I wasn’t sure I’d make it through the end of this month, but I’m here and in one piece and I can think straight again. For those of you who had inquired after Kaweah – my sincerest apologies. I had overlooked giving you all an update. She’s doing fine now. None the worse for wear. I bought her a pillow today and she’s curled up sleeping right.next.to.it. Nice.
My annual MRI came back clean for breast cancer. We’re almost three years out since the end of my treatments. Awesome sauce. Never take a day for granted. Try to make the most of it. Rarrrrr!
Have you ever gone to a restaurant often enough that you think you know the menu and then one day you notice a dish and wonder “where have you been?” I met up with my friend and fellow local blogger Elana, who so kindly treated me to lunch at The Kitchen on Friday. I usually get the salmon salad or the hazelnut, chevre, and beet salad… but hellooooo! What have we here?
our lunch at the bar
roast duck, frisée, and egg salad (swoooooon)
Deviation from my normal order paid off in spades. What a great new favorite salad to accompany time well spent talking with Elana. We’re both busy girls, but this kind of person-to-person interaction means a lot to me. Call me old-fashioned…
One of my readers sent me a couple of dog collars last week (thank you, Shelley!). Her company Poetic Paws makes them and partners with Best Friends Animal Society to help abused, neglected, and homeless dogs find forever homes. I was originally planning to keep one for Kaweah and donate the other to my local Humane Society in Boulder, but Kaweah didn’t like having a bow around her neck and it took a lot of “No!” and “Leave it!” to get her to stop trying to tear it off. What do you expect from a hillbilly dog? Still, I managed to get her to model one of them (sort of), but I’ll be donating both to pups who really need them.
it’s very sparkly
kaweah succumbs and holds still for a picture
I’ve thought about gifts a lot lately. I neither expect nor want gifts (stuff) and I think it’s a good place for me to be. My “gifts” to loved ones are gestures of love and thanks. The gifts I receive on a daily basis are those things that have no price – life, health, the best partner, loving friends and family, living in a place I love, smiling at strangers as I walk through town.
Several months ago I had collected enough travel soaps, shampoos, and lotions to donate to a women’s shelter. My friend, Erin, volunteers at the local women’s shelter in Boulder, the Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence (SPAN). She gave me the address of the outreach office where I could drop off those little soaps and bottles. While there, I left my information and said I’d be happy to offer my services – what little they are – to the shelter. There were emails, meetings, forms to sign, logistics to plan, and this past week I was able to provide photo shoots for some of the women who utilize the services that SPAN offers.
My original intent was to provide basic head shots for the women to use professionally. Many of them are in transition, looking for work and trying to find a place to stay. But few of the participants were interested in head shots. What they really wanted were photos of their children.
For someone as OCD as myself, it became clear from the start of the shoot that planning and scheduling was out the window. Some people didn’t show up, others were late, others couldn’t get a ride to the location. That’s the nature of the situation. We did what we could as best we could. I say we because there was no way to do this effort alone. I had the generous help and support of Manisha and Erin. It was so much more than just the technical assistance that they provided – Manisha helped to round up the children and sweet talk the little girls and boys into giving us Just One Smile. Erin explained the privacy contracts (some women could not have their photos shared for their safety) and gave instructions in Spanish. She spoke Spanish to the little ones in such a musical voice that I couldn’t help smiling myself.
Normally I’d give digital copies, but since so many of them don’t have permanent residences let alone computers, it was decided that prints would be better. Pro Photo Rental and Pica’s Boulder have both graciously offered to provide financial support to cover the cost of professional printing for this and future SPAN shoots. I cannot thank these two amazing local businesses enough for their dedication to our community. When I informed the women that I would have prints for them in a couple of weeks, they were all so thankful and excited.
When I shoot, my mind is entirely on the shoot and there is little room in my brain to process much else that is going on around me. So at the end of the day when everyone had their photos taken and I hugged Erin good-bye (Manisha had to leave early, but they tag-teamed), I sat in my car and a flood of thoughts burst into my head. I had gone into this all wrong. It wasn’t about head shots, it was about capturing their children. One woman didn’t want her photo taken at all – just the kids.
I went into this treating it like a job, but felt a lot of emotions when I drove away from the park. This shoot was meant to be my gift to the women at the shelter, but it has in turn become a gift that they have given to me.