Update from the Frozen Tundra...

First off: Many apolgues as to everyone on the email and subscriber lists that got an unfinshed copy of this post... This one's complete!! I hit the wrong button!!!

Current Location- Green living room because my office is frigid with a capital F!!! Snuggled under my favorite lap quilt with a heating pack on my frozen toes (blame hereditary bad circulation issues) listening to the new Yanni album for the seventh time in three days since I downloaded it- trying to ignore the snoring dog to my right and the snoring cat just out of sight in the above photo. As I sit here, I look out the front windows to realize it’s still snowing and there should be a driveway, trees, and mailbox somewhere out there. The wind is blowing so hard the house is humming with each gust. Every now and then, warm sunshine bursts through the windows in a temporary blinding few moments granting added warmth to the house. The washing machine and dryer downstairs have ceased their gentle hum reminding me that at some point I should put away the two loads of clothes away.  But not yet. I have scented wax melts perfuming the house with the scents of green cardamom, toasted coconut, some mysteriously delicious dark flower scent in the bedroom, and bright green fern in the red living room. I just got done vacuuming up the remainders of a brown paper sack sprinkled with catnip that the girls have destroyed and as a method to control the latest outbreak of fruit flies… (Imagine if you will, me waving the wand to the vacuum frantically chasing fling swarms of the little buggers, yelling “Die you bastards die!!! Fly forth into my sucking vortex of death!!!”)

To discuss the topic as of late that has been plaguing my posts here on the ‘ol blog… Bad things and resulting anxiety issues. Things are full on their way to getting a lot better than they were at the tail end of 2015. Like I think I had mentioned- my awesome Mom-in-law bought us a new dryer for Christmas which helped ease the strain of our ongoing laundry crisis. It might seem like “Dude, so you didn’t have a dryer.” And my response was- “Well, yeah, you try drying more than two loads of laundry at once in the basement…” Not a big deal, unless you take into account everything else happening- like my truck dying and forcing Hubby into the servitude of using his labeled like a billboard work truck. We couldn’t even buy wine at the grocery store for fear of someone seeing us loading that into a vehicle labeled “Rustyford Medical Something or other”- just no. A big no no. Add to that- the Jeep Liberty, or Libby as we call her- was having a handful of mechanical issues. Like pissing coolant whenever she wanted to, seriously bad brake clunking, suspension noise… Enough issues that it would throw me into a panic attack each time something bumped, or banged, or clunked, or dripped.

At the beginning of this year- I got the super great news that my studio would be back up and running and I was to be a member once again (and cleaning lady). It felt like a piece of me was returning. Within two days work- a few photographers and the new owners and I put the studios back together, painted new backdrops, glued stuff down, organized the bits and pieces and props and had everything back to normal. So to speak. It feels the same walking into the studios, but not the same. Larry’s laughter will never ring off the walls. Or off color comedy songs will never play from his iPad again… But his memory lives on in the equipment there. He’s still there in spirit, and in a great picture framed and hung in the office now. I dearly miss my friend and mentor- that will cease to be a thing in my life. Another photographer buddy has started editing and posting pictures from our last shoot with Larry at the studio last late fall. I found myself in a ball on the kitchen floor sobbing into Sienna's fur when I saw the first few in a Facebook post.

Last week, thru the grace of someone in the metaphysical upstairs region- we got a loan and were able to buy a new vehicle for Hubby. A 2011 black Impala that has been affectionately named “Baby” after a car in our favorite T.V. show- “Supernatural”. We are, however, still arguing about which one of us is Sam and which is Dean. If I had a choice- I’d be Crowley or Castiel honestly. With the remaining money from the loan we got- we were able to take Libby to my brother’s auto shop and put in a hefty amount of $1100 towards repairs. She now has completely new rear brakes, front wheel bearings, front tie rods, front end alignment, and a new radiator!! They gave her a once over and there are one or two “non-life threatening” things that should get repaired down the line- like two window power regulators so the driver’s side windows will work again and a cooling fan locked in the on position (which is better than locked in the off position, but sucks power and fuel mileage). I no longer have a reason to freak out while driving her. I shouldn’t have any more panic attacks when something bumps or bangs because it’s all been fixed. Now Hubby and I can comfortably go back to taking our weekend or whenever we both have a day off mini roadtrips with Sienna and not panic about what if this breaks? What was that noise? Que panicked Michelle in the passenger seat breathing funny and twitching at every bump in the road.

To recap:
Broken dryer has changed to new dryer!
Studio gone has changed to Studio open again!
My vehicle dead has changed to brand new car for Hubby & fully repaired Libby!!

