Monday, March 13, 2017

Queen of Unfinished Projects. A Maine Photographer and A Queen

This photo, taken quite a few years ago, is a great example of a photo being worth a thousand words, but for me is symbolizes something more, it symbolizes thousands of "unfinished"words.

This photo was taken at a Creating Keepsake scrapbooking convention in Manchester NH.  My friend Cheryl was attending with her sister for the weekend, a regular family tradition for them, and my friend Lisa and I did a quick, "during the school day"roadtrip shopping excursion to join Cheryl for a little lunch date and some shopping fun while the kids were busy attending just a regular day at school.  This is kind of the way I live my life. Enjoying life, spending time with my friends at a vendor fair focusing on just one of the hobbies I love,  Yes, I don't mind spending half my day in a car to get to a destination to enjoy these things, even if the things I am enjoying last just a few hours.
Where am I going here.  Oh ya, it was during this very day, during these few hours that I had carefully scheduled fun time with my friends, that they mentioned that the two of them had talked about buying me a particular t-shirt.  They didn't buy it, but they talked about how the two of them had discussed buying it for me,  The t-shirt in discussion...had 4 words on it.
"Queen of Unfinished Projects"  

Surprisingly, I was a bit offended.  I NEVER start something I am not 100% committed to.  Never.

Life goes on.  Shit happens.  Priorities change.  Shit happens.  Life goes on.

It's been years since my friends discussed buying me this shirt.  One year, I really don't know which one it was...but one year, I took my daily planner out, and wrote in an "unfinished project" for every month of the year.  How many could there be?  ... who knows, I never finished it.

Let's start with scrapbooks...I've probably got 23 of them going...none of them current...none of them completed...but very close on some of them.  

Sewing.  I started making curtains for our pop-up in 2012 or 13...but then we bought a house, I packed up the stuff...haven't gotten around to finding it.  Oh ya, and I'm making my boy a t-shirt quilt...for high school graduation...I've got the pattern and a box of t-shirts.  He's in the second half of his first year of college.  Oh, and I have all the fabric to make curtains for his room, here in our new house...that we moved into summer of more sewing project that I started in 2010 that is the reason for this blog post today.

I have decided to OWN this title.  Yes, that is right.  I am, starting today, admitting to myself and those hereby witnessing me, embracing with an open heart and without offence, the endearing title of Queen of unfinished projects.  I have decided to take ownership for the things I am great at, and one of those "things" is my desire to try and do as many things that I can that bring me joy and bring joy to those around me.

It would take me a week to write down all of my unfinished projects.  Some of them I haven't even started yet, but they have been in my head for years.  These thoughts, these projects, there was a time when I took them very seriously, after all, in my head, an unfinished project was an attempt at something, and the unfinished part signified my failure at something.  It's taken me a while to get here, and I did have some help along the way, shout out to my life coach Lynne McGhee, but I have learned quite a bit about being kinder to myself, and accepting of myself and my goals when life hands me another priority and "an unfinished project" needs to be re-evaluated.  I've learned that if the unfinished part is going to make me feel bad about myself and cause me sleepless nights, then I need to take a few minutes to answer some questions about it...or let it go...for the time being at least.

I want to share with you a couple epiphanies I had recently that caused me to re-evaluate my "projects" and decide to either re-prioritize or let it go.
My dog Chloe had three pups, three years ago.  I have one of the pups and I have kept in touch with the other two families, and I have blogged about the pups on their birthdays.  This year, one of the human Moms of one of Chloe's pups died in January, after fighting breast cancer for a number of years.  When she picked up the pup, three years ago she told me she wanted it to eventually become a therapy dog.  When I heard of Penny's passing, I immediately signed up to become a therapy team with Chloe.  I invested some hard earned money, took an online course, and then had a hands on evaluation with Chloe as the final piece.  Chloe failed the obedience part of the evaluation.  She just couldn't sit for three seconds without getting up to come sit by my side.  The evaluation  team immediately started talking to me about working with Chloe and trying again in six months, but in the back of my head I was already thinking, what are you doing girl, taking on this additional commitment, you don't have any time as it is?!!  And just like that, I decided that the reason the Joanne/Chloe team had failed the evaluation was because the timing for the Joanne/Chloe team was not the time being, that decision was made for me, and I have accepted it.  What was I thinking?
Second epiphany.  When my Mother-in-law passed away in 2011 I saved out about a dozen of her knit shirts, to make teddy bears with and give to her grand kids on the anniversary of her death.  The first year came and went.  I only had three bears done, so I gave none.  This year came and went.  6 year anniversary.  I haven't returned to the project since I packed it up to move in 2013.  Recently, the first of the "great grandchildren" of my Mother-in-law celebrated her 1st birthday.  I decided to "re-evaluate" my project, and I mailed out the first of the re-purposed teddy bears.

and now, in the spirit of my new title, I am celebrating the completion of my first blog post in 7 months...and in keeping my title and taking ownership of my title, I will leave you with yet another unfinished...

