Last Sunday something so great happened.  But first, a little back story.

A while back we found out that Lucinda Williams (a beloved musician in our home) was coming to Grand Junction but the bad news is that she was coming on a Sunday.  In an observant Mormon (Latter-day Saint) home what you do on Sunday is an important part of family life.  Depending on your family there are different approaches to keeping the Sabbath day holy.  When I was little, swimming was totally out of the question on a Sunday. I now realize that it was because my grandma had a pool at her house and our Palm Springs vacation spot had a pool and for a time my dad was part owner of a beach club at the lake where we lived.  No swimming was a great way to set Sunday apart from the rest of the week.  In our little family, we don't have to worry about swimming.  My kids are deathly afraid of the water and we don't have a pool.  We do have a few basic guidelines that include the regular no stores, restaurants, and we don't pay to go to concerts on Sunday or run races or participate in sporting events.  So I initially just thought we wouldn't go see Lucinda.  I don't have any objection to good music on Sunday, it's paying to go see a concert that gives me pause.  The last concert Willie and I paid to go to on a Sunday was Steve Earl way back in 2002.

This Sabbath observance subject has recently come up between Willie and I because of BH Photo.  B&H is one of the leading sources for anything photo related. I buy almost everything from them.  The company is run by Hasidic Jews and they close their store and website every Jewish Sabbath and every Jewish holiday.  You can't even place an order online.  It's great to see a business put religious observance first, even if it means loosing tons of money.  Now we aren't Hasidic Jews but I like their intensity. So when we were talking about Lucinda coming to town, I suggested we go a little B and H  and pass on this concert.

In stage two, I tried to win tickets to the Lucinda concert to get around buying them.  In a drawing of 13 people with Willie and I both entered, we still didn't win.  Then when I woke up in the morning the original person that won the tickets couldn't go and we still didn't win.  I had finally accepted that it wasn't going to happen, but I was a little bummed.

Then something wonderful happened.  Our friend, Branden Campbell, texted me asking about if we were going to the concert.  Branden is a friend from my mission and he married my dear friend Emilie.  We have all been on some fun rock 'n roll adventures together. Branden is a real life rock star now, see picture above.  He's in the band Neon Trees and I guess he has major connections because he made a call and got us on the guest list for the concert, totally free.  We could not stop smiling all day.  When we arrived at the concert we had front row seats.  I was right in front of Lucinda. It was the greatest concert ever.  I don't want to gush, but we had so much fun.  I'm all wanting to get back into playing the guitar and learning a million of her songs.

Lucinda Williams is one of the greatest songwriters ever.  She's right up there with Bob Dylan and Neil Young.  She's part of my musical DNA.  When I first started getting into the guitar, I covered a lot of her songs.  Once, when Willie and I were dating, we made out to the album Car Wheels on a Gravel road twice through.  It's one of the greatest albums of all time.  This was my fourth time seeing her in concert. I saw her once at the Bridge School Benefit, once in Boston and once at Red Rocks.  This concert was the best.  Branden Campbell's name will be honored in our family for generations to come.  Now, I'm not saying we got around "breaking the Sabbath".  I am saying that I am so glad we went.  We had so much fun and it was incredibly thoughtful of Branden to get us tickets.  Also, our neighbors jumped right in for babysitting since our pool of LDS babysitters don't work on Sunday.  The Nobles watched the kids until bedtime, then Jon Rizzo came over and put the boys to bed.  This was seriously a team effort of good friends.

I brought my camera even though concert photography isn't my favorite.  I prefer to have the attention of my subjects and there are always things cluttering the picture like microphones and music stands.  Plus concert pictures always look kind of the same (unless there is cool smoke). With that said, when I'm excited about something I can't hold back from taking pictures, so that's just what I did. Here are a few.  These are taken with a 50mm lens and a 24mm lens.  I did not have a zoom.  I was actually standing right in front of her.

I've been wanting to write down a few thoughts recently but seem to have really busy days and exhausted evenings. Now it's a rainy Sunday and I have a few minutes.  I have wanted another baby for several years now and Willie just came on board.  Pregnancy and post-pardum are hard times in our life, I could even describe them as dark times. Despite that, I find myself wanting another child.  There are a lot of reason and that's a post for another day but mostly I love Wyatt and Hank so much that the possibility of loving someone else like that makes me willing to go through the hard times just one more time.  With thoughts of getting pregnant again comes trying to get off my depression medication which leads me to this post.

I have struggles with depression.  I am very open about it and not ashamed.  I am not crazy.  I do not appreciate the stigma that comes along with metal illness.  It so unhelpful.  It's very old school.  If you had diabetes you would probably take insulin, right?  If your brain is not making enough serotonin or your own serotonin is not lasting long enough in your brain then you are depressed.  So you take synthetic serotonin or a drug that extends the life of your current serotonin, right?  I can't believe the crazy things I've heard related to depression, like "just be happy" or "all depression comes from sin" or "you just need more exercise".  You get the picture.  Lame. I have a friend who's fiance said he would not marry her unless she stopped taking anti-depressants. There are also a lot of myths about anti-depressants.  Here is a myth busting article if you are interested.   I have found anti-depressants to be such an answer to prayer for me.  I found a good SSRI with almost no side effects (but not being depressed) and there is a generic so it's about $10 a month.  This medication has returned me to myself.  I feel so balanced, I can feel a full range of emotion. I can cry but I can also stop crying at the appropriate time.  The drug I take, Zoloft, has also been linked to birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

After Wyatt was born I almost immediately fell into a dark depression.  Part of it may have been from the traumatic circumstances following his birth but it did not lift, even as his health improved.  I can seriously say that I barely remember those months after his birth.  I cried so much.  I felt so angry. I wanted to escape. I had horrible anxiety that included irrational fears about Wyatt's safety.  I eventually called the doctor and she had a list of questions she asked me and saw me immediately to treat my depression. After starting on medication my life started to get back to normal and I was happy.  That's when my memories start again.

