.

Publicity.

Scary and kind of cool all at the same time.

I sent them a photo I had taken of myself mid-summer, but they requested I send them a photograph that wasn’t taken on my phone.

Sigh.

I’m pretty damn good at taking a selfie, I’m not sure what that implies about me, narcissist, vain, self-involved, maybe, but I do know my angles when it comes to taking my own photo.

I usually take a lot and from certain angles.

I know my best side.

But fuck.

When it’s someone else taking my picture I’m horrible.

Weird ass smile, wrinkled forehead, strange faces, odd ball angles, I manage to look much heavier than I am, I have no clue what to look at where to focus and I’m goofy.

Thank goodness for my dear friend who took time out of her very busy day to help me.

At first I felt like it just wasn’t going to happen, she had a lot going on and I felt a tad guilty about asking her to spend time doing something pro bono, but she told me to get my butt to her studio in the Mission and we got the job done.

I sprung for lunch and got take out from FarmHouse.

And I must say, slight aside, fucking good food.

Really good.

I was impressed.

And I just had the Tom Kha Soup with chicken and some brown rice, but fuck, it was delicious and might be the best Tom Kha I’ve had in the city.

I will be going back, if the soup was that freaking good I’m sure the rest of the food is.

Plus I really liked the decor and it had a warm, vibrant feeling to it.

Anyway.

I picked up lunch and we got a chance to connect and I gave her the down low on life and school and all the things.

So good to reconnect.

And to get the shot.

Yes.

A lot of them were absolute duds.

Not her fault, nope, me and my self-conscious posing.

But we got there and I’m super happy with the resulting photograph.

I’m not sure how many she took, but probably close to a 100 frames.

Which we narrowed down to 16 shots, then six and finally two.

I sent the two off to the producers and I’m done.

Well.

With this part of the process anyway.

I still, obviously, have to do the lecture, but the photograph was a stress that I wasn’t expecting.

Gratefully my friends studio is close to my internship, I wasn’t on my scooter today with the rain, no thank you, and I didn’t have to travel far from her spot to where I needed to be next.

I had a bunch of time in between the photo shoot and my client, so I popped into a cafe and did two hours of reading.  I finished my Jungian Dream Work reading for the semester and got a good bit into my Transpersonal reading.

That felt great.

And I had done a good hour of homework before I headed out the door to do the photo shoot.

I finished almost all my CBT reading, which is good as I have a webinar I have to attend on Sunday.

I also finished all my reading for my Drug and Alcohol class.

So for Jungian Dream Work and for Drug and Alcohol I could actually start writing the final papers for the class if I wanted to.

That also is a nice feeling.

I feel like I won’t start the writing for that yet, I want to focus on getting the rest of my reading done for my other classes and finishing the online components for the classes that have that requirement.

There’s still so much to do, but having made a big jump into the material today, I feel like I will be able to address all the reading by the end of the weekend.

Even with seeing three clients tomorrow and having to go in before my group supervision on Saturday to do a rehearsal for the People Who Usually Don’t Lecture folks.

It will be the first rehearsal with all the people who are speaking.

There are seven of us.

I’m super curious.

I know one of the participants, it was his story that had a bit of our relationship in it that piqued the producers into wanting to meet with me.

It will be great to see him and hear his piece.

I’ve read a good bit of it, it’s a great piece.

I’m certain that the caliber of speakers is going to be quite high.

I have rehearsed my piece once a night since writing it.

I don’t want to let down the producers.

And, well, it’s a fun thing to be participating in, and it’s not school related or work related or client related.

Although.

Ha.

I do talk about all those things in my lecture–work, school, my internship–just with a much different slant than I typically think about my life.

It’s my story and I know it really well, but they, the producers, had me sharpen certain things and I’m eager to do the work to be polished and participate in the project.

It feels like an honor to have been included.

I don’t want to let anyone down.

