Posted some new photos from a photoshoot I did last Wednesday at the Gardens. Go here.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
In my 33 years on this earth, I haven't been touched by an over abundance of personal tragedy. The first relative in my family to die was the grandmother on my mom's side. I was 19, she was 72. It happened the week I met Dave, so there was a tidal wave of highs and lows that week, to say the least. I was a hot mess, unable to control my emotions at her service, shaking a bawling like a weeping widow. Overcome with such foreign sadness, I kissed her forehead, only adding to the traumatic experience for me and death. She had been gone over a week, big mistake to give her a kiss. But what did I know? 19 and experiencing little personal loss, I had no path to follow on how & what to do.
A few years later, my grandfather passed, also on my mom's side, leaving me grandparentless (my dad's parents both died when he was very young). I was much more prepared this time, though the Catholic service was a first for me. He had brain cancer and we were knowing it was imminent. The next huge blow to my personal tragedy was my father's passing. He had cancer, but was seeking treatment with his tumor actually shrinking. They gave him a good few years of life, so it was shocking when he passed suddenly in his sleep. I was 4 months pregnant with Sylvia, and it was a huge punch in my family's gut. But being so pregnant, I attempted to triumph over the sadness to be healthy and sane for the duration of my pregnancy. After having Sylvia, the waves of pain came flooding back, mixed with the post-pardum blues, and created 9 months of depression. It was hard, long, dark, scary, but many lessons were learned. Lessons of coping, seeking help, and admittance.
Last night I got a crushing phone call from New York. My best friend's ex-boyfriend, Danny, had died. I met Danny when I moved to St. Louis, at age 19. He had already befriended a mutual friend, so we clicked instantly. And by clicked, I mean he was a total dick, but in a hilarious and sarcastic way. Danny dated my best friend for 4 years, and I got to know him well then. He was an amazing drummer, and played music with many of my husband's bands. After their break-up, I saw him less, only occassionally at shows. Then I got married, had babies, and only saw him at the rare BBQ or party. His sarcastic humor always remained, but many other problems arose. His mom died unexpectedly during a routine operation, which jolted him into a downward spiral of depression and drug use. He has been hurting for years, and every time I saw him, I could sense his pain and darkness. My family has been dealing with addiction for a long time, so when you see it, you know it.
I don't know the exacts of his untimely death, but I know it sucks. He was younger than me, we shouldn't be dealing with this yet. But addiction doesn't pick an age, a time, a gender, a lifestyle, a financial status, anything. It's a long, dark tunnel, and I know too many people that are sucked into it.
You will be dearly missed, Danny, in our lives and in our community. I wish this didn't have to happen to you, I'm so sad for your sister and father that now have to deal with this. I'm sorry you couldn't fulfill your dreams, fall in love, travel, play music, whatever you wanted. I wish you were still here and ok. I'm so done with losses.
** Not that it makes the loss any easier, but I did find out that my friend had been clean and sober for a few months now. Turns out he had coronary artery disease (pre-existing) and got pneumonia. Sounds crazy for age 31, but 3 of his very close relatives had the same heart condition. I guess in the end it doesn't matter how someone dies, but that fact that someone, anyone, can go in a second. Hug your loved ones, we should all feel loved every day.
Thursday, March 24, 2011
This was taken yesterday, 78 degrees, incredibly warm and windy, absolute perfection. Today it snowed. I would stick my tongue out to you , St. Louis, but it's hard when I was just sitting in
the grass enjoying that beautiful sky just yesterday. Please come back, lovely weather, I miss you already.
Saturday, March 19, 2011
It's a beautifully rainy Saturday night and I am home alone drinking wine. Well, technically I'm not alone, there are two sleeping little ones. I digress. I have just filled a large glass cup with red wine and turned the tv off. I find myself going through a spring-like metamorphosis lately. The buds on the trees are starting to peek, the daffodils have opened, the crocuses are adorable, and the air is finally warming. So yes, though it is dark, chilly, and rainy right now, the prospect of glorious weather is upon us.
And changes are abound. A major change for me is the slowing down of life. Yes, I am still oh so busy. But things have found an eerie calm lately. I've been booking weddings, which has given me this strange sense of proud comfort. I'm finally getting to a place where my talent and confidence are pushing/driving/steering me to mover onwards and upwards in my business. It's pretty amazing to me how many weddings I have been getting, especially since I don't have my wedding site up yet. But I'm happy to accept these couples because they have sought me out and have chosen me for what my vision is. And they don't care if I have a wedding site up yet. That blows my mind.
I'm taking them slowly, I don't want to get overwhelmed. Although I look at my calendar from May to November and it's a bit scary, I can't wait to be shooting and pushing forward. I love what I do, and it's funny to realize it so much later than I thought I would.
When did you figure it out? Have you figured it out? When I pick up my camera, hold it to my eye, and am able to document a moment in a life, I smile. Do you smile at work? Listen, I'm not trying to brag. My schedule is all kinds of wonky, I go from earning my keep to negative bank accounts when the work slows, I have credit card debt, and I still want/need more equipment, but I'm continuing on. It's worth it, it has to be.
