39: Summer’s Ending…

Earlier this month, I’ve turned 39. Another year I’ve lived on earth with only a few regrets. I do not celebrate my birthday for religious reasons, and another reason why is because every July 14 I’m reminded of two things: My mother gave birth to two boys on that day, and yet only one of them made it. Every now and then I look at my birth certificate and think to myself; “…the possibilities”. That being said, on both sides, there’s gonna be a family reunion between siblings in the new world, God willing. As I’ve said before, I’ve got to be patient and wait.

As I reflect on this final stage in my third decade of life, I think about the things that I really want to do now that I’m currently unemployed after 20 years on the same job. I must confess, this year alone has been of of closure so far since it began. While the list remains very long and there’s only a little over four months left in 2014, it’s been a very bumpy ride. But as always, when one door closes, another one opens. I’ve gotten closure with a lot of things that are no longer in my control in recent months. That said, whenever something painful creeps into my mind, be it something I did or something I let someone do to me, I have to remind myself that what’s done is done, and it’s water under the bridge. At 39, I can cry in my beer for so long. I’ve come to the realization that it’s time to move on and let things go.

Now that I have a clean slate, and am in a position to start over and do new things, and finish other things that I’ve started.


If It Ain’t One Thing, It’s Another!

First, I get laid off after two decades of working for the Public Schools, and a week later, some punk rear-ends me on the outskirts of the suburbs.

In typical dastardly fashion, this punk takes off leaving my poor faithful Chevy Malibu banged up from behind! Was I furious? Yep! But I was also happy as well! Why? Haven’t had an accident since ’97, haven’t had a ticket since ’97. I think I’ve done well in 17 years.

Long story short, I filed a claim at the police station, and by the time anyone reads this, I will have contacted my insurance about it. Hopefully, I can have all this rectified in a reasonable amount of time, and I hope the coward who clipped me will face justice.

It’s funny. Almost laughable to some point, in almost 22 years I’ve been a licensed driver, even currently holding a chauffeur license, and an Enhanced Drivers License (basically a DL with a passport-you have to live in a border state [Michigan, NY, Cali to name a few] to obtain one), that I have never been rear-ended before! Tapped? Yeah. But never rear-ended.

But there’s always a first time for everything!


Another Closed Chapter In My Book!


I’m just gonna cut to the chase!

After 19 long years, my time with Detroit Public Schools/Sodexo have come to a permanent end.

That said, some longtime DPS custodians who came into Sodexo from DPS didn’t take it well, others, such as myself, had let out a huge sigh of relief. Originally, my plan was that between my 40th birthday and my 20th year with the Board the following year, I was gonna walk then.

Come to find out that my timetable was cut off a year earlier than expected. Long story short, the Board of Constipation (you read that right) forced Sodexo’s hand by not paying them as promised. Originally, we were under a five-year contract with Sodexo, and after three-and-a-half years, something broke! Alluva sudden, many contractors under the Board of Ed. were wanting their money, but wasn’t receiving any! Having said that, Sodexo walked! and despite the negative things that I’ve heard about them prior to my working for them, I can’t say that I blame them! So the writing was on the wall as it was. And like I said before, I was gonna walk anyway. It’s like I was not destined to be a janitor-and certainly not for as long as I was one anyway!

So now as I write this entry, this is now the time, as well as the opportunity for me to reinvent myself. At a time like this, I am thankful that I am still single. I can only imagine the stress that this would put us both under. Seeing that’s neither here nor there at present, I can say these things: I have one more year of school left, and I will have my degree in General Business, I have my photography, and I have my eBay. I also have unemployment coming in, as well as some leftover vacation time from my now former place of employment. So thanks be to God, I’m still in good shape so far.

But I refuse to do more janitorial work, even if they did pay more!

Some recommended that I start a janitorial company, but I’ll pass! I mean, decades of inhaling chemicals, mixing them, dealing with hard-headed people who only come to work for a petty paycheck, and ignorant attitudes, too much stress! I’d rather start a business doing what I love to do, and that’s photography, writing, and eBay, as well as designing things. In other words, I want to do something different in life.

-And this ain’t it!

The picture you see above is the East Side Bus Terminal, a former brewery in the ‘hood (before it became as such). That would be my last run as a DPS employee. It’s funny. People with more seniority than me were actually jealous that I got that place. But I didn’t like it at first, but once I got to know everybody there, and I took care of it, some folks actually appreciated my work, and I, in turn, began to appreciate being there. I will submit that going in two years ago, that was going to be my last run with the Board as stated earlier. The ESBT was the point of no return for DPS custodians. Long story short, once you got there, you were either headed towards retirement, or greener pastures. In my case, it was the latter!

