Sunday, November 25, 2012

Finding My Something

It has been too long since I've blogged. I have to be in the mood to sit down and ramble about whatever enters into my mind. I've been distracted lately. I have a new project. I'm finally at a pausing point in that project's never-ending process to catch up here, where it all started.

There are a million things I want to do. I start every project with ridiculous ambition. I work long hours, whether it's at my actual money-paying occupation- or just one of my crazy ideas. Problem is, I burn out a lot. I'm a perfectionist and that trait eventually results in what my husband calls a 'crash bandicoot.' He says I said this once when I plopped on the bed and he asked me what I was doing. Apparently, 'crash bandicoot' was my response. I was so tired then that I don't really remember. I'll take his word for it since my tendency to run around non-stop for weeks with very little sleep ultimately results in a day spent doing nothing but catching some zzz's.

What's kept me from blogging? Why haven't I been taking and posting any pictures?

THE PROJECT, friends. The project.

Part of me wants to keep it a secret. Not because I enjoy playing coy, but rather because I am afraid of embarrassment- or worse, failure. Guess it's make it or break it time, huh?

I want to start my own business.

I want to work for myself.

I want to be FREE.

I want to do what I LOVE.

Yeah, don't we all?

The challenging part is starting. It always is. Whether it's quitting smoking or taking on a new challenge we're unfamiliar with...

We say we can do it. We say we will do it. But...


I don't know if I have or if I haven't, to be totally honest with you. I said I wanted to be a photographer. I bought a nice camera. I took lots of pictures. I studied and taught myself about focal length, aperture, exposure, photo-editing, etc. Then, I entered some contests. I submitted some photos. I contacted newspapers.

And then what happened?

Eh, not much. I have more pictures online now that anybody can save to their hard drive or post on their facebook pages or websites without giving me any kind of credit. No worries, I'm not bitter...much.

I moved on to another dream, anyway. I decided I'd be a writer. I've kept journals that document my entire life's story. This habit began when I was 4. I always loved writing. It was my outlet. I could vent. I could put everything I felt into words and make sense of my feelings and my life.

Yeah, that's awesome...right? So what happened?

A LOT, in short. None of it made me famous. I don't want to be famous, anyway. No sour grapes here, just sounds like a hassle to have paparazzo following and documenting what an eccentric weird-ee I can be sometimes. I take my Jack-Russell out every morning wrapped in a blanket with a camouflage one-sie underneath so I stay warm. My hair looks crazy as I toss it while I try not to drop my dog as I struggle to open the fence gate that leads to my backyard and my pup's pee-town. No magazine needs to see that. I'm fine with being anonymous. Anyway- see, I get distracted...back to the point-

I guess if I had to mention accomplishments that resulted from my writing efforts, I'd include the following:

-  Creative Writing contest winner in Elementary School.
- 4-H Speech Contest (which were written, so that counts, right?)
- Poem published in book, called "I Hate Schools" by Regina Cannon (I was 8)

...Yeah, I'm going to stop right there before I impress you all with too much pre-middle-school awesomeness.

I stopped keeping journals after a couple people found and read things that I should've never written or should have tossed into a fire. Let's just say that there were undesirable consequences that followed my putting a pen to paper during teenage years that were full of angst. It's okay. I moved on. I endured the repercussions for my actions and for my decision to vividly document them in written form. 

Years passed. I started writing again. Only to myself. Not letters like, 'Dear Regina, how are you today?', but more reserved and conservative scribblings of my daily life. They were really boring. Even now, when I read them, I am unmoved and unconvinced by the writer. If I didn't believe her, who would? A dingleberry, that's who.

Then, I started a blog. You're reading it. It's fairly inconsistent, pertaining to frequency of postings and topics of discussion. I know that, though. I do what I want here. This is my changes quite frequently.

I didn't anticipate success from my blog. I have no followers. I'd feel like a cult leader if I had tons of followers. I blame my inconsistency of post topic content for my lack of followers. I've read that successful blogs must focus on one subject or topic.

I don't care.

Lifelooklens isn't about gaining publicity, nor is it about gaining popularity. It's about writing whatever I feel when I sit down at the computer. It just happens. I wouldn't follow me either. I rarely know where I'm headed.

My ambitions are many. They are ever-changing. Some may say that I don't stick with them. Those 'some' may be correct, though I'll never credit them as such.

I'm just trying to get the most out of life. If it means jumping from one interest to another, so be it. Maybe I can do them all. Maybe I can't be successful at any of them, though I doubt that. I don't doubt because I am conceited, but rather I doubt because I believe I'm talented at something. I believe everyone is exceptionally good at something.

I just don't quite know what my something is yet.

That's what I've been working on lately...Finding my something.

I take pictures just about every day. Most of them are on my phone and will be featured in upcoming posts. I'm just behind on blogging. Blogging is my outlet now for my writing, which may be my something. Maybe pictures are also my something. Maybe neither. We'll see.

My new potential something is acting on my dream to start and own my own business. 

Turns out, it's much harder than taking pictures or writing. Mostly because I don't know what I'm doing...

YET, that is.

Anyway, friends....


I tried selling on Amazon and failed, miserably. Working full-time and trying to keep up with my sales and listings was catastrophic. I suffered embarrassment. I underestimated the attention to detail in item listings, which resulted in selling a vinyl record for $110.00 that ended up being mistakenly listed as a CD. A claim was filed and amicably resolved, despite my confusion about anyone who prefers CD's to rare vinyl records.

No more Amazon.

I didn't attempt selling on Ebay after my Amazon atrocity. My buyer reputation on Ebay is too good to mess with! :)

So, yeah. I could've summed up my new project in three words- I'M ON ETSY.

Instead, I decided to tell you more than you probably wanted to know. Maybe I journal-ed a little bit. Maybe blogging and writing are my true 'somethings'.

For now, it's RETROSPECT, my new ETSY shop, by Lifelooklens. :)

After all, don't we all know more when we look back on things and see so clearly what we should have done or were meant to do? That's RETROSPECT. It changes. It's ever-evolving and my ETSY shop may fail. If so, it wasn't my something, after all.

In retrospect, I'll know what my something was all along. Hopefully by then, I'll have realized it. :)



Wednesday, November 14, 2012


My brother-in-law and his girlfriend got a dog. That makes me an aunt...kind of. My nephew, Rowan, is probably furrier than your nephew. He might also be smarter and cuter, despite his canine condition. Micah and Makaili broke their clan's M-name when they decided to add a four-legged family member. Still, Rowan got a nickname. His parents have alias names, too. Mak, Makalaly (Mack-u-la-lee), Mikey, Bruddur, Ricky Smooth (don't ask)...

So, I naturally nicknamed their dog. Rowan seems too mature a name for my spunky little neph-dog. At least for now, anyway. I call him Rowie. Not sure why I rebel against Rowan's more suitable and dignified title, but I do. Rowan came over for a visit recently and I probably called him by his real name a total of one time, before affectionately referring to him as Rowie. Hopefully, his parents won't mind. Micah has called my dogs a variety of colorful names- especially when Halle greets him at the door in her usual manner. (Barks, jumps up, and...smash! Her paws land on the same spot just about every time. Let's just say that it's a good thing Micah got a dog because Halle has threatened his chances for having human children.) My dogs were not especially nice to their new cousin. Halle is jealous that she now has to compete for her uncle's attention. She sulked when she watched Rowie scamper around our house. Lucy took a more direct- and vengeful approach by snapping and growling at Rowie, who did not acknowledge the hatred she directed at him. I love Rowie. My dogs do not. That's okay- all families have their issues, right?

Meet Rowan. I am not sure if his last name has been determined yet. I didn't think to ask. I should probably find that out since Rowie is my only nephew...
THIS IS MY FAVORITE! Definitely the weirdest picture I've ever taken of a doggie! :)

It is not easy to take a good picture of Rowie. He is far to busy to be bothered...and very, very fast. I managed to get a couple pictures that turned out but most of them were blurred by my nephew's tendency to stay on the move.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sounds of Silence

Fall is my favorite time of the year. Thankfully, I got to visit one of my favorite places during my most beloved season this year- my grandparents' home! Why is this place so special? I don't have enough time to explain. In short, it's because so many memories were made on these grounds. It's where the people I love dwell and where I ran through the woods uninhibited during the days of my youth. See my previous post(s) 'To Grandmother's House We Go'- then maybe you'll see why there is no place that compares to this one.

 Journey with me now- to an Autumn day, to a place that will always feel like home...

Trees have just begun to shed their leafy coverings, which fall silently to the ground. Sounds of wind chimes echo through the air, filling it with melodic rhythms that sound time's passing. These chimes have been at my grandparents' house since I was a little girl and their ringing has always been music to my ears. 

Mamaw recently gave me a set of chimes for my birthday. I'd fallen in love with the set she had that played notes in the key of E. I questioned her about where she'd purchased her set and after she answered, I kind of forgot what she said and how beautiful the music was that her magical chimes had played.

 I freaked out with enthusiasm when I opened my present this year to see a set of chimes that resembled those I'd coveted during my last visit to her house. There they sat in my hands, thoughtfully wrapped in tissue paper and birthday packaging...

MY own wind chimes. The BEST wind chimes. Whatever set of wind chimes you have- No matter how great you think they are- MINE are better. They sound notes in the key of C that make you feel as if you're listening to angels' singing. 

Mamaw and Papa are so thoughtful like that. I'm not sure if Papa did the shopping for this particular birthday present but he's still wonderful, too. Mamaw has always been an exceptionally great gift-giver. She remembers the little things you say about what you like. She remembers things that you don't even remember saying. Then, she gives you a gift that nearly makes you want to cry. 

Sure, wind chimes may be a silly reason for tears but my reaction to receiving this gift is explainable. I was moved by the uniqueness and thoughtfulness that my shiny new chimes represented. To me, their sound resonates with memories of happiness and love. Echoes of memories play in my mind now, each time the wind blows and I think of my family. I am reminded of what is truly important and precious. I feel grateful, happy, and loved when I hear my chimes playing.  As they dance in the wind, so does my heart.

I'm going to have to think really hard to give Mamaw and Papa a gift that would even compare to this one, huh?

I've walked down this path hundreds, perhaps thousands, of times. I used to skip every other stone when I was little. Sometimes, I still do that- just for the heck of it. Years ago, if I missed a landing while pretending the stones were surrounded by hot lava, I had to start all over at the beginning of the path. I gave myself three chances to make it all the way down to the stepping stone's end as I hopped from square to square. Like Mario, I had three lives. There were no 1-UP mushroom chances if I failed my mission. My imagination grew then like the trees in the forest which surrounded me. 
At 25-years-old, when standing in this place, it still does. 

Fond memories are sometimes forgotten in our grown-up world, aren't they? It isn't until we revisit them that we remember fond moments of our past. As I stood here, I thought about how much I have changed. As years went by, I stopped skipping from stone to stone. I increased my already too-hurried pace as I trudged down the same path that had once been threatened by imaginary lava. I didn't look around at the beauty that was so evident. I became too focused on what task I needed to complete next, what place I needed to go, and where I wanted to be. All those hurried trips I took during my transition into adulthood would later be regretted, for everything I was looking for had been here all along. I realized that a few years ago. 

 Slow down, you move too fast, got to make the morning last. 
- Simon and Garfunkel, 59th Street Bridge Song 

I was reminded again at this visit, when I looked again at the blue stepping stone pathway, that I needed to slow down. I decided to try my childhood stone-skipping mission again. Dressed in my Catwoman costume, I had a bit of trouble because my tall-heeled boots were unsuitable for avoiding lava. Yes, I was dressed as Catwoman. It all makes sense, don't worry. 

Mom and I had stopped to visit Mamaw and Papa before heading to my Aunt Tina's Halloween party. My grandparents don't celebrate Halloween- a decision that I will never understand, as I LOVE holiday celebrations of every sort. Since they would not be attending our annual costumed celebration, Mom and I decided to arrive in-costume. Even though my stone-skipping ability had declined severely, my imagination ran wild as it had during my youth. 

Standing here, dressed as Catwoman, had not ever been done. A new memory was made as my grandmother's chimes blew joyfully in the autumn air, sounding welcoming tones for my return to the path that's always lead my heart home.

Vivid oranges and yellows exude now from the forest leaves, which flutter in cool autumn breezes. Flowers which once grew abundantly during warm months are fewer now in number. A calm silence has befallen our garden path, whose stones have become cool to the touch. Shadows increase as the sun prepares for its daily retreat into vibrantly colored blankets of hills. Darkness will announce its arrival within the hours that follow, announcing Fall's encumbered burden of shorter days. Luckily, Catwoman does not fear darkness. She greets it as she stands in a beautiful garden, whose daytime beauty starkly contrasts with her dark figure and all nightly shadows she brings.

Though stealth and coordination are typical characteristics of Catwoman, they were not evidenced by my imitation. How she ever got around Gotham in those boots will forever remain a mystery to me. Luckily, my ankles withstood my stone-skipping trials. Any other missions that require more agility should be assigned to the real Catwoman, especially if she's still going to wear those impractical boots.

As I stood here listening with my pointed ears, I thought of a song to describe the eerie, yet beautiful quietness that surrounded me...

"In restless dreams I walked alone 
Down narrow streets of cobblestone 
'Neath the halo of a street lamp 
I turned my collar to the cold and damp 
When my eyes were stabbed 
by the flash of A neon light
 that split the night 
 And touched the sound of silence"
This song has always held great meaning to me, personally. Lyrics are applicable to my life and they may not be related to by others. After trying to explain why this song is perfect for this blog post, I became frustrated. I couldn't describe it all in the eloquent manner I'd anticipated. However, I found words used by better-versed writer(s), who I completely agree with about this song's meaning. One should never underestimate Wiki-Answers, except when siting sources for a college paper. (Been there, trust my advice.) 

For a full analysis, click here ----> What do lyrics mean?- Sounds of Silence

The following is an excerpt from the above link to lyric interpretations:

"So I think that a holistic universal meaning to the song is one that we are searching for (truth, guidance) and it is already right under our noses. We walk by the truth (on subway walls and tenement halls) everyday and take no note but rather we construct elaborate gods and complicated idols to interpret a reality we are, by definition, already in tune with. The title of the song itself seems to me to reflect that paradox.

I am aware Simon in an NPR interview has admitted there was no profoundly deep meaning to the lyrics when he wrote them. He said he was possibly expressing teenage angst and frustration as to how they are largely ignored by society, however, my interpretation I think is one to give clarity to the stream of consciousness with analogous symbols (where I didn't ramble too much) and largely holds true to that theme."

 Well said, Wiki. I concur. :)

I had searched for truth and guidance during my teenage years, often in a rebellious and sometimes self-destructive manner. Everything I had been looking for had been right in front of me all along. Many teenagers have similar experiences and I know that not everyone has a happy ending to the confusion and difficulty of adolescence. I was lucky to have the support of my family during the years I spent trying to find myself. I am immensely grateful for this.

I did not express my gratitude or appreciation for those closest to me until I reached my mid-20's. Thankfully, I was forgiven by those who had always loved me unconditionally. My parents, grandparents, and several other key family members, knew who I was even when I'd forgotten. They believed in my potential and encouraged me with their acknowledgement of my strengths and talents. They told me I could do everything when I thought I couldn't do anything. They insisted that I was important and refused to accept my objections or self-deprecations. Because of all they did, I now believe in me, too. 

I stand triumphantly here, dressed as Catwoman, at the end of the stone pathway. Many stones were tripped over along the way before I arrived here. With each misstep, I kept going. My mother and grandmother followed behind me, much as they did on roads of uncertainty during my life's journey. They encouraged me and I finally arrived here because of them. 

For that, I am blessed.

 Everyone needs the support of superheroes- even Catwoman. 
"I could give you more happiness than anyone in the world." 

"How do you propose to do that?"
"By being your partner in life, I mean it's me and you against the world." 
"Of all God's creatures there is only one that cannot be made the slave of the leash. That one is the cat. If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat."
- Mark Twain Notebook, 1894

"What are stumbling blocks and defeat before you, can be stepping stones to victory if you remain determined." 
- Author Unknown.

Silence is the universal refuge, the sequel to all dull discourses and all foolish acts, a balm to our every chagrin, as welcome after satiety as after disappointment.  
~Henry David Thoreau

Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.
- Henry David Thoreau

You are capable of more than you know. Choose a goal that seems right for you and strive to be the best, however hard the path. Aim high. Behave honorably. Prepare to be alone at times, and to endure failure. Persist! The world needs all you can give. 
- E.O. Wilson

...I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
- The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.  ~Elizabeth Lawrence

"A few days ago I walked along the edge of the lake and was treated to the crunch and rustle of leaves with each step I made.  The acoustics of this season are different and all sounds, no matter how hushed, are as crisp as autumn air."

-   Eric Sloane

I suppose an artist takes the elements of his life and rearranges them and then has them perceived by others as though they were the elements of their lives. 
- Paul Simon 

 Preserve your memories, they're all that's left of you. 
- Simon and Garfunkel, Bookends

 It seems to me that at nineteen or twenty, a young man is burning to be great at something. I was. You have a vision that's beyond the neighborhood. You want to make a mark while you're alive. You don't know exactly your future, but you want to be great at it. And greatness is an important word.

-Art Garfunkel


And every stranger's face I see
Reminds me that I long to be, homeward bound.

-Paul Simon
(Homeward Bound)

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
-Paul Simon
(Bridge Over Troubled Water)