I went for a run around the park today without my iPod. It renewed my love for running and our city. It's long, hectic, hoosier, obnoxious, creepy, and amazing. Life is surprising, you may find a joyful moment in a puddle or a stranger's comment, you may have absolute sorrow bury you so low you're paralyzed, but one thing is certain for me: I am supposed to be here in this moment. Taking in the good, the bad, the ugly, the horrible haircut I got going on because I'm having one of those negative bank account kinda months, but I'm taking it all in. And I hope you are too. Because, for me, trying to see joy is lighter on my shoulders than wallowing in the negative.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
This weekend, my family had a surprise bday party for my mom's 60th birthday. Living in a different city, my main job was to coordinate the venue, call all the guests, and get my mom to show up. Luckily, I was at her house when she was gone and stole all the numbers I needed out of her address book. I can't believe I even found that thing, her house is full of antique furniture with lots and lots of drawers.
But all this is besides the point. We were at my brother's house, all the cousins running amok. Easton was jumping on the bed, like the crazy monkey he is, when he landed wrong. He didn't fall off the bed, so it wasn't obvious to anyone what he actually hurt. But he was crying, relentlessly, and didn't want to be put down. I figured he'd feel better after his nap, but totally awoke still hurting. But of course, being as timing is my mortal enemy, we had to get my mom to her surprise party, where 45 of her friends and family were patiently waiting.
For the rest of the day and night, Easton wouldn't let me put him down. He was whiny, whingey, clingy, sad, pissed, crocodile tearful, and wouldn't let anyone come near him. We drove back to St. Louis, and today he was still limping. I decided to take him to Children's Hospital, which is an incredibly awesome place (if you have the unfortunate situation that makes you go there). They get you back right away, everything is smaller and less intimidating for kids, and the rooms have cartoons on. After examinations, they decided to do xrays. Great.
Amazingly enough, he was a total trooper during the x-rays. I had to stand behind a huge wall, but the nurse holding him down was a seasoned pro. He didn't protest at all, and didn't end up with any broken bones. Thank you Jeebus. Turns out he has a condition called Toxic Synovitis, which occurs after a virus is leaving a child's body. It usually causes pain in the hips, making a child limp, and making the parent have a total freak-out and pay $200 in Children's ER visit.
And all I could think of was how awful it was going to be to have a 2 year old in a full body cast. Awful, but not surprising.
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Our weather has been strange this winter. Days of warmth and sunshine followed by days of freakish winter thunderstorms and yes, a tornado in February. The alarms started going off around 10:45, well into a peaceful slumber for my children. I check the news, I look outside, life is dark and calm. "This isn't worth waking them, must be a paranoid siren blower," I say to myself. I continue on with whatever random thing I'm doing and keep an eye on the news. RED ALERT! WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! The news has done this before, just a month before, in fact. Snowpacolypse (which I have no idea how to even spell)was a total miss for our fair city, dumping a mere 3 inches of snow followed by a freezing and icy-sand-snow for a few days. Yes, it sucked, but it wasn't the end of the world.
You can't really blame anyone, if the weather people overreact, we get mad, if they give us no warning, we get mad, if they were to completely stop feeding into our nation of fear, maybe we'd be happy. But I digress, the tornado was coming!
I had been alone, but hearing the sirens, Dave returned from a friend's house. We watched out both doors and felt satisfied with our decision to leave the kids happily asleep. Then all hell broke loose. The rain started, then started going sideways, the tress became violent whips, and I totally panicked. "You get Syl (totally the heavier one, I'm so selfish) and I'll get Easton. Let's head to the basement." Dave and I ran upstairs, him more calmly than I. Listen, I'm not going to be that mom who decides she can't wake her precious children and then the roof slams down on them. I scoop up E, wrapped in his blanket, and slowly carry him down the stairs. He is oblivious, totally asleep, and I intend on keeping him that way. We head to the basement, Dave is taking his own sweet time with our 55 pounder.
There are lights on in the basement, so I don't turn the stairs light on. Do you see where I'm going with this? I make it down the incredibly narrow, old, rickety steps, only to totally miss the last one. I feel myself falling, so I embrace Easton to prevent him from slamming into the concrete surface. He awakes, excited to be hanging out in a dark, cold basement at 11pm. He's bright eyed and ready to party, as I am crying in pain on the dank floor. I somehow injured my left wrist, elbow, right inner ankle, my left knee, and left big toe. I couldn't stand up, and the TORNADO was coming. Dave was still getting Sylvia.
By the time he made in down, I was in a lot of pain. He had to get Easton, put him on this old couch, go grab Syl (whom he had left on the first floor), and pick me up to set on the couch. This all went down in about 2 minutes. By the time we were all settled, the TORNADO had passed, the kids were very discombobulated, and I was hurting.
After all the commotion, we managed to get the kids back to sleep rather quickly. I was in a lot of pain, all now centered around my stupid big toe. Which, by the way, you don't realize how much you need until it won't bend and kills with pain. I was convinced it was broke, took a painkiller, and passed out. The next day, the shame and embarrassment set in, and I couldn't believe my luck. If I had waited a few more minutes, the kids would have been fine, the storm passed in minuted, I wouldn't have hurt my toe, and life wouldn't continued on. Parenthood has really made me panic about the little things, worry and fear are high on the list of concerns.
Three days later, my toe is much better. I definitely did something to it, but I'll survive. St. Louis weather, always biting you in the ass in some way or another.