The boys lost all screen-time privileges several weeks ago.  Their infraction:  not greeting guests when they arrived for dinner, instead keeping their noses glued to their respective screens.

I can understand the inertia, the lethargy, the ease into decay of screen addiction.   With my own work put to bed for the year, and with household duties pared down to pouring egg nog for breakfast & lunch, I’ve found lots of time to discover enchanting new blogs like Reggie Darling and Slow Love Life.   The boys’ fantasy:  aerial combat over the French countryside circa 1944.  My fanatasy:  a Bloomsbury life… tea, paisley, bridle leather, short fiction.

Anyway, they began their campaign to reinstate their wii privileges by bringing me granola & yogurt while I caught up on bills and *research*.  Then, they worked happily & cooperatively on their snow fort for an hour or so.  Then, they put forth admirable effort on their “Silent Night” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” piano homework.

Dana did his daily Spanish homework without prompting.  Reid made tea.  And cleaned up the half gallon of yogurt that spilled on the floor.  Dana made wiennies in a blanket.

So, I was softened up like a stick of Christmas cookie butter by the time they presented me with this:

What they wrote is this:

Can we play wii?

We will fold (meaning the 5 loads of laundry piled up on my bed).

Then they added two little boxes… a yes and a no.

What to do?  They’re so daggone cute.  But being the heartless negotiator that I am, I added a third box marked… maybe.  If they folded for ten they could play for twenty.  Well, its a couple of hours later…they’re still playing.  And guess what I’m doing!!!!???  Ahhh, adulthood.  You get to live by your own hypocritical rules!


I’m not going to tell you what you already know about our freedom and our debt to soldiers living and fallen.

But here’s another angle:  every deployed soldier is separated from a family.   Even in peacetime, a child misses a father.  A sister thinks of a sister.  A mother worries about her son.

This past weekend, I photographed a beautiful young family preparing for deployment… in three days.

And now, he’s been gone for two days.  The girls miss their father.


I talked to the mom this morning… just to see how they’re making out.  The girls are hanging in.  They’re going out to eat alot.  They’re just trying to stay busy.   “People just don’t understand.  If you aren’t living it, you can’t possibly understand how hard it is for a 7 year old to say bye to her dad for 4 months.”

This is an American story, told over and over again.  In peacetime as well as war, families give up someone they love for months or years or forever.  It is impossible for me to imagine what that feels like.  I depend so much on each member of my family to keep me balanced and whole.   The mom thanked me for taking their pictures.  But how can I ever thank her enough?


Sometimes, everything comes together.

The kids are doing well in school.

There’s a vacation on the calendar.

The weather is fine.

Everyone is happy.  It’s a good time.

I love photographing on days like this.


I recently photographed this beautiful young lady for an organization called Operation Love Re:United.  The mission of this charity is to pair photographers with military families.  We provide a fee-free portrait session and prints.    This way, deploying servicemen and women have  portraits of their family to cherish when they are away from home.   Just a little gesture I can make in honor of our military families, to whom  our country owes so much.



My girl is a beautiful young bride.   Married for only a couple of weeks before her groom deployed, they are due to be reunited soon!   A truly romantic assignment that left a smile on my heart for days!


Sunrise, as captured by my *new* iPhone 4, by Dana

charley and i went for a walk today.
at long last.  long overdue.  finally.

what i used to do without a second thought is now an achievement.
but such bliss!  a walk in the woods.  with my dog.  with leaves falling all around
and on me.  the quiet, with just the distant whine of a leaf blower
to remind me where i am

someone has put up new trail signs.
the path was recently cut.
who’s maintaining my woods for me?
in my absence the place has become

but everything is prettier today.
i sit by the pond, on a bench someone put there
just for me.
there’s a folded, rainbow-colored umbrella,
hanging from the arm,
just in case it starts to rain.
i wouldn’t have to leave the bench.
i could continue to sit and trace the reflection of leaves falling
into the pond.

rain scents the air.
it’s time to go home.
why did it take me so long
to realize how beautiful
this world is?




I just sent a highly respected photographer a note about having a blog and neglecting it.  Wasn’t that a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, right?

So, here’s an update:  I’ve been busy, really busy, but not with my portrait business.

I’ve been teaching (wonderful!) and I’ve been sleuthing.  Since I last wrote, my diffuse aches and pains gathered into a storm and swept through my body.   A mysterious phenomenon that, after many doctor’s visits, has been solved (sort of).   Medicine and a damn good sense of humor are the RX for a healthy, long life.

My landscape is shifted.

Everything is more beautiful.

My family & friends sparkle.

I simply enjoy my blessings today.

Quote for the day:  “Here we are, sitting in a shower of gold, with nothing to hold up but a pitchfork.”   – Christia Stead


Waterfall on the Blue Ridge