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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

I love babies. They’re fragile and unaware. Not to mention, they’re us and who we used to be. A friend recently had a baby and I was invited to come visit, only hours after her little girl was born. I had been to visit babies, such as new cousins, at the hospital before but there was something different about this experience. Maybe because I’m getting older or because it was one of my peers’ babies but it really moved me. It moved me in a way that brought tears to my eyes and a sort of happiness and excitement that was so precious. Of course, I was super embarrassed because no one else was crying-not even the brand new mom or grandma. After laughing, apologizing the tears away and taking a few photos, I left the hospital feeling so calm. Content. Happy. I felt as if I had been recharged, ready for life and the challenges ahead of me. They say that “being born” and dying are the most painful and difficult experiences to endure (which I’d like to know how anyone knows that) and if this tender little human could handle being born and struggling into our world then we can persevere over our pain, struggles and conflicts.

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It’s a simple fact that everyone is different so why is everyone trying to live the same life? Your neighbor’s grass looks greener from over the fence but if you got closer you’d see all the weeds and dead patches. You think you’d be happier if you were married? Well, then you get married and envy the simplicity and independence of being single. You wish you owned a home? Then you buy one and realize all the work that constantly needs to get done and your bank account dwindles and your weekends are busy going to Home Depot. You wish you had more money? Then when you have money you realize all the responsibility that comes along with it or how difficult it is to trust people. If you get caught up in this, the list could keep going…”I wish I had her body” “He has a better job” “Their mom and dad help them out more than my parents” “He’s in much better shape than me” “Her kids are better listeners than mine” “I wish I had an Aunt Sally who took me on trips to Africa” and blah blah frickin’ blah. Don’t be such a downer.

The things is, everyone struggles and everyone can thrive, the details are unimportant (to-may-to/to-mah-to). Everyone has pros and cons. So, let’s focus on our pros and make the world a better place.

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Two good friends of mine, who will remain nameless, own a baby boutique and once in awhile, if I’m lucky, I get to play small business owner. The morning starts out great. Sometimes on these days I pretend I’m Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail while I get my coffee, wave and say hi to the neighboring businesses and open up “my” for-the-day shop. Side note-the sun has shone every time I’ve ever worked, so you know what that means-I’m making the world brighter. When the mail and UPS men come I smile and chat with them as if we’ve been interacting daily for years and they usually have a look of puzzlement on their faces and sometimes add a “Now, who are you?” to which I respond with only a laugh. Now, because it’s a boutique business the flow of customers isn’t always very constant so after I check my e-mail, facebook, flickr, news and, of course, tmz, it’s time to order lunch. Next, back to business. I shuffle around the store looking for things to fold, straighten, perk up or rearrange with my artful eye. A customer may come in “Hi! Let me know if there’s anything I can help you with”. This is a dangerous line because sometimes, if it comes to details such as designer’s, lines and shoes, it’s hard to help. After I ring someone up the clock shows  4 hours have passed since opening and my eyelids get a little droopy and since the stools behind the counter aren’t very comfortable, the children’s play rug in the corner seduces me to go sit on it (maybe lay on it) until I realize there was a song I wanted to listen to. The mini solo dance party takes the clock to one more hour left before closing time. This is my hour of reflection. I realize I’m happy doing what I do, whatever that may be and as good as I may be at playing the role of store owner , it probably isn’t my cup of tea but I am so grateful that I can check another thing off my list.

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I get really annoyed when people say Southern California doesn’t have seasons because it does. The changes may not be as dramatic as let’s say Rhode Island (I don’t know why I picked that place, I don’t know anyone there…) but they exist. Living in the Midwest for most of my life I used to say Fall was my favorite season mostly because I liked the clothes I got to wear. Summer was fine but it was never one of my favorites. As much as I loved to swim and ride my bike and not have school it was just so unbearably hot. It wasn’t until I moved here, to the West Coast, that I really grew an appreciation for each season and what each one provided. No more can I pick one favorite, I love them each separately and equally…like children or maybe not.
Summer: Ohh, man I’m smiling just thinking about it! Hiking, traveling, camping, swimming, staying up late, getting up early, being outside as much as possible, drinking wine, barbeques, being spontaneous, bikes rides, hot sand on your feet and dirty hair that you think is cute because you are tan (or is that just me…).
Fall: I like to think of it as the stretching after a long run, which was summer. You finally can lay down, feel your muscles tingle, realize how sweaty you’ve gotten and just feel good for your accomplishment. Not to mention, your stomach starts to rumble…
Winter I don’t want anyone to yell at me but I want you to believe me when I say it DOES get cold here. I’m not saying it’s freezing and no, we don’t have snow and ice but it does get cold enough.: Time to make soup, bake, sip brandy and hot chocolate (not together), sit by fires and have game nights instead of going out, spend time doing quiet things. I feel like I talk less in the winter although I’m sure there are people around me that would beg to differ.
Spring: Work, work, work. But, all good work and work you want to do. I feel ready to run again but I’m nervous about my time. Eager to open the windows and let the sunshine in and let the stale air out. Planning, shopping, cleaning, planting, busy work and anticipating doing it all over again!

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This man was the highlight of my day. I didn’t understand a word he said to me but he had the biggest smile. It seemed to me as though he spoke really kind words but again, I have no idea what he said. I think it’s kind of sad that we’ve been conditioned to almost assume the worst in strangers. It’s almost as if we’ve taken on the mind frame that we’re better than everyone we don’t know. That makes me sad. I think if everyone smiled and said hello and maybe even struck up a conversation with someone they didn’t know each day it might instill a little more empathy in us and through that our world would get a bit better. We’re not kids anymore, we know not to fall for the candy trick and of course, use your judgement.

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I know this can be a sensitive topic and I am in no way implying that I’m perfect…in fact, I’m probably far from it. The picture above is my one and only side mirror, the other one is missing due to a fight with a dumpster. Anger is an easy emotion to feel while behind the wheel and imagine, if we all we’re happier drivers we would be more considerate and the world could get a little bit better. I decided to make a little list of basics that can serve as reminders for ALL of us. Feel free to add to it!

1. Beeping is a voice not a weapon.

2. Left lane is for passing, right lane is for creeping.

3. Going under the speed limit can be just as dangerous (sometimes more) than speeding.

4. Be happy and assume people are oblivious not aggressive.

5. Pay attention, you’re not the only one out there.

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