Category Archives: 7 Days

7 Days, Creativity, Onwards

A Goodbye to 7 Days

7 days alternate: last one

Today was our last chance ever to get together for a 7 Days group shot. Things like this are always difficult to do during the holiday run since everyone is always busy or out of town or sick. And today we were missing a few people for various reasons, but those of us who could got together one last time at the beach. When I started this all those years ago, I never expected I’d end up on a beach with a group of amazing people I shared this whole 7 Days experience with. I just figured it would be a fun thing to do. In the end it changed my life.

It also changed my photography. It was this group that inspired me to buy a DSLR, and that challenged me to always have something interesting to show off. Back in college the alternative processes were always my favorite part of photography. I loved working with the sepia, solarizing prints, or using oil paints to enhance a photo. The same is true today. I’ve done through the viewfinder photos, multiple exposures. I’ve used creative lenses and filters, iPhone techniques, and underwater cameras. I’m not sure where I’ll find the inspiration to keep trying new things, but I don’t want to stop.

7 Days: Day 7 (Guess What Else I Got?)

7 Days: Day 3 (Help from the Holga)

7 Days: Day 3 (Pink Hat)

7 Days: Day 1 (Kayak Adventure)

7 days: Day 2 (Inside. Also a Floaty Hand.)

As I looked around at my friends today on the beach, each setting up their shot, testing the light, hooking up remotes, each in their own world of preparation while chatting all together, I got the sense of that melodic cacophony of an orchestra warming up. And by the time I thought to start rolling video, most of that was finished, but I took some anyway and came home and, in the spirit of learning new things, threw together a quick iMovie video which you can see here.

Thanks, everyone, for being here always. To the future!

You can see the whole set here.

7 Days

Shower Scene

7 Days Final Run: Day 6 (Shower Scene)

I do not have a Thing about showers. I have very carefully never watched Psycho and I am far more afraid of an earthquake (KNOCK WOOD, OKAY, UNIVERSE?) happening while I’m in the shower than of being murdered in there. And yet. Every single day when I go to get out of the shower I see a pair of feet just outside the door. And every single day I nearly pee my pants and scream.

IT’S MY REFLECTION. Every day I scream at MY OWN FEET.

You may also be amazed at my gracefulness when I tell you that I sliced my finger earlier this week doing laundry.

Thank God I’m cute.

PS. No I do not wear literal pants in the shower. Just figurative ones.

7 Days, Children of Hoarders, I Own a Home. WTF?

Evolution of My Living Space

7 Days Final Run: Day 5 (Season's Greetings From My Home)

I think threeish years ago I started taking birds-eye views of my living room for 7 Days shots. Tonight I took the final one. It went from a place where I felt very trapped and suffocated by all the clutter (as an adult child of a hoarder this is a really sensitive thing for me) to a place warmed by red walls and cozy and welcoming.

7 Days: Day 6 (Peek Into My Chaos)
December 2010

I’ve moved a few times in my life and I’ve always kind of enjoyed it. A new place holds a kind of excitement. But moving to this place back in September has been actually surprisingly difficult for me. Maybe because I hadn’t moved for like 14 years, or maybe because I actually own this place and that alone was a huge step. Or maybe because any of the 467 other things that were happening this fall heightened my anxiety. I don’t know. But people would ask me how my new house was and even though I knew I was happy to be here, I also had incredibly amounts of anxiety about it. In the last month or so I’ve finally started to feel like I’m settling in, and seeing this living room makes me really, really happy.

7 Days: Day 2 Looking Down on My New Space
March 2011

Now if only these &*%$! &%!!@#&% &@$%!& !!@!! @$#!&! ants will die I can see myself being happy here for a long time. If they won’t die, I’ll just have to move to Canada.

7 Days: Day 4 (Chocolate)
December 2011

PS. those extra shots in the collage up top there were after I’d taken about 50 shots I didn’t love so I was getting a little loopy. And by “loopy” I mean “hilarious”.


7 Days, Just Life

Then and Now. 7 Days.

7 Days Final Run: Day 4 (Then and Now)

Seven years ago I took part in a self-portrait project. It was, I think, inspired by the various 365 projects that were popular at the time, but only required a week’s participation at a time, four times a year. Just my speed! Over the course of the years I got to know new people, and I brought some of my friends from other areas of my life into the group. Some of the people I met or got to know better through the 7 Days group have become very important to me. In fact, as I write this I am sitting Bethany’s living room while I make use of her laundry facilities (my dryer decided to take the day off today). In fact fact, I’ve spent like almost all the last week with Bethany and her family. They are sure to get bored of me any moment now.