So it was really with much gratitude and happiness that the photo turned out so well.

Super grateful.

Super excited.

And ready to focus on the next thing in front of me.

Lots of life, lots of school work, and no little love.

So much love.

Grateful to focus on that too.

Beyond my ability to write about it.

But something I read earlier really summed it up, so perhaps I will end on a little quote from my Jungian Dream Work class reading.

“I falter before the task of finding the language which might adequately express the incalculable paradoxes of love.”

C. G. Jung

Advertisements

One Dozen

January 14, 2017

Long stem blushing pink roses.

One for each year I’ve been doing the deal.

That was what greeted me this morning.

Actually.

The full moon setting this morning from my back door is what greeted me, all pearly and low hanging, incandescent in the first blush of morning.

I took out my camera and shot a few photographs.

I don’t believe that I did it any justice, that moon, that opal jewel in the dark indigo wash of sky over the ocean, but I gratefully pulled out my camera to give it a go.

That camera a gift.

Something that I can frame my world with, a poetic extension of my world view, a way to take the moment and hold it, like a poem in my mouth, a moment luxurious with depth and meaning and love.

I awoke to love.

Great love.

Outpourings of love.

Messages of gratitude and sweetness, kindness, reflection and beauty.

I felt blessed.

I felt more and more blessed as the day went on.

I had school today, my first day back in classes, first day, second semester, second year.

I had some trepidation after I was ensconced in all the readings prior to class, but by the time I was a quarter of the way into my first class I knew, this was going to be a different semester and yes, loads of work, every fucking semester has been so, it would be good, soul enriching, spirit broadening work.

I am looking forward to the semester and the learning in a way that I had felt disconnected from and dissatisfied with in my experience last semester.

Those cobwebs got blown away and I feel refreshed and re-invigorated by the work and reconnected with my cohort and really alive with the school.

Oh.

There’s still wonky crap, but what academic institution doesn’t have it’s foibles?

I had a surprising and wonderful discussion with my advisor and I have an appointment to talk to one of my professor’s about a letter of recommendation for practicum tomorrow after my morning class.

Things move a pace.

I made some executive decisions regarding where I am going to apply to practicum and I feel hopeful that those will suss out.

I had to face the fact that unless money suddenly falls the fuck out of the sky I’m probably not going to be able to do the UCSF practicum.

The program is looking for a 25-40 hour a week commitment.

And it’s not a paid internship.

Most aren’t.

But to work 25-40 hours a week on top of a full-time job and full time graduate school feels.

Well.

Fucked.

And impossible.

I had a chat with a third year student who is also in the weekend program and works full-time and he told me about where he was doing practicum.

The Liberation Institute.

Which is in the Mission and would be handy to my work and school commute.

Plus I found out after attending the workshop and practicum fair that the institute has weekend and evening hours available to interns.

Yes and yes please.

If I’m going to accrue hours and not get paid at least let them be during times that will facilitate me working full-time.

I live in San Francisco and I need to keep paying the bills.

And well, that would allow me to do it.

My current job is flexible with me having one Friday off a month to go to classes, but I can’t imagine that I would be able to work a job with benefits for less than full-time hours and the family needs me 35-40 hours a week.

There is a way forward and this may be the way.

Sure.

I’d love the acclaim of working for UCSF, but maybe this is better for me, not trying to cram so damn much into my schedule and still letting me do the deal.

Because doing the deal for the last twelve years is what has gotten me to where I am.

I would not be in graduate school if I was still out there using and drinking.

I’d be homeless.

You bet.

I’d be dirty and broken and soul less.

I might be dead.

If I were lucky I’d be dead.

But I’d probably drag along the bottom of the gutter terrorized and blank and shattered.

No thank you.

So a balance needs to be made.

I have always believed that it was of utmost importance to not put the life that I was given before the way of life that I had learned by taking the simple suggestions made to me in the very beginning of my recovery.

