Friday, October 21, 2011

I Did It

My friend and I are amateur photographers. He took pictures when I got married at the courthouse, fourteen years ago. He's come such a long way since then...his landscapes are incredible. So, when he set his wedding date to marry his high school sweetheart, I knew I wanted to take pictures. I told him of my intent, and he agreed. However, he also asked his dad to take pictures. His father had taken a turn as a professional portrait photographer in the past, so I totally understood his decision. My friend told his dad that I would be taking pictures, too (I didn't know that I would be actually photographing the event as a photographer, rather than just a participant in the wedding!), and since his dad likes to call the shots, he quickly told me he was going to "use" me.

I had a problem with that. I didn't want to be used. I didn't want to be told what to shoot, how to shoot it (other than friendly suggestions for f-stop settings and the like), where to stand, or anything along those lines. I wanted to shoot a limited amount of posed shots, and a whole bunch of capturing the feel, the know, the history of the day! My friend assured me that what he and his bride wanted were candids, and that I would be doing what they and I wished.

To say I was nervous was a huge understatement. Despite my desire to be a "real" photographer, I really am just someone who enjoys capturing life. I have a lot to learn. I worried endlessly that I would miss critical shots, that in the midst of the chaos, I would forget settings, that my battery would die prematurely, you name it. Then the bride asked if I would take pictures of the girls getting ready. Perfect! I had time to loosen up before the big event, and time to get comfortable before I would have to work beside my friend's dad.

I arrived at the house, sweating and shaking, matching the bride's nervousness, I'm sure. I began shooting immediately--the bride greeting me from the front steps--and I felt better. I could do this.

I remained on edge, but more confident, until we finally arrived by limo at the wedding venue. Right away, the groom's dad asked how I was doing and told me what he expected of me. I acknowledged him and went about my business. I tried to steer clear of him as much as possible--that way, he was doing what he wished, and I was doing what I wished. I quickly realized when it was time for the ceremony, that my friend's dad intended to be "the" photographer for the event. He would literally stand right in front of me to get a shot, sometimes even moving in front of me when I was focusing. I let it go, and shot from another perspective. Later, I invited my husband (also a lover of digital photography) to take a few shots. I ended the day enjoying the reception a little, making the rounds, tired, and with an achy wrist (stupid carpal tunnel).

Fast forward two weeks. I quickly posted my favorite pictures on Facebook, and tagged the bride and groom. They started "liking" them right away, and I knew I had done my job. A few days later, I looked at the pictures again--the expressions I captured, the innocence of the flower girl, the emotion of the couple's faces. I caught those things, and recorded them. Sure, a few pictures could probably use a little post-processing (something I am not fond of), but for the most part, they have a pretty good collection of 600 seconds throughout the day. 600 memories that will make them smile for years to come. And as others comment on Facebook, I see that they feel the same way--I did my job.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


When did everything in my life become supersized? I spend more time at Costco than ever, where I purchase nearly everything necessary to run my home in institutional sized packages. Yet, somehow, I seem to run out of the same stuff in the same amounts of time, which means I'm also spending supersize. My stress is supersize. With two kids recently diagnosed with ADD/ADHD, and one having behavioral issues at school and at home, I could easily resort to a liquid diet. And I'm not talking about Slim-Fast. Add to that a husband who is rarely home, and when he is, he's working on his 1970 Karmann Ghia (that old German girl is more high maintenance than any lady you've ever met), or watching every episode of Top Gear ever recorded. It's spring, and the Christmas lights are still up. The laundry room has remained unfinished since my older daughter was three. There were no other children there are four. That was NINE years ago. The windows are unfinished from two years ago. Several rooms need to be painted (including the two supersized messes-Cameron's and the boys' room), the porch needs to be stained. The siding needs to be replaced, but that is a supersized battle. My husband wants to use some old siding (he swears it will match) that he found in his grandmother's garage to cover the section that's been lacking for nine years. I want new siding. Yes, it's a considerable expense, but one that would make a phenomenal difference for our house. I'd say a supersized difference, but I'm getting tired of that word. You get the picture. I need to somehow simplify, get stuff done, and relax. How does life fly by so fast?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Wow, a Whole Year Gone?

