The Cat Knows

harpo
Harpo laying his head on my arm while I’m working

Almost eight years ago I adopted a kitten. Okay he adopted me, because we all know you never own a cat, they own you.  However this little guy literally reached his paws out to me as I made my second pass through the pound.  How could I resist? I brought him home that day.  He’s not like any other cat I’ve ever been owned by, he’s different.  Different how you ask? He’s intuitive; he understands me and my moods better than just about any human I’ve ever been around.

 

On days I don’t feel well he sticks close by laying against whatever is ailing me at the time, headache, stomach, etc..  At times he will even lay on the part of my body which is hurting at that moment.  I don’t know how he knows, he just does.

Yesterday I had spent much of the day on Facebook (yeah I know, big mistake), but I had nothing really planned, all my work was caught up and I wanted to see what was going on with all the political rhetoric (again a big mistake).  I totally understand everyone has an opinion, and each side think they’re right and try to force it upon the opposition to prove their point, but there comes a time to just stop.

I woke up just not feeling right, kind of in a bad mood.  No one else lives with me, it’s just the cat and I, so I had to backtrack as to what triggered those feelings.  This morning I came to the conclusion of how much the negative noise of social media had really affected me over this past election and inauguration of our 45th President. When I realized Harpo had not slept on my bed or next to me all night, I knew he was sensing something wasn’t right with me.  He came in around 5:30 this morning, jumped up on the bed at the far right corner and barely acknowledged me.

How did this happen?  None of those posts were actually pointed at me, but something did happened at the end of the evening that set me off prior to going to bed.  Someone began verbally attacking one of my friends for something she said on a post I had made because she  didn’t agree with his philosophy, I immediately fired back and removed his post.  Harpo picked up on this and didn’t even sit with me on the couch as he usually does, he snoozed on the floor….totally out of character for him.  Somehow his instincts told him I was in a bad mood and he steered clear of me all night and all this morning.  He didn’t even beg for his breakfast, he waited patiently for me to feed him.  I left the house feeling bad, knowing I had upset my little black & white buddy.  He understands me.  I know he will be back to loving me tonight, I will make sure of it. But my point in all of this is, if a cat can pick up on the negativity, then how is it affecting each of us?  I know I didn’t sleep well, and I obviously was in a melancholy  mood, so now what?  First I prayed, asked for the spirit of negativity to be lifted.  Then I made a decision regarding reading what is on Facebook.  I will keep scrolling, if it’s political in nature, no matter what side it’s on I will steer clear and even hide the posts if needed.  I will not engage in any of the online badgering/bullying that is happening and I will choose to be joyful throughout my day.  This year I chose the word “Intentional” as my word for the year to work on in my own life.  I am going to be intentional in what I post, to make sure it’s free of negative language and to make sure it’s uplifting to whoever reads it.  I choose JOY! And I will listen more to my cat, because he knows.

If you would like to read more in depth on this issue, please visit Karen Zeigler’s post: Light, Love and Letting Go

Be The Change

I am going to go a bit off topic on this blog from what I normally post.  First of all it is my blog so I can get more personal from time to time and today is that time.

I want to address those who are “devastated” by the choice American made for President of the United States.  First he is not the ideal choice….the ideal choice was eliminated early on.  Next I will address what real devastation is.

Real devastation is waking up and finding out your father has passed away, and you are nine months pregnant.  Real devastation is finding out your child has cancer and won’t live to see his/her teen years or even his/her first birthday.  Real devastation is finding out you have cancer and you’re not sure if you can overcome it.  Real devastation is a parent burying their child who has died tragically.  Real devastation is coming back from battle and being treated like a third class citizen; maybe missing limbs and your dignity and dealing with the horrors you experienced in your tenure overseas.  Real devastation is seeing your fellow man being treated as less than human, no matter who they voted for.  Real devastation is experiencing the horrors of a tornado, flood, hurricane or earthquake and have nothing left of your existence that you worked so hard to build.  Real devastation is waking up wondering how you are going to feed your children because you have to pay the rent and you don’t have anything left for food.  Real devastation is finding out someone you love has taken their life. Real devastation is being homeless and not knowing if you will be alive in the morning because of your circumstances.  Real devastation is not having water to drink, try going a day with out any beverage that requires clean water to make.