Simple, daily practices that keep me going one day at a time.

One hour at a time.

One fucking minute at a time sometimes.

And here.

Twelve years later.

Fierce and free and strong.

Joyful and happy.

Content and blessed.

So many gifts I have been given, so much life to live that I have been graced with.

It boggles my fucking mind.

Yes.

Yes it does.

Boggles I say.

And I know that as long as I put my recovery first.

Well.

Everything else will follow.

That’s been my experience.

When I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

I always knew where to go.

Church basements and funny rooms in the backs of odd buildings.

Holding hands with strangers that became family.

Sitting in cafes reading from blue bound books and sharing my experience, strength and hope.

How this works?

I can not tell you.

I don’t know.

I just do my best to take the suggestions given to me and to turn around and give it all away.

You can’t keep it without giving it away.

A crazy paradox of love and altruism that isn’t really so altruistic.

I mean.

I don’t want to fucking die in the gutter with a crack pipe in my hand sitting in between cars on Minna Alley on a piece of scavenged cardboard.

Been there.

Done that.

God’s got better plans.

Yes.

Thank God.

And thank you.

You know who you are and I love you more than I can possibly express here.

But when I see you on campus you know I will give you a hug and perhaps in the circle of my arms you feel just a small expression of the depth of gratitude I have for you.

I have so very much.

Yes, love.

Love.

For you.

Always.

Forever.

Picture Perfect

November 9, 2016

I got my new camera.

Oh.

She is a beauty.

I got her and got so excited.

Thinking of all the new photographs I can take and upload to my computer again now that the majority of the photographs on it have been deleted.

I have still more to delete.

I just did another big batch right now.

More photographs of Paris.

The really cool thing is reliving those moments, the really cool thing, is that I took so many photographs.

So many.

I also realized that I had more on my hard drive then I realized.

Closer to 15,0o0.

A lot in other words.

I got the same camera that I had before, but it’s obviously the newest version.

I spent a lot of time just holding it and actually, um, ha.

Crying.

I was not expecting to feel so emotional about it.

But it was unexpected to get it sooner than I had thought I was going to get it and that I will have it for oh, the super moon next week, or for my trip to Nevada for Thanksgiving, or my trip to Wisconsin in December.

And.

Oh.

Yes.

My trip to Paris in May.

All the photographs.

All the pictures I get to take.

So grateful for this gift.

When I went back to college to get my undergrad degree, after I had flunked out my first go through, a long story for another blog, or actually an old story I’ve written about before, you’ll find it in my archives somewhere, I went back with the purpose of getting a degree in photography.

I wanted to take photography classes.

I wanted to be a professional photographer.

I still have a little note that I wrote down my goals.

Things I wanted to do.

One of them was work for the National Geographic Society traveling the world and taking pictures.

I found out when I went back to school that I had to take art classes before I could do the photography class.

Boo hiss.

I did it though.

And holy mother of God.

The art class was hard.

Hands down one of the hardest classes I have ever taken.

I spent a lot of time and effort on my projects and I was actually a little bit better than what I’m letting on.

But more of it?

Fuck no.

It was too much.

It was too hard.

I wonder.

Sometimes.

I wonder if I had gotten sober sooner or if this thing there had happened instead of that thing there.

Well.

It’s just musing.

But.

I did want to be a photographer.

I really did.

But like so many things.

It fell to the wayside.

So when I went to Paris in 2007 and decided I was going to get a camera I had no clue that I was going to get the one I got.

It was much more expensive than I had budgeted for.

But.

The store was going out of business and the clerk up sold me.

It was the best up sell ever.

I had that camera until this September when I got back from Burning Man.

I knew that it had died out there, in the dust, it finally bit, well the dust.

I wasn’t able to use it for any but a couple of the days I was at the event, which did bum me out, but I had my Iphone so I was still able to take photos, they just weren’t the same as the ones I would get off my camera.

