Monday, March 31, 2014

Welcome to me

I will likely broaden my blog's scope further than the realm of modeling that I have previously tried to limit myself to in past years. Modeling is a huge part of my life, as my job has come to dictate my entire lifestyle in a sense which is why in the past I have been able to write exclusively about the modeling aspects of my life, without wanting for any discussions. But a model is more than just a pretty face who bends this way and that way to make pretty pictures, and the thoughts that go on in our minds do in some way affect our collaborations, so a blog about more than a few quirky photo shoots can actually be relevant - this kind of blog can show a bit of insight into a person who just happens to be a model. During my South American journey I had a blog for my friends and family, and anyone who thought to ask me about where they could follow more closely with my travels was invited to read this blog, which started me writing about my daily adventures and turmoils and all of the thoughts which occurred to me as I threw myself head on into a world I knew nothing about.  I had begun the journey with blog entries on my ArtfulNomad blog, this one, and shortly after my trip commenced, I realized my South American trip did not have much of a connection with my modeling identity. I have had some close friends remark about the difference between my personal life and my modeling life, and I often joke about little me and the superhero version of me which is known by the world of photographers and models. But years into my journey as a model, I feel comfortable with reducing the separation between myself in general and myself as a model, because the gap has been closing a long time now and something changed while I was gone last year, and I feel I am comfortable in being me, both the non-model classical and nerdy me, and the model and sometimes rockstar version of me that is relatively well known around the world of nude photography. So hello, and welcome to me. Sometimes I may seem to rant about random topics, and other times will be sure to write in relation to my shoots, because that is one of the largest aspects of my life, but as always, everything is me.

I have heard some people refer to my tumblr as my blog, which perplexed me since I always associated blogs with words, but as times change more people are interested in the immediacy of photos and even I have found myself spending more time playing with photos than with writing, but I want to keep this to being my word blog, and my tumblr my photo blog. But of course, some photos here are a necessity as well, because photos are fun, or beautiful, or just great to make and have and show. :)

 Snapshot by Bob K
Glamorous photo by TLGee
 Being goofy (I almost always stick out my tongue in stupid photos)
And a bit of serious art with William McEwen (after the portrait with camera)

Health insurance makes me crazy

I am not one who easily becomes upset, but one word can quickly send me on a tizzy, and that word is "healthcare." This year I am being a grown up and paying for health insurance, and not just a major medical one, but a real one with accessible co-payments. My advice network of parents and some friends encouraged me to go for the "good" heathcare plan which came with a high monthly fee but a low deductible and the chance of truly taking advantage of my insurance benefits this year. But the years is a quarter of the way through, and my monthly payment has only brought rise to my blood pressure, even if the hoops I have been jumping through to use my insurance have been helping me increase my hurdle capabilities. I used to pay a low fee each month to ensure that I would not suddenly be in a bad scenario financially if I had a medical emergency, and shelled out a rather high full fee several times a year each time I needed to see a doctor. This year I have had nothing but frustration, paying my monthly fee without any sort of benefit. Being on the road all over the time makes using insurance rather difficult, having to go see a primary care doctor to get a referral for something you know the primary care doctor will not do anything about is absolutely annoying. I do not think I am being dramatic to say it is insane for a female to need to go to a primary care doctor before being able to make a gynecologist appointment. This kind of appointment is not a privilege but a right, and sometimes a right now sort of thing. And the average person does not make up random stories just to go to dermatologists, so having to go to the primary care doctor just to get a referral to go to a dermatologist is not only a waste of time and money, but having to wait an hour and a half as the absolute patient of the day, then finding out you have to cancel your appointment because a week was not enough time for the doctor to fax a letter with a referral number to the dermatologist of your choice (within network of course) is unacceptable.

I have noticed people who hear discussion about doctors automatically assume a person is "ill" or has some health problem, but having preventative care should be about being seen while still relatively healthy, to prevent serious problems, thus keeping health treatments to a minimum and costs down - for both the medical system and the patients. I had a basal cell removed from my skin when I was a young teenager, and have had a couple of other moles removed during my time in graduate school. I continue to keep an eye on some of my moles, and having just returned from the equatorial line where the strong is extremely strong, having a routine mole check seems wise and should be a simple thing to do. But patients who have to go through so many hurtles will eventually give up and decide not to do non-pressing things, and years down the line maybe some mole will become a cancerous problem that could have been easily avoided. I am not one to preoccupy about health, but do think prudence is....shall I say...prudent.

I am all for healthcare being available to all people, but as someone who works hard to earn her income, watching my monthly insurance bill come and go without the basic treatment I seek brings me nothing but frustration, especially knowing I could take that same fee and go wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and still have money for a major medical insurance.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Comic Strip

Today I feel as though I am in a fog. The day is one of those where I could have spent the day being productive, but was never awake and pulled together enough to get anything done. I had one, then two cups of coffee, and stayed asleep with my eyes open and legs moving. That third coffee finally did the trick. Or maybe the nap was what worked wonders. Or the canned chicken with frozen peas. I have a box full of clean laundry, a happy grandmother (because I called her), and one bill paid. My to-do list is largely untouched.

