Thursday, August 5, 2010

Click This

There is nothing as important to this world we live in, than the shared creative talents of those who reside here. I believe that everyone has a talent and you owe it to yourself, as well as to the world, to explore that talent and share it. Erma Bombeck explained it best when she said, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.' " 

That's why I get so giddy and spasticly excited when I see someone stepping up and taking charge of their talents. I want to jump around and shout out to everyone that will listen, "You have got to check this out!"

Today's shout out goes to my good friend, Melissa, of Melissa Reed Photography.

Doesn't she look like she belongs in Africa shooting
wildlife? I want her to go so I can be her assistant.

As you know, I am a big fan of taking pictures. I like documenting everything around me - probably because I live in fast forward and things happen so quickly they're replaced by the next great and funny thing almost instantaneously. It's like Christmas flipping through my photos, oh! I forgot Becky did the running man in the middle of the mall! I love her! Anyway, my skills truly are of the Point & Click variety. Meaning every photo is taken at eye level just as seen through my very own eyes. They serve their purpose. I can create witty commentary to liven them up. But they aren't art.

Now, Melissa. She's an artist. If I wasn't so afraid of copyright infringement law I'd post a bunch of her pictures on my page, but I'm scared of prison - even federal prison. Is copyright infringement a federal crime? Would I be able to knit a shawl in federal prison? I don't know but I'm not willing to find out. I like my down comforter and I'm not running the risk of giving it up while I serve time in jail. Plus I love movie theater popcorn. I bet they don't serve that in jail either. So, you're just going to have to follow THIS SUPER COOL LINK to Melissa's page and see for yourself just how truly talented she is.

I was lucky enough to secure a photo shoot with Ms. Reed for my oldest daughter's birthday. While Ms. Reed was shooting the Bean, I was shooting Ms. Reed. (I can be oh-so-sneaky like that. That's why they call me Stealthy McGee. Yeah, I know. Not really.)


I couldn't even hold that camera. It is huge. And heavy. And expensive. And I'm somewhat of a walking liability so I stayed far, far away.


I love this picture because it's daring. Let's be honest. I wouldn't be sitting so casually on railroad tracks. Ever. I've watched Stand By Me one too many times and it's left a lasting impression on me about trains. And train tracks. And people named Ace or Eyeball.


Melissa is talented and fun and it truly was a pleasure spending the afternoon with her. Bean loves her. I love her. (She drinks wine. And you know me - I love me my wine drinkin' friends!) I recommend taking a break from whatever it is you're doing (obviously you have time... you're reading my blog, y'all!) and flipping through her pictures on her website because you will fall in love with her art. Recently she participated in Scott Kelby's Annual Photowalk in Madison, Wisconsin, where basically these fantastic, uber-talented photographers walk around the city capturing everyday sights. As I looked through Melissa's pictures I found myself not just seeing a building, or person walking - but I became mesmorized by the sounds and smells coming from the picture. I could feel the glass in a building just by seeing it - it was as if her pictures were coming to life right before my eyes. Now, to me, that is a true and amazing artist.

I'm just trying to find a way to keep her all to myself so she'll become my personal photographer. Shoot everything around me and show me what I'm missing. Because when I see what she's captured I realize I'm missing so much of the world around me. And that is the exact reason why there is nothing as important to the world we live in, than the shared creative talents of those who reside here... to allow us to see, to allow us to appreciate. And Melissa Reed is truly someone I appreciate for her talent, for her creativity, and for her courage to explore her talent and share it with the world. And also because she'll drink wine with me for hours and make me laugh so hard I'll have to pee. (Darn that third baby bladder weakness.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Weed is Bad.

I only like to take the baby outside for five minutes between 5:00pm and 5:05pm because that way I don't have to mess around with applying sunscreen or insect repellant, because we all know that stuff will soak into the blood stream and make a baby nuts. Plus, you really ought to wash that stuff off eventually so they don't lick it and, well, let's face it, I'm quite lazy. The kid has a lot of toys in the living room so he's completely entertained and doesn't even mind never go outside in the elements. Friends of ours even lent us this baby cage (decorated in bright primary colors so you don't feel so guilty about keeping your small child locked in a 4'x4' area) that he hasn't quite figured out how to climb out of, and he really enjoys his time in there so I wouldn't be surprised if he's still sitting in it when he's 8.

Anyway, I decided to take the baby outside the other day - due to the fact I took one of those grown-up multi-vitamin tablets for women, and Dotter was so surprised she followed us out. "Mama! What are you doing? You're taking the baby outside? He'll melt!" but I was bound and determined to show this 10-month old what the world looked like.

"See," I pointed out lovingly. "Those are garbage cans. Your Daddy doesn't like to bring them back into the garage so they stay there at the end of the driveway until Mommy reminds him that we're not a bunch of hillbillies."

Then I showed him the dent in the side of my car which was parked in the driveway. "That's where Daddy's motorcycle fell in the passenger door. Can you say kickstand malfunction?"

Then I pointed over to the weeds growing up along the entire front of the garage. "These are weeds," I explained, plucking one off it's stem and tickling the baby's cheek. "Weeds are icky. Weeds are bad."

And that's when I glanced over and saw Dotter pluck a long stemmed weed and stick it in her mouth. "Mom," she asked, puffing at the end of the plant like it was a cigarette. "Is this what they mean when people smoke weed?"

Now. I've been a mother for many years now and I know not to get upset and panicky when things like this come up. I reminded myself that I should hold off jumping to conclusions and ask questions.

"Um, where have you heard that phrase before? - 'Smoke weed'?"

"From Jelly Bean."

"Oh. Where was she when she said that?"

"In her room. She was talking to her friend about a mean girl from their school and said she was really bad because she smokes weed."

Now, I know an educational moment when I see one so I wasn't about to let it go to waste:  "Well,  it is bad. Weed is very bad. And that's why I don't want it at my house. And I think the right thing to do is to remove all this weed along the garage. And when you see it growing you should pull it out right away."

She said she would.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Traveling With the Bean

Jelly Bean was away at camp last week. Co-ed camp. Oh, get your mind out of the gutter - the boys were in one cabin and the girls in another, they just did everything else together. For a week she was giggling and laughing and swimming and horseback riding and eating food that other people prepared for her. Then her time was up. Which was good because after seven days Dotter was a complete mess since she doesn't like routine to be disrupted; even if by "routine" we mean the Bean rolling eyeballs and sighing heavily about Gawd! how ridiculous and dorky and uncool we all are. Dotter spent the week sleeping in the Bean's room. And applying Bean's make-up. And dressing up in Bean's clothes. Essentially becoming that creepy roommate who moves in then takes over the identity of the person they're living with.

So, Dotter, Cletus the Used to be Fetus, and I drove off, in the rain, to pick Bean up from camp. Big V had to work so I was flying solo on this mission. Now, Big V is the type of guy who inherently knows where to go. It's like his brain is one big GPS mapping system - which explains why there's no room for things like "must pick up dirty socks off living room floor" and "white Hanes undershirts are just that; under shirts, and shall not be worn as an external shirt for the entire world to see." I do not possess any sort of mapping or general directional skill at all; therefore I rely heavily on Automated GPS Girl to help direct the way. I trust her wholeheartedly and for some reason feel obligated to listen to her even when I know where I am. And Automated Girl did not let me down! Even when I missed that one turn because I was excitedly calling my mother to tell her about this field full of  hundreds of wild turkeys, or cranes, or otherwise unidentifiable birds - Automated Girl took my mistake in stride, recalculated, and get me straight again. I love you Automated Girl!

Too bad Auto Girl couldn't pinpoint the exact location of my kid at camp. We waited and watched as parents reunited with children over and over again. In the rain. Dotter starting to get anxious. The baby fussing louder. The crowd dwindling. And still no 15-year old sharing our DNA. "Let's just check the Lost and Found," Dotter suggested. This actually seemed like a good idea. Maybe she was sitting on the front lawn amongst the dozens of forgotten beach towels and sweatshirts spread out for parents to collect on their way out.

Eventually we found her wandering the camp streets, saying goodbye to friends, and all was right with the world.

Except.

The Bean had a vacation to get to. She was travelling out of state that very evening and we needed to get her home stat! She needed to shower, unpack, repack and get her butt to the airport. I pictured us rushing about, effectively crossing items of our list of things to-do. Double and triple checking to make sure she had her ticket and ID and deodorant and enough underwear to last the next ten days.

It went more like this: Praise the Heavens! I have my phone! I have a week's worth of texting to catch up on! I'll just lay here on my bed for a few minutes....

BEAN! WAKE UP! YOU NEED TO PACK! WE ARE LEAVING IN THREE HOURS!

BEAN! WAKE UP! YOU NEED TO PACK! WE ARE LEAVING IN TWO HOURS!

BEAN! WAKE UP! YOU NEED TO PACK! WE ARE LEAVING IN ONE HOUR!

BEAN! WAKE UP! YOU NEED TO PACK! WE ARE LEAVING IN HALF AN HOUR!

V! Thank God you're home! I can't get Bean to pack and we HAVE leave in FIFTEEN MINUTES!!

And so it was that while we did, in fact, get to the airport in time to get Bean's boarding passes and bags checked, Bean would suddenly realize she did not have adequate time to remember to properly identify her plain, black bag, and how she ran back behind security to try to "get her bag back" so she could put some sort of hair tie on it so she would be able to recognize it. And how the security guys didn't think that was a really cool thing to do.

Security telling Bean to get AWAY FROM THE ALREADY CHECKED BAG!

Darn my not-so-speedy camera...
but this was the best picture I had of Bean's "oops" face.
I think she was slightly fearing being arrested at this point.