I can't believe an entire year has gone by since I've posted. Amazing. Here we are at spring again, although you wouldn't really know it. Today, the high is only in the 50s, and it's raining.

We just had Mother's Day. Once again, in my own little family, it was nothing special. Last year was the year that it was completely ignored; and then when I bristled at being taken to Home Depot to choose my own gift (really?!), Gordon spent the rest of the day installing my pond. It would have been easier to just teach the children that it's not too much to ask to treat your mother nicely for one day out of the year. Do little things for her...offer to do the dishes, the laundry, etc. And if you're the father of those children, you could probably pitch in, too. After all, she bore them all, didn't she?

Anyway, my children paraded into my bedroom with a card and an orchid, which I have been wanting and is lovely. They climbed around in my bed for a few minutes, and filed back out of the room. Gordon then announced that he was going to play volleyball. Yep, on Mother's Day. That's his way of making sure he's still the most important: force it to be so. So, I was left to prepare the Mother's Day food, do the dishes and laundry, and wait until the baby had taken her nap. Sounds like fun, eh? Worst of all, my children are growing up believing that we don't celebrate one another. Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, they take more notice at how I celebrated my own mother.

It was a bit of work, but I made kabobs for everyone, plus basil & mozzarella tomatoes. Angie and I had made an edible arrangement for my mom-it turned out pretty well, even though it was our first attempt. We had fun doing it, although at first, we were sort of at a loss of where to begin. We did have a great day at my mom's which made up for the morning (even though Gordon did spend that entire time on the couch, as well). I was determined not to have a completely crappy day. We had great food, good wine, and good conversation. It's always great to hang out with my mom and my sister.

Today is yet another year since my baby Jacob died. Cannot believe it has been twelve years. I went to the cemetery today...some babies had just been buried. I wish I could have his body exhumed and moved to a different location-someplace meaningful to me. I know that's silly and futile. Nothing will change. Even still, I've spent the better part of today thinking and remembering, allowing long repressed notions to surface. Nothing will change, and the pain never goes away...but each day, I learn how to live around it a little better...learn to be a little more grateful for my children who have not grown wings.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Ageless Church (as in, music)

So, last night, I went to see The Church at Ram's Head On Stage. You know, Under the Milky Way...Reptile? Wow. The legendary Marty Willson-Piper is still, well, legendary. The rest of the boys are just as impressive. They rocked like I did not expect. I thought it would be a calm show of ethereal guitar & haunting lyrics. Man, was I wrong! I imagine that any way they play, they're good. It's also fun to sit beside the stage, even though their stage guy's butt was in my face as he switched out guitars. It's a different I know what pickups and distortion pedals are, rather than just being giddy to see a band. I notice all the goings on, and see the band members as people.

But, you know what, I was somehow shocked by their appearance. Why are they frozen in my mind as they were twenty years ago? Because that's totally what I expected. How could they have aged? I haven' least, in my mind. In my mind, I'm still fourteen, sleeping on the porch with my sister in West Ocean City. We would listen to The Church or Peter Murphy or Echo & the Bunnymen all night long. My dreams were the images that the music conjured up, and time slowed in the summer heat. Who knows, maybe the Australians we met at Assateague were the Church...but I doubt Marty Willson-Piper surfs.

On the subject of age, I was very surprised to find that we were among the youngest people in attendance last night. Hard to believe that in twenty MORE years, I might be going to an Andrew Bird (or some such) show, and marveling at the "young" 35-year-olds...and they might marvel how someone as old as me can love that kind of music.

Lastly, why, oh why, have I become a rule-follower? I checked both my e-tickets and my website, and both clearly stated that cameras and recording equipment were not allowed. So, instead of taking my Nikon and getting some fantastic shots, like 80% of the other people, I was left with my crappy cell phone camera. Hmph. I'm such a sheep.

