Co-inky-dinks

Good morning! It’s Thursday and here I am walking down memory lane. Lonestar is singing Walking in Memphis and it’s just about to get to my favorite part of the song, you know where Muriel plays piano every night at the Hollywood…and Muriel asks the singer “Tell me are you a Christian child?” and the singer belts out “Ma’am I am tonight!” I know this song word for word down to the growls and other nuisances of the various singers that have covered this Marc Cohen song. I know there are so many mixed feelings about karaoke – either you love or you hate it. I loved doing it and met so many people while I was out. Hard to believe but I was kind of a loner and would go out by myself. That is how I met most people after a few failed, short lived relationships. I knew that as the Mom of four kids it was going to be hard to date. So, I kept that side of my life as private as possible, except for one brief misstep which lasted for about 7 months. My kids would not know another man living in their house and sacred space while they lived with me. I never went searching for someone to take care of me or them as they had a father and good one that loved them. The man that I had date briefly wiggled his way into our lives quickly. Once I got over the whole thing and realized this guy was not good for my kids and me, we parted ways. To me, I knew that it was going to be a long road by myself, but I knew it was for the best. I learned about me and others. Now Journey is singing “In the heat with the blue jean girl burning love comes once in a lifetime…” Do I believe in burning love? No. Unless, it involves antibiotics then love shouldn’t burn. To me, love needs simmer and sit a little on the fire and soak in all the vibrant flavors of life just the way it did with hubby and all those years we were both leading our separate lives but traveling on the same road that lead us to where we are today. In this short time that hubby and I have been back together we have covered many miles and look forward to where ever our uncharted journey goes. Luckily for us in our daily journey for happy food, we met a Saint, well not really a saint but a man that was aptly name Luke. Luke from Santa Monica. You know how I have mentioned that I do not believe in coincidences, well after yesterday, I know that I witnessed some divine intervention in action. To you Luke, from Santa Monica, thank you! Merci! Arrigato! Muchas gracias! You saved a life or I should say lives yesterday. Was it coincidence that you had sat there behind us and then later mentioned that you had Youtubed the Heimlich maneuver just recently. I can’t make this shit up, really. So, thank you again, Luke, from Santa Monica.

I took this photo of Santa Monica Pier circa 2013

There I go again, looking at old photos as I knew I had few of the Santa Monica Pier. I miss that place. I had worked at Lenscrafters at the Santa Monica Place mall around 1999-2001. Whenever I had a bad day I used to go and play Skee-ball. Besides singing, the other thing that I used that was medicinal was Skee-ball. I could play for hours. I remember I had lots of little trinkets that I collected over that couple of years. I am craving a trip there and soon!!

I mentioned earlier, it is Thursday and that means Country Night at the Lit Lounge! Tonight is another group tat i have been following for the past few years, JB & the Big Circle Riders. He puts on an entertain show of old country tunes. His band though, they are all talented musicians and I can only imagine that they have played bigger venues with big music stars. That is just me painting a picture in my head. That hamster wheel in my head is always spinning.He plays mostly in Southern California from what I have seen through social media. the other cool thing is that I follow the band and the singer posts updates about what he is working on and it’s interesting. I was totally hooked when he had started posting video of his drone photography. It was interesting because, he had just gotten it the drone and posted some of the mishaps while he was learning all of it’s functions. Real life, there is nothing better, right?

I photographed the drone at my nieces wedding last year. It was fascinating.

To any of you joining me for the first time. I am currently working on a project to showcase the talents of people that live with chronic pain. Why am I doing this. I am hoping to meet others like me that deal with chronic pain and use creative outlets to get them through. You can go to www.yourpainisshowing.com for more info. Maybe your story can inspire others. I set up an Inspiration page for anyone to contribute to with their art and tell a little or a lot about their pain story. I am still looking for the next artist to showcase. All photos on the front page will be chosen by artist and the gallery will feature the artist and their story. Fingers crossed that someone is willing to share. I haven’t set up an official Facebook page or IG but for now all posts will be coming from @keenfern_photography and the Keenfern Photography website.

Have a wonderful day where ever you are today. Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you again.

Pipe Dreams

Good morning to you where ever in he world you are today! This weekend has been nice especially since we got a tiny bit of relief from the heat. Today, we go back into “Heat Advisory” mode with temps here in the desert expect to reach 118 degrees for a few days. I am loving the nice mornings that I get in the pool working on getting my core strengthened. It feels good to push a little farther everyday. Also, I can walk a little longer without the aid of my cane. In a few weeks I hope to be strong enough to walk around with out the cane or walker at the Brian Wilson and the Zombies concert at Fantasy Springs. If all goes well and I make it through that night, it will be one more item off of my bucket list. Yeah, a few years ago I had other hopes but know that I have to modify my thinking. I did have aspirations of getting real, pro-gigs shooting concert photography but after all that has happened I know that I need to focus on other things. Like not tripping over my feet and staying upright. So, if all goes well, it won’t be the last concert I am able to acquire the proper passes and I can lug my kit with me instead of hiding my Nikon in my Baggalini.

These are a few of my practice shots with the Sony A7 taken this past week.

Oh my gosh! Thank you Deana Carter for the laugh. I totally forgot about this song and can totally relate to this song. So often I have wanted to say Did I shave my legs for this?” and can totally relate as I am having issues bending. Yeah, no more gymnastics for me…not really, but yeah. I cringe at the thought of my racing stripes of hair on my legs that I can’t reach or it because it hurts too much. So, yeah, you can bet if I am going to shave my legs it better be for something good! There are even somethings my vanity can’t control. However, on the bright side, I am getting back to my dark skin of my youth when I was very tan as I spent most of my days outside in the sunshine. My new tan skin kind of camouflages the stubble. Swimming has been a lifesaver for me. Everyday I push farther to see how many minutes I can swim without stopping. Happy to report that I have went from two minutes to 15 minutes. The goggles and the swim-ear plugs that I ordered will be here soon as it will make it easier to keep going. Luckily, there is such a thing as muscle memory and I am able to stay in form while I breast stroke my way toward healing. Besides, the water feels amazing! I could float on my back for hours if the sun wouldn’t be so bright.

I posted the shots that I using for my fundraiser below. It took me so long to figure out which one to use as I am so critical of my own work. I love everyone else’s work but really am afraid to put myself out there. I think rejection is the biggest fear I have. This may be why I don’t seek out followers or follow everyone’s work. I am slowly getting over it and putting on my IDGAF panties and am going to keep moving forward.

This was shot December 2017 on Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs, CA with model Analisse Lagunes.

This shot was taken January 2019 and features model Ashley Reinke.

I did get one person to share a little of her Pain Story. She has Multiple Sclerosis and she shared with me the struggles as well the good stuff that she is doing. I added an Inspiration Page for anyone to share to the Your Pain is Showing project. She also shared her Haiku! I love it and I love her more for participating. You really can’t judge a book by it’s cover. I had no idea of her struggles as she is so happy and positive. She really is an inspiration!

Dulce also added and it is an important reminder about people with chronic illness and chronic pain.
 “I would like to add that MS does stop me.  It stops me more often than I wish but I keep going when I can and stop when I can’t.  I no longer know a day without numbness and pain.  Some days are very very bad but everyday I have some pain.  I’m just used to it now.  Honestly, I don’t know what I would do if I wasn’t in some low level of pain. But I think I am just so used to it now.  But isn’t that the point with these diseases and issues with our nervous system and spinal cord?  We adapt.  Our disease does not stop our desire to live, at least on most days.”

When I read her added wisdom, I cringed at her statement, “But I think I am just used to it.” I cringe because I tried to explain that to my Physical Therapist and he said, “You are not used to your pain, it’s just getting better.” Really? I beg to differ with the physician’s and agree with Dulce, yes, you do and can get used to it. The best way to describe my theory in pain and getting used to it is this, try walking with a small pebble in your shoe and you have no where to stop and remove it. At some point during your walk with the pebble in place, you will begin to notice that the pain or sensation of it starts to diminish. I am sure that there are others that can not overlook a little pebble but can bet that there are thousands of people walking around ignoring their own little pebbles in there proverbial shoes. My hope and dreams are that more physicians and medical personal can look beyond their book sciences and really study the effects of pain. Not all of us suffering are addicts or embellishing our symptoms. I know I got defensive with my past doctors that labeled me as depressed but depression is also very painful, from what I have been reading. I get that. We really do just want relief. If you are reading this and want to share something about you please do! Maybe you can inspire others. So far, so good, the website is getting visitors from around the world and this is with me doing minimal advertising or promoting as my own pain issues only allow for me to spend so much time at my desk and on my phone.

To reader, thank you for stopping by and reading! I really do appreciate it as it has helped me and some of my issues. Have a wonderful day and hugs.

If you build it

Good evening where ever in the world you are. Today I set my website Your Pain is Showing on the world as I need help. Part of the reason that it took so long was my own insecurities. However, I knew it was time to start moving forward with it before I talked myself out of doing it. I am hoping to meet other artists and people that deal with chronic pain or illnesses or grief. Only four years ago my hubby was recovering from surgery for colon cancer and I remember that he had only been home a short time when he picked a guitar up and started playing. I noticed he played often when I knew he was hurting. That always stuck with me and didn’t really think that I was using my hobby to relieve pain. Now I realize that yes, I was using my camera to drown out the pain and sometimes help when I was out watching hubby’s band play. Sometimes I am uncomfortable around people and yes, social anxiety can be painful, sometimes crippling. Anyhow, here is a short video explaining my story and the goal of the pain project. However, I am becoming more social when I am out even as painful as it is. So my hobby has helped in many ways.

These are some of the photos I have taken in the past two years.

If you are reading and you are interested in helping or would like to be included in the project, you can contact me here or email info@keenfern.com. I am not looking to profit on this or anyone’s pain. My goal is to raise money for the Cauda Equina Foundation. This group is making strides in educating physicians to the red flags of this syndrome. Everyday, there are people silently or maybe not so silently suffering from this Syndrome and have been waiting to be properly diagnosed. I was one of the people and waited over 10 years for relief. Honestly, there were times that I was amazed that I woke up in the morning as I had tried to drown out the pain with what ever drug and vice I could get my hands on. Luckily for me, interventions helped and luckily I intervened for myself just prior to surgery when I demanded to see a different doctor who finally got me to where I need to go for the right treatment.

Thank you for reading and I hope to find some artists out there to interview and showcase on the site. People that would like to get their story out there and show off their work, sing their songs. Where ever you are have a good night and sleep well.

March On

Hello there and good morning or good day where ever in the world you are. Thank you to the new subscribers and all the readers that stop by for a visit! I am still trying to figure out me and the blog and the direction that it will be going. Last August was an exciting month as I recall. Yesterday, I posted photos from a JBLZE concert and today as I look through more files I see that last August was very busy. The Ghosts of Kelso had a few gigs and I had I traveled to Federal Way, Washington to see my niece get married. I do need to start studying these as I will be shooting a wedding in September for the child of a dear high school friend. I spoke with her Mom a few weeks after my surgery and she asked the question I get from many of my friends and family, “How much do you charge for a wedding?” We talked for a bit and I happily agreed to photograph the wedding as she mentioned that her daughter liked the photos I took of a friends wedding. In my head I already knew what the cost would be and how many hours I would need to put into it. It was going to cost nothing but my time and effort as cards prices are dropping. I could never charge a family or friend, ever!!! The memories that I hold from high school and of the brides father are priceless and I thank him and his wife for being my friend through all the years and miles. Just the fact that they are inviting hubby and I to their daughters wedding was enough of an honor. I really would like to visit the area before the wedding to get a feel for the layout and lighting during the wedding time and the reception so I can be sure to get any issues out of the way. Why am thinking about this and preparing. I am not a trained wedding photographer nor am I planning on making a career out of it. Below are photos from my first attempt at shooting a wedding, again, that also was for a high school friend.

That day, I was all over the place. I worried about getting in the shots of the other photographer that was a complete surprise to me when I arrived to take her photos. She must have been a pro as she was all up in the areas that I wanted to shoot. So, me used to having to shoot photo on the sly at concerts, I went into stalker mode and started shooting from the outskirts of the wedding. Really, as I look at these photos, I am looking at candid memories not staged or posed. Like when shooting live music, I can never tell an artist to “hold that pose please.” I love when I actually capture a natural pose and it tells a story.

Then a few weeks later I traveled with my hubby to Idyllwild as he was playing with the Ghosts of Kelso, the night before the wedding. I must add that we also were in attendance for Country Night because Neil Morrow was playing at Lit Lounge and I wanted to check it out. I just found the card! I thought it was lost when I spilled coffee on my desk, glad that the card survived. Below are a few from Neil Morrow’s show.

The next night we traveled up the 74 to the Idyllwild Brew Pub. During that summer, California had been on fire. The Ghosts had a one of their gigs at the Brewpub canceled as the fires in their area were getting out of control. I prayed for all those that we had met the past times GOK had played either there or at Idyology. It was sad driving through the burned areas and seeing the scorched trees but it was good to know that we were going back to a business that was not affected. To any of you reading this, that little town is still in recovery and many of their businesses have been affected. If ever making plans to see California and you are in the area do check out Idyllwild and all their businesses. You will be happy you did.

It was nice to be back at the Idyllwild Brew Pub. The staff is amazing and the food is equally as good and the patrons, however, my draw to Idyilwild is the people. We have met some of the grooviest people and so happy and relaxed. Some of my favorite shots of the Ghosts have been taken there and they include the patrons. Here are a few shots from that night.

We left there that night and arrived back at homebase around 1:15 AM. My flight was leaving at 7 AM from Palm Springs airport and I was flying alone as hubby had to work. I too had to work. I had requested time-off but when our store lost an employee I took up the slack and cancelled my time-off. I had planned on staying in Seattle for a few days to check out the area as I had never been there. Maybe next time. The first flight was to San Francisco. On that flight I met another female videographer and hopefully we will be in contact again as she does some amazing work.

The whole 24 hours was a blur. Below are some of the shots from that day directly from the card.

One day, hopefully soon, I will return to Washington State. If Federal Way was that pretty I can only imagine what the rest of the state looks like.

It is funny how during that time, I was worried about the flight because I knew I would be in pain but if I would have just sat back and tried to quiet my pain, I would have missed so much. Life happens and there is no stopping it. When your time is up it doesn’t care about you dreams and unaccomplished goals. So I am going to taste exotic foods and indulge in Krispy Kremes when ever I can and shoot. I am sure I will have photos of it or not. I am not saying that this is the cure-all, it just works for me. I wonder what other people do to quiet the pain in their lives?

To you reader have fun where ever in the world you are. Smile, laugh and keep dreaming…Sending a cosmic hug to one that needs it 🙂

Dances with Mainecoon

Good morning and happy Friday! Life really is what you make it and not just some inspirational quote you see on social media. At least it works for me as I do not wish to push my beliefs on anyone. This morning I just completed a full half-hour in the pool. My physical therapist is working with me to get my core strengthened to help alleviate the weeble-wobble feeling I get when I am walking. Someone, please invent wheelie-bars for people like me!!! I don’t understand the process of the laminectomy as it as been almost twenty years since my surg tech days and I really never scrubbed in for any ortho or neuro surgeries as those were considered off-limits to us students. Part of me wanted to bust open a medical book and start dissecting the parts of the surgery that I had. The best way to explain it is like from my belly button up, everything feels normal. However, everything below my belly button seems foreign and I am slowly getting reacquainted with this new body and it’s split personality. Sometimes when I am listening to music I just want to get up and dance and sometimes I do. Most of the times my dance numbers are limited to less than 30 seconds but have been getting longer each day. Also, I am getting better at standing up and working at my computer. I can stand for about 5 to 6 minutes and honestly, if this is what playing a piano feels like them maybe I should start studying piano as I really would like to learn at least one musical instrument in my life time. To you my fellow Cauda Equina Syndrome survivors, I see and read about your pain and I hope that you find something that means something to you, something that helps you forget about the pain. Something that helps you forget the pain even for a little bit. This may only be true for me but joy and laughter are the best pain killers that anyone can peddle. This may be why I am so focused on music as it does bring me joy and is sometimes very soothing. I wonder if these artists know that their words, chords and melodies set off emotions and memories. That sometimes they inspire us to move and dance and exercise. All these thoughts that rattle around in my 49 year old head as I work on my two projects, take random photos like the ones I took this morning and focus on my recovery.

It feels so good to be able to swim back and forth doing the breast-stroke. Today I also started including freestyle laps. Once upon a time, 1984 to be exact, I joined the Duarte Parks & Rec swim team. I still remember Herman our coach and his porn-stache. I still wish I had a photo of him.

That was taken at the Duarte City Pool in 1984.

So much was going on the summer I joined swim team. It was 1984 and Los Angeles was hosting the Olympics. That is where I met a few people that luckily for social media we arre still in contact. Afternoons during that summer were filled with 100s, 400s and the dreaded 1600. I think the 1600 was 81 or 82 laps in that 25 meter pool. Sometimes when we did something that the coach did not like he would make us tread water in the deep end with our heads and hands held out of the water. If one person failed and their shoulders and head went below water the coach would add on a minute of tread time. I thought about those times today as I tread water as exercise and not as the punishment that it once was. Honestly, during those punishments I used to daydream about being a water ballerina as synchronized swimming was getting popular during that time. Funny, now I look back at the time as a great prep for what was to happen in my life. It taught me to keep my head above water but have good time doing it. During my swim this morning I was thinking about the two times that I took my camera into the Fantasy Springs Event center without a press pass. I have been studying the photos lately because on September 1, 2019 I will go to the ticket booth and pick up my passes. This time I get to take my cameras in and get to shoot without worries of getting tossed. I almost forgot, The Boss- Bruce Springsteen and his E Street Band came to the Los Angeles Coliseum for four nights in 1984. That was my first ever concert. No wonder why I was hooked. That concert lasted 4 hours and to me, it will never be long enough.

The above photos were shot at the Jason Bonham Zepplin Experience (Evening) 8.3.18 at the Fantasy Springs Concert & Event Center. Our tickets were in the 9 rows from the stage. I was able to sneak in two lenses. The above photos are not edited except for some cropping. The area I was sitting in was packed and when people would stand up I couldn’t get a clear shot. No worries though as this was me just practicing until one day my dreams come to fruition. When I am out shooting I like to get clear shots of the musicians hands and of the instruments. Also, I really like shots of the bands interacting with each other. Good band interaction usually makes the sound so much better. All of these photos are straight out of my Nikon. Could they be better, yes, of course. However, for a novice such as me, I think I am heading in the right direction.

Oh yeah, all these photos are taken with my Nikon D3400. Yes, I am using a camera that has been called non-pro, starter camera, blah blah blah. The only thing wrong with that camera is that the user (me) needs to tighten up my cleaning and care of my equipment. So far I have noticed in my getting to know my Sony A7 (mirrorless and full-frame) is that I have to make more adjustments that seem foreign to me when peering through the viewfinder because I am looking at a digital picture of what I want to shoot not the actual subject. It is almost like I am looking at a TV monitor. All this means is that I have to practice each and everyday. Also, coming up in September is the last time that Sarah Winchester will be performing at the Lit Lounge with the band Country Nation. She will be focusing on her own project and I look forward to hearing more. Hopefully, I will be super strong and will be able to move around the floor and get some great shots. I really can’t thank her enough for her support as well as the bands support. Speaking of Sarah, I am still not happy with the last shoot. I wasn’t ready for it both physically and mentally. If all goes well I may have one more shot at trying to get a few portrait and art shots.

Time to get back to my projects as I took a small needed break to clear my head. Now to focus on that and writing my story for the pain project. I really don’t want to focus on me, I would like to find an artist that I can feature. One that is using art as way to outshine the pain. I know that person is out there. All those photos, the ones from before and after my surgery helped me forget about my pain for little bit. I know people that I am acquainted with one FB and IG don’t see me as disabled and that is how I want it to remain. I am not my illness. I am Michelle, wife, mother, gramma, melophile and aspiring artist, nice to meet YOU! By the way, What is a Dixie Chicken? Sorry, having an ADHD moment…

To you reader, thank you for getting to the end of this therapy session. Smile, laugh be wild and free! Adventure awaits!!