As the adage goes, “…when one door closes, another one opens”.

As this chapter in my book has put the period in its final sentence. I will began to write a new one.


Another Random Mix!

I do not know whether or not someone else had came up with this mix, but I’ll just give the ingredients to this simple mix.

1-2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin over ice
W/ OJ and strawberry lemonade
Pour the orange juice and lemonade simultaneously (looks good when the two fluids flow together, it’s a beautiful stream, trust me)
Add an orange slice (optional)




My second time having this margarita/beer mix! It is delicious, to say the least. And as always, it’s nice and large with the margarita already made with a bottle of Corona Extra on top with a bottle holder to give both the glass and the bottle leverage. So I ordered some grilled salmon with chopped veggies i.e. spinach, peas, redskin potatoes, avocados, onions, and so on and so forth! Obvious that dish was gonna take longer than normal, so to make up for the time, I ordered a side of mozzarella sticks. I was expecting three, or four at max, I was given EIGHT! And since I haven’t eaten for most of the day, it actually was worth it. After I finished the sticks, the fish came. The following pics should be self-explanatory.

Did I smash these delicious eats?

You bet your behind I did, baby!

After what I’ve been through these past few days (with Mary’s passing and all), I deserve it.

I don’t think so, I KNOW so!




Apple & Lingon w/ Bombay Sapphire

First of all, I’m not much of a gin person (vodka’s more of my thing), but I’ll make an exception on some cases. I bought some Apple & LingonBerry from IKEA and a pint (or half-pint) of Bombay Sapphire and made my little mix.

1 oz. of Bombay Sapphire
2.5 oz. of Apple & Lingon
Add ice
Shake or stir


Tribute To A Friend…


I really don’t know how to begin this other than my friend and photography partner of four years or better, Mary E. Lawler is now deceased.  My emotions are jumbled right now as I’ve posted on Facebook, Instagram, and even YouTube a tribute to someone whom I have known for a very short span of time.  And the response has been outpouring ever since!

I first met Mary on Flickr sometime in either 2008, or 2009.  We have yet to cross paths in person at the time.  And because she went by her Muslim name at the time, “Adeeba”, I was hesitant to even meet her, because-and I mean no disrespect to anyone who is a Muslim-but it was my experience that Muslim women, especially the black ones, were not very approachable, neither were they very friendly, thankfully Mary was an exception. She was raised as a Suni Muslim, but converted to Christianity in her later years.  You know I told her that several times within the last few months of her life that I was afraid to approach her let alone be approached by her? I revealed that to her recalling the first few times that we actually met years ago.  True story indeed.

Eventually, we would meet together at a photography gathering.  The first of many between us was at Campus Martius, when a fellow photographer named Ross Sandelius had offered to anyone to meet with him for an afternoon rove, and that’s how Mary and I had met, and it wasn’t until later on-give or take between a few weeks, a month, tops-that we would cross paths again at a restaurant downtown where local photographers would hook up at a bar and swap prints of the photos they’ve taken.  Long story short, neither one of us had prints, but we hit it off rapidly, and it just snowballed from there.  It was a fast ride, and alluva sudden it came to a complete stop.  Little did I realize that it would be a permanent one!  Maybe not according to Revelation 21:3, 4 where Jesus promises a resurrection of the dead, which a vast majority of us are looking forward too.

But time will only allow so much for me to delve into this subject.  In five years or less, I was closer to this woman than I was anyone in my family, my religion, my community, etc.  I have watched this woman work wonders with a camera, raise a son, run a household, and eventually move into an apartment in the ‘burbs.  This woman leaves cherished memories never to be forgotten by those who loved her.  As I write this entry, I still cannot believe that she’s gone.  And the tears are flowing right now.

But in the very short that we have known one another, we were virtually inseparable, we may have gotten on each other’s nerves to put it mildly, but we never had a falling out!  And we were both Nikon DSLR users at that.  We’ve shot weddings together, fashion shows, still life, nature, even senior shots.  Now there are other photographers whom I can work with, but no one, even if they were more resourceful and more talented than she, they will never be like her!  Mary had left such a void that’s not gonna be filled very easily.

Gone too soon at 47 years young.  I think about Steve “Woz” Wozniak and his thoughts about Steve Jobs. “You can never get that time back” as Woz woefully expressed.  My thoughts exactly.