Monday, March 9, 2009


It's kinda hard to feel sorry for myself with so much promise exploding outside-buds, bees, birds, flowers...pretty hard to keep me down today. And 75 degrees? Perfect.

But, we've been through a lot this week. When the kids are older, maybe even when they have kids of their own, I think we'll look back on this and say, man, remember when Collin was in kindergarten and everyone got Rotavirus? That was terrible. As in, it doesn't ever have to happen again. Ever.

Truth be told, only half of us have had it. That's the scary part. Poor Collin has already lost 10% of his body weight, and refuses to eat and drink much of anything. He does take comfort in white milk, something he has long abhorred. That's odd. But, whatever will stay down and isn't complained about is okay with me at this point. It's been very trying, and HE'S been very trying. He's a terrible sick kid. I remember as an older baby, he had a stomach flu, and completely slept through the throwing up part. Of course, the diarrhea lasted for days, as it is now, but there's not much to be done about that. My mom tells me I always got it badly, too. Yay, genetics. Anyway, Gordon and I each briefly escaped, and later we agreed that it was such a nice break. I'm certain he was happy as a clam to go to work.

The tv's been on every waking moment. That, of course, has resulted in Collin wanting every toy that is currently offered. There is also a constant stream of "Mama! Get Splenda! It's sweet, but not won't get fat!" and "Mama! Why don't you ever listen to the tv? Just press OnDemand, so you don't have to go to the movie store or wait for the mail!" So, yeah, Collin must be a little better.

Now, it's Monday morning, and Cameron is "sick", too. At 8am, she looked perfectly fine, but claimed her belly didn't feel right. Gordon wondered if we should let her stay home. I shrugged and went back to bed. Now, she looks like she might not feel great, but admitted that most of the problem is the fear of throwing up in school. I can't say that I blame her. Her teacher is the man who, when a kid asks to go to the nurse for nausea, tells them to get the garbage can and sit back down. Which reminds me that I was supposed to have a meeting about him with the principal today. Which reminds me that while I feel like I really need a vacation from this whole mothering thing, there is much more work to be done this week.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


If you go around grumbling in your head about your husband, you'll probably be hanging up his coat (for the thousandth time) and cussing him when one of those big wooden hangers flies off the rod and smacks you in the nose. You might think God is trying to tell you something...or that the karma kicked in. You might then go to get the baby, and decide to change her. Then you put her down for a few minutes, and wrangle the three-year-old into bed. You might immediately have to threaten him to get BACK into the bed. Then you might get the baby again, and realize that she's peed through the new outfit and onesie you've put on her. You might commence to mentally grumbling again. You might change her with your icy cold hands, and the three-year-old will complain that she's keeping him awake (as if he's had any thoughts of sleep at all). He'll ask to poop for the third time in ten minutes. You'll then know that he really HAS mastered bowel and bladder control, because he's only letting out enough to last him a few minutes, thereby increasing his out-of-bed time. Then your older children might come in off the bus, making as much noise as their little bodies can produce. You might threaten them, too, and your mind might wander back to your guilty husband, sitting ALONE in his QUIET office. You'll probably start cussing him again, and the fact that he refuses to use birth control. You might curse the fact that you're nearly 35 and therefore it's probably not a good idea to use hormonal birth control anymore. And the IUD already failed...and condoms are, well, you know...and now the baby's worked herself up to a frenzy, so you'll probably have to go ahead and nurse her. You might park yourself near your laptop, so you can at least surf or update your Facebook status with one hand. The baby might behave herself and burp right away, and not even spit up on you, so you might sit there and snuggle her a while longer, ignoring all the Christmas stuff that still needs to be put away, and the third and fourth loads of laundry. Sooner or later, you might realize that the baby kind of smells like poop. Then you might realize that the smell is a little larger-than-life, if you will. You might look down and see that the baby has indeed pooped out of her onesie, and onto the second outfit you were holding in your hand, ready to put on her. Now you'll realize that there'll probably be a FIFTH load of laundry, and you'll drift back to your husband, who could easily wash clothes while playing his Xbox. While you're walking to your bedroom, you might hear a splat on the floor, and you'll note that she has indeed spit up...half on you, half on the floor. You might put the baby on your bed, on a waterproof pad so that she can do no more harm, and go get the infant bath tub ready. You might look down and notice that the baby has pooped all over your only clean pair of jeans. Your nine-year-old might dramatically burst into the bathroom and announce that the baby has peed...BESIDE the waterproof pad (who said only boys had that capability?), and all over your bed. Yes, it is Sheets Change Day. Yes, there'll be a fifth, and probably a sixth load of laundry. And you'll start mentally grumbling about your BGE and water bills. You'd then put the baby in the bath, noting that she does like being submerged in the water better than being in that bath-chair-thingy. But only for 90 seconds. You'd probably then hurry to dress the baby, who is screaming her fool head off. You see any hopes of a nap for the three-year-old slowly sailing away.