Seven years is a long time. When I started this project my little one wasn’t even two and my daughter was about to be five. They are so different now (although my daughter looks exactly the same somehow). Through these last years of this project so much of life has happened. Marriages began and ended, babies were born, people moved, friendships were forged, relationships changed. But babies were born, man. Like where there once was no human, now there is a human. What? How does that even happen? (Don’t answer that, I actually know how it happens. I’m being deeply philosophical here, smartass.)

It seems so random that a chain of events of various importance could lead me to this group which had such an impact on my life. And on my laundry.

And now the project is coming to an end. I understand it, but I feel sad about it. An era is ending. There is so much I still wanted to share with these people. And many of them have become a part of my life so they will share those things, but that particular community will be gone and I will miss it.

7 Days, Local

An Impromptu Tour of a Local Theatre

(So I uploaded this photo and now I feel like I’m sort of a Who overachiever or something. I guess I just got REALLY into my role what with the extra fancy posture and stuff. THESPIANS FOREVER WOO!)

7 Days Final Run: Day 3 (An Impromptu Tour of the Old Globe)

My friend Elaine works at a local (and very important) theatre. Bethany and I swung by today to visit and take one last 7 Days picture together and Elaine took us all on a tour of the place. There are actually three separate theatres on this location – one outdoors, one in the round, and the main one in the style (at least on the outside) of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The kids and I have actually been on a tour there a few years ago with a homeschool field trip group. But honestly this was better. Not only because I got to spend time with a friend I don’t see enough, but because she’s a fantastic tour guide and is, maybe, more intimately involved with the theatre than a volunteer docent.

Obviously this theatre is currently set up for the yearly holiday production of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, but we did not steal anything. Except the show.


I’m sorry. It’s late and I maybe overdid it today with a lot of walking. My ovary was very angry at me by the time I got home to curl up with my babies and watch the Muppet Christmas Carol (arguably the best version since the actual original).

7 Days, I Own a Home. WTF?, KITTIES!, This Shit is Thursday as Fuck

I’m just a *little* homicidal.

7 Days Final Run: Day 2 (Preparations for Game Night)

Today was the first day in probably 100 years that I haven’t had anything that absolutely MUST be accomplished. Aside from the minor genocide of the ant colony in my kitchen, of course. So I didn’t actually get moving until 4pm. Oops. Or yay. One of those.

So my murderous preparations didn’t go as planned because it was harder to find food grade diatomaceous earth than I’d expected (in large part because when I’d called ahead Home Depot told me incorrectly that they carried it). Tomorrow I’ll try a feed store.

Instead we prepared to play Clue. Which is also about murder, actually. And, as it turned out, I was the murderer. I was hoping the game night spin on this theme might prove to be more light and Christmassy. I’m a brutal killer either way, I suppose. Festive!

Bonus for blog-readers. A photo of a very pouty kitten who’s not allowed to play with the game pieces which are clearly THE BEST TOYS EVER.

mean humans won't let the poor kitty play with the fancy toys

7 Days, Philosophy, Spirituality, This Shit is Thursday as Fuck

Yule Blessings



(I think I’m dating myself by speaking in lolcat. I mean. That was SO four years ago. All the cool kids these days speak doge. Basically I’m internet-ancient.)

The world just will not let up. As soon as I was finished with my finals I had to do holiday shopping (so far I’ve only done my kids. have not even begun to think about other people yet. oy). Then a water filter sort of exploded under my kitchen sink which – in the grand scheme of plumbing issues – wasn’t THAT big of a deal, but it left me without water in the kitchen for a few days while I learned how to fix it (almost) myself (a friend helped by replacing the waterlogged wood for me). THEN. I got a mysterious pain in my side which I still don’t really know what to do with, but it was briefly accompanied by a fever so I had to decide whether to go to the ER or not. The pain is still around, the fever is gone and the pain is very different now, but I’m still not really sure how to handle this. In between all these things I’ve had two fairly major paperwork things to accomplish which took up a lot of time and energy.

I know. This is the most boring kind of entry ever. (Does it help to know that I nearly just wrote “the most borking entry”?) I just can’t help myself because I MEAN REALLY WITH THE NEVERENDING STUFF NEVER ENDING WHAT EVEN THE HELL ALREADY? Someday when I look back and think to myself, “GOD why was I such a big whiner in 2013?” I will have these entries to remind me that 2013 was, indeed, a fucking motherfucker.

But this is the longest night. Figuratively (DEAR GOD I HOPE) and literally. The sun is reborn today and the Northern Hemisphere heads back towards summertime.