Wake up…….

If you are upset over how things are going then volunteer.  There are plenty of opportunities for you to help those who need it.  Homeless shelters, soup kitchens, organizations to help those with cancer, nursing homes where people have no family to spend time with or who care about them, volunteer with habitat for humanity and help build someone a home, donate to worthy gofundme causes, pet shelters where animals could use a little love. If you don’t like the political climate then volunteer for your party of choice. There is a whole plethora of other organizations who could use someone ready to make a change in lives.

I have experienced many of the real devastations life has to offer and I am still here, the sun came up and yes they affected me and still affects me, but they have not made me bitter,  instead have allowed me to understand, care and love deeper.

We are the change, not a man in an office.  Love and cherish the people around you.  Feed a homeless person, give them YOUR coat if it’s cold out. Have integrity, show people what it means to be passionate about a cause, but do it in love; be the change.

October Madness

October is the month where my photographic life starts to pick up. With the cooler temperatures come more outdoor events  here in the beautiful state of Florida, specifically South West Florida.  I shoot more concerts, festivals and portraits during the fall & winter months than any other time of the year, and some weeks it’s totally crazy.  I  don’t mind  the crazy because October is what I call my “sad” month; it’s the month my father passed away thirty-three years ago on October 17.  I have written before that he too was a photographer and I know if he could see what I have done with a camera he would be incredibly proud of me, but I miss him.  This is also the month my oldest son Jimmy turns 33; where has the time gone?  I was just a young girl of twenty-four when this all took place, truly a lifetime ago.

I have a lot of wonderful events on the books and I’m sure I’ll be writing more as they unfold, but for now………daddy, this one’s for you.

2013 09 05_Dad and Camera_6057_edited-2
My father Azle Marteney and my first real camera

From Death Comes Life

QuotesThis past couple of weeks I’ve come to the realization once again that loss is a part of life.  As I was doing my thing with taking concert photos a long time friend was coming to terms with the passing of her husband.  I’ve known this couple since the early to mid 70s, they were beautiful together, and a huge part of my teen/early adult life.  Unfortunately his life was taken by the evil affliction of cancer.  I’ve not seen them in years, but I was praying for him daily during his extensive battle, he has now received complete healing of his body; for that we are thankful, but my heart aches for his beautiful wife, children, family and friends who were closest to him; I know he will be missed.  Along with death there is always life, and sometimes something incredibly beautiful, unplanned and definitely unexpected happens.  It’s taken me this entire week to wrap my mind around the circumstances and express in words what I have been experiencing, but because of this friends passing, a lovely friendship which started over forty years ago was rekindled.  I can’t begin to express what I feel about this, except it’s an extraordinary event; what a true  blessing.  Rest in the arms of Jesus Jimmy Steen, and thank you.Quotes-3

 

Photographic Funk

It’s not often I get this way, normally I have lots to share and lots to write about, but lately I have been in a photographic funk.  It’s not something that will last as I have had them before, but I’m having a difficult time getting myself motivated to shoot anything other than concerts, portraits and weddings.  I know these are my true niche because I love the excitement of it all.  Especially the concerts!  I love meeting people and seeing them excited like when I took photos at the Big Ole Bonfire in the Photo booth.  Or meeting the artists and photographing their fans like I did this night at The Ranch (my photos have my watermark on them).  I love seeing the look of excitement on peoples faces when they get to meet their rock star idol like this young man did with Sixx: AM at Fort Rock.  This excites me! Check out more about Fort Rock here on my blog Festival Daze

My funk comes within my own realm of doing photos for myself.  I need to find something outside of my “normal” range of concerts, weddings & portraits to shoot.  I have tried the “photo a day” challenges and I feel bad when I can’t complete a day’s challenge so I stop doing them.  I need something other than beaches and flowers too;  I need something exciting, something that catches not just my interest, but my eyes.  I need to slow myself down and create my own masterpiece, something worth sharing and talking about.  But what would that be?   I’m not really sure.  Do I need a vacation to somewhere other than here? Maybe, or maybe I just need to take in what’s around me and see it in a different way, but how?  I love adventures! I love taking adventures on my own where no one but me dictates how or when.  Maybe I need a day of adventure, to explore somewhere new on my own and to get back within my grove.  Or maybe I need a day with  couple of my friends who are incredible photographers, who are creative and like to think outside the box. I’m sure this will pass quickly as it always does, but in the meantime if you, my readers have any thoughts or suggestions, please comment below.  Until next time, from the Life of a photographer.