Then you might pick up your clean, sweet baby, nicely wrapped and smelling like Burt's Bees Milk Bath. You might snuggle her and decide all is right with the world. And decide maybe your attitude needs rebooting. But your husband will probably still be wrong.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Babies, Cats, Pigs & Bunk Beds

It's almost time for me to have this baby, as most of you know. I'm excited-REALLY excited to be done and to meet her, but I'm anxious, too. I am trying to just take things as they come, but I can't help worrying and anticipating.

I have been ridiculously busy, trying to get ready. I've tried to do all of my Christmas preparations (I still have stuff to do, but I'm pretty well set, except for wrapping). I've tried to clean up, and of course, wash all the baby clothes. There are still totes full of baby clothes in the back of the basement that I've begged G to retrieve...there are far too many obstacles for me to get them myself (namely, said Christmas preparations). I have been trying to keep up with the rest of the family laundry, keep the house in some kind of order, etc. Today I dropped a chunk of change at the store on staples and frozen foods so that we've got something to eat. I even managed to get a haircut, since that will surely be out of the question for a few weeks.

Anyway, so the two little boys are going to be sharing a room, sooner or later. We've been stalking Craigslist for bunk beds for some time now. Earlier this week, we were interested in a set that included a dresser, shelves, desk, etc. It's like a room-in-one. Well, that was sold (because someone else was interested, and the people tried to get me to "counteroffer", but as it wasn't eBay, I wasn't inclined to up my bid), but we found a similar set that was even cheaper. I finally got G to go take a look at them tonight, and he planned to just bring them home if they were in good enough shape. Even the mattresses were being included. I'm kinda iffy (ok, a lot iffy) about someone else's mattress, but I figured it was her daughter's (as in, one child, not two), and there would be waterproof mattress covers on top anyway. So, unless they were gnarly, it would probably be alright.

G called me from the person's neighborhood, and said he was pretty scared. He said there was a dirt road, and it just looked funky. I'm thinking to myself, whatever, plenty of people have a dirt road. Doesn't mean they're inbred or anything. Five minutes later, he called back. He was back outside, and informed me that there were about 45 cats in the house, and a pig. Yes, really...a pig. I insisted that he was joking, but he said, "An effing pig, Amy, I pet the thing!" Oh my. At first I was under the impression that the house was just funky, but he later assured me that no, it was in fact filthy. And the lady had left her 13 year old daughter home alone, to deal with this potential buyer of bunk beds, who could have been anyone, for all she knew. I'm thinking to myself, you were supposed to give the girl $550?! He said the furniture itself was not bad, but not worth the $550 since the mattresses would not be desired. I'd just as soon not inherit whatever nastiness they might contain.

So, one of G's coworkers was getting rid of a decent set of bunk beds, and we've bought them. We'll buy our own mattresses. At least we know that they're quality, and that his coworker is not a funky person. But oh man, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when G walked in there. I would have paid money to see his face when the pig appeared. And all 45 cats.