The Long Story…
For the dark version, check out Shock, Denial, Anger & Acceptance…
Have you ever had to write about yourself? It’s difficult – especially when you don’t find yourself very interesting. Let’s see… I am the youngest of 5 children. My siblings are all older than me – so much so that several were pretty much already grown and gone before I made it out of elementary school. So for many of my formative years, I was like an only child….loved, adored and spoiled.. Hey! It had to be one of us…may as well have been me.
I am a product of the 70s but spent my most influential years in the 80s. Rick Springfield was (still is) my idol. I experienced the poofy hair, Reeboks, pegged pants, Ferris Bueller and cheered on the best football team of the 80s – the San Francisco 49ers.This is me in high school. Despite how I felt back then, I don’t look half bad here. You can’t go back, though. So now, I’m stuck with what I got. I wouldn’t relive anything but I certainly wouldn’t mind having that 16 year old face back.After high school, I was on the cusp of being burnt out with school but enrolled full-time at a local junior college anyway. 2 years later I had my associates degree and admission into San Francisco State. I was really into drama and movie making at the time and I had this crazy idea that I was going to go to film school and maybe some day work on an acadamy award winning movie. Yeah, that lasted a semester. I was officially burnt out at this point and wasn’t sure what was coming next. I took some time off and wound up working full time at Longs Drug Stores in California – the company that my father worked for, my sister worked for, two of my brothers worked for and at one time my mother worked for. It was the one place I vowed never to work but there I was managing a photo lab. The year off was good though and I was able to re-evaluate where I wanted to be and before long I was back in school full-time at Cal State Stanislaus in Turlock, CA – otherwise known as Turkey Tech.
By the time I graduated with a B.A. in Communications, I had met Mike. We met online in a country music chat room on the Prodigy online service. Wait. Wut? Country music? What happened to Rick Springfield? In three words – THE 90’s HAPPENED. So, anyways…I was the country music interest group moderator – quite the novice at web design then. But it was there that I taught myself graphic and web design and where Mike and I started our unconventional courtship. It was 1996 and I was itching to get out on my own, so I made the some-what radical choice to not only move out of my childhood home but move clear across the country to Nashville, TN. Mike soon followed and we were married the following year.
Nashville was wonderful. We had a lovely country wedding. And soon we were making a home in our first house – complete with two dogs and cat. Things were pretty perfect.The only thing missing was children. Mike and I wanted them right away but they just weren’t coming. Things were changing in the world and hardship was falling on the people we loved. Being so far away wasn’t so practical any more. In 2000 we made the decision to move closer to my family who had relocated to Utah. We had hoped that with the high birthrate here, we’d find a good doctor who would help us in our desire to have children and having close family near by was something we looked forward to. The move paid off big.
In late August, 2002 Michaela Kristine was born. She was 8lbs 8oz of pink perfection. She was a best combination of both Mike and I and we were so proud. Things were going great. We had the family we dreamed of. We were near our loved ones and we were making a home for ourselves in the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.
We can’t always stay in Camelot...January 2008 was littered with tears and pain unlike any other time in my life. My dear husband passed away in his sleep on January 4, 2008. In the span of 9 months, I lost my husband, our home, nearly all of our possessions and two jobs. Michaela and I went to live with family in a nearby town. Another 9 months passed and then my mother was struck down by a stroke. Gee, it’s always something. That’s a Rick joke…a real fan would get it.
Mom was pretty bad off. There was a time for a while there when we weren’t sure she’d come out of it. But she made a miraculous recovery even though she’ll tell you otherwise. No. Things aren’t like they were. She can’t do a lot for herself these days and is in need of a companion most of the time otherwise she’d never eat and she’d certainly forget to take her medicine. Her care became a crash course in nursing. I can now administer shots, change compression stockings and wipe other people’s butts. I’m on a daily routine of shuttling the kid to and from school, preparing medication, breakfasts, daily hygiene rituals, laundry (ugh! LAUNDRY!), dinner preparation and when there’s time, putting some of my skills in graphic/web design/marketing to use as a team member of Yellow Rick Road Productions which has just produced a film about RICK SPRINGFIELD (!!!) & his fans called An Affair of the Heart and also freelancing via my design business Killerwebs Design.
I’d be lying if I said this is satisfactory to me – it’s not – or that this is how I envisioned my life turning out – no way. It’s just how things are now. So, I’ll keep plugging away. My mantra is to just do kind unto others, work hard and wait for my ship to come in. Maybe it will….maybe it won’t… until then, there’s always Rick Springfield… 😉
Getting involved in website design was an accident. I was hired to work for the Prodigy Network in the mid-90s to help them maintain a country music interest group. After discovering that the program they had me using to “design” the webpages was not letting me make the site how I wanted it to look, I began to study how the pages loaded and eventually taught myself HTML. The rest is history. Graphic design naturally became a big part of my website design and again I self-taught on programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.
Before my daughter came along, I had the sneaking suspicion that I was the most photographed kid on the planet. When I was a child, it always seemed that I was in front of Dad’s camera. That is who I learned photography from – my Dad. Later I would intern in his department at work and go on photo/video shoots. I observed some of the very best photographers I have ever seen there. My internship ended up with a job at Longs Drug Stores in California where I managed a photo lab. There I learned to read negatives and I am positive that was the cornerstone to my learning graphic design later on. I would work in and out of photo labs for several years. Photography itself was never something I considered professionally because taking pictures was something I did for my own enjoyment. Maybe some day it will turn into something that I can live on but for now I am happy just taking some great pictures that people don’t mind looking at over and over.