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Making New Memories and Preserving Past Memories with Joanne and Legacy Republic

A few months ago I signed up to be a Legacy Maker with Legacy Republic.  I was aware of the company, but after a quick presentation from a representative It became a no brainer for me that it was destiny that I become involved.  My passion for family photos, my eighteen years as a Creative Memories Consultant, even the historian position I held for my college band...all of these passions for documenting life in photos and words.  My destiny.

But 100% honesty, it was the pending empty nest future that became the deciding factor for me.  It's not that I don't have enough things going on already, it's that I wanted to do something different, something new with the pending changes coming to my life.

I hadn't ever really given much thought to the words empty nester before.  I knew it meant an empty house, less people to pick up after, less food to buy and cook, more time for hobbies, more quiet times ahead.  Just maybe I would get to watch something I wanted to watch on tv and sit in my oversized stuffed chair at the same time.

What I hadn't thought much about was the circle of people that I associated with as a Mom was about to come to an end, completely.  I don't have any neices or nephews, or siblings, or cousins in my town.  The daily connections I have are with my kids parents.  Whether it's a soccer game or a swim meet, a basketball game or a tennis match, the people I have connected with for the past 16 years have mostly been through my children and the school system.

As graduation approached so did a little jolt of panic.  I was going to go from not having a single week night available to possibly having all of them available?  I had been telling my husband for months that we needed to find something we enjoy doing together so we can reconnect too...but still, there was this greater need I had to find something new for myself.  Something that I could be passionate about that would take my mind off of the pending "quietness" of my future life.

I might add that my life is anything but quiet right now.  After 61 years of living in the same house, my mother is finally ready to sell her home and move into a condo, where daily living should get a whole lot easier for her.  I've been spending a bundle of time with her purging.  Not my strong suit for certain.  But the two huge duffle bags of reel to reel family movies only pushed me further to join Legacy Republic and it's awesome mission.

Much more to come here on my blog about Legacy Republic.  In the meantime, if you have old media, and you want to bring it back to life in the digital age, be it VHS tapes, slides, negatives, reel to reel, even scrapbooks...please contact me now and we together will make a plan for you.  You don't need to wait for me to contact you...which I eventual will :) just let me know you are interested and we'll make a plan together...the first step...and it's super easy...honestly, all you need to do is give it to me and I'll make it happen, three weeks later you will be enjoying and reliving!!  Call me!!

Here is a "snippet" from some of the reel to reels I pulled from my mother's house.  This is 60 seconds of random footage put together for me by Legacy Republic.  Full disclosure, I haven't yet shared this with my Mother yet, I believe it will be very emotional for her, as my father died 11 years ago, and my sister died 6 years ago, I want to sit with my Mom and watch it together.
If you don't see the photo below, you may view it at this link.

Yes, my Mom still lives in this house, next to SMMC in Biddeford.

So I have one more thing to share here about my empty nest situation...or call it a bit of a mid life crisis.  When presented with the opportunity to go out to California to attend Legacy Republic's first ever "reunion" for additional training and knowledge, the old Mom, the pre-empty nester Mom, would have definitely closed the door on the offer as something I just "couldn't" do.  I am so happy I have worked my way through this old way of thinking and am embracing a new future with some fun and excitement and adventure!

So, saving the best for last, my little picture story of my adventure out to California.  This was a very big deal for me.  I traveled alone, there were some unexpected delays, I learned how to use my phone camera and "take a selfie" (I'm a work in progress).  Also, our day trip over the Golden Gate Bridge, sooooo cold....even for this Maine more thing, I flew out of Portland, so you natives check out the footage at the beginning of my recap on a clear and gorgeous day, you can see everything!!  I am so very lucky to be a part of this company at this very special time in my life.

I have found a new passion and I can't wait to share it with you all!!  If you can't wait either, please please call me, text me, facebook message me!! 207-756-5337

I've also put a link up to my Legacy Maker site on my blog page...somewhere over to your right :)
Now, below, my photo recap of my California adventure.  California is so BEAUTIFUL!!
use this link if you do not see a photo link below.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Vacation, a Baby, and a Wedding Part 1, by a Maine Photographer

Part 1????
I can't possibly blog about my vacation when all I want to blog about is the wedding I photographed on Saturday.
As I have mentioned before, as a photographer, there really is no greater compliment of my talent than to be hired by a friend.  And that happened to me twice last week!!
(and we shall cover that in Part II)

Today is all about the wedding!  Trish and John's wedding.