I will not go into a healthcare rant because that leaves me angry, and I am not an angry person, but I did call my primary care doctor yet again and still have no response. Apparently I need a referral in order to actually use my health insurance, which is pretty much impossible seeing as I am never in Houston, and my doctor never wants to call me back. Hopefully one day they will actually pick up the phone and I can actually keep the appointment I scheduled. If paying for an expensive plan, I would like to at least go do a couple of important check ups....

A photographer friend of mine did a day long shoot with me and one of his friends a while back. Some behind the scenes photos, plus his captioning, makes for a pretty funny comic strip. If I am not doing the networking I need to be doing right now, I can at least share some humor with the handful of people reading my blog. :)

Comic Written by Tom A.
Personalities: Keira Grant and Frank

Monday, March 17, 2014


I wait at the airport, on a connecting flight from Peoria, Illinois to Houston, final destination. A woman rushes to the woman behind the desk, she has just missed the final boarding of her plane, doors are closed, and her plane in sight.  There is nothing to be done  - I know this feeling, not having done exactly this, but remarkably close.  I tend to spend countless hours in transport with my job, with transportation time rivaling the time I actually spend working, and currently plane travel has allowed me to go the far distances, replacing my usual long stretches of road in car.  I had some plans I was counting on fall through, or keep getting pushed back farther and farther with no real manifestation in sight and yet a deadline, so while I usually would have piggybacked a weekend modeling trip with a good friend of mine with a few more shoots in the nearby metropolis just 3 hours away, I planned otherwise. My hopes are up I will get to see at least one person on my Chicago list, as there is a glimmer of a chance that they will need someone to forfeit their flight to allow for some standby member to ride. This would be magic alignment and allow me one night in Chicago, but I must wait to find out.

Airports do not bother me as much as I have a feeling they bother many others, they are a place where I am in a bubble of often not having internet on my computer and thus not having to do massive amounts of emailing, because iphones work well, but lack the efficiency that a computer offers for this sort of thing. Also, there truly is nothing to do, so I can sit and think and chill out. I am that girl that sometimes sits and stretches in the corner. Or nibbles on whatever overpriced food she purchased then washes it down with drinking fountain water. Or tries to edit or organize nude photos without others seeing her screen. The only thing that is necessary is to keep an eye on the time and get on my flight. I have always done this successfully except for once.

Let me tell you the sad tale of the weekend I was working from 8 am to noon in Austin, then again from 1:30 to 5:30, then finally in my car on the way back to Houston by 6 pm. I arrived a bit after 9 pm, and packed frantically, simultaneously hyped on caffeine and exhausted from my day and drive, knowing I needed to pack adequate clothing for myself and shoots for the next two months, including a myriad of temperature zones and modeling styles. A photographer showed up with a model release to sign, and I did my best to be polite while being unable to pay much attention, then had a beer to say goodbye to my roommate and mellow me out and by between midnight and 1 am I was asleep.  My 4 am alarm clock came early, as did my 6 am flight, which got me into Denver in time to pick up a sandwich, continually check my iphone which was stuck in a specific time zone, be paranoid about my flight and the time, and miss my flight. I watched the area I was in go from crowded to empty before a bewildered me realized my supposed boarding time was indeed the actual flight time. Fortunately I was able to get on standby with $100 change fee and after a less than preferable 4 hour wait that had me fearful that I would miss the only night my whole family would be together, the celebration of my sister’s birthday and the first time I would see my family in a full year.  The idea of being stuck in the airport was not actually a stress, but the stupidity of it all seriously put my intelligence in question.

The upcoming 10 days on my schedule contain practically nothing in terms of set appointment times, but my to-do list stretches far. I know I will enjoy the small sense of being home, marked by not needing to set an alarm or put on makeup on a daily basis, as the bank, tax lady or other people I need to see are not concerned if I have eyes that photograph stronger or not. Most of the things I need to do actually involve the internet or phone, so theoretically I could do these things anywhere, but sitting on a specific friend’s couch and doodling with pens while hanging out can only happen when at each specific friend’s house, and there are a few I am looking forward to seeing (as is the case anywhere I go). If I am not shooting, I am not actually earning any income, so seeing a sparse week is both mentally relaxing and taxing at the same time, but that is a pretty normal experience with freelance work.  I recently planned a quick trip to NYC and Boston because of a hole in my schedule, so I have more than enough trips to keep me occupied on the internet networking and scheduling side of things. 

Last night I bought a couple more flights, which locked in a few more aspects of my schedule, so it is time to get to the email aspect of my job (a huge component).


And hello Houston - my hopes of staying in Chicago for the night did not work out, but I am back in Houston, reunited with my "home" and my grown-up to-do list.