 

The Get-Away

Oftentimes we think of a get-away as going off to some exotic destination, but for me it’s time spent alone and/or with family. Some often ask me if they can come along, but I am hesitant for several reasons; I’m on a structured day to day routine with work and any photography I may have after work or any edits, so my personal time is extremely valuable. I really don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment for an entire weekend. I also crave that alone me time, to sit and do nothing, take a nap or go on a drive or hike and not feel responsible for anyone, but myself. If I do ask someone along it’s because I know they can go off an entertain themselves or they understand my need for solitude, mind you I’m not anti-social, I love people and I love talking to them, and finding out their story, however there are times when I simply want to be silent and sit alone and ponder things in my life and clear my mind. That’s the beauty of being solitary for a time. I’m an Introvert and for years considered myself shy, but yet when around friends and people I care for I am as outgoing as any Extrovert I know. Talkative, animated and full of life, the difference is, I don’t feed off of the energy of people around me, I feed off of quiet and solitude, it’s what restores my soul.

With my day job as an administrative assistant, I am either on the phone, or dealing with residents and vendors who stop by, or our employees, so daily I expend a lot of physical and emotional energy. Then you add to that after a full day of work, I go off and photograph concerts with loud music and lots of people and heavy equipment or shooting portraits of individuals and families with children, I have to be “on point” and my energy level must remain high as I am constantly talking and directing, By the time I am ready for some down time, I’m READY! I love being a photographer and I love the excitement of the crowd and the thrill of getting that perfect shot; it’s what drives me daily, but in order to keep going I have to spend time within myself and alone so when I’m asked if someone can join me in my short weekend sabbaticals, I certainly hope they understand why I am hesitant or tell them no. I need the time to recharge my batteries within myself. It makes me better at my work, it gives me clarity to see I’m doing the right thing and it rests my body so that I can keep up the pace set before me. Foggy Morning

It gives me peace.

Maybe Someday…

This year I decided to take at least one weekend per month and either do some day trips or camp.  I really prefer camping because I can incorporate day trips into the camping and that get’s me out and away.  This aways refreshes my soul and helps with my creativity and simply makes me a better me.

I prefer heading to the Everglades, it’s where my soul belongs, even though I left it years ago, I do sometimes long to go back.  The people are fascinating and the stories are many.  I could sit for hours (and sometimes do) listening to the locals talk about the “way it used to be”.  I long for a time much simpler than how I live today.  I could live as a minimalist, in a tiny house somewhere in the woods.  I really don’t need much and I think I would be just fine.  Maybe someday.

I love being outdoors.  I am in an office five days a week for eight hours a day and on the weekend I find I must get out.  When I am camping, I get to sit by a campfire, share a meal with my son and his girlfriend and just do nothing or say nothing if I don’t want to.

Big Cypress-4

I go to bed early and arise as the sun is coming up and the birds are beginning to sing.

Big Cypress-22.jpg

I overheard a camper yesterday lament about how they hated the birds in the early morning, because they woke them up. Really? how can you hate something so magical and beautiful as birds singing in the new day. I could wake to that sound every single day and be ecstatic for another day.  Maybe someday.

Big Cypress-30 (Large)

Coffee is always better when it’s a cold brisk morning and you arise to the sun shining and the birds flitting about and the dewy freshness of a new day.  I so enjoy sitting in the quiet of the morning when I am camping and allowing my body to awaken with nature.  I would love to do this every single day for the rest of my life.  Maybe someday.

I find I don’t miss the television with it’s mundane programming, or the radio blaring; campers around me always seem to have a radio going, and I just don’t understand why? Why do you need that outside element of noise when there is so much more to hear? and if you just look around life is more exciting than anything the television has to offer.  in my short few days, I was able to see a baby raccoon climbing a tree.  Birds feeding, alligators lounging around in the sun trying to get warm after a few chilly nights and I got to experience real conversations with people. I learned so much more than if I had been at home in front of a little box.  I hope to experience this more and more.  Maybe someday.

Big Cypress-17.jpg