June 2, 2014

Manic Monday!

I woke up with that Bangle's chorus in my head. You know, the one that goes:

It's just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday (oh, oh)
'Cause that's my fun day (oh, oh)
My I don't have to run day (oh)
It's just another manic Monday

Weird, considering I was never a Bangle's fan. I mean, I listened to their music on the radio, but I never bought their albums or went to see them in concert. I remember all the guys in my high school being "ga ga" over them. They were cool or hot or whatever the term was back then...

Well, anyway, here I am today thinking about Monday and all the things I need to get done.  I guess it really is a "Manic Monday" for me!

I actually accomplished A LOT yesterday. I ended up staying home from church in the morning, and while I missed out on a great message, I enjoyed the time to myself. I was able to get ahead of the game a bit, and because of the quiet time at home, I am a head of my schedule for the week.

Today's to-do list includes:
  • Taking my court papers over to the clerk (next step in the divorce process)
  • Working on my proposal for COM 703 (auto-ethnography) -- the Literature review 
  • Outline my project for COM 652 (reputation management)
  • Completing COM 652 DQ for the week (due by 6/5)
I was able to read one entire book (almost entire -- I have two chapters to complete -- but I can read these on the plane on Saturday) and start another. The second book is massive, a whopping 600 pages, but it is SO GOOD! I completed three chapters of this book, and I will finish the remaining six this week or wrap them up by next Sunday. I also finished my critical book review (posted yesterday). All in all, I have made a lot of progress and I am in a good place this week. I still have the following to finish (listed with due dates):
  • COM 703 Proposal for Study (due 6/7 online, 6/9 in class)
  • COM 703 Research (once approved, due 8/1)
  • COM 652 Weekly Discussion Questions (thru 6/27)
  • COM 652 Project (due 6/24)
  • COM 652 Scholarly Proposal (due 6/24)
OK, so when I list these out like this, well then I see how much writing I have to complete between now and the end of the month! Yikes! On top of these assignments, I may end up with jury duty (praying I am excused and not needed). I have to call in to the court on June 13 to see if my group has been selected. God has me covered, and I am trusting him for His grace regarding jury duty. It is not that I wouldn't welcome the opportunity to sit on a jury, mind you, but I don't see a lot of flex time in my schedule right now.

I am amazed at the work I have accomplished thus far. I was overwhelmed when I saw how much work needed to be done for these summer courses. Well, the truth is, I am overwhelmed when I see how much work in required for all my courses. Truthfully, the work never ends. There is so much reading, writing and analysis that needs to be done for my classes. I love the work, I absolutely love it -- I complain about the workload often -- but I do enjoy the mental challenge, and the intellectual stimulation. Still, God is so faithful. He provides the strength, the mental fortitude, and the grace to get through it all. He makes a way for me. He makes my path smooth, and He leads me on through each assignment, each book, each scholarly research paper or project. I am blessed, and I am highly favored. God is good. He is so very good to me.

I am thinking about my next steps, re: divorce. I was reading a Facebook post the other day regarding people who celebrate their divorce. I think it was published at crosswalk.com, I don't recall now, but it was in a Christian online blog/magazine. The author was writing about "divorce parties" (something of which I knew, but didn't really understand that well), and how Christian's should not be celebrating when they get a divorce. I guess it is a phenomenon among non-Christians, and it is starting to carry over (as with most things in our popular culture) in some Christian circles. I read the article, and as with many of these blog/mag posts, they are written with a certain tone and not a lot of factual evidence (just a few stories that are very specific). I thought about the idea of celebrating after my divorce is finalized, and while I understand how some men/women might feel the need to do so (especially those individuals coming out of abusive relationships), personally I thought the whole idea was unnecessary. For me, divorce is a legal end to something that spiritually ended five years ago. It is paperwork, legal paperwork, that says that I am no longer married to my husband. I already grieved over the end, and I already came to terms with the finality of the proceeding. Will I celebrate? No. 

The whole idea of celebrating the end of a marriage doesn't sit well with me. I mean, I do understand, but I think making a big announcement out of it seems wrong. I am not siding with Gwyneth Paltrow on her "consciously uncoupling" approach (that is too cerebral for me) either. I just think it is best to let it be, and to move on without all the fanfare. It is what it is, in my opinion, and it is a part of my life that I will carry with me. I will never be free from the reminder that I was once married, and that I am now single. If I marry again, I will still bear the mark of being a formerly married woman. Once married, always married -- even if the law decrees it otherwise.

So with that said, today I am heading over to the court to file the application for default paperwork. I am not sure what the next steps are because the paperwork is a little confusing. I will ask the clerk for clarification, but I believe that once this paper is filed, the court begins to take action on the application. Right now, they are waiting for my former husband to file a response (which he chose not to do). This means that he prefers to default (waive his rights to appear before the judge). According to AZ law, after 20 days, I can file for default and then I believe I have ten business days before I can call to schedule a hearing. I can also file a motion for default without a hearing after 60 days. I need clarification on this part because if it is better to go before the judge, then that is what I will do. If it is better to file the motion, then I will go that route. I just need to know which way is best, given my particular situation.

