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let me be an instrument of peace

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I am not a Christian or (for that matter) a Catholic but I read this prayer from St Francis this morning and I liked it so I am sharing it.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
St. Francis of Assisi.

I feel like this is especially relevant today with all of the hate that seems to be pervasive lately. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the practice of cultivating kindness. I feel like the world needs more kindness right now.

Strangers On A Train

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When I scanned some black and white 4×5 a few weeks ago I remembered that I’d shot a couple of sheets of large format pinhole at the Chehalis train station during the SCOPES meetup. Here is the one that I liked from the two.


Geeky bits:

Camera: Zero 45 (25mm configuration)
Exposure Time: ? Probably 5 seconds.
Film: Illford Delta 100
Stand developed for 1 hour in Adonal.

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

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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.

Pinhole on a train

Ondu 6x6 M2 + Velvia 50 @ 3 seconds.

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

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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…

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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.πŸ™‚

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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.