What really drew us together other than being photographers from Detroit who were nine years apart and attended rival high schools in the 80s, was that we were only children, the only exception in my case is that I was a twin.  As I’ve expressed my missing him since birth, I spoke with her as long as she was willing to listen to me about this longtime gap that remains unfilled.  She encouraged me to move on.  When I expressed my feelings about an ex-girlfriend of mine, all the same she encouraged me to move on.  When I told her that I wanted to start working for myself one day, she encouraged me to go for it!  There were times that we’d talk for hours on end. She was virtually the big sister that I wish I could’ve had.  Like I said, time will not allow me to discuss at length about my relationship with this woman.  I owe a lot to her!  Because of her, I went to my first wine-tasting some years back, I’ve gotten to know other photographers from Detroit.  Some of whom have been featured all over the world!  Heck, because of her, I’ve finally, finally bought an iPhone.  And I’ve been hooked on it since!

We had fun to say the least.  The last time I’d seen Mary just hours before my service at the Kingdom Hall that Sunday (thankfully I attended a service the day before), I shared the scripture at Isaiah 33:24 where it says “…NO resident will say:  “I am sick.””

My friend is no longer in pain, no longer suffering, no longer under stress.  She’s resting in peace now.  I will miss her very very much


And there’s one more thing!  Because of her, I’ve gotten into macaroons as well.  Thanks Mary!

And now, a slideshow in honor of a close friend who has given me the best four years of my life.  Only fitting.


Proud Lefty

Born a left-hander, forced to be a righty, began training my left hand in recent years, and I’m loving it. I’ve blogged on this before, but of all the things that I’ve left unfinished, this is one that I’ve been consistent with. I’ve posted images of writings and artworks with my left hand on Facebook, and Instagram, and thankfully I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on the subject. It just feels good to regain what was taken from me. Nice way to do a year in review for 2014.

And for my fellow lefties, here’s something on YouTube courtesy of Anything Left Handed.


Noir Shots

These images speak for themselves. In recent times I’ve been unlocking secrets to my iPhone as far as the editing is concerned, and doubling the filters on the images. Long story short, I’ve been practicing black and white shots on my iPhone, and adding the Noir filter to it as needed as well the iOS HDR feature which really made it pop out. So I’ve spent these past few days toying with the b&w/noir/HDR features on this pocket computer that Apple put on the map. Enjoy ‘em, and let me know what’cha think!




Picture 1) The Bagley Pedestrian Bridge. Southwest Detroit, Mi.
Picture 2) GM Renaissance Center. Detroit, Mi.
Picture 3) Dodge Fountain, Hart Plaza, Detroit, Mi.

(C) 2014 JVLIVS Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Here’s To The Crazy Ones…

Well, I really have no tactful way of starting this off other than I do see myself in this category in many ways possible. I am a huge fan of individuality to some extent despite that many take it to extremes that are unheard of in this day and age. I’ve accepted the fact in recent years that I never was the type who fits in, rules suck-even the ones that are beneficial, in my personal opinion-and I am very proud to be the round peg in the square hole. I pride myself of improvisation and innovation, I’ve developed a huge loathing, if not disdain for, the status quo (I never benefited from it anyway) as the years progressed. And I pride myself on my artistry and creativity. If I can’t get what I want, or what I need right away, I adlib until I do! That’s just the artist in me. Period!

I, for one, don’t like to be pigeonholed, confined to, or limited to anything that constricts, if not restricts my vision of things, or whatever situation might be to my advantage. Be it a convenient one, or an inconvenient one. Yes, I am definitely one of the crazy ones. And the crazy ones are not just critical and analytical thinkers (which isn’t as hard as the slow folks think it is), but the crazy ones are creative thinkers as well as artistic ones!

Yes, again I say, I’m one of the crazy ones! And proud of it, too, baby.


Creating Memories One Click At A Time. Photographer from Detroit, JW, Late 30s, Ambidextrous (originally born left-handed), proud Twinless Twin, Tumblr Addict, I use Wordpress to document the goings-on of my daily life come to find out that it's a form of therapy and stress relief. Writer and poet, iPhone snob/elitist. Keep reading for my latest adventures. For some fun stuff, including my writings and poetry, go to: www.jvlivs.tumblr.com. For my professional photography, check out: www.jvlivsphotography.tumblr.com. I'm looking forward to meeting you on the WWW!


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 47 other followers