Saturday, February 27, 2010
He was rescued from the streets. He is the first family member of my husband's that I met. He joined us on our first date. He witnessed our engagement. He ate everybody's breakfast the morning of our wedding, when our backs were turned. He was my running partner. He helped train our younger dog. He helped train our children. He unlocked windows, dismantled alarm wires, chewed through wallboard, and performed miracles of canine athleticism to escape....daily. He adored my husband. He pretended to merely tolerate me (but I saw through it). He ate out of the trash can at every opportunity. He howled when he heard an ice cream truck. He howled when he heard an Irish tin whistle. He howled when the children were napping and he woke them up. He sneezed when he was happy. He danced in circles like a circus poodle when he wanted a treat. He would do anything for cheese. He was afraid of plastic bags. He was fearless that day I needed him most. He suffered unimaginable abuse in his pre-rescue life. He found his forever home with us.
I write this as he naps in a small patch of afternoon sun, as he enjoys the twilight of his nearly 15 years. I write this knowing that I won't publish it until the day comes where he no longer greets me with a stiff-hipped tail wag and a gentle lick on the hand, and his favorite blue rubber ball sits quietly in the basket on the stairs.
He was loved.
Friday, February 26, 2010
The Ben Franklin Bridge spans the Delaware River and connects the shores of Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ. My husband once said they only charge a toll in one direction because no one would actually pay to enter New Jersey. I personally don't agree. You've all seen the "Jersey Shore" by now, have you not? Surely everyone in America would be happy to pony up $3 to experience all that New Jersey has to offer.
But I digress.
I shot this from the middle of the Delaware River on a Duck Boat. Yes, folks, we do live in the city, but we still rode the Duck Boat tour. On this particular tour - seated directly behind me - was an incredibly excited family from Austria. Has anyone witnessed the enthusiasm with which Austrians cheer their downhill skiers? It's not unlike the rabid crowds during the Tour de France, or the Dutch during speedskating events. Apparently this Austrian fervor also translates to Duck Boat tours in the United States.
To say they enjoyed the experience would be a severe understatement of the facts. The ringing in my ears - due to the combination of constant duck-bill-quack whistles, cheering, and laughter at decibel 11 - has yet to fully subside. One positive? My children were no longer the loudest things on the tour.
I thought it was just an ordinary day, on an ordinary river, under an ordinary bridge. Then, I let myself see the ordinary bridge through the eyes of the reveling Austrians. I let myself get carried along in the joy of their day. I let myself image this was an enchanted bridge, leading to mystical lands beyond.
Then, they pulled out the cow bell. Yes, the very same type of bell used to cheer skiers as they rocket down the icy slopes of their home mountains. One wonders if they traveled throughout the city with this bell, just waiting for the perfect moment to unleash it on their Philadelphian hosts.
So here it is, folks: the cow-bell-worthy version of the Ben Franklin bridge, where you'll happily pay your $3 to come back home.
Friday, February 19, 2010
Maps are like old friends to me. I pore over them, remembering the airports and train stations, recalling the winding rivers or jagged shorelines, admiring the colors of the elevation.
I used to memorize the terrain and street layout of a new city before I would arrive (when traveling in foreign countries, alone, it's generally best not to look confused. Or lost. Or foreign, for that matter). I would know which elevation changes signaled north or south, which direction to expect the sea, where the nearest pub could be found.
I liked going to unusual places. Hitra, a small island off the coast of Norway, just a brief jaunt away from the Arctic Circle? In March? Only reachable by boat in rough winter seas? Yes, please! Of course, I've gone to not-so-unusual places as well, but I pride myself on having made it a memorable experience nonetheless. Like the time I forgot to put my pepper spray in my checked luggage and, as result, caused a bit of an "issue" at the airport on my way to Dun Laoghaire. Apparently the IRA had made some threats that morning. And then along I came, with my concealed pepper spray. Excellent.
There are breathtaking rivers in Portugal which, in actual fact, are the same color as the ink on the maps. There are reindeer near Lillehammer that will meander across railroad tracks and delay a train heading north for hours, in the dark, as the wolves cry in the distance. There are police officers in England who take the combination of pepper spray and Irish airlines very seriously.
My passport has expired, and I'm none too happy about that. It means my decade of adventuring was shelved in lieu of other things (you know, job, child bearing, all that sort of thing). I'm not concerned. Maps and I have a long history together, and I expect to be using them again soon, and not just for photographing. This is where I am going today - how about you?
Friday, February 12, 2010
As a child, I was never the one who fit in seamlessly with my surroundings, but it never mattered to me. My parents never pressured me to play the same sports as the popular girls, to wear lipstick in high school, to choose a major in college that would make me money (admittedly, my father did try to suggest an MBA, but he dropped that suggestion rather quickly after I gave him one of my infamous dirty looks). They loved me even if I did read the Encyclopedia for fun.
My oldest son is a little different than most. He's been given incredible gifts: he can play music by ear, he can read chapter books, he can compute simple algebra equations. He is only five years old.
Along with his talents, his incredible enthusiasm, and his beautiful singing voice comes a bit of social awkwardness, sensitivity to sound and surroundings, and difficulty making friends his own age. Many terms have come our way in the past few months: Aspergers, Autism, and the like. It doesn't matter to us what label he receives: we will make sure he knows that being different is a beautiful thing.
Monday, February 8, 2010
I'm pleased to announce the new line of functional art by mkc photography! Most of my original artwork is now available as framed art tiles (complete with easel for display) and keepsake boxes (velvet lined, beautifully made).
The selections above are just a few of the available pieces in stock - please visit the gallery on my website to see the full array! To purchase, simply click the price, and you'll be directed to PayPal. All prices include shipping, but if you are local, I'll happily refund the $5 postage charge and hand-deliver to your door.
Friday, February 5, 2010
I love the Wizard of Oz. I love the Wizard of Oz, even though I once had nightmares about a witch's legs shriveling up under a house, and sparkling ruby slippers that were coming to get me.
When I saw these shoes on the feet of my two-year-old niece, I began thinking of my favorite phrases from the movie. If you knew my two-year-old niece, saw her impish smile and clever eyes, ran after her as she tried to repeatedly dart into oncoming traffic, or watched her scale furniture of frightening heights in order to retrieve a cookie from the counter, you would know why I chose this particular quote.
Sometimes the only story I have to tell is the one about the sunny day, the Scrabble letters, and my niece's little ruby slippers. So, I ask you all: are you a good witch, or a bad witch?