Before I moved to Paris I took a photography class with a mentor and we walked through China Town all afternoon and took pictures.

He told me I had a good eye.

And.

You know.

I do.

I was surprised going back through all the photographs at how well so many of them are framed, that there were often surprising elements that I caught, or patterns of colors.

I didn’t often know why I would stop and take a photograph and I was hell on wheels when I was walking with another person in Paris, stopping all the time to shoot an image or a scene and often times having no idea until I got home and uploaded them what I had captured.

I have an eye for balance and framing and color.

I’m not great.

But.

I’m good.

And.

Like the writing.

I love doing it.

I’m never going to make a lot of money on either, I suspect, although, who knows, I certainly don’t, but I get so much joy from it.

So.

Last night.

The package arrived.

I was so excited.

So thrilled.

My heart in my chest when I opened the box.

My hands didn’t tremble.

But.

The reverence.

I had to set it aside for a moment.

I had to pause and breathe and thank God for the gift.

I unwrapped it.

I attached the strap to it and the cover to the lense.

I loaded the batteries.

That was a revelation.

When I was in Paris.

I was going through batteries too fast.

I bought myself a battery charger and started charging my batteries.

One of the few non-essential splurges I allowed myself when I lived there.

That and a vibrator.

But.

Um.

Haha.

That’s another blog too.

Heh.

Anyway.

The battery charger was key.

And I still have those batteries, although not the charger since it was for European outlets.

The camera that came last night had batteries, but not rechargeable ones.

I will use up the juice on the ones that were sent with the camera and then I will upgrade to my rechargeable ones.

When I dropped in the batteries and settled the camera bottom back on, I turned it over, took off the lense cap and turned her on.

Oh goodness.

Tears again.

I pushed my glasses up on my head and peered through the view finder.

Yes.

It’s a digital, I could use the screen.

But.

I take better pictures when I use the view finder.

I saw the scope of my room.

I got misty eyed.

And then I laughed out loud.

How good is my life?

To get a new camera.

To get a new perspective.

To go and open up my other blog.

Yes.

I have another blog.

http://www.whereintheworldisauntiebubba.wordpress.com

And be so surprised and happy to see those photographs.

And a warning.

The first one is a doozy.

It’s my ankle after my accident on my scooter two years ago.

God damn.

That hurt.

Fuck that was bad.

It’s been two years since I have put up a photograph to that blog.

That is going to change.

And really fucking soon.

Tomorrow as a matter of fact.

I was going to hold off until the weekend.

But why?

I need to use it and get back into the practice of using it.

I want to have it back in my life.

I adore using my phone to take pictures, it’s super fun to post them up to Instagram, but I want to use a real camera again.

Even if it looks like I am a tourist.

Really.

I am.

And.

I am perfectly fine with it.

I only have this life to be a tourist.

I might as well make the most of it.

The only thing left to get is a new camera case.

I tossed the other one.

I figured, it was hella old, dusty, and it wasn’t a great case.

That’s the only reason why I didn’t take it to work with me today, I don’t have a case yet.

I will by tomorrow.

Well.

I’ll have a case ordered by tomorrow.

I don’t know that I will get out to a shop.

But.

Fuck.

Pictures.

And words.

“What do you want to do Carmen,” he asked me and leaned back waiting for my answer.

“I don’t know,” I wailed.

“Yes, you do!” He sat forward on the back couch at Ritual, when there was still a couch in the back.

I was so startled, I blurted out, without knowing what I was about to say, “I want to travel and write and take photographs.”

“Then travel and write and take photographs,” he settled back down.

I made a huge decision to leap in that moment.

I haven’t regretted it once.

I just emptied out another 388 photographs into my trash.

Got to make room for the new ones

The new experiences.

The new adventures.

The new travels.

Can’t wait to show you how I see the world.

My gift to you.

Good night.

Sweet dreams.

Rest.

For tomorrow.

And every day I can.

Photographs.