I am not even sure if I knew Trish prior to attending her late husbands funeral.
If I knew her at all, it was just by name.
Her youngest son Patrick was in my sons Cub Scout den.
I listened the Priest as he talked about Trish.  
How very strong she was and how she already had the courage it would take to carry on.

I too was a Mom of two young boys.
I couldn't even imagine putting one foot in front of the other, if I were suddenly in her shoes.

Patrick stayed in our Cub Scout den, and as the years flew by I got to know Trish too.  
I have always admired her strength.
I love her sense of humor.

Over the years I have photographed Trish and her boys on several occasions...even muttering "meow" once or twice...(again, keep in mind the sense of humor please)
and Trish even indulged me by making a blindfolded cameo appearance in my "Minor Shades of Blush" video promoting one of my other product lines.

...and so it was ever so wonderful to have Trish ask me to photograph her very special day with John.

YES of course I would love to photograph YOUR WEDDING!!!!

What a very fun day.  I got to know John, and meet his family, and meet the siblings of my friend whom all seem to share her fabulous wicked sense of humor.
oh, and John has it too!

If you know my work at all, you know I like to share it with music.  Some of you may find my music selection a little strange, but if you are part of this family, you will probably enjoy it...or at least understand my choice.  And again, if the music annoys you, please feel free to mute it.

I have said it before, and shall say it again.
A second chance at Love...doesn't get any sweeter!

I have embedded the slideshow below, but if for some reason it doesn't appear, you may view with this link.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Pine Point Summer Solstice Tradition. A Maine Photographer.

There is a group of individuals who exercise regularly in the early hours of the morning. For some of these people, the only thing they have in common is that one hour a day, for how many days of the week they choose to go. Friendships form. Traditions are created. Friday night at Pine Point, the week of Summer Solstice, now having occurred three times within this group classifies it as a tradition. You don't need an invitation. You show up and are guaranteed to be amongst takes a special person to get up at the crack of dawn to exercise with a group of people...people who even though you may have very little in common with...people who become your friends.

Living within a half hour from the beach is by far one of the single most things I am grateful for.  I am also painfully aware that I do not take advantage of this blessing anywhere near as much as I should...for solace, for reflection, for gratitude, and for practicing and improving my photography skills.  Summer Solstice at Pine Point, for me, is an opportunity for all of the above.

My solace, my reflection, my gratitude, my practice.  Summer Solstice 2016.

 That famous line in Lethal we go on 3...or do we go on go?  Barb?

Meet 9 wk old Brewer.  I will ask any puppy owner if I may photograph their puppy.  It is who I am :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A Latin Chariot Race by A Soon To Be Empty Nester Maine Mom Photographer

My baby graduates High School next week.  I've been going through some stuff, mostly being proud and a little lonely thinking of the coming changes, but today, another change smacked me hard.  I like to photograph my kids and whatever activity they are participating in.  Today it was the Latin classes and the annual chariot race.  Beautiful day, sunshine, kids having fun, what's not to love.  Today was the last Latin class chariot race I will photograph...unless...someone...anyone with a kid taking Latin next year, invites me to adopt their kid...just for that half hour... :)

Here's my personal version of how it went down today.

and, if you would like to see last years 2015 race...

and, if you would like to see the debut of WHS Latin class chariot race 2014...

these videos are all embedded, so if you can't see them, here are some links.

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Birds Eye View by A Maine Bird Photographer

I have a new found obsession.
Obsession is a bid negative...let's start over.
I have a new found way of seeking inspiration.  Photography inspiration.
Guaranteed to suck up more time than a morning catching up on Facebook.
It's my bird feeder.
...and I'm not the only one who has become obsessed :)  Catch that reflection?

I "strut like a rooster" sometimes "naked as a jaybird""eagle eyed" sometimes "run around like a chicken with it's head cut off" looking "for something worth crowing about"


I'm sharing some of my favorites.  A friend gave me a great book so I could do my best in identifying them.  I'm new at this, so don't get madder than a wet hen if I misrepresent...A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. (Chinese)

    Mr and Mrs Northern Cardinal

    Mr and Mrs American Goldfinch

    A blissful pair of tufted titmouse

   Not sure who this is...maybe a house finch?


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