OK, just another subject related to divorce. My brother is looking for someone on match.com. He was here this weekend (for a short visit), and I got to hear all about the trials and tribulations of online dating. In some ways, it was really humorous, I mean -- the types of women he is looking for coupled with the types of men the women are seeking -- well it is just funny. It would seem impossible to find anyone this way. According to my brother, the majority of profiles on match.com are fake. It is not that the people are fake, per se, just what they say about themselves and their pictures, etc. are not accurate.

The same thing is true for Facebook profiles. Most people provide details that are, to put it nicely, trumped up to make themselves appear better, smarter, prettier, successful, insert adjective here. No one appears to be who they really are because in this world of "gotta be perfect" you cannot show anyone your true self.

In some ways, this is why I keep this blog. I have not hid myself, and I have not glamorized my life. Yes, I do try to present the better part of my life, but I also have been very honest with the not-so-nice parts too. My profile is accurate, and while some people might think that what is there is not true -- in fact -- it is pretty right on the money as far as my life, my hobbies, my interests. I think what matters most is that my faith, my great faith in God, shows through in every post. I may not be perfect (photogenic or with the perfect life), but my faith in God is what I lean on, and is the only thing I care about in this life.

In light of being honest, I thought I would come out and be honest about my photo on this blog. I used a re-touched photo, LOL! Read on about my experience, and how I learned how to look better using this cool new app I found online.

On my profile, my photo has been edited slightly thanks to a cool new app I found online. I tested out PhotoWonder on my phone and I took a selfie a month or so back. I found out that I could use a filter to "beautify" myself, and I did. It was fun playing around with the app, and I found that I could actually make my photo look a little nicer -- so I did! The filter makes my skin look better than it really does, but other than that, the photo is pretty accurate as far as what I look like in real life.

The truth is that I take terrible photos. I am not photogenic at all, so using PhotoWonder (you can download the APP from the App Store) was F-U-N because it actually made a bad photo of myself look a little better. LOL! The other weird thing is that depending on the time of day or year, I can take photos that look different. For example, the picture I have on my blog profile was taken during the Springtime (April time frame). I took several photos of myself (see below) and then used PhotoWonder to edit them. I set the app to minimally enhance (the more you enhance, the more you look WEIRD!) Later, I downloaded another app called Wondercam that takes pictures and retouches them at the same time. Cool.

You can see the difference in the length of my hair. Summer also changes my hair/skin color. My hair is lighter in color, my skin is a little tanner than normal. I also took photos with my computer glasses on (dark plastic frames) versus my normal everyday pair that are pink wire frames (I also have brown wire frames). The first photo was with slight filtering on, the second and third have more filtering. You can still see my wrinkles and my fine lines, but PhotoWonder does make a difference.

So since photos have never been my best friend, PhotoWonder has been a blast to use. I like the fact that I was able to create a picture of me that was a little more flattering than my usual digital disaster! Let's be honest -- I am no Christie Brinkley or Cindy Crawford -- I am just me.

Photos and How to Take Better Selfies

After playing with PhotoWonder, I decided to learn how to take a better photo standing up. I thought it might be good to know how to stand or pose in photos so I googled how to do it. Interesting stuff, simple steps you can take to make yourself look better. I took the photo at left of myself demonstrating how to look 10 lbs thinner. It really worked!

First of all, it is all in how you stand. I knew that you needed to stand sideways, but I didn't get how to position your feet. The key is to stand facing the group (or if by yourself, stand sideways) before rotating the upper portion of your body toward the camera.

Second, you move your feet so that your weight is on your back leg. You do this by putting your outside foot forward (bending at the knee).

Third, you put your outside arm on your hip or stick your hand in your pocket (side or back). This makes your upper arm look thinner. I tried it with my arm down, and it is amazing to see the difference. I don't have flabby arms, but when your arm is down, it does flatten it out and that makes it LOOK fatter. Plus, because I am larger on top, having my arm down just accentuates the fact that I am hourglass shaped (and not in a flattering way, if you get my drift).

So there you have it. I was able to take a photo of myself standing up that looks half-way decent!

OK, so you might be thinking, "Wow, Carol, you are really vain! Taking all these photos of yourself and posting them online!" Yeah, I get it. Perhaps I am vain in some ways. I do like to look at photos of myself. In fact, I have saved all the old pictures my parents had just to create a montage of photographs for my life. I have pictures of other people, too! Pictures are memories for me, and they help me remember details about my life (where I was, what I was doing, etc.) I actually can recall details about my life when I look at old photographs. Consider all these selfies as experiments in auto-ethnography (the study of your own life) -- a research project -- a study in self-reflexology (really, it is really a scientific discipline!)

Oh, Lord, help me...

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