I took medication for about a year and came off it fine.  After Hank was born everything came back but I started on my medication the week after he was born so I started to feel better in about a month.  I came off the mediation a year after Hank was born and after a few months realized I was not ready and wasn't emotionally coping.  Anyone who was present at the Stratford Christmas in Ephraim that year saw my rock bottom.  I started crying at one point and feel like I didn't stop for two days.  I tried supplements, saw a naturopath and drank fish oil, etc and could not get back to feeling normal.  I was very resistant to go back on the medication (a symptom of being depressed) because it meant that I was dealing with something more permanent than post-pardum depression.  I finally started back on the medication and have felt wonderful and really even ever since.

Last month I started to come off my medication again and about a week and a half after had a surge of sadness return.  The feelings are so familiar.  My temper starts to get short.  I'm irritated easily.  Then I start thinking my life is the worst (my life is so not the worst).  Then uncontrollable crying.  AFter meeting with my doctor there are a few things I have learned.  There is a period of evening out when coming off the medication, like a dip before my brain can get an equilibrium.  Also, if I can not function well without my medication he would recommend I take the risk of taking it in pregnancy.  The medication is a category C which is in the middle of 5 levels ranging from safe to extremely dangerous during pregnancy.

I'm on my way off the medication again and am coming up on two week and feel good. I will go a month before tapering the rest of the way off.  The other day I had the impression to spend time in the sun every day.  After researching it a little I learned that sunlight in your eyes is the best way to make your own serotonin.  Lucky for me we live in a very sunny place, almost all year round. On top of sun, sleep must be a priority (no midnight releases of twilight for me), good nutrition and fish oils and a multi.  Also, a major positive force for me is intense exercise.

I am not a missionary for anti-depresasnts and by all means if someone can find a natural way to feel better, then do it.  On the other hand, if someone is suffering from depression and their family is suffering because of it, I think meeting with a doctor and getting some help could really turn things around.

I am supposed to be catching up on work right now but I thought I'd call it a night and write a little about my trip.  It will probably take several posts, and lots of pictures but I have to record it all.  It was an amazing experience.  I was busy this time which was fun.  Last year I felt like Willie and I did a lot of walking around and sight seeing.  This year I was always headed somewhere with a purpose.  I got 5 rolls of film back today and spent a long time scanning. Getting those images makes it all official.  I thought I'd write down what I did every day so I don't forget. I'll delve into details later.  I also got some pictures that I just love.

Up at 4:30am to go to the airport.  Hank and Wyatt wanted to come and never went back to sleep.
Slept almost the whole way on both flights except for some free on board facebooking.
Took a cab into the city.
Said hello to everyone at the office.
Walked to the camera store to pick up my Hasselblad rental.
Went to a recommend Indian restaurant with all my luggage on my way to meet Sara.
While having public transportation issues, Sara picked me up in her car (relief).
Sara and I drove to Madison Square Garden to see Neon Trees and Duran Duran.
Had so much fun.
Partied backstage with Neon Trees and had a short but sweet time with Duran Duran before heading home.
Collapsed into bed.

Phone batteries died so alarm didn't go off.
Rushed to get up.
Ran in Frye boots with Travis to catch our train.
Caught train, but got shin splints and sore muscles.
Headed to meet with the studioCase accountant, still sweaty from run and no makeup or hair done.
Took a cab back to studioCase.
Worked the whole rest of the day in much needed office quietness.
Realized I was getting a head cold.
Went home with Travis and had a delicious dinner Sara prepared.
Cleaned kitchen, unpacked and went to bed.

No running to train, just brisk walking.
Bought a lot of Kleenex.  So much snot.
Took pictures.
Barely worked.
Work meeting at delicious taco restaurant.
Navigated public transportation to New York Camera club.
Took a 3 hr darkroom private instruction session from the delightful Anders Goldfarb
Had so much fun.
Navigated back to studioCase to meet Virginia Stratford and Travis for a Stratford cousins dinner.
Had so much fun talking to Virginia and talking life, issues, love, family, etc.
Had a 61 minute Chinese massage, drippy nose and all. It only hurt a little and mostly felt so great.
Ate a delicious magnolia bakery cup cake at grand central station.
Walked home by iphone light with Travis through the trees.
Collapsed into bed.

Up early to make it into the city for my printing class.
Took a 3 hr digital printing class at the Photo Plus Expo.
So sleepy.  Flashbacks of college geology and the temple movie.
Very interesting class.  Lots of information.  I must get an Epson printer.
Returned to studioCase in time for an in office artisan pizza meal.
Took portraits of the team.
Left en mass for the studioCase fall Gala.
Prepared vegetables and food with Sara and Amy for the party.
Photographed the party while the light was good.
Cleaned up after the party.
Looked through images from the party.
Streamed some TV shows and went to bed.

Slept in until 9am.
Went on a beautiful run with Sara and Enoch in the light snow.
Edited images.
Watched the snow fall.
Chatted with Willie and the kids.
Watched more snow fall and worried that there would be travel complications.
Went to Travis and Sara's ward Halloween party.
Stayed up late watching Vampire Diaries.
Slept in my clothes so I didn't have to get up any earlier than 4:20am the next morning.

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