Oh the joy.

I cannot express.

For.

There is so much.

Yes.

There is so much.

So

Very much.

To see.

Saturday Afternoon Sad

October 30, 2016

It’s been a sad day or so for me.

The sads, they caught up with me.

They had a tea party with the sorrowfulls and the woefulls.

They had a big cup of cafe au lait with the maudlin and the melancholic.

And then they moved the fuck on.

Like the grey scuttling clouds dusting me with blurry tears of rain on my scooter as I zoom zipped up Lincoln Avenue to meet my person at Tart to Tart.

She sat down across the table from me and cocked her head, “are you crying?  Have you been crying?”

Ugh.

Yes.

Off and all since yesterday.

There are reasons.

And there are reasons.

And there is a season to my sorrow and it will pass.

If I let it, if I talk through it, let it out, cry a little, laugh a little, tears sliding down my face just as my tender footed heart does a drop kicking curtsey of pain through the goal posts of my soul, I put my head on the table and collapsed for a moment.

“What’s going on?” She asked me.

I told her and cried.

I got it out and cried.

We talked and talked and thank God I have her in my corner, thank God for her experience, strength, hope, for her guidance and perspective.

“Of course you’re sad,” she said, “let it out, but don’t wallow in it.”

We talked about things I could do.

Basically nothing.

Well.

That’s not true.

I have to surrender people, places, and things, I have to let them go, I can’t control situations, I can’t control people, I can’t make the trains run on time.

I am just not that fucking powerful.

What I did do though was take her suggestions to do some writing and also to be gentle with myself and do something nice for myself.

I text my friend and said, “hey thanks for the Ghost Ship pass offer, but I’m going to rescind my ask, I’m too emotional to be in a big crowd with loads of drinking and drugs.”

I needed to be with my people tonight.

My fellows.

My fellowship.

My friends.

And I was.

But.

Before I got there I decided to celebrate me.

My life.

My recovery.

My sobriety.

Because without that I would have nothing.

And I am so very grateful, so overwhelmed with the awe of it that I am still here, still sober, still doing the deal, still showing up, that I needed to do something special and just for me.

I went to the MOMA.

I had a quick-lunch at La Fonda Mexican Grill, carnitas anyone?

Then scootered down town.

The traffic wasn’t bad and the last bits of rain had cleared.

I parked in the motorcycle parking just off Minna Street and popped into Blick, the art supply store and yes.

I bought myself stickers.

Because a girl likes stickers.

And I wanted to give myself the little things that mean something to me, I’ll write every day for weeks in my notebook in the morning and every day I will put down a little sticker in the margin and it will remind of the day, the moment, the heart-felt sorrowful tears and also the gratitude and joy of being alive and on my scooter in my pink lady motor cycle jacket.

I mean.

I used to use and drink in that neighborhood and to see where I am now in comparison to where I was, it’s a fucking miracle.

I am not exaggerating.

Not a bit.

Not a tad.

Not at all.

I am a fucking miracle.

My life is extraordinary.

Miraculous.

Awe-motherfucking-some.

Sure.

I have feelings.

And I can swim in them.

Or.

I can be a light.

I can be a beacon and I can shine.

Maybe some will be draw to that light.

Maybe.

I got my stickers and went to the MOMA.

I stood in the short line, the members line, and got my ticket.

I asked what was the favorite thing in the museum for the desk person.

He told me about the Bruce Connor exhibit.

It was exquisite.

There were so many mediums the artist worked in it was enthralling to see the breadth of his work.

I watched a few films, I stood in front of photographs and felt wonder.

I felt awe.

I felt warm and held.

I felt safe.

The MOMA was always my safe place when I was using.

I used to work at a high-end fancy pants restaurant around the corner and I would drink in the neighborhood, I knew the industry people, I went to the Palace, House of Shields, The W Hotel, Dave’s on 3rd.