The only thing that hasn’t changed is my day job. It still sucks. I was clearly not built for a retail job. I do however, have a deeper understanding in how wrong things can go and why the line is slow or longer then it should be. It’s still way more stressful then it should be. But I have gotten into the habit of requesting every other weekend off to assure time away and so as I don’t get stuck working six or seven weekends in a row. Manager’s get rotation in their weekends, so do stockers, but not cashiers??? Bah! I think not! I am a people person, I think. Do I have issues with huge crowds (concerts, the mall, the grocery store on Saturday)? Yes, but that’s always been a thing with me. I have friends! I don’t tend to panic in social situations. But being a cashier and dealing with the 75% of the population that are complete and utter dicks for no reason other than they personally enjoy being assholes to people just doing their job is killing me inside. It’s making me hate humanity on some levels. I am a photographer that mainly photographs people for poops sake! This isn’t a good thing. That’s why I take off four day chunks of time from work at least once a month. Not really a dent to the pay check considering big boss man is completely ignoring the maximum amount of hours I can work a week by scheduling me for double that. I’ve had to explain to him more than once I take those “long weekends” because it’s either me getting away from the store for a while or I quit- Simple as that. Plus ya know, silly me actually wants to spend time with my hubby, my friends and not live within those four cinderblock walls like I swear he does.

Anxiety is still a thing I am dealing with as well. I get uncontrollable fits of rage, I grind my teeth, I have little to non-existent patience anymore, and my clausterphobia has gotten worse, to the point where it isn't only in windowless room or elevators, but in the open (Hubby had be blocked in against a freezer in the grocery sore yesterday and I paniced, hitting the cart hard enough it broke free from his hands and swung out in the aisle). I wake up with a racing heart in a full blown can’t-catch-my-breath attacks in the middle of the night that renders me sleepless for hours before my alarm goes off. I have tummy issues flare up that make me not want to eat- then I get the “hangricidals” (Hangry beyond the point of hangry to the point of homicidal tendencies). I cope with it. Hubby helps calm me down if he’s around and loving deals with it when something trips my panic trigger. Like when we picked up “Baby” he giggled out loud and made a point to show me that you can check tire pressures in the dashboard display. You would be astounded by the level my anxiety can get if I think a tire on a vehicle I am in is too low. I have a fucking tire pressure gauge in my purse!

As a coping mechanism or ways to power down the beast known as Hulk Mechelle- I am back to doing yoga. I am doodling a lot more. I made a coloring book full of naughty swear words, which is awesome!! I dyed the lower half of my hair pink (unfortunately it turned out more smoked salmon then unicorn pink like the box showed) because F**k the work rules on hair color- cherry blossoms are pink!! And Hubby bought me a wooden chest at a junk store a couple weeks ago. I have been slowly peeling paint off it (a lovely shade of puked up Pepto Bismul to find John Deere green), sanding it, coming up with ideas on what to do with it, what colors to paint it (ideas change daily), what to doodle on it (ideas change daily)… Burning and scraping paint off it with the putty knife and heat gun is strangely soothing. Like my anxiety and anger just withers into the blue curl of smoke that lifts into the air. Whatever works, right?

I am also slowly but surely getting back into the photography groove of things too. I’ve had a few amazing shoots recently… For instance- hubby bought me pretty flowers at Horrock's Market in Lansing last week... What do I do? Set up lights in the kitchen table and spritz them with water... Completely normal, right?

These are a few fresh edits from the Snow White shoot I did a while ago... I added some darker tweaks to them and they turned out deliciously dark if you ask me... Which you didn't. I just told you. :)

I ventured back into the world of materity photography for a couple girlfriends of mine. I even body painted snow flakes on their tummies!!!

This was my first shoot back in the studio. My most excellent model friend Savannah wanted to do an Addam's family shoot. Naturally Idragged one of my co-workers into the fold by making him Lruch- including hollowed out facial features!!

Once our goal was accomplished.... We plaed around with the lights... another amazing model friend of mine, and of course. my cheapo fifty cents at Goodwill costume gas mask :)

But in all seriousness- things are on their way up from the borderline rock bottom of a couple months ago… I’m dealing with the monster within me. Hopefully this weekend with a trip to our favorite health food store- we can find me some homeopathic anxiety remedies to start working on that now that most of the external stressors are fixed. Cross your fingers!!!

Did you know you can find me here too??? Message me and get an almost instant response here:

Or get a better idea at what I photograph and how much it costs to hire me!!


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