On not being a Grinch (AKA who is this person?!?)

Life

Yesterday was kind of weird.

Having moved into this new, strange stage where I’m not automatically feeling depressed about everything, I all of a sudden have found some Christmas spirit. I lost my Christmas spirit about 7 years ago when my Stepfather died and it never really returned. Until now.

Over the weekend I bought a small table top tree from IKEA (we don’t have room in our house for a big tree…or maybe I’m not willing to commit to a big tree. A big tree means I have fully embraced the Christmas spirit and I’m not sure I’m ready to go full on Christmas). Yesterday was the day I decided to dig my Christmas ornaments out of the closet and put them up.

As I did this I found something from my childhood: A set of porcelain carolers that my mom must have given me a few years ago. As I unwrapped them I was filled with the most wonderful feeling. I was instantly taken back to my the living room of my childhood and the weeks leading up to Christmas in my house. We had these, and a number of other decorations adorning the house. I would play with the dolls (very carefully) and was just generally captivated with them. I felt that sense of thrill in the lead-up to Christmas when I was a child, before I found out Santa isn’t real, that magical time.

“What a nice gift, to feel that feeling again, momentarily”, I thought to myself yesterday.

And even as I unpacked the rest of my Christmas ornaments I felt happy as the memories of past Christmases came to mind.

The feeling was still with me as I went to the store. I found myself shopping for the right candles to put in my Christmas candle holders and wondering who I was. I don’t do this type of thing! But it felt good. And as I looked around at all of the other people smiling, looking at the Christmas ornaments for sale, I understood what they were feeling.

Honestly, it was a relief to look at Christmas decorations and not feel irritation. And indeed, maybe even a little bit of happiness. Maybe I’m not a Grinch after all.

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Pinhole on a train

Photography

Here are the last of my Ondu shots from the Scopes meetup at the Chehalis Train museum. Velvia was used for all of these shots.

Red & Yellow

periwinkle & rust

15

Pinholers on a train

After shooting several rolls through the Ondu my feeling is that, while I love using this camera, I am not super thrilled with the softness of the images. I can see how this would be a really cool creative element if you really were going for that look. So knowing how it works I will keep that in mind. However, the camera itself is gorgeous and a joy to use.

On a more personal note…

Life

I’ve been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety on this blog so I thought I would share something positive with you.

A month ago I wrote a blog post about being depressed and anxious about the election. My mom read the post and sent me a text suggesting I go get my thyroid tested because she was recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She said that as soon as she started taking medication for it her depression left her and she felt good. She also went on to tell me that this runs in my family, my grandmother also had it. And to further the case for my getting tested, I had to be monitored as a child for an enlarged thyroid.

Well this was all news to me. Getting my thyroid checked would never in a million years have occurred to me.

So I made an appointment the next day. I told my doctor I was battling depression and anxiety and told her I wanted to get my blood tested for hypothyroidism. She scheduled the test for that day, but she also made an appointment for me to see a therapist for the depression. She said that she would call me in a few days and that we would either talk about medication for hypothyroidism or depression, depending on the results of the test.

In the meantime I went to the appointment with the therapist. She is a behavioral therapist, which I really liked, because it game me practical ways of dealing with it. I’ve never been to a therapist before. I’ve always been afraid to see the doctor for my depression. But after the first visit I already felt better. I felt like I had some tools to help me deal with it. I felt much more in control. I’ve seen her a few more times and I have one more appointment tomorrow. Seeing a behavioral therapist was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself and I am really glad I’ve had this opportunity.

I realized that I kind of tricked myself into going to the doctor for depression. If my mom hadn’t suggested the hypothyroid test I would have never gone an I would never had gone to therapy. That is just sad, I realize.

In the meantime, the results came back from the blood test and it turns out that I have hypothyroidism. She prescribed the medication for it and I’ve been taking it for about two weeks now. I noticed results in two days. Oddly, that was the week of the election.

As you know, the election results hit me pretty hard and that first Wednesday I was pretty messed up, mental health wise. But I noticed that I bounced back from it very quickly. Which is odd for me. I tend to swim around in the depths of the darkness for a long time and it takes a LOT to pull myself out of it. In this case, it really didn’t take any effort to pull myself out of it at all. A very foreign feeling for me, but wow. really nice. Now I feel like I have the strength and energy to fight.

So that is what is going on with me. I feel like a completely new person. It’s sort of weird. I am not sure I know this person because for years and years I have been this other person who lived with the feeling of everything being such a big struggle. I have a feeling, though, I am gonna like this new me. She seems awesome. ­čÖé

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About the featured image:

This is a pinhole photo taken with my Zero Image 4×5 pinhole camera, a camera that uses large format film. The exposure was long enough for me to sit on one side of the table for half of the exposure time, and then move to sit on the other side of the table for the second half of the exposure time.

I hear the train a comin,’ It’s rolling round the bend, And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when

Books, Music, Art, Movies, Photography

My next series of pinhole shots come from a meetup of the Seattle Camera Obscura Photography Enthusiasts Society in Chehalis at the train museum. I took a crazy amount of shots that day: three rolls of film! That is a lot for me. Here are a few from the roll of Acros 100. I used my Ondu MKii for these.

It's comin' round the bend

I hear a train a comin'

Chehalis

No Parking

And here is a video of an amazingly talented woman singing Folsom Prison Blues in her backyard:

This is Caroline Hecht. She played at the Sandy Library a couple of years ago and she is amazing. I highly recommend her album, Swallowed by Swells.

Now we fight

Thoughts and Opinions

My iPhone seems to have taken on a personality of it’s own the past few days and decided to, randomly, play protest songs for me. It has been kind of weird but it has also brought a smile to my face and has emboldened me to fight against hate. I’ve lovingly referred to this as my iPhone’s “Fight the Power” playlist. Here it is so far.
Renegades of Funk. Rage Against The Machine

If the Kids Are United. Sham 69

All You Fascists. Billy Bragg and Wilco

White Riot. The Clash

 

Megalomaniac. Incubus

Like everyone else, I am moved to do what I can to support those doing good in the world. I don’t have a lot of extra money at the end of the month so I am trying to be intentional about where it goes. I have already set up a monthly donation to Planned Parenthood because that is just a no-brainer. They provided me with health services when I was in my twenties when I didn’t have health insurance so I owe that organization a huge debt of gratitude. I should have been donating before now!

I feel that I really need to support good journalism right now. Freedom of the Press is one of our greatest rights and I want to support it. At the moment I am trying to decide which paper I am going to subscribe to. I am leaning toward the New York Times because I have always admired the journalism there.

I am also planning on making donations to the ACLU and the NRDC.

And because I am committed to promoting peace in this world I have re-subscribed to Tricycle so I can be exposed to ALL OF THE DHARMA.

I am fired up and ready to fight. And, apparently, I have the approval of my iPhone.


About the featured photo:

I was trying to find a suitable photo for this post ┬áand came across this photo I took in Dublin. I can’t remember who the artist is but here is a video of him putting it up, and here is a better shot of it on IG. I keep seeing ADW Art associated with the piece. ┬áThe piece is a response to the Dublin coat of arms and it’s motto (according to the video).

I love it.

For you photography geeks: I used my Olympus XA and Tri-x film for the shot.