I did cocaine in all the places at any of the times I could get my nose into it.

Shit.

I did key bumps in the bathroom at Starbucks.

But.

I could never bring myself to use in the MOMA.

It was sacred.

This church of art.

My first home, the first thing I did when I came to SF, I went there, I wanted to see the art, I wanted to walk the Occulous Bridge, I did so again today, I got a membership.

I have a membership again and the skeleton of the museum is there, nooks and crannies that remind me of the horrors of dancing along the skein of insanity that threatened to entrapped me as I hollowed out my soul using and drinking.

But now.

Well.

Now.

All gratitude.

All the love I have for myself, the awe I felt when I bought a postcard from the gift shop that was a photograph from the Bruce Connor show that was a street graffiti that side “love” where it should have been a right turn arrow on a street in Oakland.

That was the only thing I bought at the gift shop.

I am a museum gift shop junkie.

I like to get my magnet or my postcard.

Today, though.

Shit.

I almost bought a Polaroid camera!

There is a company, I did not know, that when they heard that Polaroid was no longer going to make the instant camera and film, stepped in and bought the processing plant and the equipment.

It’s called The Impossible Project.

I was pretty smitten.

I mean.

I almost did it.

I almost bought it.

The camera is actually not that expensive.

$150.

The film is a bit though, $20 per packet and you get 10 Polaroids.

I waffled.

I just paid rent.

But.

Heh.

My birthday is coming up and I resolved that I will get myself one.

I would love to bring it to Paris with me in spring.

How amazing would that be?

I also will be getting another camera, a point and shoot digital to replace the one that I finally broke at Burning Man this past burn.

A Fuji Fine Pix.

I priced them about a month ago and they’re a bit expensive, but the one I had before last me 9 years!

I took it with me to 7 Burning Man’s, to Paris three times, Rome once, London once, New York, Los Angeles, I literally took over 10,000 pictures with it.

I probably took triple that, I just realized.

My photo library has over 10,000 photos.

And I am a mean editor, I delete the shit out of my photos, so yeah, I probably shot over 30,000 photos with that camera.

I’ll be getting another one of those, yes please, and thank you.

But.

The Polaroid.

Well.

It truly called to me.

Whispering sweet secrets of my seventies childhood.

I always wanted one when I was a kid.

I never asked.

I didn’t think I would ever get one.

I remember when my cousin got one.

Christmas I think.

That could have been the year that my mom told my sister and I that there was no Santa Claus.

See.

My cousin’s parents were going through a divorce and man oh man was she getting the spoils.

My mom was poor.

God we were so poor.

And there was certainly not going to be a Polaroid under the tree.

We were living with my aunt and my cousin at the time.

My sister shared a room with my mom or my cousin, I can’t remember.

And I slept on a mattress in the basement.

It was horrible.

And there was no Santa Claus.

No.

NO there was not.

So this year.

Hey Santa, I’ve been a really good girl and I’m super grateful for my life and my sobriety and all the amazing things I get to do and be and well, it might help the sadness you know.

If I got a new camera instead of coal.

I know.

It’s early.

But you know me.

Always looking ahead.

Yet.

When I stop and pause and breathe.

I see.

That I have been given the best gift.

The most amazing gift.

The awareness of grace and how I have been snatched from the jaws of insanity, psychosis, and terror.

Hospitals.

Institutions.

Death.

I am grateful beyond my ability to express.

And when I sat on the top of the infinity fountain that spans the view of Yerba Buena park, across from the MOMA, I basked in the sun.

I basked in the light.

I pulled out my postcard.

“Just look how far you have come,” I wrote.

I printed my name and address and stuck a stamp in the corner and dropped it in the mailbox on the corner of 3rd and Mission Street.

Thank you God for my amazing life.

I really am.

The luckiest girl in the world.

Even when I am sad.

Most especially then.

It’s ok.

Because.

I know that I am loved.

 


%d bloggers like this: