......Observance of an Awakening......

What I love most about writing and keeping personal records is the availability to look back upon what I was and how I was feeling during those periods. Otherwise, some highly significant details would be lost never to be seen again.

Today marks one year since my life altering surgery..................

Right now, I'm left with a bad taste in my mouth. It has been hard to separate the good from the bad today. Flashbacks of time lost. Sometimes, I miss what could have been. As a result of my injury and surgery my life has changed in ways that I did not expect. It is so different from what I thought it was going to be. Yet, different in a good way. I was not prepared for it and it has been far from easy. I am truly thankful to have Cody for support, for always knowing when to stand by, or when to back down. I am not always the easiest to live with, I know. Thank you!

It's taken some time for me to find the blessings in all of this. I now know that deep down this is where I am meant to be at this point in time. I'm learning, I'm growing and I will do everything in my power to continue to do so.

Through all of this I have regained a new found passion for photography. Not that I want something like this to happen every time I need a wake up call, but at least I can say that some good has come out of it all. I've certainly come a long way but the journey is far from over.

Below you'll find a passage written not too long after I had my surgery, I just thought it was a nice contrast to how I was currently feeling.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Eating my tears.........................

Oh where to start? I have definitely been going through some transitions lately. Nothing is as it was. You start to realize that most things change and for you to expect things to stay the same then, well, you're delusional! I always seem to learn the hard way. What I've been through lately doesn't really compare to anything else I have experienced in my lifetime as short as that has been so far. It's always been a huge downfall of mine to be reliant on anyone; but as of recently I've had to do just that. I also feel as though I've had to learn to be weak in a way. I go from being in optimal health, climbing a few times a week, living it, and breathing it on a daily basis; to doing nothing. Only a select few actually know that for the past four months I have had problems with pain management; something that came about quite suddenly. And just recently with surgery and lots of hope I'm looking forward to being fully recovered so that there will be a day when I can climb again. That is where I lost my passion to do anything. Especially going about everyday without knowing why you're in pain. Well we found out: I had 3 herniated discs in my neck that were pressing on my spinal cord - the solution was to have the discs removed, all 3 of them! Most of my cervical vertebra is now fused - or is in the process of fusing itself. I've been off work for the past few weeks and I'm going nuts! I rather be working but I physically have felt like crap so I wouldn't be any help to anyone anyhow. I hate feeling so weak...........being so weak..........since when can't I lift 5 lbs.!!! About four months ago all I thought about was being stronger.......doing that one arm pull up for goodness sakes! Things have changed for me immensely and I've had a ton of trouble staying balanced these days. I keep telling myself to hang in there that soon enough I will be good as new but it's hard to be optimistic sometimes. Woe is me.........I sound like a victim right now.........I hate that! Well, anyhow what's done is done. I will recover it just takes time and unfortunately I am the most impatient person on the planet!

Sian has tagged me for a book meme. I am somewhat behind since she tagged me like 6 days ago! Sorry. I had to figured out what a meme was cause I've never heard that term before; I am still new to this blogging business so that happens sometimes. Anyhoo, what you have to do for this particular meme is:

Go to the 161 page of the current book your reading and post the 5th sentence.
(Sounds easy enough, eh)

Soundtrack: Red Hot Chili Peppers in the foreground, backed by heater whoosh on the right, computer cooling fan whoosh on the lower left, mouse clicks, keyboard clatter, creak-creak of those knuckle-like things deep in the neck when I cant my head to one side; and then, outside, a scatter of birdsong, methodical drips on the roof, and the slow sky tear of a propeller plane.

That was a pretty good sentence, yeah? After "Into the Wild" I started reading just last week, "The Botany of Desire" by Michael Pollan. It's described as a plants eye view of the world. It focuses on the stories of four different plants and goes into great detail, I'm still on the first chapter so I can't say a whole lot about it yet. I'm not sure who else is reading a book right now so I don't know if I can pass along the tag, but if you're reading a book right now...........TAG!

*I won't be posting any photos here today, but I did catch up on the other one, 3 new posts.
Check it out:

{366} Photographic Journal

New Method

Door Diptych


The above pictures were taken using a technique called "Through The Viewfinder". I discovered, finally, how this was done a few weeks ago, and immediately I jumped on the concept as I've always been intrigued by the images this technique produced. I can't tell you how excited I was to ascertain the method behind the photos I have admired for some time now. I quickly obtained my very own cameras to try this out for myself, luckily ebay helped me with that feature.

What you see below is one of the new cameras with the 'contraption' attached to it. "What's that?" you say, the contraption helps to keep out light. Essentially what you're doing is taking a photo with a digital camera through the lens of another camera. Which is how you get that semi-distorted antique feel. What do you think about these types of photos?!?!

(Click photo for LARGER view)

*Many thanks to Cody for making the 'contraption' for me!!

Compared to Garbage

It Starts With A Chair
I found myself brooding upon an opinion of someone who left a 'trashy' comment about my photo. I know that people are entitled to their opinions, and that I can live with. What I have a problem with is their close mindedness...........it's apparent that the chair was in fact 'trash' and that is was discarded, but should that really matter?! Driving along the road I saw this chair marooned behind an abandoned house, it called to me, as bizarre as that may seem, but it's the truth. I continued to drive by week after week before I finally said to myself, "Self, you've got to take a photograph of that chair!", and finally, I did. To consummate what was merely a thought to begin with is a beautiful and fulfilling thing which may be why a dumb comment bothers me.

Have you ever seen beauty in what could be construed as garbage?

Formula For Living

Inspiration in the Ordinary

I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world.
This makes it hard to plan the day.

~Elwyn Brooks White

Quick Review
  • My most favorite 'freedoms' are WEEKENDS.
  • I'm trying my best to find inspiration in the ordinary.
  • My {366} Photographic Project is keeping me enthusiastic about taking photos.
  • I have a new technique that I've been dying to try out. I finally have all the materials, and hopefully I will have something new to share soon.
  • We've stayed close to home this weekend; I hope to get outside today.

Wintertime's Listless Rhyme

Wintertime's Listless Rhyme

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show.

~Andrew Wyeth

Moon Paralyzed

Moon Paralyzed

We may go to the moon, but that's not very far. The greatest distance we have to cover still lies within us.

Charles de Gaulle (1890 - 1970)

Sunny Bud

Sunny Bud

If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.

~Anne Bradstreet

Looking for some sun in my life...........I plundered through my photostream on Flickr to brighten up the blog. This photo was taken at the beginning of January on the Greenway Trail, another photo from this same day can be found here. Today I have noticed that one half of Boone is dark and dreary while the other half is partly cloudy with a small portion of blue sky showing, obviously the sky can't make up it's mind, so it chooses to be both!

Water Under the Bridge

Water Under the Bridge

I felt a little like Cinderella today. I didn't want to sit around all day stuffing my face and watching t.v. so I took to cleaning the house. I did about 4 loads of laundry, I cleaned & reorganized the bathroom, and washed the dishes. Now, those don't sound like things that would have taken me 4 1/2 hours, but it did! What bothers me is that I didn't even get to the living room or bedroom so it seems as though I didn't get a whole lot done, even though I was worn out. At times it's a little disheartening once you realize that maintaining and keeping an organized and clean environment takes constant labor. Sometimes it takes too much work, once you're done with one thing there's just something else waiting for your attention. When it suits my mood I let things go, for example if I'm too tired or hurting..............some things can wait until tomorrow. Anyhow, these little things make a big difference overall, the bathroom looks so much better to me now that things are rearranged. We'll see what we can accomplish come tomorrow!
*To Cody's defense, he had to work today......
**This photo was taken on our snow day this past Thursday when we took a walk on the Greenway Trail. The post processing makes it a whole lot more interesting, believe me....

Cleanliness is next to impossible. ~Author Unknown

Snow Days Feel Like Saturdays

Sunlit Silhouettes

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.
~John Muir

Yesterday was an adventure! When we went to bed on Tuesday night, it was cold, but no sign of snow. By the time we woke up in the morning the ground was blanketed with snow and a thin layer of ice. Cody and I got to stay home since freezing rain was involved making the overall conditions unfavorable for operating a vehicle. We were happy to sit home, and play with the kittens, who by the way woke up us bright and early around 5am attacking our feet as we rustled them around under the covers. Those little buggers were way to alert, it was cute. We decided later in the afternoon to go for a walk on the Greenway Trail near the house to get some snow photos. The photo above was actually taken last weekend, I only wished the sky was that bright and blue yesterday! Outfitted with our hats, jackets, and snow boots we headed out, hiking in the snow is a lot more tiring than you would think. By the time we had walked halfway, I was tired, and didn't really want to walk home just yet. Cody had the idea to go to the Applcart covered bus stop and see when the next one was due. We had to wait about 30 min or so, in the meantime we played Scrabble on Cody's cell phone. The bus came, this was my first time ever really taking public transportation so it was interesting. We got off at Earthfare starved, so we went to their deli area and grabbed a sandwich and chips, ate, then asked the girl about the next bus, according to her it was going to be like 45 minutes! It was dark, I was ready to go home, but I didn't get upset, I rolled with the punches, haha. We ran over to the main area where the buses park and wait in between routes, and luckily the one we needed to be on hadn't left yet!!! Thankfully there were some really helpful folks on the bus who assisted us with the stops and where we would be best getting off at in relation to our house. We had to walk a little ways back to the house, but it was okay, I was just happy we were finally heading that way, it was as Cody kept reminding me "An Adventure!".

New Additions

On Monday Cody and I adopted two 6 month old kittens. They are so precious it's almost sickening! I happened upon a post someone put up on our local "freecycle site" that was hoping to find them a home, apparently the person who rented her downstairs was the owner of the two cuties, but decided he was going to move and was planning on abandoning them?!?!? What a jerk. Anyhow, his loss is our gain, these boys have already stolen our hearts. They are the sweetest and most playful little guys you've ever met. I took some videos, but they are sideways, and I don't know how nor do I feel like figuring out how to flip them. I will be sure to video them again soon so that you can see them in action. Cody made some cat toys that they just looooove, one is from a t.v. antennae with a string tied to the end, and some squares of cardboard attached to the end of the string. Just like one you can buy in the store but better since it was FREE, haha. And it really gets some acrobatic action out of them!!

One thing that is particularly unique about them is that they are both Polydactyl. Polydactyl translates to many digits, which means that they have extra toes compared to normal cats. Our little boys both have one extra toe but only on the front paws, although with other Polydactyl cats there can be different combinations of extra toes. I know, if you've never seen one in person it can seem sort of weird. My first time seeing a cat with what looked like mittens on their feet happened when I was about 16 or so and I remember thinking then that it was just so precious. I've been doing quite a bit of reading about these types of cats, and there's a lot of interesting facts and theories I've found so far. They are still getting used to being in a new house, and then you also have the power struggle between the new cats and our existing one, but Steve is supposed to come a get him when he is settled in his new place, until then he'll just have to play nice!!

Something to try.............

Tex Mex Chicken

This stuff was great............and I highly recommend you try it out if your stomach can handle salsa. If it can't.............yikes - I hate that for you!
Mine surely didn't look the same as the photo below but when does it ever plus it must be piled with cheese if it's to be served in this house!?!?! I had this stuff for about 4 meals in a row, even with the copious amounts of leftovers consumed........I would still make it again sometime soon, it was really easy and cheap!! Cheap, cheap, cheap...........That's me!!

(click on the photo to be taken to the recipe)

Dog Days

Dog Days
*This photo is also featured on the {366} Photographic Blog for day #12 of my continuous series. I have made some updates and I am almost current.*

On Saturday, Cody and I went to the Humane Society to walk a couple dogs currently waiting for their forever homes. Both of these dogs are Schnauzers, the one on the left is named Buddahka (?!), and the one on the right, her name was Zero. They practically walked us the entire time! They were very sweet dogs, especially once they were no longer going warp speed. There were a lot of other people out walking their dogs on the Greenway Trail as well, as they should have been since it was a gorgeous day. It was nice not driving anywhere for a change, staying close to home, but still getting some exercise. Test driving dogs for our own purposes was far less satisfying than walking the dogs because they enjoyed it so darn much. It also helped to stave off my desire to get a dog of my own. I'm not fully ready to accept that responsibility. We'll just go walk them instead.......

Path to Traipse

Path to Traipse

Sometimes the path you're on is not as important as the direction you're heading.
~Kevin Smith

*We had a nice and quiet weekend; but got a lot of things done around the house. Our roommate moved out today so some adjustments are in the making. I'm feeling motivated to make this place finally feel like our own. Last week we did some major work in the living room, hanging & rearranging stuff on the walls, it feels so different walking into a living room that is neat and tidy as well as somewhat decorated. It's sort of a hodgepodge style of decorating, although that's what you get when meshing two peoples things together. We make it work..........and if it doesn't, um it stays in the box..............haha just joking Code! Maybe soon I'll post some more photos of the house?!

Harmoniously Connected

Rivers are roads which move, and which carry us whither we desire to go.
~Blaise Pascal

Elk Falls Runoff
(Click on photo to see in Flickr)

*This wasn't exactly the highlight of the spot we went to, which was Elk River Falls. This was where we ventured after Crab Orchard Falls this past Sunday. I am not too happy with the photos of the falls itself, but this one really popped out at me. I really like the cohesion of all elements involved here, it radiates a sort of calm and peaceful atmosphere to me. I remember the soothing crash of the falls directly behind us, and how it got colder once the sun started slipping away from the day. Which may also be another reason why I'm not happy with the rest of the shots, low light, no tripod - recipe for disaster! haha, we will go back though, this I am sure of. What I'm not quite sure of is what we are going to get into this weekend?!?! So many choices.............I suppose we'll make the best of it.

Modified: 1:47 am

I know I said I didn't like any of the pictures of the actual falls, but I was thinking that it was pretty unfair not to share this with you just because I am being discriminatory with my photos. It was about a 50 foot waterfall that was gushing due to the most recent melting of ice along the river. In the foreground of this photo you can see an island of ice, what you can't see is how fast this chunk was spinning around in circles because of the currents. This was another waterfall we found in the North Carolina Waterfall hiking and photography guide I got for Christmas. I can't wait to check more of these off my growing list. Well, contradictory to the original post, I wasn't going to share a waterfall picture but decided that, I had to. I know you'll appreciate seeing it...

Elk River Falls - Frame
(Click on photo to see in Flickr)

*Let me know what you think, comments are always welcomed!!

Daily Dose

Nature is my medicine.
~Sara Moss-Wolfe

These photos were taken at Crab Orchard Falls on Sunday afternoon. It wasn't the most spectacular waterfall I have seen before but the appeal surrounding this place was the fact that neither one of us had ever heard of it before. And to think it was not too far from where we live. For Christmas Cody got me a hiking and photography guide to North Carolina Waterfalls book, which is how we found out about it. I wonder how many locals know about this place? It's probably better that it's not widely known, especially since it's privately owned. Maybe if there were too many people coming and going they might be more inclined to deny public access?! It's sad sometimes crossing paths with those who have no respect for the beauty that surrounds us, leaving trash behind, not staying on designated paths, etc. Those people can ruin it for the rest of us! This is the green Jessica talking, I've been thinking about what I can do this year to be more green all day long! It started with hauling off 7 huge trash bags of plastic bottles from my office to the dump for recycling. I can't believe how much waste we produce in such a short amount of time. My idea is to buy water coolers, which hopefully will reduce the amount of plastic bottles we consume as well as save the office a little bit of money in the meantime. After talking to MT (one of my boss') today, I was given the go ahead to make the purchases! I was expecting some sort of a fight but I suppose that maybe I made a good point?!

Disco Bowl

Disco Bowl
© Cody Maddox

This past Saturday we went bowling; I'm still feeling the effects of hurling that 7 lb ball!
It was worth it though, and we had a great time.
I'm getting back logged on some of these pictures since I am taking some everyday for the new project. I can't wait to share pictures from where Cody and I went on Sunday. I just uploaded them last night so I haven't really gotten a chance to go through them all yet. But they're coming soon.............

Isn't this a great photo that Cody got from our disco bowling excursion?! I tweaked it a little, but as far as the composition it was all him...........he also got a few other photos with out the lights that showcase my bowling form. They are pretty funny!

Tunnel Bridge

Tunnel Bridge

There aren't enough days in the weekend.
~Rod Schmidt

Saturday I went for a hike while Cody was at work. It reminded me of "old times" hiking along the trail alone. When I first moved up here it was extremely hard to find another person who shared in my enthusiasm to go hiking, so normally I went alone. I don't necessarily miss those days, having a partner is so much more fun. I can however do it when necessary. I hiked down to Trout Lake which was frozen over. The confused ducks were hanging out near the middle standing on one leg while quacking uncontrollably. A group of people had their 'herd' of dogs out there (without leashes) who were terrorizing the poor little ducks.
Thankfully there were no fatalities.............

Worth Waking Up For..........

Worth Waking Up For

We should be taught not to wait for inspiration to start a thing. Action always generates inspiration. Inspiration seldom generates action.

~Frank Tibolt

I didn't think twice this morning when Cody told me that the sky was soooo orange. Even though it was 7:30 and my weekend to sleep in, I hopped up, put on a jacket and hat, slipped on 'Cody's' snow boots and headed out the door!
FYI - I started a new project at the beginning of 2008. The project demands that I take a photograph to represent each day of the year. In 2008 there are 366 days since it is a leap year. I have started a separate blog dedicated to this series of photos. This project is more for myself than anyone else, although it's not as if I am looking to keep it secret for any specific reason so please check it out if you are so inclined. Feedback is always greatly appreciated!
Not only will I be prone to take more photos as a result of this undertaking, but I am also hoping that it will promote creativity at the same time. So far I have taken the project seriously and have yet to falter due to laziness. I have found that I get cranky when I don't take photos for an extended period of time. So far I have exceeded my expectations of merely taking one photo a day............

See the NEW BLOG here:
{366} Photographic Journal

Enlightening the Load

It Grows.......

I wanted to go through my file while I waited there, but decided to take a picture instead. I know those folks like to take down their secret little notes...........maybe I'll plunder another day?!
I had an Acupuncture appointment today, my last was the Friday before Christmas so I was looking forward to this treatment. On top of my normal treatment I rec'd some 'special' points that one of the instructors did themselves, it was interesting to say the least. I have lost count of how many treatments I've had thus far, and at this point and time, it doesn't really matter. Surely I am getting something out of it if I continue to go, right? I believe so..............my time spent laying on the table with needles in various points is a time when I am most relaxed. I nearly fall asleep in the 30 minutes they leave me there to cook. They say cook but I really feel my body cooling off, usually I am sweating during the day. In the winter they keep the office like an oven, I've got my vent covered up because it's so hot. But as you may have read before my body has some problem with heat according to eastern medicine standards. Although that is a whole different problem..............Overall, I've seen tiny results, no lasting effects that help my muscle pain but we'll get there. Sooner or later..............

Pure White Path

Bad Weather Never Looked So Good

The future lies before you, like paths of pure white snow. Be careful how you tread it, for every step will show.

~Author Unknown

*Compared to yesterday, today was gorgeous but frigid. I took a short stroll this afternoon mainly to escape the office. I am realizing that this is something that needs to happen more often. I felt somewhat refreshed when I got back, which enabled me to get some extra tasks done. The rest of the day went by a whole lot faster since it was broken up. It's been so long since I had taken the time to leave the office for lunch much less go for a walk and take some pictures, it was great fun!

Ornately Adorned


When walking through or outside of the home you are inundated with so many details. One is bound to miss something no matter how closely you think you are paying attention. This photo is of the entrance to the Biltmore House and as you can see from the windows to the rooftops it is bedecked beautifully.
The treatment on the photo gives it an almost menacing look, but that's why I like it. It reminded me of a castle in a way; I have always wanted to see one in real life, and so far this is the closest I have come.

Christmas Recap.........

On the right is a photo of Cody's Moms kitchen, I miss this kitchen. She fed us so well while we were there, and I can't thank them enough for making me feel like a part of the family when I was so far away from my own. This was the second Christmas I spent with his family, and as usual I enjoyed the rest and relaxation offered in the comfort of their home. We spent a lot of time in the kitchen which may have been why I was compelled to photograph it, and because I was testing out the new semi-fisheye lens that Cody gave to me for Christmas!

Happy New Year!

Me @ Biltmore

We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential.

~Ellen Goodman