I think there are two aspects of Paganism that really speak to my soul. The holidays that coincide with the beginnings of each season are the most powerful to me spiritually because they mark a literal cosmic moment in which the Earth’s position in the solar system and on its axis cause an effect on Earth’s seasons. This morning, at 9:11 in my time zone, the Earth was tilted at its farthest from the sun and began to wobble back the other direction. To know that, to picture it, to meditate on it, connects me to the Universe like nothing else. This is how I feel the glory of Nature on Earth and beyond – through science. It is humbling and exhilarating all at once. Connecting with nature, Earth, the Universe, in every way from a simple hike to a holiday celebration is what feeds my soul.

The other aspect is the spiritual and psychological work. This is where metaphor and myth come in. Gods and goddesses, I believe, are as real as you need them to be. In mythology they are facets of the human psyche and the stories are the keys to understanding who we are. To say a prayer, to burn some sage, to participate in any ceremony is holy because it is stating an intention. An intention to connect with the Universe (or any name you choose to call your Source), to cleanse your energy, to focus on the past, present, and future. This is how I do my work to grow emotionally and spiritually.

night before

My life has been chaotic so my ceremonies have been simple. We watched the sun rise on his birthday; this year Bethany’s family joined us. We feasted on bacon and sausage, biscuits with clotted cream, coffee, and cherry cider. I find prayer in every little action. In decorating the tree. In taking pictures of the sun rise or of our breakfast. In wrapping gifts and setting them under our artificial tree. In walking around at night with the neighborhood, looking at all the festive lights, guiding humanity through this dark time of year. But simple ceremonies are no less valid than elaborate ones, and, in fact, I find that looking for prayers in my every day actions increases the meanings of the prayers themselves. Looking for prayers is another prayer.

Whoa. Meta.

breakfast at dawn

And so the days grow longer, even though we won’t notice that right away. I am hoping this will apply metaphorically to my life as well. Because I am tired. And I have a break from school right now, but it is only for a few weeks and I am afraid that won’t be as much time as I need to finally catch up. Or to, you know, stop my body from developing a new problem every week. And if not, I guess we can just give in to my elderliness and celebrate my 80th birthday in February.

Happy Solstice! Here’s to sunny days and celebrations (and quiet moments) with friends!


(PS. This was actually a 7 Days post. It’s the last run. Ever. *sniff* That last picture there is my official 7 Days post today.)

7 Days, The Zebra, This is a Woman

Reasons to Work Out (7 Days: Day 6)

I’ve been working at this body image thing for awhile now. Probably since I was first told I was fat, around eight years old (and a couple of years ago I came across some pictures of me as a kid, and you guys? I was a skinny little thing at that age. The fuck with people telling me I was fat? STABBY STABBY STABBY).

Me as a child, not fat:
me, my grandparents, and the thingie my grandpa made for the fair

I didn’t know how to sort it out at that age, but my brain was screaming out that they were wrong. I struggled with knowing what the actual factual truth was, and still feeling less worthy of being a human because of how I thought I looked. It’s evolved a lot in the last 27ish years, and I know much better now how to love myself than I used to. And, yet, I keep finding these new layers, and each time I get to that level I feel like I have all the work yet to do. It is both energizing and exhausting.

Recently as I was leaving the gym, proud of myself for having worked hard, I thought to myself, “Even if I always stay fat, at least I’ll be fit.”

And then a little voice, from the back of my brain bravely spoke up and repeated a line I’d already read and nodded furiously in agreement with in many a fat acceptance blog.

But. So what if you’re not fit?

Because I am still holding onto that desperate need to be accepted and respected by everyone always.

And, yes, I know how unrealistic that is. But it’s my core operating system. It’s a bullshit core operating system, but it takes a lot of work and a lifetime to reprogram a core operating system.

So the thing hit me: I’m still working out for other people. I may have detached the weight loss itself from my exercise routines, but apparently only with the catch that I have to at least be in good shape. Cause that’ll show ’em.

Here’s a list of things I thought I liked about working out, but it turns out, none of these things are about me at all:
~Not being out of breath when I have to climb a flight of stairs around people who might think I’m just a fat fatty.
~Not being out of breath when I run and play with my kids. So strangers at the park won’t judge me.
~Going to the gym regularly to prove that some people are just fat no matter how much they exercise.
~Secretly wanting to be at least a little bit less fat. To show them.

Dear Me,
It’s not their business. Ignore them. You’re awesome.

So here’s a list of things I actually do love about working out:

~Lifting weights and watching myself grow stronger.
~Doing harder cardio and watching myself grow stronger.
~Getting all sweaty and gross. No, really. I love that.
~Being able to do the more strenuous hikes without my head feeling like it’s trying to explode for lack of oxygen.
~Feeling good overall. Happier, more awake, less foggy. Regular exercise does this for me.

I’m going to keep those in mind and I’m going to do my best to live by them, to keep me motivated to exercise for me.

I’ve been a member of this gym now for almost a year and, while I certainly haven’t gone regularly, I’ve avoided that perfectionist attitude of, “well, I haven’t gone for a few weeks now so I just give up and when my contract is up I’ll cancel.” Instead I just go when I can, or sometimes just when I do.

And so what if I don’t? Well, now I know – on a conscious level, at least – that it won’t make me a failure.

I don’t have to be fit any more than I have to be thin. My personal value doesn’t rest upon size or fitness. It doesn’t rest on my health. It also doesn’t rest upon beauty, or intelligence, or sense of humor. I am valuable because I am a person. End. of. story.


(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)

7 Days

7 Days: Day 5 (I Dream in 3D)

7 Days: Day 5 (Sleeping in 3D)

Found these at Target in the Dollar Spot awhile back and bought them immediately because Tenth Doctor. And then I saved them especially for 7 Days. I totally forgot about them last run, but that turned out to be just perfect since today’s theme requires that my photo be inspired by movies. Win-win. Or maybe win-win-win. I lost count.

(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)

7 Days, Edumacation, The Zebra

Back to School (7 Days: Day 4)

7 Days: Day 4 (Studying)

(7 Days is a quarterly self-portrait group project I have taken part in for the last sixish years. One selfie a day for a week.)

So here’s news: I’m a student again. I’m tentatively excited about this. Tentatively? Yes. Because there are still some challenges to overcome. Things like, how many online classes can I take? And if I need to take an in-person class, where do I put the children while I do that? But I am going to keep moving ahead and hoping that doors will open, even if I have to adjust which hallways I take to find said doors. OK. That metaphor got a little awkward.

Another challenge is what to do about my pervious transcript? When I was younger and in college, for so many, many reasons, I didn’t do very well in too many of my classes (mostly for lack of stopping attending than anything else). This might come back to bite me in the ass now for things like financial aid. While I understand the reasons, and while I’m glad I don’t have to start from scratch, it is a little bit frustrating that things that happened seventeen years ago might have a negative impact on my future now. But that’s just a thing. I am going to keep moving forward the best I can.

The thing that needs to be decided now is which direction? My current two favorites for major are English and psych. In fact I am currently registered as a psych major, but I’m not tying myself to it just yet. I know that no matter what I do, I want writing to remain a part of my life. I would love to support myself by writing, in one way or another, but I feel like I can do that with either major. I think that a psych major would provide maybe slightly clearer job choices than an English major and I do much better with things that are less ambiguous. I feel like I have a natural inclination towards psychology and I really enjoy understanding it. I think I could make a good counselor someday because I am able to detach myself my a situation and to see all sides of it.

More than that, perhaps, I want to understand my mother better. When she died two years ago I discovered, in reading through her medical records, that she’d been diagnosed as bipolar. I don’t think that was right, though (she never had a manic episode, ever). I am not sure why the strange diagnosis – perhaps she presented herself falsely to her doctors, or perhaps that was a diagnosis they gave her for simplicity’s sake so that she could continue to receive her disability services. I think she had some sort of personality disorder coupled with lifelong depression and perhaps repressed memories of sexual abuse. I feel driven to understand her. I don’t know if this is guilt for having been estranged from her, or guilt from just being alive when she’s not, or a deeper, primal need to understand her in order to better understand myself. And I don’t know if that is a good reason for choosing a major. But I also don’t know that it’s a bad reason.

And so I stand here at this crossroads in my life, and try to make the best decisions for me and for my future. And I feel very old, at 35, to be here only now. I regret that I missed all these years of possible education or career-having. Of course, I also realize that, without all these years, I’d never be who I am today, or even know who I am. The major I had back in 1996 wasn’t one I ever took seriously. I actually had no vision whatsoever for a future. When I was 18, I was so wounded that there was no honest way for me to see where I needed to go. I’m in a much better place today, thank god.

So, for today at least, I’m sitting down to read some Poe. And someday I’ll be able to say I’m a college graduate. Cause I can’t physically say it right now.

So what do you think? How did you decide on a major? Do you think having a personal agenda is a good or bad